Author Archives: ZimSitRep_M

Uproar over Kazembe Zec return

FORMER Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) deputy chairperson, Joyce Kazembe is set to bounce back at the country’s elections body, but under a cloud, amid reports her name has caused serious disagreements within the parliamentary committee overseeing the interviews.

Source: Uproar over Kazembe Zec return – NewsDay Zimbabwe May 24, 2016

BY RICHARD CHIDZA

Kazembe has served Zec, formerly the Electoral Supervisory Commission, for about 15 years, sources say.

“She has been around and is a controversial figure. There was a row when Parliament’s Standing Rules and Orders Committee (SROC) met to make a decision on the final list after the interviews were carried out in the first week of May,” a source said.

“Of all the 22 candidates, who were interviewed out of the 24, who had been called, Kazembe’s name caused the most controversy.”

Speaker of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda confirmed that the final list had been forwarded to President Robert Mugabe for selection of the final six candidates to fill the vacant seats in the commission .

“Yes, that list has been finalised and sent to the Office of the President and Cabinet,” he said.

Quizzed on reports of disagreements within the committee over Kazembe, Mudenda said: “I do not discuss that. No. I do not discuss that.”

Impeccable sources told NewsDay that Kazembe, University of Zimbabwe political science lecturer, Charity Manyeruke, former Zec commissioners Petty Makoni, Bessie Fadzai Mhandara and Daniel John Chigaru, Boysen Matema, Ngoni Kundidzora and Samukele Hadebe are among the 14 shortlisted, from which Mugabe is set to choose four women and two men.

Manyeruke’s candidature also reportedly caused serious fights among the interviewers, with some expressing reservations over her strong Zanu PF links.

Zanu PF dominates the SROC, with Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa, Sydney Sekeramayi (Defence minister), Mudenda, Beitbridge Senator Tambudzani Mohadi, Edna Madzongwe (Senate President), Patrick Chinamasa (Finance minister), Chen Chemutengwende (Senate Deputy President), Mabel Chinomona (Deputy Speaker), Bulawayo Senator Angeline Masuku and Masvingo Urban legislator, Daniel Shumba constituting a formidable block that can force any issue.

From the opposition, MDC-T deputy president Thokozani Khupe and Nelson Chamisa are the notable ones and, they stand little chance of forcing through anything.

Since the turn of the century, Zec has remained a source of conflict among political parties amidst accusations it is biased towards the ruling party.

TNF Bill set for Parliament

Source: TNF Bill set for Parliament | The Herald May 24, 2016

Conrad Mwanawashe : Business Reporter

A Bill to legislate the voluntary Tripartite Negotiating Forum and guide relations among Government, business and labour will soon be introduced to parliament, a senior Government official has said. The TNF bill is aimed at legalising the forum to make its decisions binding, among other issues. “Plans to legalise the TNF framework are at an advanced stage,” Deputy Minister of Labour and Social Welfare Tapiwa Matangaidze said.The forum has since its inception been voluntary and unlegislated, a situation which weakened its decision making power.

“We believe that for as long as it remains a voluntary arrangement where decisions are not binding, it cannot take us forward. So soon we will be getting a Bill to Cabinet and Parliament to legalise the TNF arrangement,” he said.

The draft takes into account concerns and input from stakeholders particularly Government’s social partners, business and labour in the TNF.

The TNF is seen as the bedrock in facilitating effective dialogue for the establishment and strengthening of institutions such as the mooted National Productivity Institute, national employment councils and implementation of the principles of the Kadoma Declaration on a shared national socio-economic vision.

Business wants Government to urgently clean up the Labour Act Amendment No. 5 and to address issues relating to the plethora of taxes business is faced with.

Some issues that the TNF could tackle of concern to the business sector include the additional tax burden companies or workers they may have to carry if the proposed National Health Scheme is introduced.

It could also deal with issues relating to the cumbersome dispute resolution process which business wants streamlined.

MPs to declare assets

Source: MPs to declare assets | The Herald May 24, 2016

Lloyd Gumbo Senior Reporter
Parliament will soon institute a lifestyle audit for legislators including Cabinet ministers that is expected to compel them to declare their assets in compliance with the provision of the Constitution and the House’s Standing Rules and Orders.

The regulations provide that public officials including parliamentarians must make regular disclosures of their assets.

Parliament’s Standing Rules and Orders Committee last month approved a draft Asset Declaration Register that spells out the kind of assets that MPs will be expected to declare.

The Clerk of Parliament, Mr Kennedy Chokuda, said the development was meant to make MPs accountable to the public.

“This is within our Standing Rules and Orders that were approved way back during the Sixth Parliament,” he said.

“We are now giving MPs an opportunity to make their input into the register. Remember MPs hold other people to account so this will also help members of the public to also hold them to account.

“But there are things that will be confidential and can only be made public with the approval of the Speaker of the National Assembly and the President of the Senate. So those who want that information would have to apply.”

Senate President Edna Madzongwe, last week told Senators that MPs were requested “to consider and submit their views and recommendation on the Asset Declaration Register” for consideration by the committee on Standing Rules and Orders by May 31, 2016.

The draft document seen by The Herald indicates that legislators will be required to declare their assets, which include land in and outside Zimbabwe, buildings, movable assets, financial assets and other assets such as jewellery worth more than $25 000.

The preamble of the register states that the development was in line with Section 198 of the Constitution that provides for regular disclosure of assets as well as Standing Orders 48 and 49 of the Senate and the National Assembly respectively that provide that; ‘Every member shall register all his/her financial interests in a book to be maintained under the direction of the Speaker and the president of the Senate and such registration shall be in a manner specified in the Code of Conduct’.

On land, legislators will be expected to state their address, category, year of purchase, area, percentage, type of acquisition and the owner.

The categories are farming land, forests, land inside localities, water surface and other categories of land outside localities if included in the civil circulation.

The MPs will be expected to state the owner’s name such as holder, spouse or child while on co-owned assets they were expected to clarify the owned percentage and names of co-owned assets.

On movable assets such as motor vehicles, tractors, farming machinery, boats and yachts and other means of transport that are subject to registration under the law, they were also supposed to declare them.

They will be expected to state the type of vehicle, brand, number of items, manufacture year and acquisition type.

On precious metals, jewellery, art and religious items, art collections and coins, items of the national or worldwide cultural heritage worth over $25 000, MPs will be expected to indicate all assets whether they are in Zimbabwe or outside the country.

They will be expected to give a brief description of the assets, year of acquisition and estimated value.

MPs will also be expected to declare movable assets worth over $15 000 and real estate alienated in the past year stating the type of the alienated asset, date of alienation, person the asset was alienated to, type of alienation and value of the asset.

On financial assets, MPs will be expected to declare bank accounts and deposits, investment funds, equivalent savings and investment forms if their total worth exceeds $25 000.

MPs will be expected to indicate those that are in banks and institutions outside the country stating the administrating institution and address, type, currency, opening year and updated balance or value.

Equivalent funds, including private pension funds or other savings systems as well as investments, bank deposit, placements or loans given worth over $25 000.

Other net income generating assets that exceed a total annual equivalent of $25 000 are also subject to declaration.

Legislators will also be expected to declare their debts and liabilities outside the country including outstanding taxes, mortgages, warrantees issued for the benefit of a third party, leasing assets among others if their worth exceeds $25 000.

The draft declaration form also states that MPs must declare gifts, services or advantages free of charge or subject to subsidies as compared to the market value received from persons, organisations, companies, autonomous administrations, national companies or foreign public institutions, including scholarships, loans, warrantees, expense disbursements or the like of an individual worth over $4 500.

Under the provision, MPs will be expected to state whether it’s the MP, their spouse or children who generated the income, the source of the income, provided service or income generating item as well as collected annual income.

However, they will not be expected to state “usual gifts or treats received from relatives of first or second degree”.

MPs will also be expected to declare their stake in trading companies, national companies, credit institutions, economic groups as well as membership in associations, foundations or other non-governmental organisations where they will state name of the firm, position held, and number of shares as well as total value of shares.

By signing the declaration register, MPs commit to being held “responsible under the criminal laws and contempt of Parliament for any inaccuracy or the incomplete nature of the aforementioned information”.

The Clerk of Parliament will be expected to enter the register of declared assets.

Gweru mayor trial date set

Source: Gweru mayor trial date set | The Herald May 24, 2016

Gweru provincial magistrate Phathekile Msipa has set Thursday as the trial date for Gweru mayor Councillor Hamutendi Kombayi and town clerk Daniel Matawu after dismissing an application by prosecutors to delay the proceedings.

The two stand accused of criminal abuse of office, theft and fraud involving $8 733 after using ratepayers funds to finance MDC-T leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai’s sojourn to Gweru.

Msipa set May 26 as the trial date after refusing an application by the State for further remand.

Kombayi and Matawu were initially charged together with the late deputy mayor, Clr Artwell Matyorauta, who died last month due to a heart problem. The trio were out of custody on $200 bail each.

In making the further remand application, the State led by Lloyd Mabhiza, said it needed time to redraft the charge sheet following Clr Matyorauta’s death.

Msipa said the deputy mayor’s death could not be used as an excuse to delay the trial.

She said if the trial failed to kick off on May 26, the matter will proceed by way of summons.

“The death of second accused person is not a basis for the State to seek further remand. If the trial fails to kick off on May 26, further remand would be refused and the State will proceed by way of summons,” said Msipa.

Prosecuting, Mabhiza told the court that between July 31, 2013, and June 30 last year, acting in common purpose, the three city fathers abused rate payers’ funds by making unlawful payments for non-council business to meet expenses for their private activities and functions.

“During that period the accused persons made a payment of $1 875 to Antelope Park and Resort and Fairmile Motel using ratepayers’ funds to meet expenses for Morgan Tsvangirai and his entourage’s private function,” he said.

Mabhiza said the trio made an unauthorised payment of $6 858 to Fairmile and Village lodge using rate payers’ funds bringing the total amount to $8 733.

Govt defends Unity Day holiday

Source: Govt defends Unity Day holiday | The Herald May 24, 2016

Daniel Nemukuyu Senior Court Reporter
GOVERNMENT has urged the Constitutional Court to dismiss the case in which Chitungwiza legislator Mr Alexio Musundire and civic activists Mr Tinomudaishe Chinyoka and Ms Coliwe Mufaki are challenging the constitutionality of declaring December 22 a national holiday.

The application, according to Government lawyers, was a waste of the court’s time and the court must refuse to entertain it.

The trio, in the constitutional challenge, argued that December 22 was not a national holiday, but a commemoration of a unity between two political parties — Zanu and PF Zapu.

The day was set aside to celebrate the signing of the 1987 Unity Accord between President Mugabe’s Zanu and the late Vice President Joshua Nkomo’s PF Zapu.

President Mugabe was cited as the first respondent, Home Affairs minister Ignatius Chombo was listed as second respondent.

The Home Affairs Minister is the one responsible for the administration of the public holidays and Prohibition of Business Act.

It was the trio’s argument that compelling everyone to celebrate the day as a public holiday was unconstitutional.

In a notice of opposition filed at the Constitutional Court recently, permanent secretary for Home Affairs Mr Melusi Matshiya said no one was forced to attend the unity day celebrations in Zimbabwe and no rights have been violated.

“Applicants have not alleged that they were ever forced to attend the celebration or commemoration held on Unity Day, and as such, there is no basis for alleging that their rights to freedom of assembly and association have been violated.

“There are several holidays that are celebrated which do not necessarily apply to each and every member of a particular population such as Easter and Christmas to name a few.

“Public Holidays can never universally apply to all people hence no one is forced to participate in the commemorations, pertaining to any public holiday.

“Wherefore respondents pray that the application be dismissed with costs,” Government argued.

Government said the fact that some people do not like the date does not make declaration of the holiday unconstitutional.

“There is nothing unconstitutional about the declaration of the 22nd of December as National Unity Day.

“It would be absurd to find it unconstitutional simply on the basis that it is either contrary to applicants’ opinions or that applicants do not want the day in question to be a public holiday for reasons personal to them,” it is argued.

The application, Government argued, does not establish any constitutional violations, hence it must be dismissed.

President Mugabe was wrongly cited by name in the application, when at law he should be cited in his official capacity.

The parties are yet to file heads of argument before the matter is set down for hearing.

RioZim waived Murowa Diamonds rights

Source: RioZim waived Murowa Diamonds rights – NewZimbabwe 23/05/2016

HARARE: Zimbabwe resources group RioZim says it gave up its pre-emptive rights to Murowa Diamonds ahead of the Midlands-based gem miner’s sale last year because it could not afford the purchase price.

Global giant Rio Tinto sold off its 78 percent stake to RZ Murowa Holdings Limited, along with its 50 percent shareholding in Sengwa Coal in June last year, but government last month said it was investigating the circumstances under which the ownership changed hands.

RZ Murowa is an investment vehicle of major RioZim shareholder, private equity firm Global Emerging Markets (GEM Holdings).

At the sale, RioZim, which controlls 22 percent of Murowa and 50 percent of Sengwa, assumed the overall management of both entities.

“The relationship between RioZim and Murowa Diamonds (Private) Limited has not changed as a result of Rio Tinto Plc’s sale of its interests in Zimbabwe last year,” said RioZim in a statement to the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange on Monday.

Reports suggested that RioZim shareholders were not offered an opportunity to exercise their pre-emptive rights over the sale of Murowa, in accordance with the shareholder’s agreement with Rio Tinto, but the local miner said it had no money to fund the purchase.

“On 10 June 2015, the Board of Directors of RioZim passed a resolution to irrevocably and unconditionally waive the Company’s rights of pre-emption in connection with the transfer of the sale of shares to RZ Murowa Holdings Limited,” said RioZim.

“The resolution was made in light of the financial challenges being faced by RioZim, its inability to raise the required financing plus the challenges faced by Murowa Mine which was closed down at the time and faced huge hurdles that required, amongst other things, substantial additional capital investment.”

The decision was also discussed and approved at the Annual General Meeting held on 28 August 2015, it said.

The company kept authorities informed on the developments, it added.

GEM’s initial 2012 investment saved RioZim, one of Zimbabwe’s biggest mining firms, from imminent collapse under the burden of debt. GEM has dominated subsequent capital-raising initiatives by the miner, as hard-up local shareholders struggled to follow their rights.

RioZim early this year successfully completed a debt restructuring exercise early this year in which Zimbabwe Asset Management Corporation (Private) Limited ‘Zamco’, a division of the RBZ acquired some of its short-term debt of nearly $34 million and lowered finance costs by half, creating fiscal space for the resources group.
In the three years to June last year, RioZim had paid $36,3 million in interest charges but only reduced its core debt from $58 million to $43,1 million.

The Zamco deal saw interest rates charges on the debt, which averaged over 21 percent, come down to nine percent.

Zamco was set up by government to purchase non-performing loans from banks and clean their balance sheets. Apart from RioZim, it has said it intends to purchase bade debts of Cottco Holdings, Hwange Colliery, Cairns Foods, Border Timbers, Astro Motors and the Cold Storage Company.

Moyo Min scholarships; if you don’t have HIV

Source: Moyo Min scholarships; if you don’t have HIV – NewZimbabwe 23/05/2016

THE ministry of higher and tertiary education recently advertised scholarships to Egypt which demand that applicants must provide certificates proving they are not infected with HIV, drawing condemnation from HIV/AIDS activists.

Campaigners said they found it difficult to understand the rationale for such “stigmatisation and discrimination” against people living with the HIV virus.

The advert, which is signed by the ministry’s permanent secretary, invites qualified Zimbabweans to apply for undergraduate scholarships to Egypt which start in September this year.

Among other requirements, the advert states that: “Nominated candidates will be required to produce a satisfactory Medical Report which includes a negative HIV and AIDS certificate.”

A higher education ministry official who preferred not to be named told NewZimbabwe.com that “this is an Egyptian scholarship and the requirements and conditions are Egyptian.

“It’s right and proper that you put your questions to the Egyptian,” he added.

Still, activists said the requirements mean that HIV-positive Zimbabweans are being discriminated against and refused opportunities because of their health.

SafAids communications manager Tariro Makanga said such discrimination sets the country backwards after significant progress had been made in the response to HIV and AIDS.

“Discriminating students because of their HIV+ status reverses the gains that government, especially Ministry of Health and Child Care and other stakeholders, have achieved so far,” she said.

“We have reached a point where HIV is like any other illness due to availability of treatment with HIV+ students performing the same way even better than HIV-negative counterparts.

“We should take the time to re-enforce the message that HIV is manageable condition which on one should use to discriminate people living with it.”

However, the ministry official we spoke to the health condition imposed by the Egyptian government was not uncommon.

“There are many other countries with the same requirements and conditions, some of which you would be surprised about and these have had this requirement and condition since time immemorial,” he said.

“However, we in Zimbabwe do not discriminate against people living with HIV and Aids.”

 

SA: State to appeal Zuma graft case

Source: SA: State to appeal Zuma graft case – NewZimbabwe 23/05/2016

PRETORIA: South Africa’s state prosecutor said on Monday he would appeal against a High Court ruling which could lead to 783 corruption charges being reinstated against President Jacob Zuma.

The decision will bring some relief to Zuma as he faces mounting calls to quit from the opposition and even from members of the ruling African National Congress after a damning constitutional court judgment against him in March.

The main opposition party stepped up its criticism on Monday, saying the state prosecutor’s decision was an attempt to shield the president and buy him time before elections in August.

A decision by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) in April 2009 set aside hundreds of charges allowed Zuma to run for president the same month.

The NPA’s decision at the time was based on phone intercepts presented by Zuma’s legal team that suggested the timing of the charges in late 2007 may have been part of a political plot against Zuma.

But the High Court last month ordered a review of the NPA’s decision to drop the charges, terming it “irrational”.

“I have decided to apply for leave to appeal against the judgment,” the National Director of Public Prosecutions Shaun Abrahams told a televised media conference in the capital.

“I will always do what is correct, irrespective of whether the individual is an ordinary person, a Cabinet minister or a sitting president.”

Abrahams said the law allowed the prosecutor a discretion that can be exercised at various stages of the an investigation, and that the court ruling could dilute the NPA’s powers.

“It is also a matter that seriously affects the separation of powers. This is an important matter of principle which affects all prosecutions, it is so important. I believe it needs the decision of an appeal court,” Abrahams said.

The hundreds of corruption charges relate to a major government arms deal arranged in the late 1990s.

Zuma said last month that an investigation into the deal had found no evidence of corruption or fraud. Critics denounced the findings as a cover-up and said they would continue to campaign for justice.

REPRIEVE

The opposition Democratic Alliance party said in a statement that Abrahams’ decision was “a blatant delaying tactic to shield Jacob Zuma from facing the 783 charges of corruption, fraud and racketeering leveled against him almost a decade ago.”

ANC spokesman Zizi Kodwa said the NPA had taken its decision independently.

Analysts said Abrahams’ decision was a reprieve for Zuma, because the appeal process could take several months.

“The unambiguous politically effect is that it will embolden Zuma. The decision undoubtedly gives Zuma another day, another month, another year to breathe,” Susan Booysen, a political analyst at South Africa’s University of the Witwatersrand.

“The effect for South Africa, is that the trauma is continuing in this never-ending saga.”

Zuma is beset with scandals in the run-up to local elections in August where his party faces a strong challenge from opponents seeking to capitalize on what they see as his economic and political missteps.

The president survived an impeachment vote last month called after the Constitutional Court said he breached the law by ignoring an order to repay some state funds spent on renovating his home.

In December he was widely criticised for changing his finance minister twice in a week, sending the rand plummeting and alarming investors.

Zim farmers driving Zambia maize boom?

Source: Zim farmers driving Zambia maize boom? – NewZimbabwe 23/05/2016

HARARE: “Mugabe’s White Farmers Reap 3.3 Million Tonnes of Maize In Zambia While Zim Starves”, says a report that has been shared widely over recent weeks.

The article was run by a website, Southerndaily, drawing commentary from many influential figures who suggested this showed the folly of Zimbabwe’s violent eviction of white farmers. While the website gave the article a May 16, 2016, dateline, the article is actually taken from a 2014 report carried in the Zambian media. The article quotes then Zambian Agriculture minister Wilbur Simuusa, who has long been replaced by Given Lubinda.

We have put this claim through a fact check.

Background

In 2000, Zimbabwe began its “fast track” land reformprogramme, ostensibly to correct colonial imbalances in which a small minority of 4,000 white farmers held the bulk of arable land. Under the programme, white commercial farmers were evicted to make way for thousands of new, black, subsistence farmers.

Many of the displaced farmers left for neighbouring countries. Up to 300 white farmers landed in Zambia. In 2002, the Zambian immigration department was quoted as saying “at least 150 farmers fled into Zambia and were given pieces of land on which to settle”. The department also said apart from Zimbabwean white farmers, a number of South African farmers had also settled in Zambia’s Mkushi district.

According to a 2015 BBC report quoting Ndambo Ndambo of the Zambia National Farmers Union, the arrival of white farmers, mostly from Zimbabwe, has boosted the number of commercial farmers in Zambia from 400 before the Zimbabwe exodus to 750.

Claims

The claim that white ex-Zimbabwean farmers are responsible for Zambia’s maize surplus, and that they are now feeding Zimbabwe, is made frequently. Even President Mugabe has repeated that claim, telling a Bindura rally in March that Zambia had a maize surplus after taking on white Zimbabwean farmers.

That put him in agreement with the likes of Jan Lamprecht, a controversial journalist on white supremacist website: AfricanCrisis, who in 2004 said of the fortunes of white farmers in Zambia: “Finally, a success story in Africa – one that boggles the mind, and as usual, for Africa, it comes from whites. This story demonstrates the tremendous knowledge and skills which white commercial farmers have over the black peasant farmers. Take note in this story that 100 white farmers, starting from scratch, in Zambia, produced 70 percent of Zambia’s maize crop in one year. They outperformed, 150,000 black peasants.”

Zambia maize production

In 2014, then Zambia agriculture minister Wilbur Simuusa announced Zambia would harvest a record 3,3 million tonnes of maize. It is the reportage from his press statement that is now being recycled as current and shared widely on Zimbabwean social media. In the 2014/2015 season, Zambia maize output fell 22 percent due to drought. After improved rains eased El Nino fears this year, however, Lubinda told Parliament early May that Zambia would produce 2,8 million tonnes this year, some 635,000 tonnes more than the country needs.

Are Zimbabwean white farmers behind this?

According to a 2015 World Food Programme’s purchase for progress (P4P) bulletin, smallholder farmers account for 90 percent of national maize production in Zambia.

Official statistics also show that while commercial farmers are growing their maize output – they increased hactarage by 80 percent in the last season – smallholder farmers continue to produce more.  In 2002/3, small to medium scale farmers produced more than twice the maize produced by commercial farms. By 2010, small scale producers were producing eight times more. In the 2009/10, season, smallscale farmers produced 2,5million tonnes of maize in Zambia, compared to 306,540 tonnes by the commercial sector.

The claim that “white former Zimbabwean farmers are feeding Zimbabwe” is therefore not true.

Zambia has, however, gained from white farmers as they are more responsible for the country’s growing tobacco output.

How is Zambia doing it?

In 2002, the Zambian government introduced a Fertilizer Support Program (FSP), under which smallholder farmers got fertilizer subsidies. In the 2009/10 season, FSP was succeeded by the Farmer Input Support Program (FISP), whose purpose was to raise maize production through the provision of fertilizer and maize seed.

It is this subsidy programme that has driven Zambia’s maize success.

FISP grew fertilizer distribution from 48,000 metric tons in 2002/03 to nearly 183,000 MT in the 2012/2013 farming season.

So large was the programme that, at its peak, Zambia was spending 90 percentof its agriculture budget on FISP. This is according to a report by Chance Kabaghe, director of Zambia’s Indaba Agricultural Policy Research Institute, and Thom Jayne, professor of international development in the department of agricultural economics at Michigan State University.

The program started with 120,000 beneficiaries. This number has grown to one million farmers, according to a May 14, 2016, speech by Zambian president Edgar Lungu.

The programme has its critics. Kabaghe and Jayne say the 90 percent allocation of agriculture spending to subsidies starves other key areas, such as crop research, agronomic management extension programmes including minimum soil tilling, irrigation and road infrastructure

How does Zimbabwe compare?

Zimbabwe has run several farm inputs programmes over the past decade. Under the central bank, several input schemes were run, which handed free or subsidized seed and farm implements to smallholder farmers. However, there were multiple programmes running concurrently. They were poorly monitored, which made them ineffective and prone to abuse.

Currently, Zimbabwe has a presidential agricultural support input scheme for the 2015/16 summer cropping season. According to the 2016 budget statement, inputs are benefiting 300,000 vulnerable households, mainly in maize and small grains production. According to finance minister Patrick Chinamasa, $28 million (about 0.7 percent of national budget) was set aside for the programme, which has been blighted by accusations of partisan allocation of inputs.

Over the past two years, Zambia has allocated an average K1 billion to (FISP), which is about $100 million and equivalent to 2 percent of its total budget.

However, over the same decade that Zambia was ramping up its maize output due to farm subsidies, Zimbabwe was not paying its own farmers for maize delivered to the state grain buyer, GMB. According to statistics from the Ministry of Finance, government paid out nearly $68 million to pay farmers for grain delivered.  The $67,8 million was made up of 2013/14 arrears of $44,9 million, and $22,9 million to pay for 2015 deliveries

Official data shows that in the 2014/15 season, the Zimbabwe government owed input suppliers – seed houses and fertliser manufacturers – a total of $6,6 million, which it says it is now clearing.

With the GMB not paying them for grain, many maize farmers have over the years deserted maize and switched to cash crops, especially tobacco. While this helped boost tobacco output, maize production has suffered.

Conclusion

The claim that white ex-Zimbabwean farmers are now feeding their former homeland makes for good campaign slogans against the Zimbabwean government. However, it is not true, and does nothing to help Zimbabwe learn from how its northern neighbor has actually succeeded. While subsidies alone may not work in the long term, it is evident that Zimbabwe needs to find a better way to support farmers who have left food cropping for better rewarding cash crops.

 

Declare assets before assuming duty, parastatal boards urged

Source: Declare assets before assuming duty, parastatal boards urged – NewsDay Zimbabwe May 24, 2016

TREASURY has been urged to come up with regulations specifying various acts of financial misconduct after ministries, State enterprises and parastatals (SEPs) were found to be continuously misusing public funds, despite the passage of the Public Finance Management Act in 2009.

BY VENERANDA LANGA

The recommendation was made last Thursday in the National Assembly by the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Public Accounts, which also recommended that all board members of SEPs must now be required to declare their assets before assuming office.

Public Accounts Committee chairperson, Paurina Mpariwa brought up the issues while presenting a second report of the committee on the analysis of the 2013 accounts of SEPs by the Auditor-General.

The report indicated that despite the Auditor-General exposing gross maladministration at SEPs, they continued not to pay heed to the issues raised such as poor corporate governance, fraudulent activities, poor procurement procedures and management of assets, among others.

“Treasury should, by the end of June 2016, come up with regulations providing specifically for various acts of financial misconduct, and the Executive must urgently, where applicable, constitute boards and appoint senior management with the requisite skills to run the affairs of SEPs as provided by the corporate governance framework,” read the committee report.

“All board members must declare assets before assuming office and disclosure of interest must be made whenever necessary.”

Among other demands by the committee were that all allowances paid to executives and senior management should be reflected on the payroll and failure to do so shall be deemed an act of fraud punishable at law.

The report by the committee said fraud remained prevalent in a number of entities that were audited, with embezzlement of funds happening at ministries such as Mines, Health and Child Care and Justice.

“The Auditor-General reported that unsupported payments were made and losses resulting from suspected fraudulent activities were incurred involving amounts ranging from $3 000 to $3,5 million. In some of the fraud cases, there was manipulation of the source documents. Some of the cases were dealt with and the remainder of the cases are still under investigation,” the committee report said.

Mugabe raps Kasukuwere

Source: Mugabe raps Kasukuwere – NewsDay Zimbabwe May 24, 2016

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe last Wednesday reportedly left Zanu PF political commissar, Saviour Kasukuwere with egg on his face at a meeting with party provincial chairpersons, after he accused him of fuelling the chaos rocking the ruling party.

BY RICHARD CHIDZA

Impeccable sources told NewsDay yesterday that Mugabe called for the meeting, initially at the ruling party headquarters, before switching it to State House.

“Mugabe asked for a meeting with chairpersons that was organised by Kasukuwere to get a clear picture of what is going on across the country. The chairpersons had apparently been coached by the national commissar on what to say and to complain bitterly that they were being victimised by Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s loyalists,” a Zanu PF insider said.

“However, the plot hit a snag because unbeknown to Kasukuwere, Mugabe also invited Mnangagwa and his counterpart Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko. The chairpersons stammered through the briefings and an angry Mugabe then snapped at Kasukuwere.”

Zanu PF Mashonaland provincial chairperson, Dickson Mafios confirmed the meeting, but declined to provide details of the discussions.

“It is true, we met the President. However, it was a confidential meeting and I cannot give details,” he said.

Kasukuwere said the meeting was “routine”, adding party secretary for administration, Ignatius Chombo had also attended.

“It was a routine meeting and I have these meetings with chairpersons every week. We just wanted to apprise the President on the state of the party. And it is true the VPs also attended, but as for me being blamed for the chaos, it’s rubbish. Some people have also passed a no-confidence vote in me and one of the VPs, so I cannot be blamed for such things. I do not live in all the provinces,” he said.

For the better part of the last two years, Zanu PF has literally been on the edge, as senior party leaders position themselves for a post-Mugabe era, with Mnangagwa and First Lady Grace Mugabe reportedly eyeing the top post, although both have publicly denied harbouring such ambitions.

Insiders said Kasukuwere, who is linked to Grace’s camp, was also ordered to prioritise teamwork.

“He was ordered to work with Chombo and the VPs in whatever he does and stop pushing nefarious agendas,” the source said.

Bonds: Cheap money politics or savvy intervention

Source: Bonds: Cheap money politics or savvy intervention – NewsDay Zimbabwe May 24, 2016

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) announced a $200 million bond notes issue to provide a fiscal buffer against cash shortages.

BY BHEKI NGUBENI

The article looks at the stability of the model, specifically inflationary concerns, end user response to changes and the degree of consistency between expectations and real world observations.

Origins and development

In 2014, RBZ initially introduced bond coins as a store of value mechanism and price lowering measure. Bond coins were touted as a stopgap improvisation to alleviate operational inefficiencies at points-of-sale and lower the price of sub $1 goods and services.

Bond notes, however, have shifted from the foundational “bond” impulse moving from a soft transaction facilitation tool to a hard structural adjustment instrument.
RBZ’s reflation objectives seek to stimulate the economy, in the process enhancing business activity through money financed increase in real government spending paying for real goods and services by printing money.

The difficulty in analysing and critiquing the bond hypothesis lies in its changing complexion, whereby, the idea started off as an efficiency mechanism and rapidly transformed into an aggregate economic model.

On paper, such action can induce demand for local goods due to the currency’s contained nature, more so, in farming output, where locals have direct control and ownership, nevertheless, careless fiscal application generally leads to high inflation only. The experiment could yield the same result as Gideon Gono’s hyperinflation years.

Evidence from Russia in the late 1890s supports the proposition that government must catalyse financial development and economic growth by directly fulfilling the functions of banks if they feel the need to intervene. Similarly, a report by the United Nations quantified the cost and benefits of state interference, concluding that the policy is a positive step towards financial liberalisation on condition that developing nations do not use it for political and personal gain.

Future value of bonds

Once in circulation, it is possible to quantify the linear decay rate of a single bond for each stimulus round using data to forecast future value assuming certain conditions remain true. It should be noted that the analysis assumes that in subsequent periods, the level of government quantitative easing is maintained at the advised rate and that no further increases in money supply occur.

Condition 1: normal physical notes and coins/bank deposits = $500 million
Condition 2: proposed quantitative easing/stimulus package = $202 million
Condition 3: error/disturbance term (unbanked funds)probabilistic value = $7 billion
Condition 4: GDP/goods/services and single household spend per year remains constant.

The original sin re-engineered

The inability of businesses to borrow in their local currency is known as the original sin. Should a local currency devalue, foreign currency-denominated debt burden becomes much greater and can result in defaults. This is often cited in as a problematic issue for borrowers in developing countries.

In Zimbabwe, the risk is reversed, private SMEs that acquired dollar denominated debt will soon be able to service their balance sheet outgoings in bonds, leaving the banks in a lurch should the domestic currency devalue. Again, in the likely event that government will use bonds to finance its expenditure programmes, banks and wealthy depositors have to bear the full risk of a volatile closed economy currency by accepting bonds.

Critical success factors

The institution has effectively ignored the potential maladies of 2008, such as record hyperinflation, high unemployment, bank runs, high cost of capital, social disharmony and ultimately a national crisis. It’s not well developed to control all the risks making it difficult to obtain buy in and user acceptance.

Furthermore, the end user has a natural negative bias towards the policy given past experiences emphasising the difficulties and risk in making the change. There is a possibility of outright market rejection unless the bank can provide tangible concrete evidence of better resource use not increasing the money stock for consumption purposes only.

Deposit insurance might help mitigate risk, providing much needed reassurance to depositors, who can find comfort in the knowledge that there is a redundancy procedure in place in the event of policy failure.

There is an urgent need to abandon experimental ideological socio-economic principles and converge to international standards and codes in order for the financial system to function and to avoid more traumatic experiences.

Ultimately, market acceptance criteria will be based on the degree of concentration or availableness of bonds. An injection of $200 million or less comes across as manageable, but we are already seeing daily banks runs and, unlike bonds coins, the market is a bit edgy and unwilling to commit until trust can be established between all stakeholders.

●Bheki Ngubeni (MSC, BA) can be reached at bheki213@yahoo.co.uk

ZCDC realises $19,7m gross turnover

Source: ZCDC realises $19,7m gross turnover – NewsDay Zimbabwe May 24, 2016

ZIMBABWE Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) produced 387 551 diamond carats and sold 362 238 of them realising $19,7 million in gross turnover, two months into operation, figures from the Mines ministry show.

BY Fidelity Mhlanga

ZCDC started mining activities in March this year after government failed to renew special grants permits of six companies mining diamonds in the Chiadzwa area.

Figures from Mines and Mining Development ministry permanent secretary, Francis Gudyanga’s presentation at the Chamber of Mines in Victoria Falls show that in March ZCDC sold 156 168 carats and 206 010 in April this year at $55 each.

Of the $19,7 million, gross turnover $3,7 million went towards statutory costs, leaving the entity with $16 million net turnover.

Cumulatives for the two months were pegged at $7,7 million.

“ZCDC has so far recorded positive performance in both volume and value for the first two months of its operation. The major driver of performance is the technological transformation of processes through the fifth generation XRT plant. Capacity upgrade is critical to protect both the revenue and margins going,” Gudyanga said.

He said investments made by the operating companies before consolidation were not adequate to go beyond mining alluvial resources, as very little exploration was done for kimberlite resources, which present bigger and more sustainable opportunities.

Gudyanga said Anjin investments has pledged to invest $132,3 million, with no audited accounts to show how much they invested in the business over the years.

Gudyanga said the Diamond Mining Corporation (DMC) pledged to invest $50 million and invested $41 million. Jinan pledged $200 million and yet it invested $137 million. Mbada, which has pledged to invest $100 million invested $48 million.

Gudyanga said the majority of the 28% of the $5,2 million received from ZCDC mining activities in March 2016, went towards the payment of Marange Resources creditors to fend off production interruptions due to writs or execution of productive assets by creditors.

He said 27% went towards arrear employment costs to ensure high staff morale and minimise risk of pilferage, with 20% going towards capitalisation of the business.

Operation Dzorerai Upfumi Kuvanhu had a significant impact on cashflows

Gudyanga said of the $8,4 million April 2016 sale, only $7,86 million was received and the balance is still outstanding from Harvest Way Diamond and Jewellery.

He said the major focus was on the capitalisation of the business and funding the resuscitation of Portal Q (former DMC mining operation).

The company paid deposits of $600 000 and $400 000 for the acquisition of the second and fifth generation XRT plant and the 600TPH Front-End feed preparation system, respectively.

The equipment, according to Gudyanga, is expected by mid June 2016.

Zim economy to grow by 1,6%

Source: Zim economy to grow by 1,6% – NewsDay Zimbabwe May 24, 2016

ZIMBABWE’S economy will grow by 1,6% this year on the back of anticipated expansion in three sectors, including the financial industry, a new report has shown.

BY NDAMU SANDU in LUSAKA, Zambia

According to the African Economic Outlook 2016 report launched yesterday, other sectors expected to aid the growth include tourism and construction, but it warned that the fiscal space remained constrained due to the underperformance of domestic revenues and high recurrent expenditure.

In his 2016 national budget, Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa had projected a 2,7% rise in gross domestic product driven by a growth in mining, tourism, construction and the financial services sectors.

The report — a joint effort by the African Development Bank, OECD Development Centre and United Nations Development Programme — said fiscal space has been constrained due to depressed exports, limited foreign direct investment and other capital inflows into the country.

“This has undermined development expenditure and social services provision in both urban and rural areas, exacerbating the incidence of poverty. Financing for urban development, both housing and transport, has been negatively affected,” it said.

The report said Zimbabwe remained in debt distress worsened by a lack of diversified export base and declining terms of trade, which makes it difficult for the country to adjust to changing world demand for tradable goods.

“These structural weaknesses have constrained the country’s ability to generate high and sustainable growth that is necessary to mitigate the debt distress,” the report said.

“Moreover, the external position is projected to remain under severe pressure in the medium term on account of poor export and import performance on the back of an appreciating US dollar.”

It said the public debt management legislation passed last year would strengthen the legal and institutional framework for debt management. The new legislation gives Treasury an oversight role in the acquisition of new loans by parastatals and local authorities.

The legislation will create a Public Debt Management Office to advise the minister of Finance on all government borrowings and “participate in all negotiations with creditors on government borrowings and guaranteed loans”. It will also assess the risks in issuing any guarantees, including assessing the capacity of the beneficiary of a guarantee to repay the loan, and to prepare reports on the method used for each assessment and the results for approval by the minister.

The report projected annual inflation to end the year at -1,3% rising to -0,7% in 2017.

Inflation has remained in the negative territory since the fourth quarter of 2014, a reflection of the constraining effect of tight liquidity conditions.

In his January monetary policy statement, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor John Mangudya said the central bank was committed to addressing negative inflation by plugging leakages of liquidity from the economy.

More than $1,8 billion was reportedly externalised by individuals and corporates last year.

Grace surrounded by liars: War vets

Source: Grace surrounded by liars: War vets – NewsDay Zimbabwe May 24, 2016

WAR veterans yesterday claimed that Zanu PF women’s league boss, First Lady Grace Mugabe, has surrounded herself with a group of “pathetic liars with dubious backgrounds”, who pretended to love her, while destroying the ruling party from within.

BY OBEY MANAYITI

Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association secretary-general, Victor Matemadanda, told NewsDay yesterday that Grace’s deputy, Eunice Sandi-Moyo and women’s league finance secretary, Sarah Mahoka always fed the First Lady with lies to curry political favour.

“These people have dubious backgrounds and because of that, they are the people causing confusion,” he said, adding their falsehoods had caused disharmony between the First Family and the war veterans.

“They lie and pretend to be too close, loving and liking the First Family, when they are hiding bags of snakes and we are now going to expose every other bag of snakes that they have, so that the First Lady is aware of the people she is working with. She is surrounded by pretenders and this is why they are trying to put a gap between war veterans and the First Family.”

This is the latest episode in factional fighting in Zanu PF and Mahoka found herself in the crosshairs of war veterans after she accused Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa of allowing his name to be used by a clique that wanted him to succeed President Robert Mugabe.

Senior war veterans are said to back Mnangagwa in the succession battle, but a group believed to be against this is said to be working with Grace.

Previously, the former freedom fighters have had nasty brushes with the other party organs, particularly the commissariat and youth league, as well as some senior members.

Matemadanda said they were now on a mission to reclaim Grace from her handlers in the G40 faction and take her back to the original Zanu PF.

He said a number of top Zanu PF officials, including the seven expelled youth provincial chairpersons, were victims of lies fed to Grace.

Matemadanda said Mahoka had a dubious record in the party and had “ruffled too many feathers” and labelled Moyo “a great pretender”.

“She (Moyo) has been one of the leaders of Gamatox. We know how she moved from there to the current set-up, but then she goes on to lie to the First Lady pretending to be loving the First Lady and First Family when we know she is still linked to (expelled former Vice-President Joice) Mujuru,” he claimed.

“If we have people like Sandi Moyo, who think their other side is not known, then they will keep lying to the President (Mugabe), so that people will not get a chance to give the correct story about these people. We as war veterans have decided to tell it as it is.”

Matemadanda said they had documented numerous alleged misdeeds by Grace’s juniors. He claimed Moyo was running a vehicle project for women in Bulawayo on behalf of Mujuru and that the Bulawayo Provincial Affairs minister was closer to the axed vice-president than to Grace and was also clandestinely campaigning to dislodge Mnangagwa and his counterpart, Phelekezela Mphoko.

“We are prepared to prove that and if there is going to be commotion and confusion in the women’s league for the good, then we will be happy about that because we are not fabricating or creating stories,” he said.

“We are saying what we know is true. We hope this is going to save our party because it was near collapse as a result of these people, who always lie to the First Family and we now want to expose them.”

Moyo yesterday dismissed Matemadanda’s accusations, saying she had no time to respond to his allegations.

“He (Matemadanda) just wants to create confusion. I don’t belong to the war veterans’ association. He is not a spokesperson of Zanu PF, so I don’t listen to what he says,” she fumed.

“I know where I belong and I belong to Zanu PF. He has been going all over the country fighting everyone.

“What does he know about me that is not known by my friends? Matemadanda is not my friend. We want to focus on women’s league issues and I don’t have time for his allegations.”
Mahoka said she was in a meeting and could not take questions.

Govt paying off Telecel shareholding balance

THE government has begun paying off the balance to acquire a 60% shareholding in Telecel Zimbabwe and the transaction should be complete by next week. Sources yesterday revealed that the government had sent $30 million to VimpelCom.

Source: Govt paying off Telecel shareholding balance – Southern Eye May 24, 2016

BY VICTORIA MTOMBA

“The transaction is still to be completed and by next week it should be complete. The government will hold 60% shareholding of Telecel Zimbabwe,” a source said.

The total value of the 60% stake in Telecel by government is $40 million and government made the initial deposit of $10 million last year.

Telecel International, which owns 60% Of Telecel Zimbabwe, last year agreed to sell the stake for $40 million to Zarnet.

Zarnet is owned by government through the Ministry of Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services.

Contacted for comment, Telecel Zimbabwe spokesman, Francis Chimanda could not disclose any information on the transaction.

“This is a shareholder issue and once we have confirmation, we will share an official statement,” he said.

VimpelCom’s subsidiary, Global Telecom Holdings, entered into an agreement with the government to sell its 60% stake in Telecel Zimbabwe in November last year.
VimpelCom is an international provider of telecommunications services headquartered in Amsterdam Netherlands.

ICT Minister Supa Mandiwanzira said the transaction was currently being executed.

“When all formalities are completed, the ministry will issue a statement to advise stakeholders accordingly,” he told NewsDay on Friday

Scraping the Bottom of the Barrel

For nearly 3 years the Government of Zimbabwe has been living beyond its means, not by a small margin, but massively. Deficit financing is nothing new but if it is not underpinned by growth, stability and confidence, it is simply not sustainable. Up to 2008 the State simply printed money to cover the shortfalls between revenue and expenditure. The consequence was a near total collapse and the instillation of a Government of National Unity.

Source: Scraping the Bottom of the Barrel – The Zimbabwean May 23, 2016

It seems as if they simply do not recognise the dangers of this sort of economic delinquency. By my calculation the deficit in government spending since 2012 has reached mammoth proportions – revenues have declined and they have tried to maintain expenditure at GNU levels. In 2015 the deficit must have been at least $1,2 billion with revenues about $3,6 billion and expenditure $4,8 billion. It may have been a bit lower if they curbed some spending, but it could not have been less than $1 billion – that is 22 per cent of all State expenditure.

In 2016 the gap has widened still further with revenues 16 per cent below budget and 9 per cent below last year. Total revenues are now 12 per cent below the total cost of salaries and pensions.

To fund this gap, the State has been printing Treasury Bills and dishing these out to all and sundry in place of payments and debt and as a means of drawing in cash from the open market and State controlled enterprise with a cash surplus. This avenue is now exhausted – they simply cannot issue more TB’s and all available sources of cash are closed to the regime.

So now they have crippled the entire banking system by withdrawing cash from the transit funds flowing through the Reserve Bank. This has created a serious shortage of cash in the market which is being exacerbated by a collapse of confidence in the banks and massive cash withdrawals. Now a market for cash has emerged with a premium of up to 15 per cent. Business is no longer banking their cash as they seek to benefit from the shortage of cash and the available hard currency is being diverted into the informal economy.

The consequence is a downwards spiral that, like a tornado, will destroy all in its path. This situation is moving very fast and is now totally out of control. The latest evidence of the desperation of the authorities and the times; is the attempt by the Reserve Bank to commandeer half of all export proceeds. This smacks of the pre 2008 collapse era when the Reserve Bank withheld 35 per cent of all export proceeds for its own use and replaced it with local currency at an artificial exchange rate set by the Bank internally.

Their attempt to disguise this operation by saying that the funds would be replaced within 48 hours by means of a wire transfer of funds from the Bank but accompanied by an advisory restraint on the banks not to use these so called “funds” expressed in US Dollars for external payments. In other words these replacement funds are just that – a paper figure without convertibility. Just another form, like the TB’s of a local currency.

They then used the funds withheld to buy real US dollars in the United States for local distribution – but no sooner than these new notes hit the market than they will vanish into the undergrowth that hides the shady world of cash trading and informal sector activity.

This new desperate measure will shortly be followed by the attempt to introduce Bond Notes as an extension of Bond Coins. The problem with “bad” money is that it drives out the “good” money. People will hoard the latter and try to get rid of the former – at any cost. When these new notes hit the street a market will emerge and this will set their value. The moment they cannot be exchanged for “real” money, they will be worthless.

What I find so difficult to understand is how and why the Minister of Finance  and the Governor of the Reserve Bank could have allowed themselves to get into this mess. These are both intelligent men with considerable experience in Government and this silly argument that they use for the Bond Notes that these will somehow be used to stimulate exports. Just who do they think they are fooling? Do they think the IMF will buy that explanation? Do they really imagine that the millions of street wise people in the informal sector will be duped? If they do, then I confess I am gravely wrong about them – they are the most stupid of our idiotic Government.

But there is a more immediate crisis emerging from this shambles. In 2012 the Government of National Unity was persuaded by the Minister of Finance (Biti) that the country to should try to reengage with the IMF and the World Bank in an effort to deal with the national debt and to try and get access to global banking systems and low interest rates on new debt.

They agreed and the result was detailed and painstaking negotiations with the IMF leading to the signing of a “Staff Monitored Agreement” with the Fund. When Zanu PF took over in mid 2013, they decided to continue with the programme and as a result Zimbabwe has been working with the Fund for the past 4 years. This has led to the completion of two formal SMP’s and in September last year, the Zimbabwe Government was able to sign an agreement with the Fund in Lima, Peru, which opened the door to negotiations over the country’s debt and the possibility of new funding.

This culminated in a meeting of the main Board of the IMF meeting in Washington this year, where the Directors (representing the shareholders) agreed to pursue the next stage. Two days later, without consultation or notice, the State announced its decision on the Bond Notes. There are many bad decisions a debtor can make in life, two of these are; you never lie to your banker; and you always give him notice of any major changes in your affairs. Zimbabwe broke all the rules and now we might have to face the collapse of the Lima Agreement and watch our relationship with the Fund and through the Fund with all the agencies of the multilateral financial system, go back into the freezer.

That will exacerbate all our other problems and be a major setback to the effort to reengage and normalize our relationship with the global political and economic community. It will make it more difficult to raise funds for major projects and this will make any economic recovery that much more difficult.

I simply repeat the mantra that I have been saying for some time now. This crisis can only be addressed and resolved by a change of Government and new faces and policies. Nothing else will turn us around and point us in the right direction.

Fury as headmen sell game park, airport

Source: Fury as headmen sell game park, airport – NewZimbabwe 22/05/2016

VICTORIA FALLS: Over dozen village heads under Chief Mvuthu outside the resort town face imminent suspension following allegations they have been corruptly selling state land including parts of game parks and the airport to tour operators and some individuals as corruption spreads to rural areas.

Hwange Rural District Council on Saturday called an urgent meeting which was attended by heads of different government departments as it seeks to investigate the scandal.

It emerged at the meeting that the village heads cum land barons, who have not been named at this stage, were selling 70 square metres of land for $2, 000.

Most of the land that has been occupied reportedly is reserved state land that is earmarked for different projects while part of it is in the game park.

Part of the land is along the Victoria Falls-Bulawayo Highway where, according to the 1996 Master Plan, a distance of about 1 km from the main road inwards from the grid to Victoria Falls Airport should not be used for any purposes.

It is understood that the local authority got a directive from the government to correct the anomaly, a development that would see hundreds of beneficiaries losing out.

Addressing the meeting, which was attended by several people drawn from tour operators, villagers and some individuals some of whom now own land there, HRDC council chairperson Sipiwe Mafuwa said some tour operators have already built lodges on land fraudulently acquired.

A seemingly agitated Mafuwa threatened to use bulldozers to bring down all the illegal structures.

“We are only here to notify you of our intentions. After this meeting we will move around the area assessing the situation because we hear there are now lodges everywhere yet we don’t have such in our records.

“Those who acquired land you should come forward with your receipts or any documentation because we want to establish who sold that land for how much.

“We will be forced to apply the same strategies that were used during Operation Murambatsvina in 2005 where numerous structures were destroyed. I am just implementing what I am supposed to and I will do it,” said Mafuwa.

She said Monde area, which borders with the resort town, had developed into a ‘very’ corrupt area because of its proximity to town.

Some of the new land owners, she said, were taking advantage of corrupt leaders in the area to evade paying high rates in Victoria Falls town and constructing houses and lodges in Monde.

“We now have land barons who are selling government land. We want to burn this cancer called corruption and we hope you all have proper documents,” added Mafuwa.

“My decision is that we want all of you who acquired land to produce receipts and documents failure to which you lose.”

Hwange District Administrator, Tapera Mugoriya, who chaired the meeting, said those found to have been involved in the suspected scam will be prosecuted.

“For now we are not making any recommendations at all. We will investigate thoroughly and we only here to notify you of what is happening,” he said.

Some of the village heads were present at the meeting and villagers called for their removal from their positions.

President Mugabe meets grandson

Source: President Mugabe meets grandson | The Herald May 23, 2016

Herald Reporter
An ecstatic President Mugabe finally met face-to-face with his grandson, Simbanashe Chikore in Singapore at the weekend.

The baby was born mid last month, but the President could not see the new arrival earlier because of a busy schedule at home, only managing to travel on Saturday morning.

The President revealed last week while addressing members of the Gutu clan in Masvingo that he was now a grandfather after his only daughter, Mrs Bona Chikore, gave birth to a baby boy outside the country last month.

President Mugabe had gone to Masvingo to convey his condolences to the Gutu family following the death of his uncle, Chief Gutu, Mr Anos Kasirai Masanganise.

The President was explaining why his wife, First Lady Dr Grace Mugabe, had not accompanied him to the event as she was attending to the grandson.

Mrs Chikore and her husband, Mr Simba Chikore, wed on March 1 2014 at a colourful ceremony in Harare.

The glittering event was attended by several Heads of State and Government, with top African musician Kofi Olomide providing entertainment.

Our sister paper The Sunday Mail reported yesterday that Bona was only three years old when President Mugabe bought her school uniform at British retailer Marks and Spencer.

He taught her basic English, with words like “bridge” and “river” featuring in that vocabulary, but he soon postponed that pursuit after she pronounced “railway” as “laiway”!

