Author Archives: ZimSitRep_M

Teenage whizz-kid makes UZ history

Source: Teenage whizz-kid makes UZ history | The Herald September 30, 2016

Paidamoyo Chipunza Senior Reporter—
History was made since the founding of the University of Zimbabwe in 1953 when 18-year-old academically-gifted Maud Chifamba graduated with a Bachelor of Accountancy Honours yesterday.She was among 3 667 graduates from nine faculties and the College of Health Sciences who were capped by President Mugabe at the institution of higher learning.

As of 2012, Chifamba was the youngest university student in Africa. She was born in 1997 in Zimbabwe and was accepted to the University of Zimbabwe to read for an accounting degree.

The teenage whizz-kid began attending in 2012 and also received a $9 933 scholarship from the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority Chairman’s Charity Fund. Chifamba lost her father when she was five, in 2002, before she started first grade.

By that time, her mother was suffering from cancer and could not care for her and her brother, two years younger. This prompted Maud to fall under the care of a step brother, who at the time was residing at a plot he had been allocated during the land reform programme in Hunters Road, in between Kwekwe and Gweru, Midlands Province, Zimbabwe.

In 2003 she started her first grade at a school named Hurudza Primary school. In 2005, when she was in grade 3, during the mid year exams, she was mistakenly given a grade 4 exam paper in which she scored 100 percent. The following term during the same year, she requested a Grade 5 test paper in which she achieved the highest score.

She proceeded to Grade seven and she had 6 units. As Chifamba did not have money for high school she studied on her own(home schooled) and completed her Ordinary Level in just two years, that was 2009. She was later identified by the Ministry of Education and awarded financial assistance for her advanced level, upper six in 2011 and she scored 12 points.

Her mother died of cancer that year. After making headlines internationally, Chifamba was awarded a $9,993 scholarship by the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority. In 2013 Chifamba scored distinctions at the University of Zimbabwe, where she was studying for her Bachelor of Accountancy Honours Degree.

She wrote her Grade seven examination at the age of 10 and her A-level at the age of 13. In 2007 Chifamba was named the best student under the most difficult conditions in the Midlands Province.

In December 2012, Chifamba was fifth on the Forbes Top 100 Youngest Powerful Women in Africa and she was also entered in the book of African Records as the youngest university student in the continent.

In October 2013, Chifamba was a delegate at the launching of a Terre des hommes campaign for girls in Rome, Italy. On 25 October 2013, Chifamba shared the high table at the International Day of the Girl Child celebrations with ministers and musicians. The event was hosted by UNICEF, held in Zimbabwe and she delivered a speech.

Faculties that graduated yesterday are Agriculture, Arts, Commerce, Education, Engineering, Law, Science, Social Studies and Veterinary Science. Of the graduates, 3 106 were conferred with first degrees, 535 with Masters Degrees and 25 with Doctor of Philosophy degrees.

Among the graduates, 25 were conferred with Doctor of Philosophy degrees and from those graduating with bachelors’ degrees, 149 had first class passes. For the first time in the history of the University, an 18-year old student was also conferred with her Bachelor’s degree in Accounting.

The graduate, Maud Chifamba, joined the University at the age of 14 years and completed her degree at the age of 18 years. This year’s graduation ceremony also saw the first pioneering graduates of the Marondera University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology.

In his address, UZ Vice Chancellor Professor Levi Nyagura, described this year’s ceremony as historic saying all these achievements were a first in the 61 year history of the University. He said the University will continue to engage with various stakeholders and strategic partners for continuous improvement and to remain relevant.

“We do recognise that our society is getting more complex with dynamic varying sets of requirements,” said Prof Nyagura. He said this presented a challenge that called for a re-thinking of the nature of the public service the university should provide.

Prof Nyagura said to that end, the University’s focus should be more on socialisation of knowledge by making sure that the university produced highly-qualified professionals and that the best research results were transferred to society.

He said the UZ was also open to capture the knowledge generated by society so as to sustain and further develop the intellectual and cultural base of the country. “In this endeavour, we have committed ourselves to participate in national projects that empower our country to be competitive regionally, continentally and internationally,” said Prof Nyagura.

He said in addition, the University also reviewed its curriculum to promote innovation, application of science and technology and entrepreneurship. “Our focus is to produce graduates with a strong foundation in science and technology and with problem solving and analytical skills,” he said.

Some of the training incorporated include Forensic Science, Geospatial Intelligence and Aeronautical Engineering. Prof Nyagura said the university had also excelled in the development of GIS (Geographic Information System) and Earth Observation Sciences.

“The motivation for this development is the realisation that geographic sciences are key to human security including disaster and emergency response, crime and terrorism prevention, surveillance of diseases and disease vector outbreaks,” he said.

He said the University’s GIS and Earth Observation Centre had since been assigned by the African Union to carry out two major tasks. Prof Nyagura said in line with the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio Economic Transformation (Zim Asset), the University also embarked on a number of projects aimed at increasing infrastructure to meet the growing demand of education.

These projects include a building complex with 10 state of the art lecture rooms with a combined sitting capacity of 1000, a pharmacy laboratory that accommodates 130 students and an engineering computer laboratory fully equipped with 100 state of the art computers.

The University also constructed three additional lecture rooms with a combined sitting capacity of 200 and is currently constructing a 1 100-seater modern lecture theatre.

High Court judge in bribery storm

Source: High Court judge in bribery storm | The Herald  September 30, 2016

Zvamaida Murwira Senior Reporter—
High Court judge Justice Priscilla Chigumba reportedly solicited for a $20 000 bribe from one of the parties in a case she was presiding over, the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) revealed yesterday.JSC chairman Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku said they were considering referring the case to President Mugabe for him to set up a commission to look into the matter. This came out during an interview in which Justice Chigumba was among eight High Court judges that were being interviewed by the JSC to be considered for elevation to the Supreme Court.

Justice Chigumba was grilled by members of the JSC led by Chief Justice Chidyausiku over a complaint that it received to the effect that the judge had sent an agent to solicit for a bribe from a Mr Kanokanga who was one of the parties in a case in which she was presiding over.
Justice Chidyausiku said the JSC had received a written complaint from Mr Kanokanga and said while they had asked Justice Chigumba to make a written response, she was obliged to comment on the allegations since the commission was troubled over the allegations given that she was now seeking higher office.

“I think you are aware that Mr Kanokanga, who was a party in a matter that you presided over has alleged that you, through a third party (name supplied) solicited a bribe for yourself and he refused and paid a price of losing the case. Obviously, the commissioners are really troubled by these allegations,” said the Chief Justice.

“There are certain aspects of his complaints that have a ring of truth, particularly where he said the agent was invited to a restaurant where you and this other person were having lunch. He also said this agent had information pertaining to the details of the proceedings when in fact he was not present in that court and then of course, the possibility that the alleged agent had fabricated this story. Unfortunately, as an interviewing panel, we do not have the investigative machinery to determine where the truth lies.”

Mr Kanokanga, said Chief Justice Chidyausiku, alleged that he had been impoverished as a result of the judgment which saw him being evicted from premises in the central business district.

“Like Caesar’s wife, a judge has to be beyond reproach. That’s the difficulty that the commission finds itself. Obviously, the JSC has the option of referring the matter to the President for a judicial inquiry to be appointed. That is something that we have to consider. The complaint that was made is in such a way that we cannot really just dismiss it without a proper inquiry. It may as well be that the person that is alleged to be your agent took advantage either of your relationship and fabricated this whole thing — that may be one scenario or that thing never happened at all,” said Chief Justice.

In response Justice Chigumba denied the allegations. She said Mr Kanokanga, by his own admission, was not mentally sound.

“Mr Kanokanga, during the course of the trial, had indicated that as a result of this eviction, he had become unable to function and had to be treated by doctors for a mental disorder which arose as he said, from the fact that he had been impoverished by the eviction. He was very bitter. So, to answer your question, I did not directly or indirectly do or cause anything to be done which, is inconsistent with my oath of office as a judge or my duty to dispense justice without fear or favour or prejudice. I would like Mr Kanokanga, if he has any evidence that he can avail to the commission of whatever it is, that he is alleging to avail such evidence because an allegation which is baseless and without foundation, in my view, ought not to be allowed to influence anything that is adverse towards me unless and until it is substantiated,” said Justice Chigumba.

“Just because I was seen having lunch with someone does not mean that I am responsible for that person’s actions. The question that you put to me that Caesar’s wife ought to be beyond reproach, my response to that is I have already taken oath of office of being a judge. Because I took an oath of being a judge, I think that my word or my moral probity ought to be believed, the presumption should be, I am telling the truth until such time evidence is placed before the commission that something untoward happened.”

Deputy Chief Justice Luke Malaba weighed in, “The issue of alleged impropriety on your part, is a matter of great concern to the commissioners. Do you know this eating outlet which is opposite St John’s College? How does this person place you at that eating place which you have not been to for a long time in the manner he says you were with this person who approached him (Mr Kanokanga) and said you wanted $20 000? Your position, of course, in your reply is that this should be dismissed as a matter of madness,” said Justice Malaba.

“Well, he is a self-confessed sufferer of mental disorder. I have no idea of what was happening in his head. He did say that he takes medication for chronic depression. He did say he blames the owner of the commercial premises for evicting him because it rendered him unable to operate. I do not know what effect my judgment had on him,” said Justice Chigumba.

Chief Justice Chidyausiku also took issue about the inclusion of his name and that of Judge president George Chiweshe as her referees on her curriculum vitae. But Justice Chigumba said it was an oversight as she had forgotten to update it.

Other High Court judges that were interviewed were Justices Charles Hungwe, Alphas Chitakunye, Francis Bere, Joseph Mafusire, Nicholas Mathonsi, Samuel Kudya and Lavendar Makoni.

Electoral body not budging on poll fees

Source: Electoral body not budging on poll fees | The Herald September 29, 2016

ACCRA. — Ghana’s Electoral Commission (EC) has said it would not reduce filing fees for presidential and parliamentary candidates contesting this year’s general election.So far, 16 political parties and nine independent aspirants have picked up nomination forms to contest the election scheduled for December 7, the state-run daily The Ghanaian Times reported on Monday.The EC has asked each presidential candidate to pay a filing fee of about $12 560, and each parliamentary candidate to pay about $2 512. Eric Dzakpasu, EC’s head of communications, told The Ghanaian Times the commission was resolute in its decision to maintain the filing fee.

“There is no indication that the EC would reduce the filing fee. If only one candidate pays the fee, he/she would go unopposed,” he emphasised. The daily indicated that the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), main opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), Progressive People’s Party (PPP) and Ghana Freedom Party (GFP) had expressed their readiness to pay the fees by the deadline tomorrow.

The director of communications of the NDC, James Asante, told The Ghanaian Times in an interview that the Functional Executive Committee (FEC) of the party would take a decision onassoon as possible.

“The FEC will take a decision on the filing fees at its meeting today after briefing on the issue by the NDC’s representative at the Inter Party Advisory Committee of the Commission,” he said.

Nana Akomea, the director of communications of the NPP, also asserted the party would pay the filing fees to enable it to contest the election. — Xinhua.

National Payment System transactions decline nine percent

Source: National Payment System transactions decline nine percent | The Financial Gazette September 27, 2016

THE amount of transactions processed through the National Payment System declined by nine percent to US$6,3 billion in July from US$6,9 billion largely reflective of the illiquid state of the economy, particularly on high value transactions according to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ)’s latest monthly economic review.

With increasingly tight fiscal space, government, the largest stimulator of aggregate demand, has restricted its expenditure to payment of employee salaries and the servicing of Treasury Bills.

The effects of this are filtering through to the private sector.

“Monthly credit to the private sector decreased by 2,3 percent to US$3,5 billion from US$3,8 billion in June 2016,” said RBZ.

According to the review, the value of RTGS transactions registered a 13 percent decline to US$3,91 billion from US$4,5 billion in the previous month. RTGS transaction volumes also fell from 268 192 in June 2016 to 242 373 in July 2016.

Cash transactions decreased two percent to US$530,6 million in July 2016, from US$543,9 million in June 2016.

Farmers harvest 32 000 tonnes of cotton

Source: Farmers harvest 32 000 tonnes of cotton | The Financial Gazette September 27, 2016

ZIMBABWE’s cotton industry faces viability problems after production tumbled to 32 000 tonnes for the 2015/2016 agricultural season from 90 000 last year.

The 2016 Mid-Year Fiscal Policy statement showed that production for 2016 had declined from 90 000 tonnes to 32 000 tonnes despite government and private sector efforts to fund production.

Seed cotton production declined by 34 percent from 136 000 tonnes in the 2013/2014 season to 90 000 tonnes in the 2014/2015 season due to drought.

The 32 000 tonnes is far below the 60 000 tonnes harvested during the severe drought of 1991/92.

At peak production in 2012, small-scale farmers produced 350 703 tonnes of cotton, which translated to 143 788 tonnes of cotton lint, which earned the country over US$200 million.

Cotton was once Zimbabwe’s second largest export crop after tobacco. The crop is produced mainly by smallholder farmers that cultivate small plots of between one and two hectares under rain-fed conditions.

In preparation for the 2016/2017 season, government would support smallholder cotton growers with agriculture inputs to put 350 000 hectares under the supervised cotton production programme valued at US$36 million for the procurement of seed, fertiliser and chemicals.

NAVUZ: Who are Zimbabwe’s street vendors, facing stoning, arrests and violent ‘abductions’?

The National Vendors Union of Zimbabwe (NAVUZ) is increasingly becoming the target of violence

Source: NAVUZ: Who are Zimbabwe’s street vendors, facing stoning, arrests and violent ‘abductions’? – IBTimes September 28, 2016 By

As Zimbabwe’s economic problems have led to heightened social instability, the National Vendors Union of Zimbabwe (NAVUZ) is increasingly becoming the target of violence.

On Tuesday, vendors clashed with people described by some as suspected activists of ruling Zanu-PF, who were reportedly enlisted to confiscate the hawkers’ goods.

Conflicting reports stated the youths pelted residents with stones and destroyed market stalls, while others said the attackers chanted slogans similar to the ones used by NAVUZ. NAVUZ denies any role in the violence.

IBTimes UK deciphers the increasing role of the vendors’ union in Zimbabwe’s political and social struggle.

1. What is the NAVUZ?

Founded in 2008, the National Vendors Union of Zimbabwe (NAVUZ) represents street vendors, who – in recent years – have become a common feature in cities across Zimbabwe.

The trade union, which provides solidarity centre for vendors, also engages in advocacy efforts and lobby initiatives “targeted at the central legislation of vending, creation of public social safety nets for vendors and the national acceptance of vendors as workers”.

2. Why is its role critical in today’s protest events?

Since June, the civil society organisation participated in mass mobilisation and staged peaceful protests against the mismanagement of the economy and high levels of corruption by the Zanu-PF.

Earlier this month, NAVUZ leader Stan Zvorwadza urged dozens of people to ignore a ban on demonstrations in the capital’s central business district.

Zvorwadza was one of 28 members arrested when a delegation of NAVUZ officials went to Town House in Harare to inquire about the confiscation of their wares by municipal police, following what the union describes as “a heightened blitzkrieg of violent attacks on vendors and arson on their valuable properties”.

The Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED), which tracks and analyses conflicts worldwide, describes Zimbabwe’s police response to NAVUZ’ protests as “repressive”. A recent report from the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum stated the riot police had “violently broke up” NAVUZ demonstrations by “firing large amounts of teargas”.

3. Why is NAVUZ at the centre of a new controversy?

Vendor groups engaged in running battles with municipal police on 26 September after officers attempted to evict them from their selling points.

On 27 September, the organisation claimed that suspected Zanu-PF youths pelted vendors and passersby with stones, destroying hawkers goods worth $7,000 and damaged some buildings in the business district in downtown Harare.

“The NAVUZ would like to distance itself from violent clashes that occurred in Harare’s Central Business District today (Tuesday),” the union said in a statement following the riots. “As NAVUZ, we view this as one of the ploys by Zanu-PF to use their rogue youths to cause violence after which they will abuse their stranglehold on the police and judiciary to institute a series of arbitrary arrests of opposition and civic society activists.”

The statement added: “We would like to reiterate that NAVUZ is a peaceful organization and violence has never been our way of resolving issues. Rather, our members have been victims of police brutality while protesting peacefully.”

NAVUZ claimed that its offices were also pelted by the same group of youths “who were claiming to be vendors and belonging to NAVUZ”.

4. Who is Kudakwashe Kambakunje, aka ‘Welly’?

The Chairperson for NAVUZ’ Central Business District, Kudakwashe Kambakunje, also known as Wellington or Welly, was allegedly abducted last night (27 September) and found this morning badly injured at a farm about 22km from where he was kidnapped.

Many believe the alleged abduction is linked to the commotion that happened the previous day in Harare’s business district.

“Yesterday (Tuesday) was a difficult day for us. Around mid-morning, a group of rowdy youth members from Zanu-PF came and broke windows at the NAVUZ offices. After that, we thought that was enough (…) and reported it to the police,” NAVUZ leader Zvorwadza, is quoted as saying by Zimbabwe Eye on 28 September.

“Unfortunately, last night, five vehicles – two twin-cabs and three small private cars – went on the corner of Chinhoyi and Kwame Nkrumah where Welly sells (his goods). They fired warning shots, they fired the guns and then they abducted him,” Zvorwadza said.

Kambakunje was found on Old Mazowe Road, about 22km from where he was allegedly abducted earlier today. NAVUZ confirmed the vendor leader had been “severely beaten” and “left for dead”.

Another activist abducted, tortured

Another activist and vendors’ leader, Kudakwashe Kambakunje, was on Tuesday allegedly abducted by suspected State security agents, who tortured and injected him with an unknown substance before leaving him for dead

Source: Another activist abducted, tortured – NewsDay Zimbabwe September 29, 2016

BY XOLISANI NCUBE

National Vendors’ Union of Zimbabwe (Navuz) leader, Standrick Zvorwadza, said Kambakunje was allegedly abducted in broad daylight from his vending site by six people driving five unmarked twin-cab and Toyota Chaser vehicles.

“During the abduction, some traders attempted to assist him when he shouted for help, but his abductors fired shots in the air,” Zvorwadza claimed.

“Kudakwashe was blindfolded and driven to an unknown destination in Mazowe, where he was subjected to severe beatings, torture using electrical shock and injected with an unknown substance.”

Kambakunje, a Navuz executive member, joins a growing list of anti-government protesters who have been abducted and tortured by suspected State security agents.

Recently, Tajamuka/Sesjikile campaigner, Silvanos Mudzvova, was kidnapped from his Crowborough home by people accusing him of pushing to unseat the Zanu PF government. He was also badly tortured and injected with an unknown substance and spent over three weeks in hospital.

Zvorwadza said the “coward abductors” were strengthening the resolve of anti-government demonstrators to push President Robert Mugabe out of power.

“During the torture and interrogation, his abductors demanded to know Zvorwadza and committee member Godfrey Kauzani’s residential addresses,” Zvorwadza said.

“When he passed out, the abductors thought he was dead and dumped him. When he came to, Kudakwashe, who had been left stark-naked, sought help from homesteads on farms along Old Mazowe Road. Navuz members collected him from Mazowe and facilitated his access to medical assistance.”

Police spokesperson, Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba said she was unaware of the incident, as she had not been briefed.
Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CiZC) said it was concerned with the increase in State-sponsored abductions and victimisation of civic and opposition activists over the past months.

“Mugabe has shown that he is not prepared to resolve the Zimbabwean crisis, but is rather prepared to shed blood to defend his stay in power,” the group said.

“CiZC calls upon regional, continental as well as international bodies to intervene urgently to prevent further loss of innocent lives in Zimbabwe. CiZC also calls upon progressive forces to unite in creating the Zimbabwe we want — a democratic and economically-developed Zimbabwe.”

Sadc fed up with Mugabe

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe’s decision to cling onto power despite his advanced age and his country’s waning fortunes has stretched his Sadc counterparts’ patience to the limit, analysts have said.

Source: Sadc fed up with Mugabe – NewsDay Zimbabwe September 29, 2016

Richard Chidza/The Namibian

Mugabe was last week was left seething in anger after Botswana leader, Ian Khama described him as a liability to the region and urged him to step down.

According to The Namibian newspaper, President Hage Geingob has expressed similar sentiments.

Responding to a question on Namibian policy on Zimbabwe last week during a speech at Columbia University in the United States, Geingob said Zimbabweans, who are unhappy with Mugabe should fight for themselves. He, however, said the international community would not fold its hands, as the Zanu PF leader brutalises citizens.

“Because we don’t go out in public and shout, so that you can be happy and dance in the streets of New York? We have an African way of doing things. I cannot say things to please somebody else, and say I condemn Mugabe.

“We are sovereign countries,” he said, arguing Khama’s public rebuke of the veteran leader was the Botswana leader’s own way of doing things.

