Author Archives: ZimSitRep_M

MPs push for massive salary hike

Members of Parliament yesterday proposed their salaries be pegged at between $4 000 and $10 000 per month, claiming they are now the lowest paid legislators in Africa.

Source: MPs push for massive salary hike – NewsDay Zimbabwe March 23, 2017

by VENERANDA LANGA

The MPs currently earn a gross salary of $1 124 per month and $1 046 representation allowance.

The issue was raised during a workshop for MPs in Harare which was attended by Speaker of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda, President of the Senate Edna Madzongwe and Clerk of Parliament Kennedy Chokuda.

The code of conduct for MPs was also discussed at the workshop.

Chairperson of the Sub-committee on Legal and Procedural Services Nelson Chamisa (MDC-T) said MPs had two weeks to look at the draft laws to do with their conditions of service; the Parliamentary Salaries, Allowances and Benefit Act, and the Parliament Pensions Act to see where they could be amended to address their remuneration. He compared MPs’ salaries with other Parliaments.

In South Africa MPs earn approximately $7 000 per month, Kenya $10 000, Tanzania $7 266, Uganda $8 715 and Botswana at $2 000.

If amended, the Parliament Salaries, Allowances and Benefit Act will also ensure ministers do not double dip.

“We have replaced the issue of an independent commission deciding salaries for MPs and put the powers in a quasi-independent body, the Standing Rules and Orders Committee, as opposed to the Finance minister determining the lump sum of MPs and putting it in line with the rest of the civil service,” Chamisa said.

Other entitlements for MPs would be general allowances, housing allowances, committee attendance fees, constituency allowances and others.

Mudenda said MPs would get laptops and stands.

On the code of conduct, MPs will find themselves under scrutiny in terms of their behaviour, drinking habits, corruption, taking bribes, and even extra-marital affairs will be exposed. They will be required to fill in an asset register to be administered by the Clerk of Parliament where they will declare properties, business interests, family, freebies that they are given during visits to companies, fees paid to MPs for consultancy, trips and who has funded them, and even assets such as scotch carts and jewellery.

All for nothing

Source: All for nothing | The Financial Gazette March 23, 2017

By Vince Musewe

I HAVE just finished reading CG Tracey’s book — All for nothing — and I am quite impressed at how men and women like him gave all they had to build Zimbabwe. A Zimbabwe we have managed, in just 37 years, to decimate and create widespread poverty under the pretext of liberation. What the ruling ZANU-PF government has allowed to be done to the potential of this country is shameful and unforgivable.
Colonialism can never be defended by anyone of us blacks for it not only disrespected who we are, but it deliberately limited who we could become. However, I think we should also appreciate what we inherited from it.
Many of our politicians today benefitted tremendously from the efforts of good white men and women, who bucked the system and refused to be racists at their personal expense. Judith Todd’s name comes to mind.
It would be dishonest for us to underrate or dismiss the positive impact they had. They took personal risk to do what was right and unfortunately today we have very few such black men and women. Most of us have chosen the comfortable and convenient route of keeping quiet and even being praise singers while our country goes to the dogs. Oh what wretched pretenders and cowards we have in our midst! We shall have to re-write our history.
From reading CG Tracey’s book, I now have a deep appreciation of what it took to build the Zimbabwe which we took so much for granted at independence and proceeded to do nothing to build onto it. It is true indeed that some men and women are born to build while others are cursed to come merely to destroy what others have built.
Zimbabwe could be one of the most developed African countries today if we had kept the momentum created during the otherwise dreaded late Ian Smith’s Unilateral Declaration of Independence era. The agricultural and industrial base we inherited at independence was unbelievable. Our agricultural base and research capabilities were way ahead of all Africa. Today not one of our research stations is running and we have effectively lost more than 100 years of research and regressed so considerably that we will never catch up with the rest of the world. That is real disempowerment and I cannot fathom the audacity of anyone who claims that we have done well since 1980. It’s a lie. Zimbabwe’s potential has been destroyed and it’s not funny.
We will have to rebuild every sector of Zimbabwe with new energy and a fresh approach.
There is no argument that we must focus on agriculture infrastructure revival, but this time we must ensure that we create a symbiotic relationship between large farming concerns and small scale farmers, who are committed to be successful farmers. I predict that once our economy revives, a large number of those that are on land will prefer to go back into industry. This will release productive land for productive activity. We must establish industrial hubs that process food both for local consumption and also for exports.
Interestingly enough, Smith’s agricultural development model was based on value addition due to sanctions and here we are in 2017, blaming sanctions for everything instead of us taking it as an opportunity to redevelop our industrial base. But again that is typical of the liberation struggle generation, which chose to remain victims of history, while doing nothing to create a better future.
The interesting title of Tracey’s book — All for nothing — might, in the end, actually reflect the ruling party’s tenure at the helm of the country’s governance.
I suspect all the pain, all the struggle and destruction that has gone on will really achieve nothing in the end. How ironic!
I encourage students of history and economics to read this book because we can use Tracey’s energy and foresight to redevelop Zimbabwe. It has been done before and we can do it again.
However, what was critical during those times was that the Smith regime deliberately supported the emergence of a strong business sector unlike ZANU-PF, which has done all it can to banish our black business icons and has even dispossessed them of their assets. This is a crime, by any name.
In the Zimbabwe we want, we will create a government that understands that a strong private sector is good for the economy and also increases the ability of any government to fund development and provide social services through more taxes. The patronage system that we now have is cancerous and does not encourage the building of sustainable businesses.
Another Zimbabwe is indeed possible!
Vince Musewe is an independent economist and author based in Harare. You may contact him on vtmusewe@gmail.com

Mujuru responds to $5m ‘Queen Bee’ lawsuit

NATIONAL People’s Party (NPP) leader and former Vice-President Joice Mujuru has responded to the $5 million lawsuit filed by Zimbabwe People First (ZimPF) co-leaders and her former colleagues Rugare Gumbo and Didymus Mutasa.

Source: Mujuru responds to $5m ‘Queen Bee’ lawsuit – NewsDay Zimbabwe March 23, 2017

BY CHARLES LAITON

On March 17 this year, Mujuru, the former ZimPF leader, entered an appearance to defend her controversial statements in which she was reported to have claimed that Gumbo and Mutasa had allegedly solicited sexual favours from her.

The two former Zanu PF heavyweights are claiming $2,5 million each in defamation damages.

“Take notice that on the 17th day of March 2017, the defendant (Mujuru) entered an appearance to defend this action,” read part of the court papers.

According to the two men, the incident which gave rise to the lawsuit occurred on February 11 this year when Mujuru, while addressing ZimPF structures in Masvingo before their acrimonious fall-out that forced the former Vice-President to rebrand into NPP, uttered a statement concerning Gumbo and Mutasa, saying: “I want you to google then advise each other. They said Mai Mujuru, we want you to be our queen bee. I was supposed to mate with all men in the party. I was supposed to be their wife.”

In their combined declaration, Gumbo and Mutasa said the statement was understood by the addressees and was intended by Mujuru to mean Gumbo and Mutasa were lustful and immoral.

They said the statement was understood to mean: “That the plaintiffs (Gumbo and Mutasa) asked the defendant (Mujuru) to engage in sexual activities with multiple men for political benefit; that the plaintiffs asked the defendant to engage in animalistic-like orgies; that the plaintiffs asked the defendant to engage in cultic sexual relations for the transfer of leadership skills.”

Gumbo and Mutasa further said the uttered words in the context of the article were wrongful and defamatory of them in that they were intended to be understood to mean “expressly and impliedly, that the two men are immoral, lack integrity, are profligate and are debaucherous”.

Gumbo and Mutasa added: “As a result of the defendant’s utterances, there have been disturbances in the plaintiffs’ families and the plaintiffs’ standing as former ministers, statesmen, high public figures and liberation war fighters has been diminished and soiled locally, regionally and internationally.”

Shutdown protesters freed

HARARE magistrate Barbara Chimboza yesterday freed a group of protesters accused of the mayhem that rocked the country mid-last year in what has become commonly referred to as “shutdown.”

Source: Shutdown protesters freed – NewsDay Zimbabwe March 23, 2017

BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE

Petros Sokole and 74 other Harare residents, who included journalist James Jemwa, stood accused of committing public violence during a demonstration against corruption in government but were acquitted after a full trial.

In her ruling, magistrate Chimboza said the State had failed to prove a prima facie case against all the suspects. She said all four State witnesses did not convince the court that all the suspects were part of the people who committed public violence.

She said the witnesses told the court that the suspects were arrested at different places which left the court with questions as to whether they were arrested while committing the offence.

She further ruled that the State witnesses’ evidence was not credible as they failed to positively identify the suspects while they were seated in the dock despite revealing their names while testifying.

Chimboza said the photographs used by the State as evidence were not convincing saying the photographer who is not known should have been given the chance to testify to confirm if indeed the photographs were “not doctored”.

The 75 residents were represented by Harrison Nkomo, Trust Maanda, Jeremiah Bhamu and Dorcas Chitiyo, all members of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, a local rights lobby group which provides legal advice to victims of State harassment and brutality.

The lawyers argued that the State witnesses did not bring any evidence or a piece of cloth recovered from the suspects to prove they looted shops or any injured police officers who came to testify that they were assaulted by the suspects.

Allegations against the 75 had been that on August 26 last year, they teamed up and held a public gathering at an open space between Rainbow Towers Hotel and Interpol Office adjacent to the Harare Magistrates’ Court.

The State alleged they proceeded into the central business district where they caused sporadic public violence and assaulted police officers setting ablaze police and Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation vehicles and also torched vendors stalls at Copacabana bus terminus.

The State had further alleged the suspects breached the peace and security of the public.

Mugabe not on our agenda: War vets

THE Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association (ZNLWVA) has accused the G40 faction in Zanu PF of trying to hijack their meeting at the City Sports Centre in Harare today by painting it as a palace coup against President Robert Mugabe’s government.

Source: Mugabe not on our agenda: War vets – NewsDay Zimbabwe March 23, 2017

BY BLESSED MHLANGA

An email purportedly sent by ZNLWVA spokesman Douglas Mahiya (pictured) claims the indaba will set in motion a plan to unseat Mugabe and elevate Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa to the positions of party leader and State President.

“Victory is certain, comrades, our time is nigh. We encourage all gallant daughters and sons of a generation of strategists and visionaries, who brought Zimbabwe through blood, to come one and all … to discuss and issue a Harare Declaration, in the tradition of the Mgagao document, ousting Robert Mugabe from power for his crimes — ie, leading G40 positioning his wife to succeed him and clinging to power while he is just too old,” reads part of the email sent to media organisations.

The invitation also called on war veterans and other forces to join hands in a coalition to “declare war” on First Lady Grace Mugabe.

“To declare war on Grace and her G40, they will never rule this country while the sons of the soil (war veterans) are still alive,” reads part of the email.

However, ZNLWVA secretary-general Victor Matemadanda dismissed the email as a ploy to cause commotion ahead of the all-important meeting. He said the indaba had nothing to do with Mugabe, his wife Grace or VP Mnangagwa, who the war veterans are reportedly aligned to in the Zanu PF factional fights.

“This is hogwash, a creation by G40 and their spooks to cause confusion and force government to stop our meeting. The agenda of the meeting is not yet out, but we are not going to talk about President Mugabe and his wife, let alone Zanu PF.

“We are going to talk about ourselves and how we can contribute to national development. We think enough has been said about Grace and her husband, there is no value addition in talking about them. We are not fighting for ED (Mnangagwa), so he won’t be a subject either. We will talk about Zimbabwe, the masses and ourselves,” Matemadanda said.

He refused to disclose much about the meeting, saying those interested would have to attend because it would be open to the public.

Mahiya also disowned the email saying it was the work of “criminals” in the G40 camp who wanted to disrupt their “well-
intentioned” meeting.

“This is criminal, that is not my email account, but some creation of some criminal elements,” he said.

Using Rand as main currency would be ‘Prudent’ – Mlambo

Source: Using Rand as main currency would be ‘Prudent’ – Mlambo | The Financial Gazette March 23, 2017

By John Viljoen and Godfrey Marawanyika
A central bank official said it would be“prudent” for Zimbabwe to use the rand rather than the U.S. dollar as the dominant currency as the southern African country seeks ways to ease a shortage of foreign exchange.

“We can benchmark pricing with the rand, which we can’t do with the dollar, because we trade almost nothing with the U.S,”Kupukile Mlambo, deputy governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, told a gathering of business leaders Wednesday in the capital, Harare.
Zimbabwe abandoned its own dollar in April 2009 as runaway inflation rendered it worthless, using instead a mix of foreign currencies that now includes U.S. dollars, pounds, euros, rands, yuan and Botswanan pula. In an effort to address a shortage of banknotes, the government in November started printing and distributing dollar-denominated notes backed by reserves in the U.S. currency, prompting protests from locals skeptical about
the new currency’s value.
Zimbabwe conducts 60 percent of all its trade with South Africa, according to the country’s Treasury, and three million of its citizens are estimated to live in its southern neighbor after fleeing economic hardship at home. The rand has strengthened about 9 percent against the dollar this year, more
than any other African or emerging-market currency tracked by Bloomberg. Zimbabwe’s largest business lobby group in November
called on the government to adopt the rand as its “reference currency” instead of the dollar.
“We will be happy in the central bank if people use the rand more than they would use the other currencies in the
basket,” Mlambo said. “But because people only store value, they prefer to use the dollar — that’s where the challenge is.” – (Bloomberg) 

Gushungo bombing suspects mount fresh freedom bid

Source: Gushungo bombing suspects mount fresh freedom bid | The Herald

Fungai Lupande Court Reporter
Four men, including jailed Zimbabwe People’s Front president Owen Kuchata, suspected of plotting to bomb the First Family’s dairy farm in Mazowe, yesterday made a second application for their freedom. Kuchata, Borman Ngwenya, a soldier attached to military intelligence, Solomon Makumbe (29), a Zimbabwe National Army corporal; and Silas Pfupa (37), an ex-soldier – are pushing for refusal of further remand.

They are facing treason charges and have been on remand since January 2016.

Prosecutor Mr Sebastian Mutizirwa applied for postponement of the matter because the State was not able to indict the quartet for trial at the High Court in its first term.

“I received a document from the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), particularly from Mr Chris Mutangadura indicating that the accused will be indicted in the second term of the High Court,” Mr Mutizirwa said.

“The accused have another case which Makumbe and Pfupa referred to the Constitutional Court. Some of the facts that form the charge of possession of weaponry for sabotage are also part of this case. We await the Concourt determination.”

In March last year, Makumbe and Pfupa applied for referral of their matter to the Concourt after the State reinstated the charges of possession of weaponry for sabotage, which had been earlier withdrawn before plea on the instructions of suspended Prosecutor-General Johannes Tomana.

Through their lawyers, the trio told the court that they were ready to proceed with oral submissions for their application, but the State has introduced new and different issues.

Makumbe and Pfupa were represented by Mrs Gamuchira Dzitiro, Ngwenya was represented by Mr Exactly Mangezi, while Kuchata was a self actor.

They said: “We were ready with oral submission for the application of refusal of further remand, but the State has introduced totally different issues. We will file our application by Friday.”

The State undertook to respond by March 27 and Ms Chimboza will make a ruling on March 30.

Kuchata is serving nine years for banditry and money laundering.

The quartet allegedly established a militia training base in Mapinga, Mashonaland West province, where they planned to commit terror acts, sabotage and banditry.

Mr Mutizirwa alleged that on January 1, this year, they allegedly proceeded to President Mugabe’s rural home in Zvimba where they carried out reconnaissance, identifying suitable vulnerable points to sabotage.

It is alleged the four held several meetings at Queens Hotel in Harare, mapping strategies on how they would strike.

Police received a tip-off that the four were planning to bomb Alpha Omega Dairy’s processing plant and a tuckshop during the night.

Acting on the tip-off, the police proceeded to the farm and laid an ambush about 100 metres from the quartet’s target.

At around 10pm, the detectives saw the men approaching the processing plant and immediately arrested them.

Meanwhile, the 74 protesters who were accused of torching vending stalls at Copacabana bus terminus in Harare, before looting shops and attacking the police in August last year, were yesterday acquitted due to lack of evidence.

The group, which includes Petros Sokole (39) and Paradzayi Manyara (39), was represented by lawyers Messrs Trust Maanda, Jeremiah Bhamu and Harrison Nkomo.

Presiding magistrate Ms Barbara Chimboza granted the group’s application for discharge at the close of the State’s case. In her ruling, Ms Chimboza said the State called four witnesses whose evidence was not reliable and sufficient to cause a conviction.

“The evidence of the first two witnesses did not assist the court in coming up with a determination,” she said.

“The court heard that the accused were arrested using photographs. However, the photos were not produced in court as exhibits neither was the court told what the pictures related to.

“The fourth witness could not identify the accused and no evidence was led pertaining to allegations that police officers were assaulted.”

The group pleaded not guilty and in their defence presented alibis.

Implications of High Court ruling on sacked workers

Source: Implications of High Court ruling on sacked workers | The Herald March 23, 2017

Matthias Ruziwa HR Issues
“In terms of section 167(3) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, the concerned High Court judgment is temporary or provisional in nature and not legally enforceable or binding before it has been confirmed by the Constitutional Court which is reposed with the unique jurisdiction to make the final decision on constitutional invalidity”

The Herald edition of Thursday March 16, 2017 reported that workers who lost their jobs following a Supreme Court ruling which allowed employers to terminate employment contracts on three months’ notice will not get anything following a High Court ruling in the matter between ZIMIND PUBLISHERS (PVT) LTD versus MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR AND SOCIAL WELFARE AND ARTTONEY – GENERAL OF ZIMBABWE HH 170 – 17.

Zimind Publishers (Pvt) Ltd as an employer fired 75 workers on August 20, 2015 on the basis of the Supreme Court Judgement No 43/2015.

The Government brought relief to the fired workers through amendments to the labour law that compelled companies to pay fired workers compensation for loss of employment in retrospect. The brief facts of the case according to the High Court judgement are as follows;

Zimind Publishers (Pvt) Ltd as an employer and aggrieved party approached the High Court seeking a declaratory relief impugning the provisions of section 18 of the Labour Amendment Act, 2015 on the basis of ultra vires the Constitution of Zimbabwe and hence unconstitutional.

The import of Section 18 of the Labour Amendment Act, 2015 is that it provides for the retrospective or backdated application of the same Labour Amendment Act, 2015 which was passed into law on August 26, 2015 to commence its application with effect from July 17, 2015 by curtailing the employer’s common law right to terminate an employee`s contract on three months` notice.

By so doing, section 18 of the Labour Amendment Act, 2015, imposes a legal obligation to financially compensate the affected employee upon an employer who terminated the employee`s contract of employment on notice under the then applicable common law as pronounced in the landmark judgement of the matter in Don Nyamande and Kingstone Dhonga versus Zuva Petroleum on July 17, 2015 including the period from July 17, 2015 to August 25, 2015 when the Labour Amendment Act, 2015 was not yet passed into law by the legislature.

For the avoidance of doubt, the reading of Section 18 of the Labour Amendment Act, no 5 of 2015 states; “The Labour Act (Chapter 28:01) as amended by this Act applies to every employee whose services were terminated on three months’ notice or after 17th July 2015”. The 2015 amendments, particularly section 18 of the Labour amendment Act, 2015 came as a fire-fighting measure when some employers embarked on massive termination of employees on notice.

According to various media reports, it is more likely that around 30 000 workers lost their jobs as employers rode on the excitement that was ushered in by the Zuva judgement.

There was a huge outcry from trade unions against the employers’ actions and they urged the Government to extend protection to those affected.

President Mugabe assured the nation that Government was going to correct the labour laws to ensure a state of equilibrium between employers` and employees’ interests and accordingly eliminate arbitrary termination of the workers.

The Parliamentary Legal Committee (PLC), which is required to give its opinion on the constitutionality of proposed legislation, unanimously passed an opinion that found the retrospective effect of the proposed changes to be defective and submitted its report to the Parliament on August 18, 2015.

Clause 18 of the proposed labour law amendments would have the effect of revoking the rights of employers to terminate job contracts on notice, as upheld by a July 17 Supreme Court ruling.

The PLC report stated “The clause provides for the retrospective application of section 12 of the Act to every employee whose services were terminated on three months’ notice on or after the 17th of July. The committee unanimously agreed that the clause violates section 3(2) (e) of the Constitution regarding the separation of powers in that the judgment made by the Judiciary was correct at law and in seeking to nullify that by an insertion of the retrospective clause, Parliament will have violated the principle of separation of powers.

Additionally, since the employers acted from the correct position at law, and having vested rights in terms of the Act, applying the retrospective positions in the clause would be punitive on the employer and violates section 56 of the Constitution relating to equal protection of the law.”

However, it must be noted that Parliament voted to override the PLC, after lawmakers condemned the committee’s adverse report.

The legislature made its decision and on August 26, a Labour Amendment Act was gazetted after having been approved by President Mugabe. Since introduction of the Labour Amendment Act, 2015, some employers complied with Section 18 of the Labour Amendment Act, 2015 while others chose to challenge the retrospectivity aspect citing violation of the Constitution’s provisions.

Most employers asked the Employers Confederation of Zimbabwe (EMCOZ) to defend their interests.

In the recent High Court judgement where the court ruled against paying the sacked, Justice Loice Matanda-Moyo remarked as follows; “While it may be lawful to legislate retrospectivity, such legislation may not take away vested rights. I am of the view that taking away vested rights is contrary to the Constitution. It is also not in conformity with the principle of the rule of law to prescribe a law ex post fact. Accordingly, it is declared that;

1. Section 18 of the Labour Act No. 5 of 2015 is inconsistent with sections 3(2)(k), 56(1) and s 86 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe and is therefore invalid.

2. As a consequence, the Registrar of the High Court is hereby directed to refer this matter to the Constitutional Court for a determination in terms of s167(3) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.”

The lessons from the High Court judgement are;

a) Legislature cannot enact retrospective legislation which has the effect of taking away vested rights and the question still stands to say, Did Section 18 of the Labour Amendment Act, 2015 took away vested rights from the employers?

b) By referring the matter to the Constitutional Court, it simply means the matter is still unresolved as it is subject to determination by the Constitutional Court as stated in paragraph 2 of the judgement.

Labour law expert, Caleb Mucheche of Matsikidze and Mucheche Legal practitioners in his article “ The haunting ghost of three months` termination of employment on notice: Unlocking the legal effect of the recent Zimbabwean High Court judgement in ZIMIND PUBLISHERS (PVT) LTD versus MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE , LABOUR AND SOCIAL WELFARE AND ATTORNEY – GENERAL OF ZIMBABWE, declaring the retrospective application of the Labour Amendment Act, 2015 to compensate victims of such termination on notice, unconstitutional” explored the legal effect of the High Court judgement and remarked that “ The Constitution of Zimbabwe provides a clear answer on the legal effect of the High Court judgement declaring section 18 of the Labour Amendment Act No.5 of 2015 to be unconstitutional. In terms of section 167(3) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, the concerned High Court judgement is temporary or provisional in nature and not legally enforceable or binding before it has been confirmed by the Constitutional Court which is reposed with the unique jurisdiction to make the final decision on constitutional invalidity as per the following mandatory provisions;

“The Constitutional Court makes the final decision whether an Act of Parliament or conduct of the President or Parliament is unconstitutional and must confirm any order of constitutional invalidity made by another court before the order has any force”

Mr. Mucheche further states that the provisions of section 167(3) are further aptly buttressed by section 175(1) of the same constitution and advises that it is premature for either employer or employee parties or any other interested party to celebrate or sorrow over the High Court judgement as the final and legally binding decision lie entirely with the Constitutional Court.

The Constitutional Court has not yet given a once and for all definitive legal pronouncement on whether or not section 18 of the Labour Amendment Act, no 5 of 2015 is unconstitutional. As such the legal battle rages on until the Constitutional Court makes its final decision on the matter.

Opinions expressed herein are solely those of the author

  • Matthias Ruziwa is an experienced Arbitrator and growing Strategic Human Resource Practitioner based in the Midlands Province, City of Kwekwe. You can contact Matthias at the following email address: [email protected]/whatsapp 0773 470 368.

U S dollar black market thrives in broke Zimbabwe

Source: U S dollar black market thrives in broke Zimbabwe | The Financial Gazette March 21, 2017

BLACK market in Zimbabwe is gaining popularity as cash shortages persist, with many people moving onto streets in search of the now elusive U.S. dollar.

Among the busiest spots is a trans-border bus terminus to the east of Harare and around a shopping mall in the city center, where dealers wave wads of foreign currency to potential clients.

As at Friday morning, 107 dollars worth of bond notes were buying 100 U.S. dollars while the same amount of bond notes fetched 1,200 South African rand.

Other dealers charge up to 15 percent of the needed cash and require clients to transfer funds electronically into their accounts before they give them hard cash.

The U.S. dollar and rand remain the most commonly used currencies in Zimbabwe.

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) introduced bond coins and notes, which were supposed to trade at par with the U.S. dollar, between 2014 and 2016 in a bid to improve liquidity, but the continued flight of dollars has stirred up public concerns.

The inter-changeability of the surrogate currency with the U.S. dollar remains a thorny issue with only the banks maintaining it while some retailers and traders have found subtle ways of charging a premium for the use of bond notes.

An illegal foreign currency dealer told Xinhua that many people were coming over in search of foreign currency for various reasons ranging from financing their businesses to paying tuition and accommodation fees for their children who are studying abroad.

“They come here, get their U.S. dollars and go to the bank where they deposit the money in their children’s visa accounts,” she said.

RBZ in 2016 established a list for foreign currency disbursements that leaves college fees payments at the lowest rung of priorities, so the parents have devised other means to send money to their children, including using mobile money transfer platforms.

Also falling into that category are cash depositing clients in the retail and wholesale industry and other borrowing clients engaged in the importation of non-strategic goods.

Donations, capital remittances from disposal of local property and from cross-border investments, funding of offshore credit cards, importation of goods and services readily available in Zimbabwe have been declared non-priority areas.

As a result of the priority list, the black market has found ready clients as people go for the elusive foreign currency, some of which they are reportedly hoarding.

In a previous interview with Xinhua, economic analyst Clemence Machadu said it seemed the U.S. dollar now had sub currencies as the black market took advantage of cash shortages.

“Bond currency may have come as a saviour that will decongest demand for the greenback and ensure that some domestic transactions happen in bond notes, relieving the hard currency to meet imports,” said Machadu.

“However, the challenge is when it comes to exchanging bond notes for hard currency by those who may now want to import more supplies.

“It is obvious that hard currency won’t be conveniently available and that will create an arbitrage whereby a premium will be charged to exchange bond notes for the greenback,” he said.

The Zimbabwe dollar became moribund in February 2009 and made way to a multiple currency regime dominated by the U.S. dollar and, in the initial stages, the rand.

The others are the Australian dollar, British pound, Botswana pula, euro, Indian rupee, Chinese yuan and Japanese yen, but these have hardly been in use.

RBZ governor John Mangudya earlier this week blamed the emergence of the black market on indiscipline and general lack of confidence in the market.

He said 102 million dollars worth of bond notes and coins were now circulating in the economy, accounting for 1.8 percent of deposits in the banks.

The bond notes and coins are supported by a 200 million dollar facility supported by Afreximbank meant to inject liquidity into the market after the central bank realized that the country had run short of the U.S. dollar.

Multi-tier pricing model illegal: RBZ

Source: Multi-tier pricing model illegal: RBZ | The Herald March 23, 2017

Business Reporter
RETAILERS who are using a multi-tier pricing system for different payment systems are violating the Bank Use Promotion Act and risk the full wrath of the law, a senior Reserve Bank official has said.

RBZ deputy governor Dr Kupukile Mlambo told breakfast meeting held in Harare yesterday to discuss the implications and effect of the bond notes on the economy that multi-tier pricing was unlawful.

He said the practice, which has become rampant following an increase in the amount of bond notes in circulation amid growing shortage of US dollar notes, had spawned three pricing models for US dollar notes, bond notes and use of electronic platforms.

The illegal practice by some of the retailers comes against the backdrop of acute shortage of the US dollar notes, the most dominant transaction currency in the country’s multi-currency system.

Zimbabwe uses a basket of foreign currencies after it scrapped its inflation ravaged domestic currency in 2009 following a decade of economic instability, which decimated 50 percent of the economy.

Under a US dollar dominated multi-currency system, inflation hit record lows, dropping well below zero and continuing like for 29 months before creeping out the negative territory only last February.

“I am aware of (illegal) activities that are happening. Some of the retailers have a three-tier pricing system; for bond notes, swiping and US dollar. I want to be very clear about this, (it) is illegal.

“We have not taken any action on anybody, but we have the Bank Use Promotion Act that we can invoke. I really want to encourage retailers doing so to relook into that. The last thing we want is to start arresting people. We want a friendly (environment) because this is a contested environment,” he said.

“If we start arresting people, (investors) will say we cannot do business in Zimbabwe, because they are arresting (business) people, yet we cannot watch while the public is cheated. I want to encourage all to avoid this three-tier pricing system. Let us follow the law because that is also counter-productive.”

In fact, retailers have increased prices of goods and services following introduction of the bond notes last year, as part of measures to incentivise exporters and improving liquidity in the economy. This has started reflecting through increase in inflation rate.

Dr Mlambo said while businesses in Zimbabwe should look for alternative ways to find their way past the myriad of challenges facing the economy that should be done within the confines of the law.

While the central bank has recorded tremendous success in making bond notes, backed by a $200 million facility from Afreximbank, a medium of exchange ranking one for one with the greenback, its value has been partly discounted on the parallel market.

Many unscrupulous retailers peg higher prices for other media of exchange such as bond notes, mobile money and electronic systems despite the fact that cash now makes a fraction of total transactions.

The domestic economy continues to battle the downside of the predominant use of the US dollar, which briefly brought back stability in the economy, but has weighed down prospects for growth due to its shortage and impact on competitiveness of industry.

Out of a total of $6,6 billion bank deposits, cash in circulation at just about $202 million, makes up less than 5 percent of the total bank deposits in the economy. The ratio of cash to bank deposits was 35 percent in 2009.

Dr Mlambo said that while bond notes have been a huge success, they were not the panacea to the country’s liquidity and cash crisis, which demands significant growth in foreign exchange inflows.

Typhoid, cholera re-emerge in Hatcliffe and Epworth

Source: Typhoid, cholera re-emerge in Hatcliffe and Epworth | The Herald

Nyemudzai Kakore Herald Correspondent—
A suspected cholera and typhoid outbreak has killed two people in Hatcliffe and Epworth amid reports that one person was being treated for typhoid. The Hatcliffe outbreak resulted in the decommissioning of four out of seven boreholes in the suburb. Harare City Council Health Services director Dr Prosper Chonzi confirmed reports of typhoid in Hatcliffe, saying six people were so far on their suspect list.

He said a suspected cholera victim died at Epworth Clinic after travelling from Mudzi. The re-emergence of typhoid in Hatcliffe comes after a similar outbreak in Mbare last year which spread to Budiriro and Glen View.

“I can confirm that we have two confirmed cases of typhoid. One person, a man aged 28, died at Harare Central Hospital of kidney failure which we suspect is delayed typhoid treatment. His relative, a 16-year-old girl is receiving treatment after testing positive,” he said.

“We suspect that they were drinking contaminated water from a borehole. Four of the seven boreholes in the immediate vicinity have bacterial growth. The Hatcliffe cases are new and their water situation is quite dire especially in the new settlements around Glen Forest.”

Dr Chonzi said their response teams have been in the area since last week, to monitor the situation and as of yesterday, they were sending water bowsers to relieve residents with safe water.

He said the decision to decommission the contaminated boreholes was the best to stop people from drinking the water, but said they had engaged their water department to increase the weekly water supply.

Questioned if Harare was failing to deal with typhoid after the Mbare outbreak, Dr Chonzi said: “The Mbare outbreak is totally under control. We have even demeaned the treatment centre at Mbare Clinic and our last confirmed case as of yesterday for Mbare was on the 7th of February. The control measures for Mbare really worked.”

Dr Chonzi urged communities to practice good personal hygiene like washing hands after visiting ablution facilities, buying food from licensed premises, using aqua tablets and Water Gard.

He said people should treat water regardless of the source and remove the notion that borehole water is safe.

However, Harare North MP Tongesayi Mudambo (Zanu-PF) said he feared that more lives will be lost with the lackadaisical approach being taken by council.

He urged the city to increase their weekly water supply in the area if the outbreak is to be contained.

Typhoid, caused by Salmonella typhi bacteria, is a water-borne disease which spreads through contaminated water and poor sanitation facilities.

Meanwhile, two people died of cholera in Manicaland and Masvingo, the Ministry of Health and Child Care has confirmed while two others WEre receiving treatment.

Health and Child Care Minister Dr David Parirenyatwa, in a statement read on his behalf by his deputy Aldrin Musiiwa, said: “An outbreak of cholera has been reported at Rupangwana Clinic in Chiredzi District of Masvingo Province on March 10, 2017 and at Chinyamukwakwa Clinic in Chipinge District of Manicaland Province on March 14, 2017. To date there is one confirmed case at Rupangwana and three suspected in Chinyamukwakwa Clinic of which two have died.

“The three suspected cases had contact with the confirmed index case admitted at Rupangwana Clinic in Chiredzi District who had come from the border area of Chipinge on March 9, 2017.”

Dr Parirenyatwa said flooding negatively affected communities in Chipinge district resulting in people failing to access health facilities for treatment.

He said most of the people in the affected area of Mabee had no access to safe drinking water due to floods.

There is speculation that the disease could be emanating from Mozambique.

“The area where the cases have been reported is adjacent to the border where there is an influx of people coming from Mozambique.

“There are cases of cholera that have been reported in Mozambique and in the adjacent Province of Manica,” said Dr Parirenyatwa.

He said Rapid Response Teams in the two provinces were on the ground conducting assessments and the cases were being managed at the two clinics in Chiredzi and Chipinge.

Dr Parirentyatwa urged all communities to exercise good personal hygiene.

Border CCTV camera stolen

Source: Border CCTV camera stolen | The Herald March 23, 2017

Thupeyo Muleya Beitbridge Bureau—
Beitbridge Border Post authorities have opened investigations into an incident where one of the over 36 closed circuit television (CCTV) security cameras was stolen during a power blackout last week. The theft came to light on last Saturday when security agents discovered that a key area used by smugglers and illegal immigrants had gone off the radar. Sources at the border on Tuesday said camera number 21, which monitors the area around the duty-free shop, a check- point manned by soldiers and the Police Support Unit was still missing.

The area around the duty-free shop is used by conmen, touts, smugglers using bicycles and border jumpers to access the border post.

“We suspect the camera was stolen during a power blackout,” said an official. “The suspect(s) are not known yet, but we are certain this was a well-planned job by the crim- inals. Investigations are in progress and nobody has been arrested yet.”

Matabeleland South police spokesperson Inspector Philisani Ndebele said he was yet to receive information on the case.

“We are yet to get that report and I cannot give you any information at the moment,” he said.

Over 15 people, including police, immigration, Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) officials and soldiers have been arrested since August last year for smuggling after being caught on camera.

The closed circuit cameras are part of a raft of upgrade measures on security at the border, as Government seeks to reduce incidents of corruption and smuggling at ports of entry.

So far, Government has secured at total of $600 000, which has been used to, among other things, buy border patrol vehicles, lie detectors, mineral and metal detectors, patrol motorbikes, secret cameras and repairing the border parameter fence, which had been vandalised by criminals.

The CCTVs were installed at points unknown to border officials.

Home Affairs Minister Dr Ignatius Chombo said during a recent visit to Beitbridge that corruption was affecting Government’s revenue collection.

He said Zimra was collecting $800 000 against a daily target of $1,2 million.

Minister Chombo, who heads a Cabinet crack team set up to look into operations and reducing smuggling, said the country was losing potential revenue through underhand dealings at Beitbridge Border Post.

Other members of the inter-ministerial team include Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa, Mines and Mining Development Minister Walter Chidhakwa, Environment, Water and Climate Minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri, Industry and Commerce Minister Mike Bimha and Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Minister Joseph Made.

ZNLWVA changes meeting’s agenda

Source: ZNLWVA changes meeting’s agenda | The Financial Gazette March 23, 2017

MEMBERS of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA) will now discuss the general state of affairs in the country at their meeting scheduled for today instead of issues relating to their welfare.
ZNLWVA secretary general, Victor Matemadanda, told the Financial Gazette on Tuesday that the meeting’s agenda had been changed to enable participants to take stock of their achievements so far in terms of what they fought for.
“…we want to assess our prospects as a nation and analyse what kind of political situation Zimbabwe now finds itself in. Are we really a democracy or we are under a dynasty?” said Matemadanda.
“We want to look at why are we facing this terrible economic meltdown and what can be done to rescue the nation from this abyss. We want to evaluate to see what could be our contribution to the economic turnaround.”
Ahead of the meeting, the ex-guerrilla war fighters prepared a document highlighting what they called the people of Zimbabwe’s grievances.
Crafted after a whirlwind countrywide tour during which they collated information, the document is dubbed the Freedom Charter.
It borrows heavily from the South African Freedom Charter of 1955, widely celebrated in that country as a major political milestone.
About 15 000 former freedom fighters are expected to attend today’s meeting.
Matemadanda said the indaba will also discuss issues to do with the ongoing national healing process.
He said the process should include the war veterans who fought in the liberation war, which he said was one of the central aspects of the healing process.
“We already have different committees working on different areas and they shall be presenting their reports at the meeting,” he said.
Police had blocked today’s indaba, but ZNLWVA rushed to the courts where an order was granted for them to proceed with the meeting.
Around this time last year, the war veterans were tear-gased by police when they tried to congregate in Harare.
Government then organised another meeting, which President Robert Mugabe presided over.

Job carnage as economy sinks

Source: Job carnage as economy sinks | The Financial Gazette March 23, 2017

TOUGH times beckon for Zimbabwean workers due to harsh conditions besetting the country’s economy with companies offloading excess staff onto the job market, already teeming with unemployed youths.
Before dollarisation in 2009, it was quite common that employers would regularly review remuneration packages for their workers in order to take into account the impact of inflation, but not anymore.
Since the adoption of the multi-currency regime eight years ago, companies have been struggling to survive due to loss of competitiveness, hence the future for thousands of their employees is hanging in the balance.
Thousands of workers have already lost their jobs as companies either downsize or close shop altogether.
Unlike before dollarisation when salaries would track inflation, employers are not generating enough revenue to match their costs of production, making it impossible for them to link salaries to the cost of living.
Even though prices of basic goods are rising, the wage bill has remained constant. If anything, employers are opting for either salary cuts or wholesale retrenchments to keep afloat.
Yet another phenomenon gripping the country’s economy is that of the casualisation of labour, whereby workers are paid directly for the work done.
With the country going through severe liquidity constraints that have seen companies being unable to process their foreign currency payments, analysts see job carnage taking its toll on the few who are still in formal employment.
Across all sectors of the economy, companies that have a component of their production sourced externally are not getting supplies on time because payments are taking ages to go through normal banking channels.
Airlines, miners and manufacturers are among those that have sent out an SOS to government, drawing attention to the dangers the payments gridlock poses to their survival.
Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions secretary general, Japhet Moyo, said it was regrettable that government was not taking the crisis seriously.
“The same problems that have been bedevilling the country since the turn of the millennium are still confronting the country,” he observed.
“This calls for serious considerations to be made in as far as transforming the country’s political landscape (is concerned). It is time for government to seriously confront the real issues affecting the country”.
Moyo said with the country having entered an election mode ahead of polls next year, it was unlikely that the situation would get any better, even after the country received good rains.
Where employers are shedding jobs, the bargaining power for unions has been severely weakened.
Government, which is the biggest employer in the country, has been up-in-arms with its restive public workers over poor salaries and deplorable working conditions.
Last month, doctors in government hospitals downed their tools, only to resume work after their employer agreed to look into some of their grievances.
Government has made it abundantly clear that it has no capacity to better civil servants’ salaries, citing depressed inflows into State coffers.
Over 90 percent of State revenues are going towards salaries, leaving very little resources for growth-stimulating capital expenditure.
Caught between a rock and a hard place, Treasury has previously tabled a plan to retrench 25 000 civil servants in a bid to cut costs and attract international funding, but the austerity measure has failed to sail through in view of government’s populist policies.
It however, appears that government has very little room to manoeuvre. The least it can do is to bite the bullet.
More so, civil servants have not been receiving their salaries on time, with their 2016 bonuses still to be paid.
While government is hesitant on taking hard decisions, the private sector has long made painful adjustments in order to escape the guillotine.
Across sectors, National Employment Councils (NECs) collective bargaining negotiations have deadlocked with employers demanding more from their workers for very little pay.
In the tobacco industry, there is gnashing of teeth amid speculation that more jobs could be lost. There is currently a wage freeze in the industry to manage high operational costs and poor returns arising from low quality tobacco, which fetches little on the international market.
As a result, the minimum wage is being maintained at US$209,36 per month.
The last time tobacco sector workers got a wage increase was in 2015.
In the security services sector, employers are doing their best to reverse a 10 percent wage increment awarded in 2014.
Zimbabwe Security Guards’ Union, general secretary, Phillimon Nhema, said applications have been filed at the Labour Court pleading with the jury to immediately reverse the increment.
“There are two applications at the Labour Court on the same issue so the court has since instructed them to consolidate the appeal into one, hence the date of hearing has not been set. We are now waiting for the court process and we feel that the employers are being selfish, their conduct is just to frustrate and delay the implementation of the increment,” said Nhema.
The obtaining situation is similar to the one in the transport sector.
Officers at the Transport and General Workers Union said most employers in the sector were failing to pay salaries on time.
The sector is still paying a minimum wage of US$268 per month which was last revised in 2014.
Employers in the sector are also placing their employees on extended fixed term contracts before according them permanent employment status.
In the banking and financial services sector, the chorus has not been different as most banks closed shop due to poor corporate governance.
Kingdom Bank and Trust Bank are some of the financial institutions that closed down, leaving many workers stranded.
Employers in this sector also took advantage of weak regulations to terminate contracts of employment on two weeks’ notice.
Some of the workers employed by banks such as Steward Bank are still battling to recover their terminal benefits.

The Zimbabwe Banks and Allied Workers Union said the rapid informalisation of the economy, coupled with poor banking conditions have exacerbated the sector’s plight since most people are no longer using the banks to transact.
Such a trend has adversely affected the nature and quality of employment likely to be offered in the sector.
The mining sector, which has been touted by government as a critical facet of the economy’s turnaround, has not done much to confer value to the country’s populace through provision of jobs.
A 2016 International Labour Organisation- commissioned study revealed that the mining sector, which accounts for a huge chunk of foreign direct investment and exports, only contributed three percent of total formal sector employment, translating to a paltry 36 000 formal jobs in a country where unemployment is estimated at over 90 percent.
Food and baking industries are also singing the blues. Most employers are arguing against increasing salaries while employees have maintained that they need to be paid poverty datum line (PDL) linked wages.
The average wage in Zimbabwe is around US$300 while the PDL stands at US$545 per month for an average family.
Employers Confederation of Zimbabwe president, Josephat Kahwema, remarked that the few achievements made in the past were being eroded by the harsh economic conditions.
“Our records confirm that in January alone, about six companies closed shop. The bulk that are still in existence are operating far below capacity while many of those are applying for liquidation or under judicial management,” he said.
In the year ending 2015, only two sectors namely energy and education registered marginal increases in employment creation by 200 and 1 100 employees respectively.
The sharpest drop in employment was in the distribution, restaurants and hotels sector which declined by 12 100 employees.
Other sectors that showed large declines in the number of employees were health and manufacturing which dropped by 7 900 and 5 700 jobs respectively.
In other sectors such as mining and quarrying, 2 000 jobs were lost.
The financial insurance and real estate market saw 2 400 people losing their jobs, while in the transport and communications sector 1 000 jobs were eroded.

Zim-Asset vs command economy: Factional State capitalism in Zimbabwe

Source: Zim-Asset vs command economy: Factional State capitalism in Zimbabwe | The Financial Gazette March 23, 2017

WHEN a local State-controlled weekly published a headline story on what it referred to as the “command economy”, I was slightly surprised.
While it wasn’t a new term from the State and its related “news” machinery, it was clearly a strategic propaganda move intended to remind us of the still to be verified success of the actual official term, “command agriculture” as touted by government officials against the backdrop of the heavy rains that the country received which have heightened anticipation of a bumper harvest.
What is probably happening is that the ruling party assumes that the continuity of its electoral hold on power predicated on the success of the much vaunted “command agriculture” will translate to a new national economic development model.
There are also certain nuances as to whether “command economy” is not a hint of continued contestation between Team Lacoste’ or Generation 40 factions of the ruling ZANU-PF party over what should be a government economic blueprint.
That the weekly carried such a story as its lead would indicate the same. It is basically an attempt at creating a contest between the official blueprint Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (Zim-Asset) and this nascent “command economy” model. Especially with an intention of demonstrating who in the ruling party has a “better” strategy at dealing with the economy.
If the challenges the national economy face were not so serious I would have said “bring out the popcorn and turn up the volume”.
That “command economy” may be a catchy term of phrase does not, however, signify a specifically different government macroeconomic policy framework. Neither is it a significant departure from Zim-Asset.
Based on what has been made public, it is intended to galvanise the policy clusters that are under the former. The assumption would be that Zim-Asset is not working in its current implementation format and requires much more centralised and direct planning. This would probably then lead to faster results through rapid “command” implementation.
In this regard, “command economy” is essentially an attempt to embolden and speed up a “State capitalism” economic framework as already defined by Zim-Asset. This is a framework in which the State and its functionaries (individuals and parastatals) are essentially run like a business ie. for profit. In our specific case, due to cronyism and corruption, this profit is not remitted back to the State, but individuals who are connected to the State or ruling party.
Furthermore, it has no clear public good intentions from the onset. It seeks to provide what should essentially be public service via private profit oriented business models such as the much vaunted public private partnerships. And the target areas for this are key social services such as provision of water, transport, health, land and education. Hence there is insistence on privatisation of water, electricity and health services.
Where government officials talk of the “ease of doing business” it is a combination of neo-liberalism and crony capitalism via access to the State and its resources.
So we can call it Zim-Asset or command economy, but the end effect of a neo-liberal and crony capitalism framework is the same. Whether it pits one Zanu- Pf faction against another is a matter for those who are more interested in the ruling party’s distractive succession politics (even if by rumour, gossip and innuendo).
And the implementers of it are not only thinking short-term i.e. get rich quick, they intend to construct a hegemony in which they have a pliant population that regards an elite serving economy as the norm and not an aberration.
In fact, they intend to make resistance appear futile by focusing on the “money” minus an ideological contestation. And they now know that the latter is certainly going to come from the neo-liberal alternatives being espoused by the opposition which, again, as with “command economy” juxtaposed with Zim-Asset, are two sides of the same coin.
What we have to grapple with in reality is a State that is being led away from what should be its raison d’etre, that is, to serve to the best possible democratic extent, the people.

Takura Zhangazha writes here in his personal capacity takura-zhangazha.blogspot.com

Tough times ahead for women politicians

Source: Tough times ahead for women politicians | The Financial Gazette March 23, 2017

FOR years, Zimbabwe’s women in politics offered much hope for their kind, but their voices have since died down.
At such a defining moment, when the nation is preparing for watershed elections due in about 15 months, the once powerful feminine voices in the world of politics have gone silent.
These include well-known valiants such as Margaret Dongo, Priscilla Misihairambwi-Mushonga, Lucia Matibenga, Sekai Holland, Trudy Stevenson, Theresa Makone, Thokozani Khupe, Tracy Mutinhiri and Evelyn Masaiti, who have all but fizzled out of the limelight.
And former vice president Joice Mujuru’s lone voice at the moment is now so muffled in controversy that it is as good as dead.
Are the women re-strategising in preparation for the 2018 elections or they have been silenced forever?
“They have been disempowered!” said Thabitha Khumalo, Member of Parliament for Bulawayo East.
“They have been pushed back to the domestic sphere, who knows they may rise or they may remain there,” she added.
The harsh economic environment has rendered women, not just those in politics, but every woman, powerless.
“Because of poverty and hunger, women have practically become the breadwinners to make sure that their families do not die of hunger and, with such a scenario, they do not have time to think about politics,” Khumalo said.
From the list of yesteryear notables, some have completely quit active politics. While one would have expected new names to pop up, the deafening silence is enough to guarantee anyone that the upcoming polls would once again be dominated by men.
Their male counterparts are busy consolidating their stranglehold on political power. For instance, factions in ZANU- PF are busy outwitting each other in the race to succeed President Robert Mugabe in the event that he retires from active politics.
In the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T), Morgan Tsvangirai, the party’s leader, has elevated Elias Mudzuri and Nelson Chamisa as vice-presidents in a move that has been interpreted as having effectively sidelined Khupe, a long-time lieutenant of the former trade unionist. The MDC-T now has three vice presidents, including Khupe.
Tsvangirai’s palace coup on Khupe seems to have shoved her out of the political limelight into which she occasionally pops out saying what at times appears to be hopeless statements.
“On the political scene, women have been immobilised and the economic environment itself is not helping. They now spend more time fending for their families,” Khumalo said.
According to Khumalo, the women’s political movement has disintegrated.
“We are back to 2008 and it is going to be tough for women in 2018. They do not have funds to sustain a campaign come 2018. It will be very difficult for both constituency holders and new entrants.”
Zimbabwe has had one of the most sophisticated women’s movements which has made significant social and political influence, beginning, historically, with the participation of women in the liberation struggle.
But as the nation heads for 2018 polls, there are several challenges militating against women such as gender-based violence, political party fissures and the limited impact the Constitution has had in advancing their cause.

Institute for Public Affairs in Zimbabwe vice-chairperson, Chipo Nyamwena-Mukonza, said gender-based violence was affecting political participation and representation by women.
“According to the 2011 Zimbabwe Demographic and Health Survey, one in four women reported that they had experienced sexual violence, and one in three women aged 15 to 49 have experienced physical violence since the age 15. This is a shocking statistic, which reveals how much violence against women is a ‘normalised’ scourge in the country.
“What this means is that women are unlikely to put themselves up for public leadership because of the real fear of being ridiculed and even subjected to violence. In some cases, intra-party elections across major political parties have often involved violence and the political terrain itself has been a very violent one. To date, we can remember that Zimbabwe’s 2008 general election was abandoned because of violence and women have horrifying testimonies about the level of violence targeted at them,” Nyamwena-Mukonza said.
The roller-coaster changes in ZANU-PF have left many wondering if the First Lady Grace Mugabe would somehow save face for the women that is if by some remote chance she becomes the next leader of the ruling party.
Her lone but aggressive voice has indeed provided some hope for women.
Former Harare South legislator, Margaret Dongo, argues that for women to win an election there is need for them to be economically empowered.
“Women need to be independent enough to make decisions and if they are empowered, they have a voice,” said Dongo, the country’s first woman politician to challenge vote rigging in 1995. She attributes her success in 1995 to the support she received from her mostly women supporters.
“Fighting rigging requires a lot of effort; people want to know why they are fighting for you,” Dongo said.
In present day politics, women are found wanting as many of them are in power on the benevolence of their male counterparts.
“Take for example the proportional representation in Parliament. It is flawed. The female parliamentarians do not have a constituency to report to; there is no feedback that takes place, they just sit in Parliament. They play an oversight role to make up the numbers,” Khumalo said.
Nyamwena-Mukonza concurred by stating that despite Zimbabwe having one of the most progressive constitutions in the world, political parties are unwilling to field women candidates.
“Thirty four percent of parliamentarians are women; that is 124 of the 350 legislators. Eighty six of these women are in the National Assembly. This figure, however, hides more than it reveals — of the 124 only 26 are directly elected and 60 are reserved seats. What this effectively means is that while the Constitution facilitates an increased participation through a ‘reserved seats’ system, the political parties are generally unwilling to field women as candidates,” Nyamwena- Mukonza said.
Mujuru, leader of one of the Zimbabwe People First (ZPF) factions is also making small waves on the political scene, but may have spoilt her chances by recent display of dictatorial inclinations when she fired elders of the once united opposition party.
She was, undoubtedly becoming a political brand in Zimbabwe after being touted as the natural successor of President Robert Mugabe who dismissed her from ZANU-PF and government in 2014.
Many, however, believe she needs to work on building rapport with the electorate and move away from the ZANU-PF style of politics.
Other women, such as Marcellina Chikasha and Barbra Nyagomo have also shown their interests in becoming the next president of Zimbabwe. Both are based in the United Kingdom.
Everjoice Win tweeted last month that there was need for women to re-strategise.
“We need to re-politicise our struggle/s. Too much apologising. All this niceness is not getting us very far,” tweeted Win, one of Zimbabwe’ feminist activists.

