Author Archives: ZimSitRep_M

Telecel legal battle looms

Source: Telecel legal battle looms – The Zimbabwe Independent August 26, 2016

A LEGAL battle is looming over the Telecel Zimbabwe acquisition saga following Attorney-General (AG) Prince Machaya’s siding with state-owned information and communications technology (ICT) firm Zarnet in its fight with the National Social Security Authority (Nssa) for the control of the country’s third largest telecommunications company.

By Elias Mambo

The AG’s office got involved in the wrangle after Nssa threatened to withdraw the US$40 million it used to facilitate the acquisition of Telecel Zimbabwe from international telecoms giant VimpelCom, on behalf of Zarnet.

Machaya told Nssa through its lawyers MawereSibanda Commercial Lawyers that government was not happy with its confrontational attitude in its push to control Telecel, insisting the social security company was just a financier.

The Zimbabwe Independent, however, understands Nssa and its lawyers do not agree with the AG’s views, setting the stage for a potential legal battle.

Nssa has been battling Zarnet for the control of Telecel since financing the deal.

Government, through Zarnet, last year entered into a sale and purchase agreement of Telecel with Global Telecom Holding, a unit of VimpelCom. The agreement was that Zarnet would pay the US$40 million on terms.

Zarnet was to acquire 100% shareholding in Telecel International Ltd which in turn owns 60% of Telecel Zimbabwe.

Zarnet structured the deal and engaged Nssa to raise US$40 million for the acquisition of the 60% stake in Telecel.

However, Nssa has been making moves to control Telecel putting it on a collision course with Zarnet.

Sources said the ICT company approached Machaya’s office after Nssa threatened to withdraw its funds. Machaya then wrote a letter to Nssa informing the social security company that the acquisition of Telecel, through Zarnet, was a cabinet decision.

“In case you may not be aware of the genesis of the Telecel issue, we wish to advise you that cabinet, on behalf of government, made a decision that government was to acquire Telecel,” the AG’s Office wrote to Nssa lawyers Mawere-Sibanda on August 19.

“Government thereafter decided to use the vehicle of an entity which it owns in the form of Zarnet to make the acquisition. Against that background you will appreciate that it is not possible for government to act in bad faith against your client.

“Against that background you will appreciate that it is not possible for government to act in bad faith against your client.”

Nssa had written to Zarnet indicating that it wanted overall control of Telecel when the mobile service provider is transferred into the hands of the Zimbabwe government on September 30.

Zarnet, however, protested, saying it invited Nssa to provide funding only.

“The two agreements in question were entered into in a spirit of cooperation and with mutual desire to give effect to the resolution of cabinet to acquire the business of Telecel,” said the AG.

“Your client should, therefore, remain focussed on this overriding objective.”

‘No One Is Safe’: Zimbabwe Threatens to Seize Farms of Party Defectors

In a nation where land is used as a tool of control, many former officials who were beneficiaries of seizures of white-owned farms now find themselves potential victims.

Source: ‘No One Is Safe’: Zimbabwe Threatens to Seize Farms of Party Defectors – NYTimes August 24, 2016

BINDURA, Zimbabwe — Dozens of angry young men jumped off a truck in front of Agrippah Mutambara’s gate, shouting obscenities and threatening to seize his 530-acre farm in the name of Zimbabwe’s president. They tried to scale the fence, scattering only when he raised and cocked his gun.

Zimbabwe made international headlines when it started seizing white-owned farms in 2000. But Mr. Mutambara is not a white farmer. Far from it, he is a hero of this country’s war of liberation who served as Zimbabwe’s ambassador to three nations over two decades.

But when he defected from President Robert Mugabe’s party to join the opposition a few months ago, he immediately put his farm at risk.

“When it was happening to the whites, we thought we were redressing colonial wrongs,” said Mr. Mutambara, 64, who got his farm after it had been seized from a white farmer. “But now we realize it’s also coming back to us. It’s also haunting us.”

Zimbabwe is suffering one of its worst economic crises in years. Banks have run out of cash. The government is struggling to pay its workers. Public protests, including one in July that was the biggest in a decade, have rattled Mr. Mugabe’s government.

Desperately seeking loans, Zimbabwean officials have visited Washington and European capitals in recent months, swallowing years of resentment toward the West to promise economic and political reforms, including ending the tortured history of farm seizures. Even Mr. Mugabe, now 92 years old and increasingly frail, has pledged to compensate white farmers.

But despite the promises, prized farms are at the center of heated political infighting in Zimbabwe. As the internal battle to succeed Mr. Mugabe intensifies, dozens of political figures who have fallen out of favor, like Mr. Mutambara, are facing the seizure of their farms. With the economy in peril and the governing party split in a scramble for power, land is being used as a vital tool in the struggle for control.
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“No one is safe,” said Temba Mliswa, 44, who was the chairman of the governing party’s chapter in Mashonaland West Province before his expulsion from the party in 2014.

Mr. Mliswa got a 2,000-acre farm belonging to a white Zimbabwean in 2005. When he took possession, Mr. Mliswa said, police officers beat the white farmer and his workers.

But last year, Mr. Mliswa said, hundreds of youths sent by the governing party invaded the farm again, destroying property and beating his workers. They eventually left, but one of Mr. Mugabe’s ministers recently held a rally in which he threatened to take Mr. Mliswa’s farm unless he stopped criticizing the president’s party.

“They use the land to control you,” Mr. Mliswa said.

Zimbabwe’s political uncertainty has weakened the economy, already hit hard by a severe drought and a fall in global commodity prices. People have been hoarding cash — Zimbabwe adopted the American dollar in 2009 — and taking it out of the country, leaving bank A.T.M.s empty.

Mr. Mugabe’s “Look East” campaign, which focused on attracting China as a counterweight to Western influence, has suffered from China’s economic slowdown and recent disagreements over economic policy, though billboards still laud China as Zimbabwe’s “all-weather friend.”

With few other options left, Mr. Mugabe’s government has turned to the International Monetary Fund, an organization he has vilified in the past as an instrument of colonial domination.

In talks with the fund, the government has agreed to reforms in the hope that it will qualify for loans for the first time since 1999. The fund has sent positive signals about government steps in areas like curbing the size of the public work force and cleaning up the banking sector.

“The reforms are in our interest, and not in order to please anybody,” said Patrick Chinamasa, the finance minister. “Whether the I.M.F. is there or not, we have to do reforms in order to restore confidence in our economy.”

But significant hurdles remain. The Zimbabwean government must clear $1.8 billion it owes to the I.M.F., the World Bank and the African Development Bank. It must also persuade the I.M.F., where a skeptical United States holds the most votes, that it is committed to change.

And of all the potential reforms, perhaps none is as sensitive as land.

Resolving the issue is central to reviving the country’s economy and re-establishing ties, virtually frozen for nearly a generation, with Western governments.

Zimbabwe has proposed establishing 99-year land leases. Currently, even black Zimbabweans who received land seized from white farmers lack land titles, leaving them at the mercy of the authorities.

Under a program financed by the European Union and the United Nations, the government has begun mapping the more than 6,000 commercial farms that have been seized. For the first time, the government also recently held a workshop on the compensation of white farmers.

“A year and a half or two years ago, nobody really talked about it,” Christian Beddies, the I.M.F. representative in Zimbabwe, said about land reform. “So if you look at it from that angle, what we are seeing is progress — really a general desire to address the issue.”

Others are skeptical. Nginya Mungai Lenneiye, a former World Bank representative in Zimbabwe who has served in the government, said Zimbabwe might set up a “credible framework” for eventual compensation that would satisfy the I.M.F.

But actual compensation, he said, was another matter.

“It cannot happen while Mugabe is alive,” Mr. Lenneiye said. “It will be too much a slap in his face.”

Beyond pride, settling land ownership could strip Mr. Mugabe of an important tool he has wielded over the political class.

Dozens are believed to be facing threats of losing their farms, according to former governing party members and the local news media.

Many were expelled from the governing party, ZANU-PF, in the past year because they were considered close to Joice Mujuru, a former vice president who was once regarded as Mr. Mugabe’s likely successor but was purged by Zimbabwe’s powerful first lady, Grace Mugabe.

And for all the talk of compensating white farmers, politically connected Zimbabweans are continuing to grab white-owned farms.

This year, a white Zimbabwean couple were expelled by police officers from their 2,000-acre tobacco farm. The new owner was a Zimbabwean medical doctor living in England; the news media uncovered photographs showing the doctor and his wife with Mrs. Mugabe.

In 2000, two decades after Zimbabwe’s independence, the country’s best farmland remained in the hands of descendants of white settlers. Mr. Mugabe’s government forcibly removed white Zimbabweans from their farms, which were supposed to be distributed equitably to black Zimbabweans.

Thousands of poor black farmers suddenly got access to land, often small plots, bringing them into the economy and spreading the profits from crops like tobacco to a much broader share of Zimbabwe’s population.

But high-ranking officials in the governing party received the best farms. Or, like Mr. Mutambara, the former ambassador, they were given the best tracts of a large farm, usually with the main farmhouse and farming equipment.

“Contrary to what we had expected, some people because of their position in government have gone on to acquire multiple farms, huge farms,” Mr. Mutambara said.

Mr. Chinamasa, the finance minister, denied that some members of the political elite were violating the government’s policy by owning more than a single farm. He said members of one family could each own a farm, creating the impression that they owned multiple farms.

“We have a policy that it was one person, one piece of land,” Mr. Chinamasa said. “The policy is clear. It’s not a problem.”

But if Mr. Mugabe’s government can reward loyalists with prime land, it can also easily take it back, especially with the lack of deeds or long-term leases.

Mr. Mliswa said he received his farm when his uncle headed the lands ministry. Once considered Mr. Mugabe’s right-hand man, the uncle was also expelled from the governing party in 2014 and now risks losing his farm, too, Mr. Mliswa said.

“There was blood spilt on my farm, there was violence, which I really, really, really, really regret,” he said of the seizure of his farm from its white owner in 2005. “I apologize profusely, but it was because of the system I was involved in. I belonged to a party whose culture is violence.”

PCC outlines way forward

Background

Source: PCC outlines way forward – The Zimbabwean 26.08.2016

Zimbabwe is a country in crisis, bereft of any capacity to reform – neither politically nor economically. This is common cause for all Zimbabweans, and a major reason for the citizens to protest increasingly loudly. The crisis is exacerbated by the crisis of succession in a mortally-divided ZANU PF, with all the potential for worsening internecine conflict and bloody fighting.

The current crisis in Zimbabwe is the product of outmoded and predatory politics and discriminatory economic policies, and only a radically new approach will be able to reverse the inevitable march to domestic collapse. The Platform for Concerned Citizens (PCC) reached consensus that there are three critical principal issues that must be addressed.

Firstly, there is a crisis in governance and the economy that is evident for all Zimbabweans to see, and requires urgent attention lest the nation suffer domestic collapse.

Secondly, there is profound alienation of the citizens of Zimbabwe, who have lost faith in governance, political parties, and leadership in general.

Thirdly, there is a critical need for transformative reforms that will pre-empt elections or any other elite processes or pacts, and/or succession arrangements, not underpinned by crucial reforms that prioritise the interests of the citizens.

The Process towards an NTA

The process towards the establishment of the NTA requires consultations across the nation and abroad, with a regional and global “buy-in” , or external scaffolding, to ensure a peaceful and smooth transition, as happened at Lancaster House and the Global Political Agreement. The NTA is thus nothing new in Zimbabwe’s political life, but the process and form may be an improvement on the previous attempts at a solid political settlement.

The NTA will need expert inputs towards its design, and the ensuing legal instrument will then be submitted to parliament as a Bill that can be passed by a simple majority. The constitution will remain in place and already offers all the framework necessary for an NTA to carry out its work of reform and lead the country to genuine elections.

The NTA framework

A primary purpose for the NTA is to heal and nation and embark on a limited political and economic reform agenda. The NTA cannot solve all the problems that afflict the country, but will provide the necessary first steps to move the country to international legitimacy and deeper democracy.

The debate has already begun.

The political parties have responded, broadly accepting the idea. Civil society is engaged in serious consultation as evidenced by the Sapes Trust’s Policy Dialogue Forum last Thursday, 18th August: the large turn-out, reflecting a healthy curiosity about and interest in the idea of the NTA; the general consensus that this could be a “soft landing” that could save Zimbabwe; and the assertion by Dumiso Dabengwa that the alternative could be tantamount to “continue folding our arms” and watch the situation develop into the inevitable chaos that is quickly enveloping the country.

However, there remains scepticism in some quarters.

Three reasons have been given for this being a bad idea. The first was that there was already a legitimately elected government and all patriotic Zimbabweans should throw their energies behind this rather than seek new solutions. The second was that no elected government, and especially ZANU PF, would ever concede to devolve power against its own narrow, and not national, interests. The third was that it did not seem possible that such an entity could emerge as a constitutional body, and that it matters more that we be constitutional than solve pressing problems: in short, a slide into illegality was unacceptable.

We have previously dealt with all these arguments in the position paper issued by the Platform for Concerned Citizens (PCC), issued on the 23rd July, and re-articulated many times.

Those, as reflected in some sections of the media, who have attacked both the notion of the NTA and the messengers recommending it, appear to reflect more the knee jerk reactions of a faction in a mortally-divided ZANU PF/State apparatus than a considered analysis of the current situation in Zimbabwe. Clearly, the critics are oblivious of the extent to which principals in the state are already engaged with the idea.

On our part, we are encouraged by the favourable feed-back from the various political persuasions across the board, including the leadership therein. The effect is that the idea of the NTA is already being considered, even though there is yet no consensus towards the following principles which the PCC outlined in the position paper mentioned above. Here the PCC outlined a set of critical reforms:

  • Adherence to the constitution and institutionalising the principles of constitutionalism;
  • Reform of key institutions that impede the above:
  • Reform of the electoral process, to create conditions for genuinely free and fair, elections, and devoid of all controversy;
  • Stabilising of the economy and the setting in place of an Economic Reform Agenda aimed at the following:
  • Debt management, and recovery of misappropriated assets, nationally and internationally;
  • Comprehensive macro-economic fundamentals;
  • Policy consistency;
  • Land policy and property rights;
  • Revival of productive sectors;
  • Mobilising the diaspora into the economic life of the country.

The PCC also outlined a set of suggested principles for the operation of the NTA:

  • No political party will hold a position within the NTA, neither shall the Convenors of the PCC, Ibbo Mandaza and Tony Reeler;
  • All members of Parliament (the House of Assembly and the Senate) will hold their position until the declaration of a national election;
  • The judiciary will continue as an arm of the state;
  • The NTA will act in accordance with such legislation as enacted by Parliament;
  • The members of the NTA shall be non-partisan and professional;
  • The members of the NTA will be selected according to agreed criteria and procedures, from amongst the candidates put forward to an independent body, selected from amongst churches and other civic bodies;
  • The NTA shall be composed of not more than 18 members;
  • The NTA may apportion responsibilities for the management of government and the overseeing of all state bodies through a system of sub-committees.

Our hope is that the National Consultative Conference, scheduled for 15th September will assist towards consensus building and the establishing of a National Task Force that will thereafter drive the process to its intended conclusion.

Towards the Regional and International undergirding of the NTA

A Regional/International Consultative Conference is scheduled for 26-27th September in Johannesburg. This will seek to secure the buy-in and support of regional and global factors for a process that necessarily be both delicate and complex. It will also offer an opportunity for our brothers and sisters in the diaspora, so often neglected by the national debate, to participate and help shape the process.

In this regard, we welcome the statement of the Elders – Kofi Annan, Graca Machel and Jimmy Carter – in their appeal to SADC this week, “to consider how they can support a successful and inclusive transition in Zimbabwe that will return stability and growth to the country”. These words seem wholly consonant with the vision that the PCC offered in its position paper: “An inclusive nation that guarantees its citizens freedom and ALL human rights, and develops its resources, both human and material, in an equitable manner”.

Ibbo Mandaza and Tony Reeler are the Convenors of the Platform for Concerned Citizens (PCC)

Police intelligence behind activist Masarira arrest

THE trial of Linda Masarira and 10 others, who are facing charges of obstructing or endangering free movement of persons and traffic, resumed yesterday, with the State witness being questioned by lawyers for failing to explain the role played by each of the suspects.

Source: Police intelligence behind activist Masarira arrest – NewsDay Zimbabwe August 26, 2016

BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE

Kufangomwe, who is the district police intelligence officer based at Southerton Police Station, told the court that when a team of police officers arrived in Mufakose they found the road blocked with stones, but managed to arrest the suspects.

Defence lawyer, Kudzai Kadzere asked what evidence the police had linking his clients to the offence since when they arrived they found the road already closed.

The officer indicated that he did not see any of the suspects blocking the road neither had he any knowledge of who put the stones on the road.

Kadzere asked for Kufangomwe’s job description, to which he said it involved co-ordinating other intelligence officers from his office.

Asked why he was in Mufakose on the day in question Kufangomwe said it was due to manpower shortages.
Mbare magistrate Stanley Mambanje remanded the matter to August 31 for continuation of trial on which date two other police intelligence officers will be expected to give evidence.

Masarira has been in custody for over a month while her other 10 co-accused Tongai Makamba, Tawanda Magaya, Delight Bhunu, Tinotenda Chitengu, Evans Watukwa, Trymore Zvinoitavanhu, Livingkind Muzengerere, Frank Kudakwashe, Mathius Gonye and Tafadzwa Chitiza are out of custody on $100 bail each.

Makarau should admit to Zimbabweans, as she did to SADC, that electoral system is flawed

Addressing the Electoral Commissions Forum of the Southern Africa Development Community (EFC-SADC) 18th Annual General Conference – a few days ago, in Botswana – the Zimbabwe Election Commission (ZEC) chairperson Rita Makarau made a tacit admission that Zimbabwe’s electoral system was flawed.

Source: Makarau should admit to Zimbabweans, as she did to SADC, that electoral system is flawed – The Zimbabwean 26.08.2016

Makarau – who is also the chairperson of the EFC-SADC – said that when they were presented with country reports at the conference, she naturally first read on Zimbabwe.

She went on to say that her initial response was that what the report said about Zimbabwe was not true, however, she later had to admit that, most probably, what was presented was the reality and the truth.

Makarau even went as far as advising her fellow delegates that, ‘sometimes when we look at ourselves in the mirror, we only see what we ourselves want to see, but we also have to see what others see in us’.

What is it that was in the report about Zimbabwe’s electoral system that she would immediately dismiss as being ‘not true’?

What could a regional body as the ECF-SADC possibly say about Zimbabwe, that could be regarded by a largely discredited organ as ZEC, as being baseless?

What is in that report that others see in Zimbabwe’s electoral system, but ZEC and the ZANU PF government do not see?

Zimbabweans, by now know the ZANU PF government’s defensive nature when it is confronted with the truth, as it always dismisses everything that it is truthfully accused of, as being lies.

This is not only limited to the government, but also includes organs that as supposedly ‘independent’, yet are well-known to be sympathetic to the ruling party, and are accused of being biased towards it – and ZEC is no exception, as can be readily witnessed by today’s peaceful demonstration against it and the country’s skewed electoral laws and playing field, by a coalition of opposition political parties, under the banner of the National Electoral Reform Agenda (NERA).

Although, I have tried, but failed to get a copy of this EFC-SADC report, qualified conjecture, will lead me to conclude that Zimbabwe’s electoral system had been reported as being flawed, and that was why Makarau initially reacted by denial.

However, from what she said in her address, she then made a tacit admission that what the report highlighted could be, in fact, true – further advising her fellow delegates to have the same attitude.

In this regard, can anyone be wrong in asserting that Makarau, whilst admitting to SADC that the electoral system in Zimbabwe is flawed, should make the same admission to the people of Zimbabwe, especially today, when NERA are peacefully demonstrating against ZEC, and the county’s unfair electoral laws and playing field.

She should come out in the open and tell the nation what the ECF-SADC report said about Zimbabwe’s electoral system, and explain to the nation what ZEC intends to do to rectify the situation.

The ZANU PF government should similarly come out and address the same concerns raised in the report, and those by NERA.

The suffering people of Zimbabwe, who have been duped enough by this skewed system deserve to have answers.

Instead of the now usual brutal response to any dissent by the ZANU PF government, the nation needs a direct response to their genuine concerns that have been ignored for over two decades.

As such, the people are justified in their frustrations, such that they have decided to peacefully take the issue onto the streets.

If these ZANU PF people say that they brought democracy to this country – I am not sure from where – then the people need to see that democracy at work.

It should not just be an empty slogan – in the same mould as their allies, such as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, which is anything, but democratic.

Democracy is not relative and determined by only one section of a nation’s population, but has internationally accepted statutes – some of which, as in SADC, Zimbabwe is a signatory to – and is expected to religiously adhere to them.

The country was not forced to be party to these statutes, and that is why it is even the chair of the ECF-SADC.

Furthermore, the Constitution of Zimbabwe is very clear on the electoral system of the country, yet the same government that is expected to uphold this supreme law, is its greatest violator.

If ZANU PF is so confident of its popularity, why does it not show that by first aligning all the country’s laws with the Constitution?

Needless to say, aligning a country’s laws to the Constitution should not even be based on whether the ruling party is confident of surviving or not, but is its duty.

If it then fails in that duty, then it would have lost all legitimacy, and must step down, or be forced to step down through legal channels.

Whilst addressing the same ECF-SADC conference, Botswana President Seretse Khama Ian Khama, who is also the SADC chairman, advised politicians in the region to adhere to election processes and avoid manipulating elections which usually caused election related conflicts.

He also said that members of Electoral Management Bodies (EMBS) should conduct elections with unquestionable integrity – something that I hope both ZEC and the ZANU PF government will take serious heed of.

As the nation braces itself for the 2018 Elections, the ZANU PF government should acknowledge, as Makarau tacitly did, that Zimbabwe is on a very dangerous course, and headed for disaster, where no one will be a winner.

As long as the people of Zimbabwe are continually cheated of their democratic right to freely elect a  government of their choice, then the chances of civil unrest become more and more likely.

The right to freely vote – in a level political playing field – and having that choice respected, is a right that has cost lives all across the globe.

That is the same reason Nelson Mandela was prepared to die in prison – refusing to negotiate for his release.

That is the reason thousands upon thousands of genuine liberation war heroes and innocent civilians, especially in the rural areas, perished in Zimbabwe in the 1960s and 70s – even though the struggle in ZANU had been highjacked by mercenaries in the mid-70s.

This should not only be a legal right, but a natural and inalienable right that every citizen deserves – and a right that people are prepared to die for.

As Nelson Mandela said at the Rivonia trial, ‘I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die’.

° Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice activist and commentator, writer, and journalist. He writes in his personal capacity, and welcome any feedback. Please feel free to WhatsApp/call: +263782283975, or email: tendaiandtinta.mbofana@gmail.com. Follow on Twitter: @Tendai_Mbofana

ZRP fire teargas on Mega Friday

Source: ZRP fire teargas on Mega Friday – NewZimbabwe 26/08/2016

POLICE on Friday fired teargas to disperse anti-government supporters preparing to protest against electoral processes they say benefit President Robert Mugabe and the ruling ZANU-PF party.

More than a hundred police officers in riot gear, backed up by water cannon and armoured trucks, occupied the venue that opposition parties planned to use for their march.

As opposition supporters arrived for the march, they were told by the police to leave. The officers then fired teargas when parts of the crowd refused to comply.

A few dozen supporters sang and chanted anti-Mugabe slogans from a distance.

“We are not going anywhere and demonstrating is the only solution left to force the dictator out of office,” said Tapfuma Make, an unemployed 24-year-old from Chitungwiza town, south of the capital Harare.

A High Court judge was due to rule on whether the demonstration should be allowed to proceed on Friday morning.

Opposition parties leading the protests say the electoral commission is biased in favour of the ruling ZANU-PF and is run by security agencies loyal to Mugabe, charges the commission denies.

The protesters want the next vote in 2018 to be supervised by international observers, including the U.N.

Opposition leader and head of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), Morgan Tsvangirai, and former vice president Joice Mujuru will lead the demonstration, which they expect to draw thousands of supporters.

“The march will start at 11 a.m. and we are confident that the judge will rule in our favour,” MDC secretary general Mwonzora told Reuters.

Police used teargas and a water cannon on Wednesday to break-up a march by MDC youth supporters who were protesting over economic mismanagement and what they say is brutality by security agencies.

 

Police arrest activists ahead of demo

Police have arrested some activists from their homes ahead of today’s demonstration.

Source: Police arrest activists ahead of demo – The Zimbabwean 26.08.2016

So far two activists from Dzivaresekwa have been picked up and are detained at the Dzivaresekwa police station.
Arrested are Keith Mashayamombe and another whose name has been given simply as Samson.
Promise Mkwananzi has been arrested.
A Mugari has been arrested and put in leg irons.

Parched Zimbabwe faces dire water shortages as new dry season nears

Source: Parched Zimbabwe faces dire water shortages as new dry season nears | Reuters Aug 25, 2016

By Andrew Mambondiyani

GUTAURARE, Zimbabwe (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – The only dam in this small-scale farming community in eastern Zimbabwe used to provide water for both people and cattle. Now, dried to a dirty puddle, it is a source of competition rather than refreshment.

As a small boy tries to fill two containers with the muddy water, a herd of cattle crowd in for a drink. The boy tries to wave them away, but the desperate animals defy him, bellowing and crowding to the edge of the puddle.

Though the water is no longer fit for people to consume, farmers depend on it for washing and other uses.

“Water is now very scarce in this area. And this dam has water which will last only a few days,” said James Jofirisi, a villager.

The dam refilled during the recent rainy season, he said, but the water is not sufficient to last until the next rains start in late October or early November.

As Zimbabwe prepares for the bleak coming dry season in September and much of October, on the heels of more than a year of El Niño-induced drought, it finds itself running out of water.

Boreholes and deep wells in many areas are fast running dry, and rivers and small streams – including those close to Gutaurare – are drying up too.

Farmers fear they will not only lose their livestock but their own sources of household water.

“Water from the only borehole around is rationed with each family get two 20-litre buckets per day. The water from the borehole is not enough for us and our livestock,” Jofirisi said.

That well, near the Gutaurare Business Centre, is controlled by the District Development Fund (DDF), the development arm of the government of Zimbabwe. More than 100 households depend on it for water – but no one is quite sure how much is left.

With alternative water supplies running out, officials at the DDF depot started rationing the water a month ago, amid fears that even the borehole might not last through the coming dry season.

Gresham Ngwarati, another villager, said he feared what might happen during the coming peak heat season of September and October.

“Our local sources of water are drying up. The water in our dam is now very low. The local rivers have dried up. The situation is really bad,” he said. “We have no food and soon we will run out of water too.”

4.5 MILLION AT RISK

An El Niño-induced drought which hit Zimbabwe over the last rainy season has left up to 4.5 million people food insecure, according to the United Nations Development Programme.

According to a report by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, the El Niño weather phenomenon, which was the strongest in 35 years, ended in April, but has left behind serious droughts, scotching heat and water shortages in Zimbabwe since November last year.

A 2016-2017 food security outlook, published by the Famine Early Warning Systems Network, said the drought has left many in southern Africa facing food shortages.

In Zimbabwe, the most affected areas are parts of Manicaland, Masvingo, Matebeleland South and Matebeleland North provinces.

However, some farmers are hoping that La Nina weather conditions, which often come after an El Niño, will bring sufficient rain during the next rainy season, which starts in November.

“We have been told by government officials that there is a new condition (La Nina) coming soon which will bring a lot of rainfall. But in the meantime we are just praying that we survive the next two months,” Ngwarati said.

In telephone interview with the Thomson Reuters Foundation, Nyasha Chikwinya, the legislator for Mutare South constituency, which covers the Gutaurare area, said the water crisis in most areas in her constituency had reached critical levels and needed urgent attention.

“The water crisis is really bad. Some people are walking upto 15 kilometres (9 miles) to get water,” she said.

However, Chikwinya – who is also the Minister of Women Affairs, Gender and Community Development – admitted she had no solution to the water crisis, apart from approaching international donors for help.

“I don’t even know what to do. As I am speaking to you I am in my constituency assessing the seriousness of the crisis,” Chikwinya said. “I am pleading with external donors to help with drilling of boreholes. Most of the boreholes are dry while some are not working.”

Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa has not yet put a public pricetag on the cost of rehabilitating failed wells and drilling new ones. He admitted, however, in an interview, that the water situation across the country has reached critical levels.

He said the government would help fund the District Development Fund to repair all non-working boreholes and to drill new wells in rural areas.

“And the rural district councils and donor agencies are also doing the same (helping to repair broken boreholes),” Chinamasa said.

(Editing by Laurie Goering :; Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, climate change, women’s rights, trafficking and property rights. Visit news.trust.org/climate)

 

Zimbabwe’s rock and hard place

Money shortages means queues to get money out of the banks

Source: IRIN | Zimbabwe’s rock and hard place 25 August 2016

Hunger in Zimbabwe is seen overwhelmingly as a rural problem. Consecutive droughts have scorched harvests, and as a result 4.1 million people – half the rural population – are expected to be in need of food aid next year.

But the blinding focus on the countryside obscures the struggles of the urban poor; of people like Ruramai Chakanyuka, who sells fruit and vegetables in the centre of the capital, Harare.

What she earns is barely enough to support her two children, even though she supplements her income as best she can by growing maize illegally on municipal land.

“Our government welfare system has virtually collapsed,” she told IRIN. “It can’t come to the rescue of those who don’t have enough food to eat.”

The reality is that nearly everybody is hurting in Zimbabwe.

A 20-year economic crisis has seen de-industrialisation, and the hollowing out of what was once a robust public sector. More than 80 percent of workers are employed in the informal economy; the formal job market is not only small but still shrinking, with fresh layoffs announced at the beginning of the year by major parastatal firms.

Anger over the level of poverty, failed government policies, and corruption has seen a growing tide of urban protest this year. The latest example came on Wednesday: six hours of skirmishes with the police in Harare in which shops owned by the vice president and other senior officials were looted.

Packing up

A less incendiary response by the urban poor has been to simply quit the cities. With no opportunities in sight, some are reversing the traditional pattern of rural-urban migration and heading back to the land, despite the difficulties farming is facing.

“Households that are failing to sustain themselves are sending some of their members to rural areas to reduce their monthly household expenditure obligations,” Tafara Chiremba of the Poverty Reduction Forum Trust, an anti-poverty NGO, told IRIN.

James Maridadi, an MP for the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, described conditions in his largely urban and low-income Mabvuku/Tafara constituency as “desperate”.

“Except for a few who are lucky to be employed, the majority of people survive on vending fruit, vegetables, second-hand clothes, or anything that they can sell,” he said.

“Others depend on seasonal rains to plant crops on public spaces while others depend on remittances from other countries. The government needs to focus on urban areas as well when distributing food relief,” he urged.

According to Joao Manja, the head of the World Food Programme’s vulnerability analysis unit, food security in urban areas is generally based on access to cash. “Without cash or options for labour, it becomes a big challenge for those living in urban areas to be food secure.”

A comprehensive urban food security assessment has been launched by WFP, but interventions are already being made to reach vulnerable, malnourished children who are being treated for TB and HIV.

“They are receiving support at two clinics in Harare, and all the hospitals in [the southern city of Bulawayo],“ Manja told IRIN. “The programme should reach more than 30,000 clients by March 2017.”

Worse in the countryside

While hardship in urban areas is difficult for aid organisation to identify and harder to target, it is well mapped in the countryside, where the majority of Zimbabweans still live. The figures are alarming.

According to the Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee, the key planning tool of the government and international partners, 4.1 million rural people will be without “adequate means to meet their annual food requirements” at the beginning of next year. During the same quarter last year, it was three million.

The underlying problems behind Zimbabwe’s food insecurity are well-known. They include the dependence on rain-fed agriculture; a poorly integrated climate risk management policy; and the absence of broad and effective support to the small-scale farmers who grow most of the country’s food.

The government’s response this year is the promotion of state farms. It has set aside $500 million for the initiative, which aims to produce two million tonnes of maize on 400,000 hectares of mostly irrigated land. The lucky participants will receive seeds, fertiliser, and tools.

But the turn to what has been labelled “Command Agriculture” has been heavily criticised by a range of commentators. Even Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko – whose shops attracted the wrath of the looters – seemed less than triumphant when he handed over tractors from Brazil to the new farmers.

“We received tractors from China about 10 years ago and they disappeared,” he grumbled. “The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe distributed another batch of tractors, and we’re not seeing them today. I don’t want the same to happen to these tractors that I’m commissioning today.”

In an opinion piece, Ben Freeth, a former commercial farmer wrote: “In my view, the entire Command Agriculture concept is another blundering totalitarian control and patronage scheme that is doomed to fail to feed the nation. Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, and others in the days before food aid oversaw comparable schemes and millions of people perished.”

Despite a history of neglect, the rural areas have traditionally been a vote bank for President Robert Mugabe and his ruling ZANU-PF. The cities, suffering from acute shortages of money (Zimbabwe is a dollarised economy), along with inflation, power shortages, and crumbling infrastructure, have been less forgiving and quiescent.

It is the anger of the urban poor, people who like Ruramai Chakanyuka feel let down and abandoned by the government, that is driving a civil disobedience campaign that is responding with strikes and demonstrations – a level of protest Zimbabwe has not seen in years.

Zimbabwe’s government is standing by as its wildlife is slaughtered

Zimbabwe has also experienced a worrying rise in poaching. In 2014, 20 rhinos were killed; in 2015, the figure was 51.

Source: Zimbabwe’s government is standing by as its wildlife is slaughtered | Julian Rademeyer | World news | The Guardian 25 August 2016

It was a normal day in the Chipinge Safari area when two police officers, Robert Shumba and Vengai Mazhara, headed into the bush in Zimbabwe’s eastern highlands after getting a tip about a poacher armed with an AK-47.

They were soon dead, shot by an unknown man who escaped the scene.

A month later, the police arrested a man alleged to have supplied the AK-47 used in the killings, 36-year-old Munashe Mugwira, an operative at the state security agency, the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO).

Mugwira was detained after another suspected poacher was arrested. According to the local press, the suspect told police that Mugwira had supplied him and four others with AK-47s and .303 hunting rifles to “kill rhinos”. The man, Jason Chisango, also accused Mugwira of poisoning elephants with cyanide.

The accusations against a government agent point to a worrying trend in Zimbabwe: the involvement of the state’s security apparatus in rhino horn smuggling and supplying weapons to elephant and rhino poachers.

Mugwira – who has denied the charges – is now facing trial, and while Zimbabwe does have stringent legislation to protect its fauna and flora, the application of these laws has so far been disastrously uneven.

In December 2015, for example, Tavengwa Machona – one of Mugwira’s co-accused and a man accused by the prosecution of being involved in “decades of poaching activity” – was found guilty in a separate trial of killing two rhinos and sentenced to 35 years in prison.

However, the court promised to commute the sentence by 15 years if he paid $480,000 – the estimated value of the rhinos – to the park where they were killed. It is unclear whether he has paid the fee.

‘Things are getting worse’

The extent of the allegations against Mugwira are wide-ranging and extreme, but there are concerns that the involvement of the CIO in poaching appears to extend beyond a few rogue agents.

One conservationist, who spoke to the Global Initiative Against Organised Crime on the condition of anonymity, said that corrupt game scouts and poachers were regularly trading horns and tusks with CIO operatives.

Over the past decade, more than 6,000 rhinos have been killed by poachers across several African states, and things are getting worse. In the early stages of the crisis in 2008, 262 rhinos were killed. By 2015, that number had risen more than fivefold to 1,377, according to the African Rhino Specialist Group.

South Africa, which is home to 79% of the continent’s remaining rhinos, has borne the brunt of the killings, but Zimbabwe has also experienced a worrying rise in poaching. In 2014, 20 rhinos were killed; in 2015, the figure was 51.

The upsurge in poaching in Zimbabwe has complex roots including continuing political instability, a foundering economy, and widespread corruption. The ruling Zanu-PF’s party policies have also exacerbated the issue.

As part of their “fast-track” land reform programme, the government encouraged local subsistence farmers to invade wildlife conservancies where rhino populations were being protected and rebuilt.

In 2011, senior officials and military officers also seized key properties and land in the Savé Valley , an area once heralded as one of the world’s most notable conservation success stories. Ministers and local provincial leaders were controversially granted 25-year leases on the properties, justified on the basis of “wildlife-based land reform” measures to empower indigenous black Zimbabweans.

Beyond land reforms, cyanide, which is widely used in Zimbabwe’s mining industry, is relatively easy to obtain in the country and has also been used repeatedly by poachers.

In 2013 at least 300 elephants died after waterholes and salt-licks were purposefully poisoned with cyanide in what was described as “the largest massacre of elephant in this part of the world for the last 25 years”. In October 2015, at least 62 elephants were reported to have been poisoned with cyanide-laced oranges in the Hwange National Park.

With the right leadership, Zimbabwe’s wildlife could be used to reinvigorate community ownership, and the nationwide resource that has been pillaged for the profit by the central state could be protected.

But given the depth of problem it seems this change of direction will require a fresh government. This may come about sooner rather than later given the political challenges president Robert Mugabe is currently facing.

But the increasingly endangered rhino species does not have time on its side. While a few groups continue to profit massively, the onslaught on wildlife and the environment in Zimbabwe is only getting worse.

A version of this article originally appeared in “Tipping Point – Transnational organised crime and the ‘war’ on poaching”, by the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organised Crime, and African Arguments

Lumumba turns to Concourt

Source: Lumumba turns to Concourt | The Herald August 26, 2016

Daniel Nemukuyu : Senior Court Reporter

Former Zanu-PF youth leader William Mutumanje – popularly known as Acie Lumumba – accused of insulting President Mugabe, has approached the Constitutional Court seeking permission to bring his constitutional challenge directly to the highest court in the land. Mutumanje last week had his application for referral of the criminal case to the Constitutional Court dismissed when he appeared before Harare provincial magistrate Mr Vakayi Chikwekwe. Having lost the application, Mutumanje on Wednesday filed a chamber application for leave to bring his constitutional challenge before the nine-member bench directly.

While that application was pending before the Constitutional Court, Mutumanje filed an urgent chamber application seeking stay of the criminal trial at the magistrates’ court.

The two applications are yet to be determined by the Constitutional Court.

The decision of the Constitutional Court on the urgent chamber application will determine whether or not Mutumanje’s criminal trial will go ahead on Monday.

Mutumanje is being charged with undermining the authority of, or insulting the President as defined in Section 33 (2) (b) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act.

War vets application thrown out

Source: War vets application thrown out | The Herald August 26, 2016

Fidelis Munyoro : Chief Court Reporter

The Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association’s (ZNLWVA) bid to stop the election of new leadership took a new twist on Wednesday after the High Court threw out the application for procedural deficiency. Only two weeks ago, the ZNLWVA successfully sought an interdict blocking five members of a splinter group – Cdes George Mlala, Charles Mpofu, Joseph Chinotimba, Esther Munyaradzi, Stephen Moyo and Robert Mukwena – from convening a special meeting to elect a new executive.But, the other seven – Cdes George Matenda, Patrick Nyaruwata, Future Piriyana, Wellington Chitehwe, Rueben Chikono, Thomas Matambe and Thomas Kunaka – stood their ground, attacking the urgency of the matter and the inadequacies that were fraught in the urgent application.

After hearing submissions on the preliminary points raised by the seven’s lawyers, Advocate Garikayi Sithole, T. B. Ndoro and F. F Hwenira, the court ruled in favour of the seven.

Justice Joseph Musakwa ruled that the deponent to the affidavit on behalf of the association Cde Agnes Siyakurima had no legal basis to institute the proceedings.

He also found the certificate of urgency to be invalid because it was “a mere rehash of some portions of the founding affidavit” among other inadequacies.

Justice Musakwa said the application itself was always lopsided on account of some incurable procedural deficiencies.

“One gets the impression that the entire application was cobbled together with scant regard to the contents as well as the need to maintain procedural exactitude,” ruled Justice Musakwa.

“Therefore, the points in limine on locus standi, certificate of urgency and propriety of relief sought are sustained.”

Manicaland Provincial Affairs Minister Cde Mandi Chimene leads the splinter group as its interim chairperson.

Her group is expected to convene a meeting to elect a new executive of the ZNLWVA.

Addressing war veterans, the Women’s League members and youths gathered at the Zanu-PF Headquarters in Harare recently, President Mugabe told the former freedom fighters to elect new leadership, if they so wish.

The call for new leadership in the ZNLWVA follows a vote of no-confidence on the Christopher Mutsvangwa-led executive.

Mutsvangwa was consequently expelled from Zanu-PF after he was convicted of conduct that showed disrespect of the party leadership.

ZNLWVA secretary-general Victor Matemadanda, spokesperson Douglas Mahiya, national commissar Francis Nhando and deputy chairperson Headman Moyo have since been expelled from Zanu-PF for indiscipline.

The quartet appeared in court facing charges of attempting to subvert the constitutionally elected Government.

They are all out on $300 bail each.

Zinwa invests $7m in Tokwe Mukosi power station

Source: Zinwa invests $7m in Tokwe Mukosi power station | The Herald August 26, 2016

Martin Kadzere : Senior Business Reporter

THE Zimbabwe National Water Authority has so far invested $7 million towards civil works for the construction of a 15 megawatt hydro power station at Tokwe Mukosi Dam. This will be in addition to several other multi-million dollar commercial projects that the authority intends to implement once the construction of the dam is completed.The dam construction, which commenced in the late 90s is expected to be completed before the beginning of the rainy season after Government committed to release the $20 million required to complete the project and clear outstanding arrears to the contractor.

According to a document gleaned by The Herald Business, the mini-hydroelectric project would provide additional cash flows from the water allocations to the power plant.

It is anticipated that at least $1,2 million in revenue would be generated from power plant.

The project cost includes evacuation infrastructure through a grid extension and Zinwa is at an advanced stage of finalising selection of an investment partner of the project.

Zinwa is looking at partnering the Zimbabwe Power Company or other suitable investment or a technical partner on the management, operation and maintenance of this project.

“The preferred investors would be entities or parties of repute in the energy sector with demonstrable strong financial and technical capacity,” read part of the document.

It is anticipated the plant would be commissioned and come on-stream within 24-36 months of commencement of works after completion of the dam wall construction.

The dam wall was designed with the potential of generating 15MW of power if the peak power facility concept is considered using the same water resource released for irrigation.

Power generated will be sold to the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company as the principal off-taker and will also be available to power Zinwa’s fisheries projects and lodge facilities around the dam.

Off take agreements, are intended to be negotiated with mining companies such as Renco and Unki Mines.

These companies have already expressed willingness to take up the additional power to be generated and “can confirm their expressions of interest”, the document said.

This would enhance bankability of the financing structure conceived for this investment.

Apart from the power station, irrigation will be the main economic value to be realised from the dam. At a yield of 364 000 megalitres per annum, the dam will have sufficient water to irrigate up to 25 000 hectares. Zinwa also plans to be a major supplier of Nile bream in Zimbabwe through entering partnership with prospective investors.

The authority has already established the breeding ponds, which will produce fingerlings for stocking the dam and other projects in the Lowveld region. This will provide an additional source of revenue as the product can be sold to local and South African market.

In addition, Zinwa is also looking at establishing a crocodile farming project which would be modelled along the lines of existing projects in Kariba.

This will generate additional revenues for Zinwa from the sale of game meat and crocodile skins to international markets. Capacity for value addition of the crocodile skins will also be fully explored.

The Government has been funding the construction of the Tokwe Mukosi from its own resources through the Public Sector Investment Programme. Since 2001, the Government has spent $262 million on the dam with an additional $13 million having been set aside in the 2015 National Budget.

RBZ, ZSE assure foreign investors

Source: RBZ, ZSE assure foreign investors | The Herald August 26, 2016

Happiness Zengeni and Golden Sibanda

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange have assured foreign investors that the remittance of capital, capital appreciation and dividends, is first priority in the category of payments. This comes as volumes on the ZSE have fallen to record lows as most investors are experiencing delays in the remittance of capital.However, in a joint statement, the two institutions emphasised that settlement of transactions, capital appreciation and dividends, is in the first priority category of payments to ensure that foreign investors on the ZSE are not disenfrachised access to their capital.

Data from the ZSE shows that interest from foreign buyers continues to wane with purchases from that segment falling nearly 40 percent in the seven months to July.

Foreign bought turnover amounted to $48,69 million against $80,32 million realised in the same comparable period last year.

This was the lowest foreign inflow since dollarisation on a like-to-like basis, a situation market players attributed to the delays in remittances which usually drag for about two to three weeks.

Recently, Delta Corporation said that it had a payment backlog which included $15 million dividend payments.

According to Chengetedzai Depository Company’s monthly operating update, the value of the securities placed on the central securities depository increased to $1,18 billion from $1,15 billion as at June 30.

In terms of the market value, foreign investors account for 34 percent at $402 million, followed by insurance at 25 percent which is $288 million, while pension funds account for 18 percent at $219 million.

Corporate investors account for $176 million which is 15 percent while deceased estates, unclaimed shares trusts account for 6 percent at $76 million. Individuals and unit trusts accounted for 1 percent each at $15 million and $7 million respectively.

The RBZ also advised that the ZSE will continue to be priced in US dollars in spite of the introduction of bond notes with governor Dr John Mangudya emphasising that the bond notes were not currency but an incentive for exporters.

The RBZ in May announced that bank was working on a $200 million export incentive facility with Afreximbank to provide support for the payment of a 5 percent bonus on all export receipts, including tobacco and gold sale receipts.

“In simple terms, exporters will receive the incentive proceeds in US dollars and the incentive will be credited to the US dollar accounts in US dollar currency.”

Zimbabwe bond notes equivalent to the incentive granted will be brought into circulation alongside currencies within the multi-currency system and will be at par with the US dollar.

“No separate customer accounts will be maintained for bond notes and settlement of trades executed on the ZSE will take place in US dollar through normal banking channels,” read the statement

Court to rule on planned demo

Source: Court to rule on planned demo | The Herald August 26, 2016

Daniel Nemukuyu : Senior Court Reporter—
THE National Electoral Reform Agenda (NERA), an association of 13 opposition political parties, yesterday approached the High Court seeking permission to hold their demonstration in Harare today. This comes after Government warned activists against unsanctioned demonstrations. The parties say they seek to hold a “peaceful” demonstration in the streets of Harare today as a way of expressing their discontent with the state of the electoral landscape.

The group says it plans to lobby for electoral reform through the demonstration. In a founding affidavit, NERA organising secretary Mr Joelson Mugari said the group notified the police of the intended street march and procession on August 12 this year.

On August 15, Mr Mugari said, police responded to the notice discouraging NERA from holding the street march.

“In particular, the first respondent (Officer Commanding Harare Police) stated that his office discouraged the applicant’s intended march on the basis that the number of intended participants cannot be accommodated in the central business district as it would interrupt the smooth flow of both human and vehicular traffic.

“First respondent further stated that he encouraged the applicant to engage the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission instead of engaging in street demonstrations,” reads the affidavit. NERA interpreted the police response as a bar to the peaceful demonstration. The group argued that Section 59 of the Constitution guarantees the right to peaceful demonstrations.

“I aver that the applicant’s intended march and procession against the present state of the electoral landscape falls within the purview of the applicant’s constitutional rights,” it argued.

NERA said it feared that the police would interfere with its planned demonstration, hence the need for the court’s intervention. The planned march, according to the court papers, would start from an open area behind Rainbow Towers and proceed to Robert Mugabe Road, Fourth Street, Jason Moyo Avenue and end at the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission offices.

Corporate vultures swoop on Zimasco

Corporate vultures are circling around Zimbabwe Mining and Smelting Company (Pvt) Ltd (Zimasco) with a view to effect a hostile take-over of the integrated ferrochrome company in the country ‘

Source: Corporate vultures swoop on Zimasco – The Zimbabwe Independent August 26, 2016

By Chris Muronzi

Investigations by businessdigest show that Zimasco, the fifth-largest ferrochrome producer in the world, has become a target of corporate raiders keen on extracting intrinsic value in the troubled company.

The company was in June placed under provisional judicial manager to protect thebusiness from creditors.

This comes as it emerged last week that Zimasco’s board of directors, chaired by then CE Li Jinqian, rejected the proposal.

It is understood that Portnex International expressed interest in writing on August 11 2015, but the offer was rejected by the board.

Zimasco is now owned by Sino Steel Corporation, a wholly-owned Chinese state enterprise.

The Chinese shareholders are said to have supported the local company with over US$100 million since taking it over in 2007 in a US$200 million deal.

Sino Steel, China’s leading steel trader, completed the acquisition of a 100% stake in Zimasco Consolidated Enterprises, which in turn owned a 73% equity in the Zimbabwe operation.

A letter dated August 11 2015 from Portnex general manager Frikkie Laubschere to Reginald Matshiya shows that Portnex was interested in acquiring Zimasco’s assets.

The proposal — a take-over bid for Zimbabwe’s largest integrated ferrochrome producer with an operational smelting capacity of 180 000 metric tonnes of high carbon ferrochrome per annum — was considered and rejected.

“Over the past five years, the company has developed an industry proven value-in model to optimise the raw material feed and subsequent profitability of various ferrochrome furnaces across the world. In addition, the company has developed a substantial database of available ores and reductants, having access to various sources of chrome ores and reductants globally,” the letter reads.

“To this end, the company has been investigating the feasibility of operating a ferrochrome production facility in Zimbabwe over the past year. Portnex wishes to express its interest to purchase Zimasco (Pvt)Ltd facilities and assets in order to establish itself as a ferrochrome producer. This will serve to unlock the value from its existing chrome ore and the ferrochrome reductants supply and availability from within the group.”

Sino Steel declined the take-over bid, but accepted a deal to lease the furnaces to Portnex.

Zimasco, according to insiders, was at the time operating only two east plant furnaces and had closed the three west plant furnaces in October 2014.

The east plant furnaces had remained open until they were shut down mid-December last year after global ferrochrome prices plunged to a level which rendered production unviable.

Zimasco provisional judicial manager Regis Saruchera told a creditors meeting in the capital on Wednesday Portnex was not paying what is due to Zimasco in monthly rentals.

He told creditors that Portnex was failing to pay rentals on time and had failed to pay around US$700 000 in deposits as agreed to in the memorandum of understanding the parties signed last year.

Saruchera told creditors Portnex was bent on making Zimasco look bad.

“They give mealie-meal to our staff and say we are failing to pay our own workers. But they fail to pay rent,” he said.

“They are behind on rent. They make all sorts of excuses all the time. The South African Reserve Bank has not given us permission.

“The excuses are too many. The next thing they say we want to buy the business,” he said.

Advocate Thabani Mpofu, who was representing Niarchaous, a company seeking permission to sue Zimasco in a class action against environmental contamination, raised conflict of interest on the part of Saruchera on the grounds he was using Wintertons as his attorneys when they were already acting for Zimasco.

Saruchera dismissed the suggestions saying Wintertons were not cast in stone as attorneys could be changed at any time.

“Let us not get bogged down in trivialities. The issue of lawyers is not why we are here,” he said.

On Portnex, Saruchera said, he still respected the agreement the parties signed.

“We have an agreement with Portnex and we must respect that agreement. Despite the problems we are having with our tenant, we believe we should not cancel the agreement,” he said. “Portnex was the only company who wanted to lease our furnaces.”

Saruchera said US$20 million will come from the leasing deal.

He said if Portnex pulled out, the company would run its own furnaces. Portnex, through its local company, Niarchos Investments slapped Zimasco with a US$500 million lawsuit.