While arguing the Zimbabwean problem was a domestic issue, Geingob warned the world would not sit and watch while citizens’ rights are violated.

“We must know that killing our people is not the way to go. If you do that, you can’t expect the world to respect you. They will intervene and tell you that you are doing a wrong thing.

“We must get rid of the days where we believed in strong presidents, personality cults, and that some are (demi)-gods,” he said.

Political analyst, Pedzisai Ruhanya said there were now indications of exasperation with Mugabe by regional leaders.

“There seems to have been secret diplomatic manoeuvres to talk Mugabe into retirement. However, he seems to have rebuffed the advice, hence, the public show of impatience. Especially for Namibia, it’s a real break with tradition because it has never been known to make any comments on Mugabe’s leadership or anything remotely connected to it,” he said.

“The Zimbabwean authorities and Mugabe must understand that they cannot change the course of nature that Mugabe’s physical and mental mortality cannot sustainably lead Zimbabwe and maintain the country’s socio-economic and political interests.”

Mugabe is accused of rights abuses that have earned him targeted sanctions from both the US and European Union, with the latter having relaxed the measures slightly.

Pretoria University lecturer and political commentator, Ricky Mukonza said Mugabe had lost the respect of his younger peers in the region.

“Recent comments coming from Botswana and lately Namibia suggest that some of the Sadc leaders are coming out of their shells to say the right things concerning Mugabe’s continued stay in power. These countries have every right to make such pronouncements because, since the turn of the century, they have borne the brunt of Zimbabwe’s socioe-conomic crisis,” he said.

Imports accelerate despite restrictions

ZIMBABWE’S imports increased by 13% to $444 million in August 2016, despite government having introduced Statutory Instrument 64 of 2016 to stem the tide, latest data from the national statistics agency has shown.

Source: Imports accelerate despite restrictions – NewsDay Zimbabwe September 29, 2016

BY MTHANDAZO NYONI

Data from the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (ZimStat) indicates that Zimbabwe imported goods worth $444m in August against exports of $203m.

The country’s major exports were minerals and a wide range of agriculture-related products such as tobacco, tea and horticulture products.

The statistics agency noted that gold exports contributed $56m, down 36% from the previous month, followed by tobacco, which increased by 83% to $35m.

Nickel ore and concentrates, on the other hand, contributed $29m. Sugarcane exports contributed $13 million in the period under review
Cumulatively, from January to August, the country imported goods worth $3,3 billion, while exports amounted to $1,5bn, resulting in a trade deficit of $1,8bn.

The high trade deficit poses headaches for fiscal and monetary authorities, who have been battling to boost exports, the biggest source of the country’s liquidity.

As at the end of June, exports contributed over 60% of the liquidity flows into the country.

ZimStat data showed that diesel contributed $69m into the country’s imports bill, followed by unleaded petrol at $36m, maize $34m and electricicty $18m.

Most of the imports were consumptive products such as maize, rice, bottled water, fuel, sugar, soap, cellphone handsets, electronics, vehicle spares, new vehicles, generators and second-hand vehicles.

In his mid-term fiscal policy review, Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa said the decline in export performance was a reflection of the overall slowdown in real economic activity in 2016, weighed down by drought-induced contraction in agriculture, declining global mineral prices, weakening regional and other trading partner currencies.

He said the low export performance was a result of suppressed capacity utilisation in the manufacturing sector and lack of affordable external lines of credit.

Recently, trade promotion body, ZimTrade, noted, in a report, that Zimbabwe’s huge trade deficit continues to widen due to low exports and a growing import bill, made up mostly of consumer goods.

In a bid to curtail imports, the government, in July, introduced controls through SI 64 of 2016.

The SI removed various goods from the open general import licence, and that, coupled with other measures on raw materials and the weak South African rand, weighed down overall imports for the period.

Zimbabwean lives matter too, December 12 Movement

BLACK Lives Matter must be more than just a slogan or a preserve of African Americans being shot by the American police force. It must be all-encompassing for black people everywhere across the globe.

Source: Zimbabwean lives matter too, December 12 Movement – NewsDay Zimbabwe September 29, 2016

guest column: WHITLAW T MUGWIJI

I am a fan of Black American history. As such, I have read a bit on Frederick Douglass, Harriet Turban, Booker T Washington, Marcus Garvey, Martin Luther King Junior and Malcolm X, among many others. But Garvey’ solid Pan-African philosophy touches my heart the most. More so because I identify with this philosophy. Africa and the African Diaspora, we are one, including you too, our brothers and sisters in America.

Which is why I was shocked flipping through the news channels on Wednesday September 21, 2016. African Americans demonstrating in support of President Robert Mugabe at the United Nations headquarters in New York. Effectively countering the Zimbabwean demonstration against Mugabe’s rule. I was angry with all African Americans at first, but then I figured it would be too harsh to do so. How could I paint all African Americans with the same brush? Most of them do not even know about this demonstration, let alone the organisers. As a result, I bear no grudge with all of them.

I will not cast aspersions on all of them, but I will take issue with the December 12 Movement, which organised the demonstration in support of Mugabe. A tyrant who has run down his country into a basket case. Reducing his once admired fellow citizens into paupers, all in the name of fighting imperialism.

No, December 12 Movement, I am not challenging your right to demonstrate. I accept that right totally. But I found it most interesting that most of your members participating in that demonstration could not point Zimbabwe on the world map. They did not even know basic facts about Zimbabwe; like the year we got our independence or that we do not have oil. Maybe next time, educate your members when you engage in issues that do not concern you.

It is typical American behaviour of you to meddle in our internal affairs. Zimbabweans simply wanted to tell their President that he has overstayed his welcome, but for some weird reason, you chose to join in the discussion. We know your imperialist nation meddles in domestic issues of other smaller nations. We, somehow, thought since you are family, you will respect our sovereignty to hold this internal conversation without outside meddling.

Since you have chosen to meddle in our affairs, come let us dialogue. Converse and find each other. Believe you me, there are so many issues that we can agree on. You might not know this because we have not been as loud or as vocal as Mugabe in the past. Rest assured we agree on many issues. I am, however, willing to find out areas where we do not agree.

When Mugabe talks about taking back our natural resources, the whole country is in agreement. He stands out to the outside world as the true champion of his people. But we, who know him, disapprove of his abuse of this noble idea. Instead, he is using it to build patronage. Rewarding his cronies at the expense of the greater majority who are wallowing in poverty.

Our demonstration in New York was a cry for a Zimbabwe that works for everyone. Your banners said he was right. Is it because you support a Zimbabwe that works for Mugabe’s cronies only? Do our sorry African lives matter to you?

When Mugabe says the United Nations needs to be reformed and democratised, of course, he is right. We are in agreement with that view too. But do not expect Zimbabweans to shower hypocrisy with praises. Charity must always begin at home. You cannot be a democrat at the UN and an autocrat at home. In Zimbabwe, he arrests, detains and tortures opposition activists. At times, abducting and/or even murdering opposition activists. Now can you understand why we are not enthused by Mugabe talking about democratising the UN? If he believes in democracy, why does he not exercise it in his own country? Yet you say Mugabe is right, do our African lives not matter?
When Mugabe talks about ending the Palestinian occupation and the Two-State solution, of course, he is absolutely right and we are in total agreement. Zimbabwe’s stance is unequivocal, Palestinian occupation must end without fail. Mugabe may have wider exposure and international platforms to air his views, while we have none, but our views on this issue are the same.

When Mugabe talks about the International Criminal Court’s double standards, he is right and we are in agreement. But we also know that the court has not convicted innocent Africans. Should the African lives, that are lost at the hands of these monsters, count for nothing? Is their African blood that worthless?

When he talks about sovereignty and the ills of imperialism, of course, he is right and we are in agreement. But sovereignty is not shoving the leader’s will down the people’s throats. We have a right to tell our leaders to go when we no longer want them. We have a right to demand accountability from our leaders who behave more like emperors and kings.

Mugabe is a great orator and a man of high intelligence. His rhetorical exploits are matched by a few. But that cannot make us forget his corrupt leadership. The country lost more than $15 billion worth of diamond revenue through corruption. If it were the only scandal to grapple our country, it would be better, but time and again, Mugabe has turned a blind eye on corruption. At times, even rewarding the culprits. He talks right, but talk is cheap. What happened to the one-man one-farm policy? Together with his wife, they have more than 13 farms. What then are you exactly saying when you say Mugabe is right? Don’t our sorry African lives not deserve better?

We are not in agreement with his maladministration. As we speak, hospitals do not have basic medicines, including painkillers. While he has been at the country’s helm for the past 36 years, he cannot even trust the healthcare systems he administers. Together with his family, they receive treatment in Singapore. Is not what is good for the goose also good for the gander? We demand and deserve better because our African lives matter too.

University education is now a preserve of the rich and the middle income. Poor people can no longer afford to send their children to university. Government support has been withdrawn due to lack of funding. While most ministries with a direct bearing on social services are cutting back on their spending, Mugabe’s travel budget continues to balloon every year. Currently, it is bigger than the Ministry of Industry and Trade and other important ministries.

With such clear lack of vision, how can we expect him to take the country out of this current mess he created in the beginning? I hope you can forgive me, when I do not understand what you mean when you say, Mugabe is right. Are we Zimbabweans then expected to smile at our President and pretend that our country is heading in the right direction? Just in case you did not know, we value our African lives to just let things continue as they are.

Even though the Black Lives Matter movement started in the United States, it is now bigger than just African American lives. Black Lives Matter must be more than just a slogan or a preserve of African Americans being shot by the American police force. It must be all-encompassing for black people everywhere across the globe.

Mugabe must go because Black Lives in Zimbabwe matter too.

Best Regards.

‘SA unions concerned about imported labour’

SOUTH African-based Zimbabwean immigrant workers, particularly domestic workers, face a bleak future amid reports that South African citizens have reportedly asked their government not to renew permits for foreigners doing menial jobs in that country.

Source: ‘SA unions concerned about imported labour’ – Southern Eye September 29, 2016

BY KHANYILE MLOTSHWA

Chairperson of the Zimbabwe Community in South Africa (ZCSA), Ngqabutho Mabhena, told Southern Eye that South Africans were questioning why their government was importing domestic workers at a time the country’s employment rate had stagnated.

“We had an opportunity to attend an annual business summit organised by the Small Business Development ministry in Bloemfontein on June 23 and 24, 2016,” he said.

“Our interest was to lobby delegates to support the Zimbabwean documentation project beyond 2017. The issue of renewing the ZSP (Zimbabwe Special Permits) for the 198 000 will be a challenge. The South Africans, who are domestic workers or those in the domestic workers’ union, are worried about non-South Africans who are employed as domestic workers.”

Mabhena said their South African counterparts claimed locals now preferred hiring foreigners.

“It is generally believed that non-South Africans accept low wages and agree to work long hours for little pay,” he continued.

“The refusal by non-South Africans, who are in the domestic sector, to join trade unions creates hostilities between them and the South Africans, who are in this sector and are unionised. This means that, unless there are proper engagements with unions, they will not support the renewal of ZSP.”

Mabhena said, as representatives of migrants, they have always encouraged “every Zimbabwean working in South Africa to join a union affiliated to the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu)”.

“Mwasa (Migrant Workers’ Association South Africa), as a workers’ association, has a good working relationship with Cosatu,” he said.
The summit was attended by about 250 delegates including Small Business Development minister Lindiwe Zulu, and her labour counterpart, Mildred Oliphant, among other central and provincial government officials.

Cornelius Monama, chief communications director in the Department of Small Business Development said the summit, held under the theme Uplifting the Informal Economy and Creating Pathways to Formalisation, was meant to address the question of growing unemployment in the country.

“The South African economy is currently experiencing stagnation and unable to offer jobs to those willing and available to work,” he said.

“Faced with this pressure – entry into the informal economy to explore entrepreneurial talent is seen as a relief to provide job and income generation.

Mabhena said, in terms of the renewal of the ZSP beyond 2017, “we were advised to seek audience with Cosatu’s parliamentary office in Cape Town.”

‘Public institutions secretive’

Public institutions in Zimbabwe are still secretive and are wary of releasing information involving budgets and expenditure, procurement and vacancy and employment procedures on their websites, a Media Institute of Southern Africa (Misa) transparency assessment report reveals.

Source: ‘Public institutions secretive’ – NewsDay Zimbabwe September 29, 2016

by PAIDAMOYO MUZULU

The 2016 Report on Secretive Public Institutions in Southern Africa, released yesterday, said that the majority of Zimbabwean institutions surveyed remained closed and averse to placing information in the public domain.

“The surveyed institutions have a long way to go towards transparency and opening themselves up to public scrutiny. Most of them can easily be classified as secretive after most of them failed to respond to written requests for information,” the report said.

Among the 10 surveyed institutions are the Ministry of Finance, Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers’ Union, Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, Public Service Commission, Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission, Tobacco Industry Marketing Board (TIMB), Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP), Grain Marketing Board, NetOne and Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission.

The worst performing institutions under the survey were the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education and ZRP.

“ZRP follows as the second most secretive institution, requesting that written questions be submitted to them despite written questions already having been sent to them without any response,” the report states.

On the other hand, TIMB was found to have a very vibrant website and responded to questions promptly through a designated public relations manager, while the GMB had a less vibrant website, but their personnel promptly attended to information in a friendly and helpful manner.

The reported recommended that: “Government could also improve simple administrative procedures in its institutions in terms of clarity on where information requests should be taken to. There should be clear guidelines on how to obtain public information.”

Meanwhile, Misa has called on the government to align information laws with the Constitution and to repeal the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (Aippa).

“We urge the government to undertake the following critical measures, among others: Repealing of Aippa and replace it with a stand-alone access to or freedom of information law, which, among other things, provides for adequate measures to fully promote the enjoyment of the right by all Zimbabweans as provided for in the Constitution,” Misa said.

Masvingo suspends livestock exhibition over foot-and-mouth disease

THE Masvingo Show Society has suspended livestock exhibitions for the third year running, as the province battles to control the foot-and-mouth disease (FMD).

Source: Masvingo suspends livestock exhibition over foot-and-mouth disease – NewsDay Zimbabwe September 29, 2016

By Tatenda Chitagu

This year’s provincial trade exhibition, which roars into life today under the theme Working Towards Economic Development, will only exhibit livestock from peri-urban plots.

Masvingo Show Society administrator, Jane Marevesa said the recurrent FMD had seen the veterinary service allowing them only to display cattle from peri-urban areas.

“We can only display livestock from peri-urban areas due to the recurrent foot-and-mouth disease. This is the third time we have failed to have cattle on display due to the disease,” she said.

Marevesa said the number of exhibitors had remained constant.

“This year, 100 exhibitors have bought stands, the same as last year,” she said.

Zimplow managing director, Walter Chigwada is set to officially open the show tomorrow.

CSO rescues Gukurahundi victims’ relatives

A BULAWAYO-BASED civil society organisation, Post-Independence Survivors’ Trust (PIST), has said it helped to secure birth certificates for 156 citizens who lost their loved ones during the Gukurahundi massacres.

Source: CSO rescues Gukurahundi victims’ relatives – NewsDay Zimbabwe September 29, 2016

BY SILAS NKALA

PIST director Felix Mafa Sibanda yesterday said that the programme was targeting Gukurahundi survivors in Midlands and Matabeleland regions where over 20 000 civilians were killed in a government-sanctioned manhunt for suspected ex-Zapu dissidents.

“We are identifying critical cases of people who are still suffering because of Gukurahundi, like their struggle to acquire official documents such as death or birth certificates,” Sibanda said.

“We are assisting them in various ways. As for now, over 156 people have benefited from the trust one way or another. Our clients are in both rural and urban areas of Midlands and Matabeleland provinces.”

Sibanda said many villagers in the areas affected by the genocide were still living in fear and were reluctant to disclose their predicament because of the trauma they suffered during the killings.

“Those who are educated a lot don’t want to speak out. Rural folk are not prepared to speak out until they have confidence in you,” Sibanda said.

Sibanda warned politicians to stop using the sad episode as a campaign gimmick saying that would reopen wounds.

He also lamented that Zanu PF was unrepentant over the killings as the party has been unwilling to conduct a national healing programme for the past 36 years.

He said they were also on the lookout for missing persons. PIST’s services are free although the organisation was facing financial challenges since they have no donors.

President Robert Mugabe, who ordered the crackdown when he was still Prime Minister, has declined to publicly apologise for the atrocities, but described the episode as “a moment of madness”.

Stakeholders raise red flag over mining pollution

Stakeholders at the Zimbabwe Alternative Mining Indaba held in Bulawayo yesterday said the proposed mining sector reforms must include aspects enshrined in the African Mining Vision that seeks to strengthen transparency.

Source: Stakeholders raise red flag over mining pollution – NewsDay Zimbabwe September 29, 2016

BY OBEY MANAYITI

The African Mining Vision was agreed on by African Heads of State in 2009, as the continent’s response to tackling the perennial problem of having abundant mineral resources, yet its citizens were living in abject poverty, also known as the resource curse.

Claude Kabemba, the director of Southern Africa Resource Watch, said Zimbabwe should have a vision on how it wants its resources to be utilised before rushing to plunder them.

“The vision must be clearly defined before anything else. For the minerals to be extracted, you need the State and citizens to be determined on that vision. Without that vision, there is no reason to mine because there will be no capacity to implement good governance and enforce it,” he said.

BY OBEY MANAYITI

The African Mining Vision was agreed on by African Heads of State in 2009, as the continent’s response to tackling the perennial problem of having abundant mineral resources, yet its citizens were living in abject poverty, also known as the resource curse.

Claude Kabemba, the director of Southern Africa Resource Watch, said Zimbabwe should have a vision on how it wants its resources to be utilised before rushing to plunder them.

“The vision must be clearly defined before anything else. For the minerals to be extracted, you need the State and citizens to be determined on that vision. Without that vision, there is no reason to mine because there will be no capacity to implement good governance and enforce it,” he said.

Does Mugabe want to be dragged to ICC?

THERE is a growing trend where opposition activists are reportedly abducted, tortured and injected with a mysterious substance by alleged Zanu PF functionaries.

Source: Does Mugabe want to be dragged to ICC? – NewsDay Zimbabwe September 29, 2016

Comment: NewsDay Editor

The increasing incidents of such vile abuse of borrowed statecraft and torture are becoming worrisome. Regrettably, this points to how President Robert Mugabe’s regime has resorted to thuggery and banditry to muffle the voices of the oppressed majority.

One is tempted to believe that Zanu PF is now engineering these disturbances to justify entrenching its own increasingly unpopular rule through such machinations to justify the imposition of a state of emergency.

The sad thing about all this is that instead of focusing energy and resources in rebuilding the country, which is now just floating like a ship with no captain, they would rather expend their energies attacking and abusing people exercising their rights to freedoms of expression and assembly guaranteed by the Constitution. Mugabe has an obligation to uphold the supreme law and not instil fear in the people or create the notion that he is some demigod, who should not be criticised at all. No!

The fact that the church, which for long has watched political excesses and the abuse of power from the sidelines, is now speaking against such evils, should have sent signals to Mugabe that his party has gone rogue and, hence, should just stop it.

Clearly, Zimbabweans have a right to challenge how they are ruled. The events unfolding, where Zanu PF apparatchiks act as though they are above the law and inflict harm on the opposition with impunity, should stop forthwith.

Mugabe should be reminded that these are issues that have seen other leaders being dragged before the International Criminal Court. Citizens have rightly pointed out how disturbing it is that government only acts when opposition parties are involved.

The world has observed with horror the disturbing pictures of opposition political activists tortured by Zanu PF thugs and, sadly, the police have not been swift in dealing with perpetrators of violence, as they do when opposition activists are involved. What happened to the doctrine of equality before the law?

Against this backdrop, the church is appealing to the powers that be to uphold the Constitution and ensure constitutionalism prevails in the country.

We hope that Mugabe will heed the calls. If Zanu PF claims that the opposition is responsible for violence, then it has a duty to rein in its members when they resort to the same.

It is worrisome when a ruling party resorts to violence to justify its presence in government. That is how the vicious cycle of violence is perpetuated, strengthening it as a culture of our politics, when elsewhere, the progressive world is moving forward, while we remain stuck in primitivism.

Clearly, if such chaos is allowed to continue, the people’s security is not guaranteed and citizens will live in fear. At the end of the day, all these things are considered by the international community, into which Zimbabwe is asking to be re-accepted after having been labelled a pariah State for many years.

We believe, for Mugabe, it is not power that corrupts, but fear, the fear of losing power corrupts those who wield it.

We believe Mugabe must be stopped before he creates genocide on peace-loving Zimbabweans.