Many remember this snippet from President Mugabe’s 90th birthday ZTV interview as he recounted his daughter Bona’s formative years.

“Well, I got married when I was in my 70s,” President Mugabe began, “and I said if I can only see her through the second grade — fine.”

He then revealed his anxieties: “Zvino ndaida kuti gore rimhanyise zvikuru kuru, akurumidze kuenda kuchikoro . . . I never thought I was going to live to see my daughter getting married.”

And so President Mugabe lived to see Miss Bona Ouma Mugabe exchange nuptials with Mr Simba Chikore on March 1, 2014 in Harare.

The couple gave him a grandson about a month ago, and he could not have envisaged a better gift.

First was Bona, followed by the boys — Robert Jnr and Bellarmine — then Bona’s marvellous wedding and now a grandson.

President Mugabe broke the news in Gutu where his cultural grounding could not escape attention.

In many African cultures, announcements like a death or birth in the family are accorded ample importance. As such, the elders should be informed formally. (They hardly bat an eyelid if the news reaches their ears via other means.)

It was thus telling that President Mugabe travelled to Gutu to pay his condolences following the death of his uncle Chief Gutu. It was also telling that he told the nation of the new arrival in the presence of his uncles — the family elders.

President Mugabe’s sister, Dr Regina Gata, was ecstatic when The Sunday Mail caught up with her.

“The Mugabe family is celebrating as we speak. We have been blessed and are very thankful. My brother has always loved children, and the birth of his grandson has definitely given him a lot of happiness.

“He has always had a special type of love for his sisters’ children whom he put through school and wrote letters to even when he was in detention.

“He would always ask about their well-being and how they were doing in school. Now he has a muzukuru by his own child. This is very special to him. He always prayed that he would live to see this day.”

Mr Robert Zhuwao, one of President Mugabe’s nephews, chipped in: “To us, the birth of Sekuru’s grandson confirms his legacy. It is a blessing as he has lived to see his family grow further.

“Our family has been enriched by this birth. Apart from us, his sisters’ children, he now has a grandson whose arrival we are all celebrating.”

NetOne eyes profitability from network expansion

Source: NetOne eyes profitability from network expansion | The Herald May 23, 2016

Conrad Mwanawashe Business Reporter
The restructuring and network expansion programmes currently ongoing at State owned mobile services provider, NetOne are expected to drive the company to profitability and enhance capacity to compete with its peers.

The network roll-out programme which has seen 2000 base stations constructed in the first phase will see a further 2 000 at about 600 sites next year.

“With that topology of network we believe that we will be reaching out to everybody giving them our products. We are also coming up with value products that are well priced in the areas of data.

“The type of technology that we are bringing, 4G and 4G LTE will enable faster speeds for those people that need data. This third phase will put us at par with our competitors,” acting chief executive Brian Mutandiro said on Friday.

Mr Mutandiro was addressing the Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Parliamentary Portfolio Committee members who were on tour of the network service provider.

LTE -Long-Term Evolution-, (commonly marketed as 4G LTE) is a standard for wireless communication of high-speed data for mobile phones and data terminals.

“It is a requirement that the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe wants to see us in the next five years covering 100 percent of the country.

And so one of the issues that we will look at is making sure that we rapidly deploy network 3G, 4G and LTE and then we will come behind with all the other value added products that we can put on that platform.”

Failure to follow up on infrastructure deployed around the country with value-added products in the past was one of the reasons why NetOne failed to make money and caused the parastatal to lag behind its leading competitors.

It is down to making business sense out of the infrastructure presence, according to Mr Mutandiro.

“NetOne was focusing on putting the base stations. Business focus was not on the distribution of airtime. For example, you can have a base station that is launched today but there is no airtime in the vicinity. So then you have a lopsided situation where you spend money on infrastructure but you are not providing airtime. So we are addressing all those gaps.

“For us these are opportunities, low hanging fruits that we can quickly convert to revenue. That is why I am confident that by the end of this year we will have a positive bottom and we will declare a dividend to Government,” said Mr Mutandiro.

Other projects expected to improve visibility include an aggressive strategy to position the network.

To this end, NetOne teams will be in the communities with various product demonstrations and operational marketing.

The changes implemented have already started paying dividends with the company now collecting more money per minute than in the past with collections surging to 8 cents per minute compared to 2,8 cents per minute realised at the beginning of this year.

But this will result in customers foregoing some benefits and promotions the company has been offering ahead of its competitors.

One major casualty is most likely the free calls promotion which has seen users enjoying free calls to other NetOne lines for a specific period after recharging for a dollar.

“Basically we were giving a lot of our airtime for free. On the one hand it is a good thing but on the other hand where you have invested money it means that you are not going to recover or you are not going to get money to repay all those loans.

“That can be very dangerous in that you actually go out of business. For us that will be sad because Government has invested in us and they have invested with one priority in mind that we make profit and contribute positively to the economy,” said Mr Mutandiro.

Govt to revamp Save Conservancy

Source: Govt to revamp Save Conservancy | The Herald May 23, 2016

From George Maponga recently at SAVE VALLEY in Chiredzi
Government has started restructuring wildlife-rich Save Valley Conservancy in southeast Lowveld as part of efforts to curb rampant poaching and to reduce conflict between animals and humans who have settled in the area.

The Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority is spearheading the rehabilitation process of the mega park in the semi-arid Lowveld.

The move to restructure the 340 000-hectare Save Conservancy comes amid reports of a surge in poaching activity following occupation of parts of the park by land hungry villagers from Chiredzi and Bikita districts.

Government recently ordered that Save Valley be incorporated into the Parks estates under the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority after withdrawing hunting leases from politicians and other bigwigs mainly from Masvingo province who had allocated themselves permits of up to 25 years under the wildlife-based land reform.

Restructuring of the conservancy involves demarcating a new boundary where a new perimeter fence will be erected.

Almost half of a 320km double perimeter fence around Save Valley was destroyed by the new settlers, increasing the chances of contact between humans and wildlife.

Over $4 million is required to rebuild the fence.

There are growing fears wildlife at Save Valley could be decimated by both subsistence and commercial poachers unless immediate remedial action is taken.

The authority’s head of management services, Mr Geoffreys Matipano, confirmed rehabilitation of Save Valley was underway.

‘’Reconstruction of a perimeter fence is a huge and expensive undertaking. A complete perimeter fence will only be possible once properties that make up the new Save Valley Conservancy are determined given that some properties are now settled by A1 farmers. The exercise to restructure the conservancy is underway,’’ he said.

Mr Matipano said while individuals property owners in the conservancy were expected to conduct anti-poaching activities at Save Valley, the authority was spearheading the charge to curb both subsistence and commercial poaching.

He said the authority had deployed officers to deal with problems of poaching in the conservancy.

‘’The authority has deployed a senior Parks officer and patrol rangers on permanent basis in the Save Valley Conservancy and is working with the Zimbabwe Republic Police Support Unit on anti-poaching operations in the area. The authority is also working with private farm rangers,’’ he said.

‘’All rangers deployed in the conservancy went through a refresher training programme and the authority has drawn up an anti-poaching strategy covering many aspects including curbing armed poaching and poisoning of wildlife. There is also a rhino management frame and elephant management plan. Besides staff stationed in the conservancy, the authority has elephant and rhino coordinators focusing on biological and security issues.’’

Investigations by The Herald revealed that almost half of the conservancy on the southern part of Tugwi River is under threat owing to rampant subsistence poaching targeting mainly small game.

Mr Matipano confirmed poaching of small wildlife species in Save Valley.

While Save Valley has the potential to earn over $2 million per annum by allocating hunting quotas and visits by tourists, business has been almost at a standstill over the past four years, a development that impinged on the capacity of property owners to finance anti-poaching operations.

Mr Matipano, however, said the authority issued hunting permits this year.

‘’All properties with meaningful wildlife that applied for hunting quotas and permits were issued with these documents to do their business. BIPPA (Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement)-covered properties were left alone, and are not being managed by Parks,’’ he added.

When The Herald visited the wildlife-rich conservancy recently, operators in the southern part of Save Valley said the future of the conservancy was bleak unless Government speedily restructures it.

Properties in the south such as Nyangambe, Humane, Senuko 2 and 3, Hammond, Lavanga, Impala, Angus, Mukazi and Mukwazi are under occupation by settlers, most of them without offer letters.

Poaching is negligible in the northern side of Save Valley where properties such as Sango, Makore, Savuli, Mapare, Gwindingwi, Matendere, Chishakwe, Musaisi and Mukondo are protected under BIPPAs.

Masvingo Provincial Affairs Minister Senator Shuvai Mahofa was non-committal on the fate of Save Valley.

‘’I do not want to comment on Save Valley Conservancy. We are still waiting for President Mugabe to give us direction on what needs to be done there. President Mugabe will tell us the direction that we will take at Save going forward,’’ she said.

Sen Mahofa last month told Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa that the Masvingo provincial leadership wanted black players to be involved in running Save Valley.

She intimated that the entry of black players would solve current security issues around Save Valley where white operators are alleged to be externalising wildlife using private airstrips dotted around the mega wildlife conservancy.

Contempt of the Presidency

Fierce battles are being fought as Zanu PF attempts to settle the succession score. There are now too many persons of suspicious characteristics that are involved. Some of the parties involved include the security forces, Zanu PF factions, mainstream opposition parties and the almost incapacitated President Robert Mugabe. Of all the factions involved, Generation 40 (G40) is enjoying an upper hand.

Source: Contempt of the Presidency – Southern Eye May 23, 2016

The boldness assumed by Zanu PF’s G40 faction portends an impending political travesty. First Lady Grace Mugabe and her brood of political steers and heifers have become so emboldened that they utter statements that are both reckless and are of concern. Some of the statements are so inflammatory that the possibility of Zimbabwe flaring up into an uncontrollable inferno cannot be ruled out.

In one of her strongest addresses to her supporters so far, Grace confirmed her position as a major political force with king-making capabilities. She used her privileged position of presidential spouse to belittle men who have been in the political business for most of their longish lives. She even had the audacity to rip into the manhood of State security by hinting that some of the military commanders were heavily involved in attempts to either derail her own ambitions or to undermine the authority of her husband.

Expectedly, Grace tore into the heart of Team Lacoste. Oozing with confidence and assertiveness, Amai reminded Team Lacoste that the presidency was appropriately occupied by a capable incumbent. As if to further dampen the spirits of her internal opponents, the acerbic-tongued First Lady hinted to more Mugabe years. She repeated her promise that should Mugabe be physically incapacitated, she will push him around on a wheel chair to enable him to discharge his presidential duties.

Besides confirming that she is the most dangerous character in Zimbabwe’s political quandary, Grace’s address to her supporters exposed her political naivety.
She disclosed a lot of uncomfortable secrets that can precipitate the volatile situation into a conflagration. She has political muscle to flex around, thanks to her association with the President. Talking about the President, he has become a dangerous piece in the succession jigsaw puzzle by allowing his much younger wife to usurp his powers in pursuit of her personal ambitions.

Grace has gained more impetus in the succession game because her husband has left both party and State affairs to fate due to a lack of motivation to discharge his duties. Mugabe has taken an unofficial absence from his desk and this ineffectiveness has fuelled the intensity of the in-fighting amongst Zanu PF factions.
G40, which is fronted by Grace, has an upper-hand over Team Lacoste and the hapless presidency can only watch.

Currently, Grace wields so much influence that she has wriggled her sphere of influence into matters of State security. Naturally, she has a right to be bitter that some elements, be they from the armed forces or ordinary criminals, wanted to petrol-bomb her dairy business in Mazowe.

What Grace has no authority over is making unsubstantiated claims about a plot to have her son (Chatunga Bellarmine) killed. Should the chilling disclosure be true, however, the intensity of the succession battles would have assumed dirty proportions and the stink is definitely revolting.

If indeed Grace’s disclosures were to be true, this will equate to either usurpation of presidential powers or contempt of the presidency. If, by virtue of her closeness to the Commander-in-Chief, the Grace was privy to plots to commit subversion she has no authority to use that information for her personal political gains.

If indeed there is a plot to terminate young Chatunga’s life, the long arm of the law should move in and bring the hired would-be assassins to book. In Grace’s vocabulary, ambition rings louder bells than family values, hence her willingness to undermine her husband’s powers in order to irrigate her garden of ambitions.

It is an open secret that Grace has unwittingly become the busiest undermining force to the same power whose authority she wishes to safeguard. She knows that Mugabe is now a vulnerable political entity facing the prospects of political vultures looking to prey on his failing body.

She wakes up to his fallibility every morning and for as long as it suits her, she will continue to do her best to mask those faults from the public.

It is not a secret that she wants to be the only one who capitalises on those weaknesses to advance her personal agenda. Her special way of undermining the authority of the President is by way of releasing snippets of juicy information gained from their bedroom relationship.

Grace does not want to openly declare that the power vacuum that Zimbabwe finds herself in. She knows that nature abhors vacuums and that declaring one can lead to a frenzy of succession activities. It can be argued that Grace is scaring all other interested parties away from the vacuum as she plots an onslaught on the prospective vacuum before it becomes one.

lMasola wa Dabudabu writes in his personal capacity.

Stop aiding deforestation, forestry firm told

Source: Stop aiding deforestation, forestry firm told | The Herald May 23, 2016

Noah Pito in Hurungwe
Hurungwe Rural District Council in Mashonaland West has for the second time accused the Forestry Company of Zimbabwe (FCZ) of facilitating deforestation by unprocedurally issuing wood permits to tobacco companies working in the district. In an interview last week, council chief executive Mr Joram Moyo said the defiance by contract farmers of council regulations after securing the permits from the FCZ had seriously affected operations of the Kariba Redd Project — which had been benefiting rural communities through conservation of forests.

“It has become very difficult for us to stop deforestation.

“It is unfortunate that even the Kariba Redd Project, which has been a vital source of development for several communities under Chief Chundu, is now being jeopardised,” said Mr Moyo.

“Remember from the sale of carbon credits realised through conservation of forests, a lot of bee-keeping and gardening projects have been churned out to several villages while many roads and boreholes have been rehabilitated for these communities from those funds,” lamented Mr Moyo.

The Hurungwe RDC accuses the Forestry Company of Zimbabwe of acting in bad faith after discovering that the company had been receiving bulk payments from tobacco companies before issuing out thousands of wood permits for contract farmers in Hurungwe.

The matter was first discovered during the 2014 /15 tobacco season after council resource monitors arrested tobacco farmers for causing deforestation.

Armed with the permits, the farmers would proceed to any forest of their choice and cut down trees willy-nilly, claiming to have authority over the forests.

Late last year, the Hurungwe RDC convened a special full council meeting at Magunje Growth Point, where Forestry Company of Zimbabwe’s national operations manager Mr Stephen Zingwena, was grilled his organisation’s issuance of thousands of permits in Harare without verifying whether the end users had the forests to sustain their tobacco ventures.

The 26-member council demanded that all permits for Hurungwe farmers be issued at district level with council assisting the district forester in ascertaining if the individual farmers had woodlots or forests to sustain their ventures.

“You don’t have the forests in Harare so why do you issue the permits there when in fact we have a forester here in Hurungwe? What is his job then?” asked Council Chairman Mr Tichaona Mathew during last year’s heated meeting.

Mr Zingwena failed to make any justification in favour of his organisation after council told him that the FCZ was violating Section 3(1)(c) of Statutory Instrument 116 of 2012, Forest (Control of Firewood, Timber and Forest Produce, which reads: “No person who is a flue-or flame-cured tobacco farmer . . . shall use or transport firewood for flue- or flame-curing tobacco except under the terms of flue-or flame-curing firewood licence obtained in the district where he or she grows that tobacco.”

In a separate interview, Mr Mathew said his council had since taken the matter to the office of Minister of State for Provincial Affairs in Mashonaland West Province, Cde Faber Chidarikire, for a solution.

“It is surprising that after holding the 2015 special full council meeting with the national operations manager, the violations are still going on. We have since taken the matter to the governor’s office for a solution,” he said.

According to Mr Mathew although the FCZ is no longer issuing the permits at its head office in Harare, nothing has changed as it is issuing out the permits at its provincial offices in Chinhoyi instead of doing it at district level.

“This time the perpetrators have permits issued at the provincial offices in Mashonaland West,” he said.

Chiefs are among stakeholders condemning the practice.

According to Chief Chundu, some contract farmers in his area are so insolent that they cut down sacred trees despite him having addressed them against such acts on several occasions.

“These contract farmers are defying my orders; they even cut down sacred trees under which we make rain-making prayers, all in the name of growing tobacco. No wonder why we have devastating droughts. When the spirits go angry droughts and unusual happenings besiege us,” he warned.

Mashonaland Tobacco Company, Chidziva, Curvrid, Boost Africa, Northern Tobacco, Shasha Tobacco, Tribac, Zimbabwe Leaf Tobacco and Midriver are among the several companies currently operating in Hurungwe.

Zanu-PF warns against corruption

Source: Zanu-PF warns against corruption | The Herald

Walter Nyamukondiwa Chinhoyi Bureau—
Zanu-PF has warned party members that it will not brook corrupt activities among its rank and file and has activated its provincial structures led by chairpersons to fight the scourge. The crackdown follows a meeting President Mugabe held with provincial party chairpersons and other leaders at State House on Wednesday last week. Addressing a Mashonaland West provincial coordinating committee meeting in Chinhoyi at the weekend, Secretary for Administration Dr Ignatius Chombo said corruption would not be tolerated in the party.

“At last week’s meeting of (provincial) chairpersons with President Mugabe at State House on Wednesday, the President talked about something that we think when said to us chairpersons, is a command,” he said.

“President Mugabe pressed on the issue of corruption saying in the provinces where chairpersons work they should seriously look at the issue of corruption as it has the potential of killing the party.”

The meeting was held to allow chairpersons to present challenges they face in executing their duties. Dr Chombo, who is also Home Affairs Minister, said the President had also called on the party to adhere to proper disciplinary procedures in dealing with any member accused of wrongdoing.

Dr Chombo said his office would soon write to all provinces restating party disciplinary procedures to avoid matters premised on lies and hatred of individuals, which help to weaken the party.

“The President said people who have wronged the party should be punished, but following laid down procedures to the letter. This ensures that even those who have been tried are content with the outcome,” he said.

Turning to disciplinary issues in Mashonaland West province, Dr Chombo said provincial leaders should stop “ambush tactics” leading to votes of no confidence. This follows vote no confidence motions on provincial chairlady Cde Angeline Muchemenyi and other manoeuvres at the weekend to boot out Cdes Sarah Mahoka and Maggi Chidarikire from the provincial executive on a raft of charges.

Said Dr Chombo: “We should make sure that whatever we are doing will help build the party and not destroy it. We should stop ambush tactics which lead to votes of no confidence that are in turn countered by similar motions which do not help the party.”

News of the vote of no confidence have been doing the rounds on social media. He said the Zanu-PF leadership should be open about disciplinary issues and the crimes for which one was accused.

Politburo member and President of the Senate Cde Edna Madzongwe was asked to convene a meeting of the Women’s League in the province to hear allegations levelled against the three and to map the way forward.

Another team will be set up to go on a fact-finding mission in Kadoma where internecine strive has been reported. The Women’s League, he said, could only proceed to pass a vote of no confidence once they were clear that an offence was committed.

Provincial chairperson Cde Ephraim Chengeta said Mashonaland West was ready for the One Million-Man March on Wednesday. “We are ready and the districts are working on their plans to ensure that the province where our President hails from is well represented,” he said.

The march is aimed showing support for the President as the sole Zanu-PF presidential candidate in the 2018 elections. The meeting was also attended by Mashonaland West Minister of State Cde Faber Chidarikire, Politburo members Cde Edna Madzongwe and Lands Minister Dr Douglas Mombeshora.

ZESA to use new tech to curb vandalism

Source: ZESA to use new tech to curb vandalism | The Herald May 23, 2016

Assistant Business Editor
The country’s power utility Zesa is planning to use new technologies to curb vandalism which has seen it losing cables worth $14,1 million between 2011 and 2015.

In a statement issued at the Chamber of Mines Annual General Meeting and conference last week, Zesa said that it plans to install transformers with oil that is only useful in transformers only.

“We are looking at new technologies that have come through which involves new properties in transformer oils, which if used for any other purposes other than transformers will damage engines,” read the statement.

In addition the power utility said it’s also looking at replacing all copper cables to mitigate against losses through theft.

“In mitigation we are replacing all copper cables, conductors with aluminium cables which have better transmission of electricity, but with limited other uses. The replacement of cables is ongoing exercise in an attempt to curb this vice,” it said.

Thieves have been targeting Zesa copper cables and transformer oil, which they are reselling to scrape metal dealers, while the oil is being resold on the market.

The theft of the transformer oil has in most instance led to the blowing up of transformers due to overheating, which has left many parts of the country in the dark as Zesa battled to replace the transformers.

Small towns and economic development: lessons from Zimbabwe

Source: Small towns and economic development: lessons from Zimbabwe | zimbabweland May 23, 2016

At Independence in 1980, the new government set about investing in new infrastructure aimed at redressing the imbalances of the colonial past, as described by K.H. Wekwete. This included a focus on small urban centres. The 1982 Transitional Development Plan stated:

“Existing discrepancies in the ordering of urban settlements will be corrected by balanced investment in growth and rural service centres. The intention is to bring the rural population into close contact with services and markets, thus forging linkages with the national economy and stimulating the development of local markets with regional specialisations and a multitude of informal employment opportunities”

The Department of Physical Planning proposed a seven tier hierarchy of urban areas – consolidated villages, business centres, rural service centres, district service centres, growth points, towns and cities. This built on attempts from the 1970s to create ‘African’ towns in ‘African areas, and the emergence of the first set of ‘growth points’ supported by TILCOR, the Tribal Trust Land Development Corporation. This was aimed at maintaining the dual economy, and racial separation, while encouraging economic growth in ‘African’ areas.

Urban and regional planning theory had long argued for a distributed approach to infrastructure development, in order to generate balanced growth and effective service delivery. New urban areas should be aimed at facilitating economic activity through ‘linkage’ and ‘multiplier’ effects, while providing sites for markets and services. This might involve significant infrastructure investment to encourage industrial activity (as in ‘growth poles’) or a more incremental approach through planning support for the growth of ‘nodes’ of economic activity – as in the arguments of ‘central place theory’.

However in the context of a highly uneven economy, with spatially concentrated populations – the legacy of colonial land allocation and racialized settlement policy – simply investing in infrastructure and services was not enough. In the colonial era towns grew where there was economic activity. There were the mining towns, such as Zvishavane, Mashava, Hwangwe, Shurugwi, Kadoma and Kwekwe; there were the estate towns, such as Chiredzi and Triangle; and there were the white farming towns, such as Chinoyi, Bindura or West Nicholson. These had their own growth dynamic; but expecting similar patterns to emerge simply through planning edict and limited investment in infrastructure was bound to fail.

The TILCOR growth points that included Sanyati, Maphisa, Gutu, Mrewa, Nkayi, Wedza and others were incorporated into the post-Independence investment strategy. District centres and growth points were placed under the control of local government, with all districts across the country having investment plans that included the supply of water, electricity, feeder roads, sewage systems, and the establishment of government offices. But these centres suffered many problems. They were not necessarily integrated into local economies, and the dualistic pattern of economic development continued. Some prospered, but many remained more in planners’ imaginations than in reality. Those that grew significantly included Gokwe, which prospered due to the cotton boom. Meanwhile, Gutu-Mupandawana took advantage of its location at a distance from other larger towns and in a communal area that had agricultural potential. Mrewa and Mutoko similarly grew through the links to farming and particularly as staging posts for small-scale horticultural marketing to Harare from the communal areas. Meanwhile places like Chivi, where I spent a lot of time in the 1990s, and many others like it languished.

The lesson of course was clear. You need things happening in the economy around an urban centre, and this cannot be conjured up by grand plans and infrastructural investment. For it is the wider structural constraints that hold economies back. In Zimbabwe of course this was substantially to do with access to productive land. Gokwe had plenty of land nearby, and new migrants profited from cotton and Gokwe boomed, but at the same time, peasant farmers in Chivi communal area were barely surviving on small plots and without access to resettlement and the economy remained depressed; more so from the early 1990s with the squeeze on the economy due to structural adjustment policies, and the decline in off-farm opportunities and remittance flows.

At Independence there was much policy discussion about reshaping the economy, and investing in ways that created a ‘rebalancing’ from the skewed racially-defined economy that Zimbabwe inherited. Despite the high rhetoric and the impressive plans little of course happened, and the ambitions of new small town growth were largely dashed. Following land reform post-2000 however the economy has been substantially restructured, with new areas of economic activity – combined of course with declines elsewhere. This requires new thinking, and a new set of ambitions. Not based on the false promises of planning, but linking new investments to existing dynamics of economic activity. Lessons today should not draw on the (largely) failed growth point approaches of the 80s and 90s, but focus on how to capitalise on the new economic activity prompted by land reform through an integrated regional economic development approach.

For sure, growth and economic activity is tentative, and much of it is informal but it is certainly there – and in places like Mvurwi or Chatsworth covered in previous blogs in this series, and often not in those places that the old economy worked for. Comments on the blog series on various platforms over the last few weeks have offered a number of critiques. People have said, look at my town, it’s declined and it’s not like you describe. Well that may be the case, as the restructuring of the economy has resulted in the collapse of certain industries, and the spatial redistribution of economic activity. Those reliant on large-scale commercial agriculture have unquestionably suffered, but in areas where land redistribution has occurred there has been a growth in other activities, as the blogs have shown. Equally, some large mines have closed in some places, while others (often smaller, more distributed) have opened elsewhere. This all means economic activity has a new spatial pattern, one that investment needs to be linked to if the multiplier effects are to be realised. While the economy is certainly depressed currently, and issues of cash liquidity and lack of investment are restricting growth seriously, it is not without potential, but the future spatial pattern of economic development will certainly not be the same as the past.

Others have argued that the new growth is not ‘real growth’ because it is informal. This is a common refrain, and one that needs more than this blog to tackle. But we must not simply dismiss the informal economy because it’s informal. It is massively important in Zimbabwe today and the basis of significant employment and generation of substantial numbers of livelihoods. It may not result in huge tax revenue streams, which is a problem, and it may be fragile, poorly remunerated and operating with poor working conditions, which is a problem too, but it is unquestionably the basis for significant accumulation and wide economic activity, linked to wider economic growth, and must not be ignored. Informal economies across Africa are huge, but poorly understood. This is perhaps especially the case in Zimbabwe, where research and statistical data and so much policy commentary seems to ignore the new dominant pattern, and the places – including the growing small towns and the new (mostly A1) resettlement areas – where things are really happening.

As the economy restructures – painfully, slowly and with all sorts of hardships resulting – there is an urgent need to rethink how we look at issues of economic development – and especially where. Small towns in new farming areas, I have argued in this blog series, are a good place to start.

This post was written by Ian Scoones and appeared on Zimbabweland

For further information on the history of small town planning and policy in Zimbabwe, see Wekwete, K. 1991. Growth Centre policy in Zimbabwe: with special reference to district service centres, in: Mutizwa-Mangiza, N. D., and A. H. J. Helmsing. Rural development and planning in Zimbabwe. Avebury.

Million-man march to gobble $600 000

Source: Million-man march to gobble $600 000 – NewsDay Zimbabwe May 23, 2016

THE Zanu PF youth league’s one million-man march, slated for this Wednesday in Harare to prop up President Robert Mugabe’s waning public support, is expected to gobble over $600 000, with the bulk of the money squeezed out of ailing parastatals, private firms and the few remaining white commercial farmers, NewsDay has heard.

by XOLISANI NCUBE/ BLESSED MHLANGA

Sources involved in mobilising resources for the political jamboree, which has been dismissed by opposition parties as a waste of resources, said they have agreed on a provisional budget of $600 000 to fund transport needs for all 10 provinces, food and accommodation for the delegates.

All the provinces have been ordered to transport at least 100 000 members, who would march to an open space next to the Rainbow Towers Hotel in Harare, where they would be addressed by Mugabe.

Youth league secretary for finance, Tongai Kasukuwere, said each province had been tasked to raise enough money to transport and feed its delegates, while the national executive would be responsible for hosting invited guests and printing solidarity T-shirts for the march.

“We don’t have a national fundraising team because we have assigned each province to mobilise its own money and see how they can fund their programmes. We will be receiving people here and, of course, we will take care of invited guests and other necessities,” he said.
In a letter soliciting donations, Bulawayo youth league secretary for finance, Davies Muhambi said they were targeting to spend at least $50 000 as a province.

“Our budget requirement for the event stands at $50 000,” he wrote.

“The amount will go towards meeting the requirements in the following categories: diesel — 26 000 litres, flour — six tonnes, juices — 5 000 litres, 100 buses and cash towards various payments.”

Loss-making parastatal, Zupco has also been ordered to release nearly 200 buses, while government and mission schools have been commandeered to donate their buses, lorries and small vans to ferry the youths from various provinces.

The host, Harare, has reportedly been tasked to raise $50 000 for printing of more than 200 000 T-Shirts, caps, bottled water and to feed senior party members.

Zanu PF deputy secretary for youth affairs, Kudzai Chipanga yesterday said: “All the provincial executives met at the weekend to finalise on modalities. Each and every province will carry its own people to and from Harare.

“Masvingo and part of Mashonaland provinces will assemble at Rufaro Stadium, Manicaland and the bulk of Mashonaland East and West provinces will be at East 24, Mashonaland Central at Cork Road close to South African Embassy, Harare, Matabeleland South and North and Bulawayo provinces will assemble at the National Sports Stadium.”

The Wednesday event comes against a backdrop of grinding poverty, where at least four million people need urgent food aid as the economy continues to nose dive.

But all this has not deterred Mugabe, who last month blew $2 million hosting over 10 000 war veterans during a meeting, which only lasted three hours.

Early this year, Mugabe shelled out $800 000 on his lavish 92nd birthday celebrations in drought-stricken Masvingo province.

This came shortly after his party, Zanu PF, had flown its entire central committee membership from Harare to Victoria Falls for the Zanu PF national people’s conference in December, blowing nearly $300 000 on travel alone and another $10 million in accommodation and food.

Former Finance minister Tendai Biti has claimed that Mugabe always withdrew $4 million from Treasury each time he travelled out of the country.

This year alone, the President has travelled more than 20 times, meaning he would have spent $80 million in travel alone if Biti’s projections were true.

Opposition parties and activists have also blasted government after it emerged that it was funding First Lady Grace Mugabe rallies at taxpayers’ expense.

‘Mangudya, Chinamasa lied over bond notes’

Source: ‘Mangudya, Chinamasa lied over bond notes’ – NewsDay Zimbabwe May 23, 2016

FORMER Finance minister Tendai Biti has accused his successor, Patrick Chinamasa and Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor, John Mangudya of lying that the bond notes were meant to address the cash crunch, yet it was a clandestine way to replace the $1,8 billion illegally withdrawn from the central bank’s Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS) balances to monetise government expenditure.

BY BLESSED MHLANGA

Biti, leader of the opposition People’s Democratic Party, told delegates at a Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition public meeting in Harare last week that the proposed $200 million bond notes were being introduced to cover the shortfall caused by the illegal
transaction.

“So what has happened is that given the shrinking revenue and the increasing appetite of expenditure, the government has had to look somewhere to finance its recurrent expenditure,” he said.

“The government has gone and raided the RTGs balances at the central bank, so when you want your money, the bank then orders that money from the RBZ, and when that happens the, central bank can’t give the bank your money because it’s physically not there, because someone has raided that money to finance recurrent expenditure. The government has raided banks for the $1,8 billion. This is why something that is dramatic must happen, which is to bring back the Zimdollar.

“Mid-term last year, Chinamasa revised the budget from $4,1 billion dollars to a budget of $3,5 billion. When he revised the revenue figures downwards, he did not also revise the expenditure figures downwards. Expenditure has actually increased in an expenditure budget to $5 billion.”

Biti said employment costs were now at 91% of total expenditure and President Robert Mugabe’s appetite to travel has put a strain on government recurrent expenditure and, therefore, forcing the liquidity crunch.

However, Mangudya yesterday dismissed Biti’s claims, saying the RTGS system was intact and no money was raided by government.

“There are no challenges with the movement of RTGS transactions in Zimbabwe. We actually encourage the banking public and businesses to make their payments using RTGS and plastic money and only use cash as an exception,” he said.

“I think the former Minister of Finance was misquoted on the RTGS figure of US$1,8 billion since there is no relationship between the cash shortages at some banks with RTGS balances of the banking sector, which stand at around US$750 million. Cash used in Zimbabwe is withdrawn from nostro accounts and not RTGS.”

Mangudya said due to the continuous withdrawal from the nostro accounts to meet high import and cash demands, it was essential that the country is transformed by encouraging more exports to replenish their nostro accounts.

“The statement attributed to the former minister seems to be a denial of the fact that the major reason for the cash shortage in the country is due to the haemorrhaging effect of hoarding and exernalisation of cash,” he said.

“What this means is that once cash is withdrawn by banks from their nostro accounts and imported into the country, that cash is not efficiently circulating within the national economy. It’s being drained from the economy by those hoarding or externalising it.”

Chinese mining company’s recklessness costs villagers

THE coming in of the Chinese mining firm, San He Zimbabwe, for the Tengenenge community in Guruve in 2004 was considered a blessing by residents, who were looking forward to benefiting from the mine’s anticipated community development projects.

Source: Chinese mining company’s recklessness costs villagers – NewsDay Zimbabwe May 23, 2016

BY SOFIA MAPURANGA

Guruve was on the verge of becoming a ghost town, with very little economic activities, apart from agriculture and the Tengenenge Arts Centre, taking place.

True to their expectations, the chrome mining firm brought with it new technologies and huge machinery that left the rural community in awe.

Besides exposing the communities to new technology and the construction of new infrastructure in the form of housing units for management and workers, San He offered employment to more than 50 workers from the area, the majority of them working shifts in chrome extraction. The coming of the firm brought about the anticipated boom in economic activity to the otherwise poor communities.

Dereck Kambeu was one lucky worker employed on a permanent basis. His wife, Sarah Dembedza (23) was more than excited, as her husband no longer travelled to Harare to do menial jobs, which earned him paltry wages fortnightly.

“He earned enough to sustain our family of four and his income was guaranteed,” she said.

The benefits of Kambeu’s employment cascaded to his extended family and their fortunes improved.

“Kambeu has always been the breadwinner in the family and his employment meant that he had the capacity to buy us inputs for farming and productivity increased,” his widowed aunt, Stembile Nyoni (55), said.

Jeffrey Gahamadze (21), however, failed to secure a job at the mining firm, but as a vendor he benefited from the spin-offs, as the company’s arrival spurred economic activity.

“I could now sell my products and get some income either weekly or monthly when the workers were paid,” he said.

Sheila Tase, who did catering also reaped benefits, as she sold foodstuffs to the contracted mine workers.

“I made a profit enough to sustain myself,” she said, revealing that making a profit of $20 weekly was better than making nothing.

The community loved the company as it contributed towards the construction of an early childhood development toilet block at a primary school.

“They exhibited good intentions at first and the mining firm sourced and supplied books and stationery to early childhood development pupils,” a village head, Shacky Muzhona Chabvuta said.

He spoke of how the company assisted by transporting the sick, particularly those bitten by snakes, to the nearest clinic Kamusasa, which is about 10km away.

But then joy evaporated and in retrospect, the community thinks it would have been better had the company not come in the first place. They accused San He of leaving a trail of destruction after it was allegedly forced to close in 2011.

The villagers said the company’s activities had not only resulted in massive environmental degradation and added to their health challenges, but the pits they left have cost them human lives and that of their livestock.

Grace Muparaganda said because of the pits left by the chrome extracting firm, a family in the area had lost their child due to injuries sustained when the minor fell into one of the holes.

“It is a very contentious issue because people still fear speaking out and they do not know who to confront because the management at the firm claimed that they were well-connected, so no one dared challenge them,” the 43-year-old woman said.

“Besides, the Chinese nationals that stayed here just disappeared and they are nowhere to be found.”

The village head said besides the gullies left by San He, the mining practices that the firm engaged in were destructive of not only the environment, but left them counting their losses in terms of the safety and availability of water sources.

“They are the ones who caused the siltation of our two major rivers, Dande and Nyabvuti,” Muzhona said.

“Our drinking water is contaminated and it is no longer safe to use.”

The Zimbabwe Environmental Lawyers Association (Zela) in its 2012 report titled Mining within Zimbabwe’s Great Dykes — Extent, Impacts and Opportunities revealed that the abundance of minerals, including chrome along the Great Dyke, led to many mining operations taking place in the areas ranging from small, medium and large scale.

The Great Dykes is a mineral belt covering areas such, as Guruve, Zvishavane, Shurugwi and Kwekwe among others.

While, the report noted that it was evident that the mining sector had potential to uplift through employment creation, mining activities had the potential to undermine communities’ rights.

According to findings by Zela, communities have been left counting their losses due to mining activities in their respective communities including Guruve.

“While the elite and mining companies have been feasting on the huge profits attained from minerals extraction, communities in the Great Dyke have had to endure the negative impacts of mining operations in their areas,” read the report.

It stated how mining activities were characterised by a lot of displacements without fair and adequate compensation, deforestation, environmental and land degradation, water and air pollution, destruction of cultural sites and limited economic benefits.

Environment Management Authority (EMA) spokesperson, Steady Kangata emphasised the importance for mining firms to adhere to set rules and regulations and ensure that they conducted an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) before starting any extraction.

“That company shut its operations a long time ago because they had not complied to set requirements of the environmental impact assessments (EIAs),” he said.

Kangata said it was important for mining firms to ensure that they rehabilitated the land after mineral extraction to ensure the safety of citizens and their livestock.

Another villager said several people in the area had broken their limbs after falling into the pits left by the firm.

“We have over the years tried to cover some of them, but there are those that we cannot rehabilitate because we do not have the resources to do it,” Shadreck Hungwe said.

According to a Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines and Energy inquiry covering 2011-2013, there were a lot irregularities in chrome mining, which affected growth of the sector.

Findings by the committee established that conflicts between farmers and miners over land use and environmental degradation by the miners presented challenges for the sector.

The banning of chrome exports by government in 2011 also saw the majority of the mining firms dumping stoke piles of the mineral.

Before closing, mining companies ensure that they come up with strategies on how the site will be returned to an acceptable state for a pre-arranged land use.

San He, however, simply walked out of Guruve without conducting any land reclamation or rehabilitation leaving the Tengenenge communities bitter, and counting their losses.

Tsvangirai now in stable condition

OPPOSITION MDC-T leader, Morgan Tsvangirai is now in a stable condition and should be flying home soon after receiving treatment in South Africa, NewsDay has learnt.

Source: Tsvangirai now in stable condition – NewsDay Zimbabwe May 23, 2016

“He is still being monitored, but he is very stable. I spoke to him yesterday (Saturday). He will be home very soon,” Tsvangirai’s spokesperson, Luke Tamborinyoka said yesterday.

Tsvangirai was rushed to South Africa last week for urgent medical attention, although the party declined to disclose the nature of his ailment.

“He is still being monitored, but he is very stable. I spoke to him yesterday (Saturday). He will be home very soon,” Tsvangirai’s spokesperson, Luke Tamborinyoka said yesterday.

Tsvangirai was rushed to South Africa last week for urgent medical attention, although the party declined to disclose the nature of his ailment.

‘Gold output to increase to 50 tonnes by 2020’

Gold output is envisaged to increase to 50 tonnes by 2020, generating $1,8 billion annually, a mining executive has said.

Source: ‘Gold output to increase to 50 tonnes by 2020’ – NewsDay Zimbabwe May 23, 2016

BY FIDELITY MHLANGA

A total of $600 million is required to optimise production, Gold Producers Association chairman, Noah Matimba said.

He said the presence of extensive gold deposits, coupled with idle capacity, presented an opportunity for the sector to increase output to over 50 tonnes by 2020.

“Existing producers have a potential to increase output to 50 tonnes through improved efficiencies and expansion of current operations.In line with output growth, gold revenues will reach $1,8 billion by 2020,” Matimba said at the Chamber of Mines annual general meeting in Victoria Falls on Friday.

“The gold industry requires $600 million in the next five years to optimise production, of which $410 million relates to ramp up capital, while $190 million is for sustenance of operations.”

He said at present, capacity utilisation levels, the mining industry required an estimated 120 MW of power, with an estimated 30 MW meant for gold mining.

Matimba said the existing electricity tariff for the gold industry, at 12,8 cents/KWh, was significantly higher than the regional average of 8 cents/KWh.

Gold is currently contributing around 4% to the fiscus through government taxes and other fiscal charges, and an additional 4% is generated in the value chain.

After attaining a peak of 27,1 tonnes in 1999, gold output levels progressively declined to reach a historic low of 3,6 tonnes in 2008, before recovering back to 20 tonnes by 2015.

It is envisaged that gold’s contribution to gross domestic product could rise from 7% to 15 % by 2020, whereas total exports would surge from 40 to 55%.

In terms of contribution to fiscus it is envisioned that the sector will channel 12% from the current 8%, with contribution of foreign direct investment growing to 31% from the current 28%.

To achieve the growth, Matimba said there was need to resuscitate closed mines, improve efficiencies, reduce costs, use new technology and optimise the use of inputs and a conducive business environment.

Critical success factors for sustained growth and development, according to Matimba, include managing costs through aligning labour costs to productivity, optimal power usage and negotiating with suppliers for reduced prices.

The gold industry continued to operating below installed capacity at around 77% in 2015 despite in excess of 4 000 recorded gold deposits.

In terms of gold productivity per square kilometre, the country is ranked above traditional big producers such as United States of America, Canada, Australia and Brazil.

However, Zimbabwe remained largely underexplored, impacting negatively on grades due to limited new discoveries.

Gold receipts increased from $155 million in 2009, to reach a peak of 868 million in 2013 and were at $737 million in 2015. For the period 2012 to 2015, the industry generated $2,7 billion

“The formal gold industry has created in excess of 11 000 direct jobs (25%) of total formal mining employment of around 40 000 and an additional 33 000 in indirect jobs,” Matimba said.

He said the government should address the power supply deficit and cost, road network, rail network and water infrastructure, continue reducing the cost of doing business, improve the investment climate, optimal benchmarked fiscal framework and finalise amendments to the Mines and Minerals Act.

Zambia seeks truce over poachers’ arrests

ZAMBIA’s Siavonga district commissioner, Lovemore Kanyama has called for a truce and good neighbourliness between Zimbabwe and Zambia following the recent incarceration of fish poachers from both countries.

Source: Zambia seeks truce over poachers’ arrests – NewsDay Zimbabwe May 23, 2016

May 23, 2016

Siavonga borders Zambia with Zimbabwe.

“The imprisonment to one year each of 10 Zimbabwean fishermen should not be seen as an act of bad neighbourliness between the two sister countries. Remember, some high level talks between the two countries are still in progress. Something can be done, it’s not too late,” he said.

Ten of the 21 Zimbabwean fishermen arrested on the Zambian side of Lake Kariba two months ago were last week convicted and slapped with a 24-month jail term each by Siavonga magistrate Edward Banda.

The remaining 11 fishermen were further remanded to May 30 for sentence.

Some Kariba residents took to social media to vent their anger at the Zambian authorities for what they term a “harsh judgment” to the fishermen.

‘Health service providers to turn down medical aid’

THE Zimbabwe Medical Association (ZiMA) has said with effect from July 1, 2016, private doctors, hospitals and other health providers will stop accepting medical aid, as they seek to get paid $220 million that they are owed by various health insurance firms.

Source: ‘Health service providers to turn down medical aid’ – NewsDay Zimbabwe May 23, 2016

BY VICTORIA MTOMBA

ZiMA secretary-general, Shingai Bopoto yesterday told NewsDay that all health providers, including hospitals, were owed $220 million and half of the amount was owed by a single medical aid society, which he would not disclose.

“The money has been accumulating for some medical aid societies over the years, while for others it is since the beginning of this year,” he said.

Bopoto said the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority collects tax on income whether a claim is paid or not.

“Medical aid societies are not paying claims. Some have gone for three years without paying service providers. This means doctors have to look for funds from elsewhere to pay tax that is due. As a profession, we don’t want to have doctors being prosecuted for not paying tax and at the moment, one way out is doctors can charge cash for all services,” he said.

Bopoto said the July 1 date had been set, leaving room for the medical aid societies to comply with the law.

If doctors opt to demand cash from customers on medical aid, that would cause a lot of inconvenience.

The cost of medical aid cover in the country has been on an upward trend since 2009, amid reports that less than 20% of the population are on health insurance.

Bopoto said the issue of non-payment has been going on for 19 months and has been taken to Parliament, the Competition and Tariffs Commission and the medical aid societies have not changed the way they do business.

Waving the flag – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary

Source: Waving the flag – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 21st May 2016

Photos caption: British Ambassador Catriona Laing shares a joke with Vice-President Mnangagwa while Vigil shows support for #ThisFlag.

Photolinks:
http://www.herald.co.zw/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/2005-1-1-VP-MNANGAGWA-MEETS-BRITISH-AMBASSADOR-3.jpg

https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/27087406901/sizes/m/

The suggestion that the Zimbabwean government is looking at ways of ‘taxing’ the diaspora may be fanciful but it is clear that both Zanu PF and the opposition are looking hungrily at the money earned abroad by the millions of Zimbabweans who have fled Mugabe’s economic Armageddon.

The government, we were told this week, has drafted a Diaspora Policy which seeks to tap into exiles’ remittances estimated at $1.8 billion a year – way more than the country is attracting in foreign direct investment (see: Zim Citizens Working Outside The Country To Be Taxed – http://zimmetro.net/index-id-front+page-zk-19691.html).

It is typical of the Zanu PF mentality that the government should think it has a claim to any of this money. It’s bad enough that hundreds of thousands of family members in Zimbabwe have become so dependent on remittances – indeed appealing for ever more help.

We now learn from a prominent opposition member that their attempt to raise money from the diaspora for an election war fund has met with little response. Can they be surprised given their dismissive attitude to the diaspora down the years? To them the diaspora has only ever been a cash cow.

If the government does try to ‘tax’ the diaspora we must consider how we can pay in ‘bond’ notes. After all they are apparently good enough for the people of Zimbabwe. We will have our notes made by the same German printer.

We note that so many have fled Zimbabwe that Mugabe can’t even get good cooks. The Vigil laughed at an article about this in NewZimbabwe, and particularly at this comment on the story: ‘It seems that this report is inaccurate. Both Robert Mugabe and Grace Mugabe are excellent cooks. They have been cooking the books on the diamond sales and the Printing Press for years now. There is nothing that they cannot cook with the help of Gono and Scoones – from the money supply and the wild success of the Land Reform Programme to the report on the massacre of 20 000 civilians in Matabeleland. The numbers and facts are always exceptionally well cooked. The latest dish from Master Chef Bob was to tell Patrick Anthony Chinamasa to tell the people that the Bond Notes are going to happen. The Bond Notes will flood the market – again – and then the close inner circle of Zanu will dupe the people of Zimbabwe to swap their genuine US dollars (held by the people) for some Zanu Bond Toilet Paper that Mugabe, Gono, Chinamasa and Scoones will sell as a worthy form of currency! If 10 million Zimbabweans have an average of US$100 each in their mattress – then these cooks (or crooks?) want to get their greasy little paws on it – to the tune of $1000 million US Dollars. The Diasporans need to be careful about feeding the Zanu Fat Cats in their quest to feed the families and friends. The new marketing line for Bond Notes will be “Zanu Bond Toilet Paper – the luxury you cannot afford to pay for in US$.” Once Bob has the US$ he needs he will then use the bond toilet paper to wipe his *#*# and be done with it, like the Matabeleland Massacres.’  (See: http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/news/zimsit-m-mugabe-complains-about-graces-cooking/).

At the Vigil supporters wrapped themselves in Zimbabwean flags to express their support for the campaign for freedom  launched by Pastor Evan Mawarire which has captured public imagination (see: https://www.newsday.co.zw/2016/05/20/thisflag-idea-whose-time-come/).

Other points

  • We were pleased to be joined by two Danish students, one of whom Anna Bestle spent six months working for the Women’s Resource Centre in Harare.
  • A large group from the Vigil is marking Africa Day on Wednesday 25th May by going to see the play ‘After Independence’ set in Zimbabwe. We are taking our drums and are having a collaborative event at the theatre afterwards. See ‘Events and Notices’ for more details.
  • Thanks to those who came early to help set up: Rashiwe Bayisayi, Isaac Chawasarira, Benjamin Chigamba, Mavis Chisvo, Isabell Gwatidzo, Barbara Kachidza, Etines Kapiya, Fungayi Mabhunu, Phylis Magejo, Phillip Mahlahla, Nancy Makurira, Rosemary Maponga, Cephas Maswoswa, Sharon Moyo, Eletha Mpofu, Roseline Mukucha, Alfredy Mukuvare, Edward Murota, Mduduzi Ndlovu, Chipo Parirenyatwa, Eva Sanyahokwe, Benjamin Semwayo, Michael Sirewu and Elector Zvorwadza. Thanks to those who looked after the front table during the Vigil: Roselone, Elitha, Sharon and Nancy. Thanks also to the team that put up the high banners and tarpaulin: Phillip, Cephas, Alfredy and Mduduzi.

For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website.

FOR THE RECORD: 45 signed the register.

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • Play: ‘After Independence’. 4th – 28th May at the Arcola Theatre, 24 Ashwin Street, London E8 3DL. The play is by May Sumbwanyambe and tackles the issues of independence and government in Zimbabwe. Tickets are available from the Box Office: 020 7503 1646 or online from: http://www.arcolatheatre.com/event/after-independence/2016-05-04/.
  • Swaziland Vigil. Saturday 28th May from 10 am to 1 pm outside the Swaziland High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB.
  • ROHR South Yorkshire Launch. Saturday 28th May from 1.30 – 8 pm. Venue: Christ Church, Armley Ridge Road, Leeds LS12 3LE. Contact: Patricia Nyawo 07443897919, Gladys Muduve 07956430115, Oscar Ndlovu 07474185307 and Rosemary Mupunga 07446380110.
  • ROHR National Executive meeting. Saturday 4th June from 11 am to 1.30 pm. Venue: Strand Continental Hotel (first floor lounge), 143 Strand, London WC2R 1JA. For directions see below.
  • The Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) is the Vigil’s partner organization based in Zimbabwe. ROHR grew out of the need for the Vigil to have an organization on the ground in Zimbabwe which reflected the Vigil’s mission statement in a practical way. ROHR in the UK actively fundraises through membership subscriptions, events, sales etc to support the activities of ROHR in Zimbabwe. Please note that the official website of ROHR Zimbabwe is http://www.rohrzimbabwe.org/. Any other website claiming to be the official website of ROHR in no way represents us.
  • Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF). Saturday 4th June from 6.15 pm. Venue: Strand Continental Hotel (first floor lounge), 143 Strand, London WC2R 1JA. From the Vigil it’s about a 10 minute walk, in the direction away from Trafalgar Square. The Strand Continental is situated on the south side of the Strand between Somerset House and the turn off onto Waterloo Bridge. The entrance is marked by a sign at street level. It’s between a newsagent and a shop. Nearest underground: Temple (District and Circle lines) and Holborn.
  • Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF) meets regularly after the Vigil to discuss ways to help those back in Zimbabwe to fight oppression and achieve true democracy.
  • Monthly Itai Dzamara protest Saturday 11th June from 2 – 6 pm outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London. The protest is to mark fifteen months since Dzamara’s abduction by intelligence agents.
  • Protest at Zimbabwe Conference 2016 ‘Rebooting and Rebuilding’. Tuesday 5th July from 8 am onwards. Venue: outside DLA Piper UK LLP, 3 Noble Street, London EC2V 7EE. More information as our plans firm up.
  • Zimbabwe Yes We Can Movement holds meetings in London as the political face of ROHR and the Vigil.
  • Zimbabwe Vigil Highlights 2015 can be viewed on this link: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/746-zimbabwe-vigil-highlights-2015. Links to previous years’ highlights are listed on 2015 Highlights page.
  • Facebook pages:

Vigil: https://www.facebook.com/zimbabwevigil

ZAF: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Zimbabwe-Action-Forum-ZAF/490257051027515

ROHR: https://www.facebook.com/ROHR-Zimbabwe-Restoration-of-Human-Rights-301811392835

Chilling Mutasa ‘skeletons’ tumble

Source: Chilling Mutasa ‘skeletons’ tumble – The Standard May 22, 2016

FORMER Finance minister Tendai Biti has lined up several witnesses who claim to have suffered at the hands of ex-Zanu PF heavyweight Didymus Mutasa in a case where he is being sued by the politician for $8 million.