Mangudya digs in on bond notes

Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor John Mangudya yesterday vowed to forge ahead with plans to introduce bond notes in October despite widespread resentment by citizens and opposition political parties.

Source: Mangudya digs in on bond notes – NewsDay Zimbabwe August 26, 2016

BY MTHANDAZO NYONI

In May, Mangudya said bond notes would be introduced as part of measures to stem the prevailing cash shortages under a $200 million facility guaranteed by the African Export-Import Bank. Under the facility, qualifying exporters would get an additional 5% export incentive in bond notes, which will be at par with the United States dollar.

In an interview with NewsDay yesterday, Mangudya said he would not buckle to populist sentiments as the move was in the best interest of the economy.

“We are doing policies that are good for the country whether they are popular or not. Populist policies never work. We are in an economy that needs hard decisions,” he said.

“We need production so that we can export and maintain the multi-currency system. We are aware of the challenges people went through in 2008, but we need to have bold measures. We don’t take decisions on face value. We take decisions that are necessary for this country.”

Mangudya said bond notes would help companies export thereby improving production.

He said any exporter, who has made an export transaction, would receive a 5% incentive based on export receipts, which will be debited to their account, meant to hold export proceeds in a bank. When a depositor makes a withdrawal, the bank would issue to the client the bond notes that it has in its coffers alongside the dollar, he said.

Thousands of people have taken to the streets demonstrating against government’s plans to introduce bond notes, with critics equating the move to the reintroduction of the banished local currency. The local currency was dumped in 2008 and gave way to a multi-currency regime in 2009. It was decommissioned last year.

Despite assurances by Mangudya that RBZ would not go above the $200 million ceiling, calls to halt the introduction of the bond notes were growing louder by the day signalling waning confidence in monetary authorities.

Zec fails to register voters

THE Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) has conceded failing to discharge one of its core functions of registering voters on a continuous basis, as stipulated by the law, due to lack of resources, NewsDay has learnt.

Source: Zec fails to register voters – NewsDay Zimbabwe August 26, 2016

BY PAIDAMOYO MUZULU

The breach was divulged in a letter from Zec chairperson Justice Rita Makarau responding to a complaint filed by eligible applicants, who had been denied the right to be registered as voters.

Dzoro and Partners Legal Practitioners had written to Zec on behalf of individual voters who intended to register.
“It is ever correct that the commission is not registering voters in the wards and constituencies where there are no by-elections pending due to financial constraints. As soon as finances permit, we shall register all eligible voters on a continuous basis, countrywide,” Makarau said in a letter dated August 17, 2016.

The opposition has always been complaining about Zec’s alleged partiality in the running of elections in the country particularly registering of new voters especially in urban areas ahead of polls. Many youths in urban areas were disenfranchised in the 2013 polls due to the onerous requirements demanded from residents in towns.
Makarau insisted the development was unfortunate and primarily caused by lack of funds.

“Treasury, and understandably so, has of late not been in a position to release to us any operational budget to enable us to carry out our constitutional mandate to register voters. We hope the situation will improve in the near future and trust that once the voter registration exercise commences, your clients would have the opportunity to present themselves for registration,” Makarau added.

Last month, Renewal Democrats of Zimbabwe leader Elton Mangoma complained after the Mazowe North by-election that Zec had a supplementary voters’ roll that was bigger than the substantive roll.

“We had two rolls during the election. The new roll had 15 000 names, while the 2013 roll with 35 000 names was used as a supplementary roll,” Mangoma said.

The voters’ roll has been a contentious issue in Zimbabwean elections since 1995 when Margaret Dongo challenged a poll result on the basis of a defective voters’ roll in the Sunningdale constituency and won.

Zanu PF MPs walk out on police brutality motion, again

ZANU PF MPs once again walked out of the National Asembly dealing a body blow to a motion by Kuwadzana East MP Nelson Chamisa (MDC-T) to force Parliament to investigate rising cases of police brutality.

Source: Zanu PF MPs walk out on police brutality motion, again – NewsDay Zimbabwe August 26, 2016

BY RICHARD CHIDZA

Chamisa on Tuesday sought leave of the House to move the motion for a third time after the ruling party’s legislators refused to have it discussed by walking out on two previous occasions.

With all MDC-T lawmakers rising from their seats to support the adjournment of Parliament “on a definite matter of urgent public importance” in terms of Standing Order 59, Speaker Jacob Mudenda agreed to have the motion tabled.
“The motion contemplated by Honourable Chamisa is in terms of order number 59. This motion has suffered stillbirth twice and the Hon member, I do not know how he consulted.

“However, I want to take him on his word that there are still people who would like to debate that motion – I will give it a last chance. If it fails again, it shall not be entertained in future because we do not want to do that which we know may not succeed. I have advised Honourable Chamisa to try other aspects or strategies that may achieve the same,” Mudenda said.

But late on Tuesday the motion could not be debated after the National Assembly members available could not constitute a quorum.

Chamisa wants Parliament to investigate police “brutality on citizens engaging in peaceful and constitutional demonstrations” and had indicated that MPs were ready to debate the motion.

The MDC-T vice-president said he had noted the “disturbing images and video footage of men and women in police uniform beating up innocent civilians; aware that the Police Charter rests on the settled principle of pro lege, pro patria, pro populi (for the law, for the country, for the people)”.

Chamisa said he was worried about the behaviour of certain police officers, was concerned with “human rights abuses and rule by law instead of rule of law, as instigated by certain of the police officers or persons masquerading as police”, and perturbed by the minister responsible for the police, Ignatius Chombo, or Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri’s silence on the matter.

The Kuwadzana East MP also acknowledged the fact that President Robert Mugabe had “publicly condemned the public who were exercising their rights without correspondingly condemning the police for their abuse of citizen rights and that of the Constitution”, and demanded that Parliament sets up a commission of inquiry into the abuses.

Chamisa then demanded that Chombo investigates the cases of police brutality against citizens and present a report to Parliament.

Chombo, according to Chamisa, must also be forced to issue a public apology and “immediately implement training of police on human rights as part of their curriculum in terms of the Constitution”.

The legislator also wants the enactment of legislation that allows for the “setting-up of an independent complaints mechanism for members of the public as contemplated by the Constitution”.

Chamisa was not available to comment on the course of action he would take going forward.

Zanu PF thrives on looting: Dabengwa

OPPOSITION Zapu leader, Dumiso Dabengwa, yesterday accused the ruling Zanu PF party of thriving on the looting of State and people’s private properties to fatten its pockets since independence in 1980.

Source: Zanu PF thrives on looting: Dabengwa – NewsDay Zimbabwe August 26, 2016

BY SILAS NKALA

Addressing delegates at the party’s congress in Bulawayo, Dabengwa cited the seizure of Zipra and Zapu properties in the 1980s, recent company and farm grabs and looting of diamonds from Chiadzwa, as confirming Zanu PF’s propensity for “reaping where it did not sow”.

Dabengwa said the current socio-economic crisis was directly linked to Zanu PF leaders’ selfishness and greed.

“The Zapu 2010 congress consolidated the party’s revival as an autonomous entity after it had been swallowed into Zanu PF through the 1987 Unity Accord imposed through the sly use of State power for partisan purposes,” he said.

“You are no doubt aware that this political vendetta was not limited to political repression and killing only, but was accompanied by seizure of properties belonging to Zapu as a party and those belonging collectively to the veterans of Zipra.”

“If you go along Joshua Nkomo Street and 10th Avenue you can see a building called Magnet House, which belonged to Zapu. It was taken and given to the Central Intelligence Organisation. In Harare another place called Snake Park belonged to Zapu and it was taken and another place again in Harare was given to the National Social Security Authority, which has been making a lot of money from the Zapu property.”

Dabengwa said the controversial land reform programme was nothing but a looting spree, which benefited mostly the Zanu PF elite, triggering massive food shortages as most of the seized commercial farms were no longer productive.

“The culture of reaping where one did no sow has been inculcated in Zanu PF. Someone just wants to take everything where he has not invested in. Even the President confirmed it when he said diamonds worth $15 billion were looted in Marange.

When we see the level of greed and selfishness prevailing today it is difficult to comprehend that this is how an independent Zimbabwe has paid back the sacred blood of young people whose bones, in many cases, have yet to receive proper burial.”

“There is no sense of shame or visible remorse in the regime that one of the most promising countries is now worse than a Banana Republic. At least in a Banana Republic, there are bananas to eat and there are viable fields where people have work,” the former Zipra intelligence supremo said.

“In these tragic circumstances I would like to encourage civil society, including the churches to intensify their condemnation of selfish politics that undermines the dignity, human rights and basic survival of Zimbabwean.”

Meanwhile, police in Bulawayo yesterday summoned Zapu regional spokesperson Iphithule Maphosa for questioning in connection with the defacing of council road signs on Tuesday. This was after unknown people defaced road signs on Robert Mugabe Way and renamed it Devolution Way.

“I went to the police station and they were saying I was responsible for the devolution plastering. I told them that I do not know anything about it although we as a party are pushing for devolution,” he said, adding he was not charged for the alleged offence.

Divisions rock ZimPF

DIVISIONS have reportedly rocked the opposition Zimbabwe People First (ZimPF) Masvingo province, following the “elevation” of Retired Colonel Claudius Makova into the party’s council of elders, NewsDay has established.

Source: Divisions rock ZimPF – NewsDay Zimbabwe August 26, 2016

BY REGIS CHINGAWO

Three weeks ago, the province met at former Energy minister Dzikamai Mavhaire’s farm and appointed William Zivenge to take over Makova’s position as provincial chairperson. Mavhaire is the party’s national co-ordinator.

But, Makova insisted he was still head of the province, dismissing reports that he was now in the party’s council of elders.

The party’s new provincial committee also comprises of former MDC-T legislators Jefferyson Chitando (publicity secretary), Oliver Chirume (administration secretary), Moses Mare (secretary for labour), Enerst Mudavanhu (secretary for mass mobilisation) and Tichaona Sithole (secretary for business and economic planning).

Makova yesterday told Southern Eye that he was still the provincial chairperson, declaring the provincial elections presided over by Mavhaire as null and void.

“As far as I am concerned, I am still the provincial chairman. I am not aware of the provincial meeting held at Mavhaire’s farm in Masvingo. The likes of Chitando cannot say anything as I am the one who recommended him into the party,” he said.

Chitando, however, insisted that Makova was “promoted” into the council of elders.

“We had a meeting where we resolved that Makova had been elevated to the council of elders from his previous position of provincial chairman. Zivenge took over his position and he (Makova) even acknowledged the new arrangement in his acceptance speech at the meeting. We are surprised by his latest utterances,” Chitando said.

ZimPF national spokesperson, Jealous Mawarire, concurred with Makova saying the party recognised the old provincial executive.

“As far as we are concerned, Makova is still the provincial chairman. At our rally in Gweru, Makova was introduced as the provincial co-ordinator and at our meeting in Binga, he was introduced by our master of ceremony as the provincial co-ordinator. I am not aware of the so-called meeting held in Masvingo that resulted in Makova being elected into the council of elders committee. If there are any changes, the president (Joice Mujuru) could have informed us as the information and publicity committee,” Mawarire said.

Mujuru takes bond notes fight to SA

OPPOSITION Zimbabwe People First (ZimPF) leader Joice Mujuru will next month take her fight for the hearts and minds of Zimbabweans to South Africa with a rally scheduled for that country’s administrative capital Pretoria.

Source: Mujuru takes bond notes fight to SA – NewsDay Zimbabwe August 26, 2016

BY RICHARD CHIDZA

According to the organisers, the rally, to be held in the bustling neighbourhood of Mamelodi, will centre on government’s controversial import ban on certain basic goods as well as the impending introduction of bond notes.

A poster seen by NewsDay read: “Diaspora says no to bond notes . . . no to banning import of basic commodities”.
ZimPF spokesperson Jealousy Mawarire confirmed the rally.

“It is true that she (Mujuru) will speak in Pretoria next month. The speech is known by the president and the speechwriters, not those that created the poster for the rally. I am sure they would want her to speak on those issues, but it does not mean they have her speech,” Mawarire said.

Two months ago, government announced import restrictions on basic commodities through Statutory Instrument 64 as a measure to support local manufacturers, but the move sparked widespread riots and violent protests with the border town of Beitbridge feeling the full force of the anger.

The demonstrations, which saw a Zimbabwe Revenue Authority warehouse torched, resulted in the temporary closure of the border post.

Mujuru has since approached the High Court seeking an order to force government to reverse the decision.

Government recently announced it would introduce bond notes as a measure to alleviate crippling cash shortages that have forced ordinary Zimbabweans to spend hours in queues to withdraw money from banks.

The move has been met with stiff resistance, including protests by anti-government groups such as opposition parties, #ThisFlag and Tajamuka/Sesijikile.

Mujuru has been on a whirlwind tour of the country’s provinces drumming up support for her party and will, before the South African tour, plunge into the Zanu PF stronghold of Mashonaland Central on September 3.

‘Third force behind war vets’ attack on Mugabe’

WAR Veterans minister Tshinga Dube yesterday claimed that a “third political hand” was behind the hard-hitting communiqué that triggered chaos in the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association (ZNLWVA), leading to their recent acrimonious fallout with both Zanu PF and President Robert Mugabe. BY KHANYILE MLOTSHWA / MTHANDAZO NYONI

Source: ‘Third force behind war vets’ attack on Mugabe’ – NewsDay Zimbabwe August 26, 2016

Addressing journalists in Bulawayo, Dube said his ministry would have been able to solve war veterans’ problems had they not been fomented by “a political hand.”

“At the same time, you will find that there is always a third hand in this. Now we hear that some of our war veterans are driving cars. Who bought them these cars? For what? They are driving around, not to organise their association, but on political agendas,” he said.

Dube added: “If it was a situation of just war veterans, it was going to be easy to deal with, but some politicians are involved in this, making our job very difficult to perform.

“We have seen a split in the (Christopher) Mutsvangwa-led ZNLWVA and (Manicaland Provincial Affairs minister) Mandy Chimene-led factions of the war veterans’ association. There has been wayward behaviour of some war veterans characterised by public pronouncements against the party and its leadership and the circulation of documents like Blue Ocean and the communiqué which have been alleged to be authored by war veterans.

“Such negative developments affect the party, the war veterans and the stability of the nation itself. It would be wrong to ignore this and act as if nothing has ever happened and, hence, the ministry encourages all parties concerned to unite.”

He urged the Chimene faction to respect court rulings and stop masquerading as the ZNLWVA leadership.

“Our courts have been drawn to these problems and clearly ruled that a splinter group may not masquerade as representing the main group. We must show respect to our courts of law, the judges are recruited by the Judicial Service Commission and sworn in by the President. Ignoring the judgment of the court amounts to criminal contempt. It also shows disloyalty to the President,” Dube said.

Dube took a swipe at war veterans for backstabbing each other to politicians in trying to prove that they were more loyal to the party.

“It is like a polygamous family where children compete for favours from the father. How do you know who is more loyal? How do you determine loyalty? Some of the so-called loyalists are doing all this to get favours. This issue of saying I am more loyal is very dangerous,” he said.

He said his ministry was working on a number of projects to improve the welfare of war veterans including forming a security company.

“Since they are already trained people, they will do better than some of these people that you pick up in the streets and have to train. These projects are the reason why we want a united war veterans’ body.”

Mugabe in another near-fall

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe yesterday came close to yet another embarrassing fall when he stumbled while stepping out of his official vehicle on arrival at the Exhibition Centre for the official opening of this year’s Harare Agricultural Show. BY STAFF REPORTER

Source: Mugabe in another near-fall – NewsDay Zimbabwe August 26, 2016

Thousands who had gathered at the Glamis Arena did not see the incident as Mugabe was sandwiched by hordes of security details, but the incident was captured live by ZBC cameras.

Early last year, Mugabe tumbled in public at Harare International Airport soon after landing from the African Union summit in Ethiopia.

Mugabe in October last year almost fell over backwards as he tried to climb onto a one-step dais, before Indian Premier Narendra Modi and his aides rushed to his rescue during the Africa-India summit in New Delhi.

Meanwhile, visiting Sierra Leonean Vice-President Victor Bockarie Foh has challenged African governments to ensure farmers get access to cheap finance to guarantee food security.

Officially opening the show yesterday, Foh said: “I am confident that through concerted efforts, during the first 24 months of our Ebola recovery period, we will see the doubling of production in rice and other key crops and in the process create an estimated 10 000 jobs for our youths.”

Mphoko in yet another storm

VICE-PRESIDENT Phelekezela Mphoko was on Wednesday caught in yet another eye of a storm when he paid an impromptu visit to Carswell Farm in Mashonaland West province under the guise of resolving a land dispute.

Source: Mphoko in yet another storm – NewsDay Zimbabwe August 26, 2016

The farm is at the centre of an ownership dispute between Carswell Montana Meats and Joseph Dzvaka Chirau. The latter claims to be in possession of a government-issued offer letter dated 2005.

According to sources privy to the visit, the VP claimed his mission had been sanctioned by First Lady Grace Mugabe. Mphoko, however, had to leave in a huff after local Zanu PF politicians questioned his unannounced visit and interest in the disputed property.

Mphoko, who was accompanied by Mashonaland West Provincial Affairs minister Faber Chidarikire along with the provincial police commander, only identified as Senior Assistant Commissioner Mushaurwa, and district police boss, Chief Superintendent Antonio, reportedly further incensed the local political leadership after he allegedly barred them from attending the meeting.

Chief Chirau (born Charles Chabvutagondo) was equally not amused with the convening of a meeting of that stature in his absence.

He said he only got to know about the meeting late and by the time he got to the farm, proceedings were already winding up.

“I am like a visitor in my land. I was not even aware we had a high-profile individual in the person of the VP of the country coming until I got here and was not even given due recognition. I am afraid to say there appears to be something fishy in all this and who and why this meeting was organised in the first place, we are keen to find answers,” the traditional leader said.

Contacted for comment, Chidarikire curtly said: “We were on a fact-finding mission and we have been presented with facts . . . decisions will be made later and we will inform those concerned, including the beneficiary, when the time comes.”

However, documents in the possession of this paper show that on July 18 thisyear, Chidarikire allegedly usurped the role of the provincial lands committee and wrote to Carswell Montana Meats, giving them guarantees that they would not be evicted from the farm.

Mphoko indicated that Chirau would be allocated another farm elsewhere. This was despite the fact that Chirau had, on two occasions, been granted the right to occupy the farm by the High Court, which also gave an ultimatum to Carswell Montana Meats to vacate the premises.

“In terms of Section 9 of the Land Acquisition Act, the applicant (Carswell Montana) is obliged to vacate the property after 45 days from the date upon which the land vests in the acquiring authority. It also seems to me that the applicant is seeking from this court an order entitling him to remain on the property when statute clearly prohibits him from doing so,” wrote Justice Antonia Guvava in a High Court judgment dated July 27, 2005.

After the meeting, a visibly angry Zanu PF district chairman, Solomon Nacho, confronted Mphoko and blocked him from getting into his car, and challenged him for barring the party’s top leadership from attending the indaba.

“I speak on behalf of a leader chosen by the leadership which includes you and I want to categorically inform you that what has happened here today is not right. Both your person and your office have disregarded the very people you trusted with the responsibility to lead,” he told a stunned Mphoko.

The VP is not a stranger to controversy as his continued stay at Rainbow Towers Hotel in Harare since his appointment as Mugabe’s co-deputy in 2014 has exposed him to the wrath of rights activists and opposition parties.

Recently, Mphoko caused another dispute after he allegedly stormed Avondale Police Station and ordered the release of two top Zinara officials implicated in a multi-million-dollar scam. The VP has also been caught up in two other land disputes in Matobo district and Mashonaland East province.

4 suspected Zanu PF activists up for kidnapping, robbery

FOUR suspected Zanu PF activists have approached the High Court seeking to be granted bail after their initial application was turned down when they appeared at the Rusape Magistrates’ Court charged with kidnapping and robbery.

Source: 4 suspected Zanu PF activists up for kidnapping, robbery – NewsDay Zimbabwe August 26, 2016

BY CHARLES LAITON

Lovemore Mutanhaurwa (30), Benedict Kondongwe (49), Jephita Matanda (44) and Farai Matsika (23) last month appeared in court for allegedly taking hostage an unnamed complainant, placing him in the boot of a car, beating him up and later robbing him of his $178 cash.

The incident is alleged to have occurred on June 18 this year at Chiduku business centre when the four men approached their victim and introduced themselves as Zanu PF officials on a tour of duty.

At around 11pm, it is alleged, the bar lady asked everyone to leave as she was closing the bottle store at which time the complainant went out and was forcibly grabbed and handcuffed by Kondongwe, Matanda and Matsika.

The three men placed the complainant in Matanda’s vehicle boot and drove off towards Rusape for about five kilometres.

After crossing Mvuranhema River, it is alleged, they stopped the car, disembarked and pulled the complainant out and attacked him indiscriminately all over his body.

Mutanhaurwa is then said to have removed the handcuffs and dumped the complainant in the drainage system near Mavhudzi business centre where he spent the night in the cold.

The following morning, the State alleges, the complainant woke up only to discover he no longer had his cash amounting to $178, spectacles and a woollen hat.

The matter was reported to the police, leading to the suspects’ arrest. In denying them bail the magistrate said the circumstances under which the offence was committed were likely to induce a sense of shock and outrage in the community which could lead to public disorder if he was to allow them out on bail.

“The sense of peace of the public will definitely be undermined and the accused’s release will jeopardise public confidence in the criminal justice system. The court finds that it is not in the interest of justice that the accused persons be released on bail,” the magistrate said.

The matter is still pending.

Who really doesn‘t have a ‘past’?

It was coming to that gutter level in this toxic political atmosphere sooner rather than later – and so it happened this week. CONWAY TUTANI

Source: Who really doesn‘t have a ‘past’? – NewsDay Zimbabwe August 26, 2016

One supposedly family weekly newspaper crossed the line by publishing a totally unsubstantiated story – because there was only one real eyewitness, George Rutanhire, if he may be called that – accusing former Vice-President Joice Mujuru, then a mere village girl aged 18, of having caused the death of a senior Zanla commander by luring him into the bush and, thus, distracting him from the impending danger of approaching Rhodesian forces during the liberation war in 1973, leading to his death almost in flagrante, in the midst of sexual activity, as he heroically, somehow still managed to down a helicopter.

Before this latest of many versions, Mujuru was romanticised as having single-handedly downed the chopper. Now she is being demonised for causing the death of a gallant freedom fighter. How the truth changes depending on which side you are!

This “true recollection” was kept under the lid until Mujuru publicly joined hands with main opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, all but sealing the strongest pact against Zanu PF with the real potential of finally toppling the regime. So, in that context, the over-the top reaction is explainable.

What is at play here? It is more to do with her forming a party against Zanu PF than actually “causing” the death of the gallant fighter? We should be highly suspicious of stories that are released after so many years and in instalments, for that matter. The story keeps changing depending on who is telling it and at what point. If, by any chance, Mujuru is re-integrated into the system, the story will change again. And in that event, you cannot bet against none other than Rutanhire himself recalling Mujuru’s heroic deeds.

One could immediately discern that the story was ready-made for rebuttal by Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association leader Christopher Mutsvangwa – and he did not disappoint in this escalating war of words.
He said: “The war was not a nunnery.” Indeed, there were no virginity tests because they had no bearing on one’s commitment to the cause at all.

Going to war was not like entering a convent in which nuns live as a religious community, but still fall foul of the chastity rule they are sworn to. What more in the wider world where they are no such strictures? When men and women are brought together – as happened during the liberation war – a sexual situation arises. It’s only natural.

It’s inevitable. So, nothing new under the sun happened on that day, if ever it happened. Everything did not stop just because of the war. They still had time for wine, women and song. They indulged in leisure and pleasure. Not this myth that has been perpetuated for 36 years that they had no time for anything else except the war. It was not bang! bang! bang! 24/7 until the end of the war.

But you can punch a million holes into Rutanhire’s current story. For one, the story implies that only those combatants who broke the no-sex rule perished in the war, but even those who did not still died, and some of those who broke the rule survived. I have friends who fought in that war who can attest to that.
So, the very foundation of the story is shaky.

It is another legend from the liberation war. The storyteller appears to be suffering from false memory syndrome in order to validate and strenghten the current unsubstantiated wild accusations against Mujuru as having been of evil intentions right from the beginning.

Such fabrications and myths, presented as humorous or horrific stories or pieces of information circulated as though true, especially those purporting to involve someone vaguely related or known to the teller, are not new.
And the State media would not be seen to be left out of that onslaught. Yes, everybody gossips, but it’s a pity when such cheap, salacious rumours and smear campaigns are peddled as news. And not just that, but grace – no pun intended – Page 1 of a newspaper. Is that how you put your best face forward?

The storyteller and the paper came just short of labelling Mujuru a slut. She was depicted as a femme fatale – a woman who lures men into dangerous or compromising situations, who manipulates poor helpless men into doing what she wants. No wonder Mutsvangwa thundered: “It is abhorrent historical revisionism. Tichaona Freedom Nyamubaya and many brave women combatants would take the gravest offence to this desecration of their sacrifice.”

Indeed, history is being constantly rewritten to suit the favoured faction in Zimbabwe, extolling those being unprocedurally parachuted to the top, who haven’t even fired a gun in anger, as having played a bigger role than genuine fighters.

The urge to control is most threatening when it is applied to news – when current events get drafted into political narrative – as has been scandalously happening in the State media. “But it is even more threatening when applied to our history – our understanding of who we are and where we have come from. If political correctness prevents us from learning the truth about our past, in a real way, the past disappears,” writes American commentator Callista Gingrich. Yes, our history is disappearing before our very eyes.

But then, who does not know that the State media is the home of stereotypes? Anyone who does not dance to the regime’s tune is an enemy and a traitor. This proclivity to stereotyping is what led them to depict their contempt for Mujuru as a woman, not as a person. Women rights activists should not take this lying down. It’s an attack on womanhood itself. Insult is a powerful patriarchal or misogynistic tool.

It’s the opportune time to resurrect the long-suppressed debate about the widespread sexual abuse of female combatants in camps in Mozambique during the war. There is burning need for closure.

But such attacks as the unbridled one unleashed on Mujuru do not work. They have, at the most, insult value – no more than that. As the saying goes: “For you to insult me, I must first value your opinion.”

Yes, it’s impossible to insult someone who doesn’t value your opinion. And many Zimbabweans have grown to be dismissive of the propaganda from officialdom passed as news reports. And most of the responses to that “story” on that weekly paper’s website emphatically and firmly point to that, making it more laughable than sickening.

That said, who really doesn’t have a “past”? You cannot be labelled by your past. You are who you are now. Didn’t the late national hero Edgar Tekere mention in his autobiography, titled A Lifetime of Struggle, his former political buddy (name withheld) jumping over a fence before sunrise at some nondescript house in Kambuzuma, Harare, in 1975 presumably after a night of passion? “Every saint has a past, and every sinner has a future,” wrote celebrated 19th century Irish author Oscar Wilde.

Guess what? That “sinner” in Kambuzuma is now the President of a certain country in Africa.

Police thwart churches demo

Riot police yesterday thwarted a demonstration led by several church groups in Harare which were expressing their dissatisfaction at the worsening political situation in the country.

Source: Police thwart churches demo – NewsDay Zimbabwe August 26, 2016

BY OBEY MANAYITI

The church groups also intended to submit a petition to Parliament calling for a motion to impeach President Robert Mugabe over his failure to arrest the current challenges facing the country.

As the church leaders gathered at corner Julius Nyerere Way and Jason Moyo Avenue, heavily-armed police details chased them, threatening to beat them up.

After regrouping at a distance, police officers swiftly reacted and threatened to beat up the “men of God” who then eventually gave up.

Police created a scene when they tried to violently disperse the handful of peaceful demonstrators, drawing the attention of passersby. The baton-wielding officers then went for journalists, hurling all sorts of insults at the scribes as they accused them of exposing police brutality.

After few moments of harassment, the journalists were told to leave and report to wherever they wanted.

Meanwhile, war veterans have equated the Zimbabwe Republic Police to the repressive colonial regime’s British South Africa Police (BSAP) over the heavy-handedness applied by the law enforcers to disperse peaceful demonstrators.

Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association (ZNLWVA) secretary-general Victor Matemadanda told NewsDay yesterday ahead of today’s mega demonstration involving 18 opposition parties that the majority of police officers did not understand the nature of their job.

Although denouncing malicious damage to property, the combative Matemadanda said people should be allowed to freely demonstrate against the government.

He said instead of applying brute force, the government should listen to people’s views.

“I once said that it was unfortunate that our ZRP didn’t go through an integration process like soldiers did after independence. They just went to join BSAP and today they are like that BSAP in their character. Our police don’t know anything except what they were taught by BSAP,” Matemadanda said.

BSAP was a white-dominated police force for the Rhodesian government which carried out nasty operations to crush any dissenting voices.

Matemadanda accused police of instigating violence during the current wave of spirited protests against the government.

He defended demonstrators, saying people were fed up with rampant corruption in many public offices in the country such as the $15 billion diamond revenue that could not be accounted for.

Matemadanda warned that if the government did not take a bold stand against corruption and other issues, people would continue picketing the streets.

“People of Zimbabwe have a culture of respect and understanding, but they are being forced into what they are doing to demand accountability. Leaders should go to the people and get a way to solve the problems. If they think they have a monopoly of knowledge, monopoly of power, then people will prove them otherwise,” he said.

‘Grand demo on’

OPPOSITION political parties yesterday vowed to go ahead with their planned mega demonstration today to press for implementation of electoral reforms despite the police’s last-minute attempts to scuttle the protest citing security concerns.

Source: ‘Grand demo on’ – NewsDay Zimbabwe August 26, 2016

BY EVERSON MUSHAVA /Xolisani Ncube

But, Home Affairs minister Ignatius Chombo, whose ministry is in charge of the Zimbabwe Republic Police, warned that State security agents would not hesitate to descend heavily on organisers of the protest march if they remained defiant.

“We will not tolerate any illegal demonstration. If they elect to march unlawfully, the police are there to protect citizens from lawbreakers,” Chombo said at a Press briefing attended by State Security minister Kembo Mohadi and Defence minister Sydney Sekeramayi.

Combo, who doubles as Zanu PF administrator, also defended the police’s heavy-handedness in crushing dissent in the past few weeks, saying “in actual fact, they are being too lenient”.

“We have a moral duty to protect citizens of this country and people that do business so that they are not disrupted by malcontents. There is no ‘peaceful demonstration’ that has been held so far, all violent,” Chombo said.

Today’s demonstration comes after police on Wednesday used brute force to crush an MDC-T youth protest march, culminating in an orgy of violence and looting in Harare’s central business district (CBD).

But 18 parties, working under the banner of National Electoral Reform Agenda (Nera), yesterday said they had mobilised over 150 000 supporters to demonstrate in Harare today over government’s reluctance to implement electoral reforms to level the political playing field ahead of the 2018 elections.

This is despite Officer Commanding Harare, Chief Superintendent Newbert Saunyama’s letter dated August 15, advising Nera to shelve its planned demo and send representatives to petition the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) to implement the required reforms.

Part of the letter read: “This office is discouraging the issue of marching in the central business district considering the number of participants, ie, 150 000 to be involved in your street demonstration.

“The crowd cannot be accommodated in the CBD, as it interrupts the smooth flow of both human and vehicular traffic. We, however, encourage you to send representatives to submit your petition to Zec headquarters rather than engaging in street demonstration.”

This prompted Nera lawyer and MDC-T secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora to file a court challenge against the police’s decision on the matter.

“We say no to the legal advice the police are giving us. As usual, we have gone to the court and we expect a hearing any time, as you know the High Court works 24 hours,” Mwonzora said, adding that they were going ahead with preparations for the march despite the court challenge.

“The police never cited any other reason that they suspect there will be violence or that they have manpower shortage. This is a peaceful protest. In fact, 150 000 people are just very few compared to the (Zanu PF) million-man march which the police never said would disrupt traffic and was allowed by the same police.”
Ruling on the matter is expected this morning.

Addressing journalists in the capital, Nera convener and Zimbabwe People First (ZimPF) founding member Didymus Mutasa urged all opposition parties to mobilise their members to participate in the planned march.

“The march for comprehensive electoral reforms will go ahead,” Mutasa declared. “All parties should come in their numbers to give a loud national statement. We need comprehensive electoral reforms to move away from the culture of disputed elections.”

Mutasa, who was flanked by MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai, his deputy Nelson Chamisa, ZimPF spokesperson Jealousy Mawarire, Transform Zimbabwe leader Jacob Ngarivhume and Mwonzora, implored Sadc to intervene and force Mugabe to implement the reforms to avoid another disputed election outcome.

Zimbabwe’s civil society groups currently in Mbabane, Swaziland, were lobbying Sadc member States to debate the country’s worsening socio-economic and political crises.

Mutasa said most opposition parties had committed themselves to participating in today’s demonstration although Zimbabwe Development Party leader Kisinoti Mukwazhi and his Voice of Zimbabwe counterpart Precision Muzadzi had distanced themselves from the event.

The two accused Tsvangirai of blowing a golden opportunity to demand electoral reforms when he was Prime Minister in the inclusive government and had the majority in Parliament between 2008 and 2013.

“The whole Nera thing is confused. Why would they demonstrate against Zec instead of lobbying for reforms through Parliament?” Muzadzi queried.

But, Tsvangirai blamed Zanu PF for stalling electoral reforms.

No advance on cessation of hostilities

Maputo (AIM) – Despite the optimism shown by international mediators earlier in the week, Wednesday’s round of talks in the Joint Commission set up between the Mozambican government and the Renamo rebels produced no advance towards a cessation of hostilities.

Source: No advance on cessation of hostilities – The Zimbabwean 26.08.2016

The meeting lasted for around seven hours, only ending at 22.00, and during that period Renamo simply refused to halt its attacks unless the government withdrew its forces stationed at the Gorongosa mountain range in the central province of Sofala.

The spokesperson for the mediators, the Italian Mario Raffaelli, told reporters that the government position is “the mission of the defence and security forces is to protect the population and its property, and to allow people to circulate in a climate of peace, harmony and security”.

The government wanted to see an immediate suspension of hostilities which would make it possible to open a corridor in Gorongosa so that the mediators can make their way to the Renamo bush headquarters in the Satunjira area, where Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama is currently living.

Dhlakama refuses to leave Gorongosa, and so the only contact the mediators have with him so far is by telephone.

The Renamo position, said Raffaelli, is that the rebels “will accept a temporary truce around the Gorongosa mountain range, as long as the government withdraws its forces stationed there”.

But the government has no intention of surrendering territory to the Renamo militia. Raffaelli said the government believes its forces must remain in Gorongosa to protect the local population from Renamo attacks.

During Renamo’s previous insurrection, in 2013-14, parts of Gorongosa were highly contested, and in October 2013 the defence forces overran Dhlakama’s first Satunjira base. This base, and several other Renamo camps were occupied, and government forces are still stationed there. Clearly, if they withdraw, the Renamo militia will simply re-occupy this territory.

Raffaelli promised that on Thursday the mediators will present their proposal for a cessation of hostilities to the press.

The basic outline of this proposal was published earlier in the week by the independent newssheet “Mediafax”, which said the mediators hope to establish a “demilitarized corridor” which would allow the mediating team direct access to Dhlakama.
They wanted to follow this up with a truce, while the Maputo talks continue, and eventually a full ceasefire.

Renamo, however, has signed ceasefires before (in 1992 and 2014), and has always violated them.

The mediators clearly do not expect any improvement in the situation in the immediate future. They, and the government and Renamo delegations, have agreed to suspend the talks for almost three weeks, so that the Joint Commission will not meet again until 12 September

Opposition parties demands electoral reforms ahead of 2018 elections

Statement by leaders of the political parties under the banner of the National Electoral Reform Agenda (NERA)

Source: Opposition parties demands electoral reforms ahead of 2018 elections – The Zimbabwean 25.08.2016

Leaders of political parties here present
Invited Guests and members of the press
Good afternoon everyone.

As leaders of various political parties under the banner of the National Electoral Reform Agenda (NERA) we welcome you to this press conference.

Firstly, our gathering here to issue a joint statement as leaders of different political parties is a cause for national celebration. This is because Zimbabweans for a long time have been crying for political parties to speak with one voice. Our gathering here confirms that this is slowly becoming a reality. We remain in discussion with our colleagues in the broader democratic movement and even if you do not see some of the leaders here, do not be disheartened because we have a continuous conversation that is taking place for all of us to work together ahead of the next watershed election in 2018.

We have called this press conference to announce that tomorrow’s march to press for comprehensive electoral reforms is going ahead as planned. As political parties, we call upon the people of Zimbabwe to come out in their numbers so that we make a loud national expression to demand comprehensive electoral reforms that will ensure that we move away from the culture of contested electoral outcomes.

During our march tomorrow, we will hand over a petition to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission and the procession will culminate in an address to the people by the leaders of the political parties.

As political parties, we have realized that at the centre of the current national crisis is the crisis of legitimacy. We are not only demanding the implementation of electoral reforms, but also the announcement of a clear road-map to the next election by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission—-a road-map complete with processes and time-frames.

We are calling on Zimbabweans to come out in their numbers tomorrow in support of this legitimate cause of demanding a truly free and fair election. We are also calling on SADC, specifically the current chair of SADC, to remain seized with the issue of Zimbabwe and to ensure that the electoral field in this country is leveled ahead of the next election. SADC must remain seized with the issue of Zimbabwe where the current unraveling economic crisis is just but a mirror of the underlying political crisis of legitimacy.
As political parties, we have complied with the law in that we have notified the police of our peaceful march tomorrow.

To the people of Zimbabwe, we say come in your numbers for the sake of the country that we all love.
I thank you.

Mr. Didymus N. E. Mutasa
For and on behalf of the political leaders of NERA

MDC calls Ignatious Chombo to order

The MDC takes great exception to the Minister of Home Affairs, Ignatious Chombo’s reckless, ill – conceived and careless statement, apportioning blame of the ongoing citizen protest to President Morgan Tsvangirai. Chombo’s misplaced utterances are typical of the Zanu PF regime’s culture of denialism of the deepening political and socio-economic crisis that the regime has created through decades of economic mismanagement, looting of State resources ,rampant corruption and misgovernance.

Source: MDC calls Ignatious Chombo to order – The Zimbabwean 25.08.2016

When Chombo and his fellow Zanu PF corrupt elites were involved in the unrestrained and  unmitigated looting of state coffers and other public resources, they should have known better that the down-trodden and oppressed citizens of Zimbabwe  would one day rightfully demand their share of the national cake. The MDC is completely unfazed by such ill-conceived and unreasonable utterances by corrupt ruling party politicians in the mould of Ignatious  Chombo. Instead, we  call upon Chombo and his coterie of corrupt and failed Zanu PF regime apologists  to listen to the people and immediately address pressing national issues such as the deepening socio-economic crisis where millions of young Zimbabweans are facing a bleak future of joblessness and hopelessness.

Chombo might be an unparalleled champion of corruption and looting but then, we would like to draw it to his attention that he cannot succeed in intimidating and bullying the toiling masses of Zimbabweans into accepting and sanitising an obviously corrupt system which has plunged them to unprecedented levels of poverty and penury.

The overly arrogant Minister of  Home affairs of the illegitimate, bankrupt and crumbling  Zanu PF regime is clearly behaving like a village bully and shameless political thug. Chombo should be reminded that one day, very soon, he shall be called upon to account for the loot and filthy wealth that he has accumulated as one of the leading members of the collapsing Zanu PF regime. The people of Zimbabwe are not fools. They know, who, exactly, is behind their suffering and daily life of strife.

MDC : EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES FOR ALL

OBERT CHAURURA GUTU

MDC NATIONAL SPOKESPERSON

Zimbabwe’s race to the bottom accelerates

“Falsehood and favouritism has long dominated political strategy. Most politicians use rhetoric, half-truths, glittering generalities and the sin of omission, biased framing, and other types of deception (to counteract and discredit the emergence of political rivals and) to appeal to the greatest number of people possible for election or re-election.”- Jack Hari; Systems thinking. In brackets is my addition.

Source: Zimbabwe’s race to the bottom accelerates – The Zimbabwean 25.08.2016

A race to the bottom occurs when the social, political and economic environment of any country deteriorates significantly while politicians and those in public office continue to use several deception strategies to deny and hide the true facts.  This is the case currently in Zimbabwe.

It’s a scenario of one calamity after another as those “in power’’ do their best to deny, reframe or ignore the realities on the ground. At worst they will arrest those who dare to speak truth to power as we are witnessing. It is an unending degenerating vicious cycle which is helped along by the naked lies of those charlatans who seek and are paid to create false sense of normality at all costs. As we face a crisis in Zimbabwe, the deception machinery is at its peak as the state media tries to paint a false picture of our reality while discrediting perceived political competitors and change agents.

We are certainly witnessing continued denials of responsibility for the deteriorating socio-economic conditions by ZANU (PF). We are also seeing the deterioration in the social values and ethics of our society as a whole with the state media at the centre of it. The recent gutter reporting on Mujuru and the attempted discrediting of social movements and war veterans is but an indication that Zimbabwe is fast racing to the bottom however, this is typical of systems that are atrophying. The beginning of the end is here.

In his paper on systems thinking, Jack Harich a systems thinking expert, explains the various forms of deception strategies which politicians like to continually use. He identifies five common deception strategies used by politicians and these are; false promises, false enemies, pushing the fear button, wrong priorities and secrecy.  In my opinion, the ZANU (PF) machinery has mastered all of these.

A false promise is a promise that is made but never delivered, or never delivered fully. We can all remember the famous 2 million job false promise of 2013 by ZANU (PF). But more recently, there is a false promise that the economy will recover. If anyone believes that our economy is poised for recovery under ZANU (PF) non reformist policies, corruption and mismanagement, I would advise they go for counselling. Added to this has been the false promise that indigenisation will result in broad ownership of economic assets by ordinary citizens and yet we all know it has only been the ZANU (PF) predatory cabal which has benefited. ZANU (PF)’s false promises are plenty, persistent, unrealistic and ridiculous.

The second deception strategy is where politicians create false enemies and blame them for all the problems, while taking undue credit for all the good things that might happen. This issue of creating false enemies at every turn is further exacerbated by a struggle paradigm which most of our leaders still live in. There is this monumental lie that opposition parties represent Western interests and that the West is always plotting some form of regime change or other.  Now everyone who wants Mugabe to go is classified an enemy.

There is this incessant and demeaning lie that blacks can’t think for themselves and must always be representing Western interests and views! This lie has been repeated so many times it has become a truth to the ignorant. The rise of social movements has fed this lie where the ZANU (PF) machinery wants to paint a picture that these are Western sponsored charlatans. Nothing can be further from the truth!

Pushing the fear button has been where ZANU (PF) continues to excel. The recent treatment of war veterans and the continued intimidation of anyone who has a dissenting voice demonstrates this. Instilling fear in citizens and political rivals has worked so well in the past to paralyse any potential dissent but fortunately Zimbabweans are rising thanks to social movements such as #ThisFlag and #Tajamuka.

Rule by instilling fear works to stifle opposition. As Harich says in his paper- “Fear clouds the judgment, making it all the harder to discern whether there really is an enemy out there. Because we cannot be sure, we play it safe and assume there is at least some risk. Fearful people are more dependent, more easily manipulated and controlled.”

Wrong priorities is another form of deception that we are all well aware of. “Wrong priorities stem from hidden agendas. A hidden agenda is a plan or goal a politician must conceal from the public, due to an ulterior motive.” Harich says. “For corrupt politicians such matters come easy, they simply manipulate the public through false promises, create a false enemy, push the fear hot button hard and often, repeat the same lie over and over until it becomes “the truth”.

The fifth deception strategy is that of secrecy. There is so much secrecy that we now have a vibrant secret service industry which employs all and sundry. In addition the secrecy around a significant economic deals by the government continue to present an opportunity for lies, corruption, myths and lack of accountability.

The sad reality is that all these forms of deception have become normal in our society. The race to the bottom is accelerating at full speed helped by President Mugabe and his coterie of thieves.

For me it is no surprise at all that ZANU (PF) has continually relied on these strategies simply because they have nothing to offer Zimbabweans. As we go towards 2018 we ought to be aware of how the state media will be at the centre of accelerating this race to the bottom. We however need not fear and must try not to waste time entertaining such because the end of ZANU (PF) is near.

Another Zimbabwe is possible!

Vince Musewe is an economist and author based in Harare. He is also Secretary for Finance and Economic Affairs for PDP. You may contact him on vtmusewe@gmail.com

Mugabe inadvertently providing slave labour to other countries

Zimbabwe President Robert Gabriel Mugabe’s rabid economic policies – which have led to the untold suffering of millions of Zimbabweans – as well as, a very repressive political landscape, have forced about a quarter of the population into emigration, where they are treated inhumanly – thereby, inadvertently providing other countries with slave labour.

Source: Mugabe inadvertently providing slave labour to other countries – The Zimbabwean 25.08.2016

Temporary labour migration, especially to South Africa, has long been a feature of this country’s history, as, according to a 2002 survey by the Southern Africa Migration Project, about 25% of adult Zimbabwean’s parents and grandparents have worked in that country at some point in their lives.

Furthermore, during and soon after Zimbabwe’s liberation war, a number of White people left the country, mainly for South Africa.

However, the phenomenon of Zimbabweans permanently emigrating, on a large scale, is relatively new – as this has been a direct consequent of Mugabe’s economic and political policies.

The fact that during the Rhodesia days, our parents or grandparents only temporarily migrated to South Africa, as opposed to the more permanent emigration that is being witnessed in independent Zimbabwe, clearly attests to the fact that both the political and economic situation has drastically worsened for the people of this country.

The first extensive wave of permanent emigration was that of the Ndebele population during the 1980s, as a direct result of the Mugabe government’s deployment of the North Korean-trained Fifth Brigade on a genocidal mission in the Midlands and Matabeleland regions that massacred nearly 50,000 mostly Ndebele people.

Most of those that permanently fled the country settled in South Africa.

The second wave of permanent emigration began in the 1990s, when the Mugabe regime introduced the immensely unpopular Economic Structural Adjustment Programme (ESAP), which led to massive retrenchments, which significantly increased the number of the unemployed and suffering people of this country – again, South Africa being the choice destination.

Nevertheless, the coming of a democratic dispensation in South Africa in 1994, resulted in the new government displaying increased hostility towards immigration of skilled labour into the country from the rest of Africa, resulting in a large number of Zimbabweans seeking greener pastures elsewhere in the world, especially in Botswana, United Kingdom (UK), Australia, United States of America (USA), and Canada.

It is reported that in Australia, as of 2011, the Zimbabwean community numbered over 30,000, with one in three of Australia’s Shona and Ndebele-speakers living in Sydney.

There were estimated to be between 40,000 and 10,000 Zimbabweans in Botswana as of 2009.

The Zimbabwean community in Canada is concentrated in Toronto; Calgary; Edmonton;

Hamilton, Ontario and Kitchener- Waterloo in

Ontario, Vancouver; Victoria, and British Columbia.

Their numbers have been slowly but steadily increasing since 2000.

There are estimated to be between one and five million Zimbabweans in South Africa as of 2008.

The UK Zimbabwean community is said to be close to 100,000, who are mainly concentrated in London and other urban areas.

There are various conflicting unofficial figures about the number of Zimbabweans in the US – with the RAND Corporation estimating that in 2000 there were 100,000 in the state of

New York alone.

In contrast, a 2008 estimate from the Association of Zimbabweans Based Abroad put the population of Zimbabweans in the whole US at just 45,000.

This permanent emigration of Zimbabweans was further exacerbated when Mugabe embarked on his ill-conceived and ill-fated violent land grabs and an intensified brutal campaign against opponents from the year 2000, shortly after the formation of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), when he lost in a February 2000 referendum on a new constitution, and was poised to lose in the June parliamentary elections.

This resulted in an unprecedented economic free fall – which the country is still reeling from – leading to the largest flow of permanent emigration in this country’s history.

It is estimated that there are millions of residents outside of Zimbabwe’s borders who were either born in the country or are descended from immigrants – all thanks to Mugabe’s brazen economic and political policies.

This has, however, led to millions of Zimbabweans residing in other countries both illegally and legally – creating a very conducive environment for them to be easily exploited by unscrupulous people.

Both documented and undocumented immigrants in those countries are being exploited due to their desperate situation, virtually reducing them to slave labour.

Most recently, there were reports of a large number of Zimbabwean women who were allegedly trafficked to Kuwait, only to be abused in various dehumanising work environments.

Although, it is very fortunate that most of these women managed to escape and return home, these incidents highlighted the extent to which Mugabe’s flawed policies have driven millions of Zimbabweans into modern day slavery.

In fact, quiet a large number of people have succumbed to human trafficking as they seek to flee the suffering inflicted upon them by the ZANU PF government – resulting in most of them being sex slaves in foreign lands, and men usually being forced to work on plantations.

Most Zimbabweans in the diaspora that I communicate with have the same sad stories: they are sick and tired of being abused and humiliated in the countries in which they moved to, and would have so readily returned home, had it not been for Mugabe and his regime.

A trained hotel chef, who used to be employed by a government-owned diamond mine – which made billions of dollars, but never paid its employees even a single cent – has now been reduced to a domestic servant in a foreign country, where he works for a meagre wage, and yet has to do all manner of degrading work.

However, he has no choice, as getting a paltry wage in a degrading environment is much better than working for nothing in  Mugabe’s Zimbabwe.

This is by far not an isolated case, as that is a common feature of life in the diaspora.

Having resided in South Africa myself for a couple of years, I still can not get out of my mind the disturbing images of hundreds of suffering fellow Zimbabweans whom I witnessed on a visit to the Johannesburg Central Methodist Church in 2008 – cramped in the filthiest of conditions, both men and women, and their babies sleeping mixed together in halls.

Where all dignity was lost as women could just bath exposed in the presence of men and children, as there were hardly any bathrooms.

Neither can I get over seeing hordes of Zimbabweans sleeping either in drainages or plastic shacks in Marabastad in Pretoria.

As I worked for a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), which dealt mostly with people in such impoverished settlements as Olievenhoutbosch in Pretoria, I witnessed first hand the unbelievable suffering of Zimbabweans who stayed in those areas – something that I will never get over.

Zimbabweans who stayed in the most appalling shacks, scrounging around for the most demeaning and menial jobs, just so that they take care of their families back home.

On several occasions, I also witnessed sick impoverished Zimbabweans dying, but without anyone to bury them or return their bodies to their families back home.

And why did all these people leave their homes in Zimbabwe to suffer like that in a foreign land?

They did that because anything was better than what they had been subjected to by the Mugabe regime.

Other Zimbabweans in the diaspora are reportedly never provided safety working gear, as they are simply told that if they are not happy, the door is always open for them to leave, and as such, due to their desperate situation, they are forced to continue working under the most dangerous of conditions.

All this is happening in spite of the Zimbabwean diaspora having a 95% literacy rate in English and a very highly educated adult population.

However, all that is put to waste, as these people, who are an asset to Zimbabwe, and should be helping develop the country, are forced by circumstances to be under-utilised, exploited, and unappreciated in foreign lands.

Admittedly, there is a significant portion of Zimbabweans in the diaspora who are doing pretty well, but compared to those reduced to glorified slaves, they are just but a drop in the ocean.

Furthermore, this pushing away of Zimbabweans into the diaspora by the ZANU PF regime has led to an unprecedented breakdown of the family institution, as parents live apart from their children, or husbands away from their wives, at times for years.