Court upholds police ban on NERA demo

Source: Court upholds police ban on NERA demo | The Financial Gazette March 23, 2017

THE High Court yesterday upheld a police ban on the National Electoral Reform Agenda (NERA) demonstration meant to press for electoral reforms.

Hundreds of supporters of opposition political parties who had hoped to demonstrate in central Harare were confined to the capital city’s Robert Mugabe Square in compliance with a High Court order upholding a police ban on the protesters not to march into central Harare.

NERA, a union of more than a dozen opposition political parties, ended up only managing to hand in a petition tabulating their demands to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC).
The court had ruled that only 10 people were to present the NERA petition to ZEC.
Heavy police presence thwarted an attempt by the crowd to march en-masse to ZEC offices.
NERA’s petition called for the disbanding of ZEC, which it alleges has failed to carry out its constitutional mandate of being an independent elections body that would ensure an election process that is in tandem with regional guidelines. The petition also demanded media access to all parties during election time.
After being addressed by their leaders who included Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) president Morgan Tsvangirai, Zimbabwe People First’s Didymus Mutasa and Tendai Biti of the Zimbabwe People’s Party, the seemingly agitated crowd of about 2 000 people headed for the central business district, marching along Robert Mugabe Street. The MDC-T dominated crowd sang and danced denouncing the ZANU-PF government.
Shops along Robert Mugabe Street, west of Kaguvi Street, briefly closed after some youths in the crowd started being rowdy.
But, immediately, two anti-riot police trucks with heavily-armed personnel, accompanied by a water canon truck appeared forestalling possible violence.
(Visit www.fingaz.co.zw for full story)Police surrounded the protesters who tried in vain to stand their ground.
And upon noticing that they had been sandwiched, the intimidated crowd started to disperse.
NERA has vowed to organise more protests as the year progresses.
“We are planning plenty more demonstrations until our demands are met,” said NERA’s legal secretary, Douglas Mwonzora.
Addressing the crowd, Tsvangirai said only through unity can opposition parties dethrone ZANU-PF.
“We have suffered under this system for a long time. We may be different, but we have a common enemy which is ZEC. ZEC has abandoned its mandate to be a referee during elections and chose to side with the ruling party,” said Tsvangirai.

End of impunity for government, parastatals?

Source: End of impunity for government, parastatals? | The Financial Gazette March 23, 2017

HIGH Court judge, Justice Judith Mushore’s drop of the judicial gavel last week, when she delivered a ruling in favour of a Mutare businessman who was challenging the constitutionality of a law that ring-fences State assets from seizure, could have disastrous and far-reaching effects on President Robert Mugabe’s already embattled government if the Constitutional Court (ConCourt) concurs that the law is inconsistent with the supreme law of the land.
On March 15 Justice Mushore delivered a landmark judgment that struck down Section 5(2) of the State Liabilities Act (Chapter 8:14) — the law which made State assets untouchable — saying it was unconstitutional.
The development puts every piece of government asset together with those of its companies and other departments — both movable and immovable — at risk of seizure by the creditors.
The watershed ruling followed an application by Tendai Blessing Mangwiro, a Mutare businessman, seeking an order declaring this section of the law unconstitutional.
Mangwiro has been battling for years to recover more than US$1,5 million he won in court from government without success as government ministers repeatedly ignored the court order and went on to evoke this law to frustrate him from attaching State assets for purposes of execution.
Justice Mushore ruled that the section was unjustly hindering Mangwiro from realising an award of damages granted in his favour by the High Court in case number HC4766 /13.
“Section 5 (2) of the State Liabilities Act (Chapter 8:14) be and is hereby declared to be inconsistent with the Constitution of the Republic of Zimbabwe and is therefore invalid,” said Justice Mushore before referring her judgment to the ConCourt for confirmation.
“If Section 5(2) is being used to frustrate justice as is clearly the case in the present case, then it is not justifiable in a democratic society based on openness, justice, fairness, human dignity equality and freedom,” she said.
Having identified that Section (5) 2 of the Act was destructive of important rights, which the Declaration of Bill of Rights speaks to and represents, Justice Mushore added: “If those rights are impeded, the Declaration of Rights implementation is severely impeded.”
The law — which analysts have in the past said provided the State with powers equivalent to those that it can only wield in war-situations to expropriate private property — has been used extensively to keep marauding State creditors at bay.
The ruling was delivered on the same day Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who is also the Minister of Justice, was in Geneva, Switzerland where he was painting a rosy picture of the human rights situation in Zimbabwe at the United Nations Human Rights Council.
Legal experts said the ConCourt was likely to concur with Justice Mushore’s ruling, a development that would open floodgates of lawsuits and expose government assets and those of its nearly 100 parastatals — which until now have been safe and secure — to seizure to satisfy judgment debts.
“It is an important ruling that makes it clear that government won’t cause harm and expect to get away with it,” Jacob Mafume, a lawyer and opposition politician told the Financial Gazette.
“It can be chaotic as we have an insolvent government… our debts are more than our assets at the moment,” Mafume added.
It is under this law that the broke government and its loss-making parastatals — both of which are notorious for ducking creditors — have been taking refuge for years.
Officially, Zimbabwe’s government debt stands at US$8,5 billion, but this amount is disputed with figures as high as US$12 billion being mentioned once undisclosed debts to China and other African countries such as Libya are included.
Part of government’s debt includes the nearly US$1,4 billion incurred by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe before December 2008, which it took over in 2015.
In addition to this, virtually all the country’s parastatals have been mired in choking debts for many decades, with ZESA Holdings, which has various business units, being the most indebted as it owes creditors more than US$1,2 billion against its assets of just over US$500 million.
At the end of last year, Air Zimbabwe owed its creditors more than US$330 million, while the National Railways of Zimbabwe owed creditors more than US$200 million.
Other parastatals that are known for their debts include the National Oil Infrastructure Company of Zimbabwe (previously the National Oil Company of Zimbabwe), the Grain Marketing Board, the Cold Storage Company, the Central Mechanical and Equipment Department, the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe and many more that are spread across 13 ministries.

The removal of protection on State assets comes as a relief to many citizens and corporates that have been awarded damages by the courts in cases where they would have suffered losses or abuse at the hands of State agents, but like Mangwiro, found themselves stranded as there was no way of enforcing these court judgments.
Some former white commercial farmers have in the past resorted to attaching government properties abroad because they could not get joy locally. In 2015, some of the farmers who had won their case at the now disbanded Southern African Development Community tribunal based in Namibia caused the attachment and auctioning of a property belonging to the Zimbabwean government.
This comes at a time when the country has registered an increase in cases of defiance of court orders by Cabinet ministers and other senior government officials, a development that has left many injured parties infuriated.
The landmark ruling is the culmination of a culture of defiance of court orders as highlighted by Home Affairs Minister, Ignatius Chombo and his Finance counterpart, Patrick Chinamasa, when they both ignored Mangwiro out of existence, fully aware that he had no way of forcing government to pay him.
The law has also been subject to abuse.
In 2015, government came under fire after using the State Liabilities Act to put the assets of the mismanaged Premier Services Medical Aid Society (PSMAS) out of the reach of enraged creditors — who are owed nearly US$150 million — for a period of three years.
President Mugabe evoked the outdated Presidential Powers Temporary Measures Act to issue a Statutory Instrument (SI) stopping PSMAS’ creditors from attaching the firm’s assets over unpaid debts. The SI served to illegally evoke the State Liabilities Act, even though PSMAS is not a State-owned business entity or a government department.
“This is not good for the investment climate,” pointed law expert, Alex Magaisa, at the time. “It means the right to private property is insecure when dealing with State companies. If you cannot pursue your debts and get satisfaction through attachment of property, then there is no security of contracts at all. This type of law paints a very bad picture of the investment environment in Zimbabwe at a time when the country is desperate for investment.”
However, the State Liabilities Act has protected not all State-owned firms. Last year, Kingstons Holdings, a loss-making parastatal that falls under the Ministry of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services had its headquarters — Kingstons House — in central Harare attached and auctioned by ZB Bank over a US$300 000 debt.
The Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation had to negotiate with a former employee after virtually all its vehicles had been attached by the Sheriff of the High Court, while State newspapers group, Zimpapers had its vehicles and other assets attached last year over a US$45 000 debt arising from a defamation lawsuit the group had lost.

AirZim deal collapses

Source: AirZim deal collapses | The Financial Gazette March 23, 2017

PLANS by the country’s beleaguered airline, Air Zimbabwe (AirZim), to lease modern passenger aircraft from Malaysia Airlines have hit a brick wall after the two parties could not agree on terms underpinning the multi-million dollar deal, the Financial Gazette can exclusively report.
Zimbabwe had made giant strides in negotiating the acquisition of Boeing 787 Dreamliners from Malaysia Airlines to turn around the fortunes of the troubled AirZim, which is wallowing in debt estimated at about US$300 million.
The two parties had opened discussions on the deal after President Robert Mugabe had led a delegation to Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia, last year to scout for opportunities for the landlocked southern African country.
His delegation comprised Transport and Infrastructure Development Minister Joram Gumbo and aviation experts from AirZim who used the visit to the south-east Asian country to engage Malaysia Airlines with a view to either acquire or lease long-haul planes while parallel efforts back home focussed on identifying routes that would help the national flag carrier return to the black.
Government had shown interest in the Boeing 787 Dreamliners, which are basically long-haul, mid-size wide body, twin engine jet airliner manufactured by the United States’ Boeing Commercial Airplanes.
AirZim board chairperson, Chipo Dyanda, could not be drawn into commenting on the latest development saying: “This is a shareholder matter. I refer you to the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development.”
Gumbo confirmed this week that the discussions with Malaysia Airlines had fallen through and that AirZim had since shifted its focus elsewhere.
“I am still talking with potential airlines and we may agree soon,” said Gumbo. “At the moment I do not want to say who they are. We were talking to 11 airlines in Singapore, in Ethiopia and other countries and there was nothing special about Malaysia. I only mentioned Malaysia (last year) because I went there to see planes that they were not using but we could not agree on certain issues,” he added.
A new and efficient fleet would be crucial in AirZim’s struggle to return to profitability after meddling by government and years of mismanagement pushed the airline into its current crisis.
It has been operating old aircraft that have been guzzling fuel and piling up expenses.
AirZim has battled to compete for market share with regional competitors such as South African Airways, among others, which have invested in modern aircraft to save costs and attract the industry’s demanding clientele.
Sources said AirZim was making progress on acquiring at least four Boeing 777s (B777s) aircraft from an undisclosed supplier.
It also emerged that the AirZim board was exploring the possibility of establishing a new company to house the new fleet and start on a clean slate.
Although this idea has not been officially communicated to government, the new airline could be called Zimbabwe Airways and would have the four aeroplanes as its first major assets.
AirZim’s debt burden is one of the impediments to its ability to acquire new planes, as well as reaching agreement with a technical partner to steer the parastatal out of the woods.
A new company is therefore seen as the most viable alternative to circumvent the problem, and even insulate the new planes from seizure by creditors.
It was not immediately clear if the deal involves an outright acquisition or a lease, although indications are that AirZim would take delivery of the first batch of the B777s planes in the coming few months.
If the national flag carrier is to acquire the planes, it could spend almost US$1 billion.
The lowest priced model of the 777 family, the Boeing 777-200ER, costs US$261,5 million, while the Boeing 777-300ER goes for US$320,2 million.
This, apparently, is costly for AirZim, whose shareholder, government, is broke and has spent the past year battling to pay its bloated civil service. It therefore does not have the financial wherewithal to fund the acquisition.
The latest information appears to suggest that the AirZim board has ignored recommendations from consultants that it acquires two Dreamliner B787s and Brazilian assembled Embrear jetliners.
The Embraer was briefly operated by AirZim on domestic and regional flights under a lease agreement three years ago.
A report by audit consultants, EY, on the airline’s operations three years ago had recommended that AirZim should acquire or lease two B787 jetliners, which are smaller than the B777s.
This was in addition to AirZim’s existing fleet.

A feasibility assessment committee report came up with similar recommendations, according to sources familiar with the discussions.
The committee had recommended that the airline procures a fleet of the Brazilian assembled 60-seater Embraer jetliners for domestic and short regional routes to significantly reduce costs on domestic routes, where AirZim has been operating the B737s, or even the much bigger B767s.
There have been reports that AirZim has been flying with as low as three passengers on the Johannesburg-Harare route.
The 150-seater Airbus A320 has also been flying on domestic and regional routes.
AirZim is currently leasing two Airbus planes, one of which has been grounded ever since its delivery to the parastatal.
Currently, AirZim has been grappling with declining load factors, and chief executive officer, Ripton Muzenda, has ordered that flights on the Harare-Kariba-Victoria Falls route should immediately be discontinued.
A Chinese made MA60 plane, which is fuel efficient aircraft but costly to maintain, had been servicing the route.
Passenger numbers have plummeted to about 230 000 per annum in the past few years, from a peak of one million in 1996, as travellers opt for other airlines on the four domestic destinations it services.
The airline, currently flying into South Africa, Zambia and Tanzania, has been planning to re-launch the cash-spinning Harare-London flights, but airline executives have warned that without modern jetliners, it would be a waste of time because it would most certainly face stiff competition.
AirZim’s aged fleet comprises of two Boeing 767s, three B737s, three MA60s and two Airbus A320s.
Out of these planes, only four are flying – one airbus, one Boeing 767, one 737 and an MA60.
Only two were in operation last week.
The airline came close to liquidation when it stopped flights in 2011 before its sole shareholder took the decision to resume operation in November 2012.
AirZim was also struggling due to a debt overhang; outstanding salaries/wages; collapsed administration systems; bloated staff complement; top-heavy management and limited route network consisting of local and two regional flights, namely South Africa and Tanzania that would inevitably affect its revenue.
The Dyanda-led board has addressed the top-heavy management by putting in place a lean structure.
Currently, a staff audit and restructuring exercise is underway to ensure the right people are in the right places and the airline carries a wage and salary bill it can afford and for the right kind of skills, knowledge and technical expertise.
“We have also restructured the executive to ensure efficiency and reliability and to also upgrade and modernise systems that had collapsed and were outdated. Two new posts of chief operating officer and an executive manager (systems and administration) were created to achieve efficiency, reliability and modernisation of airline systems. We have also appointed an executive with the right technical skills, commitment and vision that the airline can be revived, can be viable and profitable to enable it to significantly contribute to national development by complementing road and rail transportation,” said Dyanda.
“Above all, we are crafting a new three-year strategic plan with a different operational and business model so that we redirect the company to become a competitive airline in the next three years. In addition, these proposed changes are being done in a holistic, forward-looking and visionary manner to give the airline a new robust foundation for growth and development. In crafting this strategic plan, we have engaged our stakeholders to understand their needs and expectations from the airline, re-engaged the shareholder on the airline mandate as the national carrier and re-engineered the business model and systems.
“As for the payment of retrenched workers’ packages, they are being paid monthly to the capacity of the airline. As a board, we are cognisant of their struggle to fend for their families, but we are limited by the funds available from a limited route network and the need to balance their needs with the operational requirements of the company. Some of them, with the right skills and expertise, may be re-absorbed in the company through the restructuring process currently underway. In addition, as the airline begins to have a good footing, more manpower may be required and more will be absorbed. The business model being proposed has the capacity to grow the business, but in some cases human resources will need upgrading to cope with the new demands.”
Regarding EY’s recommendations, Dyanda said these were being considered as part of the 2017-2020 strategic plan.
“Some recommendations from this report will be integrated with other strategies that have since come on board due to the developments in airline management, viability and profitability,” she said.
Dyanda said no single solution was the magic wand for the revival of the airline, adding that money was not the only solution to the problems besetting the airline.
“There are several strategies that are being put in place among them searching for a strategic partner by the shareholder, upgrading employee skills, knowledge and attitudes, changing the culture of the organisation, modernisation of the airline systems, rebranding to change the negative perceptions the airline has earned over the years and energising commitment and the vision of those running the organisation,” she said.
The planned acquisition of B777 planes has already sparked heated debate within the airline, with questions being raised over the rationale behind purchasing long haul airliners during at a time when debts in London have meant that the national flag carrier cannot operate on this most lucrative route, for instance.
“The bigger and the more the planes, the more cash those behind the acquisitions would get…. This has nothing to do with AirZim’s requirements. It only needs two big 787s. But four planes will give them more kickbacks. They want to make money out of aircraft acquisitions,” said a source.

Govt pays US$35m to CAPS creditors

Source: Govt pays US$35m to CAPS creditors | The Financial Gazette March 23, 2017

GOVERNMENT has paid US$35 million in Treasury Bills (TBs) to CAPS’ creditors, some of whom had previously taken the troubled drugs-maker to court to recover debts.
The development extricates the beleaguered drugs manufacturer from an encumbrance that had ruined operations.
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor, John Mangudya, confirmed the release of TBs to CAPS creditors but could not reveal their identity.
“Government has issued about US$35 million worth of TBs to pay the liabilities or creditors of CAPS. If you check with me when I am back at the office I will be able to tell you their identities,” he said.
Efforts to contact the RBZ governor thereafter were fruitless.
Government recently took over CAPS Holdings’ drug manufacturing unit, CAPS Pharmaceuticals, and Health Care (Private) Limited — two entities which used to be part of the group.
QV Pharmacies and St Anne’s Hospital fall under the Health Care unit.
CAPS Holdings was majority owned by businessman, Fred Mtandah.
Traditionally, TBs used to be attractive and safe debt instruments issued by government to raise money on the domestic market.
But they have lost their lustre due to uncertainty over government’s ability to pay due to its cash situation.
Government is currently struggling to pay civil servants’ salaries on time.
A number of TBs that have been issued to the market have been rolled over.
The fact that Treasury has defaulted on several of its payment commitments has meant that the market has been skeptical of lending to government or to support debt instruments in which it is a guarantor.
Government’s latest intervention on CAPS comes at a time President Robert Mugabe’s administration is courting private investors to help resuscitate the pharmaceutical company, which was once one of the largest drug manufacturers on the African continent.
The company, however, ran into problems a few years ago due to debts.
Also at the centre of CAPS’ problems was government’s failure to pay for drugs, as well as an influx of cheap imports.
Government is the largest customer for pharmaceutical products in Zimbabwe.
Most of the 1 531 health institutions operating in Zimbabwe fall under the Ministry of Health and Child Care.
Financial distress resulted in one of the company’s key properties, an industrial complex situated in Southerton industrial area, Harare, which sits on 17 043 hectares of land and was also used as the pharmaceutical company’s head office, being put on auction to recover debts owed to CBZ Bank and FBC Bank to the tune of US$4 million.
The auction followed a High Court judgment in favour of the financial institutions, but the property was later placed on sale by private treaty after it failed to generate viable offers.
A private treaty sale refers to a sale of a property between two parties that agree on terms and price directly without an intervening agency.
It also later emerged that that the sale by auction was not sanctioned by the High Court after the highest bidder offered a price far below the properties’ market value.
CAPS was founded in 1952 and listed on the local bourse in 1969.
Government had a 31,77 percent stake in CAPS but disposed of its entire interest in the drug manufacturing firm in July 2002 to Audway Investments (25 percent) and CAPS Employee Share Ownership Trust (6,77 percent).
After exiting CAPS, government established its own pharmaceutical company called the National Pharmaceutical Company of Zimbabwe.
Former executive chairman Mtandah, through his investment vehicle, Fredex Financial Services, acquired 40,6 percent of CAPS while FCIV Investments controlled 14,8 percent.
CAPS Holdings, the integrated pharmaceutical firm, however, voluntarily de-listed from the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange in 2011 after shareholders approved the move at an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) held in June that year.
The EGM also approved the unbundling of the firm into three entities, CAPS Pharmaceuticals Manufacturing, Distribution and Health Care.
Now that government has retaken control of the pharmaceutical firm, it faces the difficult task of making sure the drug maker returns to viability under the leadership of Abigail Shonhiwa, the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, who now heads the company’s board of directors appointed last year.

Makarau’s demeaning of opposition raises questions

Zimbabwe’s democratic deficit is undeniable, but reports that the police issued stringent conditions for yesterday’s National Electoral Reform Agenda (Nera)-organised demonstration against government’s decision to take over the procurement of biometric voter registration (BVR) kits, are regrettable as that should never be allowed in progressive societies.

Source: Makarau’s demeaning of opposition raises questions – NewsDay Zimbabwe March 23, 2017

Comment: NewsDay Editor

The move was clearly a strategy to draw daggers with the opposition political parties and, therefore, find a reason to make unnecessary arrests under the guise that they would have flouted conditions of holding a peaceful event.

Naturally, because the opposition currently feels hard-done by the Zanu PF government’s decision to snub the United Nations’ offer to purchase the BVR kits at a time Treasury does not have financial resources for same meant, they were bound to defy the police ban.

With Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) chairperson Justice Rita Makarau snubbing a dialogue with political parties leaving them seething with anger after she stormed out of their meeting claiming she was being abused in the media, it is clear that the country is headed for a showdown in the 2018 plebiscite.

The country is already in election mode yet the economy is crumbling than ever before. There can never be a plausible explanation as to why the government has hijacked the purchase of BVR kits after initially agreeing to accept funding from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). This, actually, raises suspicion that they want to tamper with the voting process, something that may be out of their control if they allow the UNDP to come in.

We believe the election process should not throw the country into turmoil simply because of selfishness. It is time Zimbabweans came together to resolve their differences than fight.

The fact that the ruling Zanu PF finds it prudent to continue to abuse State security apparatuses to protect its interests shows that President Robert Mugabe’s party is not prepared for a peaceful election.

This is not how things should happen. We believe democratic voices are a place for progressive and humanistic politics that will benefit all across the divide.

While we are hopeful that these differences can be resolved in time to allow peaceful harmonised elections next year, the Zanu PF government should, however, be warned that regardless of how much stifling would happen to break the spirit of human rights, political and democracy activists, the democratic voices of sanity will emerge amid all this hysteria.

Makarau’s demeaning of opposition political parties who are within their right to demand fairness in how Zec will run the polls cannot be allowed to continue.

Makarau, an experienced judge — so we suppose — should understand that before, during and after the elections all political parties for as long as they make their intention to contest known, are equal, not even the ruling party should dictate what happens in the polls that they have a vested interest in.

But then this is Zimbabwe and Makarau, besides being Zec chairperson, is also the head of the Judiciary Service Commission secretariat and former Non-Constituency senator appointed by Mugabe more than 10 years ago.

Given her history, Zimbabweans are within their rights to claim she is biased towards Zanu PF. It is time for Makarau to state her position to extricate herself from this mess created for her by the Zanu PF government whose roles are conflated. Indeed, the most effective democratic voices in the country do not belong to the opposition political parties, trade unionists, or Zanu PF, but the people, and they shall have their day very soon too.

‘Watershed elections headed for disputed outcome’

THE Zimbabwe Election Support Network (Zesn) has warned that the rift between political parties and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) may result in the 2018 elections being disputed.

Source: ‘Watershed elections headed for disputed outcome’ – NewsDay Zimbabwe March 23, 2017

BY BLESSED MHLANGA

Rindai Chipfunde Vava said it was essential for political parties and Zec to find each other and work together to ensure the country’s electoral system is acceptable.

“It is imperative that Zec and the political parties maintain the level of engagement that we have witnessed over the past months to ensure that open dialogue continues as we move closer to the 2018 elections.

“The net effect of discontinuing the dialogue will be heightened tensions between the commission and political parties, which is likely to result in another disputed electoral process,” she said.

The call comes after Zec chairperson Justice Rita Makarau stormed out of a meeting with political parties after accusing them of pursuing demonstrations and criticism instead of engaging her in good faith.

Makarau said it was only proper for Zec to halt engagements with political parties forthwith.

Zesn also said the call by some political parties to ditch biometric voter registration (BVR) in favour of using national identity cards on election day was retrogressive and had lots of holes which could not be plugged in the absence of a voters’ roll.

“Zec believes that using IDs without the voters’ roll has gaps and inadequacies that would cause a number of administrative and logistical challenges to Zec, thereby severely inhibiting the commission’s ability to deliver a credible election in 2018. Hence, the calls to do away with the voters’ roll are retrogressive and will only serve to weaken rather than strengthen the electoral process in Zimbabwe,” Zesn said in a statement.

The stand-off between political parties and Zec has been triggered by the perceived attempts of the Zanu PF-led government to hijack the procurement of BVR kits from the United Nations Development Programme.

Shareholders must demand accountability

Source: Shareholders must demand accountability | The Financial Gazette March 23, 2017

By Allen Choruma

DIRECTORS and executives remuneration is increasingly coming under scrutiny as shareholders demand accountability and full disclosures in an effort to strengthen good corporate governance and enhance performance of companies they are invested in.
The recent corporate governance lapses at CBZ Holdings (a leading diversified financial services group in Zimbabwe) which were reported extensively by the press over the past few weeks, have ignited debate over directors and executive compensation, a highly controversial corporate governance subject.
CBZ Holdings
The CBZ Holdings’ (CBZH) non-executive chairman Elliot Mugamu, unceremoniously resigned recently from the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE)-listed diversified financial services group, having buckled under pressure from major shareholders on corporate governance lapses.
It was reported that the chairman of National Social Security Authority (NSSA), a significant shareholder in CBZH holding at least 10 precent in issued equity, wrote to CBZH on November 25, 2017 calling for the convening of an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) and demanded an explanation on a number of corporate governance issues including: The independence of the board of directors (in particular the group chairman), payment of minimal dividends to shareholders, the company’s remuneration policy (on directors and executives), payment of excessive packages to its directors and top executives (resulting in shareholder value being eroded), inter alia.
The Government of Zimbabwe, another significant shareholder in CBZH, reportedly weighed in demanding improved board oversight and accountability and proposed to put a cap on quarterly board fees and sitting allowances for directors, which government considered hefty and unsustainable.
Government also demanded that the bank’s “fat cat” executive salaries and “extortionate” perks were not above board and needed to be reviewed downwards given the prevailing economic environment in Zimbabwe.
Here is the juicy part. According to the above cited media reports, CBZH’s non-executive chairman received hefty board fees and perks as follows:
•Board quarterly fee: US$40 000.
•Perks to the tune of US$18 902,35 (medical aid, security guards, fuel, wi-fi, newspapers, DStv subscriptions, motor vehicle expenses etc) in 2016.
•Use of a company vehicle (Mercedes Benz).
The question is: Why would a non-executive chairman get paid these lavish perks as if he were a full time executive?
Why buy a non-executive chairman a Mercedes Benz? This is absurd to say the least and compromises the independence of the chairman and the rest of the board.
The major shareholders, government and NSSA, eventually agreed with CBZH to defer the EGM, but pushed for the reduction of board fees as follows: Quarterly fees chairman maximum US$6 000; ordinary director: US$4 200 and sitting fees; chairman — US$800 and ordinary director, US$650 respectively.
The lapse in good corporate governance at CBZH is scandalous and leaves one wondering why the board failed to question these excesses in directors and executive compensation?
Such corporate governance failures result in the board losing the credibility it may have enjoyed.
It looks like the CBZH board is merely clutching on the last straw, which may give in as shareholder activism tide heightens.
In the developed world, corporate governance failures at CBZH are scandalous to an extent that the whole board would quietly resign to save face.
This is, however, a rarity in Zimbabwe, given the prevailing harsh economic conditions.
In the United States, the remuneration of directors and top executives of publicly listed companies is fully disclosed and can be accessed by shareholders and investors on the companies websites, under investor relations. In Zimbabwe, it’s the opposite.
The question to ask is: Why are we witnessing a surge in these corporate governance failures in Zimbabwe in both the private and public sectors?
Systemic governance challenges
The excessive directors and executive remuneration exposed by CBZH shareholders are not only peculiar to CBZH.
A lot of organisations in Zimbabwe, if a survey was to be conducted, will be found to be doing exactly the same thing, if not worse.
Corporate governance failures reported at CBZH are just a tip of the iceberg of governance challenges faced by most organisations in Zimbabwe.
These governance challenges are systemic and have shown their ugly head across all sectors, both private and public.
It’s a whole system that is not functioning well in terms of adhering to principles of good corporate governance.
The harsh economic environment prevailing in the country has also compromised that independence of directors.
Directors need the fees they receive from boards for sustenance. Hence they no longer ask probing questions on their remuneration, even if some realise its excessive.
Executives on the other hand “pamper” directors so as to compromise their independence and effectiveness for their own benefit. It’s a game.
The audit reports issued by the auditor general, Mildred Chiri, clearly show that these systemic corporate governance failures are also widespread even in the public sector.
We are talking of a whole governance system in both the private and public sectors that has crumbled and needs to be overhauled.
There are many organisations in which non-executive chairpersons and other directors receive hefty perks as if there were executive managers.
Some organisations even allow their executives to “double dip” by paying them board and committee sitting fees, yet they are full time salaried employees.
All these corporate governance scandals are also happening under “the nose” of regulators such as the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ).
One wonders why the CBZH corporate governance lapses went undetected by the RBZ surveillance radar.

Could it be that regulators are not doing their jobs effectively? Could it also be that regulators view such issues as internal matters to be resolved between shareholders and their boards? Below we take a wider analysis of the problem.
Agency
The root of the corporate governance challenge we are witnessing also emanates from the nature of the legal relationship that exists between directors and shareholders. Under common law, the relationship between these two parties is one of agency. The shareholders are the principals, while directors are agents. Management are delegated by directors to run operations under the directors’ oversight. The principal and agent relationship in turn creates fiduciary responsibilities between the parties.
Fiduciary duties
The fact that agency exists will always provide an indication of a fiduciary relationship.
A fiduciary, under common law, is a person who is obliged to discharge a responsibility of trust towards another. Directors are fiduciaries and owe a fiduciary duty to shareholders.
Directors are expected to:
•Act in good faith.
•Protect the interests of principal (shareholder).
•Avoid situations of a conflict of interest.
•Not to profit at the expense of the principal.
•Fully disclose his/her activities and not act secretly.
From the above exposition, it is clear that where a fiduciary relationship arises, it requires a degree of trust and loyalty between the principal (shareholder) and agent (director).
It is understood that directors and management should be compensated for their efforts in order to attract necessary expertise and skills and incentivise them to perform better.
At the same time, directors and executives have a corresponding duty to increase value to shareholder investments and assets.
However, instead of protecting the interests of the shareholders, some directors simply exploit the trust for their own benefit, at the expense of the principals that appointed them.
Ownership and control
The corporate governance challenge here is also that of ownership and control.
The separation of those who own the company from its control creates some corporate governance challenges and potential conflicts.
Shareholders are the owners of the company.
Directors ordinarily (in our context) are not the owners of a company.
They are appointed by the shareholders to superintend over the companies on behalf of shareholders.
Directors in turn appoint executive management to run the company operations. Good corporate governance advocates that there is separation of ownership and control of a company.
In some instances, directors and management can exploit this arrangement (separation of ownership and control) by taking advantage of their positions to enhance their personal interests.
Some have taken advantage of the fact that they control the company and use this to achieve their selfish goals at the expense of shareholders.
It is presumed under common law that directors as fiduciaries will act in good faith at all times and in the best interests of their principals.
This is not often so as was exposed above. Where directors breach their fiduciary duties, by acting outside their fiduciary duties, then we have a corporate governance challenge.
This corporate governance challenge manifests itself through corruption, self-aggrandisement, hefty allowances, lavish lifestyles, indulgence in excesses by directors and executives at the expense of the principals, who will ultimately bear the cost and suffer some pecuniary loss.
Shareholder activism
Lack of shareholder activism in Zimbabwe (especially institutional investors) has allowed some unscrupulous directors and executives unlimited access to company resources, without accountability.
Shareholder activism is required to ensure that directors stay on course and act in good faith at all times.
Interventions by NSSA and government in CBZH should be viewed positively. Had it not, been for shareholder activism, the “fat cat’ directors and executive perks at CBZH could have continued unabated.
This is how shareholders should act in order to protect their rights and interests in companies where they are invested.
It is hoped that this is just the beginning.
Shareholders in other companies should follow suit and bring directors and executive to account and fully disclose their remuneration and perks in an effort to enhance good corporate governance.
Conclusion
In conclusion, in the case of Robinson vs Randfontein Estates Gold Mining Company, Innes CJ (as he then was) remarked: “Where one man stands to another in a position of confidence involving a duty to protect the interests of that other, he is not allowed to make a secret profit at the other expense or place himself in a position where his interests conflicts with his duty.”
If people who are put in positions of leadership across all sectors in Zimbabwe take these principles to heart, and lead by example, we will cease to have the corporate governance challenges and numerous corporate scandals that we are currently facing in Zimbabwe.

Allen Choruma can be contacted on e mail: kuumbameats3@gmail.com

Manufacturing sector to increase capacity

The manufacturing sector in Zimbabwe is expanding its capacity to “capture and satisfy increased demand” on the back of measures introduced by government to protect it, an official has said.

Source: Manufacturing sector to increase capacity – NewsDay Zimbabwe March 23, 2017

BY MTHANDAZO NYONI

Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) president, Busisa Moyo told NewsDay that a raft of measures introduced by government to protect industry had started paying off.

Government last year gazetted Statutory Instrument (SI) 64 of 2016, which removed goods that have local equivalents from the open general import licence.

Following the promulgation of the instrument, Moyo last year told NewsDay that orders for companies on SI had gone up 30% to 50%.

“Orders are still higher than normal when compared year-on-year for example (February 2016 vs February 2017) for companies that are being supported under various SIs 18, 19, 20 and 64,” Moyo said.

“Manufacturers are actually expanding their capacity to capture and satisfy increased demand. Industry players are also looking at issues of quality and packaging in line with new consumer trends and preferences.”

Moyo also said industry capacity was expected to increase to 65% in the near future on the back of an improved agricultural season.

“It is too early to issue projections but given the revisions in GDP forecasts on the back of a better than expected Agricultural harvest we are more optimistic. As you know we would like to see capacity utilisation expanding to above 65% in the near term 9-15 months,” he said.

On the foreign payments issue, Moyo said the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and the Bankers Association were making concerted efforts to clear the backlog of payments and this “will improve significantly due to the $70 million nostro stabilisation and the impeding bumper harvest which will see increased tobacco inflows and a falling away of maize importation”.

He said they would continue facilitating and encouraging companies to retool and improve technologies, while maintaining traditional quality and responsible production.

“We have close ties with France, Turkey and India on our retooling agenda through various MOUs, and joint programme through their local consulates.”

“This re-tooling and technology upgrade programme is gaining momentum and we only lack a vibrant financial services sector to complement what we trying to do, hence discussions about an Industrial Development Bank have commenced to address peculiar needs of manufacturers and value chain
financing for industrial expansion,” he said.

Bond notes not solution to Zim’s problems: RBZ

THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) says bond notes were a temporary measure and the solution to the country’s problems lies in production.

Source: Bond notes not solution to Zim’s problems: RBZ – NewsDay Zimbabwe March 23, 2017

BY TARISAI MANDIZHA

Speaking at the review of the bond notes after 100 days in circulation, RBZ deputy governor Kupukile Mlambo said there was need to create a conducive working environment.

“Our solutions to our challenges are not going to be solved by bond notes, but the solutions are in the factories.
We need to be productive and we need to be competitive and so forth. We need to create a conducive environment for all of us to operate. We need to keep the confidence with the bond notes in existence by not printing too much, that every bond note is backed by the $200 million [Africa Export and Import Bank loan] facility and if we don’t do that we will start having challenges,” he said.

“I think the bond notes are working in the areas we expected them to work, but they are not the final solution to the problems that we are facing. The companies in the factory need to produce, looking at policy-making with the Office of the President and Cabinet, which is currently working on the 100-day rapid results.”

Bond notes were introduced on November 28 under the export incentive scheme guaranteed by the Afreximbank.

He said the bond notes have provided liquidity in the economy, but foreign currency shortages were affecting the economy.

“The current challenge we are facing is shortage of foreign currency that is what we are facing right now,” Mlambo said.

“The problem came when we needed United States dollars for imports, but this problem is not new. There has always been shortages of foreign currency. These days, we barely see the $100 notes and the $50 notes because of externalisation.”

He said the bond notes would remain in circulation after the drawdown of the $200m facility.

“Our idea is that we will release them until we exhaust the $200m facility. To date, we have released $102m in $2 bond notes and the $5 bond notes,” the apex bank official said.

Commenting on inflation, Mlambo said business needs to see inflation to make profits.

Zimbabwe slipped out of deflation in February, when year-on-year inflation for the month was 0,06% — the first time inflation has gone above zero since September 2014.

Speaking at the same event, economist Ashok Chakravarti said the use of the dollar was an impediment to the growth of the economy.

“Bond notes is actually a side show. It is a genuine effort by RBZ to address the liquidity situation, but it is not a long term solution,” he said

Chakravarti said bond notes were a local currency and required foreign currency to support the economy.

“It is not like the bond notes are the problem, the problem is something else. The bond note is not addressing the problem. It does not address the United States dollar challenges in the country,” Chakravarti said.

He, however, said adoption of the South African rand was not the solution, adding the best option was to have a local currency.

“Bond notes added liquidity, but it’s not a long-term solution. I advocated for the rand, but it is not a long-term solution. Let’s bring back the Zimbabwean dollar,” he said.

‘Tsvangirai to lead coalition’

OPPOSITION leaders yesterday took turns to endorse MDC-T president Morgan Tsvangirai as the face of an envisaged coalition of political parties ahead of next year’s harmonised elections.

Source: ‘Tsvangirai to lead coalition’ – NewsDay Zimbabwe March 23, 2017

BY OBEY MANAYITI

This came out during solidarity messages at the National Electoral Reform Agenda (Nera)-led demonstration at Freedom Square in Harare which was attended by various political parties and social movements.

The parties later petitioned the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) with a litany of demands, top among them electoral reforms.
ZimPF founder and caretaker leader Didymus Mutasa said only Tsvangirai should lead the coalition.

“We started a long time ago to say this government must go. I also said it sometime ago and if you want to know who we support, we support Tsvangirai,” Mutasa said, amid wild cheers from the gathering.

Transform Zimbabwe leader Jacob Ngarivhume said their fight was targeted at cleaning the voters’ roll and they believed in a collective fight to remove Zanu PF in next year’s elections.

“As opposition parties, we came together and agreed to fight this (electoral unevenness) together,” he said, while echoing a coalition led by Tsvangirai.

People’s Democratic Party leader Tendai Biti also said they were sending a clear message to President Robert Mugabe and his family that they were coming for them and as political parties they could serve the people well by working together to depose the Zanu PF regime.

In his address, Tsvangirai said during his countrywide tours he had heard people saying they could accept Mugabe as life president of Zanu PF and not Zimbabwe.

“We have been victims of this system for a very long time. I want to assure you that it must end,” he said.

Tsvangirai also spoke on the need for Zec to be independent, fair and desist from supporting Zanu PF.

“I want to thank you leaders for demonstrating this unity. Let it be the character and culture of our country that the people come first,” he said.

Although the youthful protesters wanted to defy the police’s stringent conditions and march into town, Tsvangirai restrained them.

“Next time we are on the streets, circumstances dictate behaviour. Are we dead? Next time we will protest going into town,” the MDC-T leader said.

Clerics Patrick Magadza, who claimed in January that Mugabe would not live beyond October 2017, and Evan Mawarire of #ThisFlag Movement, Tajamuka representatives, top MDC-T officials and other political leaders attended the demonstration.

National People’s Party (NPP) leader Joice Mujuru was conspicuous by her absence amid reports that her party had distanced itself from the protests.

But MDC-T secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora said he sought to clarify the reports and had established from Mujuru’s party that it was untrue that NPP had dismissed the protest.

In demands contained in a petition read out by Zunde’s Farai Mbira, Nera said having failed the fundamental test of impartiality and independence required of an electoral body, they were calling for Zec to disband.

Mbira said Sadc, the African Union or United Nations should immediately establish an independent tripartite election management body to take over the full functions of Zec that will start preparing on a new biometric voters’ roll, the procurement of the BVR kits, complete demilitarisation of Zec, and facilitation of thorough amendments to the Electoral Act to level the electoral process.

Grace dumps top allies

Hundreds of Zanu PF women’s league members yesterday called for the ouster of their deputy politburo secretary and Bulawayo Provincial Affairs minister Eunice Sandi-Moyo and treasurer Sarah Mahoka, accusing them of undermining First Lady Grace Mugabe.

Source: Grace dumps top allies – NewsDay Zimbabwe March 23, 2017

By Staff Reporters

The placard-waving women demonstrated at various centres throughout the country, accusing the two of sabotaging Grace and making it difficult for President Robert Mugabe’s wife to carry out her functions as the women’s league boss.

The demonstrators handed written petitions to provincial chairladies calling for the ouster of the two from the women’s wing for various alleged crimes that included embezzlement of funds, in addition to disrespecting Grace and other senior party officials, including Vice-Presidents.

They accused Sandi-Moyo of setting up parallel structures and making decisions without consulting Grace, who is the secretary for women affairs in the ruling party.

Mahoka was targeted for challenging Grace in high-profile meetings and disrespecting Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa and Mugabe’s spokesperson George Charamba.

Sandi-Moyo and Mahoka were selected at the party’s last congress and will have to be removed by a congress of the full women’s league executive.

NewsDay revealed last month that a meeting had been convened to dismiss Mahoka and Sandi-Moyo for trying to block the First Lady.

The organisers of yesterday’s demonstrations were not happy with the turnout at some centres and accused party commissar Saviour Kasukuwere of sabotaging the demos.

Their next target would now be Kasukuwere, Harare provincial commissar Shadreck Mashayamombe, Masvingo commissar Jeppy Jaboon and Edson Takataka, acting Harare youth chair, among others who have all been linked to the G40 faction. Kasukuwere was not reachable for comment, but Mashayamombe said the programme was purely a women’s league issue and was unaware of how it was organised.

G40 is fighting to torpedo Mnangagwa in the Zanu PF succession race.

In Harare, about 100 placard-carrying protesters converged at the party headquarters singing liberation songs, pushing for the dismissal of the two senior party officials.

The placards carried various scathing messages: Mahoka Tapedza Newe, Undermining Amai is Treasonous, No to Sandi and Sarah Parallel Structures, Sandi Wemota dzeGamatox, We Will Clean the Party of all Sandists and Atuka maVPs Atuka vaMugabe, among others.

Mahoka allegedly challenged Grace at a meeting at the First Lady’s orphanage in Mazowe.

Harare provincial chairlady Joyce Kasinamunda was handed a petition by Manyame district chairlady Sikhumbuzo Munyawarara and promised to hand it over to Grace. She chided Mahoka and Sandi-Moyo for sabotaging Grace and called for their dismissal from the party. Kasinamunda also castigated Mahoka for showing lack of respect to Mugabe’s appointees, chief among them Mnangagwa and Charamba.

“She called the VP a duck. The VP was appointed by President Mugabe. We kept quiet and now she is sabotaging the First Lady, she has gone too far and should go,” Kasinamunda said to wild cheers from the handful of women’s league members who formed part of the protesters.

Yesterday, most women who attended the Harare demo were unaware of the purpose of the gathering. Some claimed they had been invited to be addressed by Grace, while others left when they saw placards denouncing Mahoka and Sandi-Moyo.

In Mashonaland East, protesters converged at the party offices in Marondera where women’s league provincial secretary for administration Charity Manyeruke handed over a petition to national executive member Phoebe Vhareta for delivery to Grace.

Reading the petition in front of the crowd, Manyeruke said Sandi-Moyo and Mahoka were being accused of disrespecting the First Lady as well as the Vice-Presidents.

“Sandi-Moyo and Mahoka must go immediately. Mai Sandi-Moyo wants to take over the secretariat of the women’s league, she is working in cahoots with some national members to fight the First Lady. Mai Sandi is creating parallel structures as well as running a women’s factional structure,” Manyeruke said.

Provincial acting women’s boss Beata Nyamupinga was not present at the meeting.

In Bulawayo, the women’s league was supported by members of the youth league and main wing at the provincial headquarters, Davis Hall.

Addressing the demonstrators, provincial women’s league member Mavis Nhliziyo said Bulawayo had become unstable because of Sandi-Moyo and her alleged cabal. “Matabeleland South must take its person because if she sees someone who is working better than her, she fires that person. All the structures here have been destroyed by her. All people are being fired now and then,” Nhliziyo said.

In Mashonaland West, about 300 protesters accused Mahoka and Sandi-Moyo of dividing the women’s league, disrespecting the First Lady, seeking donations on behalf of the league without the committee’s approval and demeaning Mnangagwa.

There was drama at the Zanu PF provincial offices in Chinhoyi when members aligned to Mahoka were forced to recite a slogan denouncing her, but Maggie Chidarikire refused, countering with songs like League yaramba zvemadhisinyongoro (The women’s league doesn’t entertain this nonsense).

In Masvingo, the antagonistic Zanu PF factions G40 and Team Lacoste had a rare show of unity as they coalesced against Sandi-Moyo and Mahoka at Chiefs’ Hall. The two factions that held separate meetings at the weekend united in calling for the ouster of the pair.
The situation was the same in Mutare and other provinces.

The demonstrations were reportedly co-ordinated by Kadoma businessman and former central committee member Jimayi Muduvuri. Grace is reported to have a hand in it based on reports that she wants to minimise resistance as she paves her way up to the party vice-presidency.

Contacted for comment by NewsDay, Sandi-Moyo said she had just returned from Malaysia on government business and was not aware of the demonstrations.

Mahoka’s phone number was not reachable.

Flood victims at risk of diarrhoea

A diarrhoeal outbreak is feared at Sipepa transit camp in Tsholotsho North due to a shortage of water and overcrowding, Southern Eye has heard.

Source: Flood victims at risk of diarrhoea – NewsDay Zimbabwe March 23, 2017

By XOLISANI NCUBE

Briefing journalists during a National Aids Council (NAC) organised tour of Matabeleland North province on Tuesday, Sister-In-Charge at Sipepa clinic, Merjury Maphosa, said up to 500 out-patient cases were now being handled almost every week.

“On the hygiene side, the problem that we have is that of toilets. The toilets which were put up are almost full.
So we need more temporary toilets,” said Maphosa, who is the vice-chairperson of the committee co-ordinating the stay of more than 850 flood victims.

“Currently, there is no outbreak of disease at the camp, but there are increasing cases of headaches, upper respiratory infections and abdominal discomfort and not diarrhoea.”

Maphosa said the 250 families at the camp were facing serious accommodation challenges.

She said the families were being grouped in three to four families per tent, resulting in overcrowding and raising fears of the spread of other transmissible diseases.

Maphosa said to reduce incidences of sexually-transmitted diseases, NAC and other stakeholders were conducting educational programmes on condom use and healthy living.

“At least every day in the morning 10 boxes of condoms are put at strategic points and we have seen a massive uptake. We are teaching them on proper condom use and disposal. We have young people in the camp whom we don’t want to be exposed to these things,” she said.

Maphosa said so far 87 youths participated in voluntary HIV counselling and testing and three of them tested positive and have since been initiated on the life prolonging Anti-retroviral drugs.

She said 63 villagers were on anti-retroviral drugs and their medication was being sourced from elsewhere after their tablets were swept away by floods.

Incessant rains witnessed between December and February left more than 2 000 families homeless across the country.

For the Tsholotsho victims, government identified a place on higher ground to relocate them but over $12 000 is needed for each family to start construction.

Bhasikiti chickens out of Mwenezi

OPPOSITION Zimbabwe People First (ZimPF) candidate for the Mwenezi East by-election Kudakwashe Bhasikiti has withdrawn from the poll citing voter intimidation and vote-buying by Zanu PF in collusion with the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec).

Source: Bhasikiti chickens out of Mwenezi – NewsDay Zimbabwe March 23, 2017

BY PAIDAMOYO MUZULU

The by-election could have been the party’s first poll after its trouncing in Bikita West in January.

The party also suffered a split last month with former leader Joice Mujuru rebranding to form the National People’s Party.
Bhasikiti yesterday confirmed his withdrawal in an interview with NewsDay.

“It’s no longer a threat. Combined with the deadlock we declared against Zec (on Tuesday) as opposition political parties, we have no business participating in anything managed by the current partisan Zec,” he said.

Bhasikiti’s withdrawal comes on the back of a Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) report citing rampant vote-buying in the constituency by Zanu PF candidate Joosbi Omah.

ZPP said it was worried by the unfolding events in Mwenezi East and more concerned that with each by election conducted the same issues were being raised, but no one was taking any action to ensure that the electorate exercises its political rights in a conducive environment free of intimidation and other malpractices.

“On March 15, there was a Zanu PF rally at Masweswe Secondary School in ward 13. The rally started around 1400hrs. Zanu PF candidate Joosbi Omar distributed rice, a quantity of 1,5kg, to everyone who attended the rally regardless of political affiliation,” ZPP said.

The civil society organisation added a village head went on to address villagers hinting about the donation.

“After the donations, on March 18, the village head for village 4, a Mutsikwa, convened a meeting questioning why those who do not support the ruling party had accepted and benefited from Omar’s donations. The village head said those who do not have Zanu PF cards would not benefit from the cooking oil donations which, according to the village head, are expected on the 25th of March,” it added.

On voter intimidation, ZPP said: “Those that turned up for the intended ZimPF rally were allegedly followed to their homes by the Zanu PF district committee members and ordered to stop supporting opposition political parties.”

Zipra war vets sue others over occupation of Nitram property

A ROW has erupted between compatriots in the Zipra War Veterans Trust over occupation of Castle Arms Motel in Bulawayo, a property owned by the former fighters group known as Nitram Investments Private Limited.

Source: Zipra war vets sue others over occupation of Nitram property – NewsDay Zimbabwe March 23, 2017

BY SILAS NKALA

Zipra Veterans Trust’s, Casper Sibanda and 12 others filed summons against fellow war vets, Susan Sibanda, Molly Moyo and Sinikiwe Siwela at the Bulawayo High Court seeking an order to force the three off the property.