By Everson Mushava

Mutasa dragged Biti to the High Court claiming the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) leader accused him of killing an MDC-T activist’s son.

Christpowers Maisiri (12) from Mutasa’s Headlands constituency was burnt to death in 2013 after the hut he was sleeping in was set on fire by suspected Zanu PF activists.

Biti allegedly accused the former Intelligence minister of causing the boy’s death during a Cabinet meeting.

Mutasa, now a member of former vice-president Joice Mujuru’s Zimbabwe People First (ZimPF) party, accused Biti of defamation.

Biti’s defence outline contains testimonies of several MDC-T supporters who say they would prove that the former Zanu PF Manicaland godfather was behind several cases of politically-motivated violence in the province.

Biti said he never said Mutasa killed Christpowers, but that he caused the death of the child and evidence provided by witnesses would show that he had a track record of violence.

The PDP leader said if Mutasa could sue him over things that happened in Cabinet, then he should not hide behind the Official Secrets Act in refusing to name human rights campaigner Jestina Mukoko’s kidnappers.

Mukoko was abducted by suspected Central Intelligence Organisation operatives when Mutasa was State Security minister.

According to Biti’s defence outline, Priscilla Kamuchira – a witness from ward 7 in Headlands – would testify that Mutasa provided Zanu PF youths with a wooden club and catapults at a rally at Nyamukamani School in 2008.

The weapons were allegedly used to assault MDC-T members at a base established at the school ahead of the June presidential run-off election.

Kamuchira’s husband died on June 26 after being assaulted at the base, together with Method Chabuka, who eventually died on July 8 2008 at a Harare hospital.

“When he [Mutasa] came, he had a huge wooden club which he left with Zanu PF activists at Nyamukamani,” Kamuchira said in the court papers.

“A Zanu PF base was then set up at Nyamukamani, where Zanu PF activists, who were over 1 000 were fed and organised by Mutasa himself.”

Kamuchira’s sister-in-law, only identified as Lizzy, was also badly assaulted and was now permanently paralysed after spending two years bed-ridden, according to the court documents.

Another victim claimed that she was beaten a day before the elections, while she lay prostrate with her clothes striped off.

Some Zanu PF youths whisked her off on the pretext of helping her, but instead lined up and to rape her until she lost consciousness.

“The witness will state that she was raped by one Brian Mudyambudzi and thereinafter the Zanu PF people literally queued up to rape her countless times,” read part of the papers.

“She became unconscious and has no recollection of how many people actually raped her. She was subsequently treated at the CSU [Counselling Services Unit].”

While she was being raped, her husband was being assaulted by Zanu PF youths and he died after his testicles exploded.

The Zanu PF youth stopped everyone from mourning victims of their killings, it is alleged.

“The witness will also state that during this period, Mutasa’s vehicles would be roaming around Headlands and he himself was always very visible and very vocal, forcing MDC-T supporters to take refuge in mountains where they would access food from their relatives,” the papers say.

“The witness will also state that at the base, at least 43 beasts were slaughtered by the Zanu PF people, as well as countless goats and chickens, which were confiscated from villagers.

“She herself lost two goats, one cow and six chickens. No one was ever compensated.”

Judith Svotwani Punungwe of village 4C, Chinyika West in Headlands, would also testify that she was assaulted on June 23 2008 at Nyamukamani main base, Biti said.

She claimed she was undressed and thumped by logs while others poured water on her, leaving her with serious scars that had to be remedied by intensive skin grafting.

With nurses afraid of treating victims, Punungwe was rushed to Harare where she spent five months under the care of the CSU.

Many witnesses claimed Mutasa would visit the constituency driving either a Jeep Cherokee or Mitsubishi truck to terrorise people – not only those in the opposition, but even some within Zanu PF but were opposed to him, as was the case with Major Kaunye in 2008.

Mutasa allegedly personally removed the dreadlocks of Kaunye’s campaign manager identified as Mhuruyengwe using a knife at Chinyudze in Headlands and disposed his grinding mill while in the company of Comrade Koro and Comrade Gun Powder, also known as Engebert Zowa.

“Up to now if people see a Jeep Cherokee in the area, they run away. The witness will also state that since Mutasa was ejected from Zanu PF, the violence incidences have reduced dramatically,” the papers added.

Biti said another witness, a soldier Betty Mutsvangwa “will state that Mutasa was a terror in the neighbourhood.

He himself would carry a rubber sling which he would personally use to attack MDC supporters.”

Jonathan Ngowani, who was the MDC-T organising secretary in Headlands, was assaulted at a base where Mafusa Felto, Aleck Makurumidze and Patrick Gorosviba were beaten to death.

Another victim who had a three-month-old baby was raped by several people and she reported the matter at Nyathi Police Station.

Shephard Maisiri, whose son Christpowers was killed in a suspected act of arson, was also allegedly assaulted by Mutasa on several occasions.

Maisiri will state that he was kidnapped by Mutasa and taken to a house he did not know, where they allegedly found a dead person who was hit by a hammer and a woman from Buhera who had also been assaulted.

Way back in 2000, Mutasa addressed a rally and ordered that Maisiri be caught and brought to book.

Maisiri, together with other MDC-T supporters, were forced to live in the bush and eventually left and went to Harare to seek refuge.

Maisiri was tortured a record 10 times in his nine encounters with Mutasa, allegedly leading to the petrol bombing of his hut, killing his son.

In 2001, he was assaulted by a woman who called herself Madhodhi while at a bakery in Rusape and was taken to Mutasa, who allegedly spit in his face before ordering that he be given sadza and kapenta, the papers stated.

Maisiri was allegedly handcuffed and tied on an electricity pole before being assaulted.

He was only saved by Shadreck Beta and Mandy Chimene, who ordered his release, the papers further showed. The case is yet to be heard by the courts.

Harrowing tales of hunger, neglect in Mudzi

TENDAI Moyo (not real name) is a 36-year-old epileptic widow who lives in Mukota B ward in Mudzi, 222km north east of Harare.

Source: Harrowing tales of hunger, neglect in Mudzi – The Standard May 22, 2016

By Moses Mugugunyeki

She stays with her six-year-old daughter and they hardly have any food to eat.

Moyo is among many villagers in Mudzi who are facing acute drought-induced hunger.

“I wake-up early in the morning to pick-up masawu [tropical fruits] which serve as breakfast,” Moyo told The Standard last week.

“We hardly have a meal in the afternoon and most of the times we go to bed without eating anything.”

Moyo, who is not a beneficiary of any food aid programme, said the crops she planted in December failed due to poor rains.

“Despite my health problems, I planted maize on my small plot, but the crop failed because of erratic rains,” she said.

Moyo who is epileptic suffered permanent disability on her feet after she fell into a fireplace due to drop seizures caused by her condition. She is among thousands of vulnerable people who are not benefitting from any drought relief programme.

The United Nations last week said nearly five million people we are in dire need of food assistance in Zimbabwe.

Mudzi being one of the driest districts in the country, is among the worst affected.

Patricia Nhauro told a harrowing story of starvation, saying she was struggling to feed seven orphaned grandchildren.

“I am looking after seven grandchildren and my mother. Sometimes we forego breakfast and eat a meal in the afternoon,” she told a delegation led by secretary-general of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) Elhadj As Sy last Sunday.

“A lot of people are hungry because the fields failed us.

“The situation is out of hand as some of us have pulled children out of school because we are failing to raise fees,” she said.

Nhauro said she only harvested less than a bucketful of round nuts, which she boils and serve as a meal. She said sometimes they go for days without a meal.

Nhauro, who is among 1 200 beneficiaries of the Zimbabwe Red Cross Society cash transfer programme, said the $40 per month had eased her burden.

“I am happy that I am getting money from the Red Cross. When I get it, I buy three 10kg bags of maize meal, which last for 10 days,” she said. “I use some of the money to buy soap and cooking oil. I just keep fingers crossed that this programme continues.”

Nhauro said apart from the ZRCS there was no one to assist because her children were all late.

Another villager, Vigilance Tsabora, who stays with her disabled mother, said she was not benefitting from any food aid programme.

“We are not part of any food aid programme. My mother is frail and disabled, but surprisingly she was not incorporated into any government programme,” she said.

Mudzi assistant district administrator Priscilla Muguto confirmed that food aid programmes were benefitting only a handful of people in the area.

Muguto said she hoped the ZRCS intervention would be extended to the next harvest season.

Villagers who spoke to The Standard said government was reluctant to address the food situation in the area.

They said apart from the food insecurity situation, livestock were on the brink of starvation as most water sources and pasture were fast disappearing.

“Government is quite and many people are starving. They come here and make promises which they don’t fulfil,” said a villager who spoke on condition of anonymity.

“Look, most water sources, including Mudzi River are dry at this time of the year. It will be a difficult year for people and domestic animals.”

Zimbabwe is experiencing its worst drought since the 1992 one that killed more than one million cattle.

President Robert Mugabe has since declared the drought a national disaster and the government is appealing for at least $3,5 billion to feed vulnerable families until March next year.

IFRC has since launched a $5,1 million emergency appeal to complement government food security efforts and alleviate human suffering.

The programme will provide basic food assistance, agriculture and livelihood support, clean water and hygiene promotion in eight districts that include Mudzi, Mwenezi in Masvingo, Lower Gweru in Midlands and Kariba in Mashonaland West, as well as Muzarabani in Mashonaland Central. The other districts are Chipinge and Buhera in Manicaland, Gwanda and Binga in Matabeleland South and Matabeleland North respectively.

These are among the most affected districts, according to the ZimVac Assessment.

“The situation is bad, hence we have launched an emergency appeal, which will go a long way in assisting the needy,” said ZRCS secretary-general Maxwell Phiri.

“As is always the case, available resources outweigh competing humanitarian needs, but we believe our efforts in the targeted districts will make a big difference.”

More than 38 000 people from across the country will benefit from the programme, which will run for nine months.

Speaking after visiting hunger-stricken villagers in Mudzi last week, Sy said the food insecurity situation in the district was dire.

“Zimbabwe is one of the countries in southern Africa that has been affected by the El Ninó-induced drought. The situation in this part of the country is bad and it needs concerted efforts to alleviate the food crisis,” he said.

The Red Cross head who was in the country on a food assessment mission visited various families in Mudzi, before he met Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa and UN agencies in the country. He said there was a possibility of Red Cross extending its intervention programmes to the next harvest season.

“Food aid programmes will be updated and adjusted based on the evolving nature of the crisis, new developments and assessments,” he said.

Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare minister Prisca Mupfumira said eight rural provinces would receive grain under the drought relief programme.

She said government acquired 700 000 metric tonnes of grain from Zambia and abroad for the drought relief programme.

Robert Mugabe’s Corruption 1980-2014

Editor’s note: In this article Ken Yamamoto, a researcher on Africa at a Tokyo Institute, questions President Robert Mugabe’s sincerity in dealing with the country’s corruption scourge. Yamamoto cites several historic scandals where little or no action was taken while those implicated were rewarded with top government posts. He suggests that Mugabe cannot be serious about fighting corruption while retaining in his cabinet ministers such as Obert Mpofu and Ignatius Chombo.

Source: Robert Mugabe’s Corruption 1980-2014 – The Zimbabwean 22/05/2016

Editor’s note: In this article Ken Yamamoto, a researcher on Africa at a Tokyo Institute, questions President Robert Mugabe’s sincerity in dealing with the country’s corruption scourge. Yamamoto cites several historic scandals where little or no action was taken while those implicated were rewarded with top government posts. He suggests that Mugabe cannot be serious about fighting corruption while retaining in his cabinet ministers such as Obert Mpofu and Ignatius Chombo.

Yamamoto also cites several dodgy deals involving the First Lady, former RBZ Governor Gideon Gono as well as Gushungo Holdings which is owned by the Mugabes. He suggests that the reason the fight against corruption will not succeed is because the head of this mafia or yakuza-like operation sits in the highest office in the land. Readers are advised that the article is fairly long, but we decided to use it in full because it raises pertinent questions about the problem of corruption in Zimbabwe.

NEKO no kubi ni suzu o tsukeru is a Japanese proverb which literally means “putting a bell around a cat’s neck”. This means expecting or talking about something that is nearly impossible to do. Many Zimbabweans have of late mistakenly believed that President Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF are now serious about fighting corruption. This belief is premised on no grounds at all other than, first, the natural desire to see the mess cleaned by the nanogenarian, and, second, the hope that after presiding for many years over a corrupt regime, Mugabe, may, after all be fed up of being in charge of a kleptocracy, and third and finally, the supposed linking by the thieves themselves of the wish list that is called ZIMASSET and its lofty ideals vis-à-vis corruption which is a hindrance to the supposed attainment of the economic plan’s objectives.

If anybody hopes that there will be a major crackdown on corruption in Zimbabwe, they had better scale their hopes down, because it is just not going to happen. And there are many reasons for concluding so.
Check the history!

Zimbabwe did not start decaying today. As a matter of fact, the decay of emerging economies that were once well-run happens over many years, and mainly happens gradually, well under the threshold of the average person’s consciousness. The decay tends to happen is small dozes over time. Zimbabwe’s decay and collapse of its moral fibre started way back in the 80’s and was allowed to slowly eat away the society’s fabric over decades. Many signs of this decay require carefully piecing them together, and if you are engrossed in them, you can hardly notice. It took me a long period of study of official documents and several visits to Zimbabwe to arrive at this empirical conclusion.

Looking at Mugabe’s leadership and history, he allowed his party to grandstand by adopting the leadership code in August 1984. At that time, the independence euphoria and the ruling class’ dying connection to the ideals of liberation struggle from the colonists was diminishing but still existent. This code did not survive beyond a few years. Mugabe and his lieutenants soon shredded it, engaging into all sorts of businesses. One very important trait among the ruling class in Zanu PF is that they all do not have strong competencies in running businesses, which led all of them to leverage on the national institutions to sustain these side-operations and opulent lifestyles, in the process pillaging the national fiscus.

The centre failed to hold right from independence and since then, the scandals have been popping out of the bottle one after another. To name but a few, these include the Paweni scandal (1982), National Railways Housing Scandal (1986), Air Zimbabwe Fokker Plane Scandal worth $100 million (1987), Zisco Steel blast Furnace Scandal (1987), Willowgate Scandal (1988), ZRP Santana Scandal (1989), War Victims Compensation Scandal (1994), GMB Grain Scandal (1995), VIP Housing Scandal (1996), Boka Banking Scandal (1998), ZESA YTL Soltran Scandal (1998), – Harare City Council Refuse Tender Scandal (1998), Housing Loan Scandal (1999), Noczim Scandal (1999), – DRC timber and diamond UN reported scandals (1999), GMB Scandal (1999), – Ministry of water and rural development Chinese tender scandal (1999), Harare Airport Scandal (2001), pillaging and milking of Ziscosteel (2005-8), pillaging of diamonds in Chiadzwa (2006-present), the Airport Road Scandal (2008-2014), the perpetual milking of Zimbabwe and the pillaging of the central bank under Gideon Gono . The catch here is, these scandals that stink to high heavens only became such simply because they slipped into the public domain. You can imagine the high level corruption that does not slip into the public domain and takes place under the public radar.

The rate of corruption and scandals has increased significantly after independence turning into a precarious and evil spiral that has supped the energy out of this small southern African state, worsening from the early 90s and spiralling out of control this turn of the millennium. Corruption of an opportunistic and greedy nature bloomed from 1980 to about 1988. From that period to around 1999, there was a sudden surge and growth of a political mafia elite that extensively fuelled network-type corruption. After that period, the type of corruption morphed into a patronage form which was severely backed by politicians. Today, under Mugabe’s leadership, corruption has permeated Zimbabwe’s moral fabric like a cancer, to an extent that Zimbabwe fast rivals Nigeria with police collecting bribes like toll fees at roadblocks.

Mugabe leads the mafia

The Italian Mafia is quite influential, and so was the Japanese yakuza. Such criminal bands are led by a godfather. The only difference between Zanu PF and the mafia or the yakuza is that the latter are illicit organisations operating on the fringes of the formal system. However, in Zimbabwe, Mugabe actually leads a looting mafia which has presided over the country’s decline year after year, decade after decade, churning out corruption scandal after another. He is the godfather of the looting clan. Zimbabwe is a sad and typical case where a mafia mobster runs the government led by a godfather wearing the official robes of a State president.

Almost every corruption scandal in Zimbabwe invariably involves a major politician, and the politicians protect their fronts from persecution. No politician associated with any of the major corruption scandals has ever been prosecuted. In the extreme cases, it’s the weak small fish that get slapped at the knuckles while the big fish walk away scot free. In The Paweni scandal, the late Kumbirai Kangai, who authorised payment of fake invoices was never sanctioned, while Paweni was jailed. Kangai remained a cabinet minister for decades after the scandal and went on to preside over the Ministry of Agriculture years later, further engaging in subsequent pillaging of the GMB from which the parastatal has never recovered to date. Nothing happened to Kangai and he died a ‘respected’ senator.

It would take a whole book to look at each and every corruption scandal. But a few would emphasize that Mugabe actually leads, rewards and consorts with the thieves in government. Ministers that were dismissed from government by Mugabe over the Willowgate scandal are today at the top of the system in Zimbabwe. Fredrick Shava is today addressed as “His Excellency”, walking the diplomatic corridors as Ambassador of Zimbabwe in China. This appointment is done by Mugabe himself. Jacob Mudenda, a proven crook during the Willowgate scandal who, as governor of a Mateleland province, illegally sold Scania trucks at exorbitant prizes to a Zanu PF-linked company – Tregers, is today the Speaker of Parliament in Zimbabwe, effectively addressed as ‘Mr Speaker, Sir”. True to his old ways, he has recently been accused of trying to stifle debate on corruption in Parliament.

Proven Willowgate crook now Speaker of Parliament … Jacob Mudenda

Ziscosteel, once the largest integrated steelworks in Africa north of the Limpopo was sucked dry by Zanu PF vampires. Today , it’s a pale shadow of its former self, and has been sold off to an Indian company, Essar. Investigations done by National Economic Conduct Inspectorate (NECI) in 2009 revealed that Mugabe’s ministers such as Samuel Mumbengegwi, Olivia Muchena, Sithembiso Nyoni, Joice Mujuru, the late Stan Mudenge and Patrick Chinamasa all inappropriately and corruptly took payments from Ziscosteel.

Obert Mpofu, then Minister of Industry, was impeached by Parliamentarians in 2009 for admitting that Ziscosteel had been looted and milked out by senior government officials and latter prevaricating on that position. Mpofu had appeared before a Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Foreign Affairs, Industry and International Trade that was investigating the collapse of a $400 million deal to capitalise Ziscosteel by Global Steel Holdings.

While Mpofu was giving evidence at the parliamentary committee hearing on September 20 2009, a clerk appeared and delivered an urgent message to committee chairman Enock Porusingazi that Mpofu was wanted straight away by Vice President Joice Mujuru. Mpofu immediately left the hearing and went to meet Mujuru who told him to shut up. By the time he came back, he was denying that he knew anything about the looting frenzy at the steel company. He was fined $40,000. After his stint in the ministry, Mpofu was moved to preside over the Mining Ministry after which he became fabulously wealthy, and now owns a bank among other assets.

Joice Mujuru recently exposed herself as a corrupt mafioso when she was recorded at a party meeting saying the recent exposures of corruption were “the work of subversive elements trying to destroy Zanu PF and its government from within”. Mujuru is a heartbeat away from the Presidency of Zimbabwe. She actually acts as the president of Zimbabwe in Mugabe’s absence. If Mugabe was not himself corrupt, Mujuru should have resigned soon after making those utterances or get fired by Mugabe, but today the two preside at the apex of power in Zimbabwe.

Mujuru has bungled throughout her career as a minister. Zimbabweans may recall that she was the Minister who worked overtime to prevent Strive Masiyiwa from setting up Econet, a company that’s arguably Zimbabwe’s largest direct and indirect employer today. She also looted the War Victims Compensation Fund claiming to be 55% disabled and collected a cool Z$389 472, which was a handsome amount back then.

In 2009, Firstar Europe reported that Mujuru tried to sell them $90 million worth of gold, which had a purported origin of the DRC. She tried to sell the gold, according to British media via her son-in-law who is Spanish. Mujuru’s daughter, Nyasha is married to a Spanish man called Del Campo. The Vice President of Zimbabwe is reported to have threatened Firstar with consequences if they did not reverse their decision to refuse buying the gold.

During the looting frenzy of diamonds from the Chiadzwa area, Mujuru and her late husband were prominent names, illegally collecting diamonds en-masse from the area. She had her own claim famously referred to as “chitutu chaMai Mujuru”. So did Grace Mugabe, the President’s wife.

Webster Shamu on the other hand is Mugabe’s party’s political commissar, an equivalent of a chief mobiliser of the party. Shamu, formerly known as Charles Ndlovu, has long had mafia-style crooked streak his entire life. Shamu left the Rhodesian Broadcasting Corporation for Mozambique before Zimbabwe’s independence to avoid paying debts he owed. He achieved notoriety in the 80s when he allegedly embezzled over Z$50,000 from the Central Film Laboratories that he headed.

A 1987 US embassy cable described him, when he was appointed a deputy minister of youth sport and culture by Mugabe in 1987 just after the unity accord, as; “Charles Ndlovu… is new to the cabinet and takes over this position from Amos Midzi who is no longer in government. Ndlovu, … was once a disc jockey with the Rhodesian Broadcasting Corp. He left for Maputo in the mid-1970’s where he became a broadcaster on “the Voice of Zimbabwe”. In the early 1980’s, he was named head of production services in the Ministry of Information, and in 1985 he became head of the parastatal Central Film Laboratories. … Ndlovu is considered a party hack with fairly close ties to Mugabe… he was moved from the Ministry of Information to Central Film Labs in 1985 after a scandal in which an alleged Z$50,000 was embezzled from the department of production services through a false payroll scheme. The department’s accountant committed suicide, but Ndlovu… was saved, probably through his ties with Mugabe. Though married, Ndlovu is well known as a womanizer and heavy drinker”.

Shamu, in 1985 had been involved in pillaging the Central Film Laboratories of a lot of money via a false payroll. In other words, he had ghost workers on the payroll. Mugabe rewarded him a couple of years later by appointing him as a deputy minister a year before the Willowgate theft went into full gear. Now, is it any wonder that Shamu recently presided as Minister over the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation, which had several ghost workers including his wife Constance, who earned herself a cool US$11,000 a month without going to work? If corrupt behaviour is rewarded with powerful appointments, then there is no incentive for the Mafioso not to be corrupt. There is always a good reward for being the ‘baddest’ guy in the mafia and yakuza!

Mugabe is the Godfather

The Japanese saying ‘Atama kara sakana no fuhai’ means a fish rots from the head. Controversial businessman Nick Van Hoogstraten once claimed that Mugabe is incorruptible. That’s an outlandish claim from an ex-convict looking for a home after his troubles in the UK. The reason Mugabe will not arrest anyone for corruption is because he is very corrupt and is the biggest beneficiary of the vice.
The first official confirmation of Mugabe’s fingers in the corruption jar came out in a 1992 report published by the US Senate’s Committee on Foreign Relations. Then, senators John Kerry and Hank Brown led thorough investigations into the operations of the large Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI). BCCI was an elaborate criminal corporate spider-web set up and led by sleek Pakistani banker named Agha Hasan Abedi, with significant funding from the ruler of Abu Dhabi and then President and founder of United Arab Emirates – Sheikh Sultan bin Zayed al Nahyan.
In the 1992 report, entitled “The BCCI Affair: A Report to the Committee on Foreign Relations United States Senate” , BCCI would make direct payments to key officials, sometimes in suitcases filled with cash. Nazir Chinoy, a BCCI official told the committee that Abedi paid both Robert Mugabe who was then the Prime Minister, to fast track setting up the joint venture that became BCCI in Zimbabwe. He also paid Joshua Nkomo who was Mugabe’s opposing number across the Zimbabwean political aisle. Chinoy argued that there is no way a foreign bank would have set up in Zimbabwe the way BCCI did without paying the Prime Minister ‘given the opposition of the British banks who were already established there’ .The same report notes that BCCI’s Third World Foundation invited Mugabe in 1988 to present an award to Gro Harlem Brundtland, the Norweigian Prime Minister, because Mugabe routinely received cash payments from the bank.

To the uninitiated, BCCI is the predecessor of present day CBZ Bank from which the previous central bank governor, Gideon Gono, and the just appointed central bank governor John Mangudya hailed. Readers may also not be aware that BCCI was very much at the centre of the Willowgate scandal. BCCI manager Ashrat Aktar issued the bank certified cheques to employees of Naran, a sleazy businessman, who was acting in cahoots with Calistus Ndlovu, then Minister of Industry and Technology. It was a refund from one of these cheques that was misdirected to Obert Mpofu, leading to a public spill of the corruption scandal.

The above evidence shows that Mugabe has always been at the core of corruption and bribery well from the time Zimbabwe got independent. And indeed it continued to do the rounds in his house. In 1995, a multi-million dollar National Housing Fund was set-up to build houses for middle income families. Houses were supposed to cost an average of Z$200,000. Middle income groups were supposed to contribute half while the government put forward another half to be paid back over time.
Instead of the targeted beneficiaries, the fund was hijacked and looted via a VIP housing scheme by greedy individuals, chief of whom was none other than Mugabe’s young wife, Grace. She build herself a Z$5,89 million mansion, later dubbed the Gracelands, which if properly used could have built middle-income house for twenty-nine families. She never lived in the house. She spun it off for a handsome profit to the late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi through the Libyan Embassy in Harare.
Justice George Smith at the High Court in 1997 recommended that the looting of the fund be investigated and the culprits be brought to book. But Mugabe and his wife were million-dollar beneficiaries of the theft and there is no way they could have investigated themselves. Because, the godfather was looting, the Mafioso also did and no one could police the police. Augustine Chihuri also looted from this fund and built himself a $1,1 million house. So did high court judge Paddington Garwe.

In 1995, a tender was floated for a new airport terminal in Harare. Air Harbour Technologies, a company that had been rated number four by the state tender board was awarded the tender, not by the tender board, but by Mugabe’s cabinet. The firm had links to Leo Mugabe, the President’s nephew as well as Zanu PF’s company, ZIDCO Holdings. Hani Yamani, a Saudi national, was to later rue the project as he complained bitterly to Mugabe after being asked to pay excessive kickbacks. He was further asked to fund the construction of Mugabe’s “Blue Roof” mansion in Borrowdale in addition to making payments to senior cabinet ministers and ‘donating’ $50,000 to Mugabe’s Party Zanu PF (read protection fees).

Demanding Gideon Gono probe over RBZ looting … Munyaradzi Kereke

Munyaradzi Kereke, a former advisor to the central bank governor has launched a lawsuit with the recently constituted Constitutional Court. In spite of his flaws, he must be applauded for being an active citizen.

Too late to revive Bulawayo textile industry

Source: Too late to revive Bulawayo textile industry – The Standard May 22, 2016

THE move by the government to declare Bulawayo a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) for clothing and textiles is not going to help revive industry in that city because the sector has been overtaken by events, analysts have said.

BY MTHANDAZO NYONI

Last year, government declared Bulawayo a SEZ for textile, clothing and leather sectors in a bid to revive the once industrial hub of the nation.

The government is already crafting the SEZs Bill to enable its implementation.

However, economic analysts and industrialists say the move (specialisation in textile) is not going to help revive industry. They argue that the government should look at other sectors to revive the city’s industry. They have suggested information technology (IT), transport as well as leather, among other sectors.

Addressing delegates at the recently ended Zimbabwe International Trade Fair business conference in Bulawayo, First Mutual Holdings Limited group chief executive officer, Douglas Hoto said the government and business community should think of other ways of reviving Bulawayo as the textile industry was no longer feasible.

“In here [Zimbabwe], we try to do textile and Bulawayo is a particular town. Bulawayo must be revived [but] conversation is around wrong issues of things — that Security Mills and Merlin are going to come back to be what they were. That has been overtaken by events,” he said.

“We have to find something else to do with Bulawayo; not thinking that we are going to have textiles again. That is not going to happen. So we better do something about certain developments. We have to build business models that are constructive across industry and very competitive.”

Hoto said there were things that were part of the city’s competitive advantage and textiles were not one of them.
Economic analyst Reginald Shoko said there were no economic fundamentals to support the textile industry and urged government to focus on the beef industry, among other sectors.

“It’s a good policy but for textile it might be a mismatch or it has come late. I believe there are no economic fundamentals to support it. We need to ask ourselves how many textile companies are still operational and how many closed shop and why? Are they not going to be importing cotton? For leather, yes, the value-chain is big in terms of leather,” Shoko said.

More than 20 000 workers have been left jobless in Bulawayo over the past few years after over 100 firms, mostly in the manufacturing, textile and clothing sectors, closed down.

Many large companies that formed the backbone of the city’s industry have either closed shop, liquidated or have been placed under judiciary management.

These include Merlin, David Whitehead Limited, Textile Mills, Belmore Manufacturers and Ascot Clothing. National Blankets and Security Mills are under judicial management, while Cold Storage Company, National Railways of Zimbabwe, United Refineries, Dunlop Zimbabwe and Archer Clothing have down-sized, leaving thousands jobless.

Economic and policy analyst Butler Tambo said the textile industry would find it hard to thrive as companies were operating obsolete technology and could, therefore, not compete with products from Asian countries such as China.
“There are also issues of labour costs, imports as well as power outages. The cost of producing textile products is going to be very high and that will affect competitiveness,” he said.

He said the value chain sectors that might work in Bulawayo were the transport and beef industries, among others.
However, Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries president Busisa Moyo said leather, clothing and textiles value chains would create jobs. He said the aim was not to revive old companies only, but to attract new investment into the sector.

“We must take on a value chain impact approach. This means cotton growing will start to happen around Bulawayo to supply cotton, we will attract ginners and linters into Bulawayo, weavers and spinners will also be required to support the cluster in the zone,” he said.

Moyo said oil pressing and soap manufacturing were also by-products of the value chain and would be covered to make the other parts of the cluster successful.

“I think those lobbying for the IT sector must do so without discrediting previous work done by others, they must think of selling their IT services in part to the industries mentioned above,” Moyo said.

“I am sure the people you refer to are not aware that we are exporting leather to France for luxury goods to the likes of Hermes, a $4 billion company.”

“The livestock, meat and leather value chain cluster has a huge potential to boost the economy with an export prospect given that at its peak, the beef sector alone used to earn Zimbabwe $40 million annually,” he said.

Zim working on plans to clear debts

ZIMBABWE is working on the payment of arrears to three preferred creditors following the holding of meetings with executives from the institutions.

Source: Zim working on plans to clear debts – The Standard May 22, 2016

BY VICTORIA MTOMBA

The country owes the three preferred creditors — the African Development Bank (AfDB), International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank (WB) — $1,8 billion and last year presented a plan in Lima, Peru to clear the arrears by June 30.

In an interview on Friday, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor John Mangudya said during his meetings in Kigali (Rwanda) and Abidjan (Ivory Coast), he met the deputy managing director for the IMF, David Lipton and World Bank vice-president Africa Region Markhtar Diop and discussed the roadmap for arrears clearance and the post arrears clearance programme.

Mangudya chairs the debt clearance strategy committee, which also has representatives from AfDB, IMF and World Bank.

“We are now talking about the steps to pay the arrears, term sheets of funding and source of funding for the clearance of arrears. We are now saying the true colours of that money to pave way for final preparations,” he said.

Mangudya said there was need for a plan of action and conformity on principles of International Financial Institutions standards before the arrears were cleared.

The IMF released a statement early this month stating that the country should pay $78,7 million for the Poverty Reduction Growth Trust (PRGT) from the Special Drawing rights. IMF said if Zimbabwe cleared the PRGT, it would move to the next stage and would be cleared from the remedial measures. It said Zimbabwe would be reinstated on the list of PRGT-eligible countries.

Recently, Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa, Mangudya and African Development Bank president Akinwumi Adesina met at the bank’s offices in Abidjan where Zimbabwe provided an update on the progress made in view of the upcoming meeting in Lusaka on May 27 on the margins of the AfDB annual meetings.

During the meeting, Chinamasa stressed the importance of a timeline in concluding the process with the international financial institutions in order to consolidate the gains made on the reforms.

“The meeting took note of the progress made with the IMF Staff monitored Programme, particularly in the areas of fiscal consolidation, financial governance, economic and land reforms, as well as the positive outcomes of its board consultation on May 2 2016. The meeting also discussed the recent policy measures put in place by the monetary authorities to curb capital flight from Zimbabwe and measures to promote production and exports in view of the global external factors of declining commodity prices and the strong US$.”

During the meeting, Adesina said the measures put in place by the authorities were critical as the country was completing its re-engagement process.

According to a AfDB statement, the meeting noted the convergence between the priorities of the AfDB’s High 5s and the areas of focus of Zimbabwe’s post-arrears clearance programme.

AfDB’s high 5 areas are light up and power Africa, feed Africa, integrate Africa, industrialise Africa, and improve the quality of life for the people of Africa.

Adesina reassured Chinamasa that AfDB would continue to support the country, through its private sector window, in providing energy, feeding the population, rehabilitating the infrastructure and reviving the industry, because Zimbabwe was key to the region.

President Robert Mugabe believes his wife is strong-headed

Source: President Robert Mugabe believes his wife is strong-headed –  The Standard May 22, 2016

President Robert Mugabe believes his wife is strong-headed and he does not challenge most of her decisions for the sake of peace at home, a leaked audio recording of a family event has revealed.

By Everson Mushava

The 41-minute long recording was allegedly made at First Lady Grace Mugabe’s graduation party on October 14 2014 after she controversially acquired a PhD at the University of Zimbabwe.

The 92-year-old ruler also complained that Grace does not cook for him often enough and regularly changes staff that serve Zimbabwe’s ruler since independence.

He said Grace was always busy at her Mazowe orphanage and was hardly at home to cook for him. Part of the recording went viral on social media last week before The Standard obtained the full recording.

“She [Grace] is strong-headed,” Mugabe is heard saying. “She is someone who if she says I want this, she will not back down and you will have to give in, in order to maintain peace in the family.”

The recording was made at a time Grace was making her entry into politics where she has caused headaches for Mugabe.

After a few months, the veteran ruler was forced to dump some of his long-time allies such as Joice Mujuru and Didymus Mutasa. This came after Grace organised rallies across the country demanding their ejection from the party and government.

Grace has also been identified as one of the people causing factionalism that is threatening to destroy Zanu PF.
Mugabe also justifies his controversial marriage to Grace in the recording, saying his mother pressured him to have children.

“My mother wanted to see my child. She said to me, your wife is sick and I want to see your child.

I thought about it and concluded that it was good for my mother to see my child before she dies,” he said.

“She saw Omar (Bona) and I think where ever she is, she is happy. That was the reason why I married Grace.

“Sally had been told by doctors that she would die in 10 years and after 10 years; she did as the doctors had rightly seen,” Mugabe said.

“That is why I did that. I saw her in 1992, she was a young girl of about 21 working in our office. We formally married in 1996 but we had been together.”

He said Grace was determined and he had to allow her to go to school because he wanted her to help him in doing businesses.

“Her going to school was good news to me. I wanted her to help us with doing business. She has always been hardworking,” Mugabe said.

“She once had a shop, and we helped her. She later gave the shop to her sister, Mai Gumbochuma. So she has always had a business mind.”

He indicated Grace was also in the habit of hiring and firing cooks.

“I am a guinea pig; they learn how to cook on me. I sometimes say, don’t you take cooks from hotels, but they can’t because they will need to be vetted by the security guys,” he said.

“Sometimes that food is badly cooked that you tend to wonder if that will be the food prepared for a president of the people.”

He also revealed that Bona (25) never prepared a meal at home before her marriage to Simba Chikore last year.
“Omar left before he prepared sadza for me. The ball is in your court Simba, you will have to teach each other,” he said.

“We are used to sadza, not potatoes. But don’t come back saying she cannot prepare sadza because I have warned you.
“We will hit you with a knobkerrie,” Mugabe said, amid wild slaughters from the audience.”

Mugabe often gives insights into him private life during televised interviews to mark his birthdays but rarely goes into detail about his marriage to Grace.

#ThisFlag protest rattles under-fire Mugabe henchmen

Source: #ThisFlag protest rattles under-fire Mugabe henchmen – The Standard May 22, 2016

On the eve of Zimbabwe’s independence celebrations last month, Evan Mawarire was a little-known Harare-based pastor, but as of last week his messages were reaching a staggering 133 000 people on Facebook.

BY RICHARD CHIDZA

In less than a month, Mawarire (39) has risen to be the face of a cyber movement driven by Zimbabweans weary of corruption and poverty.

The pastor first came into the limelight after posting a video on Facebook lamenting Zimbabwe’s decay under President Robert Mugabe, stocking patriotic fever with a hashtag #ThisFlag on Twitter.

He caught the eye of one of Mugabe’s trusted propagandists Jonathan Moyo and it was clear one of Mugabe’s most vocal defenders was rattled.

Moyo tried a counter narrative with his own hashtag #OurFlag and even resorted to Zanu PF tested smear tactics of labelling Mawarire a regime change activist sponsored by the United States and European Union.

Information Communication Technology minister Supa Mandiwanzira resorted to a physical confrontation against Mawarire after an attempt to discredit him through an interview on his radio station, but only added fuel to the fire.

Mandiwanzira’s associate, Tafadzwa Musarara, who had been sent to do the demolition job on the ZiFM interview was embarrassed by angry Zimbabweans and before long, he had been forced to quit Facebook and Twitter in shame.

When he posted the video, Mawarire only had a few hundred followers on Twitter but last week they rose to 8 000
“My personal Facebook page cannot accept any more friends because I have reached 5 000 while the page has 11 000 followers and a reach of 133 000 people,” he said.

His followers believe the campaign is a reminder of all things that have gone bad about Zimbabwe in the past 36 years and a clarion call for action.

“It [#ThisFlag campaign] has become significant because it remains the only tangible symbol to identify with the Zimbabweans after our currency died a natural death seven years ago,” one of the followers only identified as Takurian wrote on News24.

“The discussions are building up on social media platforms without any fear,” he added.

“It is a reminder to the new generation of Zimbabweans, mostly the born frees, who were not there when the flag was designed, that our vision as a country and where we stand in the world was created in the Zimbabwean flag.

“While the economy, which is the heart of the nation, continues to bleed and not showing any signs of recovery, #ThisFlag has ignited that dream of 1980 and how it became a reality all the way into the 90s.”

Moyo has tried to play down the impact of Mawarire’s campaign but United Kingdom-based social media expert and journalism lecturer Hayes Mabweazara warned that politicians can only ignore the “flag pastor” at their own peril.

“This [social media] has impacted upon the broader ecology of political forms of expression and participation in Africa and the wider developing world,” he said.

“As we see in Zimbabwe, these developments have challenged and redefined the centralised traditional forms of political engagement.

“Politicians of all form and colour can no longer eschew engaging directly with citizens on social media,” Mabweazara said.

“In fact, the direct interactions between citizens and politicians via social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter point to the disintegration of deep-seated political barriers.

“In particular, the traditional culture of fear associated with publicly challenging and confronting the political elite has been deflated, albeit in dispersed digital spaces”.

Mabweazara said despotic regimes were terrified by the potential of social media to mobilise against their tyranny.

“Of course, despotic regimes have a lot to fear from these developments — the nature of the discourses that circulate on social media confront the very issues they would rather keep under wraps,” he said.

“It’s the very reason there is a rise in internet censorship such as we have seen in Uganda recently in the run up to the elections and post elections.

“#Thisflag is a striking case in point — the direct involvement of key politicians in the debate on Twitter in itself points to their realisation of the significance and potential of social media.”

Mawarire’s campaign has echoes of the Baba Jukwa phenomemon that left Zimbabweans spell bound ahead of the 2013 elections.

The Baba Jukwa Facebook page gained popularity for its alleged exposé of Zanu PF and state secrets.

The phantom blogger published details of corruption by Zanu PF officials and Mugabe’s failing health on his way to amassing over half a million likes on Facebook.

Moyo was one of the prominent people questioned by police during their investigations into allegations that the unknown Baba Jukwa wanted to topple Mugabe.

Former Sunday Mail editor Edmund Kudzayi was arrested on banditry charges after police claimed he was the one behind the page, but he was acquitted after losing his job at the State-controlled newspaper.

Another UK-based journalism lecturer, Bruce Mutsvairo argued that although Baba Jukwa was not able to take his campaign offline, his influence could not be ignored.

He said Mawarire’s #ThisFlag campaign could achieve what Baba Jukwa failed to accomplish — that is to influence change in Zimbabwe.

“Findings of a research we conducted two years ago showed that even though it contributed to citizen awareness, the infamous Baba Jukwa Facebook page had not succeeded in advancing offline political participation among citizens,” Mutsvairo wrote.

“The situation now appears slightly different. While accessibility was a major issue, the majority of digital activists sampled then were living outside the country, more and more local, especially urbanites appear to be in possession of a smartphone.

“And with everyone clicking and sharing on Whatsapp, it’s clear social media truly has the power to transcend traditional boundaries.”

Some point to Moyo’s rants on Twitter as an indication that the Zanu PF regime was running scared.

Moyo last week threw a tantrum against US ambassador Harry Thomas Jnr, accusing him of trying to push for regime change by showing support for #ThisFlag campaign.

Both Moyo and Mandiwanzira revealed that they knew Mawarire personally and they appeared surprised that he was determined to take the government head-on.

Mawarire revealed that he was a master of ceremonies at a wedding for Moyo’s daughter last year. He also interacted with some government officials as child president between 1993 and 1994.

“It is true, I served as child-president back then after having been elected child MP for Mashonaland West’s Hurungwe constituency,” he said.

“Moyo is correct to say I was master of ceremonies at his daughter’s wedding.

“However, he did not know me. I had been hired by his daughter and in turn he had hired two other master of ceremonies and they paid me like any other professional.

“I work as a professional master of ceremony at all sorts of functions, including corporate [ones].”

He said Mandiwanzira was lying that he once pestered him as he sought access to Mugabe. The minister also accused the pastor of being ungrateful after he donated chairs to his church.

“As for Mandiwanzira, we went to the same church and that is how we got to know each other. I never asked him to facilitate the so-called handshake with the president,” Mawarire said.

“After we started our own church, he called me and asked if we wanted chairs he had pulled out of one of his cinemas in Avondale and I accepted.

“That is the only interaction I had with him until the fracas on Monday [last week].

“I have never benefitted from any association with those close to or in power and I would want to challenge anyone who has evidence to the contrary to come forward.”

Mutsvairo said with Zanu PF known for being sceptical of technology, activists still had a daunting task to translate online activism into offline political action.

“The majority of his [Mawarire’s] followers, however, may well be thousands of miles away in diaspora luxury,” he said.

“Zanu PF knows it cannot control what goes around on the internet, which is why Mawarire isn’t considered as a threat yet.

“They surely will be worried when his message transcends into an offline political action.”

Mugabe recently hinted that his government would try to regulate the use of the internet using technology from China.

He claimed some Zimbabweans were abusing the internet.

Grace stuck in Singapore, Mugabe follows

First Lady Grace Mugabe failed to return home last week and instead President Robert Mugabe followed her to Singapore yesterday where she has been holed for over a month.

Source: Grace stuck in Singapore, Mugabe follows – The Standard May 22, 2016

BY RICHARD CHIDZA/EVERSON MUSHAVA

Mugabe told his relatives during a visit to Gutu on May 13 that Grace would be back home early last week after taking care of his daughter Bona, who gave birth last month.

“Doctors said he [Bona’s son] can only fly after a month so they should be here this month around the 16th or 17th,” Mugabe told members of the Gutu clan, his maternal uncles.

Information ministry’s principal director Regis Chikowore refused to comment on Mugabe’s trip, referring questions to his spokesperson George Charamba. However, Charamba was not reachable on his mobile phone.

ZBC on its website said Mugabe had gone on a private visit. Mugabe has blown millions of dollars travelling around Africa and overseas this year.

On Friday he was in South Africa and spent a few hours back home before leaving for Singapore.

Singapore has been his favourite destination amid speculation that he is receiving medical treatment there.

The big interview :Kurotwi speaks on Mpofu tiff

Source: The big interview :Kurotwi speaks on Mpofu tiff – The Standard May 22, 2016

Businessman Lovemore Kurotwi was arrested in 2010 on charges of prejudicing the State of $2 billion in a botched diamond deal after then Mines minister Obert Mpofu accused him of fraud.

The case dragged on at the High Court until early this month when he was acquitted by Justice Chinembiri Bhunu, who ruled that Kurotwi had dealt with government in good faith and that it was government that failed to meet the outlined demands for the proposed joint venture between Core Mining and Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation into Canadile Miners.

Canadile was taken over by Marange Resources following the cancellation of its operating licence at the instigation of Mpofu.

After his acquittal, Kurotwi immediately published a book, The Rise and Fall of Chiadzwa, My Personal Experience.

Our chief reporter Everson Mushava (EM) caught up with Kurotwi (LK) to find out how his incarceration had affected him and what motivated him to publish the book on diamonds.

Below are excerpts of the interview:

EM: You have been acquitted on charges of prejudicing the State of $2 billion in a botched diamond deal, what is your comment on the case?

LK: I am more than vindicated. All along it was very clear that I was innocent, but those that thought they were above the law pursued me to the ends of the law and they were proved wrong.

There was never any fraud, but trumped up charges and the law courts have proved that.

EM: Did the delay in the conclusion of the case affect you?

LK: Obviously, you have family, friends and business associates to interact with.

When such an albatross is hanging around your neck, you begin to smell like a skunk and even some people close to you no longer want to associate with you because you are tainted.

Business associates don’t want to do anything with you in case what you are accused of having done rubs onto them one way or another.

So it’s a real psychological roller coaster, but then again, that’s what life means and surviving that is some measure of real success in its own right.

EM: Are you bitter that Mpofu caused your arrest in what has been proved to be false charges?

LK: I have nothing against him really. I think when it comes to some of these issues, the best thing to do is; rather than take any vengeful path, you leave everything to divine equalisation and I think Minister Mpofu will have his own comeuppance with divinity.

As for advice to him:

Minister Mpofu, you can’t have what you ain’t got and you can never lose what you ain’t never had.

There is so much satisfaction with what’s yours. Remember, there is always divine equalisation when vadzimu naMwari [ancestral spirits and God] fight for those perceived to be powerless by those who perceive themselves to have power over everybody.

So never take anybody for granted.

Try and respect every human being because they too, like you, are a product of the divine.

Mujuru party hit by divisions

Former vice-president Joice Mujuru’s Zimbabwe People First (ZimPF) has been hit by divisions, amid reports that some senior officials could be plotting to unseat the veteran politician.

Source: Mujuru party hit by divisions – The Standard May 22, 2016

BY RICHARD CHIDZA

ZimPF will hold its inaugural congress in October but there are indications the party could split before it even elects substantive leadership.

Former ministers Sylvester Nguni and Bright Matonga were singled out as the major source of problems for the party.

“There are serious fights, especially between those who claim to be close to Mujuru,” a source claimed.

“Bright Matonga and Sylvester Nguni are at each other’s throats over control of party processes and the direction the party should take administratively.”

Matonga yesterday said he was not aware of any divisions in the party formed this year.

“There is nothing like that. I am hearing it from you,” he said.

“I think you should be careful not to be used by people with a sinister agenda. But I can assure you, there is nothing of that sort.”

Nguni promised to give his side of the story last Thursday but had not done so at the time of going to print.

ZimPF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo admitted the party faced teething problems but did not refer to the alleged rift between Nguni and Matonga.

“The party has challenges but the important thing is how these are dealt with,” he said.

“There was always a likelihood that people would have differences and contradictions would emerge because we are a big party.

“However, there is no need for anyone to panic because I can assure you we are dealing with whatever concerns that have been raised by any member of the party.”

Former Zanu PF secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa was also said to be disgruntled after he was not given a prominent role in the party. Gumbo suggested the party had been infiltrated.

“You must also understand that our opponents are not sleeping. They are working flat out to destabilise us and that includes rumour mongering among members and sowing seeds of divisions,” he said.

“The Central Intelligence Organisation is also working hard to make sure the party fails.

“I will tell you, however, we will get there, the party is here to stay, whether they like it or not.”

Mujuru wants to challenge President Robert Mugabe in the 2018 elections.

MDC: Taxpayers fund useless Mugabe march

Source: MDC: Taxpayers fund useless Mugabe march – NewZimbabwe  21/05/2016

THE Welshman Ncube-led MDC says Zanu PF youths should rather stage its planned million-men march to denounce President Robert Mugabe for ruining the country.

The ruling party’s youth wing will Tuesday stage a ‘one million men march’ in support of President Mugabe.

Zanu PF loyalists have already started pledging transport logistics for the planned march with Bulawayo, the country’s second largest city, having confirmed to be sending 76 buses.

But Kurauone Chihwayi, the MDC-N spokesperson, said Mugabe does not deserve to be celebrated.

“The march must be seen for what it is – a weak, directionless, pointless and desperate ploy to prop up their nonagenarian leader, President Mugabe, who has led this country to ruins,” Chihwayi said in a statement last Friday.

“The march is a waste of time and resources and should be dismissed with the contempt it deserves”.

Chihwayi said Zanu PF should, instead, use that platform to explain its economic failures to the electorate which it deceived in the last polls.

“Zanu PF would be better advised to use this march to give Zimbabweans answers to what happened to the 2.2 million jobs it promised …

“ … what government plans to do about the drought and hunger ravaging most parts of the country; the corruption cancer that is bleeding our economy dry and how on earth the soon to be introduced bond notes are going to improve the liquidity crisis,” he said.

The opposition party also said that Zanu PF youths should refuse to be used to parrot up Mugabe because he has “killed” their future.

“It is sad that the Zanu PF youth league allows itself to be used to promote a president who has failed them in every sense, preferring instead to use them as instruments of violence on his opponents.

“It is unfortunate that the right to demonstrate is being vulgarised by Zanu PF and, just like the Grace Mugabe rallies and war veterans’ indaba, the tax payer will be forced to pump up the costs for this worthless cause.

“The planned march will only bring misery to the people of Zimbabwe.”

Govt stops Hwange retrenchments…Proposes two-week in, two-week out programme

Source: Govt stops Hwange retrenchments…Proposes two-week in, two-week out programme – Sunday News May 22, 2016

Fairness Moyana Hwange Correspondent
THE Government has blocked a move by Hwange Colliery Company to retrench more than 1 000 workers at the company and instead proposed that management cut working hours for workers to two weeks per month. Briefing the new board, management and workers committees on Friday, Mines and Mining Development Deputy Minister Fred Moyo said the company could not afford to retrench given the state of the company hence Cabinet agreed to have a two-week working arrangement.

“Cabinet has agreed that we can’t have 2 000 workers losing their jobs at this moment so the retrenchment will only be focused on the top hierarchy. So I suggest as management you sit down with the workers and introduce two weeks in, two weeks out programme,” said Deputy Minister Moyo.

Around 1 500 workers were set to be retrenched this month as part of the company’s restructuring exercise which was meant to cut the annual wage bill by $15 million.

