Author Archives: ZimSitRep_M

Chidyausiku adds to Mnangagwa woes

OUTGOING Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku yesterday revealed the extent of government interference in the judiciary, amid claims that a member of the Executive wrote a fake letter trying to stop the process of appointing judicial officers.

Source: Chidyausiku adds to Mnangagwa woes – NewsDay Zimbabwe January 17, 2017

By PAIDAMOYO MUZULU

With the top judge set to retire at the end of next month, the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) set in a motion a process to replace him, but an unnamed government official is said to have clandestinely tried to stop the process, but failed.

A lawsuit to stop the process soon followed, but yesterday the Chief Justice lifted the lid on the behind-the-scenes machinations meant to stop the process.

In his speech to mark the official opening of the 2017 legal year, he said he realised there was potential for conflict, as the process to appoint his successor was markedly different from the previous one and he informed the Executive of this and when he received no response, he inferred that it meant the government had no issues with the new procedure.

“I was surprised to receive communication a few days before the interviews were to commence that an Executive order had been issued ordering the JSC to stop the interviews of filling the post of Chief Justice,” he said.

“I responded to the communication, advising that the Executive’s directive could not be complied with without breaking the Constitution and that the interviews would proceed as planned and in terms of the Constitution.”

Then Chief Justice Chidyausiku dropped the bombshell: “I have since established that the President never issued the alleged Executive order to stop the interviews.”

He said since they reaffirmed their decision to be guided by the Constitution in choosing his successor, a certain section of the media had decided to impugn the JSC, a subtle attack on State media, which has seemingly chosen a factional slant in the debate on choosing the next Chief Justice.

The Chief Justice did not reveal who was responsible for the said Executive order, although last year it was reported that chief secretary to the Office of the President and Cabinet, Misheck Sibanda, had written to the JSC seeking to halt the interviews.

Sibanda is said to be a key ally of Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa, as Zanu PF factional fights continue to dominate the news.

To add to that, Mnangagwa, in his capacity as being in charge of the Justice ministry, wrote to the courts and the JSC informing them of an impending constitutional amendment to change the way judges are appointed — as he sought to have the President to have the sole prerogative — further muddying the waters.

Under the Constitution, JSC interviews four candidates and forwards three names to the President.

“In the proposed amendment, he [the President] will be at large to choose the next CJ from the bench. Thus, whichever method is used, in the final analysis, it is the President’s choice that will prevail,” Chief Justice Chidyausiku said.

The judiciary seems to be the site of Zanu PF’s latest turf war, as factions squabble on the procedure to appoint the Chief Justice, raising fears they may want to influence judgments.

Chief Justice Chidyausiku retires 16 years after taking over from Anthony Gubbay, who was hounded out of office by Mugabe’s administration.

Amendment of Constitution should be preceded by serious public consultation

The government has gazetted Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (No. 1) Bill. This is the first proposed amendment since the Constitution came into force on August 22, 2013. It is important to remind readers that the previous Constitution was amended a whooping 20 times.

Source: Amendment of Constitution should be preceded by serious public consultation – NewsDay Zimbabwe January 17, 2017

Opinion: John Makamure

It is not surprising why such a development was condemned by constitutional scholars, given that the supreme law is sacrosanct.

The Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (No.1) Bill seeks to change the appointment procedure of the Chief Justice, deputy Chief Justice and the Judge President of the High Court. Section 180 is being amended to allow appointment to the three offices to be done by the President after consultation with the Judicial Service Commission.

If the appointment of the three is not consistent with any recommendation made by the commission during the course of consultation, then the President will have to “inform the Senate, of that fact, as soon as possible”.

The Bill is clear that “for the avoidance of doubt, it is declared that the decision of the President, as to such appointment, shall be final”. The President is only obliged to inform the Senate, but the Senate has no power to act on that information, neither can the appointment be challenged in a court of law. I really don’t understand why the Senate has to be informed if it has no power to do anything. Such provisions make the Bill bad law.

Anyway, my article will not dwell too much on the content of the Bill. Rather, I will focus on the processes that it will follow in Parliament. Section 328(3) states that a Constitutional Bill may not be presented in the Senate or the National Assembly unless the Speaker has given at least 90 days’ notice in the Gazette of the precise terms of the Bill.

This means the Bill can only be introduced in Parliament from April. Crafters of the Constitution came up with this time frame in order to give members of the public sufficient time to debate the Bill and decide if it should proceed or not. Amendment of a Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land, is such an important issue that it has to obtain seal of approval from the public to proceed. I repeat that the Constitution is sacrosanct. One cannot, therefore, wake up tomorrow and decide to change a provision for his or her own interests. The citizens have to give one the go-head.

What I am talking about is confirmed by section 328(4) of the Constitution, which states that immediately after the Speaker has given notice of a Constitutional Bill, Parliament “must” invite members of the public to express their views on the proposed Bill in public meetings and through written submissions, “and must convene meetings and provide facilities to enable the public to do so”.

My interpretation of this provision is that it speaks to serious public consultation, and not merely going through the motions as happened in some instances in the past. For a Constitutional Bill, it is mandatory for Parliament to consult citizens in all corners of the country.

This means huge amounts of financial resources must be provided by the government to allow Parliament to carry out such consultation as envisaged by the Constitution. There is no other option. Anything to the contrary can be open to constitutional litigation. The government must understand that amending a Constitution is a very expensive exercise. It is not a micky mouse game.

The public consultation envisaged by section 328(4) is similar to a referendum. We all know how expensive a referendum is.

Although it is only amendments to provisions of Chapter 4 (Bill of Rights) and Chapter 16 (Agricultural land) which have to be subjected to a proper referendum, my interpretation of section 328 is that the public meetings that have to be convened by Parliament are some form of a referendum that will require millions of dollars to be convened.

We know that for a Constitutional Bill to be passed it requires at least two-thirds of the total membership of either house to say yes. We also know that the ruling Zanu PF has the required two-thirds majority in Parliament.
However, it is not about numbers in Parliament.

This is not significant. What is important is what the people have said. Passing a Bill contrary to public sentiment is a serious violation of the tenets of democracy.

A small group of individuals can not sit in Parliament to decide for the majority and then claim that they are advancing democracy. That must be rejected by every right-thinking Zimbabwean.

We must all be guided by the founding values of transparency, justice, accountability and responsiveness, among others.

Accountability and responsiveness mean the views of the people must hold sway in political and economic decision-making. So we cannot just temper with the Constitution when we feel like fulfilling our own narrow interests. If we have to do that, then there must be serious and wider public consultation.

Let us not make it a habit to amend the Constitution willy-nilly. As the supreme law of the land, the Constitution must be respected as such. We cannot start amending it when the ink is not even dry. Parliament must protect the Constitution, as provided for in section 119. Protection of the Constitution also means preventing haphazard amendments.

John Makamure is the executive director of the Southern African Parliamentary Support Trust. Feedback: john.makamure@gmail.com and my facebook page.

Mugabe must stop capture of judiciary

Outgoing Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku’s revelations that a dubious executive order was issued stopping the process to appoint his successor has thrown the cats among the pigeons and there is need for authorities to get to the bottom of this very serious matter.

Source: Mugabe must stop capture of judiciary – NewsDay Zimbabwe January 17, 2017

Comment: NewsDay Editor

For starters, the executive had no role trying to stop the lawful appointment process of a Chief Justice, but that is a matter for another day.

Chief Justice Chidyausiku’s revelations reveal that there is a sinister ploy working behind the scenes trying to influence the appointment of judges and, dare we say, judgments.

What else could have been the motivation for a member of the executive to write to the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) stopping a lawful process and using a fake letter for that matter?

While the ballyhoo over the appointment of Chief Justice Chidyausiku’s successor has largely been mired in factional talk, the revelations that a member of the executive wrote to JSC is quite worrying and goes way beyond Zanu PF’s narrow factional politics and pierces straight through the soul of the nation’s founding principles.

Chief Justice Chidyausiku should have mentioned who wrote the so-called letter, but even without being named, whoever that person is should hand in their resignation and not wait to be fired.

If that person does not resign, then President Robert Mugabe has an easy task ahead of him, when he returns from his leave, of firing that person.

Surely, this is the easiest task Mugabe will have to do this year.

Besides the obvious curious nature of the letter to the judiciary, the question is: How many such directives and illegalities have been done in Mugabe’s name without the President being in the loop?

This is quite disturbing and Mugabe has to act quickly, before more serious damage is done.

This also calls into question the whole legal drama that preceded the Chief Justice interviews late last year, as to who was orchestrating it and to what end.

Zimbabwe’s judiciary does not have much of a reputation, but in recent years they have made some very profound judgments, while at the same time the Constitution has given hope that we are entering a new era, where the rule of law is respected.

It is, thus, very surprising that someone or some people are that duplicitous to originate a fake letter to usurp the judiciary.

This is abhorrent and should be condemned in the strongest terms.

Chief Justice Chidyausiku’s revelations are instructive, as he saw potential for clashes over the appointment of a new Chief Justice and told the executive in March 2016 of this and if they wanted to act, why did they not act then?

There is need for Mugabe to act now to save the judiciary from this obvious capture — Zimbabwe’s future rests on it.

Mutsvangwa challenges Moyo to public debate

WAR veterans have challenged Higher Education minister Jonathan Moyo to a public debate over a number of issues, chief among them the acrimonious Zanu PF succession issue and runaway corruption by government officials.

Source: Mutsvangwa challenges Moyo to public debate – NewsDay Zimbabwe January 17, 2017

BY XOLISANI NCUBE

Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association spokesperson, Douglas Mahiya, told a Press briefing yesterday that Moyo should accept a public debate with the former freedom fighters’ chairperson, Christopher Mutsvangwa.

Moyo, a leading light in the G40 faction said to be fighting hard to stop Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s bid to take over from the ailing President Robert Mugabe, has accused war veterans of pushing a factional agenda and trying to prop up the VP.

“After that debate, he will never talk about the succession issue again. We want him here so that our chairman can tell him the truth,” he said.

The war veterans claimed Moyo last year tried to influence change in the defence forces.

“This is a man, who last year, tried to get army commanders fired and failed. There is nothing that is good from him,” Mahiya said without elaborating.

“We want to talk about this corruption that is in full swing in government. We want to talk about this Zimdef (Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund) issue and all cases of corruption. We are appealing to the State broadcaster, ZBC, to host us or private players to fund this debate.”

Moyo is facing trial for allegedly misappropriating over $400 000 of Zimdef funds and Mahiya said he should have his day in court rather than seek protection “from his friends” at the Constitutional Court.

He, however, did not mention any name of Moyo’s “friends”.

Mahiya said war veterans also regarded the succession issue as a fait accompli given Mnangagwa is already VP and have thrown their weight behind him.

Mutsvangwa and his executive have remained defiant that they are Zanu PF members despite their expulsion late last year.

Moyo was, however, unavailable for a comment, as his mobile phone went unanswered.

‘Secret ballot will kill one-centre-of-power syndrome’

ZENGEZA West legislator, Simon Chidhakwa, is lobbying Parliament to amend laws governing the august House to allow legislators to use the secret ballot and “kill the one-centre-of-power syndrome” wrought by the political parties’ whipping system when passing controversial pieces of legislation.

Source: ‘Secret ballot will kill one-centre-of-power syndrome’ – NewsDay Zimbabwe January 17, 2017

By Albert Masaka

Chidhakwa said in most instances, legislators are whipped into line and not allowed to freely express their opinion when debating legislation.

“When voting MPs are told to line up and there is no secret ballot system, do you think that a normal MP will vote against their party while ‘Big Brother’ is watching?,” he said.

“If democracy is not found in Parliament, where laws are made, where else can we expect it to be found? That section should be amended to be in line with international standards to kill the one-centre-of-power syndrome perpetuated by [President Robert] Mugabe’s autocratic rule.”

Chidhakwa said the fear that gripped most voters in the country particularly in the rural areas, also prevailed in Parliament, where legislators ended up passing bad laws to the detriment of their constituents and democracy.

“There are a number of laws that went through in Parliament, but were never supposed to pass because Zanu PF MPs voted out of fear. Mugabe would have been impeached a long time ago if there was a secret ballot in the august House because more than three-quarters of the parliamentarians do not want the ailing President anymore.”

He added: “Also, when recalling MPs, if the President is to be impeached or recalled, there has to be a two-thirds majority or more MPs voting in support of the move. Similarly, if an MP is to be recalled, there is need for two-thirds of people in the constituency to support the recall.”

Zanu PF holds the majority in Parliament after winning, amid controversy, the 2013 general elections and analysts have said that its subsequent victories in by-elections have reduced Parliament to another Zanu PF politburo, where unpopular laws always go unchallenged.

Kasukuwere slams ‘factionalism fanning’ Herald scribes

ZANU PF political commissar, Saviour Kasukuwere has vented his anger at top scribes at the State-controlled Herald newspaper, accusing them of fanning factionalism instead of supporting “the [ruling] party and leadership”.

Source: Kasukuwere slams ‘factionalism fanning’ Herald scribes – NewsDay Zimbabwe January 17, 2017

By XOLISANI NCUBE

In a tweet directed at the Herald, Kasukuwere, who is believed to be a member of the Zanu PF G40 faction, said on Sunday: “@Herald Zimbabwe, editorial team has to change. You defend [businessman, Energy] Mutodi at the expense of the party and leadership. In your view he was correct?”

Mutodi, who is a fierce backer of Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s Lacoste faction, recently caused a storm after he called on President Robert Mugabe to quit and leave his deputy — Mnangagwa — to take over.

Mutodi’s statements, which came after Mnangagwa hosted Zanu PF “renegades” and suspended party officials at a New Year’s party at his rural home in Zvishavane, were interpreted as having the Vice-President’s backing.

Kasukuwere’s tweet appears to be a direct response to an opinion published in The Herald on Saturday, which insinuated that some politicians were up against the paper for its reportage.

“Someone clearly sees a stumbling block in the ‘State media’ and has been heard many times whining about it and even calling for a change of guard at our newspaper stables,” read the opinion, authored by an anonymous columnist.

After the post, some of Kasukuwere’s followers attacked him for suggesting that the State media — which should be impartial — should support a particular political party.

Opposition politicians have always accused the State media of being the mouthpiece of Zanu PF, used for the party’s propaganda.

‘Mugabe death’ prophet caged

KARIBA pastor and human rights activist, Patrick Mugadza, was arrested yesterday and charged with undermining President Robert Mugabe’s authority following his recent “prediction” of the 92-year-old Zanu PF leader’s “looming death”.

Source: ‘Mugabe death’ prophet caged – NewsDay Zimbabwe January 17, 2017

BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE

Mugadza, the founder and leader of Remnant Church, was picked up by police, as he walked out of the Harare Magistrates’ Court, where he was facing a separate charge of abusing the national flag, where his trial has been set for February 22.

The cleric told journalists in Harare last week that on December 26 last year, he received a prophecy that Mugabe, who turns 93 next month, would “die on October 17” this year.

Mugadza’s lawyer, Gift Mtisi, confirmed that his client was arrested by police officers from Criminal Investigation Department Law and Order Section over his “prophecy”.

“Yes, it is true, we are aware that he has been picked up by the police. We do not have details at the moment, but we understand it is in connection with the prophecy he issued last week,” Mtisi said.

Mugadza is expected to appear in court today.

Announcing his prophecy last week, Mugadza said: “It’s not to say that I am glad to announce this, but I am just saying it because that is what the Lord has revealed to me. It was on December 26, when I was in prayer and God said to me this coming year, in 2017, the President is dying. He told me that he is dying on October 17.

“I am not saying I am going to be killing him on October 17, so there is no way anybody can say to me what you have done is wrong. I am not going to be killing anybody, I am only saying what God told me that he is going to die.

“He is old and I think it’s time for him to go home, as simple as that … If people think Mugabe is sticking around because he wants power, then they are wrong, I believe right now the old man is serving his jail term while alive.”

The cleric vowed that he was prepared to go to jail over the prophecy.

Mugadza’s prophecy comes after Prophetic Healing and Deliverance Ministries founder Walter Magaya passed an almost similar prophecy on New Year’s Day, declaring that a top politician would die this year.

On Sunday, Zanu PF political commissar, Saviour Kasukuwere admonished clerics prophesying Mugabe’s death, warning of unspecified action.

This is not the first time prophecies have been made of Mugabe’s “looming death”, but the veteran politician has laughed off the predictions, jokingly saying he had surpassed Jesus Christ’s record, dying and resurrecting several times.

Mugadza’s brush with the law started in December 2015, when he staged a solo demonstration at the Zanu PF conference in Victoria Falls, denouncing Mugabe and calling for his resignation over his failed economic policies.

Zimdef saga: Matter referred to ConCourt

THE trial of a Harare man charged with obstructing the course of justice after he allegedly attempted to influence a State witness to withdraw fraud charges levelled against Higher Education deputy minister Godfrey Gandawa failed to commence yesterday, as he challenged the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission’s (Zacc) arresting power.

Source: Zimdef saga: Matter referred to ConCourt – NewsDay Zimbabwe January 17, 2017

BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE

Malvern Chimutashu, sought to have his matter referred to the Constitutional Court (ConCourt), arguing Zacc had no legal standing to arrest him.

Presiding magistrate, Lazini Ncube immediately stopped the trial and remanded the matter to today to enable Chimutashu to file his ConCourt application.

Chimutashu, who claims Gandawa to be his witness, had earlier said his trial could only commence after Gandiwa had given a warned-and-cautioned statement to the investigating officer. But, the State opposed the application before the magistrate ruled the trial should start.

At that juncture, Chimutashu made a new application for referral of the matter to the ConCourt, saying Zacc does not have arresting powers.

It is the State’s case that sometime between July and September last year, Chimutashu met the key witness, Walter Chasara, and persuaded him to withdraw the charges against Gandawa in exchange for some unspecified amount of money.

Chimutashu allegedly drafted an affidavit in the name of Chasara purporting the latter had made a false report to Zacc.

In the affidavit, Chasara appeared to be distancing himself from being a key State witness, insinuating that he had been coerced into making a report to Zacc.

Chimutashu was arrested at Avondale shopping centre on September 6 by police and Zacc investigators, while trying to hand over the alleged affidavit to Chasara to sign.

Michael Reza is prosecuting.

Chihuri roped in to arrest Zanu PF MP

KWEKWE City Council has petitioned Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri to order the arrest of Kwekwe Central legislator, Masango Matambanadzo (Zanu PF), over a wide range of criminal activities.

Source: Chihuri roped in to arrest Zanu PF MP – NewsDay Zimbabwe January 17, 2017

BY BLESSED MHLANGA

On January 5 this year, council lawyer, Valentine Mutatu, wrote to Chihuri, requesting his intervention after it seemed that Kwekwe police were reluctant to arrest the Zanu PF legislator despite numerous reports.

“We have instructions that our client (Kwekwe City Council) made criminal reports against Matambanadzo on a number of occasions. In addition there are other criminal acts that he committed in the presence of the police,” part of the letter read.

“To our client’s knowledge, no action has been taken against him in terms of our criminal law. We must hasten to state that it appears to our client that Matambanadzo in your eyes is above the law.”

Council accuses Matambanadzo of criminally meddling in its affairs.

According to the letter, sometime in September last year, the MP allegedly teamed up with Zanu PF youths and stormed Kwekwe Town House, where they held town clerk, Emmanuel Musara, hostage for two hours.

“A report was made and the police reacted swiftly. However, they did not arrest him, as he told them that they did not have the power to stop him and his delegation from doing anything legal or illegal,” the letter said.

Last month, Matambanadzo illegally opened a council-built long-distance bus terminus in the city, long before it was ready for use.

The legislator allegedly allowed bus operators to use the facility free of charge.

Council lawyers said a report was made under CR 73/12/16, but the police did not act.

Council asked Chihuri to look into the matters, because they believe Matambanadzo should be charged with undermining police authority, holding an illegal march, malicious damage to property and behaving in a manner likely to breach the peace.

But Matambanadzo’s lawyer, Liberty Mashanyare, dismissed the council’s move as “primitive”.

“Every report does not result in an arrest, there must reasonable suspicion that a crime has been committed before any arrest. Merely reporting a suspected offence does not mean an arrest should follow,” he said.

Chiweshe cancels over 50 000 pending High Court cases

In a bid to clear the ever-spiralling backlog of untried cases, Judge President Justice George Chiweshe yesterday announced the cancellation of all matters that have remained untried for between three and six months from the date of filing at the High Court.

Source: Chiweshe cancels over 50 000 pending High Court cases – NewsDay Zimbabwe January 17, 2017

By Tatenda Chitagu

Dormant cases occur in the event where court officials fail to locate witnesses for various reasons.

Officially opening the 2017 legal year at the Masvingo High Court, Justice Chiweshe said such inactive cases had led to the ballooning of untried matters.

His remarks come in the wake of over 50 000 untried cases following an audit of High Court matters filed between 2002 and 2012, particularly in Harare.

“The results of the Harare audit shows that the bulk of statistics representing the ‘backlog’ comprise of ‘inactive’ or ‘dormant’ files. These files are improperly included in the backlog statistics, thereby distorting the actual workload at the High Court and consequently portraying an insurmountable backlog,” he said.

“This distorted backlog has been carried over into succeeding years, as work that is pending before the judges, whereas, in truth and in fact these are cases that have long been abandoned by the litigants for one reason or another. They have never been pursued and for that reason cannot be actioned in any way by either the registrar or the judges.”

Justice Chiweshe said there were now new regulations to abandon cases that have been dormant for at most six months.

“To ensure that we maintain the current state of affairs, we shall, henceforth, adopt the following interventions:
That the rules be amended by the inclusion of a provision deeming all matters that remain inactive for a period of at least three months from the date of filing or at most six months from such date, to have been abandoned and, therefore, archival. Pending amendment of the rules, a practice direction, which is now in place, has been issued to that effect.”

He said such provisions also apply to chamber applications, where queries raised in regard to the matter have not been responded to within a given time-frame. The Judge President proposed the adoption of a judicial management of cases, where judges drive the process and supervise the timeous movement of files, thereby, ensuring finality in litigation.

Drama as magistrate shoots down attempts to stall trial

HARARE magistrate, Tendai Mahwe, yesterday shot down several attempts to stall the trial of a Russian man, who allegedly obtained a Zimbabwean passport using forged documents.

Source: Dram as magistrate shoots down attempts to stall trial – NewsDay Zimbabwe January 17, 2017

BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE

Mahwe, who is now based at Mutare Magistrates’ Court, made the ruling when he returned to Harare for the case involving Steven Paul Sudgen.

Sudgen, through his lawyer Admire Rubaya, initially sought to be removed from further remand arguing that the two-month ultimatum given by Judge President Justice George Chiweshe for the State to re-open its case had lapsed.

Sudgen has two more pending applications at the Constitutional Court and High Court and he wanted the lower court to defer trial until the upper courts have ruled on his applications.

But, Mahwe shot down the application saying: “The two months expired due to State negligence and attempts to delay proceedings. The defence made several frivolous applications as a tactic to ensure that the two months expire.

These were deliberate and calculated moves and defence is not taking proceedings seriously. Trial should proceed.”

Rubaya then applied to have the matter stood down by 15 minutes to allow Sugden’s lawyer of choice, Advocate Thabani Mpofu, to appear, but Mahwe again dismissed the application.

This led Rubaya to recuse himself from the case in protest.

“It is a sad day for justice. You shot down all the applications I made. I have to recuse myself,” he said.

As Rubaya walked out of the courtroom, Sudgen made another application for postponement saying he needed 10 days to look for another lawyer.

“This is a technical and complicated matter. Rubaya walked away and I cannot defend myself. I require the services of another lawyer,” he said.

Mahwe again dismissed the application, saying his lawyer chose not to attend and the court adjourned for five minutes.

After the break, Sugden came back with another lawyer, Rungano Mahuni, who made another application for postponement for a further month saying he needed to familiarise with the case, as the case documents consist of more than 1 000 pages.

Mahwe dismissed that application again, prompting Mahuni to give notice for and application for review of proceedings at the High Court. The case is expected to continue today.

Sugden is accused of using fake documents to obtain a Zimbabwean passport.

War vets blast Moyo, Kasukuwere

Source: War vets blast Moyo, Kasukuwere | The Herald January 17, 2017

Herald Reporter—

zanu-pf national political commissar Cde Saviour Kasukuwere should concentrate on building the party than expelling members and dwelling on trivial issues that do not add value to the revolutionary party, war veterans have said.

In the same breath, they said Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Minister Professor Jonathan Moyo should be prosecuted for abusing Zimdef funds.

Addressing journalists in Harare yesterday, Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA) spokesperson Mr Douglas Mahiya said Cde Kasukuwere and Prof Moyo were focusing on trivia at the expense of service delivery.

In the case of Cde Kasukuwere, Mr Mahiya said: “I was in Mutare recently and there are lots of potholes; go to Chitungwiza and I think even in Bulawayo and other towns that is what is happening.

“The national political commissar is busy trying to remove us from the party, destroying the party and yet the Ministry of Local Government has failed dismally to deliver that which it has been mandated.

“Houses are being sold by people who are walking in the streets.

“So, where is the council going to get the money to sustain its operations as a local authority?

“If you want a house, I can tell you that you can get it from a G40 chairman or chairwoman.

“That is happening in Chitungwiza and war veterans are saying no to that.

“It’s corruption. (Cde) Kasukuwere must know that it may take long, but one day, he will find himself in my position, him being expelled. He will never own zanu-pf. Nobody will ever own zanu-pf.”

Mr Mahiya’s remarks come in the wake of a meeting of zanu-pf provincial chairmen that was presided over by Cde Kasukuwere that largely dwelt on who the party members should associate with.

Regarding the fraud allegations that Prof Moyo is facing, Mr Mahiya said: “We are also saying what has happened to Jonathan (Moyo)? Why is he not being arrested? Hakusi kuba here kwaakaita?

“Are we saying as a nation that what he did is not stealing and yet he says I stole the money and I bought bicycles for my constituency?

“Why is it that he becomes untouchable?

“We are saying as war veterans, ngaasungwe, ngaende kucourt. If he is innocent, the courts will exonerate him because we respect this important arm of the State — the judiciary.

“Jonathan (Moyo) must go to court. He must not become indispensable.”

Mr Mahiya said late comers in zanu-pf could not fire them from the ruling party.

Ruling on Gandawa Concourt bid deferred to Thursday

Source: Ruling on Gandawa Concourt bid deferred to Thursday | The Herald January 17, 2017

Fungai Lupande Court Reporter—

The ruling on Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Deputy Minister Godfrey Gandawa’s application for referral to the Constitutional Court was yesterday postponed to Thursday.

Gandawa is jointly charged with Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund (Zimdef) finance director Nicholas Mapute on fraud and criminal abuse of duty charges.

Mapute did not seek Concourt relief and wants to stand trial.

In his application through his defence counsel Advocate Firoz Girach, Gandawa said his case was similar to Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Minister Professor Jonathan Moyo whose arrest was suspended by the Concourt.

He wants the Concourt to also declare his arrest, detention and placement on remand unconstitutional.

“The Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) does not, in terms of the Constitution or the law, have the power to arrest and detain suspects,” he said.

“In terms of the Constitution, the Prosecutor-General does have the power to order the Commissioner of the Police to arrest any person.

“The search warrant by Zacc is illegal and should be nullified.”

Gandawa and Mapute are accused of unlawfully benefiting about $430 000 from Zimdef between November 2015 and June 2016.

Some of the counts includes that of $95 800, which was transferred from Zimdef to Wishbone Trading through CABS.

Gandawa received $20 000 through his personal Barclays account after which he transferred $19 030 to HIB Rajput PL T/A Ace Cycles.

He then transferred $27 550 to SKM Motorcycles for 10 tri-cycles for Prof Moyo and the balance was withdrawn in cash.

It is alleged that $107 525 was transferred from Zimdef to Fuzzy Technologies’ NMB Bank account, of which $5 745 was transferred to Pridham Investments for Gandawa’s personal furniture.

Gandawa also paid for 69 bicycles worth $7 260 for Prof Moyo. He also transferred $12 900 to Wisebone Trading as capital to finance his personal business and the remainder was withdrawn in cash.

Name successor and save country, Mugabe told

Source: Name successor and save country, Mugabe told – DailyNews Live 16 January 2017

Tendai Kamhungira

HARARE – With Zanu PF’s ugly succession wars now the major talking point
in Zimbabwe, as the ruling party’s two major factions go relentlessly at
each other hammer and tongs, angry war veterans say President Robert
Mugabe (pictured) must choose his successor now to save the country.

This comes as the Zim rot continues to worsen and as Zanu PF’s brawling
Generation 40 (G40) and Team Lacoste factions have recently escalated
their succession fights, particularly since images showing Vice President
Emmerson Mnangagwa holding a coffee mug inscribed “I am the Boss”, during
a festive season gathering at his Zvishavane rural home, emerged last
week.

At the same time, Mnangagwa’s Team Lacoste allies, who include a large
cross-section of former freedom fighters, are also ratcheting up their
loud calls for Mugabe to retire now and pave way for his long-time aide to
take over the reins at both party and government levels.

Speaking to the Daily News yesterday, as Zanu PF’s infighting reaches a
poisonous climax, Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association
(ZNLWVA) secretary general, Victor Matemadanda, said Mugabe must come
clean on his succession plan, as time was no longer on his side
considering his advanced age.

Mugabe, the world’s oldest leader and the only ruler that Zimbabweans have
known since the country gained its independence from Britain in April
1980, will turn a ripe 93 years old next month.

“People cannot stop to talk about issues that affect their future. They
cannot remain docile because they want the president to tell them his exit
and succession plan.

“People cannot keep on speculating. They want to know what is going to
happen after he (Mugabe) leaves office. They want to know their future and
what happens tomorrow.

“We are worried about where the country is going. We are not only
concerned about Mugabe, but the totality of what is happening in
Zimbabwe,” Matemadanda told the Daily News.

The war veterans have been feuding with Mugabe ever since they broke their
41-year relationship with the nonagenarian mid last year over their
worsening plight and the country’s deepening political and economic rot.

Until that time, the fed up ex-combatants had served as Mugabe and Zanu
PF’s pillars, waging brutal campaigns against opposition leader Morgan
Tsvangirai and the MDC, especially in the bloody elections of 2000 and
2008.

The former freedom fighters’ stunning fallout with Mugabe and Zanu PF saw
their chairman Chris Mutsvangwa being fired from both the Cabinet and the
ruling party last year, while many of their other top leaders have also
since been banished from the imploding former liberation movement, in
addition to being hauled before the courts.

A meeting in April to try and mend relations between the war vets and
Mugabe failed to resolve the stalemate, with the former freedom fighters
setting difficult conditions for the nonagenarian, including that he
ditches alleged G40 kingpins such as Higher Education minister Jonathan
Moyo and the ruling party’s national political commissar Saviour
Kasukuwere.

The war vets’ ultimatum to Mugabe to retire comes as there are also
growing calls both within Zanu PF and outside the ruling party to retire,
with Team Lacoste baying for Mnangagwa to take over.

Expelled former Mashonaland Central youth chairman and a key Mnangagwa
ally, Godfrey Tsenengamu, also warned at the weekend that if Mnangagwa did
not confront Mugabe and the succession issue now, he risked losing much of
the support of his battle-weary followers and other Zimbabweans who were
yearning for change.

“ED (Mnangagwa) is too loyal to Mugabe and we can’t eat his loyalty to his
leader. We are worried about our future as a younger generation and if
what matters to him is his loyalty to Mugabe then they are going to go
down together because we can’t vote for Mugabe in 2018.

“People need to understand that this is not about Mnangagwa but our future
as a party and a nation. It is not Mnangagwa who is demanding that the
succession issue be addressed now, but us as concerned citizens,”
Tsenengamu told the Daily News’ sister publication, the Daily News On
Sunday, yesterday.

Last week, highly-opinionated businessman-cum-politician, and another
avowed Mnangagwa loyalist, Energy Mutodi, also vented along similar lines,
imploring Zanu PF to hold an extraordinary congress to choose Mugabe’s
successor.

He claimed that Mugabe had become so unpopular in Zanu PF that “99
percent” of the party’s members now wanted him to resign before the
eagerly-anticipated 2018 national elections, as there was allegedly no way
that the nonagenarian could win elections against popular opposition
leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

“Mugabe must retire. What we must be discussing now is how we share power
in Zanu PF post-Mugabe,” he said, adding that it would be very
embarrassing for Mugabe if he stood for election again and lost.

And like Tsenengamu, Mutodi and Mutsvangwa, former Zanu PF chairman for
Mashonaland West province, Temba Mliswa, has also recently suggested that
Mugabe should hand over power to Mnangagwa as the ruling party’s
succession wars burn ever hotter.

“Zanu PF’s solution to the current economic problems is for the president
to step down and Mnangagwa, who is the most senior, to take over.

“Don’t call me a Mnangagwa person, unless there is someone more senior in
Zanu PF than Mnangagwa, then you tell me.

“If Mnangagwa does take over, he is going to stop the bleeding in terms of
people suffering. We must be cognisant of the fact that the people are
suffering,” Mliswa said at the end of last year.

However, Mugabe has studiously refused to name a successor, arguing that
his party should rather follow what he sees as a more democratic process,
to manage his succession via a congress.

Bikita poll vital for opposition: Mujuru

Source: Bikita poll vital for opposition: Mujuru – DailyNews Live 16 January 2017

Blessings Mashaya

HARARE – Former vice president and now leader of the Zimbabwe People First
(ZPF) party, Joice Mujuru, says this week’s by-election will go a long way
in assuring long-suffering Zimbabweans that their future lies with the
opposition.

Mujuru’s fledgling party will be participating in its first elections
since it was launched last year, with political analysts saying Saturday’s
Bikita West mini-poll will provide a litmus test for President Robert
Mugabe’s former long-serving deputy.

The ZPF will be represented in the by-election by Kudakwashe Gopo.

Mujuru’s spokesperson Gift Nyandoro told the Daily News yesterday that the
by-election was significant not only to ZPF, but all opposition parties as
the Bikita West seat would indicate how the mooted grand coalition was
likely to perform in the eagerly-anticipated 2018 national elections.

“As People First this week is very significant to all Zimbabweans. The
election is going to demonstrate that People First is a party of choice.

“This is the best chance to show to the world that together as opposition
parties we stand, and divided we fall. This election is going to be
historic because it’s going to show that opposition parties have the
capacity of working together to defeat Mugabe.

“It’s also going to be a D-day for Zanu PF as no amount of violence will
stop the opposition parties from uniting against Mugabe,” Nyandoro said.

Mujuru has been trying to enlist the participation of opposition leader
Morgan Tsvangirai in her party’s campaigns, as it bids to take control of
the Bikita parliamentary seat, which fell vacant after Munyaradzi Kereke
was incarcerated for 14 years for the rape of a minor last year.

Mujuru, who was ruthlessly purged from the warring Zanu PF in late 2014,
together with her close allies who included liberation stalwarts such as
Rugare Gumbo and Didymus Mutasa – on untested claims of plotting to oust
and assassinate Mugabe – is working with Tsvangirai and other smaller
parties on a grand coalition which they say will be in place before the
end of the year.

Analysts have consistently said that a united opposition, fighting with
one purpose, would bring to an end Mugabe’s long rule – especially at this
time when the country’s economy is dying and the increasingly frail
nonagenarian is battling to keep his warring Zanu PF united.

Last week, Mujuru was dealt a heavy blow when her Bikita West rally was
cancelled to allow Zanu PF to hold its own gathering which is set to be
addressed by Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko.

This was despite the fact that ZPF had notified the police of its
intention to hold the rally there earlier, almost a month ago.

Already, tension is high in the volatile constituency which historically,
is a hotbed of political violence.

Recently, sickly Masvingo Provincial Affairs minister Shuvai Mahofa
threatened to unleash violence in the constituency against all opposition
supporters.

She told ruling party supporters who gathered for the campaign rally at
Gwindingwi Primary School early this month to vote “wisely” or else suffer
the consequences.

“Haa, munozviziva, muno hamusi mekutamba namo (You all know it. This is
not a constituency to play silly games). Kune vamwe vakatsakatika muno umu
gore riya, munoriziva. Handei tinovhota zvakanaka. (There are some who
disappeared in this constituency as you know. Let us go and vote wisely),”
she bellowed ominously.

Farmers left counting loses after hailstorm sweeps through Mash West

Farmers in Trelawney and Banket in Mashonaland West province are counting their losses after heavy rains ravaged the area, destroying several hectares of thriving maize crops.

Source: Farmers left counting loses after hailstorm sweeps through Mash West – NewsDay Zimbabwe January 16, 2017

BY NUNURAI JENA

One of the affected newly-resettled farmers, Elison Murambiwa of Red Mile farm told NewsDay at the weekend almost a third of his 10 hectares of maize had been razed to the ground by the hailstorms, which were characterised by strong winds.

“I lost an estimated three hectares in the heavy downpour, which hit the area on Friday and Saturday,” a devastated Murambiwa said.

When NewsDay crew visited David Gomba’s New Dawn Farm on Friday, farm labourers were busy trying to salvage some of the slightly damaged crops by heaping soil around plants in the aftermath of the deluge.

Gomba had six hectares destroyed.

Gomba, who is a beneficiary of the government command agriculture programme, was sceptical he would be able to repay the inputs loan and remain with a surplus for sale.

“If this scenario repeats itself, I will certainly not be able to remain with anything with which to repay the inputs loan and be able to sell the surplus so that I will be able to fund my own activities at the farm next year,” Gomba, who was anticipating a bumper harvest following last season’s success, said.

Most farmers in the affected areas said they had not insured their maize crop.

Several other villagers in the province have lost their flourishing maize crop due to incessant heavy rains that continue to pound the farming region.

Meawhile, sporadic cases of outbreaks of armyworm have been reported in Mhangura, where the pests have reportedly destroyed maize crops.

Pricing scandal hits Mbada Diamonds

Source: Pricing scandal hits Mbada Diamonds | The Herald

Lloyd Gumbo recently in CHIADZWA—
Mbada Diamonds could have prejudiced the State of millions of dollars by under-declaring its diamond sales over the years after it emerged that its average price per carat was about three times lower than that of other firms extracting gems from Chiadzwa.

Seven mining companies, including Mbada, started mining diamonds at Chiadzwa from 2007 to March last year when Government ordered them to cease operations.

Mbada was among firms that resisted a forensic audit of Chiadzwa diamond mining operations initiated by Government, forcing the State to invoke the Auditor-General’s powers to proceed.

The underpricing scandal emerged during a tour of Marange diamond fields by the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines and Energy chaired by Zanu-PF MP for Masvingo Urban, Cde Daniel Shumba last Friday.

Officials indicated that Mbada’s average price was $23 per carat although the company was awarded claims with the best gems, while Jinan sold diamonds for an average of $89 per carat.

Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) acting chief executive officer Dr Ridge Nyashanu told the committee that it was important to consolidate diamond mining to curb under-declaring of sales.

“Anjin, when they sold, their average price per carat was $44, DMC (Diamond Mining Company) $46,66, DTZ (OZGEO) was at $49,42 and Jinan had the highest which is almost $89 per carat followed by Marange at $67,60 and the worst performer was Mbada at $23,” said Dr Nyashanu.

“When you look at Mbada, it had the highest gem and concentration but what leaves a lot to be desired is what happened, which resulted in them having an average price of $23,” he said.

“To me, probably it’s good reason for consolidation. You need transparency and you need to monitor what happens to your diamonds. It’s the best concession (Mbada’s) yet with the worst result.”

The committee recently clashed with the Secretary for Mines and Energy Professor Francis Gudyanga and the new management at ZCDC when they appeared before Parliament.

Cde Shumba said the committee’s oversight function was not a witch-hunt, but sought to enhance opportunities for the country to benefit from its God-given resources.

“We have listened to the audits that you are carrying out. What we didn’t hear is, are the audits by yourselves only or by the other parties that were in occupation prior to consolidation?,” said Cde Shumba.

“In our oversight, our objective is not to witch-hunt but to further unlock value for Zimbabwe. Let’s embrace each other as partners,” he said.

“Our aim as Parliament is not to operate like a headmaster at a school but as a partner to help the facilitation of those processes. We are also worried at what losses or gains we are getting as Zimbabwe from the deep washing of the minerals given the plummeting values that we are getting from the valuations and ultimate auctions and private sales that you are getting.

“This is not to say someone is stealing but why are the prices low? Why don’t we up that for the benefit of our country?” said Cde Shumba. He said they had been taken aback by revelations that equipment worth more than $20 million at DTZ-Ozgeo was not being utilised.

Prof Gudyanga said court challenges by Mbada Diamonds, Jinan and Anjin Investments after they ceased operations made it difficult for ZCDC to move in and carry out operations.

He said Mbada equipment had since been auctioned following a court order for the firm to pay its creditors while Jinan had agreed to take its equipment away.

Prof Gudyanga justified Government’s consolidation of diamond mining saying it was meant to curb leakages. “As you recall, the President mentioned that Zimbabwe had been losing its diamonds and Cabinet ordered that there be a forensic audit,” said Prof Gudyanga.

“As we wanted to do this audit, somehow the same three companies (Mbada Diamonds, Jinan and Anjin Investments) contested the forensic audit. We had to invoke the powers of the Auditor-General who is empowered to audit any entity where Government interests are. Therefore this is what is going on. And the results of that audit is something that will be made available to Government.”

‘Charamba, Moyo public spats shocking’

War Veterans minister, Tshinga Dube, said the public spats among top government officials have shocked and confused him, as Zanu PF factionalism continues to play out in the open.

Source: ‘Charamba, Moyo public spats shocking’ – NewsDay Zimbabwe January 16, 2017

BY BLESSED MHLANGA

Dube’s remarks come as there is seemingly no love lost between Higher and Tertiary Education minister Jonathan Moyo and President Robert Mugabe’s spokesman, George Charamba.

“That’s a million dollar question my friend that I cannot answer or comment on until I talk to those two people,” Dube said.

“I thought I understood how Zanu PF worked, but this has confused me.”

Dube’s remarks came after Charamba savaged Moyo in a column he reportedly writes under the pseudonym, Nathaniel Manheru in State-controlled media. Moyo also gave as much as he got, describing Charamba as a “useful idiot”, a jibe he has used before.

Charamba seemed to be doing Vice-President Mnangagwa’s bidding, telling Moyo to stay out of succession debates.

Last year, Charamba warned that Mugabe was about to descend heavily on the G40 faction, saying the grouping was being given a long rope to hang itself.

This comes as critics are questioning whether Mugabe is still calling the shots or whether he has faith in his deputies.

The President is interspersing his annual holiday with official engagements and observers say this shows he has little faith in his deputies, Vice-Presidents Phelekezela Mphoko and Mnangagwa, as he could have easily assigned them those duties and remained on holiday.

Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association secretary-general, Victor Matemadanda, told NewsDay that in light of the circus that has consumed Zanu PF and government since the beginning of January, the former freedom fighters felt vindicated in their earlier call for Mugabe to step down.

“Mugabe is old and while he can be physically present, he is always mentally absent, he should not be allowed to run this country,” he said.

Matemadanda said the public fights were all being caused by Mugabe.

“We worked with Mugabe when he was young, he was a man who did not brook this nonsense, which is going on even after he warned members of his party not to abuse Twitter, he is the reason that his own Vice-Presidents are not even respected locally by his own ministers because he has lost touch,” he said.

“The people of Zimbabwe should wake up from this mirage and confront the real evil. They should go into the streets and demonstrate against massive corruption happening in Zanu PF. Moyo must go to court and face the music.”

MDC-T spokesperson, Obert Gutu said the President decided to go to Mali was clear testimony that he was the be all and end all in Zanu PF and government and he maintained a tight leash on all activities even in his absence.

“Robert Mugabe is Zanu PF and Zanu PF is Robert Mugabe. Sadly, in his scheme of things, Robert Mugabe is Zimbabwe and Zimbabwe is Robert Mugabe. This is a one-man dictatorship,” he said.

“Mugabe is obsessed with political power as an end in itself.”

Gutu said Mnangagwa and Mphoko were only ceremonial figureheads with no real power to make any decisions or represent Mugabe at international level.

“His Vice-Presidents are merely ceremonial figureheads with no executive authority. The buck always starts and stops with Mugabe himself. When he is not in the country, Cabinet doesn’t sit and no major executive decision is made by any Cabinet minister. The man is a fully-fledged dictator. Mugabe will make the North Korean dictator, Kim Jong-un green with envy,” he said.

Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) spokesman, Jacob Mafume said Mugabe has totally lost power, as proven by the Nigerian movie script playing out in his government.

“To say Mugabe has power is a joke … It is now a full Nigerian movie, where government ministers talk about coffee mugs instead of hungry and jobless people,” he said.

Zimbabwe People First were quick to agree, saying the Mali trip vindicated former Vice-President Joice Mujuru’s public pronouncements that only Mugabe knows what’s happening in his government.

“It is not surprising for a man, who believes that he alone is the man in Zimbabwe and that he has no confidence in both Mnangagwa and Mphoko,” party spokesman, Jealousy Mawarire said.

“This confirms that Zimbabwe is a dictatorship and it also puts away the idea of complicity they put on Mujuru, Mugabe alone knows what is happening and Mugabe alone is culpable for all the problems we are facing because he is a system.”

When Mugabe met Chinese President Xi Jinping, while on leave, Charamba said it would not have made sense to fly a deputy from Zimbabwe to China when Mugabe was already in that country.

Govt closer to reclaiming underused Zimplats land

Source: Govt closer to reclaiming underused Zimplats land | The Herald January 16, 2017

Business Reporter
THE Government will allow a grace period of one month for any objections to its plans to reclaim nearly 30 000 hectares of platinum-rich idle land held by mining giant, Zimplats.

Zimbabwe holds the second largest known platinum reserves in the world after South Africa and the expectation is that it will unlock $1,8 trillion from the idle mineral reserves.

However, most of the ground remains largely unexploited.

This is despite the fact that mining is one of the major anchors of economic growth in the short to medium term and contributes roughly 16 percent of gross domestic product.

In a Government gazette published on Friday last week, the Ministry of Mines said the objections should be lodged with the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development within a period of 30 days.

Government will repossess excess land measuring 27 948 hectares from the platinum mining giant, in a move that free up the land for allocation to new investors in order for the country to realise optimal benefit from its vast platinum resource.

The repossession of the excess land is part of the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development’s on-going plans to review all mining rights deemed to be excess and underutilised.

Former Mines and Mining Development Minister, Dr Obert Mpofu set the ball rolling in 2013, as part of Government’s efforts to stimulate growth in the mining industry to ensure the country obtained more value from its rich mineral endowment.

Zimbabwe’s biggest platinum miner was granted a special mining lease in 1994 covering 25 years, but geological information indicates that the time span for total ground granted and mineral reserve far exceeds the prescribed period.

Mines and Mining Development Minister, Walter Chidhakwa, said in 2014 that his ministry was working on a legal framework to enable Government to repossess the claims.

He said Government “will not hesitate to withdraw licences from miners that are holding mining claims for speculative purposes”.

Out of the seven companies holding platinum claims, only three namely Zimplats, Anglo’s Unki and Mimosa, were fully using them, while the other four were holding on to them with development.

This was after Government had started the process to repossess nearly 30 000ha the Australia Stock Exchange listed platinum mining giant was holding on to, but was not exploiting.

Under the “use it or lose it”policy, Government last year announced plans to repossess 42 000 hectares from the country’s two largest ferrochrome producers namely Zimbabwe Mining and Smelting Company and Zimbabwe Alloys, with a view to opening up the sector up to other investors.

Are ANC, Zanu PF ready for female presidents?

Source: Are ANC, Zanu PF ready for female presidents? – DailyNews Live 15 January 2017

Maxwell Sibanda

HARARE – Recent political developments in neighbouring South Africa where
president Jacob Zuma has said the governing African National Congress
(ANC) party is ready for its first female leader, days after his former
wife was named by the party’s influential women’s league as its choice to
succeed him, has reminded many Zimbabweans of First Lady Grace Mugabe’s
mooted ambitions to succeed her husband, President Robert Mugabe.

Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, who has four children with Zuma, is the head of
the African Union Commission and a leading candidate to succeed her
ex-husband after the 2019 general election.

Zuma is expected to step down as ANC leader at the end of this year, and
whoever takes over will be the frontrunner for the presidency.

Zuma recently went off-script when he said on radio that there was no
tradition in the ANC that the deputy president should succeed the
president. This has been seen as an indication that he wants his ex-wife
Dlamini-Zuma to succeed him.

The Daily News on Sunday interviewed a number of social and political
analysts on this development and whether this might influence the politics
in Zimbabwe with Zanu PF’s women’s league also advocating for Grace to
succeed her husband.

Human rights lawyer Dewa Mavhinga said although Zuma has come out in
support of his ex-wife Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma succeeding him as SA
president, we must not draw too many similarities with Zimbabwe where
Grace Mugabe might want to succeed Mugabe because the two scenarios are
vastly different.

“Unlike Grace who until recently held no post in the party, Dlamini-Zuma
is a senior ANC leader with a strong track record having served as senior
cabinet minister in different SA administrations and currently holds a
senior post on the continent as African Union Commission chairperson.

“Whereas Grace is a political novice, we have Dlamini-Zuma a woman with
political gravitas who in her own right, independent of her ex-husband,
has the capacity to lead South Africa.

“Dlamini-Zuma’s nearest equivalent would be Joice Mujuru, for they are
both veterans of the struggle in their respective countries, married
senior political figures while maintaining their own luminous political
careers,” said Mavhinga.

Social commentator Rejoice Ngwenya said: “Actually, the Zuma `dynasty’
must have been influenced by our Zanu PF women’s league! Bad politics is
contagious, so I cannot rule out reverse osmosis.

“If Zuma claims South Africa is ready for a female president, now, why did
he not say South Africa is ready for a youthful president when Julius
Malema was clamouring for leadership renewal?

“This is all about self-preservation, greed and perpetuating the
monarchical mentality. I have no problem with female presidents –
Dlamini-Zuma has the credentials but Grace is a no no!”

Journalist Viv Maravanyika said: “Definitely the events in South Africa
will give strong credence to those in Grace’s camp as well as the first
lady herself. They can also point out how Hillary Clinton was backed by
her husband Bill (former US presient) in the recent elections. It’s well
and good to receive that support, but what are her qualifications? Is she
really presidential material? I don’t think so.”

Social commentator Farai Maguwu said there are contrasts and similarities.

“Indeed Zanu PF women and youth leagues might be emboldened by the ANC
women’s league and go for the jugular by nominating Grace.

“However, the matter of national leadership is beyond and above one’s
biological composition. It’s about delivering hope and change to the
masses. It’s about a person whose heart is in the right place, someone who
loves the people and one with a vision that leaves no one behind.”

Maguwu said by rising to the position of chairperson of the African Union
Commission Dlamini-Zuma has demonstrated that she has the capacity to
lead.

“Many on the continent feel she has held that position with much wisdom
and honour. I am not sure how she compares with Grace.

“I would really think Grace would do well to continue with her world
renowned charity work in Mazowe. Actually my advice to Zanu PF is that
they need someone who can unify the party and the nation if they are to be
of any relevance beyond Mugabe’s life.”

A political analyst who preferred to remain anonymous said the only
similarity is that Dlamini-Zuma and Grace have or had a relationship with
Presidents of countries in southern Africa.

“What happened in South Africa may never have a political domino effect to
the current politics in Zimbabwe. Dlamini-Zuma has in her own right,
strong domestic and regional credentials to warrant her nomination to lead
South Africa. While her ex-husband’s support may be crucial, in her own
right, she has a track record to command the support of the ANC. In other
words, she has a constituency base and national and regional appeal to
lead that country.

“Grace has no domestic and regional credentials to marshal support. Her
base is her husband, without whom she will just be political nonentity.”

Human rights activist Edna Masanga said: “That is a very worrying regional
precedent to be set by South Africa if that happens. Because we have
already seen efforts to create a Mugabe dynasty being put in place with
the president’s son-in-law being appointed to run the national airline,
his nephew being appointed minister and the wife leading one of the
powerful arms of Zanu PF – the women’s league.”

Political analyst Maxwell Saungweme said: “It’s likely to influence the
same here. Though prospects of a Grace presidency can only live while
Mugabe is alive. Once Mugabe is gone, Grace may be removed from the
political limelight as she has caused a lot of friction within Zanu PF and
she has created more enemies within the party, including both women and
youth leagues. Those that pretend to respect her do so owing to their
respect for Mugabe. Thus in that vein drawing parallels between South
Africa and Zimbabwe on this one may be far -fetched.”

Social commentator Rashweat Mukundu said: “While I don’t rate Dlamini-Zuma
that highly as a leader, she is however, a political leader in her own
right with credentials going back a long time. While Grace could be
inspired she does not come anywhere near Dlamini-Zuma as a politician.
While Grace’s claim to fame is simply being Mugabe’s wife, Dlamini-Zuma
has impeccable credentials as a political leader both in SA and in
Africa.”

Journalist Tichaona Sibanda said: “The political dynamics are different in
that Dlamini-Zuma has held public office for years beginning in exile
whereas Grace’s meteoric rise has been at the benevolence of her husband.
While Dlamini-Zuma maybe electable at an election we can’t say the same
for Grace, hence her opponents in Zanu PF will make sure that never
happens.”

Arts practitioner Josh Nyapimbi said: “Zimbabwe and South Africa body
politics are very different; the female examples you give will be accepted
and not for different reasons. In the Dlamini-Zuma case she literary had
her leadership rehearsal at African Union which is her strongest point.
While for Grace she has no tried and tested public office service.

“Further ANC has somewhat a progressive political culture compared to Zanu
PF judging by economic performance and foreign relations which they are
sensitive to and always shield from partisan politics straying brick
bats.”

Media practitioner Nigel Nyamutumbu said: “I don’t think we can even begin
to compare the illustrious political career of Dlamini-Zuma to that of
Grace. By all means, it is very noble for women to be nominated or take up
positions traditionally occupied by men.

“The case of the immediate past AU Commission chair is by miles different
from that of Grace in that whereas the former’s political history is well
documented both within her party and government, the latter is a political
novice and her rise to power has more to do with her husband’s position
that her own credentials.”

Councils gang up against Zinara

LOCAL authorities have ganged up against the Zimbabwe National Road Administration (Zinara) accusing it of causing the collapse of the country’s urban road networks.

Source: Councils gang up against Zinara – NewsDay Zimbabwe January 16, 2017

BY BLESSED MHLANGA

Urban Councils Authority of Zimbabwe president, and Harare mayor, Bernard Manyenyeni said councils were united in the call to have Zinara disbanded and stopped from collecting vehicle licence fees, which were previously collected by local authorities.

“It has no business collecting vehicle license fees. The fees should be collected by local authorities and Zinara itself has proved beyond doubt that it shouldn’t even exist.”

Manyanyeni said his council was receiving $1 million yearly against about $40 million required for maintenance of the city’s roads.

“They give us an average of $1 million a year, largely in kind and not cash when we expect $40 million, there is no conversation there,” he said.

Kwekwe mayor, Matenda Madzoke said Zinara should manage tollgate fees and other remittances, while leaving councils to collect vehicle licence fees so that they could maintain the roads.

“We got just $219 000 for the whole year from Zinara in 2015 and that money was not even enough for use on rehabilitating any road. We believe that if we are allowed to collect vehicle licences, as was the case in the past our roads would be in better shape and condition,” he said.

Kwekwe council says it can collect nearly $500 000 every quarter from the nearly 4 000 vehicles including buses and commuter omnibuses within its jurisdiction.

Kadoma mayor, Muchineyi Chinyanganya echoed the same sentiments saying his council receives $170 000 yearly against an annual budgetary requirement of at least $1 million to service city roads.

But Transport minister Joram Gumbo accused local authorities of abusing vehicle licence fees.

“They [councils] never collected an amount of $100 000 per term or per quarter of a year for roads, they never did that, but every local authority is getting over a $100 000 per quarter, so what are they doing with that money?

Harare, which makes a lot of noise, for instance, they get over a million, where are they putting it?” he charged.

‘Ensure transparency before rolling out biometric voter registration’

CIVIC society organisations under the banner, iVote2018, have urged electoral authorities to implement certain guidelines before rolling out the biometric voter registration (BVR) exercise to avoid compromising its integrity.

Source: ‘Ensure transparency before rolling out biometric voter registration’ – NewsDay Zimbabwe January 16, 2017

BY NQOBANI NDLOVU

This follows reports that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) is expected to complete the acquisition of BVR equipment ahead of a fresh registration exercise in March.

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and government are jointly financing the purchase of the equipment.

The iVote2018, while welcoming the development, however, said Zec still needed to gain the trust and confidence of the electorate by meeting certain pre-requisites so as not to compromise the BVR process.

“While the introduction of technology in elections is generally a progressive development, it is important that the pre-requisites for such are met in order for the development not to compromise the integrity of the electoral process and outcomes.

“In contexts such as Zimbabwe, where there is limited trust between the commission, the electorate, and opposition political parties, it is important that trust be restored through ensuring transparency within the entire process,” the civic groups said.