“The plaintiffs‘ claims against the defendants jointly or severally are for an order that the defendants jointly be interdicted from interfering with the plaintiff who have a direct and or beneficial interests access to and use of the premises a property known as Castle Arms Motel located in Trenance, Bulawayo upon service of this order,” read the summons.

The applicants are also seeking an “order that the defendants and those claiming through them be ordered to vacate the Castle Arms Motel within three days of this order and an order for payment of costs of suit on an attorney to client scale.”

In their declaration of the suit, Zipra Veterans Trust and its executive members submitted that in 1980 at the assembly points that preceded independence members of liberation movement Zapu’s armed wing of Zapu, contributed some money from their allowances towards investment to purchase the properties, among them Castle Arms Motel in Bulawayo. They said these properties were meant to benefit them in terms of income.

They submitted that the three war veterans were in illegal occupation of the property, as they were not direct beneficiaries or contributors to the purchase of the property.

The war veterans’ trust stated that on several occasions the defendants have denied them access to the premises and they have since turned the Motel into a chicken project.

Applicants are praying for an order compelling the eviction of the three from the property of which failure to comply a Sheriff of Zimbabwe should be directed to evict them from the property.

The defendants are yet to respond to the summons.

The land question in Africa

Source: The land question in Africa | The Financial Gazette March 23, 2017

By Eddie Cross

BEFORE Africa was carved up and occupied by the European colonial powers, land in Africa was largely under populated and human population growth was slow and could quite easily be accommodated.
The many tribes of Africa (we speak more than 2 000 languages or dialects of languages), were largely divided into those who concentrated on livestock as a mean of subsistence or crops.
The divide was often determined by rainfall patterns with the livestock tribes using land that was arid or semi arid.
One thing was common, land was a free good and was available to all subject only to community laws and norms and collective tribal decisions. Inter tribal conflicts often involved access to land and cattle and was a common part of everyday life, keeping numbers of people in human settlements down and helping ease the overall pressure on natural resources.
The same situation prevailed in the America’s and Australia and probably in Asia proper.
When population pressure grew to the point where human mobility was threatened, then adjustments were made.
In Europe similar land occupation systems prevailed right up to the Closure Acts in Britain and the evolution of the feudal land systems in mainland Europe.
The industrial revolution and the growth of the towns and cities meant that rural peasant farming systems, designed for subsistence and the support of feudal land owner structures, were no longer able to cope and modern farming systems on a commercial basis began to emerge.
These required as a prerequisite, stable, secure title rights whether they were freehold or leasehold.
The colonisation process changed all that, the Europeans occupied the United States and Canada, the Portuguese and the Spanish occupied South America, the English occupied Australia and India and the West Indies and Africa was carved up by the European powers — French, German, English, Italian and Belgium.
Believing their systems, law and culture were innately superior to the indigenous systems of government, the colonial powers swept aside the languages and rights of those they colonised — often with brute force and ruthless determination.
They were followed by the church and the mosque and their own religious beliefs and traditions were subjugated to those of the colonising power.
Wherever they went, the colonisers occupied vast swathes of land, title rights were given and fences erected.
Often these practices were resisted by the indigenous people who fought back with the limited means at their disposal.
In the process, many indigenous groups were wiped out, the rest were herded into specified areas where the colonial powers decreed that they could live under tribal law and tradition and make a living from their livestock and arable land.
Security of tenure was never extended to these communities and would not have been understood if it had been.
The result was predictable and consistent throughout the colonised world.
As populations grew — growth rates were often three or four times historical levels because tribal conflicts were not permitted, disease control was introduced along with modern medicine and life expectancies lengthened from 25 to 35 years on average to 60 years or more.
As population pressures grew, the land became exhausted and barren.
Conflicts with land owners from the colonial classes — often just across a barbed wire fence, became inevitable.
As the indigenous people absorbed education and information about the wider world, they launched attacks on the colonial system until eventually, under the weight of history and numbers, the “winds of change” gripped the world and one by one the colonial states capitulated.
Only in those countries where the numbers of the settlers were so over whelming that the colonised groups could not fight back and assume control, did the colonial systems of land occupation and settlement survive.
In Africa, as the wave of decolonisation swept down the continent, starting with Ghana 60 years ago, one of the first things the new masters of Africa’s destiny chose to do was to brush aside the tenure systems of the colonists and to replace it with leases or simply allowing it to revert to the traditional forms of tenure that had prevailed before occupation.
Sometimes this was accompanied by compensation, but more often than not it was not.
Only when the decolonisation process ran into the tough, long term settlers in southern Africa did the issue of resuming State control of all land find resistance.
In Namibia, the new government has in fact handled the land issue very carefully and feels that the white Namibian’s who continue to farm vast areas do not show enough appreciation of their magnanimity and wisdom.
In Zambia, the freehold rights of the small settler community has been converted, more or less painfully, into leasehold rights that are tradable and is allowing new farmers to occupy agricultural land on a secure basis and for investment to take place.
This has resulted in considerable investment and Zambia is now self sufficient in all basic foods and is in fact exporting a surplus.
In Zimbabwe, nothing was done to disturb the commercial farming system except to buy 3,8 million hectares at market prices and settle the land with small holders and some connected individuals in the first 20 years following Independence.
However, from 2000 onwards, the State has mounted what they call the “fast track land reform programme” under which they has forcibly taken over some 8 million hectares of farm land and settled some 200 000 families (a million people).
Some four million hectares remains under freehold but is insecure.
Land that has been nationalised in this way has become “State land” and is treated as such, even though no compensation has been paid and therefore legally, title rights remain in force.
In South Africa the government has bought four million hectares of farm land for settlement and the restitution of land rights is an ongoing process involving tens of thousands of claimants.
So far this has been conducted in a legal way and compensation has been paid.
However, with 70 percent of all farm land remaining in commercial farm hands under freehold title — this is an ulcer that is chewing away at the roots of the State and the stability of the country.
Most recently, under pressure from below, South Africa’s ruling African National Congress has begun to ponder the acquisition of land without compensation.
In fact this chaotic historical process has simply exacerbated Africa’s already critical land question.
Without tradable security of tenure, agricultural land has no value and by definition, does not attract investment or management and care — what the Bible would call stewardship.
Almost without exception land held under communal tenure — or worse, State land, rapidly becomes over populated, degraded and unproductive.
The deserts of Africa are expanding everywhere and fragile savannah areas are disappearing. Hunger and starvation and mass migration follow.
Many would argue that this is Africa’s biggest problem and the looming threat of climate change will simply act as an accelerator.
Only 18 percent of all the agricultural land on the globe is held under freehold tenure and this small proportion of world resources produces the great majority of global agricultural output and virtually all its surpluses.
By simply giving African farmer’s security rights over the land that they already control and use, would unlock enormous capital sums, would attract massive investment and would enable us to make giant steps towards the elimination of poverty in rural areas.
I do not understand why this is so hard to understand?
Eddie Cross is a renowned economist and a Member of Parliament for Bulawayo South.

EDITORIAL COMMENT: RBZ should act

Source: EDITORIAL COMMENT: RBZ should act | The Financial Gazette March 23, 2017

LAST week, we reported that international airlines flying into the country had nearly US$30 million from air ticket sales locked in the country because banks could not raise foreign currency to allow them to remit the money back to their countries.
The reason is that since last year, the central bank put in place a foreign currency allocation system under which certain sectors of the economy are prioritised in terms of foreign payments or obligations.
Airlines were among several companies or economic sectors on the priority list. In fact, as reported by this newspaper last year, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor, John Mangudya, promised airline operators that he would ensure that they are not affected by the new payments regime.
The new regime emerged principally because the RBZ has been creating money through its real time gross settlement (RTGS) system. On behalf of central government and on its own behalf, the RBZ has been taking up to 80 percent of all foreign currency earnings and allowing banks to retain at least 20 percent.
The foreign currency earners have been paid using a virtual currency generated via the RTGS platform, which is controlled by the central bank. So while essentially every bank account holder believes that they have US dollar accounts, these are essentially phoney US dollars because they have been created by the RBZ. Their only form of support is the recently introduced bond notes.
Which is why even if the airlines and other account holders have US dollar accounts with local banks, they cannot use the money elsewhere apart from Zimbabwe. They have to depend on the central bank to allocate them something from the 80 percent it takes from export proceeds, or the 20 percent that banks retain.
This has not been happening. Mining companies, the biggest single foreign currency earning sector in the country, is currently failing to pay its suppliers of spares and other accessories because of this reason. Many miners have outstanding payments to suppliers running into three months or so.
Airlines help us bring tourists from various countries. This allows us to earn foreign currency from these tourists. If the airlines pullout of the Zimbabwe route, this will have terrible consequences on the economy.
The airlines that have been affected by this problem are Ethiopian Airlines, South African Airways, Kenya Airways, British Airways’ ComAir, Emirates, Taag Angolan, Namibian Airways and Malawian Airways.
They operate flights into Harare, Victoria Falls and Bulawayo.
Another foreign airline that had expressed the desire to fly into Zimbabwe and bolster our tourism industry in the process is Turkish Airlines, which wants to operate flights into the resort town of Victoria Falls.
Something needs to be done urgently to rescue the country from an imminent crisis. We may be killing the goose that lays the golden egg.

LATEST: Border security camera stolen

Source: LATEST: Border security camera stolen | The Herald March 22, 2017

Thupeyo Muleya Beitbridge Bureau
Border authorities have opened investigations into an incident where one of over 36 security cameras was stolen during a power blackout last week.

The theft came to light on Saturday when security agents discovered that a key area used by smugglers and illegal immigrants had gone off the radar.

Sources at the border said camera number 21 which monitors the area around the duty free shop, a checkpoint manned by soldiers and members of the police support unit, was missing.

The area around the duty free shop is used by conmen, touts, bicycle smugglers and border jumpers to access the border post.

“We suspect the camera was stolen during a power blackout. The suspect(s) are not known yet, but we are certain this was a well-planned job by the criminals.

“Investigations are in progress and nobody has been arrested yet,” said a border official.

Matabeleland South police spokesperson Inspector Philisani Ndebele said he was yet to receive information on the matter.

“We are yet to get that report and I cannot give you any information at the moment, ” he said.

Over 15 people including, police, immigration, Zimra officials and soldiers have been arrested since August last year on corruption related matters.

These were caught on camera taking bribes from either smugglers or illegal immigrants.

The closed circuit cameras are part of a raft of security upgrades at the border, as the Government seeks to reduce incidents of corruption and smuggling at the ports of entry.

So far Government has secured at total of $600 000 which has been used to, among other things, buy border patrol vehicles, lie detectors, mineral and metal detectors, patrol motor bikes, secret cameras and repairing the border parameter fence which had been vandalised by criminals.

The CCTVs were installed at points unknown to border officials.

Crisis as police bans big demo

Source: Crisis as police bans big demo – DailyNews Live

Blessings Mashaya      22 March 2017

HARARE – Panicking authorities went back on their word yesterday,
effectively banning the opposition’s planned mega demonstration in Harare
today, which was set to be led by MDC president Morgan Tsvangirai.

After security chiefs – who met the organisers of the protest march on
Monday – had appeared to okay the demo, police made a surprising U-turn
yesterday, decreeing that the opposition could only gather in the
capital’s central business district and not march.

Sources who spoke to the Daily News after the mega protest march was
outlawed said top police brass were apparently fearful that the
demonstration could turn violent.

In their formal letter yesterday to the organisers of the march, the
National Electoral Reform Agenda (Nera), police were emphatic that the
opposition should not march in the streets of Harare, but rather just
gather at what the MDC now refers to as Freedom Square, next to Rainbow
Towers Hotel.

The police also said only a maximum of 10 people would be allowed to take
the opposition’s petition to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) –
orders which sparked anger within Nera, which immediately gave notice that
it would file an urgent court application to challenge the decrees.

“In terms of Section 26 (6) of Posa (Chapter 11: 17) I impose the
following conditions:

“(The) 2 500 people you intend to bring into town are to gather at Robert
Mugabe Square … 10 people to proceed to Zec offices and hand over the
petition.

“No marching or gathering in the city centre. After handing over the
petition, the gathering must disperse immediately.

“Provision of Section 59 and 86 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe amended
20/13 were also considered in coming up with this decision,” police chief
superintendent, a J Chizemo wrote in his memo to Nera.

He added that the decision to impose these onerous conditions had also
been reached after analysing previous Nera demonstrations.

“Reference is made to consultations and negotiations meeting held between
yourself and the regulating authority on  March 20, 2017 at Harare Central
District.

“In view of the evidence I have at hand arising from the incidents which
happened in the previous Nera demonstrations, where property was damaged,
shops looted, government institutions destroyed, innocent people assaulted
and vehicles damaged, the business community of the Central Business
District has expressed fear that a demonstration of 2 500 people will
result in public disorder and breach of peace.

“The apprehension of fear in the business community in the CBD cannot be
dispelled by the arrangement that you intend to put in place, as more than
2 500 people will march along the street disturbing the smooth flow of
human and vehicular traffic for more than four hours,” police said
further.

Nera legal secretary Douglas Mwonzora said, soon after receiving the
letter, that they would approach the court yesterday.

“We are planning to take legal action against these conditions, as we are
not happy with them.

“People will tomorrow (today) gather at Freedom Square before we advise
them the way to go, but the demonstration is not going to stop. The people
of Zimbabwe have the right to protest,” he said.

The development comes after the country’s much-feared Joint Operations
Command (Joc) – a security think tank comprising military, police, prisons
and Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) bosses – had demanded to meet
with the opposition on Monday, before allowing them to go ahead with their
march.

Mwonzora also confirmed last night that Tsvangirai was “champing at the
bit” to lead today’s demonstration.

“Yes, president Tsvangirai is itching to participate in tomorrow (today)’s
demonstration. We all want to say no to election rigging.

“We are expecting all the leaders of political parties in Nera to lead the
protest, although it will be up to them (party leaders) to decide at which
stage of the demonstration to join,” Mwonzora added.

Tsvangirai and former vice president Joice Mujuru have been playing
leading roles in Nera, which is demanding a raft of electoral reforms
before the country holds the eagerly-anticipated 2018 national polls.

Mujuru’s spokesperson Gift Nyandoro also confirmed to the Daily News last
night that the widow of revered liberation struggle hero, Solomon, would
“definitely participate” in today’s demonstration.

“She will be among the demonstrators unless something happens. This is a
grand opportunity for the opposition to come together and send a message
to Mugabe that the will of the people should be respected because without
a credible election, Mugabe’s leadership will remain engulfed in a
legitimacy crisis,” he said.

Zimbabwe’s quest to acquire biometric voter registration (BVR) kits has
caused a huge storm among opposition parties who view the government’s
involvement in the purchase of the equipment as problematic.

The controversy erupted into the open recently following the government’s
sudden decision to sideline the UNDP from assisting in the procurement of
the kits, with unanswered questions being raised about how and where the
stone-broke government will secure funding for this, to the staggering
tune of $17 million.

The opposition has alleged that the government is hijacking the process to
rig next year’s eagerly-anticipated national elections.

“It was all along agreed that the procurement of the BVR kits would be
done by Zec through the UNDP. Consequently, a joint advertisement was
flighted by the UNDP and Zec calling upon all potential suppliers of the
kits to place their bids.

“These bids were opened at the UNDP offices in Copenhagen and this was
witnessed by both Zec and political parties. It was further agreed that
once the winner of the tender was declared, political parties would second
their technical experts to inspect these kits.

“But suddenly, the government announced that it was taking over the BVR
kits procurement process. Among other things, this means that the
government will now select the supplier of these kits.

“Crucially, political parties and other key stakeholders will thus not be
able to monitor the process,” Mwonzora pointed out recently.

This comes as opposition parties are still smarting from the electoral
controversies of the 2013 election, when an Israeli company, Nikuv,
allegedly manipulated the vote in favour of Zanu PF.

“Nera totally rejects this move because it is designed to enable the
government to manipulate the procurement process. That way the government
will also manipulate the 2018 election process,” Mwonzora said.

Analysts say the Nera protest could herald the beginning of a new season
of protests, following the relative calm that has prevailed in the country
over the past few months, after the panicking government used brute force
to crush similar rolling protests last year.

On Thursday, a day after the Nera demonstration, disaffected war veterans
who have been feuding with Mugabe since last year, will have their own
indaba where they are expected to discuss the welfare of their members, as
well as the ruling Zanu PF’s deadly tribal, factional and succession wars.

Their meeting follows last week’s High Court ruling which quashed an
earlier decision by the police to bar them from holding the indaba.

The vets are pressing Mugabe to name a successor and ditch a faction
rabidly opposed to his deputy, Emmerson Mnangagwa, from succeeding the
nonagenarian.

Analysts also say the country’s worsening cash shortages, which almost
caused riots by angry tobacco farmers last week, are likely to fuel
further tensions from this week onward.

Zimbabwe is in the grip of a debilitating economic crisis which has seen
the government failing to pay its workers on time.

Air Zim fails to submit financials in 8 years

Source: Air Zim fails to submit financials in 8 years – DailyNews Live

22 March 2017

HARARE – State-owned Air Zimbabwe (Air Zim) has failed to fulfil the
obligation to submit financial statements for audit for the past eight
years.

The insolvent airline – grappling with $300 million in debt – is currently
working on the 2010 financial statements, according to the office of the
Auditor-General (AG).

The primary objective of an audit is to express an opinion on the set of
accounts audited.

“Its accounts were not submitted for audit, again,” said a damning report
by the Office of the AG on parastatals and State enterprises tabled in the
National Assembly last week.

“Air Zimbabwe and its subsidiaries’ audits in progress and being finalised
are for the year 2010.”

Chapter 22:19 of the Public Finance Management Act requires all accounts
of parastatals to be made up yearly to the end of the financial year.

These accounts are to be made up no later than 30 days post-yearend to
which they are related, for auditing by the AG soon after.

Despite this legal requirement, Air Zimbabwe is in violation for late
lodgement of annual records during an eight-year period from 2009, it was
disclosed in the AG report first handed to Finance minister Patrick
Chinamasa by swashbuckling AG Mildred Chiri.

The responsibility of submitting financial statements for the loss-making
carrier lies solely with the chief executive Ripton Muzenda and the
airline’s chief operations officer (COO) Simba Chikoore – who is also
President Robert Mugabe’s son-in-law.

Air Zim appointed Muzenda as its new CEO with effect from August 15 last
year, taking over from Edmund Makona who has been acting CEO since 2013.

Chikoore, who is said to be a qualified pilot and is married to Mugabe’s
only daughter Bona – joined former Air Zim captain Muzenda, a relative of
the late vice president Simon Muzenda, in October last year.

The loss-making carrier, which claims it is in talks with two strategic
partners to clear money owed to foreign creditors and raise capital to
allow for the resumption of long haul flights, according to the new CEO,
has been rapped by the AG for failing to subject its annual financial
statements for audit.

Yet information contained in the financial statements is required in
commercial negotiations.

Like most State-owned firms, Air Zim has been making losses for years due
to mismanagement, high operating costs, old equipment and aircraft that
are no longer profitable to fly.

Air Zim’s under resourced and old fleet comprises two Boeing 767s, three
737s, three MA60s and two Airbus A320s.

However, only four of those are flying – one airbus, one Boeing 767, one
737 and an MA60.

International Air Transport Association (Iata) also suspended Air Zim from
its account settlement system in 2012 due to non-payment of $4m in fees.

The association’s system settles accounts between the world’s airlines,
airline-associated companies and travel agencies.

While no comment could be immediately obtained from the stuttering
carrier, Muzenda told a parliamentary portfolio committee on Transport
last month that the national flag carrier was working towards gaining Iata
re-admission by May 31 this year.

The airline’s debt comprises salary arrears, outstanding taxes, payments
to the national pension fund and employee health insurance and foreign
debts of $300m.

Zec, opposition in bitter fallout

Source: Zec, opposition in bitter fallout – DailyNews Live

Tendai Kamhungira      22 March 2017

HARARE – The strained relationship between the country’s distrustful
opposition and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) sank to an all-time
low yesterday when the parties called for the immediate resignation of its
chairperson, Rita Makarau, as well as the disbandment of the elections
management body itself.

The call came after Makarau stormed out of a heated meeting with the
opposition to discuss much-needed electoral reforms and the planned
procurement of biometric voter registration (BVR) kits ahead of the
make-or-break 2018 national elections.

The usually calm Makarau blew a gasket after she was incensed by myriad
allegations that were thrown her way by opposition parties coalescing
under the banner of the National Electoral Reform Agenda (Nera) – which
she in turn accused of denigrating her and engaging in negotiations via
the media.

“Because we are beginning to feel that our engagements are misunderstood,
we believe it is time for Zec to go back to the drawing board and see how
best we can engage with you.

“This platform is not working and accordingly there will be no meeting
today,” Makarau told stunned opposition officials who had turned out for
the meeting in Harare called by Zec.

“You thought we had called you to intimidate you not into demonstrating.
We want to give you our assurances that we have not called you to
intimidate you from doing anything. We called you to dialogue, but you do
not want to dialogue with us in good faith.

“This meeting is aborted and I am asking everybody within Zec to please
follow me outside,” Makarau said before walking out of her meeting.

The gathering temporarily degenerated into chaos as the opposition
unsuccessfully tried to prevent her and her team from leaving.

Subsequently, the parties sent members of the steering committee to
Makarau’s office to try and reason with her, where more drama ensued.

As the members of the steering committee were negotiating with her, some
opposition parties drew up resolutions which included calling for the
disbandment of Zec and the resignation of Makarau.

Zimbabwe People First (ZPF) senior official, Kudakwashe Bhasikiti,
expressed his dismay to the Daily News about the way the lead-up to 2018
was happening.

“We have reflected thoroughly. Zec is not genuine in dealing with us. We
are dancing to Makarau’s tune.

“All our discussions are subject to Makarau’s conditions. We no longer
want this rhetoric and diplomacy tactics being played by Makarau.

“We are declaring a stalemate and an electoral crisis. We don’t want Zec
being led by Makarau. They (Zec) have no capacity to lead,” the fuming
Bhasikiti said.

Another opposition official, Clemence Tabatapashi Nhliziyo of the
Democratic Assembly for Restoration and Empowerment (Dare), also expressed
his disappointment at Makarau’s decision to call off yesterday’s meeting.

“Our role as stakeholders is to make sure there is a free, fair and
credible election in 2018. In that pursuance, we can never abdicate our
constitutional right to demand an independent and professional Zec.

“Zec did not walk away from Zanu PF interference with the BVR procurement
system, but tacitly complied with a Zanu PF directive.

“It must be beyond any doubt that the government of Zimbabwe, as presently
constituted by Zanu PF, cannot be allowed to impose a roadmap to the 2018
elections.

“We were prepared to engage Zec in the political parties’ dialogue
platform of the proposed committees and we are aware that Zanu PF has
forced … Makarau to abort the engagement through today’s stage-managed
walkout.

“We cannot be stopped and in fact Zec has only but exposed itself as a
Zanu PF front,” Nhliziyo said.

Yesterday’s meeting had been called by Zec to try and heal the rift caused
by the government’s sidelining of the UNDP in the procurement of the BVR
kits.

The opposition has alleged that the government is hijacking the process to
rig next year’s eagerly-anticipated national elections.

Call for Mpofu wealth probe

Source: Call for Mpofu wealth probe – DailyNews Live

STAFF WRITER      22 March 2017

HARARE – Zimbabwe’s Anti-Corruption Commission must investigate
allegations that Macro-Economic Planning minister Obert Mpofu (pictured)
allegedly siphoned diamonds money to amass his vast wealth, the Tendai
Biti-led People’s Democratic Party (PDP) said.

This comes amid a case in which the former Mines minister – believed to be
super rich – could lose his plush Glen Lorne property after he was dragged
to the High Court over a $2 million CBZ Bank (CBZ) debt.

PDP said Mpofu’s mega riches are “in one way or the other acquired using
unscrupulous means”.

“As we have always said, Mpofu was at the centre of the looting of the
Marange diamonds,” the opposition party said, adding that even “(President
Robert) Mugabe later admitted that $15 billion had been stolen (but)
shockingly, no investigation has been opened”.

“Knowing the paltry salary that a minister is entitled to, Mpofu could not
have properly accumulated such kind of wealth,” the PDP said in a
statement yesterday.

While Mpofu was unavailable for comment yesterday as his mobile phone was
unreachable, he has previously said in a statement that he would not
respond to “rumours”.

A record published in the press claims he owns Trebo and Khays, Maminza
Transport, and Khanondo Safari and Tours.

He also owned a newspaper at some point, which later shut down.

PDP said the closure of Mpofu’s businesses en masse, including Minus
Restaurant, Matetsi Meats Butchery, KST Bypass Fuel Service Station – all
leased from Hwange Colliery Company, KoMpofu Sports Bar and KoMpofu
Butchery is a clear indicator that he is no proper businessman.

“It is therefore clear that there was some corrupt activities that Mpofu
was engaged in using his powers as Mines minister or even when he became
Transport minister with Zinara funds at his disposal,” it said.

“At some point, Mpofu, in the middle of the night, went to fetch diamonds
delivered by the deputy sheriff for safe keeping at the Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe,” PDP claimed.

“With this kind of conduct it is not surprising that Mpofu owns over 50
properties, so many companies, he even owns a big fraction of Victoria
Falls,” PDP said, adding that “there is need to weed out corruption for
the nation to progress.”

Mugabe’s office fails to account for $12k

Source: Mugabe’s office fails to account for $12k – DailyNews Live

Gift Phiri      22 March 2017

HARARE – The Office of the President and Cabinet has failed to account for
over $12 000 in funds it had allocated to an unnamed official for travel
to India.

The financial improprieties in President Robert Mugabe’s office
Appropriation Account has been revealed by an auditor-general (AG)
investigation.

The report was made public last week after it was tabled in the National
Assembly.

Auditor-general Mildred Chiri said Mugabe’s office had failed to provide
the executive committee acquittal for the expense.

Although management in the President’s Office provided an explanation, the
AG found evidence that “the funds might not have been used for the
intended purposes if no acquittal nor recovery is done.”

The report described Mugabe’s office’s response to be inadequate and Chiri
further stated: “The office should ensure that the outstanding amount is
cleared and robust dunning procedures are adopted.”

According to the President’s Office, the officer was discharged from
service on May 31, 2015 before she had accounted for the Travelling and
Subsistence advance.

“We have been trying to contact her so that she could bring a copy of her
passport without success. We will submit information as soon as she has
been located,” Mugabe’s office said in its management response.

Among the AG findings were that Treasury regulations were flouted by
Mugabe’s office.

Other improprieties uncovered by the AG investigation were that there were
no specific details about where and how the money was spent, with the
unnamed official profiting from taxpayer money. The President’s Office,
also, did not have an Audit Committee during the year under review as
required by provisions of the Public Finance Management Act (Chapter
22:19) section 84 (i) and (ii).

Travelling on government business is many an official’s wish because of
the allowances and other privileges it comes with, and enjoy the privilege
of re-entering the country without being searched.

“I noted that an amount of $12 805 for Foreign Travel and Subsistence
allowance issued to one of the officers on March 13, 2015 for a trip to
India, has been long outstanding, with no evidence that the advance was
ever acquitted.

“This was contrary to Treasury Instruction 1504 which stipulates that
advances should be cleared immediately upon return from official travel by
the member so advanced.

“Treasury Instruction 1505 also directs that any outstanding advance
should be deducted from the member’s salary until the whole advance is
cleared.

“The non-recovery can be attributed to lack of robust dunning procedures,”
Chiri’s latest report for the year-ended December 31, 2015 said.

The details that have emerged do not make it clear what the trip was
designed for, but used funds from the government.

According to figures released under the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF)
last month, government splurged $44,9 million on the Office of the
President and Cabinet in the period between January and November 2016
against a budgeted $20,7 million on foreign trips.

Mugabe must learn from Mauritius

Source: Mugabe must learn from Mauritius – DailyNews Live

22 March 2017

HARARE – President Robert Mugabe was this week in Mauritius where he
attended the African Economic Platform (AEP) inaugural conference.

We sincerely hope the nonagenarian leader and his Zanu PF government took
a few minutes to reflect and learn the economic success story of the
island nation.

Mauritius has been branded a success story in terms of its sustained
economic growth performance, with major improvements in the living
standards of its population at large over the past few decades.

Since its independence in 1968, Mauritius has developed from a low-income
economy based on agriculture to a middle income economy increasingly
diversified into industrial, financial and touristic sectors – services
accounting for two-thirds of the economy.

The country’s rapid economic progress over the last four decades has set
it as an example of an African success story in terms of economic and
social development.

The institutional source of Mauritius’ success has traditionally been
attributed to the provision of a stable and competitive regulatory and
fiscal – including relatively low income and corporate taxes environment
that favour labour-intensive activities in sectors such as sugar, textiles
and tourism.

Such policies have tended to reduce unemployment and increase labour force
participation, in particular that of women.

The Indian Ocean island nation, which is known for its beaches, lagoons
and reefs, also employed a poverty reduction strategy that has since been
expanded to include employment opportunities and modernising its economy,
while maintaining an elaborate social safety net.

Mauritius has also had a policy of allocating significant public resources
to education and health. Adult literacy and life expectancy are well above
the sub-Saharan African average. Healthcare is free and health facilities
are of reasonably good quality and accessible throughout the country.

The benefits of Mauritius’s educational system have also become more
universally distributed in the last 15 years, with a move away from a
strongly elitist system to one with greater accessibility to secondary and
higher education.

Mauritius’s economic success has largely been built as a sugar and
clothing exporter as well as an upmarket touristic destination.

The government’s development strategy has recently largely centred on
attracting foreign investment.

This has created a large number of offshore entities, many of which in
direct commercial links with India and South Africa.

Instead of preaching to Africa about the negative effects of colonialism,
we hope Mugabe and company learnt a lesson or two from Mauritius about
growing the economy.

Breaking: Women’s league protests against Mahoka and Sandi

ZANU PF women’s league converged at provincial party headquarters in Harare Wednesday to protest against two top wing members accused of undermining First Lady Grace Mugabe.

Source: Breaking: Women’s league protests against Mahoka and Sandi – NewsDay Zimbabwe March 22, 2017

By Online Reporters

The demonstrations by placard waving women targeted Grace’s deputy in the women’s league, Eunice Sandi-Moyo and treasurer Sara Mahoka.

About 100 demonstrators converged at the Harare party headquarters singing liberation songs motivating for the dismissal of the two. Reports indicate various provinces also had their own protests with Marondera being particularly noticeable.

The placards carried various derogatory messages: “Makoha Tapedza newe”, “Undermining Amai is treasonous”, “No to Sandi and Sarah parallel structures” among others

According to official sources, Sandi-Moyo was accused of setting parallel structures and taking actions without consulting Grace ,while Mahoka was being targeted for challenging the First Lady during meetings.

The Hurungwe East MP also allegedly misappropriated party funds, charges she reportedly denied.

Zanu PF ex-central committee member and Kadoma businessman Jimayi Muduvuri was alleged to be sponsoring the demonstrations amid reports that over $300 000 had been poured towards the demonstrations by one of the women’s league bosses.

Muduvuri reportedly claimed that he had been sent by the First Lady to mobilise ruling party women to demonstrate against the two.

When asked for comment last night, Muduvuri was evasive.

“I don’t know what you are talking about. I don’t have any instruction from the First Lady,” Muduvuri said.

‘Heed President’s call on inter-trade’

Source: ‘Heed President’s call on inter-trade’ | The Herald

Tendai Mugabe recently in PORT LOUIS, Mauritius—
Africa has been urged to take President Mugabe’s advice on the need to open up markets and promote inter-African trade to achieve the desired continental economic integration. The chief executive of a leading Kenyan firm the Centrum Investments, Dr Chris Kirubi told delegates who attended the inaugural African Economic Platform Summit in Mauritius on Monday that Africa was too bureaucratic and should revise its ways of doing business.

“I like us to take stock of what President Mugabe said this morning and I would like us all to be supplied with that document,” he said. “If it is on Google, we will all get it and deliver it to our homes because to me, it was one of the greatest things we got this morning.

“You may not realise that three years ago when (President) Mugabe was made chairman of the African Union I attacked him and told him, please can you open your market and don’t nationalise our businesses.

“He looked at me like I was a strange animal. Today, he spoke the opposite. He was good. He was extremely good in what he said.

“He said we must open markets and we must get South Africa to wake up and stop blocking weaker economies trading in their markets where as they trade a lot in the smaller markets. That was great.”

Dr Kirubi said another setback to Africa’s development was lack of implementation of its policies.

He said the continent should also take advantage of its population to harness growth from its vast resources.

“I am asking for action now. Not tomorrow. African Union, you are too slow,” he said.

“Can you get your act together? We start this business today. Africa is poor. We block our markets. There is nothing to protect inside. We are poor, but we don’t want to trade with each other. I would rather trade with the Western world than trade with my colleagues next door.

“At least, (US president Donald) Trump has shown us that they are going to look backward internally to look after themselves, while the Africans will be following them thinking that they are the solution for them.

“You will be lost. Today, if you look at Asia, if you look at China, they are big economically because of their size of populations, their huge populations and nobody can ignore them. But what about Africa? We are so disintegrated.”

Dr Kirubi said financial institutions such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund should not fund African countries that do not promote economic integration.

To achieve an integrated economy, Dr Kirubi said, Africa required focused leadership and promotion of free movement of people and goods.

Said Dr Kirubi: “We need to move. We need to create movement of young people, to learn together, to create universities — that take students from South Africa, from Namibia, from Congo and they all study degrees together. By the time they finish that study, they are one, they think the same. Here, we have some of colleagues who speak French, the other guys speak English and we are divided in the middle like this.

“Who made us battalions for the West to speak in English, battalion for the French speaking French? We are one. Let’s find our language which we can all speak together. We should not be divided because of these languages? They are not our languages.

“Africa must become one. I would like to see us reform the African Union itself putting priority where it matters, putting priorities in the economy.”

The AEP, which is a brainchild of the African Union provides a stage for frank engagements between African Heads of State and Government, captains of industry and academics on the future of the continent.

AEP was formally launched at the 27th AU Summit in Kigali, Rwanda in 2016 and it also seeks to mobilise alternative resources towards the achievement of the continental developmental blueprint, Agenda 2063.

Meanwhile, President Mugabe returned home yesterday.

He was received at the Harare International Airport by his two deputies, Vice Presidents Emmerson Mnangagwa, and Phelekezela Mphoko, Information, Media and Broadcasting Services Minister Chris Mushohwe, Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister Joram Gumbo, State Security Minister Kembo Mohadi, Harare Metropolitan Minister Miriam Chikukwa, Welfare Services For War Veterans Collaborators, Former Political Detainees & Restrictees Minister Tshinga Dube, Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet Dr Misheck Sibanda, service chiefs and other senior Government officials.

Mzembi hits out at misguided budget

TOURISM minister Walter Mzembi has said Zimbabwe’s fiscal framework is misconceived warning that unless this is addressed, the country would not address its economic challenges.

Source: Mzembi hits out at misguided budget – NewsDay Zimbabwe March 22, 2017

Newzimbabwe.com

Mzembi, who is contesting elections for secretary-general of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation, was speaking at a marketing indaba held in London this past weekend.

The minister said using every tax dollar collected on recurrent expenditure was not viable.

Zimbabwe’s national budget has remained at around $4 billion with more than 90% of revenues going to wages for the civil service.

The country has struggled with an economic crisis for years, which has crippled industry leaving formal unemployment at around 80%, a development that has adversely impacted government’s tax revenues.

Regulatory capture threat to recovery of cotton industry

Source: Regulatory capture threat to recovery of cotton industry | The Herald March 22, 2017

Business Reporter
WHILE Government has moved in to revive the cotton industry through a three-year free input support programme, inadequate regulatory enforcement, particularly during the marketing season remains a threat to the sustainable recovery of the sector.

The Presidential Input Support Programme, which began last season has seen the Government providing free inputs to farmers, largely small scale in a bid to revive the industry.

Cotton has been a source of livelihood for 200 000 families, making it a strategic national priority.

During the past two seasons, Government has spent in excess of $70 million on inputs. Analysts said the intervention by the Government was timely as it has helped to lure back many farmers who had abandoned the crop due to inadequate funding from merchants.

However, the sustainable recovery of the industry remains under threat, largely due to side marketing resulting from inadequate regulatory enforcement to curb the practice.

Based on the established crop, a national crop size of about 110 000 tonnes is expected this year.

Analysts said since opening up the industry as a result of the International Monetary Fund dictated Economic Structural Adjustment Programme there had been a failure to control side marketing.

This killed the investment case for cotton as regulatory control has been largely ineffective due to “regulatory capture.”

They are of the view that the Agricultural Marketing Authority, which is the regulatory body charged with enforcing cotton legislation in the form of Statutory Instrument 142 of 2009 has “totally” demonstrated a total reluctance to enforce effective deterrent measures or penalties, resulting in chaos in the marketing of the crop.

The regulator is empowered to cause the arrest and prosecution of unscrupulous merchants for non-compliance and promoting side marketing, suspend licences for errant merchants and to cancel licences for continued breach of cotton marketing regulations.

“We have not seen much of these things happening despite clear evidence of serious breaches (of regulations) by some players,” Mr Nhamo Muchapondwa, an agricultural economist said.

“What is disturbing is that the Government is laying a solid foundation for the recovery of the industry but this will not be sustainable if such breaches continue to happen.

“What people need to understand is that, the crop is only coming back because of Government intervention.

“Almost everything is being funded by the Government but come marketing season; the bigger size of the crop will be bought by private players.

“It happened last season. Out of about 30 000 tonnes produced, Government only bought a third.”

A senior official with AMA said the authority would ensure Government adequately recover its investment, adding licenses would be issued on the basis of investment made.

“We are working with all stakeholders including the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to ensure that all loopholes that may promote side marketing are eliminated,” said the official.

“This year, private players have not invested much . . . most of them have only provided seed. So ideally, Government should buy the bulk of the crop. In any case, these middle man should be removed because their investment model is not production oriented.”

Some farmers contracted by private players in Gokwe-Nembudziya and Sanyati areas told The Herald Business last week that the support from private payers had been inadequate.

Farmer, Mr Moses Muzingiti, 32, said he was contracted by Alliance and received only seed.

“I established 4 hectares with the seed I got from Alliance and there was no further help,” said Mr Muzingiti, also chairman of 150 farmers contracted by Alliance in Sanyati.

Mr Rangarirai Siyai, also from Sanyati and represents 37 farmers contracted by Olam expressed dissatisfaction with the inputs they received from the company. He said he joined Olam’s scheme under the impression that Cottco and Olam were merging.

“We have been short-changed for a while and we wanted to join the Government input programme. But we were told that Olam was going to merge with the Cottco,” he said.

Late last year, Olam made a failed bid to acquire an exclusive management contract for Cottco.

Mrs Kudzai Muleli, 40, from Gokwe said she was contracted by Grafax and only received little chemicals and seed. “They promised to bring fertilisers but they did not,” she said.

Many farmers who benefited under the Presidential Input Scheme told a totally different story as they expressed satisfaction with the level of input support.

Those interviewed in Sanyati and Gokwe all expressed satisfaction with the level of support.

Chairperson for Vere area in Sanyati Mrs Silibaziso Makovere, 30 said she was expecting a good yield after receiving enough inputs from the Government.

“I have about 76 farmers under me and I can tell all happy with what Government did for us,” she said. “Since I started growing cotton after leaving school in 2005, this is my best year.”

Cottco area managers for Nembudziya and Sanyati Mr Tichaona Mamutse and Mr Cloud Kanhema said the crop situation was “good” and the mid-season drought would enhance output and quality.

Economist Dr Gift Mugano said crop losses were being caused by merchants paying higher prices as they would have not made any meaningful investment in inputs finance or infrastructure.

“Government support is only limited to three years and the possibility of the industry ‘collapsing’ again is very high if there is no proper regulatory enforcement especially during marketing season,” he said.

A former senior executive with a leading cotton company said there was an urgent need for “immediate and drastic intervention” in the cotton industry to stop the continued hemorrhaging from the scourge of side marketing.

“This issue of side marketing has been happening for a long time and this has largely resulted in the decline in cotton production and to a certain extent, pulling out of some serious investors,” said the executive.

“When merchants invest in production they are taking risk and the return on making that risk is the crop volume they get from the farmer.

“But side marketing has been allowed to prevail and the collapse of cotton industry is evidence of that.”

United States based company, Cargill closed its cotton business in Zimbabwe in 2014 citing high levels of farmer’ defaults resulting from side marketing.

The company said the practice had resulted in the company failing to operate profitably.

Met Office warns of floods

Source: Met Office warns of floods | The Herald March 22, 2017

Abigail Mawonde Herald Correspondent
THE Meteorological Services Department (MSD) yesterday warned of potential flooding in Manicaland and Mashonaland provinces as rains continue to fall in most parts of the country. “Flood threats have heightened in Manicaland Province as well as Mashonaland provinces, so be warned,” it said. The MSD said on Monday a number of areas received significant rains.

In Manicaland, Nyanga recorded 85mm, Chisengu 83mm, Chipinge 62mm, Mukandi 55mm, Mutare 48mm and Rusape 36mm.

The MSD said cloudy conditions will persists.

“Drizzle and rain is expected in Masvingo Province, Matabeleland South, south of Manicaland and south of the Midlands Province, while thunder showers are expected for the rest of the country with heavier falls in the Eastern Highlands and Mashonaland provinces.

“Temperatures across the country should remain cool,” said the MSD.

Thursday will be wet and cloudy.

Floods recently claimed several lives and destroyed infrastructure worth millions of dollars.

Government has since declared a state of disaster to help mobilise resources to repair the damaged infrastructure.

Most effected by the floods were Midlands, Masvingo and Matabeleland North provinces.

Well wishers have since started mobilising resources to assist Government in repairing the damaged infrastructure.

Destroyed infrastructure include roads, schools and hospitals.

Enablers key to Zisco Steel revival

Source: Enablers key to Zisco Steel revival | The Herald March 22, 2017

Defunct steelmaker, the Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company (ZISCO) cannot be revived without the efficient functioning of upstream enablers, the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ), Hwange Colliery, Sable Chemicals and the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA).

Last month Industry and Commerce Minister Mike Bimha intimated that Government was currently in the process of engaging a number of potential foreign investors for the revival of the Kwekwe-based steelmaker after the 2011 deal with Essar Africa Holdings fell through.

Presenting a paper to the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Industry and Commerce this afternoon former Lancashire Steel and ZISCO managing director Dr Gabriel Masanga said there is need for a holistic approach to revival of the steelmaker that has been mothballed for 10 years.

“We will need a lot of synergies in terms of what is happening at ZISCO and what is happening externally, here we are talking of Hwange Colliery, the NRZ, Sable Chemicals and ZESA. What is happening there will link with the scale of development at the steelmaker.

“You cannot have ZISCO without Hwange working, or without the National Railways operating. You cannot have ZISCO without ZESA working at full capacity, especially when you get the blast furnace up it’s not something that you can allow to be affected by power shortages or black-outs, it will be a disaster,” he said.

Dr Masanga noted that at full operation ZISCO will require a significant level of dedicated supplies of coal from Hwange and locomotives to carry the supplies.

“At full operation ZISCO will require 100 000 tonnes of coal from Hwange every month, and you have two NRZ locomotives moving between Hwange and Redcliff, and with potential derailments you will need two more locomotives as spares. So you are looking at six or seven dedicated locomotives for ZISCO alone bringing coal. Then the rest of the other locomotives are for transportation of the steel products.

“For exports there is need for a railway line between Redcliff and Beira, or one via Chikwalakwala to Maputo to be running.”

“The other external requirement then becomes oxygen from Sable Chemicals. There is a pipeline from Sable which goes right down to ZISCO which supplies oxygen for steelmaking. They (Sable) have an air separation plant there but they were using an expensive method of breaking water into oxygen and hydrogen. So the synergy discussions will need to be carried out between ZISCO and Sable as to whether the latter will resuscitate their plant,” he explained.

Dr Masanga also said it was possible for ZISCO to be revived without foreign investors, but the process would be a phased approach entailing three key stages.

In November last year, Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa said Government would consider financing the revival of ZISCO if it fails to get foreign investors “soon”.

In 2011, the Government signed a $750 million agreement with Indian firm Essar Africa Holdings to revive the firm, but the deal eventually fell through after Essar pulled out citing non-viability of the project due to volatile global steel prices. — BH24.

Zim ruled off-side, Moz citizen wins vehicles case

HOME Affairs minister Ignatius Chombo, the police and the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) have been ordered to release the vehicles of a Mozambican businessman impounded after his arrest for alleged possession of army regalia early this year.

Source: Zim ruled off-side, Moz citizen wins vehicles case – NewsDay Zimbabwe March 22, 2017

BY SILAS NKALA

Mozambican safari manager Stephen Boshoff and his companions Karl James Landrey, Lovemore Damiano and Kefasi Tetellelle were arrested in Plumtree for alleged smuggling when they entered Zimbabwe through the Mphoengs border post, travelling in two South African registered vehicles.

Their vehicles were loaded with, among other items, 22 camouflage uniforms and 22 camouflage belts and 26 cases of bottled water.
Following their arrests, their vehicles and military fatigue were confiscated.

Even after charges were withdrawn against them, the police and Zimra refused to release their vehicles, prompting Boshoff to file an urgent chamber application seeking the release of the vehicles and goods, citing the act as unlawful.

Boshoff, in his application, cited officer-in-charge CID Law and Order Plumtree, the National Prosecution Authority, a public prosecutor identified as S Chinyanganya, senior public prosecutor Matabeleland, Martha Cheda, Chombo, a Kanjoma, Zimra’s station manager at Plumtree, as respondents.

On March 16, Bulawayo High Court judge Justice Nicholas Mathonsi ruled in Boshoff’s favour, ordering the parties concerned to release the confiscated goods and vehicles to the owner.

“The provisional order be and is hereby confirmed. It is declared that in terms of section 59(1)(a)(i) of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act Chapter 9:07 and following the withdrawal of charges against the applicant and other accused persons on January 9 2017 in CRB MPH 91-94/16 the respondents’ decision to refuse to return to applicant the motor vehicles being two Nissan Hard body pickup trucks . . . is unlawful,” Justice Mathonsi ruled.

“First and second respondents be and are hereby ordered to pay costs jointly and severally the one paying the other to be absolved.”

In his founding affidavit, Boshoff said he was employed as an administrator in Mozambique by a private company known as Safaris de Mozambique.

Boshoff submitted that the items at the centre of the row were declared at the port of entry.

“My purpose in entering Zimbabwe with the said items was to travel to Mozambique, where the 22 camouflage uniforms and belts were to be used for anti-poaching activities,” he said.

“Despite having declared the items, Zimra officials alerted the police, who searched the vehicles, seized the camouflage uniforms and camouflage belts, arrested my companions and charged them with unlawful possession or wearing of camouflage uniforms.”

He said the police seized letters authorising them to drive the said vehicles, temporary import permits for the vehicles, receipt for items held in respect of the vehicles, their contents and other documents pertaining to the import of vehicles into Zimbabwe.

Boshoff added that along with his compatriots, they were placed on remand, but were later released on bail.

During their detention, police ordered them to surrender their vehicles and contents to Zimra in Plumtree, which his lawyer has said was illegal, as the police were the only custodians of the property seized as evidence.

Boshoff said an opinion on the charges was sought by the prosecution in Plumtree, from the Harare NPA, which said the charges must be withdrawn.

Charges were subsequently withdrawn on January 9 this year and bail money refunded.

Ordinary citizens are barred from wearing any camouflage used by the army or any clothing related to it in Zimbabwe.

Opposition parties blast Grace Mugabe over evictions

OPPOSITION parties have blasted, First Lady Grace Mugabe over the impending eviction of close to 100 families from Arnold Farm in Mazowe, saying such an attitude spoke volumes of how she was divorced from the suffering of ordinary citizens.

Source: Opposition parties blast Grace Mugabe over evictions – NewsDay Zimbabwe March 22, 2017

BY OBEY MANAYITI

Government officials reportedly started pegging the farm last week and advised villagers to move out soon to pave way for Grace’s takeover.

Villagers yesterday said they were seeking legal counsel on how to block the move.

MDC-T presidential spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka said the attitude showed arrogance.

“It speaks to the callous attitude that is now prevailing in the First Family that they are living in their own world far from the desperate and suffering people of Zimbabwe,” he said.

“They bought a ring for $1, 4 million yet the majority of Zimbabweans are surviving on less than $1 a day. It speaks to the arrogance of the First Family and they are divorced to the current suffering of the people.”

NPP spokesperson Jealousy Mawarire added: “The situation that currently obtain where every piece of land that has been acquired through the land reform programme is owned by the President of the country is untenable, hence what we are seeing in Mazowe now where the wife of the President is evicting people. We have said as a party that the land reform needs to be rationalised and this is exactly why we are advocating for that.”

Transform Zimbabwe leader Jacob Ngarivhume described the eviction of villagers as a tragedy.

“This shows the heart and character of the people who are in charge of the nation. Their hearts are cold and they are selfish. This is the tragedy Zimbabwe is having and the best way is to make sure that they are removed from office in the next election,” Ngarivhume said.

MDC spokesperson Kurauone Chihwayi weighed in saying: “Zimbabwe has an irresponsible and ruthless First Lady, who does not fear God. Her husband (President) Robert Mugabe should stop her from harassing poor and landless people. The State House and G40 comedian should spare the poor.”

People’s Democratic Party spokesperson Jacob Mafume said it was unfortunate that leaders were competing with each other to make Zimbabweans miserable.

The Vendors Initiative for Social and Economic Transformation (Viset) leader Samuel Wadzai said evicting the villagers was not only unfair but unacceptable.

“We expect the First Family to protect the citizens and not to be at the centre of perpetrating abuses against the citizens. What is happening in Mazowe is a clear violation of human rights and it looks like grabbing other people’s properties run in her blood,” he said citing Grace’s distribution of goods confiscated by Zimra.

Envoy slams media’s negative portrayal of Zim

Source: Envoy slams media’s negative portrayal of Zim | The Herald

Farirai Machivenyika Senior Reporter—
French Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Richard Boidin has described as unfair the negative portrayal of Zimbabwe by Western media, saying reality on the ground did not match images conveyed abroad. Ambassador Boidin said this in an interview yesterday after paying a courtesy call on Senate President Cde Edna Madzongwe at Parliament Building, together with a delegation from the French Parliament’s chapter of the Zimbabwe-France Parliamentary Friendship Association.

“What I said inside (to Cde Madzongwe) is that we have to consider all the realities of Zimbabwe and not only the negative,” he said.

“The reality of Zimbabwe is very different from what you have when you are outside. For example, the two members of the association have been here since yesterday and what they have seen here they have not seen in the media outside.

“It is not fair to have a negative image only. Of course, there are problems, but there are also problems in France,” he said.

During the meeting, Ambassador Boidin said the two associations had agreed to work together to correct the anomalies, among other initiatives to boost cooperation. “The realities of Zimbabwe are so different with what they say in the media, which is why the presidents of the two groups have agreed to work together,” he said.

Cde Madzongwe appealed to the French delegation to portray the true Zimbabwean story to their European counterparts.

“You are going to experience what is happening in Zimbabwe first hand instead of the media and because of that you will go and relay the true Zimbabwe story to the French people and the French parliament,” she said.