Min Gumbo on NRZ rehabilitation…Appointment of substantive CEOs for parastatals in progress

Source: Min Gumbo on NRZ rehabilitation…Appointment of substantive CEOs for parastatals in progress – Sunday News May 22, 2016

Roberta Katunga in Victoria Falls
THE Government is working towards refurbishing the Victoria Falls to Mutare railway line as well as Gweru-Beitbridge-Chikwalakala line as part of efforts to keep the struggling National Railways of Zimbabwe viable and ensure employees return to work. More than 4 000 NRZ workers across the country downed tools in March protesting over unpaid salaries dating back to 15 months disrupting operations including the transportation of imported wheat and drought relief maize. The ailing parastatal owes workers about $68 million in unpaid salaries.

In an interview, Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister Dr Joram Gumbo said efforts were underway to stabilise the workers’ situation by acquiring new contracts that will bring in work to generate the much needed money.

“Our efforts to get some work for them should be complemented by them coming back to work because in as much as we understand their grievances, we will continue to persuade them to return to work. The general situation in the country is not rosy,” said Dr Gumbo.

He said the Government was bringing in a lot of maize because of the drought hence the need to revive NRZ which is critical in railing the food.

“We are concerned about the worker’s plight but they must understand that when companies are closing, it shows there is a problem with the economy and not a deliberate action that NRZ cannot meet wages but a national problem that the country is facing,” said Dr Gumbo.

Cabinet sitting rescheduled

Source: Cabinet sitting rescheduled – Sunday News May 22, 2016

Harare Bureau
CABINET will sit on Tuesday, 24 May, 2016, and not on Thursday as previously advised, Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet Dr Misheck Sibanda has said.In a statement yesterday, principal director for Information, Media and Broadcasting Services Mr Regis Chikowore said: “Further to earlier communication by the Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet, Dr MJM Sibanda, advising Cabinet ministers about Cabinet sitting on Thursday, 26th May 2016, he wishes to further advise that the said Cabinet sitting will now take place on Tuesday, 24th May, 2016, at the usual time and venue.”

‘Mutasa wants to topple Mujuru’

Source: ‘Mutasa wants to topple Mujuru’ | The Sunday Mail May 22, 2016

Dumisani Sibanda

Bulawayo Bureau

Zimbabwe People First is already reeling from factionalism with Mr Didymus Mutasa alleged to want substantive leadership of the party ahead of interim leader Dr Joice Mujuru.

Mr Mutasa is said to be leading a group called Chirenje which is fighting interim party leader Dr Joice Mujuru’s move to incorporate defectors from other opposition movements in positions of authority, which is his major bone of contention.

Mr Mutasa — fired from Zanu-PF alongside Dr Mujuru for trying to overthrow President Mugabe — is reportedly insisting that ZPF could not have former MDC formations members holding leadership positions.

Contacted for comment yesterday, Mr Mutasa interjected before this reporter finished asking the question: “It’s nonsense . . . you know yourself its nonsense.”

Asked if he was aware of the allegations, Mr Mutasa said: “I am aware of it and it’s nonsense and I don’t want to talk to you about it at all.”

Sources in the party said Dr Mujuru had tasked interim women’s chairperson Mrs Margaret Dongo and mobilisation head Mr Dzikamai Mavhaire to hold meetings to resolve the emerging parallel structures.

Mrs Dongo was tasked to cover Bulawayo, Matabeleland, Masvingo and Midlands; while Mr Mavhaire would visit Harare, Mashonaland and Manicaland.

“The programme was supposed to run from 18 to 22 May but was apparently cancelled at the last minute as in Bulawayo Cde Dongo was supposed to have a meeting on Wednesday at a hall in the city centre but she did not turn up and she was then supposed to go to Matabeleland North on Thursday, Matabeleland South on Friday, Masvingo today (Saturday) and Midlands tomorrow (Sunday),” said the source.”

Zanu-PF youth league gears up for Million Man March

Source: Zanu-PF youth league gears up for Million Man March | The Sunday Mail May 22, 2016

Tinashe Farawo

The Million Man March scheduled for Harare this Wednesday will ensure the Zanu-PF Youth League strengthens its relations with President Mugabe, the organ’s deputy secretary Cde Kudzai Chipanga has said.

In an interview with The Sunday Mail, Cde Chipanga said organisers had mobilised all party structures, with churches and Southern African liberation movements represented.

“The march, organised by the Zanu-PF Youth League, celebrates the President’s leadership since Independence in 1980 and his successful tenure as Chair of both Sadc and the African Union.

“We have mobilised all party structures; the response has been overwhelming. Everywhere we go, people are excited about this event, which will reaffirm President Mugabe as our leader — nothing more, nothing less.

“At the 2014 National People’s Congress, it was resolved that the party must have one centre of power. It is, therefore, important for us, as a wing of the party, to regularly meet our icon to get political direction.”

Cde Chipanga also said: “We have created assembly points: Masvingo and Mashonaland East will gather at Rufaro Stadium, Manicaland at Raylton Sports Club, Mashonaland West at Kensington Shopping Centre and Mashonaland Central opposite the South African Embassy.

“The Midlands and Matabeleland provinces will assemble at the National Sports Stadium, with the march to Robert Mugabe Square starting at 9:30. VIP accreditation will be done at party headquarters (tomorrow).”

Trust is gold in business

Source: Trust is gold in business | The Sunday Mail May 22, 2016

THE recent announcement by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe that it will introduce bond notes has set the market ablaze.

There is anxiety that bond notes — just like the traveller’s cheques and bearers cheques before them — will largely be a precursor to a much deeper economic crisis.

The fear, it might seem, is justifiable. However, monetary authorities say present cash shortages are driven by individuals and companies externalising money.

But the underlying factor to all these vices is simply the lack of trust, particularly in the banking sector, that the transacting public have.

By the RBZ’s own admission last week, the rate of savings in Zimbabwe at -1,5 percent in 2015 is way below regional averages.

Ideally, the rate is supposed to be at least 30 percent of GDP to support economic growth.

Over the years, international experts have been able to produce well-documented cases that prove companies – especially those in the mining sector — have been externalising money from resource-rich countries for a long time. Be that as it may, there is a section of businesspeople that prefer to bank offshore and move their assets overseas because they live in real fear that their assets might be seized by the central bank.

Well, they cannot be faulted because this has happened before. But times have changed.

There are new administrators at the RBZ that are begging the market for the opportunity to be trusted.

It is paramount for policymakers to ensure that policies are predictable. In an environment where policies often change, it is not uncommon for investors to develop a “grab-and-go” mentality. It goes without saying that Government has to invest in trust to attract more investment. In business, trust is gold.

It is encouraging that there are already measures that have been put in place to improve the ease of doing business.

The queues that are beginning to surface in local banks are not in the least encouraging for a market that already mistrusts the banking sector.

Urgent corrective measures should therefore be a priority.

Even though RBZ has reassured the market that bond notes will not be disruptive in the market as they will be backed by a facility from Cairo-based Afreximbank, the public is still skeptical.

It’s not going to be easy for the central bank to woo the market, but they really need to acknowledge the fact that the market is indeed worried and redouble their efforts to restore both the trust and reputation of the financial services sector.

To acknowledge this will be a sign of real humility from the authorities.

For those who unceremoniously lost their savings, investment and holdings in banks, it will take quite an effort to convince them to trust the local financial markets. So, there is more to do for the RBZ.

A starting point will be a vigorous PR campaign to educate the market of how the new system of bond coins will operate, including convincing them into accepting their reasons as to why the cash shortages will be any different this time around.

Such campaigns should not be targeted at the local market only, but at other overseas markets, for the country’s brand is paramount. However, it is not only about fire-fighting.

Policy makers must endeavour to put in place early warning systems that are supposed to detect potential crisis before they happen.

This is why analysts believe that we only got to realise how bad the situation was when we were already in a crisis.

Systems and checks are therefore very important.

Bureaucrats need to abandon the laggard manner they go about Government business and attend to pressing national matters with the urgency they deserve. Suffice to say, key Government institutions have to be more efficient.

The work has to begin now.

According to Dr Graham Dietz, a senior lecturer at Durham Business School, trustworthiness consists of three main characteristics: technical competence to perform a task reliably (ability), having benign motives (benevolence), and acting according to acceptable ethical principles such as fairness and honesty (integrity).

If all these attributes are exercised consistently and credibly, trust can be earned even from the most paranoid of people.

Conversely, if any of the principles are not applied carefully, then one risks making their reputation suffer.

Trust is remade, strengthened or undermined in every encounter. As with individuals, so with organisations.

A trustworthy organisation is one that operates effectively, acts with due concern for the interests of its stakeholders and conducts itself with integrity.

Support for trust and trustworthy employee conduct needs to be reinforced throughout the country: by its leaders (role-modelling), its culture (values and beliefs), its policies and procedures (task design, checks and balances, HR), and management practices (targets, incentives, supervision).

Organisational trustworthiness can also be achieved through external regulation.

Zimbabwe has a very rich history and once trust is restored it is very simple to do business in Zimbabwe. The country’s trade deficit is appalling, and as long as we keep importing, we will always have challenges.

It is crucially important to revamp the local agriculture and manufacturing sector in order to generate the much-needed currency and revenues.

Taurai Changwa is an articled accountant with vast experience in tax, accounting, audit and corporate governance issues. He is MD of SAFIC Consultancy and writes in his personal capacity. Feedback: tauraichangwa1@gmail.com, Facebook page SAFIC Consultancy, and WhatsApp +263772374784.

State clears up diamond mess

Source: State clears up diamond mess | The Sunday Mail May 22, 2016

Lincoln Towindo
Zimbabwe consolidated diamond mining operations in Chiadzwa procedurally and will not dump this model as it has worked effectively in other countries, a Cabinet minister has said.
Authorities are now fine-tuning the arrangement, while also ensuring no further leakages take place after firms that used to mine at the fields failed to account for billions of US dollars in a decade of operations.
An independent auditor will soon be appointed to investigate the alleged losses.
Government’s moves to improve diamond mining come as Kimberley Process Certification Scheme intercessional meetings open in the United Arab Emirates tomorrow, with the West angling to place Zimbabwe on the agenda for “consolidating operations unprocedurally”.
Western government’s preferred outcome would see diamonds from Chiadzwa subjected to sanctions, something the anti-Zimbabwe establishment elements have been pushing for years. The KPCS comprises governments, industry and civil society, and pedominantly aims to stem the flow of conflict diamonds.
Mines and Mining Development Minister Walter Chidhakwa told The Sunday Mail that his presentation in Dubai would focus on the legality of Zimbabwe’s mining consolidation.
He said Botswana’s Debswana — a joint venture between the government and De Beers — had worked profitably for years.
Minister Chidhakwa said: “It is really a straightforward issue. We intend to explain to plenary that the structure in Zimbabwe has changed and that the companies no longer had valid licences. Naturally, in terms of the law, they could not operate without special grants.
“We will explain that we wanted only one company to operate mainly for the sake of transparency and accountability. Further, we will assure them that we have the mining field under control through the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company, which will operate in line with KP standards.”
He also said: “If, indeed, we are put on the agenda, we will simply explain our position and its legality in terms of local laws. Some people do not seem to understand the situation we were in and the one we are trying to create.
“But it should be understood that no one can dictate to us a system that is ultra vires our laws. We have an operational legal framework in Zimbabwe and no other country can force us to work outside that system.”
For years, Mbada Diamonds, Anjin, Marange Resources, Diamond Mining Company, Kusena Diamonds, Jinan and Gye Nyame operated in Chiadzwa under 50-50 joint ventures with the State’s Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation.
However, Government says it did not get much from the ventures and to set up the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company to rectify this.
Zimbabwe is primed for rich pickings through the ZCDC in which Government is the majority shareholder, with the country expected to sell at least 500 000 carats monthly at an average value of US$25 million.
This will be a significant increase from the US$157,2 million that Chiadzwa miners remitted to Treasury in 2015.
Government projects earnings of between US$25 billion and US$30 billion over the next 10 years.
KPCS figures show that companies at the Chiadzwa diamond fields managed US$2,5 billion since 2006, and Minister Chidhakwa said this would be investigated.
“I have discussed (the matter) with Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa, and we agreed that he would authorise the Comptroller and Auditor-General to carry out the audit in terms of the law. Since the Comptroller and Auditor-General’s Office does not have capacity to carry out an audit of that nature, the department will engage independent auditors.”

Government cuts foreign service size

Source: Government cuts foreign service size | The Sunday Mail May 22, 2016

Tinashe Farawo

Government has begun streamlining its huge wage bill, retrenching officials and freezing posts at all its foreign missions over the past few weeks.

A 2015 civil service audit identified idle manpower, role duplication, unco-ordinated staff recruitment, flagrant abuse of overtime allowances and leave days, and salary fraud as chief cost drivers.

Auditors projected US$388 million could be saved yearly through staff rationalisation.

Though The Sunday Mail could not at the time of writing determine where else the axe has fallen, the Foreign Affairs Ministry has laid off mostly embassy clerical staff with more to follow.

Zimbabwe has 42 foreign missions, and these contribute to civil service salaries and allowances that are gobbling at least 83 percent of national revenue.

In the first half of 2015, Treasury spent US$1,54 billion on labour against revenue of US$1,718 billion. US$120 million goes to salaries monthly, with the least-paid taking home about US$380.

Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi told this paper last week that leaner structures would be pursued as embassies were struggling financially, with some ambassadors still driving vehicles purchased in the 1990s.

A parliamentary delegation that recently visited Kuwait heard that Zimbabwe’s chief diplomat there, Ambassador Grey Marongwe, was owed US$127 000 in salary arrears.

Minister Mumbengegwi told The Sun day Mail, “We are reducing staffing levels at all our embassies to enable us to continue functioning. In fact, we have streamlined all our embassies. The ministry understands the challenges we are going through and these are being attended to.

“It is imperative to appreciate the need for resources. The vehicles that some of our ambassadors are using are old and breakdown regularly. That is an embarrassment to them and the country.

“The Foreign Affairs Ministry is a service ministry. It is, therefore, important to give (our ambassadors) a good image. We have been failing to meet our administration costs, though.”

Zimbabwe Teachers’ Association secretary-general Mr John Mlilo advised Government to consider other expenditure-cutting alternatives.

“The priorities seem highly misplaced. In any case, I don’t think they have enough money to pay for severance packages,” said Mr Mlilo. “Why should low-level workers be the only ones affected when seniors are the ones who consume huge sums?”

Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe president Mr Emmanuel Nyawo added: “It’s a sad development to fire ordinary workers at a time everyone is struggling to make ends meet. Why not streamline from the top? Do we really need, say, deputy ministers? They also contribute to the inflated wage bill.”

Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce chief executive Mr Takunda Mugaga said Government was in the right direction, but “top heavy structures” should also be streamlined.

“Government is moving in the right direction and business welcomes its staff rationalisation exercise. Our civil service is top heavy, requiring streamlining, too. In addition, some of our embassies should be shut.”

The 2015 Civil Service Audit Report recommended centralising recruitment, merging departments and streamlining roles/functions of the remaining ones, and cutting salary support to grant-aided institutions.

It also suggests scrapping manpower development benefits, curtailing promotions and withholding salaries of 3 000-plus absentee civil servants who were caught out by the audit.

The IMF Staff Monitored Programme underscores a healthy salary-revenue ratio as key to improved economic performance.

In April 2016, Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa told the IMF that authorities would shed excess staff and freeze recruitment and salaries until at least 2019.

In his letter of intent, co-signed by Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Dr John Mangudya, Minister Chinamasa said the wage bills of Government and grant-aided institutions would be halved over the next three years.

Zimbabwe has 188 070 civil servants.

Part of the letter reads, “The service commissions of Government will implement the recommendations of their employment audits. We will conduct a review of allowances to identify savings and efficiency gains. We will enhance service delivery by redeploying under-utilised employees and we intend to retrench staff that cannot be redeployed.

“To achieve this reduction, we will work on the size and remuneration of the Public Service. Based on current economic growth and expenditure forecasts, this will mean that the employment and salary freeze will have to remain in place for at least the next three years.

“We have already reduced employment cost obligations for grant-aided institutions. Further to the audit by the Civil Service Commission, the Police and the Judicial Service Commissions and the Health Services Board will complete salary and employment audits for their own sectors in 2016. These audits will inform our decision on the reduction of employment costs across the Government and related institutions.”

Scandal at anti-graft body

Source: Scandal at anti-graft body | The Sunday Mail May 22, 2016

Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commissioners and the body’s acting secretary, Senior Assistant Commissioner Silence Pondo, are allegedly receiving allowances and benefits outside prescribed parameters.

Also under the spotlight is Snr Asst Comm Pondo’s appointment to the Commission as he is still with the Zimbabwe Republic Police.

According to Section 208(4) of the Constitution, serving security sector officers are prohibited from concurrently holding office in civilian institutions.

The Section reads, “Serving members of the security services must not be employed or engaged in civilian institutions except in periods of public emergency.”

In a letter dated June 2, 2014 (reference number D2/7/49), Secretary for Home Affairs Mr Melusi Matshiya seconded Snr Asst Comm Pondo to ZACC.

“Please be advised that you are seconded to the post of secretary to the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission until the post has been filled. The secondment is with immediate effect . . . ZRP will continue to pay your salary, allowances and benefits as usual,” reads part of the letter.

Efforts to get a comment from Mr Matshiya were unsuccessful while Snr Asst Comm Pondo declined discussing the matter.

“The issue here . . . is that I have no comment,” he said when The Sunday Mail phoned him on Friday.

ZACC chair Dr Job Wabhira could not be reached for comment as his mobile phone went unanswered and he did not respond to text messages.

Other information gathered by The Sunday Mail shows that:

ZACC executive commissioners, who are involved in the daily running of the organisation, are on monthly salaries ranging between US$2 000 and US$5 000 but they also claim allowances of between US$80 and US$100 per sitting.

The commission usually sits twice a week, meaning each commissioner can claim between US$600 and US$800 per month on top of salaries.

The Sunday Mail understands the sitting allowances are paid as part of their perks;

Between 2011 and 2013, senior officials allegedly claimed healthcare refunds from Zacc and yet Government covered these costs directly with a named medical aid society. They also allegedly made various cash claims for unused NetOne cellphone units in violation of company policy prohibiting such claims;

Snr Asst Comm Pondo, who is essentially the acting CEO, joined the commission from the police force with his two official vehicles — a top-of-the-range BMW 3 Series a Ford Ranger T6 — after which he received a Mercedes-Benz ML350 (chasis number WDC1641862A439029) and an Isuzu twin-cab, registration numbers ABE 9989 and ADE 98541 respectively. Mr Matshiya’s appointment letter said he was only entitled to one “suitable 4×4 vehicle”. And on top of his police fuel allocation, Snr Asst Comm Pondo is also getting 400 litres of fuel from Zacc monthly. The commission pays the senior cop US$100 cellphone and US$100 home landline allowances; and

Snr Asst Comm Pondo is paid US$810 by the ZRP and gets a US$1 368 “responsibility  allowance” from Zacc. Details at hand also show that instead of his salary coming from Zacc employment costs, he is being paid as part of operational costs.

It has also emerged that Zacc does not have standing orders or conditions of service for staff.

Bill should plug leakages in mining sector: Zela

THE Zimbabwe Environment Law Association (Zela) has called for strict financial mechanisms monitoring procedures in the draft Mines and Minerals (Amendment) Bill set to go for public hearings soon.

Source: Bill should plug leakages in mining sector: Zela – NewsDay Zimbabwe May 21, 2016

BY OBEY MANAYITI

Speaking at a media sensitisation workshop on Thursday, Zela researcher, Tinashe Chisaira said there was need for the introduction of measures to plug leaks that have seen Zimbabwe losing billions of dollars in the extractive sector.

“The Bill should provide for disclosure of mining contracts and financial statements because sometimes we see opaque statements being released by mining companies. We want clear mechanisms to authenticate the documents we receive from investors,” he said.

“We want the Bill to cater for compulsory disclosure of payments that are made by the miners be it to the government, their expenses and subsidiaries or holding companies, which might be outside the country. These are some of the numerous mechanisms that can be put in place to fight illicit financial flows.”

Since President Robert Mugabe made revelations that $15 billion was lost from the diamond sector, some companies mining in Chiadzwa have now been exposed for syphoning large sums of money outside the country.

“The Bill must come up with provisions to deal with matters of transparency and accountability because this nation is facing various economic challenges,” Chisaira said.

“We just heard the President speaking about the $15 billion that disappeared due to obscurity in the mining sector, so we feel that a new Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill should really make provisions for transparency and accountability in the extractive sector.”

Darlington Muyambwa, representing the Publish What You Pay initiative said: “We want the law to reflect on the African mining vision. We also want the mineral powers to be vested in the State, whereby, Parliament will play an oversight role.”

He said they are also pushing for the prioritisation of environmental impact assessments before granting mining licences, ensuring the rights of women are fully protected and rights of mining communities are protected.

Neglected tropical diseases elimination to save $143m

Zimbabwe could save $143 million if efforts are scaled to eliminate five of the most neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), which include bilharzia and intestinal worms.

Source: Neglected tropical diseases elimination to save $143m – NewsDay Zimbabwe May 21, 2016

By Phyllis Mbanje

According to the Global Health Strategy, needless loss of lives will be avoided, while disability will be reduced if NTDs are eliminated.

Health and Child Care minister David Parirenyatwa last year said 57 out of the country’s 63 districts were prone to bilharzia, which, if untreated, can cause infertility and other health complications.

This follows a survey that revealed that bilharzia and intestinal worms were prevalent in many provinces.

As of 2010, Zimbabwe was affected by four of the five most common NTDs, including lymphatic filariasis (elephantiasis), schistosomiasis (bilharzia), soil-transmitted helminths (intestinal worms) and trachoma.

“Fortunately, however, much work is ongoing to prevent and treat NTDs in Zimbabwe and protect people against these debilitating diseases,” Global Health Strategy for East and Southern Africa communications consultant, Sarah Akinyi said. New data relased last week showed that sub-Saharan Africa could save $52 billion between 2011 and 2030 if the region meets the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) 2020 targets for controlling or eliminating the five most common NTDs.

This data, developed by Erasmus University, with support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, was released at an event hosted by the End Fund, an international philanthropic organisation, together with the World Economic Forum on Africa in Kigali, Rwanda.

“NTD control efforts offer a return on investment unparalleled in global health,” End Fund chief executive officer, Ellen Agler, said.

“Ending these debilitating diseases will help reduce poverty at all levels, from families and communities to whole nations.”

NTDs are a diverse group of parasitic and bacterial infectious diseases that are particularly prevalent in areas with limited access to safe water, proper sanitation and adequate medical services.

Sub-Saharan Africa bears over 40% of the global burden of NTDs.

The five most common NTDs — elephantiasis, onchocerciasis (river blindness), bilharzia, intestinal worms and trachoma — account for 90% of the region’s NTD burden. At least one of these diseases is present in all 47 countries of the WHO’s African region.

Stanbic Bank donates to albino organisation

Stanbic Bank Zimbabwe has donated sunscreen lotions and moisturisers worth thousands of dollars to the Albino Charity Organisation of Zimbabwe (Alcoz).

Source: Stanbic Bank donates to albino organisation – NewsDay Zimbabwe May 21, 2016

BY BUSINESS REPORTER

Speaking at a presentation ceremony, Stanbic Bank Zimbabwe public relations and communications manager, Sidney Kazhanje said the bank was cognisant of the fact that sunscreen lotion was one of the most critical requirements of people living with albinism.

“We saw it fit to donate moisturisers and sun screen lotions to alleviate their plight. Given that there are five albino organisations in the country,” he said.

“I also urge the rest of the corporate world to chip in with whatever they can regardless of the prevailing economic challenges. Every effort will play a significant part towards assisting people living with albinism.”

“As Stanbic Bank, we are aware that there are more than 5 000 people living with albinism in Zimbabwe and that their major challenge is that their skin is sensitive to the sun. The sun can cause complications such as skin cancer.”

Alcoz seeks to help bring about a stigma-free and self-reliant albino society, which offers capacity building, psycho-social support, which includes counselling to people living with albinism.

Founder and executive director of the organisation, Loveness Mainato said Stanbic Bank’s continued support for albinos was a source of comfort to people living with the condition.

Poor business model costs NetOne millions •Suspended management blamed •Charges lower than competitors

Source: Poor business model costs NetOne millions •Suspended management blamed •Charges lower than competitors | The Herald May 21, 2016

Lloyd Gumbo Senior Reporter—
cellular network operator NetOne was making as little as 2,8 cents from voice calls per minute while its competitors earned a whopping 12 cents per minute because of a poor business model used by the parastatal’s suspended management, Parliamentarians heard yesterday. For that reason, NetOne incurred a loss of about $3 million when it earned about $120 million last year compared to its biggest competitor, Econet Wireless, that was making more than $700 million per year.

NetOne ran a dollar per day promotion that saw its subscribers enjoying an unlimited calls offer for on-net calls made during off-peak hours since 2012. This was revealed during a tour of NetOne by the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment chaired by Zanu-PF MP for Gokwe-Nembudziya, Cde Justice Mayor Wadyajena in Harare yesterday.

NetOne acting chief executive officer Mr Brian Mutandiro told the committee that the firm’s infrastructure was about 50 percent that of Econet, so all things being equal, the mobile operator should be making at least $350 million per year.

He said the previous management concentrated on rolling out infrastructure in various parts of the country, but without offering other services such as airtime in some areas.

Network operators largely make profit from airtime sales.

“As at the end of 2015, there was a loss in NetOne of about $3 million,” said Mr Mutandiro, who joined the firm in March this year.

“For us it’s a crime because our competitor Econet is making a lot of money. So there is no reason why NetOne cannot make money because we are all eating from the same pot. In 2014, half a billion was spent on airtime, so there is money. So it’s up to NetOne to aggressively pursue that,” he said.

“Currently, our turnover is around $120 million per year but the infrastructure that we have is about 50 percent that of Econet and Econet is turning over about $700 million per year, which means somewhere there is something we are not doing. That is where we are focusing right now.”

Mr Mutandiro said they had adopted a number of strategies that were expected to improve revenue inflows and see the firm declaring a dividend to Government this year. MPs asked why the company was making losses while its competitors were making profit.

“Like I shared with you that in 2015 we made a loss of $3 million. We are saying we rolled out a network but we did not follow up to create revenue streams to sit on that network,” he responded.

“I will give you an example where at times a base station is put in an area but there will be no airtime. So you are not monetising the investment. But our focus is very specific that we must operate profitably.

“They (previous management) were quite happy to say we have the widest network in the rural areas but what they were not saying is that ‘are we collecting revenue from there?’ So the focus that my team has is to go back to fulfil that demand so that the money comes back,” he said.

“We had that free airtime where people would spend the whole night just talking. Giving away the network but we said ‘no guys, we are in this to make money and we are not ashamed of it’. We will not make apologies to anybody.

“That is why we have started to change that facility because we have to make money. Our network used to be very congested and network resources were being used while we were not getting any revenue. That is why Econet is way ahead and able to launch new products,” said Mr Mutandiro.

He said they were now earning about 8 cents per minute while their biggest competitor, Econet, was still at 12 cents. Mr Mutandiro said they would work hard to gain market share through several innovations and providing quality service to subscribers.

AU Rights Commissioner Urges Greater Freedoms in Zimbabwe

Source: AU Rights Commissioner Urges Greater Freedoms in Zimbabwe – VOA May 19, 2016

The African Union is urging Zimbabwe to repeal or amend laws that curtail the right to freedom of expression, freedom of the media and other protections.Speaking in Harare, AU commissioner for Human Rights Pansy Tlakula said she is happy with a constitutional court decision repealing a defamation law that opponents said was being used to stifle journalists.

But in an interview as she wrapped her a four-day visit to Zimbabwe on Thursday, Tlakula said she wanted to see Zimbabwe repeal or amend more than 400 other laws that still curtail access to information, freedom of expression and freedom of the media — all of which are enshrined in the country’s bill of rights.

“The full realization of these rights will require vigilance and ensure that the government does not only adopt laws but that those are implemented,” said Tlakula.

“And to the extent that those laws are inconsistent with the constitution,” Tlakula added, “I think it is incumbent upon Zimbabweans to ensure they have consistent engagements with authorities to ensure the repeal of those laws. If that avenue does not work, of course the courts are always an option.”

Zimbabwe adopted what Tlakula calls a “progressive constitution” in 2013. But the opposition and activists say the government is cracking down on dissent and denying them the right to demonstrate and express their point of view.

Such complaints go back years. In 2002, Zimbabwe enacted a law that makes it illegal to “denigrate” President Robert Mugabe. The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights says that just since August of last year, the organization has assisted nearly 200 people arrested for posts on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.

In April, a 46-year-old Zimbabwean man was arrested after he posted photos of Mugabe on What’sApp that authorities said showed the 92-year leader as frail and “incapacitated.”

After that, President Mugabe told his supporters the government was cracking down on what he called “abuses” on the internet.

Mnangagwa in fruitful talks with UK, Botswana envoys

Source: Mnangagwa in fruitful talks with UK, Botswana envoys | The Herald May 21, 2016

Felex Share Senior Reporter
Britain yesterday expressed satisfaction with Zimbabwe’s re-engagement efforts with multilateral financial institutions saying discussions between the respective parties were progressing well. Speaking after meeting Acting President Emmerson Mnangagwa at his Munhumutapa offices in Harare, British Ambassador to Zimbabwe Ms Catriona Laing said the efforts would pay off.

“We have just had a candid, constructive and respectful discussion where we covered a range of issues starting with the current liquidity crisis and the measures Government has put in place,” Ms Laing said.

“Along that I emphasised the need for people to have confidence when the measures are effected. We then moved to the process of re-engagement with the international financial institutions which is broadly going well. But I emphasised the importance of the times being right. We are looking forward to seeing these economic reforms, we had a good discussion on that.”

Zimbabwe owes the African Development Bank about $600 million, the World Bank over $1 billion and the International Monetary Fund about $120 million and intends to clear the arrears this year.

Its debt clearance strategy has been well received by creditors.

Ms Laing said they discussed human rights issues as well as 2018 election preparations.

“I raised cases which are concerning us at the moment,” she said.

“Whilst we recognise good progress on preparing, for example the land audit and bankable leases, unfortunately there are still live land grab cases going on, many which concern the ministers in the United Kingdom. We talked about these cases and the need for them to be resolved peacefully through the courts.”

She added: “We talked about the preparations for the elections and the importance of putting in place reforms recommended by Sadc and the African Union such that the opposition will feel confident to participate in free and fair elections. Lastly, we talked about our bilateral dialogue. We now have a formal dialogue with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs where we talk about issues of concern to the two countries and that is progressing well.”

Acting President Mnangagwa also met outgoing Botswana Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Kenny Kapinga who said their deliberations covered a variety of issues. “We discussed the state of relations between Zimbabwe and Botswana and I was happy to hear him expressing happiness over that,” he said.

“We also talked over broad, variety of issues and one thing I want to bring out is that we have committed our countries to working closely together on wildlife conservation. Botswana and Zimbabwe host the largest population of elephants and the two are spending resources to protect their wildlife. Therefore, we need to work closely to ensure our interests at the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) are protected so that this wildlife does not become a burden on our people but a benefit.”

Mr Kapinga added: “We also spoke on the level of cooperation, trust and confidence between our security agencies. He expressed gratitude that they have flexible arrangements and one can pick up a phone and call his counterpart, which is important for the security of both countries.

“We spoke on economic issues, mining being one of them and the need for us to work together to share experiences and expertise. The major issue was the energy deficit in the region and initiatives being undertaken to address that deficit.”

Tsvangirai, Khupe clash over Mujuru

MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai is reportedly warming up to the idea of forming a grand coalition with other opposition forces, including Zimbabwe People First (ZimPF) leader Joice Mujuru.

Source: Tsvangirai, Khupe clash over Mujuru – NewsDay Zimbabwe May 21, 2016

BY RICHARD CHIDZA

Tsvangirai has, for months, dithered amid prodding from different quarters and a growing clamour from ordinary Zimbabweans to find common ground with Mujuru, who was kicked out of Zanu PF in 2014.

“He [Tsvangirai] is warming up to the idea, but there are serious divisions. The issue of forming a coalition, particularly with Mujuru, has become a common agenda item whenever the MDC-T national executive meets,” an MDC-T source revealed.

“There is serious resistance from the likes of vice-president Thokozani Khupe, who finds Mujuru a threat to her long-term plan to be the most powerful woman politician in the country. For some reason, Khupe has found a nexus with her previous political foe, Nelson Chamisa.”

Khupe and Mujuru, sources said, had also tried to find common ground without success during a visit to Dubai early this month.

“They tried to find each other in Dubai, where Mujuru received an award for bravery, but, in fact, that actually gave Khupe more reason to be scared that she is standing on quicksand,” the source continued.

Khupe was not available for comment yesterday.

Tsvangirai’s spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka said his boss’ position on the issue of a coalition had not shifted, adding differences were healthy for internal democracy.

“We have insisted that talking about coalitions will be putting the cart before the horse. We need to speak with a common voice on the issue of the electoral environment, build trust and then at the appropriate time, talk of a coalition,” he said.

“Regarding different positions by some members of the leadership, everyone is entitled to their opinion and we allow that as a democratic party. However, the issue will be discussed in the same forum and we will come up with a common party position.”

However, party spokesperson Obert Gutu was quick to dismiss claims of divisions.

“Once again, let me make it abundantly clear that there are absolutely no divisions within our party regarding the coalition issue. And let me repeat, here and now, that president Morgan Tsvangirai’s office is handling the coalition issue,” he said.

“At the appropriate time, our party leader will publicly communicate what exactly is happening or has been happening behind the scenes.”

Mujuru’s ZimPF has also spoken about the issue of trust and ideology before a coalition can be hammered out.

Khupe and the late legislator, Thamsanqa Mahlangu, have also in the past been accused of scuppering the reunification of the MDCs, as, some speculate, they feared they would lose their lofty positions had MDC-T and MDC united.

Chamisa, who in the past has not hidden his opposition to a “marriage of convenience” with Mujuru, seemed to have mellowed.

“I am not the party and my position does not really matter because it is found within the party’s,” he said.

“For opposition parties, unity has no alternative, for in unity, we will find victory. Zimbabwe needs an organic broad tent and that is the MDC position. We now have different other formations and it is most desirable to add than to subtract, because in adding, we strengthen and in subtracting, we weaken.”

Mujuru’s personal assistant, Sylvester Nguni’s mobile phone went unanswered for the better part of the day yesterday.

Fishermen jailed

TEN of the 21 Zimbabwe fishermen arrested on the Zambian side of Lake Kariba two months ago, were yesterday convicted and slapped with a 24-month jail term each when they appeared before Siavonga magistrate Edward Banda.

Source: Fishermen jailed – NewsDay Zimbabwe May 21, 2016

TEN of the 21 Zimbabwe fishermen arrested on the Zambian side of Lake Kariba two months ago, were yesterday convicted and slapped with a 24-month jail term each when they appeared before Siavonga magistrate Edward Banda.

— BY NUNURAI JENA

The remaining 11 fishermen, who were appearing before a different magistrate, were not brought to court because the presiding magistrate was not feeling well.

They were further remanded to May 31 for sentence.

In passing judgment, Banda said cases of illegal entry into the neighbouring country were on the rise and it was the duty of the court to punish those who were found in conflict with the law to deter would-be offenders.

On count one, the fishermen were charged with illegal entry into Zambia, while on count two, the 21 accused persons were charged with fishing without a licence contrary to the Zambian laws.

The 10 convicts will serve 12-month effective jail terms after the court suspended the other 12 months on condition of good behaviour.

Ncube’s political life under threat

OPPOSITION MDC leader Welshman Ncube faces an internal revolt after a group of disgruntled party members petitioned him demanding that he steps down over a litany of allegations including financial impropriety and dictatorship.

Source: Ncube’s political life under threat – Southern Eye May 22, 2016

by Nqobile Bhebhe

More than 60 party members recently signed a petition demanding that Ncube steps down as MDC leader, claiming he was inaccessible and intolerant to divergent views.

In a 11-point petition chronicling their displeasure, the members said “our political future is not in your hands anymore”.

“On our own behalf, the undersigned members, and the members drawn from different levels of the party structures have chosen to confront the problems in our party the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC),” read the petition.

“We, however, note with sadness your reluctance to co-operate with our emissary, Esaph Mdlongwa on an issue meant to save the party. We also find it politically prudent to hand you Mr President this petition document.”

The petitioners accused Ncube of being “directly and indirectly responsible for most of the problems the party is currently facing”.

“It is our considered view that your arrogance has made you dismiss even the most genuine efforts made in the interest of the party,” the petition added.

“We note with great sadness that during your tenure as president of the MDC party, you presided over a party whose membership continues to dwindle at an alarming rate”.

They also held Ncube responsible for “the co-option of new members without any known membership history in the party who have found their way straight into the national executive of the party”.

“Your explanation that you are picking on particular skills, which the party does not have, is irresponsible and unfortunate. How on earth do you hope to be the president of Zimbabwe if you cannot groom into leadership those that you have worked with since the founding of the party?”

They also claimed that there was no transparency and accountability in the handling of party funds.

“Our patience with you was informed by our optimism that one day you could see the need to change. We sadly realise that your unbridled conceit obscures your view of reality in the party,” the group said.

“We take this important decision to ask you to step down from the presidency of the MDC party and allow someone else to lead us. We sincerely hope you will in your political wisdom choose to comply with this demand and that you will accordingly inform the party organs of that decision.”

But MDC spokesperson, Kurauone Chihwayi dismissed the petition as inconsequential and labelled the majority of the signatories “street kids”, before dismissing it as a non-event.

“We are currently not sure whether the petition is for us or someone else because only five members are members of our party, the other 58 are street kids, who were roped in to sweeten the satanic verses,” he said.

“They have used a foolish way to advance their agenda because the president was not elected by the five secessionists. Welshman Ncube is a product of congress and can only be removed by congress.

“Moses Mzila Ndlovu is a rebel without a cause that wanted to use criminal methods to unseat a constitutionally elected MDC leader.

“It is the duty of the secretary-general, in consultation with the president, to call for party meetings, not the president. It is also the responsibility of the SG to fundraise for party activities.”

Of late, the party’s top hierarchy has been hit by a spate of resignations, with Ncube’s former lieutenants accusing him of making unilateral decisions without consulting his executive.

Zim’s bumpy road to cashless future

Source: Zim’s bumpy road to cashless future – Newzimbabwe 20/05/2016

HARARE: So, do you have a swipe machine here, we asked the lady who had just served us sadza, rice mashed with peanut-butter and pork bones at our favourite restaurant.

“Not yet, soon”, came the polite reply.

A while later, in a busy downtown supermarket, same question, and a less polite reply: “We don’t take cards here; cash.”

Cash is short, and there is no real short-term solution in sight. So Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor John Mangudya wants Zimbabweans to switch to electronic money. But the road to a cashless future is littered with high charges, distrust of banks, poor infrastructure, and a people that simply want money they can see.

Mangudya wants 80 percent of all transactions to be electronic within five years, easing our reliance on hard cash. So, I tried to live without using cash for a few days, just mobile money and a card. What better way to show solidarity with the embattled governor, and to test how ready we are for a cashless society.

Well, it didn’t take long to realise we still have a lot to do. Government offices still demand cash, and just try whipping out your bank card when you are in front of an impatient month-end or back-to-school supermarket queue.

Where better to start my cashless experiment, than at a government agency, I thought.

I needed to replace the “third number plate” for my car, which meant a $35 fee at the Central Vehicle Registry (CVR). In a small, sweaty room, heaving with loud car dealer types, I asked the lady behind the glass window: “Do you have a swipe machine?” She shouted “next”, and rudely told me to bring out cash or step aside. “EcoCash?” I said cash, she shot back.

So, the day was still young and I was already losing my cashless challenge. No POS at the passport office or the Zesa office either.The latter has a mobile option though, which helps. But go in there and they shake you down for cash. Cash at Zinara too.

Verdict one: The government itself is not actively driving for plastic money.What hope for Mangudya, when even the government itself has no interest in plastic money?

So, leaving CVR, it was off to the bank. Lucky break, the bank was giving out $500 to each customer. It came in $5 notes, but these are hard times. One has to be grateful even for this grubby wad of grubby notes. Seconds later, the SMS buzzes: I have just been charged $7,50 for that withdrawal.

That is like 15 kombi fares, two working weeks’ worth of kombi fare! Eight loaves of bread. Seven-and-a-half Chibiku Supas. It is a real fortune.

With banks limiting lending, their core business, they are relying more and more on fees and charges to grow revenue. The non-interest income column on bank earnings report is fatter than their interest income column.

Verdict two: High bank charges, another reason why Mangudya’s cashless future is still light years away. How ready are banks to lower their charges when they have become their biggest earner?

And soon I am driving back to the office and I am low on fuel. At Total Avondale, I ask again: “Do you have a swipe machine here?” No, the guy says, just our Total top up cards. I stop at three more service stations, Puma, Zuva, and another Total. No cards. At the fourth, Engen in the CBD, I finally give up and part with some of my precious $5 notes for diesel.

Verdict three: Most petrol stations prefer their own top-up cards, not bank cards. Kombi crews, who have a big say in what financial product works or fails, would never have the patience. They use cash, which is while mobile money for commuter fares didn’t fly.

Days later, after a few rounds at the pub, we asked for the swipe machine. The first one didn’t work, returning some error code. The second one did, to cheers all round. A friend tried his mobile money cash card, and it was offline.

Verdict four: Swipe machines are still like casino machines. It’s a gamble, sometimes they work, many times they don’t. That discourages use.

By the time, the next morning, I had to use cash to pay for parking in the CBD, I had long given up on my challenge. The final verdict was one can’t live on cards alone, and it will be a long while until that changes.

Mangudya says he has “announced that all retailers, wholesalers, businesses, local authorities, utilities, schools, universities, colleges, service stations and the informal sector are required to install point-of-sale machines.”

In December, Zimbabwe had 16,300 point of sale terminals. Zimbabweans spent $426 million through POS terminals during the same quarter, which includes the traditionally busy Christmas period. The number of POS machines in Zimbabwe may be more now, since the December report is the latest available data. Steward Bank alone, in its ads, claims to have 10,000 of its own POS machines.  However, cash still makes up 80 percent of all transactions.

However, it will take much more than Mangudya ordering POS installations. It will take a major culture shift, a return of confidence in banks. And, until it is possible to pay for all your main bills, buy sadza, pay for groceries at downtown supermarkets, or pay police fines by card, it is unlikely we will become a cashless society soon, not even 80 percent in five years.

Retailers, especially independent stores serving the lower end of the market, buy stock using cash, and their customers too do not use cards. Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers president Denford Mutashu was quoted recently as saying it was taking too long for retailers to access cash from card-based transactions. The financial system is still too inefficient to give them confidence.

For people to use cards, they first have to run bank accounts. This is still unattractive to many, for many reasons. Firstly, we still remember a time when you earned interest on your deposit, and not lost all of it down the black hole of bank charges. Secondly, many still have memories of losing all their savings, first to bank failures and then to the currency switchover. Thirdly, and most importantly, to use a card, you need to actually have money to keep in the bank in the first place.

Not everyone sees a bank account as a convenience. When it was ordered that tobacco farmers be paid via bank accounts, they rioted. Banks accounts are still seen as elitist, an inconvenience, unsafe and unfair.

When a friend praised our pork bones restaurant, and I told him “but they have no POS machines,” he called me “fancy pants.”

He is right. Mangudya’s cashless society will be hard to reach, until the card is mass market, cheap, and efficient. Until then, it is for fancy pants and cash will remain king. And in short supply.

Bond notes: Govt hires German firm

Source: Bond notes: Govt hires German firm – NewZimbabwe 20/05/2016

VICTORIA FALLS: Zimbabwe has contracted a private company in Germany to print bond notes that have sparked public outrage since their introduction was announced earlier this month, a central bank official said on Friday.

In a presentation to the Chamber of Mines of Zimbabwe annual general meeting which opened here on Thursday, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Exchange control director, Morris Mpofu, assured miners that government, which has been accused of seeking to bring back the local unity covertly through bond notes, would not force central bank to print more cash than necessary.

The RBZ has said it has accessed a $200 million loan from Afreximbank bank to back the printing of bond notes meant to give incentives to exporters.

It had until now not revealed who would be printing the notes.

“The printing of bond notes is being done by the Germans” Morris Mpofu said.

“The same Germans who printed the South African Rands which were recently impounded at Harare International Airport and later released are the ones who are printing the notes. The Germans are being asked to print $200 million worth of the notes. The money is backed by a loan facility from Afreximbank,” added Mpofu, who spoke on behalf of central bank chief, John Mangudya.

In 2008, German company Giesecke&Devrient, after an official request from its government, stopped providing paper for Zimbabwe dollar banknotes. The company said at the time that its decision came after a “political and moral assessment” of its contract with Zimbabwe.

 

Munesushe Munodawafa appeals to President Mugabe

Source: Munesushe Munodawafa appeals to President Mugabe | The Financial Gazette May 19, 2016

GUTU — In indigenous black folklore, kneeling before someone is an act of either reverence or fear.
But for Munesushe Munodawafa, the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure Development, he had to do just that last week to put his case across to President Robert Mugabe, and possibly benefit from his benevolence.
He has been facing corruption allegations following an Air Zimbabwe (AirZim) insurance scam.
Although he was set free by a regional magistrate Hosiah Mujaya, who ruled that the case should proceed by way of summons after Munodawafa had been placed on remand for over six months, his fate in government currently hangs by a thread.
He was arrested last year over his alleged involvement in the US$305 000 AirZim fraud case which emanated from an accident involving an AirZim MA60 plane.
It is claimed that on November 3, 2009 the AirZim plane hit some wild pigs at the Harare International Airport resulting in the plane being written off. London-based re-insurer, Cartis Insurance Company then paid AirZim US$6,1 million in insurance claims.
However, in April 2010, Chartis, made a counter claim of exactly the same amount it paid AirZim, against the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (CAAZ) for negligence by failing to institute safety measures at the airport.
The company also claimed a further US$2,4 million from CAAZ for loss of business by AirZim.
CAAZ then approached Munodawafa’s office for help over the matter, which led to the appointment of Navistar Insurance Brokers to go and negotiate an out of court settlement with Chartis in London. Navistar was reportedly appointed without going to tender.
When Navistar returned from London after successful negotiations with Chartis, Munodawafa is then alleged to have wrote a letter to AirZim’s accounting officer, Innocent Mavhunga, ordering him to pay Navistar a “success fee” of US$305 000.
With government leaving no stone unturned to punish those caught on the wrong side of the law, many believe that this case could signal Munodawafa’s last days in government.
But, some within the Transport Ministry said the only person who could save Munodawafa from the turbulence was none other than the appointing authority himself, President Mugabe.
And when he got the slightest opportunity to present his case before him in Gutu, Munodawafa did so while kneeling down.
Last Friday, he knelt before President Mugabe in front of several ZANU-PF officials and journalists at Chief Gutu, Edmund Masanganise’s homestead where the President had gone to console the family following the death of Anos Kasirai Masanganise, his uncle, three years ago.
In his speech, Chief Gutu told President Mugabe that Munodawafa had problems and wanted to meet the President to seek his intervention.
“President, pane mwana ari pano, Munodawafa, anoda rubatsiro rwenyu, anoda kukuonai (President, there is someone here who needs help and wishes to see you),” said Chief Gutu.
Before he had finished talking, Munodawafa sprang from where he was seated and went straight to where the President was seated, and kneeled before presenting his case in a hushed tone.
“I never said you can see the President here, I thought you can always make time to have a date with him,” added Chief Gutu upon seeing that Munodawafa had already gone to President Mugabe.
While addressing the gathering, President Mugabe seemed to confirm and suggest that Munodawafa’s job was hanging by a thread.
“Mukomana uye wamati ane nyaya, Munodawafa, ah ok, ndikati angaite nyaya yei secretary for transport? Kasi vari kuda kumutanda, kana kuti vari kuda kumuitei? (What issues can Munodawafa, the secretary for Transport possibly have? Do they want to fire him; what exactly do they want to do to him?” President Mugabe asked, before bursting into a mild laughter. He later promised to look into the matter.

President Mugabe takes charge of march

Source: President Mugabe takes charge of march | The Financial Gazette May 19, 2016

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe is understood to have directed the ZANU-PF main wing to take over the organisation of the Youth League’s “million man” march, set to take place next week to avert a potential crisis after the event became a new frontier for factional hostilities simmering in the ruling party.
Events leading to the march took a surprise turn at the weekend with members of the main wing from various provinces suddenly announcing their interest.
Before the change of tact, the march was being organised by ZANU-PF youths ostensibly to reaffirm the league’s support for President Mugabe.
The planned march had initially been proposed as a vote of no confidence in Vice President Emmerson Munangagwa, thought to be positioning himself to succeed President Mugabe.
Youths belonging to Generation 40 (G40), a faction comprising youthful politicians seeking to renew ZANU-PF from within, had appeared to gain an upper hand over youths from Team Lacoste, another faction reportedly rooting for Mnangagwa to succeed President Mugabe.
The squabbles had left Mnangagwa’s camp heavily decimated after Pupurai Togarepi, who is Mnangagwa’s chief lieutenant in the youth league, had a vote of no confidence passed on him at the instigation of his deputy, Kudzanai Chipanga, a purported G40 supporter.
Chipanga has since taken over the reins of the youth league in the interim and has been the face behind the march.
Mnangagwa backers have been alleging victimisation, claiming that the march was targeted at Mnangagwa.
Other key forces in the ruling party such as war veterans, who have openly declared their dislike for G40, had threatened to boycott the march.
But last week, President Mugabe reportedly ordered the ex-combatants to join the march.
This was confirmed last week by Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA) national spokesman, Douglas Mahiya, who told the press that war veterans would attend the march only because the president had ordered them to do so.
“It is no longer a million-man march, but a parade that has been called by the President. Now as military people, we have decided that we will take part because it is our leader who has called on us and not some ideologically bankrupt group with ulterior motives,” a local daily quoted Mahiya as having said on Wednesday last week.
However, war veterans would appear to sing a different chorus at their retreat in Chinhoyi three days later on Saturday, with some of them saying the ex-combatants were still not interested in taking part.
The former freedom fighters, numbering more than 500, gathered in Chinhoyi, Mashonaland West province, on Saturday and stressed that they were unhappy with the tension between them and the youth league, particularly Chipanga who recently declared war on them and mocked them publicly as old and sickly.

ZNLWVA secretary general, Victor Matemadanda, reportedly told the gathering that they would not be taking part in the march, describing it as poorly mobilised and ill conceived.
But ZANU PF sources said given the new scenario whereby President Mugabe has intervened, war veterans were now torn between attending the event and boycotting it.
“They are undecided now. They do not want to appear to be rallying behind the G40 initiative, but again they do not want to appear to be sabotaging the President who has said they should be there,” said a top ZANU-PF official who did not want to be named.
Tight lipped senior members of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA) told the Financial Gazette confidentially that they were still undecided about their participation in the march.
“We are peaceful people who went to war to fight the enemy and we have been with the product of that war effort for the last 36 years. What more demonstration of solidarity with the President can be asked of us,” queried one high ranking ZNLWVA member who declined to be named.
“We do not want to be seen participating in a march when there is no harmony. This is nothing but G40 to show the President how many they can mobilise to give the impression that he can do without the other faction. Given this deadlock, we do not find a space to participate. The hostility that has been directed at us makes it difficult for us to participate,” added the member.
Matemadanda was not answering calls on his mobile phone this week while Mahiya simply said: “I am not commenting on that.”
Chipanga insisted youths were still in charge of the march.
“There is nothing like that,” he declared when asked to comment on the reports.
“It remains a youth organised event but everyone is invited,” he added.
Asked to explain the sudden interest by members of the main wing, Chipanga said: “All the other organs of the party are in support of the event.”
“We just had a meeting of the national executive of the youth league today (Tuesday) and we are having the last one tomorrow,” said Chipanga.
ZANU-PF national spokesman, Simon Khaya Moyo said: “What I know is that the youths are organising it, but they are answerable to party elders and they will report to the leadership of the party from time to time and seek guidance there.”
ZANU-PF has since directed all its provincial structures to mobilise enough resources to transport 100 000 party cadres per province.