Time citizens rescued the nation from Zanu PF clutches

Source: Time citizens rescued the nation from Zanu PF clutches – NewsDay Zimbabwe September 29, 2016

Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it. —Mark Twain

Opinion: Vince Musewe

According to a recent note issued by the African Development Bank, “Zimbabwe continues to experience a decline in economic growth which is projected at 1,6% in 2016. This is the result of several factors, including lower commodity prices, the El Niño induced drought, and the appreciation of the US dollar, which is the dominant currency in the country’s multi-currency arrangement. The appreciation of the US dollar has particularly reduced the competitiveness of the economy. The decline has led to rising youth unemployment, company closures and a crippling liquidity crunch mainly due to lack of confidence in the economy. In addition, a negative country-risk premium arising from high levels of public debt (about US$7,1 billion) and limited external capital inflows (including remittances) have worsened the situation. The economic situation of Zimbabwe is a major issue of concern for the country, the region and its development partners.”

These circumstances described above can only change with fundamental political and economic reforms. However, as I have said many times before, Mugabe at 92 has no incentive to reform a system which fortified his total domination for the last 36 years. In addition, those who have benefitted from such a system and continue to benefit from it also have no incentive for radical change unless forced to do so by circumstances.

The responsibility of our generation is to do all we can to create those circumstances which will force them to change. They will not do so voluntarily through political reforms, which may create a free and fair competitive political environment, because they know they will lose.

I have had many conversations trying to explain this simple fact to many Zimbabweans who seem not to appreciate this fact. In my opinion, it is a pipe dream to think that Mugabe and his coterie can give up political power through elections which is the very machinery he dominates and controls. Even the call to register to vote is to me a useless endeavour because how can you register in an illegitimate system that you want to change?

Every system is designed to give you the results that you get and our political system is designed to ensure the dominance and total control of Zanu PF. Sadly this includes all public institutions such as the police, who to me, are a now a Zanu PF militia using public resources to oppress and suppress the very people who are paying their wages. Sadly, that includes frustrating the voting process. We are paying through our sweat to be oppressed and abused by this system.

Zimbabweans must wake up, there is absolutely no point participating as willing partners in an election registration process, in an illegitimate system presided over by partisan institutions. We cannot ever afford to assume that any political process, presided over by this evil machinery can stand for national interest. For 36 years we have been hoping for the best, we have been waiting for a better Zimbabwe and if at all it is to come, it will not come through the actions of Mugabe nor will it come through the actions of his ministers or Zanu PF. It is like expecting mangoes from an apple tree. We must change the game and the narrative and that requires much more than electoral reforms.

We need a total transformation of our country and its institutions. In my opinion, only a citizens-led National Transitional Authority (NTA) can deliver the change that we want. In my view it is only such a body that can be non-partisan. It is only such a body that can preside over levelling the political playing field, while dealing with the socio-economic emergency, which Zanu PF has failed to deal with simply because they have run out of solutions. Such a body can deal with our debt, corruption and economic meltdown in a comprehensible and sustainable manner which puts Zimbabweans first. I do not trust politicians because theirs is an incomprehensible self-interest based on attaining power and personal ambition without necessarily having the competence to build a new Zimbabwe.

If I had the authority, I would certainly postpone elections and ensure that we Zimbabweans attend to our social and economic crisis first. In my view, there is nothing magical about 2018 and sadly we are hanging on false hope that change will come then. We can’t wait till then.

There is nothing more important than creating jobs now and working hard to revive our comatose economy, which continues to be raped by a Zanu PF predatory cabal. There is nothing more important than ensuring that we put Zimbabwe on a new trajectory of growth and prosperity for all under a non-partisan NTA whose responsibility must go beyond electoral reforms.

Lastly, I have talked to our social movements and it is naïve to insist on an apolitical agenda, while seeking social change because change is in itself a political process. We are where we are now because we assumed that it is the responsibility of our politicians to lead and change Zimbabwe. It is not. Surely, it is the responsibility of every citizen who loves our country to rescue it from the clutches of Zanu PF because of we do not do that, change will never come.

Another Zimbabwe is possible, yes, but it will not come by trusting the system or trusting Zanu PF or trusting Mugabe. It is like doing the same things over and over again and expecting different results. That’s insane.

Let those who have ears hear.

Vince Musewe is an economist and author. He is also the Secretary for Finance for the PDP. You can contact him on vtmuswe@gmail.com

New twist to bond notes saga

THE wrangle over the proposed introduction of bond notes to ease the country’s cash crisis took a new twist yesterday, with the Constitutional Court (ConCourt) saying it was premature to legally challenge the move, as the government had not yet crafted an enabling law to operationalise the currency.

Source: New twist to bond notes saga – NewsDay Zimbabwe September 29, 2016

BY CHARLES LAITON/RICHARD CHIDZA

The ConCourt was responding to former Vice-President Joice Mujuru’s court bid to block the introduction of the bond notes.

The ConCourt bench dismissed the application with costs, saying it was premature and speculative, since the said bond notes would not be introduced without a legal framework.

This came as social movement group, Tajamuka/Sesijikile, launched a campaign against suspected German companies believed to have been contracted by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to allegedly print the notes.

Mujuru, through her lawyer, Lovemore Madhuku, who was instructed by Gift Nyandoro, argued that government’s plans to introduce bond notes were an infringement on her constitutional rights.

But, in its determination, the ConCourt said there was no indication that the government intended to introduce the bond notes without an Act of Parliament or a statutory instrument, which, if found to be in violation of the country’s laws, would be subject to a court challenge.

“If the bond notes are introduced without the enactment of an Act of Parliament or a statutory instrument, then that action can be challenged in court. Are you, therefore, suggesting that the bond notes will be introduced without a legal framework?” Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku asked Madhuku, who responded affirmatively.

Madhuku said although there was no legislation on the introduction of bond notes, there were indications they could be introduced within a two-week period given the fiscal policy review statement that was issued on September 15, 2016 by Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa.

“Their intention (government) to introduce the bond notes infringes on the constitutional rights of my client (Mujuru) and focusing on the conduct of the respondents, there is no indication of what they are going to do, thus, we are saying there is likelihood that her rights will be infringed,” he said.

“The respondents are already taking action; announcement itself is action and does amount to the unconstitutionality of the whole process. It cannot be ascertained whether or not the respondents are going to act lawfully.”

Deputy Chief Justice Luke Malaba said fears over the introduction of bond notes were not founded on facts, since there was a dispute between Mujuru and the government, which was saying it would only introduce the bond notes based on the country’s laws.

Justice Malaba’s sentiments were echoed by Chief Justice Chidyausiku, who said Mujuru could seek legal recourse after the notes had been formally introduced.

“I don’t see how that cannot be cured. Even two days after their introduction, she (Mujuru) can file an urgent chamber application,” he said.

“But right now, what is the factual basis for us to know whether it is going to be in terms of an Act of Parliament or statutory instrument or even the Constitution? On what basis do we assume that maybe they will amend the Constitution and introduce the bond notes?”

The government was represented by Advocate Thabani Mpofu and Attorney-General (AG) representative, Florence Chimbaru.

Meanwhile, Tajamuka/Sesijikile has started putting pressure on central bank governor, John Mangudya, to reveal details of the apex bank’s deal with a German company contracted to print the contentious bond notes — set for release next month.

The group this week wrote to Munich-based Giesecke and Devrient GmbH, warning them against “abating” the Zimbabwean government’s excesses.

Part of the letter addressed to the German firm’s spokesperson, Andrea Nitsche, read: “We are Zimbabwean citizens across the world, concerned with our government’s proposed policy to introduce a surrogate currency termed bond notes.

“We are worried that your company, having a history of supporting President Robert Mugabe’s administration between 2005 and 2009, may have been contracted to print the said bond notes earlier this year.”

Giesecke and Devrient supplied paper to print bearers’ cheques.

“We also appreciate that you operate in Germany, a leading member of the United Nations and a leading member of the European Union, and that you have certain minimal moral and legal standards that bind your worldwide conduct of business, [but] rendering support to a dictatorship bent on oppressing its 14 million people through brute force is a deeply repugnant [way] of doing business,” the strongly-worded letter said.

Tajamuka/Sesijikile spokesperson, Promise Mkwananzi, said his organisation was well-informed that Giesecke and Devrient were printing bond notes.

“We are no longer guessing; we have credible information that they are already printing. We are now looking for legal representation in Germany to sue that company. They cannot be seen to be abating a dictatorship,” he said.

But Nitsche denied being involved in any form of business arrangement with the Zimbabwean government.

“We do not produce anything nor do we currently plan on producing anything for the Zimbabwean central bank. If you have further questions on any currency or country, please inquire with the central bank in question,” he said.

Tajamuka has also given Mangudya until October 12 to name the company he contracted to print the bond notes.

The group also demanded that he furnishes the responsible parliamentary portfolio committee with the bond notes printing agreement, and publish a general notice containing the full schedule of the Treasury Bills the central bank has issued since July 2013.

The letter also demanded the publication of the list of beneficiaries of the RBZ farm mechanisation scheme, whose $1,4 billion debt has since been assumed by the government.

‘Zanu PF, army, police behind national chaos’

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF, the police and military accounted for over 85% of political violence incidents that rocked Zimbabwe in August, a report has revealed.

Source: ‘Zanu PF, army, police behind national chaos’ – NewsDay Zimbabwe September 29, 2016

BY RICHARD CHIDZA

The report, released by the Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP), paints a horrifying picture of how the security situation in the country continued on a downward spiral, with the ruling party and State institutions, mandated with protecting citizens, allegedly being the main culprits.

“In August the high percentage in State-sponsored perpetrators such as the ZRP [Zimbabwe Republic Police] (34,2%), ZNA [Zimbabwe National Army] (8,3%), and CIO [Central Intelligence Organisation] (1,2%) has remained relatively high, although July recorded a higher percentage for ZRP (63%).

“August has recorded a sharp increase in the total number of victims (1 401) as compared to July (647) and June (356),” ZPP said, adding that Zanu PF accounted for 42% of violence and rights abuse incidents.

But the opposition has not been saints either, with the report indicating that in St Mary’s, Chitungwiza, a group of four MDC-T supporters harassed a Zanu PF supporter, who was wearing a party T-shirt.

“The MDC-T youths ordered the Zanu PF youth to remove the T-shirt and blamed his party for causing hunger in the country. Prior to that, the youths were said to have also ordered another man, who was on a bicycle, to remove his Zanu PF cap,” the report read.

The report chronicles the volatile events in August that saw arrests, harassment and abductions across the country, mainly targeted at citizens protesting against Mugabe’s government.

Most of the victims of the violence, according to the report, were not aligned to any political party. ZPP said 77% of the victims were ordinary Zimbabweans unattached to any party, while 0,3% were police officers, 2% Zanu PF, 13,5% MDC-T, and 6,4% belonged to Zimbabwe People First.

From vendors’ leader, Standrick Zvorwadza’s numerous arrests and harassment to brutality against journalists and clergymen, the report highlighted Mugabe’s growing unease with dissent against his administration.

Police were last week caught in the eye of a storm after it emerged they had allegedly used live ammunition in dealing with protesters in Epworth and other densely-populated areas in Harare.

Meanwhile, Judge President Justice George Chiweshe yesterday postponed to next Monday, judgment in the two urgent chamber applications seeking to set aside the police ban on demonstrations in Harare’s central business district.

The two matters were filed by the Zimbabwe Divine Destiny, Democratic Assembly for Restoration and Empowerment, National Electoral Reform Agenda, Combined Harare Residents’ Association and Zvorwadza.

The parties are being represented by Advocate Fadzai Mahere of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights and senior lawyers Tendai Biti and Dzimbabwe Chimbga.

Justice Chiweshe announced the judgment date after listening to oral submissions from all parties concerned.

Command agriculture:  Will Zimbabwe succeed?

Source: Command agriculture:  Will Zimbabwe succeed? | The Financial Gazette September 29, 2016

ACROSS the Odzi river along the Harare-Mutare highway going east, there is agricultural land that lies fallow to the right.
Those familiar with this piece of land would be disheartened.
The 250-hectare Kondozi farm was once a thriving agricultural hub, producing horticultural products for global retail giants such as Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Marks & Spencer and Waitrose of Europe.
It is easy for one seeing this farm for the first time to dismiss any suggestion that it was once a wonderland of farming and part of Zimbabwe’s once-flourishing export sector.
But that is the sad truth.
The farm is now derelict, and 5 000 workers lost their jobs after the farm was in 2004 taken over by government, through the Agricultural and Rural Development Authority, at the height of Zimbabwe’s land redistribution exercise that started in 2000.
The Kondozi story best highlights how the southern African nation so spectacularly managed to ruin its bread basket status to become a textbook example of a basket case.
Kondozi and hundreds of other run-down farms make even the most optimistic Zimbabweans doubt whether current efforts to boost agricultural production, through a US$500 million command agriculture programme, will succeed.
Zimbabwe recently launched the command agriculture programme, under which government is targeting to produce two million tonnes of maize on 400 000 hectares of land.
Under the programme, 2 000 farmers will be given inputs, irrigation and mechanised equipment.
They will, however, be required to give five tonnes per hectare to government as repayment.
According to Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, government will, under this programme, borrow from private banks to finance the importation of farming equipment from Brazil, Belarus, Russia and India.
Mnangagwa said the programme would not be funded by Treasury and government was therefore seeking support from the private sector and had “quite advanced at securing these funds”.
“We are well advanced in negotiating such facilities and many private companies are coming forward to make offers because it is guaranteed that they will have a return from the loans that they may advance,” he said.
Reports last week indicated that the command agricultural programme, meant to revitalise the country’s agricultural sector, had been over-subscribed.
That is hardly surprising.
But many doubt that the interest on the programme is driven by the desire to change the country’s precarious food security situation.
There are fears the scheme could have been over-subscribed by opportunists bent of making a quick buck.
Previously, political bigwigs and their cronies, who constitute the majority of those that have been allocated farms expropriated from former white owners, have benefitted from multi-million dollar schemes bankrolled by government.
Nothing, however, has emerged out of government’s previous efforts.
Perhaps the country’s most ambitious and grandest attempt to regain its bread basket status was the 2007 mechanisation programme, a proposition meant to prove to the world that the country’s land redistribution exercise had not been in vain.
The programme was meant to prove that indigenous black farmers were equally capable of producing as much as, if not more, than the former commercial white farmers.
The programme included a well-funded mechanisation exercise, supported by the country’s central bank.
In July 2007, the then Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor, Gideon Gono, who dutifully tried to ensure the success of the new farmers in his bid to turnaround the economy, said: “With this mechanisation our agriculture is never going to be the same again.”
In October of the same year, he maintained: “For a long time there has been a void of practical and sensible interventions, and instead, what we have seen are eloquent problem descriptions, excellent excuses for doing nothing, and very limited proffering of workable solutions. Where solutions have been proffered, no implementation took place.”
The mechanisation drive was a reality that offered many possibilities as 3 000 tractors, 105 combine harvesters, 1 800 tractor-drawn ploughs, 500 planters, 746 chemical sprayers, 600 fertiliser sprayers, 210 hay bailers, 100 000 ox-drawn ploughs, 130 harrows, 2 000 planters, 46 200 cultivators, 78 000 farm carts, 92 000 knapsack sprayers and 200 000 chains were distributed in three phases.
The then RBZ chief declared: “We once again make the clarion call that as Zimbabweans we stop killing the economy through the vices of corruption and indiscipline. For as long as we join hands in fighting those monsters in our midst, for as long as every sector, ministry, province and company  plays their part, our current set-backs can be reversed and turned into the engine of economic growth and prosperity within a remarkable short space of time.”
But the monster called corruption, like some gothic serpent, continues to rear its ugly head.
President Robert Mugabe said back then that the implements and machinery were “not for free” and exhorted beneficiaries to “work hard and plan properly”.
Still, this initiative bore no fruits, and in fact, the farming sector deteriorated, and Zimbabwe faced widespread shortages and had to import the bulk of its food requirements.
But the massive mechanisation drive was not the only commendable effort that Zimbabweans allowed to go to waste.
Several other initiatives have taken place to try and salvage the agricultural sector.
These include the following:
June 2011: The European Union unveiled a US$100 million input support scheme for 800 000 communal farmers (1,5 million people) for 2011/12 season.
October 2011: Government unveils a US$75 million input support scheme for commercial and communal farmers. The scheme was for vulnerable groups and those who could not pay for the maize delivered to GMB for the 2010/11 season.
2008/09: Government sets a target of 500 000 hectares for intensive production in maize and mobilised 12 500 tonnes of seed.
2009/10: A US$210 million input scheme is unveiled. Government also extended heavily subsidised inputs to farmers who had failed to access the US$210 million scheme. President Mugabe also unveils a US$10 million Well-Wishers Emergency Inputs Intervention Scheme to benefit 190 000 households.
November 2002: Out of the ZW$76 billion required to finance the 2002/3 cropping season, government contributes ZW$8,5 billion and the private sector pledges ZW$35 billion.
2001/2: Government unveils ZW$15 billion input credit scheme.
October 2001: Agribank offers new farmers a US$2,1 billion loan facility, which, by the time it was exhausted, had reportedly been looted with very little production having been recorded on the ground.
November 2002: Government offers a ZW$60 billion loan facility raised through the sale of agricultural bonds by the country’s financial institutions.
Zimbabwe also benefitted from support from other country.
These were as follows:
Japan: Supplied 200 tractors under the KR2 Scheme during the first two years of the land reform programme, but suspended the scheme in February 2002 after politicians and influential business people hijacked the tractors.
Belarus: In December 2001, Belarus pledged to supply 2 000 tractors, several combine harvesters and 700 tonnes of fertiliser.
Iran: January 2004, Iran supplies 400 tractors under a US$15 million facility.
Malaysia: January 2004, Malaysia gives Zimbabwe 25 tractors, 50 seed drills, 15 combine harvesters and 500 tonnes of fertiliser and other agricultural chemicals under a US$10 million facility.
United States of America: The USA says it has contributed more than US$1 billion to humanitarian operations in Zimbabwe that include funding of agricultural projects involving the United States Development Agency since 2002.
Meanwhile the donor community has supported projects running into billions of dollars mainly in rural areas.
If figures do not lie, can anyone really give the US$500 million command agriculture initiative much of a chance given this compelling evidence of a nation that has squandered every opportunity at its disposal?

 

Diamonds chief seeks to help Zimbabwe

Source: Diamonds chief seeks to help Zimbabwe | The Financial Gazette September 29, 2016

By Nyasha Chingono
AHMED Bin Sulayem, chairman of the Kimberly Process Certification Scheme (KPCS), jetted into the country this week to assess the diamond industry in the country, mired in mystery and questionable conduct.
Speaking to journalists after a meeting with Ministry of Mines and Mining Development officials, Sulayem said he was not yet in a position to give a detailed account of the sector because he was still to visit the controversial Marange diamond fields.
“So far I am very happy, but after taking a tour of the mines, I will be in a position to give a response,” he said. “I understand that the mines are in the best conditions as compared to other mines in Africa.”
Sulayem is on an African tour and has already visited the Central African Republic and South Africa, among other countries.
“I am not here because there is a red flag or anything, it was a planned visit and I am here as the KP chairman to offer support,” he added.
He said his African tour was meant to encourage Africa’s participation in the determination of diamond prices.
“We are seeing good participation, we are talking to other partners to help African countries so that they can determine the price of diamonds before they leave their countries,” Suleyam said.
In October last year, following years of controversy over accountability of revenue from the Chiadzwa diamond fields, government announced that it was consolidating all diamond mining claims into one entity, the Zimbabwe Consolidation Diamond Corporation, in which it would have a 50 percent stake.
At least seven companies operating in Chiadzwa were to share the balance.
President Robert Mugabe revealed then that the decision had been taken after evidence of pillage of diamonds by operators, indicating that an estimated US$15 billion worth of revenue from diamonds had been lost from Chiadzwa.
Economic consultant, John Robertson, said Sulayem was unlikely to seek clarity on the alleged theft of diamonds.
“I think he might easily be satisfied that we are not in conflict because there is no evidence. Government might get away with it,” Robertson told the Financial Gazette.
KP is a joint government, industry and civil society initiative to stem the flow of conflict diamonds.
Robertson said KP should investigate and bring to finality issues of land grabbing that happened during the diamond rush in Chiadzwa.
“They have the wrong narrative of conflict because we don’t have the same situation as Sierra Leone or other countries torn by diamonds conflict, but there is still need to look into these issues,” Robertson said.
Robertson said Zimbabweans had been robbed of billions of US dollars through smuggling and lack of transparency in diamond mining.
“We have been robbed of the earnings and the tax collector has been robbed of his taxes because senior people in the party cannot be held accountable. If there was transparency, we would be able to measure exports and royalties earned by government,” Robertson said.
Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association’s head of research, Shamiso Mtisi, said Sulayem was in the country to entrench Dubai’s interests in Zimbabwe.
“He has come to entrench Dubai’s business interests. They have been buying our diamonds at an unfair price and his visit will not change anything,” Mtisi said, maintaining that Sulayem’s visit should achieve better valuation for Zimbabwe’s diamonds as the global diamond market was undervaluing Africa’s diamonds.
“He should be able to convince other countries to look into the undervaluing of diamonds. This is what (Minister of Mines and Mining Development) Walter Chidhakwa and company should demand,” said Mtisi.
Zimbabwe is currently supplying about three percent of the world’s total diamond output and its significance in the industry has been waning over the years.
Chidhakwa said Zimbabwe was setting up new structures to ensure that diamonds benefit communities.
“We are setting up new structures that we hope will lead to greater mining exploration of our diamonds and ensure that our diamonds are dug for the benefit of the communities in Zimbabwe,” said Chidhakwa.
Communities surrounding Marange diamond fields live in abject poverty.
Lack of value addition has also been identified as one of the major factors militating against the diamond sector, as diamond prices are set internationally.
“We feel we can make a contribution to international diamonds by providing good quality diamonds and ensuring that the cutting and jewellery making industries are supported,” said Chidhakwa.