“We had good relations before and they deteriorated a bit and we hope you will, through your visit be able to assist in re-establishing them.”

In an earlier meeting, Speaker of the National Assembly Advocate Jacob Mudenda encouraged the French delegation to promote Zimbabwe as a safe investment destination.

“We have a vibrant Constitution which protects property rights and, therefore, the French businessmen and women must not fear for their property rights because these are protected by the law,” he said.

“We are also revamping our laws to improve the investment climate and we now have a law on Special Economic Zones that offer attractive opportunities in tourism, mining and agro-industries.”

President of the French chapter of the Association, Mr Guilleme Chevrollier, said they would facilitate more French investors to come to Zimbabwe. “As legislators, we are trying to open doors for French investment and we see there are already 30 French companies here and we will facilitate more to come,” he said.

His Zimbabwean counterpart and Rushinga legislator Cde Wonder Mashange said the visit showed that the French were committed to improving relations with Zimbabwe.

“With their visit it shows that France is committed to mend relations with Zimbabwe with the initiative starting from Parliament,” he said. “We hope this visit will improve political relations and that they will relay a good message and not rely on distorted media reports.”

The other members of the French delegation included Mr Rene Rouquet, who is a legislator and Mrs Pascale Lauze, a senior administrator with the National Assembly of France.

Trial date set for SA human trafficker

Source: Trial date set for SA human trafficker | The Herald March 22, 2017

Thupeyo Muleya Beitbridge Bureau—
The trial of a 25-year-old South African man, who allegedly trafficked four Zimbabweans to his home country where he used them as forced labour, has been set for April 12. Raymond Sithole of Chebeng Village will be tried at the Seshego Magistrate Court in Polokwane City. He was arrested on January 3 by South Africa’s Directorate for Priority Crime Investigations (The Hawks) following a tip off.

Sithole is accused of holding the four men hostage at his home.

Hawks spokesperson for Limpopo province Captain Matimba Maluleke said the man’s victims were aged between 15 and 20 and had been illegally transported into the neighbouring country after promising them good jobs.

Captain Maluleke said the four were being kept under lock and key at Sithole’s house. He said in some instances, the man would send the victims to steal and do other jobs without paying them.

“He has been charged with human trafficking. The complainants were allegedly kept under key and lock after being smuggled into South Africa with false promises of good jobs and better lives here.

“In some cases, the suspect would severely assault them if they failed to comply with his orders,” he said.

Capt Maluleke said the man was arrested by a Hawks reaction team after getting wind of the alleged exploitation of the Zimbabweans.

He said they had also arrested a home affairs official, John Baloyi (32) for confiscating a passport belonging to a foreign national in January.

“After confiscating the passport, he asked for a bribe and we arrested him soon after collecting the money. He will soon appear in court on a charge of corruption,” he said.

Police from both countries intensified border patrols in light of an increase in the illegal smuggling of children between the two countries.

A total of 120 children were in December, intercepted along the border line while being smuggled into South Africa, prompting security agents to re-double their efforts in fighting the crime.

Further, a total of 20 children were repatriated from the neighbouring country in 2016, after being intercepted between Musina and Polokwane, en-route to Johannesburg.

In the same year, three Zimbabwean cross-border transporters were jailed for 632 years by a South African High Court after they were convicted on 62 charges ranging from murder, robbery, extortion, rape among other violent crimes perpetrated in that country.

All their victims were Zimbabweans using hiking spots between Musina and Johannesburg.

EDITORIAL COMMENT: A child rescued is a child saved

Source: EDITORIAL COMMENT: A child rescued is a child saved | The Herald

Everyone knows there are a lot of children working and frequently living on the streets of Zimbabwe’s urban areas with most of us seeing them as someone else’s problem and someone else’s responsibility. As a result we could lose thousands of people who would otherwise become good and useful citizens of Zimbabwe. Deputy Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Tapuwa Matangaidze has made public the true scale of the problem, and outlined a series of steps that are being taken, but which need the input from a lot of people, in both money, other resources and time.

A survey by the social welfare officers in the Ministry came up with the staggering figure of 4 701 children on the streets of Harare, Bulawayo, Mutare and Beitbridge. This might startle those who feel the problem is containable, meeting about a dozen or two on their daily commutes.

But when you add up all those intersections, markets and the like it is a quite believable figure.

The problem is both resources and the willingness of children and families to co-operate with the authorities. Last year, the ministry did manage to move 463 children off the streets, a not inconsiderable figure, but less than 10 percent of the total.

Now it wants to make a far greater effort, and to do so it has enlisted support from civil society and seeks support from the public. A Children on the Streets Fund has been established, that can channel money from civil society to agreed goals. The Taskforce for Children Living and Working on the Streets includes ministry experts, officials from other relevant ministries, representatives from civil society and representatives from the local authority.

Such a taskforce is sufficiently widely based that it should be able to generate far greater effective efforts to rescue children.

Many of the children are resourceful; they manage to get by on the streets. Yet just how much more resourceful and effective would they be in far more productive areas in future if they were educated, cared for and nurtured.

The taskforce has discovered that there are families and parents who dump their children on the streets to beg.

They talk of arrests, although this may be a last resort. But on the other hand there are tens of thousands of poor families and very poor single parents who do manage to raise their children in some decency.

We hear of vendors and domestic workers making huge sacrifices to get children through school and while you might get some mothers in these groups having babies and toddlers with them, you do not see them with school-age children.

Many of these fundamentally sound parents could, though, probably use access to some sort of child care and school fees help.

There are many thousands of orphans and other children with appalling backgrounds who are already being looked after by grandparents or other relatives, sometimes with the financial load shared among several family members.

Most of the street children, previous studies have shown, have fled abusive homes or have no immediate family. Orphanages are often a last resort, but it has been argued that frequently a better solution and usually a far cheaper solution, is a bit of assistance to a poverty-stricken grandmother or aunt, so a basic home is possible, backed by advice and expertise to help a street child move back into a far more normal childhood; that is not always easy.

The main point is that the ministry is now trying to do something a lot more effective and is not just tolerating civil society assistance, but actively seeking it for both the financial support required and the involvement of a lot more people and a lot of better ideas in how to move forward.

Street children are more than just a nuisance. They are an opportunity for a lot of people to do something constructive to turn the abandoned or exploited into future responsible and productive adults.

We all need to remember that every child rescued is one more child saved, and one less problem adult for our children to cope with.

Pay Mutare plant contractor, Undenge orders ZPC

Source: Pay Mutare plant contractor, Undenge orders ZPC | The Herald March 22, 2017

Felex Share Senior Reporter
Energy and Power Development Minister Dr Samuel Undenge has ordered the Zimbabwe Power Company management and board to pay the firm contracted to construct a 120-megawatt plant in Mutare for work on site to continue. The company, Helcraw Electrical, had pulled off the site demanding payment of $337 000 from ZPC, which was “pro rata share of the pre-commencement costs of the initial activities undertaken on site”.

The $92 million Mutare plant is one of the key projects identified under Zim-Asset.

Dr Undenge told The Herald that he had ordered ZPC to make a payment plan if they were facing cash-flow challenges.

Key projects, he said, should not stop because of failure by the power entity to meet contractual obligations.

“I have told them to ensure the key project doesn’t stop,” Dr Undenge said.

“I talked to the Zesa Holdings chief executive Engineer Josh Chifamba, ZPC board chair Stanley Kazhanje and my Permanent Secretary Mr Partson Mbiriri about the issue and everything is now under control. My understanding was that they would pay since everything is in order. I ordered them to call the contractor and make arrangements.”

Dr Undenge said ZPC management had cited cash-flow challenges as the reason for not paying.

“They highlighted the constraints that they have, that they owe suppliers about $69 million,” he said.

“I told them to make an arrangement while the project continues. Everyone understands the cash flow challenges.

“They assured me that they will make arrangements with the contractor, but I emphasised that, that they should honour their obligations as stated in the contract so that there won’t be any stoppages, which in turn affect implementation of Zim-Asset.”

He added: “There is no sabotage so to speak, but the contractor has to be paid. I will monitor the progress because our economy is driven by energy.”

ZPC board members are being accused of throwing spanners into the works on the implementation of the power projects identified under Zim-Asset ahead of next year’s harmonised elections.

The board appointed during the tenure of former Energy and Power Development Minister Dzikamai Mavhaire, was refusing to authorise payments to contractors who would have done work on site.

Helcraw Electrical had pulled off site and had engaged lawyers for recourse.

The Mutare plant, whose contract was signed in December 2015, is part of efforts by Government to augment power supplies and reduce imports.

In a letter of demand to ZPC management written by T.K.Hove and Partners and dated March 11, 2017, Helcraw Electrical said they wanted the contract to be executed with both parties honouring their obligations.

Construction of the plant was expected to take 18 months.

“Our instructions are that in terms of Schedule 13 of the contract, the parties agreed that the initial activities were to be carried out, whilst waiting for the financial closure of the contract,” reads the letter.

“The parties further agreed that the pre-commencement works costs, estimated at $1,5 million were to be shared equally between the contractor and ZPC.”

The contractor completed the topographical survey (and geo-technical investigations without any contribution from ZPC.

“Furthermore, in the spirit of executing the contract and as a sign of good faith, Helcraw diverted the 33kv Odzi line at its costs, which was passing through the plant optimisation area to expedite work before financial closure. The activity was executed through a contract between ZETDC and Helcraw. ZETDC was paid by Helcraw for the work done.

“According to contract Schedule 13, ZPC should have paid their contribution before commencement of pre-commencement work,” reads the letter.

According to the letter, Helcraw engaged sub-contractors, who were now threatening to sue the company for money due to them.

The sub-contractors included PG Associates from India, Tarcon Zimbabwe, Soil-Tech and University of Zimbabwe geology department.

A vaunting dictator and an incompetent government

Our dear leader, President Robert Mugabe, has a boastfully proud disposition and is presiding over an incompetent administration. Without a doubt, this makes him a selfish individual whose preoccupation is love of self, as opposed to loving others.

Source: A vaunting dictator and an incompetent government – NewsDay Zimbabwe March 22, 2017

guest column: MUTSA MURENJE

If he cared, Mugabe would know the need to slow down in life, since he is already in his 90s. He has grown too old to be seen having four flying trips in 19 days. Although we have been forced to believe that diplomacy is costly, it better not be at our expense as Zimbabweans. Diplomacy would be a lot cheaper if the President didn’t have to fly everywhere.

Zimbabwe has representatives in a number of countries and these could represent our country, whenever there is an event requiring such representation. This is how we can reduce the incessant costs of diplomacy in the 21st century. Why is it that Mugabe wants to be everywhere, as if he still has something to offer to our country? There are young people who are capable of moving this nation forward, these are the people who should be active when it comes to matters beneficial to our country.

Mugabe has played his part in freeing our nation from the bondage of colonialism. However, the role he plays at present is destructive and is detrimental to our well-being as Zimbabweans. It is entirely one thing to fight against colonial oppression and it is another to be oppressing the people you claim to have liberated from the jaws of colonial oppression and injustices.

This is morally wrong because the difference between our colonial oppressors and the present administration is slim if not non-existent. We have continued with our oppressive colonial past. We are still paying with our lives for our freedom. This is not the way a country is governed.

Our nation’s resources are only benefitting a few. We have been impoverished and silenced. The incompetent government doesn’t expect us to voice our concerns. If we do, we are called all sorts of names. We don’t need to be anybody’s stooge to be heard. This is a fundamental right enshrined in our Constitution and is universal.

For our sake and that of our children, a new administration is required to take charge of our country. We can’t keep holding on to the so-called 2013 electoral mandate when no progress has been made. We are tired of unfulfilled promises and we are sick of your incompetence. We need space to breathe and realise our life goals.

It isn’t right that Mugabe and his incompetence keep standing in the way of our progress. No, we can’t keep going this way. We need change, a radical departure from bad governance and dictatorship. We need a competent and responsive government. As Zimbabweans, we have suffered enough to continue bickering over political positions.

We need to grow up and focus on the most important task at hand, freeing our country from the dictatorial tendencies and incompetence of the Mugabe regime. Zimbabwe has resources and these need to be sustainably used for our benefit and that of future generations.

I hadn’t done it in a long time, but had the opportunity to do so recently. I have had the chance to drive over a number of roads in Zimbabwe. It is sad that our roads are in a poor state. It is not possible to observe the speed limits shown on our roads because you will be forced to even drive slower than you ought to.

If you ignore this, then you might as well speed to your own death. Road markings have also disappeared. It’s hard to see the lines demarcating the road. What is visible in most cases are the potholes that have become death traps on our roads. Recently, a family of 14 perished on our poor roads. Something must be done to stop this carnage.

The millions spent on endless trips by the President could surely be channelled towards improving our road infrastructure. Not everyone prefers flying. There are visitors to our country, whose vehicles will be damaged by our poor roads. These will discourage others from visiting our country. Good roads save lives and maximise the potential tourist benefit that could earn us foreign currency.

Besides, how do we move our agricultural produce to markets when roads are bad and some areas inaccessible? We are sitting on our potential to turn around this economy.

There are also a number of frustrations that I have experienced in Zimbabwe during my recent trip. I have purchased fuel before and I prefer doing so via card transactions. I am not a cash baron that I need to move around with money.

Besides, there is no cash in Zimbabwe for one to even dream of moving around with money. At fuel stations, the attendants require that you swipe your card first before you get the fuel. I have never heard of anything like this before ever since I started driving.

There is no way a normal man of my calibre would drive to a garage to buy fuel when without money. It is an unnecessary burden to have the motorist estimate how much money would be used before the fuel has been bought.

I have indicated numerous times that I need a refill of my fuel tank. In most cases, I wouldn’t know how much fuel the car would require, but my interest would be in filling the tank because I know I have the requisite financial wherewithal to do so. I hate it when I can’t be trusted by a man or woman who expects my trust in return.

On a serious note, this is not the problem of the fuel attendant, but the manner in which our incompetent government runs this country. We shouldn’t have any problems with card transactions. They work everywhere else on this continent and why should it be problem when it comes to Zimbabwe?

I have had similar problems trying to pay toll fees at toll gates. This isn’t right. I don’t know if it’s only me who has had to go through the pain of waiting just because my card couldn’t work immediately. This ought to be fixed. We are living in the digital age and we need to prove that we are ready for this age.

However, the present government has proven that it is not ready but incompetent to take advantage of this age.

There can be no doubt too that corruption must be fought for this country to be where it ought to be. I am not sure though that the solution lies in having the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority officials wearing the “I am not corrupt”
T-shirts.

I can see our passion, but it’s entirely misplaced. Imagine having to wear such a T-shirt and still engage in corrupt activities. Who is fooling who? Please stop insulting us. T-shirts don’t fight corruption, people do. One doesn’t necessarily have to fight corruption just by virtue of wearing a T-shirt. We need to be taught about the dangers of corruption and why it is important to be honest even when without a T-shirt.

Finally, the situation in banks needs to improve. People keep queuing for their money whose supply is epileptic like the way electricity is supplied in Nigeria, an oil producing country! The rot in the government has spread to all sectors of the economy like a malignant cancer.

It might be too late to employ radiotherapy to our country if we don’t change from the top to the bottom. I love our country and have no doubt whatsoever that we can do better than most African countries. I know we are capable.

Let’s do something about the issues raised herein. Let’s do it for our country and our children. May God help Zimbabwe! The struggle continues unabated!

Mutsa Murenje is a social activist

Sandi-Moyo, Mahoka face Zanu PF guillotine

ZANU PF women’s league will today stage demonstrations at provincial party headquarters in Harare to force the ouster of top wing members accused of undermining First Lady Grace Mugabe, NewsDay has learnt

Source: Sandi-Moyo, Mahoka face Zanu PF guillotine – NewsDay Zimbabwe March 22, 2017

BY STAFF REPORTERS

The demonstrations target Grace’s deputy in the women’s league, Eunice Sandi-Moyo and treasurer Sara Mahoka.

According to official sources, Sandi-Moyo was accused of setting parallel structures and taking actions without consulting Grace ,while Mahoka was being targeted for challenging the First Lady during meetings.

The Hurungwe East MP also allegedly misappropriated party funds, charges she reportedly denied.

Zanu PF ex-central committee member and Kadoma businessman Jimayi Muduvuri was alleged to be sponsoring the demonstrations amid reports that over $300 000 had been poured towards the demonstrations by one of the women’s league bosses.

Muduvuri reportedly claimed that he had been sent by the First Lady to mobilise ruling party women to demonstrate against the two.

When asked for comment last night, Muduvuri was evasive.

“I don’t know what you are talking about. I don’t have any instruction from the First Lady,” Muduvuri said.

However, sources claimed the demos were planned as part of the Zanu PF succession politics and Grace was reportedly targeting people who could derail her ambition to rise to the party’s vice-presidency after women campaigned for a quarter in the presidium.

“Some members have urged Grace to fire Mahoka and Sandi-Moyo because they will threaten her ambition,” a source said.

Sandi-Moyo was viewed as the most senior member to land the VP post. Both Sandi-Moyo and Mahoka were not reachable last night.

Is re-booting Zim’s economy, public governance an option on Trump’s table?

FORMER United States President Barack Obama must at some point in his youth, have loved and been inspired by President Robert Mugabe, the freedom fighter and Zimbabwe’s first Prime Minister.

Source: Is re-booting Zim’s economy, public governance an option on Trump’s table? – NewsDay Zimbabwe March 22, 2017

Who wouldn’t? All that talk about beating weapons into plowshares, peace, non-racism, pan-Africanism, forgiveness, reconciliation, nation building focused on the poor would have had the great and good giving him a standing ovation anywhere in the world. That charm had captured the heart of American Ambassador Young when he first met Mugabe in Maputo. Obama admitted he was disappointed by Mugabe, and possibly Zimbabwe, during his terms as President of the United States and Commander-Chief of the World’s largest arsenal. Obama was not alone in liking the Prime Minister. The CIA, according to recently declassified documents, also worried about the safety of the Zimbabwean Prime Minister during the delicate time of transition from colonial rule to majority democratic rule.

OPINION: Tapiwa Nyandoro

The American President, during his term of office, would have been alive to the potential Zimbabwe has and the positive relationship the superpower once had with the small-but-vibrant Southern African State. Of all the foreign students that studied in the States, Zimbabwe, in the early days of independence, had the highest ratio among developing countries that returned home after graduation. President Clinton’s Vice President Al Gore, Obama’s fellow Democrat, liked to visit Zimbabwe from time to time on hunting expeditions. Even the World’s richest man, Bill Gates, likes to visit for holiday. Many more Americans would come if relationships with their country were back to the good old days. In his days as the world’s most powerful man, Barack Obama would have been aware of all this.

Questions have been asked, sometimes in desperation and exasperation, as to why Barack Obama, hurriedly renewed the limited sanctions on Zimbabwe before leaving office in early 2017. He could have left the task to the incoming Republican President, who it is assumed, given the tone of his campaign rhetoric, might have seen no profit in continuing with the sanctions — that on paper probably hurt American capital as well.

The question that must bother many was whether the expedited renewal of sanctions, albeit a mild version of the usually crippling ones, was an act of malice on Obama’s part; or an act of love for the people of Zimbabwe (rather than its rulers)? Was he poised to invade Zimbabwe and effect regime change; and if so, how and why? Enterprise of that nature has not usually gone according to plan as evidenced by Iraq and later Libya. Had the latter been a success, American boots might have landed in Zimbabwe earlier than anticipated. But are they no longer coming; probably not. US President Donald Trump may see no profit in it. Nation building, reconstruction and development, is expensive business. And Zimbabwe is in that state where all three processes are needed. That would require a new kind of a regime change protocol, probably anticipated by the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act.

Modify the Petraeus doctrine, and you have one method for re-booting Zimbabwe’s public governance and economic growth. It is the attraction of this modified doctrine that may best explain President Obama’s action in renewing sanctions on Zimbabwe. His hope would have been to keep Zimbabwe a subject in the White House long after he had gone, long enough for his successor to soak up the modified Petraeus doctrine, as an option for deploying in Zimbabwe, preferably with Robert Mugabe’s blessing, and if need be, without it. Andrew Young, sent as an emissary by the Obama administration, was probably exploring the option. All Robert Mugabe had to do was ask.

According to Wikipedia, retired American four-star General David Petraeus commanded American and coalition forces in Iraq, under President George Bush and later in Afghanistan, under President Obama. He looks like he was both Presidents’ favourite general for hotspots with an element requiring nation re-building. The cerebral general has a masters in Public Administration and a Ph. D from the famed Princeton University.

His experience in fighting insurgents, guerillas and terrorists convinced him of the need for a new approach when fighting such wars, as opposed to the antiquated “command” based approach. He emphasised the need to think on the spot for soldiers on the ground, and the need to work with the ordinary citizens in re-building viable and strong national institutions. Above all he called for injection of huge amounts of money to re-build infrastructure, governments, including armies and police forces, and economies basically from the ground. Apparently American Generals in such situations have huge discretionary budgets open for their use. Petraeus used $11 billion to re-arm the Iraqi army his forces were training, and much more to rebuild universities and other infrastructure projects.

The General believed strongly that “money was ammunition”. He also believed that in fighting insurgency one has “to live amongst the people convincing them one is better than the common enemy”. He famously warned Israel that depending on military superiority alone is not a sustainable security doctrine. It looks like his Presidents agreed. No wonder they likened him to great American Generals such as Ulysses S Grant, John J Pershing, George Marshall (he of the Marshall Plan) and Dwight Eisenhower.

An invasion by Generals following his doctrine could have been the way to reconstruction without many congressional battles for the money. It could have led to the conclusion of the agriculture reform programme, re-capitalisation of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and strengthening of key national institutions. The question is: Did a “Petraeus Plan” ever enter Barack Obama’s mind in relation to Zimbabwe? If it did that may explain his action in renewing sanctions.

Now in retirement from government service, and lecturing at universities, General Petraeus, a soldier’s soldier, expressed a desire in 2013 to help “lead the world out of the “current global economic slowdown”. And is there any better way than to get India, and Africa in particular, to be the engines of global economic growth going forward?

Tobacco farmers seek bank withdrawal limit review

TOBACCO farmers want to be allowed to withdraw at least half of their proceeds at once and get the balance in batches, as the $1 000 withdrawal limit was not adequate to meet their needs.

Source: Tobacco farmers seek bank withdrawal limit review – NewsDay Zimbabwe March 22, 2017

BY TARISAI MANDIZHA

In a joint statement last week, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board and Tobacco Farmers Association said farmers would withdraw $1 000 from their first sale and then make withdrawals of $500 for subsequent sales.

In an interview with NewsDay yesterday, a tobacco farmer from Shamva, Leonard Chipoyana said the biggest challenge for them was that the $1 000 was inadequate, moreso when shops in the rural areas do not have facilities for plastic money.

“I sold tobacco and was given $5 000 and I’m only given $1 000 and what do I do with $1 000. We think at least the RBZ should allow us to get half of our money,” Chipoyana said.

“The challenge we are facing is that the money is not coming at once, we are only told we can withdraw $1 000 and the rest of the money we will collect from other banks with a withdrawal limit of up to $500.”

Another farmer from Macheke, Bronze Mutinhima, said he sold his tobacco on Wednesday and only managed to get his money on Friday.

“I came on Wednesday but only managed to access my money on Friday, it took three days for us to receive our payment because the system was down,” he said.

A tobacco farmer added she managed to withdraw $1 000 out of the $8 000 she was supposed to get from the 48 bales sold, which was inadequate to cover her needs.

“We are appealing to the RBZ that they should put in place favourable conditions for farmers. Giving us $1 000 is too little to address our cash needs. I have to pay my workers and these workers don’t have access to bank accounts let alone having an identification card, said the farmer, who identified herself as a Mrs Butai.

“We are only able to withdraw $1 000 per each sale and after that when we go to other banking institutions in the CBD we are given $300 or $500 depending on the day, so this is not workable for farmers.”

She said the major challenge was that workers in the rural areas want to be paid in hard cash, and with the RBZ directive this was untenable.

“Most of my workers want money in hard cash, they don’t have ID’s to open an account. I have complained to Barclays, but they only said it’s beyond them and the rules are from RBZ. Our appeal is that RBZ should make it flexible for the farmer so that we are able to access our cash when we need it, because currently it’s very difficult to access my money, they are telling us to use swipe but should we swipe what we don’t need.”

It was not only the cash limits farmers have to contend with. The e-marketing of the golden leaf, which was introduced this season has also affected them as it was slowing the process, according to Learnmore Mukano.

“The new system is still a challenge, it’s failing to take off and when it starts working it’s usually very slow.
I think they should just stick to the traditional marketing system which is less complicated,” Mukano said.

Tobacco is one of the country’s major foreign currency earners, raking in nearly $1 billion last year. Output is expected to reach 205 million kg this year from 202 million kg realised in 2016.

Despite contributing significantly to the economy, tobacco farmers are confronted with new hurdles each and every marketing season.

The beginning of the tobacco season is also expected to ease the cash shortages as merchants are projected to inject about $700 million for tobacco purchases.

Three auction floors — Tobacco Sales Floor, Boka Tobacco Auction Floors and Premier Tobacco Auction Floor — have been licensed to auction the golden leaf. In addition, TIMB has licensed 22 Class A buyers and 19 contractors.

Panners kidnapping trial starts

The trial of four Shurugwi gold panners, who allegedly kidnapped three mine owners before attacking them with machetes and sjamboks, began yesterday, with State witnesses narrating the brutal torture of the complainants.

Source: Panners kidnapping trial starts – NewsDay Zimbabwe March 22, 2017

By Stephen Chadenga

Emmanuel Charapata (25), John Tarira and brothers, Beven and Phainos Gombe allegedly kidnapped Ostern Chemhuru and Kudakwashe and Samson Ezekiel from Wanderer Mine in Shurugwi, before demanding gold ore from and assaulting them.

The quartet appeared before Gweru magistrate Shotgame Musaiona facing kidnapping, robbery and assault charges.

The first State witness, Kudakwashe, narrated to the court how he and his colleagues were allegedly subjected to more than eight hours of severe assault by the four, who said they were going to chase them away from the mining town.

“After kidnapping us from the mine, they force-marched us to Pasimupindu Bar, where they locked us in a room and took turns to whip us with a sjambok, while they drank beer outside for the whole night,” Kudakwashe said.

“They said Shurugwi belonged to them and they were going to chase us away from the town.”

Trial continues today.

The court heard that on November 15 last year, Kudakwashe, Samson and Chemhuru were in an underground tunnel at Wanderer Mine in Shurugwi.

The accused entered into the mine and demanded gold ore from the complainants, before assaulting them with iron bars and machetes.

One of the accused, Beven, allegedly struck Kudakwashe with an iron bar once on the back and left arm before searching his pockets and taking two cellphones.

After assaulting Kudakwashe’s colleagus, the accused allegedly tied the three with shoe laces and forced-marched them from the mine to Pasimupindu Bar, about 10km away.

Police block Nera demo

POLICE have issued stringent conditions for today’s National Election Reform Agenda (Nera) organised demonstration against government’s decision to take over the procurement of biometric voter registration (BVR) kits.

Source: Police block Nera demo – NewsDay Zimbabwe March 22, 2017

BY OBEY MANAYITI

But Nera yesterday vowed to go ahead with the demonstration and last night said it had approached the High Court seeking to overturn the police’s stringent conditions which bar protestors from marching in the capital’s central business district.

Although police partially agreed to the planned protest, they ordered the protestors to assemble at Freedom Square opposite Rainbow Towers and send only a 10-member delegation to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) to depose a petition.

Officer Commanding Harare Central District, Chief Superintendent Jasper Chizemo said the stringent conditions should be obeyed in full, setting up a possible clash with protestors, who were threatening to disregard them.

“In terms of Section 26(6) of Posa Chapter 11.17, I impose the following conditions that 2 500 people you intend to bring into town are to gather at Robert Mugabe (Freedom) Square. 10 people to proceed to Zec offices and handover the petition,” Chizemo said, in a letter to Nera official Joelson Mugari.

“No marching or gathering in the city centre. After handing over the petition the gathering must disperse immediately.”

Police spokesperson Chief Superintendent Paul Nyathi weighed in saying police will maintain law and order in line with their constitutional mandate and will not hesitate to take action against anyone who engaged in unlawful acts of property destruction, intimidation or violence.

Previous demonstrations have turned bloody following serious clashes between police and the protestors, resulting in property being damaged.

However, MDC-T secretary general and Nera head of legal services, Douglas Mwonzora, described the conditions as unacceptable.

Mwonzora said they have since filed an urgent High Court application with the assistance of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights and will be guided by the court’s outcome.

“We don’t accept that and that is why we have taken an application to court. The good thing is that they have allowed us to do our gathering but their conditions are not acceptable,” Mwonzora said.

“It is not up to police to set up conditions which are so unreasonable because these are constitutional rights. We have emphasized that constitutional rights of Zimbabwe are not negotiable. We have gone to court and we are going to assemble at the Freedom Square and after that we will be advised by the leaders on what to do in view of what will have come out of the courts.”

During a tense meeting among political parties at the Zec offices yesterday, Mugari read out the letter to the representatives of political parties who threatened to disobey the stringent conditions set by the police.

Some even threatened to picket at the Zec headquarters.

Mugari accused police of trying to reintroduce the Statutory Instrument that was introduced by former Harare district police boss Chief Superintendent Norbert Saunyama prohibiting demonstrations in the CBD.

“They refused our conditions to gather at the Africa Unity Square and have a short march. They have their own conditions,” he said.

“If we are saying Makarau must go then we should come and picket at the Zec headquarters even for a whole week until she leaves. This will make us win our war.”

Zec has indicated its willingness to use BVR, but President Robert Mugabe’s lieutenants in both government and Zanu PF have embarked on a campaign to criticise the move, as well as claim it would be an unnecessary expenditure.

Government has also hijacked the purchase of the kits after initially agreeing to accept funding from the United Nations Development Programme.

Parties heckle Makarau

ZIMBABWE Electoral Commission (Zec) chairperson Rita Makarau yesterday left representatives of political parties seething with anger after she stormed out of their meeting, over claims she was being abused in the media.

Source: Parties heckle Makarau – NewsDay Zimbabwe March 22, 2017

BY OBEY MANAYITI

Makarau angrily waved copies of stories published by the NewsDay and other publications citing the manner she has led the Commission. These were briefly circulated when she walked into the Zec boardroom declaring she would not accept abuse, but criticism.

“We accept fair criticism, yes, balanced and fair criticism we have always welcomed it. Abuse we say no by anybody, political parties or any stakeholder.

“Because we are beginning to feel that our engagements have been misunderstood. We believe it is time for Zec to go back to the drawing board and see how best we can engage with you. As far as we are concerned this platform is not working and accordingly there will be no meeting today,” Makarau ranted.

She added: “You thought we had called you to intimidate you into aborting your demonstration (but) we want to give you our assurances. That is not our plan. We called you to dialogue, but you do not want to dialogue with us in good faith. This meeting is aborted and I am asking everybody within Zec to please follow me outside.”

Sensing an angry reaction from political parties representatives, riot police were called in and sealed Zec offices.

After serious negotiations, about five delegates were allowed in to persuade Makarau into meeting the political parties’ representatives.

However, following a long wait, more drama unfolded when Zimbabwe People First (ZimPF) official Kudakwashe Bhasikiti went on to recall their representatives claiming he was sent to break the meeting since the delegates had made a resolution that they too were no longer interested in meeting Makarau.

The political parties said they wanted Zec disbanded and will start ratcheting up pressure starting today with the planned demonstration, which will be followed by another meeting of leaders of political parties on March 30 to map the way forward.

According to the opposition parties, it would be better for Sadc to run the polls.

MDC-T secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora announced they had agreed to further engage but through letters and to continue criticising Zec, but objectively drawing angry objections.

“When we send you to meet Makarau there was a serious reflection to access the pros and cons of deliberations with Zec going forward. We agreed that Zec is not genuine in dealing with us as political parties and we are only dancing to her tune. What you agreed in that meeting is subject to Makarau’s approval and that is what we don’t want.

“She cannot disappoint those who are managing her. Therefore, we don’t want to be managed by her anymore because she is not independent and she cannot lead an independent electoral system,” Bhasikiti charged.

He added: “We are declaring a stalemate and an electoral crisis and that is what we have agreed as political parties. Tomorrow everyone in Nera and outside we will go to the demonstration and from there the leaders of political parties will meet soon and what we don’t want to see is Zec led by Makarau. They don’t have capacity because they are being managed from somewhere, they are not independent.”

Others said they have lost confidence in the Commission and new strategies were required to force government and Zec to act on reforms.

Tempers almost boiled over when Zanu PF director of commissariat Kizito Kuchekwa defended Zec, saying it was improper to allow parties to plot against Zec at its own offices.

“We thought the demonstration was against government but we see now it is against Makarau and we think in that scenario this dialogue is difficult to continue,” he said drawing a chorus of objections.

Mwonzora then declared a deadlock adding opposition parties wanted an election run by either Sadc or the United Nations.

Chinese to fund Harare Int’l Airport expansion

THE Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure Development has opened negotiations with China Exim Bank to fund the upgrading and extension of Harare International Airport, as the country pursues construction of new infrastructure to spur economic growth.

Source: Chinese to fund Harare Int’l Airport expansion – NewsDay Zimbabwe March 22, 2017

PAIDAMOYO MUZULU

The upgrading of Harare International Airport follows the recent commissioning of the new Victoria Falls International Airport, which was financed by the Chinese to the tune of $155 million.

Transport minister Joram Gumbo confirmed the ministry was in talks with the Chinese.

“The development is in our plans and we are talking with the Chinese about the funding. However, at the moment I cannot discuss further details or the quantum of the funding that we are seeking,” Gumbo said.

Harare airport is set to join the ranks of Joshua Nkomo International Airport and Victoria Falls International Airport that have been upgraded in the past five years. The upgrade in the case of Victoria Falls has seen an increase of direct flights to the resort town. The airport can now accommodate wide-bodied long haul aircrafts.

Documents in NewsDay’s possession show that negotiations commenced some time ago and Treasury was now handling them and a deal is imminent.

“The loan documents have been submitted to the minister of Finance and Economic Development, executives of China Exim Bank have already visited the country to assess the project and hold meetings with government and Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe,” the document read in part.

The document also showed that the Chinese were the funders.

“Following the successful implementation of the new Victoria Falls Airport, my ministry has commenced plans to construct the upgrading and extension of Harare International Airport through extension of the Chinese Exim Bank loan,” Gumbo said in the report.

The Chinese have funded not only the upgrading of the Victoria Falls airport but also built a National Defence College in deals worth nearly $250 million. Zimbabwe mortgaged the Marange diamonds for the two deals and it remained unclear what will be used this time to guarantee the loans by the government.

The Chinese were also currently funding the Kariba South hydro-power station and the dualisation of the Harare-Chirundu highway.

Chikurubi Female Prison sitting on health bomb

Chikurubi Female Prison is sitting on a health time bomb after Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals threatened to withdraw services over a $600 000 debt owed by the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services (ZPCS).

Source: Chikurubi Female Prison sitting on health bomb – NewsDay Zimbabwe March 22, 2017

BY MUNESU NYAKUDYA

One of the resident doctors, Evidence Gaka told members of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Women Affairs during a tour of the facility yesterday that Parirenyatwa Hospital was owed $567 000 by ZPCS and might not be able to attend to sick inmates as from next month.

“This is one of the health facilities that we owe. We also owe a number of private hospitals,” Gaka said.

Chikurubi Female Prison currently houses 87 inmates and 13 children.

Inmates who got a chance to speak to the committee expressed concern at the deplorable conditions of prison cells, while others said they could not access medication for conditions such as diabetes, as there was a deliberate focus on HIV and Aids.

Apart from the health challenges, inmates also complained about the poor food that was being served to them and appealed to donors to help in improving their diet.

“We do not have meat, sugar ran out in December and beans also ran out last week. Toilets sanitisers and buckets are scarce. Sinks are not working and there is no running water and pipes are down,” one of the inmates said.

Chikurubi Female Prison officer-in-charge, Mary Misihairambwi said: “We need about 10 court beds for children. The ones that we have are not enough and are old. We have 13 children who are serving with their mothers. We try to give them a special diet, but because of the challenges we do what we can afford.”

MDC-T respite for flood victims

THE MDC-T Matabeleland North leadership has pulled resources together to donate food and an assortment of goods to Tsholotsho flood victims, who were temporarily sheltered in tents at Sipepa Clinic.

Source: MDC-T respite for flood victims – NewsDay Zimbabwe March 22, 2017

BY NQOBANI NDLOVU

A delegation led by Matabeleland North Proportional Representation MP, Lwazi Sibanda visited Sipepa Clinic on Saturday, where they donated 200kg mealie-meal, 50kg chunks, 20kg salt, two boxes sanitary pads, mineral water, one bale of assorted clothing and 100 pairs of assorted footwear.

Over 800 families were currently housed at the Sipepa flood victim camp. Sipepa councillor Qakathekile Ncube, who spoke on behalf of the delegation, told Southern Eye, the villagers had indicated they were scared to return to their homes.

“We feel that what they have is still inadequate. They are crowded in the tents. More tents are required, but we hope that our small donation will go a long way in meeting some of their immediate needs.

“In our interactions with them, most indicated that they do not want to go back to their home. This then calls for construction of a permanent settlement near the centre and fencing of their fields on the affected villagers,” Ncube said.

President Robert Mugabe was last week caught in the eye of a storm over the plight of the villagers when it was revealed he had donated snacks instead of food to the desperate citizens.

The villagers were forced off their homes after the Gwayi River burst its banks in the wake of incessant rains brought by Cyclone Dineo.

At least 200 people have lost their lives, while property running into millions of dollars has been destroyed by the floods.

Government is seeking international aid to help the flood victims.

The country’s southern districts from east to west have been the most affected, with others in the northern parts of the country also bearing the brunt of the negative weather phenomenon.

Early this month, MDC-T vice-president Thokozani Khupe, accompanied by lawmakers including Health Portfolio Committee chairperson Ruth Labode and Nomvula Mguni, donated 150 blankets, 400kg of mealie meal, 200kg of chunks, three cartons of cooking oil and salt.

LATEST: Mazara sues Chivayo for $500 000

Source: LATEST: Mazara sues Chivayo for $500 000 | The Herald March 21, 2017

Tendai Rupapa Senior Court Reporter—
Sunday Mail Features and Opinions Editor Garikai Mazara has filed a $500 000 lawsuit against businessman Wicknell Chivayo over alleged defamatory WhatsApp messages. In a claim filed in the High Court today, Mazara is demanding $500 000 damages for injuria and interests. Chivhayo has 10 days to respond to the summons. He allegedly hurled insults and obscenities at Mazara saying, “Urimbwa yemunhu unofa uchishupika. (You are a dog and you will die poor).”

He went on to critique Mazara’s profile picture insinuating that he was HIV positive.

“On your profile picture muromo wakafunuka. I’m sure inzara and mapundu ese ayo, asi une Aids?” reads part of the messages.

Some of the messages contain unprintable profanities.

Through his lawyer Advocate Edley Mubaiwa instructed by Mr Tichawana Nyahuma of Sengwe Law Chambers, Mazara said the messages were humiliating, degrading and ignominious.

Good news for Zim borrowers

Source: Good news for Zim borrowers – DailyNews Live

Ndakaziva Majaka      21 March 2017

HARARE – Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor, John Mangudya, said the
new interest rate regime which capped lending rates at 12 percent will
apply in retrospect.

“When you change the interest rate in the system, it means that you are
changing interest rates for both the new and the old loans,” the central
bank chief said after touring a local fruit paste manufacturing plant in
Norton last week.

“The bankers have said they are going to comply, before April 1. But we
cannot talk about compliance before the compliance date…,” he added.

This will certainly be sweet music to the ear for thousands of depositors
who are reeling under the country’s high interest rates which at some
point were as high as 35 percent.

In his 2017 monetary policy statement, the central bank chief directed all
banking institutions to set lending interest rates at 12 percent or below,
also stating that the institutions were to keep bank charges below three
percent.

The directive has attracted arguments from legal experts, who have pointed
out that the new regime violates loan contracts entered before Mangudya’s
directive.

Prior to the announcement, lending interest rates were determined by a
framework allowing banks to charge between six and 18 percent, depending
on the client’s risk profile.

While local banks have said they will comply with the new interest rates
regime, they have warned the situation may lead to reduced lending.

Bankers Association of Zimbabwe president Charity Jinya recently told
Parliament that financial institutions may be forced to limit loans in
order to protect depositors’ funds.

“Banks may look at the risk and they may decide – which is also correct –
to say the risk is too high. Why put the funds at risk, funds that belong
to depositors,” she said.

In the policy statement, Mangudya said affordable credit was important to
enhance output and productivity for the national economy to flourish.

In the year to December 2016, local banks recorded a startling 42 percent
surge in profits from $127,4 million to $181 million driven by lower loan
loss provisions.

Interest income continued to be the major income driver constituting 58,4
percent of total income of $1 billion for the year.

After the country’s migration to a multi-currency system in 2009, banks
charged interest rates as high as 35 percent, excluding default rates of
equal or higher thresholds, plunging corporates and individuals into huge
debts – as they initially did appreciate real dollar value.

Zim ups flood aid appeal to $188m

Source: Zim ups flood aid appeal to $188m – DailyNews Live

Helen Kadirire      21 March 2017

HARARE – The hard-pressed Zimbabwe government has revised upwards its
floods relief appeal to $188 million from $100 million, as the situation
of affected victims gets direr.

While acting mpresident Phelekezela Mphoko yesterday made a plea for the
extra $88 million, it was not immediately clear how much has been
mobilised so far, though United Nations (UN) agencies and non-governmental
organisations (NGOs) have been assisting.

The floods, worsened by Cyclone Dineo, have destroyed at least five
bridges and crops while thousands have been left homeless.

Among the areas worst affected by the floods are Tsholotsho, Lupane,
Binga, Umguza, Beitbridge, Gokwe, Chivi, Mwenezi, Kariba, Hurungwe,
Mutasa, Chipinge, Guruve, Chitungwiza, Epworth and Mabvuku.

The floods have so far claimed 246 lives while hundreds have been injured.

Mphoko said government has come up with a structure that will ensure the
assistance will get to the intended beneficiaries.

“We are very conscious that we are appealing to the international
taxpayers and our own taxpayers.

“We are very careful and want whatever monies and good gestures you give
to us to be put to good use and that it reaches the affected people,” he
said.

“We want to come up with a structure which will also satisfy everybody.

“We have two key ministries namely Local Government which was directly
affected and the Finance ministry which receives any type of assistance,”
Mphoko said.

“We want everything channelled within that framework. It is important for
us and yourselves to ensure that your money is safe.

“Some of you think that we take your money for other things but we want to
make sure that the money goes to affected people.”

Mphoko emphasised that the money will be put into a Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe account to ensure transparency as to how much is disbursed and
used for given relief projects.

Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa said the floods experienced and the
extent of damage to property was worse than anticipated.

China has so far raised $60 000 towards humanitarian relief, Namibia is
sending a shipment of tinned fish while the Japan International
Cooperation Agency has donated tents and water purifiers.

By mid-February, 85 percent of the country’s dams were full and spilling
with heavy rains being experienced in Masvingo, Bikita and Zaka which
recorded over 200 millimetres of rain in 24 hours.

Tsvangirai owes me, says Mujuru

Source: Tsvangirai owes me, says Mujuru – DailyNews Live

Tendai Kamhungira      21 March 2017

HARARE – Former Vice President Joice Mujuru says opposition leader Morgan
Tsvangirai owes her and her late revered husband, Solomon, a huge debt of
gratitude for helping to engineer President Robert Mugabe’s stunning
defeat by the MDC president in the hotly-disputed 2008 polls.

“Anyone who has a sound mind and a bit of memory would know that
Tsvangirai won the 2008 elections partly because of the role that Zanu PF
members aligned to Mujuru played to ensure their supporters voted for Zanu
PF MPs and ward councillors, but voted Tsvangirai for president.

“If that is not true, then what is Bhora Musango?” NPP spokesperson
Jealousy Mawarire said in a controversial statement yesterday which both
Zanu PF and MDC supporters may find highly objectionable.

“If one of the sins that Mugabe accuses Mujuru and the late General
Solomon Mujuru was engineering his defeat in 2008 through Bhora Musango,
and Mugabe came out publicly on this while addressing a group of Zaoga
church members at Zegu (Zimbabwe Ezekiel Guti University) in Mazowe last
year, does it make sense to allege Mujuru was involved in rigging
Tsvangirai (sic) who had benefitted from Bhora Musango?” Mawarire added.

Tsvangirai and the MDC beat Mugabe and the ruling Zanu PF hands down in
the historic, but hotly-disputed 2008 polls, whose results were withheld
for a suspiciously long six weeks by stunned authorities, amid widespread
allegations of ballot fraud and tampering.

Solomon, the revered liberation struggle icon and Zimbabwe’s first black
military commander, was subsequently accused by Mugabe and other Zanu PF
bigwigs, together with his wife, of having engineered Mugabe’s thumping
defeat by Tsvangirai.

In the ensuing sham presidential run-off which authorities claimed was
needed to determine the winner, Zanu PF apparatchiks engaged in a
murderous orgy of violence in which hundreds of Tsvangirai’s supporters
were killed in cold blood, forcing the former prime minister in the
inclusive government to withdraw from the discredited race altogether,
days before polling.

Mugabe went on to stand in an embarrassing and widely-condemned one-man
race in which he declared himself the winner.

However, Sadc and the rest of the international community would have none
of it, forcing the nonagenarian to share power with Tsvangirai for five
years, to prevent the country from imploding completely.

Mawarire’s statement yesterday came as Mujuru has come under withering
attack from many quarters, following her recent interviews in the United
Kingdom where she denied having taken part in human violations during her
time in Zanu PF.

But Mawarire said claims that Mujuru had participated in rigging elections
against Tsvangirai were devoid of any truth.

“There are many accusations that have been made against Mujuru, but the
underlying factor is that either those that make the allegations do not
know her, or they are just malicious Zanu PF functionaries who have made
it their vocation trying to soil her otherwise impeccable reputation.

“To understand Mujuru, it is imperative to enter into her political world
and schemata and appreciate her understanding while in Zanu PF, that the
dictatorial system of governance in the country was hinged on one man.

“Therefore to dislodge the system easily then, one had to work out a plan
to remove Mugabe through existent party structures at congress,” Mawarire
said.

Mujuru has been working behind the scenes with Tsvangirai and other
leaders of smaller parties towards the formation of the mooted grand
opposition alliance, which has been on the cards for a while.

However, question marks have been raised over her role and influence in
the proposed coalition following her nasty public fallout with Zimbabwe
People First (ZPF) elders Rugare Gumbo and Didymus Mutasa.

This nasty divorce led her to form NPP – barely a year after she joined
opposition politics.

The former vice president was hounded out of both the government and Zanu
PF together with Mutasa and Gumbo on untested allegations of plotting to
oust and kill Mugabe.

Recently, Mutasa cast further doubts on Mujuru’s pedigree to lead the
mooted opposition coalition when he praised Tsvangirai, saying he had
persevered against all odds in his push for a more democratic Zimbabwe.

“For me Tsvangirai is the natural leader of the coalition because of who
he is … What the National Electoral Reform Agenda (Nera) is today stands
for what Tsvangirai and the MDC built. The rest of us are latecomers in
this game,” Mutasa told the Daily News.

“As a party we cannot accept a situation where Mujuru leads the coalition
having proved her lack of capacity with ZPF, although she is welcome to be
part of the coalition because we need everyone,” he added.

Big week for troubled Zim

Source: Big week for troubled Zim – DailyNews Live

Blessings Mashaya      21 March 2017

HARARE – The coming few days promise to be very tense starting tomorrow
when the country’s angry opposition holds a massive demonstration in
Harare, after they were given the go-ahead by edgy security commanders
yesterday.

And on Thursday, disaffected war veterans will also gather in the capital
for their long-planned indaba which was earlier banned by panicking
authorities.

This comes as there are renewed fears by the country’s jittery government
that the spirit of resistance which swept across Zimbabwe last year is
once again gathering steam ahead of next year’s make-or-break national
polls.

To underscore the fact that the government is worried by tomorrow’s
protests, the much-feared Joint Operations Command (JOC) – a security
think tank comprising military, police, prisons and Central Intelligence
Organisation (CIO) bosses – first demanded to meet with the opposition and
then allowed the parties to go ahead with their demo under strict
conditions.

Douglas Mwonzora, the secretary general of the National Electoral Reform
Agenda (Nera), a group of 18 opposition parties agitating for electoral
reforms ahead of next year’s elections, confirmed to the Daily News last
night that they had been cleared to hold their demo, but under stringent
conditions.

The security commanders will reveal the exact conditions in a letter of
clearance that will come via the police, and to be delivered to Nera
today.

“We had a fruitful meeting with JOC, who agreed that the demonstration
should go ahead. The police said we should pick up the letter tomorrow.

“According to JOC, the letter is going to have conditions on how we are
going to hold the demonstrations.

“We argued our case successfully. They were talking about our previous
Nera demonstration, but we told them that the police started the violence
by beating people.

“Basically they told us they were not banning the demonstration but that
they are worried with what happened at our previous demo,” Mwonzora told
the Daily News.

“If they give us unrealistic conditions we will go to court. But we do not
expect the police to do that.  The demonstration is going ahead.

“What I want to assure people is that the demonstration is going to be
peaceful. People are going to show their anger against Zec peacefully,” he
added.

Zimbabwe’s quest to acquire biometric voter registration (BVR) kits has
caused a huge storm among opposition parties who view the government’s
involvement in the purchase of the equipment as problematic.

The controversy erupted into the open recently following the government’s
sudden decision to sideline the UNDP from assisting in the procurement of
the kits, with unanswered questions being raised about how and where
President Robert Mugabe’s stone-broke administration was able to secure
funding for this, to the staggering tune of $17 million.

The opposition has alleged that the government is hijacking the process to
rig next year’s eagerly-anticipated national elections.

“It was all along agreed that the procurement of the BVR kits would be
done by Zec through the UNDP. Consequently, a joint advertisement was
flighted by the UNDP and Zec calling upon all potential suppliers of the
kits to place their bids.

“These bids were opened at the UNDP offices in Copenhagen and this was
witnessed by both Zec and political parties. It was further agreed that
once the winner of the tender was declared, political parties would second
their technical experts to inspect these kits.

“But suddenly, the government announced that it was taking over the BVR
kits procurement process. Among other things, this means that the
government will now select the supplier of these kits.

“Crucially, political parties and other key stakeholders will thus not be
able to monitor the process,” Mwonzora pointed out at the weekend.

This comes as opposition parties are still smarting from the electoral
controversies of the 2013 election, when an Israeli company, Nikuv,
allegedly manipulated the vote in favour of Zanu PF.

“Nera totally rejects this move because it is designed to enable the
government to manipulate the procurement process. That way the government
will also manipulate the 2018 election process.

“In other words, this move marks the beginning of the rigging of the 2018
elections … To this end, Nera is organising nationwide demonstrations to
show the people’s outrage at this political abomination. All Zimbabweans,
irrespective of their political affiliation, are called to action,”
Mwonzora said.

He also said while Nera would attend the planned meeting today with Zec,
the outcome of the meeting would not have a bearing on tomorrow’s mass
action.

Nera alleges that Zec called the meeting in a bid to dissuade them from
going ahead with the protests.