A biometric voting process electronically captures citizens’ data, including fingerprints and a digital photograph. The biometric system is known for doing away with multiple registrations and voting because it can easily detect duplicates.

“Therefore, the recommendations to ensure successful introduction of the BVR registration process, to the government are for increased citizens’ participation in the design and implementation of the process, extensive civic and voter education implemented under a framework that allows civil society organisations to play a central role
“Reforms on the electoral legislation that clearly set out the mechanisms and limitations on the use of obtained biometric data. This means that mechanisms must be put in place to protect the rights of citizens whose data is being collected,” the civic groups added.

Reports reveal that the Zec sent its staff on study tours to Zambia, Tanzania, Ghana, South Africa and Uganda, among other countries, to study how the BVR system works.

The civic groups added: “Biometric technologies must be implemented in a manner that respects the right to privacy.

It should not result in the loss of one’s identity through what are called “false reject errors or false accept errors”.

Legal Year opens today

Source: Legal Year opens today | The Herald

Fidelis Munyoro Chief Court Reporter—
Outgoing Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku is today expected to deliver a key note address to mark the official opening of the 2017 Legal Year and launch the Judicial Service Commission Law Reports at the Constitutional Court.

High-ranking Government officials, members of the legal fraternity and diplomats are among the invited guests.

The event runs concurrently with similar events in Bulawayo and Masvingo. Deputy Chief Justice Luke Malaba will officiate at the Bulawayo High Court, while Judge President Justice George Chiweshe will do the same in Masvingo.

Staff at the three centres were yesterday making final preparations for the opening ceremony. The official opening of a new Legal Year is an important event in the judicial calendar, as it gives the Chief Justice an opportunity to review the key developments over the past year and highlight the challenges and opportunities for the future.

The Chief Justice will also have an occasion to interact with the public, judges from various other courts, lawyers, diplomats and development partners. In his address last year, Chief Justice Chidyausiku urged stakeholders to partner to improve the justice delivery system.

He said all the stakeholders in the justice delivery system should be accountable to citizens and respect the roles of each other. Chief Justice Chidyausiku is going on retirement at the end of next month when he reaches the mandatory age of 70.

Deputy Chief Justice Luke Malaba is likely to take over in an acting capacity in March pending the amendment of the Constitution to facilitate the appointment of the new Chief Justice.

The amendment seeks to give the President constitutional powers to appoint the Chief Justice, Deputy Chief Justice and Judge President. The Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment Bill (Number 1) meant to change the Constitution has since been gazetted.

Chief Justice Chidyausiku was appointed to his post in July 2001 and during his tenure he presided over a number of reforms within the Judiciary.

Acting President Mphoko for Bikita West star rally

Source: Acting President Mphoko for Bikita West star rally | The Herald January 16, 2017

Walter Mswazie Masvingo Correspondent
ZANU-PF has intensified campaigns ahead of Saturday’s Bikita West by-election, with Acting President Phelekezela Mphoko set to headline the final star rally on Wednesday.

The Bikita West seat fell vacant following the incarceration of the constituency’s MP, Munyaradzi Kerek,e in July last year on rape charges.

Masvingo acting provincial chairman Cde Amasa Nhenjana said they have also lined up a number of ward-based rallies.

He said preparations for the star rally to be addressed by Acting President Mphoko on Wednesday were at an advanced stage.

“We have done a lot of ground work to retain Bikita West. As I am speaking, there are a number of ward-based campaign rallies being held and on Wednesday (this) week we will have our Acting President Cde Mphoko at Nyika Growth Point in Bikita for the final star rally,” said Cde Nenjana.

“Remember we had the first star rally last week where the Acting President Cde Emmerson Mnangagwa addressed thousands of supporters at Gwindingwi High School,” he said.

He said national political commissar Cde Saviour Kasukuwere would accompany Acting President Mphoko to Bikita.

“This will be the last star rally before the by-election on Saturday where we will urge all registered voters in Bikita West constituency to throng polling stations in their wards to cast their votes,” Cde Nhenjana said.

Bikita West Zanu-PF candidate Cde Beauty Chabaya promised to address the issue of roads and improve education in her constituency if voted into Parliament.

“I promise my constituency that if I am voted into Parliament I will address the issue of the poor road network, improve education by making sure there is adequate furniture and computers. I will also facilitate the electrification of all schools so that they can be connected to the internet for easy access to information by school pupils and teachers. The issue of boreholes to address water challenges will also be key,” said Cde Chabaya.

Five other candidates – Mr Kudakwashe Gopo (ZimPF), Mr Heya Shoko (Independent), Mr Madock Chivasa (NCA), Mr Terence Tanyaradzwa Makumbo (Progressive Democrats of Zimbabwe (PDZ) and Mr Innocent Muzvimbiri (Independent) – will contest in the by-election.

’Zanu PF manipulates hungry teachers ahead of Bikita West by-election’

Teachers have reportedly fallen victim to Zanu PF’s intimidation and manipulation tactics ahead of the Bikita West by-election set for January 20.

Source: ’Zanu PF manipulates hungry teachers ahead of Bikita West by-election’ – NewsDay Zimbabwe January 16, 2017

By Own Correspondent

The Amalgamated Rural Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe president, Obert Masaraure, in an interview said Zanu PF had resorted to manipulating desperate teachers through offering “petty financial rewards” to campaign for the party.

He said defiant teachers had received threats of violence, as well as displacements from their work stations.

“The teachers are either being manipulated as political players or are being coerced to campaign for the Zanu PF candidate. The ruling party has taken advantage of the poor working conditions of the teachers, who have become susceptible to manipulation,” Masaraure said.

“You will know that teachers are not getting their salaries on time and they have become subjects of manipulation. We have also received reports of teachers from Bikita West receiving death threats if they do not campaign for Zanu PF.”

Zanu PF will be represented by Beauty Chabaya in the by-election, which will also be contested by five other candidates.

Teachers from Zanu PF strongholds, particularly rural constituencies, have often fallen victim to the ruling party’s violence, as they are often blamed for sympathising with the MDC-T.

Masaraure expressed concern that quite often, rural schools are reduced to campaign platforms and this is often followed by threats to defiant teaching staff.

“As is the case with Bikita West, normal learning will obviously be disrupted, thus, denying children their right to education. The ruling party seems to be capitalising on fear, which was instilled on teachers in the past elections,” he said.

The Bikita West parliamentary seat fell vacant following the incarceration of Zanu PF legislator, Munyaradzi Kereke, who was convicted for rape last year.

Independent candidate, Heya Shoko agreed that Zanu PF was in a vote-buying spree.

“On Tuesday, some villagers were gathered at a ward centre in ward 9, where they were given some sorghum, as part of vote-buying tactics by Zanu PF. They were also given some posters of Chabaya and told to carry them home,” he said.

Masvingo Human Rights Trust (MHRT) has expressed concern over the rights violations by Zanu PF activists working in cahoots with traditional leaders.

“The human rights situation is deteriorating, as we move towards the by-election. Cases of politically-motivated violence and intimidation are on the rise. We recommend the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission to be on the ground to probe the violations and take corrective measures,” MHRT co-ordinator, Masimba Gonese said.

Masvingo-based civic society organisation, Community Tolerance Reconciliation and Development Trust (Cotrad), said the political situation in Bikita was fast becoming volatile.

“Zanu PF youths are the major perpetrators of violence, as they are moving in wards in the constituency threatening villagers that they are going to unleash violence if they did not vote for Beauty Chabaya,” Cotrad programmes manager, Zivanai Muzorodzi said.

Chabaya could neither confirm nor deny the reports. She promised to call back, but did not do so and failed to respond to a text message sent to her.

The sad story of Arda Transau villagers

SIX years after Nomsa Masango and her family were relocated from the Chiadzwa diamond mining area in Manicaland to Arda Transau, the only benefit she has accrued is a four-roomed house built by Anjin, and the rest is a sad tale.

Source: The sad story of Arda Transau villagers – NewsDay Zimbabwe January 16, 2017

BY VENERANDA LANGA

The over-sized faded clothes she wears and worn out slippers are enough to show the level of her impoverishment.

Several other seemingly impoverished Arda Transau villagers gathered around the visiting delegation of MPs from the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines and Energy and the Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (Zela) all there to find out about their living conditions.

They jostle to narrate their sordid tales of poverty and nasty experiences after they were removed from Chiadzwa to Arda Transau.

“We were resettled in these four-roomed houses, but we have extended families, including people in polygamous marriages and we are so squashed that in my house more than 12 people share four rooms,” she said.

“There is no privacy at all because we have to share the rooms and I and my husband end up resorting to making love in the toilet for lack of a free place.”

Masango said in order to eke a living, they sold firewood, saying there was a form of child labour, where children also worked at nearby farms in Odzi.

“Children work at farms for $1 per day in order to raise money for the $15 school fees. We are hungry, there is no food and now that the former mining companies were stopped from working, we no longer get food rations,” she said.

Mavis Gache chipped in, saying most people relocated from Chiadzwa to Arda Transau were polygamists from the vapostori religious sects, which has resulted in very large families sharing four-roomed houses.

“The problem is that a man might have been relocated at a time when he was married to one wife, but later he marries more wives and they end up being squashed in these houses,” she said.

Houses at the Anjin-relocation site have a fifth room, a kitchen located outside the main house.

From a far away glance, the houses look neat, but a closer inspection shows cracks due to poor workmanship.

Jacob Bvekwa, a polygamous man boasted of having 34 children with four wives, saying each wife occupied a room.

Asked how they enjoyed their conjugal rights with several children and wives around, he explained they were always ways of finding hideouts.

MPs from the committee heard that several other issues pertaining to the plight of the relocated villagers, such as hunger, joblessness and failure by the companies that operated in Chiadzwa to compensate them.

“Since 2011, when I was relocated with my family, I was only given $1 000 as relocation allowance,” narrated Steven Charisiki.

“There are no jobs around, as we were thrown into this bushy area. We can only provide cheap labour at surrounding farms. We never get food handouts here, and we feel that we were better off in Chiadzwa, where we had larger plots of land and livestock.”

Herbert Chiomba narrated his ordeal, where he had built a bottle store in Chiadzwa before relocation, and when he was transferred to the new Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) relocation site, he was not given money to build another bottle store as compensation.

“I was only offered land for me to build another bottle store, but I have no money to buy building materials,” he said.
When they were relocated from Chiadzwa, they were only given 100 square metres of land for farming.

Acting Mutare district administrator, Simon Sigauke said when diamond mining companies started their work in Chiadzwa, 32 villages were earmarked for relocation, yet only five were successfully relocated, leaving 4 032 households yet to be relocated by the new mining company ZCDC.

The consolidated mining company has only managed to relocate 23 people, with no other projects to show to MPs, which they had so far done for the community, except to show off old housing projects done by Anjin.

For Arda Transau villagers, tarred roads are things they only see when they go to Mutare and other towns. All over are dust roads despite the area being endowed with diamonds.

The projects that government has since started spearheading after the coming in of ZCDC include an irrigation project, where each family will get half a hectare. There are three centre pivots for the irrigable total hectorage.

An old warehouse, which belonged to Anjin had been lying idle and Sigauke said plans were underway to convert it into a youth vocational training centre.

At Arda, where some Chiadzwa villagers were relocated in 2011, Chiomba said there was no secondary

school and children had to walk 20km to the nearest school.

The nearest clinic is also 20km away, posing danger to pregnant women that might suddenly develop complications.

Zela mining taxation expert, Mukasiri Sibanda said there was need for clear policies on how ZCDC will engage the affected communities, as well as how they would deal with issues of compensation and corporate social responsibility.

“For ZCDC, to tell MPs that they buy chickens and vegetables from the local community as corporate social responsibility is a joke. We need serious community enterprise development,” he said.

ZCDC acting chief operations officer, Ridge Nyashanu told MPs that they had plans for infrastructural development in Chiadzwa, including building a university if funds permit.

Information minister Christopher Mushowe, who is also and legislator for the area, said the former diamond mining companies in Chiadzwa never fulfilled their promises to the people.

“We expected several schools and even a university, but they failed to even construct teachers’ houses. The bridge that you saw was constructed by Rhodesian Prime Minister Ian Smith. ZCDC needs to ensure locals are employed at their mines,” he said.

Current ZCDC employment ratios are 50% outsiders and 50% locals from Marange.

Gandawa points finger at ZACC

Source: Gandawa points finger at ZACC | The Herald January 16, 2017

Fungai Lupande Court Reporter
Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Deputy
Minister Godfrey Gandawa on Friday accused the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption
Commission (ZACC) of harassment and tricking him into arrest.

Gandawa wants Harare magistrate Mrs Vongai Muchuchuti-Guwuriro to refer
his case to the Constitutional Court and remove him from remand.

Through his defence counsel, Advocate Firoz Girach, Gandawa said his case
was similar to that of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and
Technology Development Minister Professor Jonathan Moyo, whose arrest was
suspended by the Concourt.

While on the witness stand, Gandawa challenged the validity of ZACC’s
search warrant.

“The search warrant was executed and certain documents were taken,” he
said. “I was called to ZACC offices. ZACC offices are not a police
station; no one was dressed in police uniform and neither did anyone show
me police identification.

“I was questioned by ZACC’s investigations officer for three hours and a
video which I did not consent to, was being recorded.

“They did not caution me. Afterwards Sergeant Munyaradzi Chacha advised me
that I was under arrest. That came as a surprise.”

Gandawa said this was similar to what happened to Prof Moyo.

“It was a fixed game,” he said. “Prof Moyo is not on remand and the
Concourt heard these issues on an urgent basis.”

Chief law officer Mr Lovett Masuku did not oppose having the Concourt
determine whether or not a police officer seconded to ZACC has the power
to arrest.

But he said he was opposed to having the case of the search warrant being
referred to the Concourt.

He was also opposed to having Gandawa removed from remand.

“The issue of the search warrant relates to proceedings during trial,”
said Mr Masuku. “Trial will determine whether the evidence should be
excluded or admitted.

“There is sufficient information that establishes a reasonable suspicion
that the accused committed the offence. The accused should remain on
remand pending his Concourt application.”

Gandawa is jointly charged with Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund
(Zimdef) finance director Nicholas Mapute. They are facing fraud and
criminal abuse of duty charges.

It is alleged that $95 800 was transferred from zimdef to Wishbone Trading
bank account through CABS. Gandawa received $20 000 through his personal
Barclays Bank account after which he transferred $19 030 to HIB Rajput PL
T/A Ace Cycles.

Gandawa then transferred $27 550 to SKM Motorcycles for 10 tri-cycles for
Prof Moyo and the balance was withdrawn in cash.

It is alleged that $107 525 was transferred from zimdef to Fuzzy
Technologies’ NMB Bank account, of which $5 745 was transferred to Pridham
Investments for Gandawa’s personal furniture.

Gandawa also paid for 69 bicycles worth $7 260 for Prof Moyo.

He also transferred $12 900 to Wisebone Trading as capital to finance his
personal business and the remainder was withdrawn in cash.

Give Grace a million dollars – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 14th January 2017

Zanu PF has defied the old saying that you can’t have your cake and eat it. The party has been chomping away for 37 years and believes there is an inexhaustible supply of cake.

Source: Give Grace a million dollars – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 14th January 2017

But then comes the sad case of Grace Mugabe’s million dollar diamond. The poor woman was conned. She says she paid up but the Lebanese businessman didn’t deliver. This is simply not supposed to happen to her.

Zimbabweans en masse have been conned for 37 years so we must sympathise with her predicament. Especially as it was such a romantic idea of the President to give her a ring to mark 20 years of wedded bliss.

And as Grace noted: ‘This was hard-earned money saved over the years . . . It’s a lot of sacrifice that my husband did from our farming and dairy business.’

It certainly must have been some sacrifice: getting up before dawn every day to milk the cows. And then there’s the ploughing to do . . . No wonder the old man falls asleep when he gets to the office.

The Vigil has a brilliant suggestion: why doesn’t the 21st February Movement use the million dollars it is raising for Mugabe’s 93rd birthday bash at the Matopos to buy a ring from a non-Lebanese businessman? That way Grace could lose her ring and still have it! Better still, they could go to another Lebanese businessman and pay him with bond notes! That’ll serve these Lebanese right.

Mind you, the missing ring is only a symptom of the problem. The eating your cake syndrome affects all aspects of life in Zimbabwe. Only this week the deputy labour minister Tapiwa Matangaidze insisted that the government would not sack any employees despite them costing more than 90% of government revenues.

He agreed the salary bill was unsustainable but said the answer was ‘natural attrition’. As workers died off they would not be replaced. He didn’t explain what would happen to the ghost workers. Wouldn’t there just be more of them?

But nothing is beyond the hutzpah of a government which can seize Chinese assets and then go to Beijing and ask them to give us more cake.

Thanks to those who came early to help set up: Fungayi Mabhunu, Phillip Mahlahla, Alice Majola, Theodora Mandishaya, Roseline Mukucha, Alfredy Mukuvare, Esther Munyira, Xavier Murape, Patience Muyeye, Pretty Okechukwu, Sicelesile Phiri, Rumbidzayi Sambana, Maxmus Savanhu and Zenzo Siziba. Thanks to Roseline, Esther, Pretty and Cathrine Musa for looking after the front table, to Nontokozo, Ncube, Rumbidzayi and Heather Makawa for handing out flyers and selling wristbands and to Phillip, Alfredy, Maxmus and Xavier for putting up the banners.

For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website. The facebook page for our sister organisation Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) (https://www.facebook.com/ROHR-Zimbabwe-Restoration-of-Human-Rights-301811392835) has been hijacked by destructive elements from a group calling itself ZHRO. Please be advised that any postings on this page are not posted by ROHR.

FOR THE RECORD: 34 signed the register.

 EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • ROHR Central London branch meeting. Saturday 21st January from 11.30 am – 1.30 pm. Venue: Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London SE1 8XX. Contact: Daisy Fabian 07708653640, Maxmus Savanhu 07397809056, Sipho Ndlovu 07400566013.
  • ROHR Southampton branch meeting. Saturday 21st January 2017 from 12 noon – 1 pm for committee meeting and from 1 – 3 pm for general members meeting. Venue: Eastleigh Library, Swan Shopping and Leisure Centre, Swan Centre, Eastleigh SO50 5SF. Contact: Ben Semwayo (Chair) 07401611932, Grace Rukure (Secretary) 07462103397 and Reuben Waretza (Publicity and Advocacy) 07946 607 617.
  • 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.
  • Swaziland Vigil. Saturday 21st January from 10 am to 1 pm outside the Swaziland High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB.
  • Monthly Itai Dzamara protest Saturday 11th February. From 2 – 6 pm outside the Zimbabwe Embassy. The protest is to mark twenty-third months since Itai’s abduction by intelligence agents.
  • Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF) meets regularly after the Vigil to discuss ways to help those back in Zimbabwe to fight oppression and achieve true democracy.
  • Zimbabwe Yes We Can Movement holds meetings in London as the political face of ROHR and the Vigil.
  • Zimbabwe Vigil Highlights 2016 can be viewed on this link: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/843-zimbabwe-vigil-highlights-2016. Links to previous years’ highlights are listed on 2016 Highlights page.
  • Facebook pages:
    Vigil: https://www.facebook.com/zimbabwevigil
    ZAF: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Zimbabwe-Action-Forum-ZAF/490257051027515

‘Aborted data fees increase suspicious’

Source: ‘Aborted data fees increase suspicious’ – DailyNews Live 15 January 2017

Maxwell Sibanda

HARARE – While Communication Technologies minister, Supa Mandiwanzira this
week suspended the new floor prices of data services which had been
introduced by the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority
(Potraz) on January 9 until he resumes work end of this month, analysts
are worried about the timing of the aborted increase.

And there are strong fears among Zimbabweans that government’s suspension
maybe lifted and the hike introduced although it will not be that high.

The analysts said given that 2017 is the campaign year ahead of next
year’s elections, government would like to curtail the use of social media
given that last year Zimbabweans used the platform to air their
grievances, a development that rattled the State.

The citizens also managed to mobilise themselves through social media and
staged massive protests against government’s misrule, rampant corruption
and police brutality.

Misa-Zimbabwe while welcoming government’s decision to suspend the
exorbitant increase said there is still need for further consultations on
an ideal pricing model for the sector given that Zimbabwe’s mobile data
tariffs are among the highest on the continent.

“The envisioned pricing model should strike a balance between business
interests and citizens’ rights to access. This can be achieved by ensuring
competition and innovation in the sector in the interest of promoting
access, affordability and respect for human rights,” said Misa-Zimbabwe’s
senior programmes officer Nyasha Nyakunu.

In its reversal statement, Potraz noted the conduct and double standards
of the Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) who were now denying that they
engaged the regulator seeking for the increase.

However, analysts feel the move is regrettable and they doubt if it was
mere coincidence that it is happening just a year before the elections.

ZimRights director Okay Machisa said it should be known that the proposed
unprecedented rise of these tariffs was meant to erode fundamental freedom
and rights of Zimbabweans. “Access to information is well-shrined in the
Constitution and Potraz seemed to be doing exactly the opposite.

“We are aware of the idea behind all this and surely Zimbabwe is
struggling to match other countries in the region on technological
development and retrogressive minds always think of political hegemony.

“It is quite unfortunate that we have individuals who are sent to manage
institutions like Potraz who will never grow professionally because they
want to serve their political masters. “Social media in my view should be
kept as cheap as possible to allow free exchange of information and ideas
for the growth of Zimbabwe.”

Playwright Raisedon Baya said: “There are many theories that run in my
head even if the minister says the hike has been suspended. That it could
have been a calculated move to make sure there is little sharing of
information during the rundown to election. Let’s not forget Evan Mawarire
and his “ThisFlag” movement nearly crippled the government using social
media. Now they would want to indirectly disable any social media
revolution.”

Media practitioner Patience Zirima said the timing and the events in
previous months gives room for Zimbabweans to speculate on the motives
behind the floor prices for data tariffs.

“Whether intended or not, the net effect was going to make data beyond the
reach of most citizens who rely on mobile phones to access the internet.
It was going to affect how citizens would engage in electoral processes,
given that WhatsApp and other social media have become a critical platform
through which citizens’ access information and share ideas.”

Social commentator Rashweat Mukundu suspects that after trying threats and
using the law, Potraz had decided to hit social media activism via the
pocket. “The aborted huge and unjustifiable increase in data costs was
meant to stifle the public use of social media and this is an election
strategy to limit public engagement on the dire Zimbabwe situation.

“Any increase in the near future goes against local and world calls to
enhance ICT use in business, advancing human, social and political rights
of the public. At a time of e-banking, e-education and e-governance this
increase could have taken us back to stone age.

“I suspect this shocking move was driven by political fear not strength,
those were not actions of a government confident in itself.”

Communications and leadership expert Maggie Mzumara said this unfortunate
development if it will be implemented would hamper people’s access to
information. “The unfortunate thing with our situation is that we can’t
put anything past our government. The few liberties our people enjoy
government has on many occasions not hesitated to snatch them from the
citizenry, thereby depriving them of any windows or opportunities of some
relief in these hard times.

“We hope government reconsiders and the suspension will hold forever. You
really cannot with certainty rule out politics and politicking out of
this.”

Zesn director Rindai Chipfunde Vava said: “Access to information is
critical to citizens participation using popular social media platforms.
The proposed high prices could have inhibited the majority of Zimbabweans
access to information on electoral developments and voter education
necessary for making informed choices.”

Political analyst Blessing Vava said: “The obvious reality is that the
Zanu PF government will now be employing all counter actions to bar
Zimbabweans from social media. They are not taking any chances as we
prepare for the polls in 2018.”

Political analyst Maxwell Saungweme said the aborted move was another
first by Zimbabwe, a new low in politics, economics and
telecommunications.

“It was very unprecedented in any jurisdiction that a regulatory authority
would side with services providers and trigger an increase in tariffs.
Regulatory authorities in mixed economic systems are there to safeguard
consumer interest and curb excesses of profit motivated business
operators.

“In Zimbabwe, this move just illustrated how again we would have scored a
first in doing things in reverse-political topsy-turvy. We are a true
shack down economy where the business and corrupt government seize any
opportunity to fleece the poor public, the consumers.

“Economically, the increase in tariffs has no backing. It’s unjustified,
given the economic imperatives prevailing in Zimbabwe and a deflationary
and repressed market.

“Apart from accessing social platforms and mobile money, people were
getting information on early warning signs including animal diseases,
pests, and rainfall partners, market prices for agriculture products,
health alerts, and micro insurance information among others.

“These are all advantages to the general populace that will be affected by
the ill-conceived and heedless move by Potraz. The whole mobile data
bundle tariff rise in Zimbabwe is a heedless, retrogressive, insensitive
and politically motivated onslaught on freedom of expression ahead of 2018
elections.”

Saungweme believes the proposed increase was meant to stifle political and
activists campaigns that have shaken the core of the Zanu PF regime with
social media campaigns such as #thisflag, #tajamuka and #Zimbabweyadzoka
having proved to be very efficacious and successful.

“Zanu PF is very afraid of these campaigns. So this purported move must be
seen as an early attempt at rigging the 2018 polls. This is one of a wide
range of options Zanu PF intends to use to rig polls. “Rigging has already
started. This is also a sign that there will be no electoral reforms at
all. We have been yearning for electoral reforms that guarantee among
other things, our freedom of expression. “This latest move was to block
freedom of expression in a very big way and must be documented as the
genesis of 2018 election rigging by Zanu PF.”

‘Moyo keen to divide Mugabe, Mnangagwa’

Source: ‘Moyo keen to divide Mugabe, Mnangagwa’ – DailyNews Live 15 January 2017

Tendai Kamhungira

HARARE – Maverick businessman-cum-politician Energy Mutodi is refusing to
hold back his withering criticism of President Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF
and here he speaks to The Daily News On Sunday Deputy Chief Writer, Tendai
Kamhungira, about his views on the rumbling succession issue and the storm
caused by images of him with Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa holding a
coffee mug in what has become known as the “Cupgate”; below are the
excerpts of the interview.

Q: There has been a lot of noise about your presence at a party organised
by Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa at his rural home, can you clarify
how and why you attended the event?

A: What I know is that like any other government official, the VP has
always been having such meetings, not meetings per se but gatherings with
his friends for the New Year and Christmas. The VP did not personally
invite me to the event, I happened to be there, one may say I was invited
or not, I don’t think anyone who was there got any written invitation to
confirm whether they had been invited or they had not been invited. But,
look, the bottom line is that there is nothing to go to town about
attending a Christmas event, a New Year’s Eve celebration at a house that
belongs to a public official because he is my vice president, he is your
vice president, so there is nothing unusual. Even if an opposition member
was there, the MDC or whichever party, vice president Mnangagwa is the
vice president of the nation.

Q: You were involved in the so-called Cupgate saga, was this a planned
thing?

A: The explanation I got is that VP Mnangagwa got that coffee mug as a
present from his workers and honestly if someone in his own house gets a
present from his workers, he doesn’t even know which closed present has
what item, he honestly opened and he saw that cup. It’s just a mere cup.

Q: And were the pictures part of any plan to send a particular message?

A: Someone just took those pictures of me with the vice president without
any intention to express any statement or any message. It was just an
ordinary picture. That’s not the only high profile picture that has been
taken between a citizen and a high profile figure. President Mugabe has
had pictures with (Wicknell) Chivayo, who has said a thing about that?
Because it is now Mnangagwa pictured with Mutodi, where is the enmity
coming from, where is the hate coming from? Am I not a citizen of
Zimbabwe? Is Mnangagwa not my vice president? Why should it matter to
someone if I am pictured with him? So you can only see that the concern is
coming from shallow-minded people who just want to create a storm in a tea
cup (literally).

Q: Now, other people went to town about the issue including Higher and
Tertiary Education minister Jonathan Moyo, what do you think could be the
reason why this coffee mug created so much noise?

A: Moyo is in the habit of creating divisions in the party and he is keen
to see a war between Mnangagwa and Mugabe. I have always reminded him,
quite often I always help him in discussions because we are in the same
Law School class, that there is nowhere he can go with factionalism, there
is nowhere he can go with trying to divide the nation. He is on record
claiming that he wanted to destroy Zanu PF from within and any normal
person will tell you that he is actually doing that mission, starting with
the expulsion of (former Vice President Joice) Mujuru and 41 party
members, among them 16 or so ministers. That was not a joke. That issue
could have been solved within the party amicably and people could not have
been expelled in such large numbers but he is in the habit of divisive
politics and he has actually said it before that he wanted to see to it
that Zanu PF was destroyed from within. Right now, Mugabe has been
alienated from the people who liberated the country. He has been alienated
from the war veterans and when you look at it Mugabe has always been
saying good things about war veterans, respecting them about the good that
they did in delivering independence to this country.Now for you to be
alienated from the war veterans at such an old age, it means there is
someone who is working flat out to make sure that the party is divided and
will eventually lose at the elections.

Q: Are you claiming in a way that Jonathan Moyo wants Zanu PF to lose
elections?

A: Jonathan Moyo is the enemy of Zanu PF. The Bible says the one who you
eat with in the same plate is your biggest enemy and that is Jonathan for
you. He is the Judas of Zanu PF; he doesn’t want that party to succeed
because he has got grievances against the party that date back to the
1980s.

He is not happy that the party continues to win elections, he has been in
and out of the party and for Mugabe to trust such a person, I am sure that
is the biggest blunder that the president has ever done.

Q: You are seen as a straight-talker when it comes to the Zanu PF
succession issue, as a party member how do you feel about the whole
situation?

A: I want to categorically state that the views that I project in the
media are my personal views and I believe being a Zanu PF member does not
take away my own personal opinion. I am a citizen of Zimbabwe, I have got
a right to pass any comment about public officials, be it the president,
be it the vice president, be it a minister, I have got that right. There
are decisions that are made by the party at congress, at conferences and
so on. I am not above those decisions but like I said it doesn’t take away
my freedom to express my views. I am a frank person. If I like you, I like
you, if I don’t like what you are doing I also tell you. I have written
“lavish” articles about Mugabe, I have written good articles about Zanu
PF but where I feel things are not right, I also express my views. So the
precedence I am just setting is that as citizens we must be guardians of
our own future. The fact that we have a president today does not mean we
are gonna (going to) have that president forever. We need to shape the
future through the views that we pass today, that’s exactly what I am
doing.

Q: Do you support the war veterans’ call for Mugabe to retire?

A: In the succession (issue) you will find that Mugabe and the whole
leadership must thank people who are talking about succession because
those people who are talking, have their views known but I can assure you
that 99 percent of Zanu PF members are of the view that Mugabe now needs
to rest. It won’t be nice for Mugabe to be defeated in elections because
99 percent of his members in Zanu PF think that he is no longer suitable
to remain at the helm of the party. People really think that he needs to
retire and allow for a successor to come. Now the war veterans are some of
the people who are talking about succession I thank them for that, for
being candid, realistic and for being honest.

Q: You openly support VP Mnangagwa, why do you think he is the heir
apparent?

A: I have offered my support for …Mnangagwa to be Mugabe’s successor
because of so many reasons that include the fact that we need a smooth
transfer of power from the incumbent to the next leader and only Mnangagwa
can provide that smooth transition because he has been in the trenches
with the president, he knows the strengths and the weaknesses of the
system, he knows our enemies, he knows our friends, he has got a strategy
to take this country forward, because he already knows the past. For you
to take a country forward, you must know its history, so that’s why I have
favoured him to be the next president.The other reason is that VP
Mnangagwa is a lawyer by profession; he will implement the rule of law if
he is elected the president. This country is now on its knees because of
corruption, because of economic mismanagement and incompetence of public
officials and as an experienced government official, a lawyer by
profession, he will be able to really turn around the fortunes of the
country for the better.The other reason why I say … Mnangagwa is a
better candidate is because we all know him. He has not been the
president, some people may want to accuse him of this and that,
Gukurahundi…and so on, he has never been the president of Zimbabwe. We
all know that it is only the president who has got the power over the army
and over the activities of Cabinet and whatever government arm, so why
should we say then Mnangagwa is responsible for the past of this country?
He is also a calm character, quiet, patient, loyal, as he has shown
loyalty to Mugabe for the past 50 years, so what more do you want, what
kind of a person are we expecting?

Q: Do you think the VP is now ripe for presidency?

A: He has not yet done enough, what he now needs to do is to make sure
that some of those people who are around him, who are closing him in and
saying you are our man; he must perhaps do away with those people to
create room for new people to come in to help him with his ambition, if
ever he has the ambition to be president. The VP can even work with First
Lady Grace Mugabe, and discuss the future with her. There is nothing wrong
with that, he can even discuss with (Saviour) Kasukuwere. The VP now needs
to go for his perceived enemies. There are so many people around the VP,
some of them are not even educated, they are possessive of him, they want
to create an impression that he is where he is because of them, he must
kick those people away from him.

Q: Why do you think a member from the G40 must not take over from
Mugabe?

A: To be honest any takeover by Grace Mugabe will not be accepted by
Zimbabweans, not even a single Zimbabwean will accept that because it will
be taken as a continuation of Mugabe’s government. You cannot transfer
power from yourself to another member of your family, that will be
regarded as a monarchy and it will be a disgrace to the democracy of this
country, and Mugabe has categorically said he will not transfer power to
his wife. Mugabe is not a naive person; he will not stoop so low to that
extent of transferring power to his wife, so that one is already out. Then
coming to Kasukuwere, Kasukuwere in his post as commissar, he has presided
over the disintegration of the party, what more if you give him a higher
responsibility, what is he going to do? Already as a political commissar
you have seen more than 300 cadres dismissed from the party. It means you
are a failure. You cannot get a higher post when you cannot perform at a
lower post. So definitely the so-called G40 has no candidate to take over
from Mugabe, there is no candidate whatsoever. We need a candidate who is
gonna guarantee our sovereignty, who is gonna guarantee our prosperity,
who is gonna guarantee our unity, that is not there in the G40.

Q: Are you not afraid of openly stating your views pertaining to the
succession issue?

A: I am not afraid of anything, I am not a coward.  I am prepared to die
for my views. I am not afraid of anyone, I know some people will be
afraid, saying he is going too far, but no, that’s not going too far,
that’s being frank and candid. I should not be afraid.

Economy-twin deficit trap

Source: Economy-twin deficit trap – Sunday News Jan 15, 2017

ZIMBABWE now has a “twin deficit” with both the fiscal or Government budget and the current account running in deficit for a long period.

As this would naturally lead to declining foreign reserves and inflationary pressures, it can pose serious risks to macro-economic stability as well. External and fiscal deficits are sometimes interrelated, but the causal relationship can go both ways.

For example, a twin deficit in Zimbabwe has been caused by a decline in export revenues, which has led to lower Government revenues, while imports have continued to increase and Government expenditure maintained at high levels, or even increased resulting in both external and fiscal positions deteriorating with time, to date.

In addition, a twin deficit in Zimbabwe has also originated from the Government budget with an increase in public spending, that is, recurrent expenditure that has not been accompanied by or matched with higher public revenue in the form of taxes or private net savings that could have generated domestic investment, causing both fiscal and external positions to deteriorate.

A combination of lower export earnings and higher public expenditure has led to a twin deficit in Zimbabwe.

The Government in the 1980s to 1990s widely used financial budgetary support from International Monetary Fund, World Bank and other international financial lenders. The over reliance on external borrowings to finance the national budget and its deficits led to the accumulation of huge debt obligations that is still a burden for the country today.

In 1999, the country started defaulting on its payment obligations and as a result, was labelled not credit worthy. This led to the withdrawal of financial assistance by these international financial institutions. The Government then resorted to domestic borrowing, resulting in domestic debt stock progressively increasing as well over the years. Lack of macro-economic policy implementation credibility, inconsistent policy formulation and high inflation levels, culminated over the period leading to 2008 hyperinflation, and saw the maturity structure of domestic debt becoming more concentrated towards the shorter end of the market.

The prevention of these unsustainable twin deficits requires not only prudent fiscal policies, but also competitive real exchange rates, notwithstanding the fact that Zimbabwe is in a no exchange rate phenomenon, i.e. in the absence of a domestic currency, and further improvement in conditions for domestic firms or industry revival and foreign direct investment inflows.

Both fiscal and external deficits would then eventually decline. If the remaining current account deficits were to a large extent financed through FDI they would be sustainable, as this type of financing does not increase external debt and also helps control domestic government borrowing.

However, the first fiscal policy announcement in Zimbabwe in 1980 in particular, saw the Government making a commitment of fiscal soundness, targeting a reduction in the rate of growth of net current expenditure to levels below seven percent in real terms or one percent below that of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per annum. This was meant to reduce the budget deficit and allow sustainable fiscal policy management. Unfortunately, this trajectory was to be short lived, leading the country to development traps.

Defining the development traps

Zimbabwe has in the circumstances highlighted above, been caught in the following development traps: poverty trap and middle-income trap, and thus ranked among the low-income countries. The structural challenges highlighted above have hindered Zimbabwe to explore the factors that ultimately determine the possibilities of a developing economy, such as Zimbabwe to surpass its dual character and enter a path of successful catch up with the advancing economies in Africa in general.

There are two distinguishing characteristics features that set Zimbabwe in a development trap. The first feature is the presence of an extended traditional or informal sector that has ballooned over the years (i.e., a large portion of the country’s labour force working in extremely low productive activities that use obsolete technologies and mainly produces for their own subsistence). The second feature is the existence of an important degree of technological backwardness in the non-traditional sectors (i.e. a significant technological gap in the modern activities as compared to the advancing economies in the region, such as South Africa for example).This has been exacerbated by the country’s fiscal policy thrust dating as far as the 1980s.

That is, Zimbabwe’s budget has always been expansionary, that is, recurrent expenditure at the expense of infrastructural and technological development. We have always seen very little budget vote towards infrastructural development for example, setting the country in a serious development trap.

The focus of the development trap trajectory that I am pointing out here is premised on the failure of the dynamical interaction between these two features I have mentioned above, in the process of Zimbabwe’s economic growth and development. From this perspective, successful development would have entailed a joint improvement in these two dimensions up to the point at which modern activities not only become dominant but also manage to catch up with the general world frontier. That is, Zimbabwe managing to close the technological gap while absorbing most of the workers or labour from the traditional sector (informal sector) into the modern developed sector (modern industrialisation).

In conclusion, the main focus of this instalment is to investigate economic development as a process of structural transformation that I wrote about in previous instalments.

In particular, this article postulates that there are two key transformations that need to be achieved in order to catch up with the rest of the advancing countries in Africa: on one hand, the absorption of an increasing share of the labour force in the modern part of the economy (structural change); on the other hand, the technological upgrading of these modern sectors (technological catch up). Failure to achieve either of these transformations will eventually lead the country to poverty-trap, when the country is endowed with such natural resources.

Dr Bongani Ngwenya is a Bulawayo-based Economist and Senior Lecturer at Solusi University’s Post Graduate School of Business. He can be contacted on ngwenyab@solusi.ac.zw or nbongani@gmail.com

Civil servants bonus talks resume

Source: Civil servants bonus talks resume – Sunday News Jan 15, 2017

Harare Bureau
GOVERNMENT and civil servants’ representatives are this week scheduled to resume their crunch meetings over payment of 2016 bonuses with the employees saying they will make a fresh demand for the employer to peg specific dates for the release of the 13th cheque.

The meetings, which are being held under the auspices of the National Joint Negotiating Council that brings together Government and the civil servants’ umbrella body — the Apex Council — had been shelved during the past few weeks owing to the festive season.

The two parties last met in December when Government proposed to substitute bonuses with residential stands, an offer that was turned down by the civil servants who insisted on receiving money.

Last week, Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa said he was not able to comment as he was on official leave and would return to work next week while his Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare counterpart Minister Prisca Mupfumira was not available for an interview.

Apex Council president Mrs Cecilia Alexander, however, told our Harare Bureau that the workers are going to resume meetings with Government this week to pick up from where they left last year. She said the 2016 bonuses will be the main agenda of the talks while other issues on the table include the 2017 salary pay dates and working conditions.

“Yes, we were supposed to meet with our employer but we have decided to give them more time to work on the issue since we realised that some of them are still to resume their respective duties after the festive holidays,” she said.

“However, starting next week (this week), we are going to do a serious follow up on the matter as we would want Government to give us concrete dates on when we will start receiving our bonuses for 2016.”

Mrs Alexander said although the workers appreciate Government’s offer on residential stands, the Apex Council is of the opinion that the proposal came in late and should only be considered for 2017 bonuses going forward.

“Government had offered to give us the bonuses in the form of stands but we felt the proposal came a bit late. We might consider the offer this year but as for the 2016 bonuses, we are expecting cash,” she said.

“We would want an answer on the matter as soon as possible.”

Human Resources expert Mr Memory Nguwi urged the civil servants to reconsider the residential stands offer in light of cash flow challenges being faced by Government.

“The civil servants should consider the key issue and look at the financial cash flows being experienced by the Government,” he said.

“Sometimes it is better to compromise and take what is there because the opportunity might pass and never present itself again.”

Government has been struggling to pay civil servants’ bonuses over the years due to cash flow challenges.

Last year, authorities staggered their bonuses with the last batch of civil servants receiving their 2015 bonuses well into the second half of last year.

President Mugabe has been on record saying despite the low revenue inflows, Government workers deserve to get the 13th cheque as per tradition.

In November last year, Government introduced a residential scheme for civil servants as part of the employer’s non-monetary incentives to workers.

Over 500 000 civil servants have registered for the scheme with modalities of the project already underway.

Gloomy economic outlook threatens decent work

Source: Gloomy economic outlook threatens decent work | The Financial Gazette January 12, 2017

By Christopher Mahove

PROSPECTS of a gloomy economic outlook this year is seen threatening the already precarious decent work situation in Zimbabwe.
Despite having a Decent Work Country Programme, Zimbabwe suffers a huge decent work deficit, which might worsen as the country’s economic health continues to deteriorate.
The International Labour Organisation defines decent work as the aspirations of people in their working lives.
It involves opportunities for work that is productive and delivers a fair income, security in the workplace and social protection for families, better prospects for personal development and social integration, freedom for people to express their concerns, organise and participate in the decisions that affect their lives and equality of opportunity and treatment.
A decent work deficit is expressed in the absence of sufficient employment opportunities, inadequate social protection, the denial of rights at work and shortcomings in social dialogue.
These failings provide a measure of the gap between the world of work and the hopes people have for a better life.
Amid predictions of more job losses this year, labour experts predict that the informalisation of the economy could worsen, a development that would exacerbates Zimbabwe’s decent work deficit.
Presently, a paltry 10 percent of the country’s employable population is estimated to be in formal employment, the majority of them being government workers.
With the economy showing very little signs of wading out of the doldrums, thousands more workers would most likely find themselves on the streets, joining a legion of informal traders as many companies would most inevitably struggle to reopen for business this year after the Christmas and New Year holiday break.
Others are most certainly going to further downsize in an effort to prolong their stay in business.
Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) president, Peter Mutasa, said the labour body was disappointed that decent work in the country has regressed instead of moving forward.
“Government has destroyed more jobs than it committed to create. Workers rights are being trampled upon daily and the Zuva Supreme Court ruling drew us back closer to the colonial era where workers virtually had no rights,” he said.
In July 2015, the Supreme Court ruled in the Zuva case that an employer had the right to terminate an employee’s contract on notice.
The ruling saw several employers, including parastatals, rushing to trim their wage bills by terminating contracts for a sizeable number of their employees on three months notices.
The retrenchments only ended after the Labour Act was amended to halt the job carnage.
Mutasa said there was no urgency in government efforts towards providing adequate social protection to those at risk.
He said the persistent and growing poverty levels require urgent interventions in order to secure citizens’ livelihoods and to protect those in need.
“However, there are no policies with real outcomes which we can point out to with satisfaction and hope that they are being formulated or implemented,” said Mutasa.

Without a change in the policy direction, the ZCTU president sees a bleak future for employees as government appears ready to please the Breton Woods institutions at the expense of workers.
“The call for labour market flexibility is growing louder by the day in the corridors of power. The International Monetary Fund and World Bank neo-liberal policies prescriptions anchored on austerity will definitely lead to more decent work deficits, increased unemployment, vulnerability and poverty,” Mutasa concluded.
ZCTU is currently mobilising workers to demand decent work through various processes, among them advocacy and campaigns such as the recent opposition to some provisions of the Special Economic Zones Bill that had to be sent back to Parliament for amendment after President Robert Mugabe refused to sign it into law following the legitimate protests from labour.
ZCTU secretary general, Japhet Moyo, this week said the country still has a long way to go in achieving decent work for its people.
“Decent work deficits are still prevalent because the country does not have comprehensive social security policies. The labour industry is characterised by low wages, poor working conditions, non-payment of wages, unreliable transport systems to various workplaces and failure by government and business to abide by international labour standards,” said Moyo.
The majority of employers in the country, government included, are failing to honour collective bargaining agreements and to pay wages in time, if at all they did pay.
“Generally, the informalisation of jobs creates decent work deficits and the current labour laws allow employers to hire and fire workers because the dispute resolution system is very cumbersome for workers to seek remedies when victimised,” he said.
Labour and Economic Research Institute of Zimbabwe (LEDRIZ) economist, Naome Chakanya, said although section 65 of the country’s Constitution clearly spells out workers’ right to decent jobs, government has continued to violet this right.
“The minimum wages continue to lag behind the poverty datum line. A study by LEDRIZ in 2015 revealed that about 82 777 workers are affected by non-payment of wages and salaries. Workers are suffering from wage theft, which is a clear violation of international labour standards as well as national legislation,” she said.
Chakanya said workers must fight for their rights because government and business have their own agendas and would not vouch for them.
International Trade Union Conference (ITUC) deputy general secretary, Wellington Chibebe, said it was difficult for countries with governments with repressive tendencies to achieve decent work.
Chibebe — responsible for trade unions situation in Africa and also responsible for legal, solidarity support, development cooperation, political and civil society relations at the global level — said although decent work was part of the Sustainable Development Goal number eight, which was also part of Agenda 2030 and 2063 for Africa, it was difficult to achieve for as long because there were no set national minimum wages.
Stipulated minimum wages would protect workers from abuse, and if there was no agreed position, there would be no decent work.
Chibebe, who led the trade union delegation to the Financing Development conference in Addis Ababa in 2015 and was among the panelists in the sessions that culminated in the adoption of Agenda 2030, said most countries failed to achieve decent work because they opted for policies that pacified Western investors.
“Arising from the desire for foreign direct investment, corporate greed, and the so called cheap money, most African governments are sacrificing the decent work agenda despite the hype of the 2030 and 2060 agenda,” he said adding: “This is a clear re-introduction of modern day slavery through the back door, which is a shame to say the least.”
The ITUC has identified five countries namely Nigeria, Senegal, Kenya, Ghana and Zambia as having national minimum wage schedules that are now being used as torchbearers in Africa.

Plastic money spurs Christmas spending

Source: Plastic money spurs Christmas spending – Sunday News Jan 15, 2017

Dickson Mangena, Business Reporter
MORE than 80 percent of retail transactions during the festive season were conducted through plastic money with more than 4 000 Point of Sale Machines added in December alone.

Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers (CZR) president Mr Denford Mutashu said a majority of sales during the festive season were through plastic money as the number of Point Of Sale machines increased from 25 000 in November to 29 000 during the festive season.

The number of POS machines has grown from just 400 when the country officially adopted dollarisation in 2009 to 29 000 by December last year. The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe had proposed a target of 30 000 POS machines by the end of 2016.

“We are happy with the hive of activity in the festive season as it was better than the previous one. One of the notable differences was that 80 percent of the sales were attributable to plastic and mobile money. We also saw the tremendous rise of POS machines in the country’s retail from around 25 000 in November to around 29 000 during the festive season,” said Mr Mutashu.

Mr Mutashu, however, appealed to the RBZ and players in the financial sector to increase the supply of POS machines and other financial inclusion mechanisms to the rural areas and other remote areas.

“We, however, have a concern in that the number of retailers that do not have POS machines is still very high. We have retailers in the rural areas that still don’t have POS machines and yet the bulk of our customers, about 60 percent, are in the rural areas.

“We therefore urge the RBZ and players in the financial sector to look into the issue to ensure financial inclusion for all,” Mr Mutashu said.

Mr Mutashu also said that the general acceptance of the bond notes that were introduced in November last year contributed to increased expenditure during the festive season.

“As liquidity was a major threat to the buying power of our customers, the acceptance and embrace of the bond notes came as a boost. It was also a bond Christmas,” said Mr Mutashu.

He said last year was different as the bulk of the products that were in stock were locally manufactured as retailers improved relations with local manufacturers.

“More goods last year were locally manufactured, general stocks constituted about 70 percent of local manufactured goods. As the retail sector we have embraced Statutory Instrument 64 of 2016 and we now have an improved relationship with local manufacturers,” Mr Mutashu said.

Local companies have been increasing production on the back of restriction on imported goods.

The Government is aiming at boosting local production at the same time encouraging the consumption of local goods to create employment and improve the economy in general.

58 polling stations for Bikita West by-election

Source: 58 polling stations for Bikita West by-election – Sunday News Jan 15, 2017

Walter Mswazie in Masvingo
THE Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) has said there will be 58 polling stations for the Bikita West by-election to be held on Saturday.

Six candidates are vying for the seat that fell vacant when former National Assembly representative Munyaradzi Kereke was jailed for 10 years after being found guilty of raping his 11-year-niece last year. The candidates who are vying for the seat are Cde Beauty Chabaya (Zanu-PF), Mr Kudakwashe Gopo (ZimPF), Mr Heya Shoko (Independent), Mr Madock Chivasa (National Constitutional Assembly), Mr Terence Tanyaradzwa Makumbo (Progressive Democrats of Zimbabwe) and Mr Innocent Muzvimbiri (Independent).

In an interview, Zec chairperson Justice Rita Makarau said the commission was ready to conduct the by-election. She said there will be 58 polling stations which will be mainly set up at primary schools while some of them will be tents that will be pitched in different wards.

Justice Makarau said about 18 800 voters have registered to vote in the constituency.

She said the commission would make use of the manual voting system but indicated that they were in the process of procuring equipment for biometric system to be used in next year’s harmonised elections.

“I can safely say as Zec, we are ready for the Bikita West by-election. We are done with the voters’ roll. About 18 800 voters have registered to vote. Soon we will be printing a voters’ roll specifically for the constituency,” said Justice Makarau.

Site for 21st Feb movement celebrations identified

Source: Site for 21st Feb movement celebrations identified – Sunday News Jan 15, 2017

Robin Muchetu, Senior Reporter
THE ZANU-PF Matabeleland South Province has identified Hazel Site in the Matopo National Park as the venue for this year’s 21st February Movement celebrations.

The site is 33 kilometres from Bulawayo and was chosen over the Main Camp at Maleme, also within the national park.

Officials said at least $1 million is needed to host the event. Addressing party officials from the province yesterday after a tour of the possible sites for the event, the party’s National Secretary for the Youth League, Cde Kudzanai Chipanga, said the youths were impressed with the venue and the development so far.

“We are pleased with the attendance of leadership from Matabeleland South which is the hosting province for this preparatory meeting and tour. They are pleased with the venue that they have settled for. These are also the venues that we have been looking forward to as they are tourist attractions. They are promoting domestic tourism,” he said.

The 21st February Movement is an anual event set aside to celebrate the life of President Mugabe. It was established in 1986 to encourage Zimbabweans particularly the youth to emulate the iconic leader and his revolutionary ideas and selfless policies. This year marks the 31st anniversay of the event. Last year the celebrations were held at Great Zimbabwe in Masvingo and in 2015 it was held in Victoria Falls in Matabeleland North. Cde Chipanga said the mobilisation committees have already been set up.

“We have now switched on our mobilisation committees and we have national mobilising committees. They have started work. Given that such events attract a multitude of people we feel this time we should mobilise up to $1 million for the day,” he said.

Cde Chipanga said Matabeleland South has been given great honour to host the important celebrations and should do the best to ensure it will be a success.

He said stakeholders, Government departments and other wings of Zanu-PF should take part in preparing for the celebrations. He also said civic organisations who wish to be part of the planning were free to take part. Other organs of the party such as war veterans, ex-detainees, collaborators, women’s league and the main wing will have an active role to play in the preparation process.

Cde Chipanga said the Zanu-PF Youth League will need to spruce up the surrounding areas in preparation for the event.

Cde Chipanga said the province needs to ensure that committees look into issues of water, transport, food, entertainment and accommodation in preparation of the event. A fundraising dinner is set to take place to raise money for the event. A musical gala has also been lined up to take place after the celebrations.

Zanu PF women in explosive fight

Source: Zanu PF women in explosive fight – DailyNews Live January 14, 2017

Fungi Kwaramba

HARARE – Fresh factional fighting has broken out in President Robert
Mugabe’s home province of Mashonaland West, with the regional women’s
league moving to “dump” one of Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s
fiercest critics, Sarah Mahoka, over allegations of causing chaos in the
ruling party.

So ugly have the ructions become that some of the Zanu PF women’s league
members are apparently seeking audience with powerful First Lady Grace
Mugabe to “get an explanation of Mahoka’s role and agenda” in the light of
the ruling party’s deepening infighting.

On the other hand, well-placed Zanu PF insiders told the Daily News
yesterday that the vocal Mahoka remained “relaxed and defiant” about the
noise surrounding her, with her backers accusing the provincial women’s
league chairperson, Angeline Muchemeyi, whom she is suing for defamation,
as leading the charge to have her expelled over her claimed close
relationship with Grace.

On her part, Muchemeyi, who is said to be a Mnangagwa loyalist, told the
Daily News that the party’s regional league was “not going to work with
Mahoka” until such a time that they were advised by national league boss,
Grace, on how to proceed on the impasse.

“We have made resolutions that we will not work with her until the first
lady comes to address us. This is not our own decision but it is shared
across the board.

“She (Mahoka) is a bad person. For now, we are waiting for the response
from our boss as women. We wrote a letter to her secretary and we hope
that when she returns (from her family’s Far East holiday) she will come
to resolve the Mahoka issue.

“She should come and tell us whether to work with her or not. Personally,
I don’t have anything against her, but that is the position that has been
reached by the province as a whole,” Muchemeyi said.

Mahoka is said to belong to the Zanu PF faction that is made up of young
party Turks known as the Generation 40 (G40) group, which is fiercely
opposed to Mnangagwa succeeding Mugabe.

With Mahoka and Muchemeyi belonging to opposite Zanu PF camps, the two
women have had several run-ins over the past few months.

At one time, Mahoka was accused by Muchemeyi of abusing church funds,
allegations which she flatly dismissed. And in December last year, Mahoka
slapped Muchemeyi with a $1 million lawsuit, accusing her of defamation.

Mahoka alleged then that Muchemeyi had falsely claimed that she was
undermining Mnangagwa’s authority and that she embezzled money meant for
the first lady’s rallies.

But Muchemeyi accused Mahoka of “listening to rumours” and defying the
provincial executive yesterday.

“She clearly cannot work with others because she does not want to listen
to us. Remember she once held a kangaroo meeting in a hotel that was
attended by three people and passed a vote of no confidence in me.

“She is also lying that she has the blessings of Amai (Grace) in what she
has been doing,” Muchemeyi told the Daily News.

Analysts have said the latest problems to engulf Mashonaland West province
are part of Zanu PF’s continuing deadly tribal, factional and succession
wars.

The G40 and the faction backing Mnangagwa, Team Lacoste, have been going
at each other hammer and tongs, particularly since the release of images
showing the Midlands godfather holding a coffee mug inscribed “I am the
Boss” during a festive season gathering at his Zvishavane rural home.

Mnangagwa, who was pictured then with maverick businessman Energy Mutodi,
has come under pressure from his party foes who allege that the Zvishavane
meeting was organised to plot the ouster of Mugabe from power.

On Wednesday, a G40-linked group, comprising provincial chairpersons and
regional commissars met at the Zanu PF headquarters in Harare, issuing a
statement in which they called for a probe into Mnangagwa for hobnobbing
with war veterans’ leader Christopher Mutsvangwa and Mutodi.

But a defiant Mutodi hit back immediately, vowing not to hold back on his
critical views regarding Zanu PF’s succession wars and rampant
factionalism.

“I am not against Mugabe, and neither do I have any personal grudge with
any Zanu PF official. However, I am suggesting that at the age of 94,
Mugabe is good enough to remain as the party’s first secretary but not a
candidate to run for office of president,” Mutodi told the Daily News.

“Secondly, even if Mugabe was to win the vote in 2018, there is no hope
that the current economic hardships facing the nation will end as no
investor would choose to invest in a country being led by a 94-year-old.

“All these people who are calling themselves provincial chairpersons know
that they were not elected, but were rather imposed by the G40 faction.
The elected Zanu PF chairpersons are being persecuted and accused of
unfounded allegations.

“It’s a charade, a travesty. There is a lot of injustice in the party.
There is regionalism, tribalism and endless factionalism. These are the
signs of a failed leadership because they no longer can unite people. You
are busy fomenting divisions so that you can go on and on without regard
to the interests of the majority,” the unrepentant Mutodi added.