Saviour Kasukuwere sees light

Source: Saviour Kasukuwere sees light | The Financial Gazette May 19, 2016

THE Minister of Local Government, Saviour Kasukuwere, has gazetted a Bill that seeks to align with the Constitution the provisions of the laws that he administers.
Last week, Kasukuwere gazetted the Local Government Laws Amendment Bill, whose purpose is to align certain provisions of the Rural District Councils Act and the Urban Councils Act with section 278(2) and (3) of the Constitution — provisions which regulate the removal from office of mayors, rural district council chairpersons and urban and rural district councillors.
The move by Kasukuwere appears to have been caused by the realisation of legal challenges that stand in his way to permanently get rid of Harare mayor, Bernard Manyenyeni, as well as Gweru mayor Hamutendi Kombayi.
There have been suggestions that the ZANU-PF national commissar plans to replace opposition-dominated Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) councils with special commissions run by nominees of his ruling party as part of its elaborate groundwork for the 2018 elections.
Under the country’s new Constitution unveiled in 2013, elected local council office-bearers may only be removed from office only by an independent tribunal provided for by an Act of Parliament.
The outmoded Acts — which Kasukuwere relied on to suspend Manyenyeni and the entire Gweru City council — do not provide for the removal of elected councillors by an independent tribunal.
They provide for suspension and removal of councillors by the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing.
This has led to High Court battles between the minister and Kombayi and his councillors in Gweru, and Manyenyeni in Harare.
In the Gweru case, the High Court ruled that the Urban Councils Act’s provision was unconstitutional and void as to both suspension and removal from office.
Kasukuwere, however, simply ignored the two High Court rulings.
In the Harare case, a different High Court judge agreed there was no valid provision for removal from office, but upheld the validity of the 45-day suspension, adding that it would fall away at the end of the 45 days.
The Bill is government’s response to this situation.
It provides for suspension of an elected councillor by the minister; investigation of whether there is sufficient evidence for the issue of removal from office to be referred to an independent tribunal; and the setting of up of an ad hoc tribunal where the minister sees fit after an investigation to pursue the issue of removal.
Manyenyeni was suspended on April 21 for appointing banker James Mushore to the vacant position of town clerk without consulting the Local Government Board (LGB) as stipulated by the Urban Councils Act.
The Harare Council acted on the basis of the new national charter, which states that local authorities are free to make appointments without consulting the minister or the LGB.
Manyenyeni’s 45-day suspension expires in June, raising questions about what would happen to him.
The process of aligning the local government laws with the Constitution can take several months to complete and its only after the alignment that a legally binding process to remove Manyenyeni from office could start.
However, there are also several other legal bottlenecks that Kasukuwere faces.
Last week, legal and legislative watchdog, Veritas, published a detailed commentary of the legal hurdles Kasukuwere faces in getting rid of Manyenyeni and other elected councillors.
“The minister’s claim stretches the meaning of section 114 to the limit and, perhaps, beyond. It is hard to see how appointing a town clerk without approval amounts to ‘gross mismanagement’ unless the person appointed is so obviously unsuitable that no reasonable councillor would have dreamt of appointing him — and no one has suggested that that was the case here.
“The minister’s case becomes even shakier when one considers the rest of section 114 of the Act. It will be remembered that the section is headed ‘Suspension and dismissal of councillors’, and it goes on to say that after a councillor has been suspended the minister must cause the matter to be investigated within 45 days; if the investigator’s report establishes the grounds for the suspension, the minister may dismiss the councillor from office. So section 114 of the Act does not allow the minister to suspend a mayor or councillor and then do nothing further. The suspension must be followed by an investigation and, where appropriate, a dismissal by the minister within 45 days. The suspension, investigation and removal are inextricably linked together in the section. In the absence of the last two — an investigation and a decision on removal — there cannot be a suspension because the purpose of the suspension is impossible to achieve. On this ground alone, the minister’s action in suspending the mayor was illegal.
“We say ‘on this ground alone’ because there are other reasons for questioning the suspension. We have mentioned one — that the ground of suspension does not seem to fall within section 114 of the Urban Councils Act, much less the Constitution. It can also be argued that section 132 of the Urban Councils Act, which prohibits municipalities from appointing town clerks without the Local Government Board’s approval, infringes the autonomy that Chapter 14 of the Constitution confers on local authorities.”
In conclusion, Veritas said: “It is most regrettable that the Minister has persisted in trying to suspend councillors under section 114 of the Urban Councils Act after being told by two judges of the High Court that he has no power to do so. Whatever his motive, his conduct undermines the independence of local authorities and the devolution of governmental powers that are keynotes of Chapter 14 of the Constitution.”

Cash crisis: The government’s hidden hand

Source: Cash crisis: The government’s hidden hand | The Financial Gazette May 19, 2016

ZIMBABWE’S cash crisis has led to questions about the government’s management of the country’s financial systems, with indications that its increasing borrowings on the domestic market have created a financial black hole for the banking sector and the economy.

The government, with no access to foreign funding, resuscitated the Treasury Bill (TB) market in October 2012. After initially struggling to convince a sceptical market,the market has become government’s primary vehicle for fundraising.

Under the TB system, the government issues “promissory notes” to raise money. The buyer of the bill expects a profit by redeeming the bill for less than what they paid for it. Worldwide, TBs are popular because, with government backing, they are virtually risk free. But this is only where markets work well.

Analysts say the effect of the TBs avalanche, especially between 2014 and 2015 and the state’s manipulation of the Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS) is the primary cause of the cash shortage that is presently choking the economy.

In the latest quarterly bulletin, the Ministry of Finance said $245 million worth of TBs were issued in the domestic market during the first three months of the year, reflecting government’s huge appetite for cash. Of this amount, $15,9 million went towards financing the budget deficit while $229,1 million went towards debt repayment and other recurrent spending.

Annually, it projected domestic loan repayments of $678,6 million and a budget deficit of $150 million, result in a financing gap of $828,6 million for the year 2016.

Reserve Bank officials privately estimate the current amount of local debt in the form of TBs at over $4 billion, most of which is attributable to the Finance Ministry through its Public Debt Management Office.  The $4 billion gap is equivalent to the size of the entire 2016 national budget.

The central bank’s own schedule showed the growth of its TB securities held by commercial banks from $325,7 million in January last year to $1,126 billion in February this year.

Building societies held $65,6 million from $51,8 million over the same period.

According to analysts, those who are being paid through TBs were simply discounting the securities in the local market and wiring the real money out of the system, a practice which depleted nostro balances.

Zimbabwe’s ability to import cash is now limited because of the depleted nostro positions.

In October 2008, at the height of the hyperinflation era, former Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono described the RTGS system as “a vehicle for illicit foreign exchange parallel market dealings that have distorted exchange rates beyond the wildest imagination.” The system had been introduced a few year earlier primarily to stem cash shortages, reduce cheque fraud risks and delays in customer payments.

Analysts say government has been the transgressor this time, paying for the maturing TBs and interest payments through the RTGS and starving the market of cash.

But the government’s problem is that the RTGS cannot fund nostro balances or be used to import cash. Under proper banking conditions, the RTGS position simply reflects cash held in vaults by RBZ and the nostro balances in RBZ’s accounts held with external banks. If a bank needs nostro funding, it will request the RBZ to credit its nostro account against a reduction in the bank’s RTGS position.

Cash has always been imported from the nostro positions.

It raises the question of how the RTGS position got to where it is now.

One analyst says the TB maturities are being honored at a time when revenue collection is much lower than recurrent expenditure — Q1 figures show a 16 percent disparity between collections and target — and were being met by pushing figures not backed by real cash. This means there is not enough notes and coins to back bank balances, a situation which should not occur in a market that does not print the currency.

Opposition Member of Parliament for Bulawayo South, Eddie Cross, suggests the government is being more Machiavellian.

“In 2015 the RTGS system (money transfers through the banks) handled $45 billion dollars – $170 million a day. This demonstrates the speed at which money circulates in any economy. Now what happens in this system is that when you fill in an RTGS form at your local bank, the bank processes the documentation and sends it, with a wire transfer of funds from YOUR account, to the Reserve Bank. In 2015 your money sat there for an average of three days before onwards transfer to your supplier/creditor or other beneficiary. 3 days at $170 million a day – average money in the account at the RBZ $500 million,” he wrote on his blog last week.
“Now I believe that the only credible explanation of the sudden cash shortage is that when (Finance Minister) Chinamasa cannot balance his books at the month end and needs cash, he has been dipping into the RTGS account at the Reserve Bank – replacing the funds with a simple IOU. This is patently illegal and puts every bank at risk because, when the commercial bank takes real dollars out of your account for transfer you expect them (you trust them) to deliver at the other end.”

Faced with a cash crunch, the government has sought to bring back a localized currency to create financial mobility in the market in the form of “bond notes.”

It has already successfully done so with bond coins since 2014 which, along with the proposed notes, derive their value comes from a bond facility from the Afreximbank. In 2014, Afreximbank put up a $50 million bond, a form of a loan, for bond coins introduced to ease the shortage of change in the economy. The planned bond notes are backed by a new $200 million loan, also from Afreximbank.

But a senior banker noted that the bond notes and coins are just a local currency by another name, suggesting their introduction was forced upon the central bank by the political establishment and explains the apex bank’s difficulty in selling their legitimacy to a suspicious market.

Whether by design or accident, Zimbabwe is in the local currency era and it is up to the market to decide whether to accept or reject it, the banker said.

It is worth noting that in February 2009, government only formally introduced the multi-currency era long after the market had rejected the hyperinflation ravaged local unit, the banker added. The Source

Tycoon acts to save PepsiCo deal

Source: Tycoon acts to save PepsiCo deal | The Financial Gazette May 19, 2016

AN Indian billionaire planning to set up a multi-million dollar PepsiCo plant in the country visited Zimbabwe over a fortnight ago to clear bureaucratic hurdles, which appeared to stall the project, the Financial Gazette’s Companies & Markets (C&M) can report.
Ravi Jaipuria flew into the country for talks with government officials and other stakeholders after delays in the granting of certain approvals stalled progress on the US$30 million PepsiCo plant.
PepsiCo is an American multi-national food and beverages giant.
Previously set for completion before year-end, the plant might now not be finished in December due to delays by the City of Harare, which has to give the project a green light, according to people familiar with the transaction. It was the second time that the Indian tycoon arrived in the country specifically to deal with problems in facilitating the development of the project. Despite the country desperately needing foreign direct investment, its policies and administration of investment-related institutions and State organs have combined to deter foreign investment.
The Indian tycoon had last year visited the country before meeting President Robert Mugabe during the Africa India summit in November, where he laid out a vision that was far beyond beverages production.
C&M understands that his plan includes setting up a tomato processing plant and hospital, among other investments.
This week, Jaiparu’s Zimbabwean partner, Adam Molai, confirmed that the project had been stifled by red tape and bureaucratic bungling, which authorities were now trying to resolve.
“The regional CEO is now here to run with the project and to make sure that we implement it as quickly as possible,” Molai told C&M.
The regional CEO is Krishnar Shankar, who leads the southern African operation. Shankar helped set up southern African plants in Zambia and Mozambique and was present at a ground breaking ceremony in November attended by government officials, including Industry and Commerce Minister, Mike Bimha, and Finance Minister, Patrick Chinamasa, who all promised a friendly business environment to foreign investors.
“The funding is there, and we have been going through regulatory approvals. The contract has been signed and my partner was here last week.
“He asked government to expedite the approvals to make sure we complete the project by the end of the year if possible.
“The delay was caused by the fact that the land belonged to NMB, and the City of Harare has been delaying the subdivision. They are working on this now,” said Molai.
NMB Bank is a local commercial bank owned by NMBZ Holdings, which is listed on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange.
During his recent visit, Jaiparu, the proprietor of the Varun Beverages in India, which has undertaken to set up the plant under franchise, is said to have met authorities in the Ministry of Industry and Commerce to impress upon them the urgency of granting of certain approvals, among them a certificate of compliance from the City of Harare, which has to subdivide the land.
Jaiparu is one of India’s wealthiest individuals with a net worth estimated by Forbes magazine at US$1,67 billion.
On completion, the PepsiCo plant is projected to create at least 3 000 jobs.
It will become the single largest competitor to beverages conglomerate, Delta Corporation Limited, whose fortunes have recently been affected by a liquidity crunch that has combined with increasing joblessness to erode disposable incomes and consequently sales.
C&M reported in November last year that PepsiCo had sought to start operations in the country earlier but had been frustrated by bureaucratic bungling.
Molai said while great strides had been made towards business reforms at national level, the local government system was still fraught with red tape, which undermines the implementation of deals that could bolster ongoing efforts to repair the country’s ailing economy.
“We do not want to end up building illegal structures,” said Molai, referring to delays in granting a certificate of compliance on the land on which the plant would be built.
“The ease of doing business in this country has improved at national level but at local authority level, we still have problems,” he said.
Last week, Molai flew to Lusaka, Zambia, to familiarise himself with the PepsiCo operations in that country, as he moved to promote one of the major investments recently announced in Zimbabwe.
After the ground-breaking ceremony in November, PepsiCo shipped significant tonnes of bricks and deployed contractors on site, which have completed a wall.
But in recent months, there has been no activity on site, and the wall is now overshadowed by tall grass.
PepsiCo is the world’s second largest food and beverages business by net revenue.
Last year C&M reported that the Indian billionaire had complained about the cumbersome process required to set up a business in Zimbabwe, where investors move from one agency to another for documents.
“The Ministry of Finance and Economic Development demanded certain things; the Ministry of Industry and Commerce said something else. Compliance with the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act was also a talking point. It is bureaucracy that is affecting the flow of investment in this country,” a source said then.

Special economic zones law unconstitutional: Lawyers

Source: Special economic zones law unconstitutional: Lawyers | The Financial Gazette May 19, 2016

THE law being pushed by government to give effect to the establishment of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) in which labour rights will not apply is a flawed piece of legislation unlikely to survive a constitutional challenge, legal experts said this week.
Lawyers who spoke to the Financial Gazette pointed out that the whole effort could end up being an exercise in futility as the proposed SEZs Act — as being proposed in a Bill before Parliament — could be successfully challenged at the Constitutional Court (ConCourt).
In a hurry to create SEZs in order to attract foreign investment, government has crafted a law that would enable it to establish the Special Economic Zones Authority (SEZA), which would manage affairs in these Special Economic Zones.
The SEZs Bill sailed through the committee stage of Parliament last week despite protests from opposition legislators.
The Bill proposes to exempt investors licenced in the zones from the provisions of the Labour Act as well as the country’s much-dreaded Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act.
Legal experts say it is almost impossible to create a subsidiary law that takes away citizens’ fundamental rights enshrined in the country’s Constitution, such as labour rights.
Labour rights are listed in Section 65 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe as part of the Bill of Rights.
“Such laws are unlikely to pass the constitutional test,” constitutional law expert, Alex Magaisa, who is based at the University of Kent in the United Kingdom, said.
“The Constitution applies to the whole country without exception. It sets the minimum standards for labour and any laws or policies that deviate are likely to be struck down unless they can be shown to be reasonable, fair, necessary and justifiable in a democratic society. Laws that reduce labour rights are unlikely to survive the constitutional test,” Magaisa added.
Zimbabwe’s current Labour Act is already subject to a class-action in the ConCourt, mounted by employers after it was controversially amended last year to curb rights of employers to terminate job contracts on notice, which rights had been confirmed by a July 2015 Supreme Court ruling, a ruling that according to trade union statistics, led to over 25 000 workers losing their jobs.
Investigations by the Financial Gazette revealed that there is a veil of secrecy around the proposed SEZs Bill.
After it was introduced in Parliament in December last year by the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Patrick Chinamasa, it went through its First Reading on April 5 this year, where despite it glaring flaws, was curiously given a non-adverse report by the Parliamentary Legal Committee (PLC).
Public hearings were supposed to be conducted to elicit stakeholders’ view before it was brought before Parliament for its Second Reading. However, in a typical case of putting the cart before the horse, Chinamasa returned to Parliament two days later (on April 7) to make the Second Reading of the Bill, even before legislators had a chance to consult stakeholders on the proposed law.
According to legal and legislative watchdog, Veritas, when Chinamasa read the Bill, conspicuous in his presentation was any mention of the obnoxious clause on the exclusion of the Labour and Indigenisation Acts from the proposed SEZs.
“A non-adverse Parliamentary Legal Committee [PLC] report on the Special Economic Zones Bill was announced in the National Assembly on 5th April. Hon Chinamasa, Minister of Finance and Economic Development, delivered his second reading speech on 7th April outlining key aspects of the Bill. He did not mention the clause laying down that the Labour Act and the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act will not apply to licensed investors in special economic zones,” Veritas pointed out in its commentary.
The Bill is now waiting final debate in the House of Assembly, which debate was adjourned to allow for the public hearing on the Bill to take place.
The public hearing took place from April 11 to April 16.

In his written submission to Parliament on the Bill, Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) secretary general, Japhet Moyo, highlighted how the proposed “colonial law” violates workers’ rights and undermines the Labour Act.
“The ZCTU is concerned that this is retrogressive in that employers and employees engaged in special economic zones will not be bound by the provisions of the Labour Act, which are so elaborate in so far as they seek to protect employees against exploitation and unfair conditions of labour,” Moyo said in the four page report to Parliament.
“Employees are the losers as they will be subjected to regulations unilaterally made by the Special Economic Zones Authority, which may consult with the minister responsible for labour administration and there is no consultation with employee representatives in making such regulations.”
ZCTU said the Bill was taking away the labour minister’s powers because the SEZ Act is to be administered by the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare’s input is only on the making of regulations if the Authority considers it necessary to consult.
“The Labour Act was enacted by the President after serious consultation with labour and employers. This attempt to make the Special Economic Zones Authority to be the legislation in special economic zones and bypass a law duly made by Parliament is tantamount to subverting the powers of Parliament and the will of the people of Zimbabwe who chose to have a unified Labour Act in place,” said Moyo.
“Investors in special economic zones must be bound by the Labour Act and any regulations to be made must be made through collective bargaining other than unitarism and or unilaterally as proposed. This is a primitive way of labour legislation and takes us back to the colonial legislation era where labour rules were just imposed,” said Moyo.
He said the ZCTU feared that many workers would be left without the protection afforded them by legislation through the Labour Act. The Bill also proposes the preservation of secrecy and a penalty for disclosing such information about the authority and investment.
“We wonder why a public institution must conduct its business in secrecy. This is likely to promote corruption as those with inside information are not allowed to report any malpractice by the authority and investors,” said Moyo.
For the first time in the history of the Eighth Parliament of Zimbabwe, the LPC, which is understood to have given the controversial Bill a non-adverse report, is made up exclusively of practising lawyers.
The committee is chaired by Jonathan Samkange (ZANU-PF) and also comprises of Jessie Majome (MDC-T), Innocent Gonese (MDC-T), Fortune Chasi (ZANU-PF) and Ziyambi Ziyambi (ZANU-PF).
Asked how the committee okayed the proposed Bill despite its glaring flaws, Samkange said as far as they were concerned, the Bill does not violate the Constitution in any way.
“We were satisfied that the Bill does not contravene the law,” Samkange said. “You can ask others what they think but our committee, which is made up of seven very senior lawyers (five legislators and two Parliamentary legal officers) found nothing wrong with the Bill, hence the non-adverse report,” the Mudzi legislator said.
However, Majome a member of the PLC was singing a totally different song. The Harare West legislator expressed surprise at the developments, saying if any such thing had happened, it had taken place behind her back.
“I’m horrified that its clause 56 actually proposes to exempt the SEZs from the Labour Act! That’s tantamount to abrogating the labour rights guaranteed by Section 65 of the Constitution which are broadly fair labour standards… because the Labour Act’s role should be to implement those rights,” said Majome, who claimed some of paperwork on the proceedings in Parliament had been missing from her pigeonhole.
“I’m also shocked that it either leaves workers there in a lurch or allows the Labour Minister to dictate employment conditions at her whim thereby undermining the constitutional founding value of the rule of law and good governance, including separation of powers. I can foresee the Constitutional and Labour Courts knocking down that provision down as ultra fires the Constitution despite the non-adverse report of the PLC.
“However, given the government’s deliberate failure to align the (Labour) law with the Constitution, the provision might not cause workers much loss because the Labour Act itself is not aligned to the Constitution. It, including its recent amendment, actually abridges rights guaranteed by the Constitution e.g. maternity labour rights. The Constitution affords more protection to workers than the Labour Act and as such workers would have the Constitution itself to fall back on. The SEZ’s efforts may be in vain,” she said.
Majome added that government’s treatment of fundamental human rights — labour rights in this case — only serves to betray its disdain for human rights and workers rights.
Efforts to talk to Chasi, another member of the PLC, on the issue were fruitless as the ZANU-PF Mazowe South legislator initially promised to respond to the questions from this newspaper later in the evening, but follow-up efforts later drew blanks.
Chasi is currently a semi-detached member of ZANU-PF after being recalled from the post of deputy minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs last year in the wake of a purge in the party of members linked to the former Vice President, Joice Mujuru.
newsdesk@fingaz.co.zw

Numbers game now on show

Source: Numbers game now on show | The Financial Gazette May 19, 2016

BULAWAYO — With just about two years before Zimbabwe’s next general elections, things are shacking up on the political front.
The country’s political actors have already started sending clear signals to their rivals that they are taking the 2018 plebiscite seriously.
A commonly used strategy thus far has been to mobilise big numbers through demonstrations or attendances at rallies.
Next week, the ruling ZANU-PF is set to roll out its million-man march in the capital city, Harare, which coincides with Africa Day.
The march is meant to show popular support for President Robert Mugabe, who has ruled Zimbabwe since the country’s independence from Britain in 1980.
President Mugabe’s former deputy, Joice Mujuru is also on the offensive, trying to wrest power from her former boss.
Mujuru was expelled from ZANU-PF and government in 2014 on allegations of attempting to overthrow her boss through unconstitutional means.
She is now heading a political outfit called Zimbabwe People First (ZPF), which is drawing much of its support from people disenchanted by President Mugabe’s leadership.
ZPF has been quite visible on the ground, holding several rallies across the country as part of its mass mobilisation campaign.
The country’s biggest opposition, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T), led by former prime minister Morgan Tsvangirai, has lately been flexing its muscles as well.
The MDC-T had previously enjoyed total domination of the country’s urban centres.
But this all changed in 2013 when the party was trounced at the harmonised elections by ZANU-PF, which restricted its hegemony to Harare and Bulawayo.
The MDC-T was to concede more ground to ZANU-PF last year when its decision to boycott all national elections allowed ZANU-PF to chip away its dominance in the two urban metropolis.
In the second city, for example, ZANU-PF got a chance to taste victory which had eluded it for 15 years through by-elections boycotted by the MDC-T.
Both the MDC-T and ZANU-PF are now at par in terms of the seats they hold in Bulawayo, with each party now controlling six Parliamentary seats.
Having been in a government of national unity for five years, critics were already writing the MDC-T’s political obituary, dismissing the labour- backed party as having lost its way.
But not anymore!
The turning point for the MDC-T came last month when it staged its first demonstration against the ZANU-PF-led government in nearly a decade.
The demonstration in Harare was mainly meant to pile up pressure on President Mugabe to fix the country’s economy and provide answers to the alleged disappearance of US$15 billion in diamond revenue from Chiadzwa.
The street protest buoyed Tsvangirai who endured his most biting criticism after he was defeated by a wide margin in the 2013 polls.
What had made things worse for the MDC-T leader was that his party went on to split for the second time inside a decade immediately after the 2013 elections.
An estimated 10 000 people participated in the demonstrations in Harare.
Spurred by the huge turnout in Harare, the MDC-T is now targeting to roll out more nationwide demonstrations against the governing administration.
Bulawayo will now be its next stop, with the second demonstration now set for Saturday next week.
Obert Gutu, the MDC-T spokesperson, said although the police were still to give their clearance for the demonstration to proceed, it was all systems go.
“Tsvangirai, together with all other leaders of the party will be leading from the front, during the demonstration in Bulawayo,” he said.
Indications are that the party could mobilise nearly 20 000 demonstrators for the Bulawayo leg of the demonstrations.
Analysts this week said the MDC-T now seems to have woken up from its deep slumber through the reversal of an earlier decision not to participate in any election not predicated on electoral reforms.
This comes as Local Government Minister Saviour Kasukuwere is baying for the blood of city fathers in MDC-T dominated councils as a way of increasing ZANU-PF influence in these cities.

But the question that begs for an answer remains: Is the show off of big numbers capable of turning the tide in favour of the MDC-T?
Grace Kwinjeh, a founding member of the MDC-T, said just going onto the streets would not be enough to dislodge ZANU-PF.
“ZANU-PF can play the numbers game too and get their thousands to march. The MDC-T has to grow out of the naive deposition that showcasing numbers in demonstrations equals political power, as recent history has proved this is not the case,” Kwinjeh said.
“As a former trade unionist, Tsvangirai understands bargaining and so what leverage can they exert on the State? Demands which if not met, will be met with more action and what sort of action? In the past, boycotts were a useful bargaining tool, but now not anymore. Tsvangirai has to think through the demonstration strategy as it is a strategy that could also end him. What other muscle does he have against ZANU-PF’s intransigence?” she added.
A lot is, however, weighing in the MDC-T’s favour.
The country’s economy is contracting at an alarming rate; factional fights in President Mugabe’s ZANU-PF are becoming messier; and citizens are getting more agitated as economic challenges continue to squeeze them.
Most of ZANU-PF’s 2013 electoral promises have also come to naught. For instance, its pledge to create two million jobs has hit a brick wall, with job losses escalating amid company closures.
Regardless, Rashweat Mukundu, the chairperson of the Zimbabwe Democracy Institute, believes that although the MDC-T has every right to demonstrate as provided in the Constitution, it must go beyond street protests by looking into solutions.
“Demonstrations work for a while, but cannot constitute a whole political strategy to win power,” said Mukundu.
Political commentator, Zibusiso Dube, said the demonstrations will cast the party as a serious contender for power.
“While the party had seemed docile and weak since the 2013 elections, the party seems to be getting confident since its demonstration in Harare last month,” he said.
“These demonstrations to me may be what is needed for the party to earn more followers and to put a bit more pressure on the ruling ZANU-PF. It could signal a move back to the grassroots … A good move in my book,” said Dube.
Analysts also posit that the MDC-T might find that its supporters in Bulawayo have little appetite for demonstrations as they are focussed on their day-to-day mission for survival.
Itai Sithole, an accounting graduate from a Bulawayo institution, said the people in Bulawayo generally do not have a stomach for such demonstrations for fear of police brutality.
“The MDC-T will most likely fail to get a full buy in and participation here,” said Sithole.
newsdesk@fingaz.co.zw

EMCOZ, ZCTU cry foul

Source: EMCOZ, ZCTU cry foul | The Financial Gazette May 19, 2016

Alois Vinga
IN yet another rare occurrence, the country’s labour and business sectors are singing from the same hymn book.
In the latest confluence of thought, Zimbabwe’s business community, represented by the Employers’ Confederation of Zimbabwe (EMCOZ) and labour, represented by the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU), have disapproved the National Social Security Authority (NSSA)’s planned massive housing project.
They are accusing NSSA of failing to accommodate the bulk of Zimbabwe’s employees who earn salaries and wages that are below the poverty datum line of around US$500.
In March this year, the two groups came together for the first time to condemn government’s proposals to establish a National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).
EMCOZ and the ZCTU cited the country’s prevailing economic conditions as not conducive for an NHIS, a legally enforced health insurance scheme that insures a national population against the costs of health care.
With the government getting more and more desperate for solutions required to revive the country’s economy, labour and businesses are increasingly narrowing their areas of conflict, and tackling government jointly. EMCOZ and the ZCTU’s latest concurrence was triggered by NSSA’s recent announcement that the total price of each housing unit would be US$15 000, which would be partly paid through monthly installments of below US$200 for a period of over 10 years.
NSSA’s subsidiary, which would spearhead the housing project, the National Building Society, has indicated that the predominant beneficiaries of the housing scheme would be those in need of accommodation.
ZCTU secretary general, Japhet Moyo, however, dismissed the assertion by querying the housing scheme’s credibility, arguing that the relevant stakeholders were not duly consulted.
“The ZCTU is a major stakeholder of NSSA, as history confirms that employees played a very critical role in the establishment of the social authority. It should also be borne in mind that, as employees, we contribute our money to NSSA, but despite this symbiotic relationship the powers that be, at the social authority, have not bothered to consult ahead of the housing project. This alone indicates that the proposed scheme will not benefit the employees since their opinion was not sought for,” he said.
The trade unions leader questioned why NSSA embarked on the construction of the housing units that are priced beyond the reach of the majority of employees in the country and hinted that the scheme could be used to benefit politically connected individuals.
“The media reports confirm that the housing units’ total cost is US$15 000 and the minimum salary for one to qualify is US$5 000. A lot of people who are seriously in need of accommodation will not be able to access the scheme because the majority of employees earn salaries that are below US$500.
“This leaves us thinking that there is a politically-connected target group which has been identified and NSSA wants to portray the project as if it will benefit the common employees,” said Moyo who further hinted that if the purchasers were to default payment of the stipulated installments the pressure would cascade down to the pensioners who then end up not accessing their payouts on time.
“When the housing project beneficiaries fail to pay their monthly instalments, owing to late payment of salaries and job terminations (that are) rampant in our economy, the pensioners will not be able to get their pension payouts. There is need for the housing scheme to be strictly scrutinised before its take off and information on the scheme must be made available to NSSA’s strategic partners,” he explained.
Reacting to the proposed NSSA housing project, EMCOZ president, Josephat Kahwema, expressed displeasure over the NSSA initiated housing scheme.
“We are disappointed that NSSA is pitching its service at the level currently serviced by profit-making commercial banks and building societies. We were looking at NSSA to serving those who are covered by collective bargaining agreements and this time the average wages being paid are less than US$250 per month.
“EMCOZ believes NSSA should focus on low-cost accommodation for the ordinary worker and not for employees in management positions. Low cost accommodation will result in many workers securing a roof over their heads,” said Kahwema, further suggesting that NSSA should, instead, build blocks of flats for young workers to rent in order to give them space to save their own capital. This would enable the workers to approach building societies for loans to build their own houses, thus freeing the flats for other beginners.
Contacted for comment an official from NSSA, Farai Mwakutuya, said comments on the housing scheme would be made at a press conference to be held soon.
newsdesk@fingaz.co.zw

EDITORIAL COMMENT: Million-man march misplaced

Source: EDITORIAL COMMENT: Million-man march misplaced | The Financial Gazette May 19, 2016

NEXT Wednesday, on Africa Day, ZANU-PF will be holding a million-man march in the capital city, Harare.
According to the party’s deputy secretary for youth affairs, Kudzanai Chipanga, the purpose of this march is to reaffirm the loyalty of the youth league to President Robert Mugabe.
The march is expected to bring together one million ruling party cadres from the country’s 10 provinces.
War veterans, who had earlier on refused to be part of the May 25 march, have now capitulated.
They now claim they will be joining the march in order to provide ideological direction to the youth league programme.
Media reports say the war vets have been arm-twisted into reviewing their earlier stance.
From where we stand, there is nothing wrong with citizens exercising their democratic right to march and express their views.
ZANU-PF cadres, like all Zimbabwean citizens, have the right to express themselves through peaceful demonstrations as provided for in our national Constitution.
However, it is the purpose of this march which is both questionable and disheartening. Surely, there are more pertinent issues for the country’s youth today.
The country is buckling under the pressure of a myriad of socio-economic challenges. Unemployment, hunger, rampant corruption, company closures and a worsening liquidity crisis are some of the challenges facing Zimbabweans today.
The youth, representing 70 percent of the country’s population, have been the biggest casualties of the current crises.
The rate of unemployment in the country is unprecedented at over 80 percent. Statistics show that more than 6 000 companies have shut down and at least 300 000 workers have lost their jobs since 2013, making it virtually impossible for young school leavers and college graduates to get jobs.
Yet the ruling party, through its 2013 election campaign manifesto, promised to create 2,2 million jobs for the young people.
We would have expected the youth league to be demanding the promised jobs for its members.
The World Food Programme indicates that three million Zimbabweans are in need of food aid. Millions of United States dollars will be required for the million-man march whose purpose is merely to reaffirm loyalty to President Mugabe.
This money could be better used to mobilise food aid for the three million starving Zimbabweans or to fund start-up loans for the unemployed youths to engage in income-generating businesses.
One does not need to be a rocket scientist to realise that the country’s hungry and unemployed youths have nothing to gain from this choreographed display of loyalty. The distressed youths are certainly not interested in this pointless charade of endorsing a sitting President. Instead, the country’s young people need jobs and food on the table.
It is clear that Chipanga and his colleagues in the youth league leadership are not speaking on behalf of the country’s young people.
The ZANU PF youth league leadership needs to introspect and reconnect with its constituency. As things stand, the million-man march is a misplaced priority.

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Three injured in Renamo attack on postal bus

Maputo, (AIM) – Three people were injured on Thursday when gunmen from the illicit militia of Mozambique’s largest opposition party Renamo attacked a postal bus travelling between the country’s capital Maputo and the city of Quelimane.

Source: Three injured in Renamo attack on postal bus – The Zimbabwean 21/5/2016

The attack took place on the main north-south highway, the EN1, at Longoze, Mopeia district, in Zambezia province.

According to the public postal service Correios de Mocambique, details of the attack are still being established. However, company spokesperson Vasco Jovo explained that the bus was shot at from both sides of the road as it was travelling at 80 kilometres per hour.

As a result of the ambush two women and a man received injuries.

In October 2014, the postal service launched an inter-provincial bus service which transports mail and passengers over eight routes.

LATEST: Zimra transfers 5 managers over vehicle scandal

Source: LATEST: Zimra transfers 5 managers over vehicle scandal | The Herald May 20, 2016

Thupeyo Muleya Beitbridge Bureau
The Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) has with immediate effect transferred five senior managers from Beitbridge border post to other stations following a vehicle imports smuggling scandal that cost the parastatal millions of dollars.

Those who have been transferred are Mr Christopher Zifudzi , Regional manager, Mr Martin Muponda , Mr Farai Makunike, and Miss Prenade Dzangare, all shift managers, and Mr Julius Toringepi, the Regional Human Resource and Administration manager.

Sources at the border said Mr Zifudzi, Mr Muponda and Miss Dzangare had been redeployed to Harare while Mr Toringepi and Mr Makunike had been sent to Bulawayo and Masvingo respectively.

Details to follow……

Immigrants’ descendants aided Zim’s development

Source: Immigrants’ descendants aided Zim’s development – The Zimbabwe Independent May 20, 2016

IMMIGRANTS from the region, mainly Malawi, Zambia and Mozambique, contributed immensely to this country’s development and ensured that it became one of the most successful countries on the continent before it was ruined by inept leadership, poor policies and a narrow national project based on repression and exclusion of others — systematic marginalisation of other citizens and cultures.

Ndabenhle Mabhena,Businessman

This article was inspired by an opinion piece that appeared in the Zimbabwe Independent edition of April 30 2016.

The writer, Enock Muchinjo, who says he is of Malawian stock, narrates his personal experiences and observations with regards to the contribution made by immigrants of Malawian, Zambian and Mozambican origin to sport in Zimbabwe, particularly the country’s number one game, football. Muchinjo rightly points out that most prominent soccer teams were formed around mining towns and townships dominated by immigrants. Such teams, which became dominant in the past include Rio Tonto, Mangura, Hwange, Ziscosteel, Lancashire Steel and Eiffel Flats, among others.

Even Dynamos and other big teams have always been dominated by immigrants because they were the first to settle in townships and thus exposure to urban life and associated sports, particularly football. Highlanders also has had great players of immigrant origin.

Post-1923, mining took root as a key economic activity in Rhodesia following the referendum in August of the same year that confirmed the country as a sovereign state from South Africa.

This fresh focus on economic development driven by mining gave rise to increased demand for mining labour. As such there was an influx of migrant labour, mainly from Malawi and Zambia, which climaxed during the 10 years of the existence of the federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland. The federation included Zimbabwe, Zambia and Malawi. The federation, also known as the Central African Federation, lasted between 1953 and 1963.

Hence, the bulk of immigrants in Zimbabwe today are from Malawi and Zambia. Mozambican immigrants are also there in large numbers. These formed the earlier urban dwellers, mainly in Harare and mining towns around the country. Bulawayo has its own fair share of residents or citizens who are descendants of immigrants from the region. Former Zambian president Rupiah Banda was born in a mining town around Gwanda in Matabeleland South, hence he is also Ndebele-speaking.

As revealed by the insightful WikiLeaks diplomatic cables quoting details of a US envoy’s meeting with Malawian Charge d’Affaires, Veronica Chidothe-Tasosa, on December 4 2010 at the Malawian embassy in Harare, the main function of Malawi’s mission in Zimbabwe is to look after the more than two million Malawians who reside in the country. Many of them work in agriculture and mining sectors and are descendants of people who relocated to Zimbabwe from the then Nyasaland when the region was under British colonial rule.

Chidothe-Tasosa told the US envoy that there are so many Malawians in Zimbabwe such that on the road in cities like Harare “every five people you meet, one is likely to be Malawian”.

Because of Malawi’s rules on citizenship, those who are born outside the country and did not establish a physical presence in the country before they reached the age of 22 are not entitled to nationality.

At the height of mass exodus by Zimbabweans to the United Kingdom post-2000, a lot of Zimbabweans of Malawian origin used their Malawian lineage to obtain Malawian passports which they used to travel to Britain and other countries. The major advantage that they enjoyed was that Malawian passport holders did not require a visa to enter the UK as the country is a member of the Commonwealth.

Zimbabwe and Malawi thus share a special bond. The late Malawian dictator Kamuzu Banda’s mistress, Cecilia Tamanda Kadzamira, is of Malawi origin. Kadzamira, who is also Shona-speaking, was fondly referred to as “Mama”, or “Mother-of-the-Nation” — the Grace Mugabe sort of thing.

She was born in Rhodesia and lived in Old Highfields in Harare where she attended school at Mbizi Primary. After her secondary education, she enrolled at the then Salisbury Central Hospital as a cadet nurse where she qualified and was briefly posted to Old Highfields Clinic. When her father, John Kadzamira, returned home to Malawi, as many other such families did, she joined Banda at his Limbe medical practice as a staff nurse.

The late Malawian president Bingu wa Mutharika was also married to a woman from Zimbabwe.

Malawi’s former Information minister Patricia Kaliati did not mince her words when challenged on the inappropriateness of a road in Malawi being named after President Robert Mugabe. She said if some countries had problems with Mugabe, that was their funeral. Malawi, she declared, had every right to choose its friends.

“Zimbabwe has been a friend of Malawi for a long time, and it is playing host to over five million Malawians,” she said. “If we quarrel with Mugabe, where will these Malawians go?”

Consequently, if what Kaliati said is true, it means one person out of every three Zimbabweans in this country is of Malawian origin. This might be a bit exaggerated, but it indicates that Zimbabweans with regional roots certainly number several millions.

Hence, what Muchinjo observed in his article about local football being dominated by descendants of regional immigrants is not surprising. Most famous footballers in Zimbabwe are progenies of immigrants. As Muchinjo said, your Joel Shambos, Shacky Tauros and Moses Chungas, among many others, are such sportsmen. They contributed a lot and made this country a good footballing nation, even if Zimbabwe has basically failed to make an impact in the region and Africa in football terms. It is way behind Zambia and South Africa in regional football terms.

However, it’s not only football where immigrants are prominent and excelled. They have also done well in music (nearly every serious sungura musician in Zimbabwe, for instance, Alick Macheso, Nicholas Zacharia or Sulumani Chimbetu, is of Malawian origin), business and politics. That is why even some chief rulers of this country are descendants of immigrants. It’s a shame most businessmen and politicians are not proud of their roots — at least in public — compared to musicians and ordinary people who celebrate their ancestries, backgrounds and cultures.

The history of labour immigrants in the region dates back to the 19th Century mainly following the development of the sugar plantations of Natal region in South Africa, the discovery of diamonds at Kimberley in 1870 and gold on the Witwatersrand in 1886, as well as the growth of agriculture in the country.

In this regional migration matrix, Zimbabwe received immigrants and also sent out some, while it was also a transit zone. During the colonial era, the labour shortfall in Zimbabwe and South Africa was mainly bridged by recruiting workers from Malawi, Zambia and Mozambique. Rhodesian mine and farm-owners preferred migrant labour compared to locals.

Regional migrant labour dominated the Rhodesian economy mainly after 1923, although between 1903 and 1933, a government agency, the Rhodesia Native Labour Bureau, recruited foreign labour and supplied an average of 13 000 workers to employers each year.

According to a research done by Alois Mlambo, by 1912, there were 10 000 Malawian workers in Zimbabwe, accounting for 35% of the country’s entire African mine labour force of 48 000.

The colonial state assisted employers to secure labour by concluding agreements with Mozambique, Zambia and Malawi.

These included the Tete Agreement of 1913 with Mozambique and the Tripartite Labour Agreement of 1937 with Malawi and Zambia. Malawian labour migration was boosted by the introduction of a free transport service for migrant workers in 1927.

This, combined with prior movements triggered by the Mfecane upheavals during Zulu King Shaka’s reign in the 19th Century and some other waves of migration decades and even centuries before that, made Zimbabwe what is it today.
Mfecane — which means times of trouble in Nguni languages — triggered migration northwards from South Africa across Lesotho, Swaziland, Botswana, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Malawi, all the way to Tanzania.

That is why Zimbabwe is a melting pot and a diverse country, and for that reason we must all be proud of our history and roots. There is no need for people to hide where they come and try to suppress others from expressing themselves and showing pride in their history, languages and cultures.

History tells us dictators of foreign origins usually want to divide people along race, ethnic and tribal lines — the divide-and-rule strategy — to perpetuate their reign. Sadly, people sometimes buy into such a cheap propaganda model and fall into the trap to become willing tools or instruments of identity and hate politics, while only helping the dictator and his or her cronies to remain in power.

But then dictators often target immigrants — they blame “outsiders” or foreign forces — when they fail and become unpopular. Zimbabwe’s recent history and experience shows this. People have been described as “totemless” and have had their homes bulldozed down through a scorched-earth policy in an act of crude political retribution.

Some Zimbabweans of with immigrant roots were in the past decade disenfranchised and denied the right to vote.

Farmer workers from around the region were displaced and thrown into the streets or bushes. Some had their IDs and passports seized or were denied renewals of travel documents. There are many examples of such ethnic discrimination and xenophobic tendencies in this country.

Yet some voters with that background continue supporting purveyors of this poisonous ethnic politics for self-interest even if they are also victims of the same.

Instead of demonising descendants of immigrants — ironically by some in power with similar backgrounds even if they want to hide that from the public — we must preach unity and build a multi-cultural democratic nation. Cultural diversity, pluralism and freedom are critical to building a progressive country. But Zimbabwe is still largely a federation of tribes in many respects despite decades and even centuries of integration, thanks to unscrupulous politicians and their gullible supporters. Ethnic balkanisation and institutionalised marginalisation of other groups is still very rife.

Descendants of immigrants are Zimbabweans like any other citizens here. They contributed a lot to this country and no one should be allowed to express a condescending or supremacist attitude towards them. Even the whole Zimbabwean nation-building project should be overhauled to discard the colonial-like mentality and primitive mindset that some people and their histories, cultures and languages are more important than others. There is no such thing in a reasonably democratic and civilised country, especially in a globalising world where national boundaries are shrinking and becoming increasingly less important in defining one’s identity, culture and socialisation, as well as situation in life.

Mabhena is Manala Holdings CEO. He usually contributes to different media platforms on political economy and nation-building issues.

Minister under fire for mining chaos

Source: Minister under fire for mining chaos – The Zimbabwe Independent May 20, 2016

MINES Minister Walter Chidhakwa has been blamed for the chaos in the diamond mining consolidation process after he rejected proposals to use global audit and advisory firms, leading to messy lawsuits. This has forced government back to the negotiating table with some of the companies that were forced to shut down.

Taurai Mangudhla

Government in February forcibly closed all diamond mining companies to form the Zimbabwe Consolidated Mining Company (ZCDC) in which the state acquired a 50% stake.

Industry sources say miners requested a business plan and consolidation model from Chidhakwa since the strategy was mooted in 2014, but the minister only furnished them with a letter of intent which barely answered investors’ questions.

Chidhakwa, according to a top official with one of the closed companies, refused to rope in globally-acclaimed audit and advisory firms such as Ernst & Young (EY) and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) which have a presence in Zimbabwe to draw a professional and water-tight model that would take into consideration all the parties’ interests and secure investment for the new company.

“He refused to consult and went ahead with a flawed plan and that’s why we have these lawsuits now,” the source said.

“As a minister, I am sure he was under pressure to deliver to (President Robert) Mugabe given that he was assuring the President everything was in order. Unfortunately, he will be remembered more for closing working diamond companies than anything else because this new thing is only going one way — southwards.”

Mbada Diamonds and Anjin Investments are challenging the legality of the consolidation process and the cancellation of their operating licenses by government in court.

Another source said the consolidation exercise is marred by lack of exploration data.

“Investors generally want to make money that’s why they sunk their millions in Marange. If there was a proper exploration, government would say we have a resource worth US$200 billion and one investor gets 10%, so the investor will support it because they get US$20 billion, but we were exploring as we mine. Government just said we own the resource so we are the major shareholder, take it or leave it.”

A source in the Ministry of Mines said government had been forced to relook its decision to boot out all miners from their operations, and was now open to negotiations, a proper valuation of their assets and payment plan.

The source said government was currently in negotiations with DTZ-OZGEO with a view to pay for the company’s assets over a period of time after using a similar model with Diamond Mining Corporation.

“They simply want to agree on a value and start paying. This is what happened behind-the-scenes with DMC,” said the source without giving specific details of the agreement that he said runs into tens of millions.

Chidhakwa in April announced DMC had resumed operations after signing a new deal with government and agreeing to give 50% shareholding to the state. The minister refused to share details of the new agreement.

A source close to the ZCDC told the Zimbabwe Independent the Mines Ministry is under pressure to deliver and is currently holding a series of board meetings to finalise a grand plan for the company and its operations, including fundraising.

He said government had assisted ZCDC to acquire equipment worth millions from Belarus.

“The ZCDC expects to receive equipment from Belarus very soon as part of the plan and secure funding to operationalise the company because a lot of things need to be done,” he said.
ZCDC has been operational since 1 March 2016.

Chidhakwa in February gave diamond miners a 90-day ultimatum to remove their equipment after ordering them to stop operations with immediate effect for rejecting his proposal to amalgamate the sector.

He said companies in Marange had been operating illegally after their special grants expired and had not been renewed for the past four to five years.

The new entity has been dogged by various problems that include corporate governance violations.

ZCDC acting CEO, Mark Mabhudu, was also acting CEO of Marange Resources. He was never given the job on a full time basis. As a result the company’s continues to run under a make-shift framework shrouded in uncertainty.

There are also corporate concerns at ZCDC.

Mines permanent secretary Francis Gudyanga not only supervises the ZCDC, but is also its acting chairman as well, which means that he literally supervises himself.

He is also acting chairman of the Mineral Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe and briefly held the same capacity at the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation, a gross violation of the principles of good corporate governance.

Mabhudu, who is a former student of Gudyanga, has allegedly stuffed the state entity with his cronies from Manicaland and as far afield as Australia and De Beers in South Africa.

There are also allegations of some executives receiving housing allowances despite staying in guest houses rented by the company such as sacked human resources director Desire Jam.

Jam stayed in a guest house rented by the company even if he got housing allowance. ZCDC paid US$1 400 a month in rentals for Jam on top of a housing allowance.

The company is also involved in controversial mining arrangements where some of the contractors are paid in diamonds.

Takawira Zhou (mineral and exploration manager), Stewart Musekiwa (finance director) and Jam were sacked last for failing polygraph tests, showing ZCDC is in turmoil.

Dodgy deals inflated $507m

Source: Dodgy deals inflated $507m – The Zimbabwe Independent May 20, 2016

ZIMBABWE’s controversial power generation projects have been inflated by more than US$500 million raising suspicion that Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa) managers and senior government officials could have corruptly benefitted through price escalations, the Zimbabwe Independent has learnt.

Elias Mambo/Herbert Moyo

Official sources say the price escalations and government’s inability or unwillingness to investigate the corrupt deals suggest ministers supervising the tenders and contracts, working with the State Procurement Board, are deeply involved in the attendant costly corruption.

Zesa is rocked by a massive tender scandals in which government has entrusted the country’s critical multi-billion-dollar energy projects to dodgy businessmen who have criminal records, ranging from fraud to drug trafficking.

Zimbabwe is planning to construct three solar plants, each generating 100 megawatts. The initial cost, as of 2014, was US$183 million for each of the projects bringing the total cost to US$549 million.

The solar tenders were won by China Jiangxi Corporation (CJC), ZTE Corporation and Intratrek Zimbabwe (Pvt) Ltd owned by Harare businessman Wicknell Chivayo.

Soon after winning the tenders, the companies demanded price escalations, resulting in the projects being pegged at US$240 million each, bringing the total costs to US$720 million. This meant a variation of US$171 million from the initial costs.

Government officials told the Independent this week the country initially planned to have one, 100MW project, which was won by CJC, but for unexplained reasons, Intratrek and ZTE, who had lost in the initial bids, were also awarded tenders.

Zimbabwe is also working on the Kariba South Power Expansion project and the Gairezi Hydro Project. Former Energy minister Elton Mangoma who negotiated the deals a few years back this week revealed the projects costs were also heavily inflated.

Mangoma said the inflation of costs was clearly done to cater for bribery and kickbacks for corrupt officials.

The Gairezi Project was awarded to a consortium led by Chivhayo’s Intratek. Mangoma said the Gairezi project cost had shot up to US$248 million, up from the initial US$90 million. This created a variance of US$158 million.

The Kariba South Power Extension project, which was officially commissioned by President Robert Mugabe in September 2014, was initially pegged at US$355 million, but shot up to US$533 million. The cost escalation was US$178 million.

The inflated costs in total amount to US$507 million.

Mangoma told Independent this week that the terms for the projects had also been altered, massively prejudicing Zesa.

“Kariba South was initially pegged at US$355 million of which Zimbabwe Power Company was supposed to fund between US$55 million to US$60 million and the balance was to be paid from a Chinese Exim bank loan,” Mangoma said. “The cost included a 10% contingency plan, so there is no way the cost could escalate to more than US$500 million within a three year period.

“I have no doubt that the escalation of the costs is meant to cater for the corrupt government officials because feasibility studies were done and there is absolutely no reason for the costs to soar.”

Mangoma added: “The Gairezi Hydro Power Station was initially pegged at US$90 million and now we hear the cost has risen to US$248 million. So basically it means the costs of the projects have ballooned to astronomical figures in the last three years”.

The costs for the solar projects were adjusted in 2014 when former Energy minister Dzikamai Mavhaire was at the helm of the ministry. The prices were escalated despite some experts in ZPC arguing it would make more economic sense to fund reputable alternatives, including the Hwange Thermal project which required US$400 million to produce an additional 300 megawatts.

The solar projects at current costs require US$720 million to generate 300MW, meaning ZPC could have saved US$320 million.

A Ministry of Energy official said: “Solar will require much more money to produce and there may well be a lot more unseen additional costs.

“Also important to note is the fact that the electricity will only be produced during daytime. There are fears that the scheme is simply being pushed through to create another feeding trough for politically-connected individuals to siphon more money from an already cash-strapped government.”

Former Finance minister Tendai Biti, who also took part in the negotiations for the projects, previously raised a red flag over the Kariba South project, citing the comparative costs of a similar project being done in Zambia.

