Author Archives: ZimSitRep_M

Happy 93rd birthday Mr President: Why some Zimbabweans STILL love Mugabe

Happy 93rd birthday Mr President: Why some Zimbabweans STILL love Mugabe

Source: Happy 93rd birthday Mr President: Why some Zimbabweans STILL love Mugabe | News24 2017-02-21

Harare – It’s not just loyal Zimbabwean state media that will enthusiastically wish President Robert Mugabe a happy 93rd birthday on Tuesday.

There are still Zimbabweans – and not just in the rural areas – who support AND idolise Mugabe (though there’s little doubt a bit of vote-rigging always helps win an election).

As one Zimbabwean tweeted this weekend: “There are many people who vote for Zanu WILLINGLY. Please deal.”

So why, after years of economic hardship and international isolation, do some still love the man that critics accuse of turning the southern African country into a basket-case?

Here are some suggestions:

Powerful legacy

Like him or hate him, Mugabe played a key role in freeing Zimbabwe from colonial power in 1980. It’s a victory he often likes to remind locals often (“Zimbabwe will never be a colony again” etc etc). His story resonates well beyond Zimbabwe’s borders, which is why he also gets a lot of support when he travels on the continent.

Stressing the I-freed-the-country line is “chapter 1 in How to be a Dictator”, Jeffrey Smith of @VanguardAfrica told News24. There are some signs that the younger generation in Zimbabwe is becoming increasingly disillusioned with the “debt” Mugabe and other war vets claim they’re still owed nearly 40 years after the war for independence (As @BuildZimbabwe urged on Monday: “Don’t let your loyalty become slavery. Reject the status quo”). On the other hand, legacies win elections. Higher education minister @profjnmoyo argued along these lines at the weekend.

He gives Zimbabweans things

It was Grace who got tongues wagging over last week’s donations at her Buhera rally of shoes, soap and cooking oil, all allegedly confiscated by the state ZIMRA revenue authority from traders. Former finance minister @BitiTendai fumed: “It is illegal for ZANU & the obnoxious Grace to capture goods seized by ZIMRA meant for customs rummage sales & distribute same at rallies.” (Ruling party MP Psychology Maziwisa did something similar earlier this month, plastering the promise “Rice! Rice! Rice!” over flyers advertising his rally in his Highfield West constituency). But giving out free stuff is just what Mugabe’s been doing on a grander scale for years. Farms. Company shares. Thing is, many of those things you can only access if you’re a slogan-shouting member of the party.

There’s no viable opposition

Perhaps there was in 2008 when Movement For Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai won the first round of polls. But since then Tsvangirai’s popularity has plummeted. Let’s be honest: who wants to be aligned to someone who keeps losing?

There’s also no “acceptable” opposition to Mugabe within his party, as the president himself confirmed this weekend. “The majority of people feel there is no replacement,” he said in a birthday interview. Possible replacement Emmerson Mnangagwa has never had the crowd-pulling charisma and the skill with words that Mugabe has, though he’s undoubtedly feared. As for Grace, another possible successor… enough said.

Got his scapegoats sorted

Companies closing in Zimbabwe? No foreign investment? It’s all illegal Western sanctions. Mugabe has repeated this mantra for the last 16 years. He’s had state media repeat it endlessly too, which is why a number of Zimbabweans still echo this line. Never mind that these have been targeted EU and US sanctions and that a deliberate decision not to invest or grant money does not fall into the official definition of a sanction imposed by one country upon another.

He’s made it

His wife may have claimed that he’s the poorest president on earth two years ago – but Mugabe does have that rather nice blue-tiled mansion in Borrowdale and enough money to buy her a diamond ring. Mugabe’s is the herd-boy-made-good story with more than a whiff of fairy-tale in it – and he does keep “pampering” his relatives, as his sister-in-law Serapia told the Sunday Mail. Many Zimbabweans are not impressed by that narrative. But there will always be some who admire Mugabe for his material successes and his ability to help out his relatives.

So: do enough Zimbabweans love Mugabe to vote him into power in 2018 even as a corpse, as Grace Mugabe suggested last week?

Not long to find out…

WATCH: ‘Tired’ Mugabe shows his age in barely-audible birthday interview

Eyes closed, frequently fumbling for the right word: this was President Robert Mugabe finally showing his 93 years.

Source: WATCH: ‘Tired’ Mugabe shows his age in barely-audible birthday interview | News24 2017-02-21

Harare – Eyes closed, frequently fumbling for the right word: this was President Robert Mugabe finally showing his 93 years.

In a sunlit room at State House in Harare, Mugabe has given his usual long interview to mark his birthday – but the longtime leader’s masterful speaking style was mostly absent.

The first part of the interview was broadcast on state ZBC television on Monday night.

“She is a very strong character, eh?” Mugabe said of his wife Grace. There’s growing speculation Grace is being groomed to succeed her husband. The president told interviewer Tazzen Mandizvidza that Grace was “very much accepted by the people”.

For the first 15 minutes Mugabe spoke extremely quietly – perhaps not in a mutter, but certainly in a very tired voice. As the interview wore on, there were moments where he spoke more strongly. But there were long pauses as his voice fizzled out.

He said: “I have been at it [as leader] for a longer period than anyone else and leaders will have to be you know, as it were, given time to develop.”

Mugabe has been in power in Zimbabwe for nearly 37 years. Recently, there have been frequent questions about his physical fitness to lead Zimbabwe, given a notable stumble on the red carpet in 2015 and other times when he has appeared less than steady on his feet.

This interview will only intensify those questions.

Watch the video below.

‘Struggling’ firms wish Mugabe, 93, many more years to come

Struggling firms in Zimbabwe have “fallen over each” other to wish President Robert Mugabe many more years to come as he turned 93.

Source: ‘Struggling’ firms wish Mugabe, 93, many more years to come | News24 2017-02-21

Harare – Struggling firms in Zimbabwe have “fallen over each” other to wish President Robert Mugabe many more years to come as he turned 93 on Tuesday.

Despite clear signs Mugabe was clueless in finding solutions to Zimbabwe’s political and economic crisis, embattled state entities took up expensive advertising slots in all newspapers, including the private media, state television and radio to “bootlick” him.

This came at a time when some in the Zanu-PF youth league called on the day to be  declared a national holiday.

“We are fortunate to be part of this great celebration of life and given that your journey in life has been from humble beginnings and incarceration to leading out people towards total freedom,” read part of an advert placed in a private daily by the ministry of energy and power development.

Not to be outdone in the hero-worshipping and praise singing was AB Communication, a media firm owned by the minister of ICT Supa Mandiwanzira.

The firm, which was controversially awarded a broadcasting licence, congratulated the nonagenarian with an advertisement that referred to him as “Zimudhara”.

“The high standards of excellence we emulate in all we do is from the foundation set by His Excellency who embodies the spirit of hard work,” it gushed.

NetOne, the state-owned telecommunications firm, which has been struggling against private competition, chipped in with an equally sycophant advert, proclaiming Happy Birthday to “The One. The Only One”.

A number of other troubled private firms with close links to the ruling party also stampeded to wish Mugabe a happy birthday.

Meanwhile, a $2.5m lavish party awaited the veteran leader in Matobo on Saturday. His critics said the money could be better spent on villagers displaced by the devastating cyclone Dineo.

Accountability, transparency vital in mining sector

Source: Accountability, transparency vital in mining sector | The Herald February 21, 2017

Tinashe Makichi Mining Matrix
The discovery of diamonds in Marange brought hope to the nation.

Revenue from the diamond sector was anticipated to restore macro-economic stability and general social and economic development for the nation as a whole.

However, the exploitation of Marange diamonds did not translate into expected development as budget deficits continued to be perennial, social spending dwindled while industrial sector productivity continued to decline.

Research done by various civil society organisations, the academia and other stakeholders confirmed that the country lost potential resources for development from the diamond sector despite the fact that the companies made huge profits.

Organisations like the Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development have continually advocated for domestic resources mobilisation as opposed to unsustainable and unpredictable borrowing from International Financial Institutions and other bilateral lenders who set conditions that end up hurting ordinary citizens.

ZIMCODD has consistently bemoaned the inaction by Government to address this economic injustice.

Revenue losses from the formal system have had negative consequences on social and economic development.

“When government fails to curb resources leakages, the rights holders are deprived of their socio-economic rights as the government fails to provide social services to the citizens.

“Revenue leakages entail limited spending on social services such as health, education and industry support by government,” said ZIMCODD.

The lost resources could have been invested in social service and economic development that Zimbabweans so desperately need.

To meet these demands, there is heavy reliance on donors, a situation which has proven to be unsustainable. It is common knowledge that if the available resources are managed effectively the proceeds can also be channelled towards infrastructure development.

Going forward, to curb these illicit financial flows, there is need to improve on the legal and institutional frameworks that relate to public finance management and natural resources governance to enhance transparency and accountability.

The country has lost a lot of potential resources for development from the extractive sector through IFFs and this has impacted negatively on social and economic development and the general well-being of the country. Against this back drop, it is advisable that Government must urgently set up a commission of inquiry to establish how potential revenue is being lost in the extractive sector.

There is need to reform and strengthen the legal and institutional frameworks that govern public finance management and natural resources.

This entails finalising on the Mines and Minerals amendment Bill which is still pending, realigning the Public Finance Management Act among other relevant pieces of legislation

To enhance transparency and accountability in the extractives industry, there is need to make contract negotiation and the signed contracts more open to public scrutiny. Parliamentary oversight role on public finance management issues and natural resources governance should be improved and constitutional provisions should be made enforceable.

In addition there should also be fiscal transparency in terms of publicly disclosing financial statements by mining companies.

Going forward Government needs to conduct a geological survey to determine current quality and quantities of the mineral resources before mortgaging resources without the true value of the resources.

Government needs to take action towards reforming institutional and legal frameworks in order to curb IFF. There is need to limit the number of revenue collecting institutions in the mining sector.

Currently, there are too many revenue collecting agents involved thereby making it difficult to trace where exactly there are revenue leakages.

Follow Herald Business on Twitter @H_BusinessZim

ZESA declines chrome miners’ tariff proposal

Source: ZESA declines chrome miners’ tariff proposal | The Herald February 21, 2017

Golden Sibanda Senior Business Reporter
ZESA Holdings has rejected a proposal by chrome miners for a further reduction of the power tariff levied on the industry by between 40 and 55 percent citing high operating costs.

Consumers of electricity pay an average of 9,83 cents per kilowatt hour, but strategic economic agents may negotiate a lower tariff. Chrome miners currently pay a discounted rate of 6,7c per kWh.

Zim-Alloys managing director Munyaradzi Dube confirmed to The Herald Business that ZESA had declined the proposals for further tariff cuts.

“We had asked for (further) reduction because that is the tariff prevailing in South Africa (a major global producer),” Mr Dube said.

The Zim-Alloys MD said ZESA told the industry equivocally that it could not afford to supply the power at such grossly discounted tariff. Ferrochrome producing giants, Zim-Alloys and Zimasco, held more than 75 percent of the chrome ore rich ground in the country. Government has since reposed part of the unutilised ground.

Half the chrome sold on global markets is extracted in southern Africa. Other producers include Iran, Turkey, Kazakhstan and India.

Chrome mining and processing companies want ZESA to review the power tariff further down to between 3 cents and 4 cents per kilowatt hour.

“We are currently being charged 6,7c per kilowatt hour, which goes further down to 6c, on discount, if you pay in advance. But they have said they cannot give us (lower) tariff,” Mr Dube said.

An official at ZESA, who requested anonymity, confirmed that ZESA had indeed rejected the chrome miners request on the basis that while the price could come down, costs would remain high.

“The chrome miners wanted a commodity linked price. As such while we agree that the price of chrome is currently low on global markets, we could not lower the tariff further due to high costs.

“Already, at 6,7 cents per kilowatt hour, the miners are paying a subsidised tariff, which drops further down if one pays in advance. While the miners want a lower tariff when commodity prices fall on global markets, they do not ask for an increase when the prices recover,” the official said.

Zimbabwe, a major producer in southern Africa, earned $115 million from export of 140 000 tonnes of high carbon ferrochrome last year and $31 million after exporting 284 943t of raw chrome.

Zimbabwe’s platinum miners and ferrochrome producers recently reached an agreement with Zesa to prepay for power directly from regional suppliers amid foreign exchange shortages in the country.

ZESA currently imports power from the region to augment limited local production. The country produces just over 1 100 megawatts against demand for power at peak periods of 1 400MW. The Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (ZERA) last year shot down a proposal by Zesa Holdings to increase the power tariff by 49 percent. ZESA is on record saying costs far outweigh its revenues.

Government is in the process of reorganising the chrome mining sector by repossessing idle ground from large scale companies and parcelling it out to small miners to extract the mineral directly.

This comes as about 85 percent of the underutilised chrome rich ground held by large scale miners/ferro chrome producers was tribute. Efforts by Government to increase production come against indications on global markets that the price of chrome is picking up.

President speaks on two million jobs

Source: President speaks on two million jobs | The Herald February 21, 2017

Felex Share Senior Reporter
The creation of two million jobs promised by Zanu-PF is a gradual process to be achieved through numerous initiatives like value addition and beneficiation of the country’s resources, the President has said.

In a wide-ranging interview with ZBCTV ahead of his 93rd birthday today, the President said apart from getting employed, Zimbabweans should also strive to be entrepreneurs.

President Mugabe was born on February 21, 1924. Official celebrations to mark the President’s birthday are slated for Matopos on Saturday.

In the traditional birthday interview whose first part was aired on ZBCTv last night, President Mugabe said economic growth was not an overnight event.

Play the video below:

“The process is a gradual one,” he said. “As we improve the economy sector-by-sector and bring about employment alongside that improvement, naturally we shall also be transforming the overall economic sectors in accordance with our Zim-Asset. Transforming means adding value to the raw materials that might come out of agriculture, mining et cetera so we ensure that upon the exportation of goods from these sectors, we shall receive perhaps, double or even more than double, what we might have got if we didn’t transform or add value to the particular goods. That whole process, it’s an economic process.”

President Mugabe went on: “As you transform the economy, you are actually ensuring greater employment, sector by sector, it’s the creation of industry by the way and industry is created in mining, agriculture and commerce by that transformative process, which ensures that we can now talk of our country having transformed and a greater part of our people having been employed.”

The Head of State and Government said it was sad that some people still had the mentality of working for whites, 37 years after independence.

To crush this inferior mentality, President Mugabe said, Zimbabweans should strive to own businesses.

“And by the way, employment, getting a job is not the only thing that we need to look forward to,” he said.

“We would want to see our people turned into entrepreneurs. Have we really become producers of our own goods, have we become the masters of our own economy or are will still thinking of whites as the best entrepreneurs and Africans as the labourers for these entrepreneurs?

“My worry in that regard, great worry indeed, (is that) even if we have said to our people, get together, form companies, form partnerships, collectives as African, Zimbabwe entrepreneurs (they say) no. They would want to see investment made by whites where they are able themselves to get together and invest in the particular area. They want to see a European invest and go and work for that European as directors, managers, chief executives.”

President Mugabe said furtive operations were stifling the growth of several sectors mainly agriculture.

“We are seeing in the agriculture sector quite a number of these surreptitious operations where they come and say, ‘you don’t have to worry if you have a farm. We can cultivate for you, stay where you are. Live in town, we will do the work for you’,” he said.

Turning to the land reform programme, President Mugabe said Government had done well to settle hundreds of thousands of indigenous people.

This, he said, fulfilled the wishes of departed nationalists such as Vice President Dr Joshua Nkomo.

“I would say, we have continued to give land to the people and most of the land which used to be in the hands of the settlers is now in the hands of our people,” he said.

“What is there now, is for us to ensure there won’t be retrogression. That those given the land, will keep it, use it, cultivate it properly and ensure it is productive. I would say (to Dr Nkomo) what you wanted me to do, I think I have done and done well. I think our objective earlier on which constituted our first grievance as we fought the struggle, that land possessed by settlers must be repossessed by we, the indigenous and not just that, but that it should also be defended and never be allowed once again to fall into the hands of the settlers. I think we have done that well.”

Happy birthday, Comrade President!

MR President, today, you turn 93 amid a new clarion call by First Lady Grace “Dr Amai” Mugabe to vote for you in 2018, even as a corpse!

Source: Happy birthday, Comrade President! – NewsDay Zimbabwe February 21, 2017

GUEST OPINION: Luke Tamborinyoka

The call is revealing, coming from someone well-privileged to have the intimate details and contours of your physical frailties and general state of health.

That Grace is now referring to you in cadaverous terms may yet be revealing, even to those alien to the verbal and non-verbal nuances in the complex field of communication.

Addressing a bemused crowd in Buhera on Friday, Grace went into her usual drivel and invective, accusing, particularly the Lacoste faction, of seeking your retirement on grounds of old age and long service, when they themselves have served with you all these years.

If Mugabe must go, then they too must go with him “so that we take over”, she told her stunned audience.

The “we” remains unexplained, but it could as well confirm that she is keen on taking over from you.

The snippets from your interview aired last night confirm that you agree with your wife that there is no one fit to take over from you; that you are keen to succeed yourself, even as a corpse!

It may well be true that your wife has turned out to be your true spokesperson, aptly representing your views on the succession issue.

This may be because your official spokesperson, my totem-mate, who bandies himself as a nocturnal columnist (Nathaniel Manheru), is now playing megaphone to the faction of violence that is now desperate to take over at all costs!

Today, you celebrate 93 years of life.

On the eve of your birthday, last Friday, when those close to you ought to have been celebrating your life, your acerbic other half was on the forefront fulminating about your death.

Grace told dumb-founded Buhera villagers that the nation will still vote for your corpse in the next election.

The irony was lost on her that at a time when we were expecting your family to be celebrating your life, they were already poisoning your impending birthday with morbid news about your death, as if they know something that we the ordinary Zimbabweans do not know!

On the eve of what should have been a celebration of your life, Grace was peddling a grisly message of your death through her typically misguided evocation of you as a corpse.

Where we expected a celebration of life, we were told to celebrate your death by voting for your corpse.

This was bad messaging, to say the least. Yet one cannot expect fake doctors to appreciate this disaster.

Indeed, the message calamity was way beyond counterfeit doctorates!

Today, February 21, as the only leader we have known for almost four decades, you proudly celebrate a bounty 93 years on mother earth.

Indeed, as proud Africans, we join you in thanking God for such a long life.

That this long life has been in tandem with our long period of misery, is a story for another day and not fit for this your special day.

As cultured Africans, we all revere the old; we salute them as the reservoirs of our culture and tradition.

But certainly, in this day and age, we cannot expect you or anyone of your generation to be able to run a modern economy.

As I have always said, it would be a betrayal of the Twitter generation to allow an analogue politician like you to lead them in this digital age; a man eight years older than Lidya Tsvangirai, the mother of your gangling political opponent, whose political shadow continues to loom large over your paling silhouette.

Zimbabweans are suffering.

The call from the nation and the rest of the continent is for you to retire and spend your last hours enjoying roasted nuts in Zvimba!

Yet, on the eve of this your special day, Grace has chosen to place, on the political market, your image as a corpse!

The nation so loves you, so she told us, that even if in the soft requiem of your demise, your name on the ballot would still win an election.

Why would you allow this mordant woman to speak death on the eve of your special day?

Grace is taking Zimbabweans for granted. So she thinks Zimbabweans are so stupid to expect you to deliver in death what you failed to do when you were alive?

Moreover, the dastardly corpse imagery could not have been more misplaced, what with your planning to host a lavish birthday bash in Matobo this Saturday.

The venue is home to the many unburied corpses of Gukurahundi that remain an indelible imprint to your own legacy in that part of the country.

But today is no day for morbid expressions.

We leave that to uncultured people, who conjure death and corpses at a time they should be celebrating your life!
I just have one message for you on this special day, Your Excellency.

Yesterday’s people cannot solve today’s problems. Today’s problems need today’s people. Yet you do not even belong to yesterday’s generation.

At 93, you certainly belong to “yesterday but one”.

Happy birthday, comrade President!

Luke Tamborinyoka is the Presidential Spokesperson and Director of communications in the MDC led by Morgan Tsvangirai. You can interact with him on Facebook and Twitter.

LATEST: Local companies get 40% stake in Beitbridge-Chirundu highway

Source: LATEST: Local companies get 40% stake in Beitbridge-Chirundu highway | The Herald February 20, 2017

Lloyd Gumbo Senior Reporter
The company that won a tender for the dualisation of the Beitbridge-Harare-Chirundu highway, Geiger International, will call for expressions of interest from companies that want to be involved in the project, parliamentarians heard today.

Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister Dr Joram Gumbo said Government had managed to negotiate with the Austrian firm to ensure that 40 percent of the project was reserved for locals.

He made the remarks while giving oral evidence before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Transport and Infrastructural Development chaired by Zanu-PF MP for Chegutu West, Cde Dexter Nduna.

The committee wanted to know how locals were going to get the 40 percent and the criteria to be used in selecting the companies.

“As Government and as a ministry, we awarded the dualisation of the Beitbridge-Chirundu road to Geiger International, which is an Austrian company and our work ends there,” said Dr Gumbo.

“Second to that, we negotiated for 40 percent local involvement in the construction of this road. But as a ministry, we are not going to be involved to say use this or that criteria.

“The criteria to be used will be done by the contractor because they are the ones who must come up with a project that will satisfy us. They will have to advertise for the kind of work they want locals to be involved in, whether it’s provision of quarry and so forth.”

Dr Gumbo chided the committee for interfering with executive work by rushing to make policy pronouncements, which is a preserve of the executive.

Details to follow….

RBZ extends export incentive to tourism

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has extended the export incentive scheme to the tourism sector, recognising the industry as a quick-win in generating foreign currency, players have said.

Source: RBZ extends export incentive to tourism – NewsDay Zimbabwe February 21, 2017

BY TATIRA ZWINOIRA

The export incentive was introduced last year under a $200 million facility guaranteed by the African Export-Import Bank under the bond notes regime.

Qualifying exporters get an extra 5% in bond notes.

In his monetary policy statement released last week, RBZ governor, John Mangudya said the bank was extending the export incentive scheme to the tourism industry, as a reward for its contribution to foreign currency generation.

He said the depreciation of the South African rand and other regional currencies affected the price competitiveness of the country’s tourism industry, considering that the bulk of tourists come from Africa, particularly South Africa.

“In view of this, Zimbabwe becomes more expensive as a tourist destination as the US dollar strengthens against the regional currencies. The export incentive scheme is, therefore, expected to provide some cushion to allow the tourism sector to adjust prices to remain competitive,” Mangudya said.

Tourism and Hospitality Industry minister Walter Mzembi applauded Mangudya for listening to sectoral representation and “reflecting and aligning to global tourism trends, which now capture tourism, as the third global export earner”.

“He needs to be applauded because the behaviour of currencies single-handedly after safety and security is a key determinant of growth in the tourism sector, as weaker currencies and devaluations tend to attract traffic from stronger currency source markets. A case in point is how the United Kingdom has benefited from Brexit with its attendant weakening of the pound sterling that has seen tourism spending surge to a 7% year-on-year increase,” he said.

Mzembi said dollarisation has severe “competitiveness unintended consequences, and any measure that mitigates that, is welcome”.

“There is no incentive for a rand source market to holiday in Zimbabwe, and measures to incentivise rand acceptance as transactional currency in the tourism sector are most welcome,” he said.

Mzembi said there was also need to attend to US dollar denominated cost drivers — labour, power, water and other cost of sales, which can only be tamed by a “holistic internal devaluation exercise and the benefits passed to tourism to achieve effective and competitiveness in rand pricing in near parity with South Africa itself”.

Zimbabwe Council of Tourism president, Tich Hwingwiri told NewsDay that: “The decision to extend the incentive is a welcome development, as government continues to recognise industry as a quick win, especially during these times of the scarcity of the foreign currency.

“Industry is looking forward to execution of ease to do business recommendations in order to invite more visitors to our country thus resulting in more foreign currency inflows.”

Tourism is considered a low hanging fruit, and provides the quickest turnaround ahead of other sectors such as mining and agriculture.

Zimbabwe Tour Operators’ Association former chairperson, Wengayi Nhau said he also welcomed the move, but added the central bank needed to make special considerations to tour operators, who needed to import for their business.

“We will do our best because we are an exportable service. There are fundamentals though that still needs to be addressed. Our sector being as it is by its nature most of our services and goods that we then need as inputs come from outside,” he said.

MDC-T youth leader summoned over 2016 demonstration

MDC-T youth leader, Happymore Chidziva, was yesterday summoned to Harare Central Police Station and charged with organising a violent demonstration that rocked the capital in August last year.

Source: MDC-T youth leader summoned over 2016 demonstration – NewsDay Zimbabwe February 21, 2017

BY OBEY MANAYITI

Chidziva presented himself to the police in the company of his lawyers, Sharon Hofisi and Jeremiah Bhamu.

Bhamu said his client was likely to be brought to court today on a public violence charge.

But, MDC-T spokesperson, Obert Gutu, described Chidziva’s arrest as part of the Zanu PF government’s choreographed crackdown on opposition activists ahead of next year’s general elections.

“He has been arrested in connection with the #MyZimbabwe demonstration that was held on August 24, 2016,” he said.

“This just proves that the Zanu PF regime is delinquent, brutal and evil. Chidziva has got absolutely no criminal case to answer. The regime is in panic mode and they are desperately trying to spread shock and awe amongst the generality of the suppressed and toiling masses of Zimbabwe.”

Earlier, Chidziva described his arrest as political victimisation.

“Surely there isn’t any criminality when one is calling for the restoration of his country’s dignity and identity.

It is because of these calls that I, and many others, find ourselves getting this kind of unfair treatment from the powers-that-be. I am tempted to believe it’s an attempt to silence the youth voice through any means possible regardless. I am not a criminal,” he said.

Govt accused of fuelling black market

PARLIAMENT yesterday heard that some private companies contracted by the government to undertake multi-million-dollar projects were importing duty-free fuel and reselling it on the black market.

Source: Govt accused of fuelling black market – NewsDay Zimbabwe February 21, 2017

BY XOLISANI NCUBE

The MPs raised the issue when CMED managing director, Davison Mhaka, and his board chair, Sheunesu Mupepereki, appeared before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines, where they accused the government of failing to monitor fuel usage by companies carrying out national projects.

Committee chairperson, Daniel Shumba, told Mhaka that the private companies were taking advantage of the duty-free fuel import certificates issued by CMED to import cheap fuel and feed it into the parallel market.

“We don’t know how much the State has been prejudiced by these private companies. In any case, there is no law that governs such actions like the issuance of duty-free import certificates to private companies. The statutory instrument here states that the issuance of duty-free importation of fuel shall be enjoyed by government agencies and departments,” Shumba said.

Mhaka named Sakunda Holdings, which is undertaking the Dema Energy plant project, Africa Chrome Fields in Midlands and Bell Petroleum, as some of the firms that were given duty-free certificates to import fuel by CMED.

He told Parliament that all the companies given duty-free fuel import certificates had accounted for their imports, but admitted that the system was prone to abuse.

According to Shumba, directors at Bell Petroleum — a company that is allegedly importing fuel on behalf of the Ministry of Defence — were once arrested for diverting part of the commodity into the informal market, prejudicing government of millions of dollars of revenue.

“We have to agree that between the importation and the actual consumer they are possible leakages,” Shumba said, to which Mhaka responded affirmtively.

This came as Transport minister Joram Gumbo disclosed that the Austrian firm, Geiger International, which won the tender for the dualisation of Beitbridge-Harare-Chirundu Highway would reserve a 40% stake for local companies.

Mujuru snubs ‘Mnangagwa war vets’

Zimbabwe People First (ZimPF) leader, Joice Mujuru, has turned down a proposed meeting between herself and the top leadership of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA), saying she had no business dealing with ex-combatants aligned to her rival, Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Source: Mujuru snubs ‘Mnangagwa war vets’ – NewsDay Zimbabwe

By NQOBANI NDLOVU

Mujuru made the remarks in Gwanda on Saturday while addressing her party’s newly-elected Matabeleland South provincial executive.

This follows recent overtures by ZNLWVA secretary-general, Victor Matemadanda and spokesperson, Douglas Mahiya, to organise a separate meeting with Mujuru following her nasty fallout with fellow ZimPF founders, Didymus Mutasa and Rugare Gumbo.

Last week, Matemadanda and Mahiya, met Gumbo and Mutasa in a gesture of solidarity widely believed to be an endorsement of the two politicians, as the legitimate ZimPF leaders.

But, Mujuru said she would not agree to such a meeting.

“You want to see me in your capacity as who? Not me. I have no business meeting with Lacoste,” she said in apparent reference to Mnangagwa’s faction.

“Exactly seven days after we expelled them (Rugare and Mutasa) from People First, they were in a meeting with war veterans aligned to the Zanu PF group supporting Mnangagwa.

“We had been infiltrated by Zanu PF in our leadership through those people who kept calling themselves founding elders. That is why we fired them.”

There is no love lost between Mujuru and Mnangagwa, as they were both said to be leading rival factions of Zanu PF during the former’s time in the ruling party.

Mujuru accused the expelled group of frustrating coalition talks with other opposition parties.

“My co-pilots were interfering too much and the plane could not fly properly. They did not understand the concept of co-piloting,” she said.

“They were dangerous. They wanted to control me as if I was their domestic worker.

“I refused that. For a long time, we thought they were genuine and gave them the benefit of the doubt, but it became clear they did not want anything to move.”

Mutasa and Gumbo have, however, hit back, accusing Mujuru of exhibiting dictatorial tendencies and of being daft.

Turning to the envisaged coalition with MDC-T and other political parties, Mujuru declared that there was no going back, saying the opposition leaders had unanimously agreed to fielding one presidential candidate to challenge President Robert Mugabe in next year’s general elections.

Meanwhile, Matabeleland South became the first ZimPF province to elect a substantive executive, with Bekezela Maduma as chairperson of the main wing, Engel Masiye leading the women, Khulani Ndlovu will lead the youth and Themba Ndlovu will lead the freedom fighters’ wing.

The African Charter hint: Why electoral reforms are unlikely

ZIMBABWE’S repeated failure to ratify the African Charter on elections and good governance may be the clearest indicator yet that nothing significant will be happening in the direction of electoral reforms ahead of the 2018 harmonised general elections.

Source: The African Charter hint: Why electoral reforms are unlikely – NewsDay Zimbabwe February 21, 2017

guest column: LEARNMORE ZUZE

Electoral reforms, despite fervent calls from the opposition, are unlikely under the current establishment and the sooner the opposition realises this unyielding truth, the more they can better strategise.

With the 2018 general elections edging closer and most political parties hitting the campaign trail, talk of electoral reforms continues to hog the limelight.

But are electoral reforms even possible in Zimbabwe, seeing as it is that government has remained evasive on the matter?

Zimbabwe, at one time, was even mandated by the continental body (African Union) to safeguard democracy in Africa during President Robert Mugabe’s tenure as the chair, but a marked indifference persisted against local electoral reforms.

Almost 10 years after the adoption of the African Charter, Zimbabwe has neither signed nor ratified the treaty and it logically follows that nothing much is likely to change in the perceivable future.

The opposition would do well to grasp this hint. History bears testimony that very few elections in Zimbabwe have ever fallen in the free-and-fair category; there had to be mayhem somehow.

Even across the world, violence is a likely factor, but the African story in general weighs a ton.

Violence in African elections is a given. Accusations of rigging, voter intimidation and displacement of people paint the Africa voting pattern.

It was against this backcloth that the African Charter came into force. The African Charter, among other things, seeks to promote adherence to democratic principles, rule of law and human rights respect among African States.

The Charter was adopted by member States on June 30, 2007 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and came into being in February 2012, following ratification by the 15th member State.

Zimbabwe, nonetheless, remains one of the eight countries that have not signed and ratified this charter alongside Libya, Gambia, Eritrea, Egypt, Botswana, Seychelles and Tanzania. Only 24 countries have signed and ratified.

Clearly, there is a notable flurry of activities in Zimbabwe as parties jostle to convince the electorate yet, unbeknown to them, electoral reforms may be the decisive factor on who occupies State House next year.

Everything else may be secondary. Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC-T has been on a nationwide trail evaluating and gauging whether an alliance with the embattled Joice Mujuru’s party, Zimbabwe People First (ZimPF), may yield a result to end Zanu PF’s iron grip on power.

On its part, the Christian-led opposition party, Transform Zimbabwe, has embarked on a meet-the-people campaign using clean-up campaigns nationwide.

The much-talked about Coalition for Democrats (Code), however, is yet to roll its campaign strategy. Code comprises the Welshman Ncube-led MDC, Simba Makoni’s Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn, Dare led by Gilbert Dzikiti, Zunde (Farai Mbira), PDZ (Barbra Nyagomo), Renewal Democrats of Zimbabwe (Elton Mangoma), Dumiso Dabengwa’s Zapu, Biti’s People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and Maxwell Shumba’s Zimbabwe First.

Zimbabwe presently has 25 registered political parties, but the concerning question is: Can the opposition achieve this daunting task? Will Zanu PF agree to reform itself out of power by consenting to electoral reforms?

The Tsvangirai-led MDC-T has not taken part in an election since 2013, stemming from electoral irregularities.

And the efficacy of the boycott stance adopted by the main opposition party has always ignited intense debate while the government has adopted a noncommittal approach to the call for reforms.

While some have been quick to shred the MDC-T for staying away from elections, the situation regarding participating in elections in Zimbabwe certainly puts the opposition in a quandary.

The playing field is not and has never been smooth; it is actually a damning indictment on Zanu PF that it lost in 2008 to a candidate, who was denied access to certain constituencies owing to violence.

Even more, the voters’ roll had shocking irregularities. The situation, therefore, remains cryptic for the opposition: If they should participate under a furrowed playing field and lose, they will be condemned as happened in 2013.

If they should stay away, they will equally be savaged for failing Zimbabweans.

The situation is sticky to the core. The call for electoral reforms, noble in every other way, may not see the light of day.

There seems to be no interest whatsoever in the present government to ratify the charter.

This, in my view, does not call for an actuarial scientist; electoral reforms could be the very thing that changes the game and the ruling party is fully awake to this.

The opposition has argued that contempt of such continental legal provisions as in the African Charter is an act of design meant to safeguard hegemonic rule.

Now, while it is true that such international laws need closer scrutiny and that nations cannot just dash to ratify, the case of Zimbabwe would be curious given the length of time taken, assuming there was scrutiny taking place.

When a State chairs a continental body, the general assumption is that they, in essence and character, represent the virtues they extol as a group. Failure to endorse the charter can only mean reluctance.

It, therefore, becomes incumbent upon the opposition to comprehend that a new way of looking at the political landscape is very urgent. Electoral reforms, as of now, remain pie in sky.

Learnmore Zuze is a law officer and writes in his own capacity. E-mail: lastawa77@gmail.com

Zimpapers, scribes geared to fight Moyo

The Zimbabwe Newspapers (Zimpapers) group, its editors and reporters have filed opposing papers challenging Higher Education minister Jonathan Moyo’s $9 million defamation lawsuit.

Source: Zimpapers, scribes geared to fight Moyo – NewsDay Zimbabwe February 21, 2017

BY CHARLES LAITON

Moyo’s court action stemmed from a series of allegedly defamatory articles published by the group’s publications, which he claimed impaired his dignity.

Part of the Zimpapers response, filed at the High Court last week, read: “Be pleased to take notice that on the 15th day of February 2017… the first, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth defendants (Zimpapers and its scribes) entered into an appearance to defend this action. The defendant’s address for service is care of their undersigned legal practitioners, Messrs Chirimuuta and Associates … the defendants were served with summons on February 13, 2017.”

In his application, Moyo cited scribes Brian Chitemba, Mabasa Sasa, Limukani Ncube, Lloyd Gumbo, Zvamaida Murwira, Caeser Zvayi and Innocent Madonko and Zimpapers, as respondents respectively. He claimed The Herald, Chronicle, Sunday News and Sunday Mail published several articles, which allegedly portrayed him as a dishonest man, a thief and unfit to hold public office.

Moyo, in his declaration, cited articles published with following headlines: Probe into Prof Moyo, Dr Gandawa: The Details, Moyo likens self to Robin Hood, Prof Moyo ‘admits’ funds abuse, Zanu PF didn’t get Zimdef loot and Parly summons Professor Moyo to explain Zimdef abuse allegations.

Moyo said in various articles, in addition to the ones mentioned articles, most of which he said were published in the 40 days prior to the issuance of summons, Zimpapers journalists, “in furtherance of their intention to defame and malign the plaintiff (Moyo)”, also authored and published various defamatory statements.

“As a result of the defamatory articles, plaintiff, who is a Cabinet minister, a Member of Parliament for Tsholotsho North constituency and a respected academic, has been damaged in his reputation and has suffered damages in the amount of $9 million,” he said.

The matter is yet to be set down for hearing.

Residents reject amendment Bill

GOVERNMENT’s attempts to amend the Constitution through Constitutional Amendment (Number 1) Bill to enable the President to appoint a new Chief Justice (CJ), faced another setback, with residents in most parts of the country, rejecting the move, saying it is too early to tamper with the governance charter adopted in 2013.

Source: Residents reject amendment Bill – NewsDay Zimbabwe February 21, 2017

BY Stephen Chadenga/TATENDA CHITAGU

The Ziyambi-led Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Justice is currently conducting public hearings, where the general sentiment is that the proposed Bill would compromise the principle of separation of power, as it seeks to give President Robert Mugabe excessive power over the judiciary.

The proposals are being pushed by Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa and to date, the committee has held meetings in Harare, Gweru and Masvingo.

In Masvingo province, despite being Mnangagwa’s perceived stronghold in Zanu PF, there were no takers for his sponsored Constitution Amendment (number 1) Bill, with participants from across the political divide, unanimously rejecting the Bill for various reasons.

A Gweru resident, Cleopas Shiri, yesterday said the government’s rush to amend the Constitution, which has not yet been fully implemented raised a stink.

“The doctrine of separation of powers should be adhered to and the executive arm of the government should never be allowed to interfere with appoint of the judiciary. In any case, it is disheartening that efforts are being made to amend a Constitution that has not been fully implemented and where alignment of acts of law has not been done,” he said.

Another contributor, Doubt Ncube said the Executive should not be allowed to usurp the powers of other arms of government.

Terence Mlambo said the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) should be given the sole mandate to appoint top judicial officers through public interviews, as provided for in the Constitution.

Pastor Karima said: “Let the Constitution, which is barely three years, work first. What are the fears now that you rush to make amendments? Have people from the JSC failed to do their work?”

Amendments to section 180 of the Constitution would allow Mugabe, in consultation with JSC, to appoint the CJ, Deputy Chief Justice and the Judge President of the High Court.

Govt postpones bonus indaba

PUBLIC Service, Labour and Social Welfare minister Prisca Mupfumira yesterday said a meeting to announce dates for civil servants’ bonus payments had been postponed to next week to allow for further consultations.

Source: Govt postpones bonus indaba – NewsDay Zimbabwe February 21, 2017

BY OBEY MANAYITI

Government and civil servants’ union leaders were scheduled to meet yesterday to agree on pay dates for civil servants’ 2016 bonuses.

“It has been moved. People are still consulting,” Mupfumira said.

Apex Council president, Cecelia Alexander, confirmed that the meeting had been rescheduled to next Monday.

“They communicated to us last week that they were postponing the meeting because they had other commitments,” she said.

Alexander said they were not concerned about the postponement, as long as they would be given a definite answer when they meet next week.

“It is okay with us, that is if they are going to give us something like tangible dates. One week will not harm anybody,” she said.

Some sections of the public service, particularly the Amalgamated Rural Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ), have threatened to go on strike if government fails to honour its bonus obligation.

“ARTUZ’s command centre is receiving updates on the bonus strike. The strike is gathering momentum and by week end we are expecting a 100% withdrawal of service by our members. We are glad that some non-members are requesting to join our strike, which will soon invade urban schools,” the organisation said in a statement yesterday.

Majome cries foul over Parly committee axe

HARARE West legislator Jessie Majome (MDC-T) has claimed that her recent removal as chairperson of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Justice was politically-motivated, as some of the decisions passed by her committee had unsettled ruling Zanu PF bigwigs.

Source: Majome cries foul over Parly committee axe – NewsDay Zimbabwe February 21, 2017

BY VENERANDA LANGA

Majome was recently replaced by the ruling party’s Ziyambi Ziyambi, with National Assembly Speaker Jacob Mudenda, saying the move was necessitated by the fact that the MDC-T’s numbers in the House had been reduced, hence, its MPs could only lead fewer parliamentary committees.

Mudenda added that the action was in line with provisions of Parliament’s Standing Rules and Orders Committee (SROC). Committee member and former Justice deputy minister Fortune Chasi (Zanu PF Mazowe South) also said Majome’s removal from chairing the committee was procedural.

But, Majome, who chaired the committee since 2013, insisted she was targeted because of her firmness.

“There is no section that allows them to depose me of chairing the committee. There is none as far as I know. It is politics, and my political antenna tells me that I was causing discomfort in the way that I led the committee. My interpretation of my ousting is that I had been dealt with decisively,” she said.

Since its inception in 2013, Majome’s committee dealt with some of the country’s highly-contested political issues, among them election Bills, judiciary issues, human rights and various commissions.

The committee members were occasionally subjected to verbal and physical assaults by Zanu PF activists, particularly during public hearings.

Majome said despite the setbacks, she believed she acquitted herself well as a human rights activist and inculcated a spirit of constitutionalism in the country.

“It is a strategic committee and it does not make sense that Zanu PF can play an oversight role over decisions made by their own Executive,” she said.

“I have always doubted whether Zanu PF MPs appreciate the legislative oversight role because, in the House, they actually defend the Executive. They are like Parliament cheerleaders of the Executive and yet they are supposed to provide oversight. What it means is that if that cheerleading happens in our committees as well, then our democracy is all the poorer.”

Ziyambi admitted being accused in the past of disrupting public hearings by the committee, but blamed the media for misinterpreting the facts.

“When I made suggestions that the chairperson must allow people to talk, I was misunderstood and the next thing reporters were accusing me of disrupting the public hearing. The misunderstanding was because of the political divide,” he said.

Ziyambi denied suggestions that Majome’s removal was a political ploy to give Zanu PF an upper hand ahead of the 2018 general elections.

“At the beginning of each session, the SROC looks at the ratio of MPs and if you have fewer members, it means you chair fewer committees. The MDC-T expelled their MPs and the balance in committee chairmanship shifted.

“I will not look at political connotations, but will do my job well. I agree the committee I chair deals with contentious issues, for example, elections, and such issues are like football matches which are often contested. This committee deals with core issues,” he said.

It was not immediately clear why Parliament only acted now, as MDC-T expelled its members in early 2015.

War vets to convene indaba

Source: War vets to convene indaba – DailyNews Live

Mugove Tafirenyika      20 February 2017

HARARE – Disgruntled Christopher Mutsvangwa-led war veterans are planning
to hold a national indaba ahead of the 2018 presidential elections.

Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA)
spokesperson Douglas Mahiya told the Daily News that following a national
executive meeting held in Harare last week, they resolved to convene the
grand indaba together with all former freedom fighters to review the
country’s political, economic and social progress since independence from
Britain 36 years ago.

“We were assigned by our national executive to get all war veterans
together so that we review the socio-political and economic progress or
lack of it since independence,” he said.

“…plans are underway to find out how we are going to go about that
because as you may know, war veterans are not financially-sound but at a
certain point, sooner rather than later, we are going to have that
meeting,” Mahiya said.

Since the emergence of the MDC led by Morgan Tsvangirai in 1999, war
veterans have been a key pillar of support to Mugabe’s continued grip on
power as they unleashed a reign of terror, particularly in rural areas.

But with Mugabe unwilling to listen to calls for him to step-down, former
freedom fighters have broken rank out of frustration.

Mutsvangwa and his executive, who have been open that they want Vice
President Emmerson Mnangagwa to succeed the soon-to-be 93 years old
leader, are mobilising all ex-combatants who have either been hounded out
of Zanu PF or are still in but are disgruntled by the factional fights
consuming the ruling party.

“We want to bring all comrades together and here I am talking about all
senior commanders of the war veterans (opposition Zapu leader) Dumiso
Dabengwa, (opposition ZPF elders Rugare) Gumbo and  (Didymus) Mutasa, Cde
Hondo and many others  we have visited them and talked to them,” Mahiya
said.

“What is left is to come up with a date when the meeting to review the
developments will be held,” he said, adding that they were also going to
invite Zimbabwe People First interim leader Joice Mujuru to be part of the
meeting.

The former freedom fighters were last year hounded out of the ruling Zanu
PF after they criticised Mugabe for overstaying in power.

Zim bad debt nears $1bn

Source: Zim bad debt nears $1bn – DailyNews Live

Ndakaziva Majaka      20 February 2017

HARARE – The Zimbabwe Asset Management Corporation (Zamco) has started
acquiring bad loans secured by mortgage bonds, after assuming
non-performing loans (NPLs) close to $1 billion in 2016.

A non-performing loan, according to the International Monetary Fund, is a
credit that has not been repaid and is in default or close to being in
default.

Central bank governor John Mangudya said during the first and second
phases of the special purpose vehicle’s bad loan assumption, there had
been

accounts that could not be taken up as they were secured by mortgage
bonds.

“Zamco will be using other resolutions methods (other than loan
restructuring) to resolve loans acquired in the third phase.

“This third phase should clear all eligible NPLs that would be offered by
the affected banking institutions and is expected to be complete by March
31, 2017,” he said.

Zamco – formed to clean the balance sheets of local banks by assuming bad
loans – had by the end of last year acquired NPLs amounting to $812,5
million comprising a proprietary portfolio worth $548,6 million and a
managed portfolio of $263,8 million.

Mangudya said after the third phase, Zamco will stop further acquisitions
and focus on resolution and resuscitation.

“This will curb moral hazard in the banking sector and is a standard
practice internationally for all asset management companies formed to
resolve NPLs.

“Going forward, the operationalisation of the credit registry would help
the economy to contain NPLs,” he said.

In efforts to assume the country’s NPLs, Zamco has acquired NPLs from some
of the country’s ailing companies and financial institutions.

Last year, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe-owned company assumed about $14
million of Metbank’s debts to regional lenders, as the bank moved to clean
its balance sheet.

Zamco also has assumed about $17 million of Agricultural Development bank
of Zimbabwe (Agribank) NPLs with Starafrica corporation disposing $32
million debt to Zamco.

It swallowed Cottco’s $56 million debt and took over NMB Zimbabwe’s loans
amounting to $11,6 million.

Following the formation of Zamco, Zimbabwe’s NPLs

declined to the prudential regional benchmark of five percent from about
14,2 percent.

Zamco received technical assistance from International Monetary Fund (IMF)
in crafting its legal and governance structures and has put in place
appropriate governance structures for its operations, with a 10-member
board that directs the operations of the corporation.

Under the company’s by-laws, it must not exceed a 10-year

operational duration, after which, government expects banks and companies
to have put their houses in order.

Zamco has also developed a valuation and pricing policy used in
establishing the prices at which loans are set to be acquired, with loans
being acquired at a discount.

Globally, NPLs have been a hindrance to the financial sector and economic
stability, and growth of economies.

Mugabe crushes bigwigs’ dreams

Source: Mugabe crushes bigwigs’ dreams – DailyNews Live

STAFF WRITERS      20 February 2017

HARARE – There is gnashing of teeth among Zanu PF’s bigwigs hoping to
succeed President Robert Mugabe, after the country’s long-ruling leader
said pointedly that Zimbabweans did not feel that there was a worthy and
acceptable candidate among them to take over from him.

Speaking in his choreographed annual interview with ZBC last week, ahead
of his 93rd birthday tomorrow, Mugabe did not mince his words saying he
would soldier on in power – notwithstanding his advanced age and declining
health – and would only step down if Zanu PF asked him to do so.

The interview, excerpts of which were published in advance by government
newspapers yesterday, will be flighted by the State broadcaster tonight
and tomorrow evening.

Mugabe also used the interview to hit back at firebrand South African
opposition leader Julius Malema, a former ally turned foe, who recently
joined other prominent voices, asking the nonagenarian to step down.

“Do you listen to anything from Malema? Who is Malema? The call to step
down must come from my party, my party at congress, my party at central
committee … I will step down.

“But then what do you see? It’s the opposite. They want me to stand for
elections. They want me to stand for elections everywhere in the party.

“Of course, if I feel that I can’t do it anymore, I will say so to my
party so that they relieve me. But for now I think I can’t say so … The
majority of the people feel that there is no replacement, a successor who
to them is acceptable, as acceptable as I am,” Mugabe said.

“But the people, you know, would want to judge everyone else on the basis
of president Mugabe as the criteria.

“But I have been at it for a longer period than anyone else and leaders
will have to be, as it were, given time to develop and to have the ability
to meet with the people and to be judged by the people.

“Silently, in the majority of cases, the people must see and be convinced
that yes, so and so can be the successor.

“Others think, yaa, yaa, that they are this in the party, they are capable
of succeeding the president. It’s not that easy,” he added as he rubbished
his ambitious lieutenants.

Asked a follow-up question to afford him to drive the point home,
regarding whether he was grooming a successor, Mugabe said emphatically
that he would not do that.

“A successor is groomed by the people. Those around you can get the
confidence of the people as they operate around you, and gain the
confidence of the people, you see.

“When the people see that they trust their leaders, (that they are) beyond
corruption, (that) their leaders (are) knowledgeable, sure that’s
grooming,” he said.

Mugabe also said he was confident Zanu PF would win next year’s
much-anticipated national elections as long as the ruling party – wracked
by its deadly tribal, factional and succession wars – closed ranks.

“Zanu PF is ever-ready for elections. But we need to ensure unity, (that)
we don’t have differences that can mar our participation in elections. We
have been in this game for a long time.

“We are not vanaZim First. They are born in the morning and before sunset
it has become something else … There is no opposition at all,” he said.

Mugabe also pooh-poohed the opposition’s planned grand alliance, saying it
would be a coming together of weaklings.

“If they want a coalition, if they believe that a coalition can save them
so why the dilly-dallying about it? But now Mai Mujuru is apparently
divorced, left in that situation which appears to be without anyone who
matters, politically.

“(Opposition leader Morgan) Tsvangirai will say ah, you are now only an
individual. Ini ndine party kaini (I’ve a party and you don’t). And yes,
he has a party.

“My party cannot have a coalition with an individual. Iwe kana uchida
unojoina wouya pasi pangu (so, if you want to join me you will be a junior
partner).

“She (Mujuru) might have to do that perhaps to save her political skin.
But that will be the final blow to her political life,” he said.

On clergymen who have “prophesied” his pending death, Mugabe said he would
not lose sleep over them.

“So-called prophets … why don’t you say prophets of doom? They are
prophets of doom who prophesy what really are their wishes. They turn
their wishes into prophesies, or dreams perhaps, but hardly any
(prophecies).

“I would want to think they are just wishes that this man must go. This
man must go, and so year in and year out it’s the same wish. And so they
say prophesy.

“Why do you care about them? I don’t care about them anymore? We had even
some pastors praying for my death and even a bishop in my church,
wekuMatabeleland uya watakazo bata aine mudzimai, akazviregera (the one
from Matabeleland whom we caught sleeping around, resulting in him mending
his wayward ways).

“So you get these things in society … Ndakanzwa chimwe chichiti
president ari kufa in October asi kana asingade kufa ngaataure (I heard
one of them saying I will die in October and that if I don’t want to die I
should say so). So there it is. I don’t pay them much attention,” Mugabe
said.

State newspapers said yesterday that Mugabe also spoke about corruption
and powerful First Lady Grace Mugabe’s dramatic entry into politics among
other issues.

Zanu PF is deeply divided over Mugabe’s succession, with a faction of
young party Turks going by the moniker Generation 40 (G40) rabidly opposed
to Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa succeeding the nonagenarian, and
squaring up against the VP’s allies, Team Lacoste.

Mugabe’s failure to name a successor has led to persistent suspicions that
he wants to lead Zanu PF and Zimbabwe for life.

On Friday, while addressing a rally in Buhera North, his wife appeared to
give fresh legs to the loud whispers within the ruling party that her
husband wants to rule Zimbabwe for life – particularly as she also went on
to tell the gathered crowd that if Mugabe were to die, Zimbabweans would
vote for his corpse.

“You will hear people saying you want Mugabe to continue so that you will
remain as the first lady.

“It’s unfair. Don’t expect me to tell him to retire when there are
millions who voted for him.

“There can be miracles. If God decides that Mugabe should go and we put
pictures of his corpse on the ballot paper, people will still vote for him
and he will win the election,” Grace told Zanu PF supporters.

In May last year, Grace stunned thousands of Zanu PF supporters who had
gathered in Harare for a solidarity rally with her husband when she said
Mugabe would rule Zimbabwe from the grave.

“We want you to lead this country from your grave, while you lie at the
National Heroes’ Acre,” she said.

Speaking during a rally at Murehwa Business Centre in 2015, the
influential first lady also warned Zanu PF heavyweights that she was going
to design a special wheelchair from which Mugabe would rule until he was
100 years old.

“We are going to create a special wheelchair for president Mugabe until he
rules to 100 years because that is what we want.

“That is the people’s choice. We want a leader that respects us,” she
said.

The Zanu PF youth league has also since formally moved a motion, at the
ruling party’s annual conference which was held in Masvingo last December,
for Mugabe to be declared life president.

Stop eating maize, it’s stock feed: First Lady

Source: Stop eating maize, it’s stock feed: First Lady – DailyNews Live

Bernard Chiketo      20 February 2017

BUHERA – President Robert Mugabe’s wife, Grace, has said Zimbabweans must
stop eating maize – the country’s staple food – claiming the grain is
stock feed unfit for human consumption.

Officially opening a girls’ dormitory named after her at Hande High School
in Buhera, just a few kilometres from where she had curiously donated
maize at her rally on Friday, Grace said she was no longer eating sadza –
a cooked maize-meal that is not only common in Zimbabwe, but across
southern Africa.

“Maize was not meant for human consumption at all, but as stock feed.
Isn’t it so (Agriculture) minister (Joseph) Made?” she said.

“It’s better to eat millet sadza,” she suggested.

“I have long stopped eating it after I gained the knowledge. Knowledge is
power. The food to eat is brown sadza, that is what our forefathers would
eat,” Grace said.

Oddly, she later donated 300 tonnes of maize and 120 tonnes of rice among
other basic goods.