Damp fiscal prospects

Source: Damp fiscal prospects | The Financial Gazette September 29, 2016

By Kapeza Kapeza
POLICY inconsistencies continue to plague Zimbabwe fiscal space.
We keep hoping for the “sacred” foreign direct investments that were threatened and, perhaps remain so, by the indigenisation policy which our custodians could not interpret coherently.
You could bet, any would-be investor would be rattled to even consider the prospects.
One topical fiscal concern is the pattern of our national recurrent expenditure.
At near 100 percent, all hope of capital investments are zero. The capital investment speaks to the infrastructural development requisite for general economic development. Needless to say, such development creates a basis for fiscal growth through creation of vast revenue stream. Prospects of reviving the local industry remain extremely remote. There, simply, is nothing left.
Revisiting the subject of policy disharmony, you may be persuaded to believe that inadequate consultations are made whenever any such propositions are made. It would not require an expert eye to have noticed such discord in the recent past.
The civil service wage bill and proposed amendments have been publicly denounced on more than one occasion.
 There was an outcry after the implementation of the import bans promulgated by the Statutory Instrument 64 of 2016. There are reports of proposal to assess and evaluate the statutory instruments, barely a year after implementation.
Matters of policy are far-reaching. The formulation process should be robust and sound enough to provide adequate comfort to the affected that such frameworks were constructed on legitimate grounds for the greater good.
Such legitimacy should then lure buy-in from the stakeholders motivated by the genuineness of the object of the said policies. A good measure of the legitimacy of a policy matter is the depth of the consultation process that will, naturally, not evade the stakeholders to be affected.
We may not be too sure of how exactly such processes are currently being handled, but we can be sure of a number of the following reactions if the process is inclusive:
• Buy-in and unreserved support from stakeholder
• Little to no variances in policy interpretation, and better still, implementation
• Ownership and confidence in the legitimacy of policy position
• Assurance of the greater objectivity to, generally, improve the welfare and wellbeing of the citizenry.
From a distance, the much clamoured-for foreign direct investments may, then, be stimulated. We should also expect that such inflows are supposed to be riding on solid policy platforms that seek to enhance value to the investors. This calls for thorough introspection in so far as financial discipline is concerned. It calls for a clear demonstration that, policies are bent on promoting value addition and creation through provision of an enabling investing environment.
Public proclamations and counter proclamations will not cut it. Confidence builds from inside out. An extensive, vigorous, inclusive and comprehensive consultation process is a sure help.
 Essentially, we do not even require to look very far for such. Business and professional bodies may play a critical role in advising the input into policy formulation.
These bodies better represent the interest of consumers and investors alike. There could be no better alternative.
In addition, it remains critical that even a seemingly sound policy may be impaired through the passage of time.
It remains prudent to, objectively, do the assessment and evaluation of the likely impact of the same before implementation. There is little applause for premature implementation of a policy that will, almost immediately require a “relevancy and impact” assessment and evaluation.
We could also be certain that incidences of possible trade wars would be kept at the minimum with our international trading partners. International funding institutions are likely to rate and rank a nation better with sound consistent economic policies.
Sincerity is apparent when all stakeholders concerns have been attended to and are represented in such pronouncements. Public humiliations will also, naturally, be a non-event.
Growing the fiscal space cannot be achieved by secluding the participants to the fiscus. Incorporating the participants also includes ensuring that a fertile investing field is provided.
 The process requires sowing seeds of trust through, as alluded to earlier, consulting  stakeholders to the fiscus. Long and painful as it may seem, it is the best way to achieve coherence and by extension, indirectly providing, assurance to investors.
Fiscal prospects rest in the ability to create and provide a solid foundation that promotes business and investments, in general. Further, this manifests through sound policies that supports business value addition and an apparent demonstration of fiscal commitments to ensure continued support to the business community as well as the general welfare of the citizenry.
We can as well forget any such chance, in the near future, if what has transpired in the recent past is something we will perpetuate going forward. Our greatest battle is to try and rebuild our battered reputation and make sure, we become an economic hub that every investor, local or abroad can yearn for.
Kapeza Kapeza is a senior business consultant for Franlink Consultants, a registered public accountants and auditors’ firm. He can be contacted at kkapeza@franlinkcons.co.zw/kkapeza@gmail.com

Agric success hinged on weather, water use and farmers’ attitudes

Source: Agric success hinged on weather, water use and farmers’ attitudes | The Financial Gazette September 29, 2016

By  Vincent Gwarazimba

WHILE land was given to many families who had no access to it or were settled on poor quality soils, few have been able to make use of it both for their own food security and national benefit, despite government efforts to provide equipment and inputs.
Some lands were fully equipped with irrigation facilities to match, but with lack of appreciation and use much of the equipment depreciated, sold or went into disrepair.
Furthermore government initiated farm mechanisation programmes and input support schemes and this failed to boost productivity in the sector.
While government must be commended for the various initiative, three factors come into focus, weather forecast, water use and farmers’ attitudes towards farming.
It is inexcusable to blame drought all the time.
There were some dotted good rains in the drought years, but have we been able to use weather systems to the advantage of our food production?
Perhaps we have not been able to or did not have equipment to capture, analyse and use data from elsewhere.
Moreso the country has over 10 000 dams to irrigate over a million hectares of food crops.
Equipment provided by the government is depreciating in sheds or open spaces.
Indeed, if everything is driven by greed government efforts will come to zero.
Attitudes must change for Zimbabwe to move forward.
In August 2016, the Government of Zimbabwe announced a US$500 million initiative to boost food security.
Maize production is the focus of the initiative through the programme code-named Command Agriculture where a maximum of 400 000 hectares is identified and farmers provided with the necessary inputs to produce a maize crop.
The target is 2 000 000 metric tonnes (mt) of maize grain. We need a yield of five metric tonnes per hectare (ha) to achieve this.
A very noble initiative, but hopefully with lessons learnt from the previous four initiatives since the land reform started in 2000, we might just succeed.
However, the success of this particular initiative will depend on a number of factors. The key factors are understanding maize growing areas and suitable varieties, weather forecast, water use, planning and implementation and monitoring.
To understand government’s focus on maize perhaps we need to understand the maize crop and indeed, Meteorological Services Department basing their weather forecasts on individual areas with details to assist farmer decisions.
Maize as a plant for crop production
Successful cultivation of maize depends on right choice of varieties with length of the growing period matching length of growing season.
Thus variety selection suits the a given area mainly based on weather and climate data provided by weather forecasters.
Maize is a very efficient user of water and for maximum yield, a medium season variety will require 500-800mm of water depending on climate to achieve 5mt/ha.
Soil must be kept at near field capacity especially in critical developing periods of the maize plant.
Perhaps irrigation can be timed to meet those requirements, but in the case of natural rain, frequently falls during the growing period.
The crop is tolerant to moisture stress only during vegetative and ripening periods with greatest yield losses which crop is stressed during tasselling, silking and pollination.
Severe water stress during these times can cause crop failure.
For farmers with irrigation facilities, irrigation must be well timed, while farmers on drying land cropping, must be timed to coincide with rain as predicted in the weather forecast.
While maize adapts to temperatures as low as 20 degrees centigrade, in the tropics such low temperatures result in slow growth and perhaps failure of the crop to coincide with predicted rainfall patterns.
Periods between September and early January have high temperatures and higher thermal units enabling maize to maximise growth.
Therefore early (80-110days) and medium (110-140 days) maturing maize varieties must be planted between first and third week of November to reach tasselling, silking and pollination in late December and early January.
During that period, temperatures are very high and there is likelihood of rainfall, but that will depend on detailed weather forecast.
Late maturing (140 days) varieties must be planted with irrigation in mid October, but most critical stages coinciding with high temperatures and rainfall as forecast.
Making weather forecast work for maize production
Climate and weather are natural phenomenon.
We attempt to predict climatic conditions that likely affect local weather.
As earth temperatures rise due to climate change arising from human activities, local weather conditions have become unpredictable as drought and floods hit different areas across the globe.
Forty years ago, weather patterns were predictable enabling farmers to plant maize at recommended periods.
Zimbabwe weather conditions are no exception with evidence of shorter and seasonal shifts and low temperatures affecting maize towards maturity.
However, new very short maize varieties have been developed for both short and seasonal shifts, but in some cases these are late planted to benefit from high thermal units between October and early January.
With government efforts to increase food production in Zimbabwe, the Met Department provides detailed weather forecast on targeted maize growing areas, providing estimates on when and total rain for each month from October, November, December, January, February and March.
The department also provides average temperatures for each month giving estimate dates for mid months “droughts” or rainfall shortages, While drying cropping will basically depend on natural weather phenomenon, estimated dates of water shortages will enable farmers with irrigation facilities prepare for their crops.
Using data from various seed companies and consultation with such companies, on maize varieties the department provides precise rainfall days to fit the maize growing cycle.
Maize Water Use
As highlighted previously, a maize plant requires 500-800mm of water.
This water is critical at certain stages of growth and shortages or moisture stress on the crop can result in reduced yield or total crop failure.
Moisture comes from rainfall.
Majority of farmers practice dryland farming and therefore depend on rainfall.
Yields from these farmers vary with areas with rainfall and soils being the determining factors. There are farmers with irrigation facilities and can provide the 500-800mm of water required for each maize plant.
Soil moisture will be maintained at field capacity enabling the maize plant to grow vigorously (and achieve high yield) with temperature and nutrient being equal.
Zimbabwe has over 10 000 dams of different capacities and each could be used effectively for irrigation at local levels.
There are farmers with centre pivot irrigation systems and these could achieve better yields (perhaps government could have spent money to develop irrigation systems as a strategy against unpredictable weather conditions).
Have we planned for command agriculture?
Productive agriculture is not about working up one day to announce an initiative of US$500 million.
This has been the case with the four initiatives of the last 15 years.
The result, total failure with public money lining the pockets of some individuals.
Planning should have started in January 2016) involving everyone in the sector, but most critically:
•The participating farmers. Who are they, where are they located and what equipment and facilities do they have? Can these farmers make a small investment of their own (that will encourage them to be honest and work hard and recover the money). Some of these farmers believe what comes from government is ‘free’.
•Training and developing business attitudes. Maize farming is not subsistence, but producing for the nation.
Most farmers on the land came from rural areas where they practiced mixed farming, a practice further adopted in commercial land, with maize taking a small potion of land and other crops like cowpea, nyimo bean, groundnuts etc occupying valuable land for the staple crop.
•Identification of maize producing areas and farms checking on functional irrigation facilities. This should have been done as early as January 2016, with farmers made to prepare for the initiative.
•Identifying farmers with centre pivot irrigation systems, hectare sizes and constraints. Some have centre pivots just for show with no water connection (for example, next to Mutare River near the Harare-Mutare highway or one next to Grain Marketing Board railway siding depot just after Macheke towards Mutare. This was installed years ago, but never worked). Centre pivots need a lot of water and on that centre pivot, there is no evidence of water.
•Farmers with irrigation systems can be targeted for high-yielding late season varieties. Planning be advanced to plant these crops by mid October without fail. Planting short or medium season varieties on irrigation is a waste of resources.
•Irrigation break downs especially centre pivots. Plan for a back up support from local irrigation companies.
•Climate and weather data for targeted local areas. Enabling targeting of suitable maize varieties. Giving dry land farmers long season varieties is also a waste of resources. The Met Department provides details of climate and weather data indicating areas of excessive rain and erosion and nutrient leaching and areas with low rainfall to make informed decisions.
•Soil analysis. Over the years soils have become acidic or alkaline with improper use of fertilisers and chemicals. Properly planned initiative should have done soil analysis for targeted farmers and lands with data published for farmers to seek advice from experts. Yields will never be achieved if soil analysis is not done before planting.
•Farmer selection must be guided by farmer history and ability to make effective use of the government resource “benevolence”. However, participating farmers must be held accountable and pay back government money with yield and the produce purchased by government. Zimbabweans are wary of public money being wasted due to lack of planning. A plan for accountability must be put in place.
•An amount of US$500 million and 400 000 hectares are not mean for a government with no capital. Indeed, there is need for a coordinated plan with tacit involvement of Agritex and ensuring input are properly accounted for.
•In collaboration with financial institutions and other development partners, develop a structure of funding the purchase (cash basis) of grain from farmers. A tentative preplanting price perhaps equal or just above world prices (based on Futures market).
•In planning for command agriculture, government must create a conducive and enabling environment for farmers outside the command structure, making same inputs available at affordable prices. Command agriculture will not be working in a vacuum, but interacts with other activities of maize production.
Monitoring
Previous initiatives failed partly because of poor coordination and lack of monitoring. While government has good intentions to feed the nation, our farmers may have different objectives.
Some farmers have farms to let or make money through selling inputs and equipment, others are speculators, given what this government has gone through, proper accountability and proper resource utilisation must be a priority.
Government must understand weather conditions and assess impact on maize justifying investing US$500 million.
While so, however, selecting competent and committed farmers, with business farming history, despite political, religious and racial inclination, will enable better monitoring and return of investment for the good of the nation.
A monitoring plan improves resource use and accountability.
Possible methods of monitoring
There are two possible methods of monitoring and gathering data for production.
First, putting people on the ground, monitoring land preparation, planting dates, soil moisture levels, correct fertiliser application, weed control, rainfall dates, crop growth and moisture levels at tasselling, silking and pollination and grain filling and crop maturity and yield estimates.
That will be the task of extension officer gathering this data and feeding the central system.
The second method is to GPS (global positioning system) each field and monitor activities through satellite mapping.
This could even be followed by field officers to make further analysis depending on the data required.
To get the US$500 million rolling, involve everyone. Failure is not an option.

Vincent Gwarazimba is an agricultural expert contactable on vincent.gwarazimba@gmail.com

Government targets Diaspora

Source: Government targets Diaspora | The Financial Gazette September 29, 2016

BULAWAYO — Government has now shifted its attention to Zimbabweans in the Diaspora in its bid for investment in the country’s productive sectors, as foreign direct investment inflows remain low.
Macro-Economic Planning and Investment Promotion Minister, Obert Mpofu, recently launched the National Diaspora Directorate as part of efforts to enhance engagement and participation by Zimbabweans in the Diaspora in national development.
The directorate is in line with the National Diaspora Policy launched last September to boost remittances from Zimbabweans living abroad.
According to the United States-based Migration Policy Institute (MPI), Diasporas can play an important role in the economic development of their countries of origin.
“Beyond their well-known role as senders of remittances, diasporas can also promote trade and foreign direct investment, create businesses and spur entrepreneurship, and transfer new knowledge and skills,” says the MPI.
The director of exchange control, Morris Mpofu, said Diasporan remittances had reached US$1 billion so far this year. This is a significant cash injection in an economy grappling with a liquidity crunch.
Government, which has previously mocked Zimbabweans in the Diaspora for their views against the ruling party, now believes participation of Zimbabweans in the Diaspora would enable the country to benefit from millions of Zimbabweans scattered across the globe by creating linkages and promoting investment opportunities back home.
The country’s Diaspora community is  largely in South Africa, Botswana, Zambia, the United Kingdom, US, Australia and Canada. An estimated three million Zimbabwean nationals reside in South Africa alone, according to independent estimates.
The Diaspora community has in the past  contributed through remittances for consumptive purposes.
Mpofu said government wanted to widen its focus and expand Diaspora participation in the country’s economic turnaround strategy.
The development comes at a time when there has been a drop in Diaspora remittances into the country.
In the six months to June 2016, Diaspora remittances amounted to US$387, 9 million, 15 percent lower than the US$457 million received during the same period last year.
Zimbabwe has since the late 1990s experienced widespread movement of its people to other countries in pursuit of better economic opportunities due to an economic and political crisis back home.
It remains to be seen, however, if those Zimbabweans living abroad are willing to invest back home.
“It’s strange that government wants the Diaspora to invest back home while it is refusing to allow them to participate in the electoral process by casting their votes from their adopted countries,” said chairperson of the Zimbabwean Community in South Africa, Ngqabutho Mabhena.
He said while Zimbabweans in the Diaspora had invested a lot in the property and construction industry back home, they were not willing to extend to other sectors at the moment owing to rampant corruption within government.
“The introduction of bond notes coupled with corruption in government will not attract any investment from the Diaspora. People will continue to invest in private homes as opposed to other projects,” said Mabhena.
Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce president, Davison Norupiri, said while they had not received any business enquiries from Zimbabweans living abroad, the initiative by government to engage them was highly commendable.
He said the doing business reforms that government had embarked on could be used as an incentive to lure those in the Diaspora to invest back home.
But economist, Bongani Ngwenya, said it would take significant effort and persuasion on the part of government to succeed in its current drive, especially considering that those in the Diaspora are not allowed to vote for the country’s political leadership.
“The current investment climate is not attractive to everybody unfortunately. There is a lot that the government has to do for this initiative to succeed,” said Ngwenya

EDITORIAL COMMENT: Rethink bond notes

Source: EDITORIAL COMMENT: Rethink bond notes | The Financial Gazette September 29, 2016

THERE is insistence on the part of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) that bond notes will be introduced next month despite clear public resistance against the proposed currency.
At least two citizens have launched court challenges against the planned introduction of bond notes. These are former vice president Joice Mujuru, who now leads a political opposition party called Zimbabwe People First, and Fred Mutanda, the proprietor of several businesses.
Yesterday, the Constitutional Court was expected to determine whether or not Mujuru should be granted access to the Constitutional Court to challenge the introduction of bond notes.
Government says Mujuru’s challenge lacks merit and that it was based on speculation since the bond notes had not yet been introduced.
Government lawyers, also acting for the RBZ, argue that bond notes would be a surrogate of the United States dollar which would be kept in reserve by the RBZ “and to which bond notes will be bonded”.
RBZ governor, John Mangudya, has indicated that he has a US$200 million guarantee from the African Export and Import Bank (Afreximbank) for export incentives, but these would be paid out in bond notes to avoid externalisation of US dollars.
So far, that guarantee is known only to the RBZ and government. An Afreximbank headquarters spokesman has refused to comment on this, referring questions to government or the RBZ.
In the absence of any disclosure of that guarantee to the public by the RBZ, its existence is being disputed. Even bankers have expressed doubt that it exists.
But the crux of the matter is that bond notes would be widely available on the market and will not only be given as a five percent incentive to exporters. Which depositors will be given bond notes instead of US dollars when they go to the banks even though their deposits were not in any way linked to the five percent incentive?
Mangudya said during his monetary policy review statement that bond notes would not be forced on people who do not like them. He told an earlier meeting of retailers that those given bond notes by their banks, but did not want them had the option of using plastic money.
This is the catch. If one refuses bond notes, the option is not to demand US dollars from the bank; one has to transact using debit cards.
While the current cash crisis has been blamed on cash merchants and foreign nationals externalising cash from the economy, it is clear government is the major culprit. It has borrowed and does not have the US dollars to pay back its debts.
It is not far-fetched to speculate that government wants to use the bond notes to repay its debts, or even clear the debts of the political elites.
The public, therefore, is right to be apprehensive because bond notes, clearly, would be ruinous to both the economy and the people. There is nothing to support this so-called surrogate currency.