“Zambia is expanding its power-generation capacity at Kariba Dam, which it shares with Zimbabwe, at a cost of US$278 million,” he said. Biti also said that although more work needed to be done on the Zimbabwean side of the dam than on the Zambian side, the cost should not have escalated that much.

“I went to China to negotiate … We want the project, but not corruption. There is no justification for the increased cost,” he said.

However, Energy minister Samuel Undenge said the costs were arrived at by the technical team which is responsible for assessing the projects.

“I have repeatedly said that ministers are given reports from those doing the technical issues in the ministry. We have engineers and financial directors who go through these things and submit to us. Our role is on policy implementation only,” he said.

 

Anjin diamonds mystery deepens

Source: Anjin diamonds mystery deepens – The Zimbabwe Independent May 20, 2016

THE mystery over the exportation of 3,37 million carats of diamonds by Anjin Investments in 2012 has deepened with the admission by Defence minister Sydney Sekeremayi that he signed for the shipping of the mineral, but only in his capacity as then acting Mines minister.

By Kudzai Kuwaza

Anjin, in which the military has interests, shipped out the diamonds to China’s financial hub Shanghai after the seizure of local mining companies’ diamonds worth millions — including blocking Anjin’s US$20 million deal in 2012 — by the United States’ Office of Foreign Assets Control, which enforces economic, trade and financial restrictions.

Sekeramayi’s confirmation is in line with a Zimbabwe Independent story last week which revealed that the diamonds had been exported to China under murky circumstances following his approval.

Anjin, which has unleashed its lawyers on the Independent, this week held a press conference trying to deny the story while inadvertently validating it. The company said the exportation was above board as it was sanctioned by Sekeramayi.

Sekeremayi said that he signed for the export of the diamonds in his capacity as acting minister at the material period as is government routine.

“You must ask the Ministry of Mines. I signed it as acting minister, which is routine in government,” Sekeramayi said.

Informed sources have, however, revealed that although Sekeramayi signed for the export of the diamonds by Anjin, the decision to do so was not his.

“The decision to give permission to Anjin was not his but a Ministry of Mines decision,” the source said.

“There were no meetings as a decision had already been made by the ministry which was under Obert Mpofu. As acting minister it is routine to get documents which just need a ministerial signature. When he got the documents they had already been signed by the permanent secretary and the Mineral Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe.

“Sekeremayi just signed on behalf of Mpofu.”

The only difference between the Anjin statement and the Independent’s story on diamonds is that the paper reported that 3,7 million carats were sent to China under shady circumstances to bust United States sanctions, whereas the company says it shipped 3,37 million carats after getting permission from government.

Anjin also says the diamonds were worth US$112 million, while the Independent reported they were valued at US$200 million. The Independent used Kimberly Process’ current rates — Zimbabwe’s diamonds are currently being sold at an average rate of US$51,72 per carat — to value the diamonds at US$190 920 000.

“The carats involved were not 3,7 million as reported, but 3,37 million and US$112 million was realised from the sale, well below the sensationalised figure of US$200 million,” Anjin said.

“We also draw your attention to the fact that sold diamonds end up in various markets and destinations across the globe. As Anjin we have no control over what the buyers decide to do with the purchased diamonds and we therefore got nothing to do with the placement of diamonds on the Shangai financial services hub by the customer whether real or fictional. What is important is that it was an ordinary export that met all requirements, including the remittances to government of all taxes and fees from the sale proceeds.

“The tendering process and valuation of diamonds had the full involvement of the ministry of Mines and Mining Development though the Mineral Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe as per the norm and practice in the industry.”

Mpofu refused to comment when contacted last week. He referred questions to current Mines minister Walter Chidhakwa.

“It doesn’t work that way Cde, there is Chidhakwa now,” Mpofu said. Chidhakwa could not be reached for comment.

According to the KP Compliance Verification Report on Anjin conducted in November 2011, Anjin’s shareholders are Anhui and Matt Bronze registered on December 24 2009. KP failed to nail down who Matt Bronze is.

However, investigations by the Independent have shown that Matt Bronze it is a front company for the military.
Records at the Registrar of Companies show it was incorporated on April 24 2008 and is housed on the 9th floor, Travel Centre Corner, 3rd and Jason Moyo Avenue, Harare.

Zimbabwe has lost billions in diamond revenues due to corruption, looting and smuggling.

President Robert Mugabe claims US$15 billion was lost through leakages, although experts question the veracity of his figures.

Harare North Evictions

Approximately 300 families have been evicted off land they were squatting on in Harare North. The site popularly known as “Masawe” is about 500 m from the toll gate on the Enterprise road and about 500 m east of the main road. Families have been there for up to 25 years in some cases. The land belongs to FBC (banking, insurance and building society). This is undisputed.

Source: Harare North Evictions – The Zimbabwean 20/5/2016

In 2012, names of residents were requested on the pretext of issuing stands to the squatters. 220 registered through the local ZANU PF structures. Subsequently these names appeared as the defendants in case before the Courts in 2015. The affected residents did not appear at the hearing and were not represented in any way as they are largely poor and live below the poverty line.

In Case number 12422/12 the Courts ruled in favour of the Bank, on 12th Oct 2015. An order to evict the residents  (notice of removal) was served on the residents on the 7th of May 2016, with the date of execution being the 12th May. SIX days notice of eviction.

The people were removed off the property by vehicles, (under threat if they did not move, police and bulldozers would be used!) all along encouraged by the local Member of Parliament Hon. T Mudambo (Zanu PF) even though they were originally responsible for “allocating stands illegally to the people in the area.

While not disputing the right to private ownership, MDC calls on the Directors of FBC to give consideration of extending the date of execution to August 2016 in order to give the affected population time to:

1.Allow Residents to plan to move to an alternative site.
2.They could set up some form of temporary housing at the new site.
3.To avoid families being evicted in the middle of winter.
4.To avoid disruption of the school children involved and learning in a simple brick and mortar school with a borehole provided by a donor.
5.  Giving them time to reap their crops.

The affected families are being dumped in Hatcliffe near the sewerage works. Hatcliffe is already oversubscribed with people trying to get stands, and is the playground of many politically linked land barons who are exploiting the plight of the homeless poor. MDC is deeply concerned about the health threats posed by the proximity of the site to the sewerage works.

E G Cross
Secretary for Local Government

Overpopulated conservancy seeks to ship out excess lions

Source: Overpopulated conservancy seeks to ship out excess lions – The Zimbabwe Independent May 20, 2016

BUBYE Valley Conservancy, which has the highest lion density in Zimbabwe with 14 lions per 100-square kilometre, is planning to translocate some lions to Malawi, Rwanda and Zambia following its failure to contain over 500 lions.

By Wongai Zhangazha

Bubye Valley Conservancy, a protected area in Beitbridge with a wide variety of wildlife species, measuring about 3 230 square kilometres, has about 525 lions. The large number of lions has strained the wildlife reserve’s biodiversity.

In February the conservancy released a statement announcing it was giving away 200 lions to places that would be of a suitable habitat for the big cats. The conservancy also said it was considering areas where the lions would not be caught up in human conflict or in wildlife areas where they would not be attacked by existing prides.

The conservancy also requested for donations to raise money for translocations.

In an interview this week, Bubye Valley Conservancy general manager Blondie Leathem said the private conservancy was considering various ideas to conserve the lions, but ruled out culling.

“We have a high population of lions, but we have not reached a stage of culling them yet, though the lions have reached a level of saturation which results in other species being killed and the lions also killing each other,” he said.

“We sent a statement saying we are open to offers and we are donating the lions, but the response has not been that big. There are three places that we have identified, African parks that have been recently revamped. We have had offers from Rwanda, Malawi and Zambia. The numbers that these parks can take are very small. They can take eight to 10 lions in each area. This still leaves the conservancy with a big number of lions. However the parks said they are not ready to take the lions this year, but next year.”

Leathem said the conservancy was widely criticised by animal rights activists for failing to contain the lion population.

“Our plea was highly sensationalised; the message that went out there was we were going to cull the lions. Lion Aid (a charity organisation that focuses on protecting lions) accused us of being irresponsible by letting the number of the lions increase; instead we should have practiced contraception,” he said. “However, this is a difficult process that can be done on a small number of animals in small reserves and it’s also very costly. Unfortunately, when we sent them our offer of donating the lions and finding suitable areas where they can be located, they turned it down.”

Leathem said they would not take offers from China.

“We don’t do lion trade with China. An African lion has to remain in Africa; it is the lion’s natural habitat.”

According to statistics obtained from the director of environment and natural resources in the Ministry of Environment Water and Climate Irvin Kunene in February, the lion population in the country is on the increase.

“For example, Gonarezhou National Park had an estimate of 24 lions in 2009, but by 2013 the population had grown by 150% to about 60. Other areas in protected zones with similar management regimes are also reflecting similar trends in population estimates,” Kunene said.

Hwange National Park, with an area of 14 900-square kilometres, has 559 lions, while Save Conservancy is estimated to have 175 lions. Gonarezhou National Park has an estimated 75 lions, while Matsetsi Units 1-5 has 59 lions, with Mana pools having 58.

Matetsi Units 6-7 and Zambezi National Park has 47 lions, Malilangwe measuring 400 square kilometres (37), Chewore North (32), Hurungwe (Nyakasanga and Rifa) (32), Matusadonha National Park (31), Gwaai Conservancy (22), Dande (21), Chizarira National Park (16), Tsholotsho buffer adjacent Hwange National Park (7), Ngamo and Sikumi forest (6), Omay (5) and Hwange Communal land (2).

Meanwhile, at least 31 rhinos in Bubye Valley Conservancy alone were killed by poachers suspected to have links with a well organised criminal syndicate that smuggles vehicles and cigarettes.

Leathem said the poaching occuring despite the conservancy having a 2,1 metre electrified perimeter fence.

Should military be involved in business?

Source: Should military be involved in business? – The Zimbabwe Independent May 20, 2016

ZIMBABWEANS are unlikely to be rubbing their hands in anticipation of tangible benefits accruing to Treasury after last week’s announcement by Mines Minister Walter Chidhakwa that the military will be partnering a South African mining company in a chrome smelting project in Kwekwe.

Herbert Moyo

According to Chidhakwa, the Ministry of Defence entered into a joint venture with Africa Chrome Fields (ACF), a subsidiary of South African mining company Fanshawe Mining Holdings for an exothermic chrome smelting project.

“I am happy with the joint venture between ACF and Ministry of Defence,” Chidhakwa said during the tour of 10 chrome smelting plants which was also attended by Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa and Defence Minister Sydney Sekeramayi.

“Sekeramayi is here representing the establishment. I know you are used to protecting the country, but now you will be protecting the resources,” he said.

Mnangagwa said the plant would produce ultra-low carbon ferrochrome in 45 seconds. He said the plant would produce 20 000 tonnes of ultra-low carbon ferrochrome a month. Other touted benefits would be the fact the new technology which does not require electricity will be used while 3 000 jobs will be created. This sounds well and good, but then again it is not the first time Zimbabweans have been promised heaven on earth after the military ventured into mining and other business ventures.

Just last week, the Zimbabwe Independent reported that Chinese diamond mining company Anjin Investments, in which the military has an interest, exported under shady circumstances more than three million carats of diamonds from Chiadzwa to China’s financial hub, Shanghai.

The reports vindicated former Finance minister Tendai Biti who spent the better part of his tenure from 2009-2013 bemoaning the veil of secrecy in Anjin’s operations and its failure to make meaningful remittances to Treasury.

Given this background, this latest military foray into mining and related business ventures poses more questions than answers as was the case with other army projects like the platinum mining project in Darwendale, Mashonaland West and the methane gas exploitation project in Lupane, Matabeleland North.

The sad reality is that it is unlikely that the latest venture will be any different. As analysts point out, such business ventures should be left to the relevant ministries and institutions for the country to stand any chances of realising any benefits.

Lawyer David Coltart said while it was not necessarily illegal, the military’s involvement in such business activities posed serious ethical issues.

“It poses serious problems. How would you deal with the military in the event that they are in breach of contract? They should stick to their core business as is the case with the military in most democracies,” Coltart said.
According to Rhodes University Senior Political and International Studies lecturer, Gwinyayi Dzinesa, military involvement in business (also known as “Milbus”), picked up in earnest in the 1990s after the end of the Cold War as a “means to appease the military and coup-proof liberalising governments such as those of Russia, China, Brazil, Pakistan and Egypt.”

“Saddled with substantial cuts in public expenditure, including military spending, allowing the military to create business enterprises compensated for their financial losses and helped avoid officers’ mutinies.”

Dzinesa said that Zimbabwe’s inclination towards expanding the phenomenon of military business may be designed to protect regime security and ensure political hegemony. “The politico-military-business complex can create a kingmaker caste that will spare no effort to secure the patron regime’s security,” he said.

Dzinesa, who is a former security analyst at the Institute of Security Studies, could well be right given the background of the close links between the Zanu PF government and the military that has propped up President Robert Mugabe from the challenge posed by MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai since 2000. The military was heavily implicated in political intimidation and violence that ensured Mugabe returned to power in the violent June 2008 presidential election run-off which was boycotted by Tsvangirai who had won the first round in March.

Since 2002 when the late Defence Forces commander General Vitalis Zvinavashe, who was involved in the business of supplying the army during the Congo war — a conflict of interest — made the infamous speech about the presidency being a straitjacket reserved for those who participated in the liberation struggle, the military has been vociferous in its partisan support Mugabe and Zanu PF. The army’s unfettered access to mineral resources and other business ventures could therefore be seen in the context of rewards and patronage to keep them on the side of the political establishment. However, as Dzinesa noted, the government could “inadvertently create a frankestein monster in the form of commercially viable and independent military that could ultimately challenge it.”

Dzinesa said that Chidhakwa’s remarks that the entry of the military into the smelting sector was necessary to protect the country’s resources should be seen in the context of government walking the talk about “indigenisation of the economy as well as “value addition and beneficiation.”

“The military will serve to provide reassurance about what are perceived to be national interests that is, the protection and beneficiation of the country’s mineral resources,” said Dzinesa adding that, “Milbus could therefore not only provide essential services, but also generate employment and revenue and contribute to national development.”

However, as shown by the Anjin case, there is little evidence to support this theory as ordinary Zimbabweans have benefitted little from the military exploitation of the country’s diamonds.

“The downside (of the military involvement) is the dark areas of illegitimacy and secrecy in the world of ‘Milbus’, and Zimbabwe is no exception. In most countries, unlike corporate entities, military owned business enterprises are not subjected to public or any other scrutiny, including by the parliament or civilian government auditing agencies, or civilian courts,” Dzinesa said.

Another analyst Farai Maguwu, the director of the Centre for Natural Resource Governance, said the country is unlikely to realise any meaningful benefits from this latest venture.

“It will be another harvest of thorns just as we saw in Chiadzwa. There will be no-one to hold the military to account and this venture will operate outside the confines of the law,” Maguwu said on Tuesday.

He said the army should focus on projects related to its core business such as manufacturing weapons rather than encroaching into mining which should be left to the relevant ministries, institutions and companies.

Zim hunger to peak July, UN agency warns

Source: Zim hunger to peak July, UN agency warns – NewZimbabwe 19/05/2016
THE United Nations World Food Program (WFP) said Wednesday food insecurity in drought-hit Zimbabwe is expected to spike from July as available stocks deplete.

The food insecurity has been worsened by the fact that this is Zimbabwe’s second consecutive year of below average maize supplies.

The country was hit by a devastating El-Nino induced drought this year which has left 4 million people, or 30 percent of the rural population, in need of food aid.

In response to the drought, the government in February launched a US$1.5 billion food aid appeal while humanitarian aid agencies need US$360 million to mitigate the impact of the drought between April and March 2017.

WFP country representative Eddie Rowe said they faced 199 million dollars funding gap for their humanitarian response program for the period April to March 2017.

The UN agency also projected severely reduced maize output for the current season, possibly not covering more than three months; a situation it said would exacerbate food insecurity.

“WFP anticipates that 2015-16 maize production won’t cover more than three months of domestic consumption requirements,” Rowe said.

Zimbabwe requires 1.8 million tonnes of the staple maize for consumption annually.

The WFP said cattle deaths, so far estimated at 25,000 between October 2015 and March 2016, were expected to continue due to the drought.

On its part, the WFP provided food assistance to 448,000 people affected by hunger in April and plans to assist 420,000 others in 13 priority districts between May and June, Rowe said.

An additional 43.5 million dollars was urgently required for the period May to October 2016 to achieve a planned scale up to 706,000 people by July-September and 1 million by October, Rowe said.

Rowe, meanwhile, said Zimbabwe needed to redouble efforts and make its priorities right if it is to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal of achieving zero hunger by 2030.

Having missed the Millennium Development Goal to halve extreme poverty and hunger, the country needed to exert concerted efforts to achieve zero hunger by 2030 especially by paying particular attention to addressing malnutrition and capacitating small holder farmers to withstand climate change, he said.

Zimbabwe, Rowe said, was better placed to achieve zero hunger by 2030 considering that about 80 percent of the population earned a living through agriculture.
“This means by focusing on that particular sector, you have already covered 80 percent of the needs so you are close to zero hunger,” Rowe said.

Graft: Ex-convicts, drugs dealers live it up while economy bleeds

THAT the usually diplomatic International Monetary Fund (IMF) has raised a red flag and bluntly told Zimbabwe to take a serious stand on corruption, including urgent economic reforms, shows how rampant graft has become in the country which is locked in a serious economic quagmire.

By Elias Mambo

Source: Graft: Ex-convicts, drugs dealers live it up while economy bleeds – The Zimbabwe Independent May 20, 2016

Corruption has become so endemic that everyday the media is awash with news of how state-owned enterprises have become conduits through which large amounts of funds are siphoned out for personal gain. And as this happens, the executive has not done anything to bring perpetrators to book.

Of late the country has been rocked by scandals at the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority where tenders worth close to US$600 million were awarded to companies owned by ex-convicts and drug traffickers. NetOne, the government-owned mobile service provider, has also lost millions through graft.

A fortnight ago, the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority board sent its commissioner-general Gershem Pasi and five executive managers on forced leave as investigations into an alleged vehicle importation scandal commenced.

Hardly a day passes by without Air Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe National Roads Authority, the Grain Marketing Board, Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe, Central Mechanical Equipment Department and other parastatals being brought into the spotlight over issues related to graft.

As the scourge persists, Zimbabweans are longing for the day President Robert Mugabe will fire or order the arrest of corrupt officials to show government’s willingness and ability to stop the cancer destroying Zimbabwe’s economy.

The IMF remarks came at a time Core Mining and Mineral Resources founder, Lovemore Kurotwi, who recently launched a book, emphasised how corruption has hindered the country’s economic growth, complained over government inaction.

In 2012 Kurotwi was dragged to court after being accused of misrepresenting to government that the creation of a joint venture between Marange and Core Mining would result in an investment of US$2 billion.

During trial, Kurotwi said he told Mugabe that former Mines minister Obert Mpofu allegedly demanded a US$10 million kickback from him.
In his book, The Rise and Fall of Chiadzwa: My Personal Experience, Kurotwi states that close to US$150 million worth of diamonds and US$10 million in cash were seized by Mpofu and never recovered.

He was, however, arrested on spurious charges while Mpofu went scot-free.

Despite publicly promising to act against corruption, Mugabe and top government officials have time and again demonstrated they are unwilling or unable to act against corrupt individuals as failure to act on Kurotwi’s allegations suggests.

In March 2014, a fuming Mugabe disclosed that a cabinet minister and a female Member of Parliament had demanded a US$120 000 bribe from a prospective investor. He warned that the arrest of senior officials over graft allegations was imminent.

No arrests were made.

In September 2013, Mugabe sensationally accused former Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation chairman Goodwills Masimirembwa of demanding and receiving a US$6 million bribe from a Ghanaian businessman who had invested in the Chiadzwa diamond fields. It was the first time Mugabe mentioned a public official by name.

While the nation was expecting a swift move by Mugabe to curb corruption, the president made an about-turn and instead exonerated Masimirembwa.

In 2012, at the Zanu PF conference in Gweru, a seemingly embarrassed but angry Mugabe disclosed that former South African president Thabo Mbeki had informed him of how some Zimbabwean cabinet ministers were frustrating a US$1 billion investment by South African businesspeople by demanding a US$10 million bribe.

No action was taken despite the public outburst. The graft has extended its tentacles to non-governmental organisations, political parties, the private sector as well as judiciary.

University of Zimbabwe political science lecturer Eldred Masunungure said Mugabe had no will to fight corruption and was merely making pronouncements to pacify the restive public.

“He is fully aware that the issue of corruption has caught the imagination of the nation and he has to appear to share the public concern. The emphasis is on appearance, the concern is symbolic, but it lacks substance because he has no desire and political will to follow through,” he said.

The setting up of Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zaac) by government in 2005 initially appeared to be a bold step towards clamping down on the vice. Zacc has the mandate to investigate corruption cases.

However, despite being in existence for a decade, the organisation has proved to be a toothless bulldog in so far as fighting corruption is concerned as it is underfunded and understaffed.

Perhaps the obvious proof that government is not committed to fighting corruption was when senior Zacc officials were persecuted for attempting to investigate Mpofu, then Indigenisation minister Saviour Kasukuwere and former Transport minister Nicholas Goche in 2013. It did not help either that Zacc officials were also not clean themselves, making it easy for government officials to persecute them.

Transparency International Zimbabwe chairperson Loughty Dube said the executive has let down the nation by failing to tackle corruption.

“Show me one top official who has been arrested for that then we will say the executive is now ready to combat corruption,” he said.

Zim risks falling into the Venezuelan trap

Source: Zim risks falling into the Venezuelan trap – The Zimbabwe Independent May 20, 2016

As the dust settles and the queues fade (albeit temporarily) outside banks in Zimbabwe, we take a closer look at the current economic crisis gripping Venezuela. The crisis in Venezuela provides a stark reminder of the consequences of economic mismanagement and the lessons that should be learnt.

The Ritesh Anand Column

As highlighted last week, Zimbabwe is suffering from a crisis of confidence. The proposed introduction of bond notes along with other monetary measures has only served to heighten fears and increase speculation in the country.

Little, if anything, is being done to restore confidence or reassure the general public. You cannot fly a plane with one engine, neither can you run an economy with a monetary policy alone. The issue is not dollarisation; in fact, given the sharp depreciation in regional currencies, a strong and stable United States dollar could have been beneficial for Zimbabwe had we created a favourable environment for investors. Instead we continued to be hostile towards investors and did little to protect domestic industries from collapse.

As the US dollar became stronger, we became less competitive in the region leading to the collapse of many industries. A strong US dollar combined with exorbitant borrowing costs meant that companies had to be super-competitive to survive. Zimbabwe lost a number of key industries during the hyperinflation era. Those that survived required fresh capital to restart operations. In many cases, companies raised expensive debt to recapitalise their businesses, which was fine when the economy was growing.

However, following the fall in commodity prices in 2013, growth stalled and the tide turned on companies that were highly leveraged. Companies could no longer support debt repayments and started to default on their loans. Non-performing loans (NPLs) grew from less than 4% in 2011 to over 20% in 2014 as more and more companies failed to service their debts. NPLs have since declined partly as a result of the establishment of the Zimbabwe Asset Management Company (Zamco), but remain stubbornly high and will likely increase in the current environment.

The current economic crisis in Venezuela is a stark reminder of what could happen in Zimbabwe if we do not act decisively to address the current economic crisis.

This week, the President of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, declared “a constitutional state of emergency … to tend to our country and more importantly to prepare to denounce, neutralise and overcome the external and foreign aggressions against our country”.

The Venezuelan economy shrunk by 5,7% last year and it is being projected to contract by another 8% in 2016. Meanwhile, inflation is raging wildly out of control. According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the official inflation rate in Venezuela will be somewhere around 720% this year and 2 200% next year.

Food staples and essential medicines are increasingly scarce. The costs of basic goods and services has skyrocketed. Polar, a private conglomerate that makes around 80% of Venezuela’s beer (as well as much of its food), stopped brewing in April after the government turned down its request for foreign currency it requires to import malted barley. Incomes, for those lucky enough to still have one, are stagnant. Further, crime rates have reached troubling levels. Venezuela now boasts the world’s second-highest per capita homicide rate after Honduras.

Electricity is also in short supply, and a two-day work-week has been imposed on many government employees in a desperate attempt to save power. Even schools have been forced to close on Friday in a desperate effort to save electricity.

According to Professor Steve Hanke, the Venezulan bolivar is expected to fall from midweek’s black market (read: free market) rate of 1 110 to 6 699 by year-end. So, the IMF is forecasting that the bolivar will shed 83% of its current value against the greenback by New Year’s Day 2017.

The current crisis in Venezuela is a stark reminder of costs of economic mismanagement. Zimbabwe has already experienced this once and can ill afford to go through another economic crisis so soon after the collapse of the economy in 2008. The proposed introduction of bond notes as an export incentive has unnerved the market.

The country is likely to experience fuel and food shortages in the coming months as fuel importers limit supplies due to restricted supply of the US dollar. This is likely to lead to hoarding and people stocking up in anticipation of the shortages. It won’t be long before we go back to 2008 when the shelves were empty and people spent much of their time in queues.

Doing nothing is not an option. Zimbabwe needs to urgently raise external capital through loans or foreign direct investment (FDI). Given the outstanding debt, it is unlikely that we can borrow more until we settle our outstanding arrears. This leaves only one option and that is to attract FDI.

Attracting FDI in the current environment is challenging, but not impossible. We need to create a conducive environment for investors, it’s as simple as that. We need to eliminate corruption and overcome the deep mistrust that has become so prevalent in Zimbabwe.

The government should also consider consulting with key stakeholders to accelerate the process of re-engagement to stop the economy from collapsing. Financial support will come with the necessary reforms. Tinkering with the monetary policy without addressing the underlying issues facing the country is like using a bucket to put out a forest fire. Zimbabwe needs to develop a holistic and comprehensive set of economic reforms to turn this economy around. These issues need to be urgently addressed or we risk falling into the “Venezuelan trap”.

Zim business environment ‘excruciating’

ZIMBABWE’S largest milk processor Dairibord Holdings Limited has bemoaned the country’s unbearable macro-economic challenges, including tight liquidity, weakening regional currencies and persistent deflation for reducing company margins. ‘

Source: Zim business environment ‘excruciating’ – The Zimbabwe Independent May 20, 2016

By Taurai Mangudhla

Zimbabwe’s business environment is “more excruciating” than what Dairibord had anticipated towards the end of 2015, causing stress in the business, CE Anthony Mandiwanza told the company’s annual general meeting on Wednesday.

“The business environment is more excruciating than what had anticipated even as we did our budget in November-December last year. I don’t know if many of us here would have thought we would be talking about bond notes reminding us about the times of the Zim kwacha (Zimbabwean dollar) and yet it has such a profound impact on the business; so really I am repeating the business environment is excruciating and companies are in trouble,” said Mandiwanza.

“In terms of our outlook, we repeat there are heavy headwinds ahead. In fact we are in a storm. We are already in a storm and we don’t see the situation relenting indeed up to end of June.

“We believe in the short term that is until the end of June the current trend will subsist, into the second half as we begin to benefit from the investment s which we have undertaken.

“On the liquidity situation, delays by government and local authorities in terms of settlements affects us directly.

“Government missed its revenue collection target for the first quarter of 2016 by 6% while deepening deflationary pressures and reduction in prices is something that is almost a new normal. Deflation for April year-on-year stood at -1,644 % while food and non-alcoholic at -4,06% and this directly impacts on Dairibord business.”

In a trading update for the period between January and April 2016, Mandiwanza said raw milk intake for the group went up by 17% with Dairbord Zimbabwe and Dairibord Malawi recording 19% and 7% growth in raw milk intake respectively.

The Dairibord CE said the national milk intake has also gone up by about 18% in the period under review.

“The sales in terms of volumes went up 6% for the group in line with our projections. The revenue was slightly behind at 6 % lower than same period last year, mainly because of the negative impact of average selling prices which are lower than the same period last year,” Mandiwanza said.

“Operating profit was flat at the same level as last year maintaining about 1% margin, but of cause the top line is causing a squeeze on profitability.”

Dairiboard said key drivers for volume growth were liquid milk and beverages.

“We noticed a shift towards basic consumer products as consumers stretch the dollar. Consequently, the average consumer price per litre went down as you see the volume is up but the revenue is down 6%.

“Volume were up 6%, but the selling price went down by 11% at US$1,11 compared to US$1,24 in the same period last year. Procurement costs went down 11%, while overhead costs per litre fell by 9% in the reporting period,” he said.

Going forward, Mandiwanza said, the group is focused on driving volumes and revenues while at the same time reducing costs at a faster rate than the price adjustments in order to “keep the jaws open.”

The group plans to commission a new maheu (traditional drink) plant in the second half of the year with a view to double production and increase on flavour varieties of the product. The group has recently commissioned a new peanut butter plant to increase capacity at Lyons.

“We are internalising production of cartonised Chimombe milk from South Africa, which will contribute towards volume increase. We were undersupplying the market and the plant will be commissioned in the second half,” he said.

Employers to meet over Labour Act changes

EMPLOYERS will next Thursday meet in Harare to discuss and make further proposals to the agreed Labour Act amendments, businessdigest has learnt.

Source: Employers to meet over Labour Act changes – The Zimbabwe Independent May 20, 2016

By Kudzai Kuwaza

Government, business and labour, under the auspices of the Labour Law Advisory Council, last month agreed on the removal of contentious clauses in the Labour Act, but remain deadlocked on the clause that obliges employers to compensate workers they dismissed after last year’s Supreme Court ruling.

The meetings were chaired by the legal adviser to the Ministry of Labour, Precious Sibiya. The three parties agreed to remove certain clauses, including one which gives labour officers the powers to be both conciliator and arbitrator.

“Employers will meet on May 26 to discuss what their representatives in the technical committee committed them to,” a source familiar with the developments told businessdigest this week.

“The employers will then make recommendations and decide if what we committed them to should be cast in stone or rejected.”

The principals of the Tripartite Negotiating Forum (TNF) who include Labour minister Prisca Mupfumira, Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions president George Nkiwane and Employers’ Confederation of Zimbabwe (Emcoz) president Josephat Kahwema will then meet to decide whether to adopt what was agreed by the TNF technical committee or send it back for further review, sources revealed.

The TNF is a social dialogue platform that brings together government, business and labour to negotiate key socio-economic matters. It has been in existence since 1998 as a voluntary and unlegislated chamber in which socio-economic matters are discussed and negotiated over by the partners. Despite the agreements, there is still no consensus on the retrospective clause that obliges employers to compensate workers dismissed using last July’s Supreme Court ruling. Employers have taken government to court over the clause. In its application filed at the High Court in September last year, employers argued there were many areas in the Labour Amendment Act that needed revision by the courts, taking into account the country’s Constitution.

“This is an application for a declaration of the constitutional invalidity of certain provisions of the Labour Amendment Act No 5 of 2015,” Emcoz executive director John Mufukare said in his founding affidavit.

Meanwhile, the cash shortages that have hit the country resulting in long winding queues outside several banks are seriously affecting productivity at the workplace.

“The cash shortage is having a terrible impact on production time,” one employer said. “You cannot expect an employee who is struggling to get cash to pay school fees to concentrate on their work.”

Zimbabwe: Is Zimbabwe Broke or Broken?

ZIMBABWE’S economic crisis is worsening, and government is beginning to feel the pinch as much as the governed.

Source: Zimbabwe: Is Zimbabwe Broke or Broken? – allAfrica  19 May 2016

The State, now the bellwether of the country’s economic health, has been scrounging for monthly salaries to pay civil servants.

Is the country, once a breadbasket in southern African, broke or broken?

Economists and analysts are divided, but many agree the situation is cause for grave concern.

While others agree that Zimbabwe is now broke, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor, John Mangudya, insists it is not broke, but has been damaged by errant entrepreneurs and rouge dealers.

Mangudya said Zimbabwe had been ruined by charlatans mercilessly milking its economy.

“What I believe is that Zimbabwe is not broke but damaged by people who abuse (its) resources,” said Mangudya.

“People are taking the money out of the country. It’s leaking outside the country. The money is going out either through wire transfer or cash. I am concerned with the misuse of foreign exchange. We need to promote the use of plastic money,” he argued.

Industrialist, Busisa Moyo, disagrees.

“Zimbabwe is a broken economy that requires mending, healing and a new soul,” said Moyo, the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) president.

Moyo, the chief executive of United Refineries, a fast moving consumer goods manufacturer, said there was apprehension over current measures since the hyperinflationary period that ended with adoption of a multiple currency system in 2009 had “left a trail of destruction and in its wake — collapsed industries and institutions that could not operate in that environment”.

He was referring to the planned introduction of bond notes by the RBZ, which many view as the return of the Zimbabwe dollar through the backdoor.

Reflecting on the hyperinflationary period, Moyo said there was a “loss of skills, corporate governance and ethical behaviour that had been embedded in our way of life from the family to the corporate board room. (There was) nauseating levels of corruption and rent seeking behaviours that still continue the agenda of economic turnaround.”

Economist, Godfrey Kanyenze, said it was difficult to categorise the country as broke.

“(But) it is in paralysis, in stasis, logjam as a result of a predatory state,” he said.

“The presidential system where power is centralised in the Presidency promotes clientelism, cronyism and creates a dependency syndrome, and hence the dominant culture of consumption,” said Kanyenze.

John Robertson, an economic consultant, disagreed, saying Zimbabwe was “certainly broke”.

“The economy is certainly battered and bent, but all the damage can be fixed. Unfortunately, the nature of the damage can be largely described as the result of government interference,” said Robertson.

Robertson said government had for years imposed many regulations and controls designed to place its officials in positions of authority that allowed them to demand submissive obedience from the business sector.

“This has turned the country into a hostile environment for new businesses and a very discouraging place that has stopped most existing businesses from growing,” said Robertson.

No cash payment at roadblocks

Source: No cash payment at roadblocks | The Herald May 20, 2016

Lloyd Gumbo Senior Reporter
Traffic police officers will soon stop collecting fines in cash at roadblocks to curb corruption, Home Affairs Minister Ignatius Chombo has said.

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

Minister Chombo revealed that about 320 police officers were fired last year for various offences bordering on abuse of office through corrupt activities.

He said this in the Senate yesterday during a Questions without Notice Session as he also revealed plans to install satellite at all roadblocks to curb corruption.

Minister Chombo was responding to MDC-T Senator for Matabeleland South, Mrs Sithembile Mlotshwa, who sought to know the purpose of roadblocks and what Government was doing about corruption allegations against traffic police officers.

He said traffic cops played a major role in policing to ensure only roadworthy and registered vehicles brought into the country legally were on the roads.

Minister Chombo said there had been an upsurge in the importation of stolen vehicles from countries such as Mozambique, Zambia and South Africa while others were legitimately bought but smuggled into the country without paying duty.

He said police roadblocks were also meant to guard against speeding.

“Out of all the 50 000 police officers that we have, some of them may not be forthright as you and I may want,” said Minister Chombo.

“Last year, we dismissed 320 police officers for stealing and abusing their offices at roadblocks and other offices. So the police is keen to clean up those police officers who are contravening the laws that they are supposed to uphold.”

Minister Chombo said the issue of spot fines at roadblocks was of concern to Government and mechanisms were in place to stop the rot.

He said people were concerned that some of the money collected at roadblocks was not sent to Treasury as provided for in the law.

“I want to inform this august House that there is a paper circulating in Government whereby roadblocks will be manned by satellite so that from an office in Harare you can see what is happening at a roadblock in Tsholotsho and you can pay using methods such plastic money or mobile transfers.

“There will not be any cash that will be exchanged. Therefore we will be reducing the temptation for police officers to be corrupt. So I am really on your side. The issues you raise are legitimate. Just give us a couple of weeks, it will be a thing of the past,” said Minister Chombo.

Zanu-PF Senator for Manicaland Cde Shadreck Chipanga said there was a recent court judgment that spot fines were illegal.

To that end, he asked Minister Chombo to confirm whether it was now Government policy to defy court judgments by allowing police officers to demand spot fines.

Minister Chombo said he was not aware of the judgment adding that he would check.

He said in the event that there was such a judgment, the police should comply since they were expected to protect the law.

High Court Judge, Justice Francis Bere, last year said the collection of spot fines from motorists by the police and impounding of their vehicles if they failed to pay up was illegal and must be stopped forthwith.

He made the remarks while officially opening the 2015 Masvingo High Court legal year.

Justice Bere said there was neither a legal framework nor law which compelled a motorist to pay a spot fine or empowered police to impound someone’s vehicle.

He said Section 356 of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act (Chapter 9:07), which is often cited on the matter, did not give police officers powers to force a motorist to pay a spot fine.

Justice Bere said spot fines and their retention by the police needed to be clarified as the matter had caused a lot of confusion.

However, the police dismissed Justice Bere’ statement saying it was of no legal force since it was not a court ruling but his opinion.

Kereke gets support from wife

Source: Kereke gets support from wife | The Herald May 20, 2016

Fungai Lupande Court Reporter
Zanu-PF Bikita West MP Munyaradzi Kereke’s wife, whose nieces were allegedly sexually assaulted by the legislator, yesterday stood by her husband and described her nieces as “total liars who are wayward”.

Testifying as Kereke’s witness in his defence case, Patience Muswapadare Taruvinga vowed that her husband was innocent and that he was being “fixed” by her nieces for denying them financial assistance.

“My husband has three wives and I am one of them. I am happily married despite the polygamous nature of our marriage,” said Taruvinga.

“The complainants in this matter are my nieces, daughters to my brother Richard Farai Muswapadare who is in the United States of America.”

Taruvinga said the rape and indecent assault allegations by her nieces were false.

“Allegations that my husband fondled one of my nieces in March is a total lie because during that month he had travelled out of the country,” she said.

“Also, my nieces did not visit me from January to July. I was heavily pregnant during that time and no one visited. I also didn’t have a housemaid. For my nieces to allege that my husband would place his hand in their pants in my presence is absurd.”

Taruvinga added that she loved her nieces as her own children and if they were abused she would be the first to report to the police.

“I instructed my lawyer to write to the Prosecutor-General to look into the abuse the complainants were exposed to at the private prosecutor, Mr Charles Warara’s house, where they went for all night prayers,” she said.

“My nieces would sneak out while at the prayers and go to a prominent house in Kew Drive, Highlands in Harare for all night parties. I also noticed busy texting and calling by non-family male people when I went through my nieces’ phones.”

On allegations that Kereke raped one of the girl’s in August, Taruvinga said it was a total lie that she woke up her 11-year-old niece at 3am to babysit while she cooked for her husband.

“It is a total lie that she washed her bloodstained pants, clothes and bed sheets because I did not allow her to do laundry neither were there clothes hanging on the line,” she said. “She threatened that she was going to tell everyone that my husband fondled her breast. When I asked her what she meant she said she was joking.”

During cross-examination by Mr Warara, Taruvinga was asked if she lived with Kereke.

“I don’t live with him permanently, he comes and goes because he has other families,” she replied.

“So you don’t know him?” asked Mr Warara.

Taruvinga replied that she knew enough that concerns herself and her children.

“What number are you in the line of wives and how many children does he have?” asked Mr Warara.

“I don’t know what number I am. I only know we are three. I married him when I was 19, just after finishing school. Other than my three children I don’t know how many other children he has. It does not concern me,” said Taruvinga.

Kereke is accused of raping his 10-year old niece at gun point in 2010 after indecently assaulting her sister who was 15 years at the time.

The trial continues today.

Mnangagwa associate dies in horrific accident

Source: Mnangagwa associate dies in horrific accident – NewsDay Zimbabwe May 19, 2016

STEELMAKERS boss and a close associate of Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, Alexander Johnson died in a horrific road traffic accident near Sable Chemicals in Kwekwe when his vehicle was involved in a head on collision with another yesterday.

BY BLESSED MHLANGA

Johnson died together with his wife, Achamma Joy, the headmistress of Aleta Primary school in Redcliff and their driver Sharman Majuru. The accident happened at around 4 pm.

 

Consultancy firm boss exposes Zhuwao

Indigenisation minister Patrick Zhuwao allegedly engaged Triple Bottom Line (3BL) consultancy, despite the company not being registered with the State Procurement Board and not up to date with its tax obligations, Parliament heard yesterday.

Source: Consultancy firm boss exposes Zhuwao – NewsDay Zimbabwe May 20, 2016

BY XOLISANI NCUBE

3BL director, Thandi Ngwenya told members of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Youth and Indigenisation that the firm was engaged to provide consultancy services on data collection mechanism for economic empowerment on behalf of the ministry.

“After President (Robert) Mugabe appointed honourable Patrick Zhuwao as minister, 3BL approached the ministry with a proposal to host and jointly manage events and projects on its behalf on a profit-sharing arrangement,” she said.

Ngwenya was first implicated by Zanu PF activist, Acie Lumumba for allegedly working in cahoots with Zhuwao to milk public funds through consultancy and facilitation fees.

She told the Justice Mayor Wadyajena-chaired committee that although 3BL was irregularly engaged by the ministry, it did not receive a single cent of public funds.

“As 3BL, we never received any payment from the ministry. Our original draft MoU (memorandum of understanding) proposed a model, where 3BL would assist the ministry gather information to feed into its strategy and then allow 3BL to raise funds from private players to fund the projects,” Ngwenya said.

Asked by Goromonzi South MP Petronella Kagonye (Zanu PF), under whose authority they were doing the consultancy work, Ngwenya said they were given the green light to do the job by Zhuwao, but failed to produce letters to back her claims.

In her presentation, Ngwenya said the MoU, which she had prepared to be the basis for her engagement with the ministry, was rejected by the Attorney-General, as such a mandate required a public tender.

Ngwenya also denied allegations that she used Zhuwao’s name to make money.

Judge orders Chombo to pay businessman or face contempt of court charges

Home Affairs minister Ignatius Chombo has been given a 14-day ultimatum to comply with a High Court order to reimburse Mutare-based businessman Tendai Blessing Mangwiro $78 900 seized by the police, failure of which he will face contempt of court charges.

Source: Judge orders Chombo to pay businessman or face contempt of court charges – NewsDay Zimbabwe May 20, 2016

BY CHARLES LAITON

Mangwiro last month took the minister to court after filing an application for a mandamus (judicial remedy), demanding Chombo act in terms of his duties and facilitate the release of his seized money.

In his application, Mangwiro, who was cleared of theft charges involving the money in 2012, said since an order for the reimbursement of his seized money was done over a year ago, Chombo had not acted in terms of the directive prompting him (Mangwiro) to approach the court for recourse.

In his judgment on Wednesday, High Court judge Justice November Mtshiya ruled in favour of the businessman and ordered Chombo to ensure the order was immediately complied with.

“The respondent (Chombo) is ordered and directed to comply with statutory duty cast upon him in terms of section 5(2) of the State Liabilities Act, that is to cause to be paid out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund, the sum of money awarded to applicant by the order of this honourable court dated February 18, 2015 in case number HC4766/13, judgment number HH-147/15,” the judge ruled.

“The respondent is ordered and directed to comply with the order within 14 days of this order having been served on him, or his permanent secretary, or any responsible person in the ministry, failing which the respondent be and is, hereby, declared to be in contempt of this order.”

The court also slapped the Home Affairs ministry with the costs of the lawsuit, which, according to Mangwiro’s lawyers, had risen to $3 000.

Can we entrust Mugabe with this clear-cut case against Undenge?

TWO events of the past week have once again shown the pandemic levels of corruption in the ruling party — Zanu PF. Corruption cannot be more systemic than that.

Source: Can we entrust Mugabe with this clear-cut case against Undenge? – NewsDay Zimbabwe May 20, 2016

Conway Tutani

And delays and obstructionism are employed to let the bigwigs off the hook. We have cover-ups of industrial proportions. Yes, cover-ups have become an industry in their own right. It becomes even more horrifying to think that we are only talking of one out of 27 ministries. This puts the scale and extent of it all into perspective.

It was quite comical to read Energy minister Samuel Undenge’s responses as he tried to wriggle out after being cornered over his questionable role in two clear cases of grand corruption at Zesa Holdings’ subsidiary, Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC). The minister, it has been proved, has been a busybody, meddling in matters to do with the day-to-day running of ZPC and Zesa, instructing them to make payments to individuals in contravention of laid-down procedures.

Asked by a reporter why he had instructed ZPC to hire Fruitful Communications, a firm linked to Zanu PF MP Psychology Maziwisa, to carry out a media campaign despite the fact that Zesa has its own public relations department for that specific purpose, Undenge claimed this was not necessarily for payment, saying: “It’s just like you — you write a story, but we do not pay you.”

Well, minister, this is a false parallel. The public pays the media by freely or voluntarily buying its products and advertising space and time and can withdraw that custom as and when they feel like. This is a symbiotic relationship, not the incestuous relationship where you expressly instruct ZPC and Zesa to hire your favoured firm in a clear case of abuse of public office and duty, which, in a State where there is equality before the law, is punishable by a lengthy jail sentence, nothing less than that.

When Undenge realised the paper trail went all the way up to him, all he could say was: “It will now be a prerogative of the organisation, nothing to do with the minister.” Yes, the jig was up, the game was over — the whole sordid scheme had been revealed and foiled — but only after several payments had been made to Fruitful Communications.

Only the previous week, the same Undenge made a U-turn over a $5 million illegal tender payment by ZPC to controversial businessman and convicted fraudster Wicknell Chivayo. Undenge had claimed that everything had been done procedurally only days before, but this was far from the truth, because the payment was made without the board’s knowledge.

These two cases clearly point to the fact that there was something in it for Undenge right from the beginning for procedure — including bypassing directors — not to be followed. In all this, Undenge was more than a sleeping partner as he gave unlawful, specific documented instructions to ZPC and Zesa. In fact, he was the prime mover, the initiator. Wrote Undenge to Zesa management before he was caught out telling naked lies: “I have found them (Fruitful Communications) to be incredibly useful in this regard (media campaigns) and, hereby, direct that you work as closely as possible with them at intervals of six months per engagement until 2018.”

Well, well, orders don’t come clearer and firmer than that. This shows Undenge was chiefly responsible for the initiation and execution of the plan.

No one is saying President Robert Mugabe — to be generous to him because he has in the past shielded and forgiven anyone as long as they express total loyalty to him — is responsible for whatever his ministers say and do. But if he doesn’t take decisive steps such as follow-up investigations leading to arrest and prosecution — which he has so far been most reluctant to do — then he leaves people with no choice, but to lump him with corrupt ministers.

These tales of two characters — Chivayo and Maziwisa — give an insight into how the ruling Zanu PF steals and robs from ordinary working people, who have hardly had any breathing space since the 2008 economic meltdown.

Zimbabwe’s economy is facing an existential crisis because of such tenderpreneurs who win tenders unfairly through political connections and provide shoddy or no services at all to communities, while more genuine entrepreneurs are sidelined, along with their skills and proper services. Tenderpreneurships are making a select few wealthy and doing nothing for the population at large.

Maziwisa has been making all the right noises about undying patriotism, but stealing from his very compatriots. Is it not theft when you don’t add value to an organisation, but simply strip it of its financial assets? This is typical of many characters in Zanu PF, who shout themselves hoarse, saying the things they are expected to say when in most cases they do not mean them, but have an ulterior motive: self-enrichment. Maziwisa has been screaming about Western sanctions on Zimbabwe, but what about his own sanctions on Zesa employees? People are smart enough to figure out that many of Zesa’s problems are caused by these characters.

As for Chivayo, yes, we are urgently in need of infusion of funds in every sphere of public life, including football, because the government has gone AWOL, but not if that ignores the fact that most working people face misery and fruitless toil because of such tenderpreneurs like him. The naive among us have been lionising him whereas the likes of him have been robbing the fiscus denying the ordinary Zimbabwean services like affordable education and health. This guy is not an altruist — a person unselfishly concerned for or devoted to the welfare of others. He is more parasitic than generous. They steal from the fiscus, then reinvent themselves and come back as benefactors. Again, people are smart enough to figure this out.

Again many of these people do not file income tax returns. This has led to drastically reduced government revenue, which, in turn, has led to an increase in indirect taxes — like value-added tax — which are the bulk of tax revenue and are levied on fuel, electricity and food. The poor — who are the majority in Zimbabwe — suffer, as indirect taxes do not distinguish between rich and poor. Again, people are smart enough to figure this out.

Again, non-payment of taxes leaves the government with little money to carry out development work as presently 83% of revenue generated through the prevailing tax system is being spent on recurrent expenditure like salaries — leaving little for schools and hospitals.

This, in turn, forces government to rely on commercial loans, and approach international donors like the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, who inject funds on their own terms, which further complicates and jeopardises the economy. Again, people are smart enough to figure this out.

Mr President, let’s deal first with home-bred economic saboteurs like Undenge and his sidekicks Chivayo and Maziwisa.

If nothing is done — as has been the case so far — people are smart enough to figure out that these despicable characters get topmost five-star State protection. Hasn’t Chivayo said as much?

Conway Nkumbuzo Tutani is a Harare-based columnist. Email: nkumbuzo@gmail.com

#Thisflag — An idea whose time has come

Firstly, I want to congratulate Evan Mawarire and all those who were supporting his initiative. Our freedom can never be delivered on a platter by the dictator, we have to claim it, demand it and if necessary fight for it.

Source: #Thisflag — An idea whose time has come – NewsDay Zimbabwe May 20, 2016

VINCE MUSEWE

For far too long, too few of us have had the courage to speak truth to power and because of that, this regime has found it easy to isolate and punish individuals who have dared to speak the truth. The time has now come for all Zimbabweans, who want change to come and claim it. We cannot just sit and wait for our politicians alone to be the only ones responsible for change, it is in our interests as citizens of a free country to be the flag bearers of the cry for freedom, justice and transformation.

Zimbabwe is in crisis because we did nothing about it and accepted to be second class citizens in our own motherland. In the process, we have created a little god called President Robert Mugabe, whose word has become law itself, and whose supremacy has become a burden on freedom. No wonder why those whom he has appointed as ministers dare not challenge him nor can they ever imagine an outsider doing so.

Some of us are, therefore, not surprised when Mawarire is confronted by Mugabe’s minions because they seek to protect their master. That is typical of a dictatorship.

There is no doubt that the time for change has come, as many Zimbabweans are beginning to realise that keeping quiet does not pay. We need to all join in the call for change. Zanu PF and Mugabe have lied to us repeatedly, but we cannot accept that anymore. They have blamed everyone else for the problems they have created, but we must now hold them accountable.

I think what is also clear is that unless citizens become more active in seeking change, as demonstrated by Mawarire, we will continue to settle for less. In my opinion, the future leadership of our country will continue to attract the not-so-bright and the selfish and greedy because Zimbabweans continue to treat political activism as an inconvenience.

The message of #ThisFlag is clear, Zanu PF and Mugabe have failed to represent our interests and they have failed to meet their responsibilities in creating a free and prosperous society as envisaged by the liberation struggle. They have stolen from us, abused us and destroyed the potential of our country and its people in their pursuit for political power. Because of that, they no longer deserve our respect nor can we be silent about it.

Zimbabwe needs to open a new chapter and we cannot expect those who have been architects of poverty and beneficiaries of plunder to be part of that chapter.

It is now urgent that we create a new narrative, which says nobody has the monopoly of wisdom and that those in Zanu PF do not represent the future we want to see. This new narrative can only be created by us for us. It cannot be created by the British, whose approach and motives to political change in Zimbabwe are suspect. It cannot be created by the Chinese because we all know that they are only interested in their advantage over us.

We cannot wait until 2018 and even we were to wait, there is no guarantee that we will hold free and fair elections, which will allow us to dismiss Zanu PF from government. Zanu PF will never participate in an election which they are likely to lose. This has been the case since 2000. It is, therefore, naïve to expect change to come in 2018, as long as Zanu PF have control of state resources and can manipulate state institutions.