This comes as the Manicaland District has produced a very poor crop, in
spite of the good rains the usually arid area received this season.

“The soil is not fertile and it’s not meant for maize. People here should
try to venture into small grains which grow well in this part of the
country,” the First Lady said.

Earlier on, State minister for Manicaland, Mandi Chimene, had said locals
needed to be encouraged to dump maize production due to perpetual crop
failure.

“Maize is not your crop here and you need to consider migrating to small
grain production. We have seen some fields with very poor crop. I hope
amai (Grace Mugabe), they will listen to you if you tell them yourself,”
she said.

Successful maize farming in the district has always been a long shot and
has always been a perpetual exercise in futility.

At least 50 percent of the district is in natural farming region five, 35
percent in region four and 15 percent is in region three.

Zanu PF provincial commissar wants Indians expelled

Source: Zanu PF provincial commissar wants Indians expelled – DailyNews Live

Farayi Machamire      20 February 2017

HARARE – Zimbabweans were yesterday shocked by new threats from Zanu PF
Harare provincial political commissar Shadreck Mashayamombe to expel all
Indian nationals from Zimbabwe.

The threats were accompanied by the kind of worrying rhetoric which
threatens to place the ruling party in the same league as Ugandan dictator
Idi Amin who hounded out the Asian population in the 70s through similar
racial and economic unrest.

The Zanu PF Harare South MP said on Facebook:  “Something must be done
with this Indian community in Zimbabwe.

“Firstly, they don’t bank their money, secondly, they don’t develop their
estates, and thirdly they don’t want to marry our sisters, fourthly,
before independence they used to be given special treatment as compared to
blacks.”

The Indian embassy was not immediately available for comment over the
weekend, but the small community has by and large maintained cordial
relations with locals.

By setting its sights on expelling the Indians, Zanu PF appears to be
following the well-trodden – but largely discredited – path of
Africanisers such as Amin and Mobuto Sese Seko of Zaire.

Amin’s deportation of about 50 000 UK passport-holding South Asians in
1972 failed to bring promised prosperity, and saw the collapse of the
commercial sector.

Meanwhile, the economic outcome of Mobutism was the wholesale plunder of
Congo’s resources by the ruling elite.

This comes as President Robert Mugabe has increasingly leaned on India and
China after being shunned by Western trade and financial partners.

They have been put off by concern over human rights and alleged fraud in
elections won by the president and his Zanu PF party.

Speaking at the 11th Zimbabwe International Research Symposium on Friday,
Mugabe said more than 23 percent of Zimbabweans were now earning a living
through the SME sector and must follow India’s example.

“With success stories having already been recorded around the globe, in
China and India for example, there is no need to reinvent the wheel on
SMEs development.

“This is especially so given the sound relationship between Zimbabwe and
India, especially in the SMEs sector, ICTs, energy, education and the
pharmaceutical sectors,” Mugabe said.

Jailed pastor Mugadza’s church ruptures

Source: Jailed pastor Mugadza’s church ruptures – DailyNews Live

Bridget Mananavire      20 February 2017

HARARE – The Kariba church of incarcerated “Mugabe-must-go” cleric,
Phillip Mugadza, has disintegrated – with his fearful congregants moving
to other churches as the activist clergyman continues to languish in
remand prison in Harare.

In a heart-rending case which has received significant publicity locally
and abroad, Mugadza has been kept in jail ever since he was arrested mid
last month, after he controversially “prophesied” that President Robert
Mugabe would die this year.

Speaking in interviews with the Daily News in Kariba last week, fellow
clerics in the town and Mugadza’s former parishioners at his FROM p1

Remnant Church expressed the fear that they could suffer retribution
because of his activism.

“It has not been an easy time for us since he was imprisoned. People have
understandably left because they feared that authorities could also
descend on them in the mistaken belief that they also want to protest
against the government like he has been doing,” one former congregant
said.

A local cleric said they had felt compelled to distance themselves from
Mugadza after he began his activism, as continuing to associate with him
might have sent “the wrong signals” to the government.

“We do pray for him, our town, our country and for the government but we
do not want to involve ourselves in politics. As for his church, it no
longer exists,” the cleric said.

Another one of Mugadza’s former congregants, Anwell Bepe, said the
clergyman had been open with his parishioners about his activist
intentions.

“The man of God has a deep passion for his country and that is what pushed
him to do what he was doing. Even before he formed his church, everyone
here in Kariba knows that he fasted for 40 days for Zimbabwe,” Bepe told
the Daily News.

Mugadza has been wasting away in remand prison since January 19 when he
was charged and then denied bail following his arrest for his “prophesy”.

A fortnight ago, the Harare Magistrates’ Court deferred by a further two
weeks his case, saying it was too busy to deal with his matter.

Mugadza first hit the headlines in December 2015 when he mounted a one-man
protest against Mugabe in Victoria Falls, during Zanu PF’s national
conference at the resort, where he held a placard that read: “Mr
President, the people are suffering. Proverbs 21:13“.

In April last year, he also chained himself to a pole while holding a
cross in one hand and a Bible in another, in a daring protest action in
Harare.

This time, the Remnant Church pastor is being charged with “criminal
insult”, as well as undermining the authority of the president over his
controversial prophecy which has caused palpable anger within sections of
Zanu PF – which is riven by its seemingly unstoppable tribal, factional
and succession wars.

The outspoken Mugadza faces six months’ imprisonment, or a fine of $200 if
he is convicted under Section 33 of the Criminal Law.

In his controversial “prophecy”, Mugadza had claimed that he had received
a revelation that Mugabe would die in October this year.

However, he had also said that the nonagenarian could escape death by
praying fervently, fasting and publicly announcing that he did not wish to
die.

“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 said then.

Another activist cleric, Evan Mawarire, who was arrested at the beginning
of this month, was granted bail last week after he approached the High
Court, which overturned an earlier decision by a Harare magistrate to deny
him bail.

Mawarire, the founder of the #ThisFlag movement, had been arrested on
February 1 at the Harare International Airport, upon his surprise return
from the United States of America where he had been living in self-imposed
exile.

Mawarire is facing serious allegations of trying to subvert a
constitutionally-elected government, which could see him serve up to 20
years in prison if convicted.

Outrage over UNDP ‘ouster’ in voter registration kits deal

Source: Outrage over UNDP ‘ouster’ in voter registration kits deal – DailyNews Live

NEWS EDITOR      20 February 2017

HARARE – The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) may be forced to let the
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) procure Biometric Voter
Registration (BVR) kits, as calls to let the technical expert handle the
process grow louder.

Opposition parties and civil society are concerned over rigging and
credibility of the forthcoming 2018 presidential elections, after
government announced that it was going it alone in the acquisition of the
crucial kits.

The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) president Tendai Biti said he was
worried that less than 18 months to an election, there are shenanigans to
steal the vote.

“… the UNDP has been kicked out,” Biti fumed.

“Zanu PF is known for predatory, toxic politics. It is State capture. Zanu
PF is confirming that it has captured the Zec,” he said.

Acquisition of the BVR kits was supposed to be jointly financed by the
government and UNDP.

The stone-broke President Robert Mugabe’s government last week declared
that it had suddenly managed to raise $17 million that is needed to
acquire the BVR kits – targeted at minimising errors and prevent
accusations of foul play in the key 2018 poll.

Following this, the opposition fears Mugabe’s administration is hijacking
the process and blocking Zec from independently and transparently
acquiring the BVR kits so that a company they can manipulate will be
awarded the contract to supply the equipment.

Zimbabwe Election Support Network (Zesn) – the largest independent
observer group in the country – called for non-interference by the
Executive in the selection of the BVR kits vendor, reiterating that
government must avail adequate funding to Zec to enable it to execute its
mandate,” Zesn director, Rindai Chipfunde Vava, said

“The involvement of technical partners with experience in assisting
various other countries in implementing the BVR processes will improve
confidence and trust issues which have always been an issue in electoral
processes in Zimbabwe,” she said.

“It is vital that the government and Zec provide details of the take over
from UNDP regarding the procurement of the BVR kits and how the process
will be funded given the limited time left before the 2018 elections,”
Vava said.

Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa allocated a paltry $9,7 million to the
Zec against a required $59, 2 million.

Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC UK and Ireland branches called on British Prime
Minister Theresa May and the international community to tell Mugabe’s
government “that the procurement of BVR equipment should be allowed to
proceed as per UNDP process”.

“The UNDP itself must come out and tell Zimbabwean people what is going on
with regard to the tender for the purchase of the BVR equipment and what
measures they have in place to ensure that the election will be run
transparently,” said MDC UK and Ireland spokesperson, Makusha Mugabe.

“This is also the right time for the regional body Sadc and the African
Union to start getting engaged with Zimbabwe’s next election, not to wait
until two weeks before the election then mount a superficial and
ineffective election monitoring process,” he added.

The Electoral Act is silent on the procedures of the procurement of the
BVR equipment.

‘Slash presidency qualifying age’

Source: ‘Slash presidency qualifying age’ – DailyNews Live

20 February 2017

HARARE – As Zimbabwe prepares for presidential polls in 2018, our news
editor, Gift Phiri, chats with Zachariah Mushawatu, a director of Youth
Advocacy for Voter Enlightenment and Progressive Orientation (Yavepo) – a
non-partisan organisation that promotes free and fair elections. Below are
excerpts of the interview.

Q: Youths don’t want to register to vote, what are you doing as Yavepo to
get them to participate in the forthcoming election whose registration
starts in March?

A: It is true that voter apathy among youths has reached alarming levels.

Youths constitute 53 percent of the total adult voting population yet
according to an audit of the voters’ roll done by the Research Advocacy
Unit, only 8,8 percent of youths aged between 18 to19 were registered to
vote in 2013 while only 19 percent of those aged between 20 to 24 were
registered voters.

We are rolling out numerous projects aimed at generating interest in
voting among the youth in the run-up to the bio-metric voter registration
(BVR) process.

Soon, there is going to be a Zimdancehall instrumental or riddim as people
in that field call it, called Yavepo.

Various talented youths are going to sing about the importance of
voting.

Furthermore, we are going to run an essay writing competition on the
importance of participation of youths in elections.

Q: You have said the five-year rule imposed by President Robert Mugabe’s
ruling Zanu PF and Morgan Tsvangirai’s opposition MDC that requires
aspiring National Assembly candidates to have been members of a party for
at least five years before one can contest a primary election excludes
youths from running as MPs. Can you elaborate on that?

A: These five-year rules are greatly disadvantageous to youths. While in
Tsvangirai-led MDC one is only required to be a mere member for five years
before they can contest a National Assembly seat, in Zanu PF it is worse.

In that party, one has to hold a post at district level for five years
before they can even think about going for a seat in Parliament.

Older generations, by virtue of being in parties for a long time, are not
affected by these rules.

We, the youths, however, are often found lacking when it comes to
fulfilling these requirements since many youths who want political office
have not been members of their parties for the prescribed period.

In the end, these major parties will turn out to be the biggest losers.

They should not opt to have unpopular candidates who have been in their
parties for over five years while rejecting popular youths.

Q: But, the parties have argued the rules were meant to guard against
defections and other forms of disloyalty?

A: The belief that those who have been in a party for a long time are less
likely to defect or exhibit other forms of disloyalty is dangerously
erroneous, precariously inaccurate and empirically unproven.

Most of the cases of defection we have witnessed in this country were not
by young people but by older generations who were in their parties for
protracted periods, the likes of Gabriel Chaibva who defected from the MDC
to Zanu PF and Tracy Mutinhiri who defected from Zanu PF to MDC, to
mention just but a few.

Q: Have you engaged the MDCs and Zanu PF?

A: Certainly. We have written letters to both Zanu PF and MDC outlining
our grievances with the five-year rule and we await their response.

Q:  What do you think about the requirement that you can only run for
presidency when you are 40 and Parliament and Council when you are 21?

A: We are completely against those ages of candidacy for the presidency,
Parliament and council.

We can’t have the age of candidacy for the presidency being 40 years in a
country where life expectancy was 37 years in the not so distant past.

Many countries, like Brazil among others, have the age of candidacy for
that post at 35 years.

Other well established democracies, like France for instance, have the age
of candidacy for the presidency at 18 years.

Yavepo advocates for a gradual decrease of the age of candidacy for the
post of president so as not to alarm the electorate with drastic changes.
For now, we should go down to 35 from 40 and gradually continue downwards
from there.

Section 125 of the Constitution and 119 of the Electoral Act put the ages
of candidacy for Parliament and Council at 21.

We are advocating for those Sections to be amended so that the age of
candidacy for both Parliament and Council is aligned with the voting age.

At 18, citizens are allowed to drive, drink, vote, consent to sexual
intercourse, get married and they are sentenced as adults not minors when
they commit crimes.

These are all clear indications that as a country, we acknowledge that 18
is the age at which an individual is held to be fully mature
intellectually.

There is thus absolutely no justifiable reason why those who are 18 and
above should not be allowed to contest for Parliament and Council.

Q:  What’s your take on youth quotas? Do you think they are a feasible way
to increase participation of youths in such bodies as Parliament and
Council?

A: Definitely! Over 108 countries worldwide have quotas for women in key
decision-making bodies such as Parliament and Council.

In Zimbabwe, the government should introduce a youth quota of at least 30
percent in both Parliament and Council.

Alternatively, all political parties can introduce youth quotas of 30
percent for all seats they contest in national elections.

Q:  What are you doing in the area of electoral reforms?

A: We are advocating for electoral reforms that ensure full participation
of youths in all electoral processes.

We seek the amendment of section 24 of the Electoral Act with the aim of
ensuring that youths who have no proof of residence are allowed to
register to vote using affidavits.

Furthermore, we seek the easing of voter education regulations so that
youth organisations such as Yavepo and others can freely educate youths on
the importance of voting.

A cap on the amount candidates can spend in an election should be
introduced so that money does not become the major determining factor in
who wins or loses an election. This will also curb vote buying.

As youths who grew up in a dead economy, we have fewer financial resources
than older generations who had a chance to obtain financial stability when
our economy was still performing well.

Many other countries, including Canada, have spending limits. As Zimbabwe,
we should take this route to ensure the full participation of youths in
elections.

The strategies we are using in seeking these reforms include media
advocacy and carrying out meetings with relevant authorities.

Q: Do you have confidence that Zec can run a credible 2018 poll?

A: No! Besides the fact that Zec is underfunded, it is implementing a new
electoral system in the form of BVR in too short a period. Then of course
there are issues to do with the composition of Zec which is made up of a
lot of people from the security sector. This is a cause for concern.

Q: As you say, the Zec secretariat is still stuffed with security
operatives, how can this be addressed?

A: Given that Zec has turned a deaf ear to calls by the opposition and
civic society to restructure its secretariat, there is need to carry out
peaceful protests demanding reforms as a way of piling pressure on Zec
till it gives in to the demands of progressive forces seeking free and
fair elections in Zimbabwe.

Q:  Many youths are economic refugees in several countries, what are you
doing to give them back their franchise rights?

A: We are seeking legal counsel on the feasibility of lodging a challenge
in the Constitutional Court on the right of people in the Diaspora to
vote.

If our legal counsel advises us that Yavepo, as an organisation with
members in the Diaspora, has the locus-standi to lodge such an
application, we will certainly take the government and Zec to task.

Q:  What’s your view on the mooted grand coalition?

A: It is a public secret that the status-quo has not promoted democracy in
Zimbabwe and has our economy teetering on the precipice of total collapse.

We are fully behind any efforts to bring about a new political
dispensation that will do away with the current state of affairs and
result in economic recovery and the respect of human rights.

That being said, we demand that youths be included in talks to do with the
formation of the grand coalition.

Furthermore, we demand that 30 percent of Parliament and Council seats to
be contested under the banner of the grand coalition be reserved for
youths.

If the modus operandi used is primary elections, then primary elections in
30 percent of all constituencies should be among youths only, so that the
30 percent quota is satisfied.

The future of medium-scale commercial farms in Africa: lessons from Zimbabwe

Important changes are afoot in the size structure of farms in Africa. The rise of ‘medium-scale’ farms is often pointed to. From studies in Kenya, Ghana, Zambia and elsewhere, carried out by Michig…

Source: The future of medium-scale commercial farms in Africa: lessons from Zimbabwe | zimbabweland

Important changes are afoot in the size structure of farms in Africa. The rise of ‘medium-scale’ farms is often pointed to. From studies in Kenya, Ghana, Zambia and elsewhere, carried out by Michigan State University, a pattern of consolidation of land holdings is observed, with an increasing proportion held in medium-sized farms, owned often by ‘outsiders’ to local peasant farming communities – including retirees, local investors and urbanites wanting a foothold in the countryside.

These people are investing in this new farmland, and sometimes (but far from always) making it more productive, and commercially-oriented. In Ghana and Zambia, for example, such medium-scale farms now account for more land area than small-scale (under 5 ha) farms (see new work by Thom Jayne and colleagues, for example here, here,  here and here). Land concentration in such farms, under new ownership and land tenure arrangements, occurs through different routes – either through accumulation of land by those who earlier had smaller plots via local land markets, or acquisition of land by ‘outsiders’ through political and other connections.

Patterns vary across countries and locations within them, and the MSU studies are rather crude relying as they do on existing datasets, taking a huge range (from 5 to 100 ha) to constitute ‘medium-scale’. Farm size survey data too can only tell us so much. While such data indicate an important shift in overall pattern, the implications for the dynamics of rural class formation, labour regimes, gender relations patterns of dispossession and displacement, markets in land and agricultural commodities, for example, are not revealed. This is why complementary in-depth analysis is required, that probes the implications further.

In our studies in Zimbabwe, we are examining the fate of A2 farms, where allocations of land following the 2000 land reform ranged from 20 ha to upwards of 500 ha in drier parts of the country, with an average of around 70 ha. As discussed in previous blogs, this has resulted in a major restructuring of farm sizes and overall agrarian structure in the country, with this category of ‘medium-scale’ farm being significant, and by comparison to the old dualism of the large-scale and small-scale communal sector a new phenomenon. Although as the previous weeks have discussed, while not on the scale of A2 farming areas (representing now nearly 2 million ha or about 6 percent of the country’s land area), former ‘purchase areas’ or small-scale commercial farm areas (around 1.4 m ha or 4.4 percent of total land area) offer some hints as to some of the future challenges of broadly-defined ‘medium-scale’ commercial farming.

In our studies, highlighted in the case studies covered last week, we found four possible outcomes emerging over time in the former Purchase Areas, highlighted to varying degrees in the case studies presented in the last blog in this series.

  • The ‘villagised farm’. Here the land is seen as belonging to a family, across generations. Children can establish homes, often across several families, and a village area is created. Sometimes these family units operate independently and have their own patches within the farm where they cultivated; in other cases they contribute collectively to what is usually the fathers’ farm. His brothers, sons, and their wives and children, all provide a collective labour force. Some members of these families may not be resident, and may work elsewhere, but they regard the farm as ‘home’ and do not have other residences in the communal areas (although some joined land invasions and gained land through land reform). These villages – formerly seen as ‘squatter’ settlements – may include others, incorporated into the farm over time, such as labourers, or other relatives and their families. Over years, numbers can increase significantly. In our study areas in Mushagashe, we estimated that on one farm of this type there were perhaps nearly 50 living there, including at least 8 ‘households’, and several families of workers. Some sons without jobs stay on the farm with their families, while others who are working away have homes where sometime wives and children stay.
  • The commercial farm. This is the imagined ideal, and sometimes occurs. But often only in certain time periods, linked to generational changes. As mentioned in a previous blog, in the late 50s and early 60s, some Purchase Area farms operated as serious commercial enterprises. Their owners were resident, often retired, but not too old to run and manage a farm. In subsequent years, the commercial orientation died off, as older parents no longer could manage the farms, and sons and other relatives were not around to reinvest. However a generation on, these sons are now moving back to these farms. The economic crisis of the 1990s and accelerating in the 2000s meant that abandoning jobs in town, such as poorly paid civil service employment, and taking up farming was attractive, even if the family farm was remote and often by this stage run down. Limited retrenchment packages may have assisted, but after a period in the doldrums some farms are seeing a revival. Commercial farming in this scenario is not a life-long investment, but something that happens at a certain life stage, and is intimately linked to fortunes in the world of urban work, or patterns of income from remittances, now spread across an increasingly global diaspora.
  • Subdivision. Rather than reinvesting and scaling up, some choose to subdivide and sell off. This may prevent the possibilities of villagisation, and the often troublesome reliance of potentially endless relatives, sometimes with remote connections seeking out a ‘family’ farm as a place of refuge and support – and a place to farm. If sons (usually, rarely daughters in our case studies) are not able to come ‘home’ and farm commercially, then raising income through the land market can provide a source of income. This mirrors the period in the 1950s when fragmentation of farms occurred and squatters were evicted. This also happens today and, although there are often family disputes over whether the farm can be sold (either completely or in part), the use of title deeds (very often not touched for decades, and often formally invalid because not updated in the registry) can provide a route to realise the value of the family asset. Disputes emerge among family members especially if there are some siblings who are resident at the farm, and do not have jobs. Many Purchase Area farmers’ children however are well-educated, and part of the increasingly international Zimbabwean middle class. Like their parents, they were educated in the elite schools of the late colonial/early Independence area, which were as good as any in the region. With such qualifications, access to skilled job markets were plentiful and they ended up comfortably in jobs in Harare, but also Johannesburg, Cape Town, Gabarone, London and Birmingham (with not a few academics amongst their number). While the family farm has an emotional appeal, the idea of going to farm there like their parents did is not on the radar; and their children ion turn may have visited for a few Christmases as kids but have no intention of starting a rural life.
  • Projectising the farm. For those who are absent, and with parents still alive and living on the farm, there is one common option that emerges, as we have seen in the case studies profiled last week. This is to ‘projectise’ the farm. Discrete projects are envisaged, and invested in. These commonly involve livestock, with dairy, piggeries and poultry projects common in our study areas. Sometimes these projects are financed by NGOs and aid projects, as part of ‘development’ activities; more commonly they are self-financed, with funds coming via Western Union from the UK or elsewhere. These remittance investments need some management and if the parents are not up to it, local people are employed as resident farm managers. Some are able to raise external loans and finance by virtue of their jobs, and in a few cases joint venture/partnership arrangements are brokered with external investors. The trouble with most Purchase Areas is that road and market infrastructure is poor, and the costs of marketing is high, making commercial agriculture tough going. The projects that we have seen break even just, but are backstopped by external finance if the going gets tough. This allows sons, but in this case also daughters, to have a stake in the family farm, but without committing to run it. The areas used and the scale of operations invested in are often very small. They provide a small supplement to keep their now ageing parents in groceries and allows for the paying of school fees of some poorer relatives who may be resident at the farm. Most importantly such projects keep a psychological link with ‘home’, and a sense of commitment and belonging, however limited. This is far from the image of the commercial farm, merely a collection of projects, with focused investments, on a farm that otherwise has limited activity – with some mixed farming and some gardens, but little else. Similar in many ways to the Purchase Area farms of the past that were accused of not being the images of modernity that were planned.

There may be other patterns and trajectories that we have not yet picked up, but these four are repeated in varying combinations across the study areas where we have been working in Masvingo Province. Are these potential scenarios for the A2 farms, and for the much touted medium scale farming more broadly across Africa? In many ways, I suspect they offer important glimpses of potential futures. As the diagram below, at least four different scenarios could be envisaged, depending on patterns of financing and farm productivity.

a2-futures

Only one of these is ‘proper’ commercial farming, as envisaged by planners and policymakers. The others respond to changing life cycles and demographic shifts, as well as the inevitable shift to urban and even diaspora life as people become educated, and gain opportunities elsewhere. In many ways these are more realistic, and represent accommodations between farming, life cycles and livelihoods. The Zimbabwe case is of course peculiar as the economic hardships over several decades – from structural adjustment (ESAP) in the 1990s to the economic crisis of the 2000s, returning again today – have meant that urban employment as a focus for accumulation and social reproduction is often not feasible. Many flee the country in search of a better life, but this does not always turn out well. So perhaps unusually the attraction of a farm – a place to live, to call home, to invest in and be part of – is more prominent for Zimbabweans today.

Although the A2 farms have failed to take off in ways that were hoped for, maybe this is because of false expectations and misplaced assumptions about what land is for and what farming entails. Farming has always been part of diversified urban-rural livelihoods, now increasingly internationalised. Of course this applied to so-called ‘white’ farming too, but in different ways. The imagined ideal of the sole owner-operator of an individual farm, always resident and doing nothing but farming was very rare indeed.

My guess is that, if like the SSCFAs, the A2 farms are neglected in policymaking and not made the focus of local and regional economic growth strategies, with secure tenure, finance and basic public good investment (which currently seems likely given the lack of policy imagination in government, the failure of donors to grasp the challenge and so a complete lack of finance), then in 20 years, these scenarios seen today in the former Purchase Areas are quite likely in the A2 areas. If you go to visit the farms in a former Purchase Area today, you could be seeing the future of the A2 farms in a generation’s time.

Indeed, nearly 17 years after land reform, we see many of these patterns already – with small villages of relatives, large under-used areas complemented with small, intensive projects, and informal subdivisions, rentals, and joint ventures/partnerships emerging attempting to get things moving. Perhaps by reversing the policy neglect, and getting the A2 farms moving (and this will require a shake out with a politically-contentious audit process), more vibrant, productive commercial trajectories will be possible, but these too will have to accommodate changing demographics, diverse livelihoods, and shifting aspirations.

This post was written by Ian Scoones and appeared on Zimbabweland

Suspected SA human trafficker denied bail

Source: Suspected SA human trafficker denied bail | The Herald February 20, 2017

Thupeyo Muleya Beitbridge Bureau
A South African man who is accused of trafficking four Zimbabweans into the neighbouring country was yesterday denied bail by a Polokwane magistrate and will stand trial on April 12. Raymond Sithole (25) of Chebeng Village in Seshego area, was arrested on January 3 by South Africa’s Directorate for Priority Crime Investigations (The Hawks) following a tip off.Sithole is accused of holding the four men hostage at his home.

Hawks spokesperson for Limpopo province Captain Matimba Maluleke said the accused illegally smuggled the victims aged between 15 and 20 into South Africa after promising them good jobs.

Captain Maluleke added that the four were being kept at Sithole’s house. He said in some instances, the man would send the victims to steal and do other jobs without payment.

“He is facing charges of human trafficking. The four men were allegedly kept under lock and key after being smuggled into South Africa with false promises of good jobs and better lives here.

“In some cases the suspect would severely assault them if they failed to comply with his orders,” he said. Capt Maluleke said the man was arrested by a Hawks reaction team after getting wind of the alleged exploitation of the Zimbabweans.

Zanu-PF, ZimPF lock horns again in Mwenezi East

Source: Zanu-PF, ZimPF lock horns again in Mwenezi East | The Herald February 20, 2017

From George Maponga in Masvingo—
The ruling Zanu-PF party will once again square off with the embattled ZimPF party in the forthcoming Mwenezi East parliamentary by-election after candidates from the two parties were part of the four aspirants who filed their nomination papers at the Masvingo Magistrates’ Court on Friday. Mwenezi-based businessman and property developer, Cde Joosbi Omar (60) successfully filed his papers to represent Zanu-PF in the Mwenezi East parliamentary by-election.

He will compete with former Masvingo provincial affairs Minister Mr Kudakwashe Bhasikiti, who is on a ZimPF ticket. Cde Omar won the Zanu-PF primary elections in Mwenezi East after garnering nearly 6 000 votes in a gruelling contest against 12 other ruling party candidates.

Two other candidates who successfully filed their nomination papers are Mr Welcome Masuku of the National Constitutional Assembly and Mr Turner Mhango of Free Zimbabwe Congress Party.

The nomination officer, who is also the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission Masvingo provincial elections officer Mr Zex Pudurai announced that four candidates had successfully filed papers to contest the Mwenezi East by-election at the close of the nomination process at 4pm, on Friday.

“Since more than one candidate successfully filed their papers before this court, a by-election will be held in Mwenezi East on 8 April 2017,’’ said Mr Pudurai.

The by-election will be held to fill a vacancy created by the death of Cde Joshua Moyo in December last year.

Cde Moyo had won a by-election following the sacking of Mr Bhasikiti from the ruling party.

Mr Bhasikiti had been elected Mwenezi East legislator on a Zanu-PF ticket before his expulsion for his links with Dr Joice Mujuru.

Dr Mujuru wanted to illegally topple President Mugabe.

Speaking after the nomination process, Cde Omar expressed confidence that he would help Zanu-PF retain the Mwenezi East seat.

“I am more than 100 percent certain of victory in Mwenezi East, and I have lined up a number of programmes to engender development in Mwenezi East in the coming few weeks,’’ he said.

“By virtue of being a property developer, my top priority is to upgrade the road network in the constituency so that people can easily move from one point to another. I will also look to improve the quality of water by ensuring general cleanliness in the wake of a typhoid scare in Mwenezi East in the recent past. Victory is certain,’’ said Cde Omar.

He said the high turnout during the primary election, where over 11 000 ruling party members participated indicated that Mwenezi East was a Zanu-PF stronghold. His counterpart Mr Bhasikiti also expressed confidence of winning and dismissed claims that he was not justified to contest the by-election using the ZimPF banner.

“As the founding members of ZimPF together with the likes of Messers (Didymus) Mutasa, (Rugare) Gumbo, we are the rightful custodians of the party. That is why I successfully filed my papers with ZEC to contest in Mwenezi East,’’ he said.

“We have since written to (ZimPF leader Dr) Mujuru advising her to stop using the ZimPF name and if she defies, we will seek an interdict at the courts. As I speak right now, plans are afoot to have a ZimPF interim president and we will have one by the end of next week,’’ added Mr Bhasikiti.

He said Dr Mujuru was free to contest for the leadership of ZimPF when the party finally holds its elective congress.

NCA spokesperson Mr Madock Chivasa said his party was expecting better fortunes in Mwenezi East compared to the disastrous showing in the Bikita West parliamentary by-election.

Last month, Zanu-PF emphatically retained the Bikita West parliamentary seat, after its candidate Cde Beauty Chabaya polled 13 156 votes, against four other candidates, ZimPF included.

Heavy rains leave dozens homeless, destroy property

Source: Heavy rains leave dozens homeless, destroy property | The Herald February 20, 2017

Paidamoyo Chipunza Senior Reporter
RAINS following the downgraded cyclone Dineo have left dozens of people homeless and destroyed infrastructure that include roads and dams across the country. In a statement yesterday, the Department of Civil Protection (DCP) said most of the affected areas were Umzingwane, Matopo Kezi, Zvishavane, Insiza, Gwanda, Bulilima, Bulawayo, Mberengwa and Tsholotsho.

In Umzingwane, several homesteads in Esihlengeni area succumbed to excessive moisture and heavy rains on Friday, while in Matopo Kezi three homesteads were marooned by Tuli River.

“Altogether 21 people (from Matopo Kezi) were trapped. The local headman mobilised the community and successfully rescued the families,” said the DCP.

The DCP said on the same day, a child was also marooned in Zvishavane (Ngezi River), and was successfully rescued despite the swift currents.

It said the southern parts of Insiza experienced unprecedented flooding making it inaccessible as rivers were all full and bridges were overflowing and damaged.

“The road network was badly damaged in some places. Several small dams failed. Wanezi River burst its banks up to a kilometre in (some) places. As a result, some families in the Mazeya area self-evacuated and spent the night at the local school. The water pump at Filabusi Town was submerged,” it further said.

In Gwanda district, the road network and bridges were badly damaged in some areas, while in Bulilima several homesteads in Makhulela, Bambadzi and Huwana were also damaged.

In Bulawayo city, a number of homes in Mahatshula, Kingsdale, Emganwini, Nketa 8 and Cowdry Park were flooded while a building housing Nandos fast foods partially collapsed injuring 4 people.

The cause of the building collapse is yet to be determined.

Mberengwa district also had 10 homes badly damaged.

A male adult drowned in Mwenezi River from a canoe accident.

In Tsholotsho District (Siphepha area) was marooned by Gwayi River while six homes were badly damaged in Dinyane.

The DCP said the national civil protection committee has since dispatched teams to support district committees, which are currently conducting damage assessments and rendering assistance where necessary.

The Zimbabwe Red Cross was also assisting with tarpaulins and other relief services.

“Indications from Meteorological Services Department are that the northern areas of the country will continue receiving rains from the 18th to the 22nd of February.

“Cumulative precipitation is expected to exceed 150mm for the western and central areas of the country,” said the DCP.

The public is urged to continue to take necessary measures in case of flooding and ensure that homes are safe.

Interpreter no-show stalls Chigwedere witchcraft case

Source: Interpreter no-show stalls Chigwedere witchcraft case | The Herald February 20, 2017

Fidelis Munyoro Chief Court Reporter—-
The non-availability of an interpreter for the witchcraft case pitting former education Minister Aeneas Chigwedere and his son last week forced the outgoing Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku to switch to vernacular language. English is the official language used in our courts, but the failure by the interpreter to show up stalled proceedings in the high-profile witchcraft case that has spilled into the Constitutional Court.

Mr Chigwedere is accused of killing several members of the Hwedza-based family through witchcraft.

“Pane vari munyaya iyi, vakazvimiririra? (Are there self-actors in this case?),” said Chief Justice Chidyausiku. “. . . we cannot proceed in this matter without the services of an interpreter. It does not look like we have one in this court. I think it is best we postpone the matter and make arrangements for an interpreter.”

“Handizivi, pane vauya nhasi kuti tiite nyaya yenyu tisina interpreter zvingangotiti netsei, saka hazviite kuti ingaitwa nhasi, pakuti panofanirwa kunge paine munhu anoturikira kuti munzwisise kuti zvii zviri kuitika. Pane angava nezvaanoda kutaura? (I do not know, could there be anyone who came today? For us to hear the case without the services of an interpreter could be a bit difficult. So, it is impossible to proceed because there must be someone interpreting for you to understand what would be going on. Anyone with a query?

A frail old man replied, “Hapana pangave nechakaipa. (There is no problem if the case is deferred”).

The Chief Justice deferred the matter to an indefinite date.

Mr Chigwedere’s son, Mangwiza, took his matter to the Constitutional Court seeking an order forcing his father and stepmother Emilia Zharare to undergo a cleansing ceremony to exorcise the whole clan against alleged witchcraft activities that have allegedly caused several deaths in the family. Sections 97 to 102 of the Criminal Law Code make the practice of witchcraft a criminal offence.

According to section 98 of the Criminal Law (Codification) and Reform Act, any person who engages in witchcraft to instil fear or harm someone will be jailed for five years or be liable to pay a fine.

In his founding affidavit, Mangwiza argued that he was still convinced that his father and stepmother were practising witchcraft and/or sorcery, or incorrect cultural procedures that had tormented the whole clan causing deaths, misery, ill-health and mental anguish.

These acts of cultural violations, he argued, had vastly impacted negatively on himself and thousands in the clan who had to flee Wedza, but to no avail.

“The right to life has been violated and with the courts even being told on paper and viva voce that we are dying,” stated Mangwiza. “We are being killed and maimed; we have more than 10 mentally-challenged; we are being exploited through culture. I have undergone more than 200 cultural procedures on myself personally, which I have now discovered were uncultural acts and the basis for our ill-health, pain, headaches, suffering, anomalies, having five brothers and sisters mentally-challenged, sisters, who fail to find fecundity to bear children, sisters who fail to marry.”

Mangwiza said it was a well-known fact that goblins feed on human blood. He urged the court to urgently intervene in the matter. “Threat of life in our clan is imminent and many have gone six feet under, and it will continue until the intervention of the courts in the removal of that which is killing and maiming,” he said.

Mangwiza further accused Mr Chigwedere and his wife Emilia Zharare of possessing elephant tusks, one of which has names of existing clan and family members and those deceased are inscribed in pencil.

Mr Chigwedere is opposing the matter.

Mr Chigwedere has been taken to the civil court on several occasions by his son accusing him of possessing goblins that were tormenting the family. But the witchcraft case was dismissed on jurisdictional basis with a Marondera magistrate ruling that the matter was more on the spiritual side.

Zanu-PF Masvingo votes on Thursday

Source: Zanu-PF Masvingo votes on Thursday | The Herald February 20, 2017

George Maponga Masvingo Bureau
Newly-appointed Zanu-PF Masvingo interim provincial chairperson Cde Joram Gumbo yesterday officially assumed his position and pledged fairness and professionalism in leading the province towards fresh elections on Thursday. The Politburo last week appointed Cde Gumbo interim Masvingo provincial chairperson. This followed dissolution of the provincial executive after some cadres left their positions.

There were also problems after Zanu-PF reinstated Cde Ezra Chadzamira as the provincial chair taking over from Cde Amasa Nhenjana, who was acting chairperson.

Speaking after officially dissolving the Zanu-PF Masvingo provincial executive during a provincial co-ordinating committee meeting at the Showgrounds here yesterday, Cde Gumbo announced that elections would be held on Thursday.

Cde Chadzamira faces war veteran Retired Colonel Mutero Masanganise while Cde Veronica Makonese locks horns with Cde Alginia Samson Mhlanga for the position of Women’s League chairperson.

The battle for the provincial youths chairperson pits immediate past chair Cde Nobert Ndaarombe against Cde Shingirirai Mangwana.

Initially, Chivi Rural District Council chair Councillor Killer Zivhu wanted to contest in the polls but he has since withdrawn.

“I will be coming down here in Masvingo with a team of about 200 people to conduct the elections on Thursday where 120 people per every party district will be eligible to vote.

“My team will be moving to the districts to conduct elections for the posts of chair of the main wing, Women’s League and the Youth League. We know our people are hamstrung and will not be able to move so we will go to them,’’ he said.

“The other remaining posts from the vice chairpersons going downwards will be voted for later using the basket system but our main goal will be making sure that every district in Masvingo will be represented in the new provincial executive,’’ added Cde Gumbo.

He said Zanu-PF wanted a new executive for Masvingo to spearhead campaigns for the Mwenezi East parliamentary by-election.

“We want Zanu-PF to retain the Mwenezi East parliamentary seat so our plan is to make sure that a new executive is in place soon to lead the campaign. We are also having 21st February Movement celebrations in Matabeleland South this month and we want Masvingo to be represented by elected chairpersons.”

Cde Gumbo appealed to Zanu-PF members in Masvingo to support him and ensure the restructuring exercise is done smoothly.

Asked why he is always appointed acting chair when there are problems in provinces, he said: “I do not know what those who always appoint me see in me but what I can only say is that I will always strive to do things in a professional and fair manner especially when it comes to my party Zanu-PF.

“I am one person asina zvirehwa-rehwa. I am fair and professional and always follow the constitution in whatever I do. Handina divi randakarerekera. I always want to do the right things.’’

He was appointed acting Midlands provincial chairperson last year after the suspension of provincial chairperson Cde Kizito Chivamba.

He conceded that his new role as interim Zanu-PF Masvingo chairperson was not easy.

Among those who attended the provincial co-ordinating committee meeting chaired by Cde Gumbo were Politburo members Cdes Josaya Hungwe, Lovemore Matuke and Masvingo Provincial Affairs Minister Senator Shuvai Mahofa.

Will the road network cope with grain movement?

Source: Will the road network cope with grain movement? | The Herald February 20, 2017

Conrad Mwanawashe Bumper Harvest
IN the last few months I had the privilege of travelling to different parts of the country starting with the Eastern Highlands, Manicaland and Mashonaland East and was struck by the deplorable state Zimbabwe’s roads are in. From the tea estates in the Eastern Highlands in Honde Valley up to Aberfoyle and Kariba we had to negotiate the potholes. On the dust road around the tea estates, we literally had to park and survey the road first.

Only last week I was in Kariba and noticed that the Harare-Chirundu highway requires attention. At some point vehicles had to literally give way to those coming from the opposite direction because parts of the road developed craters.

Ironically some of the potholes are developing just before or just after the tollgate along the highway.

In simple terms, just before or after you part with between $2 and $10 depending on the size of your vehicle, you must negotiate potholes.

Sadly, it is not only the Chirundu –Beitbridge highway and the tea estates roads that are in a deplorable state but such is the state of the country’s road network that it has become a major cause for concern.

This is worrying particularly as the country draws closer to the harvest of grain on farms.

How prepared is the country’s road network and general transport system to carry the heavy influx of vehicles, particularly heavy vehicles, haulage trucks into the farming districts in the next few months to collect grain?

Will the road network not give in and the country ends up with grain stuck on the farms?

In the same vein, what is the function of the Zimbabwe National Road Administration when the country’s roads are wearing off at such speed?

Zinara is the authority tasked with fixing road user charges and to collect such charges or any other revenue of the Road Fund, in consultation with the Minister of Transport and Infrastructure Development and the Minister of Finance and Economic Development.

Some of its functions include assisting the minister in setting maintenance, design, construction and technical standard and to monitor adherence to such standards by Road Authorities and to allocate and disburse to road authorities funds from the Road Fund in accordance with rules prescribed by the Road Administration.

Also, to audit the use of funds from the Road Fund by the authorities and to ensure that disbursed funds are utilised for the purpose for which they are intended and in accordance with rules prescribed by the Road Administration and to monitor implementation of road maintenance works by Road Authorities.

The authority assists Road Authorities in making annual or multi-year road maintenance rolling plans. According to Zinara, most of the country’s roads are more than 30 years and require complete rehabilitation works.

Zimbabwe has a total road network of 87 654km made up of state highways — 18 460km, urban roads — 8 194km and rural roads — 61 000km. Is Zinara monitoring adherence to road standards for local authorities?

This is where Zinara becomes a critical player in the movement of goods from areas of production to market centres and value addition and beneficiation centres.

So critical is the road administration to the economy that something must be done and urgently.

With the anticipated bumper harvest championed by Government’s Command Agriculture programme, transport becomes a vital service to producers if their goods are to be competitive at the market. This is where the $500 million Command Agriculture dovetails with the Utete Report.

Command Agriculture which is set to be extended to include other crops and livestock from the next season 2017/18, will place more demand on the road network as it is leading to increased grain production. Increased grain production means increased road network usage for moving grain to markets.

Also, in the following seasons, Command Agriculture will target more land for grain production, therefore movement of agricultural mechanical equipment will put more pressure on the road network.

The success of Command Agriculture in its first season will see more farmers signing up in coming seasons, meaning that increased inputs demand and this adds pressure to the road system.

Zimbabwe should take a comprehensive assessment of the transport system and the road network to ensure that it is up to standard.

Last week Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa talked about another agricultural programme called Super Agriculture that he said will put swathes of idle land countrywide under crops.

Super Agriculture will be implemented under the Command Agriculture programme and will see the establishment of dryers, mills and silos at central locations countrywide. But again, the road network will have to carry the load to the centres where the dryers, silos and mills will be situated.

More pressure on the transport system could come from the winter wheat programme where Government has already secured funding for about 50 000 hectares of land.

These programmes will see increased activities in the farming areas, the rural areas and rural business centres.

There will be a huge influx of various dealers and investors as economic activity improves in these centres, hence, the need for a comprehensive transport system consideration.

The provision of a safe reliable road network cannot be overemphasised. Furthermore, with the anticipated increased agricultural activity, there is need to urgently capacitate the National Railways of Zimbabwe so that it could carry most of the load.

The resuscitation of the NRZ will reduce pressure from the road network as it is a bulk carrier.

There is an opportunity to consider Private Public Partnerships to in developing the transport system.

The NRZ is currently in a capital raising exercise both locally and offshore as it seeks to secure about $400 million required for retooling.

The funds are expected to boost the rail company’s locomotives, wagons, track rehabilitation and signalling.

NRZ is in dire need of short-term recapitalisation to boost its carrying capacity which has plummeted to around 3,4 million tonnes in 2015 from a high of 9,4 million tonnes in 2000. The rail company has 168 locomotives, of which only 38 percent — are currently serviceable. Only about 48 percent of the 7 255 wagons are operational.

The railways carrier should be urgently capacitated as it is a key player in the movement of inputs and grain around the country.

This calls for a comprehensive transport system and road network overhaul.

Zimra donates to Grace at its own peril

Revelations that First Lady Grace Mugabe’s donations at her rallies are sourced from what the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) would have impounded at border posts are quite scandalous and call for a national enquiry.

Source: Zimra donates to Grace at its own peril – NewsDay Zimbabwe February 20, 2017

Comment: NewsDay Editor

The goods that Zimra collects are because people would have failed to pay duty or tried to smuggle them and, all things being normal, these are supposed to be auctioned with the proceeds going to the revenue collector.

How then they are donated to Grace, who then donates them to party members at her rallies, beggars belief.

Those goods belong to the nation and, should be auctioned to raise money for the fiscus, not to be donated along partisan lines, where a huge percentage of the population is left out.

No wonder Zimra fails to meet its targets, with such very clear and self-evident leakages.

Zimbabwe will never succeed if State institutions are used for partisan and narrow political interests.

Zimbabweans can only wonder how many State institutions are made to donate to Grace and Zanu PF, to their detriment.

Air Zimbabwe, National Railways of Zimbabwe and the Grain Marketing Board are in a sorry state because of the largesse they extended to Zanu PF.

Now Zimra, a critical arm of the State, as far as raising funds for the Treasury to pay civil servants and other obligations, has also been captured by the marauding Zanu PF.

As has been pointed out, Zimbabwe is struggling not because of sanctions, but due to weak structures and poor leadership, where a political player benefits directly from State property.

Had there been proper structures, Grace would not have been able to approach Zimra for that donation and had she done so, the authority would have been forced to publish details of this donation.

But instead, all this is shrouded in secrecy and thanks to a Freudian Slip, the nation now knows the extent to which Grace is able to benefit from State resources.

This is not the first time this has happened, as last year she went around the country donating tractors at Zanu PF rallies.

It is important to point out that these tractors were sourced from Brazil and all taxpayers will have to pay back the loan, regardless of party affiliation, yet these were only donated to Zanu PF members at the ruling party’s functions.

It is time that Zanu PF realises the taxpayer has been suffering for far too long and is overdue a reprieve.

Zimra should stop giving confiscated goods to Grace and should instead sell them to augment Treasury’s ailing balance sheet.

ZITF preps advanced, 71% exhibition space taken up

PREPARATIONS for the 58th edition of the annual Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) are at an advanced stage, with 71% of exhibition space already taken, an official has said.

Source: ZITF preps advanced, 71% exhibition space taken up – NewsDay Zimbabwe February 20, 2017

BY MTHANDAZO NYONI

The event runs between April 25 and 29 under the theme Harnessing Linkages for Industrial Development.

“The theme continues the industrialisation focus of the previous years and goes a step further by encouraging participants to collaborate, both locally and globally, as we move towards sustained industrial development for our economy,” ZITF company chairperson, Ruth Ncube, said in a statement on Friday.

She said so far, 10 countries had confirmed their participation, namely, Botswana, China, Iran, Japan, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Turkey, while they had provisional bookings from Ethiopia, India and the United Arab Emirates.

Ncube said in line with this thrust, ZITF 2017 would focus on sectors such as agriculture, construction and infrastructure development (energy, road, rail, water and sanitation), education, professional and entrepreneurial development, information, communication technologies, manufacturing, mining and tourism.

To further profile the agriculture sector, ZITF 2017 will run concurrently with the Bulawayo Agriculture Show.

She said the government, through the Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development ministry, had been working with the farmers to nurture this sector, as well as to build and support industry by facilitating desirable partnerships and linkages.

The agriculture event features all forms of livestock (cattle, sheep and goats, horses, poultry and pigs), crop produce from both commercial and communal farmers (inclusive of maize, small grains and cereals as well as fruits and vegetables) and home industries (incorporating needlework, knitting, crochet, cookery, icing, brewing, home-craft and artwork), Ncube said.

She said Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development deputy minister, Paddy Zhanda had given assurance and support to farmers during their preparations for the show, particularly livestock farmers.

“He has called on farmers to take advantage of this platform to showcase their livestock and agricultural produce, as the country is in transition to extract full benefits from this sector through exporting,” she said.

Zhanda reportedly urged livestock farmers to work closely with veterinary officers during the build up to the show, as they seek clearance letters for their livestock and other requisites to enable smooth participation at ZITF.

Zamco to stop further acquisition of NPLs

The Zimbabwe Asset Management Corporation (Zamco) is set stop further acquisitions of non-performing loans (NPLs) and focus on resolution and resuscitation, as it moves to curb moral hazard in the banking sector.

Source: Zamco to stop further acquisition of NPLs – NewsDay Zimbabwe February 20, 2017

BY BUSINESS REPORTER

Zamco is a special purpose vehicle created to buy secured bad debts to free the balance sheets of banks to be able to lend again.

Banks had cut back on lending on the back of rising defaults, which reached 20,45% in 2015. The NPL ratio stood at 7,87% as at December 31.

In his monetary policy statement last week, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor, John Mangudya said Zamco was in its final acquisition phase of the NPLs to be completed by March 31.

“After these acquisitions, Zamco will stop further acquisitions and focus on resolution and resuscitation,” he said.

“This will curb moral hazard in the banking sector and is a standard practice internationally for all asset management companies formed to resolve NPLs. Going forward, the operationalisation of the credit registry would help the economy to contain NPLs.”

Mangudya said some of the accounts that were declined in phase one and two, because of non-viability of their businesses, could be eligible for phase three acquisitions if they are secured by mortgage bonds.

Zamco will be using other resolutions methods (other than loan restructuring) to resolve loans acquired in the third phase.

These acquisitions are expected to further reduce the levels of NPLs in the banking sector.

As at December 31, 2016, Zamco had a portfolio of acquired NPLs amounting to $812,52m, which comprised proprietary portfolio ($548,66m and managed portfolio $263,86m).

Mangudya said the final acquisition would focus on the remaining NPLs secured by mortgage bonds, adding that a credit registry meant to contain NPLs went live last month.

As at January 31, a total of 104 000 loans or 25% had been uploaded to the system.

The registry is expected to enhance the credit culture among borrowers in various sectors of the economy.

Mangudya said RBZ was on course to capture all the 414 262 loans, which are in the banking sector by March 30, 2017 onto the registry.

“In line with the phased implementation approach, which the Reserve Bank adopted, banking institutions are already providing their loan records to the registry and updating the records regularly with payment patterns of clients when repayments are effected,” he said.

Banking institutions, microfinance institutions and other credit providers would be required to undertake credit background checks with the registry and the private credit bureaus when considering loan applications, he said.

Sipepa Nkomo, wife sued over $44 000 loans

PARLIAMENT has filed a combined $44 361 lawsuit against former Water Resources minister Samuel Sipepa Nkomo and his wife, Roselene, over outstanding vehicle loans advanced to them during their tenure as Lobengula South and Tsholotsho North legislators, respectively.

Source: Sipepa Nkomo, wife sued over $44 000 loans – NewsDay Zimbabwe February 20, 2017

BY CHARLES LAITON

In separate summons filed at the High Court early this month, Parliament claimed $21 719 from Nkomo and $22 642 from Roselene.

The litigation against the couple, comes barely a month after Parliament also issued similar summons against former Masvingo governor, Kudakwashe Bhasikiti and former Energy and Power Development minister Dzikamai Mavhaire, and four other expelled MPs over outstanding vehicle loans debts.

The other former MPs with outstanding vehicle loans include Moses Manyengavana (Highfield West), Bekithemba Nyathi (Mpopoma), Judith Mazhawazhi (Masvingo), Gladys Mathe (Entumbane) and former Albert Mhlanga (Pumula South).

In its declarations filed at the High Court under separate case numbers, Parliament said it entered into loan agreements, where it advanced $35 000 to each of the expelled MPs for the purchase of their motor vehicles.

The august House said it was agreed at the time that repayment of the said loans would be effected through a stop order against their parliamentary allowances and that in the event of each member ceasing to be an MP before the expiry of their term of office through disqualification or imprisonment, Parliament would be entitled to claim the full balance of the loan.

“Pursuant to the terms of the agreement, the plaintiff (Parliament) lent and advanced a sum of $35 000 to the defendant(s) and the defendant(s) purchased (vehicles) on or about the March 17, 2015, the defendants ceased to be Members of Parliament in terms of section 129(1)(k) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe,” Parliament said.

“By reason of the defendant’s disqualification/expulsion from Parliament, the full loan balance is now due, owing and payable to plaintiff.”

All the cited former legislators have since entered their appearance to defend notices.

Schools to bankroll Mugabe bash

THE Zanu PF government has allegedly ordered all civil servants and schools throughout the country to make cash and kind donations towards President Robert Mugabe’s 93rd birthday party to be held in Matobo, Matabeleland South province, on Saturday.

Source: Schools to bankroll Mugabe bash – NewsDay Zimbabwe February 20, 2017

By XOLISANI NCUBE

According to a leaked memo, dated January 2, 2017 and addressed to school heads in Manicaland province, each civil servant is expected to fork out $1, school development committees (SDCs) $10, secondary schools $15 and boarding schools $100.

The memo was written by a public service district inspector for Nyanga.

“To all heads, the 21st February Movement is seeking donations towards the President, His Excellence, Cde RG Mugabe’s 93rd birthday to be held in Matopo’s on February 21, 2017 as follows, civil servants, $1 per person, SDCs (primary schools) $10, secondary schools $15 and boarding, $100,” the memo bearing a Primary and Secondary Education ministry date stamp read.

“The money is payable to the district accountant Ms Munodawafa and the deadline is February 15, 2017.”

The Amalgamated Rural Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ) confirmed that its members were being forced to bankroll Mugabe’s feast.

“Teachers in rural schools of Matabeleland South province are being forced to ‘donate’ for President Mugabe’s birthday bash to be held in Matopos later on this month,” ARTUZ president, Obert Masaraure said.

“Thousands of teachers in the province have been fleeced by Mugabe in schools such as Mawabeni Primary and Secondary, Mzingwane High School, Mvuthu Primary and Secondary, Mbalabala secondary, among many others,” the union alleged.

“We will be taking all measure available to us to protect our members and for them to reclaim their hand-earned cash.”

But, Zanu PF national youth secretary for finance, Tongai Kasukuwere, yesterday distanced his party from the document, saying the only people mandated to collect donations for Mugabe’s birthday bash were “designated party members”.

“We appeal to our people not to part with their money without authenticating with us or party leadership in their provinces. From the national leadership and on behalf of the fundraising committee, we are not involved in anything like that,” he said.

Last Friday, the youth league hosted a dinner dance to fundraise for Mugabe’s annual jamboree, whose budget this year is estimated at $1 million.