In their communication to me, one can easily tell the pain these people are going through, and it is so heartrending.

How can a government do this to its own people.

No wonder ZANU PF is so cowardly in affording these people their right to vote whilst in the diaspora, as it knows that the vast majority of them will resoundingly reject such a ruthless party.

It is so shameful that the ZANU PF regime has never shown any remorse for the pain, suffering, and humiliation it has caused these industrious men and women that it has abused – much in the same manner that it has never shown any regret over its treatment of Zimbabweans at home, as it has actually intensified its brutality.

This callous ZANU PF government fails to even appreciate that these long-suffering Zimbabweans that it has forced into other lands, actually remit over US$1.5 billions annually into the country, thereby helping to keep this comatose country alive.

It is high time that the ZANU PF regime was held to account for its brazen abuse of human rights and crimes against humanity for causing this unprecedented wave of modern day slavery that has witnessed untold suffering and humiliation of millions of Zimbabweans in the diaspora – who would rather be home with their families,and helping build Zimbabwe.

° Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice activist and commentator, writer, and journalist. He writes in his personal capacity, and welcomes any feedback. Please feel free to WhatsApp/call: +263782283975, or email: tendaiandtinta.mbofana@gmail.com. Follow on Twitter: @Tendai_Mbofana

Fresh crisis hits ZANU-PF

Source: Fresh crisis hits ZANU-PF | The Financial Gazette August 25, 2016

THERE is growing acrimony between ZANU-PF cadres whose suspensions were lifted by the party’s National Appeals Committee (NAC) and those who assumed their positions in the wake of a ruthless purge in 2014 that targeted former vice president Joice Mujuru and her allies, the Financial Gazette can report.
Dozens of ZANU-PF officials were either shown the door or suspended for varying periods for throwing their weight behind Mujuru as their preferred candidate to succeed President Robert Mugabe who, at the age of 92, is now in the twilight of his political career.
Fifty-two officials have lodged their appeals with NAC, created specifically to consider pleadings from cadres who felt they were unfairly treated. The committee has so far reviewed 25 cases of which seven cadres had their suspensions lifted.
Jason Machaya and Chiratidzo Mabuwa, from the Midlands, had their penalties overturned, while Nicholas Goche from Mashonaland Central had his suspension rescinded as well.
In Masvingo, Killian Gwanetsa, Paul Chimedza and Tongai Muzenda — son of the late vice president Simon Muzenda — saw their appeals sailing through.
NAC, chaired by Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko, is still to go through a thick file of pending appeals from several other ZANU-PF politicians who were punished for being too close to Mujuru, whose association with the ruling party ended in 2014 after she was accused of plotting to unseat her boss, unconstitutionally.
Among those with pending appeals are Webster Shamu, Tendai Savanhu, Francis Nhema and Flora Buka.
A precedence that has induced friction between the returnees and those who orchestrated their downfall has been set in the Midlands after Machaya bounced back as provincial chairman.
He is however, still to chair a single meeting in the region a month into his reinstatement. Soon after his suspension was lifted in early July, he got involved in a horrific car crash along the Harare-Gweru road while on his way from a NAC meeting that presided over his appeal.
He is currently recuperating in a Harare hospital amid lingering suspicions among his family that his top-of-the-range Land Rover Discovery 4 vehicle could have been tampered with, resulting in one of the wheels coming off while cruising towards the Midlands provincial capital of Gweru, hence the accident.
ZANU-PF insiders said the possibility that cadres being thrown a lifeline may revert to their old positions has created tensions between the returnees and people who benefited from their demise.
The latter are fearful of losing their positions as well as being victimised for persecuting the so-called allies of Mujuru who, at the time of their censure, commanded influential positions in the ruling party.
In order to preserve their positions, they would want the returnees to start all over again from the cell, which is the lowest structure in the party.
Reports indicate that there exists a long queue of people gunning for  constituencies belonging to suspended members in the hope that they would be precluded from participating in the 2018 plebiscite.
In the Midlands, Machaya’s nemeses are livid over NAC’s decision, vowing to give the politician a rough landing.
Even before 44 out of 50 Midlands provincial executive members passed a vote of no confidence on him in November 2014, which led to his suspension in May last year, Machaya would cast a forlorn figure at Provincial Co-ordinating Committee (PCC) meetings as rivals boycotted meetings he would have convened.
“There is no way we can accept Machaya as our leader in the province…He too has personally not forgotten that experience from his earlier stint as chairman,” said a Midlands PCC member who declined to be named.
In Mberengwa South, there has been a lot of jostling for Mabuwa’s seat, and her return is a cause for concern for those who had injected resources into the constituency in preparation for the 2018 polls.
The deputy Minister for Industry, Mabuwa, said she could not comment on the ructions in her home province, preferring to say: “I am concentrating on doing what I am supposed to do and I am not eyeing any position for that matter.”
In Gokwe-Nembudziya constituency, incumbent legislator, Justice Mayor Wadyajena, an ally of Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, said he will rise to the challenge should NAC rule in favour of Buka, who was handed a five-year suspension last year.
Buka who was the lawmaker for the area for over a decade is reportedly carrying out low key activities in preparation for her return.
Once cleared by the Politburo, she may also resume her duties as the ZANU-PF Women’s League’s secretary for administration, a position currently occupied in the interim by Letina Undenge, who took over from the late Espinah Nhari, who was booted out for chanting anti-Generation 40 (G40) slogans at a rally.
“I will teach her (Buka) an electoral lesson if she dares try to wrestle the constituency from me. I have worked well with the people there and they will stand by me,” said Wadyajena.
It is, however, not just in the lower structures of the party where there is resistance against the lost lambs.
Some of the suspended officials who are trooping back into the party used to hold senior positions in the top organs of ZANU-PF such as the Politburo, the Central Committee and the National Consultative Assembly. Some were also in the top echelons of the ZANU-PF Women’s League.
In Mashonaland Central, there is confusion over what will become of Goche, who was the second most senior ZANU-PF politician in the province, after Mujuru, prior to his suspension.
Goche was a member of the Politburo, the Central Committee and National Consultative Assembly.
Goche suffered probably the worst humiliation in 2014.
He was accused of hiring assassins to eliminate President Mugabe and had to be hospitalised after suffering from hypertension.
Indications are that Goche could be earmarked for the post of Provincial Affairs Minister, which fell vacant after Martin Dinha won the Mazowe North National Assembly seat.
At law, Dinha automatically relinquished his position unless President Mugabe reappoints him.
Dinha is being linked to the Justice Ministry as either a full minister or as Mnangagwa’s deputy at the ministry.
In the political hotbed of Masvingo, party cadres are plotting to forestall the possibility of Gwanetsa resuming the chairmanship.
Gwanetsa chaired the province before his suspension.
This week, Gwanetsa confirmed  the lifting of his suspension, but remained tight-lipped about his next move.
“It is true (that my suspension has been lifted), but I do not want to discuss it with the press. There are many party processes that I am waiting for (to be completed) and until they are complete, I will not be commenting,” he said.
Asked if it was true that he was considering reinstatement as provincial chairman, Gwanetsa simply said: “I will let people say whatever they want to say. I will not speak until the right time comes.”
Masvingo is currently being led by interim chair, Amasa Nenjana who replaced suspended Ezra Chadzamira.
In Gutu South, aspiring ZANU-PF legislators were plotting against the incumbent and now have a fight in their hands now that Chimedza is going nowhere.
Chimedza said he would take on those who were prematurely campaigning in his constituency.
“They are causing confusion. They should wait until the party officialises campaigns. But now that I have been given the green light to start working for the party, I will do all that is necessary to get re-elected,” he said.
The lifting of the suspensions has also widened fissures between Mnangagwa’s allies and a rival G40 faction, which appears to be at the forefront of wooing back most of Mujuru’s former allies.
G40 now claims to have Machaya, Chiratidzo Mabuwa, Gwanetsa and Goche in its ranks.
Mnangagwa’s allies are therefore seeking to get the party to halt the appeals as it feels they are strengthening their opponents.
“The committee has been very impartial, pardoning Mujuru’s allies while at the same time dismissing our people. That is very unfair. Some people in G40 could be happy with some returnees because, remember, some of them were supporting Mujuru together. So it will be a reunion of estranged cadres. It’s Mnangagwa who has nothing to gain here,” said one official.
NAC has infuriated Mnangagwa’s allies by upholding the dismissal of war veterans leader, Christopher Mutsvangwa and former provincial youth chairpersons, Godfrey Tsenengamu, Godwin Gomwe, Vengai Musengi, Kumbulani Mpofu, Edmore Samambwa, Tamuka Nyoni and Washington Nkomo while pardoning Mujuru’s former allies.
ZANU-PF’s national political commissar, Saviour Kasukuwere, this week tried to calm the situation by claiming that there won’t be any interference with the existing structures.
“No one is going back to their old positions; where have you ever seen that happening? It does not work like that. The norm is that whenever someone has their suspension of expulsion reversed, they start from the lower structures. You can check with (secretary for administration, Ignatius) Cde Chombo. He is the one issuing the letters (of lifting suspensions) so he should be able to give you further information, but I have told you the truth,” he said.
Chombo was not reachable for comment at the time of going to print.

Who will lead grand coalition?

Source: Who will lead grand coalition? | The Financial Gazette August 25, 2016

By Jacob Rukweza
COALITIONS have dominated Kenya’s political landscape where alliances between parties have played a significant role in defining the course of events and election outcomes in the east African nation for the past 15 years.
For instance, Kenya’s former Prime Minister and opposition politician, Raila Odinga, was the game changer in 2002 when he endorsed Mwai Kibaki as the National Rainbow Coalition (NARC) presidential candidate ahead of the country’s general elections that year.
In preparation for the crunch elections, the then official opposition leader, Kibaki’s Democratic Party had coalesced with several other opposition parties to form the National Alliance of Kenya (NAK) party.
Around the same time, a group of disgruntled Kenya African National Union (KANU) presidential aspirants had quit the ruling party in protest, after being overlooked by outgoing president Daniel Arap Moi, who had railroaded the nomination of Uhuru Kenyatta as the party’s presidential candidate.
The group hurriedly formed the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP).
NAK would soon combine with the LDP led by Odinga to form the National Rainbow Coalition (NARC).
On October 14, 2002, at a large opposition coalition rally in Uhuru Park, Nairobi, Kibaki was nominated NARC’s presidential candidate after Odinga, also a presidential hopeful, endorsed him with the famous “Kibaki Tosha” declaration — which many Kenyans believe changed the campaign in the then NARC candidate’s favour.
NARC went on to win a landslide victory against the ruling KANU, with Kibaki getting 62 percent of the votes against Kenyatta’s 31 percent.
Coalitions also dominated the political arena during the 2007 general elections in Kenya.
That year, the presidential elections were a two-horse race between incumbent Kibaki, now running on a Party of National Unity ticket, and Odinga who was now leading the Orange Democratic Movement, a new coalition of opposition parties after the two’s fallout in 2005.
But this time the opposition coalition narrowly lost the presidential election and Kibaki was declared the winner with 46 percent of the vote against Odinga’s 44 percent.
However, Odinga who disputed the results also claimed victory and civil unrest broke out resulting in the deaths of over 1 000 people and the displacement of up to 500 000 Kenyans.
The conflict was ended by the signing of the National Accord and Reconciliation Act, which led to the formation of a Government of National Unity in 2008.
Odinga would lose another presidential election against Jubilee Alliance’s coalition candidate, Uhuru Kenyatta, in 2013.
The Jubilee Alliance is yet another multi-party coalition that was established to support the presidential election of Kenyatta and his running mate William Ruto.
The other formidable political alliance in the 2013 elections was the Coalition for Reform and Democracy (CORD), led by Odinga.
Uhuru and Ruto won 50,07 percent of votes cast, with rivals, Odinga and his running mate, Kalonzo Musyoka, of CORD garnering 43,7 percent.
Odinga has contested and lost three presidential elections in Kenya in 1997, 2007 and 2013 respectively — the last two as a coalition candidate.
In the last three presidential elections in Kenya, since 2002, coalitions have played a central role in defining the political trajectory of the east African country.
In recent months, talk of opposition parties in Zimbabwe forming a grand coalition to fight President Robert Mugabe and ZANU-PF in the 2018 general elections has been increasing.
The coalition prospects were given fresh impetus on August 13 when Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, and former vice-president and Zimbabwe People First (ZPF) leader, Joice Mujuru, addressed a joint rally in the Midlands province.
What is clear so far is that there is consensus among opposition parties in Zimbabwe on the need to form a coalition to fight ZANU-PF in 2018.
The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) leader, Tendai Biti, recently called for a swift conclusion to the talks that would lead to the formation of a coalition, arguing that time was running out for the opposition parties to form the alliance.
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) formation leader, Welshman Ncube, has also underscored the urgent need for a coalition to fight President Mugabe.
“If we are to bring the misery of our people to an end in 2018 we must seek ways of building coalitions which exclude no one who, at the barest minimum is committed to seeing an end to ZANU-PF rule,” Ncube said recently.
But there seems to be no consensus on the structure or form of the grand coalition or who should lead it.
There also seems to be no agreement on who should convene the forum for the coalition talks.
So far three platforms have emerged, all of them claiming to be creating a forum for the formation of a coalition of political parties.
First to launch a platform for an alliance of opposition political parties was the MDC-T which, in December 2015, invited other opposition parties to sign a document dubbed the National Electoral Reforms Agenda (NERA) committing them to fighting for electoral reforms ahead of the 2018 general elections.
The parties that signed the NERA document included the MDC-T, ZANU Ndonga, Transform Zimbabwe and Progressive Democrats of Zimbabwe, among others.
But other opposition parties including PDP, Lovemore Madhuku’s National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) and Dumiso Dabengwa’s ZAPU did not sign the document.
The absence of many political parties at the signing ceremony of the document was viewed by political observers as a sign of unrelenting fissures in the opposition ranks.
The launch of NERA was followed by the creation of another platform in May this year when five opposition political parties formed an alliance called the Coalition of Democrats (CODE) that they said would challenge ZANU-PF in the 2018 elections.
The parties were Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn (MKD) led by Simba Makoni, the Renewal Democrats of Zimbabwe (RDZ) led by Elton Mangoma, the Democratic Assembly for Restoration and Empowerment (DARE) and Zimbabweans United for Democracy (ZUNDE) and Ncube’s MDC.Other opposition parties such as the MDC-T, ZPF, PDP, NCA and ZAPU did not join the coalition saying they still needed to consult their members.
This was also interpreted by observers as yet another signal that there is no consensus among political parties on who should convene the coalition talks.
Another coalition initiative is the National Convergence Platform (NCP), which is expected to bring together all political parties and civic society groups.
The platform is being co-ordinated by retired Anglican Bishop Sebastian Bakare.
Bakare said the NCP would meet with a view to coming up with a decision that would “extricate Zimbabwe” from its current situation.
It remains to be seen which of these platforms will eventually deliver a formidable coalition to fight ZANU-PF in the 2018 polls.
Currently, the majority of parties appear to have coalesced around the MDC-T’s NERA initiative, which now has 15 opposition parties, while CODE has not gained any significant traction since its birth in May.
The NPC has been bogged down by funding challenges which has resulted in it failing to hold its convention.
Another problematic question for the proposed grand coalition regards who should lead the political alliance.
Biti’s PDP, Mangoma’s RDZ and the MDC led by Ncube have insisted that all parties should come to the coalition table as equal partners.
PDP, RDZ and MDC are splinters from the MDC-T led by Tsvangirai.
Ncube insists that “all those who profess to be our leaders with an interest in saving the nation from doom must come to the table of patriots at which all shall be equal”.
Biti, Ncube and Mangoma have previously accused Tsvangirai and the MDC-T of having a “big-brother” mentality and assuming that it is obvious that Tsvangirai should lead the grand coalition when it is formed.
Mangoma, who is a fierce critic of Tsvangirai, after being booted out of the MDC-T, says Tsvangirai has to get off his high horse for him to entertain any hopes of getting into the grand coalition.
“When it comes to MDC-T, we do not have a problem except with Tsvangirai because he wants to be the face of opposition politics. Until he dismounts from his high horse, I think there will always be a problem. I think we need to be clear on that,” said Mangoma.
On the other hand, Obert Gutu, MDC-T’s spokesperson, has in the past dismissed Biti, Ncube and Mangoma as “ political dwarfs” and declared the MDC-T as “the most popular party in the country”.
But there is consensus among political analysts that the MDC-T is the largest opposition political party in the country and any plans to exclude it from a grand coalition will spell doom for any alliance against ZANU-PF.
However, the entrance of former ruling ZANU-PF party stalwart and now ZPF leader, Mujuru, into Zimbabwe’s opposition ranks has further complicated the already complex grand coalition matrix.
Mujuru, a liberation war veteran, has been drawing huge crowds to her rallies and enjoys widespread support among the grassroots in the country’s rural provinces.
And last week, PDP announced it would not field a presidential candidate in the 2018 general elections pledging to back Mujuru.
The declaration by PDP that it will back Mujuru to lead a coalition against President Mugabe is likely to rattle the already fragile relations between prospective coalition partners with analysts viewing the pledge by PDP as a deliberate move calculated to put a wedge between Tsvangirai and the ZPF leader.
Mujuru’s ZPF is yet to hold its inaugural party congress or elect substantive leadership and its support has not yet been tested in a national election.
The MDC-T which is popular in urban areas and has widespread grassroots support across the country will most likely back its charismatic leader, Tsvangirai, to lead the grand coalition.
MDC-T strategists believe that Tsvangirai, who has in the past defeated President Mugabe and ZANU-PF in polls, is the best candidate to lead any opposition coalition.
Tsvangirai out-polled President Mugabe in the first round of presidential elections in 2008 before pulling out of an election run-off citing widespread political violence against his MDC-T supporters.
From the look of things, if the grand coalition is formed the contest for its leadership is likely to be a two-horse race between Tsvangirai and Mujuru.
Ibbo Mandaza, a respected academic, says it is the prerogative of the coalition partners to decide who should lead the alliance.
“Issues of who should lead them as president are best left for the coalition to decide, but there are two political giants in the proposed coalition, Morgan Tsvangirai and Joice Mujuru, and it is likely that one of them will lead the coalition,” Mandaza said.
There are three likely scenarios for Zimbabwe going into the harmonised elections in 2018.
The first scenario would see opposition parties failing to form a coalition because of deep-seated personal and ideological differences resulting in fragmented opposition parties participating in the elections as different players.
The PDP says it prefers a “hybrid or rainbow model” in which the various political parties would complement each other by bringing together their expertise and efforts to achieve democratic change, rather than forming a single party, while the MDC-T prefers a “big tent” approach where all parties will form one political party under a single leader.
The second scenario would see two or more opposition coalitions participating in the 2018 elections after failing to agree on the structure, form and leadership of a broader coalition.
Gutu has publicly hinted on the possibility of a coalition between MDC-T and ZPF and excluding other opposition parties while CODE partners have also indicated willingness to go it alone in the event that a grand coalition fails.
The third scenario would see opposition parties agreeing on a grand coalition and backing one presidential candidate against President Mugabe and ZANU-PF.
For most Zimbabweans, a formidable grand coalition against ZANU-PF would be led by Tsvangirai with Mujuru as his deputy while all other opposition parties also come on board.
Analysts say all three scenarios are highly likely depending on how the on-going talks on the possibility of a grand coalition will be handled by the political players concerned.
But there is no guarantee that a coalition against the ruling party would succeed.
Political coalitions in Kenya have succeeded or failed depending on how they have been formed and handled.
In the same vein, a grand coalition of opposition parties in Zimbabwe to fight President Mugabe and ZANU-PF in the crucial 2018 general elections will succeed or fail on the basis of how it would be structured and managed.
Will a grand coalition succeed against President Mugabe and ZANU-PF? Time will tell!

Water rationing looms countrywide

Source: Water rationing looms countrywide | The Financial Gazette August 25, 2016

A COMBINATION of drought, ageing infrastructure, pollution and a ballooning population have conspired to make it almost impossible for the country to access adequate water supplies before the onset of the next rainfall season in November.
Zimbabwe is in the grips of a second year of drought, exacerbated by an El Nino weather phenomenon.
This has left almost a third of the population in serious need of both food and water.
More than four million Zimbabweans would be in dire need of food aid by year end at a time when the national dam level average is hovering around 48, 1 percent, which is way below the normal average of 65 percent.
The critical low dam water levels are linked to the effects of the El Nino-induced drought, as well as  human actions that have caused siltation; while urban housing expansion has seriously affected water availability for both domestic and agricultural use.
Access to safe and reliable drinking water is one of the most basic needs of human society, but the resource is now scarce with households being forced to rely on unprotected sources, contributing to the increase in health risks related to water-borne diseases.
As the water levels in dams countrywide continue to dwindle, the Zimbabwe Humanitarian Situation Report notes that water levels in all the country’s seven catchment areas are about 18 percent below the expected capacity and municipalities are expected to implement water restrictions soon.
The worst affected catchments are Save and Runde which are recording storage capacity levels of 44,8 percent and 21,8 percent respectively, according to the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA).
These two catchments cover most of Masvingo and Manicaland provinces and parts of Matabeleland South, Midlands, and Mashonaland East.
Dam levels in the Mazowe catchment, which covers mainly the Mashonaland Central province, now stand at 73,3 percent.
Mwenje, Mwarazi and Mufurudzi dams are some of the major reservoirs in the catchment.
Dams in the Gwayi catchment in Matabeleland North are below their expected average of 66,2 percent at 57,9 percent.
Sanyati and Mzingwane catchment areas are both below 70 percent at 55 percent and 59 percent respectively.
In light of these depressed water levels, ZINWA has appealed to all water users across the country to use the available resources efficiently and sparingly.
The Rural WASH Information Management System reports that an estimated 11 000 sources of water, boreholes and wells have reduced their yield, while over 750 perennial sources reported a reduction in their capacity or are drying up due to the drought situation, reducing access to safe water for approximately 3,4 million people.
Beside the effects of the drought on water supply, urbanisation has also impacted negatively on the capacity of water sources to adequately supply the resource.
Development Governance Institute director and consultant, Kudzai Chatiza, said it was impossible for anyone to stop urbanisation not just in Zimbabwe, but globally.
“What is needed is to harness urban resources for water development. It is a combination of effective long-range infrastructure planning and implementation anchored on local authority revenues, state funding, properly engaged private sector investment and sustainable development particularly of catchments,” Chatiza said.
For Harare, Chitungwiza and Norton, supply dams namely Chivero and Manyame, as well as the smaller Harava and Seke dams have not been able to meet the demand for water due to the growing population as the construction of Kunzvi Dam remains a pipedream.
Across the country, growth points in all the 63 districts are expanding at a phenomenal rate with areas such as Goromonzi, Mupandawana, Sanyati and Checheche being among the settlements that are putting immense strain on the available water resources.
Zimbabwe has about 10 000 dams, which are facing collapse due to poor maintenance, according to a survey conducted by a South African consultancy  firm, ARUP.
The poor state of the dams has also been exacerbated by siltation with Mudzi Rural District Council reporting that its Nyamuwanga Dam, supplying water to Kotwa Growth Point, has been affected by heavy siltation and the drought.
Early this month, the district sent an SOS as Kotwa, with a population of about 20 000, is left with just three weeks’ supply of water.
The growth point only has six boreholes which are also shared by surrounding rural communities.
Siltation has become a major challenge in all major dams and rivers across the country.
“The economic challenges have forced citizens (rural and urban) to exert undue pressure on the environment. For instance, electricity shortages and absence of alternative rural energy are key factors behind rising demand for (wood) fuel. Land and environmental management challenges have also arisen from the land reform that resulted in loss of forest cover in some areas leading to siltation of water bodies. Artisanal mining activities have also affected watercourse and bodies,” said Chatiza.
ZINWA concurred that siltation has become a major problem affecting water availability in the country’s major dams
“While the current water situation is largely attributable to the poor rains, the siltation of some of the country’s dams has also compromised the dams’ ability to store more water. To this end, ZINWA, through its parent Ministry, the Ministry of Environment, Water and Climate, recently launched the National De-silting Programme under the Food for Work Scheme, which will see locals in food insecure areas helping with the removal of silt from small dams in their areas,” ZINWA said.
ZINWA will also embark on a project to de-silt and rehabilitate 70 dams that have been adversely affected by silt. Silt surveys have so far been conducted at Chimhanda Dam in Rushinga and the Jotsholo Weir in Matabeleland North. Another silt survey will be carried in the coming week at Zimunya Dam in Manicaland.
Water scarcity is predicted to worsen across southern Africa, with a 2012 World Bank report predicting that dam and lakes levels will fall by up to 50 percent by 2080 due to the effects of climate change.

EDITORIAL COMMENT: Politicians letting us down

Source: EDITORIAL COMMENT: Politicians letting us down | The Financial Gazette August 25, 2016

ZIMBABWE’S politicians are a disappointing lot. It is often said that Zimbabwe’s notorious kombi drivers behave as if they were born out of the same womb; the same could be said of our politicians.
Zimbabwe’s politics is hardly centred on articulating bread and butter issues, which matter to the generality of Zimbabweans who struggle daily to put food on their tables. Neither does it promote nation building and unity across Zimbabweans irrespective of their race, tribe, religion and gender.
The brand of politics that has taken root in Zimbabwe is not just pathetic, but counter-productive.
It’s a brand that is steeped in hurling insults upon anyone who dares to think and behave differently and thrives on leading the electorate down the garden path through election promises that are never fulfilled.
With general elections  in 2018, Zimbabwe is already in election mode. Instead of tackling issues at the heart of each and every Zimbabwean, politicians are busy preaching hatred against opponents, which might ignite violence and instability if not nipped in the bud.
By the time we get to the much awaited polls, polarisation among Zimbabweans could have reach dangerous levels.
Thirty-six years into our independence, Zimbabweans cannot continue to blame colonisation for the backwardness that characterises our politics.
Across our borders, South Africa, Zambia, Botswana and elsewhere, politics has matured to a point where election contests are considered as battles for ideas.
Zimbabwe can also take a leaf from the United States where electioneering is all about debating policy issues with candidates being accorded fair coverage to enable them to put their views across and defend their positions without resorting to violence.
What strikes outsiders is that there is absence of robust debate in Zimbabwe, which has more pressing issues.
We have allowed politicians to produce manifestos which are ignored the moment they assume power. Anyone who dares to bring them to account, is treated with contempt and violently silenced because our politicians are too sensitive to criticism.
The socio-economic crisis gripping the country is, in the main, a result of seeds of disunity sowed by politicians decades ago and have been watered, tendered, and fed with organic fertilisers over the years in the name of  advancing political agendas.
Charting a new course in our politics must start at the top with the political leadership across parties speaking and acting in ways that bring the divided nation together.
In the absence of a mature brand of politics, we might as well brace for tougher times ahead because we cannot expect to reap roses after planting thorns.

Govt calls Nssa to order over Telecel acquisition

Source: Govt calls Nssa to order over Telecel acquisition | The Herald

Conrad Mwanawashe : Business Reporter

Government has called the National Social Security Authority to order directing the authority to focus on financing the acquisition of Telecel Zimbabwe through Zarnet, instead of attempting to usurp the deal from the state-owned technology concern. In confidential documents seen by The Herald Business, Government also expressed concern at the combative tone of the authority following a plethora of letters written by the authority’s lawyers, which threatened to derail the deal.Through the Attorney General’s office, Government made it clear that it was not happy with efforts to sneak in new issues in earlier agreements, which has the effect of renegotiating the agreements entered into for the acquisition of the mobile company by Zarnet.

The AG’s office told NSSA through its lawyers Mawere-Sibanda that Government was not happy with the confrontational attitude exhibited by the authority and its lawyers.

“It is in light of this that we are unhappy with the confrontational and combative tone of your letters to us. We do not appreciate it and hope that you will not persist with the same,” the AG’s office said.

According to agreements between the parties, Zarnet acquired 100 percent shareholding of Telecel International Limited from international telecoms giant VimpelCom valued at $40 million and financed by NSSA.

TIL owned 60 percent of Telecel Zimbabwe and Zarnet’s acquisition means that information technology company took over the shareholding in the local mobile company.

“The Empowerment Corporation owns the remaining 40 percent.

But, NSSA has argued that it is entitled to the shareholding in Telecel Zimbabwe because it financed the acquisition, contrary to the terms of the initial agreements, according to documents seen by The Herald Business.

Since NSSA decided to take over the shareholding, there has been a flurry of letters between NSSA’s lawyers, Mawere-Sibanda and the Attorney General’s Office, representing Government and Zarnet, with the authority seeking to renegotiate certain sections of the agreements signed between the parties.

However the AG’s office reminded NSSA that the Telecel Zimbabwe stake belonged to Zarnet and not NSSA.

“Secondly, in case you may not be aware of the genesis of the Telecel issue, we wish to advise you that Cabinet, on behalf of Government, made a decision that it was to acquire Telecel.

“Government thereafter decided to use the vehicle of an entity which it owns in the form of Zarnet to make the acquisition,” the AG’s office wrote NSSA lawyers Mawere-Sibanda last week.

The authority, through its lawyers attempted to have certain sections of the purchase and financing agreements renegotiated; efforts which were strongly resisted by Government. In some of the letters, NSSA gave deadlines to Zarnet to fulfil certain conditions.

“The two agreements in question were entered into in a spirit of cooperation and with mutual desire to give effect to the resolution of Cabinet to acquire the business of Telecel.

“Your client should, therefore, remain focused on this overriding objective.

“If there are any problems we should discuss them in a constructive and amicable manner.”

Zimasco secures export licence

Source: Zimasco secures export licence | The Herald August 25, 2016

Business Reporter

Zimbabwe’s largest ferrochrome producer, Zimasco has secured an export licence after fulfilling Government’s condition to cede 50 percent of chrome claims. Government last year announced that it will only issue chrome ore export licences on condition that big ferrochrome miners, Zimasco and Zim Alloys cede some of their underutilised mining claims.Zimasco has since ceded 50 percent of chrome claims to Government as part of its turnaround strategy leading to the awarding of an export licence earlier this month.

The miner has also been given $4 million treasury bills owed to it by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe under the Debt Assumption Bill, according to Judicial manager Reggie Saruchera of Grant Thornton Camelsa.

“Ever since I was appointed as the judicial manager for Zimasco I held several discussions with the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development and the governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Dr John Mangudya on the prospects of the company getting an export permit. I am glad to announce that we secured an export permit for 240 000mt per annum.

“I further held discussions with the RBZ on the release of the $4 million Treasury Bills owed to Zimasco under the Debt Assumption Bill. The TB’s are, however, yet to be obtained,” said Mr Saruchera while giving an update at the company’s creditors meeting yesterday.

He said successful discussions have also been held with the Environmental Management Agency resulting in the release of Environmental Impact Assessments certificates for Impinge, Lalapanzi (North and South) and South of Shurugwi.

There had been issues raised with the regards to environmental pollution of communities by the ferrochrome giant but Mr Saruchera highlighted that all the issues have since been settled with the environmental regulator.

Zimasco is a unit of China’s Sinosteel Corporation.

Kereke dismisses cross-appeal

Source: Kereke dismisses cross-appeal | The Herald August 25, 2016

Chief Court Reporter

Rapist former Bikita West legislator Munyaradzi Kereke (pictured right) says the cross-appeal by the guardian of the minor he raped six years ago, seeking a minimum of 20 years imprisonment term is devoid of merit. Through his lawyer, Mr Charles Warara, Mr Francis Maramwidze argues that Kereke should have got 20 years in jail in view of the gravity of the offence.In his application for leave to appeal against sentence, Mr Maramwidze also argued that the trial magistrate had not considered the aggravating circumstances when he jailed Kereke to an effective 10 years.

But in his response filed in the High Court recently, Kereke said the cross-appeal prospects of success are nil.

“It is devoid of merit and in that regard, it’s my prayer that the application be dismissed with costs on an attorney-client scale,” he argues.

Kereke also contends that if the sentence of the court a quo was to be interfered with, it could only be so on the basis that it was unduly harsh as per his appeal already before the same court.

“It is therefore my submission that the contemplated cross-appeal does not enjoy any prospects of success and therefore the application must fail.”

The former legislator also said there was no reason given justifying the proposed sentence, which he viewed was not only excessive but also harsh to induce a sense of shock.

In his cross-appeal, Mr Maramwidze averred that the lower court erred at law in failing to take into consideration the relevant factors determining the sentence to be imposed on a person convicted of rape in terms of Section 65 (2) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act Chapter 9:23.

The sentence, he said, was inadequate in view of the findings of fact made by the trial court and the nature of the charge.

But the trial court in its judgment, noted as facts that the complainant was a minor when she was raped. It also considered Kereke’s age and that a gun was used in the commission of the rape.

The court also noted that Kereke was related to the victim and that sexual intercourse was unprotected.

Kereke last month appealed to the High Court against both conviction and sentence. In the event that the conviction is upheld, Kereke argued then the sentence should be reduced to an effective eight months in prison.

Cremation environmentally friendly

Source: Cremation environmentally friendly | The Herald August 25, 2016

Sharon Ngomani

“I cannot imagine old, wrinkled witches with their long nails feasting on my flesh when I die. I will not give them that satisfaction because now they must be salivating, lusting after my thick frame and big bottom. But if I am to be cremated tough luck on them, they can only sniff my ashes spread all over the village.”These are the fears of 46-year-old Mrs Fungai Mamoyo of Kuwadzana Phase 3 in Harare, over the issue of whether her remains should be buried or cremated when she dies.

With her larger than life personality, cracking a sharp, thunderous laugh in the process, she speaks of her burial options.

To cremate or not to cremate has been subject of debate since time immemorial even beyond Zimbabwe. Cremation is a method of body disposal after death which involves subjecting the body to intense heat ranging from 500 Degrees Celsius to 800C.

The resultant is minute bone fragments and ash that feel coarse like fine gravel. The family can then decide to dispose the ash in diverse ways or to keep it in a columbarium (a room or building where urns are stored).

The debate has been sparked by the growing shortage of burial space especially in the cities.

Harare council has nine cemeteries with four of them still active, namely Granville A and B popularly referred to as kuMbudzi, Mabvuku and Warren Hills. Recently, the latter has been closed to the public due to lack of space and it will take time and hefty resources to develop the virgin uphill land still available in the cemetery.

This is enough evidence to show that traditional burial of digging graves is eating up space and resources.

Dr Thomas Marambanyika, a lecturer in the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies at Midlands State University, agreed that cities were running out of burial space.

“Zimbabwe like most countries in Africa is characterised by rapid population growth and will need more space for housing and other development activities in the future. Eventually land will become less and less. So if we are to talk of future sustainable societies there is need for us to start adopting green methods of body disposal such as cremation that save land,” he said.

The challenge of burial space shortages is not limited to Zimbabwe. In 2015, Zambia’s capital city Lusaka faced a problem of shortage of burial space.

Cremation is emerging as an environmentally friendly option that does not disturb the nature of physical environment or ecosystems. With traditional burial, there is a high probability of pollution of the natural environment.

Coffins are usually coated with preservatives such as chromate copper arsenate, paints and varnishes containing dangerous chemicals such as mercury and lead that could leach into ground water systems.

Embalming chemicals also contaminate the soil when the body eventually decays. This puts human, plant and animal life at a high health risk.

Economically, cremation is also cheap as there are no coffins, embalming and burial plot associated costs.

Neither is there a need to hire a hearse to transport the body because the ashes will be portable in an urn. It is also cheaper when repatriating a body from abroad. Basically cremation-related costs are half of traditional burial costs.

But good and green as it may sound, cremation has not been widely accepted across societies in the world. In Zimbabwe, culture condemns the practice of cremation.

A traditionalist known as Mai Muroro explained the standpoint.

“It is not in our Shona culture to cremate. We bury a body underground and in caves in cases of royalty and masvikiro. This is because we have our traditional beliefs and rituals that we carry out around the grave. Rituals such as kutema rukawo (the first dig) and kurova guva (ceremony of bringing back the dead) require a grave. We also don’t burn bodies,” she said.

After death in Zimbabwean culture, certain rituals are performed such as having the body of an adult lie in state before burial while mourners keep an all-night vigil. After that, normal burial proceeds, accompanied by other rituals.

Most Christian denominations also do not encourage cremation. Others such as Catholics do not completely forbid it but neither do they encourage it.

Pastor George Kaseke of Glad Tidings Fellowship explained why as Christians they do not condone cremation.

“We do not encourage cremation because Christ whom we follow was not cremated. Also nowhere in the Bible was cremation encouraged,” he said.

But nowhere in the Bible was it discouraged either. There are two instances of cremation in the Bible. The first is of Saul and Jonathan who after being mutilated by the Philistines were cremated and their bones buried by the Israelites to avoid ridicule from the Philistines (1 Samuel 31 vs 8-13).

The second is of Achan and his family who were cremated after deliberately sinning by taking for themselves spoils of the battle of Jericho (Joshua 7 vs 25). In this case cremation was done as a punishment.

Other beliefs such as Islam and Judaism completely forbid it while Indian beliefs such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sakhism encourage it.

Whether Mrs Mamoyo will actually go with cremation as her method of body disposal remains to be seen. And only time will tell if more people in Zimbabwe will begin to accept cremation as a green method of disposing of the dead.

Zimbabwe, Egypt agree to implement tourism MOU

Source: Zimbabwe, Egypt agree to implement tourism MOU | The Financial Gazette August 23, 2016

THE Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industry, Walter Mzembi last week met Egyptian government officials to discuss the implementation of the memorandum of understanding (MoU) on co-operation in the field of Tourism.

The MOU was signed between the two countries in December 2014.

A statement issued by the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) said Mzembi and his counterpart, Mohamed Yehia Rahed, agreed to set up a Joint Tourism Technical Committee (JTTC) to drive the implementation.

“We are definitely excited about our engagements here and one key thing that was at the epi-centre of our discussions was the urgent need to set up a joint tourism technical committee that will spearhead the operationalisation of our MoU with Egypt,” Mzembi said.

“There are various programmes that will be implemented in the context of our MoU. One such key programme is the agreed Egypt Tourism Week to be held in February 2017 in Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwe Tourism Week in Egypt in April 2017 which, essentially, is a reciprocal event,” said Mzembi.

Egypt offered to support Mzembi’s candidature for the post of United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) secretary general.

Mzembi, who has been endorsed by the African Union (AU) as the African candidate for the powerful post, took his campaign to Egypt last week.

He took the opportunity to meet an Egyptian official who sits on the board that will receive final nominations and elect a candidate for the post.

“Egypt is committed and bound by the AU resolutions particularly on the candidature of Dr Mzembi. We want to assure him of our support,” said Egypt Foreign Minister, Sameh Shoukry.

VP Phelekezela Mphoko leaves hotel

Source: VP Phelekezela Mphoko leaves hotel | The Financial Gazette August 23, 2016

VICE President Phelekezela Mphoko has left Rainbow Tower Hotel which has been his home since December 2014 when he was appointed to the presidium.

Government sources said the Vice President left the hotel this month for his official residence at number 5 Corfe Road, Highlands.

There has been surging public outrage over his stay at the hotel at a time government was struggling to pay salaries to civil servants.

Angry groups of placard-waving protestors drawn from the National Vendors Union, Restoration of Human Rights and militant pressure Tajamuka/Sesijikilehad once stormed the hotel, demanding that he vacates the property saying his continued stay there demonstrated extravagance and insensitivity to the plight of the majority of suffering Zimbabweans.

Mphoko, however, defended his stay there saying that before his appointment, he had stayed in a private hotel, 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 in June.

At that time he also dismissed accusation that he refused to move into a government house bought for him by the State in Harare.

“People do not know what they are talking about. The house that the government has brought me is not even worth US$3 million. It’s US$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,” he said.

Mphoko said before moving into the house acquired for him by 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

His recent defence of his stay at the Rainbow Towers Hotel since his appointment in 2014 has not only attracted scorn, but has also divided public opinion.

Opposition political parties and civic activists have joined forces to demand that Mphoko should vacate the hotel.

Mujuru prophet acquitted

A SELF-PROCLAIMED Kwekwe prophet who last year “prophesied” that former Vice-President Joice Mujuru had been anointed by God to take over from President Robert Mugabe, has been acquitted on charges of stealing a cellphone and cash from a soldier.

Source: Mujuru prophet acquitted – NewsDay Zimbabwe August 24, 2016

BY BLESSED MHLANGA

Lloyd Matikiti (30), of the Church of God, was arrested in March this year on allegations of stealing a cellphone belonging to Clever Zindoga, a soldier based at One Air Defence in Redcliff.

Just before his arrest, Matikiti made headlines after claiming the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) was after him over his “prophecy.” The man of the cloth claimed State security agents urged him to stop making “misguided pronouncements”, warning he risked facing “the music.”

Provincial magistrate Ngoni Nduna acquitted Matikiti at the close of the State case citing lack of evidence.

His co-accused, Feknose Lema (28), will, however, be put to his defence as the trial continues.

Following his acquittal, Matikiti, who at one time spent nearly two months in remand prison while failing to raise $100 bail, said he knew God would come to his rescue.

“I knew there would be attacks. Every time God speaks there are people who want to kill the prophets thinking that this will stop the Word of God from being fulfilled,” he said.

Matikiti vowed to continue praying to ensure his “prophecy” would come to pass and would not be deterred by the CIO or police.

“They can arrest me again on trumped-up charges, but I will continue to pray to my God who gave me that vision until Mujuru becomes President, that is God’s will and it will happen,” he said.

In the prophecy, Matikiti said a coalition between Mujuru and Tsvangirai would unseat Mugabe and lead the people of Zimbabwe to a better future.

Mujuru was ousted from Mugabe’s government in 2014 and went on to form her own political party, ZimFirst, which is now on the verge of forming a pact with Tsvangirai ahead of the 2018 general elections.

More pictures: Police provoke Harare CBD chaos

View pictures: In what has been seen as an attempt to forestall Friday’s multi-party mega demonstration, police in Harare on Wednesday descended on MDC-T youths who were marching in the city centre, resulting in chaos as police fired teargas and randomly truncheoned members of the public, leaving many shops closed and city centre deserted.

Source: More pictures: Police provoke Harare CBD chaos – NewsDay Zimbabwe August 24, 2016

In the ensuing melee, angry protesters retaliated against the police brutality

Mutsvangwa springs to Mujuru’s defence

WAR veterans have reacted angrily to what they called Zanu PF’s belittling of female combatants of the country’s liberation war following State media “exposés” of former Vice-President Joice Mujuru’s alleged sexcapades during the war.

Source: Mutsvangwa springs to Mujuru’s defence – NewsDay Zimbabwe August 24, 2016

BY RICHARD CHIDZA

Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association (ZNLWVA) chairman Christopher Mutsvangwa (pictured) yesterday sprang to Mujuru’s defence, saying she remained an inspiration to all freedom fighters.

“The war was not a nunnery. Joice Mujuru is a fully-fledged war veteran, a fighter and a leading woman combatant. She trained the critical mass of cadres who defeated Ian Smith’s Rhodesian army in the four short years following the resumption of war in 1976. She was among 10 specially-trained cadres who met thousands of new recruits at the Zhunda Camp outside Chimoio, Mozambique, in 1975,” Mutsvangwa said.

Mutsvangwa said, instead, it was President Robert Mugabe who benefited from Mujuru’s efforts.

“None other than war rookie Robert Mugabe benefited from Joice Mujuru, the trained cadre at Zhunda Camp. She will remain an inspiration in her own right well beyond those who glory in that which is accidentally bestowed by marriage certificates. Such reactionary apostasy will come to naught.”

Mutsvangwa accused unnamed people in Zanu PF of seeking to revise the history of the liberation struggle and the role played by female combatants during the armed struggle.

“It is abhorrent historical revisionism. Tichaona Freedom Nyamubaya and many brave women combatants would take the gravest offence to this desecration of their valiant sacrifice,” Mutsvangwa said. “Incidentally, I first heard such blasphemy right in the Zanu PF politburo. Sadly, no one bothered to dress down the source of such utterances.”

Mujuru, who was axed from Zanu PF last year, reportedly trained the likes of Mutsvangwa, national heroes Willard Zororo Duri and John Mayowe, ex-Attorney General Sobusa Gula-Ndebele, Office of the President and Cabinet deputy secretary Justin Mupamhanga, field combat casualty Neville Dembetembe and paediatrician Masimba Mwazha, according to the war veterans’ chairman.

ZNLWVA secretary-general Victor Matemadanda weighed in, saying the allegations about Mujuru’s “lack of integrity” also reflected badly on those who appointed her.

“If Mujuru was fake, then Zimbabweans must begin to ask tough questions about the calibre of the appointing authority. Mujuru did not appoint herself to Cabinet, the Zanu PF politburo or all other positions she held over the 34 years she was part of government and the ruling party,” Matemadanda said.

“It has become fashionable for those in Zanu PF to speak ill of every person when they are either expelled or when they decide to leave the party.”

Matemadanda said Mujuru had been allowed to act as President on numerous instances in her 10 years as Vice-President.

“What does this say about her principal? Why did they allow her access to State power? Zimbabweans must ask these questions and demand answers. Is it because those who appointed her are naïve, not fit for office or are they also fake? Those throwing mud at her must remember everyone has a private life and people also know the things they have done. Mujuru has a family and deserves to be treated as a human being,” Matemadanda said.

Both Mutsvangwa and Matemadanda were recently fired from Zanu PF alongside several other top war veteran leaders on allegations of indiscpline.

The State media has begun a smear campaign against Mujuru amid claims she was no more than a concubine during the liberation struggle despite historical evidence that she was the inaugural leader of the Zanu women’s league in the late 70s.

 

Let’s apply more pressure on the system: Tsvangirai

MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai believes the only way to bring about the much-needed electoral reforms in the country is to apply pressure on the government.

Source: Let’s apply more pressure on the system: Tsvangirai – NewsDay Zimbabwe August 24, 2016

Below are excerpts of the interview:

ND: You will be joining other opposition parties on Friday on a National Electoral Reform Agenda (Nera)-led demonstration. Why are you participating and also, what’s the importance of this demonstration?

MT: For a very long time, we have been entrapped in disputed elections in this country and it’s not by accident because by design Zanu PF has never put in place an acceptable electoral management system.

If you look at all the benchmarks for what is a credible election, you will start off by asking yourself if we do have an independent electoral commission. It’s up to dispute because the manner in which this electoral commission is being subverted by a secretariat, which is appointed from the security establishment, in itself undermines the independence of this process.

If you look at the voters’ roll in the last election, we didn’t even have a voters’ roll (and) how do you run an election without one? If you look at the violence that is sometimes associated with elections in this country, you begin to say this is the only way people are being frog-marched, are being intimidated and are being forced to support a party that they don’t choose. These are very critical issues.

Then you go to the question of the electoral process itself, about the various proofs that people have voted twice.

In the last election, we had slips and we had a situation where six million ballots were printed for three million registered voters. We had a situation where rigging in all parts of the country was so prevalent that even Zanu PF itself was not sure how they won the election.

All these come to one point: Why can’t we run an election like South Africans do? Like Botswana has done? They are good examples of how an election can be conducted where the opposition and the winner congratulate each other. That’s how an election is conducted.

For us, we have had these disputes ever since I started participating in elections. Worse still, we won the election in 2008 (and President Robert) Mugabe refused to give up power. Unless there is an assurance that the mandate of the people is respected, then you have situations where even the mandate is subverted by other extra-judicial and extra-constitutional methods.

That is why our campaign for electoral reforms is critical for the next election. That is why all political parties agree under Nera to come, express and demonstrate that there have to be reforms for us before we go for elections.

It’s timely because there is still time to correct all the unconstitutional processes that are being put in place. Already, we are hearing that people are being registered, but is this not supposed to be an open process where people will register? Why is there secrecy?

In fact, we are going to move that Parliament must ask Zec to give us a roadmap to the next election with clear benchmarks. We want to see clear benchmarks for that process to be transparent and we are going to demonstrate to the effect that these issues are addressed.

ND: Who is the target of this demonstration? Are you targeting individuals or it’s the entire system?

MT: It’s the entire system and it has nothing to do with individuals because individuals are also subverted by the system. We are saying that we have to have full confidence in the election management system and it includes the constitution of Zec itself, the manner in which it is being administered and the manner in which political parties play a part. We all have to be involved at every stage. Where we have grievances, there must be an avenue to resolve those grievances.

ND: The challenges?

MT: There are a lot of gaps and, in fact, we are the only electoral system in the region which is not even complying with the basic standards of managing elections.

ND: What is your message to those who want to participate on Friday?

MT: What I am saying to Zimbabwe is that let’s come together, let’s demonstrate and let’s put pressure on the regime and let’s put pressure on Zec to correct those issues we are raising and I am calling on all Zimbabweans to come and join.

ND: Do you think the government will bow to pressure?

MT: We are not acting because they will bow to pressure. We are putting pressure and to me that is sufficient. Zimbabweans must begin to break out of fear of the regime. They must begin to express themselves so that the regime has no option, but to listen.

ND: In the event that there are no reforms, what will happen next?

MT: Well, that is an assessment we will have to make at a particular point in the process. We want to participate in the elections, but sometimes, circumstances dictate behaviour (and) that it’s not feasible for us to go blindfold into an election which we know is going to be rigged. So those are options that we will have to exercise at that particular moment.

But we want to participate in the elections. We were formed to participate in elections and that is what we want, but where there are all these challenges and obstacles, it will be almost naïve to believe that we can go blindfold into an electoral process which we know will be rigged even before we start.

Mujuru, Tsvangirai sceptical of NTA

THE opposition MDC-T led by Morgan Tsvangirai and Joice Mujuru’s ZimPF have said the proposed National Transitional Authority (NTA) meant to prepare a soft landing for President Robert Mugabe was “too elitist” and modelled along the ruling party’s much-vilified “top-bottom approach”.

Source: Mujuru, Tsvangirai sceptical of NTA – NewsDay Zimbabwe August 24, 2016

BY EVERSON MUSHAVA

The NTA, according to one of its main proponents and People’s Democratic Party leader Tendai Biti, was aimed at plugging an envisaged leadership vacuum after Mugabe’s departure.

Biti and several academics, who include Ibbo Mandaza, have suggested that the only way Zimbabwe could come out of the political cesspit created by the Mugabe government’s legitimacy crisis was through an NTA.

But Mujuru and Tsvangirai yesterday said while they agreed on the need for a transitional mechanism, they did not want academics to impose the model on them.

“The elite pact is not the solution to the country’s political problems,” MDC-T spokesperson Obert Gutu said.
“That has been Mugabe’s dilemma where political decisions are made by Mugabe alone and his elites in the politburo. As the MDC, we cannot walk the same rope.”

He added: “We are not saying politicians should have the monopoly to solve the problems Zimbabweans are facing, but any solution should have the support of the people from the grassroots. There is need for political parties to consult their structures.”

Gutu said the country had no constitutional provision for the NTA model, adding Mugabe was not likely to endorse it.

ZimPF spokesperson Jealousy Mawarire described the model as utopian.

“Today it’s a transitional authority whose terms of reference and constitutional and political practicality remains shrouded in deep operational clouds,” Mawarire said.

“The other day the same protagonists, who also believe their ideas are pervasive and the only prescribed way out for our country, want to be coalition consultants despite the fact that their ideas have no resonance with the direction these political co-operations are envisaged to transact by the people who give political office bearers the legitimacy to form the coalition.”

He added: “It is, therefore, not surprising, when it happens, that those political parties which are serious about forming a coalition that will not just quantify votes, but one that heals our poisoned politics, boycott, or choose to excuse themselves from these debates which are utopian at best.”