Mutodi also challenged Zanu PF’s national political commissar, Saviour
Kasukuwere, and Higher Education minister Jonathan Moyo, who are alleged
to be G40 kingpins, to present themselves as alternative party leaders.

“Some shallow minds are saying that by demanding leadership renewal, I am
campaigning for Mnangagwa. This is a misconception. I am on record saying
Mnangagwa is a potential successor due to his loyalty to Mugabe, his
experience and his patience.

“However, anyone who feels is better and would want to compete with him is
free to come forward and contest.  . . .Moyo,  . . . Kasukuwere or any
other Zanu PF person is free to present themselves for election to decide
who finally succeeds our long-serving president,” he said.

The musician-turned politician appeared to make things worse for Mnangagwa
when he said earlier this week that Zanu PF should hold an extraordinary
congress to install Mnangagwa as Mugabe’s successor.

Mutodi also claimed that Mugabe, who turns 93 next month, had become so
unpopular in Zanu PF that “99 percent” of the party’s members now wanted
him to resign before the eagerly-anticipated 2018 national elections, as
there was allegedly no way that the nonagenarian could win elections
against popular opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

Zim runs dry

Source: Zim runs dry – DailyNews Live January 14, 2017

Helen Kadirire

HARARE – The devastating effects of the El Nino-induced drought are now
being felt across the country with residents and officials warning of a
potential national disaster if the critical water situation is not dealt
with.

There are fears that Zimbabwe could slide back to the 2008/2009 period
when a cholera outbreak killed more than 4 000 people.

With dams drying up and people now being forced to drink water from
unprotected sources, residents groups in Harare, Gweru, Chitungwiza and
Bulawayo fear an outbreak that could surpass the 2008/2009 era.

The activists went on to call on government to declare Zimbabwe’s water
situation a national emergency.

According to the Harare City Council (HCC) spokesperson Michael Chideme
residents are now using water sparingly.

“Demand management has always been in existence but now people should use
water cautiously because there is very little water. Our water production
is failing to meet the demand. People should use the available water
sparingly as it is being spread thinly across the city,” Chideme said.

He said the stop gap measure of water bowsers is cognisant of the need to
provide water so that residents do not become susceptible to waterborne
diseases such as cholera and typhoid.

Chideme said HCC will continually review allocation of bowsers to cater
for those that are in desperate need as well as drill more boreholes
through the 10 percent retention scheme and partners.

But Combined Harare Residents Association (Chra) chairperson Simbarashe
Moyo said the problem with Harare is that they did not warn residents of
rationing.

He added that the city is on the brink of a serious health crisis and with
introduction of prepaid water meters, they have to be prepared for
anything.

“While they have started rationing water, they are also saying that
prepaid water meters will be rolled out to the city. How do they expect
people to buy a commodity that they will not be frequently getting?” he
said.

Health minister David Parirenyatwa has also warned of the potential
outbreak of cholera.

Parirenyatwa said as the rainy season approaches, possible outbreaks of
waterborne diseases such as cholera, typhoid and diarrhoea are heightened.

“When water flows it scoops all the dirt and this dirt some of it goes
into the shallow wells in the city here. Some people will take cholera
infected water from those shallow wells,” he said.

Harare’s satellite town of Chitungwiza is also bearing the full brunt of
water shortages with people now being forced to sleep in queues to access
the basic commodity.

Chitungwiza Residents Trust (Chitrest) director Marvellous Kumalo said the
situation has become dire.

“Chitungwiza does not have its own source of water and depends entirely on
the city of Harare. This means that households that used to access tap
water once a week are now accessing it once per fortnight or a month,”
Kumalo said.

He added that the situation has forced many residents to resort to shallow
wells and boreholes which are also drying up fast.

The residents advocate said some that cannot wait in borehole queues or
walk to find water elsewhere have also resorted to paying $1 for a 25litre
container of water, making residents pay double for water.

Kumalo added that women and girls are most affected as they are forced to
abandon their economically productive hours in the search for water

“In view of the recently introduced water rationing in Harare and
subsequently in Chitungwiza, an obsolete water infrastructure, an
increasing urban population and the critical water shortages caused by the
prevailing drought, we urge Government to declare the water situation in
urban areas a national disaster. In the Harare Metropolitan province
alone, close to three million citizens are negatively affected by the
scarcity of water,” Kumalo said.

Gweru Residents Forum (GRF) director Charles Mazorodze said the water
situation in Gweru is so bad that suburbs such as Mkoba 19 have not
received any water in the last 10 years.

Mazorodze said the city also failed to supply other suburbs such as Mkoba
18.

The GRF director said there are also suburbs like Mambo and Mtapa were
water meters are being removed by council prompting residents to resort to
shallow unprotected wells.

“The quality of water is so appalling that people often find particulates
floating in their tap water. Apart from that, public toilets are always
closed because there is no water. You can see urine flowing along the
sidewalks and that makes the spread of diseases very easy,” Mazorodze
said.

Acting district administrator for Mudzi, Priscilla Muguto said with the
drying up of Nyamuwanga Dam, the crisis would have resulted in a health
disaster such as a disease outbreak had an alternative not been found.

“This area is prone to waterborne diseases, however, because of the new
pipeline from Dendera Dam we managed to avert any diarrhoeal diseases. We,
however, need a bigger water source as a long-term solution to the water
crisis,” Muguto said.

The acting DA, however, added that there was need to construct another
pipeline at Kudzwe Dam since it was bigger in size and would cater for a
larger population.

Bulawayo South legislator Eddie Cross, who is also the MDC shadow minister
of Local Government, told the Daily News on Sunday that water
infrastructure in Harare was created for a population of 1,2 million but
now it is being overstretched to more than 3 million because of areas such
as Chitungwiza, Epworth, Ruwa and Norton which are supplied by Harare.

Cross said Harare has reached emergency levels and requires multi-faceted
efforts if the situation is to be addressed.

He said despite having numerous sources of water, the only remaining
source-Lake Chivero- is heavily silted and only has about 35 percent of
useable water.

“Chivero is heavily polluted by Harare and Chitungwiza. The city’s only
option for a clean source-Darwendale Dam-is being blended with Chivero,
however, infrastructure problems are sabotaging the attempts,” Cross said.

The legislator also said that with Norton and Chitungwiza only receiving
one third of their water requirements, there is need to harness Darwendale
before the two towns dry up.

He added that if local authorities were availed their five percent budget
allocation, they would be in a better position to deal with the situation.

“The rest of Zimbabwe is also facing water problems which government needs
to declare a state of emergency. We are in very dangerous territory right
now and we need to deal with it before we have a health disaster on our
hands,” the Bulawayo South Member of Parliament said.

Admitting failure, minister of Local Government Saviour Kasukuwere said
drilling boreholes in cities and towns should not be celebrated as an
achievement because water should be accessed at taps in homes.

“If I drilled boreholes in a rural constituency then people would have a
cause to celebrate because that is where it is supposed to happen not in
urban set-ups. We cannot say we have made progress by drilling boreholes
in Borrowdale or Budiriro,” he said.

Zinwa operations manager Runde Catchment area Jonathan Juma said the water
levels in Mutirikwi Dam had become worryingly low as it supplies Masvingo
and the sugarcane fields in Triangle and Chiredzi.

He said at the current rate, Mutirikwi is releasing five cubic metres of
water per second downstream which will connect with canals that feed into
the sugarcane fields, however, if the drought persists, Zinwa would have
to reduce the downstream flow.

“The water we have is enough to last Masvingo city and the irrigation
fields until May 2017. However, at the current consumption rate of 30
cubic metres per month for Masvingo we may end up completely ceasing the
release of water into the Lowveld to ensure that the city remains with at
least three years supply of water until the next rainy season.”

“The reduced release of water downstream has already begun to affect the
sugarcane fields because currently we are supplying 43 percent of their
water needs because most dams are almost empty,” Juma said.

The situation is bad in rural  areas like Kotwa where villagers are now
sharing water sources with wild animals.

According to Unicef although, nationally, 73 percent of the population has
access to safe water and 60 percent to improved sanitation facilities,
urban water services have also deteriorated.

In September, Tunisian activists warned of a “thirst uprising” as the
country’s rainfall patterns dropped by 30 percent.

Two weeks ago, Harare began rationing water to ensure that the little
available is spread across the city, with Chitungwiza and other cities and
towns having to also cut down on their water uptake.

The capital city also introduced water bowsers in many high and low
density suburbs to ensure that those in areas that have gone dry access
the precious liquid.

According to a Harare water supply dams report for August, using Lake
Chivero as the sole source of water, Harare had 164 days or five months of
supply left.

The report showed that there is a further 100 megalitres per day that can
be accessed from the Lake Chivero old intake for an additional 100 days.

Harare requires 800 megalitres (Ml) of water per day, however, council can
only supply 450 Ml.

According to the latest Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) schedule
of dam levels, the highest is Nyambuya in the Mazowe catchment at 83,8
percent full, while the lowest is Upper Ncema in the Mzingwane catchment
at 0,8 percent full.

Other dam levels include; Manyame Dam at 79,6 percent full, Chivero 57,6
percent, Bulilima at 44,1 percent, Mtshabezi 58 percent, Mzingwane 2,8
percent, Mutirikwi 9,7 percent, Gwenoro 36,1 percent, Osborne 28,9 percent
and Whitewaters at 40,1 percent full.

Mugabe won’t delegate authority to deputies

Source: Mugabe won’t delegate authority to deputies – DailyNews Live January 14, 2017

Bridget Mananavire

HARARE – President Robert Mugabe has come under fire for being “greedy”
and failing to cede power to his deputies, with the nonagenarian
travelling on official business at a time he is supposed to be resting.

Mugabe – who is on his month-long annual holiday – has embarked on
high-profile trips, spoiling himself with flying business class around the
world and spending nights in presidential suites in premier hotels – all
in the claim of working for Zimbabwe’s betterment.

The doddering president has maintained an air of energy and initiative,
but the results have been modest.

Opposition political parties accused the soon-to-be 93-year-old of
engaging in fundraising antics, getting millions of dollars in foreign
travel allowances while on leave.

This comes as the country is battling a typhoid outbreak and drug
shortages, a time the globetrotting president is spending $36 million on
foreign and domestic trips in the first 10 months of 2016.

Mugabe, who  together with his family was in China a few days ago having
bilateral talks with the country’s president Xi Jinping, has travelled on
official business to Mali for the two-day France-Africa Summit.

Zimbabwe People First spokesperson Jealousy Mawarire said apart from the
money, Mugabe’s actions were a sign that he took the country as a private
entity.

“There are two aspects here; there is the money aspect as well, because
when he travels he gets money for foreign travels. So, that is more
allowances for him,” Mawarire said.

“It shows that he is running the country as a private entity.

“It should not be surprising because already when he is not there Cabinet
does not sit, the central committee does not sit, politburo does not sit,
and it’s a one-man band.  He believes that the country is going to die
when he dies.

“The message is loud and clear, that there is no confidence in his
deputies and ministers to execute bilateral duties.

“That’s also why he has been succeeding himself because in his mind, no
one can do anything better than him.

“Remember that time when he said he was better than Jesus as he
resurrected more times than him.”

Reports are that his ministers and deputies are also making trips to the
Middle East, where he is holidaying to consult him and get instructions.

From Mali, it is believed Mugabe will also travel to Ethiopia for the 28th
Ordinary Session of the summit of the African Union in Addis Ababa from
January 22 to 31.

MDC spokesperson Obert Gutu said Treasury has to fork out money to support
Mugabe’s travels for trips that could be attended by ministers and
ambassadors.

“This man is a dictator. He has set up a base in the Middle East and
leaves from there for official business to China and to Mali.

“We have a Foreign Affairs minister and ambassadors who are paid to do
that. We have (Zimbabwe’s ambassador to Senegal and Gambia, Trudy
Stevenson) close to Mali, who is well conversant in French, who was a
French teacher at Arundel School and could have easily travelled there
from Dakar, Senegal,” Gutu said.

“He is supposedly on leave, on rest with a whole entourage and using state
resources.

“This has shown what he is – a one-man band and that he doesn’t trust
anyone. In the meantime, treasury will be forking out money to pay for him
and the entourage as well as high-landing fees for the charted plane.

“This has gone to show that Zanu PF is Robert Mugabe and Robert Mugabe is
Zanu PF and government.  And this can be seen in the way these operate.

“He has two vice presidents but he doesn’t look at them as capable. They
are just ceremonial deputies.

“And when acting, they will be just warming chigaro chamambo (the king’s
seat), they can’t make any decisions.

“Even when he travels Cabinet doesn’t sit and no government decision is
made.”

Jacob Mafume, People’s Democratic Party spokesperson said Mugabe thinks
his assistants are useless.

“I think what they are trying to do is justify gobbling State resources
while on leave, and pretend to be travelling on State business.

“This is a pure waste of State resources while we are in the midst of a
typhoid crisis that can easily turn into a cholera outbreak,” Mafume said.

“For a man who has two vice presidents in a small country like Zimbabwe,
he has shown he has no confidence in them.

“He believes they are useless. One of them can easily have been sent
there.”

US removes ZimRe from sanctions list

Source: US removes ZimRe from sanctions list – DailyNews Live January 14, 2017

Gift Phiri

HARARE – The United States yesterday removed ZimRe Holdings Limited – a
holding firm of companies in general insurance, life and pensions, and
agro-industries – from the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of
Foreign Assets Control (Ofac) sanctions list.

ZimRe – engaged reinsurance, reassurance, short term insurance and
property – was barred from doing business with US companies since July 25,
2008, following the signing of an executive Order by ex-US President
George Bush that expanded the sanctions list to include companies
registered in Zimbabwe perceived to be owned or controlled by the
government of Zimbabwe.

Ofac reported its delisting of ZimRe on its website yesterday after the
group submitted a petition for removal in late 2016.

President Robert Mugabe and First Lady Grace remained on the sanctions
list.

The US started imposing targeted sanctions on 98 Zimbabwean individuals
and 68 entities – mostly farms and legal entities owned by the 98
individuals – in 2003.

Sanctions included asset seizures and travel bans.

Ofac said the sanctions were implemented “as a result of the actions and
policies of certain members of the government of Zimbabwe and other
persons undermining democratic institutions and processes in Zimbabwe”.

ZimRe claimed the embargo had hampered efforts to attract investors and
obtain international credit lines.

The group’s assets including cash were blocked and Ofac regularly
intercepted ZimRe’s cash remittances without notice.

The removal from the list will come as a relief to ZimRe.

“ZimRe appreciates Ofac’s quick action and deletion of ZimRe from Ofac’s
list of Specially Designated Nationals (SDNs). This is a positive start to
2017, and ZimRe looks forward to continuing to grow its business in 2017
and beyond,” ZimRe’s CEO, Stanley Kudenga said yesterday.

“This is a very significant milestone for the group, which heralds a new
chapter for the expansive and diversified investment group.

“It means that we have to re-strategize from a number of perspectives in
view of this key development.

“It also means that we will be able to expand our operations, trade freely
and compete on an even playing field in both the domestic and regional
markets.”

Kudenga paid tribute to customers and business partners who stood with and
continued to support the group “even in that dark era of its history.”

He also paid tribute to the US attorneys “who handled the case
professionally” and the local US Embassy and other US government agencies,
“without whose support and recommendations, the delisting would not have
occurred.”

He also paid tribute to the ZimRe board and shareholders for their support
and guidance in the handling of the legal process leading to the
delisting.

“The sanctions also demonstrated the resilience of the group in the face
of challenges,” he said.

Two previously sanctioned firms, ZB Financial Holdings Limited and
Industrial Development Corporation of Zimbabwe (IDC) – a government-owned
entity – was also removed from the embargo in October.

The moves comes as cash-strapped Zimbabwe’s Finance ministry has been
forced to delay pay for civil servants – including doctors and the
military – and authorities have imposed strict limits on the amount that
ordinary people can withdraw from bank accounts.

Despite the sanctions, there is no US bilateral trade embargo against
Zimbabwe, and the US has not cut-off aid to Zimbabwe.

Mujuru’s Bikita West rally blocked

Source: Mujuru’s Bikita West rally blocked – DailyNews Live January 14, 2017

Blessings Mashaya

HARARE – Opposition Zimbabwe People First (ZPF) president Joice Mujuru was
left devastated when her Bikita West rally was cancelled so Zanu PF could
hold its assembly.

ZPF organised the event over the past month but was told by the police
that they were cancelling her rally because of double-booking.

They offered to rearrange the rally so they could instead host the rally
after the Zanu PF conclave.

Speaking to the Daily News yesterday, ZPF Masvingo interim provincial
chairperson Claudius Makova said they were forced to reschedule Mujuru’s
rally from January 17.

“We booked for our president to address on January 17 but Zanu PF booked
at the same venue and we have rescheduled our rally to January 19. This
will not deter us to mobilise our supporters to come in their numbers for
the rally.

“Kudakwashe Gopo is going to make history by becoming the first person to
win the parliamentary election for our party.

“Our party is very popular and I think even the Zanu PF candidate will
vote for Gopo on election day.”

Six candidates have successfully filed their papers at the Nomination
Court that sat at the Masvingo Magistrates’ Courts, but the main battle is
between Zanu PF women’s league provincial executive member Beauty Chabaya
and Gopo of the Mujuru-led ZPF.

The NCA is fielding its spokesperson Madock Chivasa. Other candidates are
Terence Makumbo of Progressive Democrats of Zimbabwe (PDZ), Independent
candidate Innocent Muzvimbiri and former Bikita West legislator Heya
Shoko, who will also stand as an Independent candidate.

The constituency was previously held by incarcerated Zanu PF rapist
Munyaradzi Kereke.

Makova said a few people will vote for Zanu PF due to the current economic
woes.

“People know the truth, Zanu PF has failed the nation, they don’t have
solutions to address the current economic problems. Their only strategy is
to use violence to force people to vote for them but people have suffered
enough.

“We told our supporters that no to violence, we want to live in a peaceful
nation but for Zanu PF, they have nothing to offer to the people of
Zimbabwe. What they want is to win elections without strategies to solve
the current economic problem which is affecting all Zimbabweans.”

However, Zanu PF provincial chairperson Amasi Nenjana dismissed Makova’s
allegations as bar talk.

“Our vice president (Phelekezela Mphoko) is going to address our
supporters on January 17. Those allegations which are being levelled
against us are just bar talk. We are confident that we are going to win
the by-election.

“They should have planned their rallies just after the announcement of the
by-election. They must not try to play a blame game when they know that
they can’t mobilise people to come to their rallies.

“We are a strong party and we are united here in Masvingo so our campaigns
are going on well.”

‘Zanu PF bigwigs cowards’

Source: ‘Zanu PF bigwigs cowards’ – DailyNews Live January 14, 2017

Tendai Kamhungira

HARARE – Analysts say Zanu PF bigs are “too docile” to ever contemplate
challenging President Robert Mugabe or move to force the nonagenarian to
retire.

The sentiments come despite the growing pressure from some supporters of
Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa that the ruling party holds an
extraordinary congress to deal specifically with Mugabe’s succession.

Vocal Mnangagwa backer, Energy Mutodi, is among the people who have openly
raised the question of the extraordinary congress, telling the Daily News
earlier this week that Mugabe had to go as he allegedly stood no chance
against the opposition in next year’s much-awaited elections.

However, political analyst Pedzisai Ruhanya said Mutodi’s suggestion was
not feasible, considering how Zanu PF regarded Mugabe as the “alpha and
omega” of the ruling party.

“This is because Mugabe in Zanu PF is not just a human being, he is a
political structure, Mugabe is a political institution, Mugabe is a
political culture and Mugabe is a political system.

“So, any attempt to dismantle this system constructed by the president
over the past 40 years or so is not a walk in the park.

“My general sense is that…Mugabe will be taken from the State House to
the National Heroes Acre when the time comes. Succession will be through
death not Mutodi’s hallucinations, dreams and delusions,” Ruhanya said.

“…Mugabe is also not an ordinary member of Zanu PF, but epitomises the
political culture of that party. And those who want him to go
unprocedurally should know that he who wields the sword against the prince
will not get the crown,” he added.

Human rights activist Gladys Hlatywayo said at Zanu PF’s recent annual
conference, the only thing that had come out was “the usual singing of
praises” for Mugabe.

“It is therefore hypocritical and outright cowardice for characters like
Mutodi to suggest whatever they are talking about … they are as scared
as a mouse,” she said.

Political analyst Maxwell Saungweme also said what Mutodi had articulated
was the wish of many Zanu PF members, although this would not happen.

Meanwhile, the ruling party’s succession wars are intensifying at a time
that calls are increasing, particularly from war veterans, for Mugabe to
retire – citing his old age and poor health.

The party is embroiled in a bitter wrangle to succeed Mugabe, who turns 93
next month, with Mnangagwa’s alleged Team Lacoste locking horns with a
party faction known as Generation 40 (G40) which is rabidly opposed to the
Midlands godfather.

Tsvangirai’s 2002 election petition ruling still pending

Source: Tsvangirai’s 2002 election petition ruling still pending – DailyNews Live January 14, 2017

Tendai Kamhungira

HARARE – Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai
(pictured) has said he is still waiting for judgment for his 2002
presidential election petition.

In 2002, President Robert Mugabe was pronounced winner of the presidential
election in extremely controversial circumstances.

Tsvangirai challenged the election results in 2002.

However, the Zimbabwean High Court sat on the petition up to the time of
the next elections. To this date, no decision has been passed by the
courts on Tsvangirai’s election challenge of 2002.

Tsvangirai then approached the Supreme Court in 2005, which reserved
judgment on the appeal seeking the country’s highest court to hear and
determine his petition against Mugabe’s 2002 re-election victory.

Tsvangirai had appealed to the Supreme Court alleging that the High Court,
which procedurally should initially hear the petition, has inordinately
delayed in concluding the matter.

The MDC leader, who says Mugabe used violence and outright fraud to cheat
him of victory in the March 2002 presidential ballot, petitioned the High
Court to nullify the poll result days after it was announced.

The petition was briefly heard by High Court Judge Ben Hlatshawayo before
being put on hold, never to be resumed again.

Tsvangirai told a South Africa television station ANN7: “The whole
elections machinery must be changed so that the people’s vote is not
subverted.

“In our case there is a lot, we don’t have media space for the opposition,
violence is prevalent, just recently brigadier (Agrippa) Mutambara was
almost killed just because he is opposition

“Then you have the question of the mechanism, the technical capacity of
the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) and you also have the judiciary
playing a role to try to suppress the will of the people.  I still have my
election contest in 2002 still on the bench and has not been dealt
with…it’s almost 17 years after… we have produced a document, we have
presented that document to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, it has basic
standards.”

The MDC leader and other opposition political party leaders have been
pushing for electoral reforms before the holding of next year’s general
elections, arguing it is the only way for the country to hold a free and
free election.

“First of all, the fact that we are part of Sadc (Southern African
Development Community), there are Sadc rules and we are part of the AU
(African Union) and there are AU rules and every benchmark is being
violated when it comes to the Zimbabwe election,” the former Prime
Minister in the Government of National Unity said.

This also comes after the then Pretoria High Court judge Dikgang Moseneke
and Johannesburg high court judge Sisi Khampepe released a much awaited
2014 report, claiming the 2002 election was not free and fair, citing
several irregularities complained of by the MDC leader.

Further speaking to ANN7, Tsvangirai said the executive has too much
influence on the judiciary; an aspect which he said affects some of the
country’s electoral processes.

“It’s the judiciary. The judiciary is dominated and its controlled by the
executive and we went into a situation in which in 2013 I even went and
said we want the voting material and the courts could not give us the
voting material,…it means the judiciary is under control of the
executive.

“As long as Zec is controlling the elections, and Zec is also being
controlled by the executive, it’s a vicious circle and I think that these
are the lessons we learn from every African election,” Tsvangirai said.

Speed up biometric voter registration

Source: Speed up biometric voter registration – DailyNews Live January 14, 2017

Jeffrey Muvundusi

BULAWAYO – The delay in the commencement of biometric voter registration
is likely to compromise the quality and integrity of the new voters’ roll,
a consortium of organisations running a new campaign, iVote2018, has said.

As the country prepares for the new polling station-based and biometric
voter registration for the 2018 harmonised elections, it is imperative for
the government and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) to speed up the
process.

“Regional, continental and international best practices have shown that
successful introduction of electoral technology requires at least 24
months before the date of elections,” Liberty Bhebhe, spokesperson of the
consortium, said.

“It is hence worrying that the commission is unclear about the start and
end-dates for the voter registration process, with barely 18 months
remaining before the next elections.

“The remaining timeframe indicates that Zimbabwe has entered the red zone
if the notion to use electoral technology in compiling a fresh voters’
roll is pursued

“It is important that the pre-requisites for such are met in order for the
development not to compromise the integrity of the electoral process and
outcomes.”

Zimbabwe is hoping thumb print scans and voter cards with electronic bar
codes will enable it to accurately register an estimated five million
voters and eliminate the kind of fraud that has undermined previous
elections.

An electoral roll riddled with fictitious names and omitting legitimate
voters, combined with ballot-stuffing and intimidation, marred previous
elections so badly that observers deemed them not to have been credible.

A tender for electronic voter registration kits – laptop computers, finger
print scanners, cameras and printers – has been floated over the past
month.

Zec chairperson Rita Makarau has said the delimitation exercise, a process
of country wide polling station catchment area mapping, has been done.

“Mapping was done to lay groundwork for the polling station-specific voter
registration in preparation for the 2018 harmonised elections,” Makarau
told journalists recently.

“The mapping exercise entailed drawing and describing polling station
boundaries.

“Each polling station would be allocated a maximum of 1 500 voters.

“The form of registration and polling was in line with the international
best practices.

“It was anticipated that the exercise was to be completed before end of
year though the exercise was being hampered by inaccessibility of other
areas due to rains.

“Provincial election officers and district election officers would
physically verify the demarcated polling areas.”

The consortium called on Zec to restore long lost trust between itself and
stakeholders.

“In contexts such as Zimbabwe, where there is limited trust between the
commission, the electorate, and opposition political parties, it is
important that trust be restored trough ensuring transparency within the
entire process,” Bhebhe said.

Makarau has said her organisation is engaging all stakeholders to iron out
the issue of mistrust.

“Zec had always been neutral and would always conduct free and fair
elections.

“Zec was, however, haunted by lack of trust, which it was currently
addressing through stakeholder engagements,” she said.

Makarau also blamed the media for fuelling the doubt.

“Zec faced challenges of a polarised media which fuelled electoral
disputes through misinformation.

“To ensure that disputes were reduced, Zec conducted stakeholder
engagements.”

Bhebhe said it was important that citizen participation in the design and
implementation of the process is upheld and extensive civic and voter
education be implemented under a framework that allows civil society
organisations to play a central role.

‘Forget political reforms before 2018’

Source: ‘Forget political reforms before 2018’ – DailyNews Live January 14, 2017

Maxwell Sibanda

HARARE – With only a year and few months left before the 2018 elections,
political and social analysts contend that the governing Zanu PF
government will not entertain any electoral reforms as this will be
tantamount to surrendering power.

Election Resource Centre (ERC) director Tawanda Chimhinhi said chances for
real and consequential reforms are fast disappearing as we get closer to
2018.

“There is a real danger that those opposed to reforms will consider
inconsequential reforms so that a narrative of actually doing something to
reform is substantiated.

“Reforms, particularly those relating to electoral processes are
essentially time bound if they are to be effective,” said Chimhinhi.

The ERC director said chances of getting a clean voters’ roll still remain
but again time is fast running out.  “A clean voters’ roll is beyond just
compiling a list of voters. It is about coming up with the rules for
registration having fully consulted, developing and publicly sharing clear
time lines for the registration processes, addressing the vulnerabilities
of the registration process to remove possible systemic manipulation,
deliberate malpractice and possible fraud, opening up the process to
exhaustive scrutiny by all stakeholders and ensuring that the environment
in which voter registration happens is free and fair to guarantee a
credible process,” said Chimhinhi.

MISA-Zimbabwe national director Nhlanhla Ngwenya said the challenge is
that there is massive stalling of progress with regards legislative and
democratic reforms.

“What we will definitely get is tokenism meant to hoodwink the local and
international community into believing that we are headed in the right
direction. This will essentially be about getting the much needed foreign
aid.

“But beneath the surface, I believe nothing substantive will take place
with regards ensuring constitutionalism. We are already witnessing
evidence of intentions to the shred the supreme law and this casts doubts
on attainment on the bare minimum conditions that will engender
democracy,” said Ngwenya.

Human rights lawyer Dewa Mavhinga said: “Chances of electoral reforms
before 2018 elections depends on how much pressure is brought to bear on
the governing Zanu PF government from opposition parties, civil society,
and ordinary citizens.

“If the opposition lacks spine and commitment to wholeheartedly push for
reforms then do not expect Zanu PF to introduce any electoral reforms on
its own volition because the current uneven electoral field favours them.”

ZimRights director Okay Machisa said: “Electoral reforms means reforming
the ruling party which is very unlikely. Zimbabweans should know that and
once they have known that they should fight strongly to earn their
democracy – of course fighting using legal means.”

Political analyst Maxwell Saungweme said: “Electoral reforms under a Zanu
PF government won’t come. Reforms are tantamount to Zanu PF subjugating or
surrendering power. That will not happen. There are no political
incentives to Zanu PF for electoral reforms.”

ZESN director Rindai Vava said: “Failure to meet the demands and calls for
electoral reforms of the broader civic society as spelt out in our 10
point plan is likely to result in another contested electoral process in
Zimbabwe.

“There is also need for guarantees of a conducive environment for all
political contestants where they can freely campaign and have equitable
access to the media. We have previously called for the creation of a
conducive political environment devoid of violence and intimidation and
that is a prerequisite to any democratic process in Zimbabwe.”

Social analyst Lenox Mhlanga said: “The appetite by the current government
to institute reforms is not there. They will not embark on an exercise
that will evidently reduce their chances at the polls.

“The ZEC has cited budgetary issues as an excuse for delays in voter
registration and education. The cash strapped government is unlikely to
prioritise funding these crucial electoral processes.”

Political activist Tabani Moyo said political processes by their nature
are highly contested terrains which require thought stamina and agility to
outwit opponents.

“Change in this regard is a function of competent opposition and civics
through rolling out strategic interventions and political campaigns that
forces officialdom to the table.

“As is, the opposition is struggling to heighten the stocks on the need
for reforms. In essence the opposition seems to be disillusioned in
peripheral power struggles while the centre has free reign to define the
electoral atmosphere.

“So it depends on the behavior of the opposition and its ability to
galvanize the entire spectrum of stakeholders on the need for reforms,”
said Moyo.

He added that this equally depends on how the opposition will nourish
itself on organizing, priority setting, craft competence and behaving like
government in waiting.

Legislator Jessie Majome said she does not have the gift of looking into
the seeds of time to see which grain will grow and which will not.

“My portfolio committee reports that I presented time and time again to
Parliament report Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC)’s own words that
they will not be ready for the 2018 polls given their level of non-funding
in successive national budgets.

“Anything though is possible with political will of those in power – that
will, will be sufficient to muster the phenomenal resources needed to
prepare conditions for a free and fair election.

“If the political will is not inherent in the powers that be – the Zanu PF
government, it can theoretically grow or be induced, and that’s what I
don’t have the gift of prophecy to see,” said Majome.

Social analysts Rashweat Mukundu said: “Electoral reforms especially voter
registration is certainly behind time. There is no concerted effort by
ZEC, government and opposition on clarifying time tables on key processes
such as voter registration and setting up the biometric voting system.

“So 2018 will likely be another disputed election outcome.”

Mining executive Farai Maguwu said: “Certainly we are behind time if these
reforms are to take effect in 2018. It appears opposition parties are
preoccupied with coalition talks at the expense of electoral reforms,
which are more important.

“The reforms must have started much earlier so that the on-going
by-elections would be used to test the new electoral system.”

Maguwu said Zimbabweans are now highly migratory owing to a failed
economy, “hence majority might not find time to participate in the
registration and voter education process as they strive to meet their
needs.

“There is need for a lengthy period to allow for voter registration and
voter education so that as many citizens as possible are reached.”

Communication and leadership specialist Maggie Mzumara believes we are
running behind time.

“Elections are a year and some months away and proposed reforms and the
whole election preparation exercise needs much more time than we have left
if they are to be undertaken diligently and adequately.

“But what is more deficient here than anything else is political will. And
this is a `tragedy’ for all pro-reformers and indeed for all of us
citizens hoping for a free and fair elections on a level playing field.
The governing Zanu PF is unwilling to reform.”

Mzumura said if the political will was there, and sufficiently there, in
the little time available, reforms and necessary preparations could well
be undertaken.

Social commentator Edinah Masanga said: “Transparent electoral reforms are
probably a pipe dream. I think that in any dictatorship electoral theft is
what dictators thrive on so we are not likely to see objective and
transparent electoral reforms especially if they have to be implemented by
the current government.

“If ever there is any talk of electoral reform it will only be for show.
What we need is some kind of permissible intervention from the AU or other
international bodies to help with electoral transparency.”

MDC spokesperson Obert Gutu said: “The MDC together with 13 or more other
opposition political parties under the NERA trajectory continues to
vigorously push for the adoption of electoral reforms. Whether the
beleaguered and faction-ridden Zanu PF regime wants it or not we are going
to have these electoral reforms.”

Media practitioner Nigel Nyamutumbu said ZEC has to urgently deal with all
administrative matters pertaining to the elections, especially voter
registration and ensuring the country has a clean voters roll.

“Moreover, other critical reforms within other key sectors such as the
media have to begin in earnest such that citizens enjoy their rights to
access information and to free expression. Having a free media and open
society will not only promote transparency and accountability but also
ensures that citizens make informed decisions.

“Evidently, the several by-elections, including the forthcoming plebiscite
in Bikita have more or less been held under the same conditions as the
2013 contested elections.”

Social commentator rejoice Ngwenya said: “The possibilities for ‘cosmetic’
reforms, substantial no, because I don’t see opposition with enough
critical mass to force Zanu PF. “However, if civil society is willing to
drive a mass uprising agenda for reform that might be possible.

“If there is a coalition of opposition parties, they may be able to
threaten however by its very fragmented in nature – opposition will still
be split along ‘factional lines’ on participation. As for Voters Roll, the
registration process and education, it is still possible to start April
and still beat the deadline.”

The Price we pay for Lousy Government

This past week, the Minister of Local Government, Savior Kasukawere, made a statement in which he claimed that maladministration by MDC led Councils had cost 500 lives in the past few months. I found this laughable when compared to what this government has cost us in lives, income and welfare in the past 37 years. Beside that consideration, the reasons for poor service delivery in all local authorities can be blamed on the actions of central government including the Ministry itself.

Source: The Price we pay for Lousy Government – The Zimbabwean 15.01.2017

Let’s go back to 1980 when we got our Independence as a country under a democratically elected government. In 1980 our National population was about 9 million, our GDP was about US$9 billion, incomes per capita at US$1000 – but the local currency was worth about 1 to 2 US dollars. Life expectancy was 60 years and population growth was 3,6 per cent per annum with annual death rates of about 100 000 a year and live births about 400 000.

This meant that our national population should double in 20 years and if annual growth rates had been about 5 per cent, then GDP would double in 12 years. In Botswana average growth rates in GDP over the following 37 years has averaged about 8 per cent and their incomes per capita are now about US$13 000 with life expectancy about 65.

Instead of seeing population growth at this rate, our current population is about 13 million and this means that had our population growth rates been maintained at pre Independence levels of 3,6 per cent – our population should be 32 million. This means we are “missing” 19 million people. We know that our Diaspora has about 5 million Zimbabweans living in it – with their children you can perhaps double that number but it still means we are “missing” 9 million people.

Death rates have tripled under Zanu PF leadership – from 100 000 people a year to 300 000. This might explain 7 million and this means that on average 550 people have died every day that Zanu PF have held power for 37 years from conditions which did not exist prior to 1980. These elements are hunger, malnutrition, poor medical services and public health activities. Life expectancy has fallen to 35 years on average. Mortality rates for women in childbirth are at genocidal levels as are death rates for children under 5 years of age.

Diseases we thought had been beaten in 1980 are back and kill nearly 100 000 adults a year in Zimbabwe. Public health systems have virtually collapsed, government managed hospitals and clinics are just glorified mortuaries – they have no medicines, no cleaning materials, no fuel for boilers. They have difficulty in providing clean linen and staff motivation is very poor. Treatment of patients is routinely poor and unsatisfying.

From a basic human welfare perspective, the past 37 years for all Zimbabweans have been a total disaster with death rates that rival States at war. In Yemen the total deaths since the war began do not yet run to 10 000, even death rates in Syria and Iraq do not compare. The only difference between the deaths from maladministration and corruption in Zimbabwe and current war zones; is that here people are killed by neglect and they die out of view of television cameras and the social media. But they still die and many years before they should die from old age.

Then there is the cost of this regime in economic terms. Here the numbers are equally shocking. In 2017, 37 years after Independence in 1980, our income per capita will be the same as it was in 1980 – about US$1000. Our GDP will not be more than about US$14 billion this year – probably closer to US$12 billion. In 1980 we had an income per capita three times that of neighboring Botswana – today their average incomes are over US$13 000. If we had seen a government like that which emerged from the Mau era in China and adopted their policies, our GDP per capita today would be US$28 000 – just half of the average income in the USA.

These are staggering numbers and in a recent study, economists here estimated the cost of corrupt practices since 1980 at US$80 billion – more than two billion dollars a year. I estimated that had that money been kept in legitimate hands and invested as a surplus in productive enterprise with a multiplier of 4, the impact on our GDP would have been similar to the Chinese model. Except that China has had to borrow US$250 trillion from global markets to fund its runaway growth. The astonishing aspect of the Zimbabwe model is that we need not borrow one dime to achieve similar growth, just stop the theft of resources by a corrupt elite.

Instead, Zimbabweans today are among the poorest people on earth, half our people need food aid, three quarters earn less than $2 a day – the benchmark for absolute poverty. In fact we resemble in economic terms similar economic features to North Korea, Somalia and Eritrea. The tragedy of this situation is that it suits those in power to have these conditions. A Minister of Government once famously stated that he did not care about the rising death rates, “Zimbabwe would be better off with 6 million people who followed Zanu PF”. This represented half the population of the country in that year.

Likewise, poor people are totally vulnerable to pressure, threats and patronage. As one old man in a village in Matabeleland North said to a friend of mine – “we are not free to vote the way we want, if we do they beat us, deny us food and farm inputs and chase our children from school”. That is why the main threat to Zanu PF hegemony comes from the urban areas where incomes are higher and it is more difficult to control the basic elements of life.

And then here are the straight forward abuses of human rights and the rule of law. In the four years from 1983 to 1987, the State launched a campaign to destroy political opposition in the south west of the country. The campaign was called “Ghukurahundi” or a “storm that washes clean”. The armed forces were used to crush the structures of Zapu in the region and hundreds of thousands forced to flee the country for safety and security in South Africa and Botswana. It did not stop there, tens of thousands were tortured – families were burnt alive in their homes, whole districts were denied food and tens of thousands died, their bodies buried in mass graves or thrown down mine shafts.

Then in May 2005 they launched another campaign directed against the informal sector in urban areas – 1,2 million people were displaced and trans located by force into the rural areas and told not to return to town. In the middle of winter, small children and adults died like flies, in one study half the adult men died in two years, unable to face the fact that they could not protect their families. No estimates of deaths exists but they run to thousands, the Zanu PF name for this ruthless operation was “Murambatsvina” which simply means “clean out the rubbish”.

In 2000, the regime discovered that the workers on the commercial farms held the balance of power between the Tribal Districts and the Urban areas. The reaction was immediate – like Stalin in the 30’s, who when faced with resistance by independent farmers, simply eliminated them, Zanu PF unleashed their hordes on the farmers and their staff – two million people were displaced and 8 million hectares of land was simply taken by force, without compensation – now estimated at US$8,5 billion.

Hundreds died, productive farms were looted and destroyed. 32 000 tractors were stolen along with millions of cattle, sheep and pigs. 280 000 hectares of irrigation were rendered unproductive and production of agricultural products declined by over 70 per cent. It did not stop there, since 2000 we in the MDC have carefully recorded 5 800 abductions by State Agents, 25 000 cases of torture and hundreds of deaths at the hands of State Agencies. At one stage in 2008, every private hospital in the country was packed with MDC activists with every imaginable injury. We never have less than two or three hundred activists in prison on trumped up charges and for violations of unjust legislation.

Am I exaggerating the cost to us of 37 years under Zanu PF rule, not at all. These are well documented facts and may in fact be an underestimation. That is why they fear elections and reform. They have a great deal to answer for and one day the people will demand an accounting. But the greatest tragedy is all these lost years, for millions, simply to serve the narrow selfish interests of a tiny minority who think they have a right to this because they were involved in the struggle to throw off the mantle of settler control. Their failure as a Government is failure which taints the whole of Africa and we deserve better.

EXCLUSIVE: Mugabe, Hollande to hold talks over ‘diplomatic tiff’

Harare – Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe is expected to come face-to-face with his French counterpart Francois Hollande in Mali on Saturday to discuss the diplomatic tiff that emerged following anti-Mugabe protests held in some parts of the southern African country last year.

Source: EXCLUSIVE: Mugabe, Hollande to hold talks over ‘diplomatic tiff’ | News24 January 12, 2017

Harare alleged, at the time, that Paris sponsored opposition groups in Zimbabwe to destabilise Mugabe’s government.

Both Hollande and Mugabe were attending the two-day 27th edition of the French Africa-Summit that kicked off on Friday in the Malian capital, Bamako. The summit was expected to tackle issues related to peace and security, cyber-crime, terrorism, human and drug trafficking, migration and other issues affecting France and the African continent.

An official at the French Embassy in Harare told News24 on condition of anonymity that Mugabe and Hollande were expected to hold “one-on-one talks” on the sidelines of the summit, adding that the French president was clear in his mind that Zimbabwe’s political problems would be resolved by Zimbabwean people.

Two-day national shutdown 

“The two leaders are likely to hold a private meeting tomorrow and those allegations levelled against our government by the host government may be discussed if President Mugabe brings those issues to the table because we understand that the host government still believes that we had a hand in protests that took place (in Zimbabwe) last year. Those allegations triggered a diplomatic row between our two countries,” said the embassy official.

“President Hollande has nothing to hide because our government’s hands are clean. We have no right to get angry on behalf of Zimbabweans; the Zimbabwean people know what is right or bad for them and they will address their issues at their own time but it’s not for the French government to tell them how to resolve their matters and at no time did we finance the opposition movement to revolt against Mr Mugabe’s government,” the official said.

At the height of anti-government demonstrations staged in Zimbabwe last year, Mugabe’s government accused France and the United States of America of sponsoring the street protests.

The protests took place in country for the better part of 2016, including the two-day national shutdown held in July that was being led by social movements such as #Tajamuka and #ThisFlag. Following the protests, Zimbabwean authorities arrested a number of activists and charged them with public violence. Many of them were yet to be cleared by the courts.

Home Affairs Minister Ignatious Chombo then accused France and US ambassadors in Harare, Laurent Delahousse and Harry Thomas, respectively, of meeting leaders of the protests and providing funds for them to stage the anti-government demonstrations. But the diplomats denied any involvement.

Aid Groups Help Zimbabwe Fight Typhoid Outbreak

A cholera outbreak killed more than 4,000 between 2008 and 2009

Source: Aid Groups Help Zimbabwe Fight Typhoid Outbreak – VOA  January 14, 2017

International aid groups have begun helping Zimbabwe fight an outbreak of typhoid. Some stakeholders say President Robert Mugabe’s government has not been taking the outbreak seriously.

Officials say the waterborne disease, which has struck more than 200 people in Harare, killing two, has been detected in other parts of Zimbabwe.

Health Minister David Parirenyatwa is appealing for international assistance, citing help the country received during a major cholera outbreak in 2008.

“When we had cholera, I called the partners and other countries came out. Yes, with typhoid we will welcome partners, particularly the usual partners like UNICEF, MSF and others,” said Parirenyatwa.

The British charity Oxfam has responded, supplying water treatment chemicals to typhoid-affected areas, and deploying volunteers to educate people on ways to avoid the disease.

Zimbabwe has been hit hard by waterborne diseases before, most notably a cholera outbreak during the 2008-2009 rainy season that killed 4,000 people.

In an interview, Fortune Nyamande, the spokesman for the Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights, said the government is
not fulfilling the right to health enshrined in the country’s constitution.

‘We have not seen tangible action from the Harare city council ,” said Nyamanda. ” At the central government level, what we have seen is more blame game. People should concentrate more on dealing with typhoid. It is unacceptable for anyone to lose his or her life because of typhoid. They are the diseases of the 1900’s.
That is when cholera and typhoid used to kill people. People should come together and deal with the root cause of typhoid and the nation should move forward.”

Typhoid, an infectious bacterial fever, can be treated with antibiotics, but still kills more than 220,000 people worldwide each year. It can be prevented through improved water and sanitation.

In Mbare township, the epicenter of the current outbreak, sewer water can be seen flowing on the streets and garbage has gone for days without being collected.

After the outbreak began, authorities banned vendors from selling food in Harare; but, seller Chenai Mananga says vending is not the cause of typhoid.

“Garbage is not being collected. Burst sewer pipes are not being repaired. It is junk all over, she said. “If there is junk there will be disease outbreaks. So it is not vendors’ problem.”

In some areas, residents say faucets have been dry for days, forcing them to rely on water from open sources like lakes and rivers for daily chores. Those waters are not clean, making it harder to end Zimbabwe’s typhoid outbreak.

Designed in Davos, Tested in Zimbabwe

Insurers are banding together to pioneer crop insurance in Africa.

Source: Designed in Davos, Tested in Zimbabwe – Bloomberg by Alan Bjerga

The distance from the snowy peaks of Davos to a corn farm in Zimbabwe isn’t measured only in miles: They’re centuries apart in economic development. Bridging decades quickly is the impetus behind Blue Marble Microinsurance, a plan to offer crop indemnity insurance to farmers in sub-Saharan Africa. Unveiled in 2015 at the World Economic Forum, the initiative to sell small farmers inexpensive policies to reimburse them in the event of a weather disaster was started in November with a pilot involving 335 maize growers in Zimbabwe.

Blue Marble is an eight-member group that brings together industry giants such as American International Group, XL Group, and Zurich Insurance Group. The insurers hope the project helps them learn how to do good in the process of doing well, creating new customers for their products. “We’re trying to leverage their expertise in a very different kind of market,” says Joan Lamm-Tennant, Blue Marble’s chief executive officer. “It’s not a project that’s going to pay off in the first year.”

Africa has about 60 percent of the world’s uncultivated farmland and more farmers as a share of the population than any other continent. Yet countries such as Zimbabwe have struggled to marshal the necessary resources to unlock their agricultural potential. Gains in one area, such as better seed, are often stymied by deficits in others—not enough grain silos. Getting smaller farmers plugged into credit networks would help spur investment and bring new producers to markets, says Ulrich Hess, a senior adviser to Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit, a global development group based in Bonn. That’s where crop insurance comes in.

Policies that help farmers hedge against drought and other risks are controversial in the U.S., where they’re associated with bloated federal subsidies to growers prosperous enough to do without government aid. Programs in developing countries are less ambitious, but perhaps more essential, because they guarantee a farmer will receive some basic income even if weather doesn’t cooperate. Banks then may feel more comfortable lending to them.

In developing countries, policies often take the form of so-called index insurance plans, in which payouts are based on predetermined rainfall levels or other metrics. That keeps overhead costs low and makes the policies simple to understand. Almost 200 million farmers are insured in Asia, and more than 3.3 million in Latin America, according to a 2015 study by the Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion. In Africa, only about 650,000 are insured.

One reason Africa lags other regions is that weather data needed to craft sound policies are scarce. In the Blue Marble pilot, policies are offered only to farmers of corn, a crop with a well-established harvest history. Also, the group isn’t pitching policies to the poorest of the poor—farmers living on $1 a day, a traditional poverty measure. “We’re looking for ones making $8, $9, $10 a day,” Lamm-Tennant says.

The immediate goal isn’t to make money, but to figure out what works before scaling up. “You have to be able to pivot and redesign until you get it right,” she says. That’s why they’re starting small, distributing policies through an organization rather than selling them individually.

But scaling up is what derails crop insurance programs in Africa, says Peter Hazell, a food-security consultant with the World Bank, which has collaborated with governments in Kenya and elsewhere to design crop indemnity policies. Without public subsidies to drive down costs, it’s hard to persuade farmers to buy coverage. And even if the cost is manageable, many opt for more traditional ways of limiting risks, such as growing diverse crops that mature at different times and need varying levels of rainfall, he says. “The big challenge is: How do you deliver it effectively at a low cost, and how do you make it common among farmers? ”

If Blue Marble can reach those farms—and over time give them the financial footing to become bigger—the long-term payoff for its members would be large. Says Lamm-Tennant: “If you do this right, the middle class emerges that then becomes the consumer” of the insurers’ other products.

The bottom line: A group of eight insurers is testing crop indemnity insurance in a pilot involving 335 corn farmers in Zimbabwe.

No to pledges without action, Mushohwe tells diamond firm

Source: No to pledges without action, Mushohwe tells diamond firm | The Herald

Lloyd Gumbo in CHIADZWA
The new Government-owned diamond mining company in Marange must bring development to the local community and take responsibility of the pledges that were made by the companies whose grants were not renewed by Government. Information, Media and Broadcasting Services Minister Dr Christopher Mushohwe said this during a tour of Chiadzwa diamond fields by the Parliamentary Porfolio committee on Mines and Energy, yesterday.

The Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association sponsored the tour of the committee that is chaired by Zanu-PF MP for Masvingo Urban, Cde Daniel Shumba.

The Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC), a wholly Government-owned company is in charge of operations in Chiadzwa after Government did not renew the mining licences for the companies that were mining in Marange and Chimanimani.

Minister Mushohwe, who is the Member of Parliament for Mutare West, said the Marange community had nothing to show for the mining that has been happening in the area for the past 10 years.

“When companies started mining here, people in this area expected a lot because of the promises that were made,” said Dr Mushohwe.

“We expected that they would construct roads, build clinics and schools. But since the mining started, there is not even one classroom block that they have constructed.

“In fact, there was a primary school that was closed, and pupils there in Grade Zero and Grade One walk for about six kilometres to the nearest school.”

Dr Mushohwe said the community was no longer interested in pledges without action. He said families that were yet to be relocated from Marange had no source of livelihood as their fields had been incorporated into the mining fields.

The minister said it was disappointing that the Zimunya-Marange Community Share Ownership Trust had not materialised, despite the pledge that was made by the companies.

He said what was most disturbing was that the companies that had reneged on the Community Share Ownership Trust were quick to drag Government to court after it did not renew their grants.

“We are happy that Government took the decision not to renew the other mines’ grants, but we want the new company to prove that they are a Zimbabwean-owned company that cares for its people.

“My plea to ZMDC is, please start with clinics in this area as a matter of urgency. At the moment, people who are still in Marange are just inhaling dust from the mining operations, yet they have no clinic to go to for medical attention when they get sick from the dust.

“What is important now is for ZCDC to help families in Marange area regardless of production because these people have no source of livelihood. They have suffered enough. We are no longer interested in promises that are never fulfilled,” said Dr Mushohwe.

He said it was important for ZCDC to settle outstanding salaries of all the employees who were affected by the new structure.

Dr Mushohwe said the majority of them had gone for months without salaries well before the companies were kicked out of the mining fields. “We hope that you will not claim that you are not the ones who owe these employees who had not been paid before the companies ceased operations.

“Besides, Government already had 50 percent in all the other companies, so the liability is also on the new company. You should take responsibility,” said Dr Mushohwe.

He also called on the new company to employ more qualified locals so that they can benefit. In his remarks, ZCDC acting chief executive officer, Dr Ridge Nyashanu, said they looked forward to better fortunes that would allow them to plough back to the community.

“As the companies were mining, some of them managed to manoeuvre around the families. So the vision for ZCDC, our initial plan is to get capital to relocate the families and also do some of the CSR activities within the communities,” said Dr Nyashanu.

He said 49,7 percent of their stuff were locals while they also bought of the products such as vegetables from the community.

Dr Nyashanu said ZCDC had so far relocated 23 families to arda Transau where they got a hectare of land, a three-bedroomed house and disturbance allowances to 18 of the families.

He said they also budget capital for corporate social responsibility projects in the community. Mines and Mining Development permanent secretary, Professor Francis Gudyanga and other Government officials attended the tour.

Fall armyworm affects seven provinces

Source: Fall armyworm affects seven provinces | The Herald January 14, 2017

Elita Chikwati Senior Agriculture Reporter
The fall armyworm has now affected seven provinces, with responsible authorities intensifying monitoring and assessment to curb further invasion, Government has said. Department of Plant Protection and Research Institute chief entomologist Dr Godfrey Chikwenhere confirmed that the pest had affected Matabeleland South, Matabeleland North, Midlands, Manicaland, Mashonaland Central, Mashonaland West and Mashonaland East.

Masvingo is the only farming province that has not reported cases of the fall armyworm. Mr Chikwenhere said teams from his department were on the ground monitoring the situation and assessing the extent of the damage caused by the pest.

“Seven out of eight provinces have been affected by the pest,” he said. “It is worrying that most farmers and some extension officers cannot calculate the damage. We are carrying out awareness campaigns countrywide and at the same time going to teach farmers and Agritex officers on calculating the damage caused by the armyworm. We are starting with Matabeleland North and Matabeleland South.”

Dr Chikwenhere said Government deployed chemicals across the country for the control of the fall army- worm. Fall armyworm is a new pest in Zimbabwe and causes extensive damage to maize if not controlled properly and on time. The pest has 10 to 12 cycles and can continue recurring after the first spray.

“Farmers are, therefore, urged to continue scouting their crop and inform relevant authorities if they have problems with the pest,” he said.

The fall armyworm should be controlled during the early days of its life to reduce the rate of recurrence.

“Controlling of fall armyworm is done using Carbaryl 85 percent Wettable Powder at high dosage rates of 300-400g per 15 litres water to effectively control the pest at full cover spray,” said Dr Chikwenhere

Essential drugs shortage looms

ZIMBABWE faces a shortage of critical drugs that could threaten the lives of people living with chronic conditions unless the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) intervenes as a matter of urgency, the Zimbabwe Medical Association (Zima) has said.

Source: Essential drugs shortage looms – NewsDay Zimbabwe January 14, 2017

By Staff Reporter

In a statement, Zima said there was a risk that essential drugs like insulin (for diabetes), anaesthetic (used to prevent pain during surgery) and psychiatric drugs could run out before the end of the month.

Zima used Twitter to raise alarm bells of the impending catastrophe urging authorities to provide funds.

“The country will run out of insulin, anaesthetic and psychiatric drugs by end of January unless RBZ releases funds now,” the post read.

Diabetes, which is managed largely by insulin injections, remains one of the leading killer diseases in Zimbabwe, with many patients struggling to get their medication which is also expensive.

Efforts to get further details from Zima secretary-general, Shingi Bopoto and president, Agnes Mahomva were unsuccessful.

However, Health minister David Parirenyatwa, on being contacted, said he was unaware of the development.

“I honestly do not know where this is coming from, but, as far as I know, we have adequate supplies,” Parirenyatwa said.

Most public hospitals have been battling with severe drug shortages and last year Harare Central Hospital and United Bulawayo Hospitals (UBH) had to suspend elective surgeries to manage the shortages after essential anaesthetic drugs ran out.

UBH announced the indefinite cancellation of elective surgical operations as a result of lack of a sedative drug, pethidine.

In a memo at the time, UBH noted that the shortage of pethidine was nationwide.

Pethidine is a pain-relieving drug, which is used in emergency and post-surgery stages of the health care chain.

Zimbabwe’s health delivery system is on its knees after years of mismanagement and corruption, as well as misplaced priorities, with the government electing to fund its military rather than social services. Government has, for the umpteenth time, failed to meet the threshold set by the Abuja Declaration requiring that national budgets allocate 15% of expenditure to health.

Govt approves Epping Forest water project

THE government has finally approved a Bulawayo City Council (BCC) request to construct a seven-kilometre pipeline from Epping Forest in Nyamandlovu to augment the city’s water supplies.

Source: Govt approves Epping Forest water project – NewsDay Zimbabwe January 14, 2017

BY NQOBANI NDLOVU

The State Procurement Board (SPB) has also approved plans to resuscitate four more boreholes at the Nyamandlovu Aquifer, to bring to a total of 35 functional boreholes to supply water to the city that has struggled with water problems for decades.

The Epping Forest pipeline project is estimated to cost $4 million.

BCC has since raised $2,8 million under the $1 per household water levy. Latest council minutes show that the project should be complete by April.

Once complete, Epping Forest will supply a further 10 megalitres of water daily to Bulawayo, while the Nyamandlovu boreholes, if fully operational, can supply the city with 16 megalitres of water daily.

“The Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) and council evaluated the submitted bids from contractors and sent the report to SPB. SPB approved the award for Lot A, which comprises the construction of a 2,280 cubic metre water reservoir, pump house and 7km pipeline at a cost of about $4 013 914.