Each province, according to insiders, was tasked to raise $25 000 towards the function and other goods and foodstuffs, while various government institutions and parastatals have received directives to donate to the event.

Mugabe shuts door on Mnangagwa

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe has effectively ruled out his two deputies, Emmerson Mnangagwa and Phelekezela Mphoko, from the succession race, declaring in excerpts of a yet-to-be-aired interview to mark his 93rd birthday, that he would rather cling onto power for now until an “acceptable successor” has been identified.

Source: Mugabe shuts door on Mnangagwa – NewsDay Zimbabwe February 20, 2017

By XOLISANI NCUBE

“The majority of the people feel that there is no replacement, a successor, who to them is acceptable, as acceptable as I am,” he said.

The remarks effectively shut the door for Mnangagwa, who until recently was touted as the front runner and Mugabe’s heir apparent.

Mugabe’s statement also corroborated his wife, Grace’s rant on Friday at a Zanu PF campaign rally in Buhera, where she declared that the Zanu PF leader was irreplaceable and his corpse would win the upcoming 2018 presidential elections.

Mugabe said his Zanu PF party, which under normal circumstances should have led the call for him to step down, recently gave him a fresh mandate to contest the 2018 presidential election, despite his advanced age in an apparent show of no confidence in his deputies.

“The call to step down must come from my party, my party at congress, my party at central committee. But then what do you see? It’s the opposite,” he said in an interview published by Sunday Mail.

“They want me to stand for elections. Of course, if I feel that I can’t do it anymore, I will say so to my party so that they relieve me. But, for now, I think I can’t say so…”

Zanu PF has been divided along two distinctive factions, with the First Lady and Mphoko on one hand together with a number of youthful politicians, while Mnangagwa is backed by war veterans.

Mnangagwa is reportedly locked in a fierce succession battle with a faction of Zanu PF Young Turks, believed to be led by Grace, who are fighting to block his ascendancy to power.

Both Grace and Mnangagwa have publicly denied harbouring ambitions to succeed Mugabe.

Turning 93 this week and battling ill-health, Mugabe has kept an iron grip on power since the country’s independence in 1980, and has repeatedly denied reports of frailty.

Grace, on Friday, told a Zanu PF campaign rally in Buhera that no one among the ruling party’s bigwigs had the capacity to succeed her husband.

“There are people, who know that if they stand for election, even with a chicken, they will lose,” she said.

“A cock can win against a person, who was given dominion over everything and lose. That man is irreplaceable. That is the truth, whether we like it or not.”

Grace challenged unnamed politicians, who have been in government since 1980, who are pushing for Mugabe to retire, to also step down with him.

The jibe appeared aimed at Mnangagwa, long considered as Mugabe’s political confidante since the liberation struggle and has remained a constant figure in the successive Zanu PF governments since 1980.

State broadcaster, ZBC is set to air Mugabe’s interview today and tomorrow.

Mugabe admits industry has collapsed, rallies SMEs

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe says the Zanu PF government is now banking on small to medium enterprises (SMEs) for employment creation and economic recovery, following the collapse of most industries in the past two decades.

Source: Mugabe admits industry has collapsed, rallies SMEs – NewsDay Zimbabwe February 20, 2017

BY MUNESU NYAKUDYA

Addressing stakeholders attending an international research symposium in Harare on Friday, Mugabe said if Zimbabwe was to take a cue from the model used in China and India, the country could realise more benefits from the sector.

“With success stories having already been recorded around the globe in China and India, for example, there is no need to reinvent the wheel or to try to reinvent it on SMEs,” he said.

“This is especially so given the sound relationship that exists between Zimbabwe and India, especially in the SMEs sector, information communication technologys education and pharmaceutical sector,” he said.

Mugabe said Zimbabwe’s future now rested on the informal sector following the closure of industries due to economic crisis that hit the country since the early 2000s. “The SMEs sector is the major contributor to the gross domestic product of the country. Currently, the SMEs sector employs more than 2,9 million people and the 2017 National Budget statement by the Finance and Economic Development minister highlighted over 50% of the country’s labour force is to be found in this sector,” he said. Mugabe challenged the Research Council of Zimbabwe (RCZ) to come up with technological ideas that would drive the country’s industrialisation drive.

“Society looks up to you (RCZ) as a scientific community to come up with technological breakthroughs and innovations that will drive and underpin our national and regional industrialisation programmes.”

“Advances in a relatively new knowledge disciplines such as nano technology, bio-technology, geo-informatics and remote settings should be applied to create new improved and diversifying industrial processes that will add value to our competitiveness, while tackling the theatrical challenges that are faced by our society,” he said.

National Small Industries Corporations of India chairperson, Ravindra Nath, said SMEs in India employed 51 million people and contributed more than 7% to the economy.

CBZ sues minister Mutinhiri over $216 000 debt

LOCAL bank, CBZ, has sued Mashonaland East Provincial Affairs minister Ambrose Mutinhiri, for failing to service a $216 724 overdraft facility extended for his summer cropping programme in 2010.

Source: CBZ sues minister Mutinhiri over $216 000 debt – NewsDay Zimbabwe February 20, 2017

BY CHARLES LAITON

According to the summons issued in January this year under a case number, which was erroneously entered as 574/2016, CBZ said it was demanding payment of $216 724 from the minister. The bank wants cumulative unpaid capital of $108 258,37, cumulative unpaid interest of $108 258,37 plus cumulative unpaid charges of $208.

CBZ further said, in order to secure his borrowing, Mutinhiri bonded all his movable properties, which the financial institution was now urging the court to consider as executable.

“In terms of a notarial general covering bond No 6260/2010 dated November 30, 2010, the defendant (Mutinhiri) bonded all his movable property of whatsoever nature, as security for the repayment of his indebtedness to the plaintiff (CBZ Bank). Accordingly, the said movable property must be declared specially executable,” the bank said in its declaration.

According to court papers, CBZ Bank on October 8, 2010, advanced a $90 000 summer cropping overdraft facility, which would accrue interest on the drawn amount at the bank’s minimum lending rate from time to time.

“It was a term of the agreement that interest would accrue on the amount under the overdraft facility at the plaintiff’s minimum lending rate from time to time, which was 12% per annum calculated on the daily balance and compounded on a monthly basis, plus an establishment fee of 3%,” the bank said.

“Despite utilising the overdraft facility and overdrawing there from the defendant breached the agreement when he failed to repay the amounts drawn with interest, thereon, on September 3, 2014, being the date of demand. As such, plaintiff altered the interest rate to its penalty rate from time to time, currently being at 26% per annum.”

The bank further said as at September 3, 2014, Mutinhiri was indebted to the financial institution to the tune of $216 724, 74.

Mutinhiri has since responded to the lawsuit.

David Whitehead Textiles sued for $39 000 rentals

THE judicially-managed David Whitehead Textiles Limited, has been sued by the owner of its rented premises in Bulawayo over $39 000.

Source: David Whitehead Textiles sued for $39 000 rentals – NewsDay Zimbabwe February 20, 2017

BY SILAS NKALA

The property owner, Kaufman Properties (Pvt) Limited, filed summons against David Whitehead at the Bulawayo High Court on February 15 demanding the payment of $39 034,45.

“The plaintiff’s claim is for payment of the sum of $39 034,45 being outstanding rentals and other charges due for the period December 1, 2010 to December 31, 2011 in respect of the lease by defendant from plaintiff of premises known as 74 Fife Street Bulawayo,” the summons reads.

The property owner also wants the textile firm to pay costs of the lawsuit and interest at the prescribed rate, with effect from the date of issue of summons to date of final payment.

David Whitehead Textiles was placed under provisional judicial management on December 1, 2010 and under final judicial management on March 19, 2014.

In its declaration of the suit, Kaufman Properties submitted that “prior to defendant (David Whitehead) being placed under provisional judicial management plaintiff was the lessor and David Whitehead Textiles was a lessee of certain premises in Bulawayo. On January 31, 2011, the parties agreed that the defendant would continue being the lessee and plaintiff the lessor of the same property pursuant to defendant being placed under provisional judicial management. The lease agreement ran from December 1, 2010 to December 21, 2011.”

“The rental payable by the defendant to the plaintiff in respect of the lease from December 1, 2010 to December 31, 2011 was

$2 000 per month and either party had to give three months’ notice to cancel the agreement.”

The property owner submitted that in addition to the rentals, David Whitehead was supposed to pay municipal rates and taxes and other charges including refunding insurance premiums paid by the lessor to insure the said premises during the period of the lease agreement.

“Defendant failed to pay rentals, rates and other charges for the months of December 2010 to December 2011 totalling $39 034,45. The defendant has remained in default despite several promises to pay,” reads the declaration.

David Whitehead Textiles is yet to respond to the summons.

End Mugabe’s parties – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary

Zimbabwean exiles marked Mugabe’s 93rd birthday by launching a new petition to the Southern African Development Community appealing to them to ensure free and fair elections next year.

Source: End Mugabe’s parties – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 18th February 2017

https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/32951235386/sizes/m/

The petition reads: The countdown to next year’s elections in Zimbabwe has begun but no electoral reforms have been made and we fear the elections will once again be rigged. The increasingly incapacitated nonagenarian Robert Mugabe has already been nominated to stand for another five year term as Zimbabwe President while the country faces mass starvation and a collapsed economy with astronomic unemployment. We appeal to the Southern African Development Community to insist that SADC election principles are observed to ensure a level playing field for all political parties. Furthermore, we call on SADC election observers to be free from political pressure to rubberstamp a rigged poll.

The Vigil hopes that SADC will have learned from the example set by the West African Economic Community, which recently acted decisively to ensure that the will of the Gambian people was respected. We remind SADC that its election principles adopted in 2015 defines fair as ‘Electoral processes that are conducted in conformity with established rules and regulations, managed by an impartial, non-partisan professional and competent Electoral Management Body (EMB); in an atmosphere characterised by respect for the rule of law; guaranteed rights of protection for citizens through the electoral law and the constitution and reasonable opportunities for voters to transmit and receive voter information; defined by equitable access to financial and material resources for all political parties and independent candidates in accordance with the national laws; and where there is no violence, intimidation or discrimination based on race, gender, ethnicity, religious or other considerations specified in these SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections.’

Mugabe himself, in the form of Fungayi Mabhunu in our mask, was at the Vigil in his wheelchair. Wearing a superman bib, he sank a Beelzebub of birthday wine and tucked into his birthday cake while dissidents demanded he retire immediately and rest next to Rhodes in the Matopos.

Mugabe was scornful about our petition, saying he believed his disciples in SADC would support Grace’s proposal that, even if he died before the election, his name should still be on the ballot form because he was so popular that people would feel cheated if they could not re-elect him.

Other points

  • On Friday more than 40 demonstrators from the Vigil, ROHR and the MDC gathered outside the Embassy when the trial of Pastor Evan Mawarire was scheduled to start. The protest was in support of all human rights activists in Zimbabwe being harassed by the authorities in defiance of their constitutional rights. Thanks to Daizy Fabian and the ROHR central London branch for organising this.
  • At the Zimbabwe Action Forum after the Vigil it was decided to take a stand on Grace Mugabe’s insane utterances that Zimbabweans love dictator Robert Mugabe so much that they will vote for his corpse should God decide that he should die before the 2018 elections. Members expressed revulsion and anger at the arrogance and madness as this was taken to mean Zimbabweans are only as good as dead people. Members resolved to challenge this by staging a protest on Friday 24th February from 11 am – 1 pm outside the Embassy. This was also to pinnacle ROHR’s ‘7 days of mourning’ campaign to highlight the misery, destruction, suffering and hopelessness characterising Zimbabwe today under the lavish lifestyle of Mugabe and his cronies while the people are brutally suppressed. The 7 days of mourning are the days between Mugabe’s birthday visit to the Vigil today and Mugabe’s birthday feast in Masvingo on Saturday 25th February.
  • Sister Bev Mutandiro has asked us to publicise an all-night prayer vigil on Friday 24th February starting at 10 pm and ending at 5 am. The theme is Psalms 10.17: ‘O Lord, you have heard the desire of the humble and oppressed; You will strengthen their heart, You will incline Your ear to hear.’ For details see ‘Events and Notices’.
  • Thanks to those who came early to help set up: Rashiwe Bayisayi, Vimbayi Chambara, Abigail Chidavayenzi, Mavis Chisvo, Vimbai Karumbidza, Fungayi Mabhunu, Phillip Mahlahla, Alice Majola, Nancy Makurira, Theodora Mandishaya, Rosemary Maponga, Benjamin Molife, Eunice Mucherechedzo, Roseline Mukucha, Patience Muyeye, Mduduzi Ndlovu, Sipho Ndlovu, Edward Ndlovu, Tsitsi Ndoro and Sibusiso Ngwenya. Thanks to Roseline, Patience, Vimbai K and Philip Maponga for looking after the front table, to Abigail and Nancy for handing out flyers and selling wristbands, to Phillip, Mduduzi, Sipho, Vimbai C, Benjamin and Sibusiso for putting up the banners, to Deborah Harry, Easther Munyira, Mercy Bayipayi and Cephas Maswoswa for Mugabe’s birthday cake and to Cephas for bringing Mugabe’s wheelchair.

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: 56 signed the register.

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • ‘No votes for corpses’ protest. Friday 24th February from 11 am – 1 pm outside the Zimbabwe Embassy. This protest will also mark the end of ‘7 days of mourning’ for the failures of the Mugabe regime. The 7 days of mourning are the days between Mugabe’s birthday visit to the Vigil on the 18th February and Mugabe’s birthday feast in Masvingo on Saturday 25th February. For more information check the ROHR Zimbabwe International facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Restoration-of-Human-Rights-ROHR-Zimbabwe-International-370825706588551/.
  • All-night prayer vigil. From 10 pm on Friday 24th February to 5 am on Saturday 25th February. Venue 10 Midlands Road, Luton LU2 0HR. Transport is available from Uxbridge and London. Contact Bev Mutandiro 07412053415.
  • Swaziland Vigil. Saturday 4th March from 10 am to 1 pm outside the Swaziland High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB.
  • Monthly Itai Dzamara protest. Saturday 11th March from 2 – 6 pm outside the Zimbabwe Embassy. The protest is to mark two years 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.
  • The Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) is the Vigil’s partner organization based in Zimbabwe. ROHR grew out of the need for the Vigil to have an organization on the ground in Zimbabwe which reflected the Vigil’s mission statement in a practical way. ROHR in the UK actively fundraises through membership subscriptions, events, sales etc to support the activities of ROHR in Zimbabwe. Please note that the official website of ROHR Zimbabwe is http://www.rohrzimbabwe.org/. Any other website claiming to be the official website of ROHR in no way represents us.
  • Zimbabwe 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:

Panic as Grace resumes rallies

Source: Panic as Grace resumes rallies – DailyNews Live

Gift Phiri      19 February 2017

HARARE – Zimbabwe People First (ZPF) leader Joice Mujuru is on the
backfoot after powerful First Lady Grace Mugabe resumed her high-octane
“meet the people” rallies on Friday, which the opposition contends will
act as a catalyst for the implosion of the ruling Zanu PF regime.

Grace resumed her countrywide “meet the people” rallies in Buhera, as the
ruling party grapples with the prospects of facing an opposition coalition
in the 2018 poll and at a time its ugly battle to succeed President Robert
Mugabe rages on.

ZPF has imploded after being mercilessly vanquished in its first ever
election tussle against Mugabe’s ruling Zanu PF in Bikita West,
highlighting the mammoth task Mujuru faces in efforts to challenge her
associate-cum-foe.

And Mujuru, who served as Mugabe’s deputy for a decade, was the subject of
Grace’s barbs in Buhera on Friday, derisively calling her a “queen bee”
that has been deserted by her “drones” (male bees). Grace alluded to
“queen bee” after Mujuru earlier last week said her erstwhile male
colleagues in ZPF wanted to “sleep” with her, that is why they appointed
her interim president.

She also in thinly-veiled remarks attacked Vice President Emmerson
Mnangagwa and his faction popularly known as Team Lacoste, averring that
if they want Mugabe to go, they should also pack their bags.

“Some are saying …Mugabe is now old and should retire. No! At least
myself, I can say that because I did not start with him in 1980,” she
said.

“I don’t want to be told that by a person who started with the president
in 1980. You started together in 1980 and now you want to tell someone
that you are old. No! That is unfair.

“If you want …Mugabe to retire, you go together with him and we take
over. We were not there in 1980.”

Zanu PF’s astonishing brawls worsened when Mnangagwa became embroiled in
what is now cheekily referred to in some Zanu PF circles as “Cupgate” –
after images of the vice president holding a coffee mug inscribed with the
words “I am the boss” emerged.

This saw the Midlands godfather’s Zanu PF enemies going to town and
interpreting, rightly or wrongly, the pictures as confirmation of the VP’s
mooted presidential aspirations and his Team Lacoste faction’s alleged
plot to take power irregularly.

Another senior party official linked to Zanu PF’s ambitious Young Turks
known as the Generation 40 (G40) – who are rabidly opposed to Mnangagwa
succeeding Mugabe – said bluntly that “Team Lacoste is in trouble” and
that she would “target and right size Ngwena (Mnangagwa)” at the
forthcoming rallies.

Analysts and the opposition told the Daily News on Sunday yesterday that
they feared a complete implosion of the former liberation movement.

MDC spokesperson Obert Gutu said they were not really bothered by Grace’s
rallies saying they were busy with their own party programmes that have
seen Morgan Tsvangirai crisscrossing the country, consulting with opinion
leaders.

“Of course, it will be God’s gift to the toiling and downtrodden masses of
Zimbabwe if Grace Mugabe’s rallies act as a catalyst in the inevitable
implosion of the Zanu PF regime,” Gutu said.

“We would be lying if we say that we are not very pleased to see Zanu PF
crash and burn.

“As the MDC, we are extremely concerned about the financial drain to the
national treasury that her rallies will cause.”

Cabinet ministers flocked to her rally on Friday using government vehicles
and fuel.

“We are also concerned that no serious government business will take place
because all top government bureaucrats will be following Grace to her
rallies as they seek to pay homage to her,” Gutu said.

“In Zanu PF circles, Grace is like a goddess. If you cross her path,
consider yourself a dead man walking.”

Former advisor to ex-Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, Alex Magaisa, said
it will be interesting to see how the forthcoming round of rallies go but
going by previous rounds, it is likely to be “explosive”.

“Before the last round stopped, she was relentlessly attacking Mnangagwa
and his faction and it seemed as if Mnangagwa was losing ground.

“Afterwards, Mnangagwa gained ground and has been comfortable. This new
round could be designed to peg back the Mnangagwa team,” Magaisa said.

When Grace addressed her key rally on Friday, the influential first lady
ominously accused unnamed officials of among a litany of deadly charges –
deception, faking love for Mugabe, and in fact working feverishly to
topple the long-ruling nonagenarian from power.

“Varikutonga baba. Vanhu vakakupa vote wotoita zvekutamba. (Our father is
ruling. You were voted into people by people and you play with that
mandate). Factionalism pasi nayo (down with it), who ever is engaging in
factionalism, stop it!” she admonished.

‘The powerful must be held to account’

Source: ‘The powerful must be held to account’ – DailyNews Live

19 February 2017

HARARE – In the wake of the Supreme Court throwing out a High Court order
barring the holding of interviews to replace outgoing Chief Justice (CJ)
Godfrey Chidyausiku and lawmakers starting to conduct public hearings on
Friday on a proposed Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (No. 1) Bill that
allows President Robert Mugabe to solely appoint senior judiciary
officials, our Deputy Chief Writer Tendai Kamhungira spoke to prominent
human rights lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa – who was part of the court process –
to discuss this and other issues.

Q: What motivated you to take part in the Judicial Service Commission
(JSC) appeal against the barring of holding of public interviews to
replace outgoing CJ Godfrey Chidyausiku?

A: I feel very strongly that if a Constitution says things must be done in
a certain way, we must follow that procedure.

Once we say that constitutional provisions can be amended on the mere
say-so of an Executive member and we have a court suspending a
constitutional provision which is being carried out lawfully, it virtually
means we have no Constitution because what will to stop the very same
people from doing the same for every other provision in the Constitution.

We will soon, in a couple of years, begin presidential term limits. What
would stop the very same politicians from getting Zibani (Romeo) to go to
court to say oh, we love this president, so the term limits should now be
suspended so that he can continue.

There are so many other provisions that would really be suspended at a
whim if we allow this kind of process to be adopted.

We would have thrown out everything out of the window and we wouldn’t be
able to operate as lawyers, because as I said in my papers, the
Constitution is what a Bible is to a Christian pastor and you cannot allow
pages in that Bible to be reaped off on a whim.

Q: The government has been very slow in aligning subsidiary laws with the
Constitution, what do you make of this sluggish approach?

A: That non-alignment is deliberate and I actually believe very strongly
that the attempt at tinkering with the Constitution is also part and
parcel of that non-alignment.

So I think the non-alignment is a deliberate ploy to buy time and once we
allow the Constitution to be amended at a whim, we are not going to see
any alignment because the constitutional provisions that need to be
aligned with new laws would have been suspended through court orders or
other processes, so it is a very worrying process, particularly as we go
towards elections.

Q: What do you think should be done to ensure that the laws are aligned to
the Constitution?

A: Obviously, that is a legislative function and I don’t think civil
society has done enough to push for the alignment of those laws, because
it is obvious that the politicians are not very keen to have the laws
aligned because they benefit from the non-alignment. I think as a
population, we ought to be doing more to demand the alignment and we call
on our MPs to do everything possible to have the alignment done as soon as
possible.

Q: What is your assessment of the state of the rule of law?

A: It has improved considerably in the last couple of years.

Fifteen years ago we were at a place that wasn’t particularly good but we
are seeing gains as we move forward, particularly with regards to
provisions in the Constitution, which is why some of us are extremely
concerned by the haste with which members of the Executive were starting
to tinker with the Constitution.

With the new appointment procedures of judges, we believe that this was
also meant to enhance rule of law issues, because if judges are picked up
transparently from a pool of lawyers, they are unlikely to be beholden to
the appointing authority because they would not have been chosen through
some secret non-transparent way and if a person has gone through a public
interview, my view is that they are more likely to be independent and that
would enhance the rule of law and improve the country’s ranking on the
rule of law index.

Q: Some of the cases that you’re handling involve the powerful First
Family. Are you not afraid?

A: I really don’t care very much about the political affiliation or the
presumed power of those who might be involved in the cases. So, I never
really look at it from the perspective that oh this might be dangerous
terrain because the Constitution says there is equality of all before the
law, although of course in reality we know that is not so.

You see, the very same case we are referring to (involving First Lady
Grace Mugabe and Lebanese national Jamal Joseph Hamed), although we got an
order, the Sheriff is sitting back doing virtually nothing to enforce it,
despite us having done everything possible to have it enforced.

But if `Mr Joe Block’ next door has the same order, it would have been
carried out within days of the Sheriff being asked to carry out his
functions.

Firstly, I don’t know what will happen but secondly, I don’t think lawyers
should look at the identity of the litigants and be motivated not to act
against the powerful.

The powerful are the ones who wield a lot of power and it is absolutely
crucial as lawyers that we hold them to account.

No matter how powerful you are, we should make it very clear to you that
actually, the law is more powerful than you and that the little person in
the street can only be asked to comply with the law because the powerful
are also complying with the law.

Q: As a lawyer of more than 30 years, have you ever faced any limitations
in your line of duty?

A: I know that recently when we represented the war veterans, there was an
outcry from the colleagues saying that, oh vana (the likes of) Mtetwa have
been bought by Zanu PF etcetera.

We don’t do cases on the basis of people’s political affiliation and I
have never really asked a client his or her political
affiliation…because that has nothing to do with me. The issue really is
whether or not the person’s right has been violated.

There are also other limitations. I have found that a lot of persons
particularly in the corporate sector discriminate against people like
myself because they think oh if you give Mtetwa work it will look like you
are anti-government and you get a lot of CEOs saying no, no, no we can
never give you work because you are seen as anti-government, we would get
into trouble.

Even just ordinary persons view me as anti-government and therefore if you
use my services, it’s like you are aligning yourself with me.

Q: Are you politically-aligned to any political party and is it true that
you are anti-government?

A: Actually, all I am is anti-impunity. I really don’t care about people’s
political affiliation. I don’t care who is in power.

I just care that they do the right thing when they are in power.

I don’t know whether I can say I am anti-government but I know that I have
always been anti-establishment regardless of who is in power, right from
when I was young.

I can honestly say that I have always been anti-establishment, whatever
the establishment is.

Q: You have once been arrested, do you hold any grudge against the
government?

A: Whatever has happened to me, I have looked at it as a growing
experience. When I was locked up at Chikurubi (Maximum Prison) in 2013, it
was a great experience in that I now know what it is like to be in jail.

I know most of the women that are there are ordinary women. I got an
opportunity to do a bit of work while I was there.

So, I managed to get quite a number of women out when I got released. And
it is an experience that I am really grateful for because it gave me a
perspective that I would have never known from just visiting people in
Chikurubi.

Q: How were the conditions in prison?

A: The cell I was in had 18 women. It’s a very small place so the
overcrowding is incredible.

We were sleeping back-to-back but then because it’s a women’s prison and
we cleaned in rotation, it was very clean and the biggest problem was that
there is no toilet in that particular cell.

So we all had little containers where we did our business in the night and
it’s not particularly pleasant if someone has a running tummy…so by the
time they opened the doors in the morning, the windows will be steaming
and the smell will be something else and of course when you are sleeping
and hear a woman doing her business in the same room that’s not pleasant.

I was treated exceptionally well by the prison authorities.

The governor’s political resurrection?

Source: The governor’s political resurrection? – DailyNews Live

Alex Magaisa      19 February 2017

HARARE – Sometime in 2014, Gideon Gono, the former governor of the Reserve
Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) was within spitting distance of a seat in the
Senate, the upper chamber of Parliament, before it was dramatically
snatched away.

He was the Zanu PF nominee to replace Kumbirai Kangai, who had died not
long after the 2013 election. However, just as he was about to take the
new title, Gono’s ascendancy was brutally thwarted.

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) rejected his nomination on the
grounds that he was not registered on the voters’ roll in Manicaland
province, where the seat was vacant. Gono had approached the Office of the
Registrar General (RG) to transfer his registration from Harare to
Manicaland.

Zec declared that it was an invalid registration because the RG no longer
had the power to register voters. Zec was right.

But instead of correcting the RG’s error and registering Gono, Zec claimed
that it could not do so until electoral laws were amended to confirm its
new constitutional role. On this, Zec was wrong. They had the power to
register in terms of the Constitution and they could have used it if it
wanted to.

Based on Zec’s refusal, the Zanu PF politburo replaced Gono with another
candidate. With that, Gono’s dream of becoming a senator in Manicaland was
over. Curiously, a few weeks later, Zec announced that it was registering
voters, a perfect somersault given its earlier position on Gono when it
said it had no power. Nothing had changed between the two instances to
justify Zec’s sudden change. It was an intriguing case in which the
positions of Zec and a faction in Zanu PF were curiously aligned against
Gono.

It seemed there was a faction that did not want to see Gono take the
Senate seat and Zec was complicit in this scheme. That or Zec was simply
incompetent when it dealt with the Gono case before it changed its mind.

It seems Gono was collateral damage in the war of attrition between Zanu
PF factions in 2014 and may have been as an ally of the Mujuru faction.
Rugare Gumbo, who was later fired remained hopeful that the legal issues
would be cleared to ensure Gono’s smooth passage to the Senate, a view
that was extinguished by Justice minister Emmerson Mnangagwa when he
declared that it was a closed chapter. Jonathan Moyo publicly berated Gono
for alleged failure to understand the law.

Interestingly, while Joice Mujuru and her allies were unceremoniously
fired from the party, Gono survived. That might have been due to his
proximity to President Robert Mugabe’s family. But with the Manicaland
senate seat snatched from under his nose, his fortunes waned and he
retreated from the political limelight.

Around the same time that Gono was losing the Senate seat, he was also
under a barrage of attacks from Munyaradzi Kereke, a former loyal
lieutenant at the RBZ. In contrast to his former boss’s political
fortunes, Kereke’s were on the rise.

He had contested the elections in 2013 in defiance of a party directive
and won. He had allegedly been thwarted by the Mujuru faction but had
received backing from the Mnangagwa faction. When the Mujuru faction was
fired from Zanu PF, and with the Mnangagwa faction in charge, Kereke was
readmitted into Zanu PF.

Kereke’s departure from his role as a subordinate of Gono at the RBZ had
been unceremonious and messy. The acrimony led to bad blood between the
two men. Kereke threw all manner of allegations against Gono, including
charges of corruption and inappropriate liaisons.

It was a messy divorce.

In due time, Gono left his post at the RBZ after the end of his 10-year
statutory tenure. Kereke launched cases against Gono and even approached
the Constitutional Court, in pursuit of private prosecution. He claimed to
have vast amounts of evidence that would nail his former boss.

Meanwhile, Kereke’s fortunes dipped in dramatic fashion. He was accused of
raping a minor in 2010, a matter which had been stifled by prosecution
authorities which refused to prosecute him for alleged lack of evidence.
The prosecutor-general, Johannes Tomana, was accused of protecting Kereke,
said to be a political ally.

It was a controversial decision which was challenged by the victim’s
guardians who eventually managed to carry out a successful private
prosecution. Kereke was found guilty of rape. He is now at Chikurubi
Maximum Security Prison, where he is serving a 10-year prison sentence.

It was curious therefore, to keen observers of the Zimbabwean political
scene, that the Kereke-Gono affair was rekindled in recent weeks,
following prominent coverage in The Sunday Mail, the State-owned weekly
newspaper. First, a public apology to Gono by Kereke was given front page
treatment. Two weeks later, Gono’s acknowledgement of the apology received
similar high profile treatment.

What might have prompted the State weekly to bring back into the limelight
two men who had seemingly gone into political oblivion, one by confinement
to jail, and the other, by political banishment?

It is highly unusual that a convicted rapist hogs the front page of a
State weekly – for an apology, not to the victim but to a former boss. It
appeared there was a story behind the story – just what it could be
remains a matter of conjecture.

There has been much speculation as to what might have prompted this
curious exchange between these two men via the State weekly.

One theory is that this could be a well-choreographed act designed to
“cleanse” the former central bank governor in preparation for political
office. It was Kereke after all, who made the high profile allegations and
threatened to expose Gono. The theory is that “cleansed” of the dirt that
Kereke threw at him, Gono would be ready for some political office.

But this theory would be incomplete without the assumption that Gono is
part of the elaborate scheme. Yet, this assumption could be false, as
there are suggestions that Kereke’s apology came as a complete surprise to
Gono. Reading through Gono’s interview, one can observe that his
acknowledgment of Kereke’s apology is qualified, which shows some
hesitation. He does not, for example, undertake to withdraw his own
defamation suit against Kereke. But if Gono is not part of an elaborate
“cleansing” scheme, what else might have triggered Kereke’s apology?

The second theory is that Kereke initiated the apology in pursuit of
self-interest and in response to powerful political forces that he may
have offended.

It will be recalled that one of Kereke’s claims during his rape trial was
that the allegations were political and that they were designed to punish
him for his allegations against Gono.

After his conviction he has tried, on at least two occasions, to apply for
bail pending appeal. Both times, he has hit a brick wall. Kereke believes
he is suffering political persecution. The apology may be a desperate plea
for mercy. He probably thinks an apology and withdrawal of his allegations
will thaw the hearts of those whom he offended. The apology may therefore
be a plea for forgiveness.

But if it is a plea for forgiveness, to whom is Kereke really apologising?
Gono does not have any legal powers to forgive him, even if he chose to do
so. If it is a plea for forgiveness, it must be a plea directed to a
higher power, which brings the Mugabe family into the equation.

Gono’s proximity to the Mugabe family is well known. Perhaps that is where
the apology is directed. Furthermore, even if it was a plea for
forgiveness, why would the State media grant such a favour to a convicted
rapist?

There must be thousands of prisoners who would want to make apologies to
other private persons they wronged outside. They would never get space in
a mass circulating paper. Kereke could have written a letter of apology to
Gono. His appearance in the State paper could only have been engineered by
powerful political forces in control of State media.

Nevertheless, a pertinent question is what prompted Kereke to make those
allegations against his former boss in the first place? Has he suddenly
discovered that he was wrong about his former boss? Was he acting on his
own when he went rogue on his old boss?

Gono’s failure to land the senatorial post in Manicaland was arguably down
to powerful political forces in the struggle for succession. Could those
forces have been behind Kereke’s allegations then? Could they be behind
the recent apology, a change in strategy perhaps in light of the
succession race?

When Kereke attacked Gono, he may have been acting on behalf of political
superiors who might have been disturbed by Gono’s entrance into the
political arena. They achieved their purpose when they thwarted Gono’s
rise to the Senate.

Gono’s proximity to the Mugabe family must be a source of concern to
succession protagonists. There was a time when Gono was the prime minister
in all but name. But if Gono’s political entrance was inconvenient in
2014, what has changed now? Could there be a realignment of political
interests?

It should be interesting to see what comes next after the Kereke apology
and Gono’s acknowledgment. The collusion theory has no discernible basis.

While Kereke is motivated by self-interest, his access to State media and
favourable coverage suggests that his apology has more beneficiaries
beyond himself and Gono.

If that is the case, both Kereke and Gono could be mere pawns in an
elaborate and increasingly complex war to succeed Mugabe. It won’t be
surprising if this ritual is a precursor to Kereke’s release from jail or
Gono’s re-emergence on the political arena or indeed, a dramatic
re-configuration of the succession race as it goes to the wire.

They hate me: Grace laments

Source: They hate me: Grace laments – DailyNews Live

Mugove Tafirenyika      19 February 2017

HARARE – In a statement that has further highlighted the ruling Zanu PF’s
deadly tribal, factional and succession wars, powerful First Lady Grace
Mugabe revealed on Friday that some party bigwigs are working feverishly
to scuttle her high-octane meet-the-people rallies.

Addressing hundreds of Zanu PF supporters in Buhera – as the influential
first lady made her much-anticipated return to the rally circuit in 2017 –
she said she was being fought left, right and centre by senior Zanu PF
figures, including Cabinet ministers, who were against her rallies.

While going out of her way to be more circumspect than she is renowned
for, regarding her views on Zanu PF’s ugly ructions, Grace still revealed
that some party heavyweights were engaged in deliberate and calculated
attempts to hamper her rallies in the run-up to the make-or-break 2018
national elections.

“There are people who feel threatened when we come down to meet the
people. They have been writing letters all over to say don’t give her
resources, including those that are confiscated at the border, that I give
to our people.

“As first lady, don’t I have a right to ask even Cabinet ministers to put
together resources for our programmes? I thought I respected them with
their positions unlike other first ladies in other countries. So, I expect
that they too should do the same,” she said.

“We know they don’t want us to be with the people. But that’s about
leadership and now that I am back, and have already started going around,
we are not going to stop.

“I have a good working relationship with most of the ministers though, and
when they heard that I was coming here, they donated an assortment of
goods,” Grace added.

Zanu PF is deeply divided over President Robert Mugabe’s succession, with
a faction of young party Turks going by the moniker Generation 40 (G40)
rabidly opposed to Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa succeeding the
nonagenarian, and squaring up against the VP’s allies, Team Lacoste.

The first lady’s rallies, particularly her donations during these mega
gatherings, have been interpreted by her rivals within the warring Zanu
PF, as confirmation of the fact that she harbours presidential ambitions.

However, Grace has repeatedly denied having such ambitions – declaring
instead that by virtue of being Mugabe’s wife, she was already involved in
ruling the country.

Grace also let rip at Zanu PF bigwigs on Friday, savaging those she said
were angling to take over from her husband – and mocking them on their
alleged lack of “leadership qualities”.

In the process, the first lady gave fresh legs to the loud whispers within
the ruling party that her husband wants to rule Zimbabwe for life –
particularly as she also went on to tell the gathered crowd that if Mugabe
were to die, Zimbabweans would vote for his corpse.

She said Mugabe was irreplaceable, adding that Zimbabweans would find it
difficult to get someone after him with his qualities.

“As Zanu PF, we have an upper hand, but sometimes we want to throw away
the gifts that we are given by God. That man (Mugabe) is irreplaceable.
Whether you like it or not, what is in him comes from God.

“We have a problem when our leader is insulted.  Hatisikuzodyiwa
takatarisa samatemba, we may be quiet but we are watching. The media is
being given money to write stories and sometimes they would have been
threatened … they are being fed,” Grace said.

“I cannot be told by someone with whom he began with in 1980 that he is
old. That is unfair. If you want him to go motobva mese totora over isusu
(leave and we will take over).

“You will hear people saying you want Mugabe to continue so that you will
remain as the first lady. It’s unfair. Don’t expect me to tell him to
retire when there are millions who voted for him.

“There can be miracles. If God decides that Mugabe should go and we put
pictures of his corpse on the ballot paper, people will still vote for him
and he will win the election,” she added.

In May last year, Grace stunned thousands of Zanu PF supporters who had
gathered in Harare for a solidarity rally with her husband when she said
Mugabe would rule Zimbabwe from the grave.

“We want you to lead this country from your grave, while you lie at the
National Heroes’ Acre,” she said.

Speaking during a rally at Murehwa Business Centre in 2015, the
influential first lady also warned Zanu PF heavyweights that she was going
to design a special wheelchair from which Mugabe would rule until he was
100 years old.

“We are going to create a special wheelchair for president Mugabe until he
rules to 100 years because that is what we want. That is the people’s
choice. We want a leader that respects us,” she said.

The Zanu PF youth league has also since formally moved a motion, at the
ruling party’s annual conference which was held in Masvingo last December,
for Mugabe to be declared life president.

The former liberation movement’s tribal, factional and succession wars
have escalated since the beginning of the year after Mnangagwa hosted
sacked Zanu PF officials at his rural home during the festive season –
with the VP’s party foes saying this was in fact a meeting organised to
plot the ouster of Mugabe from power.

G40-linked party officials subsequently met at the Zanu PF headquarters in
Harare where they issued a statement in which they called for a probe into
Mnangagwa for hobnobbing with the likes of war veterans’ leader
Christopher Mutsvangwa and maverick businessman-cum-politician, Energy
Mutodi.

Mnangagwa’s allies on the other hand, have been ratcheting up the pressure
on Mugabe to pave the way for the Midlands godfather to take over the
reins at both party and government levels.

Mugabe, the only leader Zimbabweans have known since the country’s
independence from Britain in 1980, has consistently refused to name a
successor, arguing that his party should rather follow what he sees as a
more democratic process – managing his succession via a congress.

Banks profits shocker

Source: Banks profits shocker – DailyNews Live

Ndakaziva Majaka      19 February 2017

HARARE – Zimbabwe’s banks posted a startling 42 percent surge in profits
that buttressed economists and investors’ belief that “unacceptable
charges” and “extortionist fees” were reinvigorating the long-struggling
financial sector.

The super profits announcement was immediately followed by an announcement
by Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor John Mangudya in his 2017
monetary policy statement that he had capped interest rates at 12 percent
per annum from 18 percent and further reduced bank charges.

Banks have reneged on past pledges to the RBZ to lower their rates, which
had given Zimbabwean lenders one of the highest returns-on-equity in
Africa.

Businesses in the country have long complained that high commercial
lending rates, which average 18 percent or more, hobble corporate
investment, while individuals say the high cost puts borrowing out of
reach of many.

Financial institutions quote high lending rates even on struggling civil
servants despite getting cheap funds from State-run pension fund, Nssa.

The super performance of banks was largely in line with what economists
had been expecting: trading revenue was upbeat thanks to increased market
activity following the introduction of bond notes; and a recent upward
move in interest rates produced remarkable gains in banks’ income.

At a time most Zimbabwean businesses are closing shop on the back of
perennial losses driven by economic collapse; just in the first half of
2016 alone, banking sector profitability jumped to $181 million from
$127,4 million.

In fact, all of the country’s 19 banking institutions – 13 of which are
commercial banks, five building societies and one savings bank – recorded
profits, with an improved average return on assets from two percent to 2,2
percent, while return on equity also went up from 11 percent to 12,6
percent.

This performance by the banks comes at a time when the country is
experiencing acute cash shortages caused by withdrawal limits,
consequently leading to numerous withdrawals by depositors and translating
to more income for banks from ATM fees and other withdrawal charges.

Mangudya said interest income continued to be the major income driver
constituting 58,4 percent of total income of $1 billion for the period
under review.

Former Finance minister, Tendai Biti, said: “They are making super profits
because they have unacceptable charges and extortionist fees… But it is
not their fault.

“The real issue is that banks are not operating normally. They do not have
good bank assets.

“They cannot lend to businesses because they have collapsed, they cannot
lend to farmers because farmers do not have title deeds…

“So, in the absence of a regime that can help them make money normally
through interest income and lending to good clients, they make money from
non-interest income and they are in a rut because they still have to
remain in business,” Biti said.

He pointed out that the central bank and Treasury still needed to put in
place a statutory instrument to closely monitor banks and charges being
levied on depositors.

“They will simply not comply despite the slash in withdrawal rates, unless
a statutory instrument is enforced to monitor them and deal with the
challenges.

“The problem is that banking is an accounting-based sector and they will
always make use of creative accounting to pass costs to depositors,” he
said.

The profits naturally surprised most depositors, given the country’s
economic collapse.

Harare-based depositor, Karen Mutandwa told the Daily News on Sunday:
“Doesn’t it just come as a shock that banks are the only sector of the
economy that is flourishing? Clearly, they are benefitting from our
misery.

“If they are not lending as much as they used to, then where is the
interest income coming from?

“Someone is making a killing in these tough times and someone is not
telling the truth,” she said, standing in a bank ATM queue.

Harare-based economist Issis Mwale said it was a no-brainer that banks
were going to record higher profits in 2016 in spite of worsening economic
conditions, adding the banks were “cashing in on cash scarcity”.

“Can’t you see? Because there is no cash, people are withdrawing more
money and because of this, they incur more in withdrawal fees.

“Cash shortages did affect banks, but they also benefited the most as
their depositors kept withdrawing and performing other functions.

“It is a simple matrix really. But I doubt this year will be great for
them, given withdrawal fees were slashed,” Mwale said.

Bankers have said the RBZ’s newly-introduced withdrawal charges are
anticipated to eat into income, with some pointing out financials were set
to reflect the effect in the first half of 2017.

In his monetary policy statement, Mangudya said: “With effect from 1 April
2017, all banking institutions are required to ensure that lending
interest rates should not exceed 12 percent per annum and that bank
charges that include application fees, facility fees and administration
fee, should not exceed three percent.”

Well placed bankers said the new charges – introduced in line with cash
shortages afflicting the economy – were going to eat into profits as most
local financial institutions had recorded increased withdrawal traffic due
to the present cash challenges.

“..this will definitely eat into income in the medium term. I am sure the
first half of 2017 will have the extent to which the new charges will
affect local banks…” a banker, who spoke on condition of anonymity,
said.

Prior to the country’s cash shortages, banks were charging $2,50 for ATM
withdrawals and about three percent  of the withdrawn amount for cash
withdrawals inside banking halls.

However, the RBZ, much to the relief of most depositors, ruled that cash
withdrawal charges be lowered.

The new ATM cash withdrawal charges include $0,50 for $50 and $5 for $500,
while over-the-counter withdrawals from banking halls are charged at
$0,25c for $20, $0,63 for $50 and $2,50 for $200.

While cash withdrawal limits had been reduced significantly, there has not
been a proportionate reduction in the levels of bank charges for the major
part of 2016.

The country has been using a multi-currency regime backed by the US
dollar. Calls for the adoption of the rand have been rejected by the
government.

The current dollar crunch has affected businesses, with companies unable
to pay for crucial imports such as raw materials and equipment for
production.

Equities group, IH Securities cautioned of a turbulent year for banks on
the back of government’s failure to contain expenditure, despite the
fantastic financials recorded in 2016.

“Confidence in the sector is faltering, the sector is becoming a
concern…

“On the surface the financial sector remained somewhat resilient in 2016
despite clear headwinds in the form of growing exposure to Treasury Bills,
uncertainty around bond notes and a decline in quality borrowers under the
economic circumstances.

“We are wary of the financial sector as balance sheets become heavily
exposed to Treasury Bills and as cash balances begin to lean towards bond
notes relative to hard forex,” IH said in its 2017 equity strategy paper.

In 2016, total banking sector deposits increased by 6,1 percent, from $6,1
billion as at September 30, 2016 to close the year at $6,5 billion.

The commercial banking sub-sector accounted for 82 percent of the banking
sector deposits and 74,1 percent of the total banking sector loans as at
December 31, 2016.

Banking sector deposits were dominated by demand and time deposits, which
accounted for 54,6 percent and 26,8 percent of total deposits,
respectively, as at December 31, 2016.

In the year under review, the average prudential liquidity ratio for the
banking sector was 61,9 percent, above the stipulated minimum regulatory
requirement of 30 percent.

Cyclone Dineo devastates Zim

Source: Cyclone Dineo devastates Zim – DailyNews Live

Jeffrey Muvundisi and Bernard Chiketo      19 February 2017

HARARE – After praying for much-needed rains for years, the drought-prone
Matabeleland region is counting the cost of flash floods which have left a
trail of destruction in the area after violent Cyclone Dineo storms swept
through southern Africa over the past two days.

The storms, which have killed seven people and left about 130 000 more
destitute in neighbouring Mozambique, reached Zimbabwe on Friday
bringing with them a deluge of rainfall and devastating flash floods in
the three regions of Matabeleland, Manicaland and Masvingo.

“This weather system is expected to give rise to incessant rains resulting
in increased risk of flooding and damage to homes and infrastructure.

“Communities in Insiza District (in Matabeleland) must maintain vigilance
as the entire river systems are full and walls of some of the small dams
have failed as the district received in excess of 82mm of rainfall over 24
hours, and it continues to rain,” the Civil Protection Unit (CPU) warned
yesterday.

Local Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere also said the cyclone had
left considerable damage in Matabeleland South, including flooding as a
result of dams bursting their banks.

“Insiza South districts and Filabusi Water Station have been seriously
affected by flooding after Waneka Dam failed,” Kasukuwere said on
micro-blogging site, Twitter.

The Bulawayo City Council (BCC) advised that Mtshabezi Dam, one of the
city’s main water supply sources, as well as Upper Ncema, were now
spilling.

“The Upper Ncema Dam has reached the 100 percent mark and is now spilling.
This morning, the dam was at 74,55 percent and was at 99 percent by late
afternoon,” BCC said yesterday.

Former Education minister David Coltart, also revealed on Twitter the
intensity of the rain which had hit Matabeleland, revealing how he was
swept by floods of almost similar proportion in 1978.

“In the source of the Matsheumhlope River where I live, Burnside, it is
raining lions and hyenas, if not cats and dogs. #Dineo.

“On Friday, February 17, 1978 I was swept off the Cecil Avenue bridge when
crossing the Matsheumhlope in my lime green VW Beetle … just saying,”
Coltart said.

The heavy downpour prevented many pupils from going to school in Bulawayo,
while the high density suburbs of Nkulumane, Emganwini and Cowdray Park
reported major flash floods which damaged property.

In Manicaland’s Chimanimani District, torrential downpours pounded the
area on Thursday evening, causing rivers to burst their banks.

In Chipinge, refugees at the low-lying Tongogara Camp had to be evacuated
to higher ground on the same day amid fears that they would drown.

Manicaland CPU chairperson and provincial administrator Edgar Seenza, told
the Daily News on Sunday yesterday that the region remained vulnerable
although the rains had started subsiding.

In 2000, Manicaland experienced its worst floods in living memory when
Cyclone Eline left a trail of destruction, including killing more than 136
people and damaging 59 184 houses and huts.

21 Feb to be declared a holiday

Source: 21 Feb to be declared a holiday – Sunday News Feb 19, 2017

Vusumuzi Dube, Sunday News Reporter
THE Government is now working on modalities to declare 21 February a national holiday after acceding to calls by the ruling Zanu-PF Youth League to declare the day a holiday in honour of President Mugabe’s contribution to the youth empowerment, a Cabinet Minister has said.

Speaking at a meeting to access preparations for the hosting of the 21st February Movement Celebrations in Matobo District yesterday, Home Affairs Minister Dr Ignatius Chombo said consultations were at an advanced stage and his ministry was finalising logistics to declare the day a national holiday.

The annual celebrations are meant to celebrate President Mugabe’s birthday and recognise his contributions to youth empowerment.

This year, the event to celebrate President Mugabe’s 93rd birthday, will be held at the Rhodes Estate Preparatory School (Reps) in Matobo District, about 30km from Bulawayo.

Dr Chombo said while the day would not be necessarily named after President Mugabe they would consider other possibilities inclusive of the one suggested by the Youth League of Youth Day.

“I can’t really give a time when the day will be officially declared a national holiday but this will happen shortly. However, the modalities and consultations are already at an advanced stage and once all the formalities are done as is required by the Government and the Constitution, we will let the public know.

“As the Government we are surely committed to this and have listened to our youths who have continuously called for this day to be declared a public holiday. While we won’t necessarily name it after President Mugabe, we will consider a name that is related to the youths,” said Dr Chombo who is also the ruling party’s Secretary for Administration.

Meanwhile, Dr Chombo expressed satisfaction on the progress done so far in preparation for the celebrations, which will be held on Saturday.

Another tour to monitor final progress will be held on Wednesday.

“I am quite happy with the work done so far, the Youth League has worked well with the party’s Matabeleland South leaders, which is really impressive. If we continue working like we are doing I am confident that this will be a resounding celebration.
“When you look at the choice of the venue a lot of noise was being made with some even coming to my office asking that we change it but as we all see today, this is an apt venue. The road to the site is perfect, it’s not very far from Bulawayo hence very accessible, I am honestly impressed,” said Dr Chombo.

Dr Chombo said the organisers should now consider the issue of rains noting that the event should go on whether it rains or not.

He said there was a need for the pitching of bigger tents which will accommodate delegates and the creation of wooden floors so that mud does not become a hindrance.

Dr Chombo said Matabeleland South should feel lucky to host the celebrations as they will have the opportunity to share in the President’s greatness and inspire youths in the country to emulate his qualities.

“Any other person will have a birthday where they just invite a few family members and friends but when you look at President Mugabe he is coming to the province because the youths saw that he has many qualities that need to be emulated.

“These qualities include that of being hardworking, studious, compassionate, he is a gentleman, kind, even kind to his enemies like (Dr Joice) Mujuru and (Morgan) Tsvangirai, when he sees them suffering he can easily help them,” said Dr Chombo.

Speaking at the same function, Zanu-PF Secretary for the Youth Affairs Cde Kudzai Chipanga also noted that all was in place for the Saturday celebrations and the Youth League was ready to host President Mugabe and several delegates who will travel to the province for the event.

“The province has done its best and this is impressive, I am hoping that when we come back on Wednesday all the tents will be pitched up and we will be looking at just a few minor touch ups but honestly everything is now in place,” said Cde Chipanga.

This year’s celebrations will be held under the theme “Honouring our icon, unlocking value in youth.”

Biometric border identification: Govt acquires eye scanners to authenticate passport information

Source: Biometric border identification: Govt acquires eye scanners to authenticate passport information – Sunday News Feb 19, 2017

Robin Muchetu, Senior Reporter
THE Government has secured 70 iris recognition scanners that will be installed at all the country’s major ports of entry and will see all travellers having their eyes scanned to allow the biometric system to authenticate information on their passports.

At the moment, immigration officers physically check if the face on the passport matches with that of the holder of the travelling document, a system that was susceptible to abuse as some people could use other people’s passports. According to scientific sites, iris recognition scanners scan the iris of the eye and match the information on the passport. The machine can measure the unique patterns in the coloured circle of the eye to verify and authenticate a person’s identity. It is contactless, fast and is renowned for its accuracy and can operate at long distances, the modality only requiring a glance from a user.

In an interview last week, Home Affairs Deputy Minister Cde Obedingwa Mnguni said the iris recognition scanners were acquired with the help of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa). Zimbabwe is a member of the 20-member Comesa trade bloc. A pilot project will soon be run at the Harare International Airport before being rolled out to all major borders and airports.

“We received the iris scanners and there are 70 of them. We got them through Comesa and we will install them at some ports of entry for a pilot project before we install at the designated places throughout the country,” he said.

Cde Mguni said the scanners will enhance security and match international standards.

“We secured these iris scanners so that we match other developed countries and also those in the region in terms of security.

So with this development, we are certainly improving our own and neighbours’ security,” he added.

The use of the machines at the borders, added Cde Mguni, would also enable the Government to weed out corrupt elements who were abusing the system.

“With this new technology no one can uses another person’s passport like what some corrupt people were doing because the information will not tally with the Iris scanner. Everyone has to use their own passport,” he said.

Some omalayitsha (cross border transporters) have been working in cahoots with immigration officers who allowed them to stamp passports of individuals who will not be present so that it looks like they crossed in and out of the country yet the individuals will be in neighbouring countries. Other individuals have successfully crossed the borders using passports of relatives or even strangers who look like them. At one time there was a cartel of people who were stealing passports and using them to smuggle people into other countries using those travelling documents.

Cde Mguni said his ministry has now shortlisted companies that will run the software for the pilot phase before roll out.

“We are looking for a reputable company that will run the software and Comesa will have to approve it first before they run it because it has to be a competent and reputable company as this involves security of nations. We have short listed some companies already,” he said.

The Iris recognition scanners, once installed will facilitate quick movement of human traffic and facilitate easy trade. Apart from weeding out corrupt elements, Cde Mguni said the method will also facilitate quick movement of people. This will also help inflow of tourists. There have been complaints that people are made to spend long hours at border posts due to the slow immigration procedures.

“This will help even tourists that will come into the country. The process will be faster now. It also facilitates trade within nations and the system will be linked to other Government departments,” he said.

The Iris recognition scanner will give immigration officials an opportunity to check the person physically while other details are confirmed by the information on the system.

The country’s points of entry have been cited as porous over the years, in some instances allowing both goods and human beings to find their way in and out of the country illegally.

This was compromising the security of the country as well as depriving the country of potential revenue. A number of countries use different ways to screen people at the borders but the use of iris scans is mainly pronounced in European countries.

I won’t groom my successor: President

Source: I won’t groom my successor: President – Sunday News Feb 19, 2017

Harare Bureau
PRESIDENT Mugabe says he will not handpick his successor, pointing out that in any case, evidence on the ground indicated that the majority of Zimbabweans did not feel there was an acceptable candidate at present.