Zimbabwe’s Diaspora: The vote, the cash

Source: Zimbabwe’s Diaspora: The vote, the cash | The Financial Gazette September 29, 2016

“IT’S not a secret that government is facing financial challenges and we are appealing to our people in the Diaspora to chip in, in whatever form towards the revival and improvement of our health system. We are looking at human capital and medicinal assistance.”
This was Health and Child Welfare Minister, David Parirenyatwa, admitting, last week, that government is overwhelmed with the public health burden and it is searching for relief from Zimbabweans living abroad who could possess the critical expertise and resources that are needed to help the perennially under-funded health sector.
Parirenyatwa’s remarks followed hard on the heels of similar statements from Finance and Economic Development Minister, Patrick Chinamasa, who together with governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, John Mangudya, recently made a whirlwind tour of Western capitals which ended in London.
The primary aim of the tour was to sweet-talk the Zimbabwean Diaspora into investing in Zimbabwe to alleviate the dire situation back home; Mangudya and Chinamasa wanted the Diaspora to increase their remittances, money that has kept the economy from lapsing into comatose.
While in times of need government is quick to send an SOS to its citizens in foreign lands, because it considers them as key stakeholders, it is, however, a different story altogether when it is time to choose the country’s political decision-makers. This is a moment when suddenly some animals become more equal to others.
Like children raised by a cruel foster parent, who are most appreciated when it is time to till the land, but are never welcome when it is time to celebrate the harvest; such could be the case of those Zimbabwean citizens who for one reason or another, have found themselves away from home.
For more than a decade now, Zimbabweans in the Diaspora have been lobbying government to allow them to cast their votes from countries where they are now based, to no avail.
In fact, the anger with which this request has been met would give the impression that the request is something out of the ordinary, when, in fact, it is something that is fast becoming the in-thing among most countries that lay claim to democracy.
There are more than 120 countries —of which about 30 are African countries, including South Africa and Mozambique — that allow their citizens based abroad to vote in national elections, provided they constitute a sizeable number, such as 1 000 in the case of neighbouring Mozambique.
Depending on the number of these Diasporans in proportion to the country’s population, a number of seats are reserved for legislators representing the interests of those in the Diaspora.
France has 12 out of 331 seats reserved for the Diaspora. Croatia allocates six out of 152 seats to its Diaspora. Algeria’s 389-parliament has eight of the seats reserved for the Diaspora. Angola allocates three out of 220 seats to the Diaspora. Mozambique allocates two out of 250 seats to its Diaspora.
These legislators are tasked with dealing with, among other things, matters that affect the Diaspora, and also bring an international perspective to the debate in their legislative assemblies.
With an estimated four million of its citizens — about a third of its population — now living abroad, Zimbabwe is certainly among those countries with the highest number of their citizens in the Diaspora.
This notwithstanding, President Robert Mugabe’s government, whose ruling ZANU-PF party recently made it clear that it would not concede to any electoral reforms that could see it getting out of power, voting rights for those citizens living abroad is a luxury that it is not ready to even consider.
However, United Kingdom-based constitutional law expert, Alex Magaisa, said despite government’s current position on the matter, voting is a constitutional right for every citizen who so wishes to exercise it.
“Zimbabwean citizens in the Diaspora have a constitutional right to vote and participate more generally in national affairs,” Magaisa said.
“In the highly competitive global environment, Zimbabwe needs a policy that ensures retention of linkages with its migrant population. Promoting political participation is one way of enhancing these linkages between the home country and its migrant population.”
Political and social analyst, Takura Zhangazha, said with a lot of uncertainty on the political front, the ruling party would rather play it safe by letting sleeping dogs lie instead of getting itself into something that could give it more headaches.
“The vagueness in Zimbabwe’s Constitution with regards to the Diaspora vote was also an opportunity lost and probably deliberately so.  Of course if you look at the population ratio of those in the Diaspora with those eligible to vote in Zimbabwe, the former would obviously be a game changer in a national election, hence the reluctance of the ruling party to permit it,” Zhangazha said.
He, however, said the fact that government would need the intervention of its citizens abroad could not be used as an effective bargaining chip by the Diasporans because government does not benefit directly from their remittances.
“For the State, the vote of the Diaspora is not a priority because with or without it, the latter is going to send money to family or to sustain capital investments such as houses, businesses etc. However, giving the Diaspora the vote would greatly increase its confidence in sending remittances beyond family. But the ruling party is not keen on that for fear of an overbearing influence the Diaspora would have on domestic politics.”
Among those who argue fervently against giving the vote to citizens living outside the country’s borders is Nick Mangwana, the chairman of the ZANU-PF United Kingdom branch.
Mangwana told the Financial Gazette in an interview that there are many factors militating against this ideal, the most important of which is limited fiscal space.
“Firstly, there is a big challenge in the fiscal space. The country always struggles to raise money for elections and at some point in the last 15 years, money had to be secured from a citizen. Right now we are struggling with wages for civil servants. This makes trans-national voting a challenge and less of a priority.
“Do we tax the Diaspora so we can fund this election or we take the money from those who are paying radio taxes for their smart-phones and use it to bring a ballot to the doorstep of those who already vote in different sovereigns?”
Mangwana said aside from fiscal constraints, Zimbabwe does not have a pragmatic and realistic model on the Diaspora vote, which he said should be referred to correctly as transnational vote, could be achieved.
He said the matter should be debated exhaustively because “there are too many unknowns and too many unanswered questions and too many challenges to have it now”.
“We have the issue of an undefined citizenry. We have never been able to discuss and come to a consensus on who is our Diasporan. Is it he who left Zimbabwe, their children or anyone who is eligible for Zimbabwean citizenship? If the answer is affirmative, does it mean that all the Nigerians marrying our sisters can vote in our elections? So we need to define this and make sure we would not subvert the will of the people on the ground, who are directly affected by decisions of that elected government,” Mangwana pointed out.
He said Zimbabwe cannot be said to be denying its Diasporan citizens the right to vote, because anyone who feels strongly about this has always been free to return home to exercise this right, the same way they do when they attend funerals, weddings and other events back home.
“A point of clarity in the semantics is that Zimbabwe allows any Diasporan who comes to Zimbabwe to register to vote. This is contrary to even the UK. In this case one can argue that Zimbabwe allows Diaspora voting but not trans-national voting,” Mangwana said.
Zimbabwe Exiles Forum (ZEF) chairman, Gabriel Shumba, said Zimbabweans everywhere should be allowed to exercise their voting right.
“ZEF believes that it is immaterial how long one has been outside Zimbabwe. The expatriate vote is an entitlement that comes by virtue of being a citizen, not on account of where one resides. Thus, even those who left Zimbabwe a long time back, but opted to remain her citizens, should be able to vote. There is a multiplicity of reasons people stay outside the borders of the country of their birth.”
Shumba, a lawyer who is based in South Africa, added that if the country’s forefathers wanted conditional voting for the citizens of Zimbabwe, the nationalists might as well have accepted the Rhodesian 1961 constitution that sought prescribe that citizens meet certain requirements for them to qualify as voters, thereby obviating the need for the armed struggle.
“In the same vein, it is not important whether one is paying tax or not. There are many inside the country who vote, but have never paid a cent in taxes all their lives. To suggest otherwise would defeat one of the prime purposes of the liberation struggle: one man one vote. That principle does not measure one’s poll worth with one’s means.”
Shumba said for government to plead poverty is to abdicate responsibility and therefore an indicator that it has no more reason to continue in office.

US dollar notes disappear

Source: US dollar notes disappear | The Financial Gazette September 29, 2016

… Authorities accused of sucking out notes
ZIMBABWE’S fragile economic situation is lurching towards fresh depths amid indications that small United States dollar denominations are disappearing from circulation, thereby raising the possibility of a change crisis, the Financial Gazette can exclusively report.
The development has triggered speculation of a conspiracy to mop up the small denomination US dollar notes to pave way for the planned introduction of bond notes of similar denominations by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) at the end of next month.
Despite widespread resistance against the proposed introduction of bond notes, government is proceeding with the introduction of the domestic currency which, it insists, is a surrogate of the US dollar — the major currency under Zimbabwe’s multiple currency regime.
RBZ governor, John Mangudya , announced this month that the central bank would release bond notes in $2 and $5 denominations at the end of October before eventually introducing higher value bond notes in $10 and $20 denominations.
These would later be followed by $50 and  $100 bond notes.
The bond notes would rank pari pasu with the greenback, he said.
Apparently, it is the US$2 and US$5 notes whose equivalent bonds notes denominations the central bank plans to unveil next month that are disappearing from circulation.
Denford Mutashu, president of the Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers, said the level of cash handled by retailers had generally gone down.
“The usage of smaller denominations as change in the retail industry is now also an issue. We are trying to investigate why their levels have declined,” he said.
Mutashu said they had observed that people were “avoiding banking cash because the many times they have to withdraw it is costing them in terms of bank charges”.
“Even other electronic payment platforms are now discouraging people from bringing cash into the formal system because they are failing to give people cash on demand,” Mutashu said.
No comment could be immediately obtained from the RBZ and the Bankers’ Association of Zimbabwe by the time of going to print.
While the bond notes were initially said to be part of a US$200 million incentive for exports, the RBZ has now indicated that the bond notes would now be widely available, with suggestions that these may be printed to support Treasury which is battling to pay salaries.
Critics and the public fear this will inevitably mark the return of the dreaded Zimbabwe dollar, which was abandoned after the country lurched into an uncontrollable hyperinflationary crisis that battered the value of the domestic currency.
The local currency’s final days in circulation were marked by anarchy after being hammered by hyperinflation that reached a record 500 billion percent in 2008, wiping out life-savings and impoverishing an entire population.
Although Zimbabwe has experienced a shortage of bank notes that had been largely blamed on externalisation of high value physical notes, it has turned out much of the cash now in circulation within the banking sector had no backing of real US dollar currency, as it was being generated by government through the real time gross settlement system (RTGS) and Treasury Bills.
Therefore, no physical notes could be imported to back this phony cash, which only existed on the virtual banking platforms.
This then triggered the shortage of notes, which resulted in tight withdrawal limits and long queues at banks as depositors sought to withdraw their money.
The dwindling of smaller US dollar notes denominations, does not suggest externalisation, but a possibility that a third force may be mopping them out of circulation to abet the planned introduction of bond notes.
The possibility of externalising US$2 and US$5 notes is remote, considering that most of these small denomination notes have been circulating while torn, damaged, badly soiled and dirty.
Analysts said they suspected that authorities may be planning to leave very little options for people who would be forced to either accept the bond notes or resort to the electronic payment system through current cash shortages.
They said even the shortage of high value US dollar bank notes was meant to leave people with very limited options.
Economist, Trust Chikohora, said the country was headed for a major crisis and the disappearing US dollar bills were indicative of a system failure.
“I cannot comment more on the disappearance of some ranges of notes, but I think it is linked to the problem we now have with the RTGS where we just have balances in our accounts, but there is no real cash to back the balances,” Chikohora said.
Chikohora also noted that the country’s cash crisis was so deep that the outlook was bleaker.
“Foreign currency is used as a reserve currency, which caters for external payments. In our case we do not have a local currency and we have no reserves. We are living from hand to mouth. If externalisation of the foreign currency continues, we will be unable to service our imports. This has already started happening. Yes, we are running out of currency and we will end up in crisis, in the absence of balance of payment support,” he said.
Buy Zimbabwe Trust chief economist, Kipson Gundani, said while speculation was largely driving events in the economy, the situation in the country had reached levels that it had become difficult to trust authorities.
“When a significant policy is announced, people always contemplate the outcomes and try to take the safe option. Some may want to say that the RBZ is sitting on the money, but I doubt if this is the case. In the past few months the RBZ has actually been importing smaller denomination notes to discourage externalisation, so we expect this range of notes to actually be more in the system. But we cannot trust authorities, no matter how sincere they look.”
There are fears that the current situation could trigger unprecedented volatility in the banking sector, frustrating efforts to stabilise the economy.
IH Securities said the stock of hard cash in banks plummeted since January last year.
“Hard cash in the banking system has fallen from US$260,4 million in January 2015, (accounting for 5,8 percent of deposits) to US$118,2 million in May 2016 (being 2,0 percent of deposits); this clearly poses risk given that hard cash should constitute about four percent of total deposits at any given time prudentially,” IH Securities said in its report entitled: Banking Sector, Surviving in a Cashless Economy.
“The country needs roughly US$200 million circulating within the system at any given time to maintain adequate liquidity, but this threshold has proven difficult to achieve given the phenomena of mass externalisation as confidence in the system falls. The sector was severely affected by a squeeze on liquidity, which has now metamorphosised into hard cash shortages, driven by…a culture of externalisation,” the report added.
Mangudya has battled to calm market fears that a decision to inject bond notes into the economy, ostensibly to fund a five percent incentive for exports, was not an attempt to reintroduce the Zimbabwe dollar.
The domestic unit was dumped in 2009 to pave way for a multi-currency system that had generally stabilised the markets until detrimental cash shortages returned last year.
Public despondency over the bond notes has swelled, amid reports that millions of dollars were being wired out of the system by panicky consumers, unnerved by a fresh wave of losses should the central bank bring bond notes.
A staggering US$250 million was siphoned out of the markets by jittery depositors between May and early September this year, according to Mangudya in his defence for the bond notes.
He said banks were importing about US$15 million per month to meet the huge demand for cash, also suspected to have been caused by foreigners coming into the country to cut back stage deals to gain access to hard currencies.
“Between May and September we imported US$250 million,” Mangudya said when he presented the Mid-Term Monetary Policy Statement three weeks ago.
“It is not in banks, we are not seeing it. The funding mechanism of the export incentive scheme will be through bond notes in order to preserve the offshore US$200 million countercyclical facility that has been arranged to support the export bonus scheme from externalisation or capital,” he added.
A spike in parallel market activities witnessed in currencies recently has aggravated the crisis, which has been highlighted by long queues in banking halls, failure by banks to honour withdrawals, and failure to fund offshore commitments on time.
Government, which has struggled to find a lasting solution to the deteriorating liquidity crisis, has a huge task ahead.
Two of the fortresses that have defended the economy – tobacco and gold exports — have failed to improve the liquidity situation.
“We foresee initial resistance to the bond notes on introduction, but believe that to promote confidence there will have to be a strong mechanism that allows both corporates and individuals to easily redeem these notes into hard currency when necessary,” said IH Securities said.
Old Mutual Securities (OMSEC) warned that the nation should brace for a deeper cash crisis.
“Given a persistent negative current account balance, the liquidity situation is expected to progressively deteriorate. Cash demand will be significantly curtailed by the use of plastic money. However, in the absence of a recovery in the manufacturing sector, the trade balance will remain in deficit thereby perpetuating the current liquidity crunch,” said OMSEC.
Financial markets expert, Ngonidzashe Makaha said, hyperinflation had severely dented confidence in the system resulting in the proliferation of a strong cash culture supported by the largely informal nature of the economy.
He said when Zimbabwe adopted the multi-currency system in 2009, with the US dollar as the primary currency, broad money supply was relatively weak.

Forced audit for Chiadzwa miners

Source: Forced audit for Chiadzwa miners | The Herald September 29, 2016

Zvamaida Murwira Senior Reporter—
Auditor-General Mrs Mildred Chiri has invoked her powers in terms of the Constitution to direct forensic audits to be conducted on three diamond firms that were resisting financial examination as efforts to establish the potential loss estimated to be $15 billion intensify. Mbada, Anjin Investments and Jinan had been resisting to have their books of accounts audited by the AG following Government’s decision to consolidate all the seven mining firms into one after their licences expired.

The three companies have since approached the courts challenging the decision to have them consolidated in addition to their decision to reject an audit to establish if there was financial malfeasance during their tenure at Marange, Manicaland Province.

Marange Resources, Diamond Mining Corporation Gye Nyame and Kusena have already been incorporated into the Zimbabwe Consolidated Mining Company, while DTZ that was at Chimanimani, has been exempted from the consolidation since Government did not have direct interest.

The dispute arising from the firms’ resistance to be consolidated has seen a slump in production from 500 000 carats per month to 150 000 as no work was being carried out in the disputed areas. Secretary for Mines and Mining Development Professor Francis Gudyanga said they had since written to the three firms advising them to cooperate with the AG.

“The Auditor-General has invoked her powers in terms of the Constitution to say where Government has an interest, her office can come in and audit such entity. In this case Government has an interest through its 50 percent shareholding held by the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation,” said Prof Gudyanga.

The decision to have a forensic audit on the diamond firms at Chiadzwa comes as the nation waits with a lot of anxiety on how much the country could have been prejudiced in leakages amid indications that $15 billion could have been lost in revenue.

Prof Gudyanga said only Russian owned, DTZ was an exception as Government did not have a direct interest but would use figures from the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority and Mines and Mineral Corporation of Zimbabwe to audit it and have a clear picture of diamond production during its time.

“Their basis to refuse the forensic audit has been that their books have always been audited. But to us we believe we have a legitimate cause for demanding the forensic audit to establish what has been happening. We need to have a clear picture, remember there are reports that the country could have lost $15 billion, so it is important that we have such an audit,” said Prof Gudyanga.

“We are currently producing 150 000 carats per month because of their defiance, had we been operating at full throttle we should be producing about 500 000 carats,” said Prof Gudyanga.

Section 309 (2) of the Constitution provides as follows: “The functions of the Auditor-General are—(a) to audit the accounts, financial systems and financial management of all departments, institutions and agencies of government, all provincial and metropolitan councils and all local authorities; (b)at the request of the Government, to carry out special audits of the accounts of any statutory body or government-controlled entity.”

Prof Gudyanga said they would soon apply for an eviction order to have the companies leave the premises to allow diamond mining to resume so as to and increase output. “They cannot hold the country to ransom. They failed to renew their licences and that was not our fault as Government,” said Prof Gudyanga.

Private lawyer rescues AG’s Office

Source: Private lawyer rescues AG’s Office | The Herald September 29, 2016

Fidelis Munyoro Chief Court Reporter—
The Attorney-General’s Office, which has courted a barrage of criticism from superior courts judges for their perfunctory approach to matters of national importance, yesterday engaged a private lawyer to avoid embarrassment in the Constitutional Court. Advocate Lewis Uriri rescued the State after he successfully argued the case in which the police are being sued for over $1 million. Two soldiers — Michael Nyika (27) and Crispen Tobaiwa — who were injured by police gunfire had, through their lawyer Mr Tendai Biti, brought the case to the highest court for confirmation of the constitutional invalidity of Section 70 of the Police Act.

The section provides that any action against police should be commenced within eight months of the date of the conduct complained of. Sources close to the proceedings said police authorities specifically instructed the AG’s Office to outsource good lawyers in private practice to argue the matter, for fear of losing the case.

It emerged during the hearing that the two soldiers sued the Ministry of Home Affairs, which does not have a legal personality. Justice Amy Tsanga, who presided over the civil litigation, did not deal with the objection to the citation of the Minister of Home Affairs.

She simply purported to have corrected the citation. There was no indication in the record that there was application to amend the citation. In his submission, Adv Uriri argued that the court could not grant an indulgence, which had not been asked for. “The citation of a none existent legal entity is fatal and cannot be correct,” argued Adv Uriri.

“It is not clear how the matter has ended up before this court. The requisite procedures have not been followed.” Adv Uriri argued that the order Mr Biti sought to be confirmed was itself void given that there was no valid action in the High Court. “There was nothing before that court which could have created a basis for an attack to be made against the validity of the provision,” argued Adv Uriri.

“This should have been the basis the Constitutional Court could relate to in the exercise of the review powers by reason of Section 45 of the Rules of the Constitutional Court, which brings into application the practice and procedures of the Supreme Court.’ He said the lower court judge could not have overlooked a preliminary objection and purport to deal with the merits of the matter.

“The matter is not properly before the court,” he said. Justice Tsanga referred the matter to the Constitutional Court in terms of Section 175 (1) of the Constitution for confirmation of an order which invalidated a statutory provision. But Adv Uriri argued that the section, which the judge relied on was not procedural, but it was substantive.

“It grants the court the power to declare an Act invalid,” he said. “The procedural step to place the case before the Constitutional Court is created by Section 175(3), which say an interested party can apply to the Constitutional Court to confirm the order or appeal seeking the relief that the order of the High Court be confirmed.

“The order of the High Court was itself invalid. It was void from the beginning and nothing could depend on it. First, because of the procedural irregularities that were cited. But most importantly because the judge did not have the jurisdiction to entertain the matter.”

He said the power of the High Court in terms of Section 175 (1) of the Constitution is exercised only in relation to Section 85 of the Constitution, The section allows a person to approach any court in the first instance seeking the enforcement fundamental rights.

“That section does not apply where a Constitutional question arises in ordinary none-constitutional matters. In that case, the judge should have referred the matter to Constitutional Court at her own instance or upon request.”

He added that Section 175 (4) did not give her the power to decide on the Constitutional question that arose in the course of ordinary non constitutional litigation. Deputy Chief Justice Luke Malaba also noted during the arguments that Justice Tsanga had created her own application that was not before her and dealt with it. But the Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku felt that Mr Biti as an experienced lawyer should have guided the judge to arrive at a proper decision.

In his counter-submission Mr Biti emphasised on the inherent powers the High Court has as a court of original jurisdiction. “The high court has inherent jurisdiction and can refer a matter to the Constitutional Court regardless of the provisions of Constitution,” argued Mr Biti.

After hearing arguments from both counsel Chief Justice Chidyausiku struck the matter off the role. “After considering papers filed in this matter and hearing submission by counsel the court is of the unanimous view that the matter is not properly before this court,” said Chief Justice Chidyausiku.