“The expected completion date is April 10, 2017. Lot B, which entails the drilling and equipping of 20 boreholes, has been awarded to Conduit Investments (Pvt) Ltd, at a cost of $1 174 643,58 with an expected completion date of six months after signing of the contract,” the council minutes read.

At one time, plans to drill boreholes at the Epping Forest hit a brick wall, after the Environmental Management Agency (EMA) blocked it.

EMA argued that drawing water from Epping Forest, a nature forest, which has a high underground water table, would disturb the ecosystem and lead to animal deaths in Nyamandlovu.

“There are 31 operational boreholes in Nyamandlovu. Currently, Zinwa is working on resuscitating four additional boreholes, which require the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company to instal new transformers.

The refurbishments would augment water supply from Nyamandlovu to an average eight megalitres/day in comparison to the current average of 2,6 megalitres/day,” the minutes added.

Government plans to provide Bulawayo with water through the Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project, seen as the long-term solution, have stalled, while the Mtshabezi, Insiza and Epping Forest water pipelines are seen as some of the possible solutions to ease the water crisis in the city.

Court gives JSC 15-day ultimatum

Source: Court gives JSC 15-day ultimatum | The Herald January 14, 2017

Fidelis Munyoro: Chief Court Reporter

The Judicial Service Commission (JSC) has been given 15 days to file heads of argument for the case in which it is challenging the High Court decision to stop public interviews to choose the country’s next Chief Justice.In a letter written to JSC lawyers, Messrs Kantor and Immerman on Tuesday, the superior court said upon failure to comply with the instruction, the appeal would be deemed as abandoned. According to the letter, the records of appeal were received at the Supreme Court on the same day.

“I now call upon you to file heads of argument within 15 business days from the date of service of this letter,” reads the letter. “Please note that if you fail to comply with the above, the appeal shall be regarded as abandoned and shall be deemed dismissed.”

The letter was also copied to lawyers Messrs Venturas and Samukange, who are acting for University of Zimbabwe student Romeo Taombera Zibani, who won the case to stop public interviews for the Chief Justice of Zimbabwe in the High Court recently.

Zibani, a fourth-year law student, successfully challenged the JSC’s decision to conduct public interviews for the post of Chief Justice, pending the amendment of the Constitution.

JSC appealed to the Supreme Court and proceeded with the interviews. Deputy Chief Justice Luke Malaba, JSC secretary and Zimbabwe Electoral Commission chairperson Justice Rita Makarau and senior judge at the apex court Justice Paddington Garwe were interviewed. After the interviews, Government gazetted Constitutional Amendment Bill No. 1 of 2016 published in the General Notice 434 of 2016.

The Bill seeks to amend Section 180 of the Constitution and do away with the conducting of public interviews to select candidates for the esteemed posts of Chief Justice, Deputy Chief Justice and Judge President of the High Court.

Once the Bill becomes law, President Mugabe will have unfettered discretion to appoint his choice whenever such vacancies arise.

Government last month said it was amending the Constitution on the appointment of the Chief Justice after finding itself in an awkward position in which senior members of the JSC tasked with conducting the interviews ended up being the candidates.

Secretary for Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Mrs Virginia Mabhiza said the drafters of the supreme law, which came into effect in 2013, failed to recognise a situation whereby those expected to conduct the interviews would become aspirants.

This, she said, made the procedure for the interviewing of judges by the JSC inappropriate as junior members of the commission ended up being tasked with determining the suitability of their seniors.

ZimPF youths invade Bikita West

OPPOSITION Zimbabwe People First (ZimPF) youths have thrown down the gauntlet, challenging the ruling Zanu PF party in what promises to be a bruising fight for the Bikita West by-election set for January 21.

Source: ZimPF youths invade Bikita West – NewsDay Zimbabwe January 14, 2017

BY NQOBANI NDLOVU

ZimPF, led by former Vice-President Joice Mujuru, is being represented by Kudakwashe Gopo in its inaugural electoral contest, since expelled former Zanu PF stalwarts coalesced to form a political party out of the ashes of a faction that had been engaged in a bitter fight for control of the ruling party.

The opposition party’s youth wing, led by interim chairperson, Lucky Kandemiri, said they intended to use Bikita West as a barometer to measure the party’s strength and “show Zanu PF we are not scared”.

“We want to send a clear statement to Zanu PF. Our youths are now fully operational in Bikita West to drum up support for Gopo. We are aware of Zanu PF and its dirty tricks, but we are not intimidated.

“Our youths are ready to win the election for a person who is young and one they can identify with. We are a party with youths at heart, and that is the reason why we have a good number of them in our camp,” he said.

Gopo will lock horns with Zanu PF’s Beauty Chabaya, independent candidate, Heya Shoko, a former MP for the area, Progressive Democrats of Zimbabwe’s Terrence Makumbo, another independent candidate, Innocent Muzvimbiri, and National Constitutional Assembly’s Madock Chivasa.

ZimPF interim national youth spokesperson, Khulani Ndlovu weighed in, urging party youths to “vote in their numbers to confirm the party’s existence on the Zimbabwean political landscape”.

“It is high time we proved that the future of politics in Zimbabwe lies with the young generation and the involvement of youths at the highest level.

“The idea of having a young candidate is meant to inspire the youth to take part. The by-election comes at a critical time as we are preparing for the big one in 2018,” he said.

Mujuru will address a star rally in the constituency next week. Bikita West fell vacant following the 10-year imprisonment of former legislator, Munyaradzi Kereke (Zanu PF) for raping a minor at gunpoint.

Trouble brewing in MDC-T over BikitaWest

TROUBLE is brewing within the opposition MDC-T over reports that the party has decided to back an independent candidate in the forthcoming Bikita West by-election.

Source: Trouble brewing in MDC-T over BikitaWest – NewsDay Zimbabwe January 14, 2017

BY BLESSED MHLANGA

MDC-T Masvingo provincial chairperson, James Gumbi early this week reportedly claimed the opposition party would now throw its weight behind independent candidate, Innocent Muzvimbiri instead of former Vice-President Joice Mujuru’s Zimbabwe People First’s (ZimPF) Kudakwashe Gopo.

But yesterday, MDC-T dismissed Gumbi’s declarations. Spokesperson Obert Gutu said there was no official position or resolution that the opposition movement would back “any candidate in the by-election”.

“We are not participating in the Bikita West by-election because of our no reforms no election resolution and I can authoritatively say, on behalf of the party, that there is no official endorsement of any candidate in the Bikita West by-election,” he said.

Sources in the MDC-T said Gumbi was being motivated by factional politics. NewsDay Weekender heard that a faction within the MDC-T viciously opposed to a coalition, particularly with Mujuru, could have been behind the plot to “muddy the waters for our colleagues”.

“This is factional politics at play, there are people in the party, who want to thwart the formation of the coalition because they fear they would lose their positions in a coalition,” the source said.

In a clear indication that all was not well and the reported talks on a coalition between MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai and Mujuru could yet face internal resistance, Gumbi stuck to his guns insisting his party was backing Muzvimbiri.

“I can’t be naïve to say that I received an instruction from the top to back the independent candidate if I did not. It’s not my business to be lying,” he said somewhat exasperated and promising to get to the bottom of the issue.

He, however, refused to name the person, who had given him the instruction.

ZimPF spokesperson, Jealousy Mawarire, on Thursday said his party was working well with MDC-T supporters and structures. Mawarire said media reports that the MDC-T had ditched them were not true.

“Our people on the ground have not told us anything to that effect. What we know is we have their (MDC-T) support on the ground and we look forward to have president Tsvangirai joining us on January 19 at our star rally,” he said.

ZimPF face Zanu PF’s Beauty Chabaya in what could be a litmus test for the Mujuru-led party which enters into its first election since it was formed.

Also eyeing the constituency are independent candidate, Heya Shoko, a former legislator for the area and Progressive Democrats of Zimbabwe’s Terrence Makumbo.

Mandiwanzira sues Daily News

Source: Mandiwanzira sues Daily News – DailyNews Live 13 January 2017

Tendai Kamhungira

HARARE – Information Communication Technology (ICT) minister, Supa
Mandiwanzira, has filed two lawsuits totalling a staggering $9 million
against Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe (ANZ) – publishers of the Daily
News, the Daily News on Sunday and the Weekend Post.

The lawsuits relate to two articles which appeared in ANZ’s flagship
daily, the Daily News, last year.

Curiously, both of Mandiwanzira’s legal actions only came in the past
fortnight, eight months after the Daily News published the news articles.

An ANZ spokesperson said that the company looked forward to meeting the
minister in court in both cases, adding that it was his right to approach
the bench.

In his latest lawsuit, in which Mandiwanzira cites MDC legislator for
Mabvuku-Tafara James Maridadi as the first respondent, and ANZ and its
Group Editor Stanley Gama as second and third respondents, the ZiFM owner
– who is a former journalist who has enjoyed a meteoric rise in both
business and politics – is demanding $2 million in damages.

This follows the publication of an opinion piece by Maridadi in the Daily
News in July 2016 titled “A chip off the old block”, which referred to
widely-circulating allegations at the time that Mandiwanzira had been
bought a $200 000 car by the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory
Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz).

In his court application, Mandiwanzira said the impression created by the
opinion piece was that he abused his position as a minister for his own
personal gain.

He also claimed that the opinion had damaged his reputation in terms of
his suitability to be a parliamentarian and a Cabinet minister, without
saying what the claimed suitability entailed.

“The plaintiff has been subjected to great embarrassment by the article
and it was the duty of 1st, 2nd and 3rd defendants (Maridadi, ANZ and
Gama) to verify the truth of the information before causing the
publication.

“As a result of the defamatory statements … the plaintiff has been
damaged in his reputation and suffered damages in the amount of $2
million,” Mandiwanzira said.

There was no indication that Mandiwanzira had taken similar action against
all the media houses that had reported on the controversy.

In the other lawsuit, Mandiwanzira also included ANZ as a respondent in a
case in which he is seeking a whopping $7 million in damages.

The lawsuit is based on an article which was published in the Daily News
in May last year, in which former NetOne chief executive officer, Reward
Kangai, complained about the minister and was reported to have appealed to
President Robert Mugabe for help.

“The article was not only untrue in many aspects, but highly defamatory
and was so published with the express motive of casting aspersions on the
character of the plaintiff, lowering him in the estimation of ordinary
reasonable persons with the newspaper’s readership and exposed him to
public ridicule and contempt, both in his professional capacity as a
government minister and a renowned broadcaster and a politician,”
Mandiwanzira’s lawyers claimed.

2017 poses challenges for Zim scribes

Source: 2017 poses challenges for Zim scribes – DailyNews Live 13 January 2017

HARARE – As with any other campaign year, 2017 will be a difficult year
for Zimbabwean journalists who will face the prospects of being victimised
by political activists and security agencies, national director of
MISA-Zimbabwe Nhlanhla Ngwenya told the Daily News recently.

Ngwenya said last year’s protests saw 31 journalists being victimised
mostly by state security agencies and with the 2018 elections looming in
which Zanu PF wants to retain power at all costs while the opposition
wants to gain power, the political campaigns will be tension filled and
the journalists covering the events will be victims.

The MISA-Zimbabwe national director said 2017 is the year that Zimbabweans
have to free the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) from the bondage
of those in power and that people should reclaim the station so that it
becomes a voice for everyone.

The Daily News Assistant Editor Maxwell Sibanda spoke to Ngwenya on these
and several other media related issues and below are some extracts from
the interview.

Q: As we recently closed the year 2016 what were some of the media
fraternity’s expectations that you think were not met?

A: Firstly, we expected to see a commitment and push for the adoption of
the IMPI report recommendations which remains an outstanding issue to
date. In 2015 government had actually pledged to facilitate a discussion
or engagement to map out priority areas with meetings set for 2016 that
would set in motion a media reform agenda. The meeting according to
government was meant to inform priority areas for media reform and the
fact that the engagement did not happen means everything has been put on
hold. Secondly, while 2016 witnessed the launch of provincial radio
stations which was a good development in so far as providing diverse
broadcasting and multiple stations, the issue remains that this did not
appear genuinely independent. There is a strong perception that the new
radio stations are linked to the state, their being proxies of state
actors makes their credibility doubtful. It is something that as we move
forward needs to be looked at, I mean the need for transparency in the
licencing process that will result in genuinely independent broadcasters.

Q: But how can we make sure that this process is not biased, what do we
need to do?

A: I think it is both structural and operational. We need to review our
legislative framework because what has happened is while the constitution
talks about the need of independent broadcasters, the process used to vet
and adjudicate is not transparent. It is open to manipulation by the
executive and this is why we have this controversial outcomes. We need to
start from the basics and build a legislative infrastructure that will
ensure the process is transparent, that will ensure accountability in
terms of adjudication process which will result in fair and acceptable
outcomes.Such a legislative process should make sure that the appointing
authority, the regulator is not accountable to a single ministry. It
should be a parliamentary process because at the moment the Broadcasting
Service Act makes the appointing authority vulnerable to political
manipulation. My take is that it should be a parliamentary process that
can only happen if we come up with a strong law.

Q: And the issue of community radios stations, there seems to be no
movement in terms of licensing them, what could be the problem?

A: The last time we engaged officials from the Ministry of Information the
information we got is that government is still is awaiting finalisation of
the digitalisation process which process will facilitate the licensing of
community radio stations. But we are told the digitalisation process is
still far away in terms of processing.This slow pace will also delay a lot
of things because we haven’t moved to the digital platform as anticipated
which allows community radio stations mapping. The digitalisation has many
positives and these include the release of more television stations. The
process’ completion will also open white spaces that will enable the
increase in internet infrastructure in areas where it is not accessible.

Q: Is this excuse genuine; that community radio licenses are not being
issued because government has not finalised the digitalisation process?

A: I do not understand why they are linking digital migration to the
issuing of community radio stations because as we speak we have quite a
number of committees ready to roll out these stations and government
should issue them licenses just like they did all the other radio
stations. It defeats the whole purpose of empowering the ordinary
citizens. Instead of Zimbabweans enjoying their right to broadcast and
tell their own stories, it is now on the whims of government. I believe it
is a wrong approach and we hope this year government will look into this
matter.

Q: But while government has issued more radio station licenses, it seems
most of the entities are failing to take off with some being accused of
not being independent from the state…

A: You would recall that some of them are operating within Zimpapers which
vindicates long standing perceptions that they are not independent from
the state. We have always had doubts because some of the stations are
operating from public broadcaster premises controlled by the state – how
do you have the state accommodating genuinely independent or alternative
radio stations?

Q: So you are saying there is no diversity at all regardless of the
issuing of these new licenses?

A: What we have witnessed is the expansion of media houses related to or
linked or controlled by the state and nothing more than that.

Q: Any chances of media reforms this year?

A: The challenge of the media reform agenda is that as we move towards the
2018 elections I see a situation were demands for media reform will be put
on the back banner as the political tensions rise. We know that Zanu PF
prioritises control of information ahead of elections and they will not be
in a position to further liberalise the media towards the vote. What we
will see are some superficial reforms, remember AIPPA as a law was
subjected to more than three amendments since its adoption but that did
not substantially deal with the law and the challenges to Zimbabweans have
not changed, but if you go to  legislative records it is amended. This
year they will tinker with bits and pieces of laws and not the
fundamentals because the intention is not to genuinely align laws to
constitution but that it is all about power games. The Computer and Cyber
bill will be added on other pieces of laws because the president mentioned
it when he opened parliament saying the current session will have to deal
with it. The Ministry of Information has identified AIPPA as in need of
review but they haven’t shared the text with interested stakeholders.

Q: This year is campaign year, how do you see journalists’ operational
terrain?

A: I think we should never be blind to the fact that media freedom in this
country and that journalists’ ability to conduct their business is a
function of the prevailing political temperature. As MISA-Zimbabwe we have
over the years witnessed a surge in the number of journalists being
harassed, beaten, illegally detained as we approach elections and this
year will not be an exception. There seems to be a culture of impunity to
those who attack journalists and known violators are still roaming the
streets free. We still have media houses that were bombed and as we draw
closer to the elections which will be tension filled we will definitely
see a surge in harassments. The perpetrators of violence against
journalists have been political activists and of late it has been the
police. Last year’s protests saw 31 journalists victimised while covering
the events and imagine what will happen this year when we have a campaign
in which the governing party Zanu PF would like to retain power by all
means while the opposition wants to gain power by all means – the media
will be a casualty of course and we are aware of this expected occurrence.

Q: How are you as media practitioners going to deal with this?

A: Last year we engaged the police because we identified them as the main
culprit if you look at the reported 31 cases.  We had a single meeting
with the police and we are also going to continue engaging them. We are
also going to equip journalists with safety and security tips because
there are instances where we feel journos need to safeguard themselves. We
have also noticed this tendency to criminalise the work of journalists,
especially those from the independent media because if you look at the 31
journalists victimised last year no one is from the public media. We also
have instances were opposition political parties and activities view
journalists from the public media with suspicion and we are working to
correct that perception as well. Journalists are not employed to gloss
over politicians, they are there to report the truth, they are just
messengers. There is no need to shoot the messenger. We are also looking
at introducing clearly labelled bibs and helmets as part and parcel of
measures to equip journalists, but at the end of the day it will be the
scribes who will prescribe what exactly they would want because there are
some who believe such measures will expose them to political thugs.

Q: And what is your parting shot?

A: I think Zimbabweans have tendered to give up on the broadcaster, ZBC
but it is critical that we congregate around demanding that the
broadcaster become a truly public entity whose obligations are to serve
the people regardless of political affiliation. ZBC has to serve all
shapes and colour of thought. It has to desist from being a megaphone of
those in power. Let us all use 2017 to rebuild ZBC and ensure that it
lives its mandate. ZBC has to offer equal coverage of all political
thought; this should not be the duty of the private media but of the
public broadcaster. We do not want to keep getting the same brazen reports
as in past elections that ZBC is biased towards those in power, we need to
reclaim it and I hope Zimbabweans will have the courage to really demand
that it becomes a true public broadcaster.

Q: How can this be done?

A:  If there is will and consensus among Zimbabweans it can be done. We
want at ZBC is to see the broadcaster reforming the governing and
operational structures. It has to make the appointment of governors be
truly representative of Zimbabweans and let it be on merit not political
affiliation and closeness to those in power. Why is it that every
information minister that comes along brings a new board if it is on
merit, professionalism and competency? Clearly there is a problem because
here it seems the appointment follows the politics not service.  We should
demand a governing structure that follows public service and if we do that
everything falls into place when driven by professionals, the operation
beat falls in place.

‘Constitution change a claw-back move’

Source: ‘Constitution change a claw-back move’ – DailyNews Live January 13, 2017

Helen Kadirire

HARARE – Government is under renewed pressure for trying to illegally
amend the Constitution, with the Law Society of Zimbabwe (LSZ) slamming
the attempt as a move to reinstate President Robert Mugabe’s sole
discretion of appointing the Chief Justice (CJ).

This comes as government is seeking to amend Section 180 of the new
charter adopted in 2013, which deals with the appointment of the CJ.

A fortnight ago, Mugabe gazetted Constitutional Amendment Bill (Number 1)
seeking to reinstate his singular authority to appoint the head of the
judiciary, deputy CJ and judge president of the High Court, even though
the 2013 charter dictates that candidates must be interviewed by the
Judiciary Services Commission (JSC).

In justifying the amendments, Justice ministry permanent secretary
Virginia Mabhiza argued that the drafters of the new charter did not
realise that some JSC commissioners could become candidates for the
position of CJ, rendering the interviewing procedure of judges by the JSC
“inappropriate”.

Three candidates had already undergone public interviews – veteran deputy
chief justice Luke Malaba, Supreme Court and Constitutional Court judge
Paddington Garwe and Rita Makarau, chairperson of the Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission (Zec) and secretary of the JSC.

Mugabe was then supposed to handpick one candidate from three names
submitted by the JSC.

Justice George Chiweshe, a former head of the Zec did not turn up for the
JSC interviews for unknown reasons.

However, LSZ said it was “generally dismayed by the attitude of the
government towards the Constitution…”

“While we are not privy to the principles that informed the proposed
amendments, we have no illusion that the effect of the proposed amendment
is to substitute a relatively transparent system of judicial appointments
with a murky executive-driven system resurrected from the old
Constitution,” it said.

The LSZ argued that the timing of the amendments is worrying as the
constitutionally-mandated process of public interviews was already
underway.

They claim that by amending Section 180 into the hands of the executive,
Mugabe will be both selecting and appointing authority of three of the
most strategic judicial officers.

LSZ said although there may be provision to consult with the JSC, it is
merely a token and can be ignored without any consequences to Mugabe’s
decision.

“The amendment provides that where the president proceeds against the
advice of the JSC, he shall inform the Senate. The Senate, however, has no
power to overturn the appointment by the President. It will merely note.

“In the interest of accountability of arms of the State, the consultations
with the JSC and then reference to the Senate should be about checks and
balances.

“The proposed amendment gives unfettered power to a single individual to
appoint the most influential positions in the judiciary. This has dire
consequences on judicial independence,” LSZ argues.

Tapiwa Mashakada, a political risk analyst and senior opposition MDC
official also said: “The Constitution is the supreme law of the land. The
current Constitution is a product of a rigorous process that culminated in
a referendum that adopted the document.”

“Sadly though, the implementation of the Constitution has been hamstrung
by lack of political will.”

Mashakada added that the new constitution provides for the selection of
judges through public interviews.

“The process has now been suspiciously stalled by a court action by one
University of Zimbabwe law student who has challenged the
constitutionality and legality of the public interview system. My question
is: why now?”

“All along, the system has been working. Now the system is no longer
wanted for the post of Chief Justice. Why, why, why?” Mashakada
questioned.

“The answer is about giving back powers to the president to directly
appoint his CJ.

“Is the Constitutional Amendment No 1 of 2017 not a claw back amendment?

“How independent is the court action challenging public interviews?”

Govt to grab private land for civil servants’ homes

Source: Govt to grab private land for civil servants’ homes – DailyNews Live January 13, 2017

Bridget Mananavire

HARARE – Government has said it will grab private land to allocate
residential stands to restive civil servants, with officials denying that
the State-facilitated housing project is a vote-buying gimmick ahead of
the 2018 elections.

In a bid to appease civil servants who are complaining about delayed
salary disbursements and unpaid 2016 bonuses, government intends to give
them residential stands at discounted rates.

When questioned by the Daily News on government’s capacity to allocate
land to all the 300 000-plus civil servants, during a meeting – where
government representatives, bank executives, construction companies and
the media were present – over the project on Wednesday, Local Government
ministry permanent secretary George Mlilo said the State will acquire
private land.

“There is no limit to the land we will provide, all land is State land and
if there is private land, we will go through the necessary processes to
get the land,” he said.

While the move risks contravening private property rights, Mlilo said it
was part of government’s Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic
Transformation (ZimAsset) which was launched three years ago.

“It is part of ZimAsset and it’s purely to improve the livelihoods of
people,” he said, adding that the scheme aims to allow civil servants to
achieve the dream of owning their own homes.

Already, 500 000 civil servants are estimated to have applied for stands
under the project.

However, Mlilo could not explain the timing of the project, which comes
just a little over 12 months before the crunch 2018 general elections.

Mlilo said he did not know why the project was being implemented at this
time.

“I don’t know. We are saying we want to be transparent and you are allowed
to interrogate the processes but not speculate. It is not a political
gimmick,” he said.

Traditionally, Zanu PF has embarked on such projects – including writing
off residents’ council rates arrears across the country ahead of the 2013
polls – towards elections.

Mlilo said “funding will come from the beneficiaries themselves, who will
contribute on a monthly basis through deductions from the Salary Services
Bureau, which is projected to be around $15 million to $20 million”.

Mnangagwa on the ropes

Source: Mnangagwa on the ropes – DailyNews Live January 13, 2017

Fungi Kwaramba and Mugove Tafirenyika

HARARE – There was widespread agreement yesterday that Vice President
Emmerson Mnangagwa is walking a tight rope following Wednesday’s dramatic
events in which his Zanu PF enemies put in motion plans to have him
censured by President Robert Mugabe, over a festive season gathering that
the VP hosted at his rural home.

This comes as the highly-opinionated and avowed supporter of Mnangagwa,
Energy Mutodi, has said that he will not hold back on his withering
criticism of Mugabe, as Zimbabwe’s political and economic rot continues to
deepen.

At the same time, the Daily News learnt yesterday that Mnangagwa’s Zanu PF
allies were also fearful of an impending party restructuring exercise
which could decimate the Midlands godfather’s support base, placing his
mooted presidential aspirations in jeopardy.

Insiders also said that the party’s Generation 40 (G40) faction, which is
strongly opposed to Mnangagwa succeeding Mugabe, was planning a meeting
with Mugabe upon his return from his month-long holiday in the Far East,
to raise its concerns over the VP’s alleged plotting and the infamous
“Cupgate” saga.

“We will have an opportunity to explain to the president what has been
happening while he was away, and this we will do right at the airport when
Gushungo (Mugabe) returns. Just wait and see,” a top party official linked
to the G40 warned.

But political analysts said while Mnangagwa appeared to be on the ropes,
it was premature to conclude that he was “heading for the exit doors”, as
Zanu PF’s seemingly unstoppable tribal, factional and succession wars had
thus far proven to be complex and unpredictable.

Academic Ibbo Mandaza was among those who said that although Mnangagwa
appeared to be in trouble, he was “too big a fish” to be overwhelmed too
easily.

“It does appear as though he (Mnangagwa) is going the same direction as
(former vice president) Joice (Mujuru). As you know, there is the Mafios
resolution, there was the Masvingo conference and the meetings in
Mapanzure, all of which is slowly whittling those around him.

“They (the VP’s Zanu PF foes) will move to expel those who attended the
(Zvishavane) meeting and they now want to go frontal,” Mandaza told the
Daily News.

“Emmerson made the mistake of dumping these people and when it emerges
that he was dining with them, it will have serious repercussions. On the
other hand, his supporters are getting impatient. They want him to stand
up, but he knows Zanu PF more than anyone else.

“However, I don’t think that he will go the same way as Mujuru because of
his linkages with the army who have done work for the old man. They are
not as dispensable as Joice was,” he added.

Afghanistan-based analyst, Maxwell Saungweme, said the statement that was
released by the party’s provincial chairpersons and political commissars
on Wednesday was yet another sign that Zanu PF was imploding.

“2017 will see Zanu PF factional fights making headlines in very dramatic
ways. This is just but the beginning. This is a campaign year and the
patronage system in Zanu PF is at play.

“Everyone wants to be as close as possible to a possible Mugabe heir. This
is purely power, money and politics at play. However, this will lead to
the implosion of the party.

“I don’t really see him (Mugabe) acting on all this fast. He will continue
enjoying the factional fighting and retain the facade of being the
political arbiter, as his subordinates continue to fight each other,”
Saungweme said.

“This makes him look stronger, as it diverts attention from the real
issues of bad governance, economic collapse and succession which he wishes
to delay.

“The more they (his minions) fight, the more Mugabe’s position as life
president of Zanu PF and Zimbabwe is secured. So let’s not expect Ngwena
(Mnangagwa) to go anywhere soon,” he added.

Mnangagwa has been under the cosh in recent days for hosting sacked Zanu
PF officials at his rural home during the festive season, with his party
foes alleging that this was in fact a meeting organised to plot the ouster
of Mugabe from power.

On Wednesday, a G40-linked group, comprising provincial chairpersons and
regional commissars met at the Zanu PF headquarters in Harare, issuing a
statement in which they called for a probe into Mnangagwa for hobnobbing
with war veterans’ leader Christopher Mutsvangwa and Mutodi.

Apart from the provincial chairpersons and regional commissars, the
meeting was also attended by representatives of the youths, the women’s
league and sections of the war veterans’ corps.

But a defiant Mutodi hit back at the G40 yesterday, vowing not to hold
back on his critical views regarding Zanu PF’s succession and rampant
factionalism.

“I am not against Mugabe, and neither do I have any personal grudge with
any Zanu PF official. However, I am suggesting that at the age of 94,
Mugabe is good enough to remain as the party’s first secretary but not a
candidate to run for office of president,” Mutodi told the Daily News.

“Secondly, even if Mugabe was to win the vote in 2018, there is no hope
that the current economic hardships facing the nation will end as no
investor would choose to invest in a country being led by a 94-year-old.

“All these people who are calling themselves provincial chairpersons know
that they were not elected, but were rather imposed by the G40 faction.
The elected Zanu PF chairpersons are being persecuted and accused of
unfounded allegations.

“It’s a charade, a travesty. There is a lot of injustice in the party.
There is regionalism, tribalism and endless factionalism. These are the
signs of a failed leadership because they no longer can unite people. You
are busy fomenting divisions so that you can go on and on without regard
to the interests of the majority,” the unrepentant Mutodi added.

Mutodi also challenged Zanu PF’s national political commissar, Saviour
Kasukuwere, and Higher Education minister Jonathan Moyo, who are alleged
to be G40 kingpins, to present themselves as alternative party leaders.

“Some shallow minds are saying that by demanding leadership renewal, I am
campaigning for Mnangagwa. This is a misconception. I am on record saying
Mnangagwa is a potential successor due to his loyalty to Mugabe, his
experience and his patience.

“However, anyone who feels is better and would want to compete with him is
free to come forward and contest . . . Moyo, . . . Kasukuwere or any other
Zanu PF person is free to present themselves for election to decide who
finally succeeds our long-serving president,” he said.

The maverick musician-turned politician appeared to make things worse for
Mnangagwa when he said this week that Zanu PF should hold an extraordinary
congress to install Mnangagwa as Mugabe’s successor.

Mutodi also claimed that Mugabe, who turns 93 next month, had become so
unpopular in Zanu PF that “99 percent” of the party’s members now wanted
him to resign before the eagerly-anticipated 2018 national elections, as
there was allegedly no way that the nonagenarian could win elections
against popular opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

Meanwhile, Mnangagwa allies fear that the impending Zanu PF restructuring
exercise, in preparation for the eagerly-anticipated 2018 national
elections, could be used by the G40 to sideline the VP’s supporters.

The term of office for the ruling party’s leadership of the lower
structures, the cell and the branch, expire at the end of each year while
that of the  district and provincial  leaders come to an end after three
and five years respectively.

Party insiders told the Daily News that the G40 faction had allegedly
since made plans to ensure that junior party officials loyal to Mnangagwa
were purged before the Zanu PF primary elections, to prevent MPs backing
the Midlands godfather from returning to Parliament.

Zanu PF Mashonaland West deputy provincial chairperson Keith Guzah
confirmed that Kasukuwere had given all provinces until the end of March
to complete the exercise, that will see new leadership for the party’s
cells and branches.

“We will be holding our provincial coordinating committee (PCC) and
provincial executive committee (PEC) meetings next week to inform the
province on the call by the national PC when we met him recently,” Guzah
said.

However, senior Zanu PF officials aligned to Mnangagwa remain suspicious
that the G40 group will take advantage of their control of the
commissariat department to make sure the party’s grassroots structures are
dominated by its allies.

“Kasukuwere will do anything to make sure that the people who are in the
cells and branches will be willing to block the candidature of MPs and
councillors he deems to be pro-Lacoste,” an official from Masvingo
province claimed.

No joy on extolled China mega deals

Source: No joy on extolled China mega deals – DailyNews Live January 13, 2017

Mugove Tafirenyika

HARARE – Analysts say Zimbabwe is a long way from tying down and reaping
the benefits of its much-vaunted multi-billion dollar “mega deals” with
China, which first hit the headlines in 2014.

This is despite President Robert Mugabe’s recent visit to Beijing, which
saw both Zanu PF apparatchiks and State media using megaphones to suggest
that the deals were about to be consummated, two years after the visit to
Harare by Chinese President Xi Jinping where he signed several memorandum
of understandings (MOUs), amid hopes that Beijing would rescue Zimbabwe’s
dying economy.

But both economic and political analysts who spoke to the Daily News
yesterday said the so-called mega deals would remain a pipe dream as long
as there were no reforms in the country, including clarity on Mugabe’s
succession.

Professor of World Politics at the University of London’s School of
Oriental & African Studies, Steven Chan, said China was also keen on
seeing Harare coming out with clear and workable economic policies.

“No-one, not even the Chinese, will ride to Zimbabwe’s rescue until Zanu
PF  bites the bullet and cleans up the economy in a transparent and, above
all, technocratic manner. Politics has nothing to do with it. Fiscal
probity and stability have everything to do with it.

“The Chinese work with as much data as the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.
Insofar as Chinese banks might be involved in financing investments, they
need to behave like banks anywhere, as they are not charities.

“China is right now in no rush to throw good money into a bad situation.
What will probably happen is that, to allow face to be saved all round,
there will be some modest release of funds and drip-feed to selected
projects,” Chan said.

Xi paid a state visit to Zimbabwe in December 2015, before attending a
summit of the Forum on China-Africa Co-operation in Johannesburg, where he
promised multi-billion dollar investments for the African continent.

During his meeting with Mugabe earlier this week, Chinese State media
reported that Xi merely said China was willing to encourage capable
companies to invest in Zimbabwe and expand mutually beneficial
co-operation.

Economist John Robertson said China was “so business-minded” that it was
only prepared to invest in sound projects, adding that the Asian economic
giant was also worried about Zimbabwe’s investment laws that did not
protect investors.

“China has repeated its willingness to invest in any good projects,
nothing more. Good projects will be secured by a clear commitment that
protect investor rights, and Zimbabwe keeps forgetting these promises and
so trust has to be rebuilt,” Robertson said.

Political analyst Maxwell Saungweme said the consummation of the mega
deals was being hampered by the country’s poor governance culture that had
been entrenched by Mugabe over the years.

“To better our economic prospects and be attractive to investors,
including China, we have to improve our ease of doing business by
improving governance, ridding our systems of corruption and reducing
political risk,” he said.

Mugabe and Zanu PF have often described China as the country’s
“all-weather friend” in the face of vilification by Western nations on
allegations of rights abuses and their failure to respect the rule of law,
among various other vices.

Last year, Mugabe described Xi as a “true and dear friend” of Zimbabwe, as
the country sought to deepen its Look East policy, to boost investment and
economic co-operation between the two countries.

Mugabe, who turns 93 next month, is facing the biggest challenge to his
36-year rule as the country’s once vibrant economy continues to die.

He is also struggling to unite his deeply-divided party, amid growing
civil unrest which has re-energised the fragmented opposition.

Zanu PF, ZPF wrangle ahead of Bikita poll

Source: Zanu PF, ZPF wrangle ahead of Bikita poll – DailyNews Live January 13, 2017

Blessings Mashaya

HARARE – Zanu PF and the Joice Mujuru-led Zimbabwe People First (ZPF)
opposition party are trading accusations over violence ahead of the Bikita
West by-election.

While six candidates have successfully filed their papers at the
Nomination Court that sat at the Masvingo Magistrates’ Court, the main
battle is between the ruling party’s women’s league provincial executive
member Beauty Chabaya and ZPF’s Kudakwashe Gopo.

The constituency – a political hotbed where gruesome violence erupted
ahead of a by-election in 2001 – was previously held by incarcerated Zanu
PF rapist, Munyaradzi Kereke.

The ruling party is accusing ZPF Masvingo interim chairperson Claudius
Makova, a former Zanu PF provincial executive member, of unleashing
violence against its supporters.

Speaking to the Daily News yesterday, Zanu PF Masvingo provincial
political commissar Jappy Jaboon accused a police officer, he claimed was
a ZPF member, of being violent towards Zanu PF supporters.

“A police constable based at Nyika Police Station tore a Zanu PF T-shirt
in front of people at Nyika Bus Terminus shouting unprintable words and
denouncing Zanu PF,” he claimed, adding that “the officer is a strong ZPF
supporter and was in a meeting today (Tuesday) at Makova’s house where ZPF
candidate (Gopo) stays. The police officer also intimidated the provincial
youth chairman Norbert Ndaarombe.”

“Makova is naturally a violent person from the time he has been in Zanu
PF,” Jaboon said.

“He is frustrated, realising that many people who were recruited to ZPF no
longer like Mujuru’s party. His party has nothing to offer to the people
and hundreds of people who had joined ZPF are now crossing the floor back
to their mother party, Zanu PF,” he said.

However, Makova came out guns blazing, saying his former party had run out
of strategies to win an election.

“Zanu PF started its terror campaign when (Zanu PF political commissar
Saviour) Kasukuwere and (politburo member Josiah) Hungwe visited the area.
During that time, our supporters were beaten in ward 10,” he claimed.

“Zanu PF also brutalised a pregnant women,” he said, adding that the
President Robert Mugabe-led party was “panicking (and) they don’t know
what to do to win this election”.

Makova also savaged Jaboon, labelling him a “young boy in politics”.

“He knows that I am his father . . . we know politics. Look, when I was
still in Zanu PF, I was the king maker of Bikita as a whole, so do you
think we can fail to win . . .?” he asked.

Makova further claimed that; “I am the one who made Chibaya to have a
position in Masvingo provincial women’s league executive and she is also
my relative. I can’t unleash violence against my sister’s daughter”.

“Zanu PF is using chiefs to intimidate people but people are now tired,
they want something better.

“Even if they rig this coming election, we are going to win. They are
beating people but they want to accuse us. Ask them to bring evidence,” he
said.

Recently, Masvingo Provincial Affairs minister Shuvai Mahofa threatened to
unleash violence in the constituency against anti-Zanu PF supporters.

She told party supporters who gathered at Gwindingwi Primary School on
Wednesday last week to vote “wisely” or else suffer the consequences.

“Haa, munozviziva, muno hamusi mekutamba namo (You all know it. This is
not a constituency to play silly games). Kune vamwe vakatsakatika muno umu
gore riya, munoriziva. Handei tinovhota zvakanaka. (There are some who
disappeared in this constituency as you know. Let us go and vote wisely),”
she bellowed.

Meanwhile, other candidates contesting in the by-election are National
Constitutional Assembly’s spokesperson Madock Chivasa, Terence Makumbo of
little-known Progressive Democrats of Zimbabwe (PDZ), independent
candidate Innocent Muzvimbiri and former Bikita West legislator Heya
Shoko, who will also stand as an independent.

Zim industry engages banks

Source: Zim industry engages banks – DailyNews Live January 13, 2017

Ndakaziva Majaka

HARARE – The Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) said it has
engaged financial institutions over delays in foreign payments.

This comes as local industry has been struggling to import raw materials
since late last year due to lack of foreign currency and banks’ delay in
settling international financial obligations.

CZI president Busisa Moyo told journalists on Tuesday that although the
international settling situation had improved from October, diminishing
nostro account balances held by banks were frustrating industry’s ability
to transact internationally and many businesses had failed to pay for
imports.

“While I cannot tell you exactly how much has been lost in terms of
financial value, I can rate the losses and lost opportunities as
significant,” he said.

Market watchers, however, contend that transactions valued at over $1
billion have been stalled by the depletion of local bank’s nostro
accounts.

A nostro account is a bank account held in a foreign country by a domestic
bank mainly to facilitate settlement of exchange and trade transactions.
Thus, when manufacturers make orders, their respective banks then have to
pay the suppliers through the nostro account.

Industry, however, remains optimistic that a change in the country’s
fortunes this year might help reduce the delays in foreign payments.

“The tobacco marketing season is about to start, this will definitely
improve the situation and metal prices are expected to rise this year, so
this may lead to the situation easing,” he said.

Bankers Association of Zimbabwe president Charity Jinya recently said a
number of factors had culminated in the current foreign currency liquidity
shortages.

She said these challenges had largely emanated from a continuing trade
deficit, noting that any issuance of Treasury Bills would “continue to put
pressure on the country’s ability to effect transfers outside the
country”.

She said collective efforts were being made by various stakeholders to
mitigate these challenges.

These measures included restriction of unnecessary imports applied by
banks based on a priority list; a directive by the RBZ to reduce cash
export thresholds for travellers; and the introduction of bond notes by
the central bank, which she said was aimed at stimulating exports.

“Banks are also encouraging the use of electronic and digital payment
platforms for all transactions and streamlining cash withdrawals to reduce
pressure on their Nostro accounts. A combination of these measures, if
supported by the market should improve nostro liquidity and reduce import
payment cycle,” Jinya said.

Lawyers slam bid to change Constitution

The government’s plan to amend the country’s Constitution smacks of sinister motives and bodes ill for good governance, the Law Society of Zimbabwe (LSZ) has said.

Source: Lawyers slam bid to change Constitution – NewsDay Zimbabwe January 13, 2017

BY PAIDAMOYO MUZULU

In a hard-hitting statement, the lawyers’ body accused President Robert Mugabe’s administration of seeking to usurp the powers of the judiciary in the contentious issue of amending section 180 of the Constitution relating to the appointment of the Chief Justice.

Government, last month, gazetted the amendment Bill that seeks to give the President unfettered powers in appointing the Chief Justice, Deputy Chief Justice and Judge President after mere consultation with the Judicial Service Commission (JSC), unlike the current situation, where the vacancies are filled through a process that includes public interviews of all nominated persons.

The proposal has been met with criticism amid accusations that the ruling Zanu PF party’s internal power struggles to succeed Mugabe are the inspiration behind the move, with current Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku’s term coming to an end next month.

LSZ argues that if there are inadequacies in the current formula to select judges, it should be relooked, but the changes should not entail giving more power to “one person, who does not report to anyone”.

“In correcting the weaknesses, the executive need not usurp the functions currently reposed in the JSC and place them under an authority with no accountability to anyone or any other institution. The amendment does not seek to improve good governance,” the LSZ statement said.

The society further described the timing of the amendment and suspension of the Constitution as questionable.

“The timing of the amendment is equally disconcerting, as it comes when a constitutionally mandated process was already underway. In an unprecedented manner, the executive has sought the suspension of the operation of the Constitution in order to allow the proposed amendment to pass through. This approach is wrong and unlawful,” it added.

Last month, JSC conducted interviews for Chief Justice candidates nominated to succeed Chidyausiku, who turns 70 in February and is constitutionally barred from continuing as head of the judiciary. There were four nominations:
Deputy Chief Justice Luke Malaba, Judge of Appeal, Rita Makarau, Supreme Court Judge Paddington Garwe and Judge President George Chiweshe.

However, Justice Chiweshe did not attend the interviews after a University of Zimbabwe law student challenged the process and sought the amendment of the Constitution.

LSZ said the suspension of the judicial process was unlawful.

“In an unprecedented manner, the executive has sought the suspension of the operation of the Constitution in order to allow the proposed amendment to pass through. The approach is wrong and unlawful. The Constitution is the supreme law of Zimbabwe. All other laws and directives are subordinate to it,” LSZ said, urging the government to adopt a “progressive approach towards constitutional supremacy and desist from circumventing it through such capricious amendments”.

The JSC has since forwarded the three names of the candidates who participated to President Robert Mugabe to choose one for appointment.

Data tariff storm . . .

Econet Wireless Zimbabwe founder Strive Masiyiwa has taken a dig at the floor pricing announced by the telecom firms regulator on mobile data, saying such a move works against plans to introduce new services.

Source: Data tariff storm . . . – NewsDay Zimbabwe January 13, 2017

The Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz) announced the new prices for voice and data for bundled services, including promotional packages, effective from January 9. It prescribed 12c per minute for voice calls and 2c per megabyte for data.

Writing on microblogging site, Twitter, Masiyiwa said while the floor pricing was a directive from Potraz, he was not in support of such a regulatory approach.

“It is my understanding that it was a directive from the telecoms regulator. I have never supported this type of regulatory approach. It makes it difficult to introduce new services such as mobile TV, when a floor price is set for data. Very unusual,” he tweeted.

Masiyiwa’s remarks come as fresh information showed that Econet led the charge for high data charges.

According to minutes of a meeting by Telecommunications Operators’ Association of Zimbabwe, Econet proposed a floor price of $0,12 for voice and $0,05 on data.

NetOne was agreeable with the $0,05 for data and the $0,12 for voice, although their initial position had been $0,10, the minutes show.

The meeting was held on October 17, 2016, at Telecel and attended by representatives from the three mobile network firms Telecel, Econet and NetOne.

Telecel had a proposal of $0,11 for voice and $0,005 for data.

“Members noted that for voice, the proposals were close and it was agreed to adopt the $0,12 as a floor price. The difference on the data floor, however, prompted Telecel to request more time to consider their proposal and will revert to members on October 19, 2016,” the minutes said.

Econet chief executive officer, Douglas Mboweni said he would not comment on the minutes. Efforts to get responses from other operators drew blanks as well yesterday.

Industry sources told NewsDay yesterday that one of the mobile operators (name withheld) proposed to government on the idea of a floor price, as it wanted to fight off competition from rivals who had rolled out a number of promotions.

After meeting government, the operator is said to have made the proposal when mobile operators met in October. The meeting was inconclusive on the data tariff.

When Potraz announced the new floor price last week, Econet was the first to effect the new charges, drawing revulsion from its subscribers.

Other operators have either made slight adjustments or are yet to do so, with subscribers angry at Econet after it hiked its tariffs for data.

In a statement yesterday, Mboweni said the implementation of the new floor pricing for data was done “in compliance with a directive issued to all mobile network operators by the industry regulator” which has inconvenienced “you our valued customers, but has caused pain in you”.

Econet said it had read and listened to the feedback, assuring subscribers that it took “this feedback with the seriousness that it deserves and we are engaging the regulator on the matter”.

“However, you believe and trust that you are aware that Econet operates in a regulated industry and as the industry leader we are obligated to comply with the directives, which are issued to us by the regulator from time to time and this directive is one such instance,” Econet said.

In response to the floor pricing controversy, Potraz director general, Gift Machengete said the regulator’s mandate was to ensure sustainable and consistent provision of domestic and international telecommunication services.

He said the introduction of floor prices would ensure consistent and sustainable long-term provision of services to all Zimbabweans.

“Floor pricing does not only focus on revenue, but on sustaining long-term provision of service to consumers throughout the country,” Machengete said.

Masarira, Dzamara trial resumes

THE trial of five human rights activists arrested at the Harare Gardens late last October on allegations of insulting police officers, resumed yesterday at the Harare Magistrates’ Court, with the suspects denying the charge.

Source: Masarira, Dzamara trial resumes – NewsDay Zimbabwe January 13, 2017

BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE

The five — Patson Dzamara, Linda Masarira, Makomborero Haruziviishe, Rangariraishe Mhende and Leverage Masvondo — face charges of disorderly conduct.

They told trial magistrate Gamuchirai Siwardi that police just stormed the park and arrested them as they awaited transport to take them to the funeral of a fellow activist’s son.

But, State witness Assistant Inspector Gift Chingwaru insisted that the activists were having a political meeting and wore T-shirts inscribed, “The end game”, and “The Zimbabwe we want”.

This was shot down by defence lawyer, Obey Shava, who asked if it was an offence to gather in the park or wear T-shirts carrying a similar message.

Chingwaru also claimed the suspects shouted at the police officers labelling them puppets.

The matter was remanded to January 23 for continuation of trial.

Meanwhile, the trial of 22 anti-government protesters accused of burning two government vehicles during a demonstration against corruption in government institutions last year, resumed yesterday at the Harare Magistrates’ Court.

The protesters, through their lawyers, Tonderai Bhatasara and Jeremiah Bhamu, denied the allegations and accused police of targeting them because of their known anti-government stance.

The activists are alleged to have burnt two trucks belonging to the police and the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) during a violent protest that rocked Harare on August 24 last year.

One of the suspects, Promise Mkwananzi, in his defence, denied any links with the offence, saying he was attending a workshop outside the city’s central business district when the alleged arson took place.

Another suspect, Bruce Usvisvo, told the court that he was a vendor and was arrested as he walked out of a supermarket.

ZBC driver, Makesure Cheza told the court that he saw the protesters pelting his car with stones before setting it ablaze, but could not positively identify them.

Cheza said he only saw a man wearing a red shirt throwing burning cardboard boxes into the car and it then started burning.

No jobs for junior doctors, legal action looms

Government has two weeks to either agree to absorb junior doctors coming out of universities or agree to scrap the third year of internship or risk being sued, the Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors’ Association (ZHDA) has said.

Source: No jobs for junior doctors, legal action looms – NewsDay Zimbabwe January 13, 2017

By Phyllis Mbanje

The government has indicated it will not be able to absorb junior doctors who will finish their internship next month, raising major concerns within the health sector.

ZHDA, in a statement, said its membership was deeply concerned about the development, which would render around 75 new doctors jobless upon the completion of their housemanship, which lasts two years.

The medical practitioners’ group is demanding that the government completely remove the third year in which the doctors operate with a “Limited Certificate of Practice” and start issuing an open practicing certificate, which will allow the doctors to go into private practice.

“The unavailability of vacancies for doctors is an infringement of their constitutional right to practice a profession of their choice for which they attained the required qualification and completed the relevant internship,” ZHDA said in the statement.

The statement added that it was unlawful to continuously impose the third year in circumstances where the government was unable to absorb the doctors who would have completed their internship, thereby, preventing them from practicing their profession of choice.

“In light of the failure by government to provide vacancies for the doctors, who would have completed their internship, we (ZDHA), on behalf of our membership are petitioning government and other institutions and agencies to remove the third year in which a doctor operates with a limited practising certificate,” the statement reads.

Failure to consider their plight, the association has threatened legal action.

“Failure to take heed of this petition within 14 days of receipt by relevant offices, we shall not hesitate to take legal steps aimed at vindicating our members’ rights without further notice,” the group said.

Normally upon attaining the relevant professional qualification (in this case a degree in medicine), a doctor must go through a mandatory two-year internship. After completion of this, the doctor is given a Limited Certificate of Practice whose duration is one year.

During this period, the doctor is required to work at a government hospital before they qualify as a fully-fledged medical practitioner.

After three years of practice, a doctor is then issued with an Open Practicing Certificate allowing free practice.
However, the Ministry of Health has indicated that it is unable to secure vacancies for those who would have completed their mandatory two-year internship with effect from February 2017.

This is despite the fact that most district hospitals are operating on skeleton staff, with only one or two doctors.

Health minister David Parirenyatwa could not be reached for comment.

Double-faced Mugabe will be resisted: War vets

WAR veterans’ leader, Christopher Mutsvangwa has described President Robert Mugabe as a two-faced leader, who has lost his moral compass due to his association with a faction of the ruling party known as G40.

Source: Double-faced Mugabe will be resisted: War vets – NewsDay Zimbabwe January 13, 2017

BY XOLISANI NCUBE

In a statement, buoyed by declarations made by War Veterans minister Tshinga Dube, indicating he was still the bona fide leader of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association (ZNLWVA) until a proper congress decides otherwise, Mutsvangwa said Mugabe needs to retrace his roots and re-establish a connection with the liberation ideology.

“We argue that, as things now stand in Zanu PF, the presidency now has two faces. The original Mugabe was selected by the founding army through the Mgagao Declaration of 1975 to replace our venerated chairman, (Herbert) Chitepo, who created Zanla (Zanu’s wartime military wing),” Mutsvangwa said.

A former Cabinet minister and expelled Zanu PF politburo member, Mutsvangwa said that Mugabe led the successful prosecution of the liberation struggle, but had somehow lost his way in the maze of a vicious power struggle that could be a body blow to the veteran leader’s legacy.

“Of late, (Higher and Tertiary Education minister) Jonathan Moyo and his G40 cohorts have been fashioning and peddling their own face of Mugabe. He is an anti-democratic despot, who shreds his party constitution as he expels seasoned and well-meaning youthful cadres,” the former Zanu PF MP for Norton said.

Mutsvangwa was kicked out of Zanu PF on allegations of demeaning Mugabe, while pushing for Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa take over from the ageing leader. Mnangagwa has, however, faced stiff resistance from the G40 faction that instead seems to be pushing for First Lady Grace Mugabe to take over from her ailing husband.

With Zimbabwe groaning under the weight of runaway corruption, the war veterans’ leader said Mugabe had allowed wilful plunder of State assets by those who feign loyalty to him. He accused the Zanu PF strongman of “condoning kleptocratic malfeasance and going all out to protect the perpetrators”.

“He abandons his duty to develop the nation. Instead, there is economic atrophying, with every index of social welfare showing negative, to the extent that typhoid and other waterborne diseases now stalk the nation and claim lives,” Mutsvangwa said.

Moyo is under investigation for reportedly defrauding the Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund of over $400 000.

Critics claim Moyo is being shielded from possible prosecution by Mugabe and the Zanu PF leader seems to give credence to these claims after reportedly stopping officials from the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) from arresting Moyo during a politburo meeting last year. Mugabe also established a Zanu PF ad-hoc committee to investigate Zacc, a constitutional body.

Zanu PF political commissar and a strong Moyo ally, Saviour Kasukuwere, refused to comment on the matter.

“I don’t talk of expelled people,” he said.

Mugabe’s relationship with war veterans has hit an all-time low in the past year or so, with the former freedom fighters issuing a damning communiqué in July last year describing Mugabe as a “genocidal and manipulative leader”.

In response, Mugabe expelled Mutsvangwa and leading figures in his ZNLWVA executive before frog-marching them to court on accusations of undermining his rule.

 

Tsvangirai dumps Mujuru

IN what could signal the clearest hint that the much-vaunted plan to forge an opposition coalition ahead of the 2018 general elections could fail, the Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC-T has reportedly turned its back on the Zimbabwe People First (ZimPF) Bikita West parliamentary candidate, Kudakwashe Gopo.

Source: Tsvangirai dumps Mujuru – NewsDay Zimbabwe January 13, 2017

By Tatenda Chitagu

Gopo is contesting the January 21 by-election on a ZimPF ticket in what has been described as Joice Mujuru’s first attempt at testing the electoral waters and was banking on possible support from the MDC-T, which is boycotting the poll.

MDC-T Masvingo provincial chairperson, James Gumbi, told NewsDay yesterday that his party was now backing independent candidate, Innocent Muzvimbiri.

“We are not backing anyone, but we are sympathising with Muzvimbiri,” he said, dashing hopes that Tsvangirai would join Mujuru on the campaign trail.

Asked why they were not campaigning for Gopo, Gumbi retorted: “The ZimPF candidate, Gopo, belongs to a distinct political party, which our party is in talks with for a coalition. If we support or sympathise with him, we would be jumping the gun.”

ZimPF spokesperson, Jealousy Mawarire, said his party was still expecting Tsvangirai at Mujuru’s rally next week.

“Our people on the ground have not given us that report,” he said.

“As far as we know, all democratic forces that are not participating in the election are supporting us. We are looking forward to having them all, including their leaders, on January 19 when we have our star rally.”

Tsvangirai told a South African television station this week that by-elections are not part of the coalition talks that are currently underway.

Mujuru is due in the constituency next week and indications had been that she was trying hard to get Tsvangirai to be part of her entourage as a building block towards an envisaged coalition.

Zaka Senator, Misheck Marava reportedly introduced Muzvimbiri to the electorate at a rally on Wednesday at Bikita office, where an MDC-T vehicle was also seen ferrying people to the rally.

Sources in the MDC-T said the decision to throw Mujuru under the bus in the by-election was informed by Gopo’s allegedly tainted history of political violence in the 2001 by-election, where an MDC-T supporter died.

The MDC-T’s decision, the sources added, was also inspired by “lessons from the Norton by-election”, where Temba Mliswa turned against the opposition party soon after being elected, as well as the need to gauge ZimPF’s support so as to have bargaining power in the coalition.

“Firstly, I think you know what happened in Norton, where the party was taken for a ride by Mliswa despite supporting and campaigning for him,” a source said.

“Secondly, Gopo is a sidekick of Claudius Makova, now a senior official in ZimPF, who is accused of a reign of terror in Bikita West in the 2001 by-election.”

Muzvimbiri confirmed he was working with the MDC-T.

Zanu-PF chairs disown ‘Tyson communiqué’

Source: Zanu-PF chairs disown ‘Tyson communiqué’ | The Herald January 13, 2017

Herald Reporters—

MOST Zanu-PF provincial chairpersons yesterday disowned all but one of the resolutions that came out of their Wednesday meeting with national political commissar Cde Saviour Kasukuwere which they claimed bordered on factionalism.

The Herald is reliably informed that Cde Kasukuwere convened the meeting under the guise that the agenda was to discuss party programmes in 2017.

It has since emerged that the meeting largely dealt with issues far removed from this agenda.

Provincial chairpersons who spoke on condition of anonymity, said they were shocked by the so-called resolutions that came out of their meeting with Cde Kasukuwere serve for the one affirming their support for President Mugabe as the 2018 presidential candidate. They said they suspected the national political commissar could have pulled yet another “Mafioso Resolution” on them.

“Those resolutions did not come from the meeting. Akauya akagadzirwa kare,” said a Zanu-PF provincial chairman who attended the meeting.

He went on to explain what happened during the provincial chairpersons’ meeting with Cde Kasukuwere.

“What happened is that what are now called resolutions are issues that were raised by the national political commissar in his opening remarks. We do not have issues with the first part of the resolutions which stated that President Mugabe is our sole candidate in the 2018 elections. No. That was unanimously agreed but the rest of the resolutions, I do not know where they came from besides that it was a summary of the national political commissar’s opening remarks,” said the provincial chairman.