This means that we need a new formula. We need independently monitored elections in 2018, but in the meantime we must establish a transitional body to arrest the economic decline and prepare the country for political transition through credible elections. Even President Mugabe has recently warned us to expect no change in 2018 even if the opposition has the numbers. This surely must tell us something.

I, therefore, encourage as many of us to come out with the same message as Mawarire has under #ThisFlag. We want answers and things cannot be normal in Zimbabwe until we get those answers. Another Zimbabwe is possible but only through our own efforts and the courage to speak truth to power.

Zanu PF and their leader must go.

Vince Musewe is an economist and author based in Harare. He is also the secretary for finance and economic affairs of People’s Democratic Party. You may contact him on vtmusewe@gmail.com He writes is his private capacity as a Zimbabwean citizen.

Fuel smugglers wreak havoc in local market

ZIMBABWE’S punitive tax regime has given room for a fuel black-market, with illegal dealers smuggling the commodity into the country while Treasury misses out on potential revenue. ‘

Source: Fuel smugglers wreak havoc in local market – The Zimbabwe Independent May 20, 2016

By Taurai Mangudhla

Global oil prices have gone down since 2015, prompting countries to reduce fuel prices by as much as 50% with neigbouring states like Zambia and South Africa selling blended petrol at below US$1 per litre for a while now.

However, Zimbabwe’s service stations are selling the same product on the pump at US$1,28 per litre due to layers of taxation. This has created room for arbitrage and fuel smuggling.

Zimbabwe, according to the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (Zera) website, charges excise duty on fuel, a road levy, carbon tax, debt redemption levy and strategic reserve levy on top of other administrative expenses, effectively making formal fuel imports expensive.

As shown by the latest Zimra figures, tax collections under the excise head slid as, among other things, excise duty on fuel went down remarkably in the first quarter of 2016 despite continued car imports and heavy use of fuel powered generators as load shedding on the Zesa national grid persists.

Although the latest Zimra report notes that the actual revenue collected across all revenue heads was below target due to the prevailing economic environment, excise duty underperformed due to a decline in fuel imports partly attributed to smuggling of the commodity.

“The performance of the revenue head can be attributed to a reduction in the volumes of fuel imports. The decline could also be partly ascribed to fuel transit fraud and smuggling as signified by a proliferation of illegal service stations during the period under review,” Zimra said, adding “the slump in the global oil prices could also explain part of the performance by the revenue head.”

According to Zimra, diesel import volumes fell from 199,97 million litres in Q1 (2015) to 190,14 million litres in Q1 (2016), while petrol volumes also fell from 122,14 million litres to 113,86 million litres over the same period.

“It is anticipated that the cargo tracking system will particularly curb fuel transit fraud,” Zimra said.

Zera CEO Gloria Magombo confirmed fuel smuggling was on the rise, although she could not illustrate the extent of the illegal activities.

“We have noted sprouting of illegal fuel dealers and we have shut down a number of them in recent months. They are selling contaminated fuel which is dangerous and it is often stolen. The question of where it is stolen is for the police to answer, but we are urging motorists to report these illegal dealers and activities because they are putting their vehicles at risk,” Magombo said in an interview this week.

Zimra said revenue from excise duty amounted to US$160,45 million during Q1 (2016), representing 89,59% of the targeted US$179,08 million and a decrease of 2,99% from the US$165,4 million collected in Q1 (2015).

The revenue collector said excise duty on fuel was the main contributor to the revenue head with a contribution of 79,35% followed by excise duty on beer and airtime which contributed 8,92% and 6,09% respectively, with the remainder of the revenue coming from excise duty on tobacco, wines and spirits, second-hand motor vehicles and electric lamps.

Zimra said net collections of US$724,89 million for the quarter under review were 84,11% of the targeted US$861,83 million, recording a decline of 9,75% compared to Q1 2015.

The bulk of the revenue for 2016 was realised from individual tax which contributed 23,1% followed closely by excise duty at 22,13%.

The decline in revenue collections was attributed to worsening liquidity situation which further depressed operations of the few companies still functional thus leading to even lower industrial capacity utilisation.

Zimra said companies continued to downsize and closures continued, giving rise to more job losses.

“Company profitability was also softened in the main. Consequently, revenue mobilisation was below target and Zimra is struggling to restrain the tax debt which rose by 30,9% from US$1,97 billion at the end of 2015 to US$2,58 billion by the end of Q1 (2016),” it said.

Zimra Chairperson Willia Bonyongwe said Zimbabwe’s economy is going through troubled waters and requires a big incentive to stimulate it sustainably.

“Efforts are being made to attract foreign capital inflows but in the meantime there is much Zimbabweans should do by themselves. Firstly, to curb all unnecessary consumption imports and concentrate on increasing productive capacity with the resources available,” she said.

“Secondly, immediately review our cost structures because we are using a very strong currency. Executive salaries and packages should be linked to productivity, the bank charges and cost of money must be reduced, the margins across the board must also be reduced.”

Donors feed country as govt bickers over power

FOOD-insecure families have to skip meals to budget food rations they receive, as the effects of the El Niño-induced drought, that has left many hungry and unemployed in Manicaland province, deepen.

Source: Donors feed country as govt bickers over power – NewsDay Zimbabwe May 20, 2016

BY TATIRA ZWINOIRA

The bustling Manicaland capital, Mutare, portrays a gleam picture of hope that despite an economy ridden with cash shortages, high unemployment levels, increasing company closures and a lack of investment, people are managing to survive.

However, the picture quickly worsens when one goes deeper into the eastern province, particularly in the Chimanimani and Chipinge districts.

The drought has ravaged areas like Nyanyadzi in Ward 8 in the Chimanimani district. At Nyanyadzi Hospital, hundreds of pregnant and lactating women and those with children under the age of two congregate.

Sister-in-charge, Siphiwe Sibanda, said, on average, they registered 50 women a month to receive food rations. Once registered, the women are given cards so they will be easily identified on the day of distribution.

“There is a hunger in Chimanimani. So the mothers end up sharing their rations with other family members,” she said.

“Not less than 80 come, and on average, we register about 50 per month. We also do outreach programmes to ascertain the extent of the problems to be able to distribute.”

Once the women have registered, each of them receive 3kg of corn soya bean, a litre of vegetable oil, 1kg lentils (a type of bean), and 4kg of sorghum through the enhancing nutrition stepping up resilience and enterprise (Ensure) programme. Ensure is one of the many programmes under Zimbabwe’s biggest aid donor, United States Agency for International Development (USAid).

Distribution of food aid takes place at Nyanyadzi Primary School, where nearly 600 women clamour to receive their rations.

Among the expectant beneficiaries, NewsDay spoke to Maida Mutsinzwa, a 32-year-old mother of four, who is struggling in search of food, as her husband is currently unemployed.

“Some of the problems we face are not finding food and school fees to send our children to school. My husband is currently not working, as it is very difficult to find a job. So I get money from selling firwood and vegetables,” she said.

“We make porridge with the sorghum so it lasts and use the oil in our cooking. It takes a month to finish the rations according to how I budget.”

Mutsinzwa said budgeting sometimes includes prioritising and skipping meals.

Others interviewed shared the same sentiment that the rations could be the only meal they receive for a while and as such they have to share with family members. This forces mothers to micro budget, which includes missing meals or eating once a day.

Ensure is a partnership between World Vision and USAid, with the latter backing it with
$56 million over a five-year period.

Chimanimani assistant district administrator, Tawona Nengomatsa, said the eastern side of the area was food-secure, unlike the western parts.

In Ward 4 at Tanganda, Chipinge district, one is welcomed by at least 2km of barren land. As such, USAid identified Birirano village, as having a few good spots of arable land, but lacked an irrigation scheme.

From May to October 2015, USAid provided the community with materials and technical support to build a dam to act as a source to the irrigation scheme to Birirano village.

The dam is 5,4 metres deep and holds 1 200 cubic metres of water, with water also coming from a tributory river.
Since the dam’s completion in October 2015, villagers involved in the works have been working tirelessly to set up the irrigation system, with completion expected in the next few weeks.

Engineer Ability Charlie said the piping to supply the irrigation scheme stretches up to 180 metres, as the dam would be using a gravity system to pump the water to the irrigation scheme.

Construction of the dam came under USAid’s food for assets programme where willing participants from the community came together, formed a group, and worked an average of at least four hours.

The idea was to try and encourage communities to work for and be given a 50kg of sorghum.

The group that the community set up is the disaster risk reduction committee and one of its members, Gracious Makuyana said efforts should be made to increase the dam’s capacity, as the need is far greater.

“We could get another irrigation scheme on the other side and supply water, as the majority of the people are nearby. So that is why we want another irrigation scheme to plant some stuff to grow and supply food in the area,” she said

Makuyana said another irrigation scheme would help with crop, fish and livestock farming, which could sustain the area.

In Betura village, in Ward 16 of Chipinge, the adjacent land near the village is a stretch of soil, dirt, dry wood, and underfed livestock.

Betura is under USAid feed the future Zimbabwe livestock and crop development programmes, with a combined funding of $20 million funding programme over five years.

Assistant district administrator, Freeman Mavhiza said some of the farmers became so desperate that they started selling their cattle at between $40 and $50 in order to get little money to buy food for their families.

“The issue was that unscrupulous buyers or individuals with money would come and buy cattle, which are starving due to a lack of feed because of the drought, buying them at prices of $40 to $50 when cows are worth between $400 and $500 a beast,” Mavhiza said.

To avoid this, the feed the future crop development programme, which has an $8 million designation is targeted at helping small holder farmers improve food security through increased productivity, increase market linkages, and improve nutrition and hygiene practices.

On the other hand, the feed the future livestock development has a $12 million designation, where USAid runs a feedlot-fattened cattle programme aimed at helping farmers fatten livestock to sell to abattoirs. Once the cattle have been fattened, USAid provides technical assistance in helping farmers market their livestock.

This has enabled many livestock farmers to sell their beasts at a profit.

Between February and May this year, four groups of farmers managed to sell 96 cattle to Koala Park abattoir in Chiredzi and Montana Carswell Meats in Masvingo at an average of $380, exceeding the average of $150 according to the local rate.

NewsDay visited other areas in the region that include Mhakwe Irrigation scheme in ward 18 of the Chimanimani district, and Manzvire diptank in Chipinge, which had been affected by low rainfalls as well.

At the end of the trip on Thursday, USAid mission director, Stephanie Funk said more was needed.

“The problem is the drought will continue probably, throughout the whole of next year, so more assistance would be needed, not only from us, but by other donors and the government of Zimbabwe. I think the thing I would change is to try and replicate what we are doing in more places. But we would need more money and currently we are lobbying for that,” she said.

Funk said she hopes for congressional approval from the United States government to get more funds to meet the growing challenges.

One thing became very clear at the end of the media tour, which is, as government continues to bicker over power struggles, foreign donors are keeping Zimbabweans alive and away from the cemetery.

JSC demands costs of suits from Tomana

THE Judiciary Service Commission (JSC) has demanded that Prosecutor-General Johannes Tomana pays costs of the lawsuits after the latter withdrew an urgent chamber application he filed at the Constitutional Court (ConCourt) challenging his disciplinary hearing.

Source: JSC demands costs of suits from Tomana – NewsDay Zimbabwe May 20, 2016

BY CHARLES LAITON

The JSC yesterday said Tomana was at liberty to decide how his application ought to be dealt with by the courts, but was not at liberty to abandon a course of action over which the other party had already encountered wasted costs.

The JSC’s demands were in reaction to Tomana’s withdrawal of the urgent chamber application he had filed following the dismissal of another application seeking referral of the matter to the ConCourt.

“In such circumstances, if the applicant (Tomana) wishes to do an ‘about-turn’ and convert the ‘urgent application’ into an ‘ordinary application’, the applicant must do so against the sanction in the form of an appropriate order of costs in relation to the urgent application,” JSC lawyers, Kantor and Immerman said in the heads of argument filed yesterday.

The lawyers further said the court had already found that Tomana, in pursuing the ConCourt referral chamber application, acted in a manner devoid of merit.

“The first respondent (JSC) is a constitutional public body. It is funded via public funds . . . unnecessary legal costs ought not to be incurred.

“Where it is successful in litigation, it ought to recover the costs,” the lawyers said.

“Given the dire economic circumstances Zimbabwe finds itself in, the JSC is not awash with free funds or cash and has been forced to manage its meagre budget in such a way as to be able to pay legal fees arising from this urgent matter.

“It would be a miscarriage of justice and a departure from established precedent for the applicant to be allowed to convert an urgent application into an ordinary application without an adverse order of costs following the application.

“It is, therefore, respectfully submitted that if the prayer by the applicant is granted in this matter, an adverse order of costs must follow. To rule otherwise would represent a travesty of justice.”

Mugabe flies into SA storm

President Robert Mugabe yesterday left Harare for South Africa to attend today’s Fort Hare University’s centenary celebrations, as students at the institution protested against his counterpart, Jacob Zuma.

Source: Mugabe flies into SA storm – NewsDay Zimbabwe May 20, 2016

Students at the Alice campus at the Eastern Cape based university on Wednesday set fire at the entrance, claiming management had failed to meet their transport, accommodation and financial aid demands.

The students burnt a marquee, supposed to be used during today’s centenary celebrations.

Mugabe, a Fort Hare alumnus, will join thousands of other former students in celebrating the centenary. But current students have threatened to disrupt Zuma’s speech and only listen to Mugabe “because Bob is a graduate”.

Fort Hare vice-chancellor, Mvuyo Tom confirmed to online news agencies that students had burnt tyres on the streets outside the campus.

Zuma is expected to deliver the keynote address, while Mugabe will speak as an alumnus.

However, it might not be all merry making, as threats of student protests increased and the Zimbabwe People First (ZimPF) and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) objected to Mugabe’s visit.

The opposition parties yesterday threatened to protest demanding that the institution should withdraw Mugabe’s invitation.

ZimPF interim co-ordinator in South Africa, Builder Lawrence Mavhaire urged the university to withdraw the invitation to Mugabe alleging that he had embarrassed the institution’s former graduates through his record of human rights abuses.

The PDP’s South Africa branch said they would demonstrate by bringing down portraits of Mugabe put up at the university.

“PDP will carry Zimbabwean flags during the protests. We, therefore, invite all Zimbabweans to join the demonstration against Mugabe,” read the message from the Tendai Biti-led party.

Lumumba dumps ‘corrupt’ Zanu PF

Outspoken Zanu PF activist, Acie Lumumba yesterday quit the ruling party, claiming it had lost direction and was now infested with corrupt officials bent on enriching themselves.

Source: Lumumba dumps ‘corrupt’ Zanu PF – NewsDay Zimbabwe May 20, 2016

BY OBEY MANAYITI

He said Zanu PF could no longer serve the interests of the people and was too divided and out of touch with hard realities being faced by the majority of Zimbabweans.

Lumumba fell out of favour with his former bosom buddies, including Youth minister Patrick Zhuwao, whom he described as an extortionist.

This came after Zhuwao sacked Lumumba from chairing the Zimbabwe Youth Empowerment Strategy for Investment, hardly a week after his appointment on allegations of stealing some funds.

“It is with the heaviest of hearts today that I resign as deputy secretary for tourism and environment for Harare province and withdraw my membership from Zanu PF,” he wrote in a letter addressed to Harare provincial chairperson, Charles Tawengwa.

The letter was also copied to Zanu PF secretary for administration, Ignatius Chombo and political commissar, Saviour Kasukuwere.

He accused the Zanu PF government of collecting taxes from ordinary people to pay huge salaries to corrupt and incompetent parastatal bosses. Lumumba said the government was collecting huge taxes that killed local manufacturers, used double speak on indigenisation, and was thwarting the participation of Zimbabweans on national issues, among others.

“I am leaving the party. I cannot continue like this being part of a system that is destroying its children, fails to care for its elders, doesn’t honour its servicemen, and, most importantly, doesn’t allow youths to grow and flourish,” he said.

“I am surrounded by youths whose dreams are oppressed and stolen. I have never known any other political home and I have no other love politically except the ideals Zanu PF taught me. I am aware how cold it is outside Zanu PF politically, but I am cognisant that is where the rest of my peers are. Like our President (Robert Mugabe) many years ago made the decision to start a struggle, tonight I make mine.”

Sick Tsvangirai rushed to S Africa

Source: Sick Tsvangirai rushed to S Africa – NewsDay Zimbabwe May 20, 2016

OPOSITION MDC-T leader, Morgan Tsvangirai has been rushed to South Africa for treatment over a yet-to-be disclosed ailment.

BY BLESSED MHLANGA

In a statement yesterday, the party’s secretary-general, Douglas Mwonzora, said Tsvangirai was flown out early this week.

“Tsvangirai was taken ill. On the advice of doctors, he had to travel to South Africa for treatment. Yesterday (Wednesday) he successfully underwent a medical procedure and is recuperating well in South Africa,” he said without disclosing further details, including the name of the hospital.

Party sources told NewsDay the MDC-T leader was being treated for a fatigue-induced ailment at a private hospital in Johannesburg.

Last month, Tsvangirai looked frail when he led his party’s anti-government demonstration in Harare, but the opposition leader dismissed reports he was unwell as speculative, insisting he was “as fit as a fiddle”.

This was after a State media columnist, Nathaniel Manheru, revealed to be President Robert Mugabe’s spokesman, George Charamba, raised concerns over Tsvangirai’s health.

Said Tsvangirai then: “I think that Charamba must realise that he cannot compare me with his boss. If Mugabe is frail, it doesn’t mean that Tsvangirai is frail as well. I am healthy and I don’t have any health problems. In fact, [during the march] it was my wife (Elizabeth Macheka), who was balancing on me because she was wearing shoes that made her require some balance from me. But the long and short of it is that I don’t have any health problems.”

Tsvangirai last month failed to attend the burial of Harare councillor, Farai Muzhinyi with acting mayor, Chris Mbanga telling mourners that the party leader was bedridden.

Tsvangirai has been vocal about Mugabe and his family’s expensive medical trips to Asia, saying the First Family should use local health facilities and save on taxpayers’ money.

But, MDC-T spokesperson, Obert Gutu yesterday defended Tsvangirai’s decision to seek treatment in South Africa.

“You should know that there is certain specialist medical attention that is not locally available in Zimbabwe because the Zanu PF regime has trashed the health delivery system over the past few decades,” he said.

“As a political party, the MDC doesn’t approve of a system where leaders have to travel outside Zimbabwe to seek medical treatment for ailments that can be effectively and efficiently treated locally. That’s our main bone of contention.

“You will recall that at one time, President Mugabe travelled all the way to Singapore to seek treatment for an eye cataract, a condition that can be effectively treated by local eye specialists,” he said.

Renamo names team to discuss resumption of dialogue

Maputo, 19 May (AIM) – Mozambique’s largest opposition party, Renamo, has named the three members who will represent it on a joint commission that will pave the way for the resumption of dialogue with the government.

Source: Renamo names team to discuss resumption of dialogue – The Zimbabwean 19/5/2016

A dialogue between the government and Renamo began in April 2013 in an attempt to reach agreement on a way out of the long-lasting political impasse. However, after 114 sessions, the discussions were abruptly terminated by Renamo in August 2015.

President Filipe Nyusi has consistently called for the resumption of this dialogue and for a halt to the violent attacks carried out in the centre of the country by Renamo’s illegal armed militia. Therefore, on Tuesday, he wrote to Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama requesting that he appoint representatives to the joint commission.

Speaking at a press conference in Maputo on Thursday, Renamo spokesperson Antonio Muchanga revealed that the Renamo team will be composed of Jose Manteigas, Eduardo Namburete, and Andre Magibire.

Previously, Renamo had taken the position that there would be no further dialogue without the mediation of the Catholic Church, the European Union, and South African President Jacob Zuma. In addition, Renamo demanded that it first take power in the six central and northern provinces where it claims to have won in the 2014 elections.

However, President Nyusi ‘s letter specifically stated that the issue of mediation should not block the work of the joint commission as dialogue would only resume based on the terms of reference agreed by the joint team.

 

Moyo, US ambassador in nasty social media spat

Source: Moyo, US ambassador in nasty social media spat – NewsDay Zimbabwe  May 19, 2016

Higher Education minister Jonathan Moyo and United States Ambassador to Zimbabwe Harry Thomas Jnr yesterday had a nasty social media exchange, raising fears that the heated exchanges could trigger a diplomatic fallout between Harare and Washington.

BY RICHARD CHIDZA

Tempers flared when Moyo accused Thomas, whom he described as “Dirty Harry”, of funding and founding a social media movement known as #thisflag campaign fronted by local cleric, Evan Mawarire to expose the country’s endemic corruption.

“US envoys ignited social media revolutions in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya, whose common outcome was bloodshed. (US) government declares Zimbabwe poses a continuous security threat to (its) interests. And some people think that’s okay. If these images don’t tell the story of the evil ways of US interference in Zim affairs, none will,” Moyo said, providing a picture of Thomas and a group of social media activists posted on the embassy’s Twitter account, as the alleged evidence. Ironically one of the people in the picture is a senior staffer at Zimpapers.

The embassy denied the charge.

In response, the US embassy said: “Ambassador Thomas met with diverse SocMed (social media) voices, [on] May 6 for the first time to hear their stories, and none included #ThisFlag.”

But Moyo would have none of it.

“#OurFlag! Nice try. But nobody is fooled. Evidence of an exposed cat coming out of a see-through bag. The May 6 lunch to launch #ThisFlag was of course after the April 20 to May 5 testing period. The full story is known! US envoys used lunches (and) dinners in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya to start social media revolutions. Result: bloodshed,” the minister, who has since launched his own social media campaign, named #ourflag to counter Mawarire’s #ThisFlag, said.

Moyo said his hashtag would be used during the proposed million-man march pencilled for May 25 by the Zanu PF youth league.

Information minister Christopher Mushohwe yesterday said government was concerned and would investigate Thomas’ alleged involvement in the campaign.

“Naturally, we are concerned if they are doing this against the government of Zimbabwe. It is not part of the ambassador’s functions. But it will need to be established if indeed the ambassador is funding or behind the campaign with the intention of harming Zimbabwe,” he said.

Another minister, Supa Mandiwanzira, early this week was involved in a nasty brawl with Mawarire after the social media activist-cum-cleric had taken part in a heated discussion on a local radio station ZiFM Stereo, owned by the minister.

Mawarire told NewsDay that Mandiwanzira had also accused him of being in an “unholy alliance” with the US envoy.

Washington and Harare have had frosty relations since the imposition of US targeted sanctions on the Zanu PF regime over a decade ago on allegations of human rights abuses and electoral fraud, although there has been an improvement in the last few months.

Video: Arsenal fan says Wenger is like Mugabe

Source: Video: Arsenal fan says Wenger is like Mugabe – NewsDay Zimbabwe May 19, 2016

WARNING: This clip contains swear words.

In the video, an Arsenal Football Club fan being interviewed outside the Emirates Stadium insists that the team’s manager Arsenal Wenger must step down. The angry fan hurls insults at Wenger and likens him to Zimbabwe’s long time ruler, Robert Mugabe, who has stayed in power for 36 years. Mugabe still insists he wants to continue ruling despite destroying the country’s economy

Cornered Zimra official kills self

Source: Cornered Zimra official kills self | The Herald May 19, 2016

Freeman Razemba Crime Reporter
A Zimbabwe Revenue Authority official, believed to have been part of a syndicate that processed counterfeit undervalued import documents to smuggle top-of-the-range vehicles and other luxury products, has committed suicide in unclear circumstances.

Aaron Gofo (34), who was based at Beitbridge Border Post, had been suspended from work.

Sources said Gofo, who was known for promoting Zim-dancehall artistes, drank poison while seated in his car in Mbare, Harare.

Gofo reportedly told some of his friends that his four colleagues from work had been arrested and that he was wanted by the police in connection with the Zimra scam.

Another source said Gofo was having marital problems and this could also have driven him to take his life.

Gofo, who allegedly owned several properties and vehicles in and around the city, took a cellphone from an airtime vendor, which he used to call some of his relatives that he was going to kill himself.

Since Monday, condolence messages have been pouring in on social media from friends and relatives.

He was buried at Granville Cemetery on Tuesday afternoon.

The incident comes after several Zimra officials have either been suspended or arrested in connection with undervaluing import documents at Beitbridge Border Posts.

Recently ,there were reports that more than 400 cars are believed to have been smuggled into the country this year alone by a syndicate of Zimra officials and clearing agents who have been processing counterfeit undervalued import documents to smuggle vehicles and other products.

The Herald is reliably informed that five suspects have been arrested in connection with some of the cases after they allegedly cleared 52 cars in Harare using the fake documents.

Sources said following their arrests, the suspects were found in possession of more than 100 fake clearance certificates. Investigations carried out revealed that the suspects managed to acquire registration number plates for at least 52 vehicles and this was discovered by officials at the Central Vehicle Registry (CVR) last week.

It also emerged that for the past few years, several car dealers in and around Harare had their cars seized by Zimra after it was discovered that most of them had fake documentation.

According to some of the car dealers, the clearing agents are working with some Zimra officials to smuggle the cars into the country and then impound them for auction. Some of the dealers have since taken Zimra to court in a bid to recover their vehicles.

This comes amid reports that Zimra was losing millions of dollars to dealers who processed counterfeit undervalued import documents to smuggle vehicles and other products into the country.

Zimra has been losing millions of dollars to a syndicate of dealers who process counterfeit undervalued import documents to smuggle in vehicles. Several people, some of them former Zimra employees, allegedly act as clearing agents and have been arrested for prejudicing the State of various amounts of money in separate incidents.

Senior Zimra officials who are supposed to be custodians of customs and excise laws, have reportedly used bogus clearing agents to import personal vehicles.

Some of the offences were unearthed recently after the owners approached Zimra offices to check the authenticity of documents for their vehicles.

Zim women on death row in China

Source: Zim women on death row in China | The Herald May 19, 2016

Zvamaida Murwira Senior Reporter
Secretary for Foreign Affairs Mr Joey Bimha yesterday said they had received reports of less than 10 Zimbabweans arrested in China over drug trafficking with about three women on death row in Beijing.

Mr Bimha’s assertions put paid to claims by Goromonzi National Assembly member, Cde Beata Nyamupinga, who told the National Assembly on Tuesday that more than 1 000 Zimbabweans, mostly women, have been trafficked to China alone, with 200 of them in jail and on death row for drug trafficking.

Introducing a motion on human trafficking in the National Assembly Cde Nyamupinga, who is also chairperson of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Women Affairs, said most of the women trafficked to China were married to Nigerians.

She claimed the women were arrested after they were caught with wedding gowns loaded with hard drugs.

But Mr Bimha last night said they had received reports of a far less figure.

“Our embassy has told us that less than 10 Zimbabweans mostly women were arrested in China for drug trafficking. About two or three were on death row after they were found with drugs in suitcases and one of them has since died in custody. These are the last figures we last got from our embassy in China. We will, however, check with our embassy in Beijing to establish if the figure has risen to that level,” said Mr Bimha.

In her contribution, Cde Nyamupinga said 34 percent of African countries were major sources of human trafficking to Europe while 26 percent of victims from mostly in East African countries were trafficked to Arab states.

“We have about 200 Zimbabweans and the majority of the 200 are women on the death row in China because they have been used by Nigerians who are coming here, marrying them through an Act (of Parliament) that we enacted in this House. They marry them and then ask them go to China to buy their wedding gowns. As they go to China to buy the wedding gowns, they are given a bag, which is called false bottom and in that false bottom, there are drugs packed in there,” said Cde Nyamupinga.

Zimac needs $4,7m for de-mining

Source: Zimac needs $4,7m for de-mining | The Herald May 19, 2016

Tedious Manyepo Herald Reporter
OVER $4,7 million is needed to clear the 53 kilometre-stretch of landmine field in Gonarezhou National Park.

The minefield is double-stretched and covers the area between Sango Border Post to Crooks Corner.

The Zimbabwe National Army has seconded a squadron of engineers to demine the area since 2006, but they have scored little success due to lack of resources.

In an interview yesterday, Zimbabwe Mine Action Centre (ZIMAC) acting coordinator, Major Chamunorwa Gambiza, said the minefield had caused havoc in the area where almost each household in the surrounding community had lost more than one member due to the landmines.

He said the minefield had robbed the country of billions of dollars as most tourists shun to visit Gonarezhou as they fear for their lives.

“We have seconded a squadron of deminers in that area. But we are saying we need about $4,7 million to clear the area. Demining is a very expensive job, we need to buy requisite equipment like metal detectors as well as financing the day-to-day activities.

“What is very regrettable is that the country is suffering the most due to the landmines. About 300 people have lost their lives in that area alone since 1980. More than 400 cattle and over 500 wild animals have also been killed by the mines. So we are appealing to the corporate world and other humanitarian organisations to chip in and save humanity,” he said.

Meanwhile, ZIMAC is set to hold a two-day landmine awareness campaign from tomorrow to Saturday in the general area of Dumisa, Chiredzi as it seeks to inform members of the surrounding communities about the dangers of landmines.

The move has been necessitated by the growing number of people who continue to ignore danger signs marking minefields. A lot are also leaving their livestock straying into the minefields.

Commander Zimbabwe National Army along with other senior officers and generals will be part and parcel of the awareness tour.

Zimbabwe Defence Forces goodwill ambassador, Jah Prayzah, will hold a free show on Saturday as part of the campaign.

Landmines were planted by the Ian Smith regime during the liberation struggle as the colonialists sought to strangle tactical movements of the liberation fighters.

Tomana, Chihuri contest suit

Source: Tomana, Chihuri contest suit | The Herald May 19, 2016

Daniel Nemukuyu Senior Court Reporter
PROSECUTOR-General Johannes Tomana and Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri, who are being jointly sued for $400 000 for unlawful arrest and prosecution by a Harare lawyer, have challenged citation of their names as defendants in their personal capacities.

Mr Tomana and Comm-Gen Chihuri are being sued for unlawfully causing the arrest of a senior lawyer, Mr Mordecai Pilate Mahlangu, for “merely representing his client” Michael Peter Hitschmann, who was accused of illegally possessing firearms.

Mr Tomana and Comm-Gen Chihuri are being sued together with two detectives — Henry Dowa and Clever Ntini.

Mr Tomana, Comm-Gen Chihuri and the two detectives on Monday raised a preliminary point arguing the actions complained of were done in the discharge of their official duties, hence suing them in their personal capacities was unlawful.

They argued that they were not properly sued and that the matter must fail on that preliminary point.

Advocates Adrian de Bourbon and Thabani Mpofu represent Mr Mahlangu while being instructed by Mr Raymond Moyo of Gill Godlonton and Gerrans.

Adv Lewis Uriri instructed by the Attorney-General’s Civil Division is representing Comm-Gen Chihuri and the two detectives while Adv Sylvester Hashiti acts for Mr Tomana while taking instructions from Mutamangira and Associates.

The defendants’ lawyers argued that their clients acted in the scope of their employment when they allegedly behaved in the manner complained of and that they should have been sued in their official capacities.

It was argued that the plaintiff did not state in his declaration that the defendants acted unreasonably. They also argued the declaration did not talk of the defendants acting in bad faith.

Instead, they argue, the declaration recognises that the defendants were acting in their official capacities.

Responding to the preliminary point, Adv De Bourbon cited a South African case which sought to prove that both the employee and employer can be sued lawfully for a wrongful act.

He argued that the law of the country did not intend to protect individuals who break the law, hence they must be sued in their personal capacities.

Adv De Bourbon urged the court to throw out the preliminary point, describing it as a delaying tactic by the defendants to evade the civil trial.

High Court judge Justice Priscilla Chigumba reserved judgment on the matter.

She is expected to rule on whether the defendants were properly sued in their personal capacities.

Govt eyes 100 000t of wheat

Source: Govt eyes 100 000t of wheat | The Herald May 19, 2016

Elita Chikwati Agriculture Reporter
Government has set a target of 25 000 hectares of wheat during the 2016 winter cropping season which is expected to produce 100 000 tonnes of the commodity. The programme requires $40 million.

Appearing before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on agriculture yesterday on the state of preparedness for the 2016 winter wheat season yesterday, Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Minister, Dr Joseph Made said the country must not depend on imports.

Dr Made said the fertiliser industry had adequate fertilisers for the winter cropping season.

“The inputs supply show sufficient fertilisers but a slight of shortage of seed depending on varieties,” he said.

Dr Made said there could be challenges with pests this season due to the drought, adding that the ministry had set aside a budget of $136 000 for the control of quelea birds.

“Control of quelea birds is very critical especially now when we have a drought. There has been a build up of quelea birds and we expect an increase going forward,” he said.

By May 11, farmers had already planted more than 2 000 hectares of the crop with the Agricultural Rural Development Authority having put a sizeable crop. The planting window is expected to stretch to the end of June.

Dr Made said the country had been experiencing a steady supply of electricity which was key in winter production.

“We have experienced a steady supply of electricity and hope this will continue in the winter season,” he said.

“Winter cropping clusters will be isolated from load shedding. We are negotiating a concessionary electricity rate of 55 percent for farmers and we are also working on the existing electricity debts to ensure farmers are able to produce the crop. We also would want to strengthen the stop order system to enable payment of bills.

“We will continue to negotiate for better electricity tariffs but as long as farmers are price takers there will be a problem,” he said.

Zimbabwe requires 400 000 tonnes of wheat every year.

Last year the Grain Marketing Board bought 46 000 tonnes of wheat and this season Government is expecting to double the intake.

Farmers deliver 16 000 tonnes of maize to GMB

Source: Farmers deliver 16 000 tonnes of maize to GMB | The Herald

Elita Chikwati Agriculture Reporter
FARMERS have delivered 16 000 tonnes of maize to the Grain Marketing Board as Government makes frantic efforts to pay on delivery.

Government has so far released $4,5 million for the payment of farmers who delivered their grain to GMB depots.

Appearing before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on agriculture yesterday, Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Minister Dr Joseph Made yesterday said treasury released $1 million last week and $3,5 million this week.

“We have allowed farmers to deliver grain of between 12,5 and 13,5 percent moisture content and GMB will take care of the issue. Farmers have been affected by drought. There are fears of fires, and thefts so we have granted that GMB must take maize with a moisture content of up to 13,5 percent.

“We are paying maize farmers within a short time so they can use their money for winter cropping. We have instructed GMB that no money should go into the board’s account, but should be go straight to farmers,” he said.

Dr Made said the tobacco industry had an organised marketing system where farmers get their money soon after selling and said Government was working on ensuring the same process is applied to maize.

He bemoaned the challenge of liquidity in the agriculture sector which he said was affecting production as some farmers were not capable of funding themselves.

He said farmers were failing to access funding as financial institutions required collateral.

“Government, with assistance from banks, is working on a document to make the 99-year lease to be used as collateral.

“The document is close to being finalised,” he said.

On cotton, Dr made said the crop was also important in terms of food security and Government could not allow the industry to collapse.

“Government will be supporting cotton for the next three seasons and we are already preparing for inputs related to the next seasons,” he said.

More face the music as Kuwait saga deepens

Source: More face the music as Kuwait saga deepens | The Herald May 19, 2016

Tendai Rupapa Senior Court Reporter
POLICE in Harare have arrested a Kuwait embassy official and three suspects as investigations into the human trafficking saga deepen.

Brenda Avril May (62), a secretary at the embassy, was re-arrested after fresh charges emerged.

May has pending similar charges before the courts.

She recruited Joyleen Muchengu on the pretext that she was going to work as a nurse aide for former Kuwaiti Ambassador to Zimbabwe Ahmed Al-Jeeran’s brother, Bader Khaled.

On reaching Kuwait, Muchengu was sold and forced to do menial jobs.

Police also arrested Jethro Madakasi (23), a policeman based in Mutare.

He reportedly lured Sandra Chikomwe on the pretext that he had secured employment for her before demanding $50 which he said was for processing police clearance and a medical report.

The other two are Nyasha Bako (29) and Lucia Makwangwa (41), who are accused of sending four women to Kuwait where they were turned into slaves.

Twelve people have been arrested in connection with the case so far.

The suspects have since appeared in court and were represented by Mr David Dhumbura of Coghlan Welsh and Guest, Mr Obey Zimbodza from Zimbodza and Associates and Mr Liberty Gono of Machaya and Associates.

The quartet appeared on separate records before Mr Vakayi Chikwekwe.

May, Madakasi and Makwangwa were freed on $500 bail each. They were ordered to report to the police three times a week.

Bako was denied bail after the State proved that he was a flight risk.

Prosecuting, Mr Peter Kachirika submitted that Bako had been on the run since March.

The Prosecutor-General’s Office consented to a free bail for May on the basis that she was already on bail while Madakasi and Makwangwa had been ordered to pay $300 bail, but Mr Chikwekwe overturned the State’s decision and ordered the quartet to pay $500 each.

They were remanded to June 14.

Mr Kachirika alleged May processed a visa and air ticket for Muchengu after misrepresenting to her that she was going to work as a nurse aide for Bader Khaled Al-Jeeran.

Muchengu left Zimbabwe on October 14 and upon arrival in Kuwait, she was whisked away by an unidentified agent while her passport was confiscated.

At the hands of her employer, Muchengu worked for long hours, was not given food and was not allowed to leave the house. The court heard that Madakasi, who connived with his alleged accomplice, Progress Mehlo based in Kuwait, misrepresented to Chikomwe that he had connections in Kuwait and had secured a job for her as a maid where she would be paid $700 per month.

He allegedly processed a visa and air ticket for her and she left the coun- try.

It is the State’s case that Bako and Makwangwa connived and recruited Zviito Kaurimbo, Tariro Muza, Emmaculate Mujeyi and Hazvinei Garanewako.

When they got to Kuwait their passports and mobile phones were confiscated and they were placed under house arrest where they were abused and worked as maids for long hours without food.

They were later rescued by Zimbabwean Embassy officials in Kuwait who facilitated their return home.

So far suspects that have appeared in court in connection with trafficking are Brenda Avril (31), Lucia Chibayambuya (26), Lawrence Chibayambuya (23), Faith Magora (57), Edgar Muchineripi Gora, Josephine Gondo (26) and Fadzai Nyahondo (19).

Zimbabwe: Human Trafficking Saga Sucks in Shamu

Former Cabinet Minister Cde Webster Shamu was yesterday named in Parliament as the proprietor of a downtown strip tease joint that was allegedly used as a recruitment point in the trafficking of 150 women to Kuwait and other countries in the Middle East.

Source: Zimbabwe: Human Trafficking Saga Sucks in Shamu – allAfrica.com 18 May 2016

Several legislators called for the closure of the joint, accusing it of promoting debauchery and demanded that Kuwait embassy officials be held responsible for aiding the trafficking of girls in that country who were eventually used as sex slaves.

Cde Shamu, who had been a Cabinet Minister for several years before being stripped owing to his alleged links with former Vice President Joice Mujuru’s putschist cabal, denied owning the club saying the allegations were made by people bent on tarnishing his name.

This came out during a motion moved by Goromonzi West MP Cde Beata Nyamupinga (Zanu-PF), calling for expeditious investigations into circumstances surround the luring of the girls under the pretext that they would get lucrative jobs in Kuwait.

In her contribution, Cde Nyamupinga condemned the exploitation of women in the night joints.

During the debate, Tafara/Mabvuku MP Mr James Maridadi (MDC-T), said the club was owned by a member of Parliament, adding that another legislator was subletting stalls at Mupedzanhamo Flea Market where he collected $200 per stand while remitting $15 to council.

He was directed to give names by stand-in Speaker of the National Assembly, Cde William Mutomba following protests from Mbare MP Cde Tendai Savanhu (Zanu-PF), to which he said he would furnish the house with names today.

During the debate some MPs could be heard shouting Cde Shamu’s name each time legislators from both Zanu-PF and MDC-T made reference to the night club

This prompted Kuwadzana East MP Mr Nelson Chamisa (MDC-T) to ask Speaker of the National Assembly, Advocate Jacob Mudenda who had returned to the chair to direct Cde Shamu, who was already on the floor to respond to allegations that he owned the joint.

“It is something that he needs to clarify. I want to get guidance from the Chair if Hon Shamu should not respond to these allegations because they are serious,” said Mr Chamisa.

Cde Shamu denied owning the joint saying the allegation was as spurious as the accusations that ZBC bought him a vehicle despite the fact that he got it from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.

“I don’t own any kind of night club in my business activities. In fact, it has become a common feature for people to cast aspersions on MPs, especially those on my right (MDC-T),” said Cde Shamu.

During debate, several MPs said Kuwait should be held responsible for allowing the exploitation of Zimbabwean girls, some of whom had since returned.

Meanwhile, Adv Mudenda appealed to MPs to call off a demonstration against Kuwait through sitting on the floor.

Adv Mudenda said while he agreed with their concerns, allowing them, mostly female MPs sitting on the floor would disrupt the smooth flow of business considering space constraints.

Zimbabwe: Govt Seeks Ban On Kuwait Visas

Government has written to the government of Kuwait seeking an immediate ban on the issuance of Article 20 visas to Zimbabweans to prevent more people from being trafficked to the Middle East country.

Source: Zimbabwe: Govt Seeks Ban On Kuwait Visas – allAfrica.com

Government has written to the government of Kuwait seeking an immediate ban on the issuance of Article 20 visas to Zimbabweans to prevent more people from being trafficked to the Middle East country.

Under Kuwaiti immigration laws, an Article 20 visa restricts one to being a domestic worker.

Government also wants the Kuwait government to arrange compensation for the period Zimbabwean human trafficking victims were forced to work without pay.

This comes amid reports that Cabinet has directed that a special fund be established to cater for Zimbabwean victims of human trafficking in various countries.

This is contrary to reports that Government was not doing anything to repatriate the victims.

In his letter to Kuwait Foreign Affairs Minister Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah dated May 10, Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi said the requests were meant to avoid a recurrence of a situation where more than 200 local women were held hostage in that country.

“I wish to bring to your attention a very disturbing chain of events that have affected Zimbabwean young women who were lured to Kuwait under the guise of taking up lucrative employment,” Minister Mumbengegwi wrote.

“The number of distressed Zimbabwean women who have escaped from bondage and sought refuge at the Zimbabwean embassy in Kuwait City are 83 and the numbers continue to grow with each passing day since the number of Zimbabwean young women in Kuwait is believed to be well over 200.

“It is for all the above stated reasons that the Government of Zimbabwe seeks your full cooperation to immediately desist from issuing to Zimbabwean nationals, especially women, Article 20 visas.”

Young women are said to be lured to Kuwait by a local human trafficking syndicate on the pretext that they will get lucrative jobs.

The latest batch of 21 returnees arrived last Friday.

Most of the women end up being beaten up, sexually abused, working for very long hours, given low wages and sometimes not being paid at all.

Minister Mumbengegwi said Government was also seeking cooperation in “identifying and locating all Zimbabweans issued with Article 20 visas, granting access to Zimbabwean diplomats accredited to Kuwait to these nationals with the view to having them repatriated”.

He wrote: “Your cooperation is needed in permitting the diplomats to collect personal possessions left in the custody of their former masters as the ladies fled from the unbearable conditions they were subjected to. We also seek that you facilitate the immediate repatriation of those currently held at the Zimbabwean embassy or in shelters.

“We seek your cooperation in the arrest and deportation from Kuwait into our custody, Zimbabwean criminals who have been identified as being part of the criminal syndicate operating in the trafficking in persons in the State of Kuwait.”

The criminals include Ms Lorraine Nhapata (+956 947863319), Ms Margaret Tinashe Nyamande () and Ms Chipo Kolomola (contact not given).

Minister Mumbengegwi said goings on in Kuwait violated international labour laws and the Convention against Transnational Organised Crime, principally the protocol to prevent, suppress and punish trafficking of persons, especially women and children.

He said the abuse on the women had left them “traumatised and scarred for life.”

It is understood on arrival, the victims are sold for between $2 500 to $3 000 as maids.

Sources said Government was on its toes, working to ensure everyone was brought back home.

“Cabinet was apprised all along of the situation (in Kuwait) and as a result has instructed that the Zimbabwean embassy in Kuwait be given money to deal with this situation and repatriate the victims,” said a source.

“It was also directed that a special fund be created to deal with victims of human trafficking. Contrary to reports that Government was doing nothing, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been engaged with the issue from the very initial reports that were made. There was constant communication between the ambassador (Grey Marongwe), the Minister and permanent secretary of Foreign Affairs (Joey Bimha) and director for consular and legal affairs.”

Zimbabwe: Parly Moves to Charge Kuwaza

Speaker of the National Assembly Advocate Jacob Mudenda yesterday set up a Privileges Committee to look into allegations that former State Procurement Board chairperson Mr Charles Kuwaza (pictured) might be in contempt of Parliament following remarks by the Portfolio Committee on Mines and Energy when he was invited to appear before the committee last year.

Source: Zimbabwe: Parly Moves to Charge Kuwaza – allAfrica.com 18 May 2016

Setting up of the seven-member committee came after a committee chaired by Gutu Central MP Cde Lovemore Matuke (Zanu-PF), submitted to the National Assembly that Mr Kuwaza could have been in breach of the Privileges, Immunities and Powers of Parliament Act after failing to provide them with requested information.

Adv Mudenda ruled that there were reasonable grounds to suspect that he might have been in contempt of Parliament, paving way for the setting up of the committee.

The committee will be chaired by Mazowe West MP Cde Kazembe Kazembe.

Other members of the committee are Mazowe South MP Cde Fortune Chasi, Manicaland MP Cde Christopher Mutsvangwa and Dr Daniel Shumba (all from Zanu-PF.). Others are Kuwadzana East MP Mr Nelson Chamisa, Harare West MP Ms Jessie Majome (both MDC-T) and Bulawayo Metropolitan MP Ms Jasmine Toffa (MDC).

The committee is expected to gather evidence and compile a report to be tabled before Parliament for debate and possible adoption.

Platinum mines plot mass retrenchments

Source: Platinum mines plot mass retrenchments – NewZimbabwe 18/05/2016

SOUTH African-owned and other mining groups in Zimbabwe will lay off employees to rationalise costs in the next few months, despite platinum, gold and nickel registering growth during the first quarter of the current year.

Anglo Platinum’s Unki Mine, Impala Platinum’s Zimplats, Sibanye Gold, whose bid for Aquarius Platinum is almost complete, and Metallon Gold are among the South African mining groups with a heavy presence in Zimbabwe.

They are set to face intense wage negotiations back at home in the coming few weeks and have just completed annual wage talks in Zimbabwe.

Chamber of Mines of Zimbabwe CEO Isaac Kwesu said on Tuesday that miners will continue to seek wage rationalisation.

Batsirai Manhando, CEO of Bindura Nickel Corporation said the nickel miner will also effect retrenchments.

“All mining houses are trying to vary the costs rationalisation but labour is the most intense and companies will either seek to reduce working hours or laying off,” said Kwesu.

Manhando said the nickel miner would also focus on reducing costs and conceded that “there will be some retrenchments along the process”.

The retrenchments will affect both senior management positions and general workers in the mining industry which could spark disputes with mine workers unions that have just completed a wage rise settlement for 2016.

The chamber of mines said on Tuesday that Zimbabwe’s mining industry “has recorded negative growth in the past two years”.

However, during the first quarter period to the end of March, the miners “recorded robust performance, with all major minerals recording increases in volumes produced”.

Platinum registered a 43% growth, gold rose by 21% and nickel surged by 10% during the first quarter period.

The chamber of mines estimates that Zimbabwean gold producers will produce as much as 24 tonnes of the metal this year and about 17 tonnes of platinum.

However, the industry was facing “systematic challenges such as lower prices although gold and platinum prices have started to rise.

“We have our own unique circumstances; expensive and scarce capital and power. Even though the power supply situation has improved, we anticipate it to remain fragile,” said Kwesu.

He added that on the policy side, there have been encouraging developments but the miners are expecting more give-ins from the government in terms of royalties, taxes and policy positions such as indigenisation and the export framework.

The government is also reportedly spearheading legislation to have all minerals marketed through a state owned entity.

Local gold miners are already required to sell their bullion through Fidelity Printers, a unit of the central bank

 

Special econimc zones sites selected

Source: Special econimc zones sites selected – NewZimbabwe 18/05/2016

HARARE: Zimbabwe has selected three locations for setting up pilot special economic zones (SEZs) as the country seeks to re-awaken investor interest after a dearth in foreign direct investment, a government minister said on Wednesday.

SEZs allow investors to operate under “special” conditions that are different from the rest of the economy and allow investors more privileges.

Macro-Economic Planning and Investment Minister Obert Mpofu said the Sunway City Integrated Industrial Park in Harare, the Victoria Falls financial hub and the Bulawayo industrial hub would be used for trial runs before the SEZ initiative is spread to the rest of the country.

Consultations on the pilot projects, he said, were on-going while government was pushing for enactment of the SEZ law.

“This (pilot project) is important as it makes us develop deeper understanding and appreciation of the special economic zones,” Mpofu said at a meeting on “investment promotion and SEZs” his ministry jointly organised with the Japan International Cooperation Agency.

Setting up of the zones had received the backing of the majority of stakeholders in the country, he added.

“It is encouraging to note that there is immense buy-in which is expected to give the Bill the necessary impetus for its enactment into law soon,” he said.

“Currently the SEZ Bill is undergoing the due processes and consultations which will see it being passed into an Act thus putting inplace a sound legal and regulatory framework.”

To aid investment in SEZs, government was reforming the doing business environment and revamping its One Stop Investment Shop aimed at facilitating faster approval and licensing of new investments.

Japanese ambassador to Zimbabwe, Yoshi Hiraishi, said attracting FDI was critical for Zimbabwe to attain its development objectives.

“The creation of SEZs in Zimbabwe will hopefully result in an increase of much needed investment from various sources including foreign countries,” the diplomat said.

“Zimbabwe is sadly lagging behind its neighbours in this regard.”

Countries such as neighbouring Mozambique and South Africa are in the process of setting up SEZs and have over the years beaten Zimbabwe in attracting FDI.

Japan and Zimbabwe are keen to elevate their economic relations following President Robert Mugabe’s visit to the Asian country nearly two months ago.

“Special conditions are extended in our special economic zones and Japanese business people are invited to take advantage of these,” President Mugabe said inviting businesses in the Asian country to venture into the southern African country.

Observers have warned that even SEZs might not yield desired results as long as there remained uncertainties given government’s tendency to reverse or change its policies.

Church leaders protest against national pledge

CHURCH leaders in Harare yesterday led a protest march against Primary and Secondary Education minister Lazarus Dokora, demanding he rescinds his decision to force the recitation of the national pledge in schools.

Source: Church leaders protest against national pledge – NewsDay Zimbabwe May 19, 2016

BY OBEY MANAYITI/XOLISANI NCUBE

The church leaders said the pledge was against their Christian beliefs and must be dropped immediately.

The placard-waving church leaders, under the banner of the Prayer Network of Zimbabwe, later handed their petition to the ministry’s acting permanent secretary, Peter Muzawazi.

“Our main issue is that the pledge is against the Constitution, particularly section 60,” PNZ spokesperson, Assan Mtembo said.

“We don’t want our children to recite that pledge. This is like the time of Daniel in the Bible, where people were forced to take contrary acts. We are warning them to stop the pledge.”

Mtembo said they would give the government two weeks to respond, failure to which, they would hold more protests.

This came as Christian Voice International-Zimbabwe, led by Tapfumaneyi Zenda, and Zimbabwe Divine Destiny, led by Ancelimo Magaya, petitioned Parliament to force Dokora to drop the pledge.

Meanwhile, over 100 vendors took to the streets yesterday, demonstrating against Harare City Council’s continued confiscation of their wares.

The vendors accused Local Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere of sanctioning their harassment by council authorities, as they demanded that the acting mayor, Chris Mbanga, address them.

Addressing the protesters at Town House under heavy police guard, National Vendors’ Union of Zimbabwe leader, Stern Zvorwadza challenged council to stop confiscating street hawkers’ wares, as this was in violation of the Constitution.

“We want council to address and tell us where they are getting the powers to confiscate our wares. This is violation of the Constitution, as stipulated under section 69 that has to do with property rights. They want us to suffer,” he said.