In a wide-ranging interview with the ZBC-TV ahead of his 93rd birthday, President Mugabe also spoke about his US counterpart Mr Donald Trump, saying while he was surprised that the Republican won last year’s elections, he had hoped Democrat rival Mrs Hillary Clinton would lose because of her leading role in getting Washington to put sanctions on Zimbabwe.

President Mugabe was born on 21 February 1924 and his 2017 official birthday celebrations will be held in Matobo, Matabeleland South on 25 February.

In his traditional birthday interview — which will be broadcast on ZBC-TV on Monday and Tuesday — President Mugabe brushed off calls by elements like South African opposition leader Mr Julius Malema for him to step down.

President Mugabe said: “Do you listen to anything from Malema? Who is Malema? The call to step down must come from my party; my party at Congress; my party at Central Committee. (In such circumstances) I will step down.

“But then what do you see? It’s the opposite. They want me to stand for elections, they want me to stand for elections everywhere in the party . . . Of course if I feel that I can’t do it anymore, I will say so to my party so that they relieve me. But for now I think I can’t say so . . .The majority of the people feel that there is no replacement; (a) successor who to them is acceptable, as acceptable as I am.

“But the people, you know, would want to judge everyone else on the basis of President Mugabe as the criteria. But I have been at it for a longer period than anyone else and leaders will have to be, as it were, given time to develop and to have the ability to meet with the people and to be judged by the people.

“Silently, in the majority of cases, the people must see and be convinced that yes, so and so can be the successor. Others think, yaaa, yaaa, that they are this in the party, they are capable of succeeding the President. It’s not that easy.”

The President was asked if he was grooming a successor and he responded: “A successor is groomed by the people. Those around you can get the confidence of the people as they operate around you, and gain the confidence of the people, you see.

“When the people see that they trust their leaders, (that they are) beyond corruption, (that) their leaders (are) knowledgable, sure that’s grooming,” said the Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces.

President Mugabe also said Zanu-PF was always primed to win at the polls.

“Zanu-PF is ever-ready for elections; but we need to ensure unity, (that) we don’t have differences that can mar our participation in elections. We have been in this game for a long time. We are not vanaZimFirst. They are born in the morning, before sunset, it has become something else. Hameno ivo Mbuya Mujuru . . . Ari kuti ngavaende, vaiti ndirare navo. Hameno kuti ichokwadi here . . . There is no opposition at all,” said the President.

He said he was not losing sleep over the talk of a grand coalition as it amounted to an amalgamation of weaknesses.

“(Laughing) Grand coalition? My teacher ndichiri muGrade One aiti ukaisa mazero maviri haaite two, rinongoramba riri zero.

Kana ukaawanza kusvika gumi it just amounts to a huge pile of zeros, nothing, you see. Hatityi. Inembenge yaitwa here iyo coalition?

“If they want a coalition, if they believe that a coalition can save them so why the dilly-dallying about it? But now Mai Mujuru apparently divorced, left in that situation which appears to be without anyone who matters, politically, Tsvangirai will say ahh, you are now only an individual. Ini ndine party kaini. And yes, he has a party. My party cannot have a coalition with an individual. Iwe kana uchida unojoina wouya pasi pangu.

“I don’t know; she might have to do that perhaps to save her political skin. But that will be the final blow to her political life . . . I suppose that’s why others left her kuti ahh, wava kutiisa mupolitics dzana Tsvangirai. Tigorarama here neZanu-PF? Inobva yawana mbuva to criticise during election time. But they are not even worth criticising now,” said the President.

Turning to “prophets” who prophesy his death, President Mugabe said: “So-called prophets, why don’t you say prophets of doom? They are prophets of doom who prophesy what really are their wishes. They turn their wishes into prophesies, or dreams perhaps, but hardly any (prophecies).

“I would want to think they are just wishes that this man must go. This man must go and so year in and year out it’s the same wish. And so they say prophesy. Why do you care about them? I don’t care about them anymore? We had even some pastors praying for my death and even a bishop in my church, wekuMatabeleland uya watakazo bata aine mudzimai, akazviregera.

“So you get these things in society … Ndakanzwa chimwe chichiti President ari kufa in October asi kana asingade kufa ngaataure (laughing). So there it is. I don’t pay them much attention,” said President Mugabe.

Turning to Mr Trump, President Mugabe said the world should wait and see how his policies unfolded.

“I was surprised by his election, but I didn’t like Madam Clinton to win either. You see, I knew she could slap sanctions on us as a legacy. Indeed (former US president Barrack) Obama did that just before he left. Why did he have to do it?… Why didn’t he leave it to the incoming incumbent to make his own decision? We are just now under sanctions imposed not by Donald Trump, but by Obama. What arrogance is that?

“But anyway, when it comes to Donald Trump, on the one hand talking of American nationalism, well America for America, America for Americans — on that we agree. Zimbabwe for Zimbabweans. But he is radical. I don’t know whether the construction of the wall between America and Mexico is feasible; a feasible proposition. It appears quite nasty. I don’t know how the Mexicans will take it. I thought the Americans once loved Mexico.

“I don’t know. Give him time. He might come up with better policies,” said the President; adding that Mr Trump might even re-look the sanctions on Zimbabwe.

In the interview, Zimbabwe’s Head of State and Government also spoke about corruption in high places, the reforms to the education sector, the First Lady Amai Grace Mugabe’s entry; and Zimbabwe’s performance at the recent Africa Cup of Nations soccer tournament in Gabon, among other issues.

The full interview will be broadcast on ZBC-TV on February 20 and 21, 2017.

Goodbye water problems as Byo dams spill

Source: Goodbye water problems as Byo dams spill – Sunday News Feb 19, 2017

Sunday News Reporters
BULAWAYO could have kissed water problems goodbye after it emerged that three of its supply dams, Upper Ncema, Mtshabezi and Insiza Mayfair were now spilling following incessant rains that pounded Matabeleland South on Friday due to a tropical depression.

Yesterday one of the dams, Upper Ncema turned into a mini-tourist attraction as hundreds of people from Esigodini and Bulawayo flocked to the dam to catch a glimpse of the spectacular waterfalls reminiscent of the famous Victoria Falls.

This was the first time the dam had spilled in more than two decades.

“If you came here last year you wouldn’t believe this (spill), you could actually walk into the dam but with the rain gauge at Falcon College recording 132 millimetres this is expected. The last time this dam spilled was in 1994. We have been coming here for years on fishing expeditions,” said an Esigodini farmer, Mr William Sinclair, who has been residing in the area for the past 36 years.

Upper Ncema, has an estimated water holding capacity of 45 458 500 cubic metres while Mtshabezi’s capacity is 51 996 000 and Insiza Mayfair holds 173 491 000.

The filling up and rising of water levels of the city’s supply dams, which had a combined water holding capacity of about 30 percent before the onset of the rains last year comes as a relief to the residents who endured 72 hours of water shedding in October and November last year.

Bulawayo City Council spokesperson Mrs Nesisa Mpofu said despite these positive changes they were still encouraging residents to conserve water so that the city does not once again experience a stringent water shedding regime.

“By midday Saturday we had three dams which had reached their 100 percent mark. These dams are Insiza Mayfair which started spilling end of January 2017 and Upper Ncema, which started spilling on the evening of 17 February 2017 and Mtshabezi which reached the 100 percent mark on the afternoon of Saturday 18 February. The City of Bulawayo is thankful of the inflows that have been received to date and we are seeing a significant rise in the other dams. We encourage residents to, however, continue to conserve water,” said Mrs Mpofu.

According to statistics provided by the local authority, as at Friday evening the other three dams had also received significant inflows with Umzingwane Dam pegged at 59 percent, Lower Ncema 48,19 percent and Inyankuni 38,14 percent full.

However, as Bulawayo was celebrating the water levels its supply dams, the rains have also brought a fair share of misery to people in Bulawayo and its surroundings.

Motorists and the general travelling public were yesterday left stranded after Nkankezi Bridge in Filabusi, along the Masvingo-Mbalabala Road was partially washed away by floods on Friday. Police were deployed to the bridge to ensure that no motorist risked crossing the damaged bridge.

Matabeleland South provincial administrator Mrs Sithandiwe Ncube confirmed the destruction of the bridge and said engineers were working flat out to repair the facility to enable traffic to pass.

“The Masvingo-Mbalabala Road is impassable as the bridge at Nkankezi River was partially washed away by the rains on Friday. It’s a deadly trap because half the bridge was damaged and only one traffic lane remains, which means no car, especially heavy vehicles, can drive through.

“Police are camped there to make sure no one crosses. Engineers are working on the bridge,” she said.

Mrs Ncube said all the water bodies in the province were flooded, with some dams having been washed away, while Insiza Mayfair Dam has had its flood gates opened to prevent it from bursting.

She said the floods had also seen some parts of Gwanda Town and Filabusi going without water as water pumps at supply dams for the two centres have been submerged in the floods.

Mrs Ncube said there were no casualties that have been reported so far, but some families had been displaced by the floods which also destroyed their properties.

“Several dams were washed away. I can mention Wanezi in Insiza District, where three families were also displaced. The families are now camped at Mazeya Primary School.

“A total of 11 people were marooned at the confluence of Mashowe and Tuli Rivers. They were rescued but, however, their property was destroyed,” she said.

Mrs Ncube said the CPU had also issued a directive that children who live in high risk areas should not attend classes until the situation improves.

She said the CPU was working flat out to be on top of the situation.

In Umguza, Redbank area Umguza River was overflowing with flood water as its banks had burst due to excessive rains.

Maize, millet and sorghum were submerged in water and some of it washed away by the rains.

One house close to the Victoria Falls highway was submerged halfway by the flood waters.

Villagers in that areas said they have never witnessed such levels of water before.

“We moved to this area 10 years ago and we have never witnessed such, this water that has flooded our fields is shocking and we do not know when it will subside,” said Mr Edward Sibanda.

In Bulawayo, the flash floods that affected some parts of Cowdray Park had subsided by lat yesterday afternoon. A Sunday News crew could not, however, make it through to the new stands as the road was still impassible.

The Bulawayo City Council last night warned residents who do not put weep holes on their property boundary walls saying this was a violation of by-laws.

In a statement the local authority’s Town Clerk, Mr Christopher Dube, said they would soon prosecute residents who do not comply.

“Particular attention should be taken to ensure compliance with these obligations, and with ensuring that all entrances over drains are adequate and allow the free flow of water. Bulawayo City Council may serve a Notice under the Roads Act [Chapter 13:18] and/or the Environmental Management Act [Chapter 20:27] on the owners, occupiers or users of any land who do not comply with these requirements. It is an offence not to comply with such a Notice, or with any Planning Enforcement Notice, which if pursued through the courts may result in prosecutions and fines,” said Mr Dube.

As people grapple with the effects of the rain, the Meteorological Services Department said the threat of tropical depression was over as it has now moved to Namibia.

MSD head of public weather services Mr Tich Zinyemba yesterday said the only challenge that remained were the after effects of the tropical depression.

“It’s no longer a threat. It (tropical depression) has moved into Namibia now. The only threat that remains are the after effects, which of course will be dealt with by other departments,” he said.

The tropical depression affected southern parts of the country, particularly Matabeleland South, Bulawayo and parts of Matabeleland North.

According to the MSD the incessant rains saw some stations in the southern parts of the country recording high precipitations in 24 hours.

Matopos recorded 100 mm, Plumtree 97 mm, Khumalo 80 mm, Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo International Airport 79 mm, Tsholotsho 72 mm and Kezi 42 mm.

Mr Zinyemba said some areas in the region might have received higher precipitations than those recorded at MSD stations.

Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) last week said at least 100 of the country’s major dams were now full and spilling, raising the risk of flooding in many parts of the country.

Zinwa corporate communications and marketing manager Mrs Marjorie Munyonga said floodgates at some filled up dams will occasionally be opened to create space for incoming flood water.

She said this helps to ensure the dams’ safety and maintain the dams’ structural integrity.

“At least 100 of the country’s major dams are now full and spilling, raising the risk of flooding in many parts of the country.

This development has seen Zinwa opening floodgates at some of the filled up dams as a way of creating space for the incoming flood water.

“To ensure the dam safety and to maintain the dams’ structural integrity, Zinwa occasionally opens the floodgates at some of the dams to create spaces for incoming flood water,” she said.

Mrs Munyonga warned communities that live downstream to be on high alert of possible flooding when floodgates at dams near them are opened.

Mat’land poor pass rates raising concern

Source: Mat’land poor pass rates raising concern – Sunday News Feb 19, 2017

Nqobile Tshili, Sunday News Correspondent
CONCERNS have been raised over poor Ordinary Level pass rates obtained by schools from Matabeleland region with Bulawayo and Matabeleland North provinces coming at the bottom nationally.

Zimbabwe School Examination Council (Zimsec), early this month, released the 2016 O-level results, that also showed which provinces performed well in the examinations.

Although southern region’s Masvingo and Midlands provinces came first and fourth respectively with pass rates of 31,12 percent and 29,97 percent, concerns have been raised over poor pass rates by schools in the Matabeleland region.

Matabeleland North sits at the bottom with a 22,7 percent pass rate, while Bulawayo came eighth with a 25,29 percent pass rate.

Matabeleland South came sixth scoring a 26,44 percent pass.

In 2015, Bulawayo was at the bottom recording 25,07 percent while Matabeleland South was eighth with 25,33 percent.

Educators and analysts have said the issue of pass rates should be a concern for both parents and schools.

Bulawayo acting provincial education director Mrs Ollicah Fikelephi Kaira said she was worried that a metropolitan province was sitting on a lowly position eight.

“We’re not happy to sit on position eight as a province, a metropolitan one for that matter. We wish we could be number one, the pole position like we are at Grade Seven. At Grade Seven we are doing well. We don’t compare with other provinces, mostly we are usually pole positions quantitatively. We don’t know what happens along the line when our children get to secondary school because one would expect that the good results attained at Grade Seven must carry us across,” Mrs Kaira said.

She said the province needed to start strategising on how schools that were producing good results can assist those with poor results.

“We have a lot of work to do. We need to strategise, we need to come aboard as teachers and heads and the larger community and the media as the national mouthpiece assisting us in that regard,” she said.

Mrs Kaira said the province has partnered with Bulawayo Polytechnic College to teach commercial students, in a similar programme they do with National University of Science and Technology in teaching science subjects.

Matabeleland North PED Mrs Boithatelo Mnguni could not be drawn to comment on the results saying the province is yet to analyse them.

Researcher and director of Public Policy Research Institute of Zimbabwe (PPRIZ) Dr Samukele Hadebe said poverty among other things was also contributing to poor pass rates in the region.

“The issue of poverty, the provinces that you are referring to have the highest rate of HIV infections, highest rates of cancer and those are the diseases associated with poverty. So you don’t expect someone from a poor background, who is starving, to perform well.

“The performance in education cannot be isolated to one issue but when we address it we should start with the school environment,” said Dr Hadebe.

He said long distances and teachers’ attitudes should also be considered as contributing factors in the issue of pass rates.

Dr Hadebe said schools should have a culture of succeeding and teachers should be worried if they produce low pass rates every year.

Four injured as Nando’s collapses

Source: Four injured as Nando’s collapses – Sunday News Feb 19, 2017

Sandra Tekere and Amanda Ncube, Sunday News Reporter
FOUR people were injured when the walk way roof of a building housing Nando’s fastfood outlet in Bulawayo collapsed on them yesterday afternoon.

Last night, there were unconfirmed reports that one of the injured later succumbed to the injuries at a local hospital. The incident happened at about 4pm. Pedestrians who were passing by the building were injured while customers inside were not injured but were only left scurrying for cover. Two cars that were parked adjacent to the building were extensively damaged.

Bulawayo chief fire officer Richard Peterson confirmed the incident. He said four people who were walking on the pavement were injured and were immediately taken to hospital. He could not be drawn into giving more details saying he was not sure of what really caused part of the building to collapse. However, it is suspected that the building gave in due to heavy rains experienced in the city in recent days.

“Our Famona Fire Brigade received a call at around 4pm from our call centre advising of a collapse of a building. As we arrived we found that four people were injured. Some sustained fractures while some had head injuries after the free standing parapet collapsed. As of now we are not sure whether it’s the age of the building or something else,” he said.

Simbisa Brands and Nando’s Zimbabwe, in a statement last night, said investigations on the incident were underway, adding that they rented the premises.

“We advise that since the investigations are at a preliminary stage, the Nando’s store has been closed until the investigations are completed . . . The company has taken immediate steps to assist the injured and is grateful to the swift and dedicated response received from the medical, fire and police services in Bulawayo.”

A witness identified as Mr Mthokozisi Moyo said he was standing opposite Nando’s when the incident happened. He said he heard a loud crash and suddenly everyone was screaming while some were running away.

“This is an old herigate building and some of its features cannot be changed. I guess it is from such features that cracks started ,” said a source.

Local authorities fail to remit pension funds. . . Owe over $167 million despite making monthly deductions

Source: Local authorities fail to remit pension funds. . . Owe over $167 million despite making monthly deductions – Sunday News Feb 19, 2017

Vusumuzi Dube, Municipal Reporter
LOCAL authorities around the country owe the Local Authorities Pension Fund (LAPF) more than $167 million in outstanding contributions and interest amid revelations that the fund has had to deal with a number of litigations with former workers challenging their payouts.

LAPF chief executive officer Mr Charles Mandizvidza has dispatched letters to all local authorities convincing them to make lump sum payments to help solve the financial problems.

The fund revealed that it was failing to meet its obligations, relating to payment of retirement, withdrawal and death benefits claims because of the councils’ failure to make the payment obligations.

“The fund’s cash inflows remain constrained resulting in incapacity to meet obligations on time. This is as a result of subscribing member local authorities failing to remit contributions to the fund. As at 31 October 2016, the fund’s global outstanding contributions and interest thereon amounted to $167 million. We presently have over $45 million in unpaid pension benefits and we do not anticipate any improvement in the short term.

“The fund also has been inundated with summons from the High Court as well as demands from various law firms engaged by disgruntled pensioners and beneficiaries. The situation continues to worsen daily as evidenced by the large number of litigation cases before the courts,” reads part of the letter.

The letter further reveals that LAPF has to — almost on a daily basis — deal with litigations at the courts.

“For example on 15 November 2015, the fund received 43 notices to appear at the courts with a liability of $1,57 million. This extremely worrisome position has prompted the fund’s trustees to seriously review the payment of lump sum pension benefit claims. Whilst the fund appreciates the financial difficulties being faced by member local authorities, attention is drawn to the fund’s failure to meet its obligations.

“To this end the fund’s management committee resolved that member local authorities be requested to pay lump sum pension benefits on behalf of the fund in respect of their ex-employees and beneficiaries utilising current contributions with the balance being remitted to the fund,” reads the circular.

Mr Mandizvidza noted that this arrangement will subsist until the liquidity situation normalises.

According to a Bulawayo City Council report it was revealed that the local authority will have to pay $4,2 million lump sum to its beneficiaries after they noted that there was no other way out as the local authority was owing in terms of monthly remittance.

“The Town Clerk (Mr Christopher Dube) advised that whether or not council was able to meet the expenditure the fact still remained that council was in serious debt over the pensions issue and had an obligation to pay. Pensioners were in a predicament and it was incumbent upon council to take action as appropriate.

“The Chamber Secretary (Mrs Sikhangele Zhou) confirmed that council was indebted to LAPF, which in turn was indebted to the pensioners. However, LAPF’s defence was that councils had not remitted the required funds hence its inability to pay the pensioners. Council had deducted the money from the employees’ salaries but had not remitted the contributions to LAPF when it was its obligation to do so,” reads part of the council report.

In a list provided by LAPF they owe a total of 86 former Bulawayo workers in outstanding pensions with the highest figure pegged at $195 301 being owed to the retired Director of Health Services, Dr Zanele Hwalima.

Cabinet okays IDC restructuring

Source: Cabinet okays IDC restructuring – Sunday News Feb 19, 2017

Dumisani Nsingo, Senior Business Reporter
CABINET has approved the restructuring of the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) into a Special Purpose Vehicle to stimulate industrial development.

Industry and Commerce Minister Dr Mike Bimha said the restructuring of IDC was on going and would see some of the companies being owned by the corporation weaned off to investors.

Some of the companies in which IDC owns shares include Almin Metal Industries, National Furniture Industries and Olivine.

“A paper on the restructuring of IDC was approved by Cabinet which looked at disposing some of them as well as facilitate the takeover of others by local investors as well as foreign investors. So it will soon go back to play its role of facilitating industrialisation, at the moment we are working on the mechanism to fund it to be operational,” said Dr Bimha.

IDC is mandated to establish and conduct any industrial undertaking, to facilitate, promote, guide and assist the financing of new industrial undertaking (including small and medium-scale), schemes for the expansion, better organisation and modernisation of and more efficient carrying out of operations in existing industries and industrial undertakings.

“IDC’s mandate is to drive industrialisation but in the past it has diverted and started to run companies which it owns but it is reverting to its core business,” said Dr Bimha.

It is also mandated to implement Government policy with regard to decentralisation of industry, choice of technology and any other matter, which the Minister of Industry and Commerce may specify and to take measures to acquire direct and effective control of its investment.

To that end, this is meant to ensure that industrial development in Zimbabwe may be planned, expedited and conducted on sound business principles.

Further remand for ‘Mugabe death’ pastor

INCARCERATED Kariba-based Remnant Church Pastor Patrick Philip Mugadza, who is alleged to have committed a criminal offence by saying that President Robert Mugabe would die on October 17 this year, was yesterday further remanded in custody to next Monday.

Source: Further remand for ‘Mugabe death’ pastor – NewsDay Zimbabwe February 18, 2017

BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE

The pastor did not physically appear in court after presiding magistrate Vongai Muchuchuti-Guwuriro, who was recently transferred to Bindura, failed to bring the suspect’s court file from the Mashonaland Central town.

Mugadza was represented by lawyers from the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights Jeremiah Bhamu and Gift Mtisi.

Allegations against Mugadza emanated from a “prophecy” which he revealed during an interview with a local online publication where he caused the publication of a story which said God had told him Mugabe would die on October 17 this year.

Meanwhile, the trial of Patson Dzamara and his four alleged accomplices, who are being charged with disorderly conduct, also failed to kick off as presiding magistrate Gamuchirai Siwardi did not report for duty.

Govt, doctors talking at each other, and not to each other

THE doctors’ strike entered its third day yesterday, with the medical practitioners and the doctors talking at each other, but not to each other, further exacerbating the stalemate.

Source: Govt, doctors talking at each other, and not to each other – NewsDay Zimbabwe February 18, 2017

Comment: NewsDay Editor

Doctors have legitimate concerns and it was ill-advised for Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals to threaten the striking medical professionals with firing, as this will add fuel to an already raging fire.

Issuing threats over strikes is an archaic method of dealing with disagreements and the government ought to push for more engagement and accommodation.

The government has failed to meet its end of the bargain regarding on-call allowances and employment of doctors after they finish their internships.

The so-called unfreezing of some posts by Health minister David Parirenyatwa is piecemeal and does not solve the problem, as it will continue to persist.

The government is negotiating from a position of weakness and should not be in any position to issue any threats whatsoever.

What hospitals and the government should be doing is pleading with doctors and fulfilling promises they made several years ago, instead of trying to be a bully.

If the government cannot meet the doctors’ demands, it should explain this and state the steps it will take to address this anomaly.

The doctors have a right to strike after following certain procedures and the government’s response is to find a way of averting the job action and ensure that patients throughout the country are taken care of.

The doctor’s strike is testament to government’s failure to prioritise in allocating revenue.

Zimbabwe is a signatory to the Abuja Declaration, where it committed it would allocate 15% of the National Budget to health.

So far, the government has literally failed to put its money where its mouth is and is allocating as little as 6% to health, which means the health sector is chronically underfunded and faces frequent drugs shortages.

A freeze on hiring staff has not helped matters either.

Bizarrely, the military and the police continue to recruit, yet the critical Health ministry is not allowed to do so.

This means doctors and nurses are often understaffed an overworked and this could have been one of the causal factors leading to the industrial action.

The government needs to get its priorities in order and apportion the health sector the priority it deserves.

There is need to find a solution to the doctors’ strike instead of issuing unhelpful threats.

We believe the doctors are reasonable, and if the government is open to honest dialogue, they will be willing to engage.

Threats will only push them away and make a bad situation worse.

Harare rejects CJ law changes

Source: Harare rejects CJ law changes – DailyNews Live

Bridget Mananavire      18 February 2017

HARARE – Zanu PF’s plans to amend the Constitution were overwhelmingly
rejected yesterday as civil society and members of the public in Harare
ganged up against the proposed Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (No1)
Bill.

The Bill seeks to restore sweeping powers to President Robert Mugabe to
appoint the country’s chief justice and other senior members of the bench,
thereby reversing the clauses in the county’s Constitution which give the
Judicial Services Commission (JSC) the right to choose these officials
through public interviews.

Current Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku leaves the bench at the end of
this month, after reaching the mandatory retirement age of 70.

Yesterday’s well-attended Harare public hearing was chaired by Justice and
Legal Affairs parliamentary portfolio committee chairperson Ziyambi
Ziyambi.

“The reason why there is an interview process by the Judicial Service
Commission is in respect to four key areas, to ensure judicial
independence, judicial accountability, merit-based appointment and
diversity and equality,” argued rights lawyer David Hofisi.

“The amendment is also against the spirit of the separation of powers. I
would plead with the committee to consider the United Nations’ basic
principles of the independence of the judiciary, a specific provision
which states that any method of judicial selection should safeguard
against improper political motives,” he said.

A member of the public, John Chirenda, queried the haste with which the
government wanted to amend the country’s supreme law.

“There is no justification for amending the Constitution. This will
clearly subvert the will of the people,” he said.

Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights) director Okay Machisa said
while the alignment of subsidiary laws to the Constitution was taking too
long, the government was already trying to amend the new charter.

“We believe that the rights of the people might be curtailed through
allowing the head of State or the executive to interfere with the
judiciary.

“In my view, I am not in support of the amendment at all. I would rather
want to see Parliament pushing for the alignment of the laws that are
still outstanding to suit the Constitution,” he said.

On Monday, the Supreme Court slapped down a High Court order which sought
to bar the JSC from conducting public interviews to choose the country’s
next chief justice, ruling that the executive’s plans to amend the law did
not in itself nullify the Constitution.

This was after University of Zimbabwe law student Romeo Zibani had last
year launched an application seeking to stop the public interviews,
resulting in High Court judge Charles Hungwe delivering his order on
December 11, stopping the interviews.

The JSC immediately noted its appeal at the Supreme Court, which suspended
Hungwe’s judgment.

Three candidates – Constitutional Court judge Paddington Garwe, JSC
secretary Rita Makarau and deputy chief justice Luke Malaba – were
subsequently interviewed for the post, with a fourth candidate, High Court
Judge President George Chiweshe, pulling out of the race at the last
minute.

At about the same time, Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who is also in
charge of the Justice ministry had – through an affidavit that was
presented in court – stated that he had begun a process to amend Section
180 of the Constitution, to change the process of appointing high level
judicial officials.

The battle to appoint Chidyausiku’s successor has since taken a decidedly
factional tone, as the ruling Zanu PF’s brawling bigwigs fight to install
a candidate acceptable to their respective camps.

The two major Zanu PF factions – Generation 40 which is rabidly opposed to
Mnangagwa succeeding Mugabe and Team Lacoste (the VP’s allies) – see the
new chief justice as a key cog in the wheel in the succession battle,
should this reach the courts.

‘Zec must independently buy voter registration kits’

Source: ‘Zec must independently buy voter registration kits’ – DailyNews Live

Gift Phiri      18 February 2017

HARARE – The Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC yesterday said the Zimbabwe
Electoral Commission (Zec) must independently acquire bio-metric voter
registration kits (BVR).

This comes as the stone-broke President Robert Mugabe government announced
this week that it raised $17 million to acquire the kits, expected to
minimise errors and prevent accusations of foul play in the key 2018 poll.

“The MDC is deeply concerned about the improper involvement of the Zanu PF
regime in the acquisition of the BVR kits,” MDC spokesperson Obert Gutu
said yesterday.

Out of a total $59, 2 million required to fund the preparations – polling
station catchment area mapping and acquiring the BVR – for the 2018
elections, government had pledged $17 million while other development
partners, through the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), would
foot the balance.

Gutu said as an independent commission, Zec must be getting its own
budgetary allocation from the national budget for the purpose of running
its operations.

Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa appropriated $9,7 million to Zec under
the 2017 national budget, which critics sledged as far short of the $59,2
million requested by Zec.

“Put simply, Zec is not a department within any government ministry and as
such, not even the ministry of Justice has the constitutional right to
dictate what amount of money should be allocated to Zec.

“It is a public secret that the Zanu PF regime is bankrupt and indeed,
this is one of the main reasons why the UNDP had been approached to assist
in the acquisition of the BVR kits.

“It, therefore, boggles the mind how a bankrupt government would, all of a
sudden, have managed to find the millions of United States dollars that
are required to purchase the kits,” Gutu said, adding that “something very
fishy and dodgy is certainly taking place here,” he said.

Gutu said the MDC was convinced that the Zanu PF regime was in “panic
mode” and that the opposition party was not prepared to allow a situation
whereby Zec will independently and transparently acquire the BVR kits.

“The ghost of Nikuv is still haunting the nation of Zimbabwe.”

The MDC has previously claimed that the Registrar General’s Office paid
controversial Israeli-based company, Nikuv Projects International (NPI),
over $10 million to assist Zanu PF rig the July 31, 2013 polls, an
allegation strenuously denied by the shadowy firm, the ruling party and
Zec.

The new bio-metric polling station-based voter registration process was
supposed to be jointly financed by the government of Zimbabwe and the
UNDP.

Zec hopes to roll out the new technology in March.

Independent monitors have routinely reported “ghost” voters, stuffed
ballot boxes and other violations in previous votes.

Zimbabwe cannot afford a repeat of the poll mayhem, Zec has said.

On Wednesday, Zec chairperson Rita Makarau told a press briefing: ” . . .
the government . . . has come on board and has decided that it will fund
the acquisition of the BVR kits instead of letting the UNDP do it on its
own”.

“It will fund whatever award is given to the bidder; they will fund that
acquisition of BVR kits.”

Makarau could not be drawn to say why government had taken so long to come
on board.

Mugabe’s corpse will win elections: Grace

FIRST Lady Grace Mugabe yesterday brewed a shocker when she suggested that even if a dead President Robert Mugabe’s corpse is put on the ballot paper, people will still vote for him.

Source: Mugabe’s corpse will win elections: Grace – NewsDay Zimbabwe February 18, 2017

by obey MANAYITI

Grace made the stunning claim while addressing thousands of Zanu PF supporters at St John’s Primary School in Buhera, where she blasted unnamed Zanu PF bigwigs for allegedly plotting to dislodge her husband from power.

The First Lady has in the past made numerous controversial suggestions regarding Mugabe’s 37-year rule, and at one point claiming Mugabe, who turns 93 next week, will rule Zimbabwe from the grave or from a wheelchair.

She said Mugabe was one of Zanu PF’s biggest strengths.

“Our first strength is in President Mugabe. Even if we go anywhere people will respect him,” she said, adding even children were aware of his “importance”.

Grace said it was surprising to hear people saying she must tell Mugabe to leave office.

“You hear people accusing me of still wanting to continue as the First Lady of this nation, saying that is why I don’t want to tell the President to retire. I am not the only one who voted for him.

“Only a fool will say that. We will field a candidate of a corpse on the ballot if God takes Mugabe and people will vote for him just to show how much the President is loved,” she said amid thunderous applause from the Zanu PF supporters.

Grace added: “Let’s wait for God’s time when He decides that Mugabe should stop and then we enter into the race.

But one thing you must not forget is that if you don’t have Mugabe’s support it will be difficult for you.”

She also blasted factionalism within Zanu PF, saying leaders in the party were giving lip service to people. Zanu PF has been embroiled in factional fights pitting Grace’s loyalists in the G40 faction against supporters of Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa, popularly known as Team Lacoste. Without mentioning names, the First Lady said such people, who have been with her husband since 1980, were not electable and would lose any election even to chickens.

“We are divided because of factionalism. We are divided and down with that. Whoever is engaging in factionalism must stop forthwith. Stop it. We don’t want that because it doesn’t yield anything,” she said.

Grace said for those who want to lead must introspect and vet themselves first. The First Lady said some were just pushing for factionalism because they did not have qualities to lead.

“There are people, who know that if they stand for election, even with a chicken, they will lose. A cock can win against a person who was given dominion over everything and lose,” she said.

“I am the First Lady because you elected the President of this nation. Some will be saying Mugabe is old and he must leave. I am the one who must say Mugabe should leave so that I take over because I didn’t start with him in 1980. I don’t want to be told by anybody else that the President has overstayed yet they started together in 1980.”

Many will regard this as taking potshots at Mnangagwa, who has been in government since 1980 and is often criticised for being unelectable.

Grace said all Zanu PF leaders, who started with Mugabe at independence in 1980, had no right to say the veteran politicians was now too old as they were equally old.

“In Zanu PF, we have an upper hand, but sometimes we don’t see it. We want to throw away talents we received from God. We have our talent in our leader President Mugabe, the iconic leader,” she said

“That man is irreplaceable. That is the truth whether we like it or not. What is in him came from heaven. If you go and vote for Mugabe you will not know that it is God who is instructing you to do that.”

Grace claimed when MDC-T leader, Morgan Tsvangirai won the first round of the 2008 presidential elections against Mugabe, God wanted to teach Zimbabweans a lesson.

Grace also took a dig at Zimbabwe People First (ZimPF) leader, Joice Mujuru, mocking her as “Queen Bee.”

She said a queen bee always mates in the open with several male bees fighting to mate with it.

Grace said Mujuru squandered an opportunity to apologise to Mugabe and be pardoned so that she would be buried at the National Heroes Acre.

Throughout her long speech filled with insults targeting Mujuru, Grace threatened to expose corrupt activities that were done by the ZimPF leader during her time in Zanu PF.

Grace also gave a stern warning to Cabinet ministers, who are lining their pockets at the expense of ordinary people.

She said politicians must not take people for granted and should must always be in contact with them and respect them so that Zanu PF remains in power.

Despite the government always saying it was improving the operational business environment, Grace admitted that her Gushungo business empire in Mazowe was facing several challenges but vowed to keep it for the sake of employees.

Several ministers among them Local Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere, Energy minister Samuel Undenge, Information minister Chris Mushohwe and Women’s Affairs minister Nyasha Chikwinya attended the rally where Grace donated several items including rice, maize, cooking oil and second-hand clothes to Buhera villagers.

Jocelyn Chiwenga sued for $99k farming inputs

Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) Commander Constantino Chiwenga’s former wife, Jocelyn, has been taken to court by Tian Ze Tobacco Company seeking to recover nearly $100 000 for inputs supplied to her.

Source: Jocelyn Chiwenga sued for $99k farming inputs – NewsDay Zimbabwe February 18, 2017

BY CHARLES LAITON

The company issued the summons against Jocelyn on February 3, accusing her of having failed to fulfil her contractual obligations pertaining to the agricultural inputs she obtained four years ago.

According to the court papers, on April 23, 2013, the company and Jocelyn entered into a tobacco farming contract in terms of which the firm was to supply $286 400 worth of tobacco inputs for the 2013-2014 season.

“The tobacco farming contract had the following material and express terms; that the defendant [Jocelyn] had to deliver for sale to the plaintiff (Tian Ze): 240 000 kilogrammes of good quality tobacco, to ensure that all tobacco grown under the agreement was sold to the plaintiff only, that the defendant was not to engage in side-marketing of the tobacco produced under the agreement.

“That defendant was obliged to acknowledge receipt and sign for inputs provided by plaintiff and to prepare and deliver tobacco for sale to the plaintiff within the selling period specified by Tobacco Industries and Marketing Board,” Tian Ze said in its declaration.

“In breach of the contract, the defendant failed to deliver the expected quantity of tobacco for sale to the plaintiff and has thus accumulated a debt of $99 014 for the inputs already supplied and delivered to the defendant.”

According to Tian Ze, as from the period ending September 30, 2014 to October 20 last year, Jocelyn’s loan account statement had remained with a negative balance as a result of her failure to deliver the expected quantity of tobacco.

“Despite demand, the defendant has refused, failed and/or neglected to pay the outstanding balance of $99 014,21,” Tian Ze said.

Jocelyn, however, has since entered an appearance to defend notice and is prepared to challenge the claim as and when the matter begins in court.

Former minister reveals traffic cop hell

FORMER Industry and Trade minister Nkosana Moyo has said traffic police officers recently tormented him over failure to produce one breakdown red triangle and a swollen tyre after he hit a pothole during his recent visit to Harare.

Source: Former minister reveals traffic cop hell – NewsDay Zimbabwe February 18, 2017

BY SILAS NKALA

On his Facebook wall, the former minister said Zimbabwean police officers’ desperation to beat targets of “illegal” collection of money from motorists had escalated to disproportionate levels.

“What has Zimbabwe come to really? I recently drove through Harare and, as is now the norm, I went through an unbelievable number of police roadblocks,” he posted.

“These roadblocks are for no other purpose, but to extract as much money from the already suffering Zimbabwean citizenry as possible. All for the benefit of the political beast that must continue to feed itself at the people’s expense.

“At one of the roadblocks, a young police officer, who no doubt was struggling to meet his daily target of money to extort, walked around my car.

“He then asked for my driving licence, which I duly produced. He then proceeded to list my transgressions for the day. The list was as follows: I did not have a second breakdown triangle, which is a requirement in Zimbabwe, because I had that morning hit a pothole; one of my tyres had a swelling. For these transgressions he wanted me to pay $40 that is $20 for each transgression.

“I explained, as calmly as I could, that I was not responsible for repairing roads so that motorists would not hit potholes and also that my vehicle was very roadworthy.”

Moyo said he further pointed out that Zimbabwe, which does not manufacture vehicles, was the only country he knew which required a second breakdown triangle.

“I told him that I would not pay for the tyre swelling and I would rather go to court. Nevertheless, I conceded that he, the poor police officer, was not a legislator and so this extortion madness was not to be blamed on him,” the former minister said.

“I asked him to please give me a ticket for the second triangle transgression given that I could not withdraw cash from my bank although they were sitting on a significant sum of my money. At this point, he said that the police do not issue tickets. They were required to collect spot fines. I explained that I could not pay a spot fine since I could not get any of my hard-earned cash from the bank. The young police officer then came up with an amazing solution to the predicament.”

Moyo said the police officer said he would come with him to the nearest supermarket so that they would look for someone with cash and instead of that individual paying for their groceries in cash, they would give him (Moyo) the money and he would use his card to pay the shop for the goods.

“I would, in this way, be able to pay my fine,” he said.

Moyo lamented that the level of desperation of the State to raise money was embarrassing for the nation, which has been run down by the Zanu PF regime.

Contacted for comment, police spokesperson, Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba said: “Do I need to comment or respond on that? How do I know that he had such a complaint?”

State alleges Mawarire embarrassed President in New York

THE National Prosecuting Authority yesterday claimed #This Flag and social media activist, Pastor Evan Mawarire, embarrassed President Robert Mugabe when the latter was attending the United Nations General Assembly in New York last year.

Source: State alleges Mawarire embarrassed President in New York – NewsDay Zimbabwe February 18, 2017

BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE

Mugabe’s embarrassment was included in the State outline on Mawarire’s charges of subverting a constitutionally-elected government and inciting the public to commit public violence.

Mawarire is out of custody on $300 bail and was accompanied by his lawyer Harrison Nkomo when he appeared before magistrate Rumbidzai Mugwagwa, who remanded him further to March 16.

It is the State’s case that during the period extending from July 13 to December last year, Mawarire, the founder of #This Flag movement and senior pastor at His Generation Church, used print and electronic media to incite the Zimbabwean populace to revolt against Mugabe.

The State alleges Mawarire urged Zimbabweans not to go to work and to shut down their businesses. The State further alleges people took heed of his calls and engaged in violent demonstrations, resulting in damages to property, stoning of cars and barricading of roads.

The State also alleges that despite warnings, Mawarire continued circulating videos on social media platforms in which he incited Zimbabweans to further stage demonstrations.

It is alleged as a result of his calls from August last year to January this year, there were violent demonstrations in the country where several properties were destroyed.

Again on September 15 last year, Mawarire is alleged, through social media, to have called on Zimbabweans in the United States and all over the world to converge in New York and confront Mugabe, who was attending the UN General Assembly with a view to embarrass him and force his immediate resignation from power.

The State alleges there are video clips recorded and media downloads of Mawarire committing the offence between July 13 and December last year.

Sebastian Mutizirwa appeared for the State.

Gono interview exposes Kereke police ‘capture’

FORMER Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor Gidien Gono might have opened the lid on alleged abuse of State apparatus by senior officials in President Robert Mugabe’s administration including the police.

Source: Gono interview exposes Kereke police ‘capture’ – NewsDay Zimbabwe February 18, 2017

BY STAFF REPORTER

Gono, in an interview with a State-owned weekly, claimed his jailed former adviser, Munyaradzi Kereke used a contingent of police to harass and intimidate RBZ staffers including refusing to hand over classified files following his sacking.

“So powerful were some quarters operating in his corner such that he could command police to appear anywhere he wanted by just making one phone call.

“On the day he finally left the bank after several attempts to defy my orders, he phoned his friends in ZRP and suddenly four men armed with AK rifles and police cars appeared at the bank to carry all the boxes of secret bank files he wanted to take with him against the bank’s rules and separation procedures,” Gono said.

“They bullied bank staff and forced out the files. Now, if that was not a display of power and defiance, I don’t know what is. Any member of staff could be arrested or harassed by police at his say-so, inside or outside the bank.”

Police spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba could not be drawn into commenting on Gono’s claims, saying the former RBZ boss may need to explain further or make an official report.

“I am not going to comment on rumours. For us, they remain unfounded allegations that he was making unless he makes an official report or raises a complaint. You might also want to follow-up with him for a better explanation on those issues because for now we cannot make head or tail of it all,” she said.

According to Gono, Kereke claimed he had been undertaking a State security-sanctioned operation during his tenure at the apex bank.

“Although he had handed over some bank files to the team that was supervising the handover-takeover process, there are some files he refused to hand over, claiming they contained special defence, police and security assignments he had been assigned to work on, without my knowledge, using my time in the bank.

“This was confirmation that there were forces that he was now reporting to other than the governor. As a result, he left the bank with confidential files and documents,” he said.

Gono, however, absolved Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri and his deputies from Kereke’s shenanigans pointing to a parallel structure.

“I know that this police contingent was not sent by the Commissioner-General or his deputies. They were not aware of this operation to disrupt the smooth handover-takeover processes that are normal in any institution; threatening to shoot anyone who prevented Kereke from taking home all files he wanted.

“The previous day, another contingent of police had also come to the bank armed with AK rifles with a view to intervening and persuading me to let Kereke remain with the bank. In short, the man was now a bundle of connections, a powerhouse of indiscipline and unexplainable behaviour that answered to other authorities than myself or the system in the bank,” Gono said.

“His presence in the bank instilled so much fear and trepidation among junior and senior members of staff, including management. Even deputy governors felt powerless to engage him from a position of seniority over him.”

Tragedy feared as senior doctors join strike

SENIOR doctors and specialists yesterday joined striking junior doctors, further paralysing services at government hospitals mostly in Harare and Bulawayo.

Source: Tragedy feared as senior doctors join strike – NewsDay Zimbabwe February 18, 2017

BY PHYLLIS MBANJE

Public hospitals’ outpatients departments were a sorry sight, as patients were left stranded following the industrial action by doctors.

The situation at the country’s major referral hospitals in Harare and Bulawayo has taken a frightening turn, with obstetrician and gynaecologist registrars also downing tools.

This potentially puts the lives of expecting mothers, especially those requiring surgery, and their unborn babies at risk.

In a statement, the registrars, who are specialist trainees in obstetrics and gynaecology, said they no longer felt it was safe for the patients if they continued in the absence of senior resident medical officers.

“We tried to continue working, but the demands are so exhausting, such that we fear we may end up making fatal errors resulting in unwanted maternal and perinatal morbidity and mortality,” the registrars said.

A2 paediatrics casualty at Parirenyatwa Hospital, which deals with children, was also shut down.

In a notice, one I Ticklay, the acting head of department paediatrics, to Noah Madziva, the clinical director, said the section had been closed in “line with contingency plans”.

“All paediatric patients will be seen and managed in main causality,” the circular read.

A tour of Parirenyatwa Hospital by the NewsDay Weekender crew yesterday revealed the shocking situation, which is most likely going to cost some lives.

Hospital emergency rooms were staffed largely by nurses and interns and waiting rooms packed with patients, many on stretchers.

Hordes of patients sat in the outpatients department in long, winding queues. The serious ones lay on stretchers, with no one to attend to them except for their relatives, who were frantically trying to get them help.

With dejected faces, the patients sat on the wooden benches unsure of when they would get to see a doctor.

“We have been here since 10 in the morning, but it is almost 2pm and we have not been attended to,” one sickly looking man, who was coughing badly, said.

A young man in his early 20s and on a stretcher, struggled to sit up maybe to get some attention, but no one came.

The pain on his face was quite evident and his swollen feet stretched out before him looked horrendous.

“We hear they are on strike or go-slow. We are not sure. All we know is there is no doctor to help us and many of us will go home unattended,” a distraught woman who was struggling to breathe, said.

The stuffy room was filled to capacity as both patients and concerned relatives milled around waiting for absolution that never came.

The situation remained dire, as many patients failed to be attended to, as most hospitals were operating with skeleton staff.

Striking doctors are deadlocked with the government over long-standing grievances which include an announcement by government that it would no longer employ them upon completion of their two-year internship, a situation that would render them jobless.

The doctors are also pressing for the government to raise their on-call allowances and want it to provide them with a duty-free motor vehicle import scheme, among other issues.

The Health ministry frantically tried to avert the disaster by offering to create 250 new posts, but the doctors scoffed at the offer, which has no time frame.

On Wednesday, as a last-ditch attempt the Health ministry sent out a desperate plea to the doctors urging them to return to work.

Hospital officials also tried to rattle the doctors into coming to work by circulating a threatening statement.

However, the doctors would have none of it and carried on with the strike.

“We have noted with utter disappointment the new tactics by various clinical directors at central hospitals, that instead of engaging doctors and try to find solutions to our current demands, they have reverted to threats and victimisation,” Edgar Munatsi, Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors’ Association president said.

Meanwhile, health stakeholders have rallied behind the doctors urging the ministry to urgently address their concerns.

The Community Working Group on Health (CWGH) said the current situation could result in prolonged human suffering and avoidable deaths.

“As CWGH, we strongly believe that the current labour dispute could have been resolved amicably if the government had honoured the promises it made to the medical practitioners last year,” Itai Rusike, CWGH’s director, said.

“It is surprising that the ministry of Health Child Care has now offered to open up 250 new posts, for junior doctors and 2 000 for nurses when it has not fulfilled last year’s promises to the same doctors.”

Meanwhile, the doctors have vowed to press on with the strike until all their concerns have been dealt with in their entirety.”

Kasukuwere defends Gumbo’s interim post

Source: Kasukuwere defends Gumbo’s interim post | The Herald February 18, 2017

Nyemudzai Kakore:Herald Correspondent

The appointment of Dr Joram Gumbo as the Masvingo interim chairperson is appropriate, as he will not be biased in respect of any outcome of fresh provincial elections since he does not hail from the province, Zanu-PF National Political Commissar Cde Saviour Kasukuwere has said.Speaking at a press conference on Thursday, Cde Kasukuwere said Dr Gumbo’s nomination came after the party was satisfied with the work and results he had achieved in restructuring the party’s districts in the province.

As such, said Cde Kasukuwere, his interim chairmanship will bring order and the holding of free and fair elections that were ordered by the Politburo this week.

“The Politburo dissolved the entire provincial structures of Masvingo and we asked Cde Joram Gumbo in the interim to lead the province and also to ensure that elections are conducted as early (as possible), to bring about order,” he said.

“We have the Mwenezi by-election coming soon. We must be having a provincial structure in place. The decision to choose Dr Gumbo to lead this process follows the precedence.

“When we dissolved Mashonaland East Province which was led Mr Ray Kaukonde and his cabal, we asked Senate President Cde Edna Madzongwe to lead the restructuring, as well as the elections. Literally, as the commissariat, we can direct and ask our senior cadres in the party to lead the process.

“We want to get somebody from outside the province who will not be viewed as having an interest in a particular outcome to do that work. His chairmanship will allow people to choose their representatives without being pushed around, without threats and intimidation. We are happy that this decision will finally settle the challenges that have beset our party in Masvingo.”

Cde Kasukuwere said Dr Gumbo will be assisted in chairing the province by Zanu-PF members whom he worked with in restructuring the Midlands Prov- ince.

He said everyone, including the members from the dissolved provincial structure, were eligible to contest in the elections.

“We lost a third of our key positions in the province from 2014 to date, hence the party took that decision so that we can restore order,” said Cde Kasu- kuwere.

“We will further announce members from the Women’s League and the Youth League who will be assisting Dr Gumbo in carrying out his tasks.

The Politburo dissolved the Masvingo provincial committee after realising that most members had left their posts for various reasons.

Chivi Rural District Council chairman Dr Killer Zivhu, together with Cde Chadzamira and Cde Nhenjana, have since expressed their willingness to contest for the top provincial party position.

Tsvangirai defends VP appointments

Source: Tsvangirai defends VP appointments – DailyNews Live

Tendai Kamhungira      17 February 2017

HARARE – Two men seeking a court order to nullify the appointment of
Nelson Chamisa and Elias Mudzuri as MDC vice presidents faced a setback
yesterday after the party’s leader Morgan Tsvangirai accused the pair of
relying on a bogus constitution.

The duo – Patson Murimoga and George Rice – filed a High Court application
in July last year challenging the appointments.

In the application, they cited Tsvangirai, Chamisa, Mudzuri, MDC national
chairman Lovemore Moyo and the MDC as respondents.

The respondents’ lawyer, Thabani Mpofu, sought the dismissal of the case
on the basis that Murimoga and Rice used the wrong MDC constitution, and
did not exhaust internal remedies.

“There is a board that deals with disputes in terms of the party
constitution. If there is a dispute, it is dealt with in terms of that
constitution,” he said.

He also argued that the applicants made reference to the party’s sixth
congress, which has not yet happened, making their application improper
before the court.

Mpofu also challenged the applicants’ membership, contending they rushed
to pay their subscription fees two days after filing the application in a
bid to substantiate their application.

They did not have a locus standi to pursue the matter, he said.

However, the applicants’ lawyer, Zivai Macharaga, said his clients had a
right to challenge Tsvangirai’s appointments.

“By virtue of being members, they have the right to file this application.
There is nowhere where it is shown that their membership has been
withdrawn,” Macharaga said.

He said his clients could not have approached the party’s National Council
(NC) before going to court because it was the offender and therefore could
not have resolved the issue fairly.

High Court judge Lavender Makoni reserved her ruling on the preliminary
point raised.

In his affidavit before the court, Murimoga argued that such appointments
must be made directly by congress from nominations made by the provinces.

“The NC is not an elective forum in that there are no elections done …
particularly of the deputy president while at the congress there are
elections done,” he argued.

Spar SA escapes Zim’s doom, gloom

Source: Spar SA escapes Zim’s doom, gloom – DailyNews Live

Gift Phiri      19 November 2016

HARARE – Since the 1960s when it entered the Zimbabwean market, South
African retailer and wholesaler Spar had become a dominant group, getting
a lot of attention across the country for being a good trader, probably
the best in class.

A long-time supermarket chain here, it was more aligned with everyday,
working class neighbourhoods and had a slightly more upscale feel.

But it was perceived as more expensive, with its franchise said to be
costing tens of thousands of dollars, according to franchisees.

It was a high-margin business that helped prop up big profits for the SA
supermarket chain and supported world-beating earning margins.

But in recent years, a growing number of franchisors ditched Spar,
preferring to come up with home-based options, as well as new technologies
in the face of increasing competition from multiple chains.

After ploughing billions and over 49 years, Spar South Africa admitted
defeat last week and announced that it was pulling out of Zimbabwe.

The Spar licence has now been indigenised, transferred to newly formed
company called Spar Zimbabwe, owned 100 percent by local retailers.

Spar SA executives said they were now focusing on the larger businesses in
the region after a damning review of the vast retailer’s Zimbabwe arm,
pulling the plug on the heavily loss-making operations here after noting
its performance was not improving.

The pullout is a rare setback for the globe-trotting JSE-listed retailer,
which has spent much of the past decade planting its red, white and green
flag worldwide. The worldwide Spar organisation comprises 12 331 stores in
35 countries on four continents, boasting 7 million m^2 in sales area, and
currently meets the needs of over 10 million consumers every day.

The expansion of the organisation increased dramatically in the 1990s and
continues now in the new century, yet Spar SA has been forced to exit the
Zimbabwean market, closing its distribution centre here because of the
dramatic economic collapse largely blamed on President Robert Mugabe’s
policies as well as cut-throat competition.

This is the business side of this story.

But there is the emotional and practical side, the community’s side. Spar
had a spirit of sharing, and hopefully the new indigenous group continues
with this tradition. The group was actively involved directly with the
communities within which they operated, investing time, energy and money
into local community projects, including clinics, orphanages, sports
events and schools.

Trouble started when Zimbabwe’s largest conglomerate by revenue, Innscor
Africa Limited, set the scene for a major shake-up in January when it
disposed its interest in the sprawling international business group’s
corporate stores pursuant to Innscor strategy of focussing on core
business.

“At the end of 2015, Innscor sold the six corporate stores and the Spar
licence for Zimbabwe to Darren Lanca, an independent retailer who owned
two stores at the time, Braeside and Montagu,” Terence Yeatman, Spar
Zimbabwe managing director said. “The distribution centre business has
also been wound down by Innscor and has ceased operations.”

The indigenous Spar Zimbabwe retail division now comprises 10 stores,
Braeside, Montagu, Village, Bridge, Golden Stairs, Queensdale, Waterfalls,
Letombo, Helensvale and Mutare.

Spar SA Group chief executive Graham O’Connor said on Wednesday they were
exiting the highly competitive Zimbabwe market, citing a dearth of the
economy.