“The meeting was supposed to come up with programmes for the party in 2017. Besides the forthcoming Bikita West by-election, the meeting largely dealt with other issues.”

It also emerged that Cde Kasukuwere tried to pressure Midlands provincial deputy chair Cde Daniel Mackenzie Ncube to read the “cooked up resolutions” but he refused.

This was despite the fact that Cde Ncube always reads resolutions at such meetings.

Yesterday Cde Ncube confirmed refusing to read the resolutions.

“I refused to read the resolutions because I did not feel it was right for me to read the resolutions all the time. Why should I always read the resolutions? I am just a deputy chairperson. I am not a chairperson,” he said.

A senior leader of one of the Zanu-PF wings, who also attended the meeting, tried to downplay the resolutions.

The wing leader said it was a routine meeting where the national commissar meets with provincial commissars every Monday to discuss mobilisation issues.

“I think the private media tried to dramatise the meeting by raising issues that were not discussed in the meeting,” he said.

“We wonder who is the source of the story that appeared in the private media and what the source wanted to achieve because what they published is not the correct version of what was discussed in the meeting.”

Zanu-PF Mashonaland East provincial chairman Cde Bernard Makokove, however, claimed the meeting discussed exactly what was published in the privately-owned media.

Asked whether indeed the provincial chairpersons had raised issues to do with Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, Cde Makokove responded: “That was what we discussed.”

Masvingo provincial chairperson Cde Amasa Nenjana agreed with some of the resolutions that came from the meeting but dismissed others.

“It was a regular meeting with chairpersons and we discussed issues of party structures. We also discussed other issues where party officials mingle with people who were dismissed from the party. The Energy Mutodi issue also came up. He has no right to call for the removal of President Mugabe. However, in the resolutions we never asked to meet the President.”

He defended Cde Kasukuwere for meeting Mr Temba Mliswa after he won the Norton by-election saying he could not be crucified for “meeting a person not so serious like Mliswa”.

Cde Nenjana did not explain why in his view he considered Mr Mliswa, who went to Parliament at Zanu-PF’s expense, a person “not so serious”.

Mashonaland West provincial chairman Cde Ephraim Chengeta said he did not attend the meeting but was briefed on what transpired.

“The meeting was on the restructuring of party cells and branches. It also reaffirmed our 100 percent support for President Mugabe as the sole party candidate in 2018. As for the other issues now being raised, I was not briefed about them.”

Repeated efforts to get a comment from Cde Kasukuwere were fruitless yesterday.

His deputy, Cde Omega Hungwe, said: “I cannot talk to you on that subject. You have to talk to the national commissar. I bet you I cannot talk about that meeting.”

Bulawayo and Matabeleland South provinces were not represented at the meeting as their chairpersons did not attend.

At its December National Annual People’s Conference held in Masvingo in December, Zanu-PF stressed the need for party unity in its resolutions.

President Mugabe has urged unity in Zanu-PF at almost every occasion he has addressed ruling party members.

Government suspends data tariff increases

Source: Government suspends data tariff increases | The Financial Gazette January 13, 2017

THE Minister for Information, Communication and Technology and Courier Services (ICT) Supa Mandiwanzira has directed the immediate suspension of tariff increases that were effected two days ago following a directive from state regulator the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ).

He also directed mobile network operators who had increased their tariffs to refund their customers for the data used in the past two days.

POTRAZ agreed to a proposal by mobile operators to increase prices but Mandiwanzira who had to respond to the situation while on his annual leave, said that while it is conceivable that the price of data may go up, “the margin by which the prices have gone up is shockingly high and can only reflect insensitivity to fellow Zimbabweans and gluttonous corporate greed.”

In a statement,  Mandiwanzira went on to say: “unreasonable data prices, especially in a high literacy country like ours, undermine our huge investments in human capital, broadband infrastructure and the ability to attract investment. My Ministry’s Innovation Fund initiative, which has raised more than US$6 million to date, is premised on affordable broadband and growth opportunities in on-line enterprises in Zimbabwe and beyond”.

He said on the occasion of the official opening of the Chikato Community Information Centre in Masvingo last month, President, Robert Mugabe, spoke passionately about his desire to bring marginalized communities, especially in rural areas, onto the information superhighway. “This in itself, is instructive that broadband access must be affordable.”

Mandiwanza said, given the astronomical rates that have been charged over the last two days, it may be necessary and morally correct to get the concerned mobile networks to refund their subscribers.

“This shall be on the agenda when I undertake a comprehensive review of the developments of the last two days on the first day of my return from leave on January 30th.” he said.

Prisca Mupfumira is the acting minister.
                              
In Regulatory Determination No 1 of 2016 correspondence in December, POTRAZ had directed mobile operators to set the floor price for traditional voice services at 12c per minute and the floor price for data at 2c per megabyte. Econet Wireless, Zimbabwe’s largest mobile network operator was the first to implement the new floor prices, which reflected massive increase in data prices and outlawed price cuts for bundled services, promotions and over the top offerings, which had made internet cheaply accessible.

POTRAZ said the new floor prices, which many consider astronomical and more than just a barrier to internet access and penetration via use of widely used mobile phone, were meant to stop plunging revenue of operators, which it said dropped by 11-12 percent since January 2016. Zimbabwe’s penetration stands at over 98 percent.

Starting January 11, Econet pegged its lowest data offering of 5 megabytes at 50 cents on standard connection and doubled the data access with another 5MB, which customers could access via the MNO’s WiFi hotspots.

For a dollar, internet users would get only 10MB, which would be doubled with another 10MB on WiFi. The highest data offering of 2,5 gigabytes, which would double to 5GB on WiFI, would now cost consumers a staggering US$50.

While data for popular social media platforms such as Whatsapp and Facebook were charged under bundled services quoted daily, weekly and monthly a negligible rates, they would now be accessible based on amount of data purchased.

The country’s second biggest mobile phone operator, NetOne, sensing the potential negative impact of the new floor prices, which was going to hit hard on its widely popular OneFusion offering, swiftly moved to engage the regulator to take a second look into the data prices.

Econet Wireless, last night announced that it will be reversing the tariffs.

In a statement last night Econent said: “Whilst continuing to engage POTRAZ concerning the data floor pricing directive, Econet Wireless is reverting to the old data tariffs. It became apparent after implementing the POTRAZ directive that Econet Wireless was the only operator which had complied with the data floor pricing.”

“It is clear that, for whatever reason, the other operators had not complied with the directive and therefore there can never be a level playing field when our customers are the only ones being affected by this position. This is not the first time that Econet has complied and the other operators have not complied. Appropriate updates will be given on any future developments regarding this matter”.

Econet on Thursday said it acknowledged that it recent implementation of the new floor pricing for data, which it contends was only done in compliance with the directive issued to all mobile network operators by the industry regulator “had not only inconvenienced you our valued Customers but has caused pain.”

However in another statement released last night, POTRAZ said it was concerned and disturbed by the conduct, double standard, negative utterances and refusal to take ownership of the decision by MNOs.

“POTRAZ positively received the plea by operators and eventually agreed to the introduction of a moderated floor price which would ensure both sector viability and continuous service provision to consumers.

“It is clear that this decision has been met with consumer outcry. It is against this background that POTRAZ would like to advise consumers and stakeholders in general of its decision to withdraw Regulatory Determination No 1 of 2016 with immediate effect”. Staff/FinX

Tests for High Court judgeship candidates were unconstitutional

In June 2016, the Judicial Service Commission (the JSC) flighted adverts for judgeship of the High Court of Zimbabwe, inviting both the President and the members of the public to make nominations to fill eight vacancies in the High Court.

Source: Tests for High Court judgeship candidates were unconstitutional – NewsDay Zimbabwe January 13, 2017

Matshobana Ncube and Kucaca I Phulu

A record number of nominations were made which numbered around 51 persons. Those who were nominated were then supposed to attend interviews in public. The interviews were slated for the October 24 to 28, 2016 at Rainbow Towers in Harare.

The Constitution, in section 189, provides for the existence of the JSC, whose function is primarily the rendering of advice to the government on judicial-related matters, promotion and the facilitation of the independence and accountability of the judiciary and ensuring the efficient, effective and transparent administration of justice in Zimbabwe. The JSC is conferred with all powers in that regard. Finally the JSC is empowered to make regulations relating to the above matters with the approval of the Justice minister.

In terms of section 180 of the Constitution, whenever it is necessary to appoint a judge, the JSC has to advertise the position and invite nominations to be made by the President and members of the public. The JSC is then required, on receipt of the nominations, to conduct public interviews of prospective candidates.

After conducting public interviews, the JSC is then required to compile a list of three qualified persons for the office (read, vacancy). The shortlist is then required to be sent to the President, who is then required to choose one name therefrom. If the President considers that none of the persons on the list is suitable, he will require the JSC to submit a further list of three qualified persons whereupon, the President is obliged to pick and appoint one nominee from such further list.

According to the Veritas Bill Watch of October 2016, (displayed with permission from The Zimbabwean), the JSC was to subject the prospective interviewees to an aptitude test on October 21, 2016 in the form of a three-hour examination. This information is widely available on various media websites for the period around October 2016. Curiously, the JSC website lists the 51 candidates for public interviews, giving each candidate a date of interview, in public. The JSC website does not refer to the behavioural/aptitude test.

Veritas indicated that the aptitude test was outsourced to a human resources consultancy firm. This HR consultancy company was hired by the JSC, according to Veritas. The behavioural or aptitude tests were not to be done in public, but in private. The results were not to be disclosed to the public, but were meant to help the commissioners of the JSC to assess the candidates’ fitness to hold office.

According to the Financial Gazette of November 3, 2016, the test actually was a judgment writing exercise.

According to the same paper, on hearing this exercise, of the 51 candidates, eight disappeared from the process, only 14 of the remaining 43 candidates passed the judgment writing exercise with a mark of five and above out of 10.

Each judgment was not marked by the JSC, but by a “reputable employment agency”, according to the Financial Gazette. The name of the agency is not disclosed in the news articles.

Of the 43 candidates that failed the test only seven attended the interviews together with the 14 who had “passed” the interviews. The bulk of those that had failed walked away from the process without partaking in the public interviews as is required by the constitution.

According to the media, JSC took to task those that had failed the test enquiring from them why they had decided to come for the interview when they had failed. One of them is a former classmate — Zvidzai Ruzvidzo Kajokoto, who runs his own practice in Bindura. He is an attorney with about 14 years, practice experience under his belt having graduated from the University of Zimbabwe Law School in 2002.

Kajokoto was asked why he was coming for interviews when he had failed the test marked by the advocate. He responded by stating that he was writing the judgment for the first time and that there was room to improve.

Kajokoto then went through the interview process because he was nominated to undergo the process in terms of the constitution.

Now, the Constitution sets out the criteria for appointment to the bench in the superior courts of Zimbabwe. Section 180(2) is reproduced in relevant part hereunder and provides:

(2) Whenever it is necessary to appoint a judge, the Judicial Service Commission must—
(a) advertise the position;
(b) invite the President and the public to make nominations;
(c) conduct public interviews of prospective candidates;
(d) prepare a list of three qualified persons as nominees for the office; and
(e) submit the list to the President;

The intention of the Constitution cannot be clearer. The assessment of qualification of prospective judges is something that must be done by the JSC and must be done in public in line with the constitution.

The process of appointment of a judge clearly does not provide for the subjection of nominees to pre-interview written tests (done behind a veil). The conduct of the JSC in the recent process of selection of judges in Zimbabwe, which has resulted in the discouragement of candidates from undergoing interviews on the basis of having “failed” a pre-interview test, should be condemned by all, as it is unconstitutional. It should be set aside and the process commenced anew with only the JSC in charge.

Secondly, the administering of a written exam/test by the JSC, illegally, as it was, was, compounded by the fact that, firstly, it was not done in public. The Constitution requires the process to be transparent and to be done in public. Secondly, the JSC committed a further illegality in that it unlawfully delegated and abdicated its powers to a third party, the so-called “reputable employment agency” in conducting the selection of judges.

Third, this “reputable employment agency” is a creature that has no Constitutional status at all in the selection of judges for the High Court. Fourth, this creature, with the complicity of the JSC, preferred an opaque system contrary to the express provisions of the Constitution that clearly envisages a process that is open to the public throughout.

Fifth, the JSC adopted a process that is not even provided for in its own Guidelines for Appointment of Judges. A rundown through those guidelines clearly shows that there is no provision for the process of subjecting candidates to judgment writing or a test, by whatever name called.

In essence, the JSC, with all the legal brains at its disposal, decided to act unconstitutionally by departing from the clear constitutional text. The language of the constitution is clear as to admit of no other meaning than that ascribed by the Constitution. To depart from that express constitutional text is to do violence to the constitution and is unacceptable.

Because the JSC acted unconstitutionally, the whole selection process is as a result a nullity. It should be set aside in its totality without further ado. All the persons, who were nominated by either the President or the public, should in fact be invited again to undergo the public interviews and the shortlist for each position done properly in line with the constitutional imperatives.

The concern, really, is why the JSC would opt to act in a manner that is not provided for in the law. What were the commissioners (or is it the secretariat?) thinking? This flagrant breach of the Constitution by the JSC calls for more vigilance on the part of the citizenry to keep a watch over these constitutional bodies.

This conduct has shown us that these bodies are ready to trash the provisions of the Constitution and get away with the same. These bodies include the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission, the Zimbabwe Gender Commission, the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission, the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission, the National Prosecuting Authority, the Zimbabwe Land Commission and other important bodies that have a bearing in our lives, as well a serious bearing on the affairs of the republic, which then impacts on our lives, whether directly or indirectly.

The current furore that has dogged the JSC in undertaking the process of selection of the next Chief Justice is a discussion in a different instalment that has been done.

It can be noted that, the conduct of the JSC in the recent past has been less than convincing in so far as its fidelity to the law is concerned. It may not have been deliberate on its part, there is a possibility that it has been flippant in its adherence to the written text of the law, something akin to sleeping on the job, in which case the JSC has to work up. If it has deliberately not cared to hearken to the law, then it is high time it started doing so.

In conclusion, it is apparent to all that JSC ignored not only the law but the supreme law of the land, the Constitution, in conducting its affairs.

The JSC brought its own alien interpretation of Constitution in selecting the prospective judges of the High Court by subjecting them to a process that is not sanctioned by the Constitution and further bringing a third party that is not a constitutional creation in selecting judges.

There is no room for tests to be undertaken by any one in selection of judges, nor is there a legal basis for any reputable employment agency to mark the said tests. Something really does not sound right. And this practice must not be allowed to be repeated in the future by a constitutional body.

The employment, by the JSC, of a process that is not sanctioned by the Constitution (and which perhaps betrays its annoyance with the large number of nominations), really puts the institution in bad standing. Society at large should worry as to why it preferred an unconstitutional process when the Constitution was there for all to get guidance.

But the JSC still has the opportunity of putting its house in order by doing the right thing. Kajokoto does not deserve to be asked to write a test to qualify to be a judge. Similarly, the academics and a whole body of lawyers were, indeed, certainly embarrassed by being subjected to a process that had nothing to do with the Constitution. The JSC has to make right what it got wrong the first time.

Matshobana Ncube and Kucaca Phulu are lawyers. They write in their personal capacities.

G40 hunts Mnangagwa, Team Lacoste

Source: G40 hunts Mnangagwa, Team Lacoste – DailyNews Live 12 January 2017

Blessings Mashaya and Fungi Kwaramba

HARARE – As Zanu PF’s “Cupgate” saga, and its deadly tribal, factional and
succession wars continue to rage, scores of the ruling party’s officials
drawn from the country’s 10 provinces gathered in Harare yesterday to
demand a probe into Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Well-placed Zanu PF sources who spoke to the Daily News last night also
suggested that the troubled ruling party’s tortured politics were
“changing” again, with Mnangagwa and his party backers (Team Lacoste) now
the ones on the back foot and under serious pressure.

“It’s a ding dong affair my friend. Until now it was the G40 (Generation
40 faction) which was on the verge of implosion, but now things look very
ominous for Lacoste (Mnangagwa faction),” a senior party official who has
consistently claimed to be “non-aligned” said.

Yesterday’s dramatic events also come as Mnangagwa has been under the cosh
in recent days for hosting sacked Zanu PF officials at his rural home
during the festive season, with his party foes alleging that this was in
fact a meeting organised to plot the ouster of President Robert Mugabe
from power.

The G40-linked group which met at the Zanu PF headquarters in Harare
yesterday subsequently issued a statement in which they called for a probe
into Mnangagwa for hobnobbing with war veterans’ leader Christopher
Mutsvangwa and maverick Harare businessman, Energy Mutodi.

Apart from provincial chairpersons and regional commissars, the meeting
was also attended by representatives of the youths, the women’s league and
sections of the war veterans corps.

They also called for a meeting with Mugabe, so that they could register
their complaints against Mnangagwa and Team Lacoste with the nonagenarian
directly.

It was not clear last night whether Mugabe would accede to this demand,
and whether he knew about the meeting beforehand.

“As provincial chairpersons and political commissars, we notice with
concern the practice by some of our senior party leaders who are now and
again, seen in the company of elements of people who were expelled from
Zanu PF for gross indiscipline.

“This kind of behaviour puts doubts on those leaders’ commitment and
loyalty to decisions that are made by Zanu PF collectively, as party
leaders should not be seen to be associating and entertaining people who
were expelled from the party for indiscipline which involved disrespect of
the party leadership,” the group said in its statement.

Since the images of Mnangagwa holding the much-obsessed about coffee mug
emerged in the public domain, the VP’s foes have gone to town about the
issue, interpreting it as his open statement that he has unbridled
presidential ambitions.

There were also questions surrounding Mutodi’s presence at the party, even
as the controversial businessman has said that he went to the function
without receiving any invitation like the other guests.

But the highly-opinionated musician-turned-politician appeared to make
things worse for Mnangagwa when he said this week Zanu PF should hold an
extra-ordinary congress to install Mnangagwa as Mugabe’s successor.

Mutodi also claimed that Mugabe, who turns 93 next month, had become so
unpopular in Zanu PF that “99 percent” of the party’s members now wanted
him to resign before the eagerly-anticipated 2018 national elections, as
there was allegedly no way that the nonagenarian could win elections
against popular opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

“Mugabe must retire. What we must be discussing now is how we share power
in Zanu PF post-Mugabe,” he said, adding that it will be very embarrassing
for Mugabe if he stood for election again and lost.

“Mnangagwa is too loyal to Mugabe, to the extent that he cannot even
express his own views for his boss to retire. It’s up to Mugabe himself to
be really thankful to his loyalists who have helped him to remain in power
for this long and not the opportunists who praise him during the day and
denigrate him during the night.

“This is what the man (Mnangagwa) is made of and he has shown total
loyalty and obedience to the president,” Mutodi told the Daily News.

Zanu PF insiders have consistently told the Daily News that underlying the
former liberation movement’s deadly and seemingly unstoppable tribal and
factional wars is its unresolved succession question, with the G40 faction
apparently doing everything possible to torpedo Mnangagwa’s mooted
presidential ambitions.

The group which met at the Zanu PF Headquarters yesterday also claimed
that Mutodi was no longer a Zanu PF member as he had allegedly been sacked
from the party.

However, Mutodi maintains on his part that he is still a member of the
ruling party’s Mashonaland East provincial executive.

Apart from Mutodi, Mnangagwa’s rivals were miffed by the presence of
Mutsvangwa and expelled former Mashonaland West provincial chairman Temba
Mliswa at the burial of the late national hero Peter Chanetsa last week,
at the National Heroes Acre.

Although the occasion was a State and not a Zanu PF function, which meant
that any citizen who wished to do so could attend the burial, the surprise
presence of Mutsvangwa and Mliswa in the VIP tent in particular expectably
set tongues wagging among the gathered ruling party supporters.

This was more so as since the former liberation movement’s divisive 2014
congress, the warring ruling party had routinely chased away from its
gatherings its suspended former stalwarts, including its ex-national
political commissar and former Information minister, Webster Shamu, who
was recently re-admitted into the party.

In addition, Mutsvangwa and his executive had since their expulsion from
Zanu PF been boycotting State functions, including last year’s Heroes’ Day
celebrations.

The disgruntled former freedom fighters have also since stepped up their
efforts to force Mugabe to step down, accusing the increasingly frail
nonagenarian of being at the centre of the country’s current rot.

And like Mutodi and Mutsvangwa, Mliswa has also recently suggested that
Mugabe should hand over power to Mnangagwa.

“Zanu PF’s solution to the economic problem is for the president to step
down and Mnangagwa, who is the most senior, to take over.

“Don’t call me a Mnangagwa person, unless there is someone more senior in
Zanu PF than Mnangagwa, then you tell me.

“If Mnangagwa does take over, he is going to stop the bleeding in terms of
people suffering. We must be cognisant that the people are suffering,”
Mliswa told journalists at the end of last year.

Government rejects ZETDC proposal

Source: Government rejects ZETDC proposal | The Financial Gazette 12 January 2017

GOVERNMENT has dismissed a proposal by the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC) to sack about 1 600 workers, the Financial Gazette’s Companies & Markets (C&M) can reveal.
The move appears to undermine efforts by the power company to cut costs and stem losses in line with government objectives to make parastatals profitable.
The ZETDC has a workforce in excess of 5 300, and this has been bleeding the parastatal through an unsustainable salary and wage bill.
ZETDC, a unit of integrated power group, ZESA Holdings, had cited huge operational costs, persistent losses and the fact that most electricity consumers were now being served directly by third party vendors as some of the reasons that necessitated the proposed downsizing of its workforce.
The company also wanted to create a learner structure, which is more cost effective.
C&M understands that the power utility is closing down the majority of its banking halls across the country, as part of efforts to make the financially troubled parastatal viable in response to the emergence of third party vendors.
But, last week, a senior government official confirmed that government did not approve the proposal. The official did not give the reason for government’s decision.
He said government directed the power utility to redeploy those who were the subject of the redundancy exercise to other departments.
“Government has rejected a proposal by ZETDC to undertake a redundancy exercise,” the director of policy and planning in the Ministry of Energy and Power Development, Benson Munyaradzi, told C&M last week.
“Instead, we said these (workers) should be re-deployed to other departments within ZETDC.”
Inevitably, Zimbabwe is racing towards elections in 2018 and the ruling ZANU-PF party, which romped to a landslide victory in 2013 elections on the back of promises to create two million new jobs in the economy, would not want to be seen sanctioning layoffs ahead of the decisive polls.
Since its election victory which resulted in the collapse of an inclusive government with opposition parties, the economy has been on free fall, with widespread company closures and job losses.
ZETDC managing director, Julian Chinembiri, was not available for comment.
ZESA’s acting spokesperson, Shepherd Mandizvidza, dismissed claims of mass retrenchment, saying ZETDC would redeploy staff affected by recent developments within the company to other departments.
“ZETDC has successfully implemented the third party vending project of electricity and has taken a strategic business decision to relocate and reassign some of its staff that used to man its banking halls countrywide to ensure that they continue adding value to its product and service supply chain to the best advantage of the consumers.
“The power utility has not laid off any of its employees as they still have a role to play in the organisation. ZETDC is a responsible corporate citizen and when there is need for the organisation to streamline its operations accordingly, relevant consultations are done with the shareholder and all stakeholders,” Mandizvidza said.
But a ZETDC proposal seen by this newspaper last week indicated that the power utility was seeking to lay off 1 402 of its semi-skilled workers; it was also seeking to retrench 90 of its skilled trades manpower, 35 general workers, 60 professional supervisors and 15 middle managers. The company, however, wanted to add two more senior managers.
While the move by government will be welcomed by workers, this will, however, not sit well with the power utility, which has not been awarded a tariff increase since 2011. In addition, there has been no financial provision for the temporary emergency power which it has been buying at a huge cost.
This has negatively affected the financial position of the power utility.
The power utility incurred a loss of US$140 million during the nine months to September 2016. This was projected to rise to US$223 million by the end of last year.
ZESA’s power stations in Kariba, Hwange, Bulawayo, Harare and Munyati are generating a combined 1 000 megawatts (MW) of electricity, which is not enough to meet national demand of about 1 600MW.
To cover for the power supply gap, ZETDC is importing electricity from South Africa on a non-firm power purchase agreement and from Mozambique on a firm agreement. Eskom of South Africa is supplying Zimbabwe with about 350MW of electricity depending on availability, while Mozambique’s power utility, Hydro Cahorra Basa (HCB), is exporting about 50MW of electricity to Zimbabwe.
ZETDC is paying on average a monthly bill of about US$10,5 million for power from Eskom and about US$2,6 million for electricity from HCB.
ZETDC is also procuring about 100MW of electricity from Dema Diesel Power Plant, an independent power producer owned by energy firm, Sakunda Holdings. The plant was commissioned in July last year.
It is understood that ZETDC signed a three year power purchase agreement with Sakunda Holdings. Under this deal, the power utility is paying an average monthly bill of about US$7,5 million.

Teachers to stage go-slow over bonuses

Source: Teachers to stage go-slow over bonuses – DailyNews Live 12 January 2017

Gift Phiri

HARARE – Teachers are planning to stage a go-slow over their bonuses
following government’s failure to pay 13th cheques to civil servants, a
union has said.

The protest, announced yesterday, is on the back of pleas by government
that the workers must be patient and avoid industrial action.

However, the Amalgamated Rural Teachers’ Union (Artuz) said they were
staging the protest countrywide and plan to maintain “a strike posture” as
they negotiate with authorities.

“Artuz is calling for a go slow. We are encouraging all rural teachers,
teachers at large and all government employees to engage in a go slow in
demand of our bonus,” said Artuz national president Obert Masaraure in a
statement.

“This go-slow will escalate into a full blown strike if the issue remains
unresolved. Yes, a full blown strike when we all put down our tools until
our dues are paid,” he said, adding the go-slow would begin soon unless
union demands were met.

George Mushipe, spokesperson of Apex Council – the main union for State
workers – yesterday said they were consulting on the way forward with
regards to the 13th cheque.

“We have no official position on that yet, but we anticipate being paid
bonuses,” he told the Daily News yesterday, as he headed for an emergency
meeting on the matter.

Efforts to reach him later were futile.

Last year, was the first time government delayed paying bonuses.

The government has been hit hard by an economic recession as a result of
weak domestic demand, high public debt, tight liquidity conditions,
drought and poor foreign direct investment, with projected negative
inflation in 2017.

Government has said that under its contract with the unions, the bonuses
are not obligatory.

Masaraure said the government seems keen to distract workers from the
critical bonus issue.

“Street protests are also on the cards to force the employer to disburse
our overdue annual cheque for 2016,” he said.

This comes after Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa in September got a
slap down from President Robert Mugabe after announcing a raft of measures
to slash government spending.

Information minister Chris Mushowe issued a damning statement saying
Cabinet had never approved Chinamasa’s proposals, which included a
suspension of civil servants’ bonuses, wage cuts, job cuts, and a range of
other austerity measures.

Masaraure said “let’s demand what is duly ours.”

“We have declared 2017 as a year of demanding a substantial piece of
national cake for the education sector and for the poor,” he said.

“Gore rekudyawo (the year to eat also). Let it be clear to us that those
who are dining at the table will not freely accommodate us but we have to
fight for our place. Our bonus is part of our share of the national cake
let’s fight for it.”

Zimbabwe – which spends 82 percent of its national annual budget on wages
– has recently struggled to pay soldiers, police, teachers and other
employees.

Alliance the only option: Tsvangirai

Source: Alliance the only option: Tsvangirai – DailyNews Live 12 January 2017

Bridget Mananavire

HARARE – Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai says those fighting for
change in Zimbabwe must not “betray the people’s wishes and a serious
national expectation” by not committing to a grand alliance ahead of the
eagerly-anticipated 2018 national elections.

Speaking during a live interview on South African television station ANN7
on Tuesday night, Tsvangirai said the “big tent” that he has been talking
about for months now was not only the best option to end President Robert
Mugabe and Zanu PF’s misrule, but it was also the right vehicle to manage
the power transition after the polls.

“We all see the strategic need for it (opposition coalition) and … if we
don’t succeed in having the change, we would have betrayed a lot of
expectations of Zimbabweans … but it takes everyone to play a part.

“We are very committed to ensuring that we do not betray the national
sentiment about coming together and forging a coalition … we are busy
looking at everything,” he said.

Tsvangirai said assuming that the planned opposition alliance would fail,
as the ruling Zanu PF wanted the world to believe, was presumptuous.

“How do you judge that (the MDC is not committed)? The MDC is very
committed. In fact, you are far, far behind to say that the MDC is not
committed because of a by-election (Bikita West).

“A by-election is a by-election, and it has nothing to do with the
fundamental principles of alliance building. It’s not a litmus test
because it has never been part of the coalition agenda,” he said.

“The agenda is about how we build an alliance pre-election and secondly,
how we agree on the various policies that will confront us as an alliance.
Thirdly, it’s about how we build an executive, post the election, into an
effective coalition government.

“So, I think it’s presumptuous to say that the MDC is not committed. What
litmus test is there?” the former prime minister in the government of
national unity said.

“The big tent is the approach. If you look at all the political parties,
their policies are not different. The differences are in personalities and
some of these other things,” he added.

Tsvangirai said the younger generation needed to be active in choosing
their leaders, instead of shunning election processes as had been the case
over the years.

“The young generation has to register if they are to make a difference. I
know we are also still to do battle on the Diaspora vote, which is
essential in adding to the synergies that we are all talking about,” he
said.

Responding to a question on when he would step aside to allow somebody
else to lead the MDC, Tsvangirai said he could not subvert democracy
within the party, adding that the timing was also not ripe for him to
stand down.

“What is giving up power? In this case the president of the MDC is elected
by a constituency across the country. We are also in a struggle and in a
struggle sometimes it’s very difficult to change horses in the middle of
that struggle.

“It’s not that we are not thinking about it, we are already putting in
place the mechanism for this so that the party should not be identified
with an individual.

“It has been the case (the status quo) not because of the choice of the
leader, but because of the struggle and the confidence which people have
in the leader,” Tsvangirai said.

“Let me just pose a question, would it have been fair for South African
liberation struggle icon Oliver Tambo to leave in the midst of the
struggle, to give up?

“Would it have been fair for Mandela to just give up (and leave the
struggle) to others? It (what is happening) is allowing the struggle to
maintain its momentum,” he added.

“What is also democracy? Democracy is the will of the people, and the will
of the people in the MDC is that they want their president to continue,”
he said further.

He also dismissed outright allegations that he had failed to win any
election against Mugabe and Zanu PF, pointing to the 2008 polls when he
beat both the nonagenarian and the troubled ruling party hands down in the
respective presidential and parliamentary elections.

“When it comes to elections, were any of the elections (past elections)
conducted in a free and fair manner? … We won the 2008 election and did
Mugabe accept that we had won the election? No.

“When you get people who say you have failed, where have I failed? The
question is that let’s get proper, fair and credible elections conducted
so that the people themselves are satisfied that this is the legitimate
government we have elected,” Tsvangirai said.

On Nelson Chamisa’s elevation to one of the party’s deputy president
positions, Tsvangirai dispelled the notion that the Kuwadzana East
legislator’s appointment meant that he had been anointed.

“That’s far from true … when the time comes, when we work out the
question of who can take over to move the country and the party forward,
it will be the people of Zimbabwe, the people of the MDC who will
democratically elect their leader in the structures of the party,” he
said.

War collaborators dump Mugabe

Source: War collaborators dump Mugabe – DailyNews Live 12 January 2017

Blessings Mashaya

HARARE – War collaborators have, in a development similar to the fallout
between war veterans and President Robert Mugabe, announced they will not
campaign for the increasingly frail nonagenarian in the
eagerly-anticipated 2018 national polls.

This comes as angry war veterans and re-energised opposition are battering
Mugabe and his bitterly-divided Zanu PF, on all fronts.

Mugabe, who turns 93 next month, had a stunning fallout with war veterans
mid last year and has been despairingly trying to heal the rift which
analysts say if not resolved, could lead to the end of his long rule in
the looming elections.

Yesterday, Zimbabwe Liberation War Collaborators Association (Ziliwaco)’s
Manicaland chairperson Angeline Muponda, said Zanu PF had used and abused
them and they have now resolved to withdraw their support – a move that
insiders in the former liberation movement described as yet another slap
in the face for the nonagenarian by the disaffected liberation stalwarts.

“Zanu PF doesn’t like us as war collaborators. What they want is to use us
during elections and we are saying to them this time we are not going to
be used again,” Muponda told the Daily News.

“In 2018, we are not going to campaign for Zanu PF. They took all the land
and shared among themselves but we helped them during the land reform. We
mobilised people to disperse white farmers, but at the end of the day, all
the farms were taken by Zanu PF top officials.

“We also think that the president has neglected us since 1980. He was in
charge but he never did anything to improve the welfare of war
collaborators. We all suffered to liberate this country, so we must be
treated equally,” added Muponda.

War veterans and collaborators,  have over the years served as Mugabe and
Zanu PF’s political power dynamos, playing particularly significant roles
to keep the nonagenarian on the throne in the hotly-disputed 2000 and 2008
national elections which were both marred by serious violence and the
murder of hundreds of opposition supporters.

The ex-combatants, since serving divorce papers on their former patron in
mid July last year, have been feuding with Mugabe and his warring Zanu PF.

Attempts to heal the widening rift have so far failed to yield positive
results as the disgruntled vets’ demand that Mugabe jettisons a faction of
young Turks opposed to Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s mooted
presidential ambitions – the Generation 40 (G40) group – have been ignored
by the nonagenarian.

Ziliwaco whose chairperson and an alleged Mnangagwa ally, Pupurai
Togarepi, was axed as the Zanu PF youth league boss last year by Mugabe,
was not reachable for comment.

But Muponda said they had had enough of being “used” by Mugabe and his
party whenever elections were approaching.

“In 2008, they mobilised us to set up various bases to campaign for them
in different parts of the country. We were forced to work against our own
brothers and sisters but after that, they didn’t do anything to appreciate
our efforts,” thundered Muponda.

“We know that towards elections, they will try to persuade us again so
that they will use us but we now know the truth. We thought we were
building our party without knowing that we are being used for the benefit
of certain individuals.

“Since 1980, they never attempted to address our concerns as war
collaborators. The meeting which was held last year by the president was
meaningless and useless, it never addressed our problems.

“We are now growing older but we have nothing to show to our kids, we are
struggling to feed our families and pay school fees for our children. We
have suffered enough; we want to tell Zanu PF that we don’t eat slogans,”
added Muponda.

Mugabe in power for 36 years and the only leader Zimbabwe has had since
the country gained independence from Britain in 1980 – is facing the
biggest challenge to his political career.

Analysts say the looming prospects of opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai
and former Vice President Joice Mujuru working together to form a mooted
grand coalition involving other smaller parties –  could mark the
beginning of the end of Mugabe and Zanu PF – as the alliance could finally
see the opposition winning the 2018 elections.

Outrage over mobile data tariffs hike

Source: Outrage over mobile data tariffs hike – DailyNews Live 12 January 2017

Gift Phiri

HARARE – Zimbabwe’s telecoms regulator has come under fire for hiking
mobile data tariffs by over 100 percent, making access to Internet and
social media unaffordable for most citizens.

Stakeholders described the move as “digital terrorism” and called on the
Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (Potraz) to reverse it
to conduct further consultations.

Yesterday, Potraz announced that with immediate effect, the cheapest
bundle of data, or 5MB, costs 50 cents.  A $1 will buy only 10MB and the
highest amount of data at 2,5GB now costs $50.

Already, Zimbabwe’s data tariffs were among the highest in the region,
with a gig of data averaging $30 compared to $5 in neighbouring South
Africa.

In some countries, data is actually free.

As for social media bundles – WhatsApp and Facebook – the cheapest bundle
is now set at 50 cents for 10MB of data while $2,50 will buy 80MB.

The increase flies in the face of declarations by Potraz chairman, Ozias
Bvute, who told a seminar on innovation last year that it was engaging
Internet service providers to make mobile data affordable.

In justifying the sharp hike, Potraz director-general Gift Machengete said
Zimbabwe, being a landlocked country, has no cable landing stations and
has to access submarine cables through third party countries, making
access to international bandwidth much more expensive.

ICT minister, Supa Mandiwanzira, said on Twitter: “I’m on leave until Jan
30 & out of the country since Boxing Day. On return to work, I will get to
the bottom of it.”

However, the Zimbabwe chapter of the Media Institute of Southern Africa
(Misa-Zimbabwe) called on Potraz to reconsider the directive and conduct
further consultations on an ideal pricing structure that will ensure there
is balance between citizens’ rights and business interests.

“In making this call, Misa-Zimbabwe is cognisant of Potraz’s mandate to
promote competitive, affordable and accessible telecommunications services
by guaranteeing and protecting the interests of all stakeholder groups,
despite their competing interests,” Nyasha Nyakunu, the press freedom
group’s programmes coordinator, said.

He said the latest move, while cast as aimed at addressing revenue
challenges for Mobile Network Operators (MNOs), will in effect inhibit the
majority of Zimbabweans’ access and activity on the Internet, especially
the very popular social media platforms due to high costs.

“In turn, this will impact on the profit margins of MNOs due to the
shrinkage of the Internet subscription base,” Nyakunu said.

Zimbabwe has three MNOs, Econet Wireless, Zimbabwe’s largest mobile phone
operator; Telecel, taken over in December by government from
Amsterdam-based mobile operator Vimpelcom, and government-owned NetOne.

Zenzele Ndebele, a digital media expert, said on micro blogging site
Twitter: “What was done by @Potraz_zw is digital terrorism. Revenues will
decline spectacularly.”

This comes as mobile data brought wireless carriers more revenue than
voice calls did for the last quarter, a milestone for the industry as
faster network speeds are prompting Zimbabweans to consume, and pay for
more data than ever.

Mobile data service revenue reached $194 million in the third quarter of
2016, an increase of more than 20 percent, according to a third quarter
report by the Potraz.

In the previous quarter, only $161,5 million was earned.

Chairman for Zimbabwe Institution of Engineering, Information and
Communication Technology Division (Zict), engineer Jacob Kudzayi Mutisi,
said with more use of social Apps, WhatsApp,  email, over-the-top voice
services, it was plausible that the telecoms regulator would capitalise on
the Internet revolution.

“If you look around the world, data is free,” Mutisi said.

“Potraz want to make a bit of cash. It’s a way of getting some money. The
general public can challenge that.”

The hike comes after so-called “Shutdown Zimbabwe” protests in July last
year were met with Internet blackouts and arrests.

Perhaps the most important dissident leader, cleric Evan Mawarire and
other pressure groups helped bring tens of thousands of people onto the
streets using social media in a rare civilian-led demonstration promoted
with hashtags #ThisFlag and #Tajamuka, and described by many as the most
subversive movement in Zimbabwe’s recent history.

Rights groups are seeking to implore Potraz to take into consideration the
feelings of the consumers and suspend the new price floor.

Zanu PF readies lavish Mugabe bash

Source: Zanu PF readies lavish Mugabe bash – DailyNews Live 12 January 2017

Mugove Tafirenyika

HARARE – Zanu PF has begun preparations for a lavish celebration for
President Robert Mugabe’s 93rd birthday at the Matopos in Matabeleland
South.

The nonagenarian leader – currently on a month-long holiday overseas – and
scores of guests are expected to enjoy unrestrained feasting at the
holiday resort next month, amid widespread child malnutrition, high
unemployment and untold suffering of ordinary Zimbabweans.

The 21st February Movement, set up in 1986 to raise funds to celebrate
Mugabe’s birthdays, will finish off the event with a gala of live
performances by musicians from different parts of the country.

Almost every year, the movement has hosted plushy birthday parties for
Mugabe, which have drawn stern criticism from long-suffering Zimbabweans
and the opposition, who call the celebrations “obscene.”

Zanu PF youth league secretary, Kudzanai Chipanga, told the Daily News
yesterday that the ruling party had chosen Matopos – where, interestingly,
the grave of Cecil John Rhodes, who symbolises the British occupation of
Zimbabwe, is located – to promote domestic tourism.

“We will meet with the host province soon to chat the way forward in terms
of logistics. We are looking at promoting local tourism that is why we
have been holding our celebrations at holiday resorts,” Chipanga said.

“Besides, Matopos is of historical value to us given that King Lobengula
was buried there, so in a way we will also be honouring him by celebrating
the life of our dear leader there.”

The Zanu PF Matabeleland South provincial executive is still waiting for
the budget from the national executive for them to gauge how much money is
required for the party, but insiders said they were hoping to raise $1
million.

“We have already set up district and provincial mobilising committees that
would report to the national committee and by the end of the month we
should be done with resource mobilisation,” said a provincial executive
member who preferred anonymity because he is not qualified to comment.

“We want to make the event the best of them all. We take pride in that for
the first time, we are hosting the birthday bash and we want to do it in
style.”

In 2015, Mugabe’s birthday celebrations were held in Victoria Fall while
last year they were held in Masvingo.

The annual celebrations have been hosted in the country’s 10 provinces on
rotational basis.

This year’s will be the 31st edition of the 21st February Movement.

Chipanga said next year the event will be held “at any resort centre found
in whatever province will be hosting the president.”

“We rotate the hosting of the event among all provinces but like I said we
have made it a point that we want to promote our tourist attractions so
some time to come we will be holding the celebrations at these places.”

Mahoka sues women’s league provincial chair

Source: Mahoka sues women’s league provincial chair – DailyNews Live 12 January 2017

Tendai Kamhungira, DEPUTY CHIEF WRITER

HARARE – Hurungwe East Zanu PF MP, Sarah Mahoka, has filed a $1 million
lawsuit against the party’s Mashonaland West women’s league (WL)
chairperson Angeline Muchemeyi, accusing her of defamation.

Mahoka says Muchemeyi falsely claimed that she was undermining Vice
President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s authority and that she embezzled money
meant for the First Lady Grace Mugabe’s rallies.

The suit was filed in the High Court.

She took great exception to claims by Muchemeyi that “Mahoka is facing
serious charges of undermining the authority and the person of …
Mnangagwa”.

“She is also behind the disappearance of several thousands of dollars
meant for the first lady’s countrywide rallies held last year,” Muchemeyi
was quoted as saying.

According to the court summons filed in December, Muchemeyi’s comments
were made after the party’s provincial executive meeting held at the Zanu
PF’s provincial head offices in Chinhoyi, two days before the publication
of the story.

Mahoka, who is on record claiming to be in good books with Grace Mugabe,
said Muchemeyi’s words were defamatory because they damaged her reputation
as a parliamentarian.

Her lawyers described Muchemeyi’s comments, detailed in the complaint, as
“completely false and highly defamatory.”

The lawsuit is the latest step in the increasingly acrimonious wars in
Zanu PF, which has been balkanised by deadly internal fights.

“The plaintiff (Mahoka) considers the…statement to be highly defamatory
particularly due to the following: She is also Zanu PF’s national women’s
league’s secretary for finance. Suffice to say that plaintiff is a public
figure both at the party structure and at national level as a
parliamentarian. Any news about the plaintiff is going to attract a lot of
interest and is going to attract a lot of readership,” Mahoka said.

She said she was never brought to court on allegations of theft and has
never been found guilty.

“The plaintiff has also not been tried by the Zanu PF’s disciplinary
committee and found guilty of theft…, the plaintiff’s image has been
severely tarnished… she has lost the confidence and trust of the
electorate, her fellow members of Parliament …,” she said.

Mahoka said she is now being ridiculed both in government and in public.

“For a lawmaker, this is seriously damaging…the defendant as against the
person of the plaintiff, the plaintiff claims against the defendant $1
million representing damages for the injured reputation of the plaintiff
in the eyes of the public,” Mahoka said, adding that Muchemeyi was driven
by bad faith.

Water relief for 8,000 thirsty elephants neglected by Zimbabwe

As a drought-inducing El Niño settled over southern Africa in 2016, the animals of Hwange national park in Zimbabwe faced desperate water shortages.

Source: Water relief for 8,000 thirsty elephants neglected by Zimbabwe | Environment | The Guardian January 11, 2017

During a heatwave in October, conservation worker Prince Sansole spotted an elephant partially submerged in a muddy pool. His movements initially looked no different from the water games routinely played by the giant creatures. Only a closer look revealed that the young bull was in trouble, struggling to get up. His limp trunk kept dropping back into the water, unable to catch a fresh breath.

A postmortem later revealed that the elephant had succumbed to heat stroke on arrival at Chamabonda waterhole, after days of searching in vain for water amid the heat and sand.

But thanks to an emergency effort by a local conservation group, water is now reaching at least 8,000 elephants and up to 10,000 other animals.

Alerted by the predictions of drought, the Victoria Falls-based Bhejane Trust started drilling and setting up solar-powered boreholes in the park in May last year.

Hwange’s animals rely on an artificial supply of water developed in the 1920s. But since the early 2000s, Zimbabwe’s government has let pumps and pipes slide into disrepair. When the rains last failed in 2005, hundreds of elephants died.

“Between August and October, the [water security] situation was dire,” said Trevor Lane, chair of the Bhejane Trust. “We struggled to cope with the very high numbers of animals that congregated daily at the waterholes, and there were plenty of elephants which cluttered up the little available water, making it unusable for other animals.”

Now the trust operates and maintains a network of 34 boreholes, in collaboration with the parks authority, GroupElephant.com and the Conservation & Wildlife Fund. “At a rough calculation, we are now pumping slightly over 1m litres of water daily,” Lane said.

Replacing diesel-powered engines with solar and windmill powered units has reduced daily operating costs. Previously, Hwange needed at least 14,000 litres of diesel a month.

All forms of human settlement are prohibited within designated park areas, meaning the refurbished water sources are not used by farmers and villagers also hit by the drought. A government act also discourages the sharing of water sources in order to minimise human-wildlife conflict.

The Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (PWMA) of Zimbabwe blames the collapse of the network of diesel-powered water pumps, boreholes and pipelines that supplied the watering pans in Hwange on the withdrawal of US and EU donor support in protest at president Robert Mugabe’s violent farm seizures early in 2000.

According to the PWMA, at least 80 elephants died of drought-related causes in 2012. Many more animals have died in Hwange’s drought, including 620 Cape buffaloes that died in 2015 alone.

The parks authority has also blamed the water crisis in Hwange on a bloated elephant population. It is now estimated to be almost 54,000 against a normal carrying capacity of just 15,000.

A few months ago, the authority announced the capture and relocation of nearly 100 elephants from Hwange to Chizarira national park in Binga to ease the pressure on water sources. At least 30 of those elephants were subsequently sold to Chinese wildlife parks.

Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force chair Johnny Rodrigues dismissed the claim of over-population as a government excuse to justify the continued capture and export of animals to Chinese zoos.

“In Hwange and all of south-western Zimbabwe, drought is not a calamity, but a perpetual condition,” said Rodrigues. “As such, a normal government would have a permanent plan to resolve it. But drought will continue to affect Hwange because the government is more interested in plundering, rather than in conserving the wildlife there.

“If anything, government officials are too busy cutting million-dollar wildlife trade deals with the Chinese who pay to plunder our animals,” he said.

In May this year, the parks authority advertised for prospective buyers “with the capacity to acquire and manage wildlife” to buy animals from the country’s 10 national parks to ease pressure on water resources.

PWMA spokeswoman Caroline Washaya-Moyo did not respond to a request for an interview on the Hwange wildlife water security problem.

Lane said the number of elephants in Hwange national park had grown in the last few years as more cross from Botswana to search of water during the dry season, which runs between July and November.

“The water infrastructure in Botswana is collapsing due to lack of maintenance since the introduction of a hunting ban there in 2014. As a result, more elephants are crossing the border into Hwange, where water security has improved,” he said.

Lane said the recent heavy rains, which fell across north-western Botswana late in December, had replenished a seasonal network of natural water pans, triggering the annual western-bound elephant migration and helping to alleviate pressure from Hwange’s game water sources.

“They will not be back in Zimbabwe until around April next year, and with the pressure off, we will focus on consolidation through the maintenance of existing water points so that they can support more animals in the future,” he said.

Chinese firm bails out Zim

Source: Chinese firm bails out Zim – DailyNews Live January 12, 2017

Farayi Machamire

HARARE – Chinese hydropower engineering and construction company, Sino
Hydro, has pledged to help Zimbabwe’s cash-strapped government to secure
funding for its Hwange Thermal Power Expansion Project.

The company’s vice president Wang Jian said Sino Hydro, as push for
financial closure, will invest $176 million as the project’s equity to
reduce capital shortage pressure on the Zimbabwean government.

“A related investment agreement is under negotiation. We hope we can start
this project in the first half of the year. Once the project is complete,
600 megawatts capacity in total will be added to the grid,” he said on
Monday.

This comes as the country has been struggling to secure financial closure
with Chinese banks to bankroll the $1,4 billion 600MW Hwange expansion
project.

Energy permanent secretary Patson Mbiriri had in August last year said
government was hoping to reach financial closure by October 2016.

Hwange expansion project is part of the ZimAsset government programme to
increase power supplies and energy security.

The project is among a host of other ventures between Sino Hydro and
government that include Kariba South Extension Project and the Harare
water supply project phase 1.

The three projects are all currently at the financing stage with the
Chinese firm expected to expand Kariba South Hydro Power Station by 300MW.

Jian noted that the Kariba South Extension Project has been progressing
well since its official commencement in November 2014.

“To date, 75 percent civil works and 30 percent mechanical installation
works of the project have been completed. The first unit will start to
generate power at the end of 2017.

“The second unit will start to generate power in March 2018. At that
moment, it will increase another 300MW capacity to the national grid,” he
added.

The Sino Hydro deputy chief said the Kariba project had created social
benefits by providing more than 1 500 jobs.

He added that with the support of the Chinese and Zimbabwe government, the
global player in construction, energy and transport was ready to make
concerted efforts to change the current power shortages.

Zimbabwe’s current power supply shortages have forced power utility Zesa
Holdings to resort to power imports as mitigation measures to close the
gap between supply and demand.

Zimbabwe’s power predicament has been worsened by aging and temporary
hydro constraints on local power supply options, largely dominated by
Zimbabwe Power Company’s plants namely Kariba South Hydro Power Station,
Hwange Thermal Power Station and small thermals in Harare, Bulawayo and
Munyati.

The country’s power plants generate about 1 100 MW against a peak demand
of 2 200 MW.

Tongaat pins hope on economic recovery

Source: Tongaat pins hope on economic recovery – DailyNews Live January 12, 2017

HARARE – Tongaat Hulett (Tongaat) is pinning hopes on Zimbabwe’s economic
recovery to boost its operations in the impoverished southern African
country.

The group’s chief executive Peter Staude said improved economic activities
in the country will result in increased sugar consumption.

“Growth is expected in consumption per capita, off a low base,
particularly in Mozambique and partly in Zimbabwe, supported by
distribution, industrialisation and marketing initiatives,” he said.

This comes as the company’s production and sales volumes in the first half
of 2016 were relatively consistent with the prior year, notwithstanding a
later start to the current season and a higher proportion of production
expected in the second half of the current year.

Staude noted that the first half of the current year has also seen a
higher level of out-grower cane payments compared to the first half of
last year.

“In addition, the division of proceeds in favour of the growers is out of
line with the region, not taking cognisance of the full capital employed
in the milling operations and is not sustainable,” he added.

The South Africa-headquartered sugar producer, with operations in
Botswana, Namibia Mozambique, Swaziland and Zimbabwe, is expecting to
benefit substantially from improved local sugar market revenues with the
improved import protection measures and better export revenues. Actions to
reduce costs continue.

Staude said total sugar production in 2016/17 would continue to be
impacted by the effects of the drought in KwaZulu-Natal and irrigation
having been reduced as a mitigation measure against poor rainfall and low
dam levels in Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Swaziland.

“The estimate for sugar production in total for 2016/17 is between 1 000
000 and 1 100 000 tonnes, compared to 1 023 000 tonnes last year,” he
said, adding that the weather forecast for the coming summer in the key
growing and catchment areas was for average to above average rainfall.

The Tongaat boss noted that given ongoing average to above average
rainfall and a recovery of key dam levels, total sugar production is
expected to recover over two years, to between some 1 200 000 and 1 300
000 tonnes in 2017/18 and to between some 1 500 000 and 1 600 000 tonnes
in 2018/19.

“Tongaat Hulett’s marginal cost of additional sugar production is
typically $110 per tonne from own cane and $340 per tonne from third party
cane. Realisations, ex-mill, based on current regional and EU market
dynamics are above $420 per tonne,” Staude said.

Zimbabwe-SA special permit holders edgy

Source: Zimbabwe-SA special permit holders edgy | The Financial Gazette January 12, 2017

BULAWAYO — Zimbabwe Special Permit (ZSP) holders are nervous about their future in South Africa as it remains unclear whether Pretoria would renew their documents, which expired at the end of December this year.
The South African government is yet to indicate the course of action it will pursue over the expired ZSPs, causing jitters among their holders who constitute a larger percentage of Zimbabweans in the Rainbow Nation.
An estimated three million Zimbabweans are said to be in South Africa, most of them illegally.
In 2012, Pretoria issued ZSPs to allow thousands of Zimbabweans illegally working in Africa’s most industrialised economy to regularise their stay there.
The permits first expired on December 31, 2014 and were renewed the following year for three years.
Out of the 200 000 applications received back then, slightly over 185 000 were approved while the rest were rejected.
All Zimbabweans with a crime-free record were eligible to apply for the special permits. The South African Department of Home Affairs had to waive all the stringent requirements that are normally associated with acquiring a work permit in the neighbouring country.
During the time, the South African government also invited Zimbabweans, who had fraudulently acquired national identity cards and passports of that country, to surrender them and apply for the special permits without any retribution.
Ngqabutho Mabhena, chairperson of the Zimbabwe Community in South Africa, recently circulated a notice assuring members of his association not to panic, saying in their engagements with the Department of Home Affairs they had been told not to worry about what would happen beyond December 31.
The notice indicated that Pretoria was planning a new arrangement that would see holders of the ZSP legally staying in South Africa beyond 2017.
But Migrant Workers Union of South Africa general-secretary, Mandla Masuku, said while some ZSP holders had hoped that the host country would come up with a win-win solution for both parties, many are already disturbed.
“People are beginning to panic and this can be attested to by the number of those contacting our organisation seeking clarity on the way forward,” Masuku told the Financial Gazette.
“People are not yet ready to return to Zimbabwe because they see no opportunities there.”
Masuku said chances of the South African government renewing the permits were very slim with the documents clearly written “non-renewable” as part of their conditions.
Masuku, however, said the permits could be extended to 2018 after which ZSP holders could be subjected to the normal visa regime like everybody else.
With the country’s potentially explosive elections due next year, many fear that South Africa may engage in mass deportations of Zimbabweans who are illegally staying in that country to influence the vote across the Limpopo River.
South Africans accuse migrants of putting a strain on the southern neighbour’s economy, leading to, at one stage, xenophobic attacks on foreigners.
Masuku advised the ZSP holders to behave themselves, stay away from crime and not to engage themselves in the political affairs of that country while awaiting their fate.
He also urged the affected Zimbabwean nationals to stay calm while waiting official communication from the South African government.
Bhekinkosi Mkhwebu, a special permit holder working in Johannesburg, said he and others in the same situation were now restive over the matter.
“We are now fretting because the South African government is just silent over our fate and we do not know what is going to happen at the end of it all,” said Mkhwebu.
Pretoria-based George Mkhwananzi said only a few ZSP holders were despondent.
“The skilled professionals feel trapped in this permit regime that seems to have wasted time they could have used to apply for permanent residence under normal permit regimes,” said Mkhwananzi who is also the deputy spokesperson of the People’s Democratic Party.
“The majority — the unskilled ones — find security in numbers. Remember these are people who would not have qualified for any work permit in South Africa. They do not believe South Africa can be so heartless as to deport a quarter of a million people in ‘one swoop’,” Mkhwananzi noted while further indicating that a more stringent process could result in many ZSP holders failing to qualify.
“If the permits do not get renewed by 31 December 2017, the people will stay illegally in the country and I do not see the authorities successfully managing to sniff them out. It will be better for the South African government to renew those permits than to spend money deporting people who will return to the country afterwards. South Africa is, after all, benefiting from their presence in the country; it is a symbiotic relationship, despite protestations to the contrary”.
Mkhwananzi said it was disturbing that some migrants had joined the bandwagon of criticising the African National Congress-led government as if their stay in South Africa depended on their sympathy for the opposition.
“They must just work for their families,” he retorted.