The two party leaders have, however, agreed to a coalition of opposition political parties and a fortnight ago held a joint protest march in Gweru.

Biti yesterday, however, said the NTA was not an individual party decision, but should be debated by everyone.
“Parties should bring people to the negotiating table. No party or individual should have a monopoly on decisions,” the former Finance minister said.

Mandaza said there was a difference between NTA and collation of political parties. He said the NTA was not political, but all-inclusive to find consensus on how the country’s politicians can be handled after Mugabe, adding Zimbabwe was on a cliff edge where anything could happen.

“We are consulting every party. That is why we had invited every political party at last week’s Sapes dialogue on the matter. I personally invited Tsvangirai and he said he would send someone. I called Luke Tamborinyoka (Tsvangirai’s spokesperson) and he promised that as well,” Mandaza said.

“Mujuru had promised to send David Butau, but all did not come. We even invited Zanu PF because we are consulting.”
He added: “On the legal issue, we agreed at the Sapes debate that this would need a simple Parliamentary majority to change the Constitution to allow for the NTA. We need to consult everyone, and get regional and international buy-in.”

Govt digs in on import restrictions

THOSE in the agriculture and retail business complaining about being affected by import restrictions must not be entertained as communal farmers have capacity to meet the demand, a deputy minister has said.

Source: Govt digs in on import restrictions – NewsDay Zimbabwe August 24, 2016

BY TATIRA ZWINOIRA

Last month, government promulgated Statutory Instrument (SI) 64 of 2016, which restricted the importation of certain products to protect local industries. It said those that wanted to import restricted products have to obtain a licence, but after satisfying authorities why they should be allowed to import the products.

Speaking at a breakfast meeting yesterday, deputy minister of Agriculture Paddy Zhanda said communal farmers were more than capable of meeting the demand.

The meeting was held under the theme, Interrogating the State of Zimbabwe’s Agricultural Sector and running concurrently with the 2016 Harare Agricultural Show.

“I hear retailers are coming to you [ministry of Industry and Commerce] to say they have been affected by SI 64 of 2016. Let them be affected, do not worry, they will soon find ways of dealing with that. We have poor farmers in Mutoko, for example, who produce enough maize and carrots, farmers in Chegutu that produce tomatoes and butternut every now and again, who come to Mbare Musika to sell their products and find them competing with products from South Africa,” Zhanda said.

“If we continue to behave normally in an abnormal situation it means that you are not normal. Let us not listen to those people who are saying their businesses are going to die and employment will be affected, just say thank you.”
He added: “The person who came to open a business here — their intention was not to harm employment, it was to make money and unfortunately you cannot make money without employing people.”

Some of the 43 products listed on S1 64 of 2016 were put as a preventative measure as they were found to be easily produced in the country.

Economist Kipson Gundani said there had to be constant monitoring of SI 64 of 2016, as trade was a double edged sword, meaning, both good and bad.

“I think there is an agreement that this (SI 64 of 2016) is a short term measure and is not sustainable itself. We need to go a step further into domesticating procurement through probably a local content approach similar to what industrialised countries have done. More importantly, there is an agreement to say yes trade is good, but it is also harmful,” Gundani said.

“There is an agreement to regulate but what needs to happen is the extent to which to regulate because we may over regulate to an extent where we get less and less efficient which would detrimental to our cause.”
It is estimated the agricultural sector needs $2 billion to be capacitated.

Indian rape suspects offer $100k cash surety

THE two Indian nationals who are accused of raping a local woman at a hotel in Harare, have now offered to pay $100 000 each in cash as surety for the temporary release of their passports to enable them to travel to their native country to attend to family problems.

Source: Indian rape suspects offer $100k cash surety – NewsDay Zimbabwe August 24, 2016

BY CHARLES LAITON

Krishna Satyanarayan Gandlar (33) and his alleged accomplice, Ravi Kumar Krishnan (40), last month approached the High Court seeking variation of bail on changed circumstances. They offered to increase the bail amount to $5 000, but the figure was opposed by the State and the application dismissed by the court.

Through their lawyers, Jonathan Samukange and Dumisani Mthombeni, the duo proposed to increase the bail money 20-fold and urged High Court judge Justice Lavender Makoni to release their passports promising they would return for trial and clear their names.

The lawyers also told the court the State was not ready to proceed to trial yet since the blood samples of the suspects that were taken for DNA tests were still in Zimbabwe and had not been referred to South Africa as alleged by the State.

In their submissions, the lawyers averred, the State was not telling the truth regarding the position of the State’s investigations, saying it would need Cabinet approval for the blood samples to be taken to South Africa for forensic examination, which process had not been done.

However, prosecutor Tapiwa Kasema insisted the State was opposed to the pair’s application saying the government was just waiting for the results and the samples were already in South Africa.

Kasema also said the State would not be moved by whatever figure the suspects could put on the table to persuade the court to allow them to leave Zimbabwe, adding their intention was to flee the jurisdiction of the country’s courts.

The matter was rolled over to today after Justice Makoni requested the State to provide proof of the documents supporting that the blood samples had been sent to South Africa.

The two suspects have been on remand and in the country for the past five weeks after being released on $1 000 bail each and they have also accused the complainant of attempting to extort money from them.

2 killed as ZimPF activist’s home gutted by fire

KAROI — Two people, one of them a toddler, were reportedly burnt to death after a hut belonging to a Zimbabwe People First (ZimPF) member caught fire in a suspected case of politically-motivated violence.

Source: 2 killed as ZimPF activist’s home gutted by fire – NewsDay Zimbabwe August 24, 2016

By Own Correspondent

The incident occurred last Friday at Crotea Farm in Karoi.

ZimPF Mashonaland West spokesperson Dennis Kagonye yesterday said one of their members, Vimbai Charumbira, was nursing serious burns after surviving the inferno, which took the life of his wife and one-year-old child.

“A ZimPF activist’s homestead was set alight at around 7pm, shortly after the family had retired to bed. We suspect these are the evil works of our political opponents. As a result of the attack, Charumbira’s wife and child died in the blaze after the thatch collapsed on them,” Kagonye said.

Charumbira had reportedly struggled to escape after finding the door suspiciously fastened from outside, and by the time he attempted to save his family, the roof had already caved in. He was rushed to Hillview Clinic, while the charred remains of his wife and child were conveyed to Karoi District Hospital mortuary.

Mashonaland West police confirmed the incident, but spokesperson Inspector Clemence Mabgweazara could not be reached for comment.

Since the launch of ZimPF, the party has claimed attacks have been perpetrated against its members in a bid to instil fear.

A fortnight ago, Passmore Simba (31), ZimPF ward 14 political commissar in Mashonaland Central, had his homestead torched by assailants said to be known Zanu PF functionaries from Magadzi 1 Village out to “fix” him for belonging to an opposition political outfit.

Simba said he had been threatened by Zanu PF youths prior to the attack.

Councils fear Zanu PF debt cancellation

THERE is palpable fear among local authorities that the Zanu PF-led government might, as it did in 2013, write-off residents’ rates arrears as a vote-buying gimmick ahead of the 2018 elections, thereby further crippling service delivery.

Source: Councils fear Zanu PF debt cancellation – NewsDay Zimbabwe August 24, 2016

By KHANYILE MLOTSHWA

The issue of debt cancellation and emergence of partisan housing projects that are not in line with local authorities’ development programmes, generated heated debate at the ongoing workshop for the media and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) on public finance reporting.

The workshop is being held in Bulawayo.

Mbuso Fuzwayo, a member of the Gwanda Residents’ Association and also a civil activist said the cancellation of debts in 2013 paralysed service provision at most local authorities, adding fears abound there will be a repeat come the 2018 elections.

“Even the justification by the (Local Government) minister did nothing to tell us of the legality or illegality of what happened in 2013,” he said.

“What has happened is that local authorities are complaining about it and as it is there is no service delivery going on. Local authorities fear that the debts may be cancelled again in 2018.”

Precious Shumba of the Harare Residents Trust noted that the debts in 2013 were cancelled in the context of the high salaries that council executives were paying themselves.

Participants also raised concern over Local Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere’s recent move to bypass local authorities and dole out residential stands mostly to Zanu PF youths.

They said the stands were being allocated outside the housing waiting lists and the broader development plans of urban authorities concerned.

Giving a keynote address, Senate President, Edna Madzongwe said: “Without a competent media fraternity and CSOs, openness, accountability and transparency may become impossible virtues to achieve.

“The media and the CSOs are the moral vanguards of accountability. How well the media fulfils these functions is vital. We are all accountable to the people of Zimbabwe. Parliament is cognisant of the important role that both the media and CSOs play in connecting it to its key stakeholders, the public.”

Churches seek Mugabe impeachment

Several church groups are expected to take to the streets of Harare tomorrow to protest against the government before submitting a petition to Parliament calling for a motion to impeach President Robert Mugabe over his failure to arrest the current challenges facing the country.

Source: Churches seek Mugabe impeachment – NewsDay Zimbabwe August 24, 2016

BY OBEY MANAYITI

Among the groups expected to participate in the protest are Bishop Ancelimo Magaya’s Zimbabwe Divine Destiny, Zimbabwe Christian Alliance, Christian Voice, Zimbabwe Pastors’ Fellowship and Prayer Network Zimbabwe.

The church groups said the economic and social crises prevailing in the country had reached alarming levels and were even threatening the survival of the helpless masses, and ultimately peace of the nation.

“We demand for government to acknowledge that Zimbabwe is in a dire situation that requires an extraordinary collective response to rescue the country from total collapse that may trigger a regrettable spontaneous civil unrest,” a statement by the churches read.

The church groups will petition both government and Parliament demanding the opening of a formal national dialogue that urgently seeks to resolve the national crises.

“Failure of which the church demands Parliament to move a motion of impeachment of the President over failed governance, and subsequently set up a transitional authority to handle the crises and carry the nation through until the next election,” said the churches

The groups also spoke against the police’s heavy-handedness in dealing with peaceful anti-government protests.
“The Church’s mandate is not restricted to feeding the hungry, comforting the offended or bandaging the bruised. That would be a mockery of the Church or misreading of scriptures.

“Rather and more importantly, it is to prevent hunger, offence and bruises from happening by rebuking the spirits that cause them and the human agents used by those spirits. The Church goes further to teach people how to purge society of such spirits and prevent such heartless human agents from destroying livelihoods and social moral fabric,” the churches added.

Meanwhile, the Rural Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (RTUZ) has called off its 200km march over allegations of heavy interference and disruptions by State security operatives.

At one point, marchers were detained by the police.

“It is with a heavy heart that I am forced to call off our 200km march. The lives of our leaders are in danger and as revolutionaries we have to retreat at times and restrategise. I can’t share finer details of security concerns as some comrades are still to get to safety,” RTUZ leader Obert Masaraure said.

Masaraure said they would look at alternative non-violent ways to keep on pressurising the government to address their plight.

UYO, #Tajamuka take campaign to Harare suburbs

UNEMPLOYED Youth Organisation (UYO) in partnership with organisers of the #Tajamuka campaign yesterday took to Epworth on the outskirts of Harare mobilising young people to demand their democratic rights towards a better Zimbabwe.

Source: UYO, #Tajamuka take campaign to Harare suburbs – NewsDay Zimbabwe August 24, 2016

BY SOFIA MAPURANGA

The meetings, attended by youths from Epworth, saw police reaction units being deployed in the sprawling, poverty-stricken suburb to monitor the activities of UYO, which were conducted peacefully.

Co-ordinator of UYO, Ishmael Kauzani, said the organisation had launched similar campaigns in most cities and towns as part of efforts to ensure that young people were empowered in the democratic processes that affected them.

“Youths should not take a back seat while they are being abused and subjected to all sorts of misrule by a government purporting to represent the people,” he said, adding UYO was campaigning for President Robert Mugabe and his government to step down.

Kauzani said the government had failed to turn around the fortunes of the country while corruption was now the order of the day.

UYO said at least 12 political parties and 28 civic organisations were supporting calls for the establishment of a new government.

Donald Mavhudzi, of the #Tajamuka campaign, who was also part of the demonstrations, said people were against all forms of police brutality.

“They closed our businesses in Mbare as vendors. It is baffling how government chose to invest in teargas while citizens are hungry,” said Mavhudzi.

Chenai Gwanda, who was also part of the demonstrators, said she belonged to the “lost generation.”

“I have never known a good life. Everything is a struggle,” said the 23-year-old, adding that youths were ready for change.

“Young women end up engaging in all sorts of anti-social behaviours including prostitution to eke out a living. We also need the basic social services that promote a better lifestyle for girls and young women as guaranteed in the Constitution.”

Hamutendi Nyirenda called on youths to actively take part in the country’s democratic processes.

“Youths are docile and the majority of them are taking drugs while the women are engaging in prostitution,” she said, emphasising the importance of a clean voters’ roll.

“The voters’ roll should be fixed or else we must have a one-man one-vote ballot just like we did in 1980,” she said.

Last month, residents of Epworth were subjected to police brutality after they joined a strike by commuter omnibus operators who barricaded roads.

Over 100 residents from Epworth and Mabvuku were hauled before the courts facing public violence charges.

Insurance players urged to introduce low cost services

Insurance players should come up with lower cost products, which tally with the prevailing economic challenges, Insurance Institute of Zimbabwe (IIZ) president has said.

Source: Insurance players urged to introduce low cost services – NewsDay Zimbabwe August 24, 2016

BY FIDELITY MHLANGA

Speaking at the institute’s winter school which started in Nyanga on Monday, IIZ leader Edward Gomba said the harsh economic environment obtaining in the country was making it difficult for insurance consumers to buy expensive packages.

“There is no escaping the fact that our clients in this day are more concerned with making ends meet, and as such, a low-cost simple product that delivers only essential items may be the order of the day. In tough times like these, the first thing to go among other so-called ‘non-essentials’, is insurance,” he said.

Gomba urged insurance companies to be innovative and creative so as to propel the business forward.

The winter school is being held under the theme “Going back to basics with a dynamic new mind set”.
The school ends today.

Gomba said, for example, in motor insurance, a client pays full cover for their car in one term and in another, they fail to raise the required amount and goes for third party insurance as such a client would have removed insurance as part of priorities.

To mitigate such challenges and draw backs, Gomba said insurance businesses should put in place proper strategies and go back to basics as the current economic environment required flexibility, and one of the most important skills was the art of compromise and avoiding rigidity.

“From the consumer’s point of view, the insurance renewal is presented by the industry as binary — you either pay or you do not pay. To mitigate such challenges and draw backs that have become the order of the day in the insurance business world, proper strategies have to be put in place and going back to basics should be inevitable for every firm,” Gomba said.

The current environment, according to Gomba, demanded continuous review of strategies and techniques for survival and growth into the future with the winter school being one of such platforms to sharpen the future insurance industry leadership.

In the first quarter of 2016, non-life insurance firms registered a 38,95% decline in profit after tax, writing a lower volume of business due to economic slowdown.

According to the Insurance and Pensions Commission’s report for the quarter to March 31 2016, the non-life insurance sector’s total profit after tax was pegged at $2,39 million, down from $3,92m during the same period of 2015.

Banks dishonest on 99-year leases: Govt

GOVERNMENT has accused bankers of being dishonest concerning the conditions needed to use 99-year leases as collateral, and implored financial institutions to reduce the cost of borrowing.

Source: Banks dishonest on 99-year leases: Govt – NewsDay Zimbabwe August 24, 2016

BY TATIRA ZWINOIRA

Interest rates for loans from banks average 15% to 20% per annum.

Speaking at a breakfast meeting yesterday at the Harare Agricultural Show, Agriculture deputy minister (livestock) Paddy Zhanda said bankers have to understand that finance was a major challenge in agriculture.

“The challenges of agriculture in this country are issues to do with finance, and on the issue of finance, is the issue of the interest rates. On the issue of productivity, when you are talking about agriculture as a business, you are talking about basically what yield are you achieving, whether you are producing eggs, milk or whatever you are producing. The viability of agriculture is dependent on your yield that you achieve. Also, there is an issue of access to the markets and climate change,” Zhanda said.

“Even if the 99-year leases are bankable, the issue here is that bankers are not being honest. The issue here is that the Reserve Bank (of Zimbabwe) requires that bankers give you loans on the basis of security that you provided.

Therefore, banking institutions should never be on the basis that you have given security,” he added.

“It must be on the basis that the project makes sense and the money is structured in a manner that it gives client-to-borrower flexibility. Also, your interest rate has to be reasonable. Really 15% or 20% is for the top farmers.”

Government and banks have been haggling, with the latter arguing that the 99-year leases in their present form do not constitute collateral.

This comes nearly two decades after government embarked on a fast-track land reform exercise meant to redress colonial imbalances.

In the past, commercial farmers used to pledge land as collateral and get loans from banks.

The land reform exercise has brought uncertainty as government has failed to bring closure to the exercise.

Bankers’ concerns are on proposals that bankable 99-year leases must ensure that the farmer has stability, an assured stay on the land for as long as they are productive and an incentive to invest in the land such as a structures that promote productivity.

Other concerns included farmers having an established market for their produce, reasonable and predictable transfer market of buyers, and allowance for the lender to hold both movable and immovable as collateral.

However, disagreements between government and bankers started after banks asked for moveable and immovable collateral, than in the old days when they would only ask for the latter.

Bankers also stated that there will also be other risk factors involved on top of these concerns.

Government proposed farmers use these 99-year leases to access loans from banks, as the sector struggles from a lack of funding.

The agricultural sector is estimated to require $2 billion in financing.

But banks currently allocate about 20% to 25% of their lending to farmers.

Expose corruption, media and civil society urged

Source: Expose corruption, media and civil society urged | The Herald August 24, 2016

Nyemudzai Kakore in BULAWAYO—
Media practitioners and civil society organisations (CSOs) should “name and shame” corrupt public officials as a measure to deter recurrence of the vice, Senate President Cde Edna Madzongwe said yesterday. Addressing delegates at a workshop to enhance the competencies of media practitioners and CSOs in understanding financial reporting and accountability in local authorities, Cde Madzongwe said without a competitive media and vibrant CSOs, openness, transparency and accountability would be impossible to attain.

The two-day workshop, which is being funded by the African Development Bank under the Strengthening Institutions of Transparency and Accountability (SITA) and Southern African Parliament Support Trust (SAPST), is aimed at familiarising the media and CSOs with the legal framework governing financial reporting.

Cde Madzongwe said the media was not only an indispensable bridging institution between Parliament and the public, but also served as a “watchdog” against all kinds of financial misappropriation.

She said despite the law providing that the State and all agencies of Government were supposed to be accountable to Parliament, they were supposed to accountable to the people of Zimbabwe.

“For Parliament to succeed in exposing capricious behaviour and corporate malpractices, it must forge mutually beneficial alliances and relationships with the media and CSOs as these are the moral vanguards of social and political accountability,” she said.

“Along with the media, CSOs offer a mechanism for disseminating findings and recommendations. Both can exert additional pressure on politicians and civil servants to improve individual conduct and wider public-service delivery.”

She cited Section 61 of the Constitution, which granted every Zimbabwean citizen and permanent resident the right to access information held by the State and all institutions of Government at every level.

Cde Madzongwe said participatory democracy, codified in Section 141 of the Constitution demanded that all interested and affected parties to get the “ear” of Parliament whenever they had issues they wanted to raise.

Cde Madzongwe urged the media, both private and public, to carry out in-depth research on stories covered and provide the necessary background information on all sides of the story and avoid the temptation of unbalanced and emotional reportage.

“Both the media and CSOs often have an even stronger direct influence on the executive, which may extend to the civil service through diagonal accountability relationships,” she said.

Presenting a topic on enhancing media practitioners’ appreciation of the mandate of Parliament and the Public Accounts committee, the Clerk of Parliament, Mr Kennedy Chokuda, said democracy could not function without a “free media and therefore the media should play a watchdog role”.

Mr Chokuda outlined legal provisions that governed the operations of Parliament and urged the media to familiarise themselves with the statutes.

Elders urge SADC leaders to support smooth transition in Zimbabwe

The Elders have called on the heads of state of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to consider how they can support a successful and inclusive transition in Zimbabwe that will return stability and growth to the country.

Source: Elders urge SADC leaders to support smooth transition in Zimbabwe – The Zimbabwean 24.08.2016

Writing to SADC member states ahead of the regional group’s summit in Swaziland later this month, The Elders noted that Zimbabwe is “on the verge of an important transition” which, if handled well, could lead to a peaceful and democratic change of leadership and a renewed focus on social and economic development.

The letter was co-signed by Kofi Annan, Chair of The Elders, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, former Chair, who is now an Honorary Elder, and Graça Machel, the co-founder of The Elders with her late husband, Nelson Mandela.

“We firmly believe that a successful transition is vital not only for Zimbabwe but also for the region […] we are also convinced that, if the transition process is to succeed, it must be inclusive, transparent and framed in the national interest,” the three Elders wrote. The Elders believe the upcoming summit is an important opportunity to reflect on how best SADC can help Zimbabwe manage the complex challenges ahead.

Note: The 36th SADC Heads of State and Government Summit starts in the Kingdom of Swaziland this weekend.

Touching the untouchable

Source: Touching the untouchable – Southern Eye August 24, 2016

Since Zimbabwe gained independence, veterans of the war of liberation have been respected and rendered almost untouchable. Rightly so, they have been feted as heroes and heroines of the war. They became revered so much to an extent they could neither be disappointed nor disproved. Sadly this gave them a lot of misplaced arrogance.

The ex-fighters became a law unto themselves. The undivided patronage from President Robert Mugabe provided the requisite immunity from prosecution. As expected, the war veterans responded to the pleasant imposition by milking the situation with the ferocity of little piranha fish. They even managed to blackmail President Robert Mugabe into disbursing $50 000 in Zimbabwe currency to each and every one of them as hush money.

The ex-combatants cemented their status as Zimbabwe’s untouchable by bulldozing their fingers into the core of the nation’s dwindling finances. They thought they had managed to instill godly fear in Mugabe. On the day he announced the shock payments, Mugabe was reduced to a tiny, vulnerable and clueless leader. In their case, the ex-combatants sealed a new untouchable status. From there on, whenever they sneezed Mugabe extended a teaspoon with cough mixture to soothe their discomfort. The ex-combatants felt they needed to return the favour using varying levels of infamy and notoriety on behalf of Zanu PF.

It was not surprising when they became a force to reckon with. Their first step was cementing a sense of political relevance. An opportunity to shine presented itself on the onset of the farm invasions which followed the government’s defeat in the 2000 referendum. New faces in the socio-political scene included the likes of Biggie Chitoro, Comrade Satan, Hitler Hunzvi, Joseph Chinotimba and Black Jesus among others.

The 2000 elections campaign set the bar of election violence several notches higher. The ex-fighters used all forms of violence against known members of the fledgling opposition. The ex-combatants slackened a bit during the 2008 harmonised elections, only to resurface weeks later with more vigour and cruelty during the run-off presidential vote weeks later. The wickedness was extended to the 2013 elections. Voters in the Bikita area will recall Jabulani Sibanda’s not so charitable campaigns for Zanu PF.

The mere mention of ex-combatants infused fear, trepidation and despondence within the hearts of the people, including the once feared police. The nation remembers how the police stood helplessly as the country’s agricultural sector was ravaged by the war veterans during the so-called Agrarian revolution. Mugabe even defended his lack of action against the invaders blatantly telling the world that he would not use the Zimbabwe Republic Police to antagonise the war veterans. Despite the High Court ruling that the government swiftly evict the war veterans from the farms, Mugabe chose to disregard the judiciary due to his fear of his erstwhile fighters.

In any language or context, the war veterans lived by the sword even during peaceful times. They reigned fear among communities and they continued to be a powerful power broker. Due to an induced fear of the ex-fighters, Mugabe chose to maintain a form of symbiosis where he and the ex-fighters could co-exist for their mutual benefit. The ex-combatants did his dirty bidding and he paid them handsomely using State funds. This was to be so until factionalism wrought by succession battles visited Zanu PF.

In the beginning of the succession war in Zanu PF the fight appeared to be between former Vice-President Joice Mujuru and Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa. The latter seemed to be well-supported by ex-combatants and the First Lady Grace Mugabe.

Grace was efficient in destroying Team Mujuru and everyone including a majority of the untouchable war veterans seemed to be happy for a while. The situation quickly transformed into two distinct factions pitying Generation 40 (G40) against Team Lacoste. Mnangagwa fronted Team Lacoste and enjoys the support of most ex-combatants whilst G40 is fronted by Grace with the likes of Jonathan Moyo and National Commissar Saviour Kasukuwere tagging along.

Still believing in their invincibility and their untouchable nature, the aging ex-fighters felt personally aggrieved by Grace’s open agenda to expose and destroy Team Lacoste. Under the aggressive leadership of War Veterans minister Christopher Mutsvangwa, the ex-fighters convened a meeting in Harare to denounce the arbitrary votes of no confidence against some members of the party allegedly instigated by Grace on behalf of G40. The old former fighters were still banking on the belief that Mugabe will shiver once he hears that they were mobilising against his wife.

The war veterans made a monumental blunder. They forgot that the perception of fear they supposedly instilled on Mugabe did not transcend to the police. Just like Mugabe had unleashed the veterans to fight during the war of liberation, he could unleash the police to confront them in ruthless fashion especially when they were putting his personal interests at risk. The ex-combatants failed to realise that their untouchable stature was only a temporary arrangement for as long as it perpetuated Mugabe’s interests.

In reality Mugabe temporarily conferred the state of being untouchable unto the ex-combatants at his convenience. It is at his pleasure that he has decided to withdrawn that priviledge. The untouchable are now so touchable as evidenced by the manner they were tear-gassed by the police during their unsanctioned meeting. This goes to prove that no-one is perpetually untouchable in the eyes of the law, not even Mugabe himself.

lMasola wa Dabudabu writes in his personal capacity.

South Africa’s naïvety towards Zimbabwean crisis worrisome

Recent comments by South Africa’s International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, to the effect that her government would not intervene in the Zimbabwean crisis, as the people of that country could sort out their own problems through the 2018 elections, exhibits the most worrisome height of naïvety and disingenuity, not to be expected of a regional power, as it is a very serious abrogation of its responsibility.

Source: South Africa’s naïvety towards Zimbabwean crisis worrisome – The Zimbabwean 24.08.2016

To make matters worse, this is a government led by Jacob Zuma, who, in 2008 – when he was still a rival to then President Thabo Mbeki – was very critical of the SA government’s latency towards the brewing crisis in the country after the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission’s (ZEC) delay in releasing Presidential Election results – in which the Movement for Democratic Change’s (MDC) Morgan Tsvangirai had beaten ZANU PF’s Robert Mugabe.

At that time, Zuma said, “Zimbabwe is something we need to take very serious note of.

“I think we should urge and plead with our brothers and sisters to resolve the problem so that Zimbabwe will not be plunged into a more serious crisis.”

This was clearly a sage Zuma who wanted to take a proactive approach to the Zimbabwe crisis, as he could clearly see that, if not addressed promptly, could lead to a catastrophe.

And he was right.

This was in stack contrast to Mbeki, who had taken a more lacklustre approach, claiming that there was no crisis in Zimbabwe, and that the prevailing situation was ‘manageable’, despite concerted calls by Zimbabweans for him to intervene.

And he was proven wrong, as only a few months after his April 2008 declaration, the ZANU PF regime unleashed its most violent and brutal campaigns – since Gukurahundi in the 1980s – in the run up to the June Presidential elections run-off.

This brutality led to Tsvangirai’s withdrawal from the race, and subsequently, a one-man run-off election.

This led to a more serious crisis – as Zuma had rightly predicted – in which Mbeki was now very actively involved, leading to the formation of a shaky Government of National Unity.

So the question to both Zuma and Nkoana-Mashabane is: as this crisis has happened before in Zimbabwe, and SA responded in the same passive manner that you are responding today, have you not learnt anything from the previous blunders made by Mbeki?

Furthermore, what happened to the Zuma of 2008, who was proactive, and visionary, or is it the ‘curse of presidency’ that blinds you from taking decisive and firm action against a fellow president?

Nothing has changed from the 2000 to 2008 era in Zimbabwe, so why would SA believe that employing a lethargic tactic that clearly previously failed will yield a different result this time around?

I think there is a philosophy that describes what an approach like that signifies.

Nkoana-Mashabane, in her recent comments on Zimbabwe, said that SA would only intervene when asked.

Asked by who, because the people of Zimbabwe are asking SA to intervene and help them.

So, who else is she expecting to ask for her county’s intervention than Zimbabweans themselves?

Obviously, the one benefitting from the crisis in Zimbabwe – namely, the ZANU PF government – will never ask for any regional intervention, as that will work against them.

It is the oppressed, brutalised and suffering people of Zimbabwe that have every right to call upon regional powers to intervene – and it is the responsibility of such powers to do so.

Nkoana -Mashabane further said that the other reason SA could not intervene was that Mugabe was democratically elected in 2013.

Without wasting time on debating whether he was truly democratically elected or not, what further baffles the mind is, what exactly does she think the people of Zimbabwe are asking SA to do?

Zimbabweans are clearly not asking SA to unconstitutionally remove the ZANU PF government.

The suffering people of Zimbabwe are merely requesting SA to use its leverage on the Zimbabwe government to respect and uphold its own Constitution.

All Zimbabweans expect from SA is what Zuma said in 2008, before he became president: ‘I think we should urge and plead with our brothers and sisters to resolve the problem so that Zimbabwe will not be plunged into a more serious crisis’.

The people of Zimbabwe expect SA to ‘urge and plead’ with their brothers and sisters to resolve this crisis.

How can the SA government remain quiet when the Zimbabwe economy is in a free-fall, as more and more Zimbabweans are trapped in desperation and hopelessness?

How can they wait to be invited by the same Zimbabwean government that is brutalising peaceful protestors, who are merely crying out for help?

The SA government should also be aware that Zimbabwe’s electoral laws and political landscape have not changed much since 2008, and as such, folding their arms, whilst expecting the problem to just vanish when Zimbabweans go to the polls in 2018, is gravely disingenuous.

On Friday, 26th August 2016, a coalition of opposition parties will be holding a mega peaceful protest against the current flawed electoral and political landscape, which should tell the SA government something – that if the current situation prevails till the 2018 General Elections, the results will be disputed, leading to a repeat of 2008.

In fact, unlike in 2008, the people of Zimbabwe have had enough, and can not take the ZANU PF government’s abuses anymore – and if SA does not intervene today, it might be too late.

Unlike in the 2000s, whereby the people of Zimbabwe suffered at the hands of the ZANU PF government in silence, this time they are vocal and active.

As such, it is clear that with each passing day of suffering, they are becoming more and more restless, and if nothing is done to remedy their situation, a more serious crisis could be witnessed.

Quite frankly, no one knows just how patient the people of Zimbabwe will continue to be – as Nelson Mandela once said – ‘against a government whose only reply is savage attacks on an unarmed and defenceless people’.

Therefore, it is incumbent for the SA government, as a regional power, to take up its responsibility with the seriousness it deserves, as its current apathetic approach is dangerously flawed.

The region is headed for another – if not worse – scenario should the Zimbabwean crisis not be addressed as a matter of urgency.

° Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice activist and commentator, writer, and journalist. He writes in his personal capacity, and welcomes any feedback. Please feel free to WhatsApp/call: +263782283975, or email: tendaiandtinta.mbofana@gmail.com. Follow on Twitter: @Tendai_Mbofana

George Rutanhire’s unnecessary attack on Joice Mujuru

In a recent interview Cde George Rutanhire poured blame on Joice Mujuru for the loss in battle of one Cde Chipembere and for climbing the ladder of command by using her then youthful good looks and affectionate indiscretions with senior commanders. This has left a bad taste in my mouth. Let me make one thing clear — I write as a genuine war veteran not as a Zimbabwe People First sympathiser. However, when an injustice is glaringly obvious, I will always speak without fear or favour.

Source: George Rutanhire’s unnecessary attack on Joice Mujuru – The Zimbabwean 24.08.2016

I prefer to write about principle and about truth as I know it. I lived with George and Susan Rutanhire during the liberation war.  I was his “special assistant” — a nicer way to describe a bodyguard — just as Emmerson Mnangagwa was Mugabe’s special assistant and head of security. Cde Rutanhire named one of his children Takudzwa, as I have also named my first born son, for that was my first name during the struggle. I still respect Cde George as I benefited greatly from my close association with him. I trust he will not take offence at the truth I write here.

Cde George, as we affectionately called him, was the most senior member of the General Staff during my time and was always in the camps with us. He is the one who gave me the war name Takudzwa Nemass just before he deployed me to the front line on a research mission for the Commissariat under the command of the now Munyaradzi Machacha (who is still around to correct me if necessary). Machacha (aka George Kashiri) and fought in real battles in the Zimunya, Bocha and Marange districts of the Manica Province ending around September 1979. It was me who found Cde Duma’s body buried in sand after the very last bombing of Mavhonde Training Base 4. He was Rex Nhongo’s own brother. But let me not digress.

By Cde George’s own account Joice Mujuru was a chimbwido when Chipembere died.  Assuming something happened between the two, she had no power whatsoever to stop Chipembere from doing what he wanted to do. After all he was the senior commander in the battle and chimbwidos were just vulnerable girls who were invariably raped against their will by the comrades without recourse. If a commander who was misbehaving died in a surprise attack by the enemy forces, can we really blame a mere chimbwido? How unfair is that to Comrade Teu as she was affectionately known?

Her subsequent indiscretions with only two commanders before Rex married her, if true, can hardly be regarded as so out of the ordinary to warrant any mention let alone blame. She was a young girl and young girls have freedom of choice much as young boys do before they get married. Unless we want to be sexist, Joice did not do anything in 1973 that warrants mention these days when she is a grandmother. A young woman cannot help it if she is good looking and if many a commander fell at her feet as men often do. She cannot be blamed for their weaknesses. Why did not Cde George give us a lecture on how many women Robert Mugabe had affairs with during or after the struggle?

If the commanders found Cde Teurai Ropa worthy and decided to reward her with promotions in rank, what was she supposed to do? The blame falls on the men who corruptly misconducted themselves, not on the victim of those men’s indiscretions. No one including Joice could say no to anything that ZANLA required them to do at the time and I don’t see how Mai Mujuru could have refused the responsibilities that she was given. It was called a “mission” or “missao” in Portuguese.

To my good comrades, especially to Cde George who was a good commander, I say please do not be petty by attacking each other unnecessarily because you may end up looking like you are desperately trying to gain favours from the one real enemy of the people, Robert Mugabe. He is not worth fighting for. Let us focus on uniting our people for the good of our nation and our own good. That is what we stand for in ZUNDE. Our political differences matter much less than the people we vowed to liberate.

Together we are much taller than we were yesterday. To my fellow war veterans I say, let us remember it is not every war veteran who abandoned the people.  I did not abandon my people that is why I have been persecuted and exiled. Justice Charles Hungwe did not abandon the people that is why he was in trouble a few years ago. Cde Dzino did not abandon the people and we all know how he was treated by the vampires masquerading as liberators.

The majority of genuine freedom fighters were nowhere near the farms that were seized so violently nor were they at the Supreme Court when it was invaded. They were not there when David Stevens, Henry Elsworth, Terry Ford and other white farmers were killed. It is those few who have terribly lost their way who now must put things right with our people and the rest of the war veterans before it is too late. Now is the time for genuine liberators to be with the people and to rebuild our potentially great nation.

Justice Benjamin Paradza – Exiled Judge of the High Court of Zimbabwe and President of ZUNDE

Police brutality: Zanu PF blocks Parly action

Source: Police brutality: Zanu PF blocks Parly action – NewZimbabwe 23/08/2016

ZANU PF MPs on Tuesday refused to support a motion moved by Kuwadzana MP, Nelson Chamisa who wants the Home Affairs Minister called by the august house to launch a full investigation into cases of police brutality against peaceful protesters.

The motion was introduced a week ago but could not go through parliament’s preliminary stages for debate after Zanu PF MPs filed out of parliament one after the other leaving the house with no sufficient members to make a quorum.

Parliament needs at least 70 members at every given time to discharge its business.

After the snub last week, Chamisa took advantage of the resumption of parliament on Tuesday to table the motion but was again given a cold shoulder by Zanu PF legislators.

During the process, the Speaker of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda called for MPs who supported the motion to show such support by standing up and only MDC-T MPs rose, leaving dozens of Zanu PF MPs who constitute the parliamentary majority chained to their seats.

The conduct of Zanu PF MPs has been described by critics as an indirect endorsement of worsening cases of police brutality in the country.

When he introduced it first time, the MDC-T deputy president described his motion as of “urgent national importance” after police have continued to beat up protesters while journalists have also been caught up in the beatings.

“This motion has to do with what we have witnessed in our country – a very sad development which I have no doubt is not supported by any legitimate Member of Parliament and we are all legitimate Members of Parliament,” Chamisa said then.

“The issue of the conduct of citizens who claim to be police officers because their conduct has not been consistent with the conduct of police officers.”

Chamisa called for Minister of Home Affairs to investigate the conduct of the police and report to Parliament within the shortest possible time.

“…Now therefore call upon this house to do the following, asks the Minister of Home Affairs to issue a public apology in the context of that investigation for the untoward conduct of some of the police officers,” Chamisa made a request among a list of other demands.

Anti-riot police have been slammed for brutally crushing peaceful protest against President Robert Mugabe’s failing leadership.

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Groups, led by the activist #Tajamuka/Sesijikile and the Occupy Africa Unity Square have staged successive demonstrations calling on President Mugabe to surrender his job.

They accuse the Zimbabwean leader of being the cause of the country’s worsening economic hardships that have seen massive joblessness and a crippling cash crisis, among other ills.

President Mugabe has used party and national forums to both castigate and issue threats against his critics which he has dismissed as fronts for the hostile West.

Home Affairs Minister Ignatius Chombo has also been quoted a number of times insisting the state will crush any anti-government protests while Defence Forces Commander Constantino Chiwenga has also issued similar threats against protesters.

Renamo gunmen ambush convoy, injure four

Maputo (AIM) – Gunmen of the Mozambican rebel movement Renamo wounded four people, two of them seriously, in an ambush on Sunday against a convoy travelling under armed escort from Vanduzi to the Luenha river in the central province of Manica.

Source: Renamo gunmen ambush convoy, injure four – The Zimbabwean 24.08.2016

This is the road from the Manica provincial capital, Chimoio, to the western province of Tete, and then on to Malawi and Zambia.

Cited in Tuesday’s issue of the independent daily “O Pais”, the Manica provincial police spokesperson, Elsidia Filipe, said the attack against the first convoy of the day heading towards Tete took place in the Guta region.

She said the defence and security forces returned fire “but were unable to capture any of those involved in the attack and their whereabouts are currently unknown”.

The two seriously injured people were treated in the Manica provincial hospital in Chimoio, but one of them was later transferred to Beira Central Hospital for more specialist care.

Renamo is continuing to launch ambushes, despite the talks under way in Maputo in the Joint Commission set up between the government and Renamo. On Monday, the spokesperson for the team of foreign mediators, the Italian Mario Raffaelli, claimed there were some advances in discussions over a cessation of hostilities, but gave no details.

According to a report in Tuesday’s issue of the independent newssheet “Mediafax”, the mediators hope to establish a “demilitarized corridor” which would allow the mediating team direct access to Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama in his bush hideout in Gorongosa district.

They want to follow this up with a truce, while the Maputo talks continue, and eventually a full ceasefire.

Renamo, however, has signed ceasefires before (in 1992 and 2014), and has always violated them.

As the price for ordering his gunmen to stop shooting, Dhlakama wants the government to withdraw its forces from the Gorongosa mountain range. The government has rejected this condition, since it would just allow Renamo to occupy more territory.

According to “Mediafax”, the mediators are now looking for “alternative guarantees” they can offer Dhlakama, persuading him that his personal security will not be threatened, and that the government forces will not take advantage of any “demilitarized corridor” to bombard his base.

Video: The rise of the citizen voices in Zimbabwe

Just as the Shona maxim Kamoto kamberevere kakapisa matanda mberi warns that a small fire can ignite a huge inferno, the citizen-led struggle against the Robert Mugabe regime began like a small fire. Report by Tapiwa Zivira

Source: Video: The rise of the citizen voices in Zimbabwe – NewsDay Zimbabwe August 23, 2016

Opposing Mugabe’s regime and pushing for change was a territory for the opposition political parties and citizens who wished to do so had to belong to some party.

This, at least was what the Zanu PF propaganda machine had achieved- to label anyone who queried Mugabe and his government’s rule an opposition activist.

So people stayed away.

Apathy reached its highest level in 2013 after the main opposition MDC-T suffered a controversial defeat at the hands of Zanu PF led by the then 89 year old Mugabe.

This was at a time when there was a general economic stability buoyed by a power-sharing government that had been in place between 2009 and 2013.

There was a general feeling that Zanu PF had to be given a chance and with the comfort of the then functioning economy, many decided to mind their business.

It was also at this time that prosperity gospel was at its peak, with its major focus making people believe they could be rich if they tithed enough, bought enough anointing oils, among many other things offered as gateway to riches by the charismatic prophets, pastors and church leaders.

Two years down the line, the economy was getting worse.

Suffering continued, abated by company closures, job losses, and before long vending was the major occupation of former labourers and graduates.

Robert Mugabe, as an executive president did not make things better as he paid no attention to the corruption in his government.

Instead,to the dismay of the taxpayers, Mugabe chose to meet his growing health demands with sustained trips that chewed into the Treasury, while expending his energy to containing the power struggles in his party.

Government had turned into a coterie of self-serving officials living large at the expense of the suffering masses with pictures of obscene mansions circulating in the press and social media networks.

If the nation was to be a child, then government was to be an errant father squandering money on booze while the family starved.

Scandals were unearthed, but no meaningful arrests and convictions were made, pointing to a system that tolerated corrupt behaviour.

Scandals were unearthed, but no meaningful arrests and convictions were made, pointing to a system that tolerated corrupt behaviour

But there was no-one to raise a voice against this.

While the opposition parties like the MDC-T still maintained a huge following, their impact can only be measured at the next election date, which would be in 2018.

Meanwhile, the witness was finding space on social media since the launch of the third generation technology in 2009. Social media was creating a virtual sphere which became a meeting point for sharing of ideas and frustrations.

Then an unknown citizen of Zimbabwe,Pastor Evan Mawarire, posted a video appealing to Mugabe to end the suffering and reign in errant government officials.

And he posted again, and again….

And the hashtag #ThisFlag, in tribute to the Zimbabwean flag, which is a symbol of our country, was born.

A trend was born, and before long, Zimbabweans were using videos, with flags draped around their necks, to express themselves using different hashtags, among them #Tajamuka, #Mugabemustfall, #Beatthepot etc.

It spilled into the streets, igniting a series of protests that are still going on worldwide as consensus that the Mugabe-led government has failed, and does not seem to have the capacity to bring a positive change to the lives of the long-suffering Zimbabweans.

That small fire is now a huge inferno fuelled daily by the citizens frustration and as the voices grow louder with more postings on social media each day, we have made a compilation of a few of the videos posted just this week.

The government has since responded to these voices by working on a Draconian Cyber Law that is set to try to curtail these voice.

‘Generate homegrown solutions to address poverty, debt’

Zimbabwe should generate homegrown solutions to address the increasing poverty and debt problems instead of relying on externally-prescribed remedies, local civil society organisations have said.

Source: ‘Generate homegrown solutions to address poverty, debt’ – NewsDay Zimbabwe August 23, 2016

by Phyllis Mbanje

The call came as the country was crafting a two-year interim Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (i-PRSP), which provides a framework for targeted interventions to reduce poverty and promote economic development between 2016 and 2018.

However, the government has been accused of not complying with the World Bank’s requirements on broad-based consultation and participatory process which would accommodate local contributions.

During a recently-held meeting convened by the Poverty Reduction Forum Trust (PRFT) in collaboration with Labour and Economic Development Research Institute of Zimbabwe (LEDRIZ) and Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development (ZIMCODD), stakeholders agreed that there was need for inclusive growth and internally-driven public policy solutions.

The organisations were unhappy that the consultations for the i-PRSP, which will be launched in September, were fast-tracked and wholly-government structured.

In their concept note, the civil society groups said there were gaps in terms of quality and level of consultations that went into the process.

“The approach failed to give enough space for key civil society organisations which have been working on different aspects of poverty reduction to submit their independent contributions to foster transparency and accountability and this on its own justifies the need to have an alternative civil society platform to close this gap,” part of the note read.

They also said Zimbabwe was sitting on a huge pool of development information from projects and programmes in various civil society constituencies and such opportunity to tap into the learning from these sectors was missed out.

PRFT programmes coordinator Tafara Chiremba said low agricultural production and productivity was increasing vulnerability and poverty incidence levels.

“Agriculture is the backbone of both the livelihoods of the poor majority, as well as the economy and it puts the agricultural sector as the first and critical pillar for poverty reduction,” he said.

There has been a general decline in agriculture production. Total agriculture production increased from 970 000 tonnes in 2012 to 1,5 million in 2014 before declining to 742 000 tonnes in 2015.

“Productivity is generally declining on livestock and all crops especially grains, thus, worsening the food security situation, malnutrition and increasing poverty,” Chiremba said.

CSOs plot to expose Mugabe’s human rights abuses at Sadc

LOCAL civil society organisations (CSOs) have threatened to picket the on-going Sadc Summit and present a dossier containing President Robert Mugabe’s human rights violations, including government’s refusal to implement electoral reforms.

Source: CSOs plot to expose Mugabe’s human rights abuses at Sadc – NewsDay Zimbabwe August 23, 2016

BY SILAS NKALA

Mugabe, who is facing spontaneous protests across the country over his alleged misgovernance, is expected to join other Sadc Heads of State and government next week.

Part of the dossier read: “Noting the multifaceted challenges afflicting Zimbabwe, underpinned on gross economic retardation; that continue to result in worsening poverty and a failure by public entities to adequately deliver on key services; has led to the growing chorus by citizens, across various sectors, calling on government to act on the key issues fuelling economic malaise in the country.

“The multiple effects of the actions of the government…, which have already shown potential to cause instability across borders of Sadc States at various levels, including from a political, social and economic perspective, therefore warrant the attention and action of Sadc, as provided for in the Constitutive Treaty of the Sadc.”
The CSOs said plans by Mugabe’s government to introduce retrogressive legislation to silence dissent were a clear violation of people’s rights.

“Further to this, the government has continued to fail to decisively address the scourge of corruption, which it also admits is a key driver of the failure by government to rescue the comatose economy,” the CSOs stated.
They further said democratic reforms have been stalled since 2013 as the government has not been committed to implement the Sadc election guidelines.

“As such, Zimbabwe continues to be governed through laws that are in direct contravention of the Constitution adopted in 2013. Further to this, freedoms of the media, expression, association and choice remain heavily curtailed, as various laws still persist curtailing the very freedoms that are enshrined in the Constitution,” the groups said. “One of the agreed principles during the inclusive government was to institute reforms on key areas such as electoral systems that guarantee democratic elections as specified by Sadc guidelines, security sector reforms to allow for a non-partisan security force, but all this has been stalled. The military has recently threatened a clampdown on citizens and civilians who use social media and protests against the government.”

The CSOs stated that the government’s excesses and failure to address the economic question has scaled up protests which the State dealt with in a heavy-handed manner. They said this has resulted in indiscriminate arrests, extra-judicial assaults, torture, harassment and intimidation of civilians, including children; especially those that have dared to challenge government to address the most pertinent issues of citizens.

“The government continues to use the State police to clamp down on protesters, the church and civic organizers, with the police in-turn committing heinous acts of brutalising citizens, many of which have been captured on camera, however, no arrests have been made on these police officers who have clearly been in violation of our legal statutes, the constitution as well as regional instruments barring the use of torture on civilians.

“Ironically, we have seen the same police in a show of blatant partisanship, as they have allowed protests and demonstrations by the ruling Zanu PF-aligned entities to proceed without incident, with the police actually providing escort to such events.”

They asked the Sadc Heads of States to openly condemn brutalisation and heavy handedness portrayed by government on genuinely concerned citizens and to urge Mugabe to uphold constitutionally-provided freedoms.

The CSOs also pleaded with Sadc to urge Mugabe to order investigations on police officers accused of using brute force to crush dissent.

Chimene defies court order

A FACTION of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association (ZNLWVA) led by Manicaland Provincial Affairs minister Mandiitawepi Chimene has scaled up its campaign for an elective congress to choose a new leadership to replace the Christopher Mutsvangwa-led executive.

Source: Chimene defies court order – NewsDay Zimbabwe August 23, 2016

By Tatenda Chitagu

This follows last month’s messy fallout between the Mutsvangwa-led ZNLWVA executive and President Robert Mugabe after the former allegedly authored a damning communiqué denouncing the Zanu PF leader as a dictator.

The former freedom fighters also announced that they would not campaign for Mugabe in the 2018 elections, accusing him of neglecting them and adopting genocidal and dictatorial tendencies.

Although the High Court has interdicted the Chimene group from masquerading as ZNLWVA leaders, the faction’s interim national vice-chairperson George Mlala in defiance has set up interim structures in Matabeleland North and South provinces, Midlands and Manicaland.

Mutsvangwa’s team has described the group’s actions as illegal.

But Chimene’s faction at the weekend went ahead and elected an interim executive for Masvingo province. The executive comprises of chairperson Rueben Chikono, Chiredzi East legislator Denford Masiya (deputy chair), Kudakwashe Dzoro (secretary-general) and Admore Hwarare (political commissar).

The interim committee replaces the Tendeukai Chinooneka’s executive.

Mlala said their mission was to elect structures that were loyal to Zanu PF and Mugabe after Mutsvangwa, war veterans spokesperson Douglas Mahiya, commissar Francis Nhando and secretary-general Victor Matemadanda were expelled from the party for alleged disobedience.

“This is your new executive from today onwards. You report to them. We want to build a war veterans’ structure that is glued to the party. The interim executive should re-unite the war veterans with the party.

“As war veterans, we are powerless without the people. War veterans are the vanguard of the party, but they do not carry the party, the party carries you. You cannot turn the party, the party turns you and shows you direction. You then go its way, not the other way round. You can never be bigger than Zanu PF,” Mlala said.

“There are many people like (the late James) Chikerema who thought they had formed Zanu PF and they believed they would stop the party, yet Zanu PF moved on and left them aside. How can you stop Zanu PF? You cannot.”

IDBZ fails to finish Kwekwe project

THE $25 million Mbizo 22 housing project launched by government in Kwekwe five years ago has been handed over to private land developers after the funding partner, Infrastructural Develop[ment Bank of Zimbabwe (IDBZ), failed to complete it.

Source: IDBZ fails to finish Kwekwe project – NewsDay Zimbabwe August 23, 2016

BY BLESSED MHLANGA

The project, which was funded by IDBZ through a $25 million revolving National Housing Development Loan Facility, was officially opened by the late Vice-President John Nkomo in 2010.

The bank had initially pledged to construct 700 core houses mostly for civil servants through long-term loans.

Kwekwe City Council housing director Newton Dete told a recent full council meeting that IDBZ, after failing to build the houses, was now selling stands in Mbizo 22 to private developers owing to financial challenges.

Read part of the council minutes: “Council sold the Mbizo 22 land to the (Local Government) ministry through IDBZ. The ministry managed to service 700 stands with the view of building low-cost houses for sale, but failed to do so due to financial challenges, hence they decided to dispose of the stands to a sub-land developer Africa Integrated Group (AIG).”

The sub-developer, according to council, then constructed substandard houses which had since been condemned by the local authority.