“The economy was just too tough . . . payment issues, infrastructure
issues, so it was better that we exited,” O’Connor said while presenting
the full year results.

Specialising in groceries, fresh produce, liquor, pharmaceuticals and
building materials, the Spar venture was launched by Adriaan Van Well, a
Dutch wholesaler who believed independent wholesalers and retailers can
achieve more by working together than working alone.

In the late 1950’s, four grocery stores in Salisbury, now Harare, joined
together to form a buying group, one of which was the Divaris Brothers.
They called themselves “The Four Just Men” after British screenwriter
Edgar Wallace’s latest thriller at the time.

After learning of Spar’s launch in South Africa, they decided to apply to
Spar South Africa for a Rhodesian franchise. Vic Taitz and George Divaris
travelled to Johannesburg and met with the directors of Spar South Africa
who agreed to grant the franchise rights to two wholesalers being Pick and
Save in Salisbury and Gordon Brothers in Zimbabwe’s second city of
Bulawayo.

Spar in Rhodesia prospered. But sanctions with South Africa forced the two
wholesalers to seek their own rights directly from Spar International in
1966, making it the 13th country to join Spar’s worldwide expansion.

Over the past 49 years, Spar became one of the largest retailer by sales
revenue in Zimbabwe, setting up 33 locally owned independent retailers
across the country.

The brand gained momentum in Zimbabwe, so did appreciation of the custom
packaging of its owned brands.

But it has now succumbed to fierce competition from rapidly expanding
discounters such as fellow South African retail giant Pick n Pay, which
posted a staggering 81 percent increase in earnings from its Zimbabwean
associate, TM Supermarkets, in the six months to September 30. Pick n Pay
reported a profit before tax of R381 million rand ($27,6 million) in the
half year to August from its Zimbabwe operations.

Fierce competition coupled with an expensive franchise and the Innscor
pullout forced Spar to fragment, amid a fierce battle for control that
emerged amid the arrival of new players and a flurry of mergers and
acquisitions.

It was a dramatic collapse for a group whose Zimbabwe operations posted
$52,8million in revenue just in the year ended June 30, 2015.

Loyalties between the two chains have for long been divided and old
perceptions firmly entrenched, so by the time Spar began making meaningful
changes to the pricing structure, opening new stores with a fresh market
focus and implementing competitive pricing, it was too late.

Industry insiders talk about how Pick n Pay, which  owns 49 percent of TM
Supermarkets, the country’s second largest retail chain, mucked this up,
but the end result was the end of Spar SA, forcing it to announce last
week that it would close its distribution centre.

This has left Zimbabwe with two dominant grocery chains, Pick n Pay and
the biggest retail supermarket chain, OK Zimbabwe Limited, which recorded
a profit after tax profit of $2,3 million for the half year to September
30 2016.

Competition in the Zimbabwe supermarket industry has never been greater.
In addition to traditional grocers, there are now dozens of different
types of retailers attempting to gain their share of the food wallet.

In most communities, the news of SPAR’s closing will be devastating. Gone
is a 49-year-old store, one that filled a hole and a much needed
alternative to those tired stores.

But the indigenous Spar Zimbabwe reassured the public at a press briefing
yesterday that that it will continue trading, “offering everyday low
prices, strong community involvement, quality fresh produce, great product
choice, excellent customer service and world class stores wherever they
operate in Zimbabwe.”

In its market dominance, critics say Spar had become complacent. Frankly,
it became too pricey for weekly shopping.

It has been frustrated, in part, by consumer idiosyncrasies, analysts
reckon.

For consumers, the silver lining has been that competition has forced
domestic rivals to keep their prices low.

Spar’s attempts to woo Zimbabwe’s picky customers and navigate the
country’s labyrinthine distribution system dismally failed.

Spar SA simply failed to survive competition from the myriad supermarket
chains setting shop, said economist Gift Mugano, an expert on Zimbabwe’s
consumer trends.

He said Spar SA’s pullout was surprising given that several foreign firms
have taken advantage of the perfectly competitive and lucrative US dollar
market in Zimbabwe by opening a string of local subsidiaries.

“Retailers are flocking in, the US dollar is lucrative. Pulling out in
such a scenario, I don’t get it. There are limited barriers of entry. It
can only be endogenous factors within the Spar group. It could be largely
due to internal dynamics,” he said.

The market remains penetrable, however.

Buy Zimbabwe economist Kipson Gundani said Spar SA was likely trying to
dodge the bond notes bullet.

Government has been forced to promulgate emergency measures to introduce
bond notes, a surrogate currency that will trade at par with the US
dollar, in a bid to ease a worsening liquidity crunch that has heightened
panic in the domestic economy.

Chimene calls for diamond fraud probe

Source: Chimene calls for diamond fraud probe – DailyNews Live

Farayi Machamire      18 February 2017

BUHERA – Manicaland minister of State Mandi Chimene yesterday
called for a probe into Zanu PF bigwigs accused of swindling million of
dollars from diamond mining companies, an apparent image clean-up ahead of
elections expected next year.

Briefing First Lady Grace Mugabe at a rally in Buhera yesterday, Chimene
said the province was rich in diamonds and gold yet parts of the province
remained underdeveloped and its people reeling from abject poverty.

Her sentiments tally with alarm raised by Partnership Africa Canada, a
member of the Kimberley Process initiative against “blood diamonds”, which
said in a recent report at least $2 billion of revenues from the eastern
Marange diamond fields had been stolen by people linked to President
Robert Mugabe’s party.

“The development in Manicaland was supposed to move at the speed of a
rocket because as you know us Manyikas have our own things. We have
natural resources second to no other place in the country,” Chimene said.
Marange was regarded as one of the world’s richest alluvial diamond
deposits, but its resources are depleting, experts say. Marange hogged
international headlines in 2008 when the government unfurled police
crackdowns on illegal diamond miners and smugglers, resulting in as many
as 200 deaths. Even when formal mining began in 2009, reports of abuses
against illegal miners caught sneaking into the mining fields continued.

Surrounded by diamonds, villagers were going hungry, Chimene said.

“But with all our diamonds, nothing has been channelled toward development
of this province,” Chimene bemoaned.

“Gold here is as numerous as sand. We have gold but our people have
nothing . . . sometimes the problem is that our ministries are not working
together. And also there is this big worm called corruption that has crept
into our system.”

Chimene said ordinary citizens trying to eke a living were the hardest hit
by the looting.

“Amai, all the people you see gathered here, no one has the ambition to
become president here,” she said.

“No one aspires to have money here; no one wants to even be an MP. But us
we want things. We want money to survive but we don’t want money to remove
Grace Mugabe. We are ones killing our people . . . but should all these
people, should they suffer for the sins of one person?”

Chimene’s remarks come as Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa revealed last
week that diamonds mining in the country is now “as good as dead”.

Following Mines minister Walter Chidakwa’s decision to merge all diamond
mining companies operating in Marange into a single entity, the Zimbabwe
Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC), the gems production dramatically
plummeted to low levels.

Last year, the Zimbabwe Chamber of Mines said output in the diamond mining
subsector has plunged by a massive 40 percent to two million carats, from
3,3 million carats in 2015. In 2014, about 4,7 million carats of diamonds
were extracted from the fields, and the statistics produced by the Chamber
of Mines of Zimbabwe revealed a sustained plunge in output triggered
mostly by government’s interference in diamond mining.

Last year’s decline represented a loss of 1,3 million carats in just 12
months.

The diamond mining industry’s contribution to the sector’s revenues slowed
to five percent last year, from 11 percent in 2015.

Tobacco selling season ready to roll

Source: Tobacco selling season ready to roll – DailyNews Live

BUSINESS WRITER      18 February 2017

HARARE – Zimbabwe’s tobacco auction floors will open next month, with
government hoping earnings from the crop will solve the country’s dollar
crunch.

Tobacco is the country’s major foreign currency earner after it raked in
nearly $1 billion last year in export receipts ahead of platinum and gold.

The Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) spokesperson, Isheunesu
Moyo, told the businessdaily that this season’s dates had now been set,
with the contract sales floors opening doors in March.

“Yes, the floors open on the 15th next month … the contract ones open
the following day,” he said.

Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor John Mangudya said he anticipated
the crop to perform well this year so that the golden leaf could provide
the much needed foreign exchange.

“The opening up of the tobacco floors during the first quarter of 2017
will boost the country’s foreign exchange earnings and this is expected to
go a long way in ameliorating the liquidity challenges in the market,” he
said in his 2017 monetary policy statement on Wednesday.

As motivation to encourage farmers to grow tobacco, the RBZ paid out $26,6
million of the $29,3 million five percent export incentive scheme
introduced last year to tobacco farmers who delivered their crop in the
2016 marketing season.

In November last year, the apex bank disbursed $29,3 million as an export
incentive to tobacco farmers that submitted their banking details through
TIMB.

The five percent export incentive was being awarded to incentivise farmers
so they increase the crop’s output as well as promote financial inclusion,
as the country’s over-dependence on the crop’s earnings became more
apparent.

During the 2016 tobacco marketing season, 65 829 growers who sold their
crop worth $586,9 million and had bank accounts, were eligible for the
five percent export incentive.

According to Mangudya, a balance of $2,7 million, representing 9,2
percent, has not yet been credited to the tobacco growers’ bank accounts.

However, market watchers have cautioned that government needs to have
conservative projections for this year’s crop, following heavy rains
feared to have affected the crop.

Zimbabwe depends on tobacco and earnings from its minerals for foreign
exchange as industry collapse driven by economic deterioration has
narrowed its export base.

Govt to help SMEs: Mugabe

Source: Govt to help SMEs: Mugabe – DailyNews Live

Blessings Mashaya      18 February 2017

HARARE – President Robert Mugabe yesterday said he was searching for ways
to stimulate the small-and medium-sized enterprise (SMEs) sector to
generate growth as the national economy struggles to recover from a
long-running crisis.

Speaking at the 11th Zimbabwe International Research Symposium yesterday,
Mugabe said more than 23 percent of Zimbabweans were now earning a living
through the SME sector.

“As you all aware the SMEs sector, where we have the majority of our
entrepreneur, is a major contributor to the Gross Domestic Product of the
country.

“Currently, the SMEs sector employs more than 2,9 million people, and the
2017 national budget statement by the minister of Finance … highlighted
that over 50 percent of the country’s labour force is to be found in this
sector.

“With success stories having already been recorded around the globe, in
China and India for example, there is no need to reinvent the wheel on
SMEs development.

“This is especially so given the sound relationship between Zimbabwe and
India, especially in the SMEs sector, ICTs, energy, education and the
pharmaceutical sectors.”

It is estimated that between $3 billion and $7 billion is circulating in
the informal sector. Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa has said “because
of the informalisation of our economy, a lot of our people are in the
informal sector” and “they do not want to pay taxes.”

“Even those who are in the informal sector, rikanzi business ratorwa
nemunhu mutema, totoziva kuti harichabhadhara tax,” he said.

Last year government said SMEs will be allowed to use movable assets as
surety to increase access to funding under a new policy.

“The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) is working towards addressing the
issue of collateral for SMEs, which will now include moveable assets as
collateral to promote financial inclusion of this key sector of our
economy,” said VP Emmerson Mnangagwa.

In May last year, the RBZ reported that $154 million of banking loans went
to SMEs in the first two months of the year.

According to the government, banks and financial institutions shun funding
SMEs because they lack proper registration, business management skills and
appropriate technology, which has constrained the growth of the sector.

Traditional leaders should uphold the constitution and be non-partisan

Heal Zimbabwe condemns the partisan conduct of Buhera North ward 10 Chief Causemore Chimombe. During a ZANU PF campaign rally addressed by First Lady Grace Mugabe, at St Johns Primary school today, 17 February 2017, Chief Chimombe announced that he supports ZANU PF and that he is also ZANU PF District Chairperson.

Source: Traditional leaders should uphold the constitution and be non-partisan – The Zimbabwean 19.02.2017

Chimombe argued that his decision to support ZANU PF was  necessitated by the fact that ZANU PF brought independence to the country hence it deserved support. He went on to warn people that they should “never bite the hand that feeds them” and pointed out that people should be grateful for the donations by the First Lady, Grace Mugabe.

Heal Zimbabwe notes that while Chief Chimombe as an ordinary citizen has a right to belong to any political party, section 281 of the constitution clearly states that, “Traditional leaders must not be members of any political party or further the interest of any political party”. Being a member or supporting a political party compromises their constitutional duties such as resolving disputes amongst people in their communities.

Heal Zimbabwe implores Traditional leaders to uphold the constitution and discharge their constitutional obligations in a non-partisan manner. Heal Zimbabwe also implores political parties to desist from abusing Traditional leaders to further their political interests. Rather, political parties should respect the Traditional institution as an institution mandated by the constitution to facilitate development and resolve disputes amongst people in their communities. Their role helps build peaceful and more tolerant communities.

 

Shrewd Mugabe dribbles factions

Source: Shrewd Mugabe dribbles factions – DailyNews Live

Blessings Mashaya      17 February 2017

HARARE – Zanu PF bigwigs say President Robert Mugabe was at his “foxy”
best during Wednesday’s heated politburo meeting in Harare – running rings
around the ruling party’s two warring factions and apparently leaving both
camps “thoroughly confused”.

Well-placed sources who spoke to the Daily News yesterday said the wily
nonagenarian cunningly contrived to lose his temper, before demanding that
his lieutenants work together to save the former liberation movement from
suffering another humiliating defeat in the much-anticipated 2018 national
elections, as had happened in 2008.

Mugabe, who turns 93 on Tuesday, was apparently also careful not to look
like he was siding with either of Zanu PF’s two feuding camps during the
meeting – supporting and shellacking both camps in equal measure.

“Gushungo (Mugabe) was in his element, and made it clear that he is still
the unchallenged and unchallengeable leader of the pack.

“It was also very clear that any of the factions with designs on power in
the country will need his support if they are to get anywhere.

“He gave and took away from the two camps with equal measure, leaving them
both thoroughly confused about what his next move will be,” a Zanu PF
senior official who has always claimed to be “non-aligned” said.

Wednesday’s meeting was held against the backdrop of the high level of
indiscipline within the ruling party, as well the deep-rooted tribal,
factional and succession wars which are ravaging the former liberation
movement – and which escalated when Mugabe was away in the Far East on his
annual holiday.

Another source also said yesterday that the “deliberately angry” Mugabe
had refused to “buy into” the party factions’ allegations and
counter-allegations against each other – choosing to focus instead on
healing all internal rifts as Zanu PF prepares for next year’s
make-or-break elections.

The ruling party is split in the middle, with a faction of young Turks
going by the moniker Generation 40 (G40) rabidly opposed to Vice President
Emmerson Mnangagwa succeeding Mugabe, and squaring up against the VP’s
allies, Team Lacoste.

“He lashed at the escalating factionalism that is devouring the party. He
openly warned members of the politburo to unite the party as we are likely
to face a united opposition in 2018,” the second source told the Daily
News yesterday.

Zanu PF secretary for administration Ignatius Chombo told a news
conference after the meeting that Mugabe had tasked them with making sure
that the party was united ahead of the 2018 elections.

“Commenting on the 2018 harmonised elections, the president advised
members to attune their minds, attitudes and emotions to focus on unity,
so as to win the 2018 harmonised elections.

“The president informed members that the late Vice President Simon
Vengesai Muzenda left a legacy of success and victory in all elections.
Thus it’s our duty to maintain that success story to honour his legacy,”
Chombo said.

In the run-up to Wednesday’s politburo meeting, the G40 and Team Lacoste
had traded deadly blows on all fronts.

The G40 escalated its fight with Team Lacoste after Mnangagwa hosted and
sacked Zanu PF officials at his rural home during the festive season,
saying this was in fact a meeting organised to plot the ouster of Mugabe
from power.

And since the images of Mnangagwa holding the much-obsessed about coffee
mug (written I Am The Boss) emerged in the public domain, the G40 had
interpreted this as the VP’s open statement that he had unbridled
presidential ambitions.

G40-linked party officials subsequently met at the Zanu PF headquarters in
Harare where they issued a statement in which they called for a probe into
Mnangagwa for hobnobbing with the likes of war veterans’ leader
Christopher Mutsvangwa and maverick businessman-cum politician Energy
Mutodi.

Sources linked to Team Lacoste claim Mugabe had refused on Wednesday to
entertain the “Cupgate” issue, apparently going on to talk about how
allegedly loyal Mnangagwa was to him.

“He simply took the wind out of the sails of both factions by deftly
dealing with their issues while reminding them he was still the boss.

“The president neutralised the coffee mug debate on one hand, but on the
other, attacked Team Lacoste’s actions in Masvingo where he ordered fresh
elections to choose a substantive executive,” the supposedly “non-aligned”
party bigwig said.

Before the politburo ordered fresh elections in Masvingo, the regional
structure found itself deep in the throes of factional anarchy, following
its leadership’s unilateral decision to bring back the suspended former
provincial leader, Ezra Chadzamira, to replace Amasi Nenjana who had been
the acting chairperson.

Chadzamira is said to be a key member of Team Lacoste which accused
Nenjana of allegedly working with the G40 to destabilise the province.

During the party’s annual people’s conference in Masvingo last year,
Mugabe also slyly blew a gasket at the gathering, savaging his brawling
lieutenants, while cunningly moving to finger some of his top aides in
alleged plots to hound him out of power – as the ruling party’s tribal,
factional and succession wars continue to burn hot.

He made a thinly-disguised dig at Team Lacoste then, saying the party’s
leadership was not won through plotting the arrest of opponents, but
through elections.

This was after the G40 had over the previous months alleged that the
Mnangagwa camp was abusing key State institutions, including lapdog State
media, to irregularly grab power in the former liberation movement.

But, in typical Mugabe style, the nonagenarian also moved to attack the
G40 at the meeting for their alleged indiscipline, and for abusing social
media to attack fellow party officials.

“To the party leadership, we do not run matters of the party through
Twitter or Facebook,” he said, as he sought to balance his criticism and
in the process consolidate his own position.

Political analysts who spoke to the Daily News at the time said it would
have been “atypical” if Mugabe had chosen one faction over the other.

“The current situation where there are factions fighting each other below
him means that there isn’t a faction fighting him directly, so the
fighting serves him well,” said former civic leader McDonald Lewanika.

Mugabe – the only leader Zimbabweans have known since the country gained
its independence from Britain in April 1980 – is facing the biggest
challenge to his long rule.

The increasingly fail nonagenarian and Zanu PF are battling growing unrest
among the country’s restive populace, which blames his government for
presiding over the country’s dying economy and the deepening rot in the
former regional breadbasket.

Patients suffer as doctors strike

Source: Patients suffer as doctors strike – DailyNews Live

Farayi Machamire      17 February 2017

HARARE – There is no solution in sight to the standoff between striking
doctors and the government, despite the crass threats of dismissals by
panicking authorities.

The doctors have been on industrial action since Wednesday, to press the
government to honour its promises of improving their working conditions.

But stung by the strike, the government has said it will terminate the
services of all doctors who will continue to stay away from work – a
threat that has failed to move the doctors.

Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals clinical director Noah Madziva warned on
Wednesday that any doctor who put the health of patients at risk by
striking would face dire consequences.

“Every citizen has a right to good health care…therefore anyone who
voluntarily withdraws his or her services will be removed from the duty
roaster.

“The same will not be allowed to enter the wards or to see any patients
until reinstatement upon submission of application to return to duty.

“The operations directorate will conduct a roll call at 0900hrs every
morning. Anyone not available at the time will be deemed not available for
service and subject to the above-mentioned arrangements,” warned Madziva.

But the Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association (ZHDA) said doctors would
continue with their strike despite the threats.

“We have noted with utter disappointment the new tactics by various
clinical directors . . . that instead of engaging doctors and try to find
solutions to our current demands, they have reverted to threats and
victimisation.

“We inform all our members that a document circulating with threats is the
same document that was used to intimidate people just a few years ago.
Threatening is a sign of fear, a last ditch attempt at resolving a problem
without engaging.

“We will not waiver. To the ministry of Health and other responsible
authorities, we urge them to respond to our needs quickly, so that
normalcy returns to our hospitals,” ZHDA said.

Doctors want the government to revise upwards, to a minimum of $720, call
allowances for the least paid doctors, and that the Health Services Board
urgently implements the agreed duty-free framework for all government
doctors.

The country’s public health sector is grappling with myriad problems,
including having to contend with shortages of critical drugs and
antiquated hospital equipment.

Despite these humongous problems, President Robert Mugabe’s misfiring
government has once again allocated a measly budget to the health services
sector this year.

In his budget presentation in December, Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa
reduced the vote for health from $331 million to a disappointing $282
million – a figure that falls way short of meeting the big demands of the
public health sector.

Recently, hospitals warned that they were left with two weeks’ supply of a
major drug used during surgical operations – after major drug supplier,
GSK, pulled out of the Zimbabwean market last year.

Last year, major referral hospitals also had to suspend many services as a
result of the shortage of drugs, including painkillers – exposing how much
things have fallen apart in the country since the early 2000s.

United Bulawayo Hospitals (UBH) and Harare Central Hospital were among the
major health facilities that had to suspend normal services as a result of
drug shortages, including pethidine – a synthetic compound used as a
painkiller, especially for women in labour and during Caesarean
operations.

And Binga District Hospital, which is situated in one of Zimbabwe’s
poorest regions, was last year also forced to scale back its services as a
result of water and electricity shortages.

Responding to the country’s worsening health crisis, the MDC said it was
alarmed by the “lack of concern and empathy” on the part of Zanu PF.

“The ministry of Health and Child Care has adopted a very insensitive and
uncaring attitude to the concerns that are being raised by the striking
doctors. Our medical doctors are severely over-worked and thoroughly
underpaid.

“At a time when . . . Mugabe and members of his inner circle always travel
to Singapore, India and some other such far-away places seeking medical
treatment, the Zanu PF regime is showing complete and utter disregard for
the plight of the masses and our striking medical doctors.

“Patients are stranded and in fact there is preventable loss of life that
is taking place in our various public health institutions because there
are no medical doctors to attend to patients,” MDC spokesperson Obert Gutu
said.

‘Use Mugabe’s birthday cash to fix roads’

Source: ‘Use Mugabe’s birthday cash to fix roads’ – DailyNews Live

Blessings Mashaya      17 February 2017

HARARE – Zanu PF must channel the large sums of money budgeted for
President Robert Mugabe’s 93rd birthday bash towards rehabilitation of
Zimbabwe’s derelict roads, Chitungwiza North MDC MP Godfrey Sithole told
the National Assembly.

The nonagenarian and scores of guests are expected enjoy the usual
unrestrained feasting at the Matobo holiday resort on February 25, amid
widespread grinding poverty and high unemployment.

Traditionally, Mugabe’s birthdays – hosted by the 21st February Movement,
which was set up in 1986 to raise funds to celebrate the leader’s birthday
each year – are filled with profligacy, pomp and fanfare.

But on Wednesday, Sithole argued that it was irresponsible for Zanu PF to
blow large sums on partying given its legacy of underfunding and the
siphoning of road maintenance money into other projects.

“The (Local Government) deputy minister (Christopher Chingosho) has stated
that some of the problems which caused non-repairing of these potholes is
because of finance.

“We have been told that Chitungwiza roads need an amount of $9 million to
repair the potholes but at the same time, we are going to hold a birthday
bash for the president using an amount of $9 million. Is it not possible
for government to divert the funds for the birthday party to the repair of
the Chitungwiza roads?” Sithole asked.

National Assembly speaker Jacob Mudenda said the issue of Mugabe’s
birthday had nothing to do with roads.

“The birthday bash is not being held in Chitungwiza,” Mudenda said amid
laughter from other MPs.

Last week, Zanu PF youth secretary Kudzanai Chipanga declined to reveal
the total budget of the bash, saying every province is going to cater for
its people.

But insiders said they were hoping to raise more than $1 million.

Mugabe’s birthday parties have become an annual pilgrimage for loyalists
and those seeking favours from him.

In 2015, Mugabe’s birthday celebrations were held in Victoria Falls while
last year they were held in Masvingo.

Last year, the party raised nearly a million dollars for the bash with
more than 50 beasts were slaughtered to cater for 50 000 people.

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.

‘Trump snubs Mugabe over political risk’

Source: ‘Trump snubs Mugabe over political risk’ – DailyNews Live

Gift Phiri      17 February 2017

HARARE – US President Donald Trump’s phone call to South Africa President
Jacob Zuma highlights neighbouring Zimbabwe’s high political risk and that
Washington does not consider President Robert Mugabe a serious factor in
Afro-American political and socio-economic relations, opposition and
analysts said yesterday.

This comes after Trump spoke with Zuma on Monday this week to discuss ways
to expand cooperation and trade between the US and SA.

According to a statement from Zuma’s office, “The two presidents
reaffirmed their commitment to strengthening the already strong bilateral
relations between the two countries. There are 600 US companies in South
Africa and strong trade relations between the two countries.”

In a quintessential rebuff of the 92-year-old Mugabe as tensions escalate
over Washington’s February 6, 2017 concerns over “the continuing
deterioration of the human rights situation in Zimbabwe”, the White House
apparently snubbed Mugabe, with the businessman and television persona
turned president maintaining a tougher US line against Zimbabwe.

Presidential spokesperson George Charamba has reacted with indignation to
US’ damning criticism of Zimbabwe’s human rights record, telling State
Department officials they can “go and hang on a banana tree.”

Charamba told the State media Zimbabwe was waiting for an overture from
the Trump administration to see how relations will be between the two
countries during the Republican leader’s presidency.

“We are waiting for a cue from a new government,” Charamba said.

But Morgan Tsvangirai’s opposition MDC said the snub highlights the
deepening of an already toxic bilateral relationship that matters
increasingly less to Washington.

“Put bluntly . . . Mugabe has been nothing but a curse to Zimbabwe’s
international relations,” MDC spokesperson Obert Gutu said.

“No one, including even the Chinese, no longer trusts Mugabe. He is not a
man of his word. He indicates left and then he suddenly turns right.

“Trump doesn’t consider Mugabe as a serious factor in Afro-American
political and socio-economic relations.

“Trump knows that Mugabe is yesterday’s man; he also knows that Mugabe is
in the political departure lounge, he is on his way out of power.”

Trump and Zuma, according to a White House summary of their call,
reaffirmed an “expressed interest in identifying new, mutually beneficial
opportunities for trade” and to “deepen the bilateral relations.”

Analyst Takura Zhangazha said people must not read too far into Trump’s
snub as it does not change the structural dynamics in a bilateral
relationship that is slowly worsening, and slowly fading in importance.

“Trump chose Zuma because the latter leads the largest economy in the
region and is a key trading partner with the US and also in recognition of
the fact that South Africa is a regional powerhouse, at least
economically.

“This is also the same reason why Trump also called Nigeria’s (President
Muhammadu) Buhari.”

Trump also spoke with Buhari to discuss the strong cooperation between the
US and Nigeria, including on shared security, economic, and governance
priorities.

Analyst Maxwell Saungweme said SA has a larger GDP, larger population than
Zimbabwe, and better trade with the US.

The country exported $176 million in agricultural products to the US last
year under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) – a US trade
agreement designed to help African exporters.

“Zimbabwe is a very small country, with a tiny GDP, dilapidated
infrastructure, and facing economic downturn. Zimbabwe also has high
political risk on investments.

“So all these factors, including poor governance make us not a favourite
choice for stronger bilateral relations with super powers seeking to
expand trading relationships.”

Dewa Mavinga, a senior Africa researcher at New York-based Human Rights
Watch, said: “President Mugabe’s government needs to know that investors
can completely ignore Zimbabwe if there are no urgent steps to restore the
rule of law and establish conditions conducive for business that secures
the best interest of Zimbabwe and its people.”

Senior consultant at the International Crisis Group Piers Pigou said Trump
cannot engage Mugabe because of targeted sanctions aimed to maintain
pressure on Zimbabwe by sustaining the costs of its blatant electoral
fraud and rights abuses.

“The US cannot legally move on certain areas of engagement with the
Zimbabwean government until there have been significant moves on
governance, rule of law, human rights issues. This is clear from Zdera
(Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act of 2001).

“This (US) law appears to inhibit the kind of shift from the politics of
the stick to the politics of the carrot that we have seen employed by the
UK and EU, which has had mixed results and generated significant
frustration, in turn leading to a growing concern about the Zimbabwean
government and ruling party’s commitment to reforms it claims it will
implement.

“I suspect the US has watched this and decided at this juncture there is
not much to work with in terms of those issues.”

Nevertheless, the US remains a vital contributor to humanitarian support
and key service delivery areas to Zimbabwe, in particular the health
sector.

“Trump can override Zdera but there has to be clear cause to do so.  In
their calculations this is not so,” Pigou added.

Dinizulu Macaphulana, former researcher at Institute for Security and
Development Policy, said the US is focusing on SA, Nigeria, Botswana and
other countries in their scramble for the control of Africa.

“Zimbabwe will be inconsequential except as a problem to be solved.
Zimbabwe’s international relations died a long time ago,” Macaphulana
said.

Trump, who so far has been mostly focused on his “America First” agenda,
has not spoken at much length about his policies concerning Africa. But
his controversial travel ban, one of his first major executive orders, has
targeted three African countries: Sudan, Libya and Somalia.

MAJOR CRISIS: Zimbabwe health specialists join doctors’ strike

Zimbabwe government gynaecologists and obstetricians have downed tools in solidarity with striking state doctors, as the nationwide industrial action enters its third day, plunging the country’ health sector into a major crisis.

Source: MAJOR CRISIS: Zimbabwe health specialists join doctors’ strike | News24 2017-02-17

Harare – Zimbabwe government gynaecologists and obstetricians on Friday down tools in solidarity with striking state doctors, as the nationwide industrial action entered its third day, plunging the country’ health sector into a major crisis.

In a letter to government authorities dated February 17, 2017 the specialists said they were unable to discharge their duties owing to the absence of doctors.

“The registrars in the department held a meeting and decided it was no longer safe for our patients if we continue with our duties given our SRMOs (Senior Resident Medical Officers) are away on strike,” read part of their letter to the Clinical Director, Noah Madziva.

“We tried to continue working but the demands are so exhausting such that we fear we may end up making fatal error in unwanted morbidity and mortality. We have hence decided to withdraw our services with immediate effect and are however eager to resume our duties once the juniors are available. We hope the impasse is resolved urgently for the benefit of our patients.”

Health minister David Parirenyatwa could not immediately comment.

RBZ directs banks to lower rates, charges

Source: RBZ directs banks to lower rates, charges | The Herald

Business Reporter
THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has directed all banking institutions to set lending interest rates at 12 percent or below.

The central bank also said banking institutions are required to cap bank charges at 3 percent. The RBZ said the new interest rates and bank charge maximums should take effect from April 1, 2017.

Prior to the announcement yesterday, lending interest rates were determined by a framework allowing banks to charge between 6 percent and 18 percent, depending on the risk level. Risk level gauge ranged from low, moderate to high.

RBZ Governor John Mangudya, in his 2017 monetary policy statement, said the latest directive was meant to ensure the banking sector continued to support productive sectors.

“All banking institutions are required to ensure that lending interest rates should not exceed 12 percent per annum and that bank charges that include application fees, facility fees and administration fee, should not exceed 3 percent,” he said.

Dr Mangudya said affordable credit is important to enhance output and productivity for the national economy to flourish.

“The bank has continued to engage with banking and micro-finance institutions to ensure provision of affordable credit in order to boost credit to the productive sectors of the economy.”

After dollarisation in 2009, banks charged interest rates as high as 35 percent, excluding default rates of equal or higher thresholds, plunging corporates and individuals into huge debts; as they initially did appreciate real dollar value.

Economic experts contend that the interest margin should not exceed 5 percent over the cost at which banks obtain the funds.

Dr Mangudya said while the RBZ is pleased to note that banking institutions have been working towards reduction in lending rates, the rates were still relatively higher when other ancillary charges and default interest rates are applied. He said affordable credit must be provided to large and small businesses and individuals to enable them to invest in productive activities that increase jobs, exports and reduce poverty.

However, the central bank chief said the cost, accessibility of funding and entrepreneurship remain most critical barriers to expanding financial reach and depth in the country.

As part of ongoing efforts to promote financial inclusion and to ensure that banking products and services are affordable to the banking public, the central bank lowered cash withdrawal charges, with effect from December 12, 2016.

As such, a proportional pricing model was adopted to replace fixed charges to align cash withdrawal charges to amount withdrawn.

The applicable bank charges for cash withdrawal were set at a maximum of 1 percent and 1,25 percent of amount withdrawn for ATM and over-the-counter transactions, respectively.

Real time gross settlement charges were capped at $5, ZIPIT between $0,30 and $210, POS transactions up to $10 at $0,10, POS transactions above $10 at $0,40, POS own bank customer charge at $0,20 while POS issuer charge was removed.

The Reserve Bank said monthly administration fees should be pegged at a maximum of $5. All the prescribed new charges, the Governor said, should also apply to small businesses. He said this is to ensure they are financially included.

Live: Grace Mugabe is back!

“I’ll be back” is a catchphrase associated with American film actor Arnold Schwarzenegger, which he first used in his role as the title character from the 1984 science fiction film The Terminator.

Source: Live: Grace Mugabe is back! – NewsDay Zimbabwe February 17, 2017

In 1990, in the film Kindergaten Cop,Schwarzenegger was to use the catchphrase, “I’m back!”, returning from the hospital to his kindergarten class in the ending scene.

First Lady Grace Mugabe might as well write her story, similar to that of Schwarzenegger, because after taking a sabbatical from her whirlwind countrywide rallies last year, she can now exclaim, “I’m back!”

We give you updates of her first rally, happening now in Buhera.

As we reported earlier, fear and trepidation has gripped warring Zanu PF factions following First Lady Grace Mugabe’s decision to resume controversial nationwide rallies amid concerns she could worsen an already fragile situation.
Read the full story here

by 12pm: Grace has arrived at the rally venue and party officials are making introductory remarks and sloganeering ahead of teh First Lady’s address.

Chiweshe’s judge ‘protection’ policy stalls land cases

An “administrative” decision by Judge President (JP) Justice George Chiweshe that he presides over all land cases has impacted negatively on outstanding matters, prejudicing indigenous people disputing the expropriation of their farms, NewsDay has heard.

Source: Chiweshe’s judge ‘protection’ policy stalls land cases – NewsDay Zimbabwe February 17, 2017

BY RICHARD CHIDZA

Insiders claim Chiweshe is arguing he wants to “protect” judges from “abuse by politicians”.

“It is being argued that the emotive land issue might be used against the judiciary in the run-up to the elections next year,” NewsDay heard.

Several cases in which mainly indigenous Zimbabweans, including widows, have had their farms expropriated by the Lands ministry, remain outstanding with some having been removed from the court roll.

“We have been advised that only the Judge President will preside over land cases, but the problem is there are so many of them ,he is swamped and seems there is more to this decision than the administrative reason that is being waved in our faces,” a lawyer, who has been fighting to have a client’s case heard, said this week.

“Now the problem is the government is making mistakes of acquiring land owned by blacks, the issues cannot be heard because only the JP is presiding over them or the ministry claims it is waiting for the Land Commission Bill that nobody knows when it will be passed into law.”

While Justice Chiweshe could not be reached for comment, Judicial Service Commission (JSC) boss, Justice Rita Makarau, said she was not aware of that.

“As the JSC, we are not aware of such a decision. I suppose it would have been made by the Judge President because he has the power to do that as an administrative matter at the High Court,” she said.

Ministry of Lands permanent secretary, Grace Mutandiro, said government was engaging farmers on the issue.

“We treat this on a case by case basis and engage the farmer. It’s confidential information, I cannot discuss with you,” she said yesterday.

In a letter to a victim of land expropriation, who has been waiting for their case to be heard, the JSC indicates the matter had been postponed sine die/removed or struck off the roll since three months had lapsed.

“In terms of paragraph 10 of the Practice Directions 3/13, the matter is, hereby, regarded as abandoned and, therefore, deemed to have lapsed. Should you be aggrieved by this decision you will find recourse in the rules of the court,” the JSC said.

The Constitution allows aggrieved parties, whose land would have been acquired compulsorily by the government, to challenge the decision within six months after which the supreme law is silent.

Over 17 years after the government embarked on the controversial and often violent land reform exercise meant to redress colonial land imbalances, the State continues to expropriate farms even from indigenous citizens.

MDC-T VPs case: ‘Applicants used bogus constitution’

MDC-T leader, Morgan Tsvangirai yesterday claimed the High Court challenge filed by two party activists against the appointment of vice-presidents Nelson Chamisa and Elias Mudzuri was defective, as the applicants had used a “bogus constitution” to pursue the matter.

Source: MDC-T VPs case: ‘Applicants used bogus constitution’ – NewsDay Zimbabwe February 17, 2017

BY CHARLES LAITON

Tsvangirai was responding to a High Court application filed by MDC-T members, Patson Murimoga and George Rice, in July last year, seeking nullification of Chamisa and Mudzuri’s appointments as party vice-presidents.

In their application, the litigants cited Tsvangirai, Chamisa, Mudzuri and MDC-T national chairperson, Lovemore Moyo as respondents.

Tsvangirai’s lawyer, Thabani Mpofu, pleaded with Justice Lavendar Makoni, who is presiding over the matter, to dismiss the application on the grounds that the activists had cited a wrong copy of the party constitution and that they had rushed to take the matter to the court before exhausting internal processes.

He added that the activists also erroneously made reference to the party’s sixth congress, which had not yet taken place.

Mpofu claimed Murimoga and Rice updated their subscriptions to the party two days after filing the application, in a bid to authenticate their application and as such they did not have the locus standi to pursue the matter.

But, the duo’s lawyer, Zivanai Macharaga, said his clients had a constitutional right to approach the court and challenge Tsvangirai’s decisions.

“By virtue of being members, they have the right to file this application. There is nowhere where it is shown that their membership has been withdrawn,” Macharaga said, adding his clients could not have approached the party’s national council because, in their view, it was the offender and could not have resolved the dispute impartially.
Justice Makoni reserved judgment on the preliminary points raised by Mpofu.

Rural teachers urged to shelve planned strike over bonuses

THE Public Service ministry has urged rural teachers to shelve their planned strike over bonuses to give dialogue a chance.

Source: Rural teachers urged to shelve planned strike over bonuses – NewsDay Zimbabwe February 17, 2017

BY OBEY MANAYITI

The Amalgamated Rural Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ) last month notified the Labour ministry of its intention to go on strike if the Civil Service Commission fails to pay them their 2016 bonuses within 14 working days.

The cash-strapped government has been failing to timeously pay salaries for its workers and it has not released dates for bonuses amid plans to pay civil servants in stands.

Labour permanent secretary, Ngoni Masoka on Monday wrote to ARTUZ, urging its members to shelve the strike and let dialogue continue.

“You may wish to note that the meeting convened by the minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, together with the minister of Finance and Economic Development and the governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, with workers’ representatives was adjourned to February 20, 2017 to allow for further consultations,” he wrote.

“Therefore, your intention to proceed on strike on a matter that is still under consideration is detrimental to social dialogue. You are, therefore, urged to give negotiations a chance.”

However, ARTUZ secretary-general, Robson Chere yesterday told NewsDay that they would go ahead with the planned job action until their grievance is addressed.

“Rural teachers have been on a go-slow from the opening day demanding bonus dates. We are scaling up to a full-fledged strike as the employer has remained silent. We will further resort to street protests. Our job action is going ahead on Monday next week and we are mobilising on the ground,” he said.

Already other government workers have been mooting job action, with doctors having started a strike this week over working conditions.

Last year, civil servants successfully boycotted work under the national shutdown, crippling services and sending a strong message to the government to shape up and improve working conditions.

‘Zec a captured institution’

OPPOSITION parties have alleged the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) is a captured institution after it announced the government has now taken over the procurement of biometric voter registration (BVR) kits from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

Source: ‘Zec a captured institution’ – NewsDay Zimbabwe February 17, 2017

BY BLESSED MHLANGA

People’s Democratic Party president, Tendai Biti told a Coalition of Democrats (Code) meeting yesterday that the fact that the government, all of a sudden, has found money to buy the kits shows that Zec is captured.

“What happened yesterday (the Zec announcement) is State capture. Zanu is simply confirming that they have captured Zec, they have captured this BVR. There is nothing that we don’t know there and I said earlier, our response is not equal to the level of abuse,” he said.

“I don’t believe we have done enough, that we have mobilised enough to push Zanu PF to reform. So, if we decided to go into the streets, into the courts, into the churches, we should be able to get the reforms that we deserve. Chief among those are a brand new voters’ roll, the demilitarisation of our elections, our elections are run by the junta, our elections are run by Nikuv and it’s stationed at KGVI.”

Renewal Democrats of Zimbabwe president, Elton Mangoma said it was time to do away with the voters’ roll and ask people to vote using their national identity cards, as Zec had allegedly proved that it was captured by Zanu PF.

MDC-T spokesperson, Obert Gutu, said: “It’s a public secret that the regime is bankrupt and that they don’t have money to buy BVR kits worth millions. There is obviously something fishy and extremely sinister going on there.”

The Zimbabwe Election Support Network (Zesn) said the importance of transparency in acquiring the BVR kits could never be overstated.

“It is vital that the government and Zec provide details of the takeover from UNDP regarding the procurement of the BVR kits and how the process will be funded given the limited time left before the 2018 elections.

“The involvement of technical partners with experience in assisting various other countries in implementing the BVR processes will improve confidence and trust, which have always been an issue in the electoral process in Zimbabwe,” Zesn director, Rindai Chipfunde-Vava, said.

‘Bill creates fiefdom for Bimha, cronies’

OPPOSITION MPs yesterday dismissed the National Competitiveness Commission Bill, saying it was meant to create a “fiefdom for Industry and Commerce minister Mike Bimha and his cronies”.

Source: ‘Bill creates fiefdom for Bimha, cronies’ – NewsDay Zimbabwe February 17, 2017

By VENERANDA LANGA

The Bill is currently in its Second Reading Stage in the National Assembly. Bimha said the new commission would enhance productivity and identify sectors with potential to increase competitiveness.

Chairperson of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Industry and Commerce, Edmond Mhere, angered MPs when he read a committee report saying people rejected the Bill during public hearings, but later made recommendations that it must be passed.

“If a portfolio committee gathers people’s views, they should bring correct information of what people said and not personal views, and the minister must also bring Bills that make sense,” Mabvuku-Tafara MP James Maridadi (MDC-T) said.

Bulawayo East MP, Thabitha Khumalo (MDC-T) said there were no financial resources to support the commission, adding it was not necessary when there was no industry to talk about in the country.

“The minister is only trying to create a fiefdom for himself and his cronies at the expense of Zimbabweans and reconstruct the same body. All that he needs is to revisit the Kadoma Declaration and implement it,” Khumalo said.

Hatfield MP, Tapiwa Mashakada (MDC-T) said the commission was a waste of resources.

He said the ease of doing business could not be resolved by creating a commission, but by solving policy inconsistencies, reconstructing industry and manufacturing and exploring fiscal and monetary policy issues.

“The minister must look at existing structures in his ministry to do the duties of the commission. What they will be doing are functions that are supposed to be done by technocrats in his ministry,” Binga North MP Prince Dubeko Sibanda (MDC-T) said.

“Cabinet is the biggest commission that we need to do this work because their duty is to provide policy to remove impediments in ease of doing business. The biggest driver of business costs is corruption, and by bringing this Bill, the minister is wasting Parliament time and taxpayers’ money,” Harare West MP, Jessie Majome (MDC-T) added.

MDC-T legislator, Ronia Bunjira said public hearings were poorly attended with one person attending in Harare and Mutare residents that attended saying it was a useless law.

Southerton MP Gift Chimanikire (MDC-T) said the minister should “throw away the Bill into the nearest bin” as it sought to create a monster that would devour Zimbabwe’s limited resources.

MPs said the minister was missing the fact that he needs to resuscitate industry, create a good environment for business to thrive and ensure removal of restrictive policies.

Bimha, who sat stone-faced as MPs dismissed the Bill, had to be rescued by his deputy, Chiratidzo Mabuwa, who rushed from Senate where she was attending the question-and-answer session, to adjourn the debate to next week, further angering opposition MPs.

Kereke, you owe an apology not just to Gono

Munyaradzi Kereke almost single-handedly destroyed — or, indeed, did destroy — former Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor, Gideon Gono after the latter sacked him in 2012.

Source: Kereke, you owe an apology not just to Gono – NewsDay Zimbabwe February 17, 2017

echoes: CONWAY TUTANI

Kereke “went nuclear” in his attacks on both the person and office of Gono. It was too ugly to enjoy — akin to First Lady Grace Mugabe’s sordid salvos against former Vice-President Joice Mujuru, when she burst into the political scene like a whirlwind in 2014.

When someone that close to you — like Kereke was to Gono, as the latter’s adviser at the RBZ, making him his de facto number two — makes it their business to demonise you, people are bound to jump to believe it.

Said Gono this week about that episode in 2012 when Kereke embarked on a sustained campaign to destroy him: “The effect was to draw daggers against me and I became a marked man. So started the plot to bring down the governor by all means possible and usually, when a dirty job is to be done, there is no better person to do it than someone believed to be close, be it as a friend, brother, sister, close relative or workmate.”

Indeed, that’s the entry point. You don’t have to look far. We can all relate to that, as all families — including mine and yours — have their own Kerekes let loose to do us down as and when convenient. On a scale of one to 10 for meanness, I would rate such characters at 11 — they crash the scales. Our detractors hide behind these good-for-nothing people, failures, scoundrels and lowlifes to get at us.

That’s the function of lies and slander — false statements that are uttered with the deliberate intent of harming someone’s name.

Gono eventually realised that he had taken on board a “frenemy”, a friend who turns into an enemy, the type of “friend” whose words or actions bring you down. They are those “good people” that you can, so to say, count on to bring you down sometime in the future. It’s that type of friend you ought to cut off, but you dither because you have had good times with them. But they will continue to bring you down until you say enough is enough and cut them loose — which Gono finally did by firing Kereke in 2012. No one — Gono included — deserves someone like that near them.

That is why I was not impressed at all by Kereke’s new-found crusade to ruin Gono, as if he was exemplary himself.

Having dealt with Kereke at close range and getting acquainted with his vituperative language and dodgy and dirty tactics, my first inclination was to take his attacks on Gono with not just a pinch of salt, but a whole spoonful.

This, despite Gono’s disastrous record at RBZ, which opened floodgates to today’s systemic corruption through his quasi-fiscal policies, which made a bad situation much, much worse.

And, tell you what, Kereke is not a pleasure to talk to. In 2011, I had the “privilege” of sitting down with him in his not-so-ornate RBZ office. I went there as an investigator in his complaint against a reporter he was accusing of extorting money from him so that she would withhold writing what he called a false story about him.

But in no time at all, I found that the accusation was totally baseless, as the reporter had legitimate journalistic grounds to pursue the matter and had approached him, as per standard practice, to get his side of the story.

Instead of concentrating on the gist of his complaint, Kereke besmirched the character of the reporter, painting her as of loose morals, saying she had been seen drunk at an Oliver Mtukudzi show the previous weekend. I found it contemptible and disgusting.

As if that was not off topic enough, Kereke then said he had the reporter trailed by State security agents and now knew where her mother stayed and the mother’s first name. It then struck me that Kereke had delusions of grandeur — that false belief that one is so, so important and so, so powerful that heads they win, tails they win. That they can get away with anything.

The threatening and menacing tone of it tallies with what Gono said this week: “Any member of (RBZ) staff could be arrested or harassed by police at (Kereke’s) say-so, inside or outside the bank.”

However one feels about Gono, he cannot be faulted for unpacking this dark, manipulative side of Kereke. That’s exactly the bullying and big-headed Kereke I know, who would unleash police to pick up and detain reporters “daring” to write negative, but factual, stories about him.

Those were the days when Kereke was at the top of his game. He felt so powerful because he had several journalists in his pocket to the extent that he would be forewarned about a story being worked on about him and would, without hesitation, tell the reporter to lay off. He had eyes and ears in newsrooms, with reporters reduced to spying on each other. That how bad news Kereke was.

This echoes Gono’s observation about Kereke’s time at RBZ: “There started to be divisions in the bank . . . This confused many and created parallel structures of loyalty and factions.”

Kereke is now finally in jail, where he rightly belongs, but only after trying all the tricks in the book to silence the media by making all sorts of threats against the publishing of the initial allegations against him of raping — of all people — a minor relative.

And only after taking down others with him. Suspended Prosecutor-General (PG) Johannes Tomana is currently on trial for allegedly obstructing the State and private prosecution of Kereke for the rape and other cases.

Said the magistrate in imprisoning Kereke last year: “If it was not for the relentless efforts by the victim’s grandparents, this case could have died a natural death. The court must not have mercy on him (Kereke). What they were doing with the PG is corruption, and up to now, we do not know why he was being protected.”

Kereke had no accountability, no boundaries, and no guilt — no matter how much harm and violence he did to others in business and in his private life.

This, thus, makes him owe apologies all round if it is to be believed that he is now truly contrite for his trail of destruction.

Conway Nkumbuzo Tutani is a Harare-based columnist. Email: nkumbuzo@gmail.com

 

Zimsec to introduce minority languages exams

Source: Zimsec to introduce minority languages exams | The Herald February 17, 2017

Tobias Mudzingwa: Herald Reporter

The Zimbabwe School Examinations Council is this year expected to introduce examinations in minority languages, a move that is in tandem with the provisions of the new curriculum that the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education is spearheading.These subjects are Tonga, which is to be introduced at Advanced Level, while Nambia, Venda and Chewa will be introduced at Grade Seven level. Primary and Secondary Education Minister, Dr Lazarus Dokora revealed this during a breakfast meeting organised by Zimpapers in conjunction with his ministry.

“We have three minority languages that are now going to be written,” said Dr Dokora. “At Advanced Level, ChiTonga will be written for the first time this year.

“The other languages have now gotten to Grade Seven, ChiChangani, Nambia, Venda, those are now at Grade Seven level. But we are progressively making quick progress to the next level which is O-Level”.

Dr Dokora defended the ministry’s position with regards to introducing the learning in indigenous languages at infant level, saying it helped children to grasp concepts easily and simultaneously promoting their identity.

He said there was no need for Zimbabweans to worry about implementation of the new curriculum.

“The infant school at four years, you do not expect these children to operate in the foreign language, they must operate in the indigenous language,” said Dr Dokora.

“It has been shown by psychologists that if you teach the child in the mother tongue and it masters that mother language, you can teach it any other language and you will be at home with that child.

“Out of nine primary school teachers, only three are implementing the new curriculum. The infant school teacher in ECD A, in Grade One and the junior school Grade Three teacher are the ones implementing the new curriculum and the rest are not. At secondary level, Forms One, Three and Five are implementing.”

Stakeholders who attended the breakfast meeting raised concern with the duration of the consultations before implementation of the new curriculum.

However, Dr Dokora said the ministry had done adequate consultations with stakeholders.

Zimbabwe Teachers’ Union (ZIMTA) chief executive, Mr Sifiso Ndlovu echoed the ministers’ sentiments, saying as a union, they were aware of the process and people were given an opportunity to participate in the curriculum review process.

“I think it is an error to suggest that there was no consultation,” said Mr Ndlovu. “This process has been on the cards for 17 years and every Zimbabwean had an opportunity to be consulted in the first attempt to review the curriculum.

“We were part of the processes and schools were the centre of consultations and educators at those schools encouraged parents to come in.” Zimbabwe Democrats Teachers’ Union (ZDTU) leader Mr George Mushipe said they were never part of the consultations.

“If all stakeholders in education were consulted, there would not have been this criticism from across the country,” he said. “I do not remember being consulted on the matter at hand.”

Dr Dokora said the curriculum review exercise was conducted with only $2,3 million instead of the budget of $18 million.

He said Treasury had since released $13 million for the review process, while the Education Development Partners chipped in with $8,9 million and the Global Partnership for Education provided $4,5 million.

The new curriculum is in its second implementation stage which is expected to run through until the third implementation stage.

Foreign investors interested in Zim steel industry: Bimha

INDUSTRY and Commerce minister Mike Bimha yesterday told Parliament that five companies from China, India and within Africa had expressed an interest in investing in Zimbabwe’s steel manufacturing industry.

Source: Foreign investors interested in Zim steel industry: Bimha – NewsDay Zimbabwe February 17, 2017

BY VENERANDA LANGA

Addressing members of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Industry and Commerce, where he had been called to speak on the resuscitation of Ziscosteel, Bimha said Indian firm, Essar Africa Holdings was no longer interested in the comatose steel manufacturer.

“We did everything and tried to engage Essar, but they remained quiet, and the prices of steel and iron also went down and they then said the project will no longer be viable,” he said.

“As a result, we then decided we call it quits with Essar and look for other investors, and we sent a team to do due diligence on five companies from China, India and within Africa that are interested in investing in steel business in Zimbabwe.”

MPs then expressed worry over vandalisation of equipment at Ziscosteel and its subsidiary, Lancashire Steel.

Committee chairperson, Edmond Mhere said during their visit to the companies in Kwekwe and Redcliff, they discovered there were some people involved in illicit sale of scrap metal inside the firms’ premises.

“During our visit to Lancashire Steel, we found that 23,18 tonnes of scrap metal were sold for only $1 980 and it means there is a problem because that is as good as selling maize,” he said.

“When we asked the manager in charge, he denied that there was illicit selling of steel, but the committee suspected that there was vandalism of equipment, which ended up being sold as scrap.”

Bimha said the possibility of plunder and vandalism of equipment was high, given that workers at the two companies have gone unpaid for several months and were no longer committed to securing the assets.

Highfield East legislator, Eric Murai (MDC-T) said when the committee toured Ziscosteel, they found worn out equipment with rust, which he described as “rotten”.

The government has engaged a private property evaluator, Dawn Properties, to compile a comprehensive report on the state of assets at Lancashire Steel plant.

Bimha said they were also considering resuscitating Lancashire Steel and Zimchem because their equipment does not need as much capital, as that needed to resuscitate Ziscosteel.

He said Zimchem will be useful for the supply of road construction materials for the Beitbridge-Harare-Chirundu Highway.

‘Arrested vendors assaulted by police’

TWO vendors, who last Friday allegedly stoned municipal police officers, as they resisted eviction from their illegal selling points in Eastlea, yesterday claimed they were severely battered while in police custody.