ConCourt clears Douglas Mwonzora

Source: ConCourt clears Douglas Mwonzora | The Financial Gazette January 12, 2017

THE Constitutional Court (ConCourt) has ruled that the 2009 arrest of Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) secretary general, Douglas Mwonzora, on allegations of insulting President Robert Mugabe was a violation of his fundamental rights.
The full nine-member ConCourt bench headed by outgoing Chief Justice, Godfrey Chidyausiku, ruled that it was wrong for Mwonzora — a former legislator for Nyanga North — to be prosecuted for expressing his views at a political rally.
“It is declared that the prosecution of the applicant on allegations of having contravened Section 33(2)(a) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act (Chapter 9:23) amounted to a deprivation of his personal liberty save as would have been authorised by law in contravention of Section 13(1) of the Constitution and was a denial of the fundamental right of the applicant to the protection of the law guaranteed under Section 18(1) of the Constitution,” said Deputy Chief Justice, Luke Malaba, in a ruling which all members of the ConCourt bench concurred with.
“The finding by the court is that if the facts alleged in the outline of the case for the prosecution were proved at the trial of the applicant they would not have constituted an offence.”
The case, which started in 2015, was finalised on November 23, and the full written judgment was made available this week.
Mwonzora was accused of undermining the Office of the President by calling President Mugabe a goblin among other things at an MDC-T rally held at Ruwangwe Growth Point in Nyanga in 2009.
When the trial started, Mwonzora, a lawyer by profession, took the matter the to ConCourt, challenging various aspects of the charges laid against him.
The ConCourt ruled that the State did not fully understand what constituted a crime of undermining the Office of the President in terms of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act.
“The prohibited statement must be about or concern the President or his office. The slogan exalting the MDC-T political party and the statement on corruption in government could not have been about or concerning the President. They could not be described as false statements either. The sarcasm in the conveyance of the message may have offended some of the listeners. It did not, however, make the message itself false. It was necessary for the State to indicate the false statements uttered by the applicant because it was required to state facts that would prove that the applicant had knowledge of the falsity of the statements.
“The statement that the President was a goblin was obviously a false statement. The offence is, however, not committed because a person has uttered at a public place a false statement about or concerning the President. The statement must be accompanied at the time of its utterance by the knowledge of its falsity and an intention to use it to engender feelings of hostility in the audience against the President. That is not even enough for the offence to be committed. The State must prove beyond reasonable doubt that the false statement about or concerning the President was capable of deceiving the hearer into believing it is true and that it was likely to arouse in the audience feelings of hostility towards the President or his office.”

Missed debt deadline – What does this mean for Zimbabwe?

Source: Missed debt deadline – What does this mean for Zimbabwe? | The Financial Gazette January 10, 2017

By Anne Smee

AS you may well be aware, Zimbabwe recently missed its deadline to pay its four major international creditors. Zimbabwe owed the World Bank, the African Development Bank, the European Investment Bank, and the International Monetary Fund more than R30 million. In 2015, Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa unveiled a plan to clear Zimbabwe’s debts by the end of 2016. Thus far, however, the nation has only been able to repay the International Monetary Fund. The rest of the money remains outstanding. What does this mean for Zimbabwe and its people as a whole?

Trouble Borrowing

Given the current, precarious financial situation, many Zimbabweans are all too familiar with the travails of debt. One of the major problems with debt is that it simultaneously blocks you from obtaining money while leaching away any funds that you do manage to earn. Sadly, the whole nation of Zimbabwe now finds itself in this position. Reneging on payback deals – even when, as in this case, they are self-appointed – reduces faith in Zimbabwe’s ability to repay loans. Which in turn severely curtails the likelihood of Zimbabwe getting any external funding at all. After all, the whole point of loans is that they get paid back. Most international economies rely to a certain extent on loans from the global financial community. Without the fallback of a loan to cover treasury shortfalls, Zimbabwe could find itself in serious trouble.

Cash Shortage

That trouble has already manifested in part in the government’s worrying inability to pay civil workers on several occasions. People camping outside banks in the hope of withdrawing the money which is rightfully theirs but which the banks are unable to provide is becoming a common sight. Zimbabwe’s banks are in the grip of a chronic cash shortage, which is in many ways linked to Zimbabwe’s out of control debt situation. The government is trying to alleviate this situation by issuing ‘bond notes’ in place of dollars – a kind of temporary currency which can only be used within Zimbabwe. However, a currency is only as good as the faith people put in it, and many distrust the bond notes. Some shops are refusing to accept them, which, unsurprisingly, means that those who cannot withdraw dollars are struggling to make purchases.

Mortgaging Reserves

There seem to be some plans afoot to mortgage Zimbabwe’s collateral resources. Zimbabwe is not a resource-poor nation by any means, although we have been hit hard by plummeting global fossil fuel prices. Furthermore, the nation is a notable location of gold and platinum deposits, much of which remains in the possession of the Zimbabwean government. Some or all of what the treasury has could be used to procure new loans. The gold reserve, for example, could be offered to an external lender as security on a loan to tide the nation over until things improve. However, this does ultimately put Zimbabwe in more debt – as well as potentially putting the future of all of our solid resources in international hands. While it could be a workable solution if Zimbabwe can use the loan to build up the economy, it could also be a case of robbing Peter to pay Paul.

International Interest?

Zimbabwe has, for many years now, been treated with kid gloves by the international community. Concerns about human rights has led to caution in dealings with the nation – caution which has only been exacerbated by Zimbabwe’s recent financial troubles. Some commentators are pointing out, however, that this crisis situation does seem to have led many Zimbabwean politicians to being far more open to international solutions than they may have been in the past. Offers of help to create roadmaps and plans to alleviate the financial situation and aid the people of Zimbabwe have been listened to by Zimbabwean authorities. While it is never ideal to go cap in hand to international neighbours, if this could prove a method of rejoining the international community – well, that’s no bad thing. Plenty of nations have gone through rough times and had to ask for help from their neighbours. The international community is quick to forget economic hardships once cash starts flowing again. Despite the circumstances surrounding Zimbabwe’s re-entry to the global community, this could lead to us gaining a greater voice and more influence in international matters, which many believe we badly need.

Anne Smee is a freelance writer

NGO accuses Britain of being bribes hub in Africa mining deals including Zimbabwe

Source: NGO accuses Britain of being bribes hub in Africa mining deals including Zimbabwe | The Financial Gazette January 10, 2017

AN international organisation that fights corporate misconduct has raised concern over the failure by United Kingdom authorities to stop corrupt practices in deals between a leading Wall Street hedge fund and top officials in Zimbabwe and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
In a report by NGO Rights and Accountability in Development (RAID), the US authorities found that the hedge fund used third parties and a chain of subsidiaries to pay bribes to high-level officials in Africa, and the alleged corrupt transactions were carried out via the firm’s London office.

The report titled ‘Bribery in its purest form’: Och-Ziff, asset laundering and the London connection sets out the repeated failure of the UK regulatory authorities over a 10-year period – despite warnings from UN Experts, due diligence studies and compliance watch lists – to take action to prevent assets acquired through corrupt means being traded on the London markets. The key question addressed in the report is that: having failed to heed repeated calls for action, can the UK continue to shelter those who have been involved in corrupt deals, or ostensibly breached sanctions or flouted market rules, without causing lasting damage to its reputation?

In September 2016, the US Department of Justice (DoJ) charged one of the world’s largest hedge funds, Och-Ziff Capital Management Group (Och-Ziff), which has $40bn in assets under management “with conspiracy to violate the anti-bribery provisions of the (US) Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA)”, regarding transactions in the DRC and Zimbabwe

The hedge fund has been under investigation by the DoJ and the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) since 2011. One of Och-Ziff’s subsidiaries, OZ Africa Management, on 29 September 2016 pleaded guilty and agreed to pay out $412m; the largest ever criminal and civil settlement for a Wall Street-listed firm.

According to the report by NGO Rights and Accountability in Development (RAID), the US authorities found that the hedge fund used third parties and a chain of subsidiaries to pay bribes to high-level officials in Africa, and the alleged corrupt transactions were carried out via the firm’s London office.

Multi-million alleged DRC corruption scheme

The hedge fund, the report alleges, had joint-control of African Global Capital (AGC), which it used to find lucrative business opportunities on the continent.

According to DoJ documents, one of AGC’s partners in Congo, is referred to as “an Israeli businessman” with “significant interests in the diamond and mineral mining industries in the DRC”. While some of the individuals involved are named in the official documents, others are not.

The DoJ and SEC documents cite a Bloomberg article in which a spokesman for Israeli billionaire Dan Gertler, who heads the Fleurette Group, is reported as saying”The Fleurette Group and Dan Gertler strongly deny the allegations announced today, which are motivated by a hedge fund trying to put behind it problems sparked by people that have nothing to do with Fleurette.”

According to the deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) entered by Occ-Ziff with the US prosecution to settle the allegations, the report alleges that the fund’s employees “entered into agreements with Gertler” as its “DRC partner to purchase shares in [DRC] mining companies under his control, aware that payments would be made to bribe high-ranking Congolese officials, who would bring pressure to bear on rival companies, forcing them to relinquish their assets”.

The DPA documents further note that when misuse of company funds emerged, Och-Ziff “conducted no review […] to confirm or rebut the allegations and thereafter advanced more than $200m to DRC partner for additional transactions”.

The DoJ documents state this practice took place over a “10-year period”, during which “Och-Ziff’s DRC partner, together with others, paid more than $100m in bribes to DRC officials”. The DoJ described the corrupt practices of Och-Ziff as “bribery in its purest form.

 ‘Suspicious Payments’, sanctions and Zimbabwe

According to the report, both the DOJ and SEC are concerned with violations of the FCPA and not the enforcement of sanctions. This notwithstanding, both authorities refer, under the headings of ‘Suspicious Payments’ or ‘Allegations of Serious Misconduct’, to a transaction in Zimbabwe to buy platinum assets from a state entity and the Central African Mining and Exploration Company  (CAMEC) Zimbabwean shareholder (Billy Rautenbach), to the diversion of an Och-Ziff loan to a Zimbabwean political party and to the use of Och-Ziff’s investment to pay for an arms shipment from China. The platinum mine has since changed shareholders and is now being developed by the Russians

In the 2008 election in Zimbabwe, ZANU-PF’s Robert Mugabe retained the presidency after a campaign   against Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) supporters.  The campaign was financed by money originating with Och-Ziff and channelled to the Zimbabwe government via a loan as part of CAMEC’s lucrative platinum deal.

According to the report the $100 million loan changed Zimbabwe’s future by thwarting progress towards democracy. Mugabe and key allies in ZANU-PF and the military were all on the EU and US sanctions list at the time of the loan. The SEC Order accords with RAID’s 2013 account of the platinum deal. Furthermore, the head of Och-Ziff’s London office  had been warned by his colleague (Baros) that the Och-Ziff loan may have been used to pay for a shipment of arms from China. Yet neither Och-Ziff employee notified Och-Ziff’s legal and compliance department. Despite the existence of US sanctions against Zimbabwe, Och-Ziff held onto its CAMEC shares until November 2009.

RAID has already raised the matter of the Zimbabwean platinum deal and sanctions with both HM Treasury in the UK and the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) in the US. Statements made by the SEC and DOJ in the Och-Ziff case corroborate that RAID was right to have flagged these concerns. RAID’s current report highlights inconsistencies over when and what Och-Ziff knew about the Zimbabwean platinum deal and calls upon OFAC to investigate. A key question is whether the UK authorities, far from preventing the platinum mine purchase or the later sale of shares controlled by sanctions targets, actually approved or licenced the transactions.

RAID has been unsuccessful in its attempts to find out, through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, what the UK government knew or did about the Zimbabwean platinum deal. The report says the UK Treasury is refusing to confirm or deny whether or not it gave tacit approval for the transaction – it is apparent that CAMEC has never been charged with violating sanctions – or whether it licensed the sale of Rautenbach’s shares and allowed him access to the proceeds (again, there is a widespread perception that such licences were forthcoming). – http://www.raid-uk.org

Mugabe gives Mnangagwa thumbs up

Source: Mugabe gives Mnangagwa thumbs up | The Financial Gazette January 12, 2017

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe has given Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa the green light to expedite controversial amendments to the supreme law of the land to facilitate the direct appointment of the next Chief Justice, setting the stage for bruising court battles with civil rights defenders who are against the impending constitutional changes.
Highly-placed sources told the Financial Gazette this week that the ZANU-PF leader who has avoided commenting on the contentious appointment of the country’s top judge ever since the furore over Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku successor broke out, wants Mnangagwa, who also happens to be the Justice Minister, to see through the process of amending the Constitution to give him latitude to handpick the next Chief Justice.
Last month, Cabinet brawled along factional lines at one of its meetings over the controversial amendment with Mnangagwa’s backers throwing their full weight behind the changes while a rival faction, known as Generation 40 (G40), wanted the process to be done in terms of the existing constitutional provisions.
It was on the sidelines of a stormy Cabinet meeting last month that President Mugabe implored the Vice President to hasten the process to enable him to appoint a Chief Justice with the proper orientation and attitude towards the revolutionary party.
There is therefore increasing pressure to disregard the interview process initiated by the Judicial Services Commission (JSC) last year in terms of the current Constitutional provisions for the selection and appointment of the Chief Justice.
“The (Cabinet) meeting had well ended and as ministers lined up to shake hands with him, the President — who had remained silent while emotions ran high in the meeting — got to VP Mnangagwa and said ‘carry on with the process’,” said a Cabinet source who declined to be named.
Information, Media and Broadcasting Services Minister Christopher Mushohwe declined to comment on the matter saying issues discussed in Cabinet were confidential.
“You cannot ask me that. You know very well that Cabinet matters are not discussed with the media. Let the person who told you that furnish you with all the information you need,”
“You want me to violate the rules, no. I will not tell you anything that transpires in Cabinet. I uphold the confidentiality of Cabinet matters,” he added.
Chidyausiku retires after having served for 16 years while his predecessor, Anthony Gubbay, served for 11 years before he was forced to resign in 1992 after falling out with the ruling party over the chaotic land reform programme.
It would appear George Chiweshe, currently serving as president of the High Court, is preferred to take over from Chidyausiku, who is due to retire next month after reaching the mandatory retirement age of 70 years.
Chiweshe boycotted an interview process for the selection of the Chief Justice, only to later indicate that he was complying with a High Court judgment by Charles Hungwe suspending the interview process. He had been shortlisted along with Deputy Chief Justice, Luke Malaba and Supreme Court and Constitutional Court judges Rita Makarau and Paddington Garwe.
Both Makarau and Garwe served as presidents of the High Court before their elevation.
Makarau is currently on secondment at the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), and is the secretary of the JSC.
Hungwe’s judgment followed an urgent High Court application by a University of Zimbabwe law student for a provisional court order stopping the interviews, pending the determination of another application to suspend them until section 180 of the Constitution could be amended.
The applicant challenged the procedure for appointing the Chief Justice, which involved the JSC. It was argued that the procedure was improper because it involved judges who sat on the JSC having a say in appointing the head of the Judiciary.

The applicant said the President should appoint the Chief Justice directly after just consulting with the JSC.
During the hearing of the case, the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Virginia Mabhiza, produced an affidavit stating that Mnangagwa had submitted documents to Cabinet seeking approval for the amendment of section 180 of the Constitution to change the method of appointing the Chief Justice along the lines proposed by the applicant.
Hungwe then ruled that the interviews should not proceed.
The interviews went ahead after the JSC, headed by Chidyausiku, said it had noted an appeal against Hungwe’s judgment, effectively suspending his order.
Malaba, who became the first Deputy Chief Justice of the Supreme Court after constitutional amendments in 2008, emerged the best candidate in the interviews with a reported score of 91 percent.
Makarau was second with 90 percent, with Garwe coming third after scoring 52 percent.
Under section 180 of the Constitution, the Chief Justice is appointed by the President from a list of three nominees selected by the JSC following advertisements and public interviews.
Sources indicated that there was growing support within a faction of ZANU-PF for President Mugabe to appoint Chiweshe, who had rescued the incumbent from defeat by Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai in 2008 elections.
Chiweshe, a retired brigadier general, is a war veteran and former military judge who had been seconded to ZEC at the time. He withheld election results for six weeks after President Mugabe had lost the elections to Tsvangirai who, however, failed to garner enough votes to be declared the winner, forcing the presidential election into a runoff.
Tsvangirai had to pull out of the runoff election after several of his supporters were reportedly killed, resulting in President Mugabe winning the poll.
But the political crisis that ensued forced his party to form a coalition government with Tsvangirai and another MDC outfit, then led by Arthur Mutambara. The coalition government collapsed in 2013 following ZANU-PF’s landslide victory.
Chiweshe has the backing of a faction called Team Lacoste, which has rallied behind Mnangagwa to succeed President Mugabe in the event that he leaves office. A rival faction, G40, wants the selection of the Chief Justice to be based on the interview process.
Sources indicated that Malaba, who is 66 years old, has only four years before reaching retirement age, a situation his critics have seized on to argue that his appointment would be untenable.
Malaba is said to have the support of G40, which has lambasted a parallel process.
They argue that Chiweshe, who is 64 years old this year, has six years to serve as Chief Justice.
Makarau, at 56, is the youngest of the candidates.
The G40 faction is said to prefer Makarau in the event that Malaba is not appointed, arguing that this would still be in line with the provisions of the current Constitution.
Makarau would have 14 years before reaching retirement age as a Chief Justice.
Mnangagwa’s backers are banking on planned constitutional amendments to allow President Mugabe to appoint Chiweshe as the new Chief Justice.
The amendment would give the President power to appoint a candidate of his choice.
Analysts said the proposed amendment of the Constitution to allow the President to directly appoint a Chief Justice of his choice had affected confidence in the process.
“The whole process of appointing the Chief Justice is now politicised and lacking public confidence. Whoever is chosen shall bear the burden of proving their independence in an era where all the State arms are heavily politicised,” said political analyst, Rashweat Mukundu.
Constitutional law expert, Love-more Madhuku, said there was a strong possibility that President Mugabe might not even appoint any of the three judges approved by the JSC because of the provision of subsection three of section 80 of the Constitution which says the President can turn down all the names given to him if he is not satisfied with them.

It also emerged this week that the ruling ZANU-PF party was preparing for further Constitutional amendments that would remove term limits for the President.
Under the current Constitution adopted in 2013, the country’s President can only serve two terms of five years each.
In terms of the Constitution, President Mugabe will serve his last term if he is re-elected in 2018 elections.
At the party’s annual conference in Masvingo in December, ZANU-PF did not hide its intentions to tinker with the charter after delegates unanimously resolved that President Mugabe must rule until death.
Such an amendment would certainly court the ire of civil society and opposition political parties, who would be persuaded to approach the courts for relief.
Sources within ZANU-PF also indicated that the party was worried by prospects of an impeachment in terms of section 97 of the Constitution.
They said the party took this “very seriously”.
“That clause of the Constitution will have to be examined,” said one of the sources.

Masvingo stews in factionalism

Source: Masvingo stews in factionalism | The Financial Gazette January 12, 2017

“IF you thought factionalism was imaginary, you will realise that it is very real here in Masvingo,” remarked a security officer who was vetting delegates entering the tightly fortified entrance into Masvingo show grounds, the venue for ZANU-PF’s annual conference in December, last year.
After flipping over the name tag hanging on my neck, he resignedly let me pass, probably having realised that he might have let the cat out of the bag about the unending ructions in Masvingo province to a journalist who was from the private media, for that matter.
Security was so tight at the venue of the conference that one could have easily concluded that the party was now so divided that it is now even terrified of dealing with its own officials.
The province has become the citadel of a faction called Team Lacoste, which is rooting for Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa to succeed President Robert Mugabe in the event that he decides to retire from politics.
While Team Lacoste appears to have a numerical advantage in Masvingo, it doesn’t control key political positions in the top echelons of the provincial structures.
Calling the shots in Masvingo is a rival camp known as Generation 40 (G40), which is determined to frustrate Mnangagwa’s perceived presidential ambitions.
I had completely forgotten about the words of the security officer at the entrance to the show grounds until some very energetic singing inside the conference venue caught my attention.
Hordes of delegates from the host province had risen from their seats in one accord to sing a curious tune whose words rang: “KuMasvingo kuno kunenyaya, aheee, kunenyaya (There is an issue here in Masvingo province, surely there is an issue).”
The singing had erupted as conference delegates were being introduced to President Mugabe. I wondered if it was just a coincidence or there was a strong message that was being put across to the ZANU-PF leader.
As the conference progressed, I figured out that this was for real – indeed factionalism has taken root in Masvingo.
In jest, ZANU-PF secretary for administration, Ignatius Chombo, who was co-ordinating the conference programme, made sure he commented on the wild singing.
He indicated that the party would look into the “issue” that was being referred to in their song.
“We are here in Masvingo for three days and we will definitely have to look at the issue you are singing about,” he said to wild applause.
Despite the promises, the party’s leadership made no attempt whatsoever to inquire into what the delegates were referring to in their song perhaps because they knew exactly what the issue was.

It was all left to President Mugabe to lambast the so-called successionists, who are fuelling divisions in the party.
But even after the harshest words from the ZANU-PF leader, there hasn’t been any respite to the factional wars.
Of the country’s 10 political provinces, Masvingo is stewing in deep-rooted factional underworld like no other.
Interestingly, no one in the party has ever had the guts to pinpoint the culprits behind the factional tussling for fear of reprisals.
Those behind the factional wars also prefer to play their politics underground, hesitant of coming out in the open to declare their factional interests.
Those who have dared to do so have previously earned a painful boot out of the party.
Former vice president Joice Mujuru is one of those who have learnt the hard way. She was dismissed from government and the party for attempting to unseat President Mugabe unconstitutionally.
Mnangagwa’s allies in the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA) executive, among them Christopher Mutsvangwa, were also expelled from the party for denigrating President Mugabe’s leadership.
Nonetheless, names have been bandied around of people who could be at the centre of the political see-saw in the fractious Masvingo province although they all deny it.
Alleged to be linked to Team Lacoste are provincial heavyweights such as Psychomotor Minister, Josiah Hungwe — the most senior party member in Masvingo — and the Provincial Affairs Minister, Shuvai Mahofa.
Behind them are a number of Central Committee members such as parliamentary chief whip, Lovemore Matuke and deputy national secretary for legal affairs, Paul Mangwana.
All these officials deny the alleged factional leanings. The same applies to those who are said to be proponents for G40 in the province, among them Bikita South legislator, Jappy Jaboon, who is also the interim provincial political commissar; Masvingo Urban legislator, Daniel Shumba, and interim provincial chairman, Amasa Nenjana.
“I do not want to be quoted, unondipisisa zvigunwe kunehondo kuno (you will cause me trouble. There is war here),” was all Jaboon could say after being contacted for comment while relaxing at a Masvingo hotel later that Friday.
Hungwe had this to say: “Let the people who gave you all that information talk. I do not discuss party issues with the press.”
But, as the conference concluded with reading of the resolutions pregnant with subtle meanings and factional subplots, one could only conclude that kunenyaya kuMasvingo.
Party officials from Masvingo who confided in the Financial Gazette said Jaboon, Shumba and Nenjana were now operating from the national commissariat’s office in Harare after being hounded, intimidated and bullied by Team Lacoste.
“They have practically been exiled from the province and cannot operate here,” said one party official.
Other party members said recent provincial meetings have been tense with party members trading insults, accusations and ridicule.
“Things have been bad for those of us that do not think the same as the successionists. It’s too bad,” said another party member.
One provincial executive member recounted that the last provincial co-ordinating committee (PCC) meeting almost turned violent.
The meeting was held a few days before the start of the conference to discuss conference resolutions.
During the meeting, one Team Lacoste provincial executive member reportedly told the meeting that Jaboon, Nenjana and Shumba were having midnight meetings with some members who were suspended from the party for hobnobbing with Mujuru.
These included legislators, Paul Chimedza (Gutu South) and Tongai Muzenda (Gutu West).
Mahofa was said to have professed ignorance of the meetings, prompting Matuke to interject saying: “Some of us run businesses, I own a school, but if I go there, I respect the headmaster who is there; but you (pointing at Nenjana and Jaboon), treat us like your cleaners when we are in actual terms national leaders.”

Mangwana is said to have charged at Jaboon shouting: “We cannot have the province run from Harare. We will fight you.”
Jaboon is said to have inflamed the situation when he suggested that party cadres must unite if they are to win the upcoming Bikita West National Assembly by-election after the seat fell vacant following the incarceration of Munyaradzi Kereke for rape.
Chivi North Member of Parliament, Mathias Tongofa — also deputy minister of Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment, immediately stood up and said it was impossible for unity to prevail in the province principally because there were people who were frustrating some party projects in the province.
“Tongofa was aggrieved by the efforts of G40 members who wanted to frustrate the process of giving offer letters to people interested in certain pieces of land in Chiredzi through Mahofa’s office,” said a source.
There are skirmishes surrounding the allocation of developed land ceded by sugar making company, Tongaat Hullet in Chiredzi under the indigenisation programme, with some alleging that Team Lacoste members became the biggest beneficiaries.
In June this year, President Mugabe came face to face with the gravity of the matter when he went to Triangle to try and find solutions.
Tongofa reportedly got support from Masvingo provincial secretary for administration, Alois Baloyi, who even suggested that it should be made a conference resolution that the offer letters must not be reversed.
The meeting reached boiling point with one Robson Mavhenyengwa and a relative of Hungwe called Goddart Dunhira, who are some of the reported beneficiaries, said efforts to kick them off the land should be stopped since they sponsored many party activities from proceeds of farming.
“Dunhira said they were the sponsors of the party and their farming activities were allowing them to fund many party activities and if they were kicked out, the party would suffer financially,” said the official.
Hungwe agreed, reportedly saying: “This is a very dangerous issue. People should remain on the farms because if they are kicked out, we will not get money to finance party activities.”
To make a practical point, Dunhira, who is the provincial secretary for transport and welfare, immediately donated 30 tonnes of maize, gave 10 minibuses to carry delegates to the conference and offered to pay for all the advertising.

2017: Year of the rooster

Source: 2017: Year of the rooster | The Financial Gazette January 12, 2017

By Njabulo Ncube
IN a recent Facebook post, a ZANU-PF politician had this to say on his timeline: “2017 is the year of the rooster (cock); what a coincidence”.

He was making reference to Chinese folklore whereby the year 2017 is cited as the year of the rooster or cockerel.
One of the key characteristics of the rooster, according to the Chinese, is its ability to be observant.
In the world of entertainment, the rooster is an excellent amuser for those who enjoy cock fighting.
Juxtaposed with human characters, the rooster can be likened to a devoted and loyal personality — individuals who keep their promises.
Other positive traits associated with the rooster include exceptional organisational skills, living a refined life, being tidy, and making decisions only after getting all the facts.
Incidentally, ZANU-PF had a rooster or a cock as its party symbol before it signed a Unity Accord with PF-ZAPU in 1987.
The accord which followed protracted civil unrest in the country soon after independence in 1980 saw the party changing its symbol to an artwork of the Great Zimbabwe monuments.
Regardless, the rooster emblem is still perched at the apex of the party’s headquarters in Harare.
Against this background, is it plausible to say 2017 is the year for the ruling ZANU-PF basing it on the Chinese Zodiac?
Obviously, most of the traits found in the cockerel are not part of the ruling ZANU-PF’s DNA. The party has presided over an economic free-fall, spanning over two decades.
Its policies are largely populist and therefore ruinous to business.
ZANU-PF is also known for its vindictiveness against those who disagree with it.
Having said that, ZANU-PF’s ability to quickly and accurately assess situations and overcome obstacles resonates with some of the traits of a rooster.
Reason Wafawarova, a political analyst based in Australia who is closely linked to ZANU-PF, believes that President Robert Mugabe’s party still enjoys hegemony sufficient enough to secure fresh government tenure in 2018.
“Socially, we are likely to remain a highly adaptive nation — putting up with all the challenges coming our way. Economically, the only chance of a difference is intervention from outside, through loans or aid. This cannot be entirely ruled out, although there are next to nothing in terms of chances to increase economic production ahead of 2018,” he said.
Undoubtedly, ZANU-PF is a political behemoth, weakened by factionalism.
Rampant corruption, in both the party and government, as well as a poorly performing economy, are seen posing enormous challenges for ZANU-PF going into elections in 2018.
To a lot of people, ZANU-PF faces its waterloo at the coming polls unless it deals with the existing economic challenges.
According to the Chinese, the major downfall of the rooster is its day dreaming habits, an imperfection that has also trailed President Mugabe’s party for years.

If there is one thing that ZANU-PF has in abundance, it’s ideas, although party mandarins rarely sit down to implement them.
Ahead of the 2013 polls, the party came up with an impressive manifesto, which now presents challenges for its leadership in terms of fulfilling its promises.
Among the promises, the party pledged to create 2,2 million jobs and to grow the stock of houses in urban centres.
As it is, the party is now racing against time to fulfill the promises made during the 2013 poll campaign trail.
Will ZANU-PF politicians be able to find solutions to the multi-faceted economic challenges and turn 2017 into “the year of the rooster”?
This is the multi-million dollar question that begs for an answer.
Ricky Mukonza, a Zimbabwean who teaches public management at Tshwane University of Technology in South Africa, said a general shift in the country’s policies, including those that have been stifling economic growth, can only be achieved as a result of change in leadership.
“However, if President Mugabe remains in power, the status quo is likely to continue. Political instability, both within the ruling party and in government is likely to persist as ZANU-PF leaders position themselves for the post-Mugabe era,” opined Mukonza.
Mukonza sees unpredictability in fundamental economic policies rattling the country’s economy going forward.
“All this will mean worsening hardships for the ordinary Zimbabweans. The deteriorating economy means closure of the few remaining companies, increased unemployment and decreased disposable incomes,” he said.
Complicating matters for ZANU-PF is the bane of corruption, which is frustrating efforts meant to revive the country’s economy.
Top officials accused of rampant corruption continue to walk the streets scot free, with law enforcement agencies looking the other side.
The same cannot be said of ordinary citizens who are being sent to the slammer for petty crimes.
There is also worsening factionalism within ZANU-PF’s rank and file, notwithstanding repeated calls to party faithful by President Mugabe to shun divisions.
ZANU-PF is divided into two distinct factions — the so-called Team Lacoste and Generation 40 or G40.
The divisions have seen the war veterans being split into several groups, hence disrupting the cohesiveness that used to make ZANU-PF a fearsome machine going into elections.
A recent document leaked to the media claimed the problems affecting war veterans “in their totality and complexity” are beginning to define a national security threat, with unpleasant connotations as 2018 approaches.
“This calls for urgency in addressing their issues,” reads part of the 10-page document purpotedly co-signed by Defence Minister Sydney Sekeramai and War Veterans Minister Tshinga Dube.
The expulsion from ZANU-PF in 2014 of former vice president Joice Mujuru and her so-called cabal had been expected to decisively deal with factionalism in the party once and all but, to the contrary, facts on the ground have shown otherwise.
Ahead of Christmas, Team Lacoste and G40 were at loggerheads over proposals to amend the country’s Constitution to allow President Mugabe to cherry-pick the next Chief Justice in the wake of the imminent retirement in February this year of Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku.
Currently, there is furore over a coffee mug that was emblazoned with the words, “I am the boss”, which Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa was pictured holding late last month.
Mnangagwa’s rivals in G40 have come out guns blazing, accusing the Vice President of trying to usurp President Mugabe’s authority.
Team Lacoste, which is solidly behind Mnangagwa, has dismissed the claims as a storm in a tea cup.
Despite the party being averse to officials using the social media to discuss party business and settle their personal scores, Twitter and Facebook wars have continued, and it looks like the country is headed for another stormy year on the social media front.
This does not augur well for the party at a time the opposition is reportedly on the verge of forming a grand coalition.
Analysts canvassed by the Financial Gazette this week seem to agree with the Chinese’s interpretation of 2017 in so far as the Zimbabwean politics is concerned.

Among them, there is consensus that ZANU-PF would continue ruling the roost, citing its populists policies, such as the continuing land reforms, command agriculture, and the parceling out of residential stands to civil servants and the youths among other sweeteners ahead of polls.
The election mode would be deeply entrenched in 2017, with much of what will happen during the course of the year largely determined by what happens within ZANU-PF.
Reward Mushayabasa, a former journalism lecturer and political analyst, said 2017 would be a critical year in terms of the party’s existence as a political force in the Zimbabwe body politic.
Firstly, the leadership crisis within ZANU-PF might continue to haunt the party, he said.
“We are likely to see more factional fighting within the party as the key contenders for the succession battle position themselves to takeover in the post-Mugabe era,” said Mushayabasa.
“Secondly, we are likely to witness more repression from ZANU-PF as the party fights for its own survival. The party will continue to consolidate its grip on power by appointing party loyalists to strategic State institutions like the judiciary and security sector. Thirdly, we are likely to witness very little condemnation of ZANU-PF’s poor governance and human rights abuses from the international community,” he added.
Journalist tuned banker and economist, Bekithemba Mhlanga, said the economy would not sort itself out, predicting more company closures and job losses.
“The status quo will prevail,” said Mhlanga, who is based in the United Kingdom.
“Will the economy decline? I don’t think so — the auto pilot that has been on will continue. The liquidity crisis will continue and the introduction of the bond notes will have little or no effect. The damage is already done and the bond notes are not the solution to the problem and so don’t expect to cure something with an inappropriate solution,” he said.
Although President Mugabe has predicted economic growth in 2017 critics, however, say this is a mirage, because the government appears clueless in finding permanent solutions to the crises.
Be that as it may, another important variable on the political front, analysts said, is how the opposition parties will position themselves in 2017 in preparation for the 2018 polls.
Sympathisers of opposition parties have urged the parties to generate new and superior political strategies that would inspire confidence because failure to do so would generate apathy among potential voters going into 2018 and this would most certainly delight the rooster.
Without the much-needed international support and electoral reforms, the future of opposition politics, however, remains bleak as democratic space continues to shrink in Zimbabwe.

Who is Zimbabwe’s next long-awaited political messiah?

Source: Who is Zimbabwe’s next long-awaited political messiah? | The Financial Gazette January 12, 2017

By Charles Star Kungwengwe

IN 1990, euphoria enveloped the entire country when one of Zimbabwe’s most controversial war veterans, Edgar Tekere, broke ranks with his former party, ZANU-PF; and in the process also severed ties with his war-time bosom buddy, President Robert Mugabe, to form his own political outfit, the Zimbabwe Unity Movement (ZUM).
Everyone thought the now late political maverick, nicknamed 2 Boy — who was the ruling party’s secretary general then, was the right person to end 10 years of ZANU-PF and President Mugabe’s dominance.
Although he indeed shook the ruling party, he lost his 1990 presidential bid to President Mugabe.
But he, however, managed to grab 16 percent of the vote, while his ZUM outfit picked up 20 percent of the seats in Parliament.
But that was where it ended because that challenge sealed his political career, which from then on fizzled into oblivion.
Ah and then, around 1995, along came another war veteran with renewed euphoria in the form of Margaret Dongo and her Zimbabwe Union of Democrats. She and her party also dismally failed to change the status quo.
Almost a decade after Tekere failed to dislodge both ZANU-PF and its leader from power, came renewed euphoria in 1999 in the form of Morgan Tsvangirai, who had just transformed the trade union pulpit into a political podium and decided to throw his hat into the political ring to aspire for the country’s top job.
Supporters did indeed swarm around Tsvangirai’s then united Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party like bees around a blossoming flower.
Again, everyone thought Tsvangirai and his MDC were exactly what the doctor had ordered. In fact, those schooled in political trend analysis and extrapolation (historical prophecy) were predicting and portraying the trade unionist as another General Nelson who would lead the local Napoleon to his Waterloo come the 2000 elections.
Tsvangirai was riding high on Uncle Bob’s, as President Mugabe is affectionately known, hero status in the drama of global politics or international relations due to the controversial 2000 land reform programme.
With the land reform programme having proved a monumental disaster, President Mugabe had fallen from being a darling of the western community to a villain. Moreover, Tsvangirai’s party was still very new; and new products are marketable. Needless to say, the MDC leader compares very well with his Nemesis in that he is also charismatic, shrewd, eloquent and valiant; and fortune favours the brave.
But Tsvangirai’s anticipated success soon turned out to be just another false alarm.
The problem currently facing Tsvangirai is that he claims to be a medicine man with the cure for the country’s disease of longevity in leadership incumbency, yet he has also overstayed at the helm. It is a matter of one advising his/her neighbour to remove a speck from his/her eye when he/she has a huge baobab tree-sized log in their own eye. Apart from being riddled with factional in-fighting, Tsvangirai’s party seems to have also been infiltrated by ZANU-PF agents.
Besides, all the local laws, including the Constitution itself, have a strong bias towards the ruling party, denting all hope that Tsvangirai and his party may one day take over from President Mugabe and ZANU-PF.
Consequently, the euphoria died down yet again despite the fact that Tsvangirai and his party proved to be the biggest challenge yet to ZANU-PF and President Mugabe’s octopus-like grip on power.
And more than three decades after ZANU-PF grabbed power from Ian Smith’s racist regime came yet another heir apparent in the form of Joice Mujuru, the country’s former vice president, who was unceremoniously thrown out of the ruling party and government after being accused of plotting a coup d’etat against President Mugabe.

It’s now two years or so ever since rumour had it that the former daring freedom fighter, who happened to be the first woman guerilla fighter to down an enemy chopper in the heat of battle between her group and the late Ian Smith’s Rhodesian Forces, would challenge President Mugabe.
After a long period of speculation and anticipation, the inevitable finally happened—Mujuru finally formed her own political party, Zimbabwe People First, and people are naturally expecting lots of fireworks. This is happening amid indications that different political parties in the country might join hands in a grand coalition against the old veteran leader. And so on and on goes the political drama in Zimbabwe.
It has been a history of unending bouts of political euphoria for Zimbabweans and yet the question: Who will lead after President Mugabe continues to beg for an answer.
In the Christian Bible, in Luke 7:18-19 and Matthew 11:2-3, John, the Baptist, who was then in prison, sent his disciples to Jesus with the question: Are you who is to come or shall we look for another one?
Jesus’ response, when asked that question, was to immediately perform different miracles and then tasked the messengers to go and tell John what they had seen and heard; for example, that they had seen the dead being raised, the blind seeing and the poor having good news preached to them.
Jesus was both a philosopher and a scientist as well.
Now, if Zimbabwe’s contemporary politicians were to be weighed against such high stakes, how would they fare in their own political vocations?
Starting with Mujuru herself, how has she been responding to the numerous enquiries on where she stands in this intriguing Zimbabwean political soap opera?
She should be able to answer, in whatever way she can, whether or not she is the political messiah that the country has been waiting for.
In other words, present day politicians must not confine their message to rhetoric, but learn to act. And so we await Mujuru’s party performance in Bikita West by-election on January 21 for a more telling answer.
I am, however, dumbfounded as to why Zimbabweans, even after all these false hopes for another political chapter, continue to hope that ZANU-PF and its leader are close to relinquishing power.
So in my vain attempt to find out who might just be the next political messiah, I am tempted to look within the ruling party where Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa appears closest at the moment but, as the Mujurus would bear testimony, the issue of being too near to or too far away from the “prince” is one and the same thing: One slight misstep will see one tumbling over the edge of the slippery political ladder into the abyss.
No doubt, Ngwena, as Mnangagwa is affectionately known, remains the second most powerful politician in the country after His Excellency and commands the support of both the old guard and the securocrats; while the First Lady, Grace Mugabe, another possible heir apparent to the throne, has the Young Turks, or G-40, on her side. The Young Turks have made some commendable inroads into the ZANU-PF population in the country.
And coming back to Ngwena – during the liberation struggle he occupied the most coveted post of chief of intelligence, a post that was also held by Dumiso Dabengwa in the then ZAPU, while the late Josiah Tongogara was Dare’s chief of defence and deputised by the late Solomon Mujuru, who was chief of operations.

In ZAPU, these parallel posts were in the hands of the late messrs Nikita Mangena and Lookout Masuku, respectively. To crown it all, he has a legal background and enjoys a personal relationship with the Prince. What remains to be seen, however, is how he will fare as both a former soldier and politician.
Just to bring some intrigue into the whole succession debate, it seems the First Lady has all the attributes of Shakespeare’s Mark Anthony for we saw her boldly challenging the country’s generals, at some point, to “come and shoot me if you want”, a reminiscence of how Mark Anthony challenged the conspirators whose “purpled hands do reek and smoke (with Caesar’s blood) …., Fulfill your pleasure…” (by killing him)(Act 3 scene 1 lines 161-171).
She also has the demagoguery and shrewdness of a calculative politician. At one of her rallies, someone suggested that the First Lady takes over power from President Mugabe and she flatly refused the offer. It seems, just like Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar did refuse, when offered a mock crown by Mark Anthony, it may have been nothing, but a stage-managed affair which she used as a proxy to test the highly crocodile –infested ZANU-PF political waters!
Zimbabwe’s political landscape is indeed so landmine-infested that even angels may fear to tread.
It is, however, this writer’s hope that Zimbabwe will not degenerate into a full–scale civil war, which Shakespeare’s Mark Anthony predicted for Rome, with Ate, the god of destruction, taking the lead.
Having said all this, one can safely conclude that Zimbabwean politics is now so complicated that it needs no average thinker, but a genius to understand it. And that being the case, no one, not even the closest lieutenants or inner circle disciples can tell what the future holds.
Charles Star Kungwengwe is an independent writer based in Chiredzi.

Armyworms hit Zimbabwe’s corn

Source: Armyworms hit Zimbabwe’s corn | The Financial Gazette January 12, 2017

FARMERS in southern Africa face a growing threat amid an outbreak of armyworms, a destructive pest that has spread to Zimbabwe while continuing to decimate fields in neighbouring Zambia.
The black-striped caterpillars have infested 124 000 hectares (306 400 acres) of Zambian fields out of 1,4 million planted hectares, Agriculture Minister Dora Siliya told reporters on Tuesday in the capital, Lusaka.
That’s up from an estimated 90 000 hectares last week.
In Zimbabwe, the fall armyworm has been reported in seven of the eight corn-growing provinces, government and farmers’ representatives said.
The fall armyworm is a “major problem for us,” Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union president, Wonder Chabikwa, said by phone on Tuesday from Harare, the capital. The spread of the caterpillars is linked to a dry spell last year, he said.
Two of the country’s corn-growing provinces have also reported the presence of African armyworms.
Corn, which is commonly referred to as maize, is a staple food in both countries and Zambian President, Edgar Lungu, directed the air force in late December to help airlift pesticides to fight the outbreak.
While Zambia produced a corn surplus last year, crops elsewhere in the region were hard hit by drought and Zimbabwe said in July it would roll out a US$500 million programme to boost production of the crop and ease food shortages.
Authorities are confident Zambia’s food security won’t be threatened by the worm, Siliya said. — Bloomberg

EDITORIAL COMMENT: Zimbabwe People First political miscalculation

Source: EDITORIAL COMMENT: Zimbabwe People First political miscalculation | The Financial Gazette January 12, 2017

THE Zimbabwe People First (ZPF) party, led by former vice president Joice Mujuru, will test its popularity by participating in the Bikita West by-election on January 21.
Following Temba Mliswa’s “giant-killing act” in the Norton by-election last October, there appears to be a misplaced belief among opposition political parties that the ground is now ripe for the total annihilation of the ruling ZANU-PF, which is far from being the case.
What seems to be lost to these opposition parties, including ZPF, is that ZANU-PF has always fared badly in urban constituencies since the advent of the MDC in 1999, except in cases where its rivals undermined themselves by splitting their votes like what happened in Norton in 2013.
Also, Mliswa has remained a hugely divisive figure in ZANU-PF in spite of his dismissal from the party in 2014. He still enjoys support across the warring ruling party factions, including among ZANU-PF’s paratroopers — the war veterans — hence President Robert Mugabe’s party was not able to confront its competitors in the Norton by-election as a cohesive force.
Ahead of the Chimanimani West by-election last November, ZANU-PF was able to put all that behind them by winning the seat resoundingly and this trend is certain to continue in the coming week, for the following reasons: Firstly, ZANU-PF has maintained its vice-like grip on rural constituencies, which no opposition party in Zimbabwe has attempted to undo. In the absence of electoral reforms, the ruling party has combined its use of coercive instruments, vote buying and the power of the incumbency to successfully shut out the opposition from rural constituencies.
Secondly, very few voters are likely to risk persecution by ZANU-PF by either campaigning for its rivals or being seen to be in support of them in an election that would not make a dent on the status quo in the sense that President Mugabe’s party already enjoys an overwhelming majority in the National Assembly that cannot be impacted on by the outcome of the Bikita West poll.
Thirdly, until the next harvest in April, people in areas that were worst affected by the 2015/16 drought, including the whole of Masvingo region, would desperately need the governing party to be able to access food aid. Doing anything to the contrary for the people of Bikita West would be akin to biting the hand that feeds them because ZANU-PF would surely respond by relapsing into its usual vindictiveness of denying them food handouts as a way of punishing them for voting for the opposition.
Against this background, it is the height of political immaturity for ZPF to contemplate a win in Bikita West, even after roping in MDC leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, as has been suggested by the local media.
It would have been better for the party to pass by-elections and aggressively push for electoral reforms ahead of the 2018 polls, whose outcome would be significant in determining the direction the country would take.
Losing the Bikita poll would simply play into the hands of ZANU-PF, which is dying for some form of political capital to weaken the advancement of ZPF. A loss in Bikita West will also weaken ZPF’s momentum by fomenting disillusionment among its supporters.

Dokora, independent colleges set to clash

Source: Dokora, independent colleges set to clash | The Financial Gazette January 12, 2017

THE Minister of Primary and Secondary Education, Lazarus Dokora is headed for a clash with owners of a section of private colleges over their impending regularisation, which they deem to be unworkable.
The independent colleges have been operating using standards prescribed by their internal management systems, with the Education Ministry having little influence over their activities.
Last year, Dokora directed them to form a professional association — the Zimbabwe Association of Independent Colleges (ZICA) — representing all private colleges and governed by a proper constitution to be able to articulate issues affecting them.
It is that association which will be tasked with the recruitment of teachers who hold recognised teaching qualifications.
Dokora also declared, among a raft of other changes, that independent colleges must formalise their operating systems and adopt professional standards similar to those applicable to government-run schools.
“Independent colleges must be run professionally by recruiting qualified teachers and desisting from employing basic education holders and other degreed graduates, who do not hold education qualifications. How you will package out your unqualified teachers is your own child (none of my business),” he said last year while addressing delegates who attended a conference convened for the independent colleges.
“I would like to appreciate the efforts being made in bringing colleges together. We are ready to engage independent colleges and assist them as long as they are operating within the realm of the Education Act. You must draft a constitution for the Association of Independent Colleges by September 2016 so that it will be tabled in Cabinet in order to facilitate the smooth running of business,” he added.
But private colleges are of the view that Dokora’s proposals are too ambitious and would not necessarily improve the quality of education.
“Directing the independent college teachers to attain the postgraduate diploma in education qualification should not just be an imposed order before engaging them and listening to their concerns. This is not different from the way the national pledge was introduced before the parents were consulted. There is need to first establish the necessity of this qualification,” said one independent college principal.
He argued that the country’s education standards actually boomed during the period when most schools were manned by temporary teachers in the 1990s, pointing out that the Minister’s proposals were just converting the teachers to mere theorists with nothing to offer to the students.
Another administrator at an independent college in the Midlands province described Dokora’s move as contradicting the spirit of indigenisation.
“The government has been preaching the gospel of empowerment, but when Dokora is formalising standards he is indirectly interfering with our independence thereby threatening our investments. I foresee a situation whereby most operators will close shop and invest their money in other sectors of the economy,” he said.
A teacher at one of the private colleges in the capital, Vanessa Netsai, raised concern over the fact that Dokora was not doing anything to support teachers financially to attain the proposed qualifications.
“Most of these independent colleges are not offering competitive salaries compared to our government counterparts. We are paid on an hourly basis ranging between US$5 and US$8. This means that most of these teachers will not be able to pay tuition for the programmes, but unfortunately the Minister seems not to be concerned about that,” she said.
Responding to the criticism, Dokora this week said that regularisation of independent colleges would take centre stage after they have formed their association.
“They must complete the task I have given them which is to form ZICA. This association will then bring forth all their concerns to the Ministry and considerations will then be made,” he said.
Member Ndlovu, the vice principal at People’s College, believes that the formalisation process will improve the country’s education standards.
“There is nothing wrong with the Minister’s proposals. Most colleges have been operating clandestinely and this should stop. The education qualification is very important because it gives the teachers knowledge on how to deliver knowledge and educating the whole person. Most students have been failing to tap into their potential because of poor standards,” said Ndlovu.

Zim seeks energy deal with SA

Source: Zim seeks energy deal with SA | The Herald January 12, 2017

Golden Sibanda Senior Business Reporter—

GOVERNMENT has covered significant ground towards striking a framework agreement with South Africa for deeper cooperation on a number of energy related issues, Energy and Power Development secretary Patson Mbiriri said.

The country already imports significant amounts of electricity from South African state power utility Eskom and uses the country’s Durban port to import some of its fuels, as an alternative fuel import route to the Feruka Pipeline.

The parties contend that a memorandum of understanding will extend the scope of their collaboration in the field of energy, including in basic infrastructure to enable sharing of the commodity, which is in critical short supply in the region.

But Mr Mbiriri said although the two countries had cordial relations and already cooperated in the area of energy, absence of a framework agreement limited the extent to which they can do it.

He said Zimbabwe has a lot to learn from South Africa with regards to renewable energy, which it is trying to promote, as one of the sustainable solutions to its acute shortage of power.

“The agreement will be between the two Governments; that is the Department of Energy of South Africa and the Ministry of Energy and Power Development of Zimbabwe,” he said.

“On our side, we have already gone through all the processes and we believe they have also done the same.”

Mr Mbiriri said the two neighbours collaborate in a number of ways including trade in electricity, in terms of which Zimbabwe imports between 50 megawatts to 350MW to bridge its power deficit while Harare uses the Durban port to import fuel.

The two countries are also seeking greater collaboration in terms of infrastructure with plans afoot to build a second power interconnection line lining Zimbabwe and South Africa to be used to transmit power from the “great” Inga Dam in DRC.

Mr Mbiriri said the infrastructure will also come in handy when Pretoria needs power to be wheeled from the Batoka Gorge hydro power plant, a collaborative project with Zambia. The north-south connection will link northern power sources with South Africa’s commercial capital, Johannesburg.

The energy secretary also noted that Zimbabwe had a lot to learn from South Africa in terms of renewable energy, pointing out that the southern neighbour pumps upwards of 6 000MW of renewable energy onto the national power grid.

“It is in these areas that we need a framework. If the framework is put in place we will be able to explore various areas, which will be of mutual benefit to the two countries. So far, it has really been Government to Government, but there is a limit to the extent of our relations and collaboration outside of a formal MoU,” Mr Mbiriri said.

500k civil servants apply for Govt housing scheme

Source: 500k civil servants apply for Govt housing scheme | The Herald January 12, 2017

Freeman Razemba Senior Reporter
More than 500 000 civil servants in need of stands have so far applied for stands under the residential stands scheme being worked on by Government, as efforts are being made to ensure that the project kick-starts by March this year, an official said yesterday.

The empowerment tool is part of Government’s non-monetary incentive for civil servants and intends to fulfil the goals spelt out in the Zim-Asset economic blueprint.

Under Zim-Asset, Government aims to provide 300 000 housing units by 2018. Officials from the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing and civil servants’ unions met yesterday to finalise on designs and costs of the housing scheme.

Speaking during the meeting, the secretary for Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Engineer George Mlilo said they would want the programme to start by March when they would have put all orders and other mechanisms in place.

“We have had interested groupings claiming to do housing for civil servants and all of them have failed, but this would succeed because it has everybody involved in it.

“So far, we estimate that about 500 000 people have so far responded. We have got civil servants, uniformed services, retirees, Members of Parliament, judges, commissioners. They have all responded and are still responding,” he said.

Eng Mlilo said they would come up with a price, which was user-friendly and customised to meet with the obligation that they had.

“We have got all the inputs from people around and everybody, and we expect this to continue. We should be able to deliver in the shortest possible time. This is not a political gimmick. It is really a process for house delivery. It’s part of our Zim-Asset obligation to deliver housing to improve the livelihoods of our people, and we can only do that when we work together,” he said.

Eng Mlilo said they would ensure that they deliver serviced residential stands, with roads, water and sewer provided. He said they expected contributions by employees on a monthly basis from their employers to the tune of not less than $15 million and $20 million a month.

Apex Council chairperson, Mrs Cecilia Alexander said they have been working with the ministry since they started the project and that the workers had been able to also make decisions at every stage.

Mrs Alexander said progress on the programme was at an advanced stage and they recently received a number of designs of flats where their members are supposed to make decisions on which designs they would want.

“But we are saying, we strongly feel the prices are still on the high side and we are still negotiating. As Apex Council, we represent all civil servants including those that earn below the poverty datum line.

“We are saying this project should benefit even those ordinary civil servants. I know we are going to work together with the Ministry of Local Government to make sure that there are significant reductions on the costs,” she said.

Government has pegged the stands at $4 per square metre to ensure affordability, with an additional $1 going towards administration fees. All payments will be made through the Salary Services Bureau.

Seven Mozambicans among poachers arrested in Zimbabwe

Maputo (AIM) – Seven Mozambicans are among 443 people arrested on poaching charges in Zimbabwe last year, according to a report in the Zimbabwean paper “News Day”.

Source: Seven Mozambicans among poachers arrested in Zimbabwe – The Zimbabwean 12.01.2017

Of the 443 suspects, 57 were convicted and sentenced to a minimum jail term of seven years. According to Caroline Washaya-Moyo, spokesperson for the Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (ZimParks), 211 cases were investigated over the year, and 116 of these cases were concluded.

“A total of 443 people were arrested in the 211 reported cases”, she said. “The culprits included a majority of Zimbabweans, 31 Zambians, seven nationals from Mozambique and a single South African.”

ZimParks made significant recoveries following the arrests, which included 76 elephant tusks, 179 pieces of ivory, 36 live pangolins, 8 pangolin trophies and 22 firearms.

Washaya-Moyo said ZimParks is concerned about the growing trend of international poaching syndicates working together with local people who live close to the national parks and other wildlife sanctuaries.

“Mozambican poaching groups target Gonarezhou National Park and the Save Valley Conservancy, where they poach elephants”, she said.” It has now emerged that most of the poaching taking place inland is being perpetrated by syndicate members of different groups, who are hired to form one larger organised gang”.

“The introduction of modern anti-poaching strategies, such as the use of drones, sniffer and tracker dogs, shall go a long way in combating poaching and illegal wildlife trade in our protected areas and at our border points,” she added.

Tariff rise an insidious attack on free speech

The recently implemented data prices, which drive tariffs up by more than 100%, are the latest calculated onslaught on freedom of expression and will only serve to curtail free speech.

Source: Tariff rise an insidious attack on free speech – NewsDay Zimbabwe January 12, 2017

Comment: NewsDay Editor

Couched in claims that the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz) wants to promote the sustainability of mobile network operators, one of the consequences of the tariff increase is that the government gets its wishes of curtailing free speech on social media platforms and the internet.

Last year saw the rise of the use of social media as an activist platform and the government was unsure of how to respond, first promulgating draconian legislation and now ultimately blocking people out by increasing tariffs.

Used to controlling speech through State media and archaic laws, the government is wary of an unfettered social media, but is clueless on how to control it, but increasing tariffs effectively shuts down a huge segment of the population.

In the age of innovation, the government should know it cannot silence people for long and sooner rather than later, this tariff would soon be rendered redundant.

Potraz ensured the price increase by setting what they call a floor price of 2 cents per megabyte for data.

Setting a floor price for anything is inimical to a free economy and is a hallmark of a Soviet-style command economy.

Potraz, as a regulator, should not be involved in price setting, but instead promote competition and dissuade price fixing by players, however, it is the regulatory authority that is at the forefront of these uncompetitive tendencies.

The claim that Potraz wants to protect mobile operators is disingenuous and untrue, as the best way to ensure that they survive is by ensuring that there is an increase in the number of people that use mobile phone services, which will in turn reduce prices, which is known as the economies of scale.

What Potraz has done now, is to ensure that data costs are prohibitively high, dissuading consumers from using the services and ultimately reducing revenue for mobile network operators (MNOs).

MNOs have for long been a cash cow for the government, with former Finance minister Tendai Biti in 2009 revealing the government had literally been surviving on airtime tax.

His predecessor, Patrick Chinamasa, also introduced a new airtime tax in his National Budget speech last year, revealing how far the government is willing to burden the goose that lays the golden eggs.

No retrenchments, just deaths – Govt

GOVERNMENT has insisted that it will not retrench any of its nearly half a million workers, as moves to reduce the galloping recurrent expenditure of 90% of government revenue on salaries continue.

Source: No retrenchments, just deaths – Govt – NewsDay Zimbabwe January 12, 2017

BY BLESSED MHLANGA

Labour deputy minister Tapiwa Matangaidze told a Press briefing yesterday that the government’s wage bill would be gradually brought down through “natural attrition”, as opposed to retrenchments.

“Streamlining does not mean we will retrench, but what will happen through natural attrition is where a vacancy arises, there will be no replacement, but a transfer from one department to the other to avoid duplication of roles,” he said. Matangaidze said, while the government did not question the unsustainability of its current wage bill, retrenchments were not part of the solution.

“While it’s agreed that our salary bill is unsustainable, nobody is going to lose their jobs, we are just going to rationalise the workforce,” he said.