“AIG then went ahead to build sample houses which council did not approve of since they were substandard considering that they were too small,” Dete told council.

Council said after failing the housing development test, AIG then started selling stands to individuals so that they could build their own houses.

Under the deal, the city council was allocated 10% of the developed land which included 10 housing stands, commercial stands and stands for flats.

Town clerk Emmanuel Musara said council had already taken its 10 stands and built houses.

Driving instructors protest against VID examiners corruption

SCORES of private driving school instructors yesterday besieged the Vehicle Inspection Department (VID) Eastlea depot in Harare, blocking learners from being examined as they protested against alleged rampant corruption involving examiners.

Source: Driving instructors protest against VID examiners corruption – NewsDay Zimbabwe August 23, 2016

BY OBEY MANAYITI

The instructors refused to let their vehicles inside the depot demanding the expulsion of the corrupt examiners.

“As Harare driving school instructors, we are here to show our displeasure at some of the VID examiners who are demanding bribe money from learners. Imagine one of my students failed for the ninth time all because she is refusing to give these people some money,” Harare Driving School Instructors’ Association chairperson Prosper Dowa said.

“They demand amounts ranging between $250-$300. That inhibits learner drivers from acquiring licences. We don’t know why this depot is so corrupt. We are aware that things are not well in the country and we reduced our charges from $5 to $3 a lesson. That is what we are charging, but these people are making outrageous demands just to make people pass. Such level of corruption is so worrisome and this is why we have many motorists who are driving without licences.”

Top VID officials at the depot declined to comment on the issue.

Transport minister Joram Gumbo vowed to weed out corrupt elements at VID if the public supplied him with irrefutable evidence.

“I have spoken about that a number of times and I also get numerous calls from people complaining. I have told them to come forward so that we assist each other,” he said.

“I hear a lot of things, but the people do not come forward. The public is letting us down because they are not assisting us to arrest the situation and without the information it will be difficult for us to deal with the issue.”

He also urged aggrieved parties to call using the toll-free lines or drop leads into police suggestion boxes to assist in the investigations.

UK injects $70m into agriculture

THE British government says it has injected $70 million to jumpstart Zimbabwe’s agricultural sector in the next four years, despite the frosty relations existing between Harare and its former colonial master following the seizure of white-owned commercial farms by the Zanu PF regime in 2000.

Source: UK injects $70m into agriculture – NewsDay Zimbabwe August 23, 2016

by PAIDAMOYO MUZULU

The fund is being administered by the UK government’s Department for International Development (DFID), under its Livelihoods and Food Security Programme (LFSP).

The support comes at a time Harare has announced plans to revitalise agriculture in light of this year’s crippling food shortages which have seen at least four million people depending on handouts from either government or donor agencies.

In an interview last week, DFID country director Annabel Gerry said the British were concerned and willing to assist Zimbabweans to be food-secure.

Gerry said the support was mainly technical assistance and technology transfer, particularly in the production of nutritious and drought-resistant seed varieties.

“We are putting in nearly $70 million (£47 million) under LFSP over the next years that will be used for technical assistance and technology multiplication in partnership with UN agencies and private sector players,” Gerry said.

Under the programme, DFID has funded the development and multiplication of orange maize seed and iron and zinc fortified beans by Prime Seeds, a subsidiary of SeedCo.

Currently, the LFSP programme is being implemented in eight districts across the country and will be extended to three new districts in the coming agriculture season.

“Some 18 000 families have benefited from the programme in eight districts across the country and three more districts will come on-board in the new season. These are Mazowe, Bindura and Banket,” Gerry added.

She further said DFID was working in partnership with the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), a UN agency, in implementing the project.

“FAO is managing and co-ordinating the LFSP as well as giving training and extension services to households that are in the project across the country,” Gerry said.

Zimbabwe’s maize harvest in the past season plummeted to around 750 000 metric tonnes, forcing government to import about 800 000 metric tonnes to cover the deficit.

Tomana’s bail, $250 000 surety refunded

Suspended Prosecutor-General (PG) Johannes Tomana yesterday scored a victory after the High Court ruled in his favour and ordered that he gets back the $2 000 bail and $250 000 surety he had surrendered to the State in a matter where he is being charged on five counts of criminal abuse of office.

Source: Tomana’s bail, $250 000 surety refunded – NewsDay Zimbabwe August 23, 2016

BY CHARLES LAITON

High Court judge Justice Priscilla Munangati-Manongwa ruled that provincial magistrate Tendai Mahwe had, in July this year, misdirected himself when he ordered Tomana to deposit fresh bail despite the latter being already on bail for the same offences.

Sometime in February this year, Tomana was arrested on charges of criminal abuse of office or alternatively defeating the course of justice and was remanded out of custody on $1 000 bail by Harare provincial magistrate Vakai Chikwekwe.

However, in early July this year, just as he was about to leave the court building, Tomana was again picked up by the police and further charges, similar to the ones he was already on bail for, were levelled against him and was summoned to appear in court again.

According to the State’s information, the purpose of taking Tomana to court was to formalise the counts and to consolidate them for trial which was scheduled for July 20. However, when he appeared before Mahwe, he was ordered to pay fresh bail and to surrender surety, which decision he then challenged at the High Court.

Through his lawyer, Advocate Thabani Mpofu, who was instructed by Tazorora Musarurwa, Tomana queried Mahwe’s decision and requested the High Court to quash the proceedings.

Mpofu submitted that Mahwe had erred in ruling that he could place his client on fresh bail when section 117(1) of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act clearly states that the right to bail applies only to persons that are in custody.

The lawyer added the manner in which the proceedings were conducted by the magistrate was grossly irregular and demanded that the entire proceedings be set aside.

Comment: Let Magaya have his day in court

The recent arrest of Prophetic Healing and Deliverance Ministries (PHD) leader Walter Magaya over allegations of raping a 25-year-old woman in July last year has indeed stirred a hornet’s nest.

Source: Comment: Let Magaya have his day in court – NewsDay Zimbabwe August 23, 2016

NewsDay comment

While at the moment a flurry of theories are flying around, from claims that his arrest had something to do with the ambitious housing project he launched recently, through his prophecy on bloodshed in Zimbabwe and claims that he is indeed an abuser of women, when the court process is still on, it is important to state that the truth will always come out.

Whether, as Magaya alleges, that there are some crooked politicians out to get him or not, there are only two options — either he will be vindicated or he will be condemned.

However, for the moment it is a matter for the courts to decide. If the court determines that, indeed, he committed the alleged offence, then justice must take its course because there has been a worrisome trend of “men of God” abusing women under the guise of “ministering” to them.

Of late, there have been several reports in which Magaya claimed to have been crucified by people seeking to extort money from him. We are aware that Magaya has a huge following locally and outside Zimbabwe, and that barring anything else his followers believe he is infallible. But, Magaya is also human and a mortal man who also succumbs to anxieties of the flesh — right or wrong.

We, therefore, warn Magaya to remain mum if indeed he is innocent and then tell his story when the court grants him the opportunity, which will definitely happen in the not-too-distant future.

Otherwise his Press commentaries on the matter speak to someone who has something to hide. One wonders why Magaya reacts as though he will not get his day in court.

If, indeed, top politicians and government officials are plotting to silence him through “trumped-up” charges, as Magaya claims, obviously the allegations will not stick in a court of law.

It is quite curious that this case comes soon after Magaya launched his ambitious housing projects in Bulawayo and Harare in the company of some top Zanu PF politicians and government officials including Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko.

It is our hope that this is not a case of petty jealousies and rivalries that would end up costing the taxpayer in funding the trial.

Understandably, individuals in government who have failed to ensure that voters access the services they promised during their election campaigns can hit below the belt in the face of any threat of exposure.

We, however, warn not only Magaya, but all so-called “men of the cloth” to avoid partisan politics and keep focused on ministering to the poor people who are bearing the brunt of corruption, poor governance, and social and economic malaise under the Zanu PF regime, whom the same Magaya and his colleagues in the church do business with.

Zim working very hard to clear arreas: Beddies

Zimbabwe is working “very hard” to clear arrears to three preferred creditors to be able to access financing to reboot the economy, the country’s International Monetary Fund (IMF) resident representative Christian Beddies has said.

Source: Zim working very hard to clear arreas: Beddies – NewsDay Zimbabwe August 23, 2016

Last year, Zimbabwe agreed to pay its combined $1,8 billion arrears to the three preferred creditors — IMF, the World Bank and the African Development Bank — by end of April to unlock cheap lines of credit. Critics said at the time the target was unrealistic.

In an interview with NewsDay Beddies said: “Government is working on the modalities for all the three financial institutions. They are working very hard to clear the arrears.”

Beddies said the raising of the money depended on government’s negotiations and the IMF was not part of that.
He said there were significant downside risks from a deepening crisis adding that there was urgent need to restore confidence, which “would be best achieved through a strong economic transformation programme that could be supported by the International Financial Institutions after arrears clearance”.

“…a return to strong growth and poverty reduction will require strong macroeconomic policies in the context of a programme. Additional financial support — after the arrears clearance will be essential to help Zimbabwe’s economy to rebound,” he said.

Of the $1,8 billion, Zimbabwe owes the World Bank $1,1 billion, AfDB ($601 million) and $110 million to the IMF.
Beddies said the economic activity was weakening sharply driven by external shocks, liquidity constraints and fiscal challenges.

He said the drought required substantial grain imports, putting pressure on the national budget and the decline in exports prices was depressing export proceeds, compressing private sector imports, and contributing to subdued domestic demand.

“The US dollar appreciation induced higher than expected demand for this currency, slowed remittances and generated speculation exacerbating liquidity constraints and complicating the functioning of the multicurrency system,” he said.

The first half of the year data shows weakening activity, with declining external trade, a shortfall in tax collections, and an increase in tax arrears.”

According to IMF’s Article IV report, Zimbabwe’s deteriorating economic conditions reinforced the urgency to move forward and implement comprehensive ambitious reforms to transform the economy and to advance the reengagement process and the priority areas included fiscal discipline and rebalancing expenditure away from employment costs towards development and social spending to restore fiscal sustainability supported by strengthened public financial management and revenue administration and acceleration of State-owned enterprises.

The country is also expected to tackle external arrears and advancing the re-engagement process to allow it to eventually access external financing and addressing structural weaknesses to boost Zimbabwe’s growth potential.

According to Zimbabwe’s debt clearance plan presented to the preferred creditors in Lima, Peru last year, the first step would be for government to use the bridge loan facility arranged by its debt advisors, the African Export-Import Bank, to clear its outstanding arrears to AfDB ($585 million) and African Development Fund ($16 million). The bridge loan would be repaid using inflows from the Fragile State Facility of AfDB, the document said.

The second phase entailed using government’s Special Drawing Rights holdings to clear the $110 million owed to IMF.

Government said it would secure a medium-to-long term loan to clear its $1,1 billion arrears to the World Bank.
The debt clearance strategy would be supported by bold policy reform measures aimed at debt sustainability and improving the socio-economic environment.

The measures include strengthening financial sector confidence, accelerating the re-engagement process with the international community and revitalising agriculture and the agro-processing value chain.

It also entails advancing beneficiation and/or value addition to the agriculture and mining resource endowment, focusing on infrastructure development, unlocking the potential of small-to-medium enterprises and improving the investment climate.

The clearance plan is anchored on accelerated public enterprises reform and improving public finance management, modernisation of the labour laws and aligning of laws to the Constitution and adhering to the rule of law and the pursuit of an anti-corruption thrust.

It’s game on: Tsvangirai

MAIN opposition MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai has said preparations for Friday’s mega demonstration involving 18 opposition parties were at an advanced stage.

Source: It’s game on: Tsvangirai – NewsDay Zimbabwe August 23, 2016

BY OBEY MANAYITI/PAIDAMOYO MUZULU

Tsvangirai yesterday also said no amount of intimidation by State security agents would stop the planned protest march to force the Zanu PF government to implement electoral reforms.

Police last week reportedly indicated that they would not sanction the protest march, citing manpower shortages.
The parties are demanding immediate implementation of electoral reforms to level the political playing field ahead of the 2018 elections.

In an exclusive interview with NewsDay at his Highlands, Harare, home ahead of Friday’s crunch demonstration, Tsvangirai reiterated it would be naive for the MDC-T to blindly go into an election without reforms.

He described the planned demonstration as unique in that, for the first time, it would involve all opposition political parties under the banners of National Electoral Reform Agenda (Nera) and Coalition for Democrats (Code).

Tsvangirai raised a litany of electoral challenges including problems with the voters’ roll, politicisation of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec), violence and outright rigging, among others.

“We are demonstrating against the entire system. It has nothing to do with individuals. We are saying we have to have full confidence in the election management system and it includes the constitution of Zec itself, the manner in which it is being administered and the manner in which political parties play a part,” Tsvangirai said.

“We all have to be involved and at every stage where we have grievances there must be an avenue to resolve those grievances. We are the only electoral system in the region which is not even complying with basic standards of managing elections.”

He said the only way Zimbabwe could force President Robert Mugabe’s administration to implement the reforms was through sustained protests.

He called on all “progressive citizens” from all walks of life to join in Friday’s demonstration in Harare.

“We are not acting because they will bow to pressure, we are putting pressure and to me that is sufficient. Zimbabweans must begin to break out of fear of the regime. They must begin to express themselves so that the regime has no option, but to listen. We want to participate in the elections, but it’s not feasible to force us to blindly go into an election we know is going to be rigged,” Tsvangirai added.

“Where there are these challenges and obstacles, it is almost naive to go into an electoral process which we know is going to be rigged before you even start.”

He said elections in Zimbabwe had always been rigged, hence there should be mechanisms to stop Zanu PF from further stealing votes.

“We have had these disputes ever since I started participating in elections. Worse still, we won the election in 2008 and Mugabe refused to give up power. Unless there is an assurance that the mandate of the people is respected, then we have situations where even the mandate is subverted by other extra-judicial and unconstitutional methods.
“That is why our campaign for electoral reforms is critical for the next election. That is why all opposition parties agree under Nera to come, express and demonstrate that there has to be reform before we go into the next election. It’s timely because there is still time to correct all the unconstitutional processes that are being put in place,” he said.

Tsvangirai said they would assign their legislators to even push Parliament to act on the electoral reforms.

“In fact, we are going to move that Parliament must be asked to give us a roadmap for the next election. We need a benchmark that by this time we would have completed this process and that process. We want to see clear benchmarks and we are going to demonstrate so that these issues are addressed,” he said.

This came as all 18 Nera and Code leaders met in the city to finalise preparations for the protest march and lay the groundwork for their planned grand coalition where they were plotting to field one presidential candidate to challenge Mugabe, come 2018.

Nera convenor and former Intelligence minister Didymus Mutasa said all party leaders had agreed to take to the streets in solidarity with their supporters.

“We deliberated on the purpose of our mega demonstration on Friday. We agreed we will invite all interested parties, people and civil society organisations in Zimbabwe to take part in the demonstration,” Mutasa said.

“We seek, among other things, that Zec should be independent and not continue to be under the Ministry of Justice. We are also calling on the government to make sure that Zec chairperson [Justice] Rita Makarau should not hold two substantive positions and we hope that she will relinquish one of the positions without being coerced.”

Besides heading Zec, Justice Makarau is also secretary of the Judicial Service Commission and a Constitutional Court judge.

Mutasa also said the parties would reconvene to map the way forward after Friday’s demonstration looking at ways they could work together as they approach the 2018 polls.

The meeting was attended by Zimbabwe People First leader Joice Mujuru, PDP’s Tendai Biti, MDC’s Welshman Ncube, Elton Mangoma (Renewal Democrats of Zimbabwe), Simba Makoni (Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn) and Morgen Komichi (MDC-T vice-chairman), among others.

Electoral reforms are a key component of free and elections

The MDC would like to express its deep satisfaction with the progress that eighteen (18) political parties under the national electoral reform agenda (NERA), have so far made in jointly pushing for the adoption of electoral reforms. Indeed, without the adoption of electoral reforms as more fully disclosed in the NERA trajectory, it will not be possible for Zimbabwe to hold free and fair elections in 2018. As President Morgan Tsvangirai has lucidly pointed out to the media, it would be utter and complete folly for the MDC to blindly go into an election without reforms. We have learnt the bitter lesson that the Zanu PF regime will always rig any election that is conducted without electoral reforms. Once beaten, twice shy.

Source: Electoral reforms are a key component of free and elections – The Zimbabwean 23.08.2016

As Election 2018 fast approaches, it is critical for the Parliament of Zimbabwe to play a leading role in setting out a well –defined and precise roadmap to the next election. Zimbabwe cannot afford the luxury of holding another contested election in 2018.The national economy continues to contract and collapse into a huge mess of a rag tag informal economy that can neither create meaningful jobs nor sustain essential government expenditure. This is the time for all concerned stakeholders to put their heads together and fight for the creation of an environment that is conducive to the holding of elections that will easily pass the test of legitimacy.

We call upon the Zanu PF regime to appreciate that Zimbabwe is for all of us; regardless of race, colour or creed. As such, the deterioration and virtual collapse of the formal national economy adversely affects all the people of Zimbabwe, across the political divide. Now is the time for all of us to draw a line in the sand and declare that never again should Zimbabwe hold elections that are marred by violence, intimidation and all the other forms of vote rigging that have become the hallmark of our political and electoral environment.

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) should be adequately capacitated by way of both financial and material resources; way before the holding of the next general elections. In the same breath, the Zanu PF regime should immediately desist from improperly interfering with the operations of ZEC. ZEC, as provided for by the Constitution of Zimbabwe, should be completely independent and should not bow down to the whims and fantasies of any politician, be it from the ruling party or from the opposition.

The MDC, together with all the other political parties under the NERA platform, calls upon the ZEC secretariat to be totally dismantled to allow for the creation of a professional and non-partisan administration. All CIO operatives and other State agents who presently constitute the greater component of the ZEC secretariat should be immediately removed. Election 2018 should be an opportunity for Zimbabwe to open a new and fresh chapter of holding free and fair elections. With the necessary goodwill and support from all stakeholders, this can be done.

MDC: EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES FOR ALL

OBERT CHAURURA GUTU

MDC NATIONAL SPOKESPERSON

Green Fuel seeks $300m for dam construction

Source: Green Fuel seeks $300m for dam construction | The Herald August 23, 2016

Martin Kadzere Senior Business Reporter
GREEN Fuel, a joint venture between ARDA and Macdom and Rating Investments requires at least $300 million to construct a dam to support its expansion programme.

Currently, the company’s sugarcane plantations in Chisumbanje, Manicaland, are on about 10 000 hectares but there is scope to expand them to 50 000 ha. The expansion is part of company’s medium term plan of becoming a regional ethanol company.

“Any further expansion is hinged on availability of water and that is the main hold back because the level of investment is too high,” ARDA chairman Mr Basil Nyabadza said.

“We have a budget of $300 million to construct Kondo dam and it is very difficult to raise that kind of money under the current environment.”

Osborne dam and Lesape dam are feeding into the plantation and the two water sources cannot sufficiently support the expansion. Mr Nyabadza said the design stage of the dam was completed.

Kondo Dam is located on the Save river approximately 3,6km south of the Save river and Tsungwizi river confluence. The project involves the construction of a concrete faced rockfill dam, an earthfill saddle dam and hydro-power generating plant.

Upon completion, Kondo dam will store 3,5 billion cubic metres of water for power generation and irrigation development in the Chisumbanje area, which lies in the south eastern part of the country. The dam has potential to generate 200MW and has a high ecotourism potential, which will benefit the Zimbabwean economy.

Green Fuel expansion programme also involves construction of two additional plants with combined capacity of 40 million litres of ethanol per month at a cost of $540 million.

About $400 million will be required develop the farmland measuring 40 000 ha. Green Fuel started operations in 2012 and its operations were boosted by the introduction of mandatory blending.

Zimbabwe Agrees to $2.7 Billion Deal to Renew Busiest Road

Zimbabwe has agreed to a $2.7 billion deal with companies from Austria and China to upgrade the country’s busiest road linking South Africa with countries to the north.

Source: Zimbabwe Agrees to $2.7 Billion Deal to Renew Busiest Road – Bloomberg August 22, 2016

Zimbabwe has agreed to a $2.7 billion deal with companies from Austria and China to upgrade the country’s busiest road linking South Africa with countries to the north.

The contract was agreed with closely held Geiger International of Austria and state-owned China Harbour Engineering Company Ltd., Transport Minister Joram Gumbo told reporters in capital, Harare, on Monday. The companies will operate a 20-year concession for the stretch of road from Beitbridge on the southern border to Harare, while the renewal of the northern section to Chirundu will be funded with loans from the private sector, he said.

The highway has fallen into a state of disrepair as heavy-duty trucks use it to transport everything from corn to mining and power-plant equipment from South Africa to other parts of the continent. The renewal of the Plumtree-Mutare road that runs from Zimbabwe’s western to eastern borders was completed at a cost of about $3 billion last year by South Africa’s Group Five Ltd.

Zimbabwe’s economy, suffering its worst economic crisis since 2008, has left the government unable to pay civil servants’ wages on time and delayed payment to troops, with 83 percent of revenues collected going to salary payments. The southern African country missed its own deadline to repay $1.8 billion to the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and African Development Bank by June 30.

Councils slam Zimra garnishees on Zinara funds

Source: Councils slam Zimra garnishees on Zinara funds | The Herald

Innocent Ruwende Municipal Reporter
The Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) has come under fire from local authorities for garnishing the bulk of the $22 million that the Zimbabwe National Roads Administration (Zinara) disbursed to councils for routine road rehabilitation, maintenance and development.

The councils claim that most of the roads in the countryside and farming areas were not navigable and the garnishees were going to worsen the situation.

Speaking at the Association of Rural District Council of Zimbabwe Biennial Congress held in Harare last week, about 60 rural local authorities’ representatives complained that Zimra was not sparing councils’ road accounts that were garnished for failing to meet their statutory obligations.

The local authorities called on Zimra to spare the road funds and target other accounts.

Responding to the concerns, principal director in the Finance and Economic Development Ministry Mr Pfungwa Kunaka, however, said not all local authorities were affected by the garnishee orders, which he said were necessary.

“It is not all local authorities that had their accounts garnished. It (garnishee order) is not just applying to local authorities. Revenue collecting agencies are trying to make sure that revenue is collected. Zimra engages in a mutual way and given the current situation, Government needs to collect revenue.

“Garnishees are the last resort, its unfortunate Zinara funds have also been affected. Yes, we appreciate challenges that come with garnishees. We may not at this point lift garnishees. If we are going to lift enforcement provisions, we will see a challenge in collecting revenue. Exemptions might set the wrong precedent. We want to ask that we have to understand the use of garnishees,” he said.

The said garnishees may seem punitive but it was a tool used as last resort.

Rural Development, Promotion and Preservation of National Culture Minister, Cde Abednico Ncube, said the effects of the harsh economic environment had not spared local authorities.

“As noted earlier, you are now part of government of Zimbabwe. Accordingly, it is expected that all local authorities take deliberate and well thought out measures not only to build internal resilience, but also to assist the country to reverse the trend via-a-vis the growth of the economy.”

“In particular, steps need to be taken to eliminate leakages by strengthening internal controls, reduce employment and related costs, eliminate wasteful expenditure in every form and broadly to enhance organisational performance,” he said.

He urged local authorities to actively promote local economic development in their areas so as to create employment opportunities and facilitate economic empowerment.

Last year, Zinara increased allocation of money to local authorities by 312 percent to facilitate improved maintenance and rehabilitation of roads.

The roads administration authority is a statutory body empowered to collect road fees through toll fees, fuel levy, vehicle licences, and transit, abnormal and overload fees.

The local authorities receive part of the money and claim that Zimra’s return of the same funds back to Government was counter-productive.

Chimene to pay for contempt of court

Source: Chimene to pay for contempt of court | The Herald August 23, 2016

Manicaland Provincial Affairs Minister Mandiitawepi Chimene has been ordered to pay the costs of an application for contempt of charges filed against her in the High Court in a farm wrangle.

Chimene attempted to take over Mona Farm on the outskirts of Rusape.

The farm is believed to be jointly owned by former Presidential Affairs Minister Didymus Mutasa, Ms Christine Murembwe and Mr Leonard Taylor.

The trio is said to be involved in wildlife, tobacco and maize production under a company known as Mona Agri-Tourism Company (Private) Limited.

Chimene refused to heed the court order. This prompted Ms Murembwe, through her laywer Mr Effort Jera of Moyo and Jera Legal Practitioners to sue for contempt of court in the High Court.

Cde Chimene, however, purged herself when the matter was brought for hearing before Justice Priscilla Chigumba last week. In that case, the judge ruled that the application for contempt of court against Cde Chimene had been overtaken by events, but ordered her to pay costs of the application.

“The applicant (Mona Agri-Tourism (Pvt) Ltd) has been restored to the premises. Second respondent (Cde Chimene) be and is hereby ordered to bear the costs of hc778/16 application for contempt of court,” said Justice Chigumba.

 

180 housing co-ops take Udcorp to court

Source: 180 housing co-ops take Udcorp to court | The Herald

Daniel Nemukuyu Senior Court Reporter
AT least 180 housing cooperatives allocated residential land in Harare have sued the Urban Development Corporation over the alleged unilateral raiding of bank accounts and looting of millions of dollars.

Udcorp, a Government entity mandated to ensure provision of housing, has reportedly raided various bank accounts held by housing cooperatives and blocked the account holders from accessing them.

It has reportedly taken over the cooperatives’ operations without any legal basis.

There are also allegations that millions of dollars have been collected from cooperative members and bank accounts without proper accountability.

Udcorp and the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing are under fire for meddling in the allocation of housing stands in areas given to cooperatives.

Udcorp is also being accused of making fresh allocation of cooperative land to other people, a development that has caused double allocation and chaos in the housing sector.

Millions of dollars have been collected so far from the cooperatives by Udcorp, the cooperatives claim.

Zimbabwe National Cooperative Federation, Home Struggle Housing Cooperative Union, Harare North Housing Cooperative Society, Ushewokunze Housing Cooperative Society and Harare South Housing Apex Society have filed an urgent chamber application at the High Court seeking to bar Udcorp from asking for subscriptions from cooperative members.

The five cooperative societies represent at least 180 affiliate cooperatives allocated land in different parts of Harare.

They also seek an order of the court stopping Udcorp from blocking cooperatives from accessing their money in their bank accounts.

Chengeta Law Chambers filed the application on behalf of the cooperatives.

In the urgent chamber application, Udcorp and the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Saviour Kasukuwere were listed as respondents.

On July 29, cooperatives affiliated to Home Struggle Housing Cooperative Union failed to access their funds at CBZ Bank.

The manager at the bank referred the cooperatives to Udcorp for permission to access the bank accounts.

On August 10, the cooperatives went to the Ministry of Small to Medium Enterprises for clarification on the extent to which Udcorp can control or interfere with their operations.

Udcorp reportedly transferred money from the cooperatives’ accounts into its own account with the assistance of CBZ Bank.

“In the meantime, more of our members reported blocked accounts and stolen funds. On August 11, we learnt that some funds had been put on auto transfer to Udcorp with the assistance of CBZ,” read an affidavit by chairman of the Zimbabwe National Cooperative Federation Mr Micah Duru.

Mr Duru said Udcorp had threatened to take over stands from some cooperatives and the membership was now living in fear. It is the cooperatives’ argument that Government had banned the existence of cooperatives without stating where such power derived from.

The Local Government’s actions were not backed by any legal instruments, hence they must be nullified.

“Udcorp is presently taking money from cooperatives accounts and spending it as it wishes claiming that it is the President who authorised the present chaos by the first and second respondent. This is a lie because the funds are being misused without accountability to the members,” reads the affidavit.

The cooperatives allege that an Air Commodore was at the centre of Udcorp and that he was using his military influence to intimidate the cooperative members.

Harare North Cooperative Society paid $700 000 to Udcorp but no meaningful projects were done and in Caledonia $23 million was paid.

The matter is yet to be set down for hearing at the High Court.

Zimbabwe government won’t pay diamond miners

Yet it can’t account for US$15 billion

Source: Zimbabwe government won’t pay diamond miners – The Zimbabwean 23.08.2016

Whilst the Zimbabwe government can not account for even a cent of over US$15 billion of diamond revenues, the people it used in mining those precious minerals are wallowing in abject poverty, as they have hardly been paid.

One can not help but wonder at the magnitude of the greed, lust, and cruelty that consumes this ZANU PF government, to the extent that they would rather add another mansion to their already numerous mansions, without a care in the world, even if the people they employ to make that wealth sleep under a bridge.

How else can one explain such gross callousness on the part of this government?

Sadly, it reminds me of a biblical story told by the prophet Nathan to King David – when he had committed adultery with Bathsheba, and caused the death of her husband, Uriah, in order to swiftly marry her, so as to conceal his deed, as she was now pregnant.

He said that there was once a rich man who had exceeding many flocks and herds, and a poor man who had only one little ewe lamb that he loved so much and sacrificed everything to take good care of it.

However, when a traveller visited the rich man, he (the rich man) did not kill any from his vast flock in order to feed the visitor, but took the poor man’s only lamb instead.

That is exactly what the ZANU PF government is doing to the poor people of this country.

The ZANU PF government is taking the little that the suffering Zimbabweans have left, so as to add on to the already vast empires.

When diamonds were discovered in Chiadzwa, the government moved in with all its military might, claiming that this was a national resource, that should benefit the whole nation, not just a few – as some people had descended onto the area to grab some diamonds, and had become rich overnight.

The poor people who resided in that area, were forcibly removed, with the promise that they would be provided with better places to live.

That promise  was never fulfilled, as the evicted residents are now poorer than before, whilst staying in crowded dwellings – worse than they had at their home area in Chiadzwa.

The Zimbabwe government then established Mbada Diamonds, through a partnership with other shareholders.

They used and abused the people they had hired in 2012 to mine this very precious mineral – without paying them their full salaries and wages – only to unceremoniously dismiss them in 2014.

Up to today, these workers have still to receive their outstanding salaries, and terminal benefits.

In fact, these workers allege that they were never given an notices of termination of services, but were merely summoned to Mbada Diamonds’ Human Resources department, where they were issued with dismissal letters, and instructed to return a month later to collect statements of account, but would not be given any money.

It is reported that the dismissed workers were only given 24 hours to vacate the company premises.

When they returned a month later to collect their statements of account, they were prohibited from entering the company premises, and were handed the letters at the gate.

Actually, according to documents I have, Mbada Diamonds wrote the statements of account to the dismissed workers on 2nd January 2015, merely acknowledging that the company owed the workers a certain amount – some workers being owed as much as US$7,358.78 – but did not have any payment date.

These statements of account disturbingly state that these former workers were owed from the date of engagement to when they were dismissed – suggesting that they were hardly paid during their employment at Mbada Diamonds.

The dismissed workers approached the Mutare Labour Court, and the matter was referred to Conciliation on 18th December 2015, whereby the company agreed to pay the dismissed workers their outstanding salaries and terminal benefits in instalments over a certain timeframe.

Needless to say, Mbada Diamonds reneged on that promise, and never paid the dismissed workers.

On 16th August 2016, the dismissed workers met in Chiadzwa to discuss this issue, only to be dispersed by people suspected of being state security agents, on the pretext that the gathering was illegal.

Previously, the first group of dismissed workers had gone to Mbada Diamonds head offices at Sam Levy Village in Borrowdale, Harare, only to be locked out of the premises, and, allegedly, had dogs set on them.

They conducted a peaceful demonstration outside the premises for three months, but no one from the company came to address them.

It is alleged that the company secretly vacated the offices, and the dismissed workers have no idea where they relocated to.

These dismissed workers, who enriched some people with billions of dollars through their sweat, are now effectively left high and dry.

Typical of the ZANU PF government – they would not care less.

Whilst they send their children to the best and most expensive schools in the world, the people that they molested and abused can not even afford fees for the cheapest, substandard and ill-equipped schools in the country.

These senior ZANU PF government officials can afford the world’s most expensive medical care, with doctors flying into the country from the far east to attend to them – however, the people they used in earning their wealth can not even afford life-saving medication.

Yet, these ZANU PF people are so fond of telling everyone how they ‘liberated’ Zimbabweans from colonial bondage

It is such a shame that we even have countries, such as Ghana, that are so naïve enough to give an award to Zimbabwean President Mugabe for his role in ‘liberating’ Zimbabweans, when in fact the opposite is true.

The people of Zimbabwe are more in bondage today, than they ever were under colonialism.

In fact, I grew up in a mining town, and I know the reasonably comfortable life we had in Rhodesia, though we were forced to stay in ‘locations’, my parents were denied a proper education, and were paid far less than their White counterparts.

However, the fact of the matter is that they received their salaries in full, and on time, every time – including annual and production target bonuses.

The company that they worked for, acknowledged that its wealth emanated through its workers, and as such, they had to be appreciated.

The company built houses, relatively good schools, well-equipped hospitals, world-class recreational facilities, and a host of other things.

That was the Rhodesia the people of Zimbabwe were ‘liberated’ from by ZANU PF.

Zimbabweans were ‘liberated’ into a world of abject poverty, where a government-owned company can make billions of dollars, but fails to pay even a single cent to its workers.

Mbada Diamonds would sponsor all manner of sporting events, just to mirage its true colours, whilst not paying its workers.

The people of Zimbabwe were ‘liberated’  into an ‘independent’ country where the government can evict poor rural people from their homes – that they had stayed for generations – to make way for a multi-billion dollar governments-owned company, which fails to provide them with any decent alternative dwellings.

Is that the ‘independence’ and ‘liberation’ that ZANU PF is so find of bragging about?

Is there anything to brag about?

Is it not embarrassing that these people are actually fighting over such a legacy, with all sorts of accusations and counter-accusations over their individual roles in the ‘liberation’ struggle?

There is nothing to fight over, as the whole legacy of the true liberation struggle of Joshua Nkomo, Herbert Chitepo, Josiah Tongogara, Lookout Masuku, Rekai Tangwena, and others, was highjacked way back in the 1970s by a callous and greedy group of mercenaries that sought to enrich themselves.

This group had long envied the colonial masters and their riches, and therefore, sought to engage in a pseudo-liberation struggle in order to get their hands on those riches.

Is it any wonder that they decided to violently invade and evict productive White commercial farmers in the year 2000, just so that they could share the most productive farms amongst themselves – and thereby, virtually running them into the ground, and starving a whole nation?

They never cared for the majority suffering people of Zimbabwe.

They merely saw colonialism as an opportunity to peddle some ‘liberation’ mantra, so as to gain power – and the povo as disposable tools.

The suffering people of Zimbabwe, however, have awoken to this fallacy, and will never stand for it anymore.

ZANU PF’s days of plunder and oppression are coming to an end, and there is no way they can stop the winds of change blowing over Zimbabwe, as the days of genuine ‘liberation’ are here – where all Zimbabweans are equal and enjoy the same opportunities to prosper and develop, in freedom and peace.

° Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice activist and commentator, writer, and journalist. He writes in his personal capacity, and welcomes any feedback. Please feel free to WhatsApp/call: +263782283975, or email: tendaiandtinta.mbofana@gmail.com. Follow on Twitter: @Tendai_Mbofana

Mediators claim advances in government

Maputo (AIM) – The foreign mediators in the dialogue between the Mozambican government and the rebel movement Renamo told reporters on Monday that there have been “some advances” in discussions on a cessation of hostilities.

Source: Mediators claim advances in government – Renamo talks – The Zimbabwean 23.08.2016

“There are some points in the proposal that are not a problem for either side. They can be agreed”, said the Italian coordinator of the mediators, Mario Raffaelli. “But there are other points that need deeper discussion”.

Raffaelli said the discussion on a cessation of hostilities began at last Friday’s meeting of the Joint Commission set up by the government and Renamo. It is based on a proposal from the mediators to re-establish effective peace in Mozambique.

The proposal, he added, takes into account “what was discussed with both delegations in the bilateral meetings that were held last week”.

Raffaelli gave no details as to the content of the mediators’ proposal, and neither the government nor the Renamo delegations were willing to speak to the press.

The international  mediators chosen by Renamo are representatives of the European Union, the Catholic Church and the South African government, while for its part the government chose former Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete, the Global Leadership Foundation (represented by former Botswanan President Quett Masire), and the Faith Foundation, set up by former British Prime Minister, Tony Blair.

What is left of Zanu PF

In 1980 when we came to Independence the Party known as the Zimbabwe African National Union was a monolith. They had taken over 80 per cent of the vote in the elections and controlled all aspects of Government. Only in the south west of the country, where the Zimbabwe African Peoples Union had dominated, was the control of Zanu PF challenged.

Source: What is left of Zanu PF – The Zimbabwean 23.08.2016

Over the next 7 years conflict between these two Parties raged to and fro across the land culminating in the eventual collapse of Zapu and its integration into Zanu PF. Having cemented its hold over the country, Zimbabwe entered an era as a virtual one Party State. Opposition groups came and went but the hold that the Party had over national activities remained absolute.

Then came 1999 when the Trade Union movement in Zimbabwe launched a Party, the Movement for Democratic Change, the era of one Party hegemony virtually came to an end. At this stage the only measure of the relative strength of the Zanu PF Party was their performance in the elections that took place in 2000. In those elections they took just over half the support they had received in 1980. This was a decline of  one third and marks the first real sign that support for Zanu PF was on the wane.

In the following 16 years there were 4 more elections and in my personal view the 2002 Presidential election was lost to the MDC by a significant margin. In the 2005 elections Zanu PF was able to claw their way back into the field and secured a two thirds majority. In 2008, the March elections were held under reasonable conditions and Zanu support fell to less than 30 per cent of the vote, losing both a majority in the House of Assembly and the Presidency. In the 2013 elections, the Party repeated what it had done in 2005 and secured another two thirds majority in Parliament.

What was not apparent in this process was the changing nature of the Party on the ground. In 1980 the Party was firmly entrenched in the country with structures in every electoral District and Ward. These political structures were reinforced with the War Veterans and together they constituted a formidable political organisation. In the intervening years, the Party has treated the State as an extension of itself. In the process they have moved Party Cadres into key positions in the Civil Service and also into Parastatals and the Private Sector.

The security services of the State have become effectively, at a high level, extensions of the Party. This process was built upon the integration process that followed Independence. After 2000 when the MDC began to contest for power, the Zanu PF Party was forced to recognise that their field structures were no longer able to perform the way they had in the early decades of Independence. To remedy this, the security services were drawn upon to fill key gaps, a senior officer was recruited into the Party Head Office as CEO and in the 2008 and 2013 elections, the Army and other branches of the Security Services deployed staff in every District and Ward.

To augment these systems the Party then used its position in control of the State to employ tens of thousands of Youth Militia in various capacities and uses these as a Party militia. These are then employed on Party programmes and to bolster Party activities such as rallies and demonstrations. It was these militia that were used so effectively in the 2013 elections to secure the results that they obtained.

Then came the process of Party disintegration that set in following the 2013 elections, the health of the President was deteriorating, his grip on power waning and the succession issue came to the fore. Despite all efforts, the different potential candidates for his shoes began to build alliances and factions in the Party began to appear.

In 2013 it was Emmerson Mnangagwa who engineered the Zanu PF victory using the military/security/Party structures that had been established after the 2008 debacle. Having delivered the massive victory that he was personally responsible for in 2013, he expected to be rewarded. The Vice Presidency at the very least, the public assurance of succession prospects would have been his goal. Instead the Old Man played games with him and the others in the race. Joyce was promoted and given the job of nominating the new Cabinet. Emmerson was demoted from Defence to Justice. He was furious.

Within months plans were laid for the removal of Joyce from the Vice Presidency – eventually in October 2014 this was achieved after Grace had been released from her Genies bottle and set loose in the Party. December comes and Emmerson is appointed Vice President, his final goal in sight. But the Genie was out of the bottle and would not go back.

So the final struggle for the control of the Party and Government began. In 2015 this struggle morphed into a two horse race – the Emmerson Group and the G40. The circle of close support for the President shrank down to next to nothing. By the end of the year he was virtually alone and isolated although still holding the keys to State House in his hands.

Emmerson still controlled the State – virtually all arms of the administration and all key power brokers were in his camp. The G40 controlled little but in a series of swift actions secured control over strategic funding and by the middle of 2016, secured effective control of what was left of the Zanu PF Party. At the center of this process was the President’s wife who was enjoying her new status as the Women’s League Chairlady and Party activist. They built up the militia and brought them under their direct control, using them to exercise ground control of Party structures.

So by August 2016, the G40 had got themselves into the position where they could use the Politburo to remove Mnangagwa elements from the Administration and the Party. The stage was set for a final confrontation at the annual Conference of the Party to remove Emmerson Mnangagwa from the post of Vice President. If this happens all that would be left of the Zanu PF Party would be a tiny group of people with little grass roots support, no support from the Veterans of the War and the active opposition of the major factions in Zanu – the Mujuru and the Mnangagwa groups. I doubt if what would be left would represent more than 5 per cent of the Party that once was such a dominant monolith in local politics.

I cannot see any possibility of a reconciliation of these factions and one or the other has to emerge supreme. If it is the G40 then I would expect that the State structures that have protected their base in the country would for the first time be separated from the tentacles of the Zanu PF Party. Like the War Veterans they would be obliged either to maintain their independence or to affiliate with one of the other players on the political playing field. This sets the stage for the emergence of a Government which, for the first time since Independence, will have a form of real separation of the difference elements that make up the State.

The final moves are being taken as we go into September 2016. It is the question of just how a new Government to replace the present one is to be achieved. In my view the only option that has any chance of success is an election. Success; in the sense that the process will produce a Government that has legitimacy, democratic foundations and international acceptance. Nothing else can realistically address our present crisis situation. For what is left of Zanu PF, this is the end of the road.

Lord Mandelson’s visit to Zimbabwe

Lord Mandelson visited Zimbabwe on 14-16 February 2016. We wish to correct a number of inaccurate assertions regarding his visit that have circulated in the media and on-line

Source: APO – Africa Newsroom / Press release | Lord Mandelson’s visit to Zimbabwe  August 22, 2016

HARARE, Zimbabwe, August 22, 2016/APO/  – Lord Mandelson visited Zimbabwe as an extension of a private visit in South Africa. Lord Mandelson asked the Foreign & Commonwealth Office if he could be of assistance in promoting UK government objectives in Zimbabwe. Given Lord Mandelson’s experience as a senior UK minister and European Union Commissioner for Trade, we agreed he could help reinforce the case for economic reform with the Government of Zimbabwe. To this end, the British Embassy in Harare facilitated a meeting with Finance Minister, Patrick Chinamasa, at which Lord Mandelson was accompanied by the British ambassador. Lord Mandelson was not attending in his capacity as senior adviser to an investment bank. There was no discussion of loans or transactions of any nature with Minister Chinamasa. The meeting focussed on the economic reform agenda.

The UK is not ‘bailing out’ the government of Zimbabwe. No UK taxpayer’s money has been or will be used to directly fund the government of Zimbabwe. Whilst Zimbabwe continues to seek refinancing options to clear its debt arrears to the World Bank, any decision on future UK support for a multi-year IMF programme would require demonstrable progress on human rights, governance and rule of law, in addition to economic reform.

Lord Mandelson’s visit was not funded by the British government. He did not stay at the ambassador’s residence. UK overseas missions do not generally provide support to former ministers, except when they are assisting with current UK government policy objectives, as in this case.

We are grateful for the efforts made by Lord Mandelson to press the case for economic reform in Zimbabwe

Distributed by APO on behalf of British Embassy Harare.

‘Dont be drawn into Zanu PF dogfights’

OPPOSITION Zapu leader Dumiso Dabengwa has called on disgruntled war veterans to refuse to be dragged into ruling Zanu PF’s dogfights, lest the country plunges into civil unrest.

Source: ‘Dont be drawn into Zanu PF dogfights’ – Southern Eye August 22, 2016

NQOBANI NDLOVU

Dabengwa’s party has invited both ex-Zipra and Zanla combatants for an emergency meeting at Zapu’s Bulawayo offices on Sunday as part of efforts to douse flames caused by the ongoing Zanu PF factional fights.

“The Zanu PF fights are becoming more and more of a threat to the country’s national security. This has, as expected, sucked in the war veterans and this is not a healthy situation for the country,” Zapu regional spokesperson Iphuthile Maphosa said yesterday.

He said the meeting will also review the welfare of ex-combatants, their role in society and to find ways of depolarising Zanla and Zipra.

Zimbabwe National War Veterans Association secretary-general, Victor Matemadanda early this week insinuated that ex-combatants were ready to take up arms, saying they will not sit back and be pushed about by the G40 faction, which reportedly was opposed to Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s bid to succeed Mugabe.

“Zapu urges the war veterans to maintain their dignity and refuse to be drawn into and used in factional and succession fights currently obtaining in Zanu PF,” Maphosa said.

“They have a role of uniting and developing the country they toiled for years to liberate by building bridges wherever there is conflict and disagreement.

“They have an all important role of preserving our freedom from colonialism, dismantling the current dictatorship and growing peace among all citizens in order that we realise the development Zimbabwe deserves and yearns for.”

Mugabe to attend Sadc Summit

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe is next week expected to turn his back on the worsening socio-economic and human rights crisis back home to attend the 36th Sadc Heads of States and Government Summit in Mbabane, Swaziland.

Source: Mugabe to attend Sadc Summit – NewsDay Zimbabwe August 22, 2016

by VENERANDA LANGA

Presidential spokesperson George Charamba on Saturday confirmed that Mugabe will be at the summit running between August 30 and 31 under the theme Resource Mobilisation for Investment in Sustainable Energy Infrastructure for an Inclusive Sadc Industrialisation for Prosperity.

“The President (Mugabe) has never missed any Sadc meeting and he will definitely attend the 36th Heads of State Summit,” Charamba said.

“Zimbabwe is a member of Sadc, and Sadc is our organisation as we have an important role to play.”

Mugabe last week cancelled his scheduled State visit to Ghana where he was to be awarded for being the longest-serving African leader amid reports he was angry that the hosts had also invited Morrocan King Mohammed V1.
But Ghana government has reportedly absolved itself of any blame over the cancellation of Mugabe’s visit to the country, noting it did not invite the 92-year-old leader.

According to 3News, Ghanaan President, John Mahama, who was expected to confer on Mugabe, the Millennium Lifetime Achievement award for his role in Zimbabwe’s liberation struggle from British colonial rule, was going to be out of Accra.

“The Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II who was to play a key role in the visit of President Mugabe was also said to be out of town,” the news website said.

Deputy Minister of Communications, Felix Kwakye Ofosu told Onua 95.1FM that Ghana had no hand in the invitation of Mugabe.

Meanwhile, Civic society groups that are already in Swaziland attending the 2016 Sadc People’s Summit ahead of the forthcoming Head of States meeting are pushing discussions on human rights abuses in Zimbabwe including police brutality on citizens expressing their rights to demonstrate, and issues of use of social media to push for social justice.

Import ban triggers price increase: CCZ

THE ban on imports has triggered an increase in prices of basic commodities in the country, as competition has been reduced, allowing retailers to hike prices, the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ) has said.

Source: Import ban triggers price increase: CCZ – NewsDay Zimbabwe August 22, 2016

BY MTHANDAZO NYONI

Last month, the government gazetted Statutory Instrument (SI) 64 of 2016, which restricts the importation of certain products, in a bid to boost local industries.

The regulations stipulate that importation of such products requires a permit, which is given quarterly and costs $30, but after convincing Industry and Commerce ministry on why the permit should be issued.

CCZ said due to the import ban, the cost of living, as measured by its low income urban earner monthly basket for a family of six, increased by 0,09% to $567,91 by end July 2016.

“As CCZ, we assume that the slight increase is due to the import ban, which was imposed by the government. The competition in the country has been reduced, hence, retailers tend to increase prices,” it said.

The food basket, however, decreased by 0,15% to $122,60, while the price of detergents increased by 6,8% to $11,31 from $10,59 recorded in June.

Figures from the consumer watchdog body also showed a decrease in prices was recorded in margarine by 4 cents to 85c, cooking oil by 5c to $1,35 per 750ml, rice lost 6c to $1,59 per 2kg, tomatoes fell by 15c to 65c, onions tumbled by 5c to $1,20 a bundle, cabbage by 5c to 65c a head and bath soap by 3c to 69c.

Increases in prices were recorded in tea leaves by 4c to $1,79, mealie meal by 40c to $10,80 per 20kg pag, salt by 3c to 23c per kg, washing powder by 20c to $1,45 and laundry bars by 6c to $1,05.

Prices of other basic commodities, which include sugar, bread, milk, flour and meat, remained unchanged from the end June 2016 figures.

Where the products were not certified, consumers were urged to exercise their right to information by carefully examining if the products they were purchasing were well-labelled, packaged and provided with vital information such as manufacturing and expiry dates and ingredients used in the making of the products.

The consumer lobby group conducts a survey twice, during the first and the last week of every month.

The price of each commodity was arrived at by averaging prices gathered from retail outlets throughout the country.

‘US new 5-year strategy for Zim approved’

THE United States Agency for International Development, USAid, says Washington has approved a new five-year strategy for its mission in Zimbabwe, which includes helping the government make evidence-based decisions on economic policy reforms.

Source: ‘US new 5-year strategy for Zim approved’ – NewsDay Zimbabwe August 22, 2016

BY TATIRA ZWINOIRA

Zimbabwe, about 10% goes to economic recovery programmes.
Speaking to NewsDay on the side lines of the commemorations of World Humanitarian day in Harare last week, USAid Zimbabwe mission director, Stephanie Funk, said they will implement the new strategy when the fiscal year begins in October.

“We just got a new five-year strategy approved by Washington, so starting in October, we are going to be running under the new strategy, in our new fiscal year. We are closing one of our programmes that works on policy reform with the government, so in October we are going to start a new programme. I cannot talk about it yet, as it is under a procurement processes and is sensitive,” she said.

“We will have an implementing partner that will work with the government, civil society and private sector to identify areas of research on economic policy reform. This research will help the government make evidence-based decisions on what best to do to improve the economic situation in the
country.”

Funk could not reveal further details, as USAid was approaching the end of its fiscal year in September.
The 10% or the remainder of USAid’s annual portfolio is after 61% that goes to health, 26% for humanitarian assistance and agriculture, and 10% for democracy and governance.

For a long time, Zimbabwe’s donors have been supporting crucial systems of the economy that include providing technical support towards economic policy reforms.

UN resident co-ordinator, Bishow Parajuli said the challenge that the United Nations Development Programme faced in helping government was policy inconsistency.

“The economy constitutes many things, such as the right policies and government capacities to manage and formulate those policies. In a broader sense, in the broader UN families World Bank and the IMF [International Monetary Fund], they are partly leading that process,” he said.

“From the UN side, UNDP is involved in a number of policies that include a programme on judicial reform, alignment of laws, and issues related to attracting investment.”

Parajuli said the government had to expedite its commitments, which it made in Lima, Peru, to the multi-lateral partners to improve its image.

Last year, Zimbabwe pledged to clear its combined $1,8 billion arrears to the World Bank, IMF and the African Development Bank, as a step towards unlocking cheap lines of credit.

MDC youths rap cops over ‘brute, intolerance to divergent views’

MDC youths have rapped the police for their intolerance to divergent views and their propensity to use brute force to crush constitutionally-guaranteed protests against misgovernance. BY KHANYILE MLOTSHWA

Source: MDC youths rap cops over ‘brute, intolerance to divergent views’ – NewsDay Zimbabwe August 22, 2016

The opposition party’s youths secretary-general, Discent Bajila yesterday said it was worrying that in the “past three months, not less than 500 citizens have been beaten, arrested or (experienced) both, while exercising their constitutional rights”.