Zim faces $800m financing gap

GOVERNMENT faces a financing gap of $800 million this year due to low revenue and high expenditure, amid fears it will borrow from the domestic market to plug the hole.

Source: Zim faces $800m financing gap – NewsDay Zimbabwe May 19, 2016

“The projected domestic loan repayments of $678,6 million and a budget deficit of $150 million, result in a financing gap of$828,6 million for the year 2016,” the Finance ministry said in its first quarter bulletin.

According to the first quarter treasury bulletin, government issued Treasury Bills worth $245 million on the domestic market during the period. Of the amount borrowed, $15,9 million went towards financing the budget deficit, while $229,1 million went towards debt repayment and other activities, it said.

The ministry said, in response to the undesirable budget outturn, government was instituting a cocktail of measures meant to boost revenues and rationalise expenditures.

“Government has issued various Treasury circulars instituting expenditure rationalisation measures. The measures are expected to yield savings of about $16 million,” it said.

The government has been under pressure due to the burgeoning wage bill, which takes over 80% of revenue, which has crowded out spending on social and capital projects.

In a recent report, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said Zimbabwe cannot use fiscal policy to deal with adverse shocks, for its social and development needs, because it lacks the necessary resources and it spends too much on wage outlays.

“For the time-being, the budget needs to target a broadly balanced fiscal position, while reprioritising spending toward social and development outlays,” IMF said.

It said the stance would help restore fiscal sustainability and increase the capacity to repay the country’s external debt.

“The objective is to unlock foreign financing that could allow the government to run small-to-moderate deficits in response to adverse shocks and raise the spending levels for social and infrastructure needs,” IMF said.

Mugabe’s raft of reforms underway

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe has embarked on a raft of reforms meant to plug corruption and make it easier to set up businesses in Zimbabwe, NewsDay can reveal.

Source: Mugabe’s raft of reforms underway – NewsDay Zimbabwe May 19, 2016

BY RICHARD CHIDZA

Mugabe, who has presided over the spectacular collapse of a once vibrant and promising economy, has in the past year and a half created teams with support from the World Bank (WB) and a team of local economists led by University of Zimbabwe lecturer, Ashok Chakravarti.

Chakravarti confirmed to NewsDay that Mugabe’s office was leading the initiative known as Ease of Doing Business Reforms.

“The initiative came after a study done by the Industry ministy that found that Zimbabwe’s economic environment was over-regulated and had become a high-cost economy. This has resulted in uncompetitive exports, while the market is flooded by imports,” Chakravarti said.

“There are just too many regulations on business, licences and permits that make it expensive as well as restrict the ability of business to move forward.”

He said the initiative was known as the President’s 100-Day Action Plan.

“Under this, inter-ministerial working groups (IWGs) are supposed to report on progress every 100 days. Those that would have failed will get a red flag. We are in the second 100 days and we will continue until we get to the level of compliance that we want,” he said.

Chakravarti said Mugabe’s office leads the initiative, with technical and financial support from a local organisation known as the Strategic Economic Research Analysis Programme (Sera) and the WB.

“There are IWGs from starting a business, registration of property and building permits and cross-border trading, among others. We are at an advanced stage in amending the Companies Act, the Shop Licensing Act, as well as the Regional Town and Country Planning Act, with a view to making it easier to register property, acquire licences and plan approval for buildings,” the economist said.

Mugabe’s reforms come as Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa is shuttling between Harare and world capitals seeking support for Zimbabwe’s economic reform programme, as the President tries to get back into favour with global multilateral lending institutions after years of acrimony.

Chinamasa last week said the government was working on a plan to reduce its bloated wage bill from the current 83% of its annual budget to 50% by 2019.

Chakravarti said the government had realised that the many permits and licences, as well as a plethora of inspections, had created a haven for corruption and underhand dealings by small business owners, who find it almost impossible to comply.

“We want to make it easier to renew and comply. For example, Harare caters for over 55 000 shop owners, but only 8 000 have permits. The city is losing a lot of money, but now, if you apply, you can get a shop licence within an hour and we have set a 90-day target for building plan permits,” he said.

Last year, the Chinese government was said to have seconded economists to Mugabe’s office, as part of a deal to fund a turnaround in Zimbabwe.

What the Constitution says about suspension of mayors

Local government and national government in Zimbabwe have a dramatic, turbulent and frictional history that has often seen the local government (particularly, executive mayors) being removed through suspensions. This piece will focus on the latest victim of this local government and national government “feud”, suspended Harare mayor, Bernard Manyenyeni and the judgment that upheld his suspension for allegedly unlawfully appointing James Mushore as town clerk without seeking approval from the Local Government Board.

Paul Kaseke

Source: What the Constitution says about suspension of mayors – NewsDay Zimbabwe May 19, 2016

Background
The previous Constitution did not deal with local government at all and certainly did not regulate the removal of councillors. Local government was, thus, dealt with exclusively by The Urban Councils Act (UCA). This broad piece of legislation dealt with almost everything under local government business, including the removal and suspension of councillors, which include the mayor for purposes of this article. The most notorious section of the Act is section 114 and it’s most notable victim is Elias Mudzuri, whose suspension was so indefinite it effectively became a dismissal.

The Constitution and local government
The Constitution now explicitly deals with and regulates local government and because it is the supreme law of the country, it overrides all other laws. In interpreting the Constitution, we must ask ourselves why the drafters saw it important to include it when it was previously left out. The answer to this is that a shift in reasoning and governance has taken place.

One of the most fascinating aspects of the Constitution is that unlike the previous one, it envisages an express devolution of powers from central government to local government. There is no more room for appointments by the minister in respect of local government because the Constitution requires that such offices be exclusively occupied by elected officials. Given that Harare, in particular, was run by appointed commissions for a long time, it is clear that the intention of the drafters of the Constitution was to prevent appointment of commissioners or authorities.

The UCA and the Constitution are worlds apart and anyone who tries to reconcile the two does so to the detriment of sound logic and legal reasoning. This is so because the UCA is based on a now extinct idea of ministerial superintending in respect of Local Government but the Constitution does not subscribe to that same notion, in fact, it opposes it in no unclear terms. My proposition is that ministerial supervisory role that resulted in suspensions and dismissals by the minister, simply does not exist post the 2013 Constitution.

The Constitution does not envisage or allow for the Local Government minister to exercise any substantive power over councils at all. The evidence of this is seen in section 274(2)which reads, “Urban local authorities are managed by councils composed of councillors elected by registered voters in the urban areas concerned and presided over by elected mayors or chairpersons, by whatever name called”. The minister does not share this management authority concurrently with the councils, nor does he enjoy any measure of control over them. Unfortunately or fortunately, those powers no longer rest with the minister and to construe this otherwise is to play on a legal fiction and to undermine the Constitution’s idea of devolution of power. One could, in fact, say the role of the minister is now constitutionally redundant because it is impossible to think of any meaningful or substantive role being played by a Local Government minister. This thinking is consistent with the power conferred to local government by the Constitution to govern without interference and remain autonomous from central government.

It would seem to me that post 2013, the powers purportedly exercised by the minister are actually snatched from the provincial and local authorities, albeit contrary to the Constitution. Interestingly, the only reference in the Constitution to the minister in the entire chapter dealing with local government (sections 274-279) is in section 278(1) alludes to the minister playing the same role as the President of the Senate or Speaker of Parliament when a seat becomes vacant on the grounds listed in section 129 of the Constitution. The Constitution only envisages the minister receives notices from political parties to inform him if a councillor is no longer with a party.

The judgment that was
The judgment in the case of Manyenyeni is a tragic miss to correct the tension between local and central government, but it also fails to capture the transformational power of the Constitution. With respect, the judgment betrays the Constitution and what effectively is the voice of the people that voted for it. Justice Mary Dube, who ruled in favour of the minister, essentially found that the Constitution did not make reference to the word “suspension” and in the absence of that, section 114 continues to apply only in as far as suspensions are concerned. Again, with respect, that interpretation is inappropriate and inconsistent with the Constitution.

One of the most obvious flaws of the judgment is the reliance on a flawed interpretational approach to interpret section 278 of the Constitution. The ordinary grammatical rule, which the judge used, is highly inappropriate for the interpretation of any constitution. The court should have used the purposive approach, which seeks to determine what the purpose of the provision is. Nevertheless, the court found that suspension is a part of a regiment meant to eventually end with an investigation, leading to a dismissal in terms of section 114. The court also found that the suspension would be rendered useless because the power to dismiss rests with the independent tribunal that should be created by an Act of Parliament (which at the time of litigation did not exist). It would, thus, mean that the suspension would lead nowhere, as there is no dismissal that is possible at this stage (since there is no tribunal).

The suspension is, thus, a punitive exercise that serves no other purpose in our legal framework. The judge conceded to and reconciled herself to that logic but still upheld a suspension that serves no legitimate or lawful purpose and therein lies another fatal error. To uphold the suspension that serves no legal purpose is to create an absurdity that is not justifiable in law.

He with the power to dismiss, inadvertently has the power to suspend and he without the power to dismiss, cannot logically be said to have the power to suspend. A suspension cannot be lawful when it operates outside a staggered disciplinary process. It, therefore, makes no sense that the judgment upheld a suspension that is on the face of it, baseless and unlawful. Interpreted correctly, the power to suspend will only resurrect when an independent tribunal is created and given effect to by an act of parliament. Even when such power resurfaces, it will not and cannot be exercised by the minister, as that would be contrary to the Constitution.

The purpose of section 278 is quite clear: nobody should be able to dismiss or interfere with local government operations and this is what autonomy entails, but the judge gives the minister free rein to do exactly what the Constitution intended to prevent. The judgment can aptly be said to be anti-devolutionary.

There is no jurisdiction that has a devolution of power and yet allows the Local government minister to suspend an elected councillor or mayor. The power is inconsistent with the idea of devolution.

Another one of the failings of the judgment is its incorrect application of the “constitutional conformity” test, wherein laws must conform to the Constitution or be declared invalid to the extent of their invalidity. The judgment gives the impression that it is the Constitution that must be read into section 114 or the Act more generally. That is not correct. If this test had been applied by the learned judge correctly, then the result would be that the section, in its entirety, cannot be spared from a conclusion of invalidity and this was indeed the case in the other two cases, where the minister purported to suspend the mayors of Bulawayo and Gweru.

Even if we assumed that the suspension was within the ambit of the minister, it raises the question of the validity of the charge against which the suspension was made. Section 114 allowed/allows the minister to suspend on established grounds but none of them match the charge. The suspension letter purported to suspend the mayor on the ground that he appointed the town clerk without going through the Local Government Board. The powers and the existence of that board died a “constitutional death” by the simple fact that the Constitution distributes the powers previously enjoyed by the board and gives them to either The tribunal or the councils themselves. In essence, the minister suspended the mayor on the basis that he appointed a town clerk without the approval of a body that no longer exists nor has a function according to the Constitution. That duty to go through to the Local Government Board, as set out by the UCA, is unconstitutional and, therefore, unlawful. The suspension, therefore, cannot possibly be valid because the charge itself is not valid. That board became unconstitutional and non-existent from the time that the Constitution was adopted.

We should ideally start seeing less cases of suspension of mayors in the future if the Constitution is given effect to. It is encouraging that two out of the three cases dealing with the suspensions of mayors, thus, far have largely endorsed the positions discussed in this piece. What of course remains to be seen is the political will to give effect to these judgments and the Constitution.

l Paul Kaseke is a senior lecturer a Wits University in South Africa

 

Fear grips Mnangagwa allies

VICE-PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa’s loyalists have reportedly scaled up their personal security, amid fears they could be the next assassination targets following the the death of suspended women’s league boss and Midlands provincial heroine, Espinah Nhari in a car accident last week.

Source: Fear grips Mnangagwa allies – NewsDay Zimbabwe May 19, 2016 BY OBEY MANAYITI/BLESSED MHLANGA

Former Zanu PF Mashonaland Central youth chairperson, Godfrey Tsenengamu, who was fired together with his six counterparts for allegedly undermining First Lady Grace Mugabe, claimed to have been receiving threats from anonymous callers.

“We are dealing with people who are desperate and can do anything including taking people’s lives. They are desperate for power and they don’t care about other people,” he alleged.

Tsenengamu said he suspected G40 hitmen have been trailing his family for the past two weeks.

“In the past two weeks, they have been threatening my family in Mt Darwin with anonymous calls and night visits to where my family is residing. l had to move them to another place,” he alleged. A lot of people have been receiving threatening messages. Remember some of us received some G40 messages some time ago, saying your days are numbered, and Nhari received them as well.”

Zanu PF spokesperson, Simon Khaya Moyo said if there were people with details about the alleged assassination plots, they should approach the party leadership for recourse.

National police spokesperson, Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba declined to be drawn into the matter, saying: “Go and ask the people making those allegations. I was not there when the allegations were being made. Please don’t drag the police into these matters.”

Meanwhile, NewsDay has gathered that Nhari suffered a mild stroke three weeks before her death.

Close family members said the Zanu PF politician had been stressed following her suspension from the women’s league last year.
She was reportedly flown to South Africa by her daughter, Cynthia, and son, Ronald, for treatment.

“She had a partial stroke and she was not able to talk or do anything. We rushed her to the doctor and on our way back, she asked me to write down that (Gokwe-Kana MP Owen) Ncube, whom she viewed as her eldest son, should start preparing a programme for her funeral,” Cynthia said.

Nhari, a strong Mnangagwa ally, met her fate while travelling to Harare to buy an air ticket to travel back to South Africa to be with her daughter.

 

NSSA bank charms home seekers

THE National Building Society (NBS) opened its doors yesterday, offering the lowest interest rates of 9,5% for mortgage lending, with a tenure of 25 years, the longest on the market.

Source: NSSA bank charms home seekers – NewsDay Zimbabwe May 19, 2016

BY VICTORIA MTOMBA

Mortgage lending in the market hovers at around 12%, with a maximum tenure of 20 years.

Speaking at the opening of the institution, NBS’s managing director, Ken Chitando said the society was targeting 2 000 housing units annually.

“We will be looking at the market at large. We will be looking at development financial institutions, who have particular interest in affordable housing. The interest rate will be a single digit, 9,5%,” he said.

The bank is targeting low income earners and will provide houses, as well as financing housing construction.

NBS chairman, Gamaliel Bwanya said the company was planning for one or two housing projects to start before year end.

“We are targeting Glaudina, a land bank owned by the National Social Security Authority. We are targeting that as our first project. There is also a NSSA land bank in Bulawayo and we are looking at commencing something there as well,” he said.

Chitando said the building society would take deposits and do transactional, banking services and will also offer bancassurance services.

Guest of honour, Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa said the entry of another building society augurs well for the deepening of financial inclusion in Zimbabwe and will fill the void in the sector, as other institutions had been struggling to provide cheap and affordable long term financing in the mortgage sector.

“To that end, I exhort you to capture that market, which has been traditionally excluded from accessing mortgage financing, like vendors, cross border traders market gardeners, artisanal miners, subsistence farmers and informal traders to name, but a few,” he said.

NBS was given a certificate of registration in December 2015 by the central bank. On April 22, NSSA completed the $25 million capitalisation of NBS.

Zimbabwe has a housing backlog of 1,25 million and government is targeting to build more than 300 000 housing units by 2018 to ease the shortage. Mnangagwa said housing developments have been limited by insufficient national budget allocations, which have been a result of the constrained fiscal space.

The country has been short of mortgage lending since dollarisation, but many banks are now issuing mortgages, but with high interest rates that result in high defaults rates and auctioning of houses by financial institutions to recover their funds.

Dhlakama responds to Presidents’s call for team to prepare for dialogue

Maputo, 18 May (AIM) – Afonso Dhlakama, leader of Mozambique’s largest opposition party Renamo, has responded positively to a call by President Filipe Nyusi for a committee to be set up to pave the way for the resumption of dialogue.

Source: Dhlakama responds to Presidents’s call for team to prepare for dialogue – The Zimbabwean 18/5/2016

A dialogue between the government and Renamo began in April 2013. However, after 114 sessions, the discussions were abruptly terminated by Renamo in August 2015.

President Nyusi has consistently called for the resumption of dialogue and for a halt to the violent attacks carried out in the centre of the country by Renamo’s illegal armed militia.

On Tuesday, the President wrote to Dhlakama requesting that he appoint representatives to a joint commission tasked with preparing the terms of reference for future talks.

In a telephone interview later that day with the television station STV, Dhlakama responded that his office will announce on Thursday the names of three representatives who will participate in the commission.

They will meet with the government team set up in April to prepare the ground for a face-to-face meeting between the two leaders.

Until now Renamo has argued that there can be no further dialogue without the mediation of the Catholic Church, the European Union, and South African President Jacob Zuma. In addition, Renamo has demanded that it first take power in the six central and northern provinces where it claims to have won in the 2014 elections.

In his letter to Dhlakama, the President argued that there is no need for mediation before the creation of the joint commission because dialogue would only resume based on the terms of reference agreed by the joint team.

Dhlakama has not been seen for several months and is believed to be in hiding somewhere in Gorongosa district, in the central province of Sofala. During the interview, Dhlakama dismissed rumours that he was dead or in ill health.

Govt to launch web portal

Source: Govt to launch web portal | The Herald May 18, 2016

GOVERNMENT will soon launch a web portal which will be the internet based entry point to all Ministries as the state moves towards electronic governance, an official said on Tuesday. Speaking at the Zim-Asset Stakeholders Communication Support Workshop, Office of the President and Cabinet head of public affairs and knowledge management, Mary Mubi said the website was one of the platforms to be used to enhance service delivery through information dissemination.

“Very soon we will be launching a Government web portal which will be the entry point to government Ministries which we hope will be regularly updated so that it gives you information on key decisions so that as citizens you can also send feedback,” she said.

Ambassador Mubi added; “The web portal is one aspect of it, the other part is the whole issue of e-governance. We are now trying to get our websites active in terms of the technology upgrade and so on.”

She said almost all government Ministries had websites, though they were not being updated.

“It is something that we are working furiously on, to make sure that most of our policies are on government websites and also as a window for citizens to be able to make suggestions.”

“As a department, one of the key things that we are going to be doing is monitoring to make sure that all the websites are updated on a regular basis,” she said.

Ambassador Mubi said the 0PC had been working on a communication strategy for the country’s economic blueprint, Zim-Asset (Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Social Economic Transformation).

“And basically this is a stakeholder meeting because one of the things that the Zim-Asset strategy talks about is stakeholder involvement, which is mobilising the private sector, NGOs and others.

“This will be done so that we move towards improved, coordinated promotion, awareness raising and understanding of Zim-Asset issues and related initiatives that contribute to Zimbabwe’s sustainable development and economic growth and transformation,” she said.

A Zimbabwe politician says all the Chinese in his country should be deported

Source: A Zimbabwe politician says all the Chinese in his country should be deported — Quartz May 17, 2016

A member of a Zimbabwean opposition party has called for all Chinese nationals to be kicked out of the southern African country.

“[Chinese nationals] have contributed nothing of value except to aid a corrupt and repressive political system while looting away our national resources,” Willias Madzimure, the People’s Democratic Party’s (PDP) secretary for international relations wrote in an editorial on Monday (May 16). “The PDP calls on all Zimbabweans and other international stakeholders to come together and call for the Chinese to exit our country immediately.”

Madzimure accuses Beijing of “bleeding” Zimbabwe’s economy by supporting president Robert Mugabe. Under Mugabe’s watch the country is now struggling with a cash shortage, high unemployment, and slow economic growth.

The PDP has minimal influence over a government dominated by Mugabe and his ruling party, ZANU-PF, but their calls reflect a growing backlash against Zimbabwe’s long-time partner.

For the past three decades, Zimbabwe has relied on China as an ally in the international community and as a trading partner. In 2008, Beijing vetoed a UN resolution that would have sanctioned Mugabe for orchestrating violence against opposition groups in a run-off election. As of last year, more than half of the country’s tobacco exports go to China, and the government recently adopted the Chinese yuan as one of Zimbabwe’s legal currencies. China is Zimbabwe’s top investor, with investment in agriculture and mining among other sectors reaching almost $50 million last year, according to China’s embassy in Harare.

Mugabe is also taking a harsher stance with Beijing. The 92-year-old ruler has ordered all foreign diamond mining companies, including large Chinese companies Anjin Investment and Jinan Mining, to turn their operations over to the government. Mugabe admitted in March that the country had lost $13 billion in potential revenues because of illicit trade in the diamond industry.

“On one hand, by aiding and abetting the criminal Mugabe regime and, on the other, salting away billions of dollars from the country, the Chinese are killing the country twice,” Madzimure said. “This is the worst kind of imperialism and as Zimbabweans we must rise and resist it.”

Anjin denies smuggling diamonds to China

Source: Anjin denies smuggling diamonds to China | The Herald May 18, 2016

Diamond mining company, Anjin investments has denied smuggling diamonds worth $200 million to China saying the group only legally exported $112 million worth of the mineral. Addressing journalists yesterday, Anjin board member Munyaradzi Machacha said the export of diamonds by the mining company was done above board and all supporting documents were in place for scrutiny.This follows private media reports that the company had spirited away 3,7 million carats of diamonds worth $200 million to the Chinese Shanghai financial hub.

“The company was recklessly accused of involvement in the smuggling of 3,7 million carats from Chiadzwa to China’s financial hub of Shanghai worth $200 million. As a matter of fact and for the record that export in question was done above board with all relevant supporting documentation required for the lawful export of the diamonds from Zimbabwe.

“The carats involved were not 3,7 million as earlier reported , but 3,37 million and $112 million was realised from the sale, well below the figure of $200 million. What is important is that it was an ordinary export that met all requirements including the remittances to Government of all taxes and fees from the sale proceeds,” said Mr Machacha.

Mr Machacha said Anjin investments has nothing to hide and all requirements for diamond exports are available for inspection by relevant stakeholders.

“All documentation showing compliance with all requirements for diamond exports are available for inspection by the relevant stakeholders. We also draw your attention to the fact that sold diamonds end up in various markets and destinations across the globe.

“As Anjin we have no control over what the buyers decide to do with the purchased diamonds and we therefore got nothing to do with the placement of diamonds on the Shanghai financial services hub by the customer whether real or fictional,” he said.

Mr Machacha said the tendering process and valuation of diamonds had the full involvement of the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development through the Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe as per the norm and practice in the industry.

He said the export permits of the 3,37 million carats were duly signed by the then Minister of State Security Sydney Sekeramayi in his capacity as Acting Minister of Mines and Mining Development after all the requirements for authorisation of the diamond exports relevant state agencies had been met.

Anjin was a victim of Government’s directive for diamond mining companies to shut down operations following its refusal to form part of a consolidated mining entity.

Government sought to bring all diamond mining operations in the country under one firm in which it would hold a 50 percent shareholding after accusing the miners of failing to account for revenue from their operations.

The new Diamond Consolidated Mining Company has since started operations.

“All documentation showing compliance with all requirements for diamond exports are available for inspection by the relevant stakeholders. We also draw your attention to the fact that sold diamonds end up in various markets and destinations across the globe.

Electricity tariff hike will come at a huge cost

Source: Electricity tariff hike will come at a huge cost | The Herald May 18, 2016

Tafara Shumba Correspondent
The proposed hike of electricity tariff by zesa Holdings and recent developments within the electric utility raked up this memory, for they share similarities. Both zesa and the dear beggar misplace their priorities at somebody’s expense.

zesa’s application for 14 percent tariff hike is currently under the scrutiny of an inter-ministerial committee. Initially, the parastatal applied to have the tariff raised from 9.86 cents per kilowatt per hour to 14.6c/kWh. However, the regulatory authority, the Zimbabwe Electricity Regulatory Authority (zera) recommended to cabinet an increase of 11.2c /kWh. The hike is ostensibly meant to cover for import costs of 300 and 40 megawatts of electricity from South Africa and Mozambique respectively.

The proposed increase was received with strong resistance from people of all walks of life.

Electricity is one of the chief economic drivers whose cost has ripple effects on the political and socio-economic lives of residents and industry.

The Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI), Chamber of Mines of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe Farmers Union (ZFU), Commercial Farmers Union (CFU), Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union (ZCFU) and other business organisations have all expressed their reservations on the increase of electricity levy, arguing that the increase would come at a huge cost to the economy.

Indeed, the increase will increase the woes of the ordinary person as he is at the last point in the supply chain to bear the net effects. The hike will definitely increase the production cost of goods and services.

Unfortunately the burden will be passed on to the final consumer, the ordinary resident who is already struggling to make ends meet.

Although the increment seems to be insignificant, residents are paying the current rates through their noses.

They have many other financial obligations which cost them an arm and a leg.

What if all utility and service providers decide to hike their products? It is unfortunate that the poor citizen has always become the first port of call for everybody who needs money to fund a project.

Tollgates mushroomed all over and there were even plans to install more before the ministry changed hands in the cabinet reshuffle.

Ingenuity and performance can never be measured by extortionate actions.

A good performer thinks outside the box and solves challenges without transferring the burden to the poor.

Of course, electricity has to be imported to cover for the declining electricity generation at Kariba due to low water level.

However, there are other avenues that the parastal can explore before resorting to the obvious.

What irks everybody most is the insincerity of zesa.

It acts as if it is virtually moneyless yet the lifestyle of its executives and employees betrays that pretence.

A lifestyle audit at zesa would bring to light how the utility company misplaces its priorities.

For transparency’s sake, zesa must publish its budget that shows operating costs and costs of importing power supply.

It will not surprise anyone to discover that a greater chunk goes to salaries and perks.

zesa should have restructured itself in line with the declined electricity generation.

There is no need to keep a sea of highly remunerated employees when your generation capacity at Kariba has declined from 750mw to 275mw.

People are aware that zesa dishes out free electricity to every serving and retired employees.

Of course it is a long-standing company tradition, but the macro environment prevailing dictates that such policies be held in abeyance. Continuing with such profligacy be-gets mistrust in zesa.

Even the way that public funds are managed at zesa justifies people’s resistance to the tariff hike.

The Herald’s recent expose of Minister Samuel Udenge’s shenanigans makes it even more unwarrantable to increase tariffs.

Dr Udenge, who is on record authoritatively saying there was no going back on tariff increase, is alleged to have directed Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) and the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC) to engage Psychology Maziwisa and Oscar Pambuka’s company for public relations campaigns.

A company that is extending a begging bowl to the poor has the luxury of hiring a public relations company when it has its own public relations department. Only God knows what Dr Udenge profited from the corrupt arrangement. As for Cde Maziwisa, a new entrant to the august House, has started on a very bad note that has dented his chances of a ministerial appointment. Thank God that the deal has been stopped, but people are keenly waiting to see if any teeth will sink into Dr Udenge’s flesh.

Before burdening consumers, zesa must recover over $1 billion debt it is owed. They know their debtors and so must be brave enough to face them, notwithstanding their footing. That money can go a long way in funding various energy generation projects that were mulled on some years back, but have not yet kicked off.

These debtors must be put on pre-paid meter system so that the debt can be recovered through the 40 percent debt recovery plan that zesa is taking from every electricity purchase. In fact, zesa would ensure a 100 percent revenue collection if it puts everybody on the prepaid meter system. zesa seems to be compensating that debt by increasing electricity tariff. It’s unfortunate that those who are currently paying faithfully for their electricity will be the same people who will continue to pay for the increased tariff. It becomes unfair to be punished for being faithful.

It is believed that zesa is losing about 40 percent of electricity during transmission and distribution. Is it not fair for it to plug the loopholes before rushing to the poor consumers?

zesa has been basing its arguments for an increase on the regional pricing regime. They cannot increase tariffs just to match regional prices. They must not forget that the economies are different and there are many areas where these pricing disparities exist. That is the reason why workers have not been demanding salaries that match with those of the region. Electricity is an economic enabler which every investor considers before investing in a country. Zimbabwe is seriously in need of investment. Therefore, zesa should seek to make these economic enablers cheaper so as to attract investors rather than seek to match regional costs.

It is also high time that zesa reconsiders the unbundling exercise it undertook a few years ago because it is costly. Instead of importing electricity, it must consider having synergies with those foreign power suppliers. It must also increase efforts into energy generation especially the Batoka Gorge project which is expected to generate 2400mw to be shared between Zambia and Zimbabwe.

As cabinet deliberates on the zesa application for tariff increase, it must not be lost to the ripple socio-political and economic effects the hike will have.

Britain must stop pretending empire’s benevolence

Source: Britain must stop pretending empire’s benevolence | The Herald May 18, 2016

Alan Lester Correspondent
The recent debacle of David Cameron’s filmed condemnation of Nigerian and Afghan corruption and the Queen’s remark on Chinese officials’ rudeness highlights the persistence of imperial thinking in Britain. There seems to be a continuing assumption within the British establishment that it sets an example for others to follow and that the British are owed deference by others.

Ever since evangelical anti-slavery activists campaigned for Britain to abolish the transatlantic slave trade, Britons have assured themselves that imperial overrule is compatible with the “benign tutelage” of other races and nations.

Unlike the other European empires, Britons tell themselves, theirs was an empire founded on humanitarian compassion for colonised subjects.

The argument runs like this: While the Spaniards, Portuguese, French, Belgians and Germans exploited and abused, the British empire brought ideas of protection for lesser races and fostered their incremental development. With British tutelage colonised peoples could become, eventually, as competent, as knowledgeable, as “civilised” as Britain itself. These platitudes have been repeated time and again — they are still at the heart of most popular representations of the British Empire.

Even when we are encouraged to pay attention to empire’s costs as well as its benefits, these costs are imagined solely in terms of specific incidents of violence such as the Amritsar Massacre in India or the suppression of the Mau Mau rebellion in Kenya. Britain has excused itself from that most structural injustice of empire — the slave trade itself — by the fact that it was Britain that pioneered its abolition.

Acknowledgement that cities such as Bristol, Liverpool and London were enriched by Britain’s dominance of the trade, that many stately homes were built on its wealth and that the compensation money paid to owners upon emancipation — rather than the enslaved — helped drive the industrial revolution and the growth of the City of London, tends to be confined to more critical quarters.

By contrast, runs the same argument, the benefits that empire brought to the world are universal. Everyone — Nigerians, Afghans and Chinese included — should be grateful for the rule of law, the English language, modern education, railways and free trade, all things that Britain provided in order to usher in the modern age.

Selective memory

But to remember empire in this way is an act of incredible selectivity, if not wilful forgetting. Far from being of universal benefit, these features of British rule were designed in the first instance to benefit British settlers, producers and traders. The partial inclusion of colonised peoples themselves in their benefits had to be hard won by those peoples in the face of racist laws and customs.

Black people generally weren’t allowed to travel on the railways on the same terms as white people. Gandhi’s political awakening came when he was thrown out of a whites only carriage on a South African railway. Government-run education systems varied hugely in time and place but were generally not extended to “natives”.

Their education was left to mission societies able to reach only a tiny proportion of them. The Indian Residential Schools of Canada and many of the institutions into which Aboriginal and so-called “half-caste” children were forced in Australia were notoriously neglectful and abusive.

One of the first things that some indigenous elites did with their education was challenge white peoples’ entitlement to rule their countries. The colonial “rule of law” generally worked in favour of white settlers, elites and men. Even where explicitly racist legislation was avoided, proxies for race such as English language tests were used.

These either imposed different standards on “native” populations or kept Asian people out of settler colonies unless their labour was required.

The wider adoption of English certainly facilitated more global conversations and business transactions among male elites. But it only served to heighten the exclusion of most non-English speaking subjects and women from access to the credit and political capital that flowed through Anglophone global networks.

Much the same could be said for free trade, which tended to enrich the colonial masters rather than their imperial subjects — let’s not forget it was the argument for free trade which was used to force China to continue accepting opium imports against its will, starting China’s “Century of Humiliation”.

Imperialism was no gift. Democracy was not actually a concept with which British elites were comfortable — or with which colonised peoples were familiar throughout most of the era of Britain’s imperial rule. Rather, it was something hard won, largely once the British had left.

Those under the “benevolent” rule of empire did not necessarily experience British imperialism as a gift. For many around the world, the costs of empire were not restricted to the occasional episode of violent repression, nor even to structural injustices such as the slave trade. Rather, these were systematic, everyday costs.

These costs included exclusion — from power and privilege in their own lands — coupled with humiliation at being made to pay deference to white people who assumed the right to govern them.

Before condemning the corruption and rudeness of others perhaps we should remember the act of imperialism itself may be seen as self-interested, arrogant rudeness on a global scale. — The Conversation.

Lazarus Dokora is right

Source: Lazarus Dokora is right | The Herald May 18, 2016

A look at the “crimes” that the minister has been accused of will reveal a shocking picture: not only are the said grievances driven by self centred, greedy teachers, they also border on the superfluous, inane and needless scaremongering.

It has been long since the writer spoke to the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education, Lazarus Dokora.

It is to be hoped that he is well.

Lazarus Dokora, like his predecessor Aeneas Chigwedere, is a much vilified man, and it has been the story for much of his tenure as basic education minister.

The newspapers do not like him and much less teachers who should find in him their commander.

A number of parents have come out worried about him, a justifiable concern for everyone with children of school-going age and whose future depends on who superintends the education ministry and the policies he pursues.

Sometimes you wonder whether the minister sleeps well at night given the hostility that is directed at him daily.

It may as well be difficult for his wife and children.

Even his mother, if he still is blessed with her — who can be as any sensitive to hostility directed to her son. Women do that even for a grown man or woman; and that is the beauty and essence of motherhood.

But then, in any position of influence and government you have to have a thick skin — which we reckon the minister has.

Perhaps thicker than many can imagine, which is why he looks unfazed.

We are of the opinion, too, that he should not be overly worried or downcast.

He is right.

A look at the “crimes” that the minister has been accused of will reveal a shocking picture: not only are the said grievances driven by self-centred, greedy teachers, they also border on the superfluous, inane and needless scaremongering.

The first and critical thing to note is that Dokora has not fundamentally changed the education sector in Zimbabwe, in a negative way.

He has not been that barbarian who came to destroy the education sector, destroying schools, suspending curricula and jailed teachers — and imposed Islam (not to say it is a bad thing).

On the contrary, he has continued on the solid base of the system that has been built over the years and we have not seen any disruption of this Africa-topping system.

The curriculum review that he has undertaken will only cement the continuum of Zimbabwe’s fine education system.

Those are the fundamentals.

Anyone who has anything substantial to fault the minister would please educate us!

Now, Dokora has been accused of many things and is certainly not the darling of teachers across the country.

This largely stems from the fact that he has attempted to stop teachers from getting the so-called incentives and conduct extra lessons.

Teachers in Zimbabwe today, are a greedy lot who somehow think that they are entitled to milking parents for their own good and the good of their families.

The so-called incentives were introduced as a way to cushion teachers and keep them in class.

That was when the economy was at its worst and somehow it was divined that for the sake of the country’s children, parents would sacrifice a little more.

Fair and fine.

The incentives were not given to any other sector, even those on the same scale of pay as teachers.

The trend has continued and somehow teachers believe that it is their right to be milking parents.

Times are hard for everyone.

Just how somebody who takes home say $300 from the civil service expects another from the same employer to part with more to feed him for doing his work beats reason.

In fact, it is unpatriotic and treacherous.

Now the same teacher who wants incentives has devised another ploy called extra lessons.

These extra lessons are supposed to be mostly for remedial purposes — and free for that matter.

However, teachers choose not to do their work properly for their employer and leave the best for their money-making schemes.

Children who do not pay these extra classes are failed or do not get enough knowledge as teachers criminally negate their duties in the formal class and even pursue syllabi.

It is as criminal as it can get.

So, the teacher with 45 pupils wants $10 per week per child.

This means that on top of the $300 he gets from Government, he has a cool $1 800 per month.

And if incentives are levied for the same children at a minimum rate of $10 per term then that’s another $450 making the lucky teacher a fortune of $2 550.

Now, who is getting that kind of money these days?

If the treacherous teachers feel Dokora is preventing them from making these obscene amounts they should just go to hell.

Or at best found their own private colleges which will be commercially driven.

It is now a sad situation that children no longer enjoy holidays since greedy teachers impose extra lessons where they criminally pursue syllabi that they are mandated to teach within the termly frameworks.

Not only are parents — who are being robbed by these greedy teachers and being made to believe that a regular school term is not enough — victims.

Children are also losers as they lose time to be socially moulded into fuller and multi-dimensional human beings.

What we have, and what some foolishly celebrate as academic successes are generally socially deficient academic automatons.

Greedy teachers are also unhappy about the minister’s misgivings over entrance tests.

Money is behind it: they make a killing out of such exercises as they invite hundreds of place seekers and charge as much as $100 per child. In the end, only a handful is admitted.

Never mind the excuses about the best pupils bla bla bla.

The other things that Dokora stands accused of are generally superfluous, perhaps both for him and those who seek to nail him over them.

These include things such as mandatory uniforms for all teachers, which we are lately hearing about.

As for the national pledge, which is topical these days, a lot of ink has already been expended by this same pen in support of the initiative.

Suffice to say, the national pledge should not be reversed and should be a permanent feature of Zimbabwe’s exemplary school system.

It will also be useful and nationally beneficial if some teachers and parents who are opposing the national pledge, largely because they do not like the ruling party and support the foreign sponsored opposition, be reminded that they should not let their treachery rub off onto their children.

Lastly, an article on the Cuban education system — where Dokora went and taught at one point — is very instructive on the trajectory of Zimbabwe’s education under Minister Dokora.

We are told that Cuba’s education system is incredibly successful and has sound philosophical underpinnings.

According to the journal, the philosophical structure underpinning this system is such that, “education can be more effective, meaningful and successful if it’s informed, accompanied and guided by an appropriate values or belief system . . . that transcend time, space, cultural and social systems.”

These include, the pursuit of happiness; human freedom, dignity and respect; honesty and truthfulness; peace, justice and fairness; human equality; and the concrete enactment of compassion and solidarity.

You can smell a Dokora in this.

And dare say, he is not a bad guy for the job.

Museveni appoints son to top army chief

Source: Museveni appoints son to top army chief – NewZimbabwe 17/05/2016

KAMPALA – UGANDA’S long-time president has promoted his son to a two-star general, bolstering speculation that the son’s rise in the army could eventually lead to a political career.

With the promotion, President Yoweri Museveni’s son, Muhoozi Kainerugaba, becomes a major general and remains the top commander of Uganda’s special forces, an elite unit within the regular army that is mainly in charge of protecting the president and top government officials.

Military spokesman Lt. Col. Paddy Ankunda said Tuesday that Muhoozi is one of five army officers promoted in changes announced late Monday.

Many Ugandans believe Muhoozi, 42, is being groomed to eventually succeed Museveni, who has ruled this East African country for 30 years.

Museveni has denied that his son will succeed him, saying that Uganda is not a monarchy.

 

Gold output up as ZESA behaves

Source: Gold output up as ZESA behaves –NewZimbabwe 17/05/2016

HARARE: Zimbabwe recorded a 21 percent increase in gold production to five tonnes in the first quarter of the year after power supplies improved, figures released by the Chamber of Mines on Tuesday have shown.

Chief executive of the chamber, Isaac Kwesu, said more stable power supplies and higher deliveries from artisanal miners — who accounted for 37 percent of total gold  produced during the quarter — where behind the inceased output.

“Energy remains a challenge though we have seen some improvements which also may be one of the reasons why output increased in the first quarter,” Kwesu told journalists at a press conference ahead of the chamber’s annual meeting in Victoria Falls later this week.

“We anticipate that the energy sector remains fragile. We need to grow the energy sector so that we can sustain the growth of the mining sector.”

The chamber last December facilitated the importation of 300 megawatts from South Africa’s Eskom.

Small-scale producers delivered 1,876 tonnes compared to 1,215 tonnes during the same period last year.

“Gold, which benefited from both firm price and increased output, recorded a 17 percent increase in value to $189 million,” said Kwesu, adding that the country was on course to achieve the 24 tonnes target by year-end if current production levels were maintained.

Secondary producers, which include Unki, Mimosa and Zimplats, registered a 33 percent increase in production to 493 kg while output from large producers grew five percent to 2,735 kg.

During the first quarter of the year, prices for all minerals declined, with the exception of gold, platinum and iridium.

“Total at mine value for the minerals produced in the quarter declined by 3.4 percent to $419 million compared to the same period last year.”

Platinum production during the quarter was up 43 percent to 4,3 tonnes from 3 tonnes last year.

Earnings from the mineral also rose six percent to $108 million compared to $102 million in the same quarter last year. Iridium recorded a 38 percent increase in earnings to $1, 7 million from 1,671 tonnes.

Nickel, whose production was up 10 percent to 4, 8 tonnes, was among the hardest hit minerals recording a 31 percent decline in earnings to $30 million.

MPs in floor sitting demo over trafficking

Source: MPs in floor sitting demo over trafficking – NewZimbabwe 17/05/2016

MPs from across the political divide Tuesday abandoned their seats and tried to conduct the entire parliamentary session while seated on the floor to protest the continued enslavement of Zimbabwean human trafficking victims in Kuwait.

It was reported early this week that on top of dozens of victims so far brought home after parliament’s intervention, more were still stranded in the Middle East country.

A great number of trafficking victims, lured to the oil rich country on false promises of employment, are said to have been turned into working as sex slaves.Some, it is further said, were being overworked with disproportionate pays, if they did receive any wages at all.

But led by female MPs, legislators Tuesday vowed that until such time all the women were successfully brought home from Kuwait, they will continue conducting sessions sitting on the floor.

Female MPs felt women bore the brunt of modern day slavery and as such, they would all assume the unorthodox sitting arrangement because “we belong down there”.

MDC-T proportional representation MP, Thokozani Khuphe led the demo, which was later called off by National Assembly Speaker Jacob Mudenda as it violated Parliament’s standing rules and orders.

“Last week, a report was debated on the good work that you (Speaker) did by bringing back some of our girls from Kuwait and some of them are still not back home,” Khuphe said.

“So, it was resolved that until such time that all the girls are back home, women in this House will be sitting on the floor because it would appear as if this is where we belong as women. We belong down there.”

The female MPs were joined on the floor by their male counterparts until Mudenda asked the legislators to resume their seats to allow parliamentary business to begin.

“The chair does appreciate the sentiments being demonstrated by the sitting down honourable members, the majority of whom are our Honourable female Members,” Mudenda said.

“It is understandable that the feelings that they experience as mothers and husbands touches their hearts in terms of the ill treatments that our young female citizens have gone through, are going through not only in Kuwait but in other areas in the Middle East.

“Having recognised that and appreciating the deep feelings that this House, in particular the honourable Members of the female gender, I would appeal to the Honourable members that their current demonstration is recognised.

“However, for the smooth movement in the House, the sitting arrangement may create problems.

“Therefore, it may be against our standing Orders, Section 76 (1) and accordingly similar sentiments can be pronounced by way of debate.”

Meanwhile, Zanu PF MP for Goromonzi Beatrice Nyamupinga moved a motion calling on the inter-ministerial committee set up to investigate the human trafficking syndicate to speed up the process while ensuring urgent repatriation of those who still remained in Kuwait.

“Perpetrators of these heinous acts must face the full wrath of the law,” read the motion.

“The Ministry of Home Affairs must urgently conduct awareness programmes on human trafficking and educate the unsuspecting public, especially the youth about the dangers of human trafficking.”

The MPs further urged the Foreign Affairs Ministry to “urgently write to the Kuwait Foreign Affairs Ministry requesting Kuwait authorities to ban the issue of Article 20 Visas which allows Kuwait employers to hire Zimbabwean citizens under slave conditions”.

They further called on the Zimbabwean Embassy in Kuwait to be allocated “urgently sufficient financial resources to take care of the safe house, feeding and repatriation of the affected young ladies”.

 

Mugabe complains about Grace’s cooking

Source: Mugabe complains about Grace’s cooking – NewZimbabwe 17/05/2016

GRACE Mugabe hardly finds time to cook for her elderly husband, leaving him at the uncharitable and incompetent mercy of learner cooks who regularly make a mess of the job.

President Robert Mugabe, now 92, joked about the stink in his kitchen while visiting relatives at Gutu in Masvingo last Friday.

The veteran leader revealed his culinary woe as he paid his respects to the late Chief Gutu – an uncle of his – who died in 2013.

He revealed that Grace, presently out of the country with their newly-born grandson, hardly does any cooking at home and regularly hires and fires help in the kitchen.

In most cases, President Mugabe added, the hired cooks would be inexperienced and still learning their trade, effectively reducing the Zanu PF leader to a “guinea pig”.

Listen to Mugabe’s kitchen lament below:

Time the church stood up and be counted

Pastor Evan Mawarire has dared tread where angels fear, by speaking about his frustrations on how he feels he has been short-changed and the failure by this government to deliver on its election promises.

Source: Time the church stood up and be counted – NewsDay Zimbabwe May 18, 2016

Mawarire bravely launched his #ThisFlag campaign, which has garnered quite significant support, with thousands of Zimbabweans beginning to speak out.

In an impassioned sermon, Bishop Tudor Bismark also reflected the feelings of many when he said he was tired and frustrated by the apparent haphazardness of policies and the lack of strategy to pull Zimbabwe out of the current mess it finds itself in.

These two reflect a new breed of church leaders, who are willing to speak out about what they feel is wrong and have dared to speak out to the political order.

A sad characteristic of the church in Zimbabwe is that, in most cases, they have chosen to turn the other cheek rather than confront the problems their flock face on a daily basis.

By its silence, the church, in its plurality, has been complicit in the suffering of Zimbabweans and the time has come that it stands up and be counted.

This is not to say the church should be political, but rather they should speak out against the abuses Zimbabweans suffer.

It would not be too much to ask the church to also question what happened the jobs pledge made by Zanu PF in its election campaign and the economic blueprint, ZimAsset, speak out against corruption and demand accountability.

Zimbabweans across the divide, and in particular in the church, are suffering at the hands of the seemingly uncaring government and it is up to preachers to speak on behalf of their flock, yet maintaining their apolitical stance.

As Bismark aptly quotes George Orwell’s seminal writing Animal Farm, what our leaders “fought against is what they are now imposing on the people”, and it is the duty of church leaders to speak out against such betrayal.

A good example is the Catholic Church, which, in spite of hostility, was still able to collect information on the Gukurahundi massacres and so far, their report is the most authentic on the killings.

The church has a duty to speak out against unjust governments and repression, as their congregants are not immune to government excesses.

The voice of the churches has so far been missing in the Zimbabwean discourse, with most church leaders skirting the very issues that bother their flock so they can be considered politically correct.

Whatever denomination or party one belongs to, no Zimbabwean has been left untouched by the state of the economy and everyone has a duty to speak out. Silence at this point in our history is the greatest betrayal.

Zimbabweans deserve better and must demand just that.

Missing $15 billion diamond revenue exposes Zanu PF: Chimene

MANICALAND Provincial Affairs minister Mandiitawepi Chimene has admitted that the $15 billion diamond loot in Chiadzwa exposed the Zanu PF leadership in the province, as the alleged scam was conducted under their noses.

Source: Missing $15 billion diamond revenue exposes Zanu PF: Chimene – NewsDay Zimbabwe May 18, 2016

BY KENNETH NYANGANI

The outspoken minister made the remarks last Friday at the Zimpapers’ Diamond FM launch in Mutare, where she said all Zanu PF politicians in the province were hanging their heads in shame after they failed to sniff out the looters.

“Wherever we are invited, together with Information minister Christopher Mushohwe, we don’t want to be recognised, as we are ashamed because the diamond looting was done under our watch,” she said.

President Robert Mugabe broke the news of the missing $15 billion diamond revenue in an interview to mark his 92nd birthday in March this year, saying Treasury had received $2 billion since diamond mining operations started in 2008.

Chimene, who, two years ago, replaced Mushohwe as Manicaland Provincial Affairs minister, also admitted that she had failed to push the diamond mining companies to honour their $50 million pledges to the Zimunya Marange Community Share Ownership Trust.

Turning to Mutare City Council, she said the local authority was now geared for fresh investments following a government-initiated clean-up campaign, which exposed massive corruption, which implicated top council officials and councillors.

“There were things that were affecting us in the city. We had a shake-up at Mutare City Council, but we are not sleeping trying to wipe out corruption in the city,’’ she said.

Chimene was instrumental in pushing for a government audit, which led to the resignation of Mutare town clerk Obert Muzawazi.

Minister in nasty bust-up with this flag pastor

Information Communication Technology minister Supa Mandiwanzira was on Monday involved in a nasty brawl with activist, Evan Mawarire, a cleric fronting what has become known as #thisflag campaign.

Source: Minister in nasty bust-up with this flag pastor – NewsDay Zimbabwe May 18, 2016

BY RICHARD CHIDZA

Mawarire had appeared on Mandiwanzira’s ZiFM Stereo radio station with Zanu PF activist, Tafadzwa Musarara in a heated debate over the social media campaign to force government to “listen to the people’s voice”.

The cleric told NewsDay that he had been waylaid by Mandiwanzira, as he made his way out of the studio.

“Mandiwanzira was waiting for me outside the studio and began shouting at me. He called me all sorts of names and accused me of seeking to subvert the government. He was yelling and cursing, accusing me of abusing Cabinet ministers and seeking to make white people happy in order to destroy Zimbabwe. He said I must be taught a ‘lesson’.

He asked about my association with United States ambassador (Harry Thomas Junior),” he said.

Mawarire received support from callers, among them “Ambuya vaHector”, who recounted the horrors of the 2008 political violence as well as the financial losses incurred by pensioners.

“I have no savings, wiped out in 2008. People died, we cannot speak because we are scared. You know how people died in 2008 in areas like Mutoko and Murehwa. It was terrible. We are happy with the campaign and I am sure many people are supporting him (Mawarire). We want answers and we are supporting this campaign. At 62, I am still trying to buy and sell for survival, it’s hard,” the caller said.

Mawarire also confirmed a short video clip that has gone viral on social media networks, where Mandiwanzira is heard threatening to “remove” him (Mawarire) from microblogging site Twitter.

“I will remove you on Twitter. I will dismiss you,” the minister is heard angrily shouting at Mawarire in what appears to be in a corridor at ZiFM Stereo.

On his Twitter account, Mandiwanzira said: “Shocked that lying pastor brags on radio that he does work for government ministries and turns around to say ‘murikudya mega (you are enjoying on your own to the exclusion of everyone)’.

Mawarire yesterday said: “I am shaken. We are fed up and not scared anymore. When a minister waylays you and abuses you at the radio station he owns, then it is scary. I feel abused for expressing my democratic right.”

Higher Education minister Jonathan Moyo has also had a social media altercation with Mawarire, whose campaign has gained traction with each passing day.

During the discussion, Mawarire said Moyo had also accused him of being funded by the West, a claim repeated by Musarara. The cleric, however, denied the accusations when asked by host Ruvheneko Parirenyatwa.

“Absolutely not! How do I get funding from the West when I am using my phone? Do you think Zimbabweans are no brainy enough to challenge authorities on issues? We always have to be funded by someone and how many times has our government said that about anyone who dares challenge them?” Mawarire queried.

Musarara described Mawarire as a political activist and insinuated Botswana President Ian Khama would not have allowed the ongoing social media campaign in his country.

Mandiwanzira could not be reached for comment yesterday.

‘Grace foe killed by G40’

THE family of the late Midlands provincial heroine, Espinah Nhari, yesterday claimed the suspended Zanu PF women’s boss was assassinated for her anti-G40 faction chant at a campaign rally addressed by First Lady Grace Mugabe in Gutu last year. BY BLESSED MHLANGA/STEPHEN CHADENGA

Source: ‘Grace foe killed by G40’ – NewsDay Zimbabwe May 18, 2016

Addressing mourners in Kwekwe before her burial at the Midlands Provincial Heroes’ Acre in Gweru yesterday, Nhari’s son, Rodgers, said prior to her death, she received death threats from anonymous callers.

He said the callers felt offended by the women’s league’s secretary for administration’s “Down with G40” chant at the rally, adding the horrific accident, which claimed her life last Friday, was en