Multilateral financial institutions assisting the government with its proposed economic turnaround programme have urged the government to retrench and flush out ghost workers.

The government has been failing to pay its workers on time due to dwindling revenues and at one time offered residential stands, a move which rejected by civil servants.

Meanwhile, the housing project chaired by Local Govenment ministry permanent secretary, George Mlilo has reportedly received over 500 000 applications.

Under the project, which was pushed through by the Apex Council, civil servants will be allocated serviced residential stands, for which they will pay in monthly instalments.

Government is soliciting the help of financial institutions to fund the project by providing loans for civil servants, whose instalments will be paid through direct deductions from their salaries. In the past housing projects aimed at benefiting civil servants have been hijacked by corrupt senior government officials.

Police dragged into Grace’s $1,4m ring saga

POLICE have launched a manhunt for Lebanese diamond dealer, Jamal Ahmed, accused of swindling First Lady Grace Mugabe of $1,4 million in a botched diamond ring transaction.

Source: Police dragged into Grace’s $1,4m ring saga – NewsDay Zimbabwe January 12, 2017

By XOLISANI NCUBE

Court papers filed at the High Court by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) Law and Order section, show that police are investigating Ahmed for various crimes ranging from money-laundering to fraud and theft, among others.

Superintendent Nyambo Viera, of CID Law and Order, in a supporting affidavit to a legal wrangle pitting the First Lady and Ahmed, said they had roped in the International Criminal Police Organisation (Interpol) to extradite the Lebanese to Zimbabwe for trial.

The investigations, according to Viera, started late last year.

Ahmed, through his lawyer, Beatrice Mtetwa, dragged the First Lady, her son Russel Goreraza and her aide Kennedy Fero to court accusing them of invading his three properties in Harare over the botched diamond ring deal.

While the High Court has asked Grace to vacate Ahmed’s properties, police now claim they in fact invaded the businessman’s properties.

“We applied and got a warrant of arrest against this individual. We alerted Interpol to assist us in extraditing him from any country he might be residing, presumably Belgium, Dubai or Europe in general,” police said.

But, NewsDay yesterday established that Ahmed’s name was not on Interpol’s “wanted persons” list.

Police also said they were investigating how the Lebanese amassed so much wealth “in such a short time”.

“… it is pertinent for the court to note that from our investigations, Jamal Ahmed jumped bail in Abu Dhabi, where he is to serve a three-month jail term. He has been made persona non grata or a prohibited immigrant in three African countries, as it stands. We are dealing with a seasoned international conman, but also a sophisticated criminal,” court papers claim.

Fero, a senior member of the police and part of Grace’s close security aides, argues in his affidavit that they invaded the properties to facilitate Ahmed’s arrest, while the removal of people living at the houses was “for their safety as, I had been told that first applicant (Ahmed) … was an international criminal, who could possibly be dangerous, as his illegal activities are far and wide-ranging.”

Grace’s lawyer, Wilson Manase, yesterday challenged Ahmed to come out of his alleged hideout and face trial.

“We hope that the lawyers representing Ahmed will help us bring this international criminal to Zimbabwe so that he faces his music and stop peddling falsehoods in a clear case,” he said.

Coalition done deal: Tsvangirai

MDC-T leader, Morgan Tsvangirai has almost tied down a deal for a possible coalition that is likely to present a single presidential candidate against veteran Zanu PF leader, President Robert Mugabe, in elections expected next year.

Source: Coalition done deal: Tsvangirai – NewsDay Zimbabwe January 12, 2017

BY XOLISANI NCUBE

The former Prime Minister told South African television station ANN7’s Africa Tonight programme early this week that the envisaged coalition was likely to include former Zanu PF Vice-President and now leader of Zimbabwe People First (ZimPF), Joice Mujuru.

“Just wait until the election coalition or alliance is unveiled. We are busy looking at every aspect and one of the critical things is that we have a plan that we need to change the culture that Zanu PF introduced for the last four decades or so,” he said.

Coalition talks have hogged the limelight in Zimbabwe’s political landscape, with a Tsvangirai and Mujuru pact expected to present the greatest threat to Mugabe’s hold on power.

Mujuru was unceremoniously expelled from Zanu PF at the tail-end of 2014 for allegedly plotting to oust Mugabe, including a sinister assassination plot that she has vehemently denied.

Tsvangirai said the coalition would need to instil a new political culture in Zimbabwe after decades of violence, particularly during election periods.

“We need an institutional transformation agenda that is going to change the way we do things. The policies we put must attract international confidence, which is what we are looking at.

“We have to restore the freedoms of Zimbabweans, no more disappearance of Zimbabweans, no more brutalising by the police just because people have expressed themselves. I think these are rights that Zimbabweans must enjoy,” he said.

Tsvangirai has lost three successive presidential bids against Mugabe, but alleges electoral fraud and violence against his supporters.

The MDC-T leader said while talks continue, the opposition groups in Zimbabwe would focus their energies on ensuring electoral reforms are implemented ahead of the crunch polls.

“One of the focuses for 2017 would be to push for electoral reforms. It is going to be our rallying cry because we believe that if we go and have an election under the same conditions, the outcome would be a miscarriage of democracy and the will of the people,” Tsvangirai said.

The MDC-T leader defended his long stay as opposition leader, saying he still enjoyed the support of his party and he had not yet achieved the main agenda of the struggle.

He drew parallels with South Africa’s ruling party, African National Congress struggle stalwarts, Oliver Tambo and Nelson Mandela, who continued in leadership up to the time South Africa was freed from the shackles of apartheid.

Tsvangirai, who drew fire after appointing two more vice-presidents in the MDC-T after being diagnosed with cancer of the colon last year, denied that he was grooming Nelson Chamisa, as his successor, arguing “it would be undemocratic”.

Chamisa was appointed along with Elias Mudzuri to join Thokozani Khupe, as deputy presidents, with insiders claiming this was meant to deal with internal factional fights.

Over 400 poachers nabbed

Source: Over 400 poachers nabbed | The Herald

Abigail Mawonde Herald Correspondent
Over 440 Zimbabweans were arrested for poaching last year, translating to an increase of 4,5 percent over the previous year, the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority revealed yesterday.

It also emerged that 31 Zambians, seven Mozambicans and a South African were arrested last year for poaching offences.

According to the report, 443 people were arrested last year, compared to 378 in 2015.

The authority’s spokesperson, Ms Caroline Washaya-Moyo, attributed the increase in arrests to the intensified efforts by law enforcement agencies in bringing such criminals to book.

“The year 2016 witnessed an upward increase in the number of wildlife cases that were concluded, resulting in at least 513 years being passed for mandatory nine-year sentences for wildlife crime compared to 414 years in 2015,” she said.

“The increase has been attributed to the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority’s successful efforts in lobbying for the passing of the law which provides for such deterrent sentences by our courts.”

Ms Washaya-Moyo said Section 128 of the General Laws Management No. 5 5 had been very instrumental in ensuring that wildlife offenders were given lengthy jail terms as a deterrent measure.

She said efforts and enhanced intelligence capacity, anti-poaching activities and the establishment of a database had contributed to the success story.

“Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority has also collaborated with the Zimbabwe Republic Police and ZIMRA (Zimbabwe Revenue Authority),” said Ms Washaya-Moyo.

“This approach to bring wildlife offenders to book ensured timeous sharing of information. Awareness raising programmes that were done through holding of workshops ensured that all law enforcement agencies were brought on board on how to combat wildlife crime.”

According to the crime analysis report, 211 cases of poaching were investigated last year compared to 203 in 2015.

At least 116 of them were finalised last year, compared to 111 in 2015.

Also last year, 76 tusks were recovered, compared to 204 the previous year, and on ivory, 179 pieces were recovered last year down from the 325 recovered in 2015.

The wildlife authority recovered 36 live pangolins last year, compared to 34 in 2015, while eight pangolin trophies were recovered last year and five in 2015.

Recovered from poachers last year were 22 firearms and 169 rounds of ammunition, against 28 firearms and 236 rounds of ammunition in 2015.

At least 5 613 kilogrammes of abalone (shellfish) were also seized last year.

’Cash crisis will plunge poor families into deep poverty’

THE Famine Early Warning Systems Network (Fewsnet) has warned that the ongoing cash crisis could plunge poor families into a deep poverty cycle this month, as they will be forced to spend their little savings on school fees and uniforms this month.

Source: ’Cash crisis will plunge poor families into deep poverty’ – NewsDay Zimbabwe January 12, 2017

BY VENERANDA LANGA

In its latest report, Fewsnet also predicted that drought-prone areas such as Masvingo would continue to require food aid until March.

“Generally, livelihood options and household incomes will remain constrained given the prevailing economic and liquidity challenges.

“Persistent cash shortages during the festive season, coupled with increased non-food demands in the new school term in early 2017, will put pressure on access to food for poor households,” the non-governmental organisation said, adding maize prices would go up, as demand peaks between January and March and drop in April, when farmers start harvesting.

“Demand levels for maize meal will remain higher in the south compared to the north. Expected average crop harvests in April and May will reduce prices, as own-produced cereal consumption starts to take place.”

The organisation said a significant national deficit of maize would remain until March, with the national cereal deficit for the 2016 to 2017 consumption year estimated at about 1,6 million metric tonnes, following a second consecutive year of poor rainfall and drought conditions that resulted in maize production levels of only 50% of the five-year average.

In the southern parts of the country, normal to below normal rains are predicted for January to March 2017, which may constrain food access, while in the north, Fewsnet said, green harvests were expected to be normal starting around February to March, which would enhance food access and diversity.

Fewsnet was created by the United States Agency for International Development in 1985 to help decision-makers plan for humanitarian assistance in 35 countries, including Zimbabwe, and they are a provider of early warning signs of food insecurity through evidence-based analysis.

Two shot dead in Hwange National Park

Source: Two shot dead in Hwange National Park | The Herald January 12, 2017

Thupeyo Muleya Beitbridge Bureau
ZIMBABWE Parks and Wildlife Management Authority rangers shot and killed two poachers on Tuesday in Hwange National Park after they violently resisted arrest.

Zimparks spokesperson Ms Caroline Washaya-Moyo confirmed the shooting yesterday.

One of the poachers was from Nkayi while the other had no particulars on him.

“Zimparks rangers and members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police reacted to gunshot sounds at the Main Camp, Hwange National Park, mid-morning on Tuesday. Upon noticing the team, the poachers opened fire resulting in a shootout and the two were later shot and killed,” she said.

“According to the particulars of one of the poachers, it was concluded that he is from Nkayi, while the other could not be immediately identified because he had no identification particulars on him.”

Ms Washaya-Moyo said they recovered a .450 rifle, two live cartridges, one empty cartridge, three pairs of elephant tusks, one adult bull elephant, an axe, a stone file, two elephant tails, 5kg of mealie-meal, salt, a pot and four cellphones from the poachers.

She said further investigations into the matter were underway.

“We want to appeal to the public that protected areas especially those with wildlife have people that police them, and any illegal entry for the purposes of harvesting of wildlife is suicidal.

“Our rangers, working together with the police have a mandate to protect and conserve wildlife. They will continue doing exactly that,” she said.

The incident comes a few days after a suspected poacher from Kwekwe, Godknows Mashame (43), was arrested for killing a rhinoceros and removing its horn.

The rhino was worth $120 000.

The incident occurred in Bubye Valley Conservancy, Beitbridge district.

Mashame of 19067 Mbizo 4 Extension was arrested after dropping his mobile phone at the crime scene on December 24 last year.

Police used the phone to track him.

They recovered three firearms, two empty magazines, 71 Emmex explosives, eight live rounds of bullets and two kudu horns from the suspect.

Mashame has since appeared before a Beitbridge magistrate charged with unlawful killing or hunting of a rhinoceros and was remanded in custody to January 16.

$500 bail for ex-NSSA boss

Source: $500 bail for ex-NSSA boss | The Herald January 12, 2017

Fungai Lupande Court Reporter
Former National Social Security Authority (NSSA) properties manager Samuel Patrick Chiduza yesterday appeared in court facing criminal abuse of office as a public officer or alternatively fraud charges and was granted $500 bail.

Chiduza (61) is accused of misleading the national pension fund into buying a property whose price was inflated by over $8 million.

His accomplices, former investment director Shadreck Vera (46) and former general manager James Matiza have already appeared in court on similar allegations.

Chiduza appeared before Harare magistrate Ms Rumbidzai Mugwagwa.

He was remanded to January 31 on $500 bail.

As part of his bail conditions, he was ordered to surrender his passport, report every Friday at CID Commercial Crimes and not interfere with police investigations.

He was represented by Mr Admire Rubaya.

The court heard that Chiduza was a member of the NSSA board investment committee, while his accomplice Matiza was the chairperson of the management investments committee.

In September 2014, NSSA secured stand No. 19280 Celestial Park, Borrowdale, Harare, from Matay-Kingdom (Pvt) Ltd.

The court heard that before NSSA could buy the property Vera, Matiza and Chiduza were supposed to enlist the services of property valuators to establish its market value.

This was toprovide NSSA with a benchmark for bargaining purposes.

Prosecutor Ms Audrey Chogumaira alleged that NSSA obtained three valuation reports from Bard Real Estate, which came up with a gross replacement cost of $29 million, forced value of $18 million and a market value of $24 million.

CB Richards Ellis produced gross replacement costs at $24,354 million, a market value of $25,6 million and did not give a forced value.

Another property evaluator, Green Plan (Pvt) Ltd, came up with a market value of $36 million, but did not provide gross replacement value.

The court heard that the three reports were to be presented to the board for review before an agreement of sale was signed.

It is alleged that out of the three reports, Bard Real Estate was the most favourable and would give NSSAleverage when it came to bargaining.

Vera, Matiza and Chiduza allegedly concealed that report and referred to the board reports from CB Richard Ellis and Green Plan.

The court heard that the two reports were the least cost effective and the board went on to pick Green Plan.

It is alleged that by so doing, the trio misrepresented to NSSA that the property was worth $36,5 million, yet they knew that it was worth $24 million.

The property was eventually bought for $32 million after price bargaining, prejudicing NSSA of $8 million.

Ms Chogumaira alleged that Chiduza’s actions were inconsistent with his duties as a public officer.

The matter came to light on October 24 last year following an audit.

Mutsvangwa in charge: War Vets minister

DESPITE his expulsion from government and the ruling Zanu PF party, former Cabinet minister Christopher Mutsvangwa remains in charge of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association (ZNLWVA), a government minister has said.

Source: Mutsvangwa in charge: War Vets minister – NewsDay Zimbabwe January 12, 2017

BY BLESSED MHLANGA

War Veterans minister Tshinga Dube told journalists yesterday that a faction of the former freedom fighters’ leadership led by Manicaland Provincial Affairs minister Mandi Chimene could not get government recognition because it had been “self-imposed”.

“We will not recognise self-elected people, the ministry has said it will deal with the leadership of ZNLWVA, which was elected in Masvingo. People cannot just wake up and say I am now the chairman of war veterans, no. The same can just wake up and say I am now the President,” he said.

Mugabe has been desperate to have the backing of war veterans following the fall-out that was precipitated by the internal power struggles in the ruling party, as well as a stinging communiqué by the former freedom fighters, threatening to support a rival candidate, describing the veteran Zanu PF leader as “genocidal and manipulative”.

Dube said only a proper congress could rid the ZNLWVA of Mutsvangwa.

“When the war veterans were unhappy with Jabulani Sibanda they held a congress in Masvingo and elected Mutsvangwa, so until and unless they elect a new leadership, the ministry will recognise Mutsvangwa as chairman,” he said.

Dube appealed to school authorities across the country to spare 23 855 children of war veterans from expulsion even though his ministry has consistently failed to pay for their fees.

In a joint statement by acting Finance minister Sydney Sekeramayi, acting Higher Education minister Makhosini Hlongwane and his Primary and Secondary Education counterpart, Lazurus Dokora and Dube, schools and colleges were urged to be patient with defaulters.

“Pending the release of those funds by Treasury, heads of schools and colleges are strongly requested not to turn away students, whose fees have not been paid,” the statement read in part.

The ministry owes a total of $37 million in outstanding fees, which have accumulated over the years and pay a termly bill of $6,4 million.

Zanu PF ‘revolts’ against Mnangagwa

Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa faced a major party revolt yesterday, as 10 Zanu PF chairpersons and commissars censured him for associating with expelled and suspended party members, as the fallout over a New Year’s Eve party he hosted deepens.

Source: Zanu PF ‘revolts’ against Mnangagwa – NewsDay Zimbabwe January 12, 2017

BY EVERSON MUSHAVA

The unprecedented attack on the Vice-President – considered a front runner to succeed the soon-to-be 93-year-old President Robert Mugabe – followed weekend revelations that he wined and dined with Zanu PF renegades at a party held in Mapunzure, Zvishavane, on New Year’s Eve.

In a statement on behalf of the provincial chairpersons and political commissars after a meeting in Harare yesterday, Manicaland provincial chairperson, Samuel Undenge said they were concerned about party leaders, who continued to associate with Zanu PF rejects, although they did not name Mnangagwa.

“This kind of behaviour puts doubt on those leaders’ commitment and loyalty to decisions that are made by Zanu PF collectively, as party leaders should not be seen to be associating and entertaining people, who were expelled from the party for indiscipline, which involved disrespect of the party leadership,” Undenge said.

“As the party’s leaders in the provinces, we call upon all party leaders and all party structures to focus and redirect all efforts at uniting the party and prepare it to win the harmonised election coming in 2018.

“No one in the party should divert the party’s focus from this revolutionary goal.”

Mnangagwa was accused of plotting to topple Mugabe last week, when pictures of him drinking from a mug inscribed “I am the boss” that were taken at the party were leaked on social media.

The Zanu PF Midlands godfather appeared in the picture with controversial businessman, Energy Mutodi, a fierce Mugabe critic, who claims to be a member of the ruling party and has been doing the Vice-President’s bidding.

Mnangagwa claimed Mutodi had gate-crashed the party, but pictures of the Vice-President with suspended and
expelled Zanu PF officials at the party in Mapanzure have since surfaced.

The majority of the expelled Zanu PF officials, who attended Mnangagwa’s party, were disciplined for advancing the interests of a faction linked to the Vice-President.

The party’s provincial leaders seemed particularly peeved that Mnangagwa had hosted Mutodi, who continues to denigrate Mugabe at every turn.

“As the Zanu PF leaders in the provinces, we wish to condemn, in the strongest terms, sentiments being expressed by some rogue discredited party elements such as one Energy Mutodi, who unrelentlessly (sic) continue to use the media to attack our party leader,” the statement said.

“Energy Mutodi has no mandate to speak on behalf of Zanu PF nor is he in the leadership structures of the party and, therefore, should stop, henceforth, this habit of denigrating our party leader.”

Mutodi was quoted in the Daily News, saying Zanu PF should hold an extraordinary congress to unseat Mugabe and enthrone Mnangagwa.

Earlier this month, Mnangagwa was quoted in The Herald claiming he had only hosted a family party, which Mutodi gate-crashed, but images leaked on social media show that it was much bigger than that, and the backlash over the fiasco is much bigger than a storm in a mug, literally.

Higher and Tertiary Education minister Jonathan Moyo, a fierce opponent of Mnangagwa, drew a link between Mutodi’s Facebook attacks on Mugabe and his meeting with the Vice-President – forcing the then acting President to issue a bizarre statement in which he appeared to suggest that the musician posed as an MP to gain access.

A number of Zanu PF officials have confirmed to having attended the party, discrediting Mnangagwa’s statement in State media.

Some of the officials, who attended the meeting included former Home Affairs deputy minister Ziyambi Ziyambi, former provincial youth chairpersons, Vengai Musengi (Mashonaland West), Washington Nkomo (Matabeleland South), Edmore Samambwa (Midlands) and Tawanda Mukodza (Manicaland).

Former Masvingo provincial chairperson, Ezra Chadzamira, Zanu PF chief whip, Lovemore Matuke, National Railways of Zimbabwe board chairperson, Larry Mavima, youth chairperson for Midlands province, Prosper Machando, Manicaland businessman and Zanu PF politician, Albert Nyakuedzwa, Primary and Secondary Education deputy minister Paul Mavima and former Zanu PF provincial chairman for Manicaland, Mike Madiro were also at the New Year’s Eve gathering.

Yesterday’s meeting was attended by eight provincial chairpersons. Daniel McKenzie Ncube stood in for Midlands chairman, Joram Gumbo, while the Bulawayo chairperson did not attend, but was also represented.

The women’s league was represented by First Lady Grace Mugabe’s secretary, while national secretary for youth affairs, Kudzi Chipanga represented the youth wing.

Speaking at the same meeting, Zanu PF commissar, Saviour Kasukuwere said the party was already rolling out a restructuring exercise in preparation for the 2018 general elections.

ZHRC, ERC in election monitoring pact

THE Election Resources Centre (ERC) and the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) have signed a memorandum of understanding to enhance the capacity of their monitors to carry out real-time monitoring of the forthcoming Bikita West by-elections.

Source: ZHRC, ERC in election monitoring pact – NewsDay Zimbabwe January 12, 2017

BY VENERANDA LANGA

ERC director, Tawanda Chimhini confirmed the development yesterday, saying the pact would focus on training of monitors to enable effective monitoring of the by-election to be held on January 21.

“The ERC is working with the ZHRC to enable real-time monitoring of the by-election. The ERC has a memorandum of understanding with the ZHRC and has trained their monitors,” he said.

The Bikita West seat fell vacant after the imprisonment of former Zanu PF legislator Munyaradzi Kereke last year for raping a minor at gunpoint.

During the current pre-election period in Bikita West, some of the candidates have reported incidents of violence and tearing-up of their posters and campaign material by supporters of the ruling Zanu PF party.

“The campaign environment has largely been peaceful, but there have been pockets of violence reported. Among the victims are the National Constitutional Assembly candidate, Madock Chivasa, and his supporters and Kudakwashe Gopo, the candidate for Zimbabwe People First.

“There are also reports of traditional leaders being used to intimidate and force citizens to support the ruling Zanu PF, as well as vote-buying, as citizens are offered food hampers in exchange for their votes,” Chimhini said.

The ERC said the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission looked more prepared administratively in terms of voter education, registration and voters’ roll inspection, but argued more time could be given to these processes.

Chimhini encouraged all eligible voters to register to ensure they would be on the new system of biometric registration of voters in 2017.

“Zimbabwe is embarking on a biometric registration of voters in 2017, which consequently means all eligible voters must register to ensure they are on the new voters’ roll, as the current one will be deactivated,” he said.

Biometric voting data is aimed at limiting possible duplication and improve the identification of voters during voting. African countries that have made strides in biometric voter registration include Nigeria, Zambia, Sierra Leone, Kenya and Ghana.

CZI warns of doom over foreign payments delays

The Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) says foreign payment delays have “adversely” affected local producers amid fears that some companies would close down due to losses in revenue.

Source: CZI warns of doom over foreign payments delays – NewsDay Zimbabwe January 12, 2017

BY TATIRA ZWINOIRA

The effect of delays on foreign payments has led companies to struggle to meet production deadlines slowing production and in turn affecting revenue streams, the body said yesterday.

Briefing journalists on the upcoming 2017 Economic Outlook Symposium to be held in Harare on January 26, CZI president Busisa Moyo said the situation was very dire with local producers potentially facing closures over the delays.

“All manufacturers have been adversely affected from the delays in foreign payments, from the light to heavy manufacturers. The situation is quite unsustainable and if it continues, we will see a lot of companies facing closures. We are in talks with the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and hope the situation can be rectified,” he said.

“Not only is there a loss of revenue but companies could close.”

To combat the delays, local producers have urged retailers and those with a retail branch to offer discounts to customers who buy using cash.

The idea behind the incentive is to repatriate funds a bit faster to their suppliers to meet production deadlines.

The delays have to do with the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) and banks running low of foreign currency.

As such, the RBZ has been playing a balancing act in trying to allocate payments with the little foreign currency it has.

Since mid-last year, liquidity shortages have grown on a monthly basis on the back of increased demand for the United States dollar.

Analysts have warned the country was going to “shoot itself in the foot” by using US dollars instead of the rand, which has made Zimbabwe an uncompetitive source market, thereby, leading to low exports.

A CZI survey of the state of manufacturing found 68% of the country’s suppliers come from South Africa, China, Zambia, Australia, India, Mozambique, Mexico and Germany in that order.

The delays in making foreign payments have seen companies resorting to the black market to raise cash for imports.
These transactions are done at a cost and companies pass on that component to the final consumer.

Since the third quarter of 2016, liquidity constraints have been deepening, as the country has become increasingly uncompetitive as a source market in the region.

This has led to increased calls for the adoption of the rand.

But the calls have not been heeded, with RBZ saying the multicurrency regime, which uses a basket of nine currencies including the dollar, is the best alternative for now.

Foreign payments delays, the adoption of the South African rand and a look at tourism as an export generator will the main topics to be discussed at the upcoming symposium.

Chinamasa warns financial insitutions over charges

GOVERNMENT has warned banks and other financial institutions against engaging in “unethical standards and practices” such as charging depositors for opening bank accounts, as Treasury seeks to create a savings culture.

Source: Chinamasa warns financial insitutions over charges – NewsDay Zimbabwe January 12, 2017

BY TATIRA ZWINOIRA

This comes as the central bank has reported a trend of deposits skewing more to short-term deposits.

Speaking at the official rebranding of MicroKing Finance to Microcred Zimbabwe on Tuesday, Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa said banks and financial institutions could not expect to encourage savings with levies or extra charges on new accounts.

“How do you encourage savings if, in fact, you are imposing levies on people who are bringing money to you? These are issues that we are going to follow and monitor to see that the plans we have for the economic recovery of this country are not jeopardised by unethical standards and practices,” he said.

Chinamasa said such practices have also hindered government’s drive to formalise the informal sector.

“There is a consensus among stakeholders driving the financial inclusion agenda in Zimbabwe that broadening access too and usage of financial services stimulates financial savings, investment and an increase on the level of loanable funds. Where we are encouraging farm workers to open accounts and they have been doing it the charges that are being levied just for depositing the money is too high,” he said.

Chinamasa recounted a story, where an individual opened an account and deposited $90 in it, but $10 was deducted as service charges, a situation he said was unacceptable.

Short-term deposits are deposits that can be withdrawn any time and, thus, banks are unable to lend. They also offer lower interest rates for banks and other financial institutions make returns smaller.

Savings comes from long term deposits, which are tiered, meaning, they offer better interest rates and, thus, better profitability margins.

These types of deposits lead to better liquidity and finance in the market.

Chinamasa said the high charges were detrimental to efforts to target the unbanked, estimated to be 70% as of last year.

A recent report found that depositors were slowly moving away from banks due to, among other reasons, low trust in the post-hyperinflation era, regulations and fees in maintaining the account and a costly savings mechanism.

Economy to grow by 3,8% in 2017: World Bank

Zimbabwe’s economy will grow by 3,8% this year, the World Bank has said, in projections higher than the forecast made by Treasury in the 2017 National Budget.

BY BUSINESS REPORTER

Source: Economy to grow by 3,8% in 2017: World Bank – NewsDay Zimbabwe January 12, 2017

In the 2017 National Budget, Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa projected the economy to grow by 1,7% driven by growth in agriculture and mining.

In a report, Global Economic Prospects, Weak Investment in Uncertain Times, the bank estimated the economy to have grown by 0,4% in 2016 against Chinamasa’s projection of 0,6%.

The World Bank said considerable differences would persist across low income countries, with growth among oil exporters remaining weak in 2017.

Other commodity exporters will continue to struggle to adjust to low commodity prices, with activity expanding at a moderate pace, such as Mozambique, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Zimbabwe, the report said.

It said external and domestic risks to the growth projection varied across countries, but was generally tilted to the downside.

On domestic risks, the World Bank said activity could be adversely affected by persistent drought (Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Malawi, Zimbabwe), rising geopolitical tensions (Afghanistan), heightened political uncertainty (Ethiopia, Haiti, DRC, Zimbabwe), and worsening security in Mali and Afghanistan.

It said for low income countries, activity contracted in oil exporters (Chad, South Sudan), and decelerated in a number of metal exporters (DRC, Mozambique, Zimbabwe) as they continued to struggle to adjust to low commodity prices.

Zanu PF ‘revolts’ against Mnangagwa

Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa faced a major party revolt yesterday, as 10 Zanu PF chairpersons and commissars censured him for associating with expelled and suspended party members, as the fallout over a New Year’s Eve party he hosted deepens.

Source: Zanu PF ‘revolts’ against Mnangagwa – NewsDay Zimbabwe January 12, 2017

BY EVERSON MUSHAVA

The unprecedented attack on the Vice-President – considered a front runner to succeed the soon-to-be 93-year-old President Robert Mugabe – followed weekend revelations that he wined and dined with Zanu PF renegades at a party held in Mapunzure, Zvishavane, on New Year’s Eve.

In a statement on behalf of the provincial chairpersons and political commissars after a meeting in Harare yesterday, Manicaland provincial chairperson, Samuel Undenge said they were concerned about party leaders, who continued to associate with Zanu PF rejects, although they did not name Mnangagwa.

“This kind of behaviour puts doubt on those leaders’ commitment and loyalty to decisions that are made by Zanu PF collectively, as party leaders should not be seen to be associating and entertaining people, who were expelled from the party for indiscipline, which involved disrespect of the party leadership,” Undenge said.

“As the party’s leaders in the provinces, we call upon all party leaders and all party structures to focus and redirect all efforts at uniting the party and prepare it to win the harmonised election coming in 2018.

“No one in the party should divert the party’s focus from this revolutionary goal.”

Mnangagwa was accused of plotting to topple Mugabe last week, when pictures of him drinking from a mug inscribed “I am the boss” that were taken at the party were leaked on social media.

The Zanu PF Midlands godfather appeared in the picture with controversial businessman, Energy Mutodi, a fierce Mugabe critic, who claims to be a member of the ruling party and has been doing the Vice-President’s bidding.

Mnangagwa claimed Mutodi had gate-crashed the party, but pictures of the Vice-President with suspended and
expelled Zanu PF officials at the party in Mapanzure have since surfaced.

The majority of the expelled Zanu PF officials, who attended Mnangagwa’s party, were disciplined for advancing the interests of a faction linked to the Vice-President.

The party’s provincial leaders seemed particularly peeved that Mnangagwa had hosted Mutodi, who continues to denigrate Mugabe at every turn.

“As the Zanu PF leaders in the provinces, we wish to condemn, in the strongest terms, sentiments being expressed by some rogue discredited party elements such as one Energy Mutodi, who unrelentlessly (sic) continue to use the media to attack our party leader,” the statement said.

“Energy Mutodi has no mandate to speak on behalf of Zanu PF nor is he in the leadership structures of the party and, therefore, should stop, henceforth, this habit of denigrating our party leader.”

Mutodi was quoted in the Daily News, saying Zanu PF should hold an extraordinary congress to unseat Mugabe and enthrone Mnangagwa.

Earlier this month, Mnangagwa was quoted in The Herald claiming he had only hosted a family party, which Mutodi gate-crashed, but images leaked on social media show that it was much bigger than that, and the backlash over the fiasco is much bigger than a storm in a mug, literally.

Higher and Tertiary Education minister Jonathan Moyo, a fierce opponent of Mnangagwa, drew a link between Mutodi’s Facebook attacks on Mugabe and his meeting with the Vice-President – forcing the then acting President to issue a bizarre statement in which he appeared to suggest that the musician posed as an MP to gain access.

A number of Zanu PF officials have confirmed to having attended the party, discrediting Mnangagwa’s statement in State media.

Some of the officials, who attended the meeting included former Home Affairs deputy minister Ziyambi Ziyambi, former provincial youth chairpersons, Vengai Musengi (Mashonaland West), Washington Nkomo (Matabeleland South), Edmore Samambwa (Midlands) and Tawanda Mukodza (Manicaland).

Former Masvingo provincial chairperson, Ezra Chadzamira, Zanu PF chief whip, Lovemore Matuke, National Railways of Zimbabwe board chairperson, Larry Mavima, youth chairperson for Midlands province, Prosper Machando, Manicaland businessman and Zanu PF politician, Albert Nyakuedzwa, Primary and Secondary Education deputy minister Paul Mavima and former Zanu PF provincial chairman for Manicaland, Mike Madiro were also at the New Year’s Eve gathering.

Yesterday’s meeting was attended by eight provincial chairpersons. Daniel McKenzie Ncube stood in for Midlands chairman, Joram Gumbo, while the Bulawayo chairperson did not attend, but was also represented.

The women’s league was represented by First Lady Grace Mugabe’s secretary, while national secretary for youth affairs, Kudzi Chipanga represented the youth wing.

Speaking at the same meeting, Zanu PF commissar, Saviour Kasukuwere said the party was already rolling out a restructuring exercise in preparation for the 2018 general elections.

Grace ring fiasco: What $1.4 m can buy

Imagine what $1.4 million would do to help Zimbabwe’s struggling economy?
This is the amount of money Grace Mugabe used to buy a wedding ring on her  20th anniversary with President Robert Mugabe.

Source: Grace ring fiasco: What $1.4 m can buy – NewsDay Zimbabwe January 11, 2017

Despite the source of the money not being verified, Grace, as wife to a public figure and a member of the First family, is subject to public scrutiny on her spending especially at a time when the Mugabe government is faced with allegations of massive looting and abuse of state resources.

Read more about the diamond ring saga here

To make a comparison, we publish below what $1.4 million could do:

In his 2017 Budget presentation, Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa allocated the following amounts to various sectors and here we look at allocations that are up to $1.4 million

1. HEALTH:

Capitalisation of NATPHARM–US$1 million

The National Pharmaceutical Company of Zimbabwe (Natpharm) is a state entity responsible for the procurement of drugs and other pharmaceuticals for public hospitals and clinics and with the shortage of drugs and other resources in hospitals, the parastatal is in dire need of recapitalisation and the amount Grace spent on a ring, was just enough to meet that need.

2.EDUCATION:

:Teacher capacity development–US$1 million
:Operational support to tertiary institutions–US$1.5 million
Either of these two sectors, teacher capacity development, which got $1m, or Operational support to tertiary institutions, could have benefitted, had Grace – as the ‘mother of the nation’decided to give the ring money to the struggling government her husband leads.

3. SOCIAL SERVICES

:Health Assistance–US$1 million
: Labour Administration–US$1.3 million
Social services is one of the critical sectors of the country, and its labour adminstration allocation of $1.3m in the 2017 budget could have been covered with some change, from the ring money. The money could also have been alternatively allocated to health assistance of the social services.

4: ENERGY:

Rural Electrication–US$1 million
A $300k change – enough for a very good ring- would have remained!

  • Far from the budget items, $1.4 million, is just about a quarter of the $6 million CAPS holdings, the largest pharmaceutical company needs to recapitalise and it would have been helpful to the company’s cause.
  • With government workers’ salaries pegged at an average of $300 per month, $1.4 million is enough to pay about 4.660 civil servants.
  • With the monthly family basked pegged at about $571, $1.4m will afford monthly groceries for up to 2451 families
  •  $1.4 could have gone a long way in patching up (at least for now) the dangerous Mavingo highway. This could have saved lives.

Let’s share what you could have done with $1.4m to improve Zimbabwe.

 

Anger at First Family’s lavish use of tax money

Source: Anger at First Family’s lavish use of tax money – DailyNews Live January 11, 2017

Gift Phiri, News Editor

HARARE – The First Family’s holiday break in the Far East has already been
branded a PR disaster after the couple allegedly salted away millions for
the annual jamboree after scaling back financial perks for public sector
employees, and as First Lady Grace Mugabe is under fire for purchasing a
$1,3m diamond ring through a Lebanese dealer Jamal Ahmed.

The ring was said to be the couple’s 20-year wedding anniversary present.

News reports claimed that the first family has spent $6 million of
Zimbabwe taxpayers’ money on the latest vacation, which has seen it
shuttling between Singapore, Dubai, Hong Kong and China.

Branding her “a vacation junkie”, analysts and opposition parties said the
51-year-old mother-of-four has been indulging in jet-setting, five-star
hotels, and splashing out on expensive trips.

While the 92-year-old President Robert Mugabe and his wife do pay for some
of their personal expenses from their own pocket, the amount paid by the
couple is “dwarfed by the overall cost to the public”.

She is also often criticised for her pricey, high-end wardrobe, and is
considered one of the best-dressed ladies in the country – with the price
tags to prove it – with her sartorial spending inviting ridicule.

Her backers flatter her as a “fashion icon” on a “mission to make the
world a better place for orphaned children.”

She runs the Amai Grace Mugabe Children’s Home in Mazowe housing 98
homeless and orphaned children.

“If we are to nurture the children into good citizens, then it means we
have to do all we can to give them necessary support,” she said in a
recent interview.

But some believe Grace’s lifestyle is lavish at the cost of the people of
Zimbabwe, one of the poorest countries in southern Africa.

To her supporters, she is glamorous, beautiful, charitable and royal, but
to many of her citizens, she is extravagant, meddling and possibly
off-rails.

Political commentators claim Grace and her husband Mugabe, purchase
“swanky stuff … constantly” and “on Zimbabweans’ dime”.

Speaking on the $6m for the trip and the diamond ring, senior consultant
at the International Crisis Group, Piers Pigou said: “Both examples
reflect different aspects of profligacy by the first family and a related
lack of accountability that, at a time of profound and widespread
deprivation among ordinary Zimbabweans and much-needed austerity, further
damage their image both domestically and internationally.”

The jaunts come as Mugabe has skirted the issue of bonuses for government
workers in one of the most drastic measures yet to save money at a time of
one of the worst financial crises that has seen government racking up a
record budget deficit.

It also comes as the economy is collapsing; cash and fuel supplies
dwindling, and State coffers dry that the regime struggles to pay salaries
or bonuses, with public-sector strikes, street protests, and desertions by
key allies.

Stephen Chan, a professor of world politics at the School of Oriental and
African Studies at the University of London told the Daily News: “Now is
not a moment for conspicuous consumption by leaders or their families in
any part of the world.

“Whether the money involved was earned by legitimate business or not,
examples of modesty are important to a struggling population.”

The first lady has drawn comparisons at home to Imelda Marcos, who fled
the Philippines at the climax of the army-backed “people power” revolt in
1986 and left behind staggering amounts of personal belongings, clothes
and art objects at the palace, including at least 1 220 pairs of shoes.

Opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) vice president Kucaca Phulu
said: “It shows the gross disrespect for the common people and the extent
to which a party that purports to be a revolutionary party is actually
exploiting us just as we were exploited by the colonial masters.

“They will face the fate of Imelda Marcos and others who have taken their
people for granted in the past.”

One such purchase by Grace was a ring encrusted with diamonds and costing
almost $1,3 million which she later rejected, opting to have a refund.

The matter came to light after Ahmed dragged her to the courts as his
properties were confiscated by the first lady over the issue.

Last week, the High Court ordered Grace off Ahmed’s three properties which
are in Harare’s leafy suburbs within 24 hours.

The first lady’s lawyer, Wilson Manase, has said he would challenge the
provisional order but Ahmed’s lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa, insisted that the
first lady was in contempt of court, arguing a provisional order cannot be
appealed against.

“The first lady’s defiance of a court order clearly shows that the
political system in Zimbabwe, especially the State institutions that must
hold politically-exposed persons accountable and prevent them from
pursuing naked, self interest, have collapsed,” said academic Maureen
Kademaunga.

“The system has atomised and chaos has become the new normal and because
of this individualistic and unaccountable people like the first lady can
get away with murder.

“The first family’s unchecked excesses have for long contributed to the
intractable poverty of our people. Without a complete change of government
and an aggressive programme to reform State institutions, we will forever
be at the receiving end of this abuse.”

A social commentator who declined to be named said Grace’s diamond ring
story is a tale of arrogant extravagance in the face of a starving nation.

“Her behaviour has shown how the nation has been dehumanised and taken for
granted by an elite bent on milking Zimbabwe to the last drop.

“She represents a class that has turned Zimbabwe into a lucrative fish
pond where only she and those facilitating and protecting this patronising
pillage can catch the fish.

“The net result is the trickling down on corruption to all sectors of the
civil service and the poor will suffer to eternity,” he said.

MDC spokesperson Obert Gutu said Mugabe and his family want to lead a
swanky and fabulous lifestyle of billionaires or some other such filthy
rich celebrities when in actual fact they have successfully managed to
ransack and loot the national economy of Zimbabwe; in the process leaving
more than 90 percent of the population living as destitute and tramps in
their own country.

“It really boggles the mind how the first family can have the audacity and
temerity to go on a $6 million State-funded extended holiday in Singapore,
Hong Kong, China and Dubai when millions of Zimbabweans are wallowing in
abject poverty.

“These people are shameless. They have got absolutely no conscience. The
Zanu PF regime, fronted by Robert and Grace Mugabe, is a disgrace to all
of us Zimbabweans. These people should simply go!”

Peter Maregere, a peace and security analyst and doctoral researcher, said
beyond the mere condemnation, extravagance and intransigence that goes
with these obscene expenditures, the broader issues around the designing
and implementation of institutions of governance that are transparent,
accountable and responsive with clear and unadulterated recall mechanisms,
remains a yawning gap in the country’s democratic endeavour.

“That such astronomical figures can be spent without remorse, without
having regard to the context and the predicament within which the country
finds herself in, is a serious indictment to `our’ leadership model as a
nation,” Meregere told the Daily News.

“Inevitably reproving the individuals and not viewing this as a societal
misnomer with the audacity of condemning the futures of our children needs
careful trading.

“Invariably, this demands our collective effort in designing sustainable
democratic solutions – a systemic process that is more heuristic and
holistic in nature to accommodate both individualistic and societal
approaches in the promotion of thought leadership located within the
institutions I alluded to above.”

Mujuru, war vetsinvade Masvingo

Source: Mujuru, war vetsinvade Masvingo – DailyNews Live January 11, 2017

Mugove Tafirenyika

HARARE – Former vice president and now leader of the Zimbabwe People First
(ZPF) party Joice Mujuru will hold a crucial rally with war veterans at
Masvingo’s Mucheke Stadium next week, ahead of the crunch Bikita West
by-election in the province.

ZPF insiders, who spoke to the Daily News yesterday, said Mujuru was also
trying to enlist the participation of opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai
in the rally, as her party bids to wrest control of the Bikita
parliamentary seat which fell vacant after Munyaradzi Kereke was
incarcerated for 14 years for the rape of a minor last year.

ZPF elder Rugare Gumbo, a war veteran and the only surviving member of the
famous Dare ReChimurenga (liberation war council) also confirmed that the
rally would definitely go ahead.

The ZPF insiders who spoke to the Daily News said they were “pulling out
all the stops” to make the rally a success and to ensure that “all
right-thinking” Zimbabweans worked to win Bikita West for the opposition.

“After a rally with the war veterans, the president (Mujuru) will continue
with her tour of provinces to meet with local traditional leaders, as she
continues with the programme she started late last year,” one of the
well-placed sources said.

Some of the war veterans expected to attend the Mucheke rally include
ambassadors John Mvundura, retired army general Agrippa Mutambara, as well
as former senior military officials such as Bastian Beta, Parker Chipoyera
and Claudius Makova.

Analysts have said the widow of the late liberation icon and Zimbabwe’s
first black military commander, Solomon Mujuru, will use the Bikita West
by-election as a dry-run for the watershed 2018 national polls.

The ZPF will be represented in the by-election by Kudakwashe Gopo.

Mujuru, who was ruthlessly purged from the warring Zanu PF in late 2014,
together with her close allies who included liberation stalwarts such as
Gumbo and Didymus Mutasa – on untested claims of plotting to oust and
assassinate President Robert Mugabe – is working with Tsvangirai and other
smaller parties on a grand coalition which they say will be in place
before the end of the year.

Analysts have consistently said that a united opposition, fighting with
one purpose, would bring to an end Mugabe’s long rule – especially at this
time when the country’s economy is dying and the increasingly frail
nonagenarian is battling to keep his warring Zanu PF united.

‘Kick out Mugabe’

Source: ‘Kick out Mugabe’ – DailyNews Live January 11, 2017

Tendai Kamhungira

HARARE – In a call that is set to send temperatures soaring higher within
the warring Zanu PF, vocal supporter of Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa,
Energy Mutodi, has called on the ruling party to hold an extra-ordinary
congress to install President Robert Mugabe’s successor.

Speaking to the Daily News yesterday, as Zanu PF’s deadly tribal,
factional and succession wars burn hotter, the musician and
businessman-turned-politician also reiterated his public view that it was
time that Mnangagwa took over from Mugabe, whom he described as old and
“ailing”.

Mutodi also claimed that Mugabe, who turns 93 next month, had become so
unpopular in Zanu PF that “99 percent” of the party’s members now wanted
him to resign before the eagerly-anticipated 2018 national elections, as
there was allegedly no way that the nonagenarian could win elections
against popular opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

The highly-opinionated Mutodi sentiments come after another vociferous
Mnangagwa supporter, former Cabinet minister and war veterans leader
Christopher Mutsvangwa, was also emphatic in a recent interview with a UK
publication, the New Statesman, that the VP would “100 percent” soon be
Zimbabwe’s next president.

In addition, Mutodi said yesterday, anybody who believed that Mnangagwa
was “unelectable”, as many of the Midlands godfather’s Zanu PF enemies
were fond of saying, was “lost”.

Further, Mutodi said, he fully supported ongoing calls by war veterans for
Mugabe to retire, adding that Mnangagwa was “not to blame” for the
Gukurahundi massacres of the early 1980s in which an estimated 20 000
innocent civilians were killed mainly in Matabeleland and the Midlands.

“Mugabe must retire. What we must be discussing now is how we share power
in Zanu PF post-Mugabe,” he said, adding that it will be very embarrassing
for Mugabe if he stood for election again and lost.

“Mnangagwa is too loyal to Mugabe, to the extent that he cannot even
express his own views for his boss to retire. It’s up to Mugabe himself to
be really thankful to his loyalists who have helped him to remain in power
for this long and not the opportunists who praise him during the day and
denigrate him during the night.

“This is what the man (Mnangagwa) is made of and he has shown total
loyalty and obedience to the president,” Mutodi told the Daily News.

He was also emphatic that he was “even prepared to die” for his views and
personal beliefs, adding that the ongoing demand by the Zanu PF women’s
league to push a woman back into the presidency, possibly at Mnangagwa’s
expense, would come to nought as this would only be entertained in 2019
when the party holds its next elective congress.

“The extra-ordinary congress that we may want to do now is for the 2018
presidential candidate, because we feel our long serving president is now
old.

“I don’t think that one deserves to be a VP simply because one is a woman.
You must be deserving not because of your sex. We are not going to be
entertaining that resolution,” Mutodi said.

He said all conferences until 2019 were not elective, which would make it
difficult for the women to see their demand coming to fruition anytime
soon.

“Those people raising the issue of the quota system, the likes of (Mandi)
Chimene and (Sarah) Mahoka are drug abusers,” he also claimed.

Mutodi torched a similar storm just over a week ago after he appeared in
pictures with Mnangagwa who was holding a cup inscribed with the words “I
am the boss”, in a saga that has since been dubbed “Cupgate”.

Following the release of the pictures, Mnangagwa’s foes went to town about
the issue, interpreting it as the VP’s open statement that he had
presidential ambitions.

There were also questions surrounding Mutodi’s presence at the party,
which was held by the VP at his rural home, but the businessman said he
just found himself at the event, though he did not receive any written
invitation like other officials who attended the gathering.

Higher and Tertiary Education minister Jonathan Moyo, who is believed to
be a key member of the Generation 40 (G40) faction, which rabidly opposes
Mnangagwa, immediately went to town about the “Cupgate” issue.

But Mutodi dismissed the Tsholotsho North MP’s criticism as aimed at
causing divisions in the ruling party.

“He is keen to see a war between Mnangagwa and Mugabe. I have always
reminded him that there is nowhere he can go with factionalism.

“He has been said to have claimed that he wanted to destroy Zanu PF from
within and any normal person will tell you that he is perhaps doing that
now, starting with the expulsion of (former Vice President Joice) Mujuru
and other senior party members, among them 16 or so ministers.

“That was not a joke and that issue could have been solved within the
party amicably and people should not have been expelled in such large
numbers.

“He is in the habit of divisive politics and right now President Mugabe
has been alienated from the people who liberated the country, the war
veterans,” Mutodi said.

“He (Moyo) is the Judas of Zanu PF.  He doesn’t want the party to succeed
because he has got grievances against the party that date back to the
1980s.

“He is not happy that the party continues to win elections. He has been in
and out of the party and for the president to trust that individual is the
biggest blunder he (Mugabe) has ever done,” he added.

Harare carnival can’t happen soon

Source: Harare carnival can’t happen soon – DailyNews Live January 11, 2017

Maxwell Sibanda, ASSISTANT EDITOR

HARARE – One of the biggest events in Zimbabwe – the Harare International
Carnival – could not happen last year and rightly so because it could have
been suicidal on the part of the organisers.

With the country on the edge and mass protests occurring at every turn, it
was wise for the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) to shelve any plans of
staging the mega street jamboree in 2016.

This year also, given that it will be a  campaign year with protests most
likely to occur as political parties and activists push for electoral
reforms ahead of next year’s elections.

With others certainly pushing for President Robert Mugabe to quit, I have
doubts that the event will take place at all.

Last year, the ZTA was diplomatic as it continuously postponed dates for
the event until the year came to an end and you could not blame the
tourism body for that.

While ZTA gave varying reasons for the continued postponement, including
scarce resources, I am sure government security chiefs had advised them
that it would be unwise for them to group so many innocent people
together. It was akin to bringing unsuspecting people to the slaughter
house.

In 2015, the ZTA staged the colourful event and it attracted an estimated
200 000 people who thronged the streets of Harare, shutting down all
business as the streets were engulfed by people of all colour; the young
and old.

The people who came out for the street party surprised many, including the
organisers themselves and even security chiefs and politicians were caught
unaware.

A record number of countries took part in the procession and even police
details on duty were consumed by the sea of people that merrily enjoyed
the fun-filled convergence. Food outlets ran out of beverages and the
whole Central Business District was filled with human traffic.

And, thank God, the street parties went without any incidences but I do
not think that could have been the same if that event took place last year
– the year of mass protests.

It could have been suicidal and foolish on the part of ZTA if it dared
stage the event last year as pressure groups and political activists could
have taken advantage of the masses in attendance to voice their anger and
hold impromptu protests which could by default capture all in attendance,
hence cause untold mayhem.

What could have happened could be anyone’s guess.

ZTA should not be tempted to stage the Harare International Carnival this
year. It would be wishful thinking on their part that this could be an
incident-free event because people out there are hungry, angry and could
grab the opportunity to show this.

Yes, the people might attend in their numbers but in the middle of the
street parties they would vent their anger and loot or even engage in
activities that endanger the life of innocent women and children. This is
not the time to hold such happy events.

A carnival is a happy outing in which people from different backgrounds
meet to just be merry, dance, sing and showcase their best cultural
costumes. That time and mood is definitely not now.

The only time ZTA can attempt to bring this mega event back is probably
next year, 2018 after the elections, and only if the aftermath is peaceful
and conducive, otherwise it will have to be in 2019.

The Harare International Carnival is also made possible by nationals from
other countries and holding it amid uncertainties and fear of protests
will see most visitors snubbing the event which in itself will milk out
the glitz.

I am glad though that the Victoria Falls Carnival did take place at the
end of last year and went on smoothly with thousands of tourists and
merrymakers converging at the tourist resort.

However, Victoria Falls is not Harare, and I hope ZTA will take this
advice seriously lest they create chaos in the capital city.

Zim mulls new mining tax

Source: Zim mulls new mining tax – DailyNews Live January 10, 2017

HARARE – Zimbabwe is planning to introduce a new mining tax this year
aimed at boosting the country’s depleting revenue streams, businessdaily
has established.

Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa said the country has engaged an unnamed
tariff consultancy firm from Norway to come up with the new tax regime.

“Mining is one of the most opaque sectors in the country and we have been
working with a Norwegian company since 2013 to come up with a new mining
regime and we hope to have completed it by the end of this year,” he said.

Chinamasa admitted that the country lacks the sophistication and resources
to adequately monitor all mining companies and this was resulting in less
money coming to treasury through taxes.

Industry experts, however, assert that the new regime could effectively
spell doom for mining firms that are currently struggling with high
production costs, low metal prices and high taxes among other things.

Zimbabwe became one of the most expensive countries to mine, with an
estimated 60 percent of every dollar earned in revenue going to government
after a shock levy hike in 2012 which saw some fees going up by as much
as      5 000 percent.

Under the existing laws, mining companies pay unit taxes to district
councils, a number of taxes to different statutory bodies such as the
Environmental Management Agency, Radiation Authority of Zimbabwe and
Zimbabwe Revenue Authority.

The latest development also comes at a time when the new Mines and
Minerals Amendment Bill is seeking to bar resources firms listed on
foreign stock exchanges from acquiring mining rights in Zimbabwe.

The Bill also proposes to make it difficult for investors holding mining
titles in the country to dispose of stocks to foreigners without
government approval.

Gazetted in August last year, the Bill sets tough conditions for the
exportation of raw minerals and proposes up to 20 years’ imprisonment for
investors who violate its provisions.

Once the Mines minister has approved the acquisition of shares in a
domestic counter by a publicly-listed mining company with a majority of
securities quoted on foreign bourses, 85 percent of funding raised would
have to be invested in Zimbabwean mines.

Penalties meted on violators would include fines equivalent to the value
of funds raised.

This means if a company raises $50 million but violates the law, a penalty
of $50 million would be charged against the investor.

The Bill also allows government to deny mining rights or title to a public
company unless the majority of its shares are listed on a securities
exchange in Zimbabwe.

“Any company that requires a mining right or title which is listed on (a)
foreign exchange shall be obliged to notify the minister of such listing,
and 85 per centum of funds raised from such listing shall be used solely
for the development of mining rights and title in Zimbabwe,” reads part of
the Bill.

“The minister shall be entitled to cancel any mining right or title once
it is proven that any person has falsified information.

Any person who fails to comply shall be guilty of an offence and liable to
a fine equivalent to 100 per centum of cash raised at the foreign listing
or imprisonment for a period not exceeding 10 years or both fine and such
imprisonment,” it also reads in part.

The Bill also obligates mining rights holders to conduct business with
domestic financial institutions.

“Every holder of a mining right or title shall, when conducting financial
transactions relating to its mining activities, utilise financial
institutions registered to practice as such in Zimbabwe. Any person who
contravenes shall be guilty of an offence and liable to a fine not
exceeding level 14 or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding 20 years
or to both such fine and such imprisonment,” the Bill adds.

It also sets tough conditions on shareholder changes in the mining
industry. The minister of Mines would have to approve such changes in
shareholding.

“No shareholder of a company holding a mining title shall sell, dispose of
or transfer a Zimbabwe registered security to a non-indigenous person
without the written approval of the minister,” it says.

The clause appears to be a response to several deals that have been
concluded by foreign firms, but appear to have failed to benefit the
country.

Fear mounts as campaign year arrives

Source: Fear mounts as campaign year arrives – DailyNews Live January 10, 2017

Maxwell Sibanda

HARARE – The possibility of political violence this year is high as
political parties start campaigning for what has been described as a do or
die election next year.

Political and social analysts interviewed by the Daily News said the
pattern over the years is that all campaign years have turned violent and
this year the stakes are even higher as Zanu PF wants to retain power at
all costs while the opposition is adamant it will win the election given
the poor state of the economy and the poverty that has engulfed all
citizens across the political divide.

Political analyst Mcdonald Lewanika said 2017 is likely to be an
interesting year politically, but campaigns per se can only begin once
candidates are clear and an election period is demarcated.

“Given precedence, while there is likely to continue to be disturbances
and violence at opposition rallies, these can only intensify and occur
perhaps in greater measure once the above stated details are clear.

“So perhaps counter intuitively violence may be stemmed in 2017 through
lack of clarity on who the primary opposition candidate(s) will be thus
not providing an easy ready target for violence from the state, but
perhaps increases chances of some forms of violence stemming from possible
fights amongst the opposition.

“In all likelihood – campaigns for 2018 will begin in 2017 and we will
still see violent quashing of protests, banning and disturbances of
rallies and so on.

“As we get into 2018 it is possible that no go areas and other
restrictions of freedoms of movement, association and speech will set in
especially in far flung rural areas a few months ahead of elections, if
this happens what will determine the level of violence will be the resolve
of those barred to access the electorate and that of those barring to stop
access from occurring,” said Lewanika.

Election Resource Centre director Tawanda Chimhi said: “It always
difficult to predict the future and that should be left to those gifted
enough to do so but the behaviour of politicians is often easier to
predict based on evidence from the past.

“Elections are a livelihood issue and sadly winning elections must happen
regardless of the cost. That being said, the continued absence of a solid
and constitutional legal framework to conduct credible, free and fair
elections, a clear and exhaustive administrative framework of how to run
electoral processes and a political culture that supports constitutional
behaviour by electoral competitors, 2017 electoral processes remain
vulnerable to the excesses of very selfish and self-serving political
interests.