“This figure adds to deaths on account of police brutality as recorded in Makokoba six weeks ago,” he said.

Bajila said on Thursday last week, police arrested MDC youth spokesperson, Brighton Makunike and other young people, as they marched in solidarity with Rural Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (RTUZ)’s campaign for better working conditions.

“It is our contention that their demands are not only peaceful, but legitimate and just. It is a matter of public knowledge that rural-based civil servants suffer the most, as they travel to their work stations on dilapidated roads and live on unclean and unsafe water and unreliable, hazardous sources of energy among other challenges. Rural workers deserve a better government with a devolved administration in order to be able to attend to the exclusive needs of each community and each sector.”

Bajila demanded the immediate release of Makunike, RTUZ president, Obert Masaraure, activist Linda Masarira and “all political detainees”.

“We demand the State’s compensation of Makokoba victims and survivors of police brutality. There must also be the speeding up of bilateral and multilateral efforts towards the building of a united democratic opposition coalition to fight Zanu PF cannibalism from now until 2018 elections,” he said.

“The MDC youth assembly is committed towards peaceful multilateral co-operation with democratic, non-violent youth groups in fighting for a fair and just Zimbabwe where diversity of opinions is celebrated and not suppressed.”

 

Mugabe incapacitated to lead Zim: Mujuru

ZIMBABWE People First leader and former Vice-President, Joice Mujuru, has called for urgent leadership renewal, saying President Robert Mugabe no longer had the capacity to continue in office given his advanced age, failing health and the rapid pace at which the economy was collapsing.

Source: Mugabe incapacitated to lead Zim: Mujuru – NewsDay Zimbabwe August 22, 2016

BY Everson Mushava

Mujuru said this while addressing over 3 000 supporters at her party campaign rally in Binga at the weekend.
She said she decided to visit Binga in recognition of its continued marginalisation by the Zanu PF government since independence.

“The situation now demand a young leader,” Mujuru said, adding Mugabe’s age no longer allowed him to visit such far away areas to see how people were living.

She said the people of Binga participated in the liberation struggle, but neglect by the Zanu PF government has left them with many questions on the reasons why they lost lives to being independence to the country.

She accused the Zanu PF government of throwing spanners in the implementation of the National Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project, because it did not provide them with looting opportunities.

Mujuru, who once visited the area while she was still Mugabe’s deputy, said the project had stalled because of greed and corruption in the Zanu PF government.

“The Zambezi water project should be completed,” Mujuru said.

Addressing the same rally, ZimPF interim women’s league boss, Margaret Dongo, also attacked Zanu PF for ignoring Binga.

She tore into Zanu PF’s campaign to lure youths with residential stands, saying it was a mockery because the beneficiaries of the housing stands had no capacity to develop them, let alone bus fare to visit the sites where the stands were located.

RBZ registers 4 new MFIs for 2016 Q2

THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has registered four new microfinance institutions (MFIs) for the second quarter of the year, as it pushes the financial inclusion thrust.

Source: RBZ registers 4 new MFIs for 2016 Q2 – NewsDay Zimbabwe August 22, 2016

BY TARISAI MANDIZHA

This brings the number of registered MFIs to 164 as at June 30 2016.

In a statement last week, RBZ said: “During the period April to June 2016, the registrar of micro financiers registered the following additional institutions Nurture Finance, Junior Marima, Gryton Capital and Realty Microfinance.
“This brings the number of institutions authorised to conduct business of providing loans in terms of microfinance Act Chapter 24:29 to 164 as at June 30 2016.”

According to the 2016 monetary policy statement, Zimbabwe’s MFIs’ total loans registered a 14,2% growth to
$173,3 million between September 2014 and September 2015.

Three deposit taking MFIs — Getbucks Financial Services Ltd, African Century Leasing Company and Collarhedge Finance (Private) Ltd were licensed in the last quarter of 2015.

In his 2016 monetary policy statement, RBZ governor John Mangudya said the entrance of more players in the financial sector bodes well for its efforts to promote the deepening of financial markets at a time the banking sector’s capitalisation levels continued to improve from $811,2m as at December 31 2014 to $982,5m as at December 31 2015.

He said the banking sector remained profitable, with a reported aggregate net profit of $127,47m for the year ended December 31 2015.

A total of 15 out of 18 operating banking institutions recorded profits.

Mangudya said total loans in issue by MFIs also went up to average $1,18m per MFI from $1,12m per institution the previous year.

The average loan amounts went up from $589,41 for the 257 loans that were issued as at September 2014 to $773,47 for the 224 055 loans that were issued as at September 2015.

The number of people doing business with MFIs have, however, diminished steadily between September 2014 and September 2015, from 220 357 clients to 198 378.

Mangudya said micro-finance was, by nature, targeted at low-income households and micro, small and medium enterprises at the bottom of the pyramid.

Zapu opposes tampering with Gukurahundi graves

ZAPU has spoken strongly against the proposed exhumation and reburial of Gukurahundi victims, saying the programme should not be allowed to take place before government undertakes a truth, justice and reconciliation exercise.

Source: Zapu opposes tampering with Gukurahundi graves – NewsDay Zimbabwe August 22, 2016

BY NQOBANI NDLOVU

The opposition party said any tampering with the mass graves could ignite bitter memories of the massacres at a time the victims’ relatives were expecting the Zanu PF regime to publicly apologise and pay compensation for the atrocities.

The emotive Gukurahundi issue stirred a heated debate in Parliament last Wednesday where Vice- President Emmerson Mnangagwa said the Home Affairs ministry had the prerogative to conduct the reburials.

He was responding to MDC legislator Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga who questioned government policy regarding the re-burial of Gukurahundi victims.

But, Zapu spokesperson Iphuthile Maphosa said his party would insist on a truth, justice and reconciliation commission to close the matter before reburials are done.

“Who will identify the mass graves, the shallow graves all unmarked? What method will be used to identify the dead victims, especially considering the levels of fear the killers induced in the affected communities?

“Will anybody come forward to identify their loved ones when the killer is the one carrying out the identifications, since the same killer is coming carrying a shovel in one hand and the same weapon they used during the genocide in the other?,” Maphosa said in a statement.

Remains of the Gukurahundi victims continue to be uncovered in some parts of Matabeleland, particularly in Lupane an area that bore the brunt of the mass killings.

In 2011, teachers and pupils at Silwane Primary School in Lupane, Matabeleland North province, discovered human bones protruding from the ground close to classroom blocks.

“We, therefore, take this opportunity to advise the Hon Vice-President that the time for reburials has not come yet. Not until closure to the genocide is given. Not until a full investigation to the murders is carried out and justice is served, restorative or otherwise. Not until a comprehensive healing process has been instituted can talk of reburying the victims begin,” Maphosa added.

President Robert Mugabe, then Prime Minister, unleashed a North Korean-trained militia to crack on alleged dissent to his rule in Midlands and Matabeleland, resulting in the death of about 20 000 defenceless civilians, according to the Catholic Commission for Peace and Justice (CCJP).

The Gukurahundi, for which Mugabe has refused to apologise, is a thorny issue. In 2011 Genocide Watch, alongside the International Association of Genocide Scholars, classified the Gukurahundi as genocide.

Meanwhile, a South African family has written to the Zimbabwean Consul-General seeking permission to exhume the remains of their grandfather who was buried in Beitbridge at the height of the liberation war in 1972.

The family, which is based in Pretoria wants the deceased Vuyani Joel Moyana’s remains to be repatriated to that country and get re-interred in Musina.

Part of the letter read: “The name of the deceased is Vuyani Joel Moyana who died early 1972 due to old age and the death was reported to the authority since he was residing in informal settlement. He was buried in his yard at his place of residence and the grave is still identifiable since it is the only grave in that deserted area where the deceased used to live in Tshimwanyane Village, Beitbridge area.

“The deceased was married to the late Tsatsawami Meresina Moyana who was buried in Musina. The identify documents cannot be traced, but affidavits were obtained to trace the deceased’s history from the family members, Headman Tshinoni, Chief Mathibe and people who used to live with the deceased.”

Zimbabwe’s Consul-General to South Africa, Batiraishe Mukonoweshuro is yet to respond to the request.

MP storms out of Parly in protest over dust

AN asthmatic opposition MDC-T legislator has complained over the stuffy stench obtaining in the National Assembly and called on Parliament staff to urgently address the issue, saying the environment was causing her breathing problems.

Source: MP storms out of Parly in protest over dust – NewsDay Zimbabwe August 22, 2016

BY VENERANDA LANGA

Bulawayo East MP Thabitha Khumalo raised the issue last Thursday, saying carpets in the building were carrying dust.

“Madam Speaker, I realise that this Parliament is taking other people’s health for granted because I am asthmatic and you are denying me as an MP a chance to sit in this House,” Khumalo said.

“I cannot represent my constituency because I am failing to breathe. Do I have a right to have my health protected? I am asking your good office to please clean this Parliament because some of us are asthmatic and cannot breathe,” she said.

Deputy Speaker, Mabel Chinomona did not respond to Khumalo’s point of order, and when Zanu PF MPs fiercely interjected to her presentation, Khumalo stormed out of the House.

Meanwhile, the National Assembly has ratified the protocol on the Sadc Tribunal, which was brought before the House by Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa, as opposition MPs cried foul saying they were not given a chance to study the protocol.

Mabvuku-Tafara MP James Maridadi and Harare Central MP Murisi Zvizwai (MDC-T) referred to Mnangagwa as “President-to-be”, as they argued that he (Mnangagwa) was being arrogant by not giving MPs time to study the protocol before bringing it to Parliament.

“The VP must not be arrogant, as a President-in-waiting to try and push this motion without giving MPs time to study it,” Maridadi said.

Bulawayo South MP Eddie Cross (MDC-T) also raised similar complaints.

“The tribunal proposed is going to be the highest court in the region, and the first case to be heard is likely to be a dispute between South Africa, and Zambia versus Zimbabwe on Statutory Instrument 64 because it has damaged inter country trade. We might actually be the first case to be heard by the tribunal,” Cross said.

But Mnangagwa said minute cases like issues of statutory instruments will not be heard by the tribunal.

“This is a protocol of 15 States in Sadc agreed during the 34th session at Victoria Falls, and if 10-member States ratify it, the protocol will go into operation,” the VP said, before it was ratified by the House.

MDC-T to engage war veterans

MDC-T vice-president, Nelson Chamisa, yesterday said his party was ready to reach out to war veterans and include them in the fight for democratic rule, following their recent acrimonious fallout with President Robert Mugabe.

Source: MDC-T to engage war veterans – NewsDay Zimbabwe August 22, 2016

By MARY TARUVINGA

Speaking to NewsDay following a rally in his Kuwadzana East constituency, Harare, Chamisa said he would volunteer to be in charge of the freedom fighters once the opposition party formalises the relationship.

War veterans, who until last month, were undoubtedly Zanu PF’s rear guard, ditched Mugabe through their infamous July 21 communique, accusing him of dictatorship and monopolising the ruling party.

“I thanked president Morgan Tsvangirai, when he appointed me one of the vice-presidents and I said to him, let me be in charge of the war veterans, so that we give them money and restore their dignity among other things,” he said.

“They fought and sacrificed all for this country’s independence, but now there has been no change. The late former Rhodesian Prime Minister Ian Smith’s oppressive regime still prevails in many aspects.

“We haven’t engaged them so far, but our hands are not limited. We will reach out to war veterans because they do not belong to any political party. They belong to all of us, we are ready to engage the liberators of this country, it’s a necessity. They are a repository of our history and our future,” he said.

Asked to comment on chances of succeeding in their quest for change of government, Chamisa said change was only possible if key electoral reforms were implemented to ensure a level playing ground during elections.

He said people should stop criticising Tsvangirai for appointing three vice-presidents, saying the strategy would work to strengthen the party.

Dabengwa, Biti lay into Mugabe

WITH pressure mounting on President Robert Mugabe to relinquish power, opposition Zapu and People’s Democratic Party leaders Dumiso Dabengwa and Tendai Biti have described the Zanu PF leader as a “monster” who urgently requires exorcism.

Source: Dabengwa, Biti lay into Mugabe – NewsDay Zimbabwe August 22, 2016

BY RICHARD CHIDZA

Dabengwa told a public discussion organised by the Southern African Political and Economic Series (Sapes) Trust on Thursday that the recent move by former freedom fighters to ditch Mugabe was a welcome development.

“We are happy now that the war veterans from the Zanla side have realised the blunders they made all along from the time of the liberation struggle to date,” he said.

“They have realised that all along, they have been backing a monster that uses them and when it realises that they are no longer good for use, it will dump them, or worse still, chew them to pieces.”

Dabengwa said he also welcomed former Vice-President Joice Mujuru and other former Zanu PF stalwarts, who are now part of the Zimbabwe People First (ZimPF).

“We also have colleagues now in the opposition People First, some of whom were forerunners in protecting the monster, but today, have realised they were backing the wrong person. There is also the church that seemed to think that all leadership is anointed of God, with some going to the extent of hero-worshiping the monster.

“We have to protect the interests of the people and the freedom that they fought for. Nobody expected things to turn out this way and the question among those who fought in the war is: Was it worthwhile?” Dabengwa said.

“We appreciate those who have taken the initiative to speak and do this without fear. Those who have taken it upon themselves to create platforms such as the Platform for Concerned Citizens (PCC) and the idea of the NTA (National Transitional Authority). The alternative is to fold our hands and wait for the revolution to unfold naturally, but nobody can guarantee the outcome in such a scenario,” he said.

Speaking at the same event, Biti said: “The person who will take over from Mugabe in Zanu PF will be the one who is willing to kill more than the other. But, at some point, they will need a time-out. The idea of an NTA will appeal to them because it will act as a breathing valve following the anticipated bloodshed.

“After Mugabe, the idea of (VP) Emmerson Mnangagwa and (Local Government minister) Saviour Kasukuwere sitting at the same table will create a spontaneous combustion. After a founding president, the State tends to go with him and examples galore, like Siad Barre in Somalia, Mobutu Sese Sseko in the DRC [Democratic Republic of Congo], they are actually missing him now and Russia after Joseph Stalin. Mugabe will likely go with Zimbabwe, hence, the need for an NTA but only after him.”

Biti said the NTA would provide a “soft landing” for Zimbabwe.

The PDP leader added the Government of National Unity (GNU) failed to create a self-reinforcing transformation, resulting in the conflation of multiple crises.

“But then we have the generation, a generation that believes in democracy, in an open society and all the freedoms that come with it,” he said.

“This generation, unfortunately, is being suffocated by a government that is making every effort to stifle and constrain expenditure through legislation such as (Statutory Instrument) SI164. The State, that is Zimbabwe and its predecessors, has never been this weak since 1890 and government has been reduced to an innocent bystander, by an economic crises that is moving into a depression”

Biti said Zanu PF has been surprised by the explosion of the social movements such as #ThisFlag and Tajamuka/Sesijikile.

“They have exposed the limitations of the old generation and also forced opposition parties to find each other,” he said.

One of the conveners of the PCC, Tony Reeler, said his group would continue to consult, including seeking buy-in from
Zanu PF.

“If the broader society buys-in, then we see no reason why Zanu PF should be left out. We are deeply concerned that the fall-out over the succession fight in Zanu PF will be bloody. We hope the military sees its survival in a peaceful transition of power as a professional institution and will also support the idea of an NTA,” he said.

Little known candidates win Zanu PF primaries

LITTLE known Ronald Chindedza and Beauty Chabaya shocked Zanu PF favourate candidates in weekend primary election to win the party’s sole tickets for Norton and Bikita West parliamentary seats, respectively.

Source: Little known candidates win Zanu PF primaries – NewsDay Zimbabwe August 22, 2016

by BY KENNETH NYANGANI

Chindedza is now the party’s sole candidate for Norton constituency that was left vacant with the recall of war veterans leader Christopher Mutsvangwa from Parliament.

The outspoken Mutsvangwa was recalled after he was expelled from the party on allegations of undermining President Robert Mugabe and First Lady Grace Mugabe.

In Bikita West, Chabaya garnered 1 423 votes to shock perennial aspirant Elias Musakwa who collected a paltry 540 votes. The seat was left vacant following the recall of Munyaradzi Kereke who is serving a 10-year jail term for rape.

Chindedza pulled 907 votes, 300 more than second-placed Bybit Tsomondo.

The Zanu PF candidate for Norton yesterday said he would now focus on outfoxing independent candidate Temba Mliswa, who is being backed by war veterans.

“The whole voting process was fair, although a lot many voters were turned away for various reasons,” Chindedza said.
“This was just preliminary, now that I have won; my real focus is to deal with Temba head on.”

Mliswa was Hurungwe west MP until he was recalled for working with former Vice-President Joice Mujuru in an alleged plot to oust Mugabe. He stood as an independent and narrowly lost to Keith Guzah.

Nine candidates battled it out in Bikita West. Musakwa was tipped as the favourite, after contesting for the seat in the past two general elections.

In 2008, he narrowly lost to MDC-T’s Heya Shoko before he was tipped-off by Kereke in the 2013 primaries, although Mugabe preferred him to represent the party.

Meanwhile, four party members have successfully won the bid to contest Zanu PF primaries in Chimanimani West constituency formerly held by Munacho mUtezo.

These are Letina Undenge, Nokhutula Matsikenyere, Tasen Dube and John Gwitira .

The dates for the primary elections and subsequent by-elections are yet to be announced.

Command Agriculture – the latest “plan” to resolve Zimbabwe’s hunger problem

Ever since 2001, a year after the brutal invasion of Zimbabwe’s commercial farms began, the country has been dependent on vast volumes of international food aid. Thanks to the generosity of farmers and tax payers in the USA, the UK and elsewhere, mass-scale starvation has largely been averted, but the cost and complex logistics have posed a massive, 15-year long challenge.

Source: Command Agriculture – the latest “plan” to resolve Zimbabwe’s hunger problem – The Zimbabwean 22.08.2016

In 2002, for example, just two years into the land invasions, Zimbabwe recorded a 70 percent shortfall in production to meet annual food requirements.  Consequently, the country required 486,000 tonnes of food aid to meet the food security requirements of 49 percent of the population (more than 6.7 million people) over the period September 2002 to March 2003.

This year, due to the ongoing chaos and chronic lack of farming activity on the majority of the commercial farms, a third of the population (more than 4 million people) requires international food aid.

Once again, President Mugabe and his government have blamed the country’s dismal agricultural performance on the drought, but the reality is that last year, the majority of irrigation dams on the former commercial farms had not been utilised and were full.

On the back of property rights, Zimbabwe’s commercial farmers developed 80 percent of the continent’s irrigation dams, with a total of 10,747 dams and reservoirs covering an area of 3,910 km².  This enabled agriculture to become the most important economic sector, despite the country being prone to intermittent drought conditions.

A hungry nation can be controlled

The fact that we have become a consistently hungry nation has played into the hands of the same political elite who have cunningly created the hunger:  they have insisted on distributing food aid.  By so doing, the Mugabe government has been able to manipulate the people’s loyalty – notably in the vulnerable rural areas – and has thus successfully and forcibly controlled them.

Not only has food aid been withheld from opposition strongholds, but actual blockading of food distribution has frequently taken place.  In January 2002, for example, the British charity, Save the Children Fund, was barred from delivering food to about 10,000 starving people in the remote northern district of Binga.

Although widespread hunger is a convenient tool of control, it is also an embarrassment because it counters government propaganda claiming that the “fast track land reform programme” has been a success. If this were indeed the case, how could a country that used to feed the region fail so spectacularly year after year to feed itself?

Various desperate measures have been dreamed up by the government to, on the one hand, rectify the embarrassment;  but on the other hand, to keep ruthless control.   In 2005, “Operation Maguta/Inala”- which means “people have their fill” – was devised to utilise the army to till the land and feed the nation through a “command agriculture” system.  It failed dismally, resulting in 5.8 million people requiring emergency food assistance.

Farm mechanisation scheme

Then there was Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono’s corrupt “farm mechanisation scheme” through which more than US$200 million was pumped into the four-phase farm mechanisation programme.  It was launched in 2007, ostensibly to help the country’s newly-resettled farmers with farm implements on a rent-to-buy basis.

The reality was that a significant number of the senior political elite, including Gono, gave themselves irrigation schemes, brand new tractors, combine harvesters and implements that genuine farmers would have given their eye teeth to have had.  Unsurprisingly, this self-serving Reserve Bank scheme failed too.

And when it came to the politicians paying back the debt, which by this stage had ballooned to US$1.3 billion, they simply voted in parliament to write off what they each owed, passing on the debt for their misadventures to the people.  That’s command agriculture at its most cynical.

The trillion dollar note

Gono, readers may remember, achieved infamy in 2008 for printing the 100 trillion Zimbabwe dollar note that became valueless within days. This ill-fated note, along with previous hyper-inflated denominations, including the Z$10,000,000,000,000 (ten trillion) note, could be exchanged for U.S. dollars until the end of April 2016, but it was worth only about $0.40.  It is currently fetching significant higher prices as a novelty item on websites such as eBay.

Command agriculture version 2

Now in 2016, through Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, our politicians have suddenly announced another grand command agriculture scheme costing US$500 million.  This time they wish to fund a select politically supportive set of 2,000 farmers who will each apparently grow 1,000 tons of maize for the State. Any excess over the 1,000 tons can be retained by the farmer. Each farmer will be earmarked to receive US$250,000 to produce his 1,000 tons.

There will of course be a great rush for that money.

An opportunity such as this, which will give the so-called farmer both status and financial benefit, will have significant appeal. In a country where poverty is dire, where the vast majority of title deeds have been nationalised, and where the banks have run out of money, it’s almost impossible to get money from anywhere on that scale.

When the political elite and their friends gain that money though, they will suddenly realise that it’s actually not enough.  Installing irrigation schemes costs a great deal more than the allocated US$1,250 per hectare.  After that, there is also the cost of tractors, tilling equipment, planters, combine harvesters, sprayers, fertiliser, seed, diesel, electricity, chemicals, wages – and so the list goes on.

If the scheme is going to genuinely finance 400,000 hectares of irrigated maize production, a great deal more money will need to be found from somewhere.  In a bankrupt state that puts its policemen out to collect their pay at innumerable roadblocks, this will be nigh on impossible.

Time is not on their side either.  Attempts to capacitate 2,000 farmers with 200 hectares of irrigation each in the next three months before planting season will be interesting to watch.  The development of 400,000 hectares of irrigation took the former commercial farmers – with title deeds, good farming practices, careful loan management and repayment, as well as world-class extension services – decades of hard work to achieve.

To believe that the “new farmers” will have 400,000 hectares of irrigation up and running in the next three months is like waving a magic wand and claiming that Air Zimbabwe will start flying to the moon and back next year.  Air Zimbabwe, like Zimbabwean agricultural, is virtually grounded.  It won’t happen.

The other element of the Command Agriculture grand scheme is the irrigation of pastures for beef export.  The 2,000 hectares of irrigation at ARDA-Ngwezi Estate in the dry Matabeleland South province will reportedly support 60,000 beef cattle.  This will require a carrying capacity of 30 cattle per hectare – a feat which is unequalled in the history of cattle farming.

Zimbabwe’s debt arrears to the IMF, World Bank and African Development Bank is currently US$1.8 billion, which is a massive external debt for the country given its imploding economy.  To put this into perspective, Zimbabwe’s 2015 budget, a paltry US$4 billion, was in fact smaller than the annual turnover of each of South Africa’s two largest supermarket chains the same year:  Shoprite Group (US$8 billion) and Pick ‘n Pay (US$4,7 billion).

Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa needs to explain to increasingly restive Zimbabweans where the money is coming from to fund this latest scheme, and how it will be repaid.

In my view, the entire Command Agriculture concept is another blundering, totalitarian control and patronage scheme that is doomed to fail to feed the nation.  Stalin, Mao, Polpot, and others, in the days before food aid, oversaw comparable schemes and millions of people perished.

Title deeds versus control

At “Independence” in 1980, John Robertson, as Finance Editor of the Financial Gazette, provided the solution to the new authorities in the Zimbabwe administration: “Give all farmers title deeds  -regardless of whether they are black or white, large-scale or small, communal or commercial, and we will see the economy boom sustainably.”

The response to his carefully crafted plan from the new ZANU-PF leaders was categorical: “We don’t want to empower the people that much.”  It was an echo of the response that he had had when he put the same proposal forward to Ian Smith’s Rhodesian Front administration in 1976.

The last 16 years have seen the nationalisation of the vast majority of agricultural title deeds in Zimbabwe.  The empowerment of the people with title deeds is simply anathema in control politics.

Hunger – and of course food aid – will remain the net result of denying private property rights.

The war veterans who spearheaded the brutal take-over of the commercial farms were never given title to the land they stole and the commercial farmers have not been compensated by the government.  In international law, the farmers remain the title holders.

Had this been a genuine land reform programme, the commercial farmers would have been compensated so that the invaders who had taken over the farms, or the people who had been allocated land, could produce the title deeds as collateral for bank loans.

During the farm invasions, the war vets had the backing of the government, the police and the national defence force.  However, the situation changed dramatically last month when the war veterans from the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association issued a powerful communiqué castigating Mugabe and his corrupt government and withdrawing their support.

In response, Saviour Kasakuwere, ZANU PF’s national political commissar, threatened to take away their stolen farms.  The war of words and threats continues to rage.

The solution

To become a successful agricultural nation once again, Zimbabwe needs to follow the advice John Robertson gave in 1980 and recognise the title deed owners for what they are: “owners”; and then create new title deeds throughout the country where title deeds have never existed before.  If that is done, within a short period of time, Zimbabwe will once again be not only food secure but a thriving nation with produce, jobs and development.

The latest unfolding command agriculture catastrophe will result in three outcomes:

  1. The Western tax payer will once again have to come to the rescue of starving Zimbabweans and provide massive quantities of  food aid, which is itself a controversial issue across Africa;
  2. The Zimbabwean people will be saddled with a yet larger debt to repay in order to finance the 2,000 farmer beneficiaries with their half a billion dollars;  and
  3. The corrupt and sycophantic political elite will continue to fund their lavish lifestyles with additional money that the bankrupt Zimbabwean state cannot afford.

In spite of ZANU PF’s latest control agriculture programme, the fractured party is losing ground rapidly.  I am confident that when change comes, a new, elected government will be committed to empowering and supporting those who genuinely wish to farm. Every successful agricultural nation has achieved success on the back of title deeds being issued and upheld as sacrosanct and the new government will see that.

Although the day has not yet dawned, I believe that the protest action taking place across the country indicates the tide is turning and that ZANU-PF’s totalitarian and controlling rule is at last beginning to draw to a close.

Ben Freeth is the executive director of the Mike Campbell Foundation and the spokesperson for SADC Tribunal Rights Watch.

Ben Freeth – Executive Director

The Mike Campbell Foundation

Mobile:  +263 773 929 138

E-mail:  freeth@bsatt.com

Website:  www.mikecampbellfoundation.com;

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/mikecampbellfoundation

 

Further reading:  Command Agriculture in Zimbabwe – Solidarity Peace Trust Report, 15 April 2006

http://www.solidaritypeacetrust.org/161/operation-taguta-sisuthi/

A strong coalition will send Zanu PF packing in election 2018

Politics is a game of numbers. As such, small, weak and poorly-funded political parties will almost invariably find it an impossible feat to win an election; even if such an election is free and fair. The political landscape in Zimbabwe is rather unique and peculiar because we have a political party, Zanu PF, that has conflated the distinction between the party and the State.

Source: A strong coalition will send Zanu PF packing in election 2018 – The Zimbabwean 22.08.2016

In more ways than one, Zanu PF as a conventional political party no longer exists. What we have is the State apparatus that has effectively taken over the space that used to be traditionally occupied by Zanu PF as a political party. As a political party, Zanu PF is hopelessly weak, dis-united and deeply factionalised. Thus, the State apparatus ie the Army, the Police, the Air Force, the intelligence services, the civil service etc have de facto taken over the role of running the affairs of Zanu PF.

Ever since the coming on board of the massively popular labour-based Movement for Democratic Change in 1999, elections in Zimbabwe have been routinely rigged. The rigging machinery went into overdrive on July 31, 2013 when even some Zanu PF Parliamentary candidates were totally surprised how they had managed to win in certain constituencies that are traditionally MDC strongholds. A classic case in point is the Mt. Pleasant constituency in suburban Harare; with only two wards both of which are wholly middle class. The electoral rigging of July 31, 2013 was masterminded by the State apparatus led by the Central Intelligence Organisation. Zanu PF, as a political party, played a very minimal and inconsequential role in the massive rigging exercise.

As currently constituted, there is a snowball’s chance in hell that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC),will be able to conduct a free and fair election in 2018.The ZEC secretariat is packed with very high level CIO operatives who take their instructions not from the Zimbabwe Electoral Commissioners but from some shadowy and extremely powerful characters based at Munhumutapa Building, Chaminuka Building and the State House. This, therefore, speaks to the urgent need for having a powerful coalition of opposition political parties to take Zanu PF head on in Election 2018.The formation of strong political coalitions is like running in a marathon and not in a sprint event. Of course, there is need for a very careful and delicate political due diligence exercise to be conducted before a coalition is formally launched. The Zanu PF regime, weak and fragmented as it might appear to be, has got its tentacles in every facet of life in Zimbabwe; be it in business, the church, sport etc. Opposition political parties should be wary of a disintegrating and collapsing Zanu PF. The collapsing political edifice called Zanu PF is like a wounded buffalo. It is at its most dangerous and lethal phase and indeed; the last kicks of a dying horse are always fatal.

There is a litany of small opposition political parties most of which only find their presence on the internet. In Zimbabwe, it is not uncommon to come across one-man political parties with neither any physical address nor actual membership by way of supporters. Most, if not all, these one-man political parties are actually creations of the CIO meant to confuse the electorate by creating a façade of multi-party democracy. A proper and thorough political due diligence exercise should be able to successfully sniff out these bogus political parties.

The Movement for Democratic Change led by Morgan Tsvangirai is arguably Zimbabwe’s most popular and largest political party in terms of membership. Love him or hate him, Morgan Tsvangirai still packs an extremely powerful political punch. He is charismatic and hugely popular amongst ordinary Zimbabweans in both the urban and rural areas. The new kid on the block, Zimbabwe People First led by Joice Mujuru can never be taken lightly. Mujuru has got very solid liberation struggle credentials in her own right. Apparently, her party  seems to enjoy considerable support in the rural Mashonaland region consisting of Mashonalnd East, West and Central. It goes without saying that a political coalition between Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC and Joice Mujuru’s Zimbabwe People First will give the faction-ridden Zanu PF party a very good run for its money in Election 2018. The people of Zimbabwe have suffered for too long under the Zanu PF dictatorship that has perfected the ‘’art’’ of looting, corruption and misgovernance. Zimbabweans are desperate for meaningful and positive democratic change. The national economy is comatose and the level of poverty amongst the majority of Zimbabweans is depressing to say the least.

Let me hasten to add that a big chunk of the war veterans group is deeply disappointed by the way in which the bankrupt and faction-ridden Zanu PF regime has been treating them of late. It is highly likely that these disgruntled war veterans will never, ever vote for Robert Mugabe and his collapsing Zanu PF party in any election. War veterans have since realised that they were just being used and abused by Robert Mugabe as he continues to play his usual divide and rule brand of politics. They desperately want out of Zanu PF.

Just like in a business partnership, people don’t necessarily have to be personal friends in order for them to work together in a viable and strong political coalition. Political coalition partners don’t have to be in love with each other in order for them to work together for a common political goal. You simply have to share the same broad political objectives and in our context, the main task at hand is to ensure that the insipidly corrupt and dysfunctional Zanu PF regime is send packing in Election 2018.

The story of political coalitions in Kenya makes a very interesting case study. The Jubilee Alliance is a multi-party coalition that was established to support the joint Presidential elections ticket of Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto in the 2013 Kenya general elections. At the time of the election, its members were The National Aliance, the National Rainbow Coalition, the United Republican Party, United Democratic Front and the Republican Congress. Most readers will recall that Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto were, at one time, extremely bitter and acrimonious political rivals. But today, Uhuru Kenyatta is the President of Kenya and William Ruto is his Vice President.

Anyone who thinks that Zanu PF, weak and fragmented as it might appear to be, will be easily defeated in Election 2018,certainly needs to have their head examined. There is a compelling need for the formation of a strong political coalition against Zanu PF or else the majority of Zimbabweans will be shocked by the outcome of the next general elections. This is the time to build a strong and formidable coalition against the Zanu PF dictatorship. Politicians should simply learn to completely discard their big, fat and selfish personal egos.

Wriiten by Obert Gutu

Obert Gutu is the MDC national spokesperson and he is also a practising corporate lawyer in Harare. He writes this opinion piece in personal capacity.

Who are they fooling?

One of ZANU’s tricks is to talk so long about their plans that we get bored before they eventually carry out the plan and it takes us by surprise.

Source: Who are they fooling? – The Zimbabwean 22.08.2016

Remember they still threaten us with bond notes in October. A lot of things that have been said about this scheme need challenging. First: “this is just like bond coins”. That is a lie. Bond coins work because nobody treats them as real money. They are useful tokens for kombi fares, but nobody wants to be left holding a sackful of them at the end of the day. Do you remember how bundles of – I think it was 20×Z$50million -notes served this purpose? Three of them were accepted as US50c while their real values halved daily. As long as you only had one set of three until the next passenger paid with a dollar and you got your Z$ wad as change, the system worked. Not if they become a big part of the system.

Bond notes are designed to be a big part of the system. I even heard an American “expert” at one of those discussion groups organised by their embassy say “after all they’re only going to print $200 million and the total money supply is $5 billion. That’s not significant”. If that wasn’t a lie, it displayed monumental ignorance. Bank notes were only a small part of what ZimStats used to call “money supply”; notes and coins in circulation were usually about 10% of the total, “short term deposits”, meaning your cash you could draw from the bank any time, made about 20% according to the latest (November 2015) ZimStats figures, and the rest of “broad money” was debits and credits in some bank’s computer. Since we officially started using US$, ZimStats have had no way of counting notes in circulation (I suppose they used to count what the Reserve Bank were printing) but we all know the number had dropped considerably since last November. The short term deposit figures have dropped, probably even more sharply, or we would be able to draw our money from the bank when we needed it. My guess is that the published figures are what the banks’ books say they have, ignoring the fact that most of the actual banknotes have been spirited away by financial trickery.
So, if we allow that notes in circulation are as much as 8% of the money supply, that is US$400 million. The bond notes issue would be half that. That is most definitely significant, if every second note that comes your way will be the “bond” variety. But it’s worse than that. They are only printing denominations of $50 or less, so bond notes will be more than half, maybe a lot more than half, of the notes in circulation of the $1 to $20 denominations; that is, most of what we use every day. And we know the smart people on the street are already quoting them at a 20% discount, meaning they will only give you 80c of real money for every bond dollar. By the time they actually appear, that could be down to10c if you’re lucky. If you’re not, you might as well use bond notes to wipe your nose.
Another warning came in a less than true statement from the RBZ governor, Dr Mangudya. “If you are getting a $400 salary, you will still get $400 in United States dollars, bond notes, rand or euros. If you don’t want them then you use plastic money. We are not forcing anybody to use bond notes,” he said this week.
Assume I get my $400 in a mixture of those currencies. There aren’t enough rand or euros around to make much difference, so I’ll get a mix of US$ and bond notes. As I showed above, bond notes are likely to outnumber US$ in my pay packet. Can I return them and ask for real money? Let’s have a clear answer to that question. I can guess what the truth will be, and so can you.
Of course, I could use plastic money, leaving my salary in the bank and buying everything I need with a debit or credit card or Ecocash. Like a pocket of potatoes or oranges at Mbare Musika, a couple of bottles of Chibuku Super, a newspaper from a vendor on the street, and so on. Even our local OK had a sign saying “We accept Ecocash” but if you tried to pay that way, they’d tell you “go to that desk over there and they’ll give you cash. Come back here and pay with that.” But real cash is so scarce you’ll get mostly bond notes, or nothing at all, and how many bond dollars will you have to pay for a loaf of bread? The good doctor is being disingenuous.
Then there have been other assurances that are not worth the effort somebody took to make them. The simple fact is that in the modern world, the value of money is a matter of trust. You can use US$ to buy your groceries and they will be accepted because we trust that somewhere, maybe in the US Federal Reserve Bank, there is enough real wealth to back this note in your hand. We know our guys are bankrupt and, even if we didn’t know that, we do know just how much their promises are worth. I wouldn’t trust them to run a tuckshop. If they tried by the methods they use to run the country, they’d be out of business in a week.
My only suggestion on what to do with any bond notes you can’t refuse is that you use them to pay your electricity bill, school fees and any taxes you can by depositing cash (bond notes) in the relevant bank account, but don’t expect to get away with that a second time.
That only leaves us with one option. Refuse to touch them. That will make life difficult for a while, but it will put a spanner in the works to force us on to a different track.

Police urged to respect Constitution

Source: Police urged to respect Constitution | The Herald August 22, 2016

Daniel Nemukuyu Senior Court Reporter
A High Court judge has slammed the police for exhibiting “hooliganism” and “brutality” in the execution of their duties in violation of the Constitution. Justice Hlekani Mwayera said police brutality and violence had no place in a democratic society such as Zimbabwe.

She urged police to uphold human rights all the time.

The judge made the remarks as she sentenced six policemen from Shamva found guilty of fatally assaulting a man accused of stealing a wallet belonging to the wife of a then officer-in-charge.

Ex-Inspector Aspias Shumba’s wife reportedly lost a wallet containing $100 to robbers in 2012.

Police details were deployed to investigate and allegedly beat up the main suspect, Luxmore Chivambo.

The court found Shumba and five others guilty of negligently causing the death of Chivambo.

Having found the six guilty of culpable homicide, Justice Mwayera jailed Shumba and other two chief culprits —Motion Jakopo and Simon Mafunda – to four years each.

Three others – Michael Makwalo, Bennedict Tapfuma and Blessing Saidi – were slapped with a wholly suspended sentence.

However, Lee Makope, who was one of the investigating officers, was acquitted after the State failed to prove his involvement in the killing.

Justice Mwayera attacked the police for their violent behaviour.

“The policemen instead of leading by example as law enforcement agents, turned violent and in unwarranted display of hooliganism, cruelly and shamelessly assaulted the deceased occasioning severe injuries from which the deceased passed on.

“The accused exhibited a care-free and reckless attitude when, despite the obvious bad condition of the deceased, they detained him as opposed to assisting him seek medical attention,” she said.

The judge said the police must know that no one is above the law and that human rights must be upheld at all times.

Justice Mwayera said police brutality risked causing chaos in the country.

“Allowing police brutality would not only lead to anarchy and chaos but will take away people’s confidence in the Zimbabwe Republic Police and also the justice delivery system,” said the judge.

She added: “Police brutality is condemned world over for the obvious reasons that society looks up to the police as a law enforcement agency to protect them and uphold the law as opposed to abuse and inhuman treatment.”

Justice Mwayera said petty offences like the theft of a wallet from a senior police officer’s wife and the sale of illicit brew did not warrant loss of life.

From the evidence led in court, during the raid the police stormed Chivambo’s house and attacked him.

They demanded to know who had robbed the officer-in-charge’s wife.

The defence of applying minimum force or self-defence fell away because there was no evidence of any form of resistance.

Chivambo died a painful death after he was kicked and beaten with batons by the marauding cops.

Fresh fuel scam rocks CMED

Source: Fresh fuel scam rocks CMED | The Herald

Freeman Razemba Crime Reporter
Senior CMED (Pvt) Ltd officials have been accused of collecting fuel from the National Oil Infrastructure Company (NOIC) reportedly for Government business, only to divert it to private service stations for resale, prejudicing the State of millions of dollars in revenue.

Government departments collect fuel from NOIC duty free while private firms pay excise duty.

Highly placed police sources told The Herald yesterday they were investigating cases of fuel theft at NOIC by CMED senior officials, including a recent case where they (police) trailed a fuel tanker to a private service station where it delivered 35 000 litres.

Fuel collection documents gleaned by The Herald, however, showed the commodity was destined for a CMED depot in Harare.

The scam has resulted in Government losing potential revenue in the form of excise duty due to the shady deals, which have happened over the past few months.

Investigations reveal that thousands of litres of both petrol and diesel have been siphoned from NOIC by the officials now under police investigations.

Impeccable sources said some CMED officials had been hiring private transporters to collect fuel at NOIC’s Msasa Depot claiming it was meant for Government use, but diverted it for resale elsewhere.

“Private fuel companies are supposed to pay excise duty when purchasing fuel from NOIC. That intended for Government business is duty free,” a source close to the investigations said.

The Herald is in possession of recent documents top CMED officials used to collect about 35 000 litres of diesel from NOIC before it was diverted to a private service station (name withheld) the same day.

On one of the documents the CMED is identified as the customer and a local transporter (name supplied) was engaged to ferry the loot.

There are also two registration numbers for both the horse and tanker indicated on the same receipt.

The document indicates that 35 000 litres of diesel were collected from the NOIC depot with the name of the truck driver and his signature acknowledging that fuel had been collected.

Sources close to the investigations said a follow-up showed the fuel was diverted to a private fuel service station in the city.

He said they suspected the shenanigans had been going on for the past six months.

The latest developments come a few months after two directors at NOIC fled to South Africa to frustrate investigations.

The duo is believed to have taken flight as allegations of obstructing the course of justice surfaced in a case where they reportedly connived with CMED (Pvt) Ltd managing director Davison Mhaka to cook the books to conceal the $2,7 million botched fuel deal.

They have since been placed on the International Police (Interpol) red notice as wanted persons.

Last month, police said they were working with Interpol in their bid to locate 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 questioning over the case.

Investigations have so far revealed that Mahuni could be staying in Mpumalanga while the whereabouts of Katunga are still unknown.

Last month, their alleged accomplice 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 for refusal of further remand.

He is out on $500 bail.

Govt warned over proposed rescue fund

Source: Govt warned over proposed rescue fund – The Standard  August 21, 2016

THE industrial development fund that government plans to set up to assist in the retooling of ailing companies should only benefit firms which have no access to other means of financing and yet have good revival potential, manufacturers have said.

BY MTHANDAZO NYONI

Government recently revealed that it was mobilising seed capital for the establishment of a new industrial development fund that would assist in the retooling of ailing companies.

The move comes after widespread concern that the $40 million Distressed Industries and Marginalised Areas Fund (Dimaf) and the $70 million Zimbabwe Economic and Trade Revival Facility (Zetref) facilities failed to rescue ailing companies due to abuse and stringent conditions attached to their disbursement.

However, the Zimbabwe Clothing Manufacturers’ Association (ZCMA) said this time the fund should be used “very efficiently and appropriately”.

It should only benefit companies which cannot access finance themselves but could be resuscitated with the sources available, ZCMA said.

“The Ministry of Industry recently announced it was trying to raise money for another Dimaf and Zetref facility.

“I am not sure where these monies will come from. Assuming the funds will only be a fraction of what the total manufacturing sector requires, it must be used very efficiently and appropriately,” ZCMA chairman Jeremy Youmans, told Standardbusiness in emailed responses to questions.

He said the harsh reality was that some companies could not be resuscitated as they were beyond redemption or were simply no longer relevant in the current, constantly changing, global environment.

“There are also companies which can get access to finance. I believe they should not be beneficiaries of these funds. The funds should be for companies which cannot access finance themselves, but are able to be resuscitated with the sources available and put into a sustainable economic position,” he said.

Youmans said government would have to find a way of carrying that risk, or the funds would fail to have the desired impact.

He said the textile sector was capital intensive and therefore small amounts of money were not likely to have much of an impact. This, however, did not mean that there were no opportunities in the textile industry, Youmans said.

“There are, but they will require a large proportion of funds and that will make the payback opportunity harder, long-term and riskier, to achieve,” he said.

Youmans however said the clothing sector had very low capital requirements and small amounts of monies could have significant impact.

He said the sector had the majority of its capital resource requirements in place, that is, factories and machinery.

“What it needs is working capital to procure raw materials and hold stock. There is no quick fix to these challenges. It will be a slow process but will gain momentum,” he said.

However, Youmans said while the support measures put in place by the government were essential to this process, they were not enough to create the turnaround on their own.

“We still need to greatly improve import compliance to ensure the correct duty is paid on imported goods and have further reforms that improve the ease of doing business and reduce the cost of doing business in Zimbabwe,” he said.

Most companies in Zimbabwe are struggling to operate competitively due to ageing equipment, with national capacity utilisation tumbling to 34,4% last year, according to the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI).

In February, government prohibited the importation of blankets, second-hand clothes and shoes without import licences as part of economy-wide measures to facilitate recovery of local industry. This was done through the promulgation of Statutory Instrument 19 of 2016

But six months down the line after the measures were put in place, the interventions are yet to make a mark as grey imports are still finding their way into the country due to corruption and porous border posts.

CZI president Busisa Moyo said manufacturers had to be supported at the right level and not giving a company $100 000 when it required $10 million for retooling.

He said the interest rates should be below 10% with a tenure of four to six years and not the present 24 to 36 months with a moratorium of six to nine months.

“The last Zetref facility saw companies being pushed into difficulty by high interest rates, as high as 36-42%, and full repayment being required in 18 to 24 months,” he said

“Value chain approach to funding is important. For example, a juice making company must have access to additional tonnage of fruit or unprocessed pulp before it can expand capacity or raw material import permits from abroad.

“A cooking oil company must have access to soya beans when capacity is expanded.”

Moyo said industry was glad that the ministry of Industry and Commerce and the central bank “had already begun consultations on this all important issue of financial support dovetailing the buy local and minimum local content initiatives which other countries like South Africa have been operating under for some time”
.
He said Zimbabwe was somewhat late and was being pushed to a “market or wholesale state” with no production opportunities from even within its own borders.

Final looting spree? – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 20th August 2016

Source: Final looting spree? – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 20th August 2016 August 21, 2016

It looks like the Mugabe regime is preparing for a final looting spree to mop up the dollars remaining in the economy. Despite earlier denials the Reserve Bank Governor, John Mangudya, has now admitted that the bond notes piling up at the bank will be used to pay wages (see: http://allafrica.com/stories/201608191099.html).

The bond notes are expected to hit the streets in October when we will see the truth of the old adage ‘bad money drives out good’, leading once again to massive inflation and economic chaos.

It will be a windfall for the Mugabe cronies. But they should note the experience of the last Reserve Bank governor, Gideon Gono, who presided over the money-printing orgy until the Zim dollar became worthless. His Greystone Park house is to be auctioned on Friday over the non-payment of a $1.3 million debt.

Whether Mugabe himself really knows what is happening is doubtful. His physical condition is now so poor he has had to pull out of a trip to Ghana where he was to receive a Lifetime Africa Achievement Award – testament only to the ignorance of those who awarded it.

Probably Mugabe still believes in the fantasy world of the Herald, which said this week Zimbabwe is poised for an economic take-off – reminiscent of the Zambian space ship of a few years ago which ended up in the branches of the nearest tree.

The regime faces its biggest challenge so far if a massive protest in Harare planned by the combined opposition parties goes ahead on Friday. The riot police showed on Wednesday that they mean business when a demonstration in Harare against the introduction of bond notes ended with blood on the streets.

Pastor Evan Mawarire of ThisFlag movement saw the brutal face of the regime himself and fled the country. He said he had been warned to leave or be killed. His wife had been threatened with rape and its clear his children were also in danger.

Mawarire supporter, the prominent businessman and publisher Trevor Ncube says he also fears for his life after mysterious visits to his Harare home by suspected members of military intelligence (see: http://www.biznews.com/africa/2016/08/17/thisflag-pastor-hits-back-feared-life-self-imposed-us-exile/).

We at the Vigil have some information of our own about the police reign of terror. Here’s a redacted recent What’sapp message from a member of our sister organisation in Zimbabwe, Restoration of Human Rights. ’Hi guys. Thanx so much for the caring messages I got during my dice with state security over a nothing.  They tried to frame me on very silly allegations that I was inciting violence and causing public disorder. They authored very derogatory papers with my name, phone number and address at the bottom and threw them around at night. They were shockingly pasted on walls at ZANU PF offices and buildings around the offices. Was called to a CID office where there were CIOs as well. Was heavily abused verbally and threatened when they were profiling me. No charges were laid against me but was warned that they will come back for me when they are finalising their paperwork. Though a bit disturbed psychologically, that’s what they wanted, I am fine physically and unsafely at home and unmoved. The guys are cunning and very good at intimidating and threatening. Your messages and calls really raised my spirits and got me to realise that there is a bigger family out there.’

Other points

  •  The Vigil is to hold a demonstration outside the Embassy from 12 noon – 2 pm on Thursday 25th August to support ROHR member Lynda Masarira who is to make another appearance in court. Lynda is facing trumped-up charges in connected with demonstrations and has been refused bail although she has health problems and small children. She has been in custody for more than six weeks and this will be her fourth court appearance. The authorities are acting with great spite in an obvious attempt to intimidate protesters.
  • ‘Mugabe’s 36-year reign has set new standards in vanity, mismanagement, corruption, outright theft, oppression, and organized violence against opponents’, says Kate Hoey MP, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Zimbabwe. Ms Hoey is alarmed by news that former Labour cabinet minister Lord Mandelson had quietly visited Harare in February and had talks with Finance Minister Chinamasa, facilitated by the British Embassy (see: http://heatst.com/world/kate-hoey-boris-must-put-a-stop-to-peter-mandelsons-meddling/).
  • Wilf and Trish Mbanga who produce The Zimbabwean tell us that a movie titled ‘A United Kingdom’ about the love story between Seretse and Ruth Khama is to be released in the UK towards the end of this year before going worldwide. The Mbangas’ book ‘Seretse & Ruth’ sold out some time ago but is now available again. They sent us the following message: ‘We’re delighted to announce a number of exciting developments concerning one of the world’s greatest love stories – Seretse and Ruth Khama. Cross-cultural marriage today is so common-place it’s hard to believe that just 60 years ago it was almost unheard of. The Khama colour-blind love story in particular caused seismic upheavals of international proportions. Many people have been battling to get hold of  copy of our version of their amazing story – Seretse & Ruth – which sold out some time ago.  Here’s the good news!
    1. The book is now available online: Seretse&Ruth and the hard copy is available from www.merlinpress.co.uk.
    2. Pathe has made a movie entitled A United Kingdom, to be released in the UK towards the end of this year and worldwide shortly thereafter (see: http://www.patheinternational.com/en/fiche.php?id_film=821).
    3. Andrew Lloyd Webber has publicly announced that he is fascinated by the story and is thinking of turning it into a stage production.
    Love triumphs!  Please pass on this good news and encourage everyone to download a copy of the book, buy a hard copy, give it away for Christmas and generally spread the love!!’  
  • Thanks to those who arrived early to help set up: Rashiwe Bayisayi, Mavis Chisvo, Farai Chiza. Percy Dube, Isabell Gwatidzo, Lilian Kanyasa, Etines Kapiya, Jonathan Kariwo, Fungayi Mabhunu, Tafadzwa Madzivadondo, Phillip Mahlahla, Marian Mangani, Rosemary Maponga, Eunice Mucherechedzo, Roseline Mukucha, Tracy Mupeti, Tanyaradzwa Mutandiro, Mduduzi Ndlovu, Chipo Parirenyatwa, Anna Pfende, Eva Sanyahokwe, Benjamin Semwayo, Nathan Tanyanyiwa and Fadzai Tembo. Thanks to Roseline, Eunice and Sandra Kudenga for looking after the front table and to Phillip, Mduduzi, Percy and Jonathan for battling to put up the banners and tarpaulin in the strong wind. Thanks to Chipo P and Isabell for reviving the lucky dip and fundraising for ROHR Central London branch and to Etines for sorting out the lucky dip items.