Govt needs $13,42m to settle Tokwe Dam arrears

Source: Govt needs $13,42m to settle Tokwe Dam arrears | The Herald September 29, 2016

From George Maponga recently in CHIVI

At least 12 million euros ($13,42 million) is urgently required to settle arrears owed by Government to Salini Impregilio, the contractor at Tokwe-Mukosi Dam in Chivi, where construction work is hanging in the balance. Tokwe-Mukosi Dam is now 96 percent complete, but there are fears the contractor might down tools again any moment over payment as Government has been struggling to raise the euro equivalent of money owed to the Italian contractor.

Salini Impregilio, resumed construction work in June this year after Government released over $40 million to settle part of the arrears to the firm.

According to the Tokwe-Mukosi Dam construction contract, part of the money to the contractor is paid in United States dollars, with another fraction paid in euros.

However, Government has been struggling to raise the euros to pay Salini causing delays in the completion of the project.

Sources said the dam would most likely fail to capture rains that will fall in the 2016 /17 season unless funding to electrify the gates was made available.

The 7-tonne gates that release water from Tokwe-Mukosi Dam cannot be operated manually and require electricity to function.

The Meteorological Services Department has already warned of floods in the forthcoming rainy season, and there are fears that the dam might be damaged if construction work is not completed soon.

Salini Impregilio project manager at Tokwe-Mukosi Dam Mr Urbano Luzo allayed fears the coming rains would affect the dam.

Mr Luzo also refused to disclose the effects of delays in paying his firm the 12 million euros outstanding arrears by Government.

“The dam is now 96 to 97 percent complete, but I am sorry I cannot discuss contractual issues with you. When the project will be eventually completed entirely depends on the employer (Government). They know when payments will be made and that will determine when the dam will be completed,’’ he said.

“All I can tell you is that the dam is very safe and we are very happy with the effort being made by the employer (Government) to provide funding required to finish the project. They (Government) know when the dam will start impounding water, everything depends on them,’’ added Mr Luzo.

Salini initially gave Government a notice to suspend work at Tokwe-Mukosi Dam on September 4 before backing down after getting assurances of payment from Government.

This was after permanent secretary in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development Mr Willard Manungo visited the dam, recently.

Zinwa project manager at Tokwe-Mukosi Dam Engineer Paul Dengu, refused to shed light on the exact completion schedule of the dam.

‘’All I can tell you is that work is going on. We are doing touch-ups on the wall and also back-filling and rock-filling the downstream side of the dam. The question of when the dam will be completed is best answered by the contractor,’’ he said.

Last month, Environment, Water and Climate Minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri, revealed that Government was facing challenges in settling its arrears to Salini owing to the skewed exchange rate between the US dollar and the euro.

Eskom seeks power import guarantee

Source: Eskom seeks power import guarantee | The Herald September 29, 2016

Business Reporter

SOUTH Africa’s power utility Eskom is said to be seeking a Government guarantee of R500 million to back electricity imports by Zimbabwe. Well placed sources told The Herald Business that the request for a guarantee follows failure by the local power utility to pay for imports from South Africa, and this could see Zesa start to ration electricity supplies.Zesa is facing cash flow challenges mainly as a result of a huge debtors book, currently at $1,1 billion. This has also been worsened by the unavailability of the 2016 tariff upward adjustment.

Zesa has since increased recovery rate to 50 percent from 40 percent of electricity purchases on consumers with pre-paid metres. This means Zesa will take 50 percent of every purchase to offset debts accumulated under the old conventional billing system.

“They (Eskom) are still willing to do business with Zesa but they have requested for a Government guarantee and we are looking at the issue,” a source in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development said.

It could however, not be ascertained how much Zesa owes Eskom, but another source said the amount could be in the “region of $12 million.”

No official comment could be obtained from Zesa and the ministry by the time of going to print. Zesa imports up to 350 megawatts of power from South Africa and Mozambique.

Since the beginning of the year, Zimbabwe’s power situation has significantly improved due to a number of initiatives put in place by Zesa Holdings, including imports. But some analysts have warned that this is not sustainable at the current electricity tariff.

The power cuts had been so severe with many residents suffering up to 18-hour blackouts. The rolling cuts also affected businesses, particularly mining companies and the manufacturing industry.

“The challenge is Eskom may end up cutting supplies if the Government fails to raise the guarantee,” said Fredrick Chinwa, an economic analyst with a local research firm.

Job rationalisation to continue

Source: Job rationalisation to continue | The Herald September 29, 2016

Bulawayo Bureau
THE rationalisation of the civil service will continue as Government employs strategies to improve the economy, the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Prisca Mupfumira, said here yesterday. Speaking soon after a meeting with representatives of people living with disabilities at the NSSA Workers Compensation Rehabilitation Centre, Minister Mupfumira said while a recent bid by Treasury to slash jobs and salaries as well as suspend bonuses was put on hold, the Government was working flat out to meet its obligations and reduce its wage bill.

“Since last year we’ve been going through a rationalisation process. This is an ongoing process that is meant to reduce the government’s wage bill. “Meanwhile, the measures to cut salaries and suspend bonuses for the Government workers have been put on hold until we come up with strategies to improve the economy,” said Minister Mupfumira .

She said the Government has done a commendable job in the face of limited resources. “The Government has been the best payer despite the depressed economy. It would be irresponsible for someone to say the Government is paying late because we delay by a week or two.

“We’re staggering the bonuses due to the financial challenges that the Government is facing. Some companies in the private sector are going for months without paying their workers and they are not paying bonuses at all,” said Minister Mupfumira.

In a related development, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, Mr Willard Manungo, yesterday said the civil servants rationalisation process was on-going.

“Rationalisation is an on-going process and President Mugabe is on record as saying there is a need to be supportive of the development agenda that is placed on service delivery. If you look at what we’re doing now . . . the introduction of the Command Agriculture and Statutory Instrument 64 are part of improving the supply side to grow the economy very fast,” said Mr Manungo in an interview on the side-lines of the Zambezi River Authority media tour in Livingstone, Zambia. He said Government was working hard to improve revenue collection through increasing the productive capacity of the economy to ensure that the 13th cheque for its employees is paid and service delivery improves.

“We are looking at ways of improving the productive capacity of the economy. When we raise the productive capacity it enables us to raise the revenue that we need to be supportive of employment costs, service delivery and other Government parameters,” Mr Manungo said.

Batoka project to be completed by 2024

Source: Batoka project to be completed by 2024 | The Herald September 29, 2016

Conrad Mwanawashe in VICTORIA FALLS

The 2 400MW Batoka hydro power project, to be situated a few kilometres downstream the Victoria Falls, on the Zambezi River, is expected to be completed in 2024, but first generation is earmarked for 2019. Zimbabwe and Zambia will share the electricity equally when generation commences.Already international financial institutions are lining up to finance the $4 billion scheme, with the African Development Bank having been appointed the lead arranger for the project.

Financing mechanisms being considered by the two Governments include loans, Build Own Operate Transfer, grants and equity capital, among others.

Private Public Partnerships are also under consideration.

The Batoka Hydroelectric project is being implemented under the auspices of the Zambezi River Authority, a bi-national organisation mandated to operate monitor, and maintain the Kariba Dam Complex as well as exploit the full potential of the Zambezi River.

Apart from international financial institutions showing interest in the project, private sector players are also angling to finance the project.

Current chair of the ZRA and Secretary for Energy in the Ministry of Energy and Power Development in Zimbabwe, Patson Mbiriri said appetite was high among financiers.

“The two Governments are exploring a variety of options but there is appetite from the private sector to participate in the Batoka project,” said Mr Mbiriri.

Mr Mbiriri was speaking during a joint tour of Batoka Godge by the ZRA board members and the media.

The tour saw the board and the media visiting the site from both Zimbabwe and Zambia sides.

Already, the World Bank has released over $10 million for feasibility studies, $6 million and access roads in both countries, about $5 million.

The mobilisation of funds is expected to by the end of 2018.

Currently, Studio Pietrangeli from Italy, is updating of Engineering Feasibility, expected by the end of the year while Environmental and Social Impact Assessment, also to be ready before year end, is being carried out by Environmental Resources Management, South Africa.

Ernst & Young Advisory Services, South Africa is working on the Legal and Financial Transaction Advisory Services.

The consultants were appointed through a World Bank process.

The mobilisation of funds will be followed by the procurement of developers/contractors to be completed by mid-2019.

ZRA expects the preparatory process to conclude in the first quarter of 2017 with the submission of final reports which should pave way for the commencement of construction works.

The power to be generated by the Batoka Godge Hydroelectric scheme is expected to alleviate power shortages in Zimbabwe and Zambia.

Why Zimbabwe remains an expensive tourism destination

Source: Why Zimbabwe remains an expensive tourism destination | The Herald September 29, 2016

Freedom Mupanedemo Syndication Writer
IN a development that is likely to evoke serious introspection within the tourism sector, Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) chief executive officer Mr Karikoga Kaseke recently revealed that the country is arguably one of the world’s most expensive tourist destinations. Addressing participants at a recent tourism stakeholders meeting, Mr Kaseke said Zimbabwe could be prejudicing itself of thousands of potential tourists because of exorbitant charges.

“I went to some country recently where I booked in a five-star hotel and paid a bill of $53 all inclusive. I was shocked and thought they had made a mistake in their calculations, but they reaffirmed the figure. This was when I realised that as a country, we need to do something to review our prices if we are not to earn a bad name as the world’s most expensive tourist destination,” said Mr Kaseke.

In Zimbabwe’s capital city of Harare, booking in the towering five-star Meikles hotel, the imposing Rainbow Towers or the elegant Holiday Inn remain a distant dream for many as the prices seem to be largely tailor-made for the few elites.

It costs between $100 and $200 to book in a five-star hotel while the price could double in major tourist resorts like the Victoria Falls. Zimbabwe, as a destination, becomes even more expensive given the South African rand’s slump against the United States dollar.

According to statistics provided by the Zimbabwe Tourism Council (ZTC), South Africa contributes 30 percent of tourists that come into Zimbabwe every year, but the figures have gone to below 10 percent thanks to the rand’s depreciation against the US dollar.

“Now tourists from South Africa choose to either do their holiday within South Africa or go to countries like Malaysia because Zimbabwe is increasingly becoming an expensive tourist destination. This is a huge setback on our tourism industry because traditionally, South Africa has been our biggest market. Now they can’t part with their hard-earned rand because it has lost value against the US dollar. We are feeling the effects now and the number of tourists’ coming into Zimbabwe continues to drop,” said Hospitality Association of Zimbabwe (HAZ) president, Mr George Manyumwa.

Mr Manyumwa said there were a myriad of reasons why Zimbabwe was an expensive tourist destination at the moment.

“It’s a chain that needs a holistic approach when looking at the cost drivers in Zimbabwe’s hospitality industry.” In Zimbabwe, it is highly expensive to run a hotel because of charges like levies, rates, taxes, and licences among a chain of issues that one needs to regularise before running a hotel or lodge.

To start with, one has to pay the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (zimra) tax, you need to register with the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority and pay taxes there, one needs to pay utility bills like water and electricity on a monthly basis and it’s no secret that Zimbabwe is the most expensive country in the whole of sadc in terms of electricity charges.

Mr Manyumwa said with the depreciation of the South African rand against the US dollar, it was very difficult for the tourism industry to tick. He said the hospitality industry was working on strategies to survive like pegging hotel charges in rand.

“But even if we are to adopt the rand and peg our prices in rand, the situation is still very difficult. For our daily operations we use US dollars. Workers need to be paid in US dollars, bills and everything else is paid in US dollars.

“We are, however, engaging RBZ to see how best we can implement this,” he said. Zimbabwe Tourism Council president Mr Francis Ngwenya said pegging hotel prices in rand was not the lasting solution to the prevailing high pricing regime. He said prices were driven by the cost of running the business adding that there were more than 23 levies that have to be settled for one to operate a hotel or lodge.

“Some of these levies are duplicated, for example you pay a liquor licence with the Liquor Licence Board, and you still have to pay the liquor licences with the local authority where you operate under. Hoteliers are supposed to also pay a licence for television set in every room including radio. You need to also pay rates for each and every toilet that the hotel or lodge has. It’s an issue that needs to be addressed at a tripartite level if the country’s tourism industry is to lower prices and start luring tourists,” he said.

Editor of Zimtravel, Zimbabwe’s premier tourism magazine, Isdore Guvamombe, said there was need for hoteliers to lobby Government to cut down on levies. “As it is, we are overpricing our products and as a result outbidding ourselves in the tourism market. What the tourism players need to do is to engage Government so that some of the levies are scraped.

“These levies are the major cost drivers and need to be realigned for the best of our destination,” he said. — Zimpapers Syndication.

Govt’s daunting task on farmer-miner relations

Source: Govt’s daunting task on farmer-miner relations | The Herald September 28, 2016

Zvamaida Murwira Senior Reporter
Government faces a daunting task on how to balance the interests of a farmer tilling the land on his farm on one hand and a miner who wants to prospect and extract minerals from the same field. Disputes have emerged, some of them fatal while others have gone unreported of farmer and miner seeking to assert their rights. A farmer, probably armed with an offer letter or better still, a 99-year lease, would feel that he has a legitimate claim over the farm while a miner holding a prospective licence would feel that he or she ought to be given space to do his work on time before the expiry of such a licence.

Both can put up a valid argument premised on the law on why they should proceed with whatever they want to do on the land — unperturbed. What has created a source of consternation particularly to the farmer is mining laws that seem to give precedence to the miner ahead of the farmer.

The Mines and Mining Amendment Bill, currently before Parliament, seems to be the panacea to the disputes between the two whose preoccupation, they would argue, is to serve the country in fulfilment of Government’s economic blueprint, Zim-Asset.

The Bill provides for mechanisms on how such disputes, should they arise, are to be resolved. The Parliamentary portfolio committee on mines and energy conducted public hearings across the country and the farmer/miner disputes was one of the much talked about subjects during the consultations on the Bill.

Places visited include Mberengwa, Hwange, Gwanda, Masvingo, Bindura, Penalonga, Marange and Glendale and in all these areas, people called on the Government to harmonise mining and agricultural laws to ensure that disputes are reduced to a minimum and people concentrate on production.

The committee, chaired by Masvingo Urban MP Dr Daniel Shumba (Zanu-PF) was told that disputes between farmers and miners remained a thorn in the flesh in need of a permanent remedy.

“Let us co-exist. Nobody should be treated as superior over the other. Both of us miner and farmer, we are Zimbabweans working for nation building. All of us here ate sadza that was produced by a farmer to enable us to come for this public hearing and that shows the importance of a farmer,” said Mr Friedrick Marangwanda from Marange district.

Some of the highlights provided by the Bill are that a miner should seek consent from the farmer to prospect in his farm. It also outlined how recourse should be obtained if such consent could not be secured from the farmer. Some of the recourse involves approaching the responsible minister while a Cadastre Registrar has been conferred with a role in trying to narrow the differences between the two.

Cadastre System means a process for manual or electronic management and recording of processes that create mining rights and titles. The Bill provides for distance away from homesteads, dip tanks and other important infrastructures that a prospective miner should observe when he or she wants to put pegs for purposes of prospecting on another’s farm.

A farmer can approach an Administrative Court for compensation against a miner.

“Any owner or occupier of ground who is injuriously affected by the exercise of any rights under any mining rights or title granted under this Act shall be entitled to recover compensation from the person to whom the mining rights or title was granted or in whose favour the mining rights or title was made in such amount as may be agreed upon or, failing such agreement, as shall be determined by the Administrative Court,” reads the Bill.

During the public hearings by the portfolio committee, some farmers were of the view that they should be entitled to a percentage of profits that would accrue from extraction of minerals on their farms while a miner argued that it would not be reasonable.

Miners in Glendale told legislators of ugly scenes in which farmers would remove pegs in protest of the presence of miners on their farms. This, miners argued, not only created tension and fights, but derailed both farming and mining production time. In some instances the dispute spills into courts further draining energy that should be directed to production.

Members of the portfolio committee are expected to table a report before Parliament giving their observations and recommendations on whether the Bill has enough safety measures to clear these disputes on farms.

Mines and Mining Development Minister Walter Chidhakwa is expected to respond to those recommendations when he steers the Bill once Parliament resumes sitting next week. One provision that was hailed by people during consultations was the “use it or lose it” policy, aimed at ensuring that people do not hold mining claims for speculative purposes.

Only time will tell whether the Bill will bring with it finality to the disputes between farmers and miners, and possibly the local community as a whole.

LATEST: Mujuru case thrown out

Source: LATEST: Mujuru case thrown out | The Herald September 28, 2016

Daniel Nemukuyu Senior Court Reporter

The Constitutional Court today threw out a challenge by Zimbabwe People First leader Dr Joice Mujuru of the legality of Bond notes scheduled for release next month.

The court advised Dr Mujuru to wait until the notes were introduced for her to point out the alleged illegalities and violations of the constitution by the legal framework to be used in releasing the notes.

Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku, sitting with eight other judges of the apex court, described the politician’s contestation as premature and speculative.

Government announced plans to introduce Bond notes in $2 and $5 denominations by the end of October.

Dr Mujuru then filed an application at the Constitutional Court challenging the constitutionality of Government’s decision to introduce bond notes.

The former vice president wanted to stop the introduction of Bond notes by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe arguing that this was unconstitutional because it would contravene several sections of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.

Dr Mujuru listed President Mugabe, Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Dr John Mangudya and Attorney-General Advocate Prince Machaya as respondents.

Details to follow….

Alert on the abduction of Kudakwashe Kambakunje

On 27 September 2016 around 10.30 pm, Kudakwashe Kambakunje, the National Vendors’ Union of Zimbabwe (NAVUZ) Central Business District Chairperson, was abducted by six (6) suspected state security agents from his market stall at corner Chinhoyi and Kwame Nkruma Streets.

Source: Alert on the abduction of Kudakwashe Kambakunje – The Zimbabwean 28.09.2016

The abductors were driving two unmarked twin cab vehicles and three unmarked Toyota Chaser vehicles. During the abduction some traders on site attempted to assist him when he shouted for help, but his abductors fired shots into the air, deterring them from helping him.

Kudakwashe was blindfolded and driven to an unknown destination in Mazowe, where he was subjected to severe beatings, torture using electrical shocks and injected with an unknown substance. During the torture and interrogation his abductors demanded to know the residential addresses of NAVUZ Chairperson Stern Zvorwadza and committee member Kauzani.

When he passed out and the abductors thought he was dead, they left him. On revival Kudakwashe, who had been left stark naked, sought help from homesteads in farms along the Old Mazowe Road. Members of NAVUZ collected him from Mazowe and facilitated his access to medical assistance. Prior to his abduction the vendors’ warehouse where he was supposed to be guarding, was torched by unknown assailants around 12.00 pm on Monday the 26th.

 

LATEST: Magaya demands trial date

Source: LATEST: Magaya demands trial date | The Herald  September 28, 2016

Tendai Rupapa Senior Court Reporter

Lawyers representing Prophetic Healing and Deliverance leader Walter Magaya, Messrs Everson Chatambudza and Admire Rubaya, today expressed displeasure at the manner in which the State seemed drag its heels regarding the church leader’s rape case.

This came after the prosecution sought a further postponement of the matter to October 21 without giving a trial date. The prosecution said the docket had been sent back to the police for further investigations.

“His rights are not being considered. It is like they are punishing him,” Mr Rubaya said.

After hearing submissions from both counsels, magistrate Ms Bianca Makwande ordered the State to put its house in order and provide Magaya with a trial date on the next remand appearance.

Increase in murder cases worry police

Source: Increase in murder cases worry police | The Herald September 28, 2016

Freeman Razemba: Crime Reporter

THE upsurge in murder cases countrywide as a result of petty issues which can easily be avoided, continue to worry police as people are now clearly not valuing the sanctity of human life. The petty issues include arguments during beer drink, fights over small amounts of money especially coins and infidelity, among others.During the past few months police have been conducting awareness campaigns urging people to respect the sanctity of life and avoid settling disputes through violent means.

Chief police spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba recently said the police envisage an environment where there are no murder cases in the country.

“Most of the cases involve minor issues that could have been solved or avoided. Drunkenness also contributed to some of the cases,” she said.

Snr Asst Comm Charamba said; “We have noted a disturbing trend where either a husband or wife kills his or her children before committing suicide because of either a domestic dispute or other differences,” she said.

She added that parents should know that children have a right to life and should be protected.

She urged members of the public to seek counselling from the police, churches, elders and traditional leaders instead of taking the law into their own hands.

Snr Asst Comm Charamba said police were embarking on awareness campaigns to educate people against domestic violence.

According to new a research by psychologists, people who commit familicide or uxoricide have a significantly different psychological profile than murderers who kill strangers.

In Zimbabwe the increased cases of murder are all too worrying and reported cases prove this.

An example is the case of a 36-year-old Magunje man who faces murder charges for allegedly striking and killing his uncle with a log. The uncle had taken the man to a prophet for alleged deliverance from evil spirits.