“The current provisions in legislative and administrative frameworks of
our elections make 2017 a year vulnerable to all the ills associated with
Zimbabwe’s electoral history.”

Chimhinhi said however there remains an opportunity to make up for time
lost and address the bulk of the vulnerabilities by strengthening election
related laws “through parliamentary processes, strengthening election
regulations and procedures through the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission and
strengthening institutions supporting democracy by availing adequate
resources to them on time, supporting their independence from political
and other negative influences and supporting accountable actions in the
discharge of their duties.”

Mining activist Farai Maguwu said: “Violence works in Zimbabwe politics.
It brought Zanu PF to power and has kept Zanu PF in power since 1980. In
fact Zanu PF has not demobilised its war architecture and ideology.

“This is why they keep referring to the 1970s war during election times.
Unless and until Zanu PF is transformed into a modern democratic political
institution they will always label opponents ‘enemies’ of the people who
must be destroyed. They will most probably make it difficult for the
opposition to organize, especially in rural areas.

“The biggest likelihood of violence is between Zanu PF and People First
because at some point they walked together and used the same weapon.”

ZimRights director Okay Machisa said: “Violence is inevitable. The 2017
shall be violent and such violence as usual will have actors that belong
to the state and some within our communities. Free and fair is a dream in
Zimbabwe.”

Political analyst Earnest Mudzengi said: “I wouldn’t necessarily say I
foresee violence. But what I can say is that the elections will not be
free and fair as long as we will not have far reaching electoral reforms
that level the electoral playing field.”

Lawyer Jacqueline Chikakano said: “I think that opportunities for a freer
campaign space are there as supported by a generous constitutional
framework that upholds political rights as well as a number of other key
freedoms during such times such as freedom of expression, conscience,
assembly and association among others.

“But of course this critically depends on the extent to which these are
respected and upheld and on the extent to which the state puts in place
requisite measures to support the existence of a conducive environment. A
lot will rest also on how bold our courts are as some contests will likely
end there.

“However judging by how tough things were economically in 2016, with
shrinking employment opportunities, continued cash crisis and its related
challenges one could fairly speculate that a worsening or persistence of
the current challenges can possibly lead to a brewing of political
violence as the electorate gets desperate and are used by political
parties who often resort to vote buying through things like partisan food
distribution.

“Thus in my opinion political parties themselves pose one of the biggest
threat to the emergence of election related violence because of the level
of desperation that sections of the public will likely continue to have
going into the elections, more so considering the culture of vote buying
that has characterised past election periods,” said Chikakano.

She added: “It’s my speculation that aside from a conducive legal
environment and challenges that may be posed by related gaps, I think the
economic challenges Zimbabweans are facing will likely be the push factor
to any political violence if at all.”

Political activist Tabani Moyo said in terms of violence, anything can
happen, given the factionalism in the ruling party, it’s highly likely
that it will fuel violent means towards communities.

“You have seen the isolated cases already in Mashonaland Central,
Manicaland and Masvingo in the year 2016. As the flanking year towards the
plebiscite and gauging from history, cases of violence usually escalate as
the ruling party attempts to cordon off campaigning that encroaches into
the Zanu PF strongholds.”

Moyo said the sad situation is that the opposition is still stuck in some
world of its own, failing to read the national mood and the mechanics of
running a successful election.

“By now, we should be seeing serious political activity, founded on big
ideas and strengthening of the capacity to monitor the nuts and bolts of
elections ranging from the proposed new biometric system, ward based
voting, elections materials handling and storage etc. The onus is on the
opposition to raise the stakes very high by showcasing the systems weakens
rather than sloganeering!

“By now the opposition should be proving to all stakeholders how elections
have been successively rigged rather than blanket claims. Campaigns for
the elections should be grounded in evidence of how the past elections
were conducted and proposals on how to safeguard electoral theft.”

Moyo added that there will be serious apathy from urban voters who are
highly disenfranchised. “In addition, the opposition has never gone on a
full swing structured process of ensuring total participation in towns –
Harare and Bulawayo alone, if they all participate are adequate to kick
the ruling party out of power given the demographic profile and ensuring
that the marginal communities are fireproofed from ghost voters.”

Social commentator Rashweat Mukundu said: “The year 2018 like all other
elections in Zimbabwe since 1985 will be violent, more so as Zanu PF is
internally confused. Elements that will perpetrate violence include both
state and non-state actors, with non-state actors more fragmented as war
vets, Zanu PF youths and other organs are divided and likely to fight from
different and opposing sides.

“Intra and inter party violence will characterise 2017 to 2018. And the
focus on Zanu PF will be to control of the instruments of violence
especially the police, youth militia and military and its cadres can act
with impunity. Opposition parties will likely be at the receiving end
though potentially could perpetrate violence.”

Social commentator Barbra Mhangami said: “Political campaigns in 2017 will
be neither free nor fair. The environment where Zanu PF has politicised
the military and the police will ensure that there is violence and
brutality towards any opposition party or coalition of parties. “With food
aid likely to be coming into the country due to the drought and low farm
productivity, this aid will likely be politicized and used to `secure’
support in many rural constituencies.

“I believe that in 2016 we saw an emboldened citizenry take to the streets
in peaceful protest of tyranny and we saw police brutality much like the
brutality we saw during the apartheid in South Africa.”

Mhangami added: “We are likely to continue to see citizens take to the
streets peacefully with the same rallying cry as in 2016. Police will be
brutal as will the so called Zanu PF youths. “However I believe
Zimbabweans will never stop protesting. There has been a huge shift in
consciousness in a critical mass of the population and this shift will
spread from urban and peri urban areas to the rural population where the
majority of voters still reside. This is where the protest movements need
to go and light fires.”

Another social commentator Edinah Masanga said: “Observation of human
rights was appalling this past year as is now the modus vivendi under the
current government. Normally when we talk of human rights people are quick
to think only about physical violations of human rights but we must also
allude to the failure to provide public goods by Mugabe’s government as a
gross violation of economic and social rights which also form the core of
human rights in general.

“As for this year I see physical violence escalating because of course
this government will want to tighten its grip on the people and intimidate
them into voting for them – if at all this government was voted into power
at all.

“I think that Mugabe’s government takes all the trophies for being the
best for disenfranchising their people of the very basic human rights- the
same people they purport to stand for.”

MDC spokesperson Obert Gutu said: “Whenever Zanu PF’s power base is shaken
and unstable as it is right now, you can always be assured that the regime
will revert to its default mode of violence and intimidation.

“Zanu PF and violence are like inseparable Siamese twins; the one can’t do
without the other. Already there is extreme violence being witnessed in
Bikita West constituency where there will be a Parliamentary by – election
soon.

“The chances of Zanu PF winning in 2018 are zero and as such, the regime
has let loose its instruments of thuggery and terrorism; particularly in
the rural areas. But Zimbabweans shouldn’t lose hope because the
beleaguered and faction – ridden, bankrupt Zanu PF regime will be confined
to the dustbin of political history in 2018; if not sooner than that.”

Political analyst Maxwell Saungweme said: “The year 2017 will see more
jostling for 2018 elections. Electoral violence and voter buying and fraud
will hog the limelight. Zanu PF factional fights will continue to make
political news as much as disintegration in opposition parties makes news.

“While Mugabe’s departure has to be the drastic thing to happen for better
economic and political forecast in 2017, in opposition politics burying of
egos and coalescing against Zanu is the drastic thing required. Otherwise
we will continue with the bunch of weak opposition splinter groups that
are there for donor funds and are comfortable to hold the status of
official opposition parties.”

Legislator Jessie Majome said: “I fear 2016 politics will be characterized
by the abuse of the ruling party’s super majority to systematically
dismantle the constitution which has already started by the horrendous and
uncalled for Chief Justice provisions’ unravelling.

“More of this removal of checks and balances to concentrate de jure power
back into absolute and totalitarian rule by an imperial president is
coming- the devolution provisions, the term limits provisions, the
National Peace and Reconciliation and Media Commissions and presidential
succession provisions are not safe and many others.

“The ruling party’s factional fights will worsen and exacerbate its
failure to govern while resorting to brute force to quell swelling public
anger outpourings.

“A foul and bloody electoral mood will develop and envelope the nation
with prospects of a free election getting dimmer the more desperate the
ruling party gets in failing to quell public ire against its failed
economic policies. Citizens will get bolder to vent their anger at the
increasingly rudderless and drifting government.”

New steep mobile data tariffs come into effect

The floor prices for voice and mobile data bundles proposed by POTRAZ, have now been put into effect

Source: New steep mobile data tariffs come into effect – NewsDay Zimbabwe January 11, 2017

Econet Wireless Zimbabwe, the country’s largest mobile network operator has been the first to make changes. It has adjusted its product lineup and unveiled a set of new tariffs for its bundles as well as the WhatsApp and Facebook bundles. As was anticipated the costs are pretty steep.

You can view the bundles by dialling *143# on Econet

With effect from the 11th of January 2017, the cheapest bundle of data ( 5 MB on a standard connection plus another 5 MB available on WiFi) now costs 50 cents.

$1 will get you 10 MB plus the bonus 10 MB on WiFi and the highest amount of data you can get (2.5 GB plus 2.5 GB bonus on WiFi) now costs $50.

Social Media bundles, that is the WhatsApp and Facebook bundles that have been the cheapest avenue for partial internet access have also gone up and from the looks of things are no longer pegged individually or as weekly or monthly offerings but are instead based on data usage.

The cheapest bundle is also set at 50 cents and it comes with 10 MB of data plus a 10 MB bonus. For $2.50 (which is close to what subscribers used to pay for month’s access) you’ll now get 80 MB plus an extra 80 MB on WiFi.

Regular Data Bundles
50 cents 5 MB 5 MB
$1 10 MB 10 MB
$3 50 MB 50 MB
$5 125 MB 125 MB
$10 300 MB 300 MB
$20 750 MB 750 MB
$35 1.5 GB 1.5 GB
$50 2.5 GB 2.5 GB

Story courtesy of TechZim

Mutsvangwa dares Moyo to debate

Source: Mutsvangwa dares Moyo to debate – DailyNews Live January 10, 2017

Tendai Kamhungira

HARARE – War veterans’ leader Christopher Mutsvangwa has challenged Higher
Education minister Jonathan Moyo to a public debate, accusing the voluble
Zanu PF politburo member of fomenting power struggles in the ruling party.

Mutsvangwa and Moyo are sworn enemies, with their feud fuelled by Zanu PF
succession wars.

The two have divergent views on the post President Robert Mugabe era.

“I am keen and ready to humiliate Jonso (Jonathan Moyo), the snivelling
political scoundrel, to an open debate. I will surely expose the
dangerously ambitious political chameleon and all his Dr Jekyll and Mr
Hyde antics,” Mutsvangwa said.

Mutsvangwa – chairperson of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans
Association (ZNLWVA) – has openly stated that Vice President Emmerson
Mnangagwa must take over from soon-to-be 93 Mugabe.
This has widened his rift with Moyo, who is believed to be one of the
kingpins of the so-called Generation 40 (G40) Zanu PF faction, which is
fiercely opposed to Mnangagwa’s ascendency to power.

The Midlands godfather is embroiled in a nasty battle to succeed Mugabe,
with the G40 – also known as Young Turks.

This also comes after Mutsvangwa, who was expelled from the ruling party
last year for insolence, accused Moyo of deserting the war of liberation
and unduly influencing Mugabe’s decisions.

“The 2013 electoral landslide has been dissipated into petulant feuding
for power. The self-coined successionist sees their G40 scorched-earth
economic agenda as platform for power grab,” Mutsvangwa went on.

“The stolen future of a whole well-educated youthful generation is of no
bother at all. The daily diet of successionist drivel smudges twitter and
the social media while abject poverty stalks the G40 benighted Zimbabwe,”
he said.

Mnangagwa, while acting on presumed pressure from the G40 that accuses him
of seeking to stampede Mugabe out of power before next year’s elections,
was recently forced to disown Mutsvangwa and other former party cadres who
are publicly backing his ascendancy to a higher office.

Mutsvangwa further dismissed Moyo as a war deserter who has no capacity to
score political victory against battle-hardened former freedom fighters.

“As a war veteran who witnessed so much during the struggle, I dismiss
this irregular political usurpation by a wartime deserter turned spy. Let
the coward Jonso know that he is incapable of scaring anyone, let alone
battle-hardened war veterans,” he said.

He went on to claim that Moyo also had ambitions to succeed Mugabe,
labelling the Tsholotsho North MP a “viscerally cantankerous”.

“Compulsive plotting is a hallmark of his DNA; this engendered by an
obsessive craving for the top dog position of highest station political
destiny… today he rants all over the show atypical to a mad dog choked
with mustard – a bridge too far from power grab even as he struts in …
the physical grounds of State House.”

Rights Commission brings demos into spotlight

Source: Rights Commission brings demos into spotlight – DailyNews Live January 10, 2017

Tendai Kamhungira and Freedom Mashava

HARARE – The Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) chairperson, Elasto
Mugwadi, has set the cat among the pigeons after he reaffirmed that every
Zimbabwean had a right to demonstrate and freely associate with a
political party of their choice, in a statement which flies in the face of
President Robert Mugabe’s government which has been using force to stop
pro-democracy groups from holding protests.

Mugwadi’s statements come as opposition and pro-democracy groups have
warned that they will escalate their protests against Mugabe’s government
this year in a bid to force the nonagenarian to act on the worsening
economic situation.

On the other hand, police maintain a ban on all demonstrations in central
Harare, despite the Constitution guaranteeing such actions.

“People have the right to assembly, to association, to choose their
political leaders but by free will, not by coercion and that those who are
going about politicking have to do it in a free environment without
inciting anybody,” Mugwadi said on Friday, while welcoming Makanatsa
Makonese to the post of executive secretary of the organisation that had
been vacant since 2015, following Jester Charewa’s move to the High Court
bench.

“Rights by the way come with responsibility, do unto others as you would
expect them to do unto you and if you are not going to do it in a peaceful
manner, you are then violating the next person’s right and the police have
a duty to make sure that such demonstrations are carried out peacefully.

“…not everybody who is in the queue of demonstrators there has all the
best of intensions. They will be out there to cause havoc and if it’s not
controlled you will end up having property destroyed, vandalism, thefts
and all those issues,” added Mugwadi.

He said next year’s national elections must be violent-free, as
perpetrators of violence will meet the consequences.

“What we are saying is winning an election is not by violence but it has
to be in form of following democratic principles enshrined also in our
Constitution,” said the former Immigration Department boss.

The ZHRC – a constitutional body, whose main mandate is to protect,
promote and enforce human rights – collided with Mugabe last year after it
released a damning report, claiming Zanu PF was only distributing food to
its members and neglecting those from opposition parties.

Mugabe publicly attacked Mugwadi and the ZHRC by dismissing their report
as an outright lie.

In 2014, following the Hurungwe West by-election, where former Mashonaland
West provincial chairman, Temba Mliswa narrowly lost to Zanu PF’s Keith
Guzah, the commission released a damning report about the violent
activities by the ruling party that were perpetrated on innocent civilians
– leading to the prosecution of some of the people who participated in the
violent acts.

On Friday, Mugwadi said the ZHRC would carry its work without fear or
favour in investigating human rights abuses and politically-motivated
violence  before, during and after elections.

“The Constitution says we can direct the commissioner general of police to
carry out investigations and prosecute or cause the prosecution of
perpetrators and we have done this before, we will continue to do it and
we hope those who will be participating in the elections should be
deterred by the fact that if they are caught on the wrong side of the law,
they will be prosecuted,” Mugwadi said.

“We are saying to everybody who is going to be participating, if you get
involved in violence, if you have failed to convince someone, because you
have your own proper platform, you are promising people you are going to
do A, B, C for them, you might as well not get out of your house because
you will be arrested if you want to do it in a violent way.”

Mugabe under massive attack

Source: Mugabe under massive attack – DailyNews Live January 10, 2017

Mugove Tafirenyika, Blessings Mashaya and Tendai Kamhungira

HARARE – As the eagerly-anticipated 2018 national elections get closer,
life is getting harder for President Robert Mugabe and his warring Zanu
PF, as angry war veterans and the country’s re-energised opposition keep
battering them on all fronts.

This became even clearer yesterday when the disgruntled former freedom
fighters escalated their war against Mugabe, vowing to take the
nonagenarian and the bitterly-divided ruling party to court for defying a
court order which barred them from appointing a new Zimbabwe National
Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA) executive.

On the other hand, the looming prospects of opposition leader Morgan
Tsvangirai and former Vice President Joice Mujuru working together ahead
of 2018 is spooking Zanu PF to no end, with the former liberation movement
now fighting tooth and nail to “kill” the mooted pact.

The daring move by the disaffected war veterans to take Zanu PF to court
comes after it emerged that the troubled ruling party had clandestinely
appointed a new ZNLWVA executive late last year which was invited to
attend the party’s annual conference which was held in Masvingo in
December.

Speaking to the Daily News yesterday, fearless ZNLWVA spokesperson,
Douglas Mahiya, promised that war veterans would not fold their hands
while Zanu PF “worked to engineer” more divisions among ex-combatants.

“As we have always said, we were given the mandate to lead the war
veterans by legitimate war veterans. We are not going to watch what is
happening quietly. Among other things, we are going to approach the courts
soon, definitely,” he warned.

When the ZNLWVA approached the courts in a similar case early last year,
Manicaland Provincial Affairs minister Mandi Chimene and her team were
barred from masquerading as either the interim or substantive leaders of
the former freedom fighters.

High Court Judge, Justice Happias Zhou, also interdicted Chimene from
issuing any press statements on behalf of the ZNLWVA and its leadership.

However, Mugabe and Zanu PF allowed Chimene to represent war veterans at
party gatherings even after that ruling, something that was viewed as a
flagrant disregard of the courts and an endorsement of the phantom Chimene
faction.

ZNLWVA secretary-general Victor Matemadanda also weighed in on the matter
yesterday accusing Mugabe of “not respecting the rule of law”.

“Zimbabwe is a constitutional State and it’s so sad that the ruling party
is failing to obey its own and the country’s Constitution, which is the
supreme law of the land.

“We now have a constitutional crisis because the ruling party doesn’t
believe in the rule of law. Yet, at his swearing-in ceremony, Mugabe
promised to uphold the Constitution although he is now worryingly failing
to do what he promised,” he said.

Matemadanda added that some top Zanu PF officials were also “bizarrely
happy” to see ex-combatants divided.

“Zanu PF is neglecting war veterans. They managed to bribe some war
veterans so that they would attend the Zanu PF conference.

“But look at the rest of our colleagues, they are struggling to get food
and don’t have money to pay school fees for their kids. We have Cde Chinx
(Dickson Chingaira) who is not feeling well, but the party is not helping
him, which is so sad.

“They want to divided us so that we become weaker, but we are saying to
them that we know every trick they want to use to destroy us and this
won’t work,” he thundered.

The former freedom fighters have over the past two years been caught in
the middle of Zanu PF’s seemingly unstoppable tribal, factional and
succession wars, in which they have thrown their weight behind Vice
President Emmerson Mnangagwa to succeed Mugabe.

This saw their chairman Chris Mutsvangwa being fired from both the Cabinet
and Zanu PF last year, while many of their other top leaders have also
been banished from the ruling party, in addition to being hauled before
the courts.

A meeting last April to try and mend relations between the war vets and
Mugabe failed to resolve the stalemate, with the former freedom fighters
setting difficult conditions for the nonagenarian, including that he
ditches alleged Generation 40 (G40) kingpins such as Higher Education
minister Jonathan Moyo and the ruling party’s national political commissar
Saviour Kasukuwere.

Zanu PF is facing even more heat on the opposition front, as Mujuru and
Tsvangirai work fervently behind the scenes to form a coalition alliance
ahead of the 2018 national polls.

Mujuru  who now leads the Zimbabwe People First (ZPF), is even trying to
enlist Tsvangirai’s help as her party bids to wrest control of the Bikita
West parliamentary seat which fell vacant after Munyaradzi Kereke was
incarcerated for 14 years for the rape of a minor last year.

And after ZPF announced that Mujuru planned to hold a joint rally with
Tsvangirai in the constituency, to drum up support for their candidate,
Kudakwashe Gopo, both Zanu PF apparatchiks and State media have gone into
overdrive trying to portray the scheduled mega rally as causing divisions
in both the MDC and ZPF.

But ZPF elder, Rugare Gumbo  told the Daily News yesterday that there was
no need for Zanu PF to speculate on the two parties’ planned coalition as
this was now almost finalised.

“They know that only those that are mad will vote for them under the
circumstances and when it comes to Bikita West, we are already working
with the MDC and other parties to ensure that Zanu PF loses.

“So, we are not worried about what they say at all. We know Zanu PF is
scared of our unity and our working together because they know this is the
beginning of their end as they have nothing to offer to Zimbabweans who
know that it is Mugabe who authored their problems.

“Zanu PF must better get ready to face the coalition because we are not
going back and we will announce it to the people when the time is ready,”
Gumbo who, together with Mujuru and others were sacked from Zanu PF in
2014 on untested charges of attempting to topple and assassinate Mugabe,
said.

Meanwhile, analysts have also said the Bikita West star rally evokes bad
memories for Zanu PF which lost the Norton by-election late last year to
its former chairman for Mashonaland West, Temba Mliswa, who had enlisted
the services of the MDC and war veterans, leading to the former liberation
movement suffering an embarrassing defeat.

The defeat further strained relations within the warring ruling party
which is feuding to determine Mugabe’s succession, where the G40 faction
is rabidly opposed to Mnangagwa ascending to the throne.

On its part, the MDC said yesterday that Zanu PF had “every reason to fear
a tag team of Mujuru and Tsvangirai”, as it was becoming increasingly
clear that Mugabe and his party “would never win a free and fair
election”.

“Zanu PF is damaged goods. They are running scared because of the real
possibility that the regime will be facing a united opposition in the 2018
elections.

“In fact, let me categorically and emphatically state here and now that
Zanu PF will receive an unprecedented and humiliating electoral
annihilation in 2018.

“The MDC will definitely form the next government after the forthcoming
elections. There’s absolutely no doubt about that,” MDC spokesperson,
Obert Gutu, told the Daily News.

Political analysts said yesterday that it was clear that Zanu PF feared
the prospects of seeing Tsvangirai and Mujuru working together.

“Zanu PF has every reason to be worried of the success of a coalition
between Mujuru and Tsvangirai. These two are the real deal as far as
challenging Zanu PF is concerned.

“Mujuru brings in the liberation credentials that Tsvangirai needs for the
smooth transfer of power. Zanu PF knows very well that Tsvangirai has been
winning but was denied political power through `positive rigging’. This
was because he was regarded as a traitor,” analyst Shakespeare Hamauswa
said.

Other analysts have repeatedly said a united opposition fighting with one
purpose can finally bring to an end Mugabe’s long rule, especially at a
time that the increasingly frail nonagenarian is fighting to keep his
warring Zanu PF united.

Mujuru also said late last year that the country’s mooted grand coalition
– which is set to be in place this year – would bring to an end Mugabe and
Zanu PF’s long rule.

 

Maybe we are what’s wrong with Zimbabwe

It has been said that for evil to triumph, good people must sit back and do nothing. I cannot help, but think how true this statement is when we look at our problems as a country. Beyond that, I have had time to think about how we, as Zimbabweans, may in fact be our own worst nightmare minus the politicians we blame.

Source: Maybe we are what’s wrong with Zimbabwe – NewsDay Zimbabwe January 11, 2017

guest column: PAUL KASEKE

It seems to me that our mindset and attitude as a people is conducive for the suffering we experience. We make suffering a welcome reality.
I dare go as far as saying we provide an incubator and breeding ground for our continued suffering.

I generally don’t spend much time on the comments section for any post or article where Zimbabweans have occasion to respond. Why? Well, the answer is simple really: We are so trapped in a web of hatred and negativity, we hardly have anything constructive to say about each other as citizens. If you want to get a quick guide on new obscenities to insult someone with, just a glance at one of the comment sections will be sufficient. Rather pathetically, we are very good at tearing each other down when someone takes a stand or views things differently. We don’t just disagree as mature adults should, we name-call, we insult, we swear and make it a point to destroy others’ esteem.

We don’t critically engage on the substance of the matter, but like our politicians we attack the person and not their views. Take, for example, the abduction and subsequent torture of Patson Dzamara in November last year. Any article, comments or feeds containing this story are likely to include phrases like “this is what you wanted so don’t bore us with your story” or “you wanted the attention and now you got it” or something along those lines.

Instead of being enraged that something like this can happen to someone for simply exercising his constitutional rights, we celebrate when evil seems to take the lead. It such conduct that allows injustices to continue to exist in Zimbabwe and the perpetrators get encouraged by either our express support or our silence.

We poke fun at the things that should upset us, we make memes, we have WhatsApp jokes about such and, as a result, here we are. We laughed at the bond notes and made clips for them, that is why the government felt at ease when introducing monopoly money as tender.

Name-calling is the order of the day whenever something is discussed. I suppose it starts from our politicians who use social media to hurl insults and use profanity, but it is a culture I have seen spring in all things Zimbabwean. Whatever the cause may be, we have generally lost the ability to show concern for each other and engage in constructive discussion.

When Fadzayi Mahere and others were arrested late last year, the first thing I saw on social media was: “Iron lady in iron braces — fits perfectly” and I could not believe that a clearly unlawful arrest was being celebrated by the very people whose rights she and her friends sought to protect. Even if she stands for something you don’t agree with, how do we get to a point of celebrating an arbitrary arrest? What kind of sick society have we become that we enjoy the suffering of other people? This is probably why we deserve the government we have. We like to distance ourselves from them and call them names but we have in more ways than one become exactly like them.

When Evan Mawarire was arrested, the same pattern of ridicule and crude commentary followed. We all know that there were no legitimate charges, but even then, some among us celebrated the arrest and his departure after being publicly threatened by those in the upper terraces of power. Some “youths” were only too happy to issue more threats and these were applauded by their audience.

What disturbs me is not those who make these threats, but the fact that there is an actual audience that applauds such kind of behaviour. It is those that sit and cheer on that leave me with chills because it means they share the same mindset, even though they themselves aren’t brave enough to share it. They are among us and complain about the state of affairs yet applaud the same government’s oppressive acts.

When it comes to corruption, we cannot sit back and blame the government alone when corruption itself is a bilateral act that requires two parties for it to take place. If government officers asked for a bribe, but received nothing from the citizens, then no corruption would take place. The vice continues to grow because we, as citizens, fuel it and provide it with a lifeline. We pay the bribes to evade fines, to get tenders, to get projects approved and to get ahead of the pack. While we can point a finger at the government for its corruption, we must also look deeply at ourselves and ask what we have done to end corruption. In my view, we have done nothing, but allow corruption to grow by being willing actors.

Corruption in Zimbabwe is not only an upper level problem — it is systemic. It exists at grassroots level. For example, some parents pay bribes to get their children into schools outside the zoning system. As a result, the zoning system has become useless. That may seem like harmless corruption and for a good cause, but the principle is the same. Some pay to get a driver’s licence and others pay to have debts cancelled illegally. Everywhere you go, corruption has become a national language we are generally fluently conversant in. Here’s a harsh reality: Changing who is in power will not change the fact that corruption is so widespread and has become what we do. There is, of course, some truth in stating that some people have become corrupt to survive in Zimbabwe and the ultimate blame should be on the government for forcing people into such situations, but we remain responsible for our own contribution to the continued existence of suffering in our beloved nation.

Maybe we are what is wrong with Zimbabwe because we keep quiet when we should speak up. Maybe in 2017 we need to hold our leaders accountable a bit more. Maybe we need to participate in forums, meetings, parliamentary processes and others where citizens are mandated to get involved in. Maybe we need to stop condoning acts of evil and refuse to let injustices take place before our eyes. Maybe we need to rally behind people that are doing something positive for us instead of attacking them. Maybe we need to get involved in rebuilding Zimbabwe and not leave it to politicians.

My hope for 2017 is that we can look at ourselves and ask if we are part of the problem or the solution. I know we still have some very principled citizen who refuse to compromise regardless of the fact that everyone around them is. I know that not everyone is corrupt and not everyone is part of the problem, but if you are, then instead of asking how the government can change Zimbabwe, ask how you can change Zimbabwe. To those that work tirelessly for the betterment of the people of Zimbabwe, keep doing what you do even if nobody sings your praises or puts your name out there. It is more honourable to work for a cause than for applause.

Maybe we are what’s wrong with Zimbabwe, but in 2017, let’s be counted as being what is right for Zimbabwe.

Paul Kaseke is a legal adviser, commentator, analyst and sessional law lecturer with the Wits Law School & Pearson Institute of Higher Education (formerly Midrand Graduate Institute). He serves as director and current Group Chair of AfriConsult firm. He writes in his personal capacity. You can give him feedback via email: feedback@paulkasekesnr.com or follow him on twitter @paulkasekesnr

2 Zim border jumpers drown in Limpopo River

SOUTH African Police Services (Saps) yesterday said they had rescued six suspected Zimbabwean border jumpers, including three minors, and recovered two male bodies from the Limpopo River near the Beitbridge Border Post.

Source: 2 Zim border jumpers drown in Limpopo River – NewsDay Zimbabwe January 10, 2017

By own correspondent

Saps Limpopo provincial police spokesman, Brigadier Motlafela Mojapelo said a combined team of the Saps Limpopo search and rescue unit and other emergency and response services in the province were behind the operation, which retrieved the bodies last week.

Those rescued are two women, a man and three children aged between six and 10 picked a few kilometres downstream of the border post, Saps said yesterday.

The remains of the two men were recovered at around the same area known to be frequented by border jumpers.

No link between the bodies and the rescued group has been established.

“On Thursday and Friday members of the unit together with the Air Wing rescued two women and three girls aged between six and 10 years trapped by the Limpopo River near Beit Bridge. It is suspected that they attempted to enter the country illegally when they got trapped by the rising river,” he said.

“After medical treatment, they were all handed over to Home Affairs for further investigation.”

Saps also recovered the bodies of two men around the same area, he said, saying the past week had been eventful for rescue units in the entire province.

“On Saturday, members were involved in the rescue of a man trapped in the Dennilton area east of Beit Bridge. The man was clinging onto a tree in the fast flowing river for a few hours, before he was successfully brought ashore by Saps members,” Mojapelo said.

The divers attached to the same unit further assisted with the recovery of bodies of three young boys, who drowned in ditches filled with water in the Giyani and Mankweng areas south of Beitbridge in South Africa, where torrential rains were reported last week.

Zimbabwe Republic Police officer commanding Beitbridge, Chief Superintendent Francis Phiri said he was yet to receive a report from his SA counterparts, but warned people against attempting to cross the Limpopo River.

“It is risky, people can drown, be attacked by crocodiles or hippos. Passports are easy to get in Zimbabwe and far cheaper than the risk,” he said.

Scores of Zimbabweans are trooping to South Africa in search for greener pastures.

Last year, two men and an 11-year-old boy were killed by a hippo in Beitbridge, when they attempted to sidestep the official crossing point. A few days later, a woman was mauled by a hippo near a water weir downstream of the border post.

Meanwhile, thousands of Zimbabweans, trekking to South Africa in search of employment, are reportedly being ripped off and abused by unscrupulous employers capitalising on their desperation to underpay them.

Migrant Workers’ Union of South Africa (Miwusa) secretary-general, Mandla Masuku, recently told NewsDay that most undocumented immigrants were facing various forms of abuse by their South African employers.

“The major issues affecting migrant workers, particularly Zimbabweans, are exploitation and most of them are working long hours, yet they do not receive fair compensation,” he said.

“We are also concerned that there is tension between migrants and locals and employers always want to capitalise on that and play divide and rule tactics.

“We have a bad scenario in Lephalale, Limpopo, where more than 240 farm workers were unfairly dismissed without pay and displaced. They had to seek shelter at a disaster management centre for almost six months being fed by well-wishers. They were reinstated in February 2016 after their employer was found guilty of unfair dismissal.”

About three million Zimbabweans are estimated to be living in South Africa.

“Most Zimbabwean workers are paid between R1 000 and R2 000 as the average salary, although the poverty datum line is above R4 000,” Masuku said.

“All migrants are equally vulnerable and they are exploited in the same way, although Zimbabweans constitute the largest number of migrant workers in South Africa. We are not satisfied with remuneration going towards migrants, who are being paid less than their local counterparts in almost all the sectors.”

He said his union had embarked on a massive awareness campaign to educate migrant workers on their labour rights.

Southern Africa’s former liberators offer rich lessons in political populism

Political populism is anything but new. Nor are its various shapes peculiar to certain regions or cultures.

Source: Southern Africa’s former liberators offer rich lessons in political populism – NewsDay Zimbabwe January 11, 2017

Opinion: Henning Melber

Take former liberation movements in Southern Africa, for example. They reflect the diversity of populist regimes spanning over several decades. This is evident in Zimbabwe under Zanu PF since 1980, Namibia under the South West African People’s Organisation (Swapo) since 1990 and South Africa under the African National Congress (ANC) since 1994.

The heroic narratives of liberation gospels were born in historical processes expected to achieve emancipation.
Post liberation, these processes elevated the anti-colonial movements into governments in firm social control.

The State came to be understood, as the product of the new rulers. These shaped and dominated the national discourse.

They considered their power not only legitimate but endless.

For example, Sam Nujoma, long-time president of Swapo and former Namibian head of state, encouraged the Swapo youth league in 2010 to “be on the full alert and remain vigilant against deceptive attempts by opportunists and unpatriotic elements that attempt to divide you”.

Only then, he asserted, would Swapo “grow from strength to strength and continue to rule Namibia for the next 1 000 years”.

South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma, recently asserted that, the governing ANC, which he leads, would rule until the return of Jesus Christ. In Zimbabwe, 92-year old Robert Mugabe has accepted a nomination to stand for another term in 2018 and suggested he might serve until he is 100.

For Mugabe, Nujoma, Zuma and the like, authority is anchored in the struggle narrative. The “big men” syndrome is part of their populism.

And by paying tribute to their peers, they applaud themselves. Namibia’s new President Hage Geingob, for example, has praised Mugabe as his role model. Zambia’s late president Michael Sata sang Zimbabwean liberation songs when Mugabe was criticised in closed heads of state meetings of the Southern Africa Development Community.

Conflation and excuses

During the struggle for liberation, the aspiration for self-determination was associated with a better future for the former colonised. But, subsequently, social transformation was mainly limited to political control under which the new elite gained access to resources through the State.

Such transition did not eliminate the colonial-era structural discrepancies. It privileged a few, while the majority remained marginalised. A new compensatory ideology emerged, suggesting that the new injustice was purely the result of the colonial past.

Meanwhile, the nostalgic a luta continua (the struggle continues) slogan degenerated into “the looting continues”.

State capture has emerged as a new phenomenon.

Members of the new elite like to sing combat songs from the “struggle days” to show solidarity with the masses.
They claim that they have not only sacrificed as liberation fighters, but now work for a better future for the masses.

Claiming direct succession of the struggle aristocracy by singing liberation songs locates the fight in the past.

As the social movement activist Mphutlane wa Bofelo diagnosed: “They want us to believe that the struggle is over, that all we have is remnants of the old order against whom our anger should be vented.”

Frantz Fanon in The Wretched of the Earth diagnosed “The Pitfalls of National Consciousness” where the new state, instead of conveying a sense of security, trust and stability foists itself on the people, using mistreatment, intimidation and harassment as domesticating tools.

The party in power “controls the masses … to remind them constantly that the government expects from them obedience and discipline”.

Corporate family bonds equating the State with personal business include the Angolan “oiligarchy” by strongman Eduardo dos Santos and his clan. Family connections also played a role under Namibia’s three presidents — Sam Nujoma, Hifikepunye Pohamba and Geingob — not to mention the Mugabe enterprise.

No longer alternatives to the establishmentHas populism in Southern Africa reached an expiry date among the nationalist leaders? Maybe. What is certain is that the times are gone when leaders of the dominant parties could claim to be the alternative to the established system.

They are the system, and the system is considered to be rotten. Their appeals to populist reminiscences of a bygone era of the “struggle days” sound increasingly hollow.

Being driven in the latest makes of European luxury cars, escorted by motor cavalcades and flying in presidential jets to wine and dine with other leaders in the world are a mismatch with the liberation gospel.

At the funeral ceremony for Fidel Castro in Cuba, Geingob praised the comandante for his conviction that “liberation of the oppressed should never be for economic gain, but only to gain in conscience”. People back home reacted with sarcasm: “What we see in Namibia”, stated an editorial of The Namibian, “is a total bankruptcy of ideology — talking left, walking right.”

In South Africa the former leader of the ANC youth league, Julius Malema, now claims the populist space once occupied by Zuma.

Malema fell out of favour with Zuma after supporting him on his way into office and has come back from the political cold with the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF).

Malema can be seen as the new populist on the ascendancy, challenging Zuma’s “corrupt establishment”.

The decay now is represented by Zuma and his cohorts. While they campaigned for a better future, their plunder of state controlled assets turned their populist rhetoric into a mockery of the people.

But there are reasons to remain sceptical that the new kids on the block are the true alternative they claim to be.

Once in power, they might just turn out as old wine in new bottles, once again betraying those who trusted them to deliver.

The legitimacy and credibility of those in power has been eroded by bad governance, predatory networks and the obsession to claim an exclusive agency representing the people.

Their way out is the conspiracy theory: those in opposition to their continued abuse of offices are accused of being agents of Western imperialism tasked to initiate regime change. Zuma even identifies witches as part of a “third force” conspiracy.

Tinyiko Maluleke, a professor at the University of Pretoria posed an interesting question: “Haven’t we had, in Jacob Zuma, our own Donald Trump in advance?”

He continued: “I think Jacob Zuma could teach Donald Trump a thing or two.

And if I were Trump, I would seek to learn as much as possible from the rise and especially the imminent fall of Zuma.”

Henning Melber is a professor at the Department of Political Sciences, University of Pretoria. This article originally appeared in The Conversation

Grace opens up on diamond ring saga

FIRST Lady Grace Mugabe has opened up on the latest scandal she has been implicated in, claiming, instead, she is the victim in the diamond ring saga and was conned of nearly $1,4 million by Lebanese businessman — Jamal Ahmed — whom she accused of joining hands with her political foes to soil her family’s image.

Source: Grace opens up on diamond ring saga – NewsDay Zimbabwe January 11, 2017

by XOLISANI NCUBE

In an affidavit filed by her lawyers Manase and Manase Legal Practitioners opposing a High Court order granted by Justice Clemence Phiri in December last year ordering Grace and her proxies to vacate Ahmed’s three Harare properties they had allegedly occupied, the First Lady said she did not invade anyone’s premises, instead, she was a victim of a person she described as an “international fraudster wanted by the international police”.

Grace chronicled how she met Ahmed’s daughter and wife in Dubai, although she said on their first meeting they had not discussed the diamond ring and instead only had tea.

“The truth is that in April 2016, I called Zeina, the first applicant’s wife, who lives in Dubai, I told her that I wanted a diamond and to have it set on a ring,” she said.

“Furthermore, I told her that this diamond was a gift from my husband [President Robert Mugabe] on our 20th marriage anniversary. She then said she would give her husband, the first applicant (Ahmed), my number. I told her that the diamond was required, as my husband was saving for me for this stone for our 20th anniversary in August 2016.”

Grace said Ahmed then called her while she was in Singapore and said he would instruct his daughter, who was in Belgium, to start looking for the stone, as they did not keep it in stock.

“On April 8, 2016, applicant’s wife, on his instructions, phoned me and told me she had sent pictures of different shapes of diamonds for my choices,” she continued, adding the stones also had Gemology Institute of America certificates, which define colour, cut, clarity and carat weight of the gemstones.

Grace said she was then given the price for a 10,07-carat gemstone, which she had selected, but later believed the cost had been inflated.

The First Lady said Ahmed promised to deliver the ring before August 17, 2016, her wedding anniversary.

On May 2, Grace said she travelled again to Dubai, where again she met Zeina, but they did not discuss the ring although money was transferred from her CBZ Bank account to Ahmed’s held with the same bank on May 11, but she still did not have sight of the ring.

“Despite demand to view the stone, first applicant was adamant [not] to show me the stone I had ordered, saying the seller would only do that [show the ring] after receiving full payment,” she continued.

“Various communication on texts and on WhatsApp messaging will show how endlessly first applicant failed to show me the stone I purchased. Up to this day, I have not been shown the stone I purchased from him.”

Grace said in June 2016, Ahmed went quiet for a long time and Mugabe kept asking whether the ring would be ready in time for their anniversary.

She said they only managed to get in touch with Ahmed on July 26 and they asked why he had been quiet, but his response is not chronicled in Grace’s papers.

Two days later, Ahmed, Grace said, said he would deliver the ring, but on August 2, it still had not been delivered.

“So I called him and told him and of the anniversary date, August 17, which was fast approaching. He prevaricated and gave no definitive answer. I smelt a rat,” she said.

“On August 3, I called him back and asked him to send the money back into my account. I insisted the money be paid back into my CBZ account. My bankers were also, on the other hand, asking for the money back after I told them of my plight.

“All the information is contained in conversation via WhatsApp. My bankers have also threads of communication via text and WhatsApp, insisting the money be brought back to Zimbabwe.”

Grace said she did not ask for the money to be paid outside Zimbabwe, claiming she did not have a bank account outside the country.

“I have never thought of externalising money, neither can I do so, as any account I open will be pounced upon, as we are on sanctions with my husband. We lead by example,” she said.

“I never asked that I be paid in Dubai. It’s a lie and I don’t have an account thereat. I don’t externalise funds.
That’s illegal. I do not partake in such illegal activities.”

Grace said, when asked for the refund, Ahmed would claim he sent the money out of Zimbabwe clandestinely and it would take long for it to be repatriated.

“I realised, possibly, I had been duped. I threatened legal action as well. The fact that the police were investigating the same person was a coincidence,” she said.

“Possibly first applicant thought since he had defrauded me, it would be myself, who ordered the guarding of his houses. He was wrong.”

Grace said she had since learnt that Ahmed’s modus operandi was to hit well-placed citizens, hoping they would keep quiet and he gets away with it.

“This was hard-earned money saved over the years for this 20th anniversary. I cannot keep quiet,” she said.

“It’s a lot of sacrifice that my husband did from [our] farming and dairy business.”

Grace said there were no side expenses, just a balloon payment and she had Ahmed’s WhatsApp messages promising he would pay the money back.

“The true position is the first applicant spent the money,” she said. “He now wanted soft terms to refund the money. So long as my money is paid, whether in full or agreed instalments and with collateral, as we now have found he has properties in Zimbabwe through the police action.

“If he were honest, he should have simply refunded the money rather than demonise me and my family (sic).”

Grace said Ahmed had already paid back $120 000 to her CBZ account.

The First Lady denied grabbing Ahmed’s properties and that she used her status to force her way.

Ahmed dragged Grace to court after she allegedly grabbed his three properties demanding a full refund for the ring.

In approaching the court, Ahmed was also seeking protection from Grace’s son, Russell Goreraza, son-in-law and Kennedy Fero, who, according to court papers, is part of the First Lady’s security personnel.

In his papers through lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa, Ahmed had alleged that he was afraid to come to Zimbabwe as he was being threatened.

Blitz nets 443 poachers

A JOINT blitz by police officers and rangers from the Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (ZimParks) led to the arrest of 443 suspected poachers, with 57 convicted and sentenced last year alone.

Source: Blitz nets 443 poachers – NewsDay Zimbabwe January 11, 2017

BY PAIDAMOYO MUZULU

In a statement yesterday, ZimParks spokesperson, Caroline Washaya-Moyo said the convicts received a minimum jail term of seven years each.

“The year 2016 witnessed an upward increase in the number of wildlife poaching cases that were concluded resulting in cumulative sentences of 513 years passed against 57 convicted persons,” she said.

Washaya-Moyo said 211 cases were investigated during the year, with 116 being concluded.

“A total of 443 people were arrested in the 211 reported cases. The culprits included a majority Zimbabweans, 31 Zambians, seven nationals from Mozambique and a single South African,” she said.

The authority said it had made significant recoveries following the arrests, which included 76 tusks, 179 pieces of ivory, 36 live pangolins, 8 pangolin trophies and 22 firearms.

The wildlife authority is worried about the growing trend of international poaching syndicates working in cahoots with locals living close to the wildlife sanctuaries.

“Mozambican poaching groups target Gonarezhou National Park and Save Valley Conservancy, where they poach elephants. It has now emerged that most of the poaching taking place inland is being perpetrated by syndicate members of different groups, who are hired to form one larger organised gang,” Washaya-Moyo said.

“The introduction of modern anti-poaching strategies, such as the use of drones, sniffer and tracker dogs, shall go a long way in combating poaching and illegal wildlife trade in our protected areas and at our border points,” she said.

Take Moyo head-on, Mnangagwa urged

DISGRUNTLED war veterans, who form a huge chunk of Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s allies, have urged the VP to dump his quiet diplomacy and engage in a bareknuckle fight against his political foes in the G40 faction to save his political career.

Source: Take Moyo head-on, Mnangagwa urged – NewsDay Zimbabwe January 11, 2017

BY BLESSED MHLANGA

Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association secretary-general, Victor Matemadanda, told NewsDay yesterday it was high time Mnangagwa broke out of his self-imposed cocoon and hit back at the likes of politburo member Jonathan Moyo, who were dressing him down on social media platforms.

“He [Mnangagwa] says he will only speak when the President [Robert Mugabe] says speak, but I think he can’t allow this to continue. He has to censure Moyo, who is his junior in the party, to stop this abuse. Mnangagwa has to speak out and shut him up,” he said.

“Moyo is being cheered on as he attacks the revolution and it appears as if he is being sent to continue attacking Mnangagwa and nothing happens to him. If President Mugabe wants to stop this madness, surely he can because he can’t just say by word of mouth stop abusing Twitter and not take action.”

Matemadanda’s remarks came after Moyo, in a recent tweet, claimed Mnangagwa’s allies were “sabotaging government policies by working to prop up the VP” who is said to be angling to succeed Mugabe.

Matemadanda and several members of his executive, including war veterans chairperson, Christopher Mutsvangwa, were last year booted out of Zanu PF for alleged insubordination after they publicly declared their allegiance to Mnangagwa.

Part of Moyo’s tweet, which offended the war veterans read: “Big progress would be made if officials worked, not for their successor, but for the success of the policies of President Mugabe and the government.”

Former Zanu PF Mashonaland Central provincial secretary for security, Batsirai Musona, echoed similar sentiments, saying Mnangagwa should not wait for Mugabe to come to his rescue.

“We have seen the selective application of the law in Zanu PF. For some, action is taken even in the absence of evidence, while the likes of Moyo can defy Mugabe and remain untouched. It is without question that Mangagwa should break his silence and meet his accusers and enemies head-on,” he said.

Political analyst, Alexzander Rusero concurred saying Mnangagwa should also take his fight to social media to save his skin.

“Their differences are well-documented, but for us to take Moyo on Twitter and conclude that he is attacking government policies or his party bosses, is wrong. He only makes these attacks on Twitter, not in Cabinet or politburo or central committee. He does this as a free citizen, who is entitled to his opinion. So, Mnangagwa should also just open his account and fight back,” he said.

Rusero warned that Mnangagwa could suffer the same fate as ousted former Vice-President Joice Mujuru if he remained silent in the hope that the ruling party would censure his detractors.

But, Mnangagwa’s aides yesterday said the VP was unlikely to change his approach, as he remains unfazed by attacks from some “students of law, who do not even fully understand how government works”.

“He is currently concerned about achieving food security in this country and President Mugabe knows that he is capable of delivering. He is focused on implementing government policy and see it succeed and will not be distracted by side shows,” a close Mnangagwa aide, who declined to be named, said.

Global Fund, UNDP advance $143m for HIV programmes

Zimbabwe is poised to further improve its HIV prevention and treatment programmes after it received an additional $143 million grant from the Global Fund and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), which rolls out this month.

Source: Global Fund, UNDP advance $143m for HIV programmes – NewsDay Zimbabwe January 11, 2017

By Phyllis Mbanje

The fund, which is aimed at sustaining and strengthening existing HIV services in the country, will run for a year and help scale up the fight against HIV-related ailments. The additional funding brings Global Fund’s HIV grant to Zimbabwe to $611 million.

HIV remains a major public health challenge in Zimbabwe with 1,4 million people believed to be living with the virus although the country has recorded a remarkable decline in HIV prevalence compared to other countries in the region.

The HIV grant aims to increase access to HIV treatment, with particular focus on the elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV, expanding HIV testing and counselling services, and scale-up of prevention for adolescents and in and out of school youth.

“This timely funding will sustain and strengthen existing HIV prevention and treatment services in Zimbabwe.
Significant advances have been made in recent years, but we must not be complacent. Services must continue if we are to further reduce the rate of new HIV infections, while also increasing the number of people initiated onto HIV treatment,” UN resident co-ordinator and UNDP resident representative in Zimbabwe, Bishow Parajuli said.

Implemented by UNDP, in partnership with the Health and Child Care ministry, National Aids Council and civil society organisations, the new funding will run from January 2017 until the end of the year.

Zimbabwe has made great strides in the fight against Aids, with the support of UNDP, Global Fund and other development partners.

Knives out for Tomana

Source: Knives out for Tomana | The Herald

Tendai Mugabe Senior Reporter—

At least 11 witnesses, including Deputy Prosecutor-General Mrs Florence Ziyambi, are testifying against suspended Prosecutor-General Mr Johannes Tomana, who is facing a slew of charges, chief among them criminal abuse of office and gross incompetence.

Some of the witnesses are senior prosecutors in the Prosecutor-General’s Office and others who left Government service to venture into private practice.

This comes as the tribunal set up by President Mugabe in terms of Section 187 (3) of the Constitution to probe Tomana wrote to the President seeking a further extension to complete the probe.

Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs permanent secretary Mrs Virginia Mabhiza confirmed to The Herald yesterday that the tribunal, being chaired by retired judge Justice Moses Chinhengo, sought a third extension that was due to run until March.

She said Mr Tomana would also bring his own witnesses whose number could not be ascertained as of yesterday.

“The tribunal has sought another extension that has since been granted and they are now continuing with the hearing,” said Mrs Mabhiza.

“This was as a result of too many witnesses who wanted to testify against the PG and some of them take long to testify. Now, the remaining witnesses are testifying and we hope that by March the tribunal will be done with the hearing.”

Initially, the tribunal was supposed to complete the hearing in October last year but failed to meet that deadline.

It then asked for an extension that lapsed in December.

The tribunal seeks to inquire into Mr Tomana’s conduct with respect to court orders issued by the High Court and Supreme Court in cases pitting Francis Maramwidze versus Commissioner-General of the Zimbabwe Republic Police and another; Telecel Zimbabwe (Pvt) Ltd versus Attorney-General; and Professor Charles Muchemwa Nherera versus Jayesh Shah.

In Maramwidze’s case, Mr Tomana is accused of refusing or failing to issue him with a certificate for private prosecution as ordered by the High Court on May 14, 2014. He is facing the same charge in the Telecel Zimbabwe (Pvt) Ltd case after he was ordered to issue a certificate by the Supreme Court within five days on January 8, 2014.

The tribunal seeks to establish whether Tomana was not only in contempt of court, but also in violation of the Oath of Office and the Constitution by refusing or failing to obey the court orders.

It is understood that the tribunal also seeks to establish whether or not Tomana’s conduct was inappropriate and an abuse of office with regards to persons who were his clients prior to his appointment as Prosecutor-General.

Through his office or officers he authorised, Tomana is accused of refusing to support the conviction on appeal of Prof Nherera, who was his former client.

Tomana is further accused of withdrawing charges of contravening the Prevention of Corruption Act (Chapter 9:6) against Mr Bright Matonga, another of his former clients, citing unavailability of witnesses, which was not the case.

Tomana is also accused of refusing to prosecute Mr Matonga on charges of culpable homicide, citing untenable reasons at law.

In another charge, the tribunal seeks to establish whether or not Tomana himself inappropriately and in abuse of office stopped the trial of Beauty Basile, who was charged with several counts of contravening the Prevention of Corruption Act (Chapter 9:23) and the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act (Chapter 9:23).

The circumstances surrounding the termination of the trial are being viewed as unwarranted and against the weight of evidence against Basile.

Govt to sign concession agreement for roads dualisation

Source: Govt to sign concession agreement for roads dualisation | The Herald January 11, 2017

Walter Nyamukondiwa Chinhoyi Bureau—

Government will now proceed to sign the concession agreement for the $800 million Beitbridge-Harare and Harare-Chirundu roads dualisation project, paving way for work to commence within the next three months.

The move will culminate in ground-breaking ceremonies for the highways in early February.

There have been delays in signing the agreement with the identified contractor Geiger Investments, as Government waited for Japanese company JICA’s feedback. The grant to cover the work on the mountainous area around Makuti was availed following President Mugabe’s visit to Japan last year, where several deals were inked. Delays in getting the Japanese company’s input on the scope of the grant had stalled the signing of the agreement as Government weighed its options.

Experts from the company were in the country last year to conduct a feasibility study on the stretch of the road notorious for hairpin curves and steep gradients.

It is not yet clear if the grant will cover only the 20km mountainous stretch or will extend to Chirundu.

Addressing road authorities in Chinhoyi on Monday, Transport and Infrastructure Development Minister Dr Joram Gumbo said the grant was a cheaper financing option.

“My officers are going ahead and preparing the concession agreement so that we sign with the company that has done the feasibility study, which amounted to $800 million,” said Dr Gumbo.

“We had stopped working on the agreement hoping that the Japanese company will get back to us with indications on the grant they are willing to commit, and how much it will cost. We expected that by December, we would have received the response.”

He said adjustments can be made once the Japanese company makes its commitment, which will be subtracted from the $800 million loan facility. Grants are generally cheaper than loans and the grant from the Japanese company is expected to significantly reduce the cost of constructing the road. This means that if the grant is for $200 million, then it will be subtracted from the $800 million loan facility, making it cheaper. Dualisation of the two roads is expected to gobble a combined $2,134 billion, including $336 million for the construction of the Harare ring road.

The meeting brought together road authorities from Mashonaland West Province, including officials from local authorities, the District Development Fund, Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure Development and Members of Parliament. Norton legislator Mr Temba Mliswa expressed concern at the delays being caused by waiting to get feedback from the Japanese company.

He said people continued to die due to the poor state of the country’s roads.

Chegutu East legislator Cde Webster Shamu said a mechanism should be put in place to ensure that locals benefited through the 40 percent quota set for the road dualisation project. Dr Gumbo said while Government was committed to empowering its people, some locals were actually fronting for external companies.

“It is disheartening that some people choose to become the face of external companies so that they deprive local ones,” he said. “It’s better to have that quota filled by Zimbabweans so that the money remains here.”

Chairperson of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Transport and Infrastructure Development Cde Dexter Nduna said more avenues of improving revenue to be channelled towards road maintenance should be implemented.

He said Government, that has a fleet of 207 000 vehicles, should be made to pay vehicle licence and toll gate fees.

“That is a big constituency that should be contributing towards road maintenance through paying fees the same way Government workers pay taxes,” he said.

He said the country should increase road access fees for foreign vehicles from $10 to $20, so that it helps in improving the state of the roads. Dr Gumbo said the proposals will be tabled in Cabinet.

VP Mphoko now Acting President

Source: VP Mphoko now Acting President | The Herald January 10, 2017

Herald Reporter
Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko has with effect from today assumed the capacity of Acting President until the end of the month, when President Mugabe returns from his traditional annual leave.

Cde Mphoko is taking over from his counterpart, Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who had been acting in the same capacity from the time President Mugabe commenced his annual leave in December last year.

Information, Media and Broadcasting Services secretary Mr George Charamba confirmed the development in a statement yesterday.

“Honourable Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko assumes the capacity of Acting President from tomorrow (today) 10th January, 2017, in the absence of His Excellency the President R.G Mugabe, who is still on his traditional annual leave,” said Mr Charamba.

“Vice President Mphoko will act up to the end of this month when His Excellency the President is expected back in the Office.”

Govt moves in to quell fall armyworm

Source: Govt moves in to quell fall armyworm | The Herald January 10, 2017

Elita Chikwati Senior Agriculture Reporter
Government has distributed Carbaryl 85 Wettable Powder across the country for the control of the fall armyworm that has wrecked havoc in most areas with an irrigated maize crop.

The pest, which is new in the country, has affected maize in Midlands and Matabeleland provinces.

Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development, department of Plant Protection and Research Institute chief entomologist, Dr Godfrey Chikwenhere, yesterday expressed concern that the pest had 12 cycles and could continue recurring after the first spray.

He urged farmers to continue scouting their crop even after spraying.

Dr Chikwenhere said the fall armyworm should be controlled during the early days of its life to reduce the rate of recurrence. He said if left to grow, it would require more chemicals for control and could also become resistant to the chemicals.

“We have two types of worms that affect maize namely fall armyworm and the African armyworm. The fall armyworm is the current challenge and can have between 10 and 12 cycles.

“The pest is controlled by Carbaryl 85 WP and this is a contact pest