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: 39 signed the register.

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • Protest to support Lynda Masarira: Thursday 25th August from 12 noon – 2 pm outside the Zimbabwe Embassy. 
  • ROHR South Yorkshire branch meeting. Monday 29th August from 1.30 – 3.30 pm. Venue: Christ Church, Ridge Road, Armley, Leeds LS12 3LE. For more information please contact: Sipilien Birani 07783149999, Patricia Nyawo 07443897919, Rosemary Mupunga 07446380110.
  • ROHR National Executive meeting. Saturday 3rd September from 12 noon. 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 3rd September from 6.15 pm. Venue: Strand Continental 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 achieve true democracy.
  • Swaziland Vigil. Saturday 3rd September from 10 am to 1 pm outside the Swaziland High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB.
  • Monthly Itai Dzamara protest Saturday 10th September From 2 – 6 pm outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London. The protest is to mark eighteen months since Dzamara’s abduction by intelligence agents.
  • 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:
    Vigil: https://www.facebook.com/zimbabwevigil
    ZAF: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Zimbabwe-Action-Forum-ZAF/490257051027515
    ROHR: https://www.facebook.com/ROHR-Zimbabwe-Restoration-of-Human-Rights-301811392835

Is it easier to be President of Zimbabwe than being a grade 6 teacher?

When schools opened for their first term in 1999, my father – who was a grade six teacher – was summoned to the headmaster’s office and was told that, since he had turned 65 years old a few days prior, he was officially retired and could not teach anymore.

Source: Is it easier to be President of Zimbabwe than being a grade 6 teacher? – The Zimbabwean 21.08.2016

I remember being surprised to see him return home, only an hour after he had left for work, looking very dejected.

He had loved teaching – he ate, slept, and talked teaching everyday – and he was very good at his passion.

However, those with the knowhow on these issues have since concluded that – no matter how good and passionate one is at their profession, when they reach 65 years of age, they are too old and can no longer effectively deliver as is expected.

I do not doubt and query these experts’ conclusions, as I think they know better.

However, what endlessly baffles my mind is why it is that a teacher can be regarded as being too old to handle a grade six class at 65 years old, and yet a political party can consider a 92 year old to be fit enough to lead a country.

That just does not make any sense.

Are these people telling us that it is far much easier to be the president of a country than it is to be a grade six teacher?

This is exactly what is happening in Zimbabwe today.

If the very same government that is in charge of the civil service agrees that at 65 years old, someone is now incapable of working efficiently, how on earth do they believe that a 92 year old will be able to effectively run a country?

I do not know much about what a president of a country is expected to do on a day to day basis, but as the head of state and commander in chief of the country’s defence forces, I would expect the person who fills that post to be in the sharpest of minds – and from what we have already established, someone over 65 years of age is considered incapable of such a responsibility.

Surely, leading a country, especially Zimbabwe – which is experiencing one of the worse periods of its history – requires someone who is at their optimum, not their twilight.

A country facing such economic, political, and social turbulence can not be left on auto-pilot, because the leader is now incapable of being on top of the situation.

The country is in a desperate situation that needs someone who is still mentally agile to tackle these vexing problems head-on.

Needless to say, as the situation stands presently, there can never be any hope of any improvement for the lot of the already overburdened and suffering Zimbabweans.

Both the ruling party and Zimbabweans, as a whole, need to take the problems facing the country very seriously, and elect someone who is still on top of their game.

It is not only brazen cruelty to the suffering people of Zimbabwe, but also reckless for anyone to advocate for the continued presidency of a 92 year old – who is now clearly too old for such a mega task – merely because he ‘led’ the country’s ‘liberation’ struggle, and is also its founding ‘father’.

Whatever it is that he is said to have done for this country’s independence – which, ironically, no one else seems to be enjoying – his legacy should be left to the history books.

Similarly, as much as I love and adore my 78 year old mother – and forever grateful to her for bringing me into this world, and nurturing me, with so much love and sacrifice – there are things I appreciate that she is no longer able to do.

That is nature, and is the same road anyone who is blessed enough to reach old age, will inevitably go through.

Just because I acknowledge that she is now too old to do certain things, does not mean that I no longer love and appreciate her.

As such, no matter how some sections of Zimbabwe genuinely adore, and are forever grateful to their leader for whatever role he has played in the country, it is time that they acknowledged that he is now too old to lead an institution as complex as a nation.

They can respect him in other ways, but certainly not by allowing him to continue leading this country.

If they are adamant that he should continue in this role, then that is a serious disservice to this country, and will clearly re-affirm that they do not care at all about the people if this country.

A president should be someone who will be active enough to led in the rival of this economy.

However, such recklessness in supporting someone who is no longer capable of delivering is not helping the country at all, and neither is it helping the president, as his very apparent failures only make him more unpopular.

The year 2018 is just around the corner, and Zimbabweans, especially those from the ruling party have to make the right choice, and elect a leader who is still astute enough to take this country out of the mess that it is in.

This country, and its people are too precious to be toyed around with in this manner, by electing into office someone who is regarded as too old to even teach a grade six class.

° Tendai Ruben Mbofana is a social justice activist and commentator, writer, and journalist. He writes in his personal capacity, and welcomes any feedback. Please feel free to WhatsApp/call: +263782283975, or email: tendaiandtinta.mbofana@gmail.com. Follow on Twitter: @Tendai_Mbofana

Amplats `morally compelled’ to stick with Zimbabwe BEE

COMPLYING with Zimbabwe’s ever-changing empowerment regulations – known as indigenisation – has been a major headache for platinum miners such as Impala Platinum and Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) for more than a decade.

Source: Amplats `morally compelled’ to stick with Zimbabwe BEE – The Zimbabwean 21.08.2016

There are signs, however, that the demands are becoming more palatable, although nobody is getting ahead of themselves given the number of times the black economic empowerment laws have changed in Zimbabwe over the years.

The latest iteration for indigenisation is that companies such as Amplats commit to spending and retaining about 75% of gross platinum sales in Zimbabwe; in other words, beneficiation.

This requirement trumps the 2012 heads of agreement signed between Amplats and the Zimbabwean government in which Amplats was to sell 51% of its local business, the Unki platinum mine.

Said Mpumi Sithole, a spokeswoman for Amplats: “Should the proposed legislation be promulgated into law, then Amplats will legally be able to retain 100% on condition is spends more than 75% of gross sales in Zimbabwe”.

Owning 100% of Unki could be a real boon for Amplats. Interestingly, the asset has been counted as a core mine in Amplats’ books in terms of its restructuring plans in which much larger mines, such as Rustenburg Platinum Mines, are to be sold.

In the six months ended June 30, Unki contributed R73m to Amplats’ operating free cash flow of R3.2bn – a fraction of the overall amount, but Unki is blessed with extensive mineral resources, a relatively trouble-free work force with an ethos for relatively high productivity, and potential to de-bottleneck and expand.

However, Amplats reckons it may still stick with some indigenisation.

“In reality, however, given global pressure associated with resource nationalism, we suspect there would be a moral justification for concluding empowerment transactions with employees and the community,” said Sithole. “The quantum of this empowerment is unknown at this stage, but it would be substantially less than the 51% level.”

Opt-in indigenisation – as this would effectively become – would be easier to time and structure, and easier for shareholders to understand. After the 2012 heads of agreement, there was confusion as to whether Amplats was required to ‘sell’ the 51% stake or simply ‘hand it away’, with President Robert Mugabe instructing this then head of empowerment, Saviour Kasukuwere, to demand the latter.

Asked about the new dispensation in Zimbabwe, Chris Griffith, CEO of Amplats, told Miningmx in an interview that he was fairly sanguine about conditions. “The numbers are not too difficult for us to achieve,” he said of Zimbabwe’s proposed gross sales target.

“We have already achieved substantial amounts of indigenisation, but our main focus now is on beneficiation and avoiding a 15% royalty tax hence the investment we are making,” he added.

This is the regulation imposed in 2014 which would affect current unbeneficiated ore. Based on production from Unki in 2015, the levy would have added $10m to Amplats’ costs.

A feasibility study for the construction of a smelter has been completed by Amplats with the third quarter of this year pencilled in as start of the construction phase. Smelter commissioning is thereafter planned for the second half of Amplats’ 2018 financial year.

Between now and then, however, Zimbabwe has other problems, Griffith suggests. “The think the more immediate challenge for them is having sufficient dollars to run the country rather than issues relating to indigenisation,” he said.

This raises the question as to whether the amended requirements on beneficiation will ever see light of day or whether the constant limbo in which South Africa’s platinum firms operate in Zimbabwe is set to continue for years to come.

And the country remains profoundly volatile as does its government. Only last week, Zimbabwe announced new planned legislation that would compel foreign companies to list on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange and, more importantly, seek the permission of the minister in order to export products.

NSSA eyes investment in agriculture

Livingstone MarufuTHE National Social Security Authority is considering investing in agriculture in the forthcoming summer cropping season to u

Source: NSSA eyes investment in agriculture | The Sunday Mail August 21, 2016

Livingstone Marufu
THE National Social Security Authority is considering investing in agriculture in the forthcoming summer cropping season to unlock value for pensioners and other beneficiaries, it has been learnt.

Much of the investments will be through commitments in financial instruments such as agro bills that are usually issued by institutions like Agribank, CBZ and FBC.

Although NSSA, whose management was recently rejigged, could not give an indication of the amount that could be set aside for such investment, market rumours suggest it could be more than US$5 million.

NSSA chief social security officer Mr Henry Chivora said last week, “Our new executives, together with the board, are in the process of re-examining the organisation’s investments approach in order to maximise returns for pensioners and other beneficiaries.

“Certainly agriculture being a key driver of economic development and empowerment is high on the priority list. Though we haven’t yet come up with the actual figure (agricultural funding) due to new developments in the company.

“Concerted efforts should be directed towards sustaining sectors like agriculture to generate more revenue and employment and NSSA should play a role in assisting the Government to achieve this objective.

“NSSA will also work closely with various financial institutions to ensure that there is particular focus on empowerment of women in agriculture,” said Mr Chivora.

According to a 2014 World Bank survey, 80 percent of Zimbabweans depend on agriculture for their livelihoods and raw materials. Government and some private companies are planning huge investments in the sector this year.

While Government is pushing a US$500 million command agricultural policy, which is focused on supporting at least 200 commercial farmers, manufacturers like Cairns are lining up contract farming arrangements.

Also, Government has directed that with effect from June 30, 2016, banks should allocate 20 percent of their loan portfolios to smallholder farmers. There is new impetus to extending banking services to rural areas through the Agriculture and Rural Credit Policy.

Farmers have been failing to access funds owing to lack of collateral.

Biti, Mujuru join forces

Source: Biti, Mujuru join forces – Sunday News August 21, 2016

Leonard Ncube in Binga
AFTER realising that their support is waning, the People Democratic Party led by Mr Tendai Biti yesterday announced that it will unconditionally join Dr Joice Mujuru’s Zimbabwe People First and will not even front their leader as a presidential candidate for 2018 elections. PDP vice-president Mr Samuel Sipepa Nkomo announced this at a ZimPF rally which was addressed by Dr Mujuru at Manjolo Business Centre in Binga yesterday. Mr Sipepa Nkomo, who struggled to stand and spoke while seated, claimed Dr Mujuru was God-sent to save Zimbabwe as he quoted a verse from the book of Esther in the Bible.

“We bring a message of solidarity from PDP to say we are together. Zimbabwe is OK and all we need to do is change the driver and direction,” said Mr Sipepa Nkomo. Mr Sipepa Nkomo was accompanied by Messrs Gift Mabhena, Eugene Dube and Lameck Ndlovu, all PDP provincial members. PDP is an offshoot of MDC-T.

Speaking at the rally Dr Mujuru confirmed that her party has the same traits with the MDC-T which has been seeking to effect regime change with the help of western countries.

“When we combined with MDC-T in Gweru, some said I was a sellout. MDC-T had their demonstration and we had our rally so as opposition parties we agreed that as democratic parties we should unite when we do things that are common with our people,” she said.

Properties have gone beyond the reach of many — VP Mngangagwa

Source: Properties have gone beyond the reach of many — VP Mngangagwa – Sunday News August 21, 2016

Midlands Correspondent
THE prices of properties in the country have gone beyond the reach of many aspiring property owners with high cost of mortgage financing causing the market to be illiquid, Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa said on Friday.

Officially opening the 71st Annual General Meeting and Winter School of the Real Estate Institute of Zimbabwe in Gweru, VP Mnangagwa said there was a need for a market turnaround in the real estate sector supported by performance measurement indicators, operating standards, research and development and sound corporate governance tenets.

“I’m aware that most properties in Zimbabwe have gone beyond the reach of many aspiring home owners, industrialists and retailers, among other categories with the high cost of mortgage financing causing the property market to be illiquid. This has been exacerbated by the shortage of properly developed land and restrictive by-laws which tend to increase the cost of housing, industrial, commercial structures and public real estate, among other type of structures,” he said.

VP Mnangagwa said evidence showed that the demand for low cost housing continues to grow as evidenced by the increasing number of people on the housing waiting list and especially from the diaspora, youths and women.

He said, “Despite the drawback, owning a house remains a top aspiration for many. Other opportunities include the fact that most people have ‘dead’ equity locked up in their properties acquired during the hyperinflation era and are seeking to unlock that value.”

Going forward, VP Mnangagwa said there was a need to focus on issues pertaining to the relaxation of building standards and view the process as an avenue for enhancing the Ease of Doing Business reforms the country is pursuing. He said pursuant to this, the Estate Agents Act and Valuers Act require constant review.

“As Government, we remain committed to providing an environment that ensures optimal and broad-based participation by the generality of our people, including the youths and women in the country’s economic turnaround provided for in the Constitution and Zim Asset,” said VP Mnangagwa.

The winter school is running under the theme, “Driving economic growth through investment in Real Estate.”

VP Mnangagwa said the theme dovetails with and gives further impetus to Government’s thrust in providing quality housing stock and industrial/business infrastructure for the well-being and prosperity of the country in line with Zim Asset and the 10-Point Plan which was enunciated by President Mugabe last year.

He said his role as the VP responsible for economic recovery and ensuring sustainable food security and nutrition has given him new insights into how profits to be generated from Command Agriculture, tobacco farming, agriculture in general and agro processing can boost the real estate sector as profits can be ploughed into the housing infrastructure development.

“I therefore challenge the Real Estate Institute of Zimbabwe and this winter school to think outside the box and come up with cheap but practical solutions for providing housing for the low and middle income clients. I also encourage you to develop options for durable but cheap designs for informal traders, among other low income groups,” said VP Mnangagwa.

Will local industry get protection through Statutory Instrument (SI) 64 of 2016?

Source: Will local industry get protection through Statutory Instrument (SI) 64 of 2016? – Sunday News August 21, 2016

Economic Focus with Dr Bongani Ngwenya

Preamble:
THE primary goal of import restriction, either by a complete ban or import quota is to reduce imports and increase domestic production of goods, services, or activities, thus protect domestic production by restricting foreign competition. An import quota is a limit on the quantity of goods that are produced abroad and sold domestically.

It is a type of protectionist trade restriction that sets a physical limit on the quantity of goods that can be imported into the country in a given period of time. If a quota is put on goods, less of the goods are imported. Quotas, like other trade restrictions, are used to benefit the producers of goods in the domestic economy at the expense of all consumers of the goods in that economy.

The domestic and foreign goods are homogeneous, and are supposed to be produced by competitive firms in both domestic country and foreign country. As the quantity of importing the goods is restricted, the price of the imported goods increases, thus inducing domestic consumers to purchase domestic products at higher prices.

In June, the Government decided to implement the Statutory Instrument (SI) 64 that restricts importation of basic goods such as coffee creamers, camphor creams, white petroleum jellies, plastic pipes and fittings, building materials, baked beans, cereals, bottled water, second hand tyres and many more products.

Argument for local industry protection:

Well, there’s a case for it, that the industry in this country and the Government has been making quite often, but I don’t agree with the rationale. The argument is that the local industry is facing stiff competition from the influx of cheaper imports. While there is a possibility of an increase in domestic production of goods, as the restriction of imports imposed by the Statutory Instrument (SI) 64 of 2016 is being effected, the expected decrease in the marginal cost of production with cumulative production may not be realised at full potential in our situation.

In addition to the price of de-industrialisation that Zimbabwe has to pay, which I wrote about in the last Sunday’s instalment, there is a structural problem of production cost and cost of doing business in Zimbabwe as a result of dollarisation.

Immediately when Zimbabwe adopted multi-currency regime, Zimbabwe was turned into a high cost of domestic production and investment country, compared to its regional trading partners in the Sadc for example.

Not very far in the past, the very same industry was seized with this challenge. The Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries for example was muting the possibilities of an internal devaluation, which I responded to in one of my articles and explained the reasons why that option could not work in the Zimbabwean situation — that is, in the absence of an exchange rate. It is impossible to devalue another country’s currency.

A country can only devalue its own sovereign currency. The question is how can we deal with this challenge of being a high cost country as a result of dollarisation, in order to keep the price of our locally produced products affordable to the consumers? The other question is, is our industry really suffering from the “infant industry” syndrome that we seem to be borrowing from as an argument for protection? It’s called the “infant industry” argument — when an industry is in its infancy, the argument goes, and it needs Government protection to get started or it will be swallowed up by international competition.

The problem is that the infants never grow up, because once the protections are established, they become “special interests” who are well-protected and never go away. We are about eight years from hyperinflation era around 2008, and our industry has failed to recover. Instead we have experienced a massive de-industrialisation taking place, coupled with declining foreign direct investment inflows. Zimbabwe’s case is not a case of “infant industry”, but a case of dead industry because of de-industrialisation. Zimbabwe’s situation may not be remedied by import restriction. It requires, initiation of “industrialisation” targeted economic reforms. An economy cannot be sustained by fire-fighting measures all the time. Import restriction is a fire fighting measure, so were the quasi-fiscal activities by the then Reserve Bank Governor Dr Gideon Gono during the period leading to hyper-inflation.

The argument is, I am failing to see the justification for “infant industry” in our situation. Elsewhere in the world, for example, in Japan, the auto industry in the 1960s was just getting started and faced harsh competition from the established USA giants. They got lots of protection as an infant industry. If we read the news today, Ford & GM still have trouble in getting their cars sold in Japan, and trade negotiators regularly and normally complain about automobile protectionism, even though Toyota, Nissan, and the rest are clearly no longer “infants.”

Our industries do not necessarily fall in this category, notwithstanding the fact that, yes, the industry is coming from an experience of hyperinflation and economic meltdown. The biggest challenge is that when we abandoned the Zimbabwe dollar and adopted multi-currencies, we only thought of our economy having to recover from that experience, and failed to look at the economic melt-down experience as an opportunity to institute necessary economic reforms to avoid going back to economic challenges again.

Infant industry protection does make sense of course if there are international competitors and there is that strong industrial policy to want to see the local industry thriving in the country. But we should always interrogate why we want the industry in our country — how do we, as an industry and an economy in general offer some competitive advantage in the long run that will meet and beat the regional competition?

In conclusion, the problem with protectionism is that the guy getting the monopoly has a big stake in it, and will spend millions to lobby for it. So the monopolist lobbies and makes arguments like “infant industry” and wins, and maintains his monopoly indefinitely. Food for thought.

Dr Bongani Ngwenya is a Bulawayo-based economist and senior lecturer at Solusi University’s Post Graduate School of Business. mailto: ngwenyab@solusi.ac.zw/nbongani@gmail.com

 

Govt freezes recruitments, promotions

Source: Govt freezes recruitments, promotions | The Sunday Mail August 21, 2016

Government has with immediate effect frozen the recruitment of new employees and promotions in the Civil Service as part of its staff rationalisation exercise. This is in line with recommendations of the 2015 Civil Service Report.

A special dispensation has, however, been granted to “critical posts” which will be considered on a “case-by-case” basis.

Sunday News has a copy of a memo signed by Civil Service Commission Secretary Mrs Pretty Sunguro, advising her officials of the latest development.

The memo, dated August 2, 2016, was also copied to the Secretary for Finance and Economic Development, Mr Willard Manungo, and Civil Service Commission Chair Dr Mariyawanda Nzuwah.

It reads, “Please be advised that the Public Service Commission has frozen the filling of all vacant critical, non-critical entry and promotional posts with immediate effect.

“Please note that in the same vein, all other forms of regrading have also been frozen except through grade posts. This has been necessitated by the implementation of the Civil Service Report of 2015 as directed by Cabinet on 12 July 2016.”

Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Prisca Mupfumira said: “Recruitment of critical areas only will be considered on a case-by-case basis. The implication is that we are putting into action all that Government approved under the Civil Service Staff Rationalisation Exercise.”

The 2015 Civil Service Audit revealed massive duplication of duties, abuse of overtime allowances, salary fraud and over-staffing.

Government has been trying to reduce its salary bill, which accounts for at least 85 percent of monthly revenue.

In the first half of 2015, Treasury spent about US$1,54 billion on labour, against revenue inflows of US$1,718 billion.

Tokwe-Mukosi Dam to be used in Sept

Source: Tokwe-Mukosi Dam to be used in Sept – Sunday News August 21, 2016

Walter Mswazie in Masvingo
THE harnessed water in Tokwe-Mukosi Dam under construction in Masvingo will be ready for use as early as September since most of the work will be complete, an official has said.

The dam project which has capacity volume of 1,8 billion cubic metres is now about 96 percent complete. Upon its completion the dam will see bout 25 000 hectares of land put under irrigation.

Chivi Rural District Council and Masvingo Rural District Councils are already working on a $350 000 master plan while Government has already engaged Tongaat Hullet to assist in the crafting of irrigation development plan ahead of the dam project completion slated for December.

Responding to the Masvingo Provincial Administrator Mr Felix Chikovo who wanted clarity on the progress on the dam project during a provincial development committee meeting in Masvingo last week, Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA) Masvingo area manager Mr Johannes Juma said there was water which was held in the upper stream of the dam and it will be ready for use after the completion of concrete work next month.

“Contractors will complete all concrete work including the dam wall at the end of September according to expectations, after which the dam can be allowed to harness water. The minor works can continue while the dam captures water which will be ready for use,” said Mr Juma.

Mr Juma also said plans were underway to construct another dam, bigger than Tokwe-Mukosi in Mwenezi district to cater for the ambitious ethanol project to be constructed in Chingwizi area.

Bio Fuels director, Mr Billy Rautenbach recently got a nod from Government to set up an ethanol plant at Nuanetsi Ranch in Chingwizi which will see 60 000 hectares of land put under sugarcane.

“The province is set to have another dam which will be bigger than Tokwe-Mukosi in the event that an ethanol plant is established in Nuanetsi Ranch, Chingwizi. The project will see 60 000 hectares of land being put under sugarcane and there will be need of more water. Tokwe-Mukosi has the capacity to irrigate 25 000 hectares only,” he said.

He said the four dams identified for the ambitious project comprise Lundi, Tende, Dihune and Munaki.

UN avails $190m for food relief

Source: UN avails $190m for food relief – Sunday News August 21, 2016

Lungile Tshuma Sunday News Correspondent
THE United Nations in Zimbabwe has availed $190 million in the last five months to address the effects of drought as latest figures show that the number of people in need of food aid has doubled from two million to 4,1 million. United Nations resident co-ordinator and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) resident representative in Zimbabwe, Mr Bishow Parajuli said the world body has reached 1,5 million in need of food with the mobilised resources.

“In response to the Government’s appeal issued in February 2016, the United Nations, humanitarian partners and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) developed a Humanitarian Response Plan through collaborative and joined-up efforts. The focus of the plan is to save lives, while ensuring linkages to early recovery and resilience building programmes,” said Mr Parajuli.

“Of the $360 million requested for the period of April 2016 — March 2017, nearly $190 million has been committed enabling the UN and humanitarian partners to reach 1,5 million people with relief assistance.”

But because of the increase in the number of people seeking aid, Mr Parajuli said UN was revising its response plan to ensure more resources are mobilised to meet the growing number of people in need of food aid.

He said the new plan will be availed at the end of the month where UN will be looking forward to raise more money to cater for more people.

President Mugabe early this year declared the EI Nino induced drought “State of Disaster” and urged developmental partners to assist in raising $1,5 billion for drought relief. As part of UN’s humanitarian response plan, the resident co-ordinator said his organisation has worked with other developmental agencies to address food security and agriculture, health and nutrition, water, sanitation and hygiene, education and protection.

He said: “Since the onset of the drought, thus far, over 1,5 million people have received food assistance, through in-kind assistance and cash-based transfers from WFP and a number of NGOs such as CARE, Save the Children, and World Vision. In addition, over 8 000 households received subsidised survival stock feed saving 13 000 cattle from deaths from FAO. (Food and Agriculture Organisation)

“A total of 270 boreholes and three piped water schemes were rehabilitated, restoring safe water supply to nearly 75 000 people by Unicef. And over 100 000 people were reached with critical life-saving water, sanitation and hygiene non-food items and messages. Moreover, over 65 000 people received non-food items and over 200 000 children were screened for malnutrition and provided with nutritional support by UN and NGOs.”

Mr Parajuli said beyond the ongoing drought response, UN through the 2016-2020 Zimbabwe United Nations Development Assistance Framework (ZUNDAF) will support Zimbabwe in enhancing preparedness and disaster risk reduction capacities at all levels and support early recovery, resilience-building and long-term development programmes.

UN remains the country’s biggest developmental agency as it recently announced that through ZUNDAF it set aside $1,6 billion to help the country achieve some of the goals outlined in the country’s economic blueprint, Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (Zim Asset).

Preps for 16th Zanu-PF’s national conference start

Source: Preps for 16th Zanu-PF’s national conference start – Sunday News August 21, 2016

Walter Mswazie Masvingo Correspondent
THE ruling Zanu-PF leadership in Masvingo has started preparations for the party’s 16th Annual National People’s Conference to be held in the province in December with resource mobilising committees having been constituted. In an interview last week, Zanu-PF Masvingo provincial chairman Cde Amasa Nhenjana said preparations for the party’s important event have started in earnest amid reports that the committees have set the ball rolling.

He said the province felt privileged to host the national conference after it hosted the 21st February Movement in February which saw thousands of people thronging the Great Zimbabwe monuments to celebrate President Mugabe’s 92nd birthday. Masvingo last hosted the National People’s Conference in 2003 at Masvingo Teachers’ College.

“I can safely say the 16th Annual National People’s Conference preparations are going on in earnest after we have set up steering committees led by our executive members. The committees have already set the ball rolling,” said Cde Nhenjana.

He said all the executive members are leading committees meant to mobilise resources with the secretary for finance Dr Killer Zivhu leading fund-raising while secretary for administration, Cde Ailes Baloyi is leading the administration work, political commissar Cde Jappy Jaboon is in charge of mobilising party members to support the executive’s efforts to organise the conference.

“The transport portfolio will manage the transport committee, making sure that there is adequate transport to ferry delegates to and from the yet to be identified venue. We are yet to get the actual dates but it is definite that the conference is in December,” said Cde Nhenjana. He said the provincial executive will have a meeting with the National Secretary for Administration Dr Ignatius Chombo on Wednesday where the conference issues are expected to be on the agenda.

ZimPF infights persist

Source: ZimPF infights persist – Sunday News August 21, 2016

FORMER Vice-President’s Dr Joice Mujuru political party ZimPF has been dogged by persistent infighting in Matabeleland South as officials try to outwit each other to occupy strategic positions, it has emerged. Party insiders told Sunday News that two camps have emerged, one led by former MDC provincial secretary for information and publicity, Mr Bekezela Fuzwayo Maduma and the other by Mr Leonard Mathuthu who is the party’s provincial co-ordinator.

“Bekezela Fuzwayo Maduma, a ZimPF activist in Gwanda, who was previously the MDC provincial secretary for information and publicity is seeking to remove Leonard Mathuthu from his post as the party’s provincial co-ordinator. Maduma is accusing Mathuthu of being a Zanu-PF member who is docile and cannot drive the party programmes forward.

“Maduma, through his posters, which he distributed in Gwanda on 10 August, is also accusing Dzikamai Mavhaire of trying to impose Mathuthu to the people of Matabeleland South,” said an official privy to the ongoings in the party.

The official said Mr Mathuthu had vowed to fight tooth and nail with Mr Maduma whom he says has been a thorn in the provincial party structures since its formative stages.

“Mathuthu has also accused Maduma of being a political nuisance in the party since its inception in February 2016 where he was involved in leadership wrangle. He (Maduma) convened a ZimPF meeting at Red Cross centre in Gwanda recently, where he intended to pass a vote of no confidence on Mathuthu. The meeting was attended by Nkululeko Tshuma, the side kick of Maduma who is also eying the Insiza South constituency in 2018 harmonised elections,” said the official.

Another party official, Mr Steven Moyo said Mr Maduma will find himself between a hard place and a rock as he is set to appear in court for posting ZimPF posters at Zanu-PF offices.

“It’s unfortunate that Maduma is set to appear in court facing charges of provoking other political parties after he allegedly put ZimPF posters at Zanu-PF offices in Gwanda, yet he is involved in internal fighting with Mathuthu at the same time. It’s abundantly clear that these guys are power hungry and they joined the party because they wanted leadership positions, that is why Mathuthu left Zanu-PF as he thought it was greener at ZimPF,” said.

Contacted for comment Mr Maduma said he is not eying any post as he was committed to humanitarian duties.

“I am not interested in any position in the party. I am actually committed in civic duties where I represent the interests of the residents of Gwanda. Those are the same people who distributed posters that carried my name just to tarnish my image, for the record I did not attend the provincial interim committee meeting yesterday (Friday) and I even told the national coordinator Mr Mavhaire that I am not contesting for any position in the party although I sympathise with it,” said Mr Maduma laughing.

Efforts to get a comment from Mr Mathuthu were fruitless.

Same old violent story starring same old angry leader in Zimbabwe:

We’ve seen this movie before. It’s set in a battered, fractured country and stars an old, angry leader and a people on their knees but driven to try to revolt. This is Zimbabwe in 2016. But it was also Zimbabwe in 2009, in 2002, in 2000 and at various times in the 1990s, Don Murray writes.

Source: Same old violent story starring same old angry leader in Zimbabwe: Don Murray Aug 19, 2016

We’ve seen this movie before.

It’s set in a battered, fractured country and stars an old, angry leader and a people on their knees who are driven to try to revolt.

This is Zimbabwe in 2016. But it was also Zimbabwe in 2009, in 2002, in 2000 and at various times in the 1990s.

The old, angry leader is Robert Mugabe, now not just old but immensely old. He is 92 and has run his country with an authoritarian hand since it gained independence in 1980. Immensely old and physically weakened, yet he says he will run again for president in 2018.

Economy has ground to a halt

Economically, Zimbabwe is once again on its knees, indeed almost prostrate.

Seven years ago, faced with annual inflation running at literally 80 billion per cent and with the central bank printing trillion-dollar notes, Mugabe’s government took the amazing step of simply abolishing the national currency.

Zimbabweans now use American dollars, South African rands, and since last year, Chinese yuan as official currencies. Inflation has disappeared, but in recent months so have the U.S. dollars and the other currencies. The economy has ground to a halt.

Most of the adult population is listed as unemployed, government workers are paid weeks in arrears, there’s a severe drought and the government has banned basic imports.

It hasn’t the money to pay for them.

#ThisFlag

The latest spark of revolt was touched off by a Christian pastor, Evan Mawarire. With no money to pay his children’s school fees, he vented his frustration in a self-shot video in April showing him draped in a Zimbabwean flag.

“When I look at the flag,” he said, “it’s not a reminder of my pride and inspiration. It feels as if I want to belong to another country.”

He then posted his video with the hashtag #ThisFlag. It got thousands of hits and sparked demonstrations and one-day strikes.

The Mugabe regime initially reacted with mockery. A government minister dismissed the video and the hashtag as “a pastor’s fart.”

Then came the warnings and threats. Mugabe said Mawarire was “a fake” and “foreign sponsored.” The protests, he said, “won’t pay.”

Then, in July, Mawarire was arrested and charged with subversion and trying to overthrow the government. Under immense public pressure, a court threw out the charge. Mawarire slipped out of the country.

But the protests continued. Police armed with truncheons, tear gas and water cannons broke up a demonstration in Harare on Tuesday. Marchers in the capital carrying flowers and holding signs that read “Mugabe Must Go” were beaten bloody.

This was mild by Mugabe’s standards.

Thousands killed

In the 1980s, having come to power after a long guerrilla war against the white regime of Ian Smith in Rhodesia, Mugabe set about dismantling his own national unity government.

He did it using the 5th Army Brigade, trained by North Korean operatives. Mugabe’s troops killed up to 20,000 tribal followers of his vice-president, Joshua Nkomo, in Matabeleland. Many of the dead were buried in mass graves.

Then he dumped Nkomo. When I interviewed him in 1987, Nkomo was a lost man, still hardly believing his one-time guerrilla ally had presided over mass murder.

Throughout the killing, Zimbabwe’s 4,500 rich, white commercial farmers sat quietly, each employing a small regiment of black farm workers. Theirs was a universe of large houses, magnificent vistas, manicured lawns, and beef at Sunday lunch. It was a corner of the colonial past that hadn’t died.

They told me they couldn’t believe their luck. Their old enemy Mugabe had left them alone. They weren’t going to rock the boat over tribal quarrels.

Their luck ran out a dozen years later.

Agricultural death spiral

At the end of the 1990s, Mugabe unleashed the so-called veterans of the guerrilla war and told them to seize the whites’ land. Mobs ran amok, attacking white farmers, killing a few, terrorizing many and forcing almost all off their farms. When a CBC crew came to one “liberated” farm, we, like the farmer, were driven off by a rock-throwing gang.

I use the expression “so-called veterans” because, in talking to them, I discovered many were no more than five years old when the guerrilla war ended.

Many of the choicest farms went to Mugabe’s ministers and senior officers, and the largely agricultural economy entered a death spiral.

In the first decade of the new century, an opposition group, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) led by Morgan Tsvangirai, became politically powerful as it promised an end to corruption and chaos.

Mugabe responded in character. His followers beat up MDC people. Tsvangirai was arrested, beaten up and charged with subversion. But he carried on, even defeating Mugabe 47 to 43 per cent in the first round of a presidential election in 2008. Tsvangirai said he won 50 per cent of the vote outright but the result was rigged.

He refused to contest the second round, citing widespread violence and intimidation by Mugabe’s men.

Mugabe then reversed field dramatically, agreeing to a government of national unity with Tsvangirai as prime minister. The position carried virtually no power and was abolished in a new constitution in 2013.

Possible succession battle

Mugabe is once again rolling out his aggressive tactics, but there are big cracks in his regime’s facade. The biggest is the defection of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association, long a pillar of Mugabe’s power.

In July, the association denounced Mugabe and his methods, calling him dictatorial, egocentric and manipulative.

This may be part of an unseemly succession battle being fought almost out in public. The two leading contenders appear to be Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa and Mugabe’s wife Grace.

And despite the threats and violence, protesters promise more action and strikes at the end of August.

He has wrong-footed his opponents before, but this time the endgame may be approaching for the angry old leader.

Zimbabwe’s parched forests fall prey to new pests

Source: Zimbabwe’s parched forests fall prey to new pests

HARARE, Aug 19 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Eucalyptus trees, popularly known as gum trees, stand tall amid Zimbabwe’s forests. But those dotting the Harare-Beitbridge roadside, just outside the capital, are in trouble, with their bark fraying off.

They – and other tree species – are suffering not only due to this year’s severe El Niño-induced drought, experts say, but also from an onslaught of pests, first detected in 2015.

They include the eucalyptus leaf beetle which chews irregular notches along the edges of the trees’ leaves.

“A war waged on forests by pests is gathering momentum, and besides wood poachers causing deforestation, the pests have become the new drivers of desertification,” said Mevion Chagwiza, an environmental activist affiliated to the Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association.

The country’s Forestry Commission lays some of the blame for the surge in forest pests on climate shifts, as global warming heats up the planet.

“These pest outbreaks are partly attributed to changes in climatic conditions which are now making previously unsuitable geographical areas amenable to ‘occupation’ by these alien species,” said Forestry Commission spokeswoman Violet Makoto.

The insects attacking Zimbabwe’s forests and plantations include the blue gum chalcid, a gall-inducing type of wasp, the bronze bug and the red gum lerp psyllid, all of Australian origin, Makoto said.

The bronze bug is a sapsucker that feeds on eucalyptus leaves, while the red gum lerp psyllid attacks the red gum and more than 25 other varieties of eucalyptus, with the female laying eggs on the leaves.

The pests damage tree foliage and young shoots, impairing growth. As a result of massive defoliation and disruption of physiological processes, the trees eventually die, Makoto said.

The commission says trade between countries and the increased movement of people around the globe have also contributed to the spread of the pests.

MULTIPLE THREATS

Even before the arrival of the pests towards the end of last year, the southern African nation’s forests were dwindling.

The Ministry of Environment, Water and Climate says Zimbabwe has a deforestation rate of 330,000 trees per year.

From last September to the end of May, the ministry estimates that 43,000 eucalyptus trees succumbed to forest pests alone, in addition to some 24,000 trees of other species. But the pests are not forest enemy number one.

Some 57,000 trees perished due to drought linked to a strong El Niño event, which affected weather patterns worldwide, while another 80,000 were cut down for timber during the same period.

“In Zimbabwe, the major drivers of deforestation have been the conversion of forest land to agricultural land, which accounts for 80 percent of the deforestation rate,” Oppah Muchinguri, Zimbabwe’s environment minister, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Still, experts say pests are a growing threat to forests.

“The pests destroying trees here have targeted eucalyptus trees the most, while on the other side tree-poaching is also affecting forests,” said government ecologist Henry Kazingizi.

According to statistics from the Timber Producers Federation, the onset of gum tree diseases has reduced the amount of land used for commercial timber production to 80,000 hectares (197,684 acres) from over 108,000 hectares in the past decade. Eucalyptus plantations recorded the biggest decrease.

The Forestry Commission’s research division says the devastating effects of alien invasive pest species are now widespread in many parts of the country where eucalyptus is grown.

“The pests affect almost all growth stages of the tree, beginning from the nursery to mature plants in the field,” said the commission’s Makoto.

BIOLOGICAL CONTROL

Community wood lots throughout the country, which provide fuel wood for tobacco farmers and households, and eucalyptus plantations, which also provide timber and poles for industrial use, have all felt the pinch from the pests, she added.

Makoto warned that a drop in the availability of eucalyptus could expose indigenous tree species to exploitation for tobacco curing – “a scenario which is not ideal given the already alarming levels of deforestation”.

The commission believes the explosion of forest pests should not deter eucalyptus growers.

“Very few species so far match eucalyptus in terms of (its) benefits,” Makoto said. “It has just been unfortunate with these pests, but we believe it’s a passing phase as we are working towards a solution.”

The commission earlier this year partnered with the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization to start implementing a biological control programme for the pests.

This involves importing a biological control agent, often referred to as a “natural enemy”, which can keep down the pest population in the environment. The method relies on predation, parasitism and other natural mechanisms, but also involves management by humans.

Some experts, however, see the pests as a “necessary evil”.

“Pests are considered to be a natural component of the forest ecosystem as they play a part in getting rid of feeble trees and recycling litter on the forest floor, which becomes food for birds and other animals,” said Tracy Mutasa, a Harare-based agricultural extension officer. (Reporting by Jeffrey Moyo; editing by Megan Rowling. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women’s rights, trafficking, property rights and climate change. Visit news.trust.org)

 

Why is Robert Mugabe no longer going to Ghana?

The Zimbabwean leader was due to receive a lifetime achievement award in Ghana.

Source: Why is Robert Mugabe no longer going to Ghana? – Newsweek By On 8/19/16

nternational awards and positive recognition haven’t been coming thick and fast for Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe of late.

The 92-year-old leader was therefore likely delighted when declared the winner of a Lifetime Africa Achievement Award by the Ghana-based Millennium Excellence Foundation, which says it celebrates the achievements of Africans who have “sacrificed their lives, toiled tirelessly and served the continent relentlessly.”

But in an as-yet unexplained turn of events, Mugabe reportedly cancelled a four-day trip to the West African country during which he was due to collect his award and deliver a lecture at the Kempinski Hotel in the capital Accra on Saturday. A spokesperson for the foundation told Newsweek that Mugabe was no longer able to attend and that the lecture had been canceled, but said he was unable to disclose the reason why.

Mugabe has a fond affiliation with Ghana; he lived there for three years in the 1950s and met his first wife, Sally Hayfron, in the country. But the elderly leader has form for mysteriously withdrawing from foreign engagements—Mugabe’s whereabouts were unknown for several days in March after he pulled out of a trip to India while en route, stopping instead in Singapore and then returning to Zimbabwe due to an unspecified security threat in the Indian capital New Delhi.

Zimbabwean and Ghanaian media have come up with several theories as to why Mugabe—who was due to be honored for his role in Zimbabwe’s independence struggle that ended successfully in 1980, when he came to power—will not be in attendance.

1. Zimbabwe’s internal problems

The southern African country has witnessed an unprecedented period of civil unrest in recent months, partially prompted by an online activism campaign sparked by Evan Mawarire, a pastor from Harare. Mawarire’s #ThisFlag protest—that began with him sharing a video lamenting the state of Zimbabwe—has drummed up massive support online and translated to a stay-at-home protest that paralyzed many businesses in Harare in July.

Mugabe has condemned Mawarire—who has since fled to South Africa—as not a “true preacher of the Bible,” but Zimbabwe remains tense, with anti-Mugabe protests breaking out sporadically. Ghana’s Citi News cited sources at the Zimbabwean Embassy in Ghana, who claimed that the visit had been canceled due to “domestic political issues” in Mugabe’s country.

2. Mugabe’s ailing health

Mugabe is Africa’s oldest leader and his health has long been the subject of speculation—fueled by instances such as the president reading the wrong speech at the opening of the Zimbabwean parliament in September 2015. Independent outlet New Zimbabwe reported that Mugabe required extensive medical support during the recent public holidays of Heroes’ Day and Defense Forces’ Day earlier in August, and suggested that ongoing ailments could be behind his decision to pull out of the Ghana trip.

3. Ghana’s president is out-of-town

Ghanaian President John Dramani Mahama was expected to confer Mugabe’s award on the Zimbabwean leader, according to several outlets, including Ghana’s 3News. The foundation was unable to confirm to Newsweek whether President Mahama would be attending, but the Ghanaian leader is now reported to be out of the capital over the weekend. Perhaps Mugabe expected a higher-profile reception.

‘Southern Africa must brace for floods’

Source: ‘Southern Africa must brace for floods’ | The Herald August 20, 2016

JOHANNESBURG. – UN agencies warned on Thursday that southern African countries were at risk of another year of food shortages as the drought-hit region is expected to be hit by above-average rainfall likely to trigger floods. The region is still reeling from the effects of the El Nino weather phenomenon which devastated crops leaving some 18 million people in need of food aid, according to the World Food Programme.Meteorologists forecast the region will this year experience more rainfall than normal due to an extreme weather pattern known as La Nina.

“What La Nina brings is both good news and bad news,” Lewis Hove, regional agricultural coordinator with the UN’s Food and Agricultural Organisation told AFP.

“The good news is that we are going to get above average rainfall.

“This normally means good production from our farmers,” said Hove.

“But above average rainfall is going to bring with it floods and water logging in some areas of the region,” said Hove.

He was speaking on the side lines of a meeting on drought-resilient agriculture in Johannesburg.

To ensure farmers benefit from the rains, the UN officials said they needed to plant early to avoid the floods.

But most farmers have little or no capital to buy farming inputs having been hit by two successive droughts.

Their governments will struggle to bail them out with cash for seeds and fertilisers.

Many of the regional economies are heavily dependent on commodities, prices for which have slumped on the international markets.

“If you look at Zambia, they lost something like 47 percent of their income because of the drop in copper (prices). . .so the capacity of government is weakened,” Chris Nikoi, WFP southern African director told AFP.

“You take Zimbabwe for example, if the government is struggling to pay its civil servants, its ability to ensure that seeds are in the hands of rural farmers on time, obviously is going to be challenged.”

“The international community needs to step in and help,” said Nikoi.

Humanitarian agencies including the UN’s OCHA last month called for $1,2-billion in aid for seven drought-stricken countries in southern Africa, with Zimbabwe, Malawi and Mozambique among the hardest-hit. – AFP.

Riverbed miners risk 10 years’ jail

Source: Riverbed miners risk 10 years’ jail | The Herald August 20, 2016

Zvamaida Murwira Senior Reporter
Persons conducting riverbed mining now risk a 10-year imprisonment term while the State will also confiscate their equipment. This is contained in the Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill. The Bill was gazetted last week. It applies the use it or lose it principle on people holding claims for speculative purposes. Mines and Mining Development Minister Walter Chidhakwa (pictured) is expected to table the Bill in Parliament for debate soon.

While the Bill seeks to tighten several gaps that had been observed in the mining sector, the major highlight would be the criminalisation of river bed mining which has been rampant across the country.

It was most pronounced in Mazowe and Penhalonga were dams were at risk of siltation.

Clause 391A provides as follows “(1) Subject to subsections (3) and (4) no person shall undertake any mining operations on any riverbed except where such persons are part of a joint venture partnership with Government to do so. (2) Any person who contravenes subsection (1) shall be guilty of an offence and liable (a) if there are no special circumstances in the particular case, and the case involves strategic minerals, to imprisonment for a period of not less than five years or more than 10 years.”

The Bill stipulated that only the Government would reserve the right to carry out riverbed mining should that be necessary.

“Where the court is satisfied, on a balance of probabilities, the property is the proceeds from the commission of an offence the court shall order that it be confiscated,” read Clause 391E(3) of the Bill.

The proposed law empowers the minister responsible for mining to cancel mining rights if operations failed to commence within a reasonable period or failed to declare output and provide false returns.

“The minister may do either or both of the following (a) by written notice served on the miner concerned, notify the miner concerned of his or her intention to cancel his or her rights in relation to the mining location concerned, and call on the miner to show cause, within such reasonable period as may be specified in the notice, why such rights should not be cancelled (b) direct any person employed in his or her ministry to conduct an investigation into the nature and extent of any mining operations that have been conducted on the mining location concerned,” reads the Bill.

Ministers would be required to make certain payments to local authorities in terms of Clause 76 while child labour would also been outlawed.

Clause 70 gives precedence to mining over farming.

“Subject to Section 180(12) the owner or the occupier of land on which registered mining location is situated shall retain the right to graze stock upon or cultivate the surface of such location insofar as such grazing or cultivation does not interfere with proper working of the location for mining purposes,” read the Bill.

The Bill listed 19 minerals that are considered as strategic on account of their importance to the economic, social, industrial and security development of the country.

The minerals are coking coal, natural gas or coal bed methane, iron ore, uranium, chrome, platinum group metals, phosphate ore, beryllium, lithium, tin, tantalite, rare earths elements, natural graphite, magnesite, tungsten, antimony, manganese, fluorspar and caesium.

Clause 16 provides for Cadastre registration of mining rights and titles which is a comprehensive register covering the whole country.

It will have issues such as name of every holder of mining right, chronological records of date and time of applications, contact details, receipt numbers of prescribed fees, nature of application, date of approval or rejection, particulars of any renewal, cancellation or suspension of registration.

It would be one of the responsibilities of the Cadastre Registrar to collect fees for processing of application for mineral titles, annual service fees or any other services that could be prescribed.

“Any person may, on payment of the prescribed fee, if any, inspect the Cadastre Register at any reasonable time at the head office of the Mining Cadastre or at such other places as the Cadastre Registrar may specify in the Gazette,” reads Clause 18 of the Bill.

The Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines and Mining Development is expected to conduct public hearing to get people’s views while the Parliamentary Legal Committee would also study it to establish whether it is consistent with the Constitution.

President proclaims Norton by-election

Source: President proclaims Norton by-election | The Herald August 20, 2016

Zvamaida Murwira Senior Reporter
President Mugabe yesterday proclaimed October 22 as the date for the by-election in Norton, after the seat fell vacant following the expulsion of Mr Christopher Mutsvangwa from Zanu-PF. The Head of State and Government and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces made the announcement in a Statutory Instrument of a Government Gazette published yesterday.

The Nomination Court is expected to sit on September 6 in Chinhoyi, Mashonaland West to receive nominations and if more than one candidate is duly nominated, polling will proceed on October 22.

In the notice, President Mugabe said Norton constituency became vacant in terms of Section 129 (1) (k) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe by reason of a legislator having ceased to belong to a political party which he was a member of when elected to Parliament.

In terms of Section 39(2) of the Electoral Act, said President Mugabe in the notice, he is required to issue a proclamation ordering a new election in terms of Section 38. He said the Speaker of the National Assembly, Advocate Jacob Mudenda, had duly notified him of the existence of the vacancy.

“Now therefore, under and by virtue of the powers vested in the President as aforesaid, I do, by this proclamation (a) order new elections for constituency of Norton and (b) fix Tuesday the 6th of September, 2016, as the date on which the nomination court shall sit, commencing at 10 o’clock in the morning, at the Magistrate Court, Gerrad Drive, Chinhoyi, for the purpose of receiving nominations of candidates for election as member of National Assembly constituency and (c) fix Saturday the 22nd October, 2016, as the day on which a poll shall be taken if a poll becomes necessary in terms of section 46 (17)(c) of the Electoral Act (Chapter 2:13),” reads the notice.

Mr Mutsvangwa was expelled from Parliament last month after Zanu-PF notified Adv Mudenda of its decision to fire him in terms of Section 129 (1) (k) of the Constitution.

Section 129 (1) (k) of the Constitution states that: “The seat of a Member of Parliament becomes vacant if the member has ceased to belong to the political party of which he or she was a member when elected to Parliament and the political party concerned by written notice to the Speaker or the President of the Senate, as the case may be, has declared that the member has ceased to belong to it.”

Mr Mutsvangwa’s expulsion came after the Politburo upheld recommendations by Zanu-PF disciplinary Appeals and Review committee of the Central Committee chaired by Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko to fire the outspoken politician.

Parliament has since expelled former Chimanimani West MP Mr Munacho Mutezo from the Chamber after Zanu-PF wrote to Adv Mudenda that he was no longer a member of the revolutionary party. This was after it emerged that Mr Mutezo was unrepentant after he continued associating himself with Zimbabwe People First led by deposed former Vice President Ms Joice Mujuru.

Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission gazetted the Mazowe North constituency by-election in which Zanu-PF candidate, Advocate Martin Dinha won.

“It is hereby notified, in terms of Section 68 of the Electoral Act (Chapter 2:13), that following the conclusion of the by-election held on the 23rd July, 2016, in the Mazowe North National Assembly constituency, Dinha Tafara Martin of Zanu-PF party was, with effect from the 24 of July, 2016, duly elected as a member of the National Assembly for Mazowe North constituency,” reads the notice by ZEC chief elections officer, Mrs Constance Chigwamba.

The Mazowe North constituency by-election was held following the death of Engineer Edgar Chidavaenzi (Zanu-PF) early this year.

Zim has become replica of Rhodesia

The birth of Zimbabwe and many other African States came as a result of violent confrontations.