Source: ‘Arrested vendors assaulted by police’ – NewsDay Zimbabwe February 17, 2017

BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE

Fungai Muzira and Godwin Mbizo were clad in their bloodstained clothes when they briefly appeared before magistrate Rumbidzai Mugwagwa, facing a public violence charge.

Through their lawyer, Liberty Gono, they filed a formal complaint against the police, where they also claimed to have sustained various bodily injuries during interrogation at Harare Central Police Station.

Mugwagwa ordered the State to investigate the abuse allegations levelled against the police and said he would rule on the duo’s bail application today.

The vendors are believed to be part of scores of street traders, who allegedly assaulted and injured at least six municipal and two members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police during a routine council blitz on Friday.

It is alleged Mbizo, Muzira and their alleged accomplices, who are still at large, ambushed and pelted the law enforcement agents with stones and logs, in the process smashing the windscreen of a municipal police vehicle.

Police gave chase and arrested the duo, as their alleged accomplices fled from the scene.

Sebastian Mutizirwa represented the State.

Zim paying heavy cost of bad policies

There was bemusement, shock and derision when Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor, John Mangudya, revealed that Zimbabweans were paying $200 million annually to South Africa’s Multichoice for DStv, but that is the price you pay for bad policies.

Source: Zim paying heavy cost of bad policies – NewsDay Zimbabwe February 17, 2017

Comment: NewsDay Editor

Zimbabweans are willing to spend anything just not to watch Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC), because the programming, the partisan nature of the news and the bland content is enough to drive anyone away.

Zimbabwe is paying the price because the government refused to reform ZBC and its content and opted to keep the broadcaster poorly resourced and operating as a party organ rather than for public good.

If the government had foresight, they would have long reformed ZBC and the media environment and allowed private players to come in and this would have seen most of the $200 million that Mangudya mentioned being kept within the country’s borders.

But the government is obstinate and wants to keep the media, particularly broadcast media, under a tight leash and Zimbabweans are responding by moving to where they think they will get value for money.

The same is true for many sectors of the economy.

Had the government carried out an orderly land reform exercise, then there was not going to be any need for the country to import maize — at a massive cost to Treasury — during lean years.

Now the government boasts that it has taken the land, yet its people are starving, something that could have been avoided if the country had chosen to be orderly and not taken a vindictive approach to land reform.

It will be interesting if Mangudya could tell the country how much Zimbabweans are spending on South African Airways and other foreign airlines, as this is also symptomatic of the asphyxiated Air Zimbabwe, which is failing to carry out its mandate, but the government holds on to it at much cost to the fiscus.

Now Zimbabweans are forced to buy ex-Japanese cars because the government managed to run down companies like Willowvale Mazda Motor Industries through corruption, nepotism and impunity.

The very fact that we are using the US dollar instead of our own currency is another example of bad policies and poor decision-making.

Instead of lamenting how much is being spent on DStv, Mangudya should address the real problem; and that is a lack of leadership and direction.

The money spent on DStv and other foreign products is a microcosm of government failure rather than ordinary citizens’ love for trinkets.

Mangudya should stop trying to treat the symptoms and blaming the victims of government failures, but should confront the real problem — a clueless and out-of-depth government.

The sights and sounds of tsvangirai’s tour

It was a cloudy afternoon in Bikita when a teacher stood up to make his contribution.

Source: The sights and sounds of tsvangirai’s tour – NewsDay Zimbabwe February 17, 2017

Opinion: Luke Tamborinyoka

Clad in an orange T-shirt, a brown pair of trousers, worn-out shoes and visibly on the verge of tears, he made an impassioned plea, which he said was the whimper of all civil servants.

The in-coming government in 2018 must look after its civil servants, particularly teachers, who have lost all the respect in the communities they serve.

The Zanu PF government was playing hide-and-seek on the issue of the bonus, while no one in the civil service was certain about their pay dates, which changed every month.

The teacher bowed his head and braced for the ultimate message pitch: “[Morgan] Tsvangirai, you have a history of delivery and, we, as teachers, are certain that there can only be better times with you in charge, come 2018,” he paused for effect.

“We are now a wretched lot and the clothes you see me wearing are second-hand clothes.”

There was hushed silence, as the words sunk into this mixed audience of traditional leaders, pastors and ordinary villagers.

This was last week during the second-leg of Tsvangirai’s listening tour across the country to get the people’s views on the current crisis and the nature of the new society Zimbabweans want created post-Mugabe in 2018.

It was an enriching experience, as the people’s leader engaged in intimate conversations for 11 days with Zimbabweans from Gokwe to Chipinge and Nyanga. It was a tour that took him to Kadoma, Kwekwe, Zvishavane and Mberengwa.

He met and spoke to elders, village heads, chiefs and pastors in Shurugwi, Vungu and Chiwundura.

He spent hours with ordinary people and opinion leaders in Chipinge, Chimanimani, Mutasa and Nyanga.

The magnitude of the crisis is huge and it only takes leaders who care; leaders who listen; leaders, who engage ordinary people to really appreciate the gravity of the challenges we face.

Tsvangirai had insisted that for his three days in every province, he would spend two days with community leaders outside the party.

He would hear and engage with these Zimbabweans under a tree and in village huts in frank meetings, undiluted by the mediocrity of party regalia and political slogans.

The message was the same in all the communities. The sad story afflicting our rural communities ranges from unbridled intimidation to the abuse of traditional leaders by Zanu PF.

The village heads themselves bemoaned that they were used in the selective distribution of food aid, as well as the primitive assignment to frog-march villagers to vote for Zanu PF, all for a monthly allowance of $25 that is always in arrears.

The ghost of fear and intimidation continues to pervade our rural areas, while minority tribes feel they are not part of the country.

From the Venda and the Kalanga in Matabeleland South to the Tonga and the Nambya in Matabeleland North, Tsvangirai heard a familiar script of exclusion and marginalisation.

From the Ndebele in Matabeleland to the Shangaan people of Chiredzi, they all have sad stories of marginalisation to tell.

A Shangaan chief told Tsvangirai that the registry officers, mostly Shona-speaking, who manned the Chiredzi office, had bastardised their ethnic names, as they failed to spell them correctly on the birth certificates.

In some instances, he said, if you told them the child’s name was Shaliti, they would retort brusquely: “What do you mean Shaliti? I am writing the name Shylet on this birth certificate.”

Shaliti is a common Shangaan name, but the arrogant government officials often choose to sculpt their own preferred names and impose them to their conservative community, the chief said.

It was clear that we have become a nation of grievances.

Civil servants, pastors, traditional leaders and ordinary villagers, all have legitimate grievances against President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu PF regime.

They were all agreed, however, that 2018 presented them with the ultimate solution to resolve their grievances by voting in a new government.

That opportunity, as Tsvangirai told the provincial assembly in Manicaland, was like a single, last bullet at our disposal.

We have to use it to free ourselves and build a new Zimbabwe that is inclusive and progressive, a nation characterised by tolerance and economic growth.

Zimbabweans continue to doubt the independence of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission and remain sceptical of the biometric voting system and whether it will be able to eliminate Zanu PF’s electoral mischief.

That scepticism has since been confirmed by a government that now wants to oust the United Nations, through the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), from all electoral practices as a precursor to tampering with the people’s will.

On the atrocities that the people have faced, from Gukurahundi to Murambatsvina and the 2008 election violence, the people want closure and suggested solutions that ranged from community reparations to the implementation of devolution.

The people are saying never again, should a government be allowed to systematically decimate people with impunity and reckless abandon.

They want permanent closure to the festering wounds spawned by a violent government against its own people.

On alliances, the people largely support the principle of working together of opposition political parties, only with the condition that Tsvangirai must thoroughly exercise due diligence in determining who the party will work with.

There were several Zanu PF surrogate parties around, so the people reasoned, and they want the political parties thoroughly vetted.

Tsvangirai took time to explain the strategic importance of alliances, adding that alliance-building went beyond political parties to include other non-political sectors and institutions.

I rest my case on this one because this is a strategic area that is allergic to megaphone communication.

At the end of February and in early March, the people’s leader will complete the remaining provinces of Mashonaland East, Central and West to consult and hear the people’s views on the many issues afflicting our nation.

But last week’s tour that took him to the Midlands, Masvingo and Manicaland provinces had its own light moments.

A Chimanimani man, in the typical Samanyika affinity for the Queen’s language, said while Zanu PF was selectively giving people maize, the MDC could at least chip in and give everyone “nyama (meat and) nebeef”.

He left us all in stitches.

A village head from Chilonga in Chiredzi, who was among the 39 traditional leaders, who turned up for a meeting with Tsvangirai in Zaka said people were starving in Chikombedzi and Zanu PF was selectively giving whole families a mere cup of rice.

He told the bemused audience that the expectation was that they would vote for Zanu PF and Mugabe, a man, who had failed them.

Indeed, Mugabe’s age, while clinging on to power has become a subject of national scorn and derision.

Luke Tamborinyoka is the presidential spokesperson and director of communications in the Movement for Democratic Change led by Morgan Tsvangirai. You can interact with him on Facebook and twitter.

 

Ex-ZBC boss review application deferred

Source: Ex-ZBC boss review application deferred | The Herald February 17, 2017

Chief Court Reporter
The High Court has postponed hearing the review application by former Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation chief executive officer Happison Muchechetere querying the refusal by a Harare magistrate to refer his case to the Constitutional Court.

Justice Lavender Makoni postponed the hearing to allow the magistrate, Mr Noel Mupeiwa, and the prosecution to file their heads of argument.

Mupeiwa and the National Prosecution Authority are cited as the respondents in the case.

Through his lawyer, Advocate Thabani Mpofu, Muchechetere applied for review of proceedings in which Mr Mupeiwa dismissed their second Constitutional Court application.

Muchechetere withdrew his first constitutional application challenging the criminal proceedings, but later notified the court that he intended to file another application.

Mr Mupeiwa dismissed the second application.

Muchechetere (64) is facing charges of contravening the procurement law and his trial was stalled since June 2014.

It is alleged that on January 18, 2013 Muchechetere – without going to tender – entered into a procurement deal with a Chinese company to purchase an audio OB van for $1 050 000.

On April 23, 2013 Muchechetere allegedly misrepresented to ZBC’s executive committee that $495 000 donated by BancABC was enough to purchase an audio van, a cargo van and a crew bus; and, the committee approved the purchase of the items using the said money.

The State alleged that Muchechetere did not disclose to the committee that he had already entered into a deal for only one item, the OB van.

The court heard that Muchechetere flew to China and signed an agreement clearing the way for an inspection of the van, which was never carried out by other members of the executive committee.

The OB van was delivered in August 2013 after BancABC released $100 000 to the Chinese company.

The alleged crime was discovered after Muchechetere’s suspension in November 2015 when it was established that the OB van had a market value of $350 000, contrary to the $1 050 000 he had stated.

No reprieve for Mutasa

Source: No reprieve for Mutasa | The Herald February 17, 2017

Daniel Nemukuyu Senior Court Reporter
Movable property attached from politician Didymus Mutasa will now be auctioned without any hindrance after the High Court yesterday threw out his urgent interdict application.

Mutasa, the former Zanu-PF secretary for administration, lost a Range Rover Sport and an assortment of household property after failing to settle a $26 900 debt with a city law firm, Nyakutombwa Mugabe Legal Counsel.

The Sheriff on Wednesday cleared Mr Mutasa’s Umwinsdale home and took the property to LM Auctioneers in Southerton.

Mutasa engaged the services of Nyakutombwa Mugabe Legal Counsel to fight his legal battles against Zanu-PF in 2015.

Mutasa, through his new lawyers Mwonzora and Associates, had filed an urgent chamber application for stay of execution, together with another court application for rescission of judgment at the High Court.

He argued that he was never served with the order compelling him to pay the debt and that the billing by the lawyers was unreasonable.

It was Mutasa’s argument that the bill in question was never taxed, neither was it calculated in terms of the Law Society General Tariff of 2011.

Justice Priscilla Chigumba dismissed the urgent chamber application yesterday with costs.

The matter had been overtaken by events.

Mutasa’s household property under attachment includes: three sets of leather sofas, dining table and eight chairs, two fridges, a coffee table and stools, two water tanks, microwave, carpets, television stands, Kipor generator, DStv decoder, DVD player and two flower pots.

Last year, the High Court ordered Mutasa to pay Nyakutombwa Mugabe Legal Counsel outstanding legal fees to the tune of $26 900.

Efforts to make him pay the debt hit a brick wall and the lawyers this month instructed the Sheriff to attach property.

Mutasa together with Rugare Gumbo and Temba Mliswa were in 2015 expelled from Zanu-PF for allegedly trying to topple President Mugabe.

The trio engaged the services of Nyakutombwa Mugabe Legal Counsel to fight the expulsion.

They also sought to nullify amendments made to the revolutionary party’s constitution at the 2014 people’s congress.

‘Our hands are clean’ . . . ZACC hits back at Prof Moyo

Source: ‘Our hands are clean’ . . . ZACC hits back at Prof Moyo | The Herald February 17, 2017

Freeman Razemba Senior Reporter
The Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) has dismissed allegations by Higher and Tertiary Education Minister Professor Jonathan Moyo that it is using stolen documents to nail him in a corruption probe as a “frivolous and malicious attempt to defeat the course of justice”.

This comes after media reports that Prof Moyo wrote to Police Commissioner-General Dr Augustine Chihuri requesting him to investigate the anti-graft body for stealing documents which they later used to build a corruption case against him.

It was reported that in a letter to Dr Chihuri, the minister claimed he was given a directive by Cabinet to seek police intervention in the matter.

ZACC spokesperson Ms Phyllis Chikundura yesterday said the commission’s investigative mandate was executed and guided by the relevant provisions of the Constitution of Zimbabwe and Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act (Chapter 9:07).

“Proof of commission of any offence of corruption by any accused person is based on supporting documentary evidence legally and procedurally obtained,” she said.

“All documents that ZACC uses in its investigations will be and are clean. The warrants of search and seizure are a product of court orders obtained from a magistrate upon application to his/her satisfaction.”

Ms Chikundura said at no time did ZACC use any illegally and unlawfully obtained documentary evidence in any investigation.

“ZACC is not aware of any documents obtained through other means except the one indicated above,” she said.

For avoidance of doubt, it will be clearly illogical and unreasonable to purport that ZACC could have engaged in crime to obtain documentary evidence when we were legally armed with court orders warranting us to be given such documents.

“Any allegation raised against ZACC for purportedly using illegally obtained evidence is frivolous and malicious and should be treated as a blatant lie with the contempt it deserves.

“The opening of one’s mouth faster than the allegations are coming creates a suspicion of attempting to defeat the course of justice.”

Prof Moyo, his deputy Dr Godfrey Gandawa and Zimdef finance director Mr Nicholas Mapute, stand accused of abusing nearly $500 000 belonging to the Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund (Zimdef).

They were arrested by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission.

Legislators were stunned on Monday after Prof Moyo accused ZACC of being behind a break-in at his offices in August last year.

Prof Moyo accused ZACC of leaking the information to the media and several documents he said the anti-graft body “unlawfully got” from his offices at the New Government Complex.

Region needs $4m to fight locusts

Source: Region needs $4m to fight locusts | The Herald February 17, 2017

Sifelani Tsiko
Countries in east, central and southern Africa need over $4 million to battle a locust plague that is threatening the food security of the majority of people who depend on agriculture for survival, a senior official of the International Red Locust Control Organisation for Central and Southern Africa (IRLCO – CSA) says.

Mr Moses Okhoba, director of the locust prevention agency, told Zimpapers Syndication on the sidelines of a UN Food and Agriculture Organisation emergency technical meeting held this week to tackle an outbreak of crop-eating insects sweeping across several African countries, that underfunding of locust management programmes was threatening the region’s major staple crop – maize.

“We need $4 million to tackle the problem,” he said. “Frontlines states (the worst affected) are carrying the major burden and protecting the entire region. We need more resources to get a spray aircraft and implement locust control programmes.”

Apart from the fall army worm and the African army worm, six IRLCO – CSA member States – Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe, also face locust outbreaks, dampening prospects of a good harvest, particularly, for countries in southern Africa emerging from one of the worst drought in years.

“In 2008, most countries in the region were hit hard by a plague of locust – from Buzi in Mozambique to Harare and down south in Lesotho,” said Mr Okhoba. “These insects know no boundaries and we need to work together to curb further outbreaks.”

The IRLCO – CSA also warns that the region faces a potential locust outbreak following observed increases in population of the pets in its traditional breeding areas in Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Mozambique and Zimbabwe.

The main locust types include the brown locust, African migratory locust, Malagasy migratory locust and the red locust.

“Red locust have the potential to spread exclusively across the region,” said Mr Okhoba. “The African migratory locust is still active and poses a threat to irrigated crops and countries should be on the lookout for this pest.”

Mr Okhoba said Madagascar was the hardest hit and had spent more than $38 million to control the spread of the red locust.

“We have to control them before they fledge and fly as swarms,” he said. “We need resources and equipment to control locusts which are threatening our region’s fragile food security situation.

“It’s particularly frightening now, when we are just emerging from the worst El Nino-induced drought.”

Swarms consisting of 40 million insects, with each consuming its weight of two grams and can consume up to 80 million tonnes of plants a day, according to IRLCO – CSA.

If the swarms feed exclusively on crops, they could deprive 123 077 people of food in one day, the locust agency says.

Pest management has pushed up the cost of production in most affected countries.

Underfunding and poor contribution from IRLCO – CSA member states has affected locust management programmes.

“We need to mobilise some resources on our own before donors come,” Mr Okhoba said. “We live in a region where 80 percent of the population lives on agriculture, so there could be a huge humanitarian crisis if we do not move quickly to fight the locusts.”

The impact of the crop-destroying insects has been severe in Zambia, Mozambique, Malawi and Tanzania.

In January 2017, outbreaks of both red locusts and African Migratory locusts were reported in the Kafue flood plains in southern Zambia.

IRLCO – CSA says the locusts damaged over 10 000ha, which included 1 600ha of maize. Low to medium density hoppers were also detected in 9 000ha grassland between maize fields over the same period.

In February 2014, the African migratory locust invaded 20 000ha of crop land in the same area, causing untold hardships for people who depend heavily on rain-fed agriculture.

Mr Okhoba said his organisation needed $4 million to secure a helicopter, spray camps and motorised control units to fight the plague of locust.

Outbreaks were also reported in the Ikuu-Katavi plains, North and Southern Rukwa and Malagasi Basin in Tanzania, Lake Chilwa/Lake Chiuta plains shared by Malawi and Mozambique, Buzi-Gorongosa plains, Dimba plains in Mozambique.

“We don’t have the equipment to cover all these areas,” Mr Okhoba said. “We need boats to navigate swampy areas like they have in the United States. We need to gain access to areas that cannot be reached easily.

“We need the equipment and resources. Many of our countries hardly have all the necessary equipment. We have less than six vehicle mounted sprayers in the whole region and this is a huge challenge.

“If we have a serious outbreak, how much equipment do we have to deal with this problem?”

IRLCO – CSA official said the region needs a dedicated aircraft to fight the plague of locust.

“An aircraft cost about $1 million and yet we have invested over $6 billion on agriculture as a region,” he said. “We need to act now. We have to prevent and not react. Livelihoods are being lost because of lack of disaster preparedness.

“We just hope that we will get the necessary support to enable us to undertake control and prevention measures to curb the further spread of locusts.”

Plant disease experts say a locust infestation can produce a new generation almost every two months, with each insect consuming roughly its own weight – about 2 grams – in vegetation daily.

When swarming, they can cover up to 100km a day.

The insects undergo behavioural, ecological and physiological transformation after their population density passes a tipping point: their body chemistry changes and individual locusts begin to concentrate and act as a synchronised group moving out en masse to devour available food sources, experts further said.

The frontline states are already facing high rates of hunger and malnutrition in the poorest regions after a severe drought swept across the entire southern African region.

Experts warn that if the plague of locust affecting some parts of the region is unchecked, the situation could significantly worsen as a result. More than 60 percent of the region’s maize crop was at risk and the swarms could also consume most green vegetation that may serve as pasture for livestock, according to reports from the FAO organised meeting.

Okhoba said emergency funds were needed to support full-scale spraying campaigns particularly now when crops where reaching maturity stage.

More resources, he said, were required for the long-term combating of the locusts.

Funds would also help large – scale aerial operations and the spraying of thousands of hectares in case of a full blown locust outbreak.

“In Africa, most of the times there is a cruel twist, particularly when we are emerging from a severe drought,” said Mr Okhoba.

“With good rains this season, it is a promising season for our crops. But prospects of a good harvest after a very bad drought also often means a potential locust outbreak which could devastate the entire harvest and affect the livelihoods of thousands of our farmers.”

Locust plagues regularly occur across much of Africa and lack of resources has hampered efforts to calculate the exact size of plagues, to conduct accurate field surveys and population models in outbreak zones.

Controlling the swarms with insecticide has proven costly for most African governments apart from the impact of chemicals of fragile ecosystems, livelihoods and the associated rise in the cost of production.

“The current status of emerging transboundary pests is a cause for concern and they impacting negatively on our agricultural systems,” Ms Rose Njeru, a plant health expert.

“It has severe implications on food and nutritional security and livelihoods, production cost, food safety and public health, trade and market access, environment, biodiversity and ecosystems.”

Sina Luchen, a regional agronomist for FAO sub –regional office says prevention and response mechanism for transboundary pests and diseases have largely been hampered by a slow flow of information exchange between countries in the region, political, legal and other considerations.

In addition, he said, limitations on availability and access to appropriate pest diagnostic and identification services and facilities, the ‘silo’ phenomena and lack of financial resources have all compounded the situation.

“Pests do not use passports, we use passports and we need to network more,” he says. “If we don’t, we won’t go far.” — Zimpapers Syndication.

TIMB readies for 2017 tobacco marketing season

Zimbabwe’s tobacco marketing season will begin next month, the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (Timb) has said, a move expected to inject foreign currency into the economy.

Source: TIMB readies for 2017 tobacco marketing season – NewsDay Zimbabwe February 17, 2017

by business reporter

In a notice yesterday, TIMB said: “All stakeholders are advised that the 2017 auction tobacco marketing season starts on Wednesday March 15. Contract tobacco sales will start on Thursday March 16.”

TIMB said sales bookings would open on March 1 to 6.

There has been increased interests in the golden leaf due to huge returns. Tobacco farmers also benefit under the 5% export incentive facility created under the bond notes regime.

As at January 18, $26,6 million had been paid out as incentive to farmers, representing 90,8% of the total incentive.

The golden leaf is one of the country’s biggest foreign currency earners, raking nearly $1 billion in 2016.

Forex shortage pushes up premium charges

The Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (ZimStat) says the shortage of foreign currency has led to high premiums being charged to access the money, which is being passed onto the consumers, pushing inflation upwards.

Source: Forex shortage pushes up premium charges – NewsDay Zimbabwe February 17, 2017

BY TATIRA ZWINOIRA

In a report released on Wednesday, ZimStat said: “The shortage of foreign currency has led to high premiums being charged to access foreign currency. These premiums are being passed on to the consumer resulting in inflation, which we are currently experiencing. The trend is expected to continue during the year.”

It said the month-on-month inflation between December 2016 and January 2017 grew by 0,18 percentage points.

“The major factor behind the upwards trend in inflation is the shortage of foreign currency to import critical raw materials, ” ZimStat said.

ZimStat reported that delays in foreign currency payments to import critical raw materials were now driving inflation upwards, as year on year inflation increased by 0,28 percentage to -0,65% in January from -0,93% in December 206.

Analysts say putting a premium on foreign currency could result in price increases and move the economy from a deflationary mode to an inflationary one.

The 2017 Economic Outlook report by the ministry of Macro-Economic Planning and Investment Promotion stated that the shortage in foreign currency was hampering funds for critical inputs in most sectors of the economy.

Locally, premiums are also on the rise as individuals and manufacturers are seeking to repatriate foreign currency to their suppliers or lenders at a faster rate.

Govt to help stimulate FDI to curb declining foreign currency

GOVERNMENT is looking to Special Economic Zones to help stimulate foreign direct investment into the country, as it seeks to replenish the declining foreign currency in the economy.

Source: Govt to help stimulate FDI to curb declining foreign currency – NewsDay Zimbabwe February 17, 2017

BY TATIRA ZWINOIRA

The Special Economic Zones Act was signed into law on October 30, 2016 by President Robert Mugabe and enacted sometime in December of the same year.

Speaking at the launch of the 2017 Economic Outlook, Macro-Economic Planning and Investment Promotion permanent secretary Desire Sibanda said the Act would speed up foreign direct investment into the country.

“The introduction of the Special Economic Zones Act is expected to increase exports in the manufacturing sector. We are working towards getting the Special Economic Zones Act to attract investment and the reduction of the wage bill is critical to that effect. The private sector is being called upon to help government enact the Special Economic Zone Act,” he said.

“African economies that have registered economic growth rates above 5% have special economic zones (SEZ). We do not need to think that it is going to take time to implement the Act (Special Economic Zones Act). What is needed is for us to focus on implementing the Act. We will be advertising the Act to local and foreign press to let them know that we are offering internationally competitive incentives.”

The Special Economic Zones Act supports the creation of SEZs. The goal of the Act is to attract investors by allowing them to operate in Zimbabwe under incentives.

Foreign investors operating under these SEZs will receive exemptions and incentives in certain aspects, which include a tax reduction for companies exporting at least 50% of their wares.

The plan by the ministry of macro-economic planning is to have the Act reduce unemployment, improve government revenue collection and ultimately contribute to the gross domestic product through its implementation.

According to the 2017 Economic Outlook, the critical growth sectors have been heavily influenced by current foreign currency shortages. Other factors include the high cost of production, unsustainable wage bill, trade deficit and a debt stock which is 80% of the gross domestic product

Sibanda said a Chinese delegation is expected into the country to discuss more on SEZs.

He said they would be embarking on a serious advertising campaign to both local and foreign media to alert the foreign investors of the Special Economic Zones Act in order to lure them to the country

Banking sector profitability jumps to $181,1m

Banking sector profitability was up by nearly half to $181,06 million in the year ended December 31 on lower loan provisions and realignment of cost structures, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has said.

Source: Banking sector profitability jumps to $181,1m – NewsDay Zimbabwe February 17, 2017

BY NDAMU SANDU

In 2015, aggregate net profit was $127,47m.

In his monetary policy statement, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor, John Mangudya said the increase in net profit translated to improved average return on assets and return on equity, which rose to 2,26% and 12,64% from 2,07% and 11,03% respectively.

“All operating banking institutions recorded profits during the period ended December 31, 2016,” he said.

“The increase in profitability was largely driven by lower loan loss provisions in line with improving asset quality, lower interest expenses, as well as continued realignment of cost structures at most institutions.”

Interest income was the major driver constituting 58,40% of total income of $1,05 billion for the period ended December 31, 2016.

Mangudya said salaries and employment benefits dominated total costs for banking institutions, as they accounted for 42,53% of total banking sector costs.

“Banking institutions continue to implement various measures to enhance their earnings capacity through embracing technology in banking, which is more cost efficient than traditional approaches to banking, as well as adoption of agency banking models, while instituting cost containment measures,” he said

Total banking sector deposits increased by 6,10% to $6,51bn as at December 31 from $6,14bn as at September 30.

Banking sector deposits were, however, dominated by demand and time deposits, which accounted for 54,63% and 26,85% of total deposits, respectively, as at December 31.

The average prudential liquidity ratio for the banking sector was 61,91% as at December 31, above the stipulated minimum regulatory requirement of 30%.

All operating banks were compliant with the prudential liquidity ratio as at December 31.

Notwithstanding the high average prudential liquidity ratios recorded across the sector, the banking industry continued to experience underlying United States dollar cash shortages on the back of high demand for cash.

However, the central bank has been promoting the use of plastic money, resulting in its significant use and decline in the demand for physical cash.

RBZ will continue with efforts to implement measures aimed at addressing the liquidity challenges that have been experienced by the banking sector during 2016.

Zanu PF factions jittery over Grace rallies

FEAR and trepidation has gripped warring Zanu PF factions following First Lady Grace Mugabe’s decision to resume controversial nationwide rallies amid concerns she could worsen an already fragile situation.

Source: Zanu PF factions jittery over Grace rallies – NewsDay Zimbabwe February 17, 2017

BY RICHARD CHIDZA

In 2014, a similar series of gatherings led to the expulsion of then Vice-President Joice Mujuru together with other senior leaders on allegations of plotting to topple President Robert Mugabe.

Mugabe has haplessly watched as a vicious internal power struggles for his throne involving his wife and Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa unfold. Grace is the current leader of the powerful Zanu PF women’s league and, reportedly, has the endorsement of a group known as G40, while Mnangagwa boasts of support from war veterans and sections of the country’s military.

After reportedly being forced to abandon the rallies last year in the aftermath of her attacks on the security establishment including startling claims that sections of the army wanted Mugabe’s second son dead, Grace today resumes her rallies in Manicaland’s Buhera district.

Zanu PF political commissar Saviour Kasukuwere confirmed the rally was on.

“Yes, she will be in Manicaland and we will be announcing the other venues in due time,” Kasukuwere, reportedly a leading figure in the G40 faction, said.

In last year’s bout of rallies, Grace seemed to be ratcheting up pressure against Mnangagwa before they were abruptly cut off. Women’s league treasurer and Grace’s self-anointed spokesperson, Sarah Mahoka, had promised details of the impending gatherings, but was later unreachable.

“Yes, but that is a big issue, I will explain later,” Mahoka said.

Insiders said there was growing uneasiness over Grace’s latest intentions.

“People are on tenterhooks because nobody knows if she will really tone down on her rhetoric or which side will bear the brunt of her sharp tongue. You will understand because she is naturally abrasive.

“Those in Mnangagwa’s camp are scared that she will go after him, the neutrals fear these rallies will further destabilise the party ahead of elections next year, which is the last thing Zanu PF wants. On the other hand, Grace’s relations with senior leaders in the G40 faction, including Mahoka and Kasukuwere, are at best tense,” NewsDay heard. “The rallies could be a double-edged sword for the party and it’s touch and go.”

Political analyst, Alexander Rusero said Grace was inspired by a burning wish to “kill two birds with one stone”.

“The First Lady is Mugabe’s public face at the moment and given the fact that he has been chosen to represent the party as the presidential candidate next year, the campaign for that begins now. The women’s league is also a vital component in the Zanu PF machinery and indeed the intriguing succession issue. Grace might have personal ambitions.

The league represents a great foundation to launch any bid at the top job,” Rusero said. “So the rallies could be aimed at both propping up Mugabe and laying proper groundwork for her for an assault at the presidency if push comes to shove.”

War vets want to meet Mujuru

THE Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association (ZNLWVA) is planning to meet Zimbabwe People First (ZimPF) leader, Joice Mujuru, as part of efforts to unite former freedom fighters.

Source: War vets want to meet Mujuru – NewsDay Zimbabwe February 17, 2017

BY RICHARD CHIDZA

ZNLWVA spokesperson, Douglas Mahiya, along with secretary-general, Victor Matemadanda, on Wednesday surprisingly appeared at a meeting of the ZimPF faction led by Rugare Gumbo and Didymus Mutasa.

But Mahiya said they had also lined up a meeting with Mujuru, who is tussling with Gumbo and Mutasa for the control of ZimPF.

“She is a war veteran and, as we did with others, we are going to meet as part of efforts to bring together all those who fought in the war,” he said.

“We are seeking ways of finding how the revolution has been derailed and it has been an ongoing process. War veterans have been clear; we want to be referees in the political game and not players.”

Mahiya said the meeting with Mutasa and Gumbo was pre-planned.

“We have said it before that we have no appetite of joining a political formation. It must be made clear that we have not endorsed any of the warring groups within ZimPF, but will take our position as war veterans to urge them to stop washing dirty linen in public,” he said.

“Whatever their differences, it does not help the cause of suffering Zimbabweans, let alone the political cause of these comrades, to hurl insults at each other.”

Mujuru made the shock announcement that she had expelled Mutasa, Gumbo and other senior leaders of her opposition party last week on allegations they were working against a proposed coalition of democratic forces ahead of general elections next year. But the group also turned around and announced that Mujuru had been deposed as party leader.

Mugabe declares Harare road network a state of disaster

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe has declared Harare metropolitan province’s road network a state of disaster, Local Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere has announced

Source: Mugabe declares Harare road network a state of disaster – NewsDay Zimbabwe February 17, 2017

BY OBEY MANAYITI/PAIDAMOYO MUZULU

Harare’s roads have been badly affected by incessant rains with potholes now making some of them virtually impassable.

“Harare metropolitan province has suffered the brunt of the La Nina phenomena and has received rainfall amounts of 120% to 200% above normal. These excessive rains have decimated the road network throughout the province,” he told journalists in Harare yesterday.

“Given the magnitude of the extensive damage to the road network and the attendant risk to injury, loss of life together with the economic impact of an unusable road network, His Excellency, the President, has declared a state of disaster in regard to the road network in Harare metropolitan province in terms of subsection (1) of section 27 of the Civil Protection Act chapter 10.06.”

Kasukuwere said a response strategy and resource mobilisation programme was being crafted to mitigate the disaster.

Meanwhile, the Meteorological Services Department has warned that Cyclone Dineo, which started off the Mozambican Channel, will hit the southern provinces of Zimbabwe starting last night for a period of 24 hours threatening lives of thousands of villagers along its path into Botswana.

The department’s head of forecasting, Tichaona Zinyemba, said they were working in partnership with the Civil Protection Unit (CPU) warning people in the cyclone’s path to evacuate to higher ground.

“The cyclone will bring lots of rains and pretty strong winds at speeds of up to 68km/hr and this would affect mainly areas in the south-eastern districts such as Chiredzi, Mwenezi, Zvishavane, Chipinge and Beitbridge,” he said.

Zinyemba pointed out that even if the rains might not be very heavy, they would cause damage because of the saturation of the ground.

The cyclone has since been downgraded to a tropical storm by other regional meteorological services.

The under-resourced CPU has said it is working with development partners to offer temporary shelter and food to the victims of the cyclone.

Principal administrative officer in the CPU, Lameck Betera said there were on the ground monitoring the situation and encouraging people to evacuate.

“We have issued warnings for people to evacuate from the areas that will be directly affected. The department is working with co-operating partners like World Vision to assist would-be victims,” he said.

Mugabe roasts Kasukuwere

TEMPERS reportedly flared at a Zanu PF politburo meeting on Wednesday when President Robert Mugabe clashed with party commissar, Saviour Kasukuwere, after the latter ripped into two Masvingo bigwigs, Josaya Hungwe and Shuvai Mahofa, accusing them of fuelling chaos in the province.

Source: Mugabe roasts Kasukuwere – NewsDay Zimbabwe February 17, 2017

By Xolisani Ncube/Everson Mushava/Obey Manayiti

Politburo sources yesterday told NewsDay that Kasukuwere specifically accused Hungwe and Mahofa of orchestrating the leadership crisis that has seen acting provincial chairperson, Amasa Nenjana, being forced out to pave way for Ezra Chadzamira.

Irked by the blunt accusations targeted at his lieutenants, Mugabe reportedly sprang to Hungwe and Mahofa’s defence, chastising Kasukuwere and apportioning blame on the entire party leadership.

“After Kasukuwere had told Hungwe that he was the main problem in the province and that he was destroying the party, the President reprimanded him, saying the party, as a whole, should take responsibility for the mess,” a politburo source, who declined to be named, said.

“But the commissar did not stop lashing out at Hungwe, resulting in the President asking him if he was now arguing with him.”

The source said Kasukuwere toned down his words on realising that Mugabe was getting angry and was “fiercely and persistently defending Hungwe, apportioning blame to the entire provincial leadership and the party in general”.

After a tense debate, which, according to sources, lasted for over 45 minutes, the politburo resolved to hold fresh elections in the province.

“Kasukuwere, with the support of [Jonathan] Moyo, [Kudzanayi] Chipanga and others, said it would be wrong for Chadzamira to be the chairperson, since the politburo meeting of December 11, 2016 had made a resolution relieving him of his duties,” a senior politburo member said.

After a decision to hold fresh provincial elections was endorsed, politburo members reportedly faced a fresh hurdle over selection of a top party official to lead the process, with some proposing Moyo, but Mugabe objected.

“It was agreed that Joram Gumbo should be tasked with overseeing the affairs of the province until such a time when elections are held,” the source continued.

“The commissariat department was tasked to provide support to Gumbo and select a team from central committee members to oversee the election process.”

Contacted for comment yesterday, Kasukuwere confirmed Gumbo’s appointment as caretaker leader for Masvingo province.

“The politburo has dissolved the entire structure of Masvingo province and we are asking Joram Gumbo, in the interim, to lead the province and this also culminates in elections, which must be held very soon,” Kasukuwere said.

“We hope that this will bring order in the province. We will also ensure that elections, which will be conducted in Masvingo, are free and fair and allow people to choose their representatives without being pushed around, threatened or intimidated.

“We are happy that this decision will finally settle the challenge that was setting our party apart in Masvingo. We lost a third of our key positions in the province from 2014 to date, hence, we took that decision that we can restore order.”

Gumbo recently played a similar role in his Midlands province following factional problems that rocked the province after the sacking of Kizito Chivamba.

Kasukuwere said there was nothing amiss in appointing someone from a different province to act in a caretaker capacity in another region.

He said the party once appointed Edna Madzongwe from Mashonaland West province to lead Mashonaland East after the former provincial chairperson, Ray Kaukonde, was sacked.

“We want to get someone from outside the province who will not be viewed as having an interest in the outcome to do that work,” Kasukuwere said.

“Because these are new elections, Chadzamira is eligible to stand. Anyone can stand as well as those who have completed their sentences, who had been suspended by the party before are also eligible.

“In other words, we have lifted the ban on the ban on aspiring candidates in Masvingo. They are all eligible to stand.”

LATEST: Zim faces locust invasion

Source: LATEST: Zim faces locust invasion | The Herald February 16, 2017

Runyararo Muzavazi Herald Reporter
Zimbabwe faces a new threat from an invasion of red locusts that attack maize and wheat amid fears the insects could greatly reduce this year’s yields.

The country is expecting a bumper harvest following heavy rains after an El-Niño induced drought last season.

Red locusts are aggressive, large and destructive pests that multiply rapidly and form swarms which invade farmlands feeding on vegetation especially leaves.

Presenting a paper at a Southern and Eastern African Regional Technical Conference on emerging high impact trans-boundary crop pests and animal diseases, International Red Locust Control Organisation for Central and Southern Africa director Mr Moses Okhoba said due to favourable ecological conditions red locusts multiply rapidly to form huge swarms which devour crops.

Govt secures $17m for biometric voter registration kits

Source: Govt secures $17m for biometric voter registration kits – DailyNews Live

Farayi Machamire      16 February 2017

HARARE – Government has now secured $17 million to fund the acquisition of
biometric voter registration (BVR) kits for the 2018 elections, the
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) said yesterday.

Government had pledged $17 million while other development partners
through the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) pledged the
balance.

The biometric polling station-based voter registration process is supposed
to be financed jointly by the government of Zimbabwe and the UNDP.

“I also want to make an announcement at this stage now that the government
of Zimbabwe has come on board and has decided that it will fund the
acquisition of the BVR kits instead of letting the UNDP do it on its own,”
Zec chairperson Rita Makarau told a press briefing yesterday.

“It will fund whatever award is given to the bidder; they will fund that
acquisition of BVR kits.”

Makarau could not be drawn to say why government had taken so long to come
on board.

“I can’t speak on behalf of government, you would have to ask them but we
are grateful they have come on board as this is a national process and we
would have loved that they pay for everything right from the word go,” she
said.

This comes after Zec and UNDP flighted a tender in December inviting
potential local and international companies to supply the BVR kits. The
tender closed on January 17.

Makarau also revealed that five companies had been shortlisted to supply
the kits.

She said out of the 12 companies which were assessed, seven of the bids
were non-compliant.

“Out of those five bids, three will be selected to then come into the
country with their equipment on a selected date and to demonstrate on the
ground what their equipment can do,” she said.

“After the site validation tests, we can award the tender to one supplier
who will supply us with the BVR kits.

“The tendering process – because we were being financed by the UNDP – was
done on the UNDP e-Platform which was run from Copenhagen.

“The bids were opened and we all witnessed the opening of the bids here
through technology,” Makarau said.

The BVR process, which is expected to start next month, will be one of the
key electoral processes which will culminate in the creation of a fresh
voters’ roll and would capture biometrics such as a person’s unique
physical traits and fingerprints among other things.

Grand coalition close

Source: Grand coalition close – DailyNews Live

Fungi Kwaramba      16 February 2017

HARARE – The formation of a mooted opposition grand coalition is growing
into a big possibility with two key players – the MDC and the Zimbabwe
People First (ZPF) – both yesterday indicating that they were under
pressure to formalise the electoral alliance.

Both the MDC and the ZPF have been on nationwide tours trying to drum up
support for the proposed coalition which analysts see as the best prospect
of ending President Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF’s rule in the
much-anticipated 2018 elections.

The growing calls for the alliance come as former Vice President Joice
Mujuru is battling to heal the party from its recent damaging split which
is threatening to derail its participation in the suggested coalition.

Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai told the Daily News that there was
overwhelming support for the coalition.

“Traditional healers, pastors, civil servants and other community leaders
engaged in a highly interactive meeting with . . . Tsvangirai that lasted
three hours. The community leaders made invaluable strategic inputs on key
issues to do with the alliance of opposition parties, elections as well as
a new-governance culture after 2018, which they said must be inclusive.

“On alliances, the traditional leaders in Chipinge gave their thumbs-up
but urged president to use his due diligence to vet all political parties
before making a decision to work with any one of them,” said Tsvangirai’s
spokesperson, Luke Tamborinyoka.

Mujuru’s spokesperson Gift Nyandoro said there is massive support for the
formation of the grand coalition.

“There is overwhelming support for the expulsion of the group and also for
the president to form a grand coalition with other like-minded opposition
parties, and in the people’s views, there is a view that the president was
taking long to act,” Nyandoro told the Daily News.

“You know when we expelled the Mutasa group, we demonstrated that we want
to break with the past, some of them have track record of having done acts
which are inhumane…

“The expulsion of that group will not affect the formation of the
coalition. Instead, it will embolden confidence among the opposition
parties. Allegations that Mujuru is in the company of people dripping with
blood and chequered political history has now been proven otherwise.

“Without doubt, the malcontents who have been putting spanners that the
convention will not be held have been thrown out. The so-called elders
have been consistent that they don’t believe in any coalition, in their
view the Zimbabwe People First was their self project,” added Nyandoro.

Last Wednesday, the ZPF was plunged into turmoil when Mujuru expelled the
party’s founding fathers – Rugare Gumbo and Didymus Mutasa, together with
five other party heavyweights – on account of them being alleged Zanu PF
agents and working to topple her from her interim position.

But no sooner had she completed her briefing than the situation turned
into a complete farce, when Mutasa and Gumbo announced at their own press
conference that they had similarly expelled Mujuru from ZPF.

Zanu PF splits in Masvingo

Source: Zanu PF splits in Masvingo – DailyNews Live

Blessings Mashaya      16 February 2017

HARARE – The warring Zanu PF has now split into two bitterly-opposed
formations in Masvingo, with a faction aligned to Vice President Emmerson
Mnangagwa moving to establish parallel structures from cell level upwards.

Top party officials confirmed there were now two structures at most levels
belonging to the rival Mnangagwa and Generation 40 (G40) camps.

Speaking to the Daily News yesterday, deposed Zanu PF acting provincial
chairperson Amasi Nenjana – who belongs to the G40 faction – said party
bigwigs in the province were fomenting divisions.

“I heard they are having their inter-district meetings, we don’t know
about these meetings and as a province we are only waiting for the
politburo decision to our issue,” he said.

A source said: “Things are not looking good here, Ngwena faction is moving
around forming new structures.”

G40 kingpins in the province are accusing Mnangagwa’s allies of convening
inter-district meetings around the province without their knowledge.

The party’s Masvingo structure finds itself deep in factional fights
following the regional leadership’s decision to bring back suspended
former provincial leader Ezra Chadzamira to replace Nenjana, who had been
the acting chairperson.

Sources in the province said Team Lacoste (Mnangagwa faction) was stepping
up its counter-offensive strategy against the G40, who are rabidly opposed
to the Midlands godfather succeeding President Robert Mugabe.

Chadzamira confirmed to the Daily News that the party’s executive held
inter-district meetings last week.

“Everyone was aware of those meetings because the meetings were announced
at our PCC (Provincial Coordinating Committee),” Chadzamira said.

Masvingo has been embroiled in ugly factional battles which have seen
Mugabe visiting the province several times last year in a bid to heal the
rift.

Recently, the factional fights deepened, with Nenjana accusing party
bigwigs of looting leftovers from the party’s annual conference held in
the south-eastern city in December last year.

The conference leftovers were supposed to be given to villagers but senior
party officials seized all of them.

The December indaba formally called the “annual people’s conference” – is
typically held every year as the ruling party’s most important annual
event where it formulates major policies for the year ahead.

State seeks judge’s recusal in Tomana trial

Source: State seeks judge’s recusal in Tomana trial – DailyNews Live

Tendai Kamhungira      16 February 2017

HARARE – The Prosecutor-General’s office has asked High Court judge
Tawanda Chitapi to recuse himself from handling the trial of suspended
Prosecutor-General Johannes Tomana, who is facing criminal abuse of office
charges.

Jonathan Chingwinyiso, leading the team of four prosecutors who included
Malvern Musarurwa, Thompson Hove and Timothy Makoni, filed the
application, claiming the judge was once a board member of the National
Prosecution Authority (NPA), which was chaired by Tomana.

In the application for recusal, the NPA cited Tomana and the presiding
judge Chitapi as respondents.

“Do you want me to look for a lawyer? Who prepared this application?” the
judge queried the citation in circumstances where he is the one expected
to make a ruling on the application.

Chingwinyiso said there was a perception the judge would not make a fair
ruling in the case because he once interacted with Tomana during a time he
was the NPA board member.

However, Tomana’s lawyer Thabani Mpofu, who was instructed by Emmanuel
Mukweva, said the application was merely intended at putting unnecessary
pressure on the judge, describing the application as a “dog’s breakfast”.

He said the application was unreasonable, because when Chitapi was the NPA
board member, he had not been employed by Tomana, but was appointed by the
State.

The court said it will advise the parties when the ruling is ready.

“The court has listened to the submissions with respect to principally the
application for recusal…we need time to consider judgment, to assess the
submissions made. Accordingly, you will be advised when the ruling is
ready,” Chitapi said.

Tomana is facing six charges of criminal abuse of office, some dating back
to 2009.

‘Bumper harvest to stop aid politicisation’

Source: ‘Bumper harvest to stop aid politicisation’ – DailyNews Live

Bernard Chiketo      16 February 2017

MUTARE – MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai yesterday said projected good
harvests will undermine President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF’s capacity to
abuse poor rural voters by politicising food aid.

Speaking to journalists after meeting church leaders, civic leaders and
businesspeople here, the indefatigable opposition leader said while there
was fear of intimidation, the ability of rural farmers to be
self-sustaining would afford them a degree of independence to choose
political leaders of their choice.

“There is fear among the people, especially the abuse of traditional
leaders by Zanu PF whether it is food distribution, discriminatory food
distribution and the role of traditional leaders in targeting MDC
supporters . . .

“We also were witness to the fact that this year is different because
there is a very substantial crop that is healthy, so potential for food
subsidies is minimal and people are happy that the rains have provided
them with an opportunity for self-sustenance.

“If people have been exploited when there is a drought situation, surely
if there is no drought situation there will not be opportunity to exploit
the poor in the rural areas. But even where there is drought, government
must be able to provide aid to everyone without bias or discrimination,”
Tsvangirai said.

With violence being targeted, especially at traditional leaders who have
expressed interest in working with his party, the MDC leader took a stance
of barring media coverage of the consultations to protect the identity of
the participants.

He said intimidation remains a big area of concern across the country,
describing it as a “very big aspect” going into the 2018 elections.

In this light, Tsvangirai said, people expressed concern at the neutrality
of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) and involvement of the security
establishment in tilting the vote in favour of Zanu PF.

“Fundamentally, people are concerned about past practices and that we need
a free fair and credible electoral process.

“There were others who were expressing concern about the endorsement that
sometimes comes from Sadc, AU when the situation is not free and fair so
the question of monitoring the election becomes very critical. We are,
however, assured that the United Nations is involved through the support
of the purchase of biometric equipment, I’m sure they are going to spend
over $200 million,” the MDC leader said.

He also said people were generally worried about “governance issues that
have led to the collapse of the socio-economic situation in the country”.

“We are encouraging people to register, go and vote and defend your vote,”
Tsvangirai said.

Nicholas Vingirai flexes muscle within ZB

Source: Nicholas Vingirai flexes muscle within ZB | The Financial Gazette February 16, 2017

BANKER, Nicholas Vingirai,  has embarked on a restructuring of financial services group, ZB Financial Holdings Limited (ZFHL), after assuming a 26 percent shareholding last year.
The transaction was compensation for the loss of Intermarket Holdings Limited (IHL) in 2004.
IHL had been bought by ZFHL with the transaction concluded in 2006.
This was after the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe bailed out IHLs subsidiaries and later converted the debt into equity under a High Court scheme of arrangement.
Since then, Vingirai had been fighting to reclaim his lost assets. His battle to reclaim the shares intensified after externalisation charges against him were lifted in 2013.
ZFHL wholly owns ZB Bank Limited, ZB Reinsurance Limited, ZB Transfer Secretaries, ZB Capital and ZB Associated Services.
It has a 75,3 percent stake in ZB Building Society and 64 percent shareholding in ZB Life Assurance.
It also has interest in Mashonaland Holdings, Credit Insurance Zimbabwe and Cell Holdings.
Vingirai’s grand entry alongside two nominees of his investment vehicle, Transnational Holdings Limited (THL), has seen the reconfiguration of the board to reflect his interests.
THL is now the second largest shareholder in the group after the National Social Security Authority at 37,79 percent shareholding.
Vingirai appointed Mike Mahachi and Zororo Muranda as board members since assuming shareholding in the group. He is a non-executive board member of ZFHL.
Peter Nyoni, the husband to Minister of Small, Medium and Cooperative Development Sithembiso Nyoni, is currently acting chairperson of the group after Meikles Hospitality’s commercial director, Thamsangqa Mpofu, stepped down.
Muranda is a professor and dean at the School of Entrepreneurship and Business Sciences at Chinhoyi University of Science and Technology while Mahachi is a surveyor and property developer.
Other board members who have left since Vingirai gained shareholding in ZFHL are Eria Hamandishe, Tendai Chirisa, Tendai Mafunda and Elliot Munemo.
Group chief executive officer (CEO), Ron Mutandagayi, and finance director, Fanuel Kapanje, are executive directors.
Insiders said the two largest shareholders in the group — NSSA and THL — had agreed to make “gradual” changes to all ZFHL’s subsidiaries to create value for shareholders.
They said change at subsidiary and associate companies were likely to take place during the first half of the year.
So far there have been board changes at ZFHL.
“Competitive pressures after shareholder changes last year have compelled the group to have a serious look at the quality of their products and services, and adopt quality interventions. The changing nature of the economy and lifting of sanction on the group has also, to some extent, forced the business to adopt new strategies as well as alter their product mix,” an official at ZFHL said.

ZFHL was removed from the list of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons by the United States government last year. This move is expected to allow the banking group to transact freely in international financial markets.
“Expansion to an overseas market may require changes in the staff profile to better connect with the international market, and changes in work policies as such changes are inevitable,” another source said.
A source close to Vingirai said there was need to safeguard the ZFHL investment after what happened 13 years ago, hence the allowance for a smooth transition of the group.
Insiders said Vingirai wants to move the group and its subsidiaries in a direction he feels would improve its earnings while protecting shareholder value. He is also anticipating that the group pays a consistent dividend as he “creates structures and a team that would ensure that value is persevered”, one source said.
He is also understood to be laden with huge debts, which he hopes could be extricated if the companies perform well and declare dividends.
The debts are said to have been accumulated during his fight to gain control of the empire.
Late last year, ZFHL also appointed Obey Matizanadzo, a renowned legal practitioner and international banker, John Nhavira, as independent directors.
Matizanadzo is a partner in Matizanadzo and Warhurst Legal practitioners, while Nhavira is a lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe.
ZFHL also appointed Mike Manyika to a newly created position of chief operating officer. Manyika is said to be Vingirai’s top advisor.
Manyika joined ZFHL on November 7 last year. He is a former managing director at Dawn Properties. He resigned from the property firm after a protracted battle with his then counterparts at African Sun Limited over the terms of leases held by the hospitality group on Dawn’s hotel properties.
The fight spilled over into the courts but was later resolved after African Sun bought a controlling stake in Dawn Properties, putting paid to Dawn’s attempts to evict the hotel group. A re-organisation at the firm resulted in Manyika’s departure.
There has also been a shake-up at listed property investment and development concern, Mashonaland Holdings Limited where CEO, Manfred Mahari, and finance director and company secretary, Nodzo Matsangura were suspended over loans and allowances granted to staff.
This was after an audit revealed that the firm could have been prejudiced of millions of dollars through financial irregularities.
The company’s internal auditors unearthed the irregularities, which were also confirmed by an external audit instituted by the company at the instigation of the board.
CEO Mutandagayi is the current chairman of Mashonaland Holdings; he took over from Ambrose Chinembiri, a former managing director of ZB Life Assurance. Chinembiri’s predecessor was the late ZFHL CEO, Elisha Mushayakarara.
Vingirai confirmed the restructuring, saying he was building an empire that would stand the test of time. He said the institution should not only benefit shareholders and clients but should contribute to the growth of the country’s economy.
“It is not so much about the restructuring going on, but the spirit of the enterprise. That is what makes a business, when the right spirit is injected in the enterprise and the market responds positively, the entire nation benefits,” he told The Financial Gazette’s Companies & Markets.
Vingirai declined to give specific details on his restructuring plans, saying it was still premature to do so.
“There will be positive changes wherever I am invested,” Vingirai said.
A 2004 blitz on bankers and other business executives forced banking executives such as Vingirai to flee the country. Vingirai left the country for South Africa.
In 2013, High Court judge Justice Susan Mavhangira ruled in Vingirai’s favour, removing a caveat which covered most properties he owned. She ordered that caveat number 368/04 registered under Intermarket Banking Corporation and Intermarket Discount House Limited be lifted.
Vingirai’s THL made the application under case number HC4910/13 citing IBBC, IDH, Ngoni Kudenga, ZB Financial Holdings, the Registrar of Deeds and Registrar of Companies as respondents.
“All shares held by the applicant in any company, listed or unlisted in his name or through any legal personae that he has interest in, beneficial or otherwise is granted,” read part of the ruling.
Justice Mavangira also ordered that four residential properties — two in Greystone Park and the other two in Sentosa, Mabelreign owned by Vingirai be retained.
Vingirai was the first black Zimbabwean to form a discount house when he formed Intermarket discount house in February 1991 in response to government’s policy to open the banking sector ti blacks.
It broke a duo-poly that was in existence since 1959, with only Bard Discount House and the Discount Company of Zimbabwe operating then.
He has also helped to set up financial institutions in Ghana, Zambia and Nigeria.