Cover Warasi, of Plot No. 40, Village 4 Lazy 5, Kasimure in Hurungwe, was not asked to plead when he appeared before Karoi magistrate Mr Obedience Matare facing charges of killing his father’s brother Goodluck Manyepa a fortnight ago.

He was remanded in custody to September 30.

It is alleged that soon after arrival from a prophet where Manyepa had taken Warasi for deliverance on September 13, the accused went berserk and struck his unsuspecting uncle several times on the head with a log.

Manyepa, who bled profusely, was rushed to Chinhoyi Provincial Hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival. A post-mortem carried showed that Manyepa’s death was due to intra-cranial haemorrhage. After committing the offence, Warasi immediately fled the scene only to be arrested during the night the following day. A Form Two pupil at a high school in Mount Darwin was killed last Sunday by a schoolmate following an altercation over an electric pressing iron.

In another case, a Nyabira woman was found dead by her daughter, presumably after being killed by her husband over infidelity accusations.

Police said on September 14, the 39-year-old woman retired to bed with her husband who had been accusing her of infidelity and the following day her daughter knocked at the door but no one responded.

She forcibly opened the door and found her mother was dead, and her father, who is now the suspect, was nowhere to be found.

Last week, three people were killed in separate murder cases countrywide.

In one of the cases, a 25-year-old woman from Gwanzura Farm in Kadoma was stabbed to death after an argument with a colleague at a drinking place.

The colleague reportedly disappeared from the scene.

In the second incident, a 53-year-old man was stabbed to death with a knife after a misunderstanding over a woman in Wedza.

The now deceased arrived at his girlfriend’s house, knocked but there was no response. He then forced open the door and found his girlfriend with another man.

An argument arose and the man stabbed the boyfriend who died on the spot.

In one of the incidents, a Kwekwe man was beaten to death by another man for allegedly stealing bananas at PG Complex.

A supervisor at a bar in Bulawayo died after being stoned following a misunderstanding with a drunken man.

In Manicaland, a mentally ill man struck and killed his wife with a machete after accusing her of being a witch. In Kezi, a man was killed by his stepson following a misunderstanding over guarding a field.

In Chiweshe, Mashonaland Central province, a man believed to have been drunk killed his mother-in-law after she intervened when he was beating up his wife.

The man had come home late and drunk when he demanded money from his wife, resulting in a misunderstanding.

In June, three people were murdered in two days in separate incidents.

Police are also investigating a murder case which occurred at Grace Mlotshwa’s homestead, Mukono Line in Tsholotsho.

On June 11, 2016, at around 2000hours, Mthabisi Ndlovu (22) and Kidron Madida (16) had a misunderstanding over the ownership of a shovel.

Mthabisi pulled an okapi knife from his trousers pocket and stabbed Kidron once on the armpit. Madida died on the spot.

Another two murder cases which occurred in Ruwa and Chitungwiza are also under investigations.

In one of the cases, a 27-year-old man was found dead in Ruwa in a bushy area near a clinic. The man had his clothes burnt by a veld fire and he had a piece of tree fibre around his neck.

ZimTrade to equip firms with export skills

Source: ZimTrade to equip firms with export skills | The Herald September 28, 2016

Business Reporter

ZimTrade will this week conduct a capacity building training of companies in the plastic pipes manufacturing and packaging industries. The training, which will be held from September 29-30 in Harare is part of ZimTrade’s Capacity Building interventions, under the Marketing and Branding for International Competitiveness (MBIC) training programme, is aimed at nurturing local enterprises into viable export entities.According to Trade Map, in 2015, the local plastic pipes industry recorded exports worth $361 000. However, the regional demand during the same period was generally high with Zambia, Mozambique and Botswana having recorded imports valued at $18,1 million, $25,1 million and $16,1 million, respectively.

On the other hand, the packaging sector plays an integral part in the export value chain. Capacitation of this sector is expected to have positive downstream effects on Zimbabwean exporters who are the end-users of the packaging products.

According to Dr Jacky Charbonneau, an international packaging consultant, packaging is a key source of competitiveness on the global market.

It is imperative for exporters and their suppliers to ensure that products are packaged to meet the necessary minimum regulatory and compliance requirements.

“If the packaging is not up to standards, no matter how good the product is, it is difficult to compete. Packaging must also ensure an optimum protection, preservation of the product all the way to its final destinations well as help sell the product”, he added.

The regional demand for both the plastic pipes and packaging products presents a huge opportunity to our local players. It is, therefore, important for our companies to scale up their international competitiveness in order to tap into this export market.

The MBIC programme was conceived as the first building block of ZimTrade’s future Vocational Training and Advisory portfolio. It was designed to be the first pillar of a series of vocational training modules dedicated to enterprise export competitiveness.

Fresh lithium deposits to transform Zim economy

Source: Fresh lithium deposits to transform Zim economy | The Herald September 28, 2016

Munyaradzi Musiiwa: Midlands Correspondent

LITHIUM is set to transform the country’s economy following a fresh scramble for the mineral by foreign companies after new deposits were discovered around Harare, Mines and Mining Development Deputy Minister, Engineer Fred Moyo has said. In an interview in Mberengwa South last week, Eng Moyo said there were new deposits of lithium in areas surrounding Harare and foreign companies have been jostling for mining licences.Eng Moyo said Government was shifting focus to lithium following an increased demand for the mineral worldwide adding that this could be a breakthrough for Zimbabwe.

“There is a scramble for lithium. Right now we have a lot of lithium potential around Harare.

“If you check and investigate what is happening, foreign companies are scrambling for lithium around Harare in the similar manner that European countries scrambled for Africa. The world is going to be run on the basis of batteries. We are hoping that that sector will take off. Zimbabwe has vast deposits of lithium.”

The deputy minister’s concerns come amid calls by industry experts that Zimbabwe should embark on an exploration programme to unearth more lithium reserves to build a strong supply base for the proposed lithium beneficiation and value addition plant.

Lithium mining expert Grant Hudson who is also managing director for Bikita Minerals noted that setting up a lithium beneficiation plant is a noble idea that must be pushed if certain fundamentals are met.

“The proposal to set up a beneficiation plant by Government is a noble idea considering the importance of the lithium group minerals to the economic growth of any country. However, I believe we do not have enough deposits for a beneficiation plant at the moment.

“We don’t have enough spodumene, the deposits are too small therefore extensive exploration work must be undertaken to make sure we discover more deposits before we can think of setting up a beneficiation plant,” said Mr Hudson.

Zimbabwe is the world’s fifth largest producer of lithium after Australia, Chile, Argentina and China and has the opportunity to increase its share of the growing market. Other major producers are Brazil, Portugal and the United States.

Kamativi tin Mine has three very big resources, Bikita Minerals are also on an expansion drive. We also have some lithium deposits in Mberengwa, Mutoko and round Harare. Lithium has a very big potential because it is the future,” he said.

Eng Moyo said Government was pinning its hopes on the revival of Kamativi Tin Mine and the expansion of Bikita Minerals as these are some of the biggest lithium mines in the country that have vast deposits.

He said Government will speed up the finalisation of Kamativi deal which will see the Matabeleland North based mine resuming production after 21 years.

“At Kamativi we had sub agreements that we are scrutinizing. The main agreement has been sealed. We are now looking at the technical agreement, the funding agreement, marketing agreement and many other issues . . . because if you carelessly look at those the main agreement might not work.

So that is what the board is looking at. We hope that it won’t be too long,” said Eng Moyo.

Lithium is used mainly as a component of rechargeable Li-ion batteries and as a treatment for several types of mental disorders.

Govt to clear Hwange Colliery debts

Source: Govt to clear Hwange Colliery debts | The Herald September 28, 2016

Tinashe Makichi: Business Reporter

Government expects to clear a significant portion of Hwange Colliery Company’s debts by early next month to pave way for the implementation of new strategies aimed at reviving the company. The coal miner has been negotiating a number of debt clearance instruments and creditor payment plans aimed at cleaning its balance sheet. Hwange Colliery’s debt is estimated to be around $300 million.Mines and Mining Development Minister Walter Chidhakwa on Monday said Government has been scouting for potential strategies aimed at reviving the country’s largest coal miner.

Strategies being mooted by Government include selling part of the company’s houses to employees to offset salary arrears currently sitting at $59 million while $69 million worth of debt will be converted to equity.

“Out of the 5 000 houses at Hwange Colliery we sold off 1 000 houses to sitting tenants. The sold houses are expected to deal with the $59 million owed to the employees as salary arrears and we hope that a significant amount of this debt will be taken away.

“Government has also taken $69,1 million which is to be converted into equity or a longer financing facility which will then cleanse the balance sheet of Hwange,” said Minister Chidhakwa.

Government is looking at shedding off some of Hwange Colliery’s non-core operations, including rationalisation of its workforce from the current 3 200 to levels that are commensurate with production.

The Colliery Company is also on the verge of striking coking coal supply agreements with South African firms. Minister Chidhakwa said the original plan for Hwange Colliery was to produce coking coal and not thermal coal, a situation which has seen the company fail to perform within expectations.

“We are in the process of sorting out a scheme of arrangement with other creditors and I know by October 10 we would have cleaned the balance sheet of Hwange and that will enable us to move forward with our signed agreements,” he said.

The minister said Government is in the process of trying to switch back to the original model of producing coking coal and a market is being made ready in South Africa.

Minister Chidhakwa added that the motive behind those strategies was to make sure the company bounces back to profitability for the benefit of the economy in general.

“Coal production has gone down significantly at Hwange Colliery and as Government we have been looking at why Hwange Colliery came down from making a profit of $14 million a year and now making huge losses.

“We have contracted people who told us that the original model for Hwange was based on producing coking coal and not thermal coal. This meant that to produce coking coal you need a market because the prices of coking coal are much higher and returns are much bigger than those of thermal coal,” said Minister Chidhakwa.

Welfare figures surge: UNICEF

Source: Welfare figures surge: UNICEF | The Herald September 28, 2016

Elita Chikwati Senior Reporter
The number of children requiring welfare has increased from 11 000 last year to an estimated 20 000 during the first seven months of this year, according to the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (Unicef). This follows the El Nino-induced drought that has affected the Southern African region.

Unicef has mobilised $3,1 million for Zimbabwe to promote the well-being of vulnerable children against a current funding appeal of $21,8 million. The welfare assistance includes children reporting health problems, requiring educational and/or school assistance, or children being in need of emotional and social support.

The 2015/16 El Nino-induced drought, which has affected crops and livestock, has also resulted in the increase in stress among children. Information from the Unicef-supported Child Protection Fund, which tracks down the welfare and protection needs among poor and vulnerable children indicates a sharp rise in children needing welfare assistance in 2016 compared to 2015.

An estimated 20 000 children required welfare assistance between January and July 2016, compared to 11 000 in the whole of 2015. Slightly more than 2 000 children reported health problems in the first six months of 2016 compared to 400 in the whole of 2015.

“This number includes children who have defaulted on their anti-retroviral therapy for HIV due to an inability to take medication due to hunger. About 6 000 children needed emotional and social support in the first six months of 2016, compared to 8 000 in the whole of 2015. The upsurge started in October 2015 with the onset of the drought and indicates an increase in drought-related psychosocial stress,” said Unicef.

The organisation said the greatest rise was in the education category, where 12 000 children reported needing school-related assistance in the first six months of 2016 compared to 2 000 in the whole of 2015.

Unicef deputy representative in Zimbabwe Dr Jane Muita said with the failure of crops, families faced the grim choice of spending their little money either on food or buying books and paying school fees.

“They will always choose food. But these are hard choices no family should have to make and we worry about the long-term developmental effects the drought will have on affected children. Many of the 20 000 children owe schools thousands of US dollars in unpaid fees.

“Although official Government policy is not to chase the children away, some children have dropped out of school entirely, or have had their school reports withheld. While this upsurge in numbers can be partially attributed to a better identification and reporting system, the ongoing drought has left increasing numbers of children in desperate need of help,” she said.

Unicef’s non-governmental organisation partners are also reporting an increase in young girls dropping out of school to engage in commercial sex work, with teenage boys engaging in illegal mining.

Zimra completes executives probe

Source: Zimra completes executives probe | The Herald September 28, 2016

Golden Sibanda: Senior Business Reporter—
THE Zimbabwe Revenue Authority has completed a forensic audit into suspected irregular conduct by executives with fraud and falsification of academic qualifications by its loss control director among major findings. ZIMRA has since reported a fraud case CR 2151 /09 /16 at Harare Central Police (Serious Frauds) against the loss control director, Mr Chalton Chihuri, who joined ZIMRA in 2003.

The audit report has now been lodged with Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa for perusal and presentation to Government before being publicised.

ZIMRA chairperson Willia Bonyongwe confirmed yesterday that the audit report had been submitted to Minister Chinamasa, but would not discuss the contents of findings saying an official statement will be issued this week.

“The forensic audit by HLB Ruzengwe has been completed, and as per procedure, the report has been lodged with our parent ministry (Finance and Economic Development) who will present it to Government,” she said.

Among other issues, the forensic audit looked into awarding of contracts, the motor vehicle scheme and car importation by officials and senior executives of ZIMRA.

Apart from contracts, motor vehicle scheme and importation of cars, the just completed forensic audit also probed salaries, benefits of and loans to senior management. The revenue collector has also contracted chartered accountants Deloitte and Touché to carry out an audit into suspected impropriety in awarding of ICT contracts at ZIMRA.

The Herald Business understands that the audit by HLB Ruzengwe has allegedly unearthed gross misconduct by some senior officials at ZIMRA, chief among them the loss control director.

Sources said Mr (Chalton) Chihuri allegedly misrepresented to ZIMRA that he holds a degree in economics from the University of Zimbabwe when in fact that is not true. It was not clear yesterday whether Mr Chihuri has since been picked up by police for questioning over the issue.

Investigations into suspected impropriety by senior officials at ZIMRA follow earlier reports that the taxman could be losing or might have lost millions of dollars to dealers who facilitated counterfeit undervalued import documents

for the purpose of importing cars at grossly low cost. This resulted in Commissioner General Gershem Pasi and five other senior directors being sent on paid leave to facilitate investigations over suspected irregularities on car imports and other issues related to procurement at ZIMRA.

Other executives on leave include Mr Charlton Chihuri, Mrs Anna Mutombodzi (commissioner customs and excise) Mr Tjiyapo Velempini (director ICT and Infrastructural Development), Mr Charles Manjengwa (director internal audit) and Mrs Sithokozile Thembani (director human resources).

Auditors had also been tasked to look into possible misconduct in procurement of service and equipment, including renovations carried out at the taxman’s Kurima House offices.

Further, the audits would also cover procurement of uniforms, asycuda validation system and the construction of Chirundu Border Post. The forensic audits, which were expected to have been completed by June, covered the period January 2014 to August this year.

Batoka project cost down $2bn

Source: Batoka project cost down $2bn | The Herald September 28, 2016

Patrick Chitumba Bulawayo Bureau
The projected cost of the proposed Batoka Gorge Hydro-electric scheme on the Zambezi River has been revised downwards from $6 billion to $4 billion. The revision comes as the Zimbabwe and Zambian governments intensified work on the project. Both Governments have since allayed fears that the proposed scheme could result in flooding in the resort town of Victoria Falls, threatening water sports.

Addressing journalists from Zambia and Zimbabwe at a two-day media tour at the proposed site of the project in Kasilili Village, about 80km from the resort town, the chairperson of Zambezi River Authority (ZRA), Mr Partson Mbiriri said it had been recommended that the dam will be “a runoff river scheme.”

He said the scheme meant that little amounts of water would be stored while the rest would be released immediately to generate power. There has been an outcry by tour operators in Victoria Falls and Livingstone that if the project went ahead, they would be forced to stop white water rafting.

“There have been outcries that Victoria Falls will flood because of the dam wall to be constructed and yes we have to be careful of how high the dam wall and flow of the river would be.

“This type of a scheme is referred to as run-off river scheme meaning there would be little storage. The water will just flow through, generating electricity and that will not flood Victoria Falls. We have learnt from how the Kariba dam was constructed,” he said.

Mr Mbiriri who is also the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Energy and Power Development said the dam wall will be about 100 meters high, generating 1 200megawatts of electricity for both Zimbabwe and Zambia. He said both countries would each have a hydro power station.

“Both countries will produce 1 200 megawatts each and double the current production we have at Kariba Dam. “We however have more sites along the Zambezi River which we can utilise to produce power,” said Mr Mbiriri. He said they were looking for $4 billion to fund the project which is expected to be completed in 2024.

Zim free to regularise diamond industry: KPCS

Source: Zim free to regularise diamond industry: KPCS | The Herald

Zvamaida Murwira Senior Reporter—
Zimbabwe is free to regulate its diamond industry and the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme will not interfere in the decision by Harare to consolidate mining firms into one, a senior official for the world body on the precious mineral has said. Visiting KPCS chairperson, Mr Ahmed Bin Sulayem from the United Arab Emirates said the consolidation of diamond mining firms by the Government was an internal issue, which did not warrant the world body’s intervention.

Mr Sulayem said this in an interview with journalists soon after paying a courtesy call on President Mugabe at his Munhumutapa offices in Harare. His comments put paid to some Western organisations and the local private media that wanted Zimbabwe to be censured for assuming control of diamond extraction following the expiry of mining licences of firms that used to mine the gems at Marange.

“This is the situation that Zimbabwe has taken, and they know what is best for them. From our side, we are working on coming to a solution that brings the KPCS and bring all the producing countries to know the value of the rough diamonds. We will, at the end of this month, hold a workshop on valuation for rough diamonds,” said Mr Sulayem.

He described the discussion he had with President Mugabe as fruitful, coming soon after he had visited Chiadzwa diamond fields on Monday. Mr Sulayem said he was impressed by the system Zimbabwe put in place at Chiadzwa diamond fields.

“As of seven years ago, I did not know much about Zimbabwe except what I read from media reports, television and the Internet. Yes, there are challenges in Africa, but we have noticed that it is not everything that is as presented in the media,” said Mr Suyalem.

The KPCS chairperson said he came to Zimbabwe to do a familiarisation tour of member states, having gone to Burkina Faso, Congo, Angola, Central African Republic and, he was now heading to Namibia.

Mr Sulayem said it was critical that diamond-producing countries value beneficiation and value addition to maximise returns for their minerals. He said they would convene a special forum of experts on diamond valuation in Belgium this weekend.

“We want to have all the producing countries to know the value before they ship them out. We will be talking to all the experts. We want to have the experts’ views. We will know more after the end of this month.

“The big business, big traders, do not buy diamonds on estimates, they want to have an idea of what this value is. So, all these stakeholders will come together,” said Mr Sulayem. Mines and Mining Development Minister Walter Chidhakwa said the position by KPCS not to interfere on how member countries regulate their industry was correct.

“He is absolutely right in the sense that the KPCS’s position is that governments take their decisions in so far as the structure of the industry is concerned. What the KPCS is interested in doing is to ensure that the structure enables the countries to make sure that the security is tightened, traceability of diamonds is guaranteed, and that you do not have diamonds going out of the system.

“We briefed the chairman and his team about the new system, the fact that we now have one Government company that owns all diamond activities and that the systems that were in the individual companies will now be inherited in the new company particularly as we move towards the consolidated company. They are satisfied with that, and we are also happy that we share the same view,” said Minister Chidhakwa.

He commended the KP chairperson for embarking on a familiarisation tour of member countries. “We are happy with the initiatives that the chairman has taken-firstly the fact of going to other African countries, particularly to see how the producers were doing, familiarising himself with the difficulties in the various countries.

“We took him to Marange yesterday, and he had an opportunity to see what is on the ground. He has made his comments, very positive, satisfied with the security issues, but we also believe that we can continue to work with the KPCS to ensure that systems continue to be improved.”

Minister Chidhakwa hailed KPCS for convening a workshop on valuation of diamonds saying that was one of their major challenge as member countries. “Zimbabweans are keen to know what they are worth, what the value of diamonds is and we will continue to engage international institutions such as the KPCS to assist that Zimbabweans know what they are worth,” said Minister Chidhakwa.

Zimbabwean scientists fight to preserve national academy

Research struggles in a country in economic free-fall.

Source: Zimbabwean scientists fight to preserve national academy : Nature News & Comment 27 September 2016

Following years of chronic funding shortages and political neglect, the Zimbabwe Academy of Science (ZAS) is on its knees and has made a plea for support from the large Zimbabwean diaspora.

The academy has historically survived on donations and membership fees, but this is no longer sustainable, said ZAS head Christopher Mutambirwa at a meeting of Zimbabwean expatriates in Johannesburg, South Africa, on 14 September. According to Mutambirwa, who is a former environmental scientist at the University of Zimbabwe in Harare, the academy has fewer than 100 fellows, and the country’s economic distress means that fewer than 15 members now even pay their fees.

The aim of the meeting — initiated by the Academy of Science of South Africa and which included ZAS members and Zimbabwean academics in South Africa — was to find ways to support Zimbabwean research.