“Whatever Zec is going to say is not going to stop the demonstration
because we know that Zec is being controlled by the security apparatus.
We know that Zanu PF have started the rigging of the 2018 elections.

“Zimbabweans have the right to demonstrate, and we are saying people
should come in their numbers so that we show the ruling party that we are
tired of it all, and that we are not going to allow another rigged
election,” the defiant Mwonzora told the Daily News.

Analysts say the Nera protests could herald the beginning of a new season
of protests, following the relative calm that has prevailed in the country
over the past few months, after the panicking government used brute force
to crush rolling protests last year.

On Thursday, a day after the Nera demonstration, disaffected war veterans
who have been feuding with Mugabe since last year, will have their own
indaba where they are expected to discuss the welfare of their members, as
well as the ruling Zanu PF’s deadly tribal, factional and succession wars.

Their meeting follows last week’s High Court ruling which quashed an
earlier decision by the police to bar them from holding the indaba.

Yesterday, the spokesperson of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War
Veterans Association (ZNLWVA), Douglas Mahiya, said they had since lost
respect for the police, further alleging that high-ranking police officers
were taking instructions “from somewhere to frustrate us”.

“The war veterans had lots of respect for the police. It is for this
reason that we submitted our application to hold that indaba. Because of
our respect we decided to postpone the meeting, but the police replied at
the last minute the same day we were supposed to hold our meeting.

“We were surprised by the action of the police when they blocked our
gathering. But through Posa (Public Order Security Act), we are only
required to notify them. We don’t know why they did that and who is
involved in these issues.

“The police wanted to know what we are going to discuss, but they are not
required to know that by the law. We had followed the right procedures for
us to hold this meeting. On the day of the indaba we expect that the
police are going to respect the law,” Mahiya said.

War veterans have been brawling with Mugabe and Zanu PF ever since they
served the nonagenarian with divorce papers, after they released a damning
communique against him mid last year.

The vets are pressing Mugabe to name a successor and ditch a faction
rabidly opposed to his deputy, Emmerson Mnangagwa, from succeeding the
nonagenarian.

Analysts also say the country’s worsening cash shortages, which almost
caused riots by angry tobacco farmers last week, are likely to fuel
further tensions from this week onward.

Zimbabwe is in the grip of a debilitating economic crisis which has seen
the government failing to pay its workers on time.

I will run for president: Mzembi

Source: I will run for president: Mzembi – DailyNews Live

Blessings Mashaya     21 March 2017

HARARE – Tourism minister Walter Mzembi has said he would run for
presidency after President Robert Mugabe, if people chose him.

Responding to the BBC’s Sarah Montague in an interview in which he was
asked if he would consider bidding for presidency when the
recently-turned-93 leader is gone, Mzembi said: “Well, if the people in
the future decide that, I will respond. Who wouldn’t stand as president?
…if offered the opportunity to be prime minister of Britain today, would
you say nay?”

“You answer the purpose and calling. I am a politician and the ultimate
end in this journey is where it ends, isn’t it?” he said.

This comes as Mugabe’s party is currently consumed by factional and
succession fights, which have seen Zanu PF sharply divided into two camps
– Team Lacoste that is linked to Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa and the
Generation 40 camp, which is viciously opposed to the Midlands godfather’s
ascendency.

While Mzembi’s name has not been bandied among succession hopefuls, he was
often associated with former vice president Joice Mujuru’s faction before
her dismissal in 2014, an allegation he strenuously denies.

In May 2015, he claimed in an interview with the Daily News that his peers
in both government and Zanu PF were plotting his downfall daily, including
omitting him on government itineraries.

Mugabe has famously described the flamboyant minister as “the best” in his
Cabinet.

“He is forthright and he is full of brilliant ideas,” Mugabe said then.

“They don’t remain in the mind but he makes them take form and he acts
upon them. Yes, he has gallivanted across the world from the North to the
South but every step he has taken has been to make Zimbabwe better known.”

Mudenda hails State Liabilities Act repeal

Source: Mudenda hails State Liabilities Act repeal – DailyNews Live

Gift Phiri      21 March 2017

HARARE – National Assembly speaker Jacob Mudenda has hailed the High Court
decision to invalidate the State Liabilities Act, which was being used by
government to evade paying its dues.

He said the development was “a major victory for the rule of law”.

Last week, the High Court ruled that the State Liabilities Act, which
barred litigants from attaching government property, was unconstitutional
under a new charter adopted in 2013.

The Act was viewed by critics as a backdoor way by government to shirk
responsibility.

The March 15 landmark ruling was handed down after Mutare businessman
Tendai Blessing Mangwiro – through his lawyer Tawanda Zhuwarara –
approached the court seeking an order to invalidate the statute after
failing to find recourse despite numerous court orders for him to be
reimbursed his $1,5 million confiscated by the police.

The money was impounded by the law enforcement agency following his 2008
arrest, before his subsequent acquittal on theft charges.

In the application, Mangwiro cited Justice minister Emmerson Mnangagwa,
Home Affairs minister Ignatius Chombo and attorney general Prince Machaya,
as respondents.

High Court judge Judith Mushore ruled last Wednesday that the State
Liabilities Act must be invalidated as it is inconsistent with the new
Constitution.

Mudenda, an advocate, said Mangwiro had his constitutional rights
vindicated.

“I was impressed by the High Court’s ruling… he was owed over $1,5m by
government,” he told an editors workshop on the functions of the Public
Accounts Committee in Gweru last weekend.

“And the rule of law says all are equal before the law. And the ministers
responsible for that debt had reneged badly and then they went on to hide
behind the State Liabilities Act Section 5, which says you cannot attach
government property,” he said.

“So this gentleman argued `why should I not attach government property if
I’m owed? I have the right to the protection of the law’ and the High
Court agreed with him because $1,5m is a lot of money, so the court will
say attach,” Mudenda said.

The State had unsuccessfully argued that the State Liabilities Act is
acceptable in a democratic society, that government property belongs to
the citizens and cannot be attached for the benefit of individuals.

The State also argued there could be more people who have similar
judgments that have not been executed.

While Justice Mushore referred the matter to the Constitutional Court for
confirmation of the order, it was not immediately clear if Mnangagwa and
Chombo will appeal against the ruling.

“It will be very interesting to see whether the minister concerned will
appeal to the Supreme Court.

“They will be wasting their time. They must save their time and just pay
that man,” Mudenda said, adding they cannot ignore a direct judicial
order.

Writing the High Court decision, Justice Mushore said: “If Section 5 (2)
is being used to frustrate justice as is clearly the case in the present
matter, then Section 5 (2) is not justifiable in a democratic society
based upon openness, justice, fairness, human dignity, equality and
freedom.”

‘I collected a tin of LICE for Mugabe’: Protest pastor

A pastor who’s just spent six weeks in jail for predicting Robert Mugabe’s death says he collected a tin of lice to show the Zimbabwe president just how bad prison life is, a report says.

Source: ‘I collected a tin of LICE for Mugabe’: Protest pastor | News24 2017-03-20

Harare – A pastor who’s just spent six weeks in jail for predicting Robert Mugabe‘s death says he collected a tin of lice to show the Zimbabwe president just how bad prison life is, according to a newspaper.

The Daily News quotes Patrick Mugadza (his other name is Phillip) from Kariba saying: “I had collected lice because I wanted to bring them over just to say Mr President these are your boys in the prison who are just eating people.”

He, however, said he he’d lost his tin of lice.

Mugadza was arrested in January 2017 for saying Mugabe would die on October 17 this year.

The #ThisFlag movement of well-known Zimbabwe pastor Evan Mawarire took up Mugadza’s cause while he was in prison, calling for his release. Mawarire himself spent a week in custody in February.

Mugadza first came to public notice for holding a one-man protest against the longtime Zimbabwe leader outside a ruling party conference in Victoria Falls in December 2015. He told the Daily News that his recent experience in prison was “nasty” and that he’d seen guards beating inmates.

Dissatisfaction is rife in Zimbabwe, where the president has just gone on his fourth foreign trip in 19 days. Floods last month caused widespread damage in the south of hte country, where 100 million US is believed to be needed for road repairs alone.

Many are are conscious that elections will be held next year and that Mugabe – for the moment at least – says he will stand again. There are moves from the ruling party to stop biometric voter registration, which the opposition was largely in favour of.

Opposition parties under the banner of the National Electoral Reform Agenda (NERA) say they will hold a protest in Harare on Wednesday to press for electoral reforms.

Kasukuwere, Madzimure property goes under the hammer

POLITICIANS Stan Kasukuwere and Willias Madzimure are set to lose their property at public auctions after they failed to service debts.

Source: Kasukuwere, Madzimure property goes under the hammer – NewsDay Zimbabwe March 21, 2017

by STAFF REPORTER

Many politicians and prominent businesspersons have lost substantial properties that range from houses to cars and household furniture as they fail to keep up with their debt repayments after dollarisation.

Kasukuwere, Zanu PF national political commissar Saviour’s younger brother, will lose among other things four-piece black leather sofas, black coffee table, Sony radio and Sony plasma television in a sale expected next week.

Kasukuwere and three others under case 13983/16 owe Direct Impact P/L an unspecified amount.

On the same date former Dynamos player Josiah Akende will have his property auctioned for an unspecified debt to Harare Municipality.

Akende’s goods to be auctioned include two-piece cream leather sofas, Beko double-door fridge and Sony Bravia plasma television set.

Former Kambuzuma MDC-T legislator Madzimure will also have his property auctioned after CBZ Bank Ltd approached the High Court in case number HC9489/16 to attach the goods for an unspecified debt.

Madzimure’s property to go be auctioned includes a Ford Expedition XLT (AAC5241) vehicle, dining suite, four-piece sofas, three-piece kitchen unit, TV, microwave, geyser tank, scrap metal and two tubes.

The goods will be sold by Revelations Auctioneers this Friday.

Mangudya speaks on interest rates cap

Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor John Mangudya says the capping of lending interest rates to a maximum of 12% is a step in ensuring they reflect the currency Zimbabwe is using.

Source: Mangudya speaks on interest rates cap – NewsDay Zimbabwe March 21, 2017

BY NDAMU SANDU

Zimbabwe uses a multi-currency regime that is dominated by the United States dollar.

In an interview last week, Mangudya said the high interest rates were giving rise to non-performing loans (NPLs) that have plagued the banking sector.

“In a dollarised economy, we need to make sure that the interest rates reflect the currency that we are using. We are utilising the Zimbabwe dollar base to determine the interest rates. Yesterday [Wednesday], the Fed increased the interest rates to a range of between 0,75% and 1%,” he said.

“We need to make sure that our interest rates in Zimbabwe are dollar-based and not Zimdollar-based. If you provide a company a loan at high interest rates, the chance of repayment becomes so slim and you create non-performing loans.”

In his January monetary policy statement, Mangudya decreed that lending rates should not exceed 12% per annum effective April 1 and that bank charges that include application fees, facility fees and administration fee, should not exceed 3%.

He said affordable credit must be provided to both large and small-scale businesses and individuals to enable them to invest in productive activities that increase jobs, exports and reduce poverty.

The RBZ said last week that the apex bank has a number of facilities to reduce the cost of doing business in Zimbabwe.

“What we have done in the banking sector is that we have Zamco [Zimbabwe Asset Management Company], we are putting credit reference system and we also have the Aftrades [African Export-Import Bank Trade Debt-Backed Securities].

All these are trying to ensure that the cost of doing business in Zimbabwe goes down,” Mangudya said.

Zamco was established in 2014 to buy secured NPLs and free the balance sheets of banks to be able to lend again. This came after the NPL ratio rose to 20,45%. The ratio of NPLs to total loans was 7,87% as at December 31.

The $200 million Aftrades facility began operations in 2015 and functions as a window of last resort at RBZ. The facility was recently extended by two years and will now expire in February 2019.

Total trades under this facility amounted to $641 million over a two-year period from the effective date of the facility in February 2015.

Ekusileni sabotage

THE government could have saved millions of dollars had it not “sabotaged” Bulawayo-based Ekusileni medical facility because President Robert Mugabe would be seeking treatment locally, an opposition official has said.

Source: Ekusileni sabotage – NewsDay Zimbabwe March 21, 2017

BY SILAS NKALA

The Joice Mujuru-led National People’s Party (NPP) aspiring vice-president Cuthbert Ncube, said Mugabe’s Zanu PF government sabotaged the operationalisation of Ekusileni Hospital, a brain child of the late Vice-President Joshua Nkomo. Nkomo died in 1999 and Mugabe now 93 has been flying non-stop to the Far East reportedly for medical “check-ups”.

Ncube made the remarks during the launch of the NPP intra-party election campaign, ahead of the opposition group’s elective convention set for next month.

“If Zanu PF government did not sabotaged the Ekusileni Hospital project, the President (Mugabe) would not be wasting hard-earned currency seeking medication outside the country since the hospital had state-of-the-art equipment,” he said.

“Roads are now death traps. We inherited roads from the Ian Smith regime, and now we have been brainwashed to think that filling potholes with sand and stones solves our problems.”

Ncube also blamed Mugabe’s government over the ill-treatment of Zimbabweans in other countries such as South Africa, saying all this was because the government was not able to provide for its people.

He challenged the youths to stop being used by power-hungry politicians as at the end they will benefit nothing.

Ncube urged the NPP structures to resist the temptation of recycling “leaders whose time has expired”, adding his desire to run for the party’s deputy presidency was inspired by the desire to serve Zimbabweans. He said he would seek solutions to the Gukurahundi conundrum.

“We have gone out internationally, but the question of Gukurahundi has been asked. I will speak much on this region. I didn’t want a position but people begged me to take it up. I promise to seal your freedom with my blood,” Ncube said.

Ncube will battle it out with former Cabinet minister Samuel Sipepa Nkomo, Linda Dube and Bongani Nyathi for the position.

Members of public grill Mudenda

PARLIAMENTARY Portfolio and Thematic committees are pivotal in making the Executive accountable, and last week in Gweru during stakeholders meetings between the Speaker of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda and members of the public, he was put to task to explain how effective Parliament is in putting to check the Executive arm of government.

Source: Members of public grill Mudenda – NewsDay Zimbabwe March 21, 2017

BY VENERANDA LANGA

As part of the institution’s constitutional mandate to take Parliament to the people, Mudenda, supported by the Southern Africa Parliamentary Support Trust (Sapst) on Thursday and Friday, visited the Midlands Province where he met civic society, journalists and the academia to discuss Parliament processes.

During his visit to the Midlands State University, Mudenda was asked to explain how efficient Parliamentary Portfolio Committees were, given that in most instances people had noted that their recommendations on reports they produce are never implemented by the Executive.

Mudenda singled out Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa and Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko, as having taken recommendations by Parliament and implemented them.

“The Public Accounts committee is chaired by an opposition MP and they look at the Auditor General’s reports on certain government ministries and analyse them, and recently they came up with 18 recommendations directed at Chinamasa’s ministry,” he said.

“Chinamasa accepted all the 18 recommendations which then led to the revamping of his department in order to implement budgetary programmes, and he had to ask for an additional 10 members of staff, which he was given.”

Mudenda said Mphoko had listened to the wisdom of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Justice, the Parliamentary Legal Committee (PLC), and the people of Zimbabwe who aired their views on the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission Bill in 2015, when it was first introduced in the House for crafting.

The Speaker said it was another example of the Executive choosing to implement recommendations by a Parliamentary Portfolio Committee.

“The NPRC Bill was rejected and there were 22 clauses that the PLC and the Justice committee said were against the Constitution. The result was that Mphoko came to Parliament and withdrew that Bill because of the work of the committee,”he said.

Mudenda said if Zimbabweans feel that a Bill is not properly done, they must not hesitate to take Parliament and the Executive to the Constitutional Court.

“The Local Government Bill was being crafted in the National Assembly, but civic society challenged the issue, saying the public hearings were not done and the matter is before the courts.”

In terms of Parliamentary Portfolio Committees input on Bills, Mudenda said committees made recommendations to amendments of 10 pieces of legislation.

“They also have raised issues on corruption, but it is not for committees to arrest corrupt people. They wait for the Executive to arrest, and then the Judiciary tries them to see if they are guilty,” he said.

Midlands State University (MSU)’s Media Studies department head, Nhamo Mhiripiri, asked the Speaker to explain why alignment of laws with the Constitution was taking too long, and to explain if it were political contestations in the country that were hindering alignment.

“So far 126 laws have been realigned and those outstanding are 228. The pace appears to be slow, but when you align laws you have to be meticulous in terms of provisions in the pieces of legislation, and cross referencing with the Constitution is an onerous task.”

Mudenda said Parliament has engaged the Law Society of Zimbabwe (LSZ) to do preliminary drafting and alignment exercises. He said Parliament signed a memorandum of understanding with the LSZ.

“They did 10 pieces of legislation with the Justice ministry, and eight with Parliament. There is no political contestation. We have also asked the Ministry of Justice to engage universities’ law faculties to assist with drafting,” he said.

Civic society and journalists also questioned the Speaker over public hearings — the violence normally experienced due to political intolerance at public hearings on Bills, and the role of MPs in disseminating information on Bills to their constituents.

Mudenda said members of the public must immediately notify Parliament of rogue elements that disrupt public hearings.

National Association of Non Governmental Organisations Midlands branch official Titus Mangoma asked the Speaker to explain why MPs walked out of motions they deemed attacking their political party resulting in lack of quorum. He also asked why there was absence of ministers during question and answer session.

“Absence of ministers is a worldwide phenomenon. Ministers that used to be MPs have a tendency that when they get promoted to ministers, they forget that first and foremost they are MPs. But we have whipped them by threatening them with contempt of Parliament and have written to the President about their behaviour and there is a significant improvement.

“No quorums are just political manoeuvres, where if a party feels a motion is attacking them they move out. The electorate must follow Parliament activities and if they find their MP is not performing they must petition Parliament,” he said.

Tawanda Sibanda of Gweru Ministers Fraternal said there were some MPs who have never reported back to their constituencies once voted into Parliament, adding the constitution needs to add a clause for the system of recall of a non-performing MP.

“During the Constitution-making process I was one of the people advocating for recall of non-performing MPs, unfortunately this was not supported and the phrase was not included in the Constitution. If an MP is not coming to address you, write a petition to the Speaker that the MP is missing,” Mudenda said.

Southern African Parliamentary Support Trust executive director John Makamure said section 141 of the Constitution demands that the people of Zimbabwe must have a say in legislative processes.

Makamure said the Speakers’ Forums, where he goes out to meet different stakeholders were part of Parliament’s strategic plan to involve the people in the Legislature’s activities.

Chombo, Chihuri to pay villagers for assault

POLICE were last week ordered to compensate six villagers from the Chinyamukwakwa area, Chipinge, for assault during a misunderstanding with the ethanol-producing company Green Fuel in 2015.

Source: Chombo, Chihuri to pay villagers for assault – NewsDay Zimbabwe March 21, 2017

BY OBEY MANAYITI

The six are Samson Mugovera, Vaina Ndhlovu, Mugovera Makaza, Chipo Shiripinda, Maxwell Mtisi and Eddie Maberere.

They were awarded $500 each for the pain and suffering while Ndlovu was awarded an additional $901,80 for medical expenses, Muyambo $735 and Shiripinda $60.

In his judgment, magistrate Poterai Gwezhira also ordered the defendants, one officer Mazarura, Home Affairs minister Ignatius Chombo and Police Commissioner General Augustine Chihuri (pictured) to meet the legal costs of the suit.

Circumstances into the matter were that on January 6, 2015, police rounded up the farmers who were tilling their land before assaulting them.

They were accused of interfering and encroaching into the disputed land which is also claimed by Green Fuel.

After identifying themselves as officers from the Support Unit, they then assaulted the villagers indiscriminately with batons leaving some with various injuries.

The victims argued through their lawyer Langton Mhungu that police had no right to act in the manner they did.

Meanwhile, the Platform for Youth Development (PYD), which has been fighting for the community’s rights in terms of land and relations with Green Fuel, applauded the judgment saying both the ethanol producing company and the villagers need dialogue to live harmoniously.

“We have been vindicated against the police officers who take the law into their own hands without considering that villagers have rights. As a pressure group, we are guided by the Constitution and will continue to target individual police officers who abuse their power and summon them to remind them to respect the ZRP Charter,” PYD director Claris Madhuku said.

Madhuku said there were a lot of unresolved issues involving harassment of villagers by law enforcement agents in the Chinyamukwakwa and Chisumbanje areas over land.

Cholera outbreak worries MP

THE outbreak of water bornediseases in Manicaland is a cause for concern and a lot needs to be done to deal with the situation, Chipinge South legislator Enock Porusingazi has said.

Source: Cholera outbreak worries MP – NewsDay Zimbabwe March 21, 2017

BY KENNETH NYANGANI

The Zanu PF MP said he has embarked on a programme to rehabilitate toilets and boreholes in his constituency to try and stem the tide following the death of two people in the aftermath of the outbreak of the tropical disease.

Districts in southern Manicaland are among the hardest hit in the country in the aftermath of floods induced by Cyclone Dineo.

“The rains that came left a trail of destruction which needs to be attended to. We are talking of roads being destroyed, most of our roads have been washed away and there has been a lot of problems concerning clean water particularly in Chipinge district,” the MP said.

“My constituency Chipinge South, is one of the most affected and it’s a disaster. Two people died of cholera in the constituency and that is a big worry for us, we need to make sure our people get clean water and toilets so that we cannot record more cholera cases,” Porusingazi said.

“I am doing some projects to curb such cases in future through rehabilitation of roads and toilets. We are making sure that schools and clinics that were destroyed by the rains are constructed again,” the lawmaker said.

Porusingazi said cotton and maize farmers were expecting a bumper harvest although they faced challenges of army worm that wreaked havoc on their crops.

He also hailed traditional leaders in the constituency for working as a united front in developmental issues.

Police issue weapons ban

Source: Police issue weapons ban | The Herald March 21, 2017

The Zimbabwe Republic Police yesterday invoked the Public Order and Security Act and imposed a ban on carrying of dangerous weapons in public for the next three months in Harare Central District and Gwanda District in Matabeleland South, respectively. The decision by the police, which is the regulatory authority, was issued in terms of POSA following planned demonstrations by opposition political parties tomorrow and a meeting by some rogue war veterans.

The High Court has since okayed the meetings after the police had sought to stop them. But in separate prohibition orders yesterday, the police banned the carrying of weapons in Harare Central District and Gwanda District, saying they were likely to occasion public disorder or breach of peace and might also be used to commit serious crimes like unlawful entry.

Officer Commanding Harare Central District Chief Superintendent Jasper Chizemo banned carrying of weapons like catapults, machetes, axes, knobkerries, knives, swords, daggers or any traditional weapons likely to cause disorder and breach of peace.

Chief Supt Chizemo said the prohibition order was in terms of Section 14(1) of POSA (Chapter 11:17) and said he did so because he believed that carrying in public place or public thoroughfare or public display was likely to cause disorder.

“The belief is informed by the notification for public demonstrations lined up in my district of jurisdiction on March 22 2017, March 23 2017 and March 25 2017, I hereby issue an order prohibiting the carrying of such weapons within my district for three months, that is from March 22 to June 22 2017,” reads the notice by Chief Supt Chizemo.

Last week, High Court judge, Justice Alfas Chitakunye allowed some war veterans led by Mr Christopher Mutsvangwa to proceed with their meeting on Thursday without impediment.

In another case, the High Court allowed a demonstration by opposition political parties under the National Electoral Reform Agenda (Nera) banner to proceed.

Nera wants to protest Government’s decision to procure biometric voter registration kits without the involvement of the United Nations Development Programme.

In Matabeleland South, the prohibition order was issued by acting officer Commanding Police in Gwanda Superintendent Stephen Mutema and is set to run until June 15 2017.

“I hereby declare and issue an order prohibiting the carrying of such weapons in Gwanda District for a period not exceeding three months from March 15 to June 15, 2017,” he said.

Supt Mutema said the order has been necessitated by an increase in assault, murder and robbery cases mostly committed by illegal gold panners and at drinking places.

“Our statistics chart indicates assault as the most dominant crime committed within our province and this has become a cause for concern to us as a security force.

Supt Mutema said during the period, police will intensify random stop-and-search operations and those found in possession of banned weapons will be arrested. — Herald/Chronicle Reporters.

Death row inmates lose execution challenge

Source: Death row inmates lose execution challenge | The Herald March 21, 2017

Fidelis Munyoro Chief Court Reporter
Fourteen condemned prisoners who complained of overstaying on death row, have lost their bid to nullify the death sentences imposed on them after the Constitutional Court threw out their application. The inmates, who have spent between four and 18 years awaiting their execution, approached the Constitutional Court challenging their pending execution. They argued that the length of their stay on the death row was an affront to their human dignity, freedom from torture, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment in breach of sections 51 and 53 of the Constitution.

In a judgment delivered yesterday, the court dismissed the application saying the 14 should first exhaust the statutory legal remedies that are still available to them before coming to the highest court of last resort to constitutional matters.

The inmates could have sought a review of the administrative action or omission complained of under the Administrative Act.

They could also have appealed to the Supreme Court or sought Presidential pardon or commutation under section 48 (2) (e) of the Constitution before going to the apex court.

Justice Chinembiri Bhunu said it would be a travesty of procedural justice for the highest court of last resort to bypass both the Supreme Court and the President before they had exercised their constitutional mandates to decide on the applicable remedies according to the prescribed laws of the land.

“As we have already seen, in the normal run of things courts are generally loathe to determine a constitutional issue in the face of alternative remedies,” said Justice Chinembiri Bhunu.

“In that event, they would rather skirt and avoid the constitutional issue and resort to the available alternative remedies.”

The court admitted that there were delays in executing the court judgment, but that was no reason for it to prematurely intervene usurping the authority and function of the High Court, the Supreme Court, and the President.

“In the interim, the applicants may have recourse to the available alternative remedies,” he said.

“It is accordingly ordered that the application be and is hereby dismissed with no orders as to costs.”

The prisoners argued that they have overstayed on death row, a situation they say is a violation of their constitutional rights.

The 14 wanted the court to remove them from death row and commute their sentences to life imprisonment, but later abandoned the argument and sought to quash the death penalties.

Mr Tendai Biti acted for the prisoners, while Ms Olivia Zvedi from the Attorney- General’s office appeared for the Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Ministry, the Commissioner of Prisons and Correctional Services and the Attorney -General, who were listed as respondents.

Govt, firm ink $7m power plant deal

Source: Govt, firm ink $7m power plant deal | The Herald

From George Maponga in Masvingo
Government has sealed a $7 million agreement for the contractor at Tokwe-Mukosi Dam to start civil works on the planned mini-hydro power plant that will generate electricity at the recently completed dam. The agreement signed between Government and the Italian contractor Salini Impregilo will see the firm carrying out excavation works on the power house, where the hydro-power plant will be installed.

The entire project will gobble about $20 million, with the plant expected to generate 15 megawatts of electricity, enough to light up the whole of Masvingo.

Since the start of the current rainy season, Tokwe-Mukosi Dam has collected 1,15 billion cubic metres of water, which translates to about 62 percent full.

Zinwa resident engineer at the dam, Eng Paul Dengu refused to give more details on the power plant deal.

“All I can say is that an agreement was reached for Salini to start excavation works on the power house where the power plant will be installed and the work has already started and will take about three months to complete,’’ he said.

Sources said Government chose Salini to carry excavation works for the power plant so that the firm would take liability for any collateral damage to the dam that might be caused by the excavation works.

“Salini will simply build the power house so that if their excavation activities affect the dam through tremors and other unforeseen defects, the firm will be liable,” said a source. “The contract to install the real power plant will be given to a different firm altogether.’’

Power generated at Tokwe-Mukosi Dam will be fed into the national grid and boost overall electricity output in the country with Government having signed several deals to ramp up power production to meet surging demand.

Besides generating power, the dam – wholly funded by Government to the tune of $265 million is also expected to turn southern parts of Masvingo into perennial green belts, as Tokwe-Mukosi will have capacity to irrigate more than 25 000 hectares.

A national park is also planned around the dam with wildlife expected to be trans-located from other over-crowded habitats.

Sugar cane production in the Lowveld is also expected to jump by a minimum 15 percent, thanks to Tokwe-Mukosi Dam water.

Africa has a lot to do on economic integration: President

Source: Africa has a lot to do on economic integration: President | The Herald March 21, 2017

Tendai Mugabe in PORT LOUIS, Mauritius—
African governments have a lot to do if they are to achieve an integrated continental economy and create home-grown solutions to continental problems, President Mugabe has said. Africa, he said, was facing numerous challenges in this endeavour, among them, terrorism and serious labour migration to Europe and the United States of America. President Mugabe made these submissions yesterday during a plenary session of the African Economic Platform (AEP) Summit underway here. “But, I would want to say from a Government point of view, we still have a lot to do to ensure that the environments of our various countries are good enough for investment to come from outside,” he said.

“Terrorism, inter-party fights still worry us. Our brother from Rwanda gave us quite a beautiful description of some of the things they are trying to do, to further the interests of the people but next to them is Burundi. Burundi versus Rwanda, and it’s a situation that is yet to be really prominently remedied so that the two countries can in future live on brotherly terms.

“There is also the Democratic Republic of Congo with a huge population. Yes, there is Inga (Dam) project in the offing, but as I speak now, you have United Nations soldiers in the Congo and even as they are there, you will be having attacks in the eastern side of Congo and everyone wonders whether the Congo, DRC will be stable – the stability of our environments. Those are some of the factors.”

In line with the aspirations of the founding fathers of the African Union, President Mugabe said it was important to come up with a united Africa that speaks with one voice.

He said Member States should also be genuine in their call for an integrated economy by promoting fair trade among African countries.

“We should build ourselves as was promised as entities, regional entities that will merge one day and form more than just the African Union as it is but a much more united African Union, call it if you want, Union of African States with perhaps an authority called the Government of African Union States and these other authorities being subordinate to that authority. When will that day come? We hope it will come in the lives of our children.

“But we who live today and doing our planning should ensure that at least our children are not growing in a state of ignorance that they are affected by the developments which are taking place in the communication sector, in the educational sector.

“If at least in those areas where we can work together say culturally, let’s do so, say also where we can further their interests economically through not just domestic development of the economy, but adding value and ensuring that we have industrialised some of our companies and are earning much more than we used to earn.”

President Mugabe went on: “The more advanced countries like South Africa should continue to lead us not just educationally or technically but also in putting of our economy, and should not resist the fact of our development by not opening itself to whatever goods we are capable of exporting to it and seeking as it where to perpetually as it is, make us its own markets.

“We would want to ensure also that whatever we produce, can easily enter into SA without barriers and that’s not happening and this is why I say, we still have lots, lots to do amongst ourselves to ensure that we are true partners in trade, we are partners regionally, politically and helping each other so we can ensure the development of our people on an even basis.”

On Sadc, President Mugabe said the regional bloc had major strides in promoting free trade and setting up one-stop-shop investment centres.

In his welcome remarks, Mauritian Prime Minister Pravind Kumar Jugnauth said: “We are making a paradigm shift and opening a new chapter in the history of the African Union. The AEP allows stakeholders in Africa to pool their resources together to achieve a common set of goals.

“I am sure we want to go far together; I am sure we also need to go fast; we need to go fast as we have much catching up to do if we want to make our continent as strong and resilient as it can be.

“As individual nations, we can only be strong and resilient when our neighbours are strong and resilient. Thus if we are to build a buoyant Africa, we must ensure that we take actions that not only help our individual countries but also our neighbouring ones too. What happened in Gambia this year, is an illustration of how neighbours can play a crucial role in helping a country move forward.”

The AEP Summit is being attended by various stakeholders including the private sector, academia and the civil society.

Sadc moots import tax

Source: Sadc moots import tax | The Herald March 21, 2017

The Southern African Development Community (Sadc) is considering introducing tax on imports from outside the regional body, in a move aimed at raising funds for the bloc’s programmes, Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa has said.

Addressing journalists after the Extraordinary Sadc summit of Heads of State and Government, Minister Chinamasa said though it was commendable that the regional bloc can now fund 54 percent of its budget requirements; more fundraising mechanisms are needed to attain financial self-sufficiency.

SADC has a budget of $75 million per annum and of that total, members are contributing 54 percent while the balance comes from co-operating partners.

Minister Chinamasa said the Ministerial Retreat that preceded the Summit agreed that if some of the proposed fundraising mechanisms are implemented, the region could wean itself from donors.

“We looked at the possibility of imposing taxes on imports especially on goods coming from outside the member countries. We then must determine the percentage, the eligible imports and eligible exports if we so decide to impose levy on them.

 “So we mandated the secretariat to do more work in this area to liaise with their counterparts in other regional economic groupings . . . ,” he said.

Minister Chinamasa, however, said it was deplorable that SADC is far from meeting its objective of economic co-operation and regional integration.

“When we compare ourselves with other regional economic groupings; we find that we are lagging behind and it is for this reason that we met,” he said adding, “Our progress towards regional integration is painfully slow.”

President Mugabe attended the one- day special summit convened to; among other things consider the costed Action plan for the industrialisation strategy and roadmap 2015-2063.

Industry and Commerce Minister Mike Bimha said over $100 million is needed to implement the industrialisation strategy.

“The costed action plan speaks to about $112 million to focus on activities that have to be done on a regional level. The member states still have to organise themselves to come up with their own budgets to look at the activities that they will be conducting at a national level,” he said.

Under the industrialisation programme, the 14-member group is targeting to deepen integration, increase intra-trade as well as boost export earnings and create jobs to alleviate poverty. — New Ziana.

 

Deal decisively with scandal-ridden Zimdef

Yesterday we carried a disturbing story about how at least 5 000 students funded by the Higher and Tertiary Education ministry through the Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund (Zimdef) may not write their examinations following government’s failure to pay their exam fees.

Source: Deal decisively with scandal-ridden Zimdef – NewsDay Zimbabwe March 21, 2017

Comment: NewsDay Editor

Ordinarily, given the challenges that the government is facing, this would perhaps not raise a lot of questions.

But the issue has to be looked into against the backdrop of the pervasive corruption scandal that rocked the ministry recently, where the department’s principals Jonathan Moyo and his deputy Godfrey Gandawa, themselves powerful politicians, dipped their fingers into the Zimdef coffers to finance their political programmes at the expense of the education of the poor, but bright students who are meant to benefit from the fund.

Ideally, politics should have been a means to an end — where the politicians use their position and influence to improve the lot of the ordinary people.

Yet in this case, the opposite has been proven to be true. Because the Zimdef money was diverted, it is the poor students specialising in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (Stem) who will now pay the high price and suffer the consequences.

A government programme such as Stem, which is meant to inspire students to study science-related subjects, should be managed in a way that closes gaps for abuse by whomsoever including ministers and their surrogates, otherwise it fails to serve its purpose.

What is quite unfortunate is that thousands of students will be disadvantaged as a result of a few supposedly intelligent politicians’ lack of foresight, if not outright greed.

Primary and Secondary Education minister Lazarus Dokora recently told Parliament that his ministry would not be forced to extend the deadline to cater for the students who are supposed to benefit from Stem because doing so would jeopardise an already laid-down process.

At face value this may look like being cruel, but it’s a principle that should make those in power understand that they cannot toy around with financial resources meant for a particular programme in the belief that they would be granted a grace period to clean up their mess.

We believe the fate of these thousands of students must force government to ensure that misconduct such as the one exhibited in this case will be dealt with swiftly.

Zimbabweans have every reason to push government to conclusively deal with the Zimdef issue so as not to politicise the matter.

Bond notes have bonded the nation to anguish

I recall sometime late last year chatting with former Economic Planning and Investment Promotion minister and also Hatfield constituency legislator Tapiwa Mashakada as the scary story of bond notes was slowly becoming a reality.

Source: Bond notes have bonded the nation to anguish – NewsDay Zimbabwe March 21, 2017

guest column LEARNMORE ZUZE

Most people had argued that the government, from its conduct, was actually dragging its feet as it knew the infeasibility of its plans and, hence, was unlikely to introduce bond notes.

However, when the first notes where unveiled, Zimbabweans instinctively knew that trouble was around the corner despite government assurances. With hindsight, Honourable Mashakada may have been on the ball on bond notes when he said: “Quite frankly speaking, the market has absolutely no confidence in bond notes. In the minds of the people, they see the return of the Zimbabwean dollar with all its chilling problems. People are not convinced on the 1:1 parity between the bond notes and the US dollar.” It would not be an exaggeration to assert that bond notes were literally forced down the throats of Zimbabweans against a wide public outcry.

There were tremors of resistance as talk of bond notes gained currency. The scepticism and fear of Zimbabweans was not unfounded. Zimbabweans still suffer from the trauma of 2008 when everyone watched helplessly as the Zimbabwean dollar plummeted to record lows. It was a time of suffering which triggered all manner of vice. Zimbabweans naturally feared the back-door return of the Zimbabwean dollar through bond notes.

Legal applications were filed against the notes at the High Court though in a lost cause. Demonstrations were held in protest. Indabas took place to ward off the threat of bond notes but, ultimately, the government of Zimbabwe found its way against the will of the majority. For some time, bond notes did the trick and shamed “detractors”. It was reported that bond notes were holding their own and this was somehow viewed as reason for celebration. It warranted acres of State media space to declare and pronounce victory of the feared bond notes. It was as if to say the government had been vindicated with the notes standing at 1:1 with the United States dollar.

People did not want bond notes. Fuel shortages showed up at one time as a result of depletion of nostro accounts due to lack of confidence. Bond notes were more of an evil that Zimbabweans were forced to live with. The beckoning reality, however, is very scary: The country may be well on its way to the forgettable year of 2008. Mashakada’s sentiments came flashing in my mind given the fresh wave of the cash crisis. Cash has become something next to gold because of the crisis. And to those who pointed it out, this was a given. This country, literally, has no money. To further quote the former minister’s view: “The Reserve Bank is very sincere, but they are just a pawn in the economic crisis game. All the technical arguments about export incentives are not good enough to convince the ordinary person that they will continue to get their US dollar. Yet the biggest mischief is capital flight, externalisation and rundown on US dollar deposits — all due to lack of confidence. I don’t think the introduction of bond notes cures this mischief. We, therefore, ought to see a paradigm shift in terms of the policies of government.”

Indeed a paradigm shift was and is necessary in government policies. The country made world news for printing its own notes and imposing the same rate with the American dollar. The consequences are becoming direr. Despite the hype about plastic money, surely it can’t be used everywhere and Zimbabweans are bearing the brunt of the ill-fated notes. The government, on its part, is trapped as it cannot introduce higher denominations of the bond notes for obvious reasons. The people are suffering daily as they have to endure long queues. In essence, it is true that bond notes, contrary to the intended purpose, have actually bonded the nation to more suffering. Zimbabwe is a country where the availability of a salary is newsworthy, notably for the civil service where pay dates are paraded every month. It is not always that people who raise concerns are detractors, as the government would like to put it. Bond notes have taken us to the very unenviable situation which many had predicted. It was crucial to have given an ear to those who raised a red flag on bond notes. It’s quite unfortunate that in Zimbabwe people are quick to brand those with divergent views as opposition. There simply was no politics in resisting bond notes. It was a genuine cry of people who know and have witnessed suffering wrought by similar policies in the past.

The question now remains: Whither Zimbabwean government? These bond notes aren’t working. Can someone ameliorate the suffering?

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

ZLHR willing to engage govt on UPR

RIGHTS lobby group Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) has expressed its willingness to engage government on recommendations of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR), but indicated it remains sceptical and concerned by the “restrictive environment”.

Source: ZLHR willing to engage govt on UPR – NewsDay Zimbabwe March 21, 2017

BY NQOBANI NDLOVU

Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa was in Geneva, Switzerland, last week at which he indicated government’s commitment to improve the country’s rights situation. However, critics have been quick to point out government’s failure to adopt key recommendations relating to general freedoms guaranteed in the Constitution including protecting citizens against torture.

“While we welcome the government’s pronouncement that it is committed to creating a conducive environment for civil society organisations (CSOs), ZLHR remains concerned by the restricted operating environment for human rights defenders who continue to be subjected to harassment, arrest, prosecution and persecution as they seek to exercise their constitutional rights,” the group said in a statement.

ZLHR provides free legal services to human rights defenders, victims of State harassment and arrest as well as media practitioners who have borne the brunt of President Robert Mugabe’s administration.

The statement added: “ZLHR looks forward to engaging in further constructive dialogue with the government on the recommendations that have not been accepted, which if embraced would greatly contribute to enjoyment and exercise of fundamental rights and freedoms.”

Mnangagwa appeared before the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to explain on measures government had taken to improve the country’s human rights situation following last year’s UPR meeting. Government accepted a measly nine of the 100 recommendations tabled. The UPR reviews the implementation of human rights in UN member states.

“On 16 March 2017, during the UNHRC session, the government accepted nine and partially supported an additional six of the 100 recommendations that were deferred at its review in November 2016.

“Regrettably, some of the rejected recommendations mainly focus on the ratification of important human rights instruments. The government refused to accept recommendations urging it to ratify the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment and its optional protocol including ratifying the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance and to accept recommendations to issue standing invitations to the special procedures country visits,” the ZLHR added.

Zimbabwe participated in the UPR process in 2011 for the first time, but reports of forced disappearances and torture continue to dog Mugabe’s administration. Democracy activist Itai Dzamara, who was seized by alleged Central Intelligence Organisation operatives, has been missing for two years and while the courts have urged government to investigate, authorities continue to dither over the issue.

Opposition parties push for Sadc petition

POLITICAL parties under the National Electoral Reform Agenda (Nera) banner are pushing for a one-million-signature petition to be submitted to Sadc to push the government into adopting electoral reforms ahead of polls in 2018. BY OBEY MANAYITI

Source: Opposition parties push for Sadc petition – NewsDay Zimbabwe March 21, 2017

Opposition Transform Zimbabwe (TZ) leader Jacob Ngarivhume yesterday said his party was leading the initiative with the petition set to be taken to neighbouring Botswana in April before South Africa and the rest of the regional bloc’s membership.

Ngarivhume said the priority for democratic forces in Zimbabwe was to have a clean voters’ roll to avoid a disputed election next year.

“As Transform Zimbabwe, we came up with the idea, which we have since sold to our partners in Nera and they have also agreed to sign it so that we can then hand it over to Sadc leaders collectively,” he said.

“Other partners are coming in and whoever is interested to come aboard and be part of that process to Sadc, then they are welcome.”

The TZ leader said he was not discouraged by the previous disappointing reaction by Sadc on other political issues.

“We might have challenges with Sadc, like in the past, but the truth is they are a regional bloc that we need to engage. We believe they are an important partner in the region that we can go to with our grievances,” he said, adding that they were aware of challenges posed by biometric voting in other countries.

Besides the petition, Ngarivhume said they would also take the legal route should the government persist on not implementing the reforms.

Ngarivhume castigated the government for trying to frustrate the adoption of the biometric voter registration (BVR) system and to abandon plans to have the United Nations Development Programme procure the kits.

He said as opposition parties they would resist the procurement of the BVR kits by the government through the State Procurement Board.

The opposition leader said various measures had been put in place to ensure that people register to vote.

Ngarivhume said they had chosen to work with MDC-T in the proposed coalition.

“We need to appreciate that the MDC-T is one of the main opposition parties in the country and they have won an election before in 2008 and we understand by 74% as we are being told now.

“We respect them for that and a coalition that will not include a political party like MDC-T may not easily reach its objective. They have been the sole main opposition party and they are one of the partners we are talking to,” Ngarivhume said.

It’s game on

POLICE have given the greenlight to tomorrow’s National Electoral Reform Agenda (Nera) demonstration against the government’s decision to take over the procurement of biometric voter registration (BVR) kits ahead of next year’s elections, NewsDay heard yesterday.

Source: It’s game on – NewsDay Zimbabwe March 21, 2017

BY OBEY MANAYITI

Zimbabwe is preparing for watershed elections next year and a loose coalition of opposition parties under Nera, which is demanding reforms before next year’s polls, has called for the demonstration.

With the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) having indicated its willingness to use BVR, President Robert Mugabe’s lieutenants in both government and Zanu PF have embarked on a campaign to criticise the move as well as claim it would be an unnecessary expenditure.

Government has also hijacked the purchase of the kits after initially agreeing to accept funding from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

After a meeting with the Joint Operations Command yesterday, Nera executive member and MDC-T secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora said they would engage the police again today to finalise the route to be taken.

“The demonstration is going ahead. The police have not banned it, but the route is going to slightly change. We will meet at Freedom Square and we will address people on the standard of behaviour to be expected so that there would be no looting and hooliganism,” he said.

“That is what we undertook to do. The most important thing is that it is going ahead and that for the first time police have not banned our demonstration. We still had an option of going to court if they had banned us.”

During their previous demonstration, Harare was turned into a war zone as protesters fought running battles with police officers who were trying to stop them.

Several properties such as motor vehicles and wares at flea markets were vandalised during the demonstration. Nera denied responsibility for the violent elements that hijacked the demonstration.

Mwonzora said tomorrow’s demonstration was meant to exert pressure on Zanu PF to stop electoral theft.

“We are demonstrating against the decision by government to take over the procurement of BVR kits. As you know, according to the original agreement these were to be procured by the UNDP, but for reasons best known to themselves, the government wants to abandon the UNDP process.

“We think that is a way to try and manipulate the procurement system and the whole BVR thing, which is unacceptable,” he said.

Zec argued it would implement the biometric voting system in order to deliver a credible and undisputed poll outcome next year.

Mbare terror groups re-emerge

MBARE’s renowned terror groups linked to Zanu PF have re-emerged with reports of harassment of residents ahead of make-or-break general elections expected in the second half of 2018.

Source: Mbare terror groups re-emerge – NewsDay Zimbabwe March 21, 2017

BY Phyllis Mbanje

There are reports of violent door-to-door campaigns by hordes of rogue Zanu PF mobs with residents expressing concern at the wanton disregard for human liberties.

Meetings, rallies and late night vigils have begun amid reports that some overzealous party youths were now forcing people to attend and participate in the meetings.

A Mbare resident said the youths were now walking from house to house demanding that people attend their rallies which are designed to ensure that Zanu PF leader President Robert Mugabe retains his post in next year’s elections.

“The youths are moving from door to door recording people’s names and ID numbers. As a citizen, I feel that this is against an individual’s freedom of association,” the resident, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals, said.

Residents were scared of violent follow-ups if they do not attend the meetings.

Another one argued Zanu PF’s harassment of residents was not synonymous with that democratic ethos that Mugabe has consistently preached.

But contacted for comment, Zanu PF youth league Harare provincial chairperson Edson Takataka dismissed the allegations.

“As a party, we call for meetings at our offices and no one is forced to come,” he said.

Takataka said it was actually MDC-T youths who were conducting the door-to-door campaigns.

“We are not conducting any door-to-door campaigns. The MDC youths are the ones causing confusion,” he said.
Takataka claimed that Zanu PF had no need to use coercion for people to attend its events.

Mbare remains a hotbed of Zanu PF terror groups with the biggest then known as Chipangano having been disbanded following the internal convulsions that rocked the ruling party in 2014.

Prior to the 2013 elections Zanu PF set up militia groups to force residents to vote for Mugabe and his party candidates across the country.

Grace pushes families to destitution

FIRST Lady Grace Mugabe yesterday sent her entourage to kick out nearly 100 families from Arnold Farm in Mazowe despite protestations by the villagers that the First Lady was pushing them into destitution, NewsDay has learnt.

Source: Grace pushes families to destitution – NewsDay Zimbabwe March 21, 2017

BY OBEY MANAYITI

At least 98 families reportedly face a bleak future with 114 small-scale farmers settled on the farm unsure of their future as President Robert Mugabe and his family push to expand their Alpha and Omega business empire.

Grace has been increasing her empire in the Mazowe area where she owns a state-of-art children’s home, primary and secondary schools and a family business running as Gushungo Holdings.

A few years ago, many farmers were pushed off the productive land to pave way for the First Lady at Manzou Farm where the President’s wife planned to keep wild animals.

Villagers said people in government vehicles were moving around the area yesterday pegging and making enquiries as to how many livestock they have.

According to the villagers, the officials, who claimed to have come from Bindura and Harare, went on to meet the local headman, one Kanakembizi, who in turn was asked to address villagers on their impending eviction.

“People who claimed to be fromfrom Harare and Bindura came to meet the local traditional leader to inform him of the plans to move us. They were saying the First Lady now wants her land. We are actually at the meeting with the headman and he is telling people to be prepared to leave any time,” the villagers’ representative, Leonard Mukore, said.

“We are not saying we don’t want to leave, but our issue is that we want an alternative place to go. Remember, we have families and moving at this stage without alternative land is going to affect us a lot. Even our school-going children will be negatively affected.”

But in response to a NewsDay exposé of the impending forced evictions at the weekend, Mashonaland Central Provincial Affairs minister Martin Dinha described the affected villagers as “illegal settlers”.

“Anyone staying at Arnold Farm or anywhere in Manzou must know that they are doing so illegally and must move,” Dinha said.

Dinha said Manzou was earmarked for the restoration of a game park to be known as Nehanda National Monument “and developments of national importance”.

“If we are getting foreign direct investment in the form of such an industry from a Chinese investor, tell me what is your problem with such a positive and welcome development?” he queried.

Other villagers, who requested anonymity for fear of reprisal, said they were being thrown into destitution by the First Lady’s desire for control.

“They (officials) were here again yesterday (Sunday) where they told our headman to address us on the impending eviction. They asked the headman about the number of households and the livestock in total. Approximately, we have a combined total of 600 cattle and over 1 000 goats,” the villager said.

“They seem to be in a hurry to remove us or to have us leave as soon as possible. The painful thing is that we have crops in the fields and children who are attending school. Personally, I have two children who are sitting for Ordinary Level this year and I had already paid for their examination fees. This forced relocation will affect their grades.”

Added another villager: “We came here at the height of land invasions and removed a white farmer called Kennedy. We never removed a fellow black person on the farm and I wonder why we are being treated like this, all because someone wants to increase her empire. Imagine farming is our source of livelihood and we are likely going to lose the crops as well. This is tragic.”

By yesterday, veterinary officers and officials from the Environmental Management Agency were reportedly making different enquiries.

Government urged to tap into law schools

GOVERNMENT through the Justice ministry should tap into the expertise of non-State actors like law schools to assist in the alignment of laws with the Constitution, Speaker of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda has said.

Source: Government urged to tap into law schools – NewsDay Zimbabwe March 21, 2017

BY STEPHEN CHADENGA

Mudenda said Parliament was pushing for the alignment of laws, but said that there was need to engage other stakeholders to speed up the process.

Following the promulgation of the new Constitution in 2013, government promised to align at least 300 laws by 2015, but to date not much has been achieved.

“We have encouraged the Justice ministry to approach law schools to assist in the alignment of laws,” he said at a Parliament of Zimbabwe stakeholders’ meeting in Gweru last week.

Mudenda gave the example, where he said Parliament invited the Law Society of Zimbabwe to do draft alignment of eight pieces of legislation, which he said were submitted to the ministry headed by Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

There were currently three law schools at State universities in the country, namely Midlands State University, Great Zimbabwe University and the University of Zimbabwe.

Although government has at times pointed to limited capacity for delays in the alignment process, critics argue that lack of political will has resulted at the slow pace in the process.

Mudenda also urged members of the public to be pro-active at Bills public hearings, so that they could contribute to the crafting of laws.