Jonathan Moyo turns heat on ZACC

Source: Jonathan Moyo turns heat on ZACC | The Financial Gazette February 16, 2017

HIGHER and Tertiary Education Minister Jonathan Moyo has written to Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) commissioner-general Augustine Chihuri requesting him to investigate the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC), which he accuses of using stolen documents to nail him in a corruption probe.
In a letter to Chihuri, the ZANU-PF Politburo member claims he was given a directive by Cabinet to seek police intervention in the matter.
“On Tuesday 20 December 2016, Cabinet directed that I bring to your attention suspected criminal use by The Sunday Mail on 18 December 2016, government documents stolen from our ministry’s offices. You will recall that on 6/7 August 2016, nine offices at the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development were broken into and ransacked. Official documents and four laptop computers belonging to directors were stolen,” reads part of the letter.
“The affected offices included those of the minister, permanent secretary on the sixth floor and seven directors. The matter was reported to the ZRP,” he added.
Moyo then argued that the alleged stolen documents were handed over to the State-run weekly by ZACC in violation of the law.
“In the story headlined ‘ZACC digs in on Prof Moyo’ published on 18 December, (2016), The Sunday Mail alleged that ZACC is investigating a new case allegedly linking Professor Moyo and government officials to suspicious transactions involving US$6,4 million. The paper further claimed that documents showed that investigations into the latest case began last week after ZACC stumbled upon a number of suspicious transactions.
“It turns out from some of the examples of transactions cited in The Sunday Mail story that the documents which the paper claims to have seen and which ZACC is alleged to have stumbled upon leading to the start of a new investigation are among the documents that were stolen from the ministry when its offices were broken into on 6/7 August 2016. This revelation is the reason for this complaint which is being brought to your attention on the directive of Cabinet,” he further writes.
Moyo also wants police to probe ZACC’s alleged “criminal correspondence” with other third parties “in a manner similar to ZACC’s unlawful engagement with The Sunday Mail”.
“In one case last September, protected and confidential documents were illegally given by ZACC to a person not authorised to receive such documents. The ministry has evidence of this case and we believe a crime was committed,” he writes, without naming the person involved.  The letter, which was printed on a government letterhead and bears his official trademark signature, was copied to Home Affairs Minister, Ignatius Chombo, who could not be reached to confirm its reception.
Using illegally obtained evidence to investigate a suspect or bring them to trial is prohibited under section 258 of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act unless the State has “admitted it illegally obtained evidence and prove that it does not prejudice the right of an accused person to pursue a civil remedy for any breach of the law in consequence of which the evidence was obtained”.
Section 258 (A), which regulates admissibility or inadmissibility of illegally obtained evidence, states that:
(I) In determining, whether to exclude evidence that has been obtained in a manner that violates any provision of the Constitution, the court shall endeavour to strike a proper balance between;
(a) Safeguarding:
(i) the rights of the accused concerned; and
(ii) the integrity of the criminal justice system against serious or persistent breaches of the Law by the police or other employees of the State; and
(b) the public interest in-
(i) doing justice to the victim or victims of the crime in question.
The piece of legislation is a creation of section 70 (3) of the Constitution which reads: “In any criminal trial, evidence that has been obtained in a manner that violates any provision of this chapter (chapter four of the Constitution) must be excluded if the admission of evidence would render the trial unfair or would otherwise be detrimental to the administration of justice or the public interest.”
ZACC was still to respond to enquiries from the Financial Gazette at the time of going to print.
Contacted for comment yesterday, Moyo confirmed writing to the police.
“I can confirm that I reported the matter to the authorities on 20 December 2016 following an article in The Sunday Mail on 18 December which said: ‘ZACC had stumbled on documents’ among which we realised were some we knew had gone missing along with laptops after nine offices in our fifth and sixth floors had been broken into on 6/7 August 2016.
“The claim that ZACC ‘had stumbled’ on the documents was shocking in light of what we knew about the unprecedented break in at (the) Ministry and the fact that laptops and documents had been stolen on the day some of which were mentioned in The Sunday Mail story of 18 December 2016,” said Moyo.
National police spokesperson, Charity Charamba, requested questions to be sent to her via the short message service (SMS) saying she could not take calls on her mobile phone as she was attending a meeting.
She, however, did not respond to the SMSs despite persistent follow ups.
Her deputy, Paul Nyathi, said he was not at work and therefore could not assist with any information.
ZACC is pursuing Moyo and his deputy, Godfrey Gandawa, on allegations of abusing funds under the Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund.
They both deny the allegations, saying they never used the money for personal benefit as alleged by ZACC but instead they used it to fund ZANU-PF activities, while some was donated to charity.
Moyo told Parliament on Tuesday that as part of its investigation, ZACC was breaking the law by using documents that were stolen from his ministry’s offices in August last year. Moyo and Gandawa were giving oral evidence before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development.

Forex shortage hits chronic illness drug supply

DEPUTY Minister of Health Aldrin Musiiwa has said foreign currency shortages are affecting the availability of drugs for chronic illnesses.

Source: Forex shortage hits chronic illness drug supply – NewsDay Zimbabwe February 16, 2017

by VENERANDA LANGA

Responding to a question from MDC-T legislator, Ruth Labode in the National Assembly yesterday on reports that essential drugs for chronic and non-communicable diseases were now in short supply, Musiiwa said: “It is an issue of great concern because we have shortages of foreign currency.

“We have told Treasury about it and they said they were going to prioritise the issue of essential drugs, and we have forwarded our list and have been promised that the foreign currency is going to be availed.”

He was also questioned by leader of the opposition in the National Assembly, Thokozani Khupe on government policy regarding provision of sunscreen lotions and free treatment to albinos.

“I saw a patient with albinism, who is in a bad condition and is suffering from cancer. He was turned away from hospital because he could not pay $250. What is government policy with regards unemployed albinos in bad shape?” she asked.

Musiiwa said government policy does not preclude people from getting treatment, adding any case of patients being turned away must be reported.

“If such specific incidents are reported, those patients will be referred to cancer treatment centres,” he said.

On a question from Goromonzi West MP, Biata Nyamupinga on provision of mothers’ waiting shelters, Musiiwa said while donors provided funds to construct shelters in some areas, the money was not enough to build them at every rural area.

Spiwe Muchenje (MDC-T Proportional Representation MP) claimed pregnant women were being charged $70 to access mothers’ waiting shelters.

RBZ firefights liquidity crisis

Source: RBZ firefights liquidity crisis | The Financial Gazette February 16, 2017

THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) unveiled a cocktail of measures yesterday as part of the 2017 Monetary Policy Statement in a desperate bid to liquefy an economy that is slowly grinding to a halt due to a severe liquidity crisis that has resulted in companies failing to settle on time their external payments for raw material and other products.
The illiquid conditions have been occasioned by a serious mismatch between exports and imports, whereby the latter has exceeded the former by far, resulting in the rapid depletion of nostro accounts.
John Mangudya, the RBZ governor, has been on an aggressive campaign to encourage exports, with his policy interventions focused on achieving the same objective.
Nonetheless, exports have remained poor owing to a combination of endogenous and exogenous factors, hence the need for additional measures by the central bank boss to stimulate local production meant for the export market.
Yesterday, Mangudya unveiled a US$70 million package for nostro accounts to ease the payments gridlock.
The lifeline will bridge the gap until significant foreign exchange earnings begin to roll in as soon as the tobacco and cotton marketing seasons start.
This is the second such package announced by the central bank after another US$215 million was injected in September last year.
The US$70 million is part of multi-pronged strategy meant to preserve foreign currency, make the right priorities and boost the country’s capacity to settle foreign commitments, after complications worsened in the past six months.
Other measures include fostering surveillance on combating money-laundering, tax evasion and transfer pricing; extension of the export incentive scheme to the tourism sector and cotton growers; scaling up operations of micro-finance institutions; revamping a US$10 million horticultural facility; the unveiling of a US$10 million business linkages facility and the launch of a US$15 million revolving fund for women empowerment.
In addition, the apex bank said it will also enforce the preservation of foreign exchange in nostro accounts through market and institutional discipline as well as domesticating the settlement of local card transactions on international card switches.
The latter essentially means that funding in nostro accounts wiould be deployed strictly for servicing foreign commitments, while domestic transactions would be paid through the Real Time Gross Settlement System, ZimSwitch, VISA, Mastercard, local mobile banking and bond notes.
The use of nostro accounts to settle domestic transactions had exerted tremendous strain on banks and precipitated foreign currency shortages.
“Foreign exchange/nostro stabilisation facility of US$70 million to be disbursed by the end of February 2017 in order to deal with the current delays in the processing of outgoing payments for the procurement of productive imports,” the RBZ governor said.
“The measure is necessary to augment the foreign exchange resources in the banks’ nostro accounts whilst awaiting the opening of the tobacco and cotton selling season,” he added.
The RBZ’s intervention came as its analysis showed a “substantial” amount of the US$206,7 million that was used to settle card and DSTV transactions between July and December last year was channelled through nostro accounts.
These would now be settled through domestic channels to help the country release funding towards the importation of vital raw materials and other critical requirements.
As part of the strategies, the RBZ will also increase a gold support facility for small to medium scale producers to US$40 million, from US$20 million.
An implosion had been brewing in several critical industries on the back of a worsening payments gridlock in the financial services sector with imported raw materials running out at some plants around the country, raising the spectre of more company closures and job losses.
The worst hit has been the manufacturing industry and the mining sector, which contributes a significant portion of the country’s export receipts.
Indications are that gold mining companies could mothball operations due to failure to secure foreign currency for raw material imports, with dire consequences on the entire economy.
Yesterday, the RBZ also moved to stimulate demand by acting on interest rates and bank charges.
It capped lending rates at 12 percent starting April and directed banks to ensure that the highest charge for application fees, facility fees and administration fees does not exceed three percent.
“A proportional pricing model was adopted to replace the fixed charges in order to align cash withdrawal charges to amount withdrawn. The applicable charges for cash withdrawal were set at a maximum of one percent and 1,25 percent of amount withdrawn for automated teller machines and over-the counter,” the RBZ said.
The central bank said it has negotiated for the extension of the US$200 million African Export-Import Bank trade debt-backed securities facility by a further two years to 2019.
The facility has assisted the RBZ in maintaining financial sector stability and inclusive growth.
“It has been a game changer that revitalised the banking sector in Zimbabwe. Total trades under this facility amounted to US$641 million over a two-year period from the effective date of the facility in February 2015,” added the statement.
In addition, the central bank unveiled measures to preserve the parity of the bond notes, which were introduced to fund the export incentives in November last year, to the US dollar.
“The bank is directing financial institutions to strictly observe the policy to deposit bond notes into the US dollar accounts without requesting the banking public to differentiate between bond notes and US dollar cash. This measure is essential to ensure that bond notes continue to trade at parity with the US dollar and to reflect the fact that bond notes are supported by the US$200 million offshore facility to support the demand for foreign exchange attributable to bond notes. The foreign exchange under this facility is made available to banks in line with the import priority requirements on request from the bank,” said the statement. It said a credit registry has been established to cushion banks against non-performing loans.

Phelekezela Mphoko court case latest

Source: Phelekezela Mphoko court case latest | The Financial Gazette February 16, 2017

BULAWAYO — The High Court has set down February 23 as the date on which it would hear the matter involving nearly 70 villagers in the Tshayile area of Bubi, Matabeleland North province who are involved in a boundary dispute with Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko.
Led by Vusa Ncube, the villagers filed an urgent chamber application at the Bulawayo High Court citing Mphoko and the Minister of Lands and Rural Resettlement Douglas Mombeshora as first and second respondents respectively.
They are seeking an order blocking the Vice President from extending his farm’s boundary into their land at Shilloh Farm, adjacent to Mphoko’s Mzohluzo Farm.
The villagers sought court intervention last month after Mphoko’s farm manager informed them of the impending evictions. Justice Nokuthula Moyo, the only female judge here, will preside over the matter.
In papers filed by lawyer Josphat Tshuma of Webb, Low and Barry Legal Practitioners, the villagers are accusing the Vice President of straying into their territory.
They said despite peacefully co-existing with Mphoko for the past 16 years, he had become unfriendly and has since started fencing off a portion of their grazing land.
By yesterday Mphoko and Mombeshora were yet to respond
to the villagers’ court application after being served with summons on Tuesday this week.
Investigations by the Financial Gazette indicate that the respondents were served their papers late because the villagers struggled to raise the US$82 that was required to have the papers served to the respondents.

Of political turncoats and opportunists

Source: Of political turncoats and opportunists | The Financial Gazette February 16, 2017

JIM Kunaka comfortably sits on a reclining chair that looks as if it is about to swallow him because of his small frame.
Feeling at home in his opulent and flashy office in Harare’s central business district, Kunaka — a former Harare City Council security guard — is one of many others in the ruling ZANU-PF party who rose to fame because of their political connections.
Adjusting the temperature of the air conditioner using a remote control, Kunaka exalts his party ZANU-PF for giving him a second chance after he was chucked out in 2014 for hobnobbing with former vice president Joice Mujuru and plotting to topple President Robert Mugabe from power.
“I am a product of ZANU PF. The ruling party made me who I am,” he said.
Kunaka’s return to ZANU-PF surprised many.
On being dismissed from the party, he had labelled ZANU-PF a cult, and pleaded with Zimbabweans to forgive him for his part in terrorising residents of Mbare as leader of the notorious gang called Chipangano.
“I was the political violence master when I was in ZANU-PF, but what I want people to know today is that when you join a cult, you behave like the people in that cult. People understand and forgive me,” he was quoted saying back then.
“There was Saul in the Bible, he was a serious murderer, but at the end he changed and became Paul and started preaching the gospel. So I was Saul and I am now Paul, I am preaching the gospel of peace in Zimbabwe”.
As Italian Renaissance era historian, politician, diplomat, philosopher, humanist and writer Niccolo Machiavelli once put it, “politics have no relation to morals”.
Politicians are only loyal to their interests hence they have no permanent friends or enemies.
Today’s friend may become a foe the next day and vice-versa.
Former Russian president, Vladimir Lenin, expressed it even better when he said: “There are no morals in politics; there is only expedience. A scoundrel may be of use to us just because he is a scoundrel.”
Across the political divide in Zimbabwe, there have been political turncoats who have changed their loyalty without a grain of shame.
The late Nathan Shamuyarira was a classic political turncoat.
Shamuyarira, whose remains are interred at the national Heroes Acre shrine, dumped ZANU, teamed up with other disgruntled ZAPU cadres to form the Front for the Liberation of Zimbabwe (FROLIZI) in 1971.
He was made secretary for research and finance.
In the book Turmoil and Tenacity, he revealed that FROLIZI was formed because of the revolutionary inadequacies of ZANU and ZAPU.
After failing to attract donors and sympathisers, Shamuyarira crossed back to ZANU where he was appointed director of education in 1977.
Another yesteryear political turncoat was the late Edgar Tekere.
Frustrated by President Robert Mugabe’s bid to turn Zimbabwe into a one party State, he formed the Zimbabwe Unity Movement and ran for presidency in the 1990 general elections.
Tekere failed to dislodge the incumbent and found himself in the political wilderness.
After being frozen out for many years, he bounced back into ZANU-PF, earning himself a place at the National Heroes Acre for his role during the liberation struggle.
Modern day political chameleons include Tertiary and Higher Education Minister, Jonathan Moyo.
Once referred to by some as a serial flip-flopper, Moyo has lived a life of political flip flopping since the 1990s.
From being a sharp-tongued critic of President Mugabe and his party, he somersaulted at the turn of the millennium to become the ruling party’s chief propagandist.
But his flirtation with the ruling party ended in 2005 after he defied the party which had instructed him not stand as an independent candidate in Tsholotsho, a constituency that had been reserved for a woman candidate.
Two years later, the Professor, as he is affectionately known, bounced back into ZANU-PF’s scheme of things in 2007 just before the country’s 2008 harmonised elections.
Moyo’s famous admission that “it was cold out there”, while outside ZANU-PF, probably explains the country’s high number of political turncoats whose list is mighty long.
Political flip-flopping is not only endemic in ZANU-PF, but it has affected opposition political parties as well.
One of the founding members of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and former Member of Parliament for St Mary’s, Job Sikhala, is a character that immediately comes to mind.
Social anthropologist, Abel Kapodogo, who wrote a dissertation on the goings on in MDC, made the observation that Sikhala was loved in his constituency, so having seen the political shortcomings of MDC and frustrated by organisational structures, he thought his popularity in his constituency would transform into a national vote, so he formed his own party, MDC 99.

However, now missing the benefits of Parliament and being in MDC, Sikhala found it tough outside these institutions.
“With no companies to employ him and (running) no viable businesses, he realised that he was reaching a dead end. For him to resuscitate his career he had to reach out to his former party. (Morgan) Tsvangirai needed him more because the MDC-T had its own share of problems,” added Kapodogo.
For nine years, Sikhala was in a political wilderness and reduced to a social media politician.
In 2014, he rejoined Tsvangirai’s MDC-T.
Paul Madzore is another politician from the opposition camp who has had his damascene moment.
Together with over a dozen other MDC-T legislators, who had left the party after a crushing defeat of their party by ZANU-PF in the 2013 general elections, Madzore has made his way back to the MDC-T, a party they had accused of dictatorship.
“Indeed I have gone back home (MDC-T). We all make mistakes. I have never been a rich man in all my life. I live a straight life. Yes I struggle like any other normal Zimbabwean, but it is nothing to make a story out of. I resigned and bid farewell to the People’s Democratic Party family. I am a member in the MDC T now. And I am happy to be back home,” said Madzore on his return.
But what exactly motivates politicians to change their shades like a chameleon at the blink of an eye.
Social commentator, Pardon Taodzera, said most of the political turncoats were spurred by institutional frustration.
“If you have noticed these people would have genuine grievances that their institution fails to address. If you take the likes of Shamuyarira and Tekere, they had genuine concerns and when the political party failed to address them, they became rebellious,” he said.
“However, they later found out institutions are always bigger than individuals. That is why some have resolved to make change from within because outside it is cold for them.”
Political analyst, Pedzisai Ruhanya, said the country’s new breed of politicians was being spurred by personal interests rather than national interests, hence the surge in political turncoats.
“Politics is about interests. When politicians leave or join parties, they are putting their individual interests ahead of any national interests. Politicians are very selfish individuals. Contemporary politics is politics of the stomach,” said Ruhanya.
He added that current politicians have no love for their institutions, but they just use them to line their pockets.
“During the war of liberation, we had people who put national interests first ahead of their personal needs such as Herbert Chitepo, Simon Mazorodze and even Robert Mugabe. They were middle class, but they left the comforts of their lives to lead the liberation struggle and in the process putting their lives in danger,” he said.
Ruhanya, however, said that there is a likely possibility that some of the individuals are being sent by the ruling party to infiltrate the opposition.
“In authoritarian rule like that of Zimbabwe, one cannot rule out infiltration. Some individuals are not political turncoats, but spies employed by the ruling party,” he added.
Media Centre director, Ernest Mudzengi, said political turncoats were opportunists, but they were in a good profession because politics is about self aggrandisement.
“Politicians are motivated by individual interests which change from time to time. They may serve people, but only when their egos are serviced. Flip flopping is the art of politics, that is why people who were in ZAPU are now in ZANU PF,” said Mudzengi.
“There are, however, different reasons for political flip flopping between the ruling party and the opposition. In the ruling party, they tend to come back because it means being nearer to the national cake, while in opposition, the individuals would have realised that they can do more with a big opposition party than alone.”

Government incurs US$1billion carry-over expenses

Source: Government incurs US$1billion carry-over expenses | The Financial Gazette February 16, 2017

GOVERNMENT has huge carry-over expenditure demands from 2016, including US$180 million in outstanding bonuses for civil servants, Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa  revealed during an indaba for civil servants held last month.
The costs inherited from last year’s budget constitute what Chinamasa described as “pressure points” for the 2017 National Budget, already under pressure from a huge public sector wage bill, accounting for over 97 percent of government expenditure.
Government is currently struggling to pay 2016 bonuses for its 350 000-strong work force.
The expenditure demands pushed back into this year include employment cost arrears for the December 2016 wage bill, employer contributions to service providers such as the National Social Security Authority (NSSA), the Premier Service Medical Aid Society (PSMAS) and employee contributions.
The total expenditure demands from last year amount to US$942,5 million.
In fact, some of the outstanding commitments relate to payments due from as far back as 2013.
The cash-strapped government owes US$121,8 million to various service providers, among them NetOne, TelOne, ZESA, CMED and local authorities.
It also has US$173,1 million due to NSSA since September 2013, while PSMAS, the medical aid group for most civil servants, is yet to receive about US$98,9 million.
As a result, some public servants have been denied health care services in various clinics and hospitals because of government’s failure to remit money deducted from workers’ salaries.
Despite scant resources, Cabinet ministers and permanent secretaries went abroad on their annual vacations between December and January. The vacations were fully-funded by the taxpayer.
This, critics said, demonstrated the skewed priorities within government, which is already preparing for national elections in 2018.
Civil servants, who last had a US$54 salary increment three years ago, are battling to make ends meet with meagre salaries averaging US$350 per month, against a poverty datum line hovering above US$550.
As a result, public servants are living from hand to mouth, humbling a constituency that was once the pride of the nation.
During the 1980s, teachers, for instance, were some of the civil servants who were held in high esteem and government always swiftly attended to their welfare. But things took a nasty turn in the early 1990s, resulting in the profession becoming a laughing stock.
“The government appears reluctant to improve our welfare as evidenced by the way they blew millions holidaying, but failing to pay bonuses on time,” said Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ) president, Obert Masaraure.
Analyst, Rashweat Mukundu, said government should abandon a culture of profligacy if it is to meaningfully manage its finances.
He said current circumstances meant that it was “not in a position to meet civil servants’ demands nor improve their welfare”.
“(They need to) reorganise the civil service through job rationalisation, cutting down on ministries and unnecessary government expenditure,” said Mukundu.
Chinamasa last year proposed to cut the wage bill by retrenching, only for him to make a U-turn after a barrage of criticism from Cabinet colleagues who opposed the move.
Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister, Prisca Mupfumira, is seeing light at the end of the tunnel.
“We have actually improved on salary pay dates and on the 20th of this month we will meet again to finalise the issue of bonuses. There is nothing wrong to disagree, but if there is anyone with an issue he should bring it to the table,” said Mupfumira.
However, the Financial Gazette can report that some teacher representative unions are already planning a strike over outstanding bonuses before the planned meeting with government.
ARTUZ has since written to the Public Service Commission advising it of a planned week-long strike over the outstanding bonus payments.
University of Johannesburg research associate, Admire Mare, said 2017 could be another barren year for civil servants.
“As for representatives of civil servants, there is need to negotiate in advance rather than to wait until its bonus season to make noise,” said Mare.
“They have to exert their power as unions to be taken seriously in some of these talk shops,” he added.

Gloomy prospects for tourism

Source: Gloomy prospects for tourism | The Financial Gazette February 16, 2017

ANALYSTS have warned that Zimbabwe’s tourism industry is unlikely to grow this year, with a number of factors combining to undermine growth.
The sector is one of the industries projected to support the recovery of the country’s struggling economy.
Following a decade of decline, precipitated largely by price controls and flawed exchange rates until December 2008, the country’s wildlife reserves, still bustling with beasts, are failing to attract high-spending international tourists.
This signifies what can best be described as a tragedy for the tourism industry.
Difficulties in the payments system, inefficient connectivity both by air and roads, which are now unpopular for many roadblocks, flight delays, poor service in many outlets and a weak rail transportation system were the weaknesses identified as impeding development in the sector.
These factors have been compounded by an epidemic scare that gripped Zimbabwe following a typhoid outbreak early this month.
Epidemic outbreaks could scare foreign tourists away at a time when Zimbabwe is working to improve foreign currency earnings through increased international tourist arrivals.
This fact becomes even more important considering the threats of an economic implosion due to foreign currency shortages that have already started affecting sectors like manufacturing and agriculture.
These are struggling to import raw materials due to a deteriorating liquidity situation.
Also affected is the mining sector, which contributes about 40 percent of the country’s export receipts.
Economists said urgent interventions were required to stop the crisis.
“Tourist arrivals are a result of sentiment,” said Kingstone Kanyile, chief executive officer at the advisory firm, Mtilikwe Financial Services.
“We must let tourists move without roadblocks. We must also improve our digital payment platforms because when tourists travel, they don’t carry cash. They want to use their Visa Cards. All service providers must have access to point of sale machines,” he added.
A key factor that has undermined the industry is the 15 percent Value Added Tax (VAT) charged on foreign tourists, which came into force in 2015 despite even opposition from Tourism Minister, Walter Mzembi.
This has been blamed for increasing prices, which have made the destination unattractive.
The effect of this has been reduced revenue and diminished profits for tourism industry operators.
Zimbabwe is now one of the most expensive destinations in the region.
The situation is compounded by the fact that the country and its regional neighbours have a ubiquitous visa regime that is cumbersome, discouraging to tourists and expensive.
While many say strict visa regimes are implemented in the interests of national security, Zimbabwe continues to lose potential revenue through restriction on tourists.
“If you added 15 percent VAT on the United States dollar, you make the destination uncompetitive. But that VAT will not go away soon because the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority is failing to meet its revenue targets,” Kanyile added.
Captains of Zimbabwe’s tourism industry say for a sector smarting from the effects of crisis that affected arrivals, every dollar earned adds immense value to the sector and consequently the economy.
“We need 100 000 tourists from the United States of America but the United States of America does not need 100 000 tourists from Zimbabwe,” Ross Kennedy, chief executive officer of Africa Albida Tourism, once said.
International tourists started warming up to Zimbabwe, a regional tourism hub that rides on its majestic landmarks such as the Great Zimbabwe Ruins, a medieval metropolitan building constructed in the 15th century, the mighty Zambezi River, Africa’s fourth longest stream, the eastern Highlands and Victoria Falls from 2009 when political hostilities ended following a peace deal between the main political parties.
But numbers started dwindling, and some operators also shut down because of lack of viability.
Access to Victoria Falls and the lakeside resort of Kariba has been limited by high air fares and a poor road network.
Recent heavy rains have caused the development of potholes.

Given the central role airlines play in connecting domestic and international tourist attractions, high fares also affect domestic tourism.
Government has been trying to build a tourism industry around domestic travel.
“Domestic tourists have a challenge of disposable incomes,” said media analyst and tourism industry consultant, Henry Makova.
He said authorities must also address the liquidity crisis.
“It affects people’s ability to travel. Because of the liquidity crunch, people who can afford to travel won’t travel due to problems in accessing cash. There are some things that tourists cannot buy using credit cards. The cost of flying also affects the growth of the tourism industry,” he said.
Poor connectivity is also affecting the travel of tourists between countries in the region.
In 2013, Zimbabwe proposed that southern African countries must establish a regional airline, as part of measures to solve the connectivity problems.
The Southern African Development Community, a resource rich destination endowed with world wonders, including the Victoria Falls shared by Zambia and Zimbabwe, is significantly dependent on income from the travel industry where arrivals have been affected by connectivity hitches.
A regional airline may not withstand the storms that have forced privately-held 1 Time, Air Tanzania, Zambezi Airlines, Fly Kumba and others to collapse.
“Tourism will be affected by perception,” said economic analyst, Trust Chikohora.
He also raised concerns over the spread of epidemics.
“They don’t want to contract typhoid. But they also have alternatives. If they are not happy with Zimbabwe they can go to Tanzania to see the big five because for them it must be experience of a lifetime. They don’t want any disturbances and it makes us uncompetitive. The VAT adds another 15 percent to their costs. Our prices are much higher than those charged in the West. That is why tourism is not performing. We need to create a positive perception,” said Chikohora, a former president of the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce.
If stakeholders fail to act on these handicaps, arrivals will remain subdued, or even take the industry back to crisis years when government violently drove out over 3 000 white commercial farmers off their farms, triggering an unprecedented economic crisis that ruined the tourism sector.
Workers lost jobs away from the glare of publicity that highlights similar developments in metropolitan corporations.
The luxury cruising sector slipped into a comma, and has remained paralysed.
At Andora Habour in Kariba, it is easy to enjoy the breathtaking views offered by a fleet of white vessels as they innocently line up the eastern front shores of the world’s second largest man-made lake.
One is struck by reality when experts mention that these monumental assets, hallmarks of man’s engineering ingenuity, are grounded due to declining business.
Some have been docked for many months.
While exploring lakeside resorts in Binga three years ago, far more discouraging scenes awaited this reporter.
The slowdown has forced lodges to scale down operations.
Binga District’s 139 000 residents, mostly peasant farmers, have traditionally depended on fishing, tourism and crocodile farming.
As one descends a range of arid mountains into the spot once popular with Western tourists spending their money in one of Africa’s best kept secrets, the view is breathtaking.
But like the troubled cruise ships of Kariba 300 kilometres to the east, what has kept Binga’s tourism industry afloat is hope of a turn in fortunes.
The world renowned Mlibizi Resort is a pale shadow of its former status.
The scale of closures spans from Hwange, the country’s largest wildlife park, to the eastern highlands.
It is one of the worst tourism crises that have been glossed over.
What is important to note is that it is a list of despair brought by economic mismanagement and sour relations with international tourist markets.
The outlook points to a far more serious crisis exposed by the continued closure of some significant operators.
Last year, United Touring Company (UTC) was liquidated after battling to navigate the country’s harsh economic terrain, characterised by a slump in high quality Western tourists and a liquidity crisis, an increasingly weak middle class and harsh taxes being piled on tourists.
Of significance is the fact that UTC closed only five months after the collapse of its neighbour Beitbridge Express, owned by African Sun Limited.
Many things that have gone wrong came to the fore.
For instance, government has moved to impose the additional taxes on foreign tourists, and this has had dire implications on arrivals.
Roadblocks confront tourists at every inch of our pothole ridden roads.
Over-policing might look like a small issue, but it is certainly eating into State coffers.
Who can explain why a country that so desperately needs foreign revenues charges extortionist rates in largely second rate hotels and resorts?
Who can explain why Zimbabwean airports are among southern Africa’s most expensive, charging landing and departure fees double that of neighbouring countries?
On the positive side, however, some analysts said if Mzembi wins the United National World Tourism Organisation secretary general’s post later this year, Zimbabwe would return to global limelight.
“Walter (Mzembi) is a calm and collected politician whose greatest strengths are a combination of sound intellectual gravitas and a stout persona filled with public diplomacy and charisma, traits that are key in navigating past the dicey waters of international electoral politics,” said Makova.
“His victory will embolden the global status of Zimbabwe; indeed boost and trigger tourism to Zimbabwe, as the country will once again go on the world stage for its uniqueness in producing great human resource talent. That he faces opposition from different candidates from advanced economies is neither here nor there, for winning in politics is the art of polishing your brains than the figures in your bank account,” he added.

Govt mulls Robert Mugabe University

Source: Govt mulls Robert Mugabe University | The Herald February 16, 2017

Praise Bvumbamera Herald Reporter
Government is considering renaming a university after President Mugabe or have a new one in honour of his contribution to the education sector both in Zimbabwe and the entire African continent, legislators have heard. Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Minister Professor Jonathan Moyo said that while the plan was still in its formative stage, his ministry was seriously considering it.

He was giving oral evidence before a Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Higher and Tertiary Education chaired by Chinhoyi MP Dr Peter Mataruse (MDC-T) recently.

President Mugabe, said Prof Moyo, deserved the special honour of having a university named after him, just as other African countries had done for their leaders. “Surely, for an iconic leader who has distinguished himself in the area of education and has contributed immensely to education, it would make sense to have a Robert Mugabe University,” he said.

“We should have a university named after President Mugabe, although we have a Robert Mugabe School of Intelligence. This is not enough, we should honour our founding father, President Mugabe, for his contribution to this nation.”

Prof Moyo said President Mugabe was a scholar par excellence throughout Africa and the naming of the school after him was a way of honouring the President’s achievements in the area of education.

“There is a Nelson Mandela University in South Africa; there is Moi University one of the best universities in East Africa,” he said. “There is Kenyatta University, another excellent university in Africa. We need a successful university in Zimbabwe as well, signifying our exceptional leader.”

Prof Moyo said there was also need for the country to have a university of performing arts.

“Clearly, we do not have a university dedicated to performing arts,” he said. “We have some universities that have tried to bring up means that have an interest in this area such as the Midlands State University, and the University of Zimbabwe is interested as well.

“The country needs a fully-fledged national university that is dedicated to performing arts and we are working on coming up with the university.”

EDITORIAL COMMENT: Joice Mujuru must redeem herself

Source: EDITORIAL COMMENT: Joice Mujuru must redeem herself | The Financial Gazette February 16, 2017

TO many people, the name Joice Mujuru symbolises triumph over adversity. Here is a woman who joined the armed struggle when she was 15 years of age, earning a place among Zimbabwe’s iconic liberation war fighters when she downed an enemy chopper in February 1974, in one of the epic battles that forced the brutal colonial regime of the late Ian Smith to negotiate for peace.
Upon the attainment of black majority rule in 1980, she became the youngest Cabinet minister in President Robert Mugabe’s government — at the age of 22 — notwithstanding her limited education at the time. Against all odds, she was able to upgrade herself, academically, graduating with a Doctor of Philosophy degree from the country’s oldest university, the University of Zimbabwe, in September 2014.
In politics, she became the first woman to land the vice presidency of the Republic, among other notable achievements. Nonetheless, there existed shrill voices that disparaged her achievements, alleging retired general Solomon Mujuru — her late husband — had been the force behind her political successes.
His cruel death in August 2011 was said to have robbed her of that pillar of strength when she needed it most. And, as fate would have it, political vultures descended on the widowed politician in the run up to ZANU-PF’s contentious December 2014 congress, resulting in her expulsion from both government and the ruling party on flimsy grounds.
In early 2015, Mujuru re-launched her political career, this time as leader of the now moribund Zimbabwe People First (ZPF) party. Right from the word go, ZPF was an accident waiting to happen because of serious disagreements between its founding fathers over style of leadership, approach and political philosophy.
Things came to a head last week, with Mujuru dismissing seven of her party’s founding fathers, who swiftly responded to the brutal purge by giving their interim president her marching orders as well.
In no time, Mujuru’s political character has been tested and the jury is out: The ZPF leader has not acquitted herself well. Barring a miracle, the party could die in its infancy in her arms.
How on earth does an interim leader dismiss almost the entire top brass of a party without taking them through a disciplinary hearing? What sort of a constitution abrogates such sweeping powers to a leader who claims to be a democrat and to have reformed from the smash-and-grab politics practised in her former party, ZANU-PF?
It is also damning that her party is still to hold its inaugural convention since its formation in 2015. How, therefore, does it hope to take part in coalition talks when it does not have a substantive leadership? It also does not inspire confidence for a leader of an opposition party to surround herself with people who have questionable links to the same system she wants to wrest power from. And where on earth do you find an opposition leader who adopts a softly-softly approach towards the incumbent?
Mujuru has a lot to do to redeem herself. If she really wants to be taken seriously, she must give no hostages to fortune.
For now, it is very difficult to disagree with those who have been highly critical of her credentials.

Zimbabwe People First a rainless cloud?

Source: Zimbabwe People First a rainless cloud? | The Financial Gazette February 16, 2017

WAR veteran, author and long-serving diplomat, Agrippa Mutambara, bared his soul early last year when he announced his decision to resign from his comfy government post to join the then newly formed Zimbabwe People First (ZPF) party, led by former vice president Joice Mujuru.
He spoke about how ZANU-PF’s leadership had departed from the ideals of the liberation struggle that brought about independence in 1980.
Unlike Mujuru and others such as Didymus Mutasa, Rugare Gumbo and Kudakwashe Bhasikiti, who had found themselves out in the cold and every next move they took was forced upon them by circumstances they found themselves in as a result of their alleged plot to force a leadership change in ZANU-PF, Mutambara was one of those who voluntarily decided to break ranks with the party to which he had belonged for more than four decades, claiming that his conscience continued to harass him with a reminder that the Zimbabwe that some of his colleagues had paid the supreme sacrifice for was not the one that the ruling party had delivered.
Although an element of opportunism could not be ruled out in Mutambara’s move to jump ship, his case still epitomised the agony that many have grown to live with like peptic ulcers in ZANU-PF, a rigid party in which those who have tried to insist that it remains true to its founding principles have lived to regret it.
Although the bush war was waged to ensure that all forms of oppression were eradicated, the liberation war itself appeared to have involved the use and entrenchment of oppressive tactics, which tactics some in the leadership of the ruling party were to perfect into an art.
Barely a year later, Mutambara and several of his colleagues find themselves without a political home after ugly power struggles within ZPF resulted in the party splitting into two camps — the Mujuru and Mutasa camps — which camps last week traded expulsions, a development that also triggered mass resignations.
The Mujuru group accused Mutasa and his camp of being ZANU-PF infiltrators who were on a mission to destabilise the party, while Mutasa and his colleagues accused Mujuru of being a dictator and an incompetent leader.
Among some of the issues that triggered the implosion in the ZPF were talks on a possible electoral coalition with the main opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) led by former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, talks which most former sclerotic ZANU-PF hardliners — who view the Harvest House outfit as a front for Western interests — were reportedly stridently opposed to.
Coincidentally, many in the MDC-T are also opposed to a coalition with ZPF, which they see as a proxy of the same ZANU-PF that they are seeking to topple.
Because of the disparate political backgrounds which results in open suspicion, it has often not been easy to get former senior members of the country’s main political parties — ZANU-PF and the MDC-T — to trade horses, except for very few cases such as in that of former deputy minister Tracy Mutinhiri.
In the main, it is rare for disgruntled members of ZANU-PF to cross straight to the opposition MDC-T.
The same also applies to those politicians that fall out of favour with the MDC-T who cannot easily cross over to ZANU-PF.
The coming of Mujuru’s ZPF came as a handy half-way house for those in search for a new political home, even though it was predominantly made up of former ZANU-PF members.
True to the adage that old habits die hard, no sooner had Mujuru finished criticising the ZANU-PF leadership style had she started doing things exactly the ZANU-PF way.

Mutasa’s faction further alleged that they had clashed with Mujuru’s desire for a ZANU-PF styled one-centre-of-power in which members of the national executive were to be appointed by the party president instead of through an elective congress.
On his latest resignation, Mutambara — a retired army brigadier general — issued a scathing statement to the media that read: “I am disappointed that the sacred democratic values that I hold dear are once again being violated by the dismissals and promised purging taking place in ZPF. Zimbabwe People First, led by Joice Mujuru, has got its feet firmly lodged in sand, quicksand. The more it struggles, the more it sinks into it. As a decent human being, I respect Dr Mujuru.
“But as a leader of a promising political party that aims at dislodging ZANU-PF’s 37-year grip on power, I find her indecisive and clueless. The party is directionless and cruising on autopilot. I announce today my break from ZPF led by Dr Mujuru.”
Sylvester Nguni, a former government minister and ZANU-PF member, who was expelled from the ruling party and went on to join the ZPF from which he resigned in the middle of the power struggles also expressed his disappointment at discovering that the same culture of intolerance to divergent views that resulted in his expulsion from ZANU-PF also existed in ZPF.
“I was left with no choice but to leave the party as it was clear to me the leadership did not see things the same way and would not change in their ways,” Nguni explained.
Mujuru moved in to quickly replace most of those members she had sacked and those that had resigned and tried to put up a brave face in order to give the impression that the dismissals and resignations would have no effect on the nascent political party that the Mutasa faction is still laying claim on.
The developments in the party have led to serious speculation on whether either of the two factions currently engaged in the tug-of-war for power would eventually emerge to be a viable political force to give ZANU-PF and other parties a good run for their money.
Political analyst, Rashweat Mukundu told the Financial Gazette in an interview that the implosion in ZPF showed how deeply entrenched the power-retention ideology of ZANU-PF was, “especially one centeredness of political power as well intolerance of dissent.”
He said: “The question then is would those leaving ZANU-PF be prepared to break with its undemocratic culture and embrace democratic values that drove the liberation struggle? It is clear now that there is no middle road where one is ZANU-PF at heart yet claiming to be oppositional to the same party. Those who want to remain connected to ideals of the liberation struggle need to introspect on the constitutive elements of the struggle and I argue that democracy and freedom in its various forms and meaning was at the centre of the struggle and was betrayed in 1980.
“I therefore don’t see how it is possible to be out of ZANU-PF and not be democratic. So those disappointed with ZPF and not willing to join opposition parties allegedly linked to the West must still reflect on the ideals of the struggle and blaze a new path on how to be democratic while upholding the ideals of the struggle. Democracy and Zimbabwe’s liberation are not diametric but two sides of the same coin. ZANU-PF has separated the two and its political culture is not a mirror of what people fought for. ZPF and others can therefore not be out of ZANU-PF while maintaining its DNA inside. This applies to anyone who is or decides to break from ZANU-PF.”
It remains to be seen if any of the two factions of ZPF could register success where other members disgruntled with the way things have been done in ZANU-PF—and after failing to change it from within, tried to do it from outside—have failed.
The first one to dare was former ZANU-PF secretary general, the late Edgar Tekere, whose insistence that the party remain true to the principles of the liberation struggle resulted in his position being abolished and his dismissal from his ministerial position in 1981.
“As secretary-general of the party, I had the constitutional custodianship of the founding aspirations and principles, as well as the policies and decisions of the party. Thus, it was I who had the authority to remind, guide, rebuke and insist on adherence to the founding principles and vision of the party, and I took this responsibility extremely seriously,” Tekere, explained in his book, A Lifetime of Struggle.
Tekere was to become a semi-detached member of ZANU-PF for several years before forming his own party, the Zimbabwe Unity Movement (ZUM) in 1989, which party posed a mild challenge to ZANU-PF before fizzling out of existence.
During the war of liberation, two attempts to adjust the party to re-align it with its founding values had been met with violent resistance, with dire consequences for those involved. The first attempt was by a group called “Vashandi” led by the late Wilfred Mhanda, which was crushed in early 1977 and the second group that included Mutasa’s fellow elder in ZPF, Rugare Gumbo, was also crushed in 1978.
In 2008, former ZANU-PF member, Simba Makoni left ZANU-PF to form his Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn party with a group of disgruntled former members of ZANU-PF.
Just like ZUM before it, Makoni’s party caused a lot of excitement among disgruntled members and former members of ZANU-PF and went on to contest only the presidential ballot in the 2008 harmonised elections, where it grabbed about eight percent of the votes — just enough to play spoiler — before it went into oblivion.
Just like Makoni and Tekere before, Mujuru’s entrance into opposition politics last year caused a lot of excitement among some current and former members of ZANU-PF who were thoroughly disgruntled with the way they felt betrayed by the leadership, and it is yet to be seen if the party which seem to be having a very bad start is not here to be another rainless cloud that only serves to deliver another round of false hope to those that love ZANU-PF, but not its leadership.

Season of more arrests beckons

Source: Season of more arrests beckons | The Financial Gazette February 16, 2017

ANIMAL lovers in every part of the world have a way of knowing the start of the mating season for birds.
In dry deserts or other arid habitats, the sudden appearance of water through seasonal storms or flooding has been known to trigger the mating season — and for a good reason.
In such types of habitats, the arrival of water enables plants to bloom quickly, thus providing a source of food for birds to raise their offspring.
Similarly, it is not difficult to tell when elections are about to be held in Zimbabwe.
A sudden increase in the arrests of civil rights activists has been one sure sign that Zimbabwe is about to go to polls.
A fortnight ago, maverick cleric, Evan Mawarire, was arrested shortly after touching down at the Harare International Airport from the United States.
He had left the country in a huff about six months ago, having led successful anti-government protests last July, using the social media as a tool to stir political consciousness among citizens.
The social media campaign ruffled feathers in the corridors of powers, leading to Mawarire’s arrest on charges of inciting public violence. The court ruled that police had violated his rights and released him, as the State sought to amend its charges in a desperate bid to nail the man of cloth.
The next day after being freed, he left the country to the US, via South Africa.
But upon his surprise return to Zimbabwe, Mawarire has found the State still unforgiving for his role in the protests that rocked the country last year over government’s failures.
He was arraigned before the courts facing fresh charges of subverting a constitutionally elected government after spending several days in remand prison and is currently out on bail.
If found guilty, Mawarire faces a minimum of 20 years in prison.
Another pastor, Phillip Mugadza, was also arrested last month after he prophesised the death of the incumbent.
The State has since somersaulted on his charges, with the latest being “insulting people of a certain race”; initially he was charged with undermining the authority of the President.
Prosecutors now claim that Mugadza insulted the Christian religion and the African tradition by making utterances that predict someone’s death, which is regarded as taboo in Zimbabwe.
He is currently languishing in remand prison after the State alleged that government had no fuel to bring him to court.
Mugadza and Mawarire join a long list of activists who have had brushes with the law for voicing out their frustrations with President Robert Mugabe’s government.
Among the notable activists are Linda Masarira, Acie Lumumba, Denford Ngadziore, Whatmore Makokoba, Promise Mkwananzi and Stan Zvorwadza.
Dozens others, who were arrested in the many weeks of countrywide protests last year, are yet to face trial.
There has been a surge in the number of political arrests in recent months as government clamps down on dissent ahead of the 2018 elections. The trend is seen persisting until after the harmonised polls.
On August 24 and 26, 2016, police arbitrarily arrested over 140 people in Harare on public violence charges. According to their lawyers, most of those arrested, including security guards, vendors and college students taken from class, did not participate in the protests.
They were later freed on bail after several days in detention.
On September 24, 2016, police in Mutare arrested and detained 17 members of the Zimbabwe National Students Union (ZINASU) on charges of allegedly gathering in contravention of the Public Order and Security Act.
After three nights in detention, the Magistrate’s Court freed 15 of the 17 ZINASU members and declared their arrest unlawful.
Journalists were also subjected to arbitrary arrests, harassment, and intimidation when reporting on protests.
Reports by the Media Institute of Southern Africa show that from January 2016, police assaulted, harassed, arrested, or detained at least 31 journalists reporting on protests and yet the Constitution guarantees freedom of expression.
Human rights activists have already raised a red flag over the arrests of political activists and deterioration of human rights issues in Zimbabwe.
In its latest report for 2016, Human Rights Watch (HRW), noted an increase in cases of repression against thousands of people who peacefully protested human rights violations and the deteriorating economic situation in disregard of rights provisions in the country’s Constitution.
It said no meaningful human rights reforms were implemented during the period. Also, there were no amendments to existing laws to bring them in line with the Constitution and Zimbabwe’s international and regional human rights obligations.
HRW said police abuse had increased and there was excessive use of force to crush dissent.
“Human rights defenders, civil society activists, journalists, and government opponents, were harassed, threatened or faced arbitrary arrest by police. Widespread impunity continues for abuses by police and State security agents,” said HRW.
Washington has also taken note of the development, culminating in its ambassador to Zimbabwe issuing a statement that has riled President Mugabe’s administration.

“The US government unequivocally believes in the basic right to freedom of speech and calls on the Government of Zimbabwe to respect the human rights of all Zimbabwean citizens, which are enshrined in the Constitution. We believe that the basic right of Zimbabweans to freedom of speech — be it in public, through print media, or social media — should be protected within and outside Zimbabwe’s borders,” reads part of the statement.
Washington fears that these recent actions will further limit the right of Zimbabweans to exercise their constitutionally-protected freedoms of expression and peaceful assembly, which are similarly protected under Zimbabwe’s international human rights obligations, and are core values of any functioning democracy.
The US government has therefore called on Harare to respect the rule of law and legal due process provided by the Constitution.
Analysts this week said opposition leaders should brace for torrid times ahead as elections draw close.
“We have a hybrid regime which subscribes to democracy, but does not believe in a level electoral field,” said political researcher, Fortune Gwaze.
The Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) said by holding citizens in jail for solely expressing political opinions, government has further tainted the country’s questionable human rights record.
ZPP director, Jestina Mukoko, said the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) and regional bodies should put pressure on government to release all political prisoners and guarantee their right to freedom of expression.  Mukoko, herself, was a victim of unlawful arrests and abductions in 2008.
“Zimbabwe is a constitutional democracy, which guarantees the right to freedom of expression and this includes the right to express a political opinion in a peaceful manner,” she said. “Citizens also have the right to petition the government or political leaders on any issues affecting them including demanding that the President resign if they have any lawful justification for that demand.”
Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the country’s largest opposition party — the Movement for Democratic Change — agrees that the message coming out of this is that the ruling ZANU-PF will go for broke in the campaign trail ahead of the next election.
“The world must brace for impunity and violence against the innocent of our country,” said Tsvangirai.
Amnesty International has also added its voice, saying the situation in Zimbabwe was “worrying”.
“These charges are designed to stop human rights activism and to punish them for speaking out about the declining human rights situation in Zimbabwe,” said Muleya Mwananyanda, Amnesty International’s deputy director for southern Africa.
But President Mugabe’s government doesn’t appear to care.
Last year, the ZANU-PF leader publicly attacked judges for “reckless” rulings that allowed public protests against his rule, further eroding judicial independence.
He also dismissed a damning report by the ZHRC as “absolutely false” and described its chairperson as “stupid”.
The commission had published a report showing that partisan government officials had denied food aid to opposition supporters. The commission found government had violated rights to equality, non-discrimination, and the right to sufficient food.
President Mugabe’s propagandists are also defending each and every move government has taken, and blaming the victims for inviting trouble for themselves.
Information Communication Technology and Courier Services Minister Supa Mandiwanzira recently said the actions of the State thus far indicated that there was rule of law in Zimbabwe.
“It was very clear that it is very important that the world understands that Zimbabwe is very serious about the rule of law. It doesn’t matter who you are, whether you are a politician, a traditional leader, a businessman or a church leader, if you break the law, it will take its course,” he said.

Current account deficit to narrow, says BMI

Source: Current account deficit to narrow, says BMI | The Financial Gazette February 16, 2017

A LONDON–BASED research firm has predicted an improvement in the country’s current account deficit this year, forecasting a surge in export earnings during the calendar and an improved liquidity position following major monetary reforms that ushered in a new currency in the country.
BMI Research said economic growth, which will ride on mineral and tobacco exports, should still be augmented by “painful” reforms to stem a huge import bill estimated to be draining US$7 billion annually.
The current account deficit is estimated at about US$3 billion, which means that the country is sitting on an unhealthy macro-economic situation whereby the value of imports is greater than exports.
In the report, BMI projected that the current account deficit would drop to 5,6 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) this year, before declining further to 5,4 percent in 2018.
Zimbabwe’s GDP is estimated at about US$14 billion.
The current account deficit averaged 14,8 percent of GDP between 2011 and 2016.
This figure is higher than the Southern African Development Community’s nine percent benchmark.
“An increase in export revenues will alleviate some of the pressures on the Zimbabwean economy over 2017, as rising tobacco prices and production go some way towards addressing the shortage of hard currency that has constrained economic growth over the past two years,” BMI said.
“Having been stricken by a severe drought in 2016, we believe harvests of Zimbabwe’s main export, tobacco, will improve over the coming months as weather conditions become more conducive to agriculture… (That), coupled with an improvement in the output of other exporting industries, means we expect exports to grow by 3,0 percent in 2017 after several years of decline.
“(But) such is the degree of Zimbabwe’s import-dependence that any increase in hard currency will soon be lost to goods and services brought in from abroad. This will slow the rapid pace at which the current account deficit has narrowed since 2013,” said BMI.  The price of gold, a key source of foreign exchange, is still struggling to reach the US$1 895 per ounce price registered during booms times in 2011.
However, prices, including those of platinum, have recently crawled back, after hitting record lows in 2015.
Local analysts appeared to support BMI’s projections, saying rising export revenues would complement measures announced by government including Statutory Instrument 64 of 2016, which banned the importation of several product lines to reduce the import bill, boost domestic product consumption and stabilise the trade deficit, a major component of the current account.
A Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) Manufacturing Sector Survey said in November that capacity utilisation in the sector rose by 13,1 percentage points to 47,4 percent in 2016, from 34,3 percent in 2015.
It said the recovery had been buoyed by the import ban imposed to protect the beleaguered industrial sector.
“The gains of Statutory Instrument 64 of 2016 are beginning to be realised,” said CZI.
BMI said reforms on the monetary front would also help the country.
In November, the central bank introduced bond notes to alleviate the liquidity crisis.
The domestic currency has slowly evolved into the major medium of exchange in the past three months, although a foreign currency black market to trade the bond notes for greenbacks has emerged.
The stock of United States dollars circulating in the economy has dropped due to lack of confidence in the banking sector as well as imports.
“We see this (introduction of bond notes) as a means of slowly de-dollarising the economy, albeit one that is not officially acknowledged as such, which will likely continue over the coming months. We expect an increasing proportion of the country will begin incorporating the bond notes into their economic activity as they look to reserve hard currency for imported goods. While increasing export revenues in 2017 will offer some relief to the crisis-hit economy, they will offer no escape from the necessary and painful reforms the country will undergo over our short-term outlook,” said BMI.
“Should the government successfully follow through with the de-dollarisation process and establish a weaker exchange rate to the US dollar, then we would likely see some improvement in the country’s exporting sectors and balance of payments dynamics. However, at best, such a process will be both timely and politically expensive as the impact of a weaker exchange rate feeds through into higher prices and decline in living standards that would echo the years building up to hyperinflation in the mid-2000s,” the report added.
BMI’s report is one of only a few research findings that have given Zimbabwe a chance to recover, even as industrial production remains tepid.
In January, the London-based IHS issued said worsening internal fights within the ruling ZANU-PF’s factions, which have been competing to succeed President Robert Mugabe could affect prospects for recovery.
In October last year, the International Monetary Fund said in its World Economic Outlook that Zimbabwe’s economy would register negative growth of -0,3 percent and -2,5 percent in 2016 and 2017, respectively, hence sliding into recession.
A report presented by one of the country’s leading economists, Ashok Chakravat in January painted a gloomy picture of the liquidity crisis, saying Zimbabwe required over US$900 million in cash to curb the liquidity. He also averred that current measures to stem the crisis were inadequate.
Moody’s, the global rating agency, warned at the end of last year that the worsening cash crisis and excessive State borrowing on the domestic market would strain the financial system.