Source: Zim has become replica of Rhodesia – NewsDay Zimbabwe August 20, 2016

Ngonidzashe Tamborenyoka

Negotiations like the ones at Lancaster House Conference took place after the violent confrontation between the guerilla fighters and white supremacists. Among the issues at the centre of the Second Chimurenga were the land question, totalitarian rule by the whites and oppression of the black populace.

Images of Ian Douglas Smith’s police officers with dogs attacking black people were captured by the media.

The dastardly acts of the Ian Smith regime were captured by the media. It is also important to note that the regime’s oppressive nature did not go unnoticed as Britain and the United Nations imposed sanctions on Rhodesia.

Fast-forward to 2000 and beyond, Zimbabweans find themselves in a similar situation. The issue of land became the crux of the battle. Words like terrorists and puppets began to be thrown around with reckless abandon against the opposition; dissenting voices are treated with disdain.

The government of the day has failed to cut the umbilical cord of colonialism. They have become a replica of the Smith regime. They have perfected the art of oppression, interchangeably using violence, draconian laws and maintaining a tight grip on State power.

Albert Bandura, a cognitive psychologist, came up with a Social Learning Theory, in which he posits that behaviour is learned from the environment through the process of observational learning. He further said that at a later time, people imitate the behaviour they have observed.

Given the fact that most people in the government of Zimbabwe fought in the liberation of the country against the oppressive Smith government, it only makes sense that the leaders in our government have learned the oppressive style of rule from the very system they fought against.

It is ironic that the Zimbabwean government is becoming a black version of the Smith government, thereby, vindicating an apt assessment by Franz Fanon when he said that what changed after the independence of most African States was the skin colour of the oppressor.

But as a generation, we have a duty to – a generational mandate, a generational obligation – fight the system.
We have to demand accountability, good governance and respect of the rule of law. There is much that unites us than that which divides us.

We should never engage in violence because that’s what the regime that we are fighting wants for violent ground is their turf.

They have survived and thrived using violence, that’s their forte.

But we are smarter than them, we are a different generation.

When they use weapons, we use ideas, for the modern age has provided us a platform to meet, a convergence zone of ideas, where we share ideas and make our future and that of the generations to follow bright.

We have to put faith in institutions and ideas and never in the individual, for individuals are fallible and they can disappoint. Individuals come and go, but institutions and ideas are permanent.

We have to be a better generation than the one which precedes us. We should not breed cult leadership for it has contributed immensely to the existing catastrophe.

We should be alive to the dangers of imitating our oppressors and we should not make the same mistakes that the previous generation made.

HIV+ people petition Chimene over viral load tests

MANICALAND Provincial Affairs minister Mandiitawepi Chimene yesterday refused to accept a petition from people living with HIV and Aids, who were demonstrating in Mutare for not being able to access routine viral load tests, among a host of other problems.

Source: HIV+ people petition Chimene over viral load tests – NewsDay Zimbabwe August 20, 2016

BY MUNESU NYAKUDYA/KENNETH NYANGANI

Almost 100 people demonstrated from Sakubva to the government complex.

A spokesperson for the demonstrators, Casper Pound, said they were told to return on Monday with their petition.
“People living with HIV are not able to access routine viral load tests and there is staff shortage at local clinics. We are calling on the government to unfreeze some posts and recruit more nurses,’’ he said.

“Mutare City Council has increased user fees from $2 to $9 and we are not happy with that. We wanted to hand over the petition to the minister, but her secretary told us that she was not around.”

Pound said maternity fees had been increased from $15 to $35, while ambulance fees were raised from $5 to $15.
Mutare mayor, Tatenda Nhamarare, said they had since slashed consultation fees at council clinics to improve the health service delivery.

“We have reduced the consultation fees from $9 to $5 and children aged five years and below do not pay anything,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe National Network for People Living with HIV and Aids (ZNNP+) executive director, Dagobert Mureriwa, said they had launched a mobile phone application to help improve adherance to ART medication.

“So one of the innovative applications we have developed is an application that we are going to be launching soon with the Health and Child Care ministry and the National Aids Council,” he said.

“It will be a buddy application that reminds someone of when they are supposed to take their anti-retroviral medication. It will also provide prompts on dates when check-ups are due among other health benefits, including also sending bulk messages on HIV-related alerts.

“Also considering that Zimbabwe is moving towards achieving the 2015 World Health Organisation guidelines, there are going to be some changes that require a lot of treatment literacy, so this application will be very vital in ensuring that all the health investments

that the government and other partners are undetaking will actually transform to broader health programmes for Zimbabweans.”

Mawarire plots massive UN demo

WHILE President Robert Mugabe might have heaved a sigh of relief following reports that #ThisFlag founder, Evan Mawarire had left the country, the Zanu PF leader’s respite could be short-lived, as the cleric is plotting a massive demonstration when the veteran ruler attends the United Nations General Assembly next month.

Source: Mawarire plots massive UN demo – NewsDay Zimbabwe August 20, 2016

BY RICHARD CHIDZA

According to the Washington Post, Mawarire told his audience of mainly expatriate Zimbabweans in Atlanta this week that he “might stop by the International Monetary Fund headquarters in Washington to discuss the government’s plan to replace the Zimbabwean currency with a bond pegged to the US dollar”.

“Mawarire also revealed plans for a major demonstration at the annual UN General Assembly gathering in New York next month, saying he hoped to organise, the biggest protest ever (by expatriates) outside of Zimbabwe,” the Washington Post reported.

The UN General Assembly will begin on September 13 and Mugabe is expected to attend.

Mawarire did not, according to the report, directly respond to questions on whether he had plans to return to Zimbabwe, where the government has indicated it is willing to “interview him”.

He, however, said his movement would continue to pressure Mugabe ahead of elections expected in 2018, but ruled out “violent protests”, despite claims by Mugabe he had called for violence.

“My faith teaches us that violence only begets violence. Whatever we obtain by violence, we would have to maintain by violence,” Mawarire was quoted as saying.

The cleric started and led the new social movement demanding that Mugabe addresses rampant corruption and drops plans to introduce bond notes, as well as reverse a ban on the importation of basic commodities.

He was arrested, but was freed on a technicality.

The cleric immediately left the country and has been on an international tour that has brought mixed feelings among his supporters and critics alike.

Meanwhile, Kadoma-based businessmen, Munyaradzi Matombo and Zivanai Mavesere have vowed to continue the fight.

“President Mugabe, we have consistently invited you to Kadoma to talk to us, but you have refused. I am a Zimbabwean seeking your attention, unafraid and I am not running away,” Matombo said in a number of videos that went viral on social media.

He scoffed at Defence Forces Commander General Constantino Chiwenga’s threats to citizens over growing protests against the government and argued Mawarire had done nothing wrong.

“The idea of having senior army officials threatening us is a no-brainer. Zimbabweans are not happy. Those close to you are not telling you the truth. You must set things right. Evan (Mawarire) has done nothing wrong. He must be allowed to come back to the country. We are not happy; we cannot be expected to run away from our country,” Matombo said.

Mugabe, addressing mourners at the burial of a national hero recently, declared Mawarire “should find another country”.

Matombo said Mugabe was being ill-advised by his acolytes.

“You would rather call us your enemies because we are pointing out the bad governance and corruption going on. We had our own things, but now we have become destitute. Black entrepreneurs have been
impoverished, we had local transport operators, some of them your relatives. I suppose you have forgotten about them,” he continued.

“Now the people you call local businessmen are Chinese nationals. We will continue to say the truth even if it means dying for the people of this country. No army general will bully us. The $15 billion would have served all of us, but a few benefited.”

Matombo accused Mugabe’s senior officials of lying to him.

“The intelligence is telling you lies. They just give you reports that mean nothing. You must dissolve the government and call for elections, even in December, so that we clean up this government,” he said.

“Those close to you claim we have rebelled against your government. We have been brutalised and bullied by the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority and the National Social Security Authority as emerging businesspeople. We need the President’s intervention.”

Riot police barricade education offices

RIOT police yesterday barricaded Primary and Secondary Education minister Lazarus Dokora’s offices as hordes of Women of Zimbabwe Arise (Woza) protesters tried to hand over to him a petition demanding free education.

Source: Riot police barricade education offices – NewsDay Zimbabwe August 20, 2016

BY OBEY MANAYITI

Several police officers in riot gear watched as the placard-waving women sang denouncing failure by the government to make primary education free.

Woza said according to international human rights standards, the government had an obligation to respect, protect and fulfil the right to education.

The lobby group said the government had signed the International Covenant on Social, Economic and Cultural Rights, under which it had two years to make education free in the country.

“Twenty-five years later, the state of education has gone backwards showing bad faith. Additionally, budget allocations for defence are prioritised over that of educating our children. Government is not at all serious about its obligations to provide free primary education, but instead of suing the government, we are boycotting paying fees and levies with immediate effect,” Woza’s demands read.

Speakers denounced the government’s reluctance to ensure that all children access education with ease.

Woza leader Jenni Williams said the government should find ways of financing education.

“If they say they don’t have money to pay for free education, we will tell them to look for the $15 billion diamond revenue that they could not account for,” she said.

Among other demands, Woza said the government must cancel all primary school debts, punish school heads and teachers who discriminate pupils by chasing those who cannot pay school fees and also improve existing school infrastructure.

Woza also demanded tertiary fees to fall by 2017.

Meanwhile, the family of missing activist Itai Dzamara, including his children, yesterday handed over a petition to the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) over its decision to criticise the participation of children in commemorating 17 months since their father was abducted.

Led by Dzamara’s brother, Patson, the family said Unicef erred, as it failed to correctly capture the involvement of children at the meeting.

“Itai has been missing for 17 months now. His two young children have routinely accompanied their mother, Sheffra Dzamara, to various events and commemorations calling for the return of their father,” Patson’s petition read.

“It is bizarre that Unicef has not chosen to comment on this dynamic so far, yet chooses to comment in response to an occasion that stumped a brutal and criminal police riot squad, but makes no mention of the fact that any danger the children were in emanated from the police.

“And no word of condemnation to a police force that chooses to send armed police against peaceful, law-abiding citizens, including children! Not a word about the infant that was rushed to hospital the previous Wednesday as a result of that same police unit tear-gassing a closed shop, or the infant in Bulawayo that died on July 6 as a result of police action,” the petition read.

On Thursday, members of Tajamuka also staged a demonstration at Unicef offices. Some activists also said Unicef was silent on children who were being dragged to attend Zanu PF rallies. This comes as a picture of Zanu PF commissar, Saviour Kasukuwere, seemingly teaching a Grade Zero child to chant a Zanu PF slogan, has gone viral.

Seed Co sues Chapfika over maize seed

Seed Co has taken former Finance deputy minister and Zanu PF Mutoko South legislator, David Chapfika, to the High Court, seeking to recover over $18 000 after he allegedly failed to supply maize seed after receiving inputs from the seed producer.

Source: Seed Co sues Chapfika over maize seed – NewsDay Zimbabwe August 20, 2016

BY CHARLES LAITON

According to Seed Co Zimbabwe, sometime in 2013, Chapfika, who is a farmer, allegedly agreed to produce hybrid seed maize exclusively for Seed Co at his farm, located on the outskirts of Harare along Shamva Road.

“Pursuant to the agreement, plaintiff (Seed Co) supplied and delivered the agricultural inputs to the defendant (Chapfika) in the cumulative sum of $18 085 34. Suffice to state, defendant failed and/or neglected to deliver to plaintiff the seed crop equivalent to the above sum.”

In its declaration attached to the summons under case number HC8085/16, Seed Co said sometime in October 2013, it entered into an agreement with Chapfika, where it agreed to supply agricultural inputs, including seed, crop chemicals and fertiliser to Chapfika, who was to grow the hybrid seed maize on behalf of the firm.

“In terms of the agreement, defendant (Chapfika) undertook to pay the value of all inputs issued by delivery of his seed crop to the plaintiff (Seed Co), at an agreed value on or before October 30, 2014 so as to offset the cost of the inputs supplied,” Seed Co said.

“In the event that the defendant failed for whatever reason to deliver to plaintiff, the seed crop in terms of the agreement by the due date, the defendant would be liable for payment of the amount of the input advanced with interest.”

However, in breach of his undertaking, Seed Co said Chapfika had, despite demand, failed and/or neglected to deliver the certified hybrid seed maize produce as agreed in the contract.

Chapfika has not yet entered an appearance to defend notice and the matter is pending at the High Court.

Chapfika is the chairperson of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Finance and Economic Development and former chairperson of the National Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Board.

Mugabe has lost control: War vets

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe has lost the authority to regulate activities in both the ruling Zanu PF and government to the extent of allowing anarchy, Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA) secretary-general, Victor Matemadanda has said.

Source: Mugabe has lost control: War vets – NewsDay Zimbabwe August 20, 2016

BY RICHARD CHIDZA

Matemadanda told NewsDay in an interview on Thursday that Mugabe must fire Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko and Local Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere — the Zanu PF commissar — if he wants the war veterans to continue supporting him.

Matemadanda said the public humiliation faced by Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa at the hands of junior party officials and insinuation that the army was involved in illicit activities was evidence of “the new-found hatred against freedom fighters”.

“What country in the world has a President who allows his army chief and VP to be humiliated in public by junior officials or mere activists? Instead of admonishing such behaviour, he actually stands at a podium to demand that the VP should come clean,” he said.

“The attack on Mnangagwa and Defence Forces Commander General Constantino Chiwenga is an indication of how desperate they are to get rid of anyone connected to war veterans or the struggle. It is a sign that no one is in charge and people can now do as they please.”

Matemadanda said the war veterans’ leadership was under pressure to appeal from “some quarters within Zanu PF”.

“The decision to expel us from Zanu PF, now infested by those who supped with the enemy or, worse still, had not yet been born when the party was formed, is a non-starter,” he said.

“We joined pragmatic parties at the time, Zanu and Zapu, because they were open to criticism and new ideas. Not the kleptocracy and dictatorship we see now. We will only appeal if G40 is removed because we will not be able to work with an ideologically bankrupt Kasukuwere and a manifestly corrupt Mphoko.

“We cannot be expected to appeal to appease someone or to be forced into tolerating nonsense. We will not appeal because it is as good as appealing to your executioner or your accuser. Mphoko is the head of the appeals committee and, because he has a vested interest in seeing that we do not go back to the party, he will make sure we are gone.”

Matemadanda said instead of blaming the opposition for demanding the revamping of the State security sector, “actually elements in Zanu PF want security sector reform more than anyone”.

“That is why they accuse the military of trying to bomb them,” he said, referring to comments made by First Lady Grace Mugabe at a rally early this year claiming the army was planning to kill Mugabe’s youngest son, Chatunga.
Matemadanda said war veterans’ leaders were being victimised for “telling the truth”.

“ZimAsset (the government’s five-year economic policy blueprint) has benefitted just about five people and none among the poor. We have pointed out the corruption at Zesa and in the illegal allocation of stands, but we are accused of insubordination,” he continued.

“G40 is benefiting from the illegal sale of land and the allocation of stands at Zanu PF rallies is a dangerous precedent. It means we are creating Zanu PF residential areas and what will happen if someone else takes charge of the country? It means those from the opposition and, worse still, those without political inclination are being left out, which is dangerous.”

Pro-Mugabe business community blasts Mujuru, opposition parties

BUSINESS associations aligned to Zanu PF under the banner Business Community of Zimbabwe (BCZ) have blasted Zimbabwe People First leader, Joice Mujuru, for joining hands with opposition parties in protesting against President Robert Mugabe.

Source: Pro-Mugabe business community blasts Mujuru, opposition parties – NewsDay Zimbabwe August 20, 2016

BY Everson Mushava

Addressing a Press conference yesterday, BCZ spokesperson, Jimaya Muduuri, said Mujuru had been in government for many years and should be better informed that Mugabe was voted for by the people and would only be removed through the ballot box, not protests.

Muduuri said opposition parties were wasting their energy in protesting against Mugabe, vowing the 92-year-old leader would stay put until the 2018 general elections.

Instead of protesting, Muduuri said, Mujuru and other opposition parties should sit down and come up with viable policies that can entice the voters in 2018.

“Mujuru and company should be united to offer solutions that will make Zimbabwe grow, not this cheap politicking of Mugabe must go mantra,” he said.

“Zimbabwe needs food, industries and we must support agriculture in order to be food-secure instead of the current political bickering. Mujuru was part of government and instead of advising Mugabe, she was busy dining with opposition political parties and the country’s Western detractors.”

Zimbabwe has been witnessing a wave of protests against Mugabe’s alleged misrule.

Mujuru last weekend joined Tsvangirai in a protest against Mugabe’s misrule, with observers saying the ground for a formidable coalition of the parties had been laid.

The show of unity in Gweru last weekend flustered Zanu PF. But Muduuri said by joining hands with other parties in calling for Mugabe to step down, Mujuru was showing that she was greedy for power and was impatient for an elected President to complete his term.

“Mujuru has betrayed the revolution by being in bed with Tsvangirai. She is in the class of Morrison Nyati and Ndabaningi Sithole,” Muduuri said.

He said Mujuru all but showed that she had always been backstabbing Mugabe even when she was still in government, adding Mugabe, “who has brought development to the country”, was going nowhere.

“Since independence, the government led by Mugabe has brought in many positive developments at schools, clinics, universities and the road network. Many people have benefited from Zanu PF policies,” Muduuri said.

“She (Mujuru) even exhibited her true colours way before in 2008 when she vigorously campaigned for bhora musango and, during the inclusive government, when she wanted the inclusive government to stay put in order to protect her white masters.”

He said Zimbabwe could be a better country if all the money being poured into Mujuru’s party by foreign sponsors could be channelled to government to mitigate sanctions.

Muduuri alleged Mujuru was working with “Western detractors” to lobby for Mugabe’s impeachment, despite owing all her political life to the 92-year-old.

‘Mugabe, securocrats biggest obstacle to peace’

THE National Transitional Justice Working Group (NTJWG) has said President Robert Mugabe, government ministers, the police and service chiefs are the biggest obstacles to peace and tolerance in the country through their threats to people exercising their democratic rights to protest.

Source: ‘Mugabe, securocrats biggest obstacle to peace’ – NewsDay Zimbabwe August 20, 2016

BY NQOBANI NDLOVU

NTJWG chairperson, Alec Muchadehama yesterday said the threats presented the single biggest stumbling block to peace and tolerance, before calling on Mugabe to uphold his constitutional mandate, which, among other things, states that he “must preach and promote peace”.

“In an age when citizens are trying to find their voice and become part of a process of building a new culture of justice and accountability, the demon of intolerance has visited them with considerable threats to the livelihoods and well-being of the vast majority of citizens who genuinely yearn to become part of building a new society of peace and harmony,” Muchadehama told journalists yesterday at a Press conference.

“Rather than vilifying protesters and critics of the government and its policies, we would expect the Executive to be taking the lead in finding an inclusive national solution to the inhumane situation in which most Zimbabweans find themselves.”

The NTJWG chairperson said threats of violence against protesters invoked memories of past gross human rights violations like the Gukurahundi mass killings, adding this did not bode well for peace and reconciliation efforts.

“Zimbabweans have already faced too many human rights violations over the past four decades, and the rights of the victims to dignity must be protected. Their wounds must be healed and not be poked at. It is the duty of the Executive and government to foster peace and not suggest the contrary,” he said.

Civic society groups, clergy and opposition parties, among others, have been holding protests calling on Mugabe to step down, but most of them have been brutally crushed by the police.

Mugabe has said those not happy with Zimbabwe must leave the country, while top government, police and army chiefs have also threatened a crackdown against protest leaders, including enacting a law to snoop into people’ communications.

ZDF distances itself from AMH chairman’s ‘visitors’

The Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) yesterday dissociated itself from suspected military officials, who recently visited Alpha Media Holdings (AMH) chairman, Trevor Ncube’s Harare home in a black Mercedes Benz.

Source: ZDF distances itself from AMH chairman’s ‘visitors’ – NewsDay Zimbabwe August 20, 2016

ZDF spokesperson, Brigadier-General John Chris Mupande, in a statement, said the military had no hand in the perceived threats on Ncube’s life.

“The ZDF takes great exception to reference that its personnel were involved in the visits to Trevor Ncube’s house,” he said.

“Such is tantamount to trivialising as well as criminalising the role of the ZDF, especially to the extent that an attempt is made to link this unverified episode to the disappearance of Itai Dzamara.”

Mapande said Dzamara and the nature of activities leading to his supposed disappearance did not constitute any threat warranting the involvement of the ZDF, “much as house searches are not a role of the ZDF”.

“Even the kind of activities that Ncube is involved in, namely publishing, do not constitute the nature of threat that ordinarily or historically warranted the mobilisation of any capabilities of the ZDF,” he said.

“As a national defence institution, we are at all times seized with our primary role of defending Zimbabwe and its interests, as enshrined in our national Constitution, including preparing ourselves for that role. Such interests are not located at private residences of any of our nationals.”

Mupande said part of the ZDF regalia, such as berets, caps and badges were obtainable from many sources and are subject to abuse, and are, “therefore, not by themselves proof that anyone adorning them is a bonafide member”.

Ncube says his Harare home was recently visited by soldiers, who asked who owned the house and asked to take a tour.

Bizarrely, the first docket, after Ncube’s family made a police report, went missing and another had to be opened.

Zanu PF MPs walk out on police brutality motion

Zanu PF MPs this week bunked debate on a motion on police brutality, ensuring there was no quorum to discuss the matter in the National Assembly.

Source: Zanu PF MPs walk out on police brutality motion – NewsDay Zimbabwe August 20, 2016

By VENERANDA LANGA

But this has backfired and will now cost Parliament several thousands of dollars in taxpayers’ money after the sitting days were extended to Tuesday.

Parliament was supposed to adjourn on Thursday until September 8, when Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa will announce the mid-term budget.

But MPs are now forced to continue sitting until a quorum of at least 70 out of the 270 National Assembly MPs is in attendance to discuss the motion.

Kuwadzana East MP, Nelson Chamisa (MDC-T) first gave notice to introduce the motion on police brutality on Wednesday.

But Speaker of the National Assembly, Jacob Mudenda, dismissed the issue, saying the video footage Chamisa planned to show must be substantiated by dates of when the brutality happened before the motion could be allowed to be debated.

After satisfying Mudenda that the video evidence showing police beating up citizens was authentic, Chamisa was then allowed to re-introduce the motion on Thursday.

If the motion is adopted, Chamisa wants Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri to make a statement about those who perpetrated the beatings and apologise to citizens, as this had caused animosity between the police and Zimbabweans.

He further wants Home Affairs minister Ignatius Chombo to investigate the conduct of the police and report to Parliament, as well as issue a public apology on the matter.

“The minister must issue a public apology in the context of investigations and immediately implement training programmes for our police to equip them with a human rights curriculum, as required by the Constitution. An Act of Parliament must be put in place to come up with an independent mechanism for members of the public to report cases of such abuses. Parliament must set up a commission of inquiry to investigate the abuses,” he said.

On Thursday, Chamisa showed disturbing video footage in the House of police beating up a man lying on the ground using batons.

But, before the end of the video, the 32 Zanu PF MPs, who were in the House before 5:15pm when the issue was being discussed, had trickled out to ensure the required quorum of 70 MPs was not achieved.

Pelandaba-Mpopoma MP, Joseph Tshuma (Zanu PF) then raised a point of order, saying there was no quorum in the House.

Bells were rung for seven minutes calling for MPs, who might be outside the House to return, but they did not, and after a count, there were less than 40 MPs in the House to continue the discussion, resulting in Chamisa complaining about lack of seriousness by MPs to discuss important issues affecting citizens.

“It is not the first time that Zanu PF MPs have walked out of debating important motions. As you can see, 32 MPs have left the House in the last five minutes and it is being co-ordinated by Zanu PF deputy chief whip, Francis Mukwangwariwa,” Chamisa said.

Acting Speaker of the National Assembly Melody Dziva accused parties of sabotaging each other’s debates, saying they were wasting taxpayers’ money.

As a result, the House had to be adjourned due to lack of a quorum to yesterday, a day when Parliament does not normally sit.

This means Parliament will have to pay for MPs’ accommodation and sitting allowances for yesterday’s sitting.

But again, only 30 MPs, 22 from the opposition and eight from Zanu PF, turned up yesterday for the sitting.

Chamisa complained: “This is a very serious matter, where we have to use taxpayers’ money to sit on a Friday, when naturally we are not supposed to sit. I hope this delinquent behaviour of MPs will be taken to chief whips because this is the fourth time we are abusing taxpayers’ resources.

“Parliament must put a stop to this behaviour because debate on police brutality affects everyone, even war veterans, who were victims, and we want a very strong statement from the Leader of the House on this. In other jurisdictions they cannot have MPs disappear and then appear only to claim fuel coupons.”

Glen View North MP, Fani Munengami (MDC-T) accused Parliament administration of supporting Zanu PF MPs’ snubbing of the debate on police brutality by organising an e-learning lesson for MPs, when they were supposed to be in the House debating.

“Is there a deliberate arrangement from Parliament administration regarding the sitting today because right now MPs from Zanu PF are attending e-learning lessons in the Parliament library when there is a sitting? Is it a ploy by Parliament administration to sabotage this debate?”

MDC-T chief whip, Innocent Gonese also raised the issue of the absence of ministers in the House during yesterday’s sitting.

After the Thursday adjournment, the National Assembly was supposed to begin with question time yesterday, as shown on the Order Paper.

“Zanu PF must be aware of the consequences because today we were supposed to begin with question time, but not a single minister is here. Out of the 215 Zanu PF MPs, only six are here, and this is deplorable,” Gonese said.

After bells were rung for seven minutes to call MPs into the House, only 33 turned up, resulting in Chamisa calling for a sitting again on Tuesday.

This means Parliament will now incur unbudgeted-for expenses in hotel bills and sitting allowances for the yesterday’s and Tuesday’s sittings, and that the House will continue to sit until a quorum of 70 MPs to debate the police brutality issue is achieved.

Joint commission meets, but no public statements

Maputo (AIM) – The Joint Commission between the Mozambican government and the Renamo rebels met again in Maputo on Thursday, but neither side made any statement to the press.

Source: Joint commission meets, but no public statements – The Zimbabwean 21.08.2016

At the previous meeting, on Wednesday morning, a consensual statement on decentralization was read out, which gave the impression that provincial governors drawn from Renamo could be appointed in the near future. However, later on Wednesday, the head of the government delegation, former security minister Jacinto Veloso, declared that the appointment of governors could not be taken in isolation from the other matters on the agenda of the Joint Commission, which include a cessation of hostilities and the disarming of Renamo.

Despite meeting for three hours on Thursday, the commission seemed to make little progress. The coordinator of the team of foreign mediators, Mario Raffaelli, told reporters “Today the meeting was inconclusive, and so we shall meet again tomorrow (Friday)”.

According to a report in Friday’s issue of the independent newssheet “Mediafax”, Renamo presented a “prior point” at the start of the meeting, protesting at the press conference given by Veloso on Wednesday evening, claiming that it was a breach of the Joint Commission’s protocol.

Renamo claimed that the Wednesday morning statement had been clear and represented an understanding between the two sides, and there was thus no reason for the government to react to “wrong interpretations” in some of the media. Any clarification, Renamo argued, should have been given jointly and not just by Veloso.

At his press conference Veloso had warned against any belief that the appointment of provincial governors from Renamo was imminent. “If anyone says that the government has already agreed to appoint governors from Renamo for six provinces, this conclusion is absolutely wrong”, he stressed.

“Mediafax” says it also learnt that on Thursday, from 09.00 until about 13.00, the sub-commission charged with drawing up draft legislation on decentralization, to be submitted to the country’s parliament, the Assembly of the Republic, held its first meeting.

In the afternoon, between 15.00 and 19.00, the entire Joint Commission met, and the main items under discussion were a cessation of hostilities, and the proposed visit by the mediators to the central district of Gorongosa, to meet with Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama at his bush headquarters. It is expected that discussion on these matters will continue on Friday.

On Thursday, the National Defence and Security Council (CNDS), an advisory body to the head of state, also met, and called for an immediate end to all military activities. It condemned the loss of human life, and said there was no justification for the murder of defenceless people.

The CNDS encouraged President Filipe Nyusi to continue his effort to obtain effective peace, maintaining total openness to dialogue. It praised the progress made so far by the Joint Commission, and urged all of Mozambican society to place the country above any other interests, and to united to secure the normalization of the lives of all Mozambicans.

Renamo attacks in Zambezia

Maputo (AIM) – Gunmen of the rebel movement Renamo on Thursday morning attacked the small town of Mepinha, in Morrumbala district, in the central province of Zambezia.

Source: Renamo attacks in Zambezia – The Zimbabwean 21.08.2016

Addressing a Maputo press conference later in the day, the national director of defence policy in the Defence Ministry, Cristovao Chume, said nobody was killed in the raid, but Renamo vandalized public property.

“We will not tolerate continued acts against the lives of members of the public”, warned Chume.

He said that Renamo’s goal is to perpetuate instability, and noted that the Mepinha attack occurred just hours after the Joint Commission between the government and Renamo, meeting in Maputo, had announced consensus on matters of decentralization and the possible appointment of provincial governors from Renamo.

Renamo’s recent raids, Chume added, had included attacks on small towns, with the goal of sabotaging public buildings, including health posts where medicines were stolen. They had also attacked police stations and released prisoners held there.

The Defence Ministry says there were 17 armed Renamo attacks in five provinces between 8 July and 18 August. There were four attacks in Sofala, three each in Niassa, Zambezia and Tete and two in Manica. These attacks do not include isolated murders committed by Renamo gunmen, notably in the southern province of Inhambane.

Meanwhile, Paulo Manjacunene, first secretary of the ruling Frelimo Party in Sofala, has accused Renamo members of the elected provincial assembly of training Renamo guerrillas in the bush of Gorongosa district, where Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama has his headquarters.

Speaking at a meeting of veterans of the independence war, reported by the independent television station STV, Manjacunene said three of the Renamo assembly members “travel to Gorongosa to train Renamo fighters during intervals between assembly meetings”. He did not name these three members.

“We have one Renamo in the Provincial Assembly and we have another in the bush”, he said. “In our Assembly, we have armed bandits who put on suits and ties and come here, alleging they are discussing the problems of the people. But then the same individuals go back to Gorongosa to train men to murder this same people. This is real terrorism”.
Nonetheless, Manjacunene urged the veterans to have faith in the current talks between the government and Renamo. “Dialogue is under way”, he said, “and so you should have faith that this war waged by outside interests will end. The peace that the people long for will arrive”.

Zimbabwe Farmers Not Ready for Forthcoming Crop Season

Source: Zimbabwe Farmers Not Ready for Forthcoming Crop Season – VOA  August 19, 2016

Most farmers in Mashonaland West say they are ill-prepared for the 2016/2017 agricultural season, noting that some of them have not yet been paid for the produce delivered last year to the state-controlled Grain Marketing Board.

Some of them say they don’t even have agricultural inputs.

One of the farmers, Munashe Mujeri, said most of the farmers do not have funds for the 2016/2017 agricultural season as they were not paid for delivering maize, sorghum and other products to the GMB.

Another farmer, Khlupeko, said some farmers lost their implements to financial institutions for failing to service bank loans.

Zimbabwe Farmers Union president, Abdul Credit Nyathi, added that his organization has appealed for credits in the form of maize seed and fertilizer from companies producing agricultural inputs.

But Mr Mujeri said inputs from such companies are too expensive and make farming business unprofitable.

Nyathi noted that due to climate change his union has embarked on an educational drive urging farmers to plough early and late crops and to cultivate drought-tolerant crops like sorghum and millet.

Khlupeko said unions are not doing enough to protect farmers from unscrupulous financial institutions that are confiscating their farm implements.

Khlupeko said farmers’ organizations should engage the government on reviewing producer prices to cushion farmers from high agricultural input costs.

But farming analysts said for farmers to produce enough to feed the nation government should subsidize inputs like what other countries like Zambia and Malawi are doing.

A 50 kilogram bag of fertiliser that cost $35 in Chinhoyi is selling for $7 in Zambia.

BREAKING NEWS: Kereke and NPA to share legal costs

Source: BREAKING NEWS: Kereke and NPA to share legal costs | The Herald August 19, 2016

Fungai Lupande Court Reporter

Harare magistrate Mr Noel Mupeiwa today ruled that Munyaradzi Kereke and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) must share the legal costs in a case in which the former Zanu-PF Bikita West legislator was convicted of rape and jailed for 10 years following a private prosecution.

There was contestation over who should pay the legal bill after the guardian of the victims hired private prosecutor Mr Charles Warara to handle the case after the NPA refused prosecution.

Mr Mupeiwa  ruled that Kereke, who was facing rape and indecent assault charges, was  acquitted on the indecent assault charge which took a quarter of the costs of proceedings. The 25 percent will be discounted on the bill of costs which is yet to be calculated.

The remaining 75 percent will be shared equally between Kereke and the NPA.

 Details to follow….

Zimbabweans present petition to British PM

London – A group of flag-draped Zimbabweans today presented a petition to number 10 Downing Street, the home of the British Prime Minister.

Source: Zimbabweans present petition to British PM – The Zimbabwean 19.08.2016

The Zimbabweans are demanding the deportation of Tafadzwa Kasukuwere, the son of the minister of local government, Saviour Kasukuwere who is studying at Swansea university in the UK.
Earlier, the Zimbabweans had gathered outside the zimbabwe embassy before marching to Number 10.
Theresa May, the British Prime Minister was not in when the petition was handed over.

Beware Pastor Mawarire, pride goeth before a fall!

Yah man, I mean like you’re so quick to tell me to come back home, but you can’t tell Bob to go away.” ‘

Source: Beware Pastor Mawarire, pride goeth before a fall! – The Zimbabwe Independent August 19, 2016

THE hare-brained Education minister Lazarus Dokora has struck again — this time banning Form 1 entrance tests and directing schools to wait for the release of the Grade 7 public examination results to form the basis of enrolment for 2017 form one places.

MUCKRAKER
Twitter: @MuckrakerZim

The directive was still issued despite the serious inconvenience and unbearable pressure brought upon parents as evidenced by what happened during this year’s enrolment for Form 1. It also comes when some schools have already carried out their entrance tests and Muckraker cannot think of a better example of a government closing the door when the horse has well and truly bolted.

We are in no doubt that Dokora is doing his best to outdo his predecessor Aeneas Chigwedere on sheer incompetence and nutty schemes. Where Chigwedere sought to introduce a uniform for all teachers, Dokora wanted all School Development Associations to put their money in one government account. And we all know what happens when government officials put their hands in the till.

Dokora is proving to be one of the worst ministers to grace the corridors of President Robert Mugabe’s inept government. The education system in the country has no chance of improvement with such incompetent ministers in the driving seat.

Like one reader observed: “It seems the government has banned common sense among some ministers.”

It’s just not cricket!

THE disgraceful treatment of the Zimbabwe national women’s soccer team on their return from representing the country at the ongoing 2016 Olympic games in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil as they found a rundown bus from a local school and an insulting allowance of US$5 each to hitchhike to their homes shows that sports administration in this country is in the intensive care unit. This comes as the Zimbabwe national cricket team suffered yet another embarrassing defeat, this time a 254-run defeat at the hands of New Zealand.

Zimbabwe rugby and tennis teams performed no better as they were relegated to lower competitive divisions after pathetic performances. To add to the woes of the country’s sport, the country’s women soccer team were hammered in all its three matches at the ongoing Olympics, including identical 6-1 defeats against Germany and Australia.

This is what happens when the administration of sport is politicised with race, colour and cronyism trumping professionalism, competence and meritocracy. The hiring of Makhaya Ntini, who has no experience in coaching, as the national cricket team coach, will not help anything at all.

That some are saying that the women’s soccer team did the country proud after such heavy defeats because the administrators failed to create a conducive environment for them to prepare speaks volumes of how we have fallen as a sporting nation.

We are a country that celebrates mediocrity and failure be it in sport or politics.
As the saying goes: it’s just not cricket!

Who’s the hater?

Few if any right-thinking Zimbabweans would begrudge #ThisFlag campaigner Pastor Evan Mawarire of his new-found international fame after he played his part through social media to humbly articulate the trials and tribulations of ordinary citizens who have been hit hard by the socio-economic crisis brought on by years of Mugabe’s misrule.

While many to continue to sympathise with his brave stance and take umbrage at government, including Mugabe, for hounding him out of the country, many are still trying to process what appeared to be arrogance on the part of Mawarire who was responding to criticism that he had abandoned the peaceful struggle for the creature or material comforts of the United States, where he has taken refuge after threats from government.

“Yah man, I mean like you’re so quick to tell me to come back home, but you can’t tell Bob to go away,” Mawarire said in a recorded video amid giggles and gesticulations from a female fan who had asked, “Do you have anything to say to the haters?”

And so to Mawarire and his fans, ordinary Zimbabweans have suddenly become haters for simply questioning his conduct of apparently running to safety, especially after he vowed that he was not scared of threats. His cause and his courage have been there for all, but while it may still be too early to say, the germs of big-headedness appear to be sprouting and could very well blossom into fully-fledged arrogance and a dangerous entitlement mentality if unchecked.

This is a road so many erstwhile activists and even revolutionaries, including Mugabe himself, have travelled. Criticism does not equate to hate Mawarire. In the words of Irish rock band beloved of the Americans, Muckraker can only say “Achtung Baby”, beware Mawarire, pride goeth before a fall.

Demonising Mujuru

So the pliant state-controlled media on August 15, marking the anniversary of the death of liberation struggle hero Solomon Mujuru, chose to demonise the general over his alleged links to the MDC-T and Western governments. This is a road that has been traversed on several occasions by Mugabe and we have no doubt that the scribes at the glass-and-mortar building were doing their master’s bidding.

In all the “revelations” of how Mujuru’s widow, former vice-president Joice Mujuru contradicted Mugabe and collaborated with the MDC-T during the era of the inclusive (GNU government from 2009 to 2013), the state media may have unwittingly aided Joice who has been at pains to convince the public that her Zimbabwe People First (ZimPF) political outfit is no appendage of Mugabe and Zanu PF.

According to ZimPF spokesperson Jealousy Mawarire, the revelations of Mujuru-Tsvangirai collaborations may have been made with “sinister intentions of portraying Mujuru as a sell-out, but they have had the inadvertent effect of showing Joice in a positive light. They have inadvertently demonstrated that even as vice-president, she was actually prepared to abandon Mugabe and work with the opposition in the national interest”.

Murder most foul

Muckraker is still processing this perspective of the fallout and is also still pondering the meaning of the continuing rabid attacks on a man five years after his death. Coming as they do from a president who didn’t seem bothered by the mysterious death of a general who risked everything to set him on the Zanu PF throne in the face of opposition by senior Zanla commanders during the war and some Frontline States leaders like Samora Machel.

This also from a president whose government insisted it was an accidental death in the face of evidence suggesting otherwise: Muckraker, just like most Zimbabweans, should be forgiven for thinking that the accident was actually an incident planned and executed with precision for political reasons. The plot is clear: murder most foul.

short and sweet …

Grovelling state media and Chiwenga the oracle

Staying with the grovelling state media, one cannot help but note how Zimbabwe Defence Forces commander General Constantino Chiwenga (pictured) has suddenly become an authority on all matters of the statecraft. Week in, week out, the Sunday Mail and their Herald colleagues have been visiting the Chiwenga oracle and the self-appointed deity has not disappointed “setting the record straight” on who is a legitimate war hero and who is not. The oracle has also identified and threatened fire and brimstone on all those allegedly seeking to destroy Zanu PF from within as if he is the political commissar or custodian of the party. All this is in addition to the usual doomsday scenarios for the opposition “working with Western governments to reverse the hard-won gains of our liberation struggle and return control of the country to imperialists.”

All along we thought the role of the army and its officers was apolitical and confined to protecting the country from security threats rather than threatening citizens.

Is it Chiwenga’s new PhD now making him sound like a know-it-all pundit just like his friend-turned-enemy (we all know who)?

…evidence of political cronyism, influence peddling

DODGY businessman and Intratrek Zimbabwe director Wicknell Chivayo apparently relies on mutually beneficial political networks and influence peddling to corruptly get tenders without following procedures, his associations suggest. ‘

Source: …evidence of political cronyism, influence peddling – The Zimbabwe Independent August 19, 2016

A visit to the photo gallery of Intratrek’s website which is under the headline “our story told in pictures” tells a revealing tale of a businessman who relies heavily on close connections to politicians and other persons of influence. At the top of the photo gallery is Chivayo with President Robert Mugabe. In the picture, captioned “His Excellency President R.G. Mugabe congratulates Intratrek Zimbabwe on the solar initiative”, Chivhayo is clad in a black three-piece suit with white shirt and black tie, and wears a wide grin as he poses for a photo with the president.

The next photo features former Zanu PF chairman and Policy Co-ordination minister Simon Khaya Moyo holding hands with a grinning Chivayo.

Chivayo also features on other photographs with First Lady Grace Mugabe, Zanu PF political commissar and Local Government minister Savior Kasukuwere. He was also pictured with Grace and tycoon Mutumwa Mawere at the First Lady’s orphanage in Mazowe. He has previously posted pictures of him and Grace having dinner in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, on social media.

Former Energy minister Dzikamai Mavhaire, Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa, State Security minister Kembo Mohadi and former Matabeleland South resident minister Angeline Masuku also feature on photographs with either Chivayo or some Intratrek representatives.

The late vice-president John Nkomo is also featured under the company’s heroes’ section and referred to as a former director and patron of Intratrek. Chivayo reportedly claims to be Nkomo’s nephew.

Former Botswana vice-president Ponatshego Kedikilwe also appears on the company’s website. Despite being an ex-convict, Chivayo has been awarded several multi-million-dollar deals by the Zesa through its subsidiary Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC). The contracts were awarded despite Intratrek and its partners lacking capacity and resources to implement the projects.

Intratrek, which has no previous experience or proven record in power projects, was awarded a contract on November 12 2015 to rehabilitate and modernise the 61-year-old Munyati thermal energy power plant to bring its generated capacity to 100 megawatts at a cost of US$113 182 627.

Intratrek is also leading a consortium awarded to construct the 30 megawwatt Gairezi Hydro Power project in Manicaland at a cost of US$128 million. This is in addition to the US$200m 100-megawatt solar power plant in Gwanda, Matabeleland South province, in which Chivayo was paid US$5m without a required bank guarantee.

In February, Energy minister Samuel Undenge forced ZPC to unprocedurally pay Chivayo an advance of US$5m for the Gwanda project. The payment was made in the absence of a bank guarantee, a minimum requirement to protect public funds.

Undenge, who was struggling to pay US$350 maintenance for his daughter as recently as of December 2015, has of late seen his financial fortunes improve dramatically in the aftermath of payments to Chivayo.

Tenderpreneurs parasites on taxpayers

Source: Tenderpreneurs parasites on taxpayers – The Zimbabwe Independent August 19, 2016

AS the economic collapse worsens, a number of high-profile Zimbabwean businesspeople have sunk into oblivion, while a new breed of business persons — the lumpen or dodgy variety — with questionable records is emerging from the rubble.

By Taurai Mangudhla

The new extravagant, flamboyant and loud ilk of business people have an edge over others, not because of their business prowess, acumen, access to capital or technical expertise, but almost entirely because of their political connections or proximity to the corridors of powers.

They are part of the nexus and attendant close relationships between business and politics — networks between businesspeople and government officials. And they are well-known, not for their enterprising ideas or entrepreneurship, but largely for conspicuous consumption — spending on and consuming luxuries on a lavish scale in an attempt to enhance their reputations and prestige.

Venality — the quality of being overly motivated by money and open to bribery — is their currency. They are also not shy to flaunt their political connections, giving the impression — to both friend and foe — that they are untouchable or above the law.

Some may be mere middlemen or fronts, but what this breed of business people has in common is the propensity to boast about their ill-gotten wealth, especially on social media these days — unlike the old-school business executives who built empires through hard work, determination and perseverance.

These “tenderpreneurs”, as they have come to be known in many circles, more so in South Africa where the term originated, often lack experience and in some cases education, but somehow get awarded multi-million-dollar tenders for projects of national importance such as road construction, power generation and other critical infrastructural development schemes.

It has also become common that project costs involving the tenderpreneurs are often inflated, resulting in the state losing huge amounts of taxpayers’ money.

The bulk of the tenders are messy and riddled with corruption, costing the country billions of dollars as they are normally not transparent. In a way, tenderpreneurs are parasites who will do anything to get a tender without the necessary capital or expertise.

Unlike celebrated businessman who have established companies that employ thousands and pay millions in taxes annually like Strive Masiyiwa who founded Econet Wireless and Moses Chingwena who championed Croco Motors, today’s tenderpreneurs do not produce or sell anything and hardly make any contribution to the fiscus.

All they have is a nexus with politicians and bureaucrats who will stop at nothing to take bribes while facilitating deals for the nouveau riche to cream off the economy.

They religiously post their first-class flights to European capitals and other preferred destinations, while giving people an inside glimpse of their lives. From cars to their lunch, their lives are a public affair.

Controversial youthful businessman Wicknell Chivayo is perhaps the best example of these tenderpreneurs. Unlike Masiyiwa, for example, whose business history and track record is known, very little can be said about the source of the so called millions which the youthful ex-convict boats about.

Chivayo rose to fame as, perhaps, a socialite or successful streetwise dealer because of his posts on Facebook about his lavish lifestyle. After finding himself on the wrong side of the law which eventually led him to serve time, Chivayo now enjoys the attention when he is seen driving the latest expensive cars and showing off glitzy jewellery, shoes, watches, clothes, electronic gadgets or indeed anything else that be used to bolster the impression that he is living the life.

Despite his show of wealth which has seen him funding the Zimbabwe senior soccer squad, Chivayo’s businesses interest outside the dodgy tenders remain a mystery. He has only publicly linked himself to Intratrek, a foreign company in which he is a director and is at the centre of messy multi-million-dollar Zesa tenders.

As reported by the Zimbabwe Independent, Intratrek has no previous experience or proven record in power projects but was awarded the US$113 million Munyati Thermal Power Station rehabilitation and modernisation contract on November 12 2015. Despite not having capital or experience Intratek is supposed to rehabilitate and modernise the 61-year-old thermal energy power plant to bring its generated capacity to 100 megawatts.

This is in addition to the US$200 million 100-megawatt solar power plant in Gwanda, Matabeleland South province, in which Chivayo was paid US$5 million without a required bank guarantee.

Chivayo has publicly claimed that he is related to the late vice-president John Nkomo and hobnobs with many other top political figures.

The young Chivayo has also previously posted pictures of himself in private meetings with President Robert Mugabe, First lady Grace Mugabe and her children, Vice-President Emmerson Mnangwagwa and even former prime minster Morgan Tsvangirai apparently to show how far and wide his political tentacles spread.

Another controversial businessman Agrippa Masiyakurima, popularly known as Bopela and owner of the Bopela Group (Pvt) Ltd, has also attracted attention for his lavish lifestyle. Although Masiyakurima is not as big as Chivayo on social media, the businessman frequents upmarket nightspots where he reportedly spends thousands at a go.

Receipts in possession of the Independent show Masiyakurima has a weakness for the expensive Johnny Walker Blue Label whisky which cost at least US$350 per bottle in retail shops and as much as double the retail price in hotels and upmarket clubs.

Masiyakurima’s Bopela Group is in the eye of a storm following the unearthing of a financial scam in which it was awarded a US$3,7 million deal without going to tender by the counrty’s second largest mobile network operator NetOne.

Masiyakurima has also been linked to street solar lighting projects across the country. He is said to be a close ally of Grace amid claims he hugely funded the First Lady’s controversial meet-the-people series of rallies.

He donated US$91 000 for Mugabe’s birthday bash in 2015 and an undisclosed amount in 2016.

Despite these dodgy business people’s inability to produce or add value on anything, they continue to get new contracts and fatten their pockets through taxpayers’ money.

Economist Evonia Muzondo said the tender irregularities in government and state enterprises have become a culture which is fast-spreading to the corporate world, costing investors and taxpayers millions through procurement malpractices.

“Commitment towards quality control and accountability appears to be low in government due to the apparently minimal due diligence processes in awarding tenders with little or no background checks on companies or persons bidding for a contract,” Muzondo said.

Muzondo said officials who are proven to have abused the system must be brought to book either through dismissals or be arrested for criminal acts, adding tender awards should be withdrawn from those who do not qualify or have secured tenders through the back door.

“Unfortunately, this has not happened and it has escalated the problems. People should simply follow procedure,” Muzondo said. “Tender systems should be modernised by using ICTs to make it more efficient and transparent, while members of the tender board must be rotated annually in an effort to eliminate corruption. Appointments must be based on competence and not political affiliation.”

Another economist John Robertson said Zimbabwe’s tender system is notorious for being generally flawed and needs to be improved in order to save the economy billions of dollars that are lost through irregularities.

“It has been happening for a long time and this dates back even as far back as the Harare International Airport tender which was awarded to Leo Mugabe,” Robertson said. “People in government seem to have no obligation to follow whatever procedures are in place and we have lost a lot, in fact the exact amount we have lost over the years you can only guess. We have had the same problems over and over and nothing has changed except that people are now starting to challenge some of the awards.”

 

Malunga’s son misses big SA post under dark cloud

Source: Malunga’s son misses big SA post under dark cloud – The Zimbabwe Independent August 19, 2016

PROMINENT late Zimbabwean nationalist Sydney Donald Malunga’s son, Kevin Sifiso (pictured), who was running for the influential post of South African Public Protector — given a high-profile by its incumbent corruption-buster Thuli Madonsela — failed to make the shortlist yesterday under a dark cloud of controversy.

By Hazel Ndebele

Initially considered by many as one of the front-runners or the heir-apparent until interviews and attendant grilling started last week, Kevin became entangled in citizenship, security clearance and full disclosure issues which jeopardised his prospects, in fact sealed his fate.

The parliamentary ad hoc committee interviewing the applicants met yesterday in Cape Town to deliberate on the suitability of the 14 candidates vying for the job, including Kevin’s security clearance issues.

The committee, chaired by ANC MP Dr Makhosi Khoza, whittled the number of applicants down to five.

The final five candidates for the role of the next public protector are Sharise Weiner, Siraj Desai, Busisiwe Mkhwebane, Muvhango Lukhaimane and Bongani Majola. Kevin failed to make it onto the shortlist. The ad hoc committee will reconvene at 1pm on August 24 to discuss the shortlisted candidates as it seeks to find Madonsela’s replacement whose seven-year term ends next month. Her successor takes over in October.

MPs interviewed the candidates in a marathon session in parliament last Thursday.

Skeletons in applicants’ closets were discovered, including drunk-driving allegations, cellphone theft accusations, charges of public fighting and illegally selling of liquor and non-disclosure of information material to competence and integrity requirements, during the process.

Although Kevin was until yesterday still in the running in the heated race and was widely regarded by some as professionally and capably suitable for the job as he is already Madonsela’s deputy, three issues stood on his way: citizenship, security clearance and full disclosure.

The citizenship issue came into focus after South Africa’s State Security Agency (SSA) entered the fray, saying Kevin was not suitable for the position as he was born in Zimbabwe and thus could not get top security clearance needed to become public protector. He only qualified for confidential — not top secret — security clearance, it said.

Some lawyers, however, said legally, candidates do not need SSA clearance to get the job as that was mainly a political and security consideration.

Officially, SSA also said Malunga arrived in South Africa in 2005 and became a citizen by naturalisation in 2010.
Questioned about this by the committee‚ Kevin said he was a bona fide South African citizen as he has renounced his origional Zimbabwean citizenship.

“I denounced (renounced) the Zim citizenship in 2010 and I will have to follow up if it was concluded. I got South