“Citizens deserve good and qualitative laws and these can only be achieved if people contribute actively and involve themselves in the business of Parliament,” he said.

 

Jostling for posts in Mujuru party

Source: Jostling for posts in Mujuru party – DailyNews Live

Jeffrey Muvundusi      20 March 2017

HARARE – It is dog-eat-dog in Joice Mujuru’s newly-formed National
People’s Party (NPP) as officials jostle for positions ahead of an
elective convention next month.

Mujuru – NPP’s interim leader – will be uncontested as the party’s
presidential candidate.

However, according to a list of candidates and the positions that they
will be contesting for released by NPP’s directorate after closure of the
nominations’ declaration window last Thursday, the race is tight for other
top posts.

Some of the most tightly contested posts are those of Mujuru’s two vice
presidents – available in accordance with NPP’s constitution – that are
being eyed by six candidates.

The six are Samuel Sipepa Nkomo, Bongani Nyathi, Cuthbert Ncube, Linda
Dube – all from Bulawayo – and Harare’s Elliot Kasu and John Shumba
Mvundura.

NPP spokesperson Jealousy Mawarire confirmed the list, adding that
“campaigns have been very civil and…peaceful”.

“Our people are fully aware that the democratic process we are embarking
on to choose the party’s leadership is just a way of assigning people to
different posts from which they can serve the people in their best
capacities, we are not creating bigwigs or Zanu PF-styled chefs,” he said.

“We are electing servants…to deliver change to the people,” Mawarire
said.

Insiders told the Daily News that serious jockeying and campaigning is now
in full swing, with camps antagonistic to each other over candidate
preferences having emerged.

Nkomo, Ncube and Dube are apparently leading the race to fill in the
Matabeleland slot, the source claimed, while Mvundura is pushing for
Mashonaland province’s representation.

“Candidates have been campaigning underground, since it had not been
declared officially that they have been nominated, but now that it’s
official, it’s never easy on the ground.

“You cannot really say who is going to get away with the medal, because
party members are really divided. We hope these divisions are just but
temporary” the source said.

For the national chairperson post, former Zanu PF official and Energy
minister Dzikamai Mavhaire will have to sweat it out with Matabeleland
South party provincial chairperson Maduma Bekezela Fuzwayo and Wilson
Bancinyane

Nelson Mashizha, Hamadziripi Dube, Gift Nyandoro, Patronella Musarurwa and
David Butau battling it out for the secretary-general post while Ntuta
Bukhosi, Ndou Moffat and Mubaiwa Wilbert will contest for the
treasurer-general position.

“The real battle for the secretary-general post is between Nyandoro and
Butau, if events on the ground presently are anything to go by.

“They seem to be the leading horses but you never know what happens in a
day in politics,” another source said.

The NPP – recently broken away from the Zimbabwe People First (ZPP) party
– is currently run by an interim administration headed by Mujuru and is
set to hold its inaugural convention early next month to select a
substantive leadership ahead of the 2018 elections.

Under the NPP constitution, a national executive council -comprising the
president, vice presidents, party chairperson, secretary-general and
treasurer – will be the highest decision- making body.

Since her fallout with ZPF founders, Rugare Gumbo and Didymus Mutasa, last
month, and the subsequent launch of NPP, Mujuru has been on the campaign
trail and rebuilding party structures.

‘Zanu PF always wanted me dead’

Source: ‘Zanu PF always wanted me dead’ – DailyNews Live

Mugove Tafirenyika      20 March 2017

HARARE – Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai yesterday told his supporters
in Chitungwiza how he had survived numerous assassination attempts at the
hands of Zanu PF goons – further assuring anxious Zimbabweans that change
was inevitable after next year’s eagerly-anticipated national elections.

Speaking for the first time since a shadowy State media columnist who
writes under the inappropriate pseudonym of Bishop Lazarus made ominous
threats against him last week, the dogged former prime minister in the
government of national unity said Zanu PF had hunted him relentlessly
since his days at the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU).

But Tsvangirai, who was concluding a three-day “mop-up exercise” of his
nationwide tour, told  Chitungwiza residents – who included leaders of
various churches – that political change was imminent and that even
President Robert Mugabe now realised that “they (Zanu PF) can no longer
stand in the way of the will of the people”.

“They have pursued me since my days at the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade
Unions … viciously beating me up then, hoping to silence the voice of
the people. But we have been resilient.

“Even today, as we are seated here, there are CIOs (Central Intelligence
Organisation operatives) following us, but the challenge that they now
have is that each time they go to report to Mugabe he tells them `you are
too late because I know already that Tsvangirai wants to take power from
me’ – so their reports don’t matter anymore,” Tsvangirai said.

“Those who previously resisted change (including top securocrats) now also
realise that this will not harm them, but will in fact benefit them. They
realise they have nothing to lose because we are not going to pursue a
policy of vengeance against them.

“They realise that even if you are an army general, your son is not and he
will need employment and that we are all sinking in this lost ship and we
all stand to lose everything by resisting change,” the MDC president
added.

Writing in the Sunday Mail last week, the phantom Bishop Lazarus reacted
threateningly to Tsvangirai who had earlier assured both Mugabe and
security commanders that they would be safe under his rule.

“A few days ago, Morgan said something to the effect that; `You will be
safe under me.’ Morgan was trying to give assurance to …Mugabe and
security chiefs that they would be safe under his rule. Unonyatsoona kuti
munhu haasi kunzwa zvakanaka (One can see that he is not well).

“Instead of hallucinating, Morgan should know that the real question is:
`Is Morgan safe going into the future?’ True, there are some people who
really love Morgan, but there are many who are really angry with the man.
They whisper in the dark saying; `This man brought us all these troubles
and if it wasn’t for Mugabe …

“What is unfortunate for Morgan is that those who love him are so
insignificant in the scheme of political things yet those who are angry
with him have the capacity to do anything they want with him. I mean
anything. So the question going into the future is; `Is Morgan going to be
safe?

“The answer may be found in history. Just check what happened to that
sell-out Morris Nyathi after the attainment of independence,” the
vituperative columnist wrote then.

Speaking in Harare, after holding a crucial meeting with the MDC national
executive, Tsvangirai had said then that Mugabe and top securocrats had
nothing to fear as he would give them immunity from prosecution when he
forms the country’s next government.

“I have a message to those who have in the past resisted change and who
remain keen to subvert the people’s will because of their uncertainty due
to the prospect of political change in the country.

“I wish to assure everyone that there is nothing to fear in the change
that we seek. We have no intention to engage in retribution, and we are
only driven by the genuine patriotic spirit to ensure peace, stability and
growth.

“Change will be good for everyone. Change will allow everyone to pursue
and live their dreams under the protection of the State,” Tsvangirai said.

“In 2008, a large part of our fellow citizens in State institutions were
reticent and suspicious about the prospects of change.

“The people won the election but there was no transfer of power because of
the sceptics of change, those whose reticence about a new Zimbabwe cost
this country the opportunity to set a new political direction.

“There will be neither vengeance nor retribution against anyone. There is
certainly nothing to fear. In fact, there will be a pension for those who
are afraid,” the former trade union leader added.

Tsvangirai, the only politician to defeat Mugabe hands down in an
election, in 2008, has survived a number of State-sponsored acts of terror
against him – including barbaric attacks that were meted on him and other
senior opposition officials in the Harare high density suburb of Highfield
in 2007, during a prayer march.

On that fateful day, Tsvangirai was so maliciously battered by
heavily-armed police officers that they left him with a fractured skull.

A prominent MDC supporter, Gift Tandare, was shot dead in cold blood by
police, while several senior party officials at the time – including
Tendai Biti, Sekai Holland and Grace Kwinjeh – were also savaged brutally
by the authorities.

The Highfield fiasco eventually led to the intervention by Sadc, whose
mediation later led to the formation of the inclusive government after the
hotly-disputed 2008 polls which the MDC still won.

After Tsvangirai defeated Mugabe in that year’s presidential election, the
results were withheld by panicking authorities for a suspiciously long six
weeks, amid widespread allegations of ballot fiddling and manipulation.

When the discredited results of that poll were eventually announced,
Tsvangirai was forced into a run-off which he pulled out of following
massive intimidation and violence which saw hundreds of his supporters
being murdered in cold blood.

Mugabe went on to stand in an embarrassing and widely-condemned one-man
race in which he declared himself the winner.

However, Sadc and the rest of the international community would not accept
the poll, forcing the nonagenarian to share power with Tsvangirai for five
years to prevent the country from imploding completely.

A few months after becoming the country’s prime minister in the uneasy
coalition government in March 2009, Tsvangirai lost his wife Susan in a
road accident which his supporters say was yet another attempt on his
life, although he ruled out foul play at the time.

Previously, Tsvangirai had survived the gallows by a whisker after the
State had preferred false charges of treason against him, after the
government claimed it had evidence that he wanted to assassinate Mugabe.

The case collapsed in 2004 after a year-long trial in which it was relying
on questionable evidence from a grainy videotape that was secretly
recorded by a discredited Canada-based “political consultant”, Ari Ben
Menashe.

Magistrates’ ‘undue’ postponement of cases slammed

Source: Magistrates’ ‘undue’ postponement of cases slammed – DailyNews Live

Tarisai Machakaire      20 March 2017

HARARE – Chief magistrate Mishrod Guvamombe has castigated the
“unjustified” unnecessary postponement of cases, saying it leads to delays
in justice delivery.

This comes as lawyers have often complained about endless and willy-nilly
deferment of cases by the courts.

“Remanding and postponing matters must be justified in terms of the law,”
Guvamombe said during the swearing-in ceremony of three trainee
magistrates last week.

“Postponement of cases without justification builds unnecessary backlogs,”
he said, adding “it is a requirement of proper administration of justice
that cases are finalised expeditiously”.

“Out of court duties such as checking of books of accounts, various
registers and exhibits is part of your work and you must diligently
execute those tasks. I wish to remind you that a magistrate’s court is one
of record and everything that happens must be reduced to writing,” he
said.

Guvamambe further said magistrates must not always pass jail sentences,
but consider non-custodial terms to encourage criminal offenders to
rehabilitate.

He said the motive is to rehabilitate offenders, not punish.

“As a magistrate, you wield a lot of power. Do not rush to imprison people
for trivial offences. Imprisonment should only be a sentence of last
resort,” Guvamombe said.

“There are other sentencing options at your disposal which you must
explore first,” he said.

“We are beginning to see the fruits of our formal and on-the-job training.
We expect you to produce quality judgments and rulings and for that to
happen, you must consult law reports,” Guvamombe said.

The recently sworn-in magistrates are Perseverance Nkala, Amanda Muridzo
and Isabel Nyoni, who all completed training in the civil and criminal
courts divisions.

Guvamombe also urged the magistrates to shun and resist corruption for a
credible justice delivery system.

“Corruption is a cancer that has permeated all facets of society. If it is
allowed to take root in the judiciary it can undermine justice delivery by
denying justice to litigants. I urge you to resist it in whatever form it
may be exposed to you,” Guvamombe added.

“I also wish to state that if you are caught engaging in corruption the
consequences are clear and very predictable. In that same vein I urge
members of the public and all stakeholders not to tempt our magistrates
with bribes.”

Law Society of Zimbabwe president Misheck Hogwe echoed similar sentiments,
saying corruption would make society lose trust in the justice system.

“Hard work has no substitute for success in this profession without
diligence you expose yourself to unscrupulous litigants. Corruption sets
in and the trust reposed in you by the public evaporates,” he said.

“…once the public’s confidence in the bench declines it will be
difficult to restore. People will seek alternative means of resolving
disputes and this leads to the breakdown of the rule of law,” Hogwe said.

Zim must pay its debt

Source: Zim must pay its debt – DailyNews Live

20 March 2017

HARARE – Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor John Mangudya over the weekend
reiterated the country’s commitment to repay its external debts.

“Zimbabwe owes many people money and we owe it to pay everyone; there is
no favouritism. If you borrow money from the World Bank, you need to pay
the World Bank, if you borrow from China, you have to pay the Chinese, if
you borrow from Malaysians, you need to pay Malaysians; so we are paying
everyone according to availability of resources,” he said.

This comes as the country, which is currently saddled with a $10,8 billion
debt overhang, is currently ineligible to access long-term finance from
the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and African
Development Bank over non-payment of arrears since 1999.

The reality is that there is nowhere to run and Zimbabwe should just go
back to the basics of repaying what it owes, whether it is to the
Western-linked IMF and other institutions or the favoured eastern Chinese
economic giant.

As such, it is important that the country walks the talk and starts
implementing its debt repayment strategy if Zimbabwe entertains any hope
of attracting foreign investment to grow its economy – including the
agriculture sector.

It is widely accepted that the country will forever be dependent on aid
unless the commercial farming sector – destroyed by the contentious land
reform exercise – is rebuilt in some form.

In order to rebuild the sector, foreign investment will need to flow into
Zimbabwe and some displaced farmers will need to return.

The Zimbabwean government will also have its part to play, and indeed
there are some confidence-building measures that President Robert Mugabe’s
government could undertake.

For many years, various governments have been demanding that Zimbabwe
honours its obligations pursuant to bilateral investment treaties, whereby
the country promised to pay foreign investors compensation in the event of
expropriation.

Several business delegations that have visited Zimbabwe from different
countries including Australia, France, Britain and even the Chinese, have
been singing from the same hymn book.

They have demanded that the government creates a conducive business
environment by among other things clarifying economic polices such as the
indigenisation laws while also respecting property rights among other
things.

Mugabe may find that if his Zanu PF-led government makes serious attempts
to honour Zimbabwe’s public international law obligations to investors,
then the foreign investment and the engagement by the West that have been
absent for so long may return.

LATEST: African Economic Platform starts

Source: LATEST: African Economic Platform starts | The Herald March 20, 2017

Tendai Mugabe in Port Louis, MAURITIUS
President Mugabe is among African leaders attending the inaugural African Economic Platform that opened here this morning.

The meeting, which seeks to promote continental economic integration, was officially opened by the African Union Commission chairperson Mr Moussa Faki Mahamat.

Zimbabwe’s Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi and his Industry and Commerce counterpart Mike Bimha, who are accompanying the President, also attended the opening session of the summit.

The outcome of the meeting would be tabled before the next African Union Summit for formalisation.

More details to follow…

The Land Issue in Africa

Before Africa was carved up and occupied by the European Colonial Powers, land in Africa was largely under populated and human population growth was slow and could quite easily be accommodated. The many tribes of Africa (we speak more than 2000 languages or dialects of languages), were largely divided into those who concentrated on livestock as a mean of subsistence or crops. The divide was often determined by rainfall patterns with the livestock tribes using land that was arid or semi arid.

Source: The Land Issue in Africa – The Zimbabwean 20.03.2017

One thing was common, land was a free good and was available to all subject only to community laws and norms and collective tribal decisions. Inter tribal conflicts often involved access to land and cattle and was a common part of everyday life, keeping numbers of people in human settlements down and helping ease the overall pressure on natural resources. The same situation prevailed in the America’s and Austral Asia and probably in Asia proper. When population pressure grew to the point where human mobility was threatened, then adjustments were made.

In Europe similar land occupation systems prevailed right up to the Closure Acts in Britain and the evolution of the feudal land systems in mainland Europe. The industrial revolution and the growth of the Towns and Cities meant that rural peasant farming systems, designed for subsistence and the support of feudal land owner structures, were no longer able to cope and modern farming systems on a commercial basis began to emerge. These required as a prerequisite, stable, secure title rights whether they were freehold or leasehold.

The colonization process changed all that, the Europeans  occupied the United States and Canada, the Portuguese and the Spanish occupied South America, the English occupied Australia and India and the West Indies and Africa was carved up by the European powers – French, German, English, Italian and Belgium. Believing their systems, law and culture were innately superior to the indigenous systems of government, the colonial powers swept aside the languages and rights of those they colonized – often with brute force and ruthless determination. They were followed by the Church and the Mosque and their own religious beliefs and traditions were subjugated to those of the colonizing power.

Wherever they went, the colonizers occupied vast swathes of land, title rights were given and fences erected. Often these practices were resisted by the indigenous people who fought back with the limited means at their disposal. In the process, many indigenous groups were wiped out, the rest were herded into specified areas where the colonial powers decreed that they could live under Tribal law and tradition and make a living from their livestock and arable land. Security of tenure was never extended to these communities and would not have been understood if it had been.

The result was predictable and consistent throughout the colonized world. As populations grew – growth rates were often three or four times historical levels because tribal conflicts were not permitted, disease control was introduced along with modern medicine and life expectancies lengthened from 25 to 35 years on average to 60 years or more. As population pressures grew, the land became exhausted and barren. Conflicts with land owners from the colonial classes – often just across a barbed wire fence, became inevitable.

As the indigenous people absorbed education and information about the wider world, they launched attacks on the Colonial system until eventually, under the weight of history and numbers, the “winds of change” gripped the world and one by one the colonial States capitulated. Only in those countries where the numbers of the settlers were so over whelming that the colonized groups could not fight back and assume control, did the colonial systems of land occupation and settlement survive.

In Africa, as the wave of decolonization swept down the continent, starting with Ghana 60 years ago, one of the first things the new masters of Africa’s destiny chose to do was to brush aside the tenure systems of the Colonists and to replace it with leases or simply allowing it to revert to the traditional forms of tenure that had prevailed before occupation. Sometimes this was accompanied by compensation, but more often than not it was not.

Only when the decolonization process ran into the tough, long term settlers in southern Africa did the issue of resuming State control of all land find resistance. In Namibia, the new government has in fact handled the land issue very carefully and feels that the white Namibian’s who continue to farm vast areas do not show enough appreciation of their magnanimity and wisdom.

In Zambia, the freehold rights of the small settler community has been converted, more or less painfully, into leasehold rights that are tradable and is allowing new farmers to occupy agricultural land on a secure basis and for investment to take place. This has resulted in considerable investment and Zambia is now self sufficient in all basic foods and is in fact exporting a surplus.

In Zimbabwe, nothing was done to disturb the commercial farming system except to buy 3,8 million hectares at market prices and settle the land with small holders and some connected individuals in the first 20 years following Independence.

However from 2000 onwards, the State has mounted what they call the “fast track land reform programme” under which they has forcibly taken over some 8 million hectares of farm land and settled some 200 000 families (a million people). Some 4 million hectares remains under freehold but is insecure. Land that has been nationalized in this way has become “State Land” and is treated as such, even though no compensation has been paid and therefore legally, title rights remain in force.

In South Africa the government has bought 4 million hectares of farm land for settlement and the restitution of land rights is an ongoing process involving tens of thousands of claimants. So far this has been conducted in a legal way and compensation has been paid. However with 70 per cent of all farm land remaining in commercial farm hands under freehold title – this is an ulcer that is chewing away at the roots of the State and the stability of the country. Most recently, under pressure from below, the ANC has begun to ponder the acquisition of land without compensation.

In fact this chaotic historical process has simply exacerbated Africa’s already critical land question. Without tradable security of tenure, agricultural land has no value and by definition, does not attract investment or management and care – what the Bible would call stewardship. Almost without exception land held under communal tenure – or worse, State land, rapidly becomes over populated, degraded and unproductive. The deserts of Africa are expanding everywhere and fragile savannah areas are disappearing. Hunger and starvation and mass migration follow.

Many would argue that this is Africa’s biggest problem and the looming threat of climate change will simply act as an accelerator. Only 18 per cent of all the agricultural land on the globe is held under freehold tenure and this small proportion of world resources produces the great majority of global agricultural output and virtually all its surpluses. By simply giving African farmer’s security rights over the land that they already control and use, would unlock enormous capital sums, would attract massive investment and would enable us to make giant steps towards the elimination of poverty in rural areas. I do not understand why this so hard to understand?

 

Young people and agriculture: implications for post-land reform Zimbabwe

Source: Young people and agriculture: implications for post-land reform Zimbabwe | zimbabweland March 20, 2017

‘Youth’ have recently become the centre of development debates, particularly around African agriculture. A poorly defined category of young people – maybe adults, sometimes children – youth are presented in relation to a dizzying array of policy narratives. To get a sense, just dip into recent reports by AGRA (the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa), FAO and IFAD (the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation and the International Fund for Agricultural Development), the ILO (International Labour Organisation), the World Bank or IFPRI (International Food Policy Institute). Building on earlier commentary, in this series of five blogs I want to unpick some of these, and reflect on them in relation to new data from Zimbabwe, grounding the often very generic debate in context.

A central policy concern, in Zimbabwe and beyond, is who will be the next generation of small-scale farmers. This is particularly important in relation to land reform. With a major redistribution to one generation, what happens to the next? Are they going to do what their parents and grandparents did? Or will they leave agriculture for other livelihood options? Or are they going to transform agri-food systems, in ways unimagined by their parents?

Competing narratives

In this hot policy debate, narratives compete with each other, depending on the positioning of the commentator. A doom-and-gloom narrative of exit is a frequent one articulated in policy debates. Admonished for not being committed to agriculture, young people are seen as a problem – creating a demographic ‘threat’, a ‘youth bulge’ of the unemployed, migrating to towns or abroad, and becoming a burden on society, and in some cases a potential source of disruption through civil upheaval or even terrorism. Other narratives present youth as victims of accelerating scarcities – of land and livelihood options – prevented from getting on by ‘tradition’, ‘elders’ or state policy that is failing to provide for them. This in turn leads to a ‘wasted generation’; often of educated youth, unable to contribute, limited by structural constraints of society, economy or politics.

Contrasting these pessimistic narratives are others that offer a positive spin. Here the ‘entrepreneurial’ youth is celebrated. Tech-savvy, business-oriented, educated young people can, so goes the argument, contribute to agriculture in new ways, across value chains. Rather than their peasant parents, enslaved to a life of drudgery in agriculture, the new generation can make agriculture a business, and unleash the economic value of land and agriculture, especially in areas where land is abundant. As a route to modernization and technological transformation, youth are seen, in these narratives, as the vanguard.

Many influential organisations supporting agriculture in Africa – as in the reports highlighted earlier – adopt the positive, young person as entrepreneur narrative, while at the same threatening the worst (migration, civil strife and more) if nothing is done. As with all narratives – possible stories about the world and its future – there are grains of truth in each. However, too often in the current policy debates they are not located in context, and so broad, high-flown policy proclamations are too often floated without grounding.

In a number of important interventions, colleagues at IDS and across the Future Agricultures Consortium have critiqued and nuanced these positions, offering a more sophisticated perspective on youth and agriculture, including foci on youth aspirations, perspectives, opportunity spaces and imagined futures. Other work has looked at the ‘life courses’ of young people, showing how varied and non-linear young people’s life trajectories are. Still other work has tried to locate a rather narrow ‘youth’ debate within a bigger picture of economic and demographic transition, with changing opportunities for accumulation influenced by shifts in the political economy of rural, agrarian spaces and wider economies.

Changing life courses in Zimbabwe

In Zimbabwe the ‘youth’ debate is especially heated, but also conditioned by a particular context. What will happen to the next generation post land reform? Will they demand their rights to land as their parents did in the land invasions of 2000? Or can they find off-farm employment in a highly depressed economy? Which farming areas and what types of farming – and linked activity – can support more people, and how will youth be involved? These are the sort of questions that have been exercising us in our work in Mvurwi, Masvingo and Matobo over the last few years, as we seek to explore the consequences of land reform on people’s livelihoods across the country. There are some major changes afoot, and our understandings of livelihoods after land reform must certainly take generational questions into account.

Past patterns of demographic transition, linked to a classic southern African pattern of circular migration, have changed. In the past, a young man would leave home (often after marriage following the establishment of an independent home, but still economically reliant on parents); they would send remittances home to their wife/parents, and build up assets (notably cattle); and then return home later, following a period of stable employment in towns, in the mines or on the farms. Some women would follow the same route, but patrilocal marriage arrangements, and a highly gendered labour economy would restrict options, and women would move on marriage to their husband’s home, often remaining in the rural communal area, committing to social reproduction and farming.

Today, things are totally different. Patterns of migration have changed, both in terms of destination and who goes when. Men and women migrate, but often only to temporary, more fragile employment, with just a few gaining access to stable employment, often abroad. This is highly dependent on education, and so the resources of parents, restricting social mobility. Otherwise, the local economy, at least since the mid-1990s, has been precarious, offering only short-term work. The so-called kukiya kiya economy involves trading, panning, vending, and overall dealing and hustling. This is the new form of jobless work of the informal economy, as described by James Ferguson for South Africa, with multiple, fragmented classes of labour, as observed by Henry Bernstein. Such work is for survival. It creates vulnerability and precarity, and so little opportunity of accumulation. In the last 20 years, and particularly recently, this is the alternative to farming and land-based livelihoods for most.

New questions

In our on-going study across our sites, we have been interested in exploring how young people have been responding to these conditions, and asking what difference land reform makes. Those who were born at the time of land reform in 2000 are now in secondary school, approaching ‘Form IV’, when the majority leave. What are they thinking about what the future holds? Those who were at school at land reform, between around 5 and 16, are now in their 20s and early 30s. How have they fared after school in practice?

We have been looking at these two groups of ‘youth’ in A1 resettlement areas in three sites across country – Mvurwi (an high potential commercial hotspot), Wondedzo (in Masvingo district, but with reasonable rainfall and not far from a medium-sized town) and Chikombedzi (a remote location on the border of South Africa, in the marginal, dry far south of the country). These are areas we have been working in for a while, so we know the areas, and have been researching the lives and livelihoods of those who gained land through land reform.

So what have we done so far? First, we explored the perceptions of today’s Form IVs – nearly all aged between 16 and 19 – in three schools in or close to A1 resettlement areas, asking about what they imagined they would be doing in 20 years, and what constraints they thought were in the way. This was done through a combination of a ‘Q sort’ exercise and focus group discussions. Second, we sampled a cohort of those now between 20 and 31, who were kids of people in our long-standing sample. This group has (mostly) left school, and allowed us to explore what actually happened to a group of people (half men, half women) in the age group immediately above those we discussed with at school settings. Through a simple questionnaire we examined what happened to all children in this age cohort in the sample households, and pursued in detail their experiences, perceptions and life stories through a series of in-depth interviews, mostly of those who were resident or visiting their parental homes.

Aiming to go beyond the simplistic narratives, with this data we have an opportunity to explore not only imaginaries of the future but also emerging life courses, and examine how outcomes related to, for example, gender, location (high to low potential areas), the wealth status (including asset ownership) of their parents and the educational qualifications, both of the young people and their parents. In turn, we explored what our sample of young people were doing, how they had been surviving, and how they were establishing homes and families, and how they were striking up relationships with land and agriculture, including what opportunities for accumulation existed, and how the prospects for and experiences of entering adulthood appeared.

The analysis is on-going but in the coming weeks, I will share some of the emerging findings, and begin to explore some of the implications. Feedback on our emerging in analysis will be much appreciated.

This post was written by Ian Scoones and appeared on Zimbabweland

SA introduces biometric system

Source: SA introduces biometric system | The Herald March 20, 2017

Thupeyo Muleya:Beitbridge Bureau

South Africa has introduced a biometric capturing system for travellers visiting or leaving that country via Beitbridge Border Post.Pretoria adopted the new programme in July 2014, but its implementation has been delaying due to a number of technical glitches.

The enhanced Movement Control System (eMCS) biometric pilot programme was introduced at Lanseria International Airport in November 2015, before it was rolled out to other ports.

Plans to roll-out the eMCS, which captures a travellers’ fingerprints and facial recognition was initially set for December last year, but was shelved after it turned out the department was ill-prepared.

The new order started running at the Beitbridge port of entry on March 10.

It is believed that the biometric system will help reduce cases of travellers using fake or stolen identification documents that have become a headache for most countries in the region.

When The Herald visited the South African border last Wednesday, many travellers and immigration officers were seen struggling to get accustomed to the new order.

Further, four immigration officers had been tasked to solely handle biometric data capturing, while the rest used the old eMCS to avoid clogging the border with human and vehicular traffic.

Only South African passport holders where exempted from undergoing the screening.

An immigration officer who preferred anonymity said: “The system is supposed to capture all the data in less than two minutes, but our challenge is that some travellers are still to get used to the new set-up.

“Further, the connectivity of the system has a few technical glitches and this results in us taking longer than necessary to clear travellers. To ensure a speedy flow of traffic, we pick travellers at random for biometric data capturing”.

The official said that was one of the key priority areas in the home affairs’ modernisation programme.

Home Affairs spokesperson Mr Thabo Mokgola said he was yet to get an update on the situation at Beitbridge.

The department said in a recent statement that the capturing of travellers’ biometric on arrival at ports of entries will alleviate the pressure to apply in person, in visa required countries or in situations where there is no representation.

In separate interviews travellers decried the fact that there was no prior notification from the home affairs department about the new system.

President in Mauritius for economic summit

Source: President in Mauritius for economic summit | The Herald March 20, 2017

From Tendai Mugabe in Mauritius

President Mugabe arrived here yesterday to join other African leaders attending the inaugural African Economic Platform Summit that opens today.He was welcomed at the Ramgoolam International Airport by the Mauritian Prime Minister Pravind Kumar Jugnauth and other senior Government officials.

Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa is the Acting President.

President Mugabe was seen off at the Harare International Airport by Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko, Min ister of State for Harare Provincial Affairs Miriam Chikukwa, Information, Media and Broadcasting Services Minister Chris Mushohwe, Foreign Affairs Deputy Minister Edgar Mbwembwe, Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet Dr Misheck Sibanda, service chiefs and other senior Government officials.

The AEP is a brainchild of the African Union that provides a stage for frank engagements between African Heads of State and Government, captains of industry and academics on the future of the continent.

AEP was formally launched at the 27th AU Summit in Kigali, Rwanda in 2016 and it also seeks to mobilise alternative resources towards the achievement of the continental developmental blueprint, Agenda 2063.

Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi told The Herald that the Mauritian summit was a high level meeting that seeks to come up with implementation strategies for continental economic growth.

The summit, he said, was important as Agenda 2063 was pioneered by President Mugabe during his tenure as the African Union and Sadc chairman and in many respects, the continental blueprint resonated with the country’s Zim-Asset.

“Africa has embarked on an economic blueprint, Agenda 2063 that was pioneered by His Excellency the President during his tenure as AU and Sadc chairman,” he said.

The first 10-year-plan of the Agenda 2063 was also adopted during President Mugabe’s tenure.

As part of the implementation of this continental economic blueprint, it has been decided to establish the Africa Economic Platform which brings together Governments, the private sector, academia and the civil society.

“Agenda 2063, just like our Zim-Asset, cannot be achieved by Governments alone. It has to involve all these other stakeholders.

This is an important forum because it is a framework for implementation of Agenda 2063, and as you know, our Zim-Asset is integrated with this continental blueprint.

“This is what Africa decided to focus on during the first 10 years of Agenda 2063. During the first 10 years, Africa decides to focus on infrastructure, particularly transport and energy, especially hydro power.

“On energy, the continent is focusing on Inga Dam in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which has the potential to provide electricity to the entire continent and perhaps with a surplus to export to other continents.

“Africa is focusing on rail and air transport with a view to integrate our airlines. The idea now is to see how we can consolidate our airlines for the benefit of the entire continent,” he said.

Among other things, the AEP summit would seek to establish multi-country and multi-sector priorities for common action with clear mechanisms for follow ups and remove policy obstacles for doing business in Africa, increasing the investment attractiveness of the continent and implementation of strategies for economic diversification and industrialisation.

Larger parts of Africa’s population do not consider agriculture as a serious business with only two percent of the students in tertiary institutions specialising in that area.

Another robust discussion would be on how Africa could add value to its resources.

It was noted that there are a few graduates taking part in the extractive and beneficiation sector and the discussion resonates with Zimbabwe’s STEM programme.

Pressure group to give Zanu PF headache

Pressure group Zimbabwe Yadzoka/Mayibuye iZimbabwe was launched in August 2016 with the objective of mobilising the rural masses to vote for democratic change in Zimbabwe.

Source: Pressure group to give Zanu PF headache – NewsDay Zimbabwe March 20, 2017

NewsDay spoke to Zimbabwe Yadzoka/Mayibuye iZimbabwe leader, Victor Chimhutu, who is based in Norway. Below are excerpts of the interview;

ND: Since the launch of Zimbabwe Yadzoka/Mayibuye iZimbabwe, what achievements have you made so far in line with your vision?

VC: Our vision has been very simple: to make sure all in the periphery of our society become actively involved and engaged in the political and developmental discourse of our country in languages they understand. Since our launch in August 2016, Zimbabwe Yadzoka/Mayibuye iZimbabwe has reached all the 10 provinces of our country and surely we are witnessing an unprecedented engagement of the rural people, something we haven’t seen probably since the Second Chimurenga.

We need to thank the people of Zimbabwe for heeding the call that gone are the days when the destiny of this beautiful country is only decided by Harare or rather by a few people in Harare. We are, therefore, extremely happy about this and as an organic movement we expect the trend to continue.

ND: The rural constituencies are generally regarded as Zanu PF strongholds and difficult to penetrate particularly during election time. In light of this challenge, what is your strategy?

VC: It is a fallacy to say rural constituencies are Zanu PF strongholds. If we say that, we are legitimising political violence, rigging, intimidation, vote buying and many inhuman crimes Zanu PF commits with each electoral cycle with impunity. We know that people in the rural areas vote for Zanu PF because of these various vices mentioned above.

Therefore, Zanu PF doesn’t have support in rural areas but it is the most feared political party. President Robert Mugabe’s greatest achievement has been in building this uncouth and ruthless political machine in the name of Zanu PF, a cancer which has decimated our beloved country. Zimbabwe Yadzoka is going in these areas listening to the people and informing them on how 2018 can be different.

ND: Currently, there is a lot of intimidation and victimisation in the rural constituencies. How do you intend to counter this?

VC: We are precisely informing people of their rights and new strategies to counter this, which we can’t divulge.
However, it must be also known that violence is undesirable and that no one can exactly claim a monopoly of it. We should also understand that perpetrators of these heinous crimes are people we know and live in our villages. This electoral cycle is going to be very different. What we expect and what we are teaching the rural folks is to properly document the incidents and alert us as quickly as possible and we will take action. There are always peaceful ways of dealing with these issues.

ND: Mobilisation of rural voters in the past elections, particularly by the opposition seems to have been low. What is your plan as Zimbabwe Yadzoka as far as mobilising rural voters for the 2018 poll is concerned?

VC: The movement Zimbabwe Yadzoka/Mayibuye iZimbabwe is based on the philosophy of ubuntu, so this movement is completely homegrown, bottom-up and subaltern. We use locally available and adapted strategies for mobilising and penetrating rural areas. For example, we use social spaces already available, such as church gatherings and funerals.

Additionally, we create our own social spaces but which local people can relate to or those which can prick nostalgia, for example, we have been using Pungwes (night vigils), which people are familiar with from the Second Chimurenga. We are also using the Nhimbe/Ilima concept, which is basically mobilisation by community building. We find these strategies to be very effective, but also very difficult to counteract. However, we will continue to innovate as we move deep into 2018.

All I can say is the people are ready this time around and Zanu PF must be very scared. It is going to be embarrassing.

ND: Past elections have been marred by a series of electoral malpractices. Do you think the situation is going to be different in 2018?

VC: When dealing with Zanu PF you have to expect levels of dishonesty and malpractice. In other words, we are preparing for the worst case scenario. Zanu PF is going to lose this election both ways either by losing it or unfairly winning it. So what we are doing is setting it up for them. They have to choose which way they want to lose, graciously that is by respecting the will of the people or in an ugly way. More than teaching people to be aware of vices such as vote-buying and the use of traditional structures by Zanu PF, we are also letting people that when they have voted, it is their democratic and constitutionally-guaranteed right to defend that vote, even if it means guarding polling stations.

Elections are not just an event, it’s a destiny and we are making sure people get this correctly. It is going to be a mountain to climb for Zanu PF to tamper with these elections.

But of course if the conditions get worse as we approach polls or don’t improve in terms of electoral reforms then people will choose not to participate and again with a sham election, the government will not be legitimate. From whichever angle, Zanu PF is very worried.

ND: You are based in the Diaspora. How successful have been the efforts of Zimbabweans based in the Diaspora in advocating for democracy and development in Zimbabwe?

VC: The Diaspora will keep on playing a very crucial role in this process. First and foremost, we are keeping on mobilising and demanding the Diaspora vote. In 2017 you are going to witness unprecedented and synchronised demonstrations in the Diaspora.

We want to make sure Zimbabwe is being watched closely by the international community and the Diaspora can help in this. With unity of purpose, 2018 is going to be a very hard election for Zanu PF, but a moment of victory for Zimbabweans.

ND: As we head towards elections, have you made efforts to mobilise Zimbabweans living in other countries to come home and register to vote?

VC: Those efforts are underway. Zimbabwe Yadzoka/Mayibuye iZimbabwe has chapters now in many regional countries such as Zambia, Botswana, South Africa, Mozambique and Angola, among others. Teams in these countries are doing a fantastic job in making sure the majority of them will come to both register and vote.

President to appoint Coroner

THE holder of the envisaged government Coroner should be appointed by the President and must be a renowned medical practitioner, Coroner’s Office Technical Committee Representative, Runyararo Gurira has said.

Source: President to appoint Coroner – NewsDay Zimbabwe March 20, 2017

BY SHARON SIBINDI

Gurira told stakeholders during public consultations in Bulawayo on the Bill that it is expected that the appointee should have practised for at least seven years.

“The officer of the Coroner appointed by the President should be a practitioner for seven years, for a five-year-term, which should be renewable once. The officer should retire at 65 and should have independence,” she said.

Gurira said other stakeholders during the consultation have shown little confidence in the inquest system used by Zimbabwe at the moment.

“Some stakeholders said everything is on paper and if that file goes missing, it would be difficult to trace. There are a number of reports where medical reports go missing and there is no system which identifies the owner or author of the document,” she said.

Stakeholders also called for amendments to the proposed Bill including removal of whole sections.

Gurira said there were also recommendations that allocations to investigations need to prioritise senior officials, given junior officers might have little knowledge of the person they would be investigating.

“It is important that senior officers should do the investigations as they have more background with what they are dealing with, you find a junior officer investigating doctors who have more than 20 years of practice,” she said.

“Other recommendations include the protection of witnesses when they are to testify as they are scared to testify at the court.”

There were also recommendations relating to handling of dockets and files by the police with stakeholders demanding better workmanship from the law enforcement agents given reports of disappearance of files.

The inquest system used in Zimbabwe has over the years produced inconclusive results especially in the aftermath of the death of revered liberation war commander, Solomon Mujuru, former war veterans leader, Cain Nkala and the inquest into the stampede during a Walter Magaya-led PHD church service in Kwekwe.

Mugabe’s commitment to rights questioned

CIVIC organisations have expressed concern over the continued targeting of human rights defenders by State actors and government’s refusal to accept key recommendations that would greatly improve the human rights record of the country.

Source: Mugabe’s commitment to rights questioned – NewsDay Zimbabwe March 20, 2017

by Phyllis Mbanje

Responding to the adoption of the Zimbabwe report during the session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, the human rights defenders said although they recognised the co-operation by the government’s continued engagement with the Universal Periodic Review (UPR), there was still no positive change in the human rights environment.

UPR process is a country-to-country review mechanism established to monitor the overall human rights situation of United Nations (UN) member states. Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa was in Geneva Switzerland last week where he defended the country’s tattered rights record.

“The greatest sign of commitment by the government is not merely attending UPR sessions and accepting recommendations,” CIVICUS and the Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights) in a joint statement, said.

The groups said they were saddened that despite consistent participation by Zimbabwe in successive UPR sessions, the situation on the ground remains dire with the State authorities showing disregard for basic freedoms, particularly the freedoms of assembly and expression.

“While we welcome the decision to repeal criminal defamation laws, harassment of journalists continues unabated,” further read the statement.

Human rights defenders said they also continued to face harassment, arbitrary arrests and torture for exercising their rights to freedom of assembly and expression. State institutions such as the police, military and the intelligence were also accused of wilful violations.

Mnangagwa during last week’s session accepted nine and partially supported an additional six of the 100 recommendations that were deferred at its review in November 2016.

“Regrettably, some of the rejected recommendations mainly focus on the ratification of important human rights instruments,” said the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR).

The government refused to accept recommendations urging it to ratify the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment and its optional Protocol including ratifying the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance among others. The day March 9 marked two years since democracy activist Itai Dzamara disappeared without trace after being seized by suspected State security agents outside his Harare home.

The International Service for Human Rights (ISHR) raised the red flag over the impending introduction of a cyber law in Zimbabwe. “We note that the Zimbabwean government is in the process of drafting a Cyber Crimes Bill which, if passed, will further curtail the right to freedom of expression and privacy; and will further impede the work of defenders,” ISHR said in a joint statement with ZLHR.

TBs will spur economy — RBZ

Source: TBs will spur economy — RBZ | The Herald March 20, 2017

Golden Sibanda Senior Business Reporter
THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe says the $2 billion Treasury Bills issued by Government, including for clearing its debts, will help boost economic recovery and improve liquidity for holders of the securities.

The RBZ governor Dr John Mangudya dismissed sentiment from certain quarters that the issuance of the financial instruments was excessive and had the negative effect of crowding out borrowing by productive sectors.

The central bank chief’s sentiment around overcrowding of private sector in the financial market was confined to the notion that Government should keep an eye on borrowing for consumption.

“If there was crowding out of productive sectors, it would mean that banks would not have money in terms of their RTGS positions.

“If you look at the banks’ RTGS positions at the central bank . . . they have liquidity. If you look at the companies’ financial statements . . . their liquidity ratios are also very high; it means they have money to lend.”

Dr Mangudya said the TBs were composed of four categories namely RBZ debt assumption ($780 million), RBZ capitalisation ($300 million), Government expenditure ($450 million) and ZAMCO ($500 million).

The RBZ debt assumption resulted in Government assuming the $1,3 billion the central bank owes to several creditors, the bulk of which was incurred during the mechanisation programme at the height of the quasi-fiscal programmes carried out by the RBZ.

TBs for capitalisation were meant to capacitate the bank to resume some of its key functions following effects of hyper inflation. TBs also helped raise funds for key Government programmes.

Treasury is not receiving enough inflows to be able to meet public financial obligations with the bulk of the budgeted revenue inflows, about $3,8 billion this year, going to recurrent expenditure.

In terms of ZAMCO, the central bank issued TBs to finance takeover of bad loans on banks’ balance sheets and enable the financial institutions to extend fresh credit to productive sectors.

Dr Mangudya said it was incorrect to assert that the TBs could crowd out private sector, as Government was mobilising funding to clear its liabilities, in instances long-standing, to the same entities.

“Government is issuing Treasury Bills to pay the debts, and to say its crowding out private sector would be incorrect.

“The people who were owed are the private sector and by paying them it means they will start producing goods and services,” he said.

“At the very best, we are helping the economy to expand. For example, if you were in clothing and manufacturing and delivered your products, but have not been paid for 20 years, 16 or five years and get paid through TBs; you accept, but claim that you are being crowded out, that is inconsistency,” Dr Mangudya said.

Govt loses $80k as youths skip to SA

Source: Govt loses $80k as youths skip to SA | The Herald March 20, 2017

Pamela Shumba:Bulawayo Bureau

THE majority of youths in Tsholotsho who received loans from Government to start income generating projects skipped the country and headed to South Africa resulting in only $7 000 being repaid from the $87 000 that was disbursed.Matabeleland North provincial head in the Ministry of Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Mr Buthumuzi Ngwenya revealed this on Friday while making a presentation at a provincial advocacy meeting for HIV programming for displaced communities in Bulawayo.

The meeting, which was organised by the National Aids Council, was attended by heads of department from various ministries in an effort to counter other disasters that might affect the more than 800 flood victims accommodated at Sipepa Camp in Tsholotsho.

Mr Ngwenya said the problem of floods in Tsholotsho is part of a myriad of challenges that needed urgent attention in the district.

He said most of the youths who benefited from Kurera/Ukondla Youth Fund left for South Africa with the money.

“Floods are the least thing that the people in Tsholotsho needed because the district already has more problems than other districts. Out of the seven districts in the province, Tsholotsho was the worst in terms of repayment of the Youth Fund. The district received $87 000. Out of that money $80 000 disappeared. The youths were receiving $1 200 as individuals and most of them didn’t repay.

“They left for South Africa and used the money for their upkeep in the neighbouring country as they looked for jobs. It’s difficult to trace them,” said Mr Ngwenya.

He said 90 percent of the youths in Binga managed to pay back the money while other districts including Nkayi, Umguza, Hwange and Lupane also tried to pay back the loans.

Mr Ngwenya said it was difficult to use traditional leaders to trace the youths as some of the leaders also benefited from Government funds but never paid back.

“Some of the chiefs are defaulters so it’s difficult to get assistance from them. We, therefore, need multi-sectoral programming that will help our youths focus on skills development and be able to be innovative and work without being pushed.

“Now that the floods have come and gone, we must not rest. We have to come up with measures that will make the people in Tsholotsho less vulnerable. They should be able to survive in whatever circumstances,” he said.

Mr Ngwenya said some youths in the area go to South Africa before they finish school, where they do menial jobs.

Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko is on record as urging young people to shun the habit of travelling to South Africa illegally, saying there was nothing for them but death in the neighbouring country.

VP Mphoko, who is also Zimbabwe’s former Ambassador to South Africa, said he was speaking from experience as he had come across cases of young boys and girls who left school and ended up being exploited to become sex slaves and homosexuals.

Zimswitch carries out cross border payment trial

Source: Zimswitch carries out cross border payment trial | The Herald March 20, 2017

Enacy Mapakame Business Reporter
ZIMSWITCH is carrying out a trial for its cross border payment system as it moves closer to linking local banks to a regional payment platform to facilitate smooth flow of transactions across the SADC region.

The cross border payment system will enable Zimbabweans to transact within the region using their bank cards on Zimswitch.

In an interview with The Herald Business, Zimswitch projects and product development manager Mr Terence Manhanga said this will also reduce dependency on international card payment systems like Visa and Mastercard.

“Your Zimswitch card should be able to work in any of the SADC countries without resorting to other card associations like VISA or Mastercard.

“Right now we have implemented a gateway and we are in the process of testing with what we call the regional clearing house in South Africa.

“We are in the process of testing how the cross border transaction works and once we, as Zimswitch, are satisfied, we will involve the local financial institutions in the testing,” he said.

When successfully launched, the payment system will enable Zimbabweans to transfer money across SADC, do point of sale transactions as well as access cash from any country within SADC region.

Completion of the project is, however, also dependent on the progress made in other SADC countries, who are Zimswitch’s partners in this project.

“We are working on this platform in the region and no country is ready yet, so depending on the progress happening in the region we will start transacting,” he said, adding the project was targeted at low value transactions.

“Right now we have other platforms for high value transactions. It does not make sense to be charged say $40 when you want to send $30 to a child in school in South Africa.

“It also reduces dependency on these international card payments which sometimes leave us stranded when we need them,” said Mr Manhanga.

At an opportune time, Zimswitch will partner global operators like World Remit for the project, whose priority is currently the region.

Meanwhile, Zimswitch has also been affected by the cash challenges that have been prevailing in the country as its volumes in cash transactions significantly reduced.

But the increase in use of plastic money has had a compensatory effect on the business.

PDP target 5 000 voters in every Byo ward

THE opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has launched a recruitment programme aimed at harnessing at least 5 000 votes from every ward in Bulawayo ahead of elections expected in the second half of next year.

Source: PDP target 5 000 voters in every Byo ward – NewsDay Zimbabwe March 20, 2017

BY SILAS NKALA

The MDC-T led by former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has since the turn of the century dominated Bulawayo politics, only to cede parliamentary seats to Zanu PF following the acrimonious split with then secretary-general Tendai Biti (pictured) in 2014. Biti broke away to form the PDP.

PDP provincial organising secretary, Bekithemba Nyathi, told Southern Eye last week that his party has embarked on a massive recruitment drive with the aim of getting over 100 000 new total votes by 2018.

“This is done through the use of data base collection and the process is now underway,” Nyathi said.

“By end of April we need to have recruited between 5 000 and 6 000 at least in every ward in Bulawayo. Our aim is to claim Bulawayo through the programme code named Take Over Programme (TOP). I can safely say Bulawayo is safe under PDP, we do not see any political party from the current political players in Bulawayo matching the kind of work PDP is doing.”

Nyathi said, while a re-organisation of the party is also underway in the province, organisers were happy with the progress made thus far indicating there would be surprises come next year.

However, PDP is one of the political parties in the Coalition of Democrats (Code) which have agreed to go into the 2018 elections as a combined force in an effort to defeat Zanu PF and President Robert Mugabe, but reports indicate Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn leader Simba Makoni, who is also part of the loose coalition has already endorsed Tsvangirai as a presidential candidate.

‘No insurance for accident victims’ survivors’

GOVERNMENT does not have modalities for social safety nets to cater for families left behind by victims of road carnage, Transport minister Joram Gumbo has said.

Source: ‘No insurance for accident victims’ survivors’ – NewsDay Zimbabwe March 20, 2017

BY NIZBERT MOYO

Gumbo was responding to public concerns that government seems only able to help with the burial of victims, while forgetting the surviving families, who might have lost breadwinners.

“Yes, it is a good idea. I am also thinking about it (looking after surviving families). People must talk about it and you must write about it, but there is no Bill so far to that effect. It is a process, it has to go through various stages in my office so that we can come up with a way of handling the issue,” he said. “It was also raised in Parliament last week.”

Gumbo’s remarks come in the wake of the death of 14 people, mostly family members on their way to bury a child, in a horrific accident just outside Bulawayo two weeks ago.

Nketa-Mganwini MP Phelela Masuku told mourners at the burial of one of the victims that it was incumbent upon government to provide social safety nets that also cater for surviving families after an accident.

“The government must come up with a law that will enable it to provide an insurance cover for road accident victims, including their dependents. South Africa has what is known as the public liability insurance,” he said.

Masuku said most of the people who died in the accidents were breadwinners, a situation that was forcing the dependents into destitution immediately.

However, he thanked members of the community for the assistance they rendered to the bereaved families in the aftermath of the accident.

“I want to thank all members of the community who assisted the Sibanda family, various denominations, businesspeople, vendors, residents’ association and Tshova Mbaiwa for providing 20 commuter omnibuses, as well as the moral support during this difficult time,” Masuku said.

Fresh Zanu PF skirmishes in Chipinge

INFORMATION and Communication Technology deputy minister Win Mlambo on Friday defied a Zanu PF Manicaland province order not to hold a rally in Chipinge South, leading to skirmishes between hordes of rival party youths.

Source: Fresh Zanu PF skirmishes in Chipinge – NewsDay Zimbabwe March 20, 2017

BY KENNETH NYANGANI

Mlambo early last week was forced to flee for his life after armed Zanu PF youths charged at him, accusing the Chipinge East MP of intrusion.

But, unlike in the previous incident were Mlambo’s sympathisers had to scurry for cover, on Friday they reportedly fought back.

Mlambo confirmed the incident to NewsDay yesterday but said the rally had already been stopped.

“The rally had already been stopped. The security agents had ordered the meeting to be stopped for security reasons. But there are hooligans who thought the meeting was still going ahead and started barricading the road with rocks and logs,” he said.

“The hooligans were just causing mayhem among themselves for reasons we do not know. They are defectors we wanted to help,’ he said.