ZESA takes Kembo Mohadi’s firm to court

Source: ZESA takes Kembo Mohadi’s firm to court | The Financial Gazette February 16, 2017

BULAWAYO — The Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC) has taken to court a company believed to belong to State Security Minister Kembo Mohadi for failing to settle more than US$64 000 in unpaid electricity bills.
ZETDC, the power distribution arm of ZESA Holdings, has filed summons at the High Court in Bulawayo under case number HC193/17 and HC170/17 seeking an order that forces the company, Vitafoam CA (Private) Limited to settle a debt of US$64 576,90 accrued over an unspecified period.
The power utility, through its lawyers, Dube Banda, Nzarayapenga and Partners said despite demand, the firm has neglected, failed or refused to pay the money.
In papers before the court citing Vitafoam as the defendant, ZETDC accuses the foam rubber, bed and mattress manufacturing entity of negatively impairing its service delivery to other customers by refusing to settle the bill.
“The defendant is Vitafoam CA (Pvt) Ltd believed to be a company registered in terms of the laws of this country, which carries out its business at Ashton Road, Donnington in Bulawayo.
“The plaintiff, in the course of its business, supplied electricity that was consumed by the defendant under account number 5009278 at its supply point being Ashton Road, Donnington in Bulawayo. The account was going in arrears in the total sum of US$29 172,67 as of 18 July 2016,” said ZETDC in its first summons.
The electricity supplier’ lawyers said despite acknowledging the debt, the company has failed to settle it.
ZETDC wants Vitafoam to clear the arrears with interest calculated at a rate of five percent per annum and cost of suit at attorney-client scale.
In another summon filed under case number HC170/17 at the High Court, ZETDC says Mohadi’s firm owes it US$35 404,23 being arrears for electricity supplied at Vitafoam’s other branch situated at Number 17 Liverpool Road, Donnington under account number 5009273.
Vitafoam is still to enter an appearance to defend the summons.
Vitafoam, a formerly foreign-owned entity, was put under liquidation in 2006 but resumed operations in 2010 under a new consortium of local businesspeople who included State Security Minister Mohadi. Just like all other companies operating in the country, Vitaform is struggling to meet its obligations.
Workers who spoke to the Financial Gazette on condition of anonymity, said the company was currently facing viability problems and struggling to pay workers’ salaries and utility bills.
“The situation at Vitafoam is not good. Things are terribly bad and we haven’t been paid our salaries in months and some of my colleagues have since left out of frustration and they are yet to receive their money,” said one worker.
In 2015, the company nearly had its property attached after one of its former employees won a case in which he demanded US$37 314 for his unfair dismissal from work.
During its peak, the company used to export its products to neighbouring countries.

Tomana tribunal completes probe

Source: Tomana tribunal completes probe | The Herald February 16, 2017

Lloyd Gumbo Senior Reporter
The tribunal set up by President Mugabe to probe the suitability of suspended Prosecutor-General, Mr Johannes Tomana, has completed gathering submissions from all witnesses, with the committee now working with set time frames.

Secretary for Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Mrs Virginia Mabhiza said yesterday that the committee had completed hearing evidence on February 8.

She said the Defence Counsel submitted its preliminary submissions to the tribunal on Monday.

“This will be followed by submissions in both the preliminary submissions and the main issues by the evidence leader,” said Mrs Mabhiza. “Thereafter, a response on the main submissions by the defence counsel shall be done on February 24. “Oral submissions by both parties are expected to be tabled before the tribunal on February 24. Subsequently, the tribunal will draft a report on its findings to His Excellency, President Mugabe, which are expected by the end of March 2017.”

Mr Tomana faced a slew of allegations ranging from criminal abuse of office and gross incompetence.

At least 23 witnesses, including Mr Tomana, testified before the tribunal.

It is understood that some of the witnesses who testified before the tribunal were Deputy Prosecutor-General Mrs Florence Ziyambi, senior prosecutors in the Prosecutor-General’s Office and others who left Government service for private practice

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 Mr 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 in a rape case involving incarcerated for Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe official Munyaradzi Kereke.

The tribunal seeks to establish whether or not Tomana was not only in contempt of court and in violation of the oath of office and the constitution by refusing or failing to obey the court orders.

The tribunal is made up of retired judge Justice Moses Chinhengo, University of Zimbabwe law lecturer, Mr Emmanuel Magade and lawyer, Ms Melania Matshiya.

Mutasa’s assets attached

Source: Mutasa’s assets attached | The Herald February 16, 2017

Daniel Nemukuyu Senior Court Reporter
The Sheriff of the High Court yesterday towed away a Range Rover Sport vehicle belonging to politician Didymus Mutasa and an assortment of other movable property for auctioning to recover a $26 900 debt.

Mutasa, the former zanu-pf secretary for Administration, owes Nyakutombwa Mugabe Legal Counsel $26 900 in outstanding legal fees.

The fees accrued when the politician engaged the lawyers to fight his legal battles against zanu-pf in 2015.

A bid by Mutasa to stop the removal of the property from his Umwinsdale house through an urgent interdict proved academic because the Sheriff had already taken the movables.

Mutasa, through his new lawyers, Mwonzora and Associates, filed an urgent chamber application for stay of execution, together with another court application for rescission of judgment at the High Court. He argued that he was never served with the order compelling him to pay the debt and that the billing by the lawyers was unreasonable.

It is Mutasa’s argument that the bill in question was never taxed, neither was it calculated in terms of the Law Society General Tariff of 2011.

The applications are still pending, but the property was moved to LM Auctions yard in Southerton.

Household goods under attachment included: Three sets of leather sofas, dining table and eight chairs, two fridges, a coffee table and stools, two water tanks, microwave, carpets, television stands, Kipor generator, DStv decoder, DVD player and two flower pots.

Last year, the High Court ordered Mutasa to pay Nyakutombwa Mugabe Legal Counsel outstanding legal fees to the tune of $26 900.

Efforts to make him pay the debt hit a brickwall and the lawyers this month instructed the Sheriff to attach the property. Mutasa, together with Rugare Gumbo and Temba Mliswa, were in 2015 expelled from zanu-pf for allegedly trying to topple President Mugabe.

Mutasa and Gumbo are now with a new political outfit Zimbabwe People First, while Mliswa is now legislator for Norton on an independent candidate ticket. The trio engaged the services of Nyakutombwa Mugabe Legal Counsel to fight the expulsion.

They also sought to nullify the amendment made to the revolutionary party’s constitution at the 2014 people’s congress.

After filing several applications, the trio later chickened out and dropped the challenge.

Gumbo and Mliswa are contesting the claim and their matter is yet to be heard at the High Court.

In coming up with the bill, the law firm charged the trio for all opted services rendered and for all court attendances in terms of the Law Society of Zimbabwe General Tariff of 2011.

Inflation hits two-year high but still negative

Source: Inflation hits two-year high but still negative | The Herald February 16, 2017

Zimbabwe’s inflation continued on its upward trend to reach its highest level in more than 24 months in January although is still negative according to data released yesterday by Zimstat, as consumers spent more for bread, cereal, fish, sea food, oils and fats and other products.

“The year-on-year inflation rate for the month of January 2017 stood at -0,65 percent, gaining 0,28 percentage points on the December 2016 rate of -0,93 percent”, said the Agency.

Inflation last averaged -0,2 percent in 2014 and has been on an upward spiral since July 2016 when it recorded a relatively lower rate of -1,6 percent.

Prices of bread and cereals, which have a weight of 10,98 percent to the total consumer price index, surged by 1,86 percent. Fish and sea food prices also rose by 1,1 percent.

“The month-on-month inflation rate in January 2017 was 0,23 percent gaining 0,18 percentage points on the December 2016 rate of 0,06 percent”, said Zimstat.

Costs of goods and services have also been rising over the past few months as a result of increased greenback shortages which forced some economic agents to resort to the black market where they pay a premium of up to 25 percent to get the erratic US dollars. The premium is then passed to the final consumer, which increases the general price level.

Gas prices however took a -9,17 percent dip, with actual rental for housing falling by -6,39 percent, while the prices of fruit also fell by -7,97 percent.

As the Government is targeting to increase aggregate production in the economy this year, driven by the 2017 National Budget theme — “Pushing production frontiers across all sectors of the economy” — it is important that more concrete supply side interventions be put in place to abet the operations of productive sectors.

The country’s month-on-month food and non-alcoholic beverages inflation rate also significantly jumped up to 0,80 percent in January 2017, gaining by 0,42 percent on the December 2016 rate of 0,38 percent. — Wires.

Zanu-PF dissolves Masvingo executive

Source: Zanu-PF dissolves Masvingo executive | The Herald February 16, 2017

Tendai Mugabe Senior Reporter—
Zanu-PF has dissolved its Masvingo provincial executive and called for fresh elections after a third of its members left their positions for various reasons. This comes in the wake of a growing call for fresh polls in other provinces where either provincial chairpersons were unilaterally imposed by the national leadership or co-opted without input from the leadership of the respective provinces.

The party’s constitution provides for co-option of leaders in any position, but that should be done by the executive of that particular organ. Addressing journalists after the party’s first Politburo meeting for 2017 which becomes its 306th ordinary session, Zanu-PF secretary for Administration Cde Ignatius Chombo said fresh polls were due in Masvingo.

This followed confusion that marred the province where Cde Ezra Chadzamira was co-opted recently as the substantive chairman taking over from Cde Amasa Nhenjana who was acting.

Cde Chombo said the Politburo resolution sets aside the decision that was taken by the provincial leadership. “The Masvingo provincial executive is also going to hold elections for the provincial executive because more than one third of the members have left the executive,” he said.

“The constitution requires that if more than one third of the members have left, you need to hold fresh elections.”
Cde Chombo said various reports were tabled touching on a number of issues.

First was a report he presented in his capacity as secretary for administration focusing on the post-mortem for the party’s 16th National People’s Conference held in Masvingo last year.

Cde Chombo said he reported that the conference was a resounding success and was attended by 5 017 delegates and a further 4 510 invited guests, journalists and service staff. He said the party’s Masvingo leadership expressed their gratitude for the facelift given to Masvingo town in general and Masvingo showgrounds in particular by Zanu-PF.

The second report, Cde Chombo said, came from Dr Joseph Made focusing on the state of agriculture in the country. “The Minister of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Cde Joseph Made updated the Politburo on the state of agriculture,” he said.

“He reported that generally that this was a good season with most crops doing well including cotton which has been resuscitated under the Presidential Inputs Scheme. He explained that this was one of the best seasons in recent times and all indications were that there will be a bumper harvest.

“The winter crops were also expected to do even better as most dams had now overflown.”

Cde Chombo said his commissariat counterpart Cde Saviour Kasukuwere reported on the recent victory by Zanu-PF in the Bikita West by-election and that preparations were already in full swing for the Mwenezi East by-election where the revolutionary party will be represented by Cde Joosbi Omar.

Cde Chombo said Cde Kasukuwere also presented a roadmap for the 2018 harmonised elections. “Furthermore, the secretary for commissariat presented to the Politburo a roadmap for the 2018 general elections,” he said.

“The roadmap gives the party guidance on the programmes and activities that Zanu-PF should follow to guarantee us victory come 2018.”

Cde Chombo continued: “The secretary for youth, Cde Kudzanai Chipanga reported to the Politburo that preparations for the 21st February Movement celebrations, which are going to be held on the 25th of February 2017 at Matopos in Matabeleland South, are now at an advanced stage and will be ready to host His Excellency the President and First Secretary Cde R.G Mugabe.

“As you are aware, the 21st February Movement celebrations are held to honour the President as he celebrates his 93rd birthday and a record 200 000 people are expected to attend.”

In his opening remarks, Cde Chombo said, President Mugabe urged party members to start to work towards the 2018 harmonised elections. He said the President highlighted that the farming season was promising a bumper harvest adding that would contribute significantly to the national economy.

“The President welcomed members to the first Politburo of the year. He stated that the 2017/2018 agricultural season had started off with good rains and that the country anticipated a good harvest,” he said.

“Furthermore, since our economy is agro-based, a good agricultural season will impact positively on the economy. Commenting on the 2018 harmonised elections, the President advised members to attune their minds, attitudes and emotions to focus on unity so as to win the 2018 harmonised elections.

“His Excellency, the President informed members that the late Vice President Simon Vengesai Muzenda left a legacy of success and victory in all elections thus it’s our duty to maintain that success story to honour his legacy.”

He said Zanu-PF had nothing to do with the challenges facing opposition parties adding that they were relegated to the margins of national politics by Zimbabweans.

Bhasikiti gets boost to contest Mwenezi seat

FORMER Masvingo Provincial Affairs minister Kudakwashe Bhasikiti’s bid to contest the upcoming Mwenezi East parliamentary by-election on a Zimbabwe People First (ZimPF) ticket got a boost yesterday after the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) said it would not interfere in the internal squabbles currently rocking the Joice Mujuru-led party.

Source: Bhasikiti gets boost to contest Mwenezi seat – NewsDay Zimbabwe February 16, 2017

BY NQOBANI NDLOVU/ BLESSED MHLANGA

Bhasikiti is among six other ZimPF founding members, who were fired from the party last week on allegations of being Zanu PF agents. The group has, however, remained defiant, claiming they were bona fide ZimPF members, with the former minister saying he would contest the Mwenezi East by-election as the party’s candidate.

Zec chairperson, Justice Rita Makarau, said Bhasikiti could be considered as a ZimPF candidate as long as he provides the required supporting documents.

“We have no mandate to deal with conflicts in political parties. Zec does not register political parties, all we do is that when we call for nominations for an election, we expect political parties to come forward and if they meet the legal requirements, they will be registered to participate in the polls,” she said.

Last week, Mujuru told supporters in Masvingo that the party will not be taking part in any by-elections after it suffered an embarrassing defeat in the Bikita West by-election.

“The blanket statement is that we will not be participating in any by-elections because our people have said no to by-elections. If you see anyone participating in by-elections, they are not from ZimPF,” she said.

This came as newly-launched opposition party, Economic Reform Assembly (ERA), has declared its intention to participate in the upcoming by-election to test the country’s electoral playing field ahead of next year’s general elections.

ERA, which is led by South African-based Zimbabwean activist, Amos Dangwa, said they were yet to identify a suitable candidate to contest the by-election slated for April 8.

The ruling Zanu PF has also not yet announced its candidate.

ERA’s interim organising secretary, Tineyi Wande, said the party was confident of posting respectable votes, despite the opposition party being virtually unknown.

“Currently, we are in the process of identifying a candidate, who is going to represent us in the by-election. We have done our homework and we are confident that our party will be victorious in the by-election,” he said.

The Mwenezi East seat fell vacant following the death of Zanu PF legislator, Joshua Moyo, in December last year.

Wande said the Bulawayo-based opposition party promises improved health, among other socio-economic activities.

“We are also committed to the creation of a non-racist, non-tribal nation with no tolerance of any form of discrimination. We also want to develop agriculture, industrial and mining sectors in order to enhance productivity levels and reduce unemployment among Zimbabweans,” he said

“Our main thrust is to create a sustainable economic well-being and quality of life for all Zimbabweans. As ERA, we believe political ideology does not benefit anyone at all. It’s sad that Zimbabwe is one of the richest countries in the world but our people continue to suffer.”

Acting PG defies Justice Chitapi’s directive

HIGH Court judge, Justice Tawanda Chitapi yesterday said acting Prosecutor-General (PG) Ray Goba should not cry foul if an adverse decision is made against him following his refusal to appear before the judge as directed.

Source: Acting PG defies Justice Chitapi’s directive – NewsDay Zimbabwe February 16, 2017

BY CHARLES LAITON

Justice Chitapi on Tuesday directed State representative in the ongoing trial of suspended PG Johannes Tomana, Jonathan Chingwinyiso, to ask Goba to appear in court to explain a letter he had written to the Judge President, Justice George Chiweshe.

Goba sought Justice Chiweshe’s intervention in his quest to force Justice Chitapi to recuse himself from handling Tomana’s trial, arguing the judge, at one point, worked with the accused at the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).

The letter prompted Justice Chitapi to call Goba to appear in person and clarify his position, but the latter added insult to injury by citing Justice Chitapi as a respondent in another application seeking his recusal.

“Where a party is granted an opportunity to come and explain itself against allegations made, but wilfully, knowingly and intentionally decides not to do so, it must not cry foul if an adverse decision is made against it,” Justice Chitapi said addressing Chingwinyiso.

“I simply wanted him (Goba) to address such issues that what is it he finds offensive about calling Tomana, Prosecutor General.”

Prior to postponing the matter indefinitely, Justice Chitapi said he was not pleased that the NPA was trying to involve him in the politics of the organisation.

In response to calls inviting him (Goba) to appear in court, the acting PG reportedly wrote an affidavit for consideration and if the judge was not satisfied with the contents, he could issue a citation subpoenaing him to attend.

Govt takes over procurement of BVR kits

Government has, in a last-minute move, ditched the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in the procurement of biometric voters’ roll (BVR) kits, preferring to do this on its own instead of through the UN agency.

Source: Govt takes over procurement of BVR kits – NewsDay Zimbabwe February 16, 2017

BY BLESSED MHLANGA/KENNETH NYANGANI

The move is likely to outrage opposition parties and leaders, who are calling for electoral reforms, among them MDC-T president, Morgan Tsvangirai, who was yesterday pinning hopes of an improved playing field on a UNDP-facilitated BVR.

The cash-strapped government had failed to fund the procurement of the kits, prompting UNDP to step in.

Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) chairperson, Justice Rita Makarau, yesterday said after the tendering process held by UNDP, the government had decided that it would now buy the kits using its own resources.

“Government has come on board and will fund the acquisition. They came and decided that they will now buy the kits.

We don’t know why they came in now, you will have to ask them. But we are happy that the government is picking the tab because elections are supposed to be funded by the government,” she said.

Makarau said the tendering process had been handled by UNDP on their e-platform from Copenhagen, Denmark, and 12 companies had expressed interest in supplying the kits, of which, seven failed to qualify on technical reasons.

“Of the five, three of the lowest bids will be invited to Zimbabwe for evaluation and site validation tests.

Thereafter, one supplier will be chosen,” she said.

Zec said it would continue to partner with UNDP for the exercise, which needs almost $50 million to complete.

The $50 million will cover the voter registration process up to the production of the final voters’ roll.

If all things go according to plan, Zec expects to have completed all processes and be ready for elections by November 2017.

Meanwhile, earlier, Tsvangirai said his party was still worried about the possibility of vote-rigging by Zanu PF.
Addressing journalists in Mutare, Tsvangirai said UNDP was set to provide $200 million for the BVR kits.

“People are concerned with the endorsement that comes from Sadc and the African Union when the elections are not free and fair. So the issue of monitoring the election is very critical,” he said.

“We want to ensure the involvement of UN. They are going to spend $200 million towards buying of biometric equipment. People are concerned with the potential for rigging, especially that we are going to introduce the new electoral system, biometric, which takes a picture and fingerprints. People want to know if it is an improvement from past electoral practices.”

Tsvangirai was touring Manicaland to meet traditional leaders and MDC-T officials to consult them on the proposed coalition with other opposition parties.

Sweden seeks to boost Zim investment

Source: Sweden seeks to boost Zim investment – DailyNews Live

Gift Phiri      15 February 2017

HARARE – Sweden’s new ambassador to Zimbabwe, Sofia Calltorp, has said she
would immediately start working to restart stalled investment here and
resume exports from the southern African country that plummeted after the
controversial land grab programme.

Welcoming pledges from President Robert Mugabe for improved cooperation
after presenting her credentials at the State House on February 9,
Calltorp – who has great experience from both the political arena as well
as from the humanitarian field – said she also hoped for a “new phase of
cooperation”, and that Zimbabwe’s exports of clothing and textiles to
Sweden,  currently averaging a meagre $15 000 per annum, could be raised.

Mugabe struck a conciliatory tone after accepting Calltorp’s Letter of
Credence from Prime Minister Stefan Lo:fven – leader of the Swedish Social
Democratic Party who is also the head of government in Stockholm.

Zimbabwe desperately needs to revive manufacturing output and exports to
stave off an economic collapse. The loss of export earnings has caused
Zimbabwe’s gross domestic product to shrink by almost a third.

“Several big Swedish companies are already present in Zimbabwe and we will
continue to encourage Swedish investors to engage with the Zimbabwean
market – especially with the increasing opportunities arising within the
mining and agricultural sector,” Calltorp said referring to Zimbabwe’s top
forex earners.

“We will together with Open Trade Gate Sweden (OTGS) similarly continue to
assist Zimbabwean producers and manufacturers that are keen to export to
Sweden or to partner up with Swedish companies.”

OTGS provides requisite market intelligence to Zimbabwean companies,
particularly those with the potential as well as the capacity to export to
Sweden and the European Union (EU).

ZimTrade, in collaboration OTGS and the Embassy of Sweden in Zimbabwe,
will host a seminar on `How to Export to Sweden’ at the Holiday Inn in
Bulawayo today where participants from the clothing, textiles as well as
leather sector are expected to attend.

This session follows a similar seminar held in Harare in September last
year.

The mother of two said Sweden’s support to the Zimbabwean people dates
back to the liberation struggle and was keen to see the continuous
development of Zimbabwe.

She said she was “looking forward to sustain and strengthen the
longstanding relationship between Zimbabwe and Sweden.”

Sweden’s commitment to Zimbabwe was also reflected in its development
cooperation with Zimbabwe.

Each year Sweden provides $20-25 million in development assistance to the
country via the United Nations (UN) and civil society.

“Sweden primarily supports initiatives that enhance gender equality,
respect for rule of law and human rights, but also efforts that ensure
that everyone has access to professional health services.

“Lastly, Sweden will provide more support to climate and environment
programmes in the coming years,” she said.

Zimbabwe, led by 92-year-old Mugabe, has been subject to a series of
restrictions, including an arms embargo and economic sanctions, imposed by
the EU and the United States. But the EU has suspended sanctions against
scores of Zimbabweans after the southern African country approved a new
Constitution that curbed presidential powers in 2013.

The move underlines the growing belief in Brussels that Zimbabwe is
pressing ahead with democratic reforms.

ZSE should put its house in order

Source: ZSE should put its house in order | The Financial Gazette February 16, 2017

By Allen Choruma

THE Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) should put its house in order to restore public and investor confidence in the integrity of capital markets in Zimbabwe. This call comes in the wake of the recent debacle over the Econet US$130 million rights issue and other issuer debacles that have preceded it where the ZSE has simply bungled. The image of the ZSE is “in tatters” and needs urgent mending.
The Econet case clearly shows that the ZSE does not learn from its previous mistakes and continues with its un-procedural, aggressive and combative approach towards issuers (listed companies).This course has not taken the ZSE anywhere in the past save to embarrass itself in courts and consequently eroding investor confidence in the ZSE.
The Econet debacle has also shown that all is not well in the ZSE boardroom. The suspension last week of the ZSE chief executive officer (CEO), Alban Chirume, pending investigations, which some market analysts felt was long overdue anyway, shows that there are clear fissures at the ZSE, which can no longer be concealed. The ZSE CEO has been reported as having a “tendency to overrule the regulator (Securities and Exchange Commission Zimbabwe (SECZ) and disregard the ZSE Board directives”.
The ZSE’s ineptitude as illustrated in the Econet rights issue debacle is happening at a time when the country is seeking both local and Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in our capital markets.
Certainly such actions from the ZSE do not help that cause. It is common knowledge that Investors together with their capital shy away from capital markets that are not well regulated or where they feel that their investments are not secure due to poor regulation.
The ZSE’s internal politics and fights with issuers are simply unwarranted and frustrate listed companies from carrying out expansion projects. This is bluntly sabotage to economic growth.
Econet rights issue
Last week there was drama in the media over the Econet rights issue. Econet is seeking to raise US$130 million from its shareholders to retire its offshore debt. ZSE Board instructed Econet not to proceed with the Extra-ordinary General Meeting (EGM) of shareholders until it (Econet) had clarified certain issues raised by the ZSE. Econet issued a public statement that it would proceed with the EGM notwithstanding the ZSE Board directive to stop it. Econet argued that the ZSE board had no jurisdiction to stop the EGM as it had received prior approval from the ZSE through a letter(it published in the media) signed by Chirume.
The ZSE board, however, argued that the approval was un-procedural and had not been sanctioned by the ZSE board.
The ZSE was left with “an egg in its face” after Econet blatantly disregarded the ZSE directive and proceeded to convene its EGM. On February 3, 2017,Econet shareholders met and the business of the day was conducted as per the circular to shareholders. The $130 million rights issue was approved by shareholders.

Precedence
Apart from bungling the Econet rights issue, the ZSE in the past has been embroiled in unnecessary public fights and legal battles with issuers and stock brokers.
Some examples are:
• Un-procedural suspension of trading in Meikles Holdings Limited shares.
• CFI Holdings: dispute over disposal of Langford Estates by CFI. Tug of war on-going involving CFI and Fidelity Life (dispute also sucked in NASA and ZIMRE is yet to be resolved by regulators (SECZ and ZSE).
• ISB and EFE Securities cases which spilled into the courts.
The Financial Gazette wrote a very interesting story recently entitled: “Capital market bosses sleep on duty”. This article clearly shows that all is not well in the manner in which capital markets are being regulated in Zimbabwe, particularly at the ZSE.
Impact
Capital markets are very sensitive to regulatory interventions and other movements in the economy. The manner in which regulators of capital markets conduct themselves towards market players can make or break the markets.
Here are some of the negative impacts on poor regulation of capital markets:
• Erosion of investor confidence in the integrity of capital markets.
• Sends bad signals on security of investments.
• Shunning of capital markets by both local and foreign investors.
• Weakens attraction of FDI (needed to spur economic growth).
• Share price volatility (see Econet share illustration below) resulting in erosion of value.
• Market crashes (collapse).
The Econet rights issue debacle impacted negatively on the Econet share price.
The Econet stock for example, is reported to have lost 40 percent of its value over a three-week period preceding the rights issue EGM that was held on February 3, 2017. Econet share closed at US$0,3005 on January 13, 2017 and a market capitalisation of US$492 830 000. On February 3 (date of Econet EGM), the share closed at US$0,1798 and a market capitalisation of US$294 880 000, representing a decline of 40,17 percent in three weeks!
Leadership
The above events have shown the ineptitude of the ZSE management in effectively managing the exchange. There is also clearly lack of coordination and communication between the ZSE CEO and the board itself. Fingers have been pointed on the ZSE CEO’s style of management which has been described as bullish. Stock Brokers have in the past expressed their reservations in the manner the ZSE CEO conducts business at the bourse. Previous boards at the ZSE failed to reign in the ZSE CEO over alleged “overruling of the board directives”.
It is therefore not surprising that the current ZSE board has taken the bull by the horns and suspended its CEO last week pending investigations into his conduct.
In a statement published in The Herald, May 3, 2017, the ZSE board was quoted as saying the “investigations into the conduct of its CEO Alban Chirume will not be restricted to the Econet Wireless Zimbabwe debacle but will spread into other un-procedural and unethical conduct allegedly committed by him over a period of time”.
These allegations bring to question the calibre of leadership at the helm of the ZSE.
If we recall the same ZSE CEO has in the recent past been embroiled in a messy divorce which publicly spilled into the courts and also caught attention of the media and was extensively covered by the H Metro, a daily tabloid in Zimbabwe.
Unless there is total change of leadership at the ZSE, we will continue to experience turmoil at the exchange as has been shown by the manner the ZSE handled the Econet rights issue and other cases prior to this.
It’s time that the SECZ tightens its regulatory oversight functions over the ZSE. The allegations made by Econet recently through statements published in the media should not be ignored as they raise numerous issues in the manner the ZSE is managed and conducts its business.
The ZSE board,on a positive note, looks like its keen to put its house in order as shown by the suspension of CEO Alban Chirume, pending investigations into his conduct. Putting the house in order is necessary to build public confidence in the local bourse as well as attract new investments. The ZSE, however, needs to improve on its public relations with the issuers and the investing public to win their confidence. These measures are critical for the growth of the Zimbabwean economy.
Allen Choruma can be contacted on e mail: allenc17@juno.com

RBZ moves on foreign payments delays

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) says a $70 million nostro stabilisation facility would be disbursed at the end of the month, to deal with current delays in foreign payments, among a raft of measures to stabilise the economy.

Source: RBZ moves on foreign payments delays – NewsDay Zimbabwe February 16, 2017

BY NDAMU SANDU

In his monetary policy statement released yesterday, RBZ governor, John Mangudya said the stabilisation facility would “augment the foreign exchange resources in the banks’ nostro accounts, whilst awaiting the opening of the tobacco and cotton selling season”.

“Whilst the country has $250 million in the nostro accounts and $120 million in physical cash at banks, the bank, using the model, estimates that there is around $600 million circulating in the economy,” he said.

“The main reason behind the substantial amount of cash circulating in the economy includes the treatment of foreign currency as a store of value, low business sentiment or confidence within the economy, high informalisation and financial exclusion.”

The facility comes at a time companies have been struggling to make foreign currency payments for raw materials due to the depletion of the nostro accounts.

Mangudya directed banks to reduce lending rates to not more than 12% per annum with effect from April 1 to support the productive sectors of the economy.

“… all banking institutions are required to ensure that lending interest rates should not exceed 12% per annum and that bank charges that include application fees, facility fees and administration fee, should not exceed 3%,” he said.

Mangudya directed banks to submit, by the end of the month, a detailed report indicating their current level of charges for account maintenance and ledger fees as at December 31, 2016, adding that the apex bank would continue to monitor bank charges to ensure access to affordable banking services and at the same time promote the use of plastic money.

He prescribed that all banks have to review interest paid on deposits and to submit a report to the RBZ detailing their deposit profiles and proposed interest rates on deposits to promote a savings culture. This has to be done by March 31.

The central bank chief implored RBZ to preserve foreign exchange in nostro accounts by enforcing market and institutional discipline and domesticating the settlement of local card transactions on international card switches.

The measure, Mangudya said, has been necessitated by the need to ensure that nostro accounts are used for foreign payments and that domestic transactions are settled locally through platforms such as RTGS, ZimSwitch, Visa, MasterCard, local mobile banking and/or cash and bond notes.

“Utilising nostro accounts to settle domestic transactions put unnecessary pressure on the country’s foreign exchange reserves that should ideally be used for international or offshore payments,” he said adding that $206, million for card and DStv transactions paid through the nostro accounts between July-December 2016.

“Spending more foreign exchange on DStv subscriptions than on raw materials to produce cooking oil, for example, is not only counterproductive but also illogical,” he said.

Mangudya said his measures were necessary as “the country needs to pursue a new economic development model that is anchored on an export- led growth strategy to balance exports and imports, while simultaneously addressing the structural rigidities besetting the economy in order to expand output”.

Indian businesses set terms for investments

Indian businesses need to have confidence in the market in long term projects if they are to invest in Zimbabwe, the Asian giant’s National Small Industries Corporation Limited (NSIC) has said.

Source: Indian businesses set terms for investments – NewsDay Zimbabwe February 16, 2017

BY TATIRA ZWINOIRA

NSIC chairperson, Ravindra Nath told NewsDay on the sidelines of the official proceedings after the visiting Indian business delegation met local businesses that collaborative ventures depended on policies, the ease of doing business and terms of agreements.

“We need to build confidence amongst the two sides such as the ease of doing business, the laws that will be prevailing and how collaborative ventures could be. The projects should be good, viable and be something that is long lasting,” he said.

“Indian businessmen are overreaching overseas. I believe that the world is becoming a global village, so collaborations are the call of the times and I am sure they will last. We need to create more enterprises and that is where the concept of the incubation of entrepreneurship development lies.”

Nath said Indian businessmen wanted viability in projects before investing.

NSIC is a branch of the Indian ministry of Small-to-Medium Enterprises.

The call by Indian businesses comes as the Zimbabwe Investment Authority reported foreign direct investment from India to be just under $60 million in 2016 up from $10 million in the previous year.

The visiting delegation had representatives from 16 companies drawn from technology, manufacturing, textiles, handicrafts, meat, agriculture and electronic small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) sectors among others.

The delegation is currently engaging local businesses in meetings that are currently underway and expected to end on Saturday.

NSIC engaged the Zimbabwe India Chamber of Commerce (ZICC) and Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce through an initiative spearheaded by the Indian embassy in Zimbabwe to help local businesses collaborate with Indian SMEs.

ZICC chairperson, Pradeep Varyani told the delegation that they would feel more comfortable investing, staying and spending their money in Zimbabwe if they avoided following the “negative” media reviews.

Originally, 33 Indian SME businesses were expected into the country. However, 17 failed to make it after representatives faced challenges in processing visas to visit Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe Investment Authority (ZIA) chief executive officer, Richard Mbaiwa said the ease of doing business was a very topical issue to investors.

“It has been something the ZIA and the government of Zimbabwe have been seized with in the last couple of years to ensure that we improve the ease of doing business. I think this is an issue that investors are concerned about,” he said. “We got a lot of players in the SME sector and we hope that these players can discuss and come to some deals with the visiting delegation from India.”

Indian ambassador to Zimbabwe, Rungsung Masakui, told NewsDay he had been working hard to improve bilateral trade and Indian investments into the country.

A memorandum of understanding agreement between the involving the NSIC and local chambers of commerce is expected to be signed today.

Mbaiwa said it was important to have these agreements as a “guideline to investment projects”.

Last year, SMEs contributed about 37,54% or $704,62 billion to the Indian gross domestic product.

Foreign suppliers add premium on raw materials

FOREIGN suppliers are now charging local businesses and manufacturers premiums on bank transfers in a sign that they have lost confidence in local banks.

Source: Foreign suppliers add premium on raw materials – NewsDay Zimbabwe February 16, 2017

BY TATIRA ZWINOIRA

A cash premium is the mark up on top of the amount of cash that is transferred in a transaction through the real time gross settlement (RTGS) system.

A company involved in solar installations yesterday told NewsDay on the sidelines of a meeting with the visiting Indian business delegation that suppliers “are no longer just accepting payments for goods that they purchased from us, but rather including a premium on top of the transfers”.

“Some of the reasons they gave are that transfers from Zimbabwean banks could no longer be trusted, due to funds in the respective bank’s nostro accounts being low. As such, they told us that they were facing delays in getting their funds on time,” the executive said.

“The suppliers told us by charging a premium on the transfers they were insuring that they were not losing value for wares as they only wanted to deal with foreign currency. Also, the premium was to act as a measure to counteract bond notes.”

However, companies are not affected by accounts, which have bond notes debited to them, if they receive bank transfers as it will be sent to them as United States dollars.

Sources say both China and India foreign suppliers are the ones particularly demanding United States dollars, as they are the second and third sources of foreign raw materials, respectively.

In recent weeks, economists have highlighted that deposits were now a local currency, as they were no longer equal to the equivalent in hard cash due to the dollar being over-valued.

Zimdef boss off remand

ZIMBABWE Manpower Development Fund (Zimdef) finance director, Nicholus Mapute, was yesterday placed off remand in a fraud case where he was jointly charged with Higher Education minister Jonathan Moyo and his deputy, Godfrey Gandawa.

Source: Zimdef boss off remand – NewsDay Zimbabwe February 16, 2017

BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE

Mapute’s lawyer, Pisirayi Kwenda, argued that his client could not continue to be kept on remand when his co-accused, Moyo, had not yet been remanded over the same matter.

“It is common knowledge that Moyo was not brought before this court for remand purpose because the State was interjected by the Constitutional Court (ConCourt) and it is not known when will they appear in court on trial for the charges levelled against them,” he said.

“The State is unable to proceed with the case until the ruling by the ConCourt, which we do not know its determination.”

Magistrate, Elisha Singano, removed Mapute from remand, saying the State could pursue the matter by way of fresh summons after the ConCourt has ruled on the two applications filed by Moyo and Gandawa challenging the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc)’s arresting powers.

Recently, Malvern Chimutashu, who was alleged to have tried to facilitate the withdrawal of the same case after being arrested in a trap by Zacc officials, was also removed from remand.

War vets back Gumbo, Mutasa

EMBATTLED Zimbabwe People First (ZimPF) leader, Joice Mujuru, yesterday suffered yet another setback in her fight to control the opposition party after war veterans rallied behind “expelled” founding members, Rugare Gumbo and Didymus Mutasa (pictured), and appeared to endorse them as the bona fide leaders.

Source: War vets back Gumbo, Mutasa – NewsDay Zimbabwe February 16, 2017

BY OBEY MANAYITI

Top executives of the Christopher Mutsvangwa-led Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association, Victor Matemadanda (secretary-general) and Douglas Mahiya (spokesperson), were part of a ZimPF steering committee meeting called by Gumbo and Mutasa in Harare to announce a new party leadership following their break-up with Mujuru last week.

Addressing journalists at the ZimPF headquarters yesterday, Gumbo said he would, for now, co-lead the party with Mutasa until a substantive president has been selected at an elective convention to be held “in due course”.

“Party elders, founding members and the steering committee will in due course meet to choose an interim president, who will lead the party pending an elective convention,” he said.

“Meanwhile, the steering committee, together with Mutasa and Gumbo, are the caretaker leaders of ZimPF.

“We are going to consult extensively from the members of the steering committee and the founders of the party to find what their opinion is regarding leadership.

“So, we cannot give a definite date, but we are saying, any time after the end of February, we should be able to have an answer.”

Matemadanda said they were attending the meeting in solidarity with their fellow liberation war comrades.

“We didn’t come here as members of People First, but we came here as comrades, who received information that other comrades are meeting here,” he said.

“Our membership and mobilisation will support a candidate, who has respect for our founding principles. We are not here to seek for membership or anything, except that, as comrades, there will be a time when we are going to meet as the veterans of the struggle.

“We will count each other, those who are with us and those that are not with us. We will ask what is meant by getting lost, because we were taught that the majority is the superior to the minority. When the minority remains with the other side (Zanu PF) and the majority is outside, what do you call that?”

Mahiya accused President Robert Mugabe of manipulating war veterans by using them for campaign purposes and dumping them afterwards.

“There is no one who can say I was not used at Shake-Shake (Zanu PF headquarters). We were all used at different levels and doing different things, but we couldn’t realise it,” he said.

“I have never seen an army general, who will go to war and later fire his troops soon after winning the war to accommodate nonentities like (Zanu PF commissar, Saviour) Kasukuwere. This is manipulative.”

Mutsvangwa, Matemadanda, Mahiya and others were fired from Zanu PF last year on allegations of indiscipline after they openly called for Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa to take over from Mugabe.

Norton’s independent legislator, Temba Mliswa, also attended the meeting in solidarity with the ZimPF elders.

Mujuru last week announced the expulsion of seven ZimPF founders, accusing them of being Zanu PF agents, but they have remained defiant, saying they could not be fired from a party they founded.

Mliswa described Mujuru as unelectable, while urging people to stop idolising political leaders.

“Mujuru was handpicked to be Vice-President. This is why I always ask you why you believe somebody who was handpicked can win elections,” he said.

“That is the danger of Zanu PF today. Mnangagwa was handpicked and (Vice-President Phelekezela) Mphoko was handpicked, so was Mujuru. So you cannot go and get votes out there without winning internal elections. It’s suicidal to have such a person as a substantive president.”

Margaret Dongo, who was also fired alongside Gumbo and Mutasa, took a swipe at Mujuru’s “dictatorial tendencies”, saying ZimPF structures were behind their group.

Gumbo also raised a litany of allegations against Mujuru, including running the party like a personal business, going on foreign trips without briefing her executive, failure to account for party finances, blatant disregard of the constitution, and backbiting, among others.

He also said it was a lie that they were against a coalition with other opposition political parties.

“There has been a deliberate distortion of the position of elders regarding the coalition of opposition forces,” Gumbo said.

“We want to unambiguously state our position regarding the question of coalition.

“We agree with the coalition of all opposition parties. We are for the unity of our people. Faced with a regime that knows no bounds in its quest to remain in power forever, we cannot and should not accept the luxury of being divided.”

He said Mujuru always shunned advice from the party elders, alleging she started plotting to expel them last year, but was blocked by some members of the national executive council.

“Mujuru always wanted the elders removed because they have the courage to speak out whenever she vacillates or goes astray,” Gumbo said.

Parirenyatwa threatens to fire striking doctors

PARIRENYATWA Hospital has threatened to fire striking doctors if they do not report to work today, as the stand-off between the government and medical practitioners intensified yesterday.

Source: Parirenyatwa threatens to fire striking doctors – NewsDay Zimbabwe February 16, 2017

BY PHYLLIS MBANJE

In a statement yesterday, the hospital’s clinical director, Noah Madziva, said the institution will introduce a daily roll call beginning today and those that are not at work will be removed from the duty roaster and will not be paid.

“Therefore, anyone who voluntarily withdraws his or her services will be removed from the duty roaster,” a statement attributed to Madziva read.

“The same will not be allowed to enter the wards or to see any patients until reinstatement upon submission of an application to return to duty.

“It follows that while one is removed from the duty roaster, the same will not receive remuneration accordingly.”
The statement said the roll call will be held at 9am every morning.

“Anyone not available at the time will be deemed not available for service and subject to the above mentioned arrangements,” the statement read.

The doctors’ strike enters its second day today, with the medical practitioners accusing the government of failing to concretise its promise of creating more posts and improving their welfare.

Striking doctors vowed to continue with their industrial action until they are furnished with real dates, timelines and the locations of the posts that Health minister David Parirenyatwa announced had been created.

Parirenyatwa, on Tuesday, said the government had opened up 250 posts for doctors and 2 000 posts for nurses, but did not give further details on how soon this would be implemented.

“In the next two weeks, 120 trained doctors will be rendered jobless as a result of an ill-timed freeze on health sector posts,” the Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors’ Association (ZHDA) said.

“The ministry issued a notice that posts would be created to accommodate the cadres completing internship in the next two weeks. The notice, however, falls short of absolute clarity on when the posts will be availed and an update can only be given by October 14, 2017.

“This arrangement will render our cadres jobless and detached from the payroll for eight months. Revision of this position will definitely unlock avenues of collaborative engagement,” Edgar Munatsi, the ZHDA president, said.

In a statement to its members, ZHDA said the industrial action was deeply anchored on the “unpalatable inability” of the Health ministry to resolve the long-standing issues.

These included that doctors were currently earning around $1,20 per hour as on-call allowances despite an October 2014 agreement between the doctors’ association and the Health minister.

“ZHDA unequivocally reiterates that the agreed minimum of $720 per month be immediately implemented and also the duty-free vehicle policy for health workers,” the association said.

ZHDA said it had been actively engaged in consultations, negotiations and meetings with a view to resolving the current impasse.

“The proposed dates for resolving on-call allowances and duty-free facility are not an accurate reflection of both the urgency, which this matter deserves and the time for which they have been outstanding,” Munatsi said.

ZHDA was yesterday consulting its members on quick ways to resolve the impasse in a manner that causes the least harm to patients and country.

Efforts to get a comment from Parirenyatwa Hospital’s CEO, Thomas Zigora, as well as from Harare Central Hospital were fruitless.

Meanwhile, ZHDA said there was an overwhelming response from government doctors across the country on the call to go on strike.

“Central hospitals such as Mpilo, Parirenyatwa and Harare hospital today literally closed their out-patients’ department and cancelled emergencies. ZHDA deployed a few doctors in casualty and emergency departments to cover for emergency cases,” the association said in a statement.

Mujuru’s bond notes challenge flops

ZIMPF leader Joice Mujuru’s bid to challenge President Robert Mugabe’s powers to introduce bond notes yesterday hit a snag after the Constitutional Court (ConCourt) struck the matter off the roll.

Source: Mujuru’s bond notes challenge flops – NewsDay Zimbabwe February 16, 2017

BY CHARLES LAITON

This followed an application by Mugabe’s representative that the former VP’s application had not been properly brought before the court.

Mujuru had challenged the legality of a Presidential pronouncement that provided the legal framework for the introduction of bond notes as legal tender.

However, when the matter started and just before it could be heard on merits, Mugabe’s representative, Fortunate Chimbaru, raised a preliminary point, saying the constitutionality of the Presidential Powers Act was a question of interpretation.

Chimbaru said Mujuru ought to have first approached the High Court and made an application in terms of section 85 of the Constitution seeking to have the Act declared unconstitutional before approaching the ConCourt.

The full ConCourt bench, led by Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku, thereafter, disposed of the matter on a technicality and struck it off the roll, saying the reasons for its decision would follow in due course.

Justice Chidyausiku also said Mujuru was putting the cart before the horse, pointing out she should not have rushed to the ConCourt without exhausting all the available remedies.

“The problem that we would get by getting into the merits of this case is drawing the line between what Parliament can delegate and what it cannot,” Justice Chidyausiku said.

In the application, Mujuru had cited Mugabe, Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor John Mangudya and Attorney-General Prince Machaya as respondents.

‘Credible election a pipe-dream’

CHANCES of Zimbabwe running free and fair elections next year remain a pipe-dream because of a lack of political will from the government to adequately fund the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec), opposition and lobby groups have said.

Source: ‘Credible election a pipe-dream’ – NewsDay Zimbabwe February 16, 2017

BY RICHARD CHIDZA

The Election Resource Centre (ERC) said next year’s elections risk being labelled as “illegitimate and not credible way before they are conducted”.

“Without adjustments to the budget allocation to Zec, the conduct of election will not deliver credibility and legitimacy. It would be best to postpone.

“The budget allocation is a threat to the credibility of elections. It threatens the efficiency and sustainability of the country’s democracy and opens the process up to increased disenfranchisement and voter suppression,” the ERC said in a statement.

MDC-T leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, has insisted President Robert Mugabe lacks credibility following the 2013 polls that the former Prime Minister claims were rigged.

People’s Democratic Party spokesperson, Jacob Mafume, said: “Zec will be funded to the extent that it carries a rigging process that does not make the international community angry.”

But Zec chairperson, Justice Rita Makarau, said the government had committed itself to funding all processes ahead of the elections.

“We are getting all the funding we need as and when we request, nothing has stopped because of financial constraints. We have also been assured that the money for the planned biometric voters’ roll registration will be made available,” she said.

ERC described the measly financial allocations to Zec as an indication of the lack of political will to effect the reforms that opposition groups have been clamouring for ahead of the elections.

“The lessons of 2013 show that election costs cannot be budgeted for during the year of the election if credibility, transparency and legitimacy are to be achieved,” the lobby group said.

MDC-T spokesperson, Obert Gutu, said the government needed to “swallow its pride” and invite help from regional and international organisations.

“We cannot run credible, free and fair elections on a shoe-string budget. The MDC has long since called for the direct and immediate involvement of Sadc, African Union and the United Nations in the running of elections next year.

“But Zec is operating on a skip-and-jump basis. But the bankrupt and faction-infested Zanu PF regime has no appetite for running a free and fair election because they know that the people are fed up with them and that they will dismally lose a credible plebiscite,” he said.

The Welshman Ncube-led MDC’s spokesperson, Kurauone Chihwayi, echoed similar sentiments. “Lack of funding for Zec is a Zanu PF strategy to weaken the institution and keep most questions unanswered ahead of the 2018 elections,” he said.

Opposition parties have coalesced around the National Electoral Reform Agenda to demand a fresh configuration of the political playing field, but with little success.

Vendors castigate Gumbo, support Mujuru

Vendors came out guns blazing criticising expelled Zimbabwe People First (ZimPF) founding member, Rugare Gumbo, for denigrating them, while attacking ZimPF president, Joice Mujuru.

Source: Vendors castigate Gumbo, support Mujuru – NewsDay Zimbabwe February 16, 2017

BY Staff Reporter

In an unwitting broadside aimed at besmirching Mujuru’s provincial tours, Gumbo described the rallies as “meetings with vendors, which cannot change the situation” in the country.

“We don’t believe in going around the provinces meeting vendors and so on, as if that is what can change the Zimbabwean situation,” Gumbo said.

“Those people she (Mujuru) is meeting are not bona fide ZimPF members. These are just ordinary people, who are keen to see what Mujuru looks like.”

But vendors hit back at the expelled ZimPF elder, saying his statements showed he had no respect for vendors, not out of choice, but because of the exigencies brought about by a dying economy presided over by Zanu-PF for which Gumbo was spokesperson.

Zimbabwe Vendors’ Association president, Sten Zvorwadza, said he was shocked by Gumbo’s utterances.

“I was shocked to bits when I heard that Gumbo belittled vendors, as people who are valueless and useless. I don’t want to meddle in their fights, but his utterances are far from what should be said by a reasonable leader, who should understand that these vendors are not in the streets by choice, but because of failed government policies that Gumbo participated in crafting and implementing,” he said

“We should declare that individuals like him and Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko are enemies of the people. The statements they utter are dangerous for any political formation. If Gumbo is with ZimPF, it discredits his party; if he is with Zanu PF, it also discredits Zanu PF in as much as it discredits him as an individual.”

Zvorwadza said the 2018 elections would be decided by members of the informal sector that Gumbo was belittling.

ZimPF spokesperson, Jealousy Mawarire, said Gumbo’s utterances were unfortunate and not representative of ZimPF led by Mujuru.

“It is good that, as they speak, they expose the kind of heartless people they are. It is this bigoted thinking that they exude which prompted us to expel them,” he retorted.

“In a country where the unemployment rate is more than 90%, most people are in the informal sector and any leader, who has people at heart, should make time with informal traders, the unemployed and all other disadvantaged social groups as Mujuru is doing.

“These are the people experiencing the vagaries of a decaying economy. Gumbo doesn’t want to meet them because he has no attachment to them. He does not feel for them. Yes, he can talk of ideology, the same Zanu PF ideology that has impoverished most of us and rewarded a few like him,” he
said.

‘New schools curriculum unworkable’

Source: ‘New schools curriculum unworkable’ – DailyNews Live

Blessings Mashaya and Mugove Tafirenyika      15 February 2017

HARARE – Teachers have said the new curriculum cannot be practically
implemented, with schools around the country struggling to introduce it,
six weeks into the first term.

Zimbabwe Teachers Association (Zimta) said there is need to revise the
controversial curriculum.

“As Zimta, we have requested a meeting with government so that they can
get feedback from the teachers on what is possible and what is not
possible in the implementation of the new curriculum,” Zimta CEO Sifiso
Ndlovu said.

Progressive Teachers Union (PTUZ) said the curriculum change must involve
widespread consultation of all stakeholders, re-skilling of teachers,
piloting the project and validating the process.

“The current thrust of the new curriculum is far from what the 1999
Nziramasanga Commission sought to achieve.

“We have been reduced to clerks. There is no time for lesson delivery.
Classes are too big considering the prescribed teacher-per-pupil-ratio of
the new curriculum and the assessment of the practical components is not
feasible.

“ICT not practical in rural schools and even some urban schools, mismatch
of teachers and subjects which will result in forced transfers and
timetables are completely overcrowded.”

According to PTUZ, the new curriculum excludes and shuts the door for
repeaters.

Government policy of teacher recruitment freeze is also working against
the successful implementation of the new curriculum, the union said.

“Schools with hot sitting can’t function, teaching cycles are affecting
sequence of school syllabus from five to six-day cycles. Physical
Education (PE) as a compulsory subject has no resource, text books, no
precedent, no equipment, no facilities and no reference texts.”

“The PTUZ believes consultation, dialogue and transparency are critical if
this is to succeed.

“President Robert Mugabe must be reminded that his wonderful legacy on
education is seriously under threat. There is no harm in going back to the
drawing board. The earlier we do so the better,” PTUZ said.

Teachers say there is no literature on the new curriculum, so they are
using old curriculum text books.

Education minister Lazarus Dokora in January this year introduced a new
curriculum in the primary and secondary education system introducing the
writing of dissertations by Form Four students and mandating them to go
for industrial attachment.

It also did away with subjects such as geography, while bringing in mass
displays.

‘New curriculum unworkable’

Source: ‘New curriculum unworkable’ – DailyNews Live

Blessings Mashaya and Mugove Tafirenyika      15 February 2017

HARARE – Teachers have said the new curriculum cannot be practically
implemented, with schools around the country struggling to introduce it,
six weeks into the first term.

Zimbabwe Teachers Association (Zimta) said there is need to revise the
controversial curriculum.

“As Zimta, we have requested a meeting with government so that they can
get feedback from the teachers on what is possible and what is not
possible in the implementation of the new curriculum,” Zimta CEO Sifiso
Ndlovu said.

Progressive Teachers Union (PTUZ) said the curriculum change must involve
widespread consultation of all stakeholders, re-skilling of teachers,
piloting the project and validating the process.

“The current thrust of the new curriculum is far from what the 1999
Nziramasanga Commission sought to achieve.

“We have been reduced to clerks. There is no time for lesson delivery.
Classes are too big considering the prescribed teacher-per-pupil-ratio of
the new curriculum and the assessment of the practical components is not
feasible.

“ICT not practical in rural schools and even some urban schools, mismatch
of teachers and subjects which will result in forced transfers and
timetables are completely overcrowded.”

According to PTUZ, the new curriculum excludes and shuts the door for
repeaters.

Government policy of teacher recruitment freeze is also working against
the successful implementation of the new curriculum, the union said.

“Schools with hot sitting can’t function, teaching cycles are affecting
sequence of school syllabus from five to six-day cycles. Physical
Education (PE) as a compulsory subject has no resource, text books, no
precedent, no equipment, no facilities and no reference texts.”

“The PTUZ believes consultation, dialogue and transparency are critical if
this is to succeed.

“President Robert Mugabe must be reminded that his wonderful legacy on
education is seriously under threat. There is no harm in going back to the
drawing board. The earlier we do so the better,” PTUZ said.

Teachers say there is no literature on the new curriculum, so they are
using old curriculum text books.

Education minister Lazarus Dokora in January this year introduced a new
curriculum in the primary and secondary education system introducing the
writing of dissertations by Form Four students and mandating them to go
for industrial attachment.

It also did away with subjects such as geography, while bringing in mass
displays.