Sources said Mlambo intended to distribute food, to six families of Zanu PF youths who died last year in a road accident coming from a rally.

“Mlambo wanted to hold a meeting there (in Chipinge South a) against the order of the province and law enforcement agents. When his advance party went to the ground they faced resistance from local Zanu PF supporters, this time it was not only the youths who resisted, there were members of the women’s league, village heads and ordinary party structures who gave them their marching orders,” NewsDay heard.

“You cannot just come into someone’s constituency without invitation. You can also not talk about development issues in someone’s constituency without their knowledge or that of the leadership.”

Chipinge South lawmaker Enoch Porusingazi urged Mlambo to be a unifying figure rather than trying to “destabilise his constituency.”

“He (Mlambo) should understand that we are from the same party and the party policy entails that we work together.

Let us not treat each other as enemies, if he wants to de-campaign me he should wait until the time we have primary elections, he should not try to destabilise my constituency,” Porusingazi said.

Mujuru snubs Mugabe war vets invite

FORMER Vice-President and opposition leader Joice Mujuru has snubbed an invitation by War Veterans minister Tshinga Dube to attend a proposed meeting of former guerrilla war fighters tentatively set for next month.

Source: Mujuru snubs Mugabe war vets invite – NewsDay Zimbabwe March 20, 2017

BY RICHARD CHIDZA

Mujuru was stampeded out of the ruling party, as part of a brutal purge in the run-up to the Zanu PF 6th congress held in December 2014, on accusations she was behind a sinister plot to force Mugabe out of power.

Her removal as Mugabe’s number two was part of the ongoing internal power struggle for the soul of Zanu PF, as senior party leaders look beyond the 93-year-old ruler, despite public pronouncements that he will represent the ruling party in next year’s presidential polls.

Dube told NewsDay last week that Mujuru, as a veteran of the liberation struggle, would be free to attend.

“She is free to attend as a war veteran and not in any other capacity. We would welcome her. The meeting brings together all war veterans from across the political divide. We do not look at who supports which party or is aligned to which political formation. The President meets all those who took part in the liberation struggle and Mujuru is one of them,” Dube said.

But Mujuru immediately scoffed at the suggestion that she would appear at Mugabe’s indaba with war veterans.

“As a matter of principle and ideological standing Dr Mujuru has no desire to attend a gathering presided over by a dictator who has completely lost focus, as demonstrated by his insatiable appetite to disregard constitutionalism and the rule of law. Put simply one cannot expect Jesus to attend a sermon being

presided over by Baal’s prophets,” Mujuru said through spokesperson Gift Nyandoro, adding Mugabe had failed to deliver on last year’s promises after a meeting with the ex-fighters.

Mugabe has agonisingly watched his age-old relationship with war veterans waste away over the succession issue, with the former fighters backing Mujuru’s successor in Zanu PF Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa, while sections of the women and youth leagues were reportedly behind First Lady Grace Mugabe under the banner of a faction known as G40.

Mujuru now leads the opposition National People’s Party following a “rebranding” exercise triggered by a nasty fall-out with erstwhile comrades in the Zimbabwe People First party.

The Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association (ZNLWVA), which last week won a court interdict to force authorities to allow it to hold its own meeting, said its members would not attend Mugabe’s meeting. Police two weeks ago barred the ZNLWVA from holding a special indaba in the capital, citing “administrative issues” that needed to be attended to but the association accused police of being “used.” Secretary-general Victor Matemadanda yesterday said his association had no reason to attend.

“We have no reason to attend because the first meeting yielded nothing in terms of fulfilment of promises. We feel that it is better to use the millions that are going to be wasted on the event to pay outstanding medical bills and examination fees for very needy children of war veterans,” Matemadanda said.

Mugabe’s lieutenants have in the past year unsuccessfully tried to set up a new war veterans’ association fronted by Manicaland Provincial Affairs minister Mandi Chimene, to rival the ZNLWVA-led by former Cabinet minister Christopher Mutsvangwa.

Mugabe met war veterans in April last year in a stormy period that was followed by the release of a damning communiqué describing him as a manipulative and “genocidal leader” who has used foul means to retain power.

VVIPs still to glide in luxury

THERE will be no immediate relief to the poor in the $100 million emergency road repairs and refurbishment programme as roads used by VVIPs will get priority, a Transport Ministry report has shown.

Source: VVIPs still to glide in luxury – NewsDay Zimbabwe March 20, 2017

by PAIDAMOYO MUZULU

The country’s deplorable roads condition has worsened after the country was swept by tropical Cyclone Dineo.

Transport Minister Joram Gumbo in a recent government report said his ministry — in partnership with Treasury — had raised resources for emergency road repairs, but these would start with highways frequently used by VVIPs.

“Work started on road repairs in Harare in February, commencing with repairs to some strategic VVIP routes around the city, as some of you might have seen,” he said.

Gumbo added the project will cascade to high-density suburbs as it progresses.

“This work will continue with roads in the central business district, low and high density suburbs being next in line. City engineers are part of the technical subcommittee that has compiled the road emergency programme,” Gumbo added.

Repairs have begun on roads such as the Joshua Nkomo Road leading to the Harare International Airport frequented by President Robert Mugabe and Borrowdale Road leading to his private home in the leafy suburb.

The capital Harare and Bulawayo will get the lion’s share of the $26,4 million set aside for the project targeting local authorities.

“Government intends to raise $100 million for the road emergency rehabilitation programme, through Zimbabwe National Road Administration (Zinara) bond. This money would be distributed as follows; urban councils $26,4 million, $10,2 million being for City of Harare and $4,1 million for the City of Bulawayo,” the report said.
The remaining 13 urban councils will have to share a measly $12,1 million.

Meanwhile, the minister also announced that the long-awaited dualisation of Beitbridge-Chirundu would commence in the second week of April.

“The ground-breaking ceremony will be held during the first or second week of April 2017, after which construction will commence,” he announced.

Gumbo said the main contractors were now in the country and financial arrangements with the Japanese and Chinese for the project have been concluded.

“For the Harare-Chirundu road, the section to be funded by the Japanese grant has now been finalised, and so contract documentation with China Harbour Engineering Company will now be finalised,” he said.

Diplomatic tiff looms over humiliated Indian doctors

THE three Indian medical investors, who were recently humiliated and arrested on allegations of practising in Zimbabwe without licences, have now threatened to take the matter up with their government.

Source: Diplomatic tiff looms over humiliated Indian doctors – NewsDay Zimbabwe March 20, 2017

BY CHARLES LAITON

With authorities insisting the medical practitioners had tried to operate illegally, the Indians have argued their humiliating experience should never happen to others.

In an interview with NewsDay after landing in India, one of the specialist doctors, Areeba Adeeb said he was still in shock and did not believe the registrar of the Medical Council of Zimbabwe, Josephine Mwakutuya, could have treated would-be investors like common criminals.

Adeeb claimed they had been invited by the Indian ambassador to Zimbabwe, Rungsung Masakui, in conjunction with the Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda.

“We (Adeeb, Manoj Kumar Miglan and Ramji Mehrotra) were not in the wrong and we will now be escalating this matter to the MEA here so that Indian doctors are not mistreated like this at the hands of Zimbabwean authorities again,” Adeeb said.

“We were made to feel like criminals and even had black paint put on our hands for fingerprints (at Borrowdale Police Station). Our passports were also seized. All in all it was the most humiliating experience any doctor can go through especially when his/her intention was betterment of healthcare and nothing else. There was no commercial gain in us coming to Zimbabwe.”

Adeeb added: “Contrary to Mrs Mwakutuya’s claims even if we were consulting patients it would not have been against the law of the land as we had been invited by the local doctors as per the Section 129 clause.

“Whatever the case, such senior doctors need to be respected and we were foreign visitors who came to Zimbabwe with the intention of helping local setups for delivering healthcare for which patients are right now flying to India for treatment. The harassment that happened cannot be justified by whatever reasons Mrs Mwakutuya is giving right now.” Mwakutuya also denied humiliating the doctors, instead accusing the Indians of “resisting a lawful police order”.

But, Adeeb dismissed Mwakutuya’s assertions arguing “there was more to her actions than meets the eye.”

“We were shoved into a car without even getting the chance to make a phone call or make them understand that there was miscommunication and that we were well aware of Medical Licensing rules. But it looked like they were only interested to get us into a police station,” he said adding even the intervention of Ambassador Masakui did not help matters.

“We feel strongly that the intention was just to humiliate us and disrespect us further as even after all the verifications were done, we were not released from the police station,” Adeeb said.

Mujuru bigwig election bid dealt major blow

Source: Mujuru bigwig election bid dealt major blow | The Herald March 20, 2017

Fidelis Munyoro Chief Court Reporter
Spokesperson for National People’s Party party president Dr JoiceMujuru, Mr Gift Nyandoro’s aspirations to contest for the party’s top post of secretary-general could be scuttled after it emerged that he is facing disbarment from the Law Society of Zimbabwe over a series of professional misconducts.

Nyandoro, a lawyer by profession, has been reported to the Law Society of Zimbabwe (LSZ) over a raft of allegations relating to professional misconduct.

He is expected to go for a disciplinary hearing before the disciplinary ethics committee in one of the cases.

The party’s inaugural elective congress will be held next month and Mr Nyandoro will battle it out with Mr Nelson Mashizha, Mr Hamadziripi Dube, Ms Petronella Musarurwa and Mr David Butau for the big post of secretary-general.

In an interview on Friday, LSZ secretary Mr Edward Mapara confirmed that the society was seized with many complaints against Mr Nyandoro.

“There are a number of complaints against him which are being processed,” said Mr Mapara. “We are investigating and if there is prima facie evidence, we refer to disciplinary ethics committee. I am aware that there is one case which is now before the DEC.”

In October last year, Mr Nyandoro appeared in court accused of conniving with a Harare woman to sell a non-existent residential stand to two desperate home seekers.

Mr Nyandoro and Ms Pauline Gutsa appeared at the Harare Magistrates’ Court facing fraud charges.

Mr Nyandoro, also a senior partner at Hamunakwadi, Nyandoro law firm, applied for stay of proceedings pending a determination on his application for review at the High Court.

Charges against Mr Nyandoro arose in August 2014, when Mr Paddington Ruhora was looking for a residential stand to buy.

His friend only identified as Freddy referred him to Mr Nyandoro and Ms Gutsa.

It is alleged that Mr Ruhora approached the pair to get finer details and they explained to him.

Mr Ruhora was interested in buying the stand and the pair convinced him that his money would be safely kept by Mr Nyandoro. It is alleged Mr Ruhora believed the residential stand was genuine and gave Mr Nyandoro $4 000 as part payment.

Using the same modus operandi, Ms Gutsa and Mr Nyandoro convinced another home seeker, Mr Lewis Bangomwe, to pay for the same stand.

On August 29, 2014 Mr Bangomwe paid $300 administration fee and another $1 000 on December 24.

It is alleged that he paid another $2 000 on January 5.

The court heard that Mr Ruhora and Mr Bangomwe were separately allocated stand No.11024 Glen Norah A in December 2014 and promised that development for the stand was in progress.

It is further alleged that no development took place and when Mr Ruhora visited the stand in March 2015, he found another person occupying it.

Mr Ruhora inquired with Ms Gutsa who professed ignorance.

The court heard that Mr Ruhora verified with the City of Harare and was advised that the stand was non-existent.

Mr Bangomwe lost $7 300, while Mr Ruhora lost $4 000 and nothing was recovered.

Zesa closes in on $1,1bn loan

Source: Zesa closes in on $1,1bn loan | The Herald March 20, 2017

Business Reporters
ZESA Holdings says nearly all of the 14 conditions precedent for the release of the $1,1 billion loan by China Eximbank for expansion of Hwange Power Station have been met.

The power utility intends to increase Hwange Power Station’s electricity generation capacity by adding two more generators each with capacity of 300 megawatts. Sino Hydro of China won the engineering, procurement and construction contract for the project.

ZESA spokesperson Fullard Gwasira said the Ministry of Finance was working on the final requirements for the release of the loan, also to be considered by the Chinese Government, since the financier is a state owned entity.

“Most of the conditions for the release of the loan on Hwange Extension project have been met and the process is now being handled by the Ministry of Finance for the finalisation of the Implementation Agreement. Until all the relevant processes have been finalised, it is premature for us to comment further,” Mr Gwasira said.

He would not name the conditions precedent.

However, The Herald Business understands that part of the conditions include the requirement for Sino Hydro to have a 36 percent shareholding in a joint venture for the Hwange Power Station capacity extension project, as part of conditions from project financier. Sino Hydro was contracted to extend Hwange’s generating capacity by 600 megawatts in 2014 with construction works expected to last 42 months from financial closure; which is expected in the first half of this year.

Highly placed sources at ZESA told The Herald Business that China Eximbank structured the funding deal differently from common tradition following observation of technical challenges on projects funded elsewhere.

“It was a funding requirement, the financiers sought to avoid unpleasant results from previous experiences where the contractor would leave the project soon after completing the construction,” said the source recently.

For instance, Botswana now intends to sell a 600MW Chinese-built power plant after the plant experienced persistent technical problems since commissioning in 2012. Botswana’s Morupule B coal-fired power station, built by China National Electric Equipment Corporation at a cost of $970 million, has broken down frequently, leading to a costly reliance on diesel generators and imports.

As such, Sino Hydro will construct, maintain and operate Hwange power station for at least five years after its completion until the next major overhaul, which would fall due after the first five years of operation. Sino will maintain interest and oversight of smooth and efficient functionality of the plant long after its completion. In terms of the deal, ZPC and Sino Hydro formed a joint venture company, but finer details regarding the JV and obligations of each part were not immediately available at the time of publishing the story.

Nonetheless, it is understood the debt will be resident at ZPC.

The same arrangement, a source said, was used for Kariba South capacity extension project, funded by Sino Hydro under a $354 million EPC contract deal, is a Government to Government arrangement between Harare and Beijing, and is being funded by China Eximbank.

The Chinese power plant specialist is also in the process of expanding Kariba South. This is by adding units 7 and 8 for an additional 300MW. The existing six generators at Kariba South have capacity to produce 750MW.

The Hwange (Thermal) Power Station is the biggest power plant in Zimbabwe with an installed capacity of 920MW.

The old plant was built in two stages and consists of 4 generating units of 120MW each and 2 units of 220MW each.

Technical problems due to funding induced inadequate maintenance; insufficient parts replacement and need for upgrades exposed the plant to frequent breakdowns.

In 2009, Namibia’s NamPower agreed to help ZESA to revamp the plant’s capacity under a funding-for- power exchange deal.

Short-term insurers yet to meet new capital levels

Source: Short-term insurers yet to meet new capital levels | The Herald March 20, 2017

Walter Muchinguri Assistant Business Editor
At least half of the 20 registered short–term insurers operating in the country had not yet raised their minimum capital levels to $2,5 million by the December 31, 2016 deadline that was set by Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa in last year’s budget.

According to the latest short-term insurance report for the quarter ended December 31, 2016 that was issued by the Insurance and Pension Commission, only 11 of the 20 registered insurers were compliant with the proposed $2,5 million capital level. IPEC, however, said all but one insurer were compliant with the previous minimum capital requirement of $1,5 million.

“All the registered non-life insurance companies, except Credit Insurance Company, reported capital positions which were compliant with the minimum capital requirement of $1,5 million, as at 31 December 2016. The reported capital positions do not, however, account for non-admissible assets. The Commission is in the process of promulgating a Statutory Instrument that will see an upward review of minimum capital requirements for non-life insurers to $2,5 million as well as accounting for admissible assets for the capital computations,” IPEC said.

Minister Chinamasa last year proposed to increase minimum capital requirements for short-term insurers and funeral assurers from $1,5 million to 2,5 million and Life Assurers from $2 million to $5 million.

The upward review of the minimum capital requirements was expected to improve underwriting capacity and contain insurance business within the country. At least four companies New Reinsurance, Global insurance, KMFS and Navistar were deregistered last year for failing to meet minimum capital requirements and failing to pay claims.

IPEC’s former commissioner Mrs Marnet Mpofu last year indicated that not all companies will be able to meet the new minimum capital requirements by the end of the year deadline and IPEC was engaging the Finance Ministry to be patient with the industry.

“We know that not all companies will meet this requirement by year-end so we are going to be lenient to those companies that would have not met the requirements but whose minimum capital is close to the new thresholds because we do not want to stifle them,” she said at the time.

Meanwhile the shift from hard copy insurance cover notes to electronic ones is now bearing fruit with motor insurance premium driving growth in gross premium written for the short term insurance industry for the period under review.

Total gross premium generated from motor insurance increased by $7,41 million from $85,74 million for the year ended December 31, 2015 to $93,14 million during the year under review while total gross premium written (GPW) for the short term insurance industry amounted to $215,97 million for the year-ended December 31, 2016 compared to the audited GPW of $213,44 million reported during the previous year.

“The increase could be explained by the introduction of electric cover notes which meant that most motor vehicles previously insured using fake cover notes are now insured with genuine electronic cover notes and a natural growth in vehicle population,” IPEC said.

The contribution of the short-term industry to the country’s GDP as measured by the insurance penetration ratio remained constant at 1,52 percent while the average per capita spending on non-life insurance as measured by the non-life insurance density decreased marginally from $15,.31 for the year ended December 31, 2015 to $15,17 for the year under review.

Total assets for non-life insurance companies increased by 5,01 percent to $197,43 million during the period under review from $188,01 million as at 30 September 2016. The increase in total assets was mainly driven by an increase in total premium debtors from $30,09 million as at September 30, 2016 to $36,81 million during the period under review.

“The observed increase in total assets during the quarter under review is in line with the trend observed since 2012, which is attributable to tobacco insurance, where premiums are only collected in arrears at the end of the tobacco farming season,” IPEC said.

4 trafficking victims used as cheap labour in SA

Source: 4 trafficking victims used as cheap labour in SA | The Herald March 20, 2017

Thupeyo Muleya Beitbridge Bureau
The trial of a 25-year-old South African man who allegedly trafficked four Zimbabweans to SA where he used them for forced labour has been set for April 12.

Raymond Sithole of Chebeng Village will be tried at the Seshego Magistrate Court in Polokwane city.

He was arrested on January 3 by South Africa’s Directorate for Priority Crime Investigations (The Hawks) following a tip off.

Sithole is accused of holding the four men hostage at his home.

Hawks spokesperson for Limpopo Province, Captain Matimba Maluleke said the man’s victims were aged between 15 and 20 and that they had been illegally transported into the neighbouring country on the promise of good jobs.

Captain Maluleke said the four were kept under lock and key at Sithole’s house.

He said in some instances, the man would send the victims to steal and do other jobs without payments.

“He has been charged for human trafficking. The complainants were allegedly kept under key and lock after being smuggled into South Africa with false promises of good jobs and better lives here.

“In some cases, the suspect would severely assault them if they failed to comply with his orders,” he said.

He said they had also arrested a Home Affairs official, John Baloyi (32) for confiscating a passport belonging to a foreign national in January.

“After confiscating the passport, he asked for a bribe and we arrested him soon after he collected the money. He will soon appear in court on a charge of corruption,” he said.

Police from both countries intensified border patrols in light of an increase in the illegal smuggling of children between the two countries.

A total of 120 children were in December intercepted along the boundary line while being smuggled into South Africa, prompting security agents to redouble their efforts in fighting the crime.

Further, a total of 20 children were repatriated from that country last year after being intercepted between Musina and Polokwane en-route to Johannesburg.

In the same year, three Zimbabwean cross-border transporters were jailed for up to 632 years by a South African High Court after they were convicted on 62 charges ranging from murder, robbery, extortion, rape among other violent crimes perpetrated in that country.

All their victims were Zimbabweans using hiking spots between Musina and Johannesburg.

NPP’s Mujuru unopposed

National People’s Party (NPP) interim leader Joice Mujuru will go to the party’s inaugural convention slated for early next month unchallenged, while six candidates will battle for the two slots reserved for the former Vice-President’s deputies.

Source: NPP’s Mujuru unopposed – NewsDay Zimbabwe March 20, 2017

BY Everson Mushava

Last Monday was the cut-off date for submissions of nominations from members aspiring to contest for the opposition party’s top six positions.

The NPP is currently run by an interim administration headed by Mujuru and is set to choose substantive leaders ahead of the 2018 general elections.

Mujuru “rebranded” her group into NPP after a row with ex-allies-cum-adversaries Rugare Gumbo and Didymus Mutasa, leaving the two to share the leadership of the Zimbabwe People First party.

A list seen by NewsDay showed Mujuru was unchallenged, but six people were set to battle it out to become her two deputies, three have been nominated for national chairman, five for secretary-general and three for treasurer.

Career ambassador John Mvundura (74), who is the interim secretary for foreign affairs and retired soldier Elliot Kasu (55), who currently leads the party’s war veterans arm will battle for the position of first vice-president, while ex-Cabinet minister Samuel Sipepa Nkomo (77), Cuthbert Ncube (42), Linda Dube (55) and Bongani Nyathi, will battle for the position of second vice-president.

Former Energy minister Dzikamai Mavhaire, who is secretary for mobilisation will battle it out with Bancinyane Wilson and Maduma Bekezela for party national chairperson post.

Nelson Mashizha, Hamadziripi Dube, Mujuru’s spokesperson Gift Nyandoro, former Mbire MP David Butau and lawyer Petronella Musarurwa are eyeing the secretary-general position.

Engineer and banker Wilbert Mubaiwa, Nkuta Bukhosi and Ndou Moffat will battle for treasurer-general position.

However, NPP members who spoke to NewsDay on condition of anonymity said they were concerned that the front runners in deputising Mujuru were older than the party leader, which would threaten succession plans and throw the party into the Zanu PF succession melodrama.

“Look at Mvundura and Nkomo, they are above 70. If Mujuru wins next year, Nkomo will be 88 when she finishes her two terms and Mvundura 85. They won’t be able to take over. There is need to have younger blood, who can be groomed to take over for continuity,” a senior party member said, arguing there was need for an age limit for contestants.

Party spokesperson Jealousy Mawarire could neither deny nor confirm the authenticity of the list, but said his party would not discriminate people on any basis including age.

“We can’t have a party that discriminates against the youths, the elderly or women. Our people should be allowed to choose their leaders freely, if they decide that they want to be led by the aged, that is their choice and as democrats, we will respect their will,” Mawarire said.

Does serving under a dictatorship make one a dictator?

It must be difficult being Joice Mujuru right now, judging by the media reports from her recent tour to the United Kingdom. The media, both our own State and the British, have approached her bid as one of the 2018 presidential candidates with a lot of questions associated with her past links to Zanu PF.

Source: Does serving under a dictatorship make one a dictator? – NewsDay Zimbabwe March 20, 2017

Develop me: Tapiwa Gomo

Before getting into the details of my discussion this week, let’s start by her birth lottery and remind ourselves how we have known Mujuru.

Mujuru, born Runaida Mugari, is a 61-year-old female politician, who joined the war of liberation at a very early age after completing only two years of secondary education. On February 17, 1974, she reportedly downed a helicopter after refusing to flee with other men and women. She later, in 1977, married Solomon Mujuru, who would become the army general in independent Zimbabwe. She would later become the Vice-President of Zimbabwe from 2004 to 2014, before forming her own party after being fired from Zanu PF last year.

While on the London tour, she was invited to the Deutsche Welle television programme, the conflict zone hosted by Tim Sebastian. There is no prize for guessing the first question. “For 10 years you were Robert Mugabe’s Vice-President. Corruption, murder atrocities, torture — for a record like that around your neck why should anyone vote for you now,” Sebastian opened what would be an intriguing interview with the former Vice-President, who kept insisting that she was not the Executive.

This questioning is in line with a common and yet distorted narrative. For laymen or shallow minds on issues political, the question sounded intelligent and relevant. Or as a mundane, perhaps used to unsettle the interviewee. Sadly Sebastian is not alone in portraying and perpetrating this very narrow way of looking at issues.

There is no doubt that her time in Zanu PF, and most specifically under Mugabe, would give rise to those questions.

But there is equally no justification to assume that working under his administration makes her guilty by association. There are several names who worked under the same administration and yet are treated as heroes.

I am aware that making such a case triggers angst among many people, who have over the decades made themselves parochial consumers of Western narratives fleeing State media doses of propaganda. But let us interrogate this narrative and get over it. Is Mujuru guilty by association? This brings back the lottery of birth question. We don’t choose where we are born and how we become associated with our environment. She did not choose to be born in a country that needed to be freed from colonialism and yet she chose to change the environment by joining the struggle which would be described as a dictatorship. And the question itself is a logical contradiction and will be elaborated later.

The answer to the question on whether she is guilty or not is debatable and maybe we need to get on with that debate and get over it before the campaigns begin. The question arises from the assumption that she worked under what the Western media has described as a dictatorship. Her guilty verdict emerges from two factors; first that she worked under it and second that she did not do anything about the “corruption, murder atrocities, torture” and other vices committed during and after her time in the system.

When these factors are juxtaposed alongside the dictatorship narrative, they are in contradiction. For starters, dictatorship thrives on using and abusing people and, therefore, she could have been a tool to perpetrate abuse which made her a direct victim of abuse herself, that is if that was against her wishes.

The second point raised by the interviewer and most commonly raised is that she did not raise her voice against the system when those vices were being perpetrated. Without attempting to exonerate her, a dictatorship ceases to be one, once it allows or starts to be questioned within and by its own system. We cannot anymore describe a system as a dictatorship and still expect its members to have the ability to question it without risking their own lives. There could be many more Joices in that system today who fear to quit or raise their voices.

I am not raising this argument for purposes of exonerating Mujuru, but for precedence. The truth of the matter is that the President is ageing and at some point someone with their own institutional baggage, from within or outside the system, will have to take over. That person’s ability to effectively and successfully take over will depend on our ability to accept them as independent individuals and not who they worked for in their previous lives. Let us view Joice as Joice and not as former Zanu PF.

There is consensus among us Zimbabweans that this country needs a future. And achieving that future will, in the immediate, require compromises, sacrifices and forgiveness. The same familiar faces may still be with us and relevant to our causes, but in their own right and not representing their old systems anymore. Perhaps the biggest obstacle to achieving that future is the intuition that, although as human beings we are not responsible for the systems we found ourselves in and the identities allocated to us. But then those who choose to pursue the progressive agenda beyond the confines of their former systems is to convince the people that they have chosen to change their ways as they have matured. By doing so commit to become truly responsible — bad habits can be broken and overcome.

Tapiwa Gomo is a development consultant based in Pretoria, South Africa

Mugabe legacy hinges on bloodless polls

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe is presented to the country, continent and the rest of the globe as an icon by his handlers, but it is a fact that his human rights record, either by omission or commission for lack of a better phrase, is nothing to be proud of.

Source: Mugabe legacy hinges on bloodless polls – NewsDay Zimbabwe March 20, 2017

Comment: NewsDay Editor

Mugabe fronted the fight for the liberation of Zimbabwe from colonialism, but then inherited an autocratic system from the Rhodesian regime that he has continued to use against the citizens and his political opponents.

At 93 Mugabe would want to, at the very least, leave an enduring memory as the nation’s founding father to citizens present and future and there seems to be concerted efforts by some within Zanu PF and government hell-bent on helping him to go out in darkness.

From forced disappearances to outright political assassinations, as well as violence in pre and post-election periods, Mugabe’s reign is literally etched in blood and we are not sure this is how he would have wanted the script to his rule written.

Given, some of the atrocities committed in his name are unknown to him as was exposed last week by indications that he had not donated “zapknaks” to flood victims in Matabeleland North, despite claims by senior officials in government that the President had shown such insensitivity in the face of tragedy.

Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa has in the past two years consistently attended the United Nations Universal Periodic Review and as we report elsewhere in this issue last week accepted a measly nine out of a hundred recommendations, while rejecting the important ones linked to basic freedoms guaranteed in the Constitution, including against torture.

This is an indication that Mugabe is willing or, at the very least, his lieutenants want him to retain the “dictator’s” tag until the very end. It would be akin to political euthanasia on the part of those close to Mugabe.
But then some have argued, Mugabe is aware and micro-manages everything.

Events in the past week especially violent disruptions of hearings in the National Peace and Reconciliation Bill make sad reading — that’s the Zanu PF legacy.

This shows that the Zimbabwean leader is willing to end his political career with a tattered human rights record.

We believe with Mugabe likely to participate in his last election next year, this provides him with a perfect opportunity to run a clean, bloodless election for the first time in 38 years. It would be a perfect opportunity for him to leave in the memories of Zimbabweans a leader who gave his all for the motherland.

It is our hope that the President will grab this opportunity with both hands. Mugabe — as the country’s founding leader — has an obligation to bestow on this nation a value system that would endure for eternity. We need a clean election Mr President and your legacy depends on this one.

TIMB takes over afforestation fund

The Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) will manage the afforestation fund made up of tobacco levies, a Cabinet minister has said.

Source: TIMB takes over afforestation fund – NewsDay Zimbabwe March 20, 2017

BY TARISAI MANDIZHA

The fund was being managed by Treasury which, for two consecutive seasons failed to disburse the $13,2 million collected in tobacco levies meant for afforestation programmes.

Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development minister Joseph Made last week said TIMB would take over the fund this marketing season. The tobacco marketing season began on March 15.

“In our discussions with the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, we have been assured that the tobacco levy is now going to be administered by TIMB,” Made said.

The 1,5 % tobacco levy which had been scrapped in 2005, was re-introduced by government in 2015, as golden leaf production increased to cater for the environment through afforestation. The money was meant to assist tobacco farmers in growing gum trees and access alternatives to firewood for curing tobacco.

TIMB chairperson, Monica Chinamasa, said from the recent pronouncement by Finance and Economic Development minister Patrick Chinamasa, government would appropriate the outstanding disbursement.

“We are very delighted by this clear pronouncement by government and as such we will immediately embark on an aggressive afforestation programme using the levy funds,” Chinamasa said.

She said growers have been contributing towards an afforestation levy since 2015.

Chinamasa encouraged farmers to re-orient their production practices to patterns that favour sustainability and satisfy the new needs of the markets.

“A simple way of doing this is to establish woodlots and to use firewood from sustainable forest for curing tobacco,” she said.

Treasury has projected the 2017 tobacco output at 205 million kg up from 202 million kg attained this year.

RBZ to draw down $70m nostro fund

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) is finalising documents to access the $70 million facility to stabilise the nostro accounts, governor John Mangudya has said.

Source: RBZ to draw down $70m nostro fund – NewsDay Zimbabwe March 20, 2017

BY NDAMU SANDU

“We are drawing down that amount by the end of the month; there are documents that we are finalising. We are happy about it because it is coming at a time the tobacco marketing season has started. So, it means if you add that plus tobacco money coming in, it means that we are going to clear our backlog for payments,” he said.

Mangudya announced the facility in his January monetary policy statement. The facility was supposed to be in place last month. The nostro stabilisation facility is meant to deal with the current delays in the processing of outgoing payments for the procurement of productive imports.

He said the measure was necessary to augment the foreign exchange resources in the banks’ nostro accounts whilst awaiting the opening of the tobacco and cotton selling season.

Mangudya said Zimbabwe had $250 million in nostro accounts, a small figure considering that imports are still high.

The introduction of the facility comes at a time banks have been struggling to process foreign payments, due to the depleting nostros. This has seen companies failing to pay for imported raw materials, thereby threatening industries.

RBZ has introduced a number of controls to manage the depleting nostro accounts.

The controls have seen a number of banks scrapping the use of Visa and MasterCard debit cards for local transactions.

In May last year, RBZ came up with a four-tier import priority list for the efficient use of foreign exchange resources, with a bias towards supporting the productive sectors of the economy and reducing the import bill.

However, exporters have since engaged government, complaining that some banks were not adhering to the import priority list and that their businesses were now at risk.

Zim, South Africa ready to work together on migration

SOUTH Africa will exercise its right to determine who comes and resides into its shores cognisant of its obligations to the region, Home Affairs minister Melusi Gigaba said at the weekend.

Source: Zim, South Africa ready to work together on migration – NewsDay Zimbabwe March 20, 2017

BY PAIDAMOYO MUZULU

Gigaba was welcoming guests to the ongoing Sadc Conference on International Migration, also attended by Zimbabwean Home Affairs minister Ignatius Chombo.

With millions of Zimbabweans having escaped economic, political and social upheaval to seek refuge in the neighbouring country, Chombo told the conference that his government was willing to work with its counterparts in the region to stem the tide of illegal migration.

“South Africa must not look at regional migration as a burden, but as a development opportunity in the context of regional integration, intra-African trade and a dynamic region and continent. Working together, we can and will manage international migration for the development of our country, region and continent,” Gigaba said.

He added: “Politically, a country’s ability to determine who may enter and exit its territory, and on what terms, is a core aspect of national sovereignty, which all of the 200 or so countries in the international State system retain.”

Gigaba said his country was ready to work with its neighbours to control migration, as South Africa had become the centre of migration in the sub-region.

“South Africa has become a major destination, transit and entry point to the continent and the world. The country has become a preferred destination for investors. This has led to major conglomerates in the manufacturing and service industries, establishing their regional offices and/or assembly plants in South Africa,” Gigaba added.

Chombo weighed in: “Zimbabwe is also ready to work with its neighbour for a one-stop border post and stop border jumpers.”

Zimbabweans working in South Africa remain on edge, as a special dispensation permit granted in 2014 is set to expire at the end of the year, with no clear indication as to what will happen next.

South Africa, according to Gigaba, is developing a fresh migration policy for the next two decades.

“The draft policy balances the primary imperatives of economic development, national security, international and constitutional obligations as well as the vision articulated in the Freedom Charter’s injunctions that we should as a country seek to live in peace and friendship with our neighbours,” Gigaba said.

Tensions remain high between South Africans and immigrants in that country, amid threats of a possible outbreak of xenophobia that in the last few years has claimed the lives of dozens of foreigners, including Zimbabweans.

Gigaba noted that regional co-operation would help in stemming the tide of migration.

Zimdef fails to pay exam fees for Stem students

At least 5 000 Advanced Level students funded by the Higher and Tertiary Education ministry through the Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund (Zimdef) risk failing to sit for their examinations amid claims that the government has failed to pay for their exam fees.

Source: Zimdef fails to pay exam fees for Stem students – NewsDay Zimbabwe March 20, 2017

By XOLISANI NCUBE

The students, who are specialising in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (Stem) a government programme meant to inspire the study of sciences, according to Senator Misheck Marava (MDC-T) could miss out on the deadline to pay for their November exams set for this week.

“My question is directed to the Primary and Secondary Education minister (Lazarus Dokora). Minister, the government is not meeting its obligations on some Stem-funded students. We have learnt recently that their tuition and exam fees have not been paid and parents are running around trying to meet the deadlines. What are you doing to try and help?” Marava asked.

Dokora, who could not provide an answer to the question, said his ministry was just a beneficiary of funding from the government and he was unaware if Zimdef had failed to pay the tuition fees.

“As with respect to funding, my ministry is a beneficiary of those that have the money. The Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development ministry is funding some of my students, so the question should rightly be directed to them,” Dokora said, indicating that Higher Education minister Jonathan Moyo was better placed to answer the question.

When asked about the fate of the students, Dokora said: “I did not stand up to confirm government failure. I said I am a beneficiary and, therefore, the question ought to be directed to the ministry that is providing the funding, just as I am a beneficiary of government funding and so on.”

He said his ministry would not shift deadlines even if Zimdef was not to pay in time, as doing so would jeopardise already laid-down process.

“I work with deadlines because we have to prepare examination systems to run in accordance within a timeframe,” he said. The Higher and Tertiary Education ministry through Zimdef has availed funding of over $10
million to Advanced Level students in a bid to promote the learning of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Zanu PF Masvingo debacle

ZANU PF’S intriguing succession political drama played out in Masvingo province last month during a still-born bid to elect a substantive chairperson, NewsDay can reveal.

Source: Zanu PF Masvingo debacle – NewsDay Zimbabwe March 20, 2017

BY RICHARD CHIDZA

With questions still swirling as to whether politburo member Joram Gumbo was still acting chairperson, his report to the party’s politburo was a direct attack on national political commissar Saviour Kasukuwere and his lieutenants.

“My observation is that there is a struggle for control of the province at leadership level. In this regard it is very apparent that the leadership is deeply divided and has provincial and external allegiances. This in my view is the real cause of disunity,” Gumbo said in his report to the politburo last Wednesday. In the February 23 internal election, former chairperson Ezra Chadzamira was leading the race with 12 393 votes against Mutero Masanganise’s 4 888 with 263 of the 145 districts having cast their ballots.

Gumbo urged Zanu PF to allow the province to elect its leadership “free of external influences if unity is to be achieved.”

“There is a lot of latent interference in Masvingo at national level,” he said.

Gumbo recommended the holding of a “special meeting to bury the hatchet” which would be attended by members of the central committee, provincial executive committee, war veterans and ex-detainees.

Two distinct factions within Zanu PF were engaged in a bitter tussle for power as senior leaders look beyond ailing 93-year-old Mugabe despite the fact that Zimbabwe’s only ruler since independence from Britain 37 years ago has already been endorsed as the former guerrilla movement’s presidential candidate in elections expected next year.

Gumbo believed to be a member of Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s Lacoste faction twisted the knife into Kasukuwere, a leading figure in the G40 faction that has been pushing for First Lady Grace Mugabe to take charge.

However, there have been rumours that Mugabe’s wife was being used as a ruse.

“I wish to also report that as acting chair and returning officer, I had no control of the electoral process.

Instead the national political commissar had total control of the process through direct communication with provincial chairpersons who were leading different teams.

“My expectation was that I would be in charge of the process and that the national political commissar would receive reports from me. As a result decisions were taken without my involvement and I would only be informed of those decisions,” Gumbo said, adding it would be a waste of resources to restart the process.

While acknowledging reports of inaccessibility to some areas due to flooding and other logistical glitches, Gumbo, who doubles up as Transport minister, raised the red flag in others.

“Some areas of Chingwizi could have been difficult to access but honestly the rest of Mwenezi was accessible,” he said. Harare provincial commissar Shadreck Mashayamombe an alleged Kasukuwere ally was heading the team.

Gumbo also argued that he could not understand how 40 districts in Masvingo urban could not vote. Bulawayo provincial chairperson Dennis Ndlovu was the head of delegation.

Zanu PF has, however, ordered a rerun of the elections at a day to be announced.

Tender process delaying diabetic medication procurement: Minister

GOVERNMENT’S cumbersome tender process is delaying the procurement of essential medical drugs, leaving many patients in danger of losing their lives, Health and Child Care deputy minister Aldrin Musiiwa has said.

Source: Tender process delaying diabetic medication procurement: Minister – NewsDay Zimbabwe March 20, 2017

BY MUNESU NYAKUDYA

Musiiwa told journalists on the sidelines of a four-day diabetic training workshop for doctors and nurses organised by Zimbabwe Diabetic Association and Novartis. He said the country’s procurement procedures posed the “greatest challenge” to practitioners and patients alike.

“The tender process in this country is very slow and for us in the medical field we would want a situation where if we have the money we would immediately procure the medications to make them available to the public,” he said.

“But naturally as a government institution there are regulations we have to go through including the tender process which can take some months before we can procure medications.”

Musiiwa added that the rise of non-communicable diseases was an issue of concern and the Ministry of Health has since established a department to deal with these.

He said government was facing funding constrains, making it difficult for patients to collect medicines at public institutions at affordable costs rather than private institutions which were expensive.

“There is now renewed focus. We have been fighting HIV and Aids and we seem to be winning and now our focus is on these non-communicable diseases. We have actually have a bit of funding under the Global Fund so that we can have medicines for these diseases in private hospitals.

“We are also working with Novartis to ensure that we lower medicines for non-communicable diseases,” Musiiwa said.

“However, our supply system for the medication is still of concern, but the situation has improved. The challenge is that even if we have money as government institutions, we must go through tender and the process takes some time.”

Diabetes has become one of the world’s deadliest killers, with millions dying every year. In Zimbabwe, 10% of people were found to be diabetic in 2005.

Tajamuka trial faces collapse

LAWYERS representing 22 Tajamuka members accused of burning ZBC and police vehicles during a protest last year, have threatened to apply for refusal of remand if the State continues to dither.

Source: Tajamuka trial faces collapse – NewsDay Zimbabwe March 20, 2017

BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE

Tonderai Bhatasara a member of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (Zlhr)’s threat came after the State sought a fresh postponement of the matter to April 19, arguing witnesses were busy.

Among those facing trial for the alleged arson attack are Promise Mkwananzi, Kunashe Muchemwa, Kerina Gweshe and Michael Kauzani. They all appeared before magistrate Lazini Ncube.

Bhatasara told the court that if the witnesses defaulted again on the next remand date he would be forced to apply for refusal of further remand. The only witnesses yet to testify are the arresting officers and investigation officers.

However, magistrate Ncube warned the State to put its house in order indicating a further postponement or removal from remand would be a miscarriage of justice.

The trial had been postponed on many occasions since last year due to non-availability of State witnesses and other petty excuses which the defence lawyers argued were a ploy by the State to delay justice.

It is the State’s case that on August 24 this year in the Central Business District (CBD) the suspects teamed up and conspired to cause public violence setting ablaze state owned properties which included a Ford Ranger that belong to ZRP and a Mazda BT50 owned by the ZBC as well as disturbing peace, security and order of the public.
Nancy Chandakaona prosecuted.

Tension rises as 2018 looms

Source: Tension rises as 2018 looms – DailyNews Live

Mugove Tafirenyika      19 March 2017

HARARE – Security commanders have summoned opposition parties to a meeting
in Harare tomorrow, ahead of Wednesday’s planned mega demonstrations –
amid fears by panicking authorities that the spirit of resistance which
swept across the country last year is once again gathering steam ahead of
next year’s make-or-break national polls.

This comes as the under pressure Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec), in a
bid to dissuade the opposition from toyi-toying on Wednesday, has also
scheduled its own meeting with all political parties on Tuesday – to
discuss the increasingly contentious matter of biometric voter
registration (BVR), which is the main reason for this week’s protests.

And as if to underscore the fact that this week will be a big one both
politically and economically, overwhelmed banks – which were besieged by
angry tobacco farmers on Friday after they failed to avail the $1 000 that
the farmers had been promised by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) – are
expected to remain under the cosh.

Douglas Mwonzora, the secretary general of the National Electoral Reform
Agenda (Nera), a group of 18 opposition parties agitating for electoral
reforms ahead of next year’s elections, confirmed to the Daily News On
Sunday yesterday that the country’s feared Joint Operations Command (JOC)
– a security think tank comprising military, police, prisons and Central
Intelligence Organisation (CIO) bosses – had summoned them to a meeting
tomorrow.

“Joc and Zec have both called for meetings on the 20th and 21st of this
month respectively, but that will not in any way have a bearing on the
Nera demonstration which will go ahead as planned because Zimbabweans want
to stop this daylight rigging of the 2018 elections that has started.

“We are aware that the authorities are panicking and would want to
intimidate us so that people don’t partake in the demonstration, but that
will not work. We are ready for the consequences of our action,” a defiant
Mwonzora told the Daily News On Sunday.

He also said police were yet to respond to the notification letter of the
protests, which was sent to authorities a fortnight ago.

“We suspect that as usual they are delaying to give us the response
because they want to tell us that we cannot go ahead at the last minute
but we are not going to accept any unjustified banning of the
demonstration.

“We have put down our own security measures where we have about 500
marshals to assist law enforcement agents, because we want a peaceful
process.

“We are expecting that leaders of political parties in Nera will lead over
10 000 people during the protests, although it will be up to them (party
leaders) to decide at which stage of the demonstration to join,” Mwonzora
added.

Zimbabwe’s quest to acquire BVR kits has caused a huge storm among
opposition parties, who view the government’s involvement in the purchase
of the equipment as problematic.

The controversy erupted into the open recently following the government’s
sudden decision to sideline the UNDP from assisting in the procurement of
the BVR kits, with unanswered questions being raised about how and where
President Robert Mugabe’s stone-broke administration was able to secure
funding for this, to the staggering tune of $17 million.

The opposition has alleged that the government is hijacking the process to
rig next year’s eagerly-anticipated national elections.

Mwonzora, told the Daily News On Sunday that Nera was surprised that the
government had “from the blue” chosen to go it alone in the procurement of
the BVR kits.

“It was all along agreed that the procurement of the BVR kits would be
done by Zec through the UNDP. Consequently, a joint advertisement was
flighted by the UNDP and Zec calling upon all potential suppliers of the
kits to place their bids.

“These bids were opened at the UNDP offices in Copenhagen and this was
witnessed by both Zec and political parties. It was further agreed that
once the winner of the tender was declared, political parties would second
their technical experts to inspect these kits.

“But suddenly, the government announced that it was taking over the BVR
kits procurement process. Among other things, this means that the
government will now select the supplier of these kits.

“Crucially, political parties and other key stakeholders will thus not be
able to monitor the process,” Mwonzora pointed out.

With the experience of the 2013 election results, where an Israeli
company, Nikuv, allegedly manipulated the vote in favour of Zanu PF, there
are palpable fears within the opposition that Zanu PF will temper with
next year’s elections.

“Nera totally rejects this move because it is designed to enable the
government to manipulate the procurement process. That way the government
will also manipulate the 2018 election process.

“In other words, this move marks the beginning of the rigging of the 2018
elections … To this end, Nera is organising nationwide demonstrations to
show the people’s outrage at this political abomination. All Zimbabweans,
irrespective of their political affiliation, are called to action,”
Mwonzora said.

Analysts say the Nera protests could herald the beginning of a new season
of protests, following the relative calm that has prevailed in the country
over the past few months, after the panicking government used brute force
to crush rolling protests last year.

University of Zimbabwe political science lecturer, Eldred Masunungure,
said tensions could indeed be rising again, warning that the planned
protests could also turn bloody.

“Government will react in a manner that we have all become accustomed to,
that is with heavy-handedness at the slightest sign of potential trouble,”
he said.

Former civic leader, McDonald Lewanika, said the planned protests were
also a sign that the opposition had lost patience with the government, and
was now going for broke.

“What the planned protest by Nera indicates is that all other methods of
persuading the government to allow for an impartial BVR kit purchase by an
impartial arbiter like the UNDP have failed, leaving these parties with no
option but to communicate with their feet in the street.

“As we inch closer to elections in 2018, tensions will continue to rise,
with the election itself as the climax. The planned war vets indaba may
also mark a watershed moment ahead of 2018 … In that respect the
outcomes of that meeting could be telling a year ahead of elections,”
Lewanika said.

Last week, the High Court gave the angry war veterans the green-light to
hold their indaba, which had earlier been stopped by authorities.

War veterans have been feuding with Mugabe since they served him with
divorce papers, after they released a damning communique against the 93
year-old.

The vets are pressing Mugabe to name a successor and ditch a faction
rabidly opposed to his deputy, Emmerson Mnangagwa, from succeeding him.

Yesterday, the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association
(ZNLWVA) political commissar, Francis Nhando, said Mugabe and Zanu PF did
not want their indaba because it was aimed at addressing the country’s
worsening political and economic rot.

“The reason they don’t want us to meet is that we are the only army that
after fighting colonialism did not end there, but went further to fight
for economic freedom, which saw the land reform programme being
undertaken.

“They also don’t like us because we realised that Morgan Tsvangirai is not
as bad as he was previously portrayed. His only crime is that he is liked
by the British who used to like Mugabe, but later dumped him,” Nhando
said.

Analysts also say the country’s worsening cash shortages, which almost
caused riots by angry tobacco farmers last week, were likely to fuel
further tensions going forward.

Zimbabwe is in the grip of a debilitating economic crisis which has seen
the government failing to pay its workers.

Fake news – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary

Donald Trump won the US presidency partly because he persuaded ordinary Americans that there was an alternative truth to that being presented to them by the mainstream media. Anything he didn’t like he dismissed as ‘fake news’.

Source: Fake news – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 18th March 2017

This is not a new phenomenon, as Zimbabweans must know well. Cathy Buckle talks about much the same thing in her latest letter from Zimbabwe. She says one of the largest drains on Zimbabwe’s foreign exchange is the cost of subscription television services from abroad because people don’t believe ZBC and are bored out of their minds by it anyway (see: http://www.cabuckle.com/index.php?id=227).

The government controlled press is also adept at fake news. Take Friday’s report in the Herald about the UN Human Rights Council’s meeting in Geneva. It begins: ‘Zimbabwe scored big here when the United Nations adopted its November 2016 Universal Periodic Report highlighting the human rights situation in the country, as member-states applauded Government efforts and commitment at ensuring enjoyment of various rights by citizens.’

Talk about alternative reality! The real picture is rather different. If you look into the composition of the Council you will find that it is packed with serial human rights abusers such as North Korea, China, Iran,  Belarus, Turkey, Venezuela and Cuba. There are many African member countries as well but they vote in shameless solidarity with brother Africans.

These countries predictably ignored a submission by human rights organisations expressing concern that human rights defenders in Zimbabwe ‘continue to face harassment, arbitrary arrests and torture for exercising their freedoms to assemble and of expression’ (see: https://www.thestandard.co.zw/2017/03/18/un-review-exposed-zimbabwes-poor-human-rights-record/).

Also dwelling in an alternative world is former Vice President ‘Dr’ Joice Mujuru whose failings were forensically examined by Stephen Sackur of the BBC Hardtalk programme (see: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b08hz4fw/hardtalk-joice-mujuru-vice-president-of-zimbabwe-20042014).

‘What a plump chicken I see before me’, he might well have thought as he plucked another feather from Mugabe’s long-time bag carrier.

What emerged from the interview was a woman whose husband had been murdered by her boss but who nevertheless chose to hang onto her job. The ancient Greeks would have seen this as a subject for a tragedy. For Zimbabweans it is just life. Joice showed herself to be lying and self-serving.  She bleated: ‘I could do nothing. I was not guilty. I was only Vice President. I knew nothing. I spent my 30+ years in government only doing good for people etc.’

By the end of the interview the chicken feathers were knee deep in the BBC studio. The Vigil thinks that any group allying itself with her is taking a big risk with its credibility.  And that’s not fake news.

Thanks to those who arrived early to help set up: Isaac Chawasarira, Mavis Chisvo, Elizabeth Hlebayi, Fungayi Mabhunu, Phillip Mahlahla, Rosemary Maponga, Nyarai Masvosva, Cephas Maswoswa, Tinotenda Mrewa, Roseline Mukucha, Alfredy Mukuvare, Arthur Muponda, Beverley Mutandiro, Farai Mutumburi, Patience Muyeye, Sipho Ndlovu, Tsitsi Ndoro, Casper Nyamakura, Maxmus Savanhu and Michael Sirewu. Thanks to Roseline, and Patience for looking after the front table, to Rosemary, Mavis, Isaac and Nancy for handing out flyers and selling wristbands and to Phillip, Alfredy, Cephas, Maxmus, Isaac and Casper for putting up the banners. Thanks also to Lucia Mudzimu who brought savoury snacks for the Vigil to share.

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

FOR THE RECORD: 42 signed the register.

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • ROHR Central London branch meeting. Saturday 25th March  from 11.30 am – 1.30 pm. Venue: Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London SE1 8XX. Contact: Daisy Fabian 07708653640, Maxmus Savanhu 07397809056, Sipho Ndlovu 07400566013.
  • The Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) is the Vigil’s partner organisation based in Zimbabwe. ROHR grew out of the need for the Vigil to have an organisation on the ground in Zimbabwe which reflected the Vigil’s mission statement in a practical way. ROHR in the UK actively fundraises through membership subscriptions, events, sales etc to support the activities of ROHR in Zimbabwe. Please note that the official website of ROHR Zimbabwe is http://www.rohrzimbabwe.org/. Any other website claiming to be the official website of ROHR in no way represents us.
  • Swaziland Vigil. Saturday 1st April from 10 am to 1 pm outside the Swaziland High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB.
  • ROHR Fundraising Dinner. Saturday 8th April from 6 pm to midnight. Venue: Braunstone Civic Centre, Kingsway, Braunstone Town, Leicester LE3 2PP. Tickets: adults – £15, children under 12 – £5, Children 12-17 – £10. To book tickets contact: Enniah Dube 07403439707, Yvonne Makombe 07453909247 and Moline Nyabonda 07961250525.
  • Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF) meets regularly after the Vigil to discuss ways to help those back in Zimbabwe to fight oppression and achieve true democracy.
  • Zimbabwe Yes We Can Movement holds meetings in London as the political face of ROHR and the Vigil.
  • Zimbabwe Vigil Highlights 2016 can be viewed on this link: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/843-zimbabwe-vigil-highlights-2016. Links to previous years’ highlights are listed on 2016 Highlights page.
  • Facebook pages:

Subdued occupancy levels as year starts

Source: Subdued occupancy levels as year starts – Sunday News Mar 19, 2017

Roberta Katunga, Senior Business Reporter
HOTEL occupancy at the Victoria Falls major hotels remained stagnant in January this year at 28 percent compared to the same period last year, mainly due to low activity at the beginning of the year.

Hospitality Association of Zimbabwe Victoria Falls chapter chairperson, Mr Chris Svova, confirmed the subdued performance of eight major hotels in the resort town but added that revenue had increased slightly owing to the re-introduction of the UniVisa between Zimbabwe and Zambia.

“True, occupancy remained subdued which should not really be cause for concern looking at the month in question. The trend is normally the same throughout the month of January with the first week probably doing well due to Festive and Carnival spillover but thereafter volumes start going down; it’s nothing unusual,” Mr Svova said.

He said revenues increased marginally owing to the re-introduction of the Kavango-Zambezi-Univisa which allows citizens of 40 countries in and out is easily obtainable at eight points of entry in total, four in Zimbabwe and four in Zambia.

Mr Svova said although there was an increase in the number of visitors for the 2016/7 carnival compared to the previous year, occupancy remained stagnant as most visitors preferred to stay with friends and relatives not hotels or lodges.

“The numbers translated to increased revenue as there were more sales in food and beverages and some players also offered promotional packages which aided other revenue centres.”

According to the immigration department, the Kavango-Zambezi UniVisa between Zimbabwe and Zambia has generated over $200 000 in revenue in the past three months.

Immigration Department principal director Mr Clemence Masango said $213 900 was generated from 4 278 stickers bought from four entry points that include Harare International Airport, Victoria Falls International Airport, Kazungula and Victoria Falls land border as from 21 December 2016.

Mr Masango, however, said Zimbabwe and Zambia, the two partner countries will not be supported beyond the 50 000 stocks of visa stickers delivered in 2016.

“The numbers translated to increased revenue as there were more sales in food and beverages and some players also offered promotional packages which aided other revenue centres,” he said.

‘Mugabe afraid of being prosecuted’

Source: ‘Mugabe afraid of being prosecuted’ – DailyNews Live

Jeffrey Muvundusi      19 March 2017

HARARE – Former Home Affairs minister and leader of Zapu, Dumiso Dabengwa,
says President Robert Mugabe does not want to retire because he fears
possible prosecution for the country’s dark past which is blamed on him
and Zanu PF.

Speaking to the Daily News On Sunday in an exclusive interview yesterday,
the revered and softly-spoken liberation struggle stalwart said as a
result, Mugabe was probably planning to create a dynastic rule to protect
himself from all the acts of human rights violations in the country,
including the Gukurahundi massacres of the early 1980s.

“It is unfortunate that the old man lost a glorious time to retire and
take a good rest before his end. He is scared of retiring because of the
history of human rights violations stretching from the Gukurahundi
genocide to Murambatsvina, right up to the total economic destruction.

“So now he seeks to establish a Mugabe dynasty to protect him, his legacy
and his family from the law should change take place while he is still
alive.

“Resistance to the dynasty from within Zanu PF and the greater Zimbabwe
society now makes it impossible for him to retire,” Dabengwa said.

“Today, Mugabe is at the forefront inciting Africa to pull out of the ICC
(International Criminal Court). He is doing this for his own personal
reasons, not for the good of a continent that has been at the mercy of
ruthless dictators such as him.

“His fear is to face justice for his dark human rights violations in the
event he loses power, which is inevitable. Such are the fears of a
dictator whose hands drip of the blood of innocent Zimbabweans from all
facets of life,” Dabengwa charged further.

Analysts have previously said Mugabe’s failure to resolve Zanu PF’s
succession riddle is fuelling the infighting which is devouring the
troubled former liberation movement.

The party’s ugly tribal, factional and succession wars have got worse over
the past weeks, with Zanu PF split between two bitterly opposed groups –
Team Lacoste, which is rallying behind Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s
mooted presidential aspirations, and the Generation 40 (G40) camp which is
rabidly opposed to the Midlands godfather succeeding Mugabe.

The two factions have escalated their fights ever since Mugabe gave his
traditional birthday interview to the ZBC, on the eve of his 93rd birthday
last month, in which he rubbished all his lieutenants’ leadership
credentials and their chances of succeeding him.

He also said he would soldier on in power – notwithstanding his advanced
age and declining health – and would only step down if Zanu PF asked him
to do so.

“The call to step down must come from my party, my party at congress, my
party at central committee … I will step down.

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

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

Tension as 2018 looms

Source: Tension as 2018 looms – DailyNews Live

Mugove Tafirenyika      19 March 2017

HARARE – Security commanders have summoned opposition parties to a meeting
in Harare tomorrow, ahead of Wednesday’s planned mega demonstrations –
amid fears by panicking authorities that the spirit of resistance which
swept across the country last year is once again gathering steam ahead of
next year’s make-or-break national polls.

This comes as the under pressure Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec), in a
bid to dissuade the opposition from toyi-toying on Wednesday, has also
scheduled its own meeting with all political parties on Tuesday – to
discuss the increasingly contentious matter of biometric voter
registration (BVR), which is the main reason for this week’s protests.

And as if to underscore the fact that this week will be a big one both
politically and economically, overwhelmed banks – which were besieged by
angry tobacco farmers on Friday after they failed to avail the $1 000 that
the farmers had been promised by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) – are
expected to remain under the cosh.

Douglas Mwonzora, the secretary general of the National Electoral Reform
Agenda (Nera), a group of 18 opposition parties agitating for electoral
reforms ahead of next year’s elections, confirmed to the Daily News On
Sunday yesterday that the country’s feared Joint Operations Command (JOC)
– a security think tank comprising military, police, prisons and Central
Intelligence Organisation (CIO) bosses – had summoned them to a meeting
tomorrow.

“Joc and Zec have both called for meetings on the 20th and 21st of this
month respectively, but that will not in any way have a bearing on the
Nera demonstration which will go ahead as planned because Zimbabweans want
to stop this daylight rigging of the 2018 elections that has started.

“We are aware that the authorities are panicking and would want to
intimidate us so that people don’t partake in the demonstration, but that
will not work. We are ready for the consequences of our action,” a defiant
Mwonzora told the Daily News On Sunday.

He also said police were yet to respond to the notification letter of the
protests, which was sent to authorities a fortnight ago.

“We suspect that as usual they are delaying to give us the response
because they want to tell us that we cannot go ahead at the last minute
but we are not going to accept any unjustified banning of the
demonstration.

“We have put down our own security measures where we have about 500
marshals to assist law enforcement agents, because we want a peaceful
process.

“We are expecting that leaders of political parties in Nera will lead over
10 000 people during the protests, although it will be up to them (party
leaders) to decide at which stage of the demonstration to join,” Mwonzora
added.

Zimbabwe’s quest to acquire BVR kits has caused a huge storm among
opposition parties, who view the government’s involvement in the purchase
of the equipment as problematic.

The controversy erupted into the open recently following the government’s
sudden decision to sideline the UNDP from assisting in the procurement of
the BVR kits, with unanswered questions being raised about how and where
President Robert Mugabe’s stone-broke administration was able to secure
funding for this, to the staggering tune of $17 million.

The opposition has alleged that the government is hijacking the process to
rig next year’s eagerly-anticipated national elections.

Mwonzora, told the Daily News On Sunday that Nera was surprised that the
government had “from the blue” chosen to go it alone in the procurement of
the BVR kits.

“It was all along agreed that the procurement of the BVR kits would be
done by Zec through the UNDP. Consequently, a joint advertisement was
flighted by the UNDP and Zec calling upon all potential suppliers of the
kits to place their bids.

“These bids were opened at the UNDP offices in Copenhagen and this was
witnessed by both Zec and political parties. It was further agreed that
once the winner of the tender was declared, political parties would second
their technical experts to inspect these kits.

“But suddenly, the government announced that it was taking over the BVR
kits procurement process. Among other things, this means that the
government will now select the supplier of these kits.

“Crucially, political parties and other key stakeholders will thus not be
able to monitor the process,” Mwonzora pointed out.

With the experience of the 2013 election results, where an Israeli
company, Nikuv, allegedly manipulated the vote in favour of Zanu PF, there
are palpable fears within the opposition that Zanu PF will temper with
next year’s elections.

“Nera totally rejects this move because it is designed to enable the
government to manipulate the procurement process. That way the government
will also manipulate the 2018 election process.

“In other words, this move marks the beginning of the rigging of the 2018
elections … To this end, Nera is organising nationwide demonstrations to
show the people’s outrage at this political abomination. All Zimbabweans,
irrespective of their political affiliation, are called to action,”
Mwonzora said.

Analysts say the Nera protests could herald the beginning of a new season
of protests, following the relative calm that has prevailed in the country
over the past few months, after the panicking government used brute force
to crush rolling protests last year.

University of Zimbabwe political science lecturer, Eldred Masunungure,
said tensions could indeed be rising again, warning that the planned
protests could also turn bloody.

“Government will react in a manner that we have all become accustomed to,
that is with heavy-handedness at the slightest sign of potential trouble,”
he said.

Former civic leader, McDonald Lewanika, said the planned protests were
also a sign that the opposition had lost patience with the government, and
was now going for broke.

“What the planned protest by Nera indicates is that all other methods of
persuading the government to allow for an impartial BVR kit purchase by an
impartial arbiter like the UNDP have failed, leaving these parties with no
option but to communicate with their feet in the street.

“As we inch closer to elections in 2018, tensions will continue to rise,
with the election itself as the climax. The planned war vets indaba may
also mark a watershed moment ahead of 2018 … In that respect the
outcomes of that meeting could be telling a year ahead of elections,”
Lewanika said.

Last week, the High Court gave the angry war veterans the green-light to
hold their indaba, which had earlier been stopped by authorities.

War veterans have been feuding with Mugabe since they served him with
divorce papers, after they released a damning communique against the 93
year-old.

The vets are pressing Mugabe to name a successor and ditch a faction
rabidly opposed to his deputy, Emmerson Mnangagwa, from succeeding him.

Yesterday, the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association
(ZNLWVA) political commissar, Francis Nhando, said Mugabe and Zanu PF did
not want their indaba because it was aimed at addressing the country’s
worsening political and economic rot.

“The reason they don’t want us to meet is that we are the only army that
after fighting colonialism did not end there, but went further to fight
for economic freedom, which saw the land reform programme being
undertaken.

“They also don’t like us because we realised that Morgan Tsvangirai is not
as bad as he was previously portrayed. His only crime is that he is liked
by the British who used to like Mugabe, but later dumped him,” Nhando
said.

Analysts also say the country’s worsening cash shortages, which almost
caused riots by angry tobacco farmers last week, were likely to fuel
further tensions going forward.

Zimbabwe is in the grip of a debilitating economic crisis which has seen
the government failing to pay its workers.

No going back on new voting system: Zec

Source: No going back on new voting system: Zec – Sunday News Mar 19, 2017

Harare Bureau
THE Zimbabwe Electoral Commission is forging ahead with plans to conduct voter registration through the biometric voter registration (BVR) system and has directed the State Procurement Board to select the company that will provide the equipment.

Zec wants to use BVR kits to produce a flawless voters’ roll before next year’s general election to end post-election disputes and allegations of vote rigging.

BVR technology will be used for voter registration in Zimbabwe for the first time and unfamiliarity with the equipment has led to misconceptions such as the suggestion that the kits would be used for actual voting. As a result of the confusion, there were suggestions that the BVR system should be abandoned, but Zec is expecting to take delivery of the equipment by April to start the voter registration by May and end it in November 2017. BVR seeks to prevent multiple-voting as biometric technology will verify a voter’s identity by analysing his/her physical characteristics such as fingerprints in situ.

In an interview last week, Zec chairperson Justice Rita Makarau said, “As far as we are concerned, there is no going back on the BVR kits. We are following our roadmap and as we stand, the site validation tests process has now been taken over by the SPB. This process is undertaken through inviting the bidders to demonstrate the use of the facility. So we expect that very soon, SPB will announce the company that will supply the kits.”

Justice Makarau said although Zec had initially set 20 March as the date by which the supplier of the BVR kits would be made known, the timeline will now be determined by the SPB. Justice Makarau said BVR was fool-proof as the system ensured prospective voters were registered once, leaving no room for duplication. She dismissed speculation that BVR was prone to manipulation.

“We want the public to understand that there is nothing really amiss about this exercise. Voter registration will be carried through a system whereby our voter registration team will be placed at stations where people will be invited to undergo the process. There is not really a world of difference between the current voter registration exercise which uses BVR and what used to happen in the past. The only real difference is that in addition to being asked to submit their proof of residence and national identity cards we will ask those intending to vote to also submit their photos. So they will have their photographs taken and they will also have their fingerprints taken.”

Justice Makarau said people should understand that BVR was for registration only and not actual voting.

War vets to seek recourse on land

Source: War vets to seek recourse on land – Sunday News Mar 19, 2017

Robin Muchetu, Senior Reporter
THE Ministry of Welfare Services for War Veterans, War Collaborators, Former Political Detainees and Restrictees has said all war veterans that were unceremoniously displaced from their land should come forward and seek recourse.

“We have cases of people who have received withdrawal letters from their land. Some of these people have spent the past 20 years staying on those farms and are now being removed which is not fair at all,” Minister Retired Colonel Tshinga Dube told Sunday News last week.

He said his Ministry was now working with the Ministry of Lands and Rural Resettlement to address the anomaly.

“We have greedy land barons who work together with corrupt lands officers who are forcing people out of their land all because of money. We are worried about such developments,” he said.

Rtd Col Dube said President Mugabe was not impressed with reports of war veterans who are being forced out of their land.

“The President is not pleased about this, he said 20 percent of the land should be allocated to war veterans and associated people. Land barons do not understand that some people shed blood for the same land that they are taking away from them.
Rtd Col Dube said the issue of land grabbing from war veterans was sensitive and needed to be dealt with accordingly.

“War veterans started the issue of taking land from the white settlers when everyone else was reluctant. They pushed to get what rightfully belongs to them because the settlers were not up for the willing buyer willing seller agreement. They did not want to leave the land so the war veterans took away the land and now they are victims again,” he said.

Rtd Col Dube said the Government should make an effort to first allocate land to the war veterans.

“Youths are being given land for stands while war vets have no houses, this is a problem. We are not saying the youths do not deserve stands but we are saying they should first give the war veterans then youths later.

“All other groups need land such as collaborators, war veterans, widows of war veterans and not youths alone. This is a sensitive matter that needs to be dealt with accordingly,” he added.

The war veteran’s Ministry has since called on all disgruntled former political prisoners, ex detainees and restrictees, war collaborators, non combatant cadres and war victims and widows of heroes who have been removed from land allocated to them under the land reform programme to approach the Ministry.

The Ministry is also calling upon veterans who have not yet been allocated land to submit their applications through the provincial field officers indicating their preferred province.

Zanu-PF on door-to-door campaign

Source: Zanu-PF on door-to-door campaign – Sunday News Mar 19, 2017

Robin Muchetu, Senior Reporter
ZANU-PF Bulawayo Province will soon embark on door- to-door campaigns aimed at mobilising people as the party readies itself ahead of next year’s harmonsied elections.

Speaking during the party’s inter-district meeting held at Davies Hall yesterday, National Secretary for the Disabled and Disadvantaged Cde Joshua Malinga said it was time for party cadres to start mobilising people in preparation for the forthcoming elections.

“This meeting is a way of mentorship. We are here to tell people about the ideology of Zanu-PF ahead of elections. Everyone here is an organiser and we need to educate people by visiting them even going to their homes to mobilise them,” he said.

Cde Malinga said as Bulawayo Province they were going to visit each district, branch and cell to see how far the people have gone in mobilising members ahead of the elections.

“We are going in there to check the strength of the party and how we can address some challenges that are within,” he said.

Members of the Youth League who were recently co-opted into provincial structures following the resignation of their counterparts were warned against being swayed into deserting the party. Cde Rosemary Thebe from the Women’s League said strength and proper organisation should start with the main wings, adding that if the party was organised with sound leaders then the youths would not lose track.

“We will not get youths rebelling if the leaders lead by example, we have to continue leading them in the right direction and we will have them under control. Let our works speak for themselves as the leadership and we will have even more people joining the party,” she said.

Meanwhile, youths from the Lookout Masuku District in Bulawayo have embarked on a road patching exercise in their district.

The leader of the project, Cde Timothy Rwizi, said they started the project in order to improve the state of roads in their area.

“The roads are very bad at the moment, they are infested with potholes and we decided to patch with the little resources that we have rather than sitting and doing nothing while the roads continue to lose shape,” he said.

Cde Rwizi said they were sourcing ash from the Matabeleland Steam Laundry and have started patching roads in Sauerstown.

They are being assisted by a local resident, Mr Ephraim Nyoka who has provided a truck to ferry the ash to the different sites they are patching.

RBZ unveils $10m facility for horticultural production

Source: RBZ unveils $10m facility for horticultural production – Sunday News Mar 19, 2017

Dumisani Nsingo, Senior Farming Reporter
THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has unveiled a $10 million facility for the promotion of horticultural production in an effort to ensure the country is self-sustainable and increase on exports.

RBZ Deputy Governor Dr Kupukile Mlambo said the facility was targeted at enhancing production of mostly export crops in an effort to improve foreign currency earnings culminating in the growth of the country’s economy.

“We need to promote those sectors of agriculture that bring us exports. At one time we were one of the major exporters of horticultural produce in Africa now we have been overtaken by Ethiopia and other countries so we need to regain that status quo. So that fund is going to rejuvenate that industry and AMA is running that fund,” said Dr Mlambo.

Applications for this three-year revolving fund are being processed by CBZ and Agribank, with 80 percent of the facility going towards working capital requirements while the balance of 20 percent would be for capital development.

He said the facility fee is an all inclusive interest rate of 10 percent per annum with working capital tenure of 12 months while the capital development tenure would be 12 to 36 months.

Applicants are required to register with AMA upon submitting proof of land ownership and details of project cash flows.

Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Minister Dr Joseph Made said the RBZ facility was one of the many initiatives by the Government aimed at improving horticultural production in the country as it moves to curb imports further stating that horticultural production would be included under the Command Agriculture Programme.

“Horticulture is going to be put under Command Agriculture, this includes your potatoes, cabbage, onions among other vegetables and even fruits. We are actually going to say every household in communal areas should grow certain fruits depending on their adaptation to that area’s climatic conditions.

“Particularly those that benefited A2 farms under the land reform we expect them to venture into citrus farming and particularly those in Matabeleland South especially those within the 150-kilometre radius of the new Zagreva fruit processing plant at Esigodini we expect them produce mangoes, tomatoes while those in the Eastern Highlands are macadamia nuts, coffee and tea,” said Dr Made.

He said horticultural producers to benefit under the Command Agriculture Programme would be supported with requisite inputs.

“We will supply the fertilisers and the necessary irrigation equipment and when the marketing begin a certain portion will be reserved for payment of the facility that’s when the fruit will have matured. Even if it takes a longer period (to mature) we will take a certain percentage or tonnage of what you will have produced,” said Dr Made.

Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers’ Union president Mr Wonder Chabikwa said although the RBZ and AMA horticultural support facility was a welcomed development, farmers were much concerned about its accessibility.

Banks to auction 22 houses

Source: Banks to auction 22 houses – Sunday News Mar 19, 2017

Nozibelo Maphosa and Dickson Mangena, Sunday News Reporters
A TOTAL of 22 upmarket houses in Bulawayo will on Friday go under the hammer after their owners failed to service loans, mostly to banking institutions.

The houses, situated in affluent suburbs such as Ilanda, Barham Green, Newton West, Parklands and Hillcrest belong to business people who have failed to service loans from banks or defaulted in paying rentals at commercial premises they are operating from. The houses will be auctioned by Bulawayo Real Estate.

In an interview, Bulawayo Real Estate director Mr Mike Nekati said the properties belong to those who were failing to settle debts with various organisations or individuals.

“Notice was given on 10 March as per normal procedure, we put three adverts to give people three weeks to make arrangements with those they owe money. The first advert was put last week, and the date of sale is next week. The sale will be at the Bulawayo Theatre club at 10am after which at that time we will start hammering the properties,” said Mr Nekati.

He said after the first advert was put, three properties have since been withdrawn from the list.

“Out of the 28 properties which were to be auctioned, three properties have been removed, these include one industrial property, a residential property and a commercial property and I would like to believe that a payment agreement has been reached between the two parties.”

Mr Nekati said people should desist from putting themselves in tricky situations and must get loans they will be able to service.

“People should do risk analysis before taking loans and using their properties as collateral. They should take advantage of public voluntary auctions in case they see that they cannot meet the agreed date to pay back the money, before the situation worsens and sell their own properties on a big market because in an auction we sell them at a forced sale value,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Affirmative Action Group (AAG) has raised alarm on the number of residential properties that are being put under the hammer stating that this was disempowering people.

“If you check the list of properties being sold through auction, one or two of them are commercial properties, while the rest are people’s principal residences. What it shows here is that people are disempowered more than they are empowered,” said AAG chief executive officer Mr Silani Mtshiya.

“The increase in principal houses being auctioned is now more of an outbreak than just a case of a person failing to service a loan. This situation is not normal and there should be an understanding that the economy is bad. When these people lose their houses where are they expected to go?” quizzed Mr Mtshiya.

He said families were suffering after losing the properties.

“What should be realised is that most of these loans that people are failing to service are loans that they took when we introduced the US dollar, and because we had no prior experience with the dollar people took loans that were not sustainable.

The loans were not feasible because the interest rates were as high as 42 percent.”

He said defaults were high and that was the reason why even the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has come in to adjust bank interest rates. Mr Mtshiya said a number of the cases were now mired in controversy as some lawyers were now feasting on the situation.

“A number of lawyers have made a career from selling people’s houses. The Law Society should look into that practice. The judiciary is also letting people down by evaluating properties below their market value, maybe their reasoning being that the economy is bad, maybe they should also appreciate that someone failed to pay because the economy is bad. It should be objective.”

Boost for diamond sector

Source: Boost for diamond sector – Sunday News Mar 19, 2017

Harare Bureau
ZIMBABWE’s diamond sector has received the much needed boost after Government struck a resumption of operations agreement with some companies in Chiadzwa that had earlier blocked Zimbabwe Diamond Consolidated Company (ZCDC) mining activities through court action.

Diamond production at Chiadzwa had plummeted to an all-time low as production at the three mines owned by Anjin, Jinan and Mbada stopped after the firms contested Government’s consolidation plan. Government ordered all diamond miners in the Chiadzwa/Marange to cease operations in February last year to pave way for consolidation of the sector following production and accountability issues. Three of the seven firms that operated in Chiadzwa went to court alleging breach of contract by Government.

The Court processes prevented ZCDC from moving into areas where the evicted diamond mines – Anjin, Jinan and Mbada – were exploiting the gems. But under the latest agreement, Jinan has agreed to surrender all its activities at Marange/Chiadzwa with immediate effect while Anjin is also expected to follow suit. The two companies also agreed to withdraw pending litigation against Government to settle all issues out of court.

This fresh development sets the stage for Government to implement revival of operations in Chiadzwa for diamonds to make a significant contribution to the fiscus. Mines and Mining Development Minister Walter Chidhakwa told our Harare Bureau that Jinan had agreed to cede their mining claims to ZCDC.

He said plans are afoot for Anjin to do the same in a development which means that claims owned by Mbada Diamonds will remain contested. Minister Chidhakwa said Chinese Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Huang Ping was instrumental in getting Government and the Chinese companies to find each other and thrash out the deal following more than a year of disagreement.

Minister Chidhakwa said under the agreement, Jinan would be allowed to take its equipment while also settling other due obligations such as liabilities.

President can hire, fire VPs: Mnangagwa

Source: President can hire, fire VPs: Mnangagwa – Sunday News Mar 19, 2017

Takunda Maodza in Geneva, Switzerland
PRESIDENT Mugabe does not groom or appoint his successor as the Zanu-PF constitution is clear that aspirants for the post undergo electoral processes at Congress, Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa has said.

He added that Vice-Presidents served at the pleasure of President Mugabe who can appoint and fire them as he sees fit.

The VP went further saying those seeking to throw the succession issue into the debating arena should “relax” as there was no succession headache in Zanu-PF. VP Mnangagwa, who rarely speaks on the subject, opened up here at a dinner hosted in his honour by Zimbabwe’s ambassador to United Nations and World Trade Organisation, Mr Taonga Mushayavanhu.

“On politics, we are going for elections in 2018 in terms of our constitution, not constitution of other political parties, no,” he said.

“In terms of our constitution as Zanu-PF, the candidate of our elections as Zanu-PF is the one who was elected as President of the party at the last Congress. So our President whom we elected at the last congress is President Mugabe and each year we have endorsed him as our candidate. Am I clear? So that is not a problem,” he said.

“Then there is the question of succession. Our succession in Zanu-PF, whoever becomes President of Zanu-PF does so at Congress of Zanu-PF. The President does not groom anybody or appoint anybody as President, no. We go for Congress, vanoda kuda murefu, mupfupi kana wakafuta kana wakadii, unosimudza ruoko ndavakudawo kuita President womira uko…Toita secret ballot zvedu, ndipo panobuda President of the party paCongress,” said VP Mnangagwa.

VP Mnangagwa further clarified the matter adding that: “The two Vice-Presidents are the only people who are not elected. We serve at the pleasure of the President. Anytime vakamuka vakafunga zvavo – get away, you go. Asi kana uri member ye branch you are elected into a branch and une period yako mubranch.

“If elected kupinda muProvince, une period yako. Kana iri Central Committee you are elected haungopindi. You have the mandate of the electorate kupinda muCentral Committee. Only two people vanongonzi uyo nanhingi ndoda vaite ma vice angu. We are not elected, we are appointed and serve at the pleasure of the President, in the same manner Politburo.

Politburo is not elected vanongogara pasi President voti nhinhi na nhingi. With Cabinet, you must be elected to Parliament first as MP or senator.

“From that President then chooses his team for his Cabinet. That is where he can hire and fire, hire and fire because you are not elected to be Minister of Justice, Minister of Foreign Affairs, you are appointed to be that minister and so President hires and fires in that area. Those things must be clear. ”

Zanu-PF provinces passed a resolution at last year’s 16th Annual People’s Conference in Masvingo endorsing President Mugabe as its 2018 Presidential candidate. However, some war veterans have been trying to stoke succession fires in Zanu-PF ahead of the 2018 elections. On the other hand, some party officials accuse VP Mnangagwa of harbouring Presidential ambitions. This is despite the fact that VP Mnangagwa has never declared an interest in succeeding President Mugabe ever since the discourse on the subject was generated.

Safe water provision is critical

Source: Safe water provision is critical – DailyNews Live

19 March 2017

HARARE – Yesterday, our sister paper the Daily News, carried a story on a
burst sewer pipe that runs across the Marimba River near Kambuzuma.

This is against the background of a cholera outbreak that has been
reported in Manicaland and Masvingo provinces. Two people have since died
from the disease.

The highly-communicable disease is believed to have spread from
neighbouring Mozambique, where a cholera epidemic has infected more than 1
000 people in the aftermath of Cyclone Dineo.

In 2008, at the height of Zimbabwe’s political and economic turmoil,
cholera killed more than 4 000 people.

It boggles the mind how council lets sewer pipes spew raw sewage into a
waterway that leads to Lake Chivero – Greater Harare’s main source of
water.

This does not appear new at all as two years ago, Chitungwiza Municipality
redirected sewage from a manhole in the dormitory town’s industrial sites
into the Nyatsime River, which feeds into Lake Chivero, via the Manyame
River.

It appears Harare has not prioritised the rehabilitation of key
infrastructure, which has not been repaired for around 30 years. With
mayor Bernard Manyenyeni admitting the pipes have outrun their lifespan,
it means there is sense in replacing them altogether.

University of Zimbabwe environmental expert Christopher Magadza has in the
past claimed that Harare residents are drinking sewage water.

The right to safe water is enshrined in the Constitution and according to
section 77: “Every person has a right to: (a) safe, clean and potable
water and the State must take reasonable legislative and other measures,
within the limits of the resources available to it , to achieve the
progressive realisation of this right.”

Safe water is important for people to lead their lives in human dignity.

Water is a prerequisite for the realisation of other fundamental human
rights too, like the right to health and the right to a safe and clean
environment.

Raw sewage continues to expose our population to water-borne diseases on
one hand. On the other, the effluent – together with harsh chemicals and
pollutants discharged into our water sources push up the cost of treating
water.

To make matters worse, reckless authorities have continued to decimate
wetlands, resulting in little, if any, natural purification of water
taking place.

Harare and other urban local authorities have been ruing their dwindling
water sources, owing to the siltation of current sources as a result of
stream bank cultivation.

Council therefore needs to put its house in order, putting to good use the
little resources they can mobilise for the ultimate benefit of the
residents.

Mugabe scared of retiring: Dabengwa

Source: Mugabe scared of retiring: Dabengwa – DailyNews Live

19 March 2017

HARARE – Our Bulawayo reporter Jeffrey Muvundusi spoke to Zapu president
and former Home Affairs minister Dumiso Dabengwa. Below are the excerpts
of the interview.

Q: You had congress late last year where you were re-elected president.
What plans do you have taking Zapu forward?

A: Since elected as president, the thrust has been to concentrate on the
structures of the party going downwards from the provinces to the
districts.

The task has been to verify the structures and to establish them where
none existed. This is in as far as moving Zapu forward is concerned.

This exercise is on-going until the structures have been completed in all
the provinces. Also emanating from congress is a resolution to sign the
Coalition of Democrats (Code) Agreement, I have spent a good part of my
time attending to issues pertaining to Code.

Q: With personal egos usually taking centre stage in coalition talks, do
you think by the time we reach elections, opposition parties will have
reached common ground to face Zanu PF as a united force.

A: We already have covered lots of ground in our coalition arrangement
within Code and I believe by the end of this year, we will have gone over
the most contentious issues which remain to be dealt with.

We haven’t experienced any ego-related problems and we do not anticipate
them. Our principle beliefs run supreme.

Q: At one point, Zapu took part in the by-elections then later pulled out
completely joining other opposition groups who have adopted a boycotting
stance so as to push for electoral reforms, what’s your comment on that?

A: Zapu believes that there is no point of participating in any
by-elections until such a time that the issue of electoral reforms has
been satisfactorily resolved.

Currently, it is even questionable what voters’ rolls the Zec (Zimbabwe
Electoral Commission) uses for holding the by-elections.  The issue of the
voters’ roll remains contentious.

Q: In your view, do you think the boycott by opposition parties has really
paid dividends?

A: Not really, because some opposition parties have gone on to
participate, confirmation of the popular belief that some opposition
parties are fronts of the ruling party whose sole purpose is to legitimise
a flawed electoral process in favour of Zanu PF.

Q: What do you make of the decision by the (President Robert) Mugabe
government’s recent announcement that it will inject $17 million towards
the procurement of the biometric voter registration (BVR) kits to be used
in the compilation of a fresh voters’ roll for the 2018 harmonised
elections?

A: As Code, we have already expressed our doubts as to Zec’s capability to
conduct free and fair elections. First of all, coming out with a flawless
voters’ roll and to this end we were surprised with government’s rescue
gesture to provide Zec with funding for the purchase of BVR equipment.

We concluded that this was done in order to enable Zec to manipulate the
production of a genuine voters’ roll and to minimise the influence of the
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in the exercise of what Zec
have requested of them.

Q: How is your relationship with other opposition leaders?

A: I have cordial relations with those that I have been meeting with,
including even those who are not members of Code.

Our principles border around democracy and respect and protection of human
rights and as such, my relationship with fellow opposition leaders is
defined solely by those as chief determinants.

Q: The war veterans are ageing, their number is diminishing and do you
think they still have an influence in the hectic and polarised politics of
the country?

A: Although Zanu PF seems to have dumped most of the genuine war veterans,
I believe they still have a role to play in as much as they had a role to
play during the liberation struggle.

Proof is the Zanu PF succession battle which cannot be completed smoothly
without the war veterans Mugabe kicked out of that party.

Q: How does your party view the land question in Zimbabwe?

A: We believe that there should be a serious and genuine audit of land
distribution and Zapu also strongly believes that after that audit has
been done it might be necessary to carry out another corrective
redistribution of land. With all done, Zapu believes that we should be
able to introduce some security of tenure or title which will empower
those in the rural areas.

Q: Lastly, any word to president Mugabe?

A: It is unfortunate the old man lost a glorious time to retire and take a
good rest before his end.

He is scared of retiring because of history of human rights violations
stretching from the Gukurahundi genocide to Murambatsvina right up to
total economic destruction.

So, now he seeks to establish a Mugabe dynasty to protect him, his legacy
and his family from the law, should change take place while he is still
alive.

Resistance to the dynasty from within Zanu PF and the greater Zimbabwe
society now makes it impossible for him to retire.

Today, Mugabe is at the forefront inciting Africa to pull out of the
International Criminal Court.

He is doing this for his own personal reasons, not for the good of a
continent that has been at the mercy of ruthless leaders such as him.

His fear is to face justice for his dark human rights violations in the
event he loses power, which is inevitable.

Such are the fears of a dictator whose hands drip of blood of innocent
Zimbabweans from all facets of life.

I’m joining politics: Anti-Mugabe pastor

Source: I’m joining politics: Anti-Mugabe pastor – DailyNews Live

19 March 2017

HARARE – Following a six-week stint behind bars after being denied bail by
the Harare Magistrates’ Courts, Remnant Church pastor Phillip Mugadza (PM)
became a talking point.

He was subsequently granted bail by the High Court, but had to endure
another weekend behind bars after a clerk at the court initially refused
to accept his bail money, purporting that authorities wanted to
authenticate the order.

It is against this background that our deputy chief writer Tendai
Kamhungira (TK) spoke with the anti-Mugabe cleric upon his release on his
future plans and jail experience.

TK: When you were incarcerated, we had a chance to meet some of your peers
in Kariba, who said they warned you against participating in political
activism. Do you ever regret taking part in political activities?

PM: No, I don’t, I will never do that and I really don’t take what they
said seriously in the sense that I am not annoyed or offended by such
statements, because there is one thing I know that we are called
differently. And because of that understanding I know my calling is
different from their calling. As a result, they cannot understand the
things that I do, in as much as I would not understand what they do as
individuals.

TK: After all that has happened, do you now realise the weight of
prophecies that are made by men of God, considering what you have gone
through?

PM: I have said before that under normal circumstances, the prophetic word
which I gave didn’t guarantee anybody to be arrested not in any way but
because our situation is not a normal situation, anything is possible.
They can do anything to you for saying anything, whenever they feel that
they really want to incarcerate you, they can do that.

TK: During your time in remand prison, we understand your church
disintegrated. Are you likely going to abandon the ministry?

PM: Not really. I may not only continue in Kariba, but what I would do is
maybe relocate to Harare. One development I think is positive in Harare,
is that many people know me for what I am doing and what I stand for, what
I believe, so when they come in, they will not be surprised. I think it’s
going to be a good move for me to be starting all over here.

TK: As a pastor, do you think the church has a role to play in the
politics of the day?

PM: Seriously, biblically, we see that God was the one who chose
leadership, so if God would choose leadership, what more of today? The
church has got to be involved because the church is the body of Christ. It
means the church represents God here on earth. What God desires, what God
wants to see happening in nations, ought to be propagated by the church.
So the church has a very critical role to play, especially in the
Zimbabwean situation. God has been speaking for a very long time saying
that this cross-over is the “Jordan Cross-over”.

We crossed over in 1980, which was the war of independence but now after
37 years, we have been in the wilderness and it’s high time we cross over
the Jordan River. And this challenge we have is the Jordan River
Challenge, which has got to be the crossing by the leadership of the
church in the sense of the church moving ahead, being at the front of the
whole thing because if it is not done that way, there is going to be a lot
of bloodshed.

TK: Did you ever feel let down by your fellow pastors during the time that
you were incarcerated, considering that very few were vocal about your
arrest?

PM: Zimbabwe has always been like that and maybe particularly for me. For
me, I have seen that right from 2015, with the Victoria Falls escapade, I
have realised I also didn’t receive a lot of support from the clergy and
the same thing has been going on, though slightly different this time
around because I received some bishops who actually came to visit me and
some pastors also came to see me.

Bishop (Ancelmo) Magaya came to see me. But of these renowned prophets, I
am not sure, maybe they supported me verbally, I am not aware. But it’s
like a norm in Zimbabwe, many of our well-known pastors and “prophets” are
so fearful which causes them to misinterpret the word of God.

Where they say the church is only meant to be praying and praying for the
leadership and I would say fine in that case, how do you pray for the
president, how do you pray for President Robert Gabriel Mugabe and they
will stop there, they will not tell me that because when they say that,
it’s a cover-up for their fear.

So the bottom line is that the church in Zimbabwe is still so fearful but
my word is that they have got to wake up because the Bible says we were
not given the spirit of fear but of sound of power, that’s what we have.

TK: As a man of cloth, what do you foresee happening as the country moves
towards next year’s crucial elections and what should the church do in the
circumstances?

PM: We know the tendency of our crazy Zanu PF party, whenever they come to
polls, they really make sure that they intimidate people, they put more
fear in people. People are already fearful, but they would really want to
add more fear in them so that when they vote, they vote in the “right
way”. I strongly believe that it is going to happen again.

We need as a church to be pro-active, we cannot only be seen to be there
condemning what could have happened, instead we should be all out and
speak even before things start to happen. It’s very, very important and
that we even put contingent measures in place, programmes to reach out to
the whole nation to bring people together and say, we are brothers, we are
sisters, there is no need for us to be fighting for the party which stands
up and say we are superior to other parties.

TK: By failing to name a successor way before the squabbles currently
bedevilling his party started, do you think Mugabe blundered?

PM: I am so much in disagreement with the idea that he has got to name a
successor; this is not a chieftainship. We are not a kingdom in any way,
so there is no way we can say somebody has to name a successor, for what?
Where does that leave the people, if somebody, an individual has got the
mandate to name a leader who is going to be leading people? It doesn’t
work like that, people have got to be given their chance, people have to
do what they are supposed to be doing.

Mugabe says we are a democratic country. It should not be a prerogative of
one person to say that so and so must be taking over from me, it doesn’t
make sense, who are you?

It’s not on, we are propping him up to think that he is some guy from some
universe such that he can name his successor. He should not and he cannot
name his successor, people have got to make a choice.

TK: Given the political, economic and social situation currently
prevailing in the country, where do you think we are heading?

PM: As things are, I don’t think we are going in the right direction, but
by faith, everything works for the good, but its only when we pull
together, we come together and we begin to be determined and we make
decisions which are not selfish but decisions which are for the interest
of the whole nation.

Zimbabwe is a great nation and eventually it will change its name to Great
Zimbabwe, because of what we have gone through, when we come out of it, we
are not going to be a small nation.

TK: Now tell us about your prison experience?

PM: Nasty I should say, I have just realised that the Prison Act was never
changed since 1980, which means that whatever has been done or whatever
has been happening is still (Ian) Smith’s way of running things and this
is the shocking thing about the whole situation.

Mugabe spent close to 11 years and many of his other friends under those
same conditions which were so terrible, they saw them, they knew them, it
pained them very much but when they came out, they never looked back and
began to say no, what we went through, not even one of our people will go
through the same, they left it intact and it is still working today,
that’s the worst part and it really made me so angry when I was looking at
all that, but I am saying what’s going on with these guys, they have even
perfected oppression.

The whole system is a whole lot better than the way it was being done and
run by Smith. That’s a pathetic situation and I strongly believe that if
Smith was alive, he would have asked, guys is this what you really wanted?

I shouldn’t have fought you, I was just going to say, right, change the
name and I have a got my farm in Shurugwi, as simple as that . . . they
started learning from Smith and started perfecting the whole system and it
is a very, very sad situation. That is what is going on in the prison,
people are just being beaten for no apparent reason.

I saw four guards taking turns to beat inmates and I had to stand up and I
went there and when this other guard saw me, he asked everyone else to
stop beating this other guy because I had stood up to say guys, this is
not on, you can’t just do that, if you want to do that, you can do that on
me because I cannot be here and seeing this happening and say nothing
about it.

The other sad issue about prison is the lice, plenty of lice in there and
they can make one sick. I have never heard of any sickness that comes out
from being bitten by lice as is with mosquitoes but I am telling you that
people got wounds from lice and I had a fever from lice. Unfortunately, I
lost my tin of lice. I had collected lice because I wanted to bring them
over just to say Mr President, these are your boys in the prison, who are
just eating people.

These are parasites, as my friend Evan (Mawarire) said that the state of
the nation is reflected by the state of the prison. I strongly believe the
same thing. There are parasites in prisons and there are parasites in the
nation of Zimbabwe. They are sucking our economy dry, they are sucking
people out of every cent on roadblocks, the system is sucking people of
every penny, they would have earned in a very hard way. There is
corruption at every turn in the nation of Zimbabwe. It’s so terrible. That
experience of lice in prison was not so good for me.

TK: How does your family, especially your wife, take your decision to
participate in political activities?

PM: Initially, it wasn’t very easy but she has since adjusted in a very
amazing way and I want to thank God. She is a young woman but is getting
to be very strong and bold. She can’t be able to really say much
concerning what I am doing but the support is very amazing and I really
thank God for the woman she is and being in my life and being the mother
to my boys. I strongly believe that she is going to be doing more, even
though I appreciate what she is doing now.

TK: How has she been coping during your absence?

PM: Friends have been coming through, sending this and that so that she
could keep on going and take care of the family. On her conjugal rights,
she was obviously shortchanged, which I strongly believe the government of
Zimbabwe has got to be charged for taking those rights from her, because
they are her rights.

It’s the Zimbabwean regime which arrested me and I was their prisoner but
they also made my wife a prisoner. She was not getting what she was
supposed to get from me as a husband, so I am saying I think it’s very
important for the government to be held accountable for that.

I don’t know how people will take it because in prison I have seen condoms
and I have seen them not with guards, I have seen them with inmates, what
does that tell you? It means some gay activity is most likely going on,
though even I am told that you can actually have sexual intercourse with a
woman in jail. It’s a shocking thing but I am told it’s possible and they
told me how that could be done, though I was asking could I have my wife
coming?

They said no. I said I only want to have sex with my wife and no one else
and I began to realise that there is need for the government to seriously
think about this and even Mugabe says gays and lesbians are worse than
dogs, which is not a very good statement from a leader because from my
point of view as a clergyman, everybody was created in the image of God
irrespective of what they do.

They could be doing wrong things but that does not make them a dog at any
given point. The best way is to speak to them so that they know what they
are doing is wrong, so if the president seriously is against this, what
does he have to do, he has got to create a situation where he is going to
have what I call “conjugal cottages” in prison.

The women as they come in to visit the husbands, they can go in and sleep
with their husbands, once a week or once a month, that’s a good idea. It
is done in Rwanda because they know it is very important, because it
reduces the rate of gay activities.

So if he (Mugabe) is serious about it, he has got to open such cottages
because you end up arresting two people, you end up arresting the husband
and arresting the wife at the same time or the opposite if the wife is
actually the one incarcerated.

TK: Do you harbour any political ambitions?

PM: I really wouldn’t want to say harbour because at times harbouring is
like hiding, it’s like you are not really coming out in the open, I have
always wanted to be involved in active politics, because I have realised
that if you want to see a change, be involved in the change, be part of it
and it is not a sin or a crime to be a politician.

TK: Have you so far taken any initiative towards achieving that goal of
fully participating in politics?

PM: As I have been doing my stuff for the past one year, I have been
linking up with a number of political parties, which I may not be able
mention right now, but I have realised that in the process of interacting,
there were a lot of weaknesses in the process, so I then said to myself I
will wait and see where exactly I would fit in. Seriously any time, I will
be making a decision as to where I will exactly be belonging. Maybe I will
go independent.

For Zimbabwe’s Mugabes, marriage is political and personal

Source: For Zimbabwe’s Mugabes, marriage is political and personal – ABC News

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe plucked her from the secretarial pool decades ago to become his wife. Now Grace Mugabe is stirring speculation that she wants to succeed her 93-year-old husband as leader.

The power couple’s extraordinary arc is deeply felt in this southern African nation. Many are pondering how their dynamic will affect the country, which is in economic decline and political limbo amid uncertainty how a leadership transition will unfold. Many in Zimbabwe have had no other president.

The 51-year-old Grace Mugabe is now her elderly husband’s No. 1 protector, helping him when he struggled with a shovel at a recent tree-planting ceremony and declaring that he should run “as a corpse” in next year’s election if he dies before the vote.

She has said their relationship is like any other (fights included, both have said). From their statements and body language in public, they seem to have each other’s back amid the questions over who will be next in Zimbabwe to hold power.

“I live with him, cook for him, share the table with him and discuss many issues as a family,” Grace Mugabe said adoringly to thousands of well-wishers at a birthday celebration for the president last month. “In other words, we share so many intimate discussions together, as many ordinary married couples could do.”

A former teacher who studied law and economics in prison during the country’s white minority rule, Robert Mugabe has been shrewd, soft-spoken and, to his opponents, ruthless. He is an African nationalist who likes finely tailored suits. Despite his fading vigor, he flies regularly to other countries, including Singapore for medical treatment.

His wife, previously lampooned for shopping expeditions and a doctorate obtained under questionable circumstances, has built a serious if polarizing political profile with charity work and frequent rallies. She has endured harsh criticism — a “prostitute” or a scheming Lady Macbeth, some have said — but has dished her own barbs.

The constitution says the senior of two vice presidents would take office if the president dies, resigns or is removed from power, but Grace Mugabe’s feuds with some ruling ZANU-PF party factions have many people doubting that a leadership change would go by the book.

“She’s in the mix,” said Tom McDonald, a Washington-based lawyer who was U.S. ambassador to Zimbabwe from 1997 to 2001. Meanwhile, he said, the relationship serves the political interests of both partners. The frail Robert Mugabe feeds off his wife’s vibrancy, while she sponges up stature from his presidential aura.

Mugabe was a leader of the fight against white minority rule in Rhodesia, which became Zimbabwe after independence in 1980, and sparred with the West following its criticism of his land grabs from white farmers and its sanctions against the president, his wife and associates.

At his Feb. 25 birthday celebration, it was Grace Mugabe who blasted Europe and the United States, while her mostly subdued husband mused at times about mortality.

“Our erstwhile colonizers are fighting tooth and nail” to try to sabotage black empowerment programs in Zimbabwe, said Grace Mugabe, head of the women’s league of the ruling party. Critics dismiss such arguments, saying the country’s problems derive from mismanagement and repression under its longtime ruler.

Grace Mugabe has often talked about how she cares for the president, once telling him that it was time to end a speech. He chuckled, saying that was how she always treats him at home.

Jenni Williams, a human rights activist who has been arrested many times in Zimbabwe, speculated that there is a “political basis” in the relationship between the Mugabes, though she noted that Grace has a “separate, additional role” as the mother of her husband’s three children.

“Perhaps the power has shifted from Mugabe to Grace as he has become more and more unwell,” Williams said.

The couple had two children while Mugabe’s first wife, Sally Hayfron, was ailing from the kidney failure that killed her in 1992. Grace split with her own husband, and her wedding to Mugabe in 1996 was attended by Nelson Mandela and other African leaders.

“What will happen to her when Mugabe is gone is another matter. Right now she is the most powerful, more powerful than Mugabe, I think,” said Innocent Lijomeka, a university student in the capital, Harare.

Marian Mutsindikwu, a street vendor selling airtime for mobile phones, said she doesn’t have “a problem” with Grace Mugabe.

“The first lady seems charitable,” Mutsindikwu said. “However, the greatest gift she can give us is advising the old man to rest.”

———

Associated Press writer Farai Mutsaka in Harare, Zimbabwe contributed.

Tsvangirai soars as 2018 beckons

Source: Tsvangirai soars as 2018 beckons – DailyNews Live

Mugove Tafirenyika      18 March 2017

HARARE – Former Finance minister and leader of Mavambo/Kusile Dawn (MKD)
Simba Makoni yesterday became the latest prominent politician to throw his
weight behind opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai heading the planned
coalition alliance which will take on President Robert Mugabe and his
warring ruling Zanu PF in the much-awaited 2018 national elections.

Makoni is a member of the Coalition for Democrats (Code) – a grouping of
smaller opposition parties – which is also engaged in the ongoing grand
coalition talks, which are reported to be nearing conclusion.

The MKD leader told the Daily News yesterday that while Code had not yet
settled on who should lead the proposed coalition, it would be “foolhardy”
to ignore the popularity and experience of the dogged Tsvangirai – the
only politician to ever beat Mugabe hands down in an election, in 2008.

Makoni said he would like to see Code making concerted efforts to woo the
MDC leader, whose party belongs to the National Electoral Reform Agenda
(Nera) – a grouping of other opposition parties that are not part of Code.

“I am on record saying we need everyone, and in the case of Tsvangirai, we
all know the value that he adds, having been in the opposition trenches
this long.

“He is a respected leader with popularity and I only hope that other
leaders in Code realise that and will also want to have him.

“The position of Code is that we would like all leaders working for change
in this country to be part of the coalition that will bring solutions to
the problems the country is facing,” the former Treasury chief added.

Code has not always had a solid relationship with Tsvangirai, with matters
coming to a head in November last year when its members met in South
Africa without the former prime minister in the government of national
unity, as well as former Vice President Joice Mujuru  to advance the scope
for an opposition alliance ahead of next year’s elections.

This triggered a row with both Tsvangirai and Mujuru after the leader of
the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Tendai Biti, made unflattering
comments about the duo’s snub of the Cape Town meeting.

But speaking later, on behalf of Code, Makoni made conciliatory remarks
towards Tsvangirai, maintaining that all opposition parties were working
with the goal of uniting ahead of the eagerly-anticipated 2018 elections.

“We are not enough as the 13 of us, hence the need to engage others.

“We gave ourselves up to before the end of this year to come up with a
structure and working strategy for the coalition. We are committed to
doing what is necessary to a