Among the most drastic solutions proposed were to move the ZAS’s headquarters (currently in the Tropical Resources Ecology Centre at the University of Zimbabwe) to Pretoria, South Africa’s capital, or to make the academy a ‘virtual’ entity — without a permanent office or administrative staff. The ZAS has already had to let go its sole full-time employee.

Economic woes

Zimbabwe has a strong agriculture sector, with tobacco and cotton among its main exports. Traditionally, much of the country’s research has come from ties between the country’s universities and the agriculture industry.

The economy took a negative turn after 2000, when the government of President Robert Mugabe — who has been in power since 1987 and is now 92 — fast-tracked a programme of land expropriations and agricultural productivity plummeted. The resulting economic and political turmoil, with a long-term decline in gross domestic product and bouts of hyperinflation, has caused millions to leave the country. Many have crossed the border into neighbouring South Africa, including some scientists. “Without enough money around, it’s made a number of people leave,” says Christopher Chetsanga, a biochemist who heads the country’s Council for Higher Education and was president of the ZAS at its founding in 2004.

There are no official figures on the flight of skilled Zimbabweans, or on how many researchers remain in the country; according to a UNESCO report, a government survey in 2012 found that about 1,300 researchers were there at that time.

Funding down

Still, Zimbabwe has consistently produced between 300 and 400 peer-reviewed papers a year, and the ZAS is one of the few institutions in the country that have consistently advocated for science. Both Chetsanga and Mutambirwa said that the ZAS had pleaded with government to recognize the academy through an act of parliament, which would then put it on the government’s payroll and ringfence funding. But according to the Zimbabwean parliament’s website, there is no ZAS bill on the roll, and the current economic crisis means that the government is unlikely to allocate money to an academy of science when it cannot meet its own debt-repayment deadlines with international funding agencies.

The academics Nature spoke to cited lack of funding for research and equipment as their biggest challenge. The majority of research funding comes from the government, which is then disbursed via the country’s 17 universities, the Medical Research Council of Zimbabwe and the Research Council of Zimbabwe. The latter focuses on social sciences and humanities; sustainable environment and resource management; public health; and national security. It saw its funding decline from US$556,907 in 2013 to $499,769 in 2014, the most recent year for which figures are available.

Brain drain

Because of the country’s politically fractious relations with North American and European countries, international funding and collaboration have declined. The country has been subject to international sanctions since 2002, over alleged electoral fraud and human-rights violations. “We don’t have many friends as a country,” Dexter Tagwireyi, a toxicologist at the University of Zimbabwe and head of the Zimbabwe Young Academy of Science, said at the Johannesburg meeting. “Opportunities like competitive grants, you don’t even see Zimbabwe on the list.”

Researchers also struggle with the same endemic problems as other Zimbabweans: chronic water and electricity outages and telecommunications difficulties. At the moment, the ZAS’s activities are voluntary and unpaid.

A number of solutions to the dire straits that the ZAS and Zimbabwean research in general are in were proposed — such as promoting ZAS membership, collaboration and co-supervision among the diaspora, and basing the academy online or in South Africa — but some were more palatable than others.

A virtual organization would not solve the issue of funding, they said. Numerous Zimbabwean academics reject the idea of a Pretoria-based ZAS. Sociologist Rudo Gaidzanwa at the University of Zimbabwe says that this move would be regressive and would “send the wrong signal”.

“Our futures are tied to the future of our country,” she says. “Until our situation improves economically, we’re going to haemorrhage academics.”

Dabengwa endorses Mutsvangwa snub

Source: Dabengwa endorses Mutsvangwa snub – Southern Eye September 28, 2016

ZAPU leader, Dumiso Dabengwa, has hailed the decision by Zimbabwe People’s Revolutionary Army (Zipra) ex-combatants to sever ties with the Christopher Mutsvangwa-led Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association (ZNLWVA), saying the move was necessary to preserve the distinct integrity of the liberation war fighters.

BY NQOBANI NDLOVU

Zipra ex-combatants quit the ZNLWVA in March this year to launch their own independent welfare association, accusing the latter of expending its resources fighting Zanu PF succession wars, instead of addressing the well-fare of its members.

Dabengwa said the Zipra ex-combatants needed their own independent welfare association to ensure the liberation war fighters were not abused and used by selfish politicians.

“For my part, I think veterans of the liberation struggle, who fought under the auspices of Zapu need an association that retains their distinct values and vision of a liberated country that is not driven by egos of individual leaders and exclusive interests,” he said in a speech read on his behalf by Zapu Matabeleland South chairperson, Matthew Sibanda at a rally on Saturday in Insiza.

“More to the point, veterans should not be used and dumped like used tissue paper or used as tongs for rescuing corrupt and compromised, self-serving politicians.

“Furthermore, their record must not be used to manufacture fake heroes declared for political loyalty and not what they have done. It is not too late to salvage the integrity of what we fought for.”

Dabengwa said Zapu was willing to forge a coalition pact with other opposition parties to dislodge President Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF in the 2018 polls.

“That is why Zapu was among the parties that drew up the framework for the Coalition of Democrats (Code),” he said.

“We, therefore, remain committed to the principle of a united front, whether it is a coalition, alliance or pact. United we stand, divided we fall.”

Despite drawing up the Code framework, Zapu did not sign the document, which some believe was a precursor to a coalition.

MDC-T gears for 17th anniversary celebrations

THE opposition MDC-T holds its 17th anniversary celebrations on Saturday in Bulawayo, with officials saying the event will be low-key owing to the harsh economic climate.

Source: MDC-T gears for 17th anniversary celebrations – NewsDay Zimbabwe September 28, 2016

BY NQOBANI NDLOVU

MDC-T organising secretary Abednico Bhebhe told Southern Eye the harsh economic climate did not allow the holding of a “massive event”, hence a low-key ceremony.

“Unfortunately, the economic situation will not allow us to have big celebrations, but the event is on this Saturday, thanks to the party membership that continues to sacrifice the little they have to ensure party programmes are not disrupted,” he said.

“It is every party’s wish to hold massive celebrations, but we are hard hit by the economic situation that Zanu PF surprisingly and shockingly refuses or chooses to acknowledge.

“We are operating under a very tight budget owing to the destruction of the economy by Zanu PF.”

Bhebhe said MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai was expected at the anniversary celebrations where his new deputies Nelson Chamisa and Elias Mudzuri would also be unveiled.

However, Bulawayo, Matabeleland South and South Africa MDC-T branches were reportedly not happy with the appointment of Mudzuri and Chamisa as co-deputies.

They argued, the appointments were deliberately done to torpedo Thokozani Khupe’s chances of assuming the party presidency when Tsvangirai steps aside.

Tsvangirai comes to Bulawayo at a time provincial chairperson and deputy mayor Gift Banda and other councillors have been suspended from the local authority over corruption charges.

Banda last month said the party chose Bulawayo to host the anniversary celebrations as a “thank you” to the electorate for religiously voting for the MDC-T since its formation.

The MDC-T has won all seats in Bulawayo since its formation in 1999, except last year, when the opposition party boycotted by-elections protesting lack of electoral reforms.

The boycott resulted in Zanu PF winning five seats in Bulawayo.

Udcorp audits milking us: Kwekwe

KWEKWE City Council is at odds with the Urban Development Corporation (Udcorp), accusing the government body of incompetence and milking the local authority, a year after it produced a damning audit report alleging nearly $1 million could have been stolen from council.

Source: Udcorp audits milking us: Kwekwe – NewsDay Zimbabwe September 28, 2016

BY BLESSED MHLANGA

Minutes of a full council meeting show that councillors accused Udcorp of preparing shoddy reports, which alleged abuse of funds when “no money was being stolen”.

“One member expressed concern in the matter in which external auditors were raising unfounded statements because the impression they have now created is that local authorities were not being properly run,” the minutes read.

Chamber secretary Lucia Mkandla supported the councillors, saying Udcorp had been causing turmoil within central government and local authorities owing to its alleged incompetence.

“She said it should be noted that the (Local Government) ministry has also realised that Udcorp was causing unnecessary commotion, not only in local authorities, but even within government departments, where they are engaged to audit,” the minutes further read.

The same meeting also heard from treasurer Rejoice Maweni that Udcorp was milking them dry by charging exorbitant fees.

She said other auditors who did their 2014 financials had charged them $15 000, but Udcorp was demanding $86 000 for the 2015 reports.
Council said it had written letters to Udcorp to explain its charges, but they had not received any explanation.

“We wrote a number of letters seeking an explanation regarding how Udcorp arrived at their figures, as they raised two invoices for the same audit. They did not respond to justify their charges, which made us to conclude that they were on a fundraising mission,” the minutes read.

Robbery case takes drugs twist

A LAWYER representing Eddie Zviitwa in the trial where he is alleged to have stolen $85 000, yesterday claimed what was at the centre of the matter were drugs and gold rather than cash, as the case took a new twist.

Source: Robbery case takes drugs twist – NewsDay Zimbabwe September 28, 2016

BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE

Zviitwa’s lawyer, Rekai Maphosa, alleged the investigating officer, Saydon Chinzete, knew that the complainant, Taghlan Hosvep, lost gold and drugs worth $85 000 instead of cash, a claim the police officer denied.

Maphosa further alleged that Hosvep was pounced on by unknown robbers, but Chinzete dug in, insisting the suspects were all linked to the theft.

Zviitwa is jointly charged with Keagan Blumears, Taurai Makata, Obey Chakacha and Tinashe Hakunavanhu.

Regional magistrate Hosiah Mujaya remanded the matter to October 3 for continuation of trial after Chakacha, Makata and Hakunavanhu’s lawyer excused himself on health grounds.

Allegations are that on March 29, the complainant, Hovsep, was lured to a Mount Pleasant house on the pretext of buying a Hyundai excavator.

The State alleges Hosvep went to Blumears with a bagful of cash intending to buy the heavy-duty machine.

Blumears then communicated with his alleged accomplices and bogus detectives.

The bogus detectives purportedly “arrested” Hosvep for dealing in minerals and supporting Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s faction, before taking away his money.

The State alleges Zviitwa then left with the bogus detectives on the pretext he was going to recover the money, but he returned empty-handed, claiming the money had been taken away by senior officers.

As a result, Hosvep was prejudiced of $85 000 and nothing was recovered

Demo ban hearing continues

ZLHR are arguing that the ban is unconstitutional as it is not proportionate and does not comply with the principles of natural justice.

Source: Demo ban hearing continues – NewsDay Zimbabwe September 28, 2016

BY CHARLES LAITON

The two matters were filed by the Zimbabwe Divine Destiny, Democratic Assembly for Restoration and Empowerment (Dare), civic organisations, National Electoral Reform Agenda (Nera), Combined Harare Residents’ Association and activist Standrick Zvorwadza.

The parties are being represented by Advocate Fadzai Mahere of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) and senior lawyers Tendai Biti and Dzimbabwe Chimbga.

The parties appeared before Justice Chiweshe after filing their heads of argument.

In their application, they want the High Court to set aside Government Notice No. 239 A of 2016 issued by ZRP Chief Superintendent Newbert Saunyama on the basis that it restricts the right to demonstrate as guaranteed in the Constitution.

ZLHR are arguing that the ban is unconstitutional as it is not proportionate and does not comply with the principles of natural justice.

On September 7, Justice Priscilla Chigumba declared as unconstitutional Statutory Instrument 101a of 2016 gazetted on September 1, 2016 banning protests in Harare for a period of two weeks.

Churches, war vets slam violence on activists

Churches and war veterans yesterday deplored the continued use of violence on opposition members and activists, while accusing the State of failing to take action against perpetrators.

Source: Churches, war vets slam violence on activists – NewsDay Zimbabwe September 28, 2016

BY OBEY MANAYITI

“The Church abhors and condemns any form of violence regardless of who the perpetrator is. We condemn in the strongest terms any act of violence and we want to see peace prevailing.

“Our conviction is that we would like to engage the stakeholders that are involved in such acts,” Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe leader Shingi Munyeza said.

The cleric said churches were gathering information on what was transpiring from their co-ordinators before jumping to conclusions.
“We will be appealing to law enforcers to ensure that there is no eruption of violence. We will also be appealing to law enforcers that the Constitution and constitutionalism is respected so that we can live in our differences.

“We are engaging the authorities and law enforcers through our structures. We need to get the facts from our structures,” he said.

Zimbabwe Divine Destiny leader Ancelimo Magaya said President Robert Mugabe should rein in his supporters, whom he accused of perpetuating a culture of violence.

“This is very sad and that is the reason why we are calling upon the President to come to terms with the reality on the ground and be objective and rein in rogue elements within his party. Failure to do this will result in a catastrophic situation. We want the situation to be addressed before degenerating into something really worse,” he said.

Christian Voice International-Zimbabwe (CVI) leader Tapfumanei Zenda said perpetrators of violence should be brought to book.
“We are, hereby, calling upon the powers-that-be to take heed of our plight and concerns that the police and all those perpetrating violence need to act in accordance with the Constitution,” he said.

“CVI is seriously concerned about human rights abuses at the moment and we hope those implicated will stop that without delay.”
Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association secretary-general Victor Matemadanda said thorough investigations should be carried out to identify perpetrators of violence.

“Violence perpetrated by whoever is public enemy number one because by its nature violence knows no boundary if it becomes a way of life,” he said.

“When it is said to be perpetrated by the ruling party, then that becomes even more dangerous because government must protect all its citizens. However, I think thorough investigations must be done to ascertain who is behind the violence so that proper remedial action is taken.”

Hundreds of opposition supporters and civil society activists have been brutally attacked since widespread anti-government protests started a few months ago, with some now hospitalised while others claimed to have been tortured at Zanu PF headquarters.

As the situation continues to degenerate, several church organisations have deplored the use of violence calling authorities to order.

Meanwhile, six of the ZimPF officials who were bashed by suspected Zanu PF youths in Guruve were yesterday released from police custody and taken to a private hospital for medical attention.

ZimPF lawyer Gift Nyandoro said Bindura magistrate Ruramai Chitumbura ordered the release of Retired Brigadier General Agrippa Mutambara and five others who were assaulted at a farm in Guruve.

Nyandoro said the court released his clients after they challenged their placement on remand following the lapse of the maximum 48-hour period that the police are allowed to hold suspects before taking them to court.

“As I am talking to you right now, the victims of Zanu PF brutality are being transferred to a private hospital for more specialised treatment. The court was held at Bindura Hospital because of the severity of injuries sustained,” he said.

Clemence Kuwanda prosecuted.

Gono behind my incarceration: Kereke

Former Bikita West legislator Munyaradzi Kereke yesterday again accused ex-Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono of being behind his imprisonment over rape charges.

Source: Gono behind my incarceration: Kereke – NewsDay Zimbabwe September 28, 2016

BY CHARLES LAITON

He claimed his former boss influenced the girl’s guardian to pursue the rape matter by offering him tractors.

Kereke, who is serving a 10-year jail term, made the remarks through his lawyers, Advocate Thabani Mpofu, who was assisted by Advocate Sylvester Hashiti, while urging High Court judge Justice Happias Zhou to grant him bail pending appeal.

Judgment was provisionally set for October 7.

Mpofu said Kereke did not commit the alleged rape on an 11-year-old girl as alleged by the State, but was incriminated due to political interference and Gono’s involvement in the plot.

“It was Gideon Gono who offered the girl’s guardian (Francis Maramwidze) tractors in return for him to pursue the matter,” Mpofu told the court, while dismissing claims that his client was convicted due to overwhelming evidence.

Mpofu further said it was not true that his client raped the girl on the day in question given that the house was full of people and that it was not possible for the girl to have been sexually abused at around 3am without her screaming and raising alarm, taking into account that she claimed she was a virgin.

“This could only have been possible if the applicant (Kereke) used a red-hot stiletto while accessing a previously un-accessed (sic).
Walls of Jericho were being penetrated and being broken and she must have screamed, but she said she was unable to do so and nobody came to her rescue, but the house was full of people,” Mpofu said.

The advocate said the magistrate misdirected himself when he convicted his client while the trial was marred with evidence which was not corroborated, but filled with inconsistencies.

In response, private prosecutor Charles Warara urged the court to dismiss the application, arguing the conviction was above board.
Warara said Kereke was a man of no fixed aboard and, as such, he was a flight risk if released on bail, given his connections outside the country.

“The court (magistrate) made a finding of fact that the appellant lied throughout his trial. He interfered with his witnesses by making them sign affidavits to support his case and there was substantial evidence of interference with the docket itself at the police station,” Warara said.

“Attempts were made to destroy the docket and he fabricated the evidence to destroy the case.

“All the evidence available points to a cunning and crafty applicant . . . his defence collapsed and he has no prospects of success on appeal.”

Terror group causes mayhem

HARARE’s central business district (CBD) descended into chaos yesterday, as suspected Zanu PF youths, masquerading as disgruntled vendors, unleashed a reign of terror against ordinary people and shops—looting and damaging property, as they engaged in, on the face of it, running battles with the police.

Source: Terror group causes mayhem – NewsDay Zimbabwe September 28, 2016

by XOLISANI NCUBE/Obey Manayiti

Armed with stones, the group — which has since been disowned by the National Vendors’ Union of Zimbabwe (Navuz) and social movement #Tajamuka/Sesijikile — marched through the city indiscriminately attacking people and smashing vehicle windscreens.

The suspected Zanu PF terror group circumvented the police, which is uncharacteristic of vendors and opposition party activists whenever they conduct their peaceful demonstrations.

Before the group was unleashed, some vendors believed to be linked to Zanu PF clashed with municipal police officers. The fights lasted for less than 20 minutes, before the unknown “terror group” — comprising mainly of young, clean-shaven men — was let loose.

Showing signs of a choreographed and sophisticated style of attack, the group moved quietly attacking shops and ordinary citizens with stones,

causing mayhem in the city, as many people fled for safety, while the police were seemingly chasing after them.

#Tajamuka spokesperson Promise Mkwananzi said the terror group’s mode of attack was characteristic of Zanu PF. He claimed the group was sponsored to cause bloodshed so that the police could wantonly arrest opposition activists.

“We did not organise any demonstration today (yesterday). We are not a violent people like what we have seen being perpetrated by those hired Zanu PF goons, who were stoning our parents without shame. It is unfortunate that Zanu PF has become clueless to the extent of demonstrating against itself so that they can arrest our members. Shame on them,” Mkwananzi said.

“If you look at the way the police reacted to this terror group, it’s uncharacteristic of them, they were following the group from behind and throwing tear-gas at ordinary people.

“Instead of protecting them, the police were doing the opposite. President Robert Mugabe should know better that such mischievous moves will not help his regime.”

Navuz leader Stan Zvorwadza also said his union had nothing to do with the mayhem.

“The National Vendors’ Union of Zimbabwe (Navuz) would like to distance itself from violent clashes that occurred in Harare’s central business district today (yesterday). A group of Zanu PF youths, claiming to be vendors, caused violent scenes in the central business district and also stoned several buildings,” he said.

“As Navuz, we view this as one of the ploys by Zanu PF to use their rogue youths to cause violence after which they will abuse their stranglehold on the police and judiciary to institute a series of arbitrary arrests of opposition and civic society activists.”

He added: “What is mind-boggling is that the Zanu PF youths terrorised ordinary citizens while stoning buildings for more than an hour, yet there was no police response. To make matters worse, the Navuz offices were also stoned by the same rogue youths, who were claiming to be vendors and belonging to Navuz.”

But, Zanu PF Harare youth spokesperson Edson Takataka denied that ruling party youths were involved in any clashes in the CBD, accusing the opposition of being behind the violence.

“We know who is violent and what they want to achieve. We are a peaceloving party busy with strategising on how to improve the economy brought down by illegal sanctions,” he said.

NewsDay witnessed the terror group attacking ordinary people along Leopold Takawira Street, while riot police remained rooted at the intersection of Julius Nyerere Way and Nelson Mandela Avenue in their water cannon trucks.

Police only sprang into action and threw teargas canisters at ordinary citizens well after the terror group had left the scene.

The other truck full of riot police was following the terror group, ordering ordinary people to disperse as well as throwing teargas at them, while the other team chased pedestrians along Julius Nyerere Way.

Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CiZC) also claimed that Zanu PF was the architect of yesterday’s violence.

“CiZC views today’s incident as a ploy by Zanu PF to clamp down on civic society and opposition activists in light of the pressure that is mounting on the failed government to deliver,” the body said.

“We fear that such desperate acts by the regime could highlight the beginning of clampdowns on civic society and opposition activists. It is shameful that the regime has resorted to the use of force against impoverished citizens calling on the government to improve their livelihoods.”

Heal Zimbabwe said the unidentified youths wanted to portray protesters as violent and unreasonable people in light of the pending High Court appeal against a blanket ban on demonstrations that was recently imposed by the police.

Contacted for comment, police spokesperson, Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba, said she did not have details of the incident.

 

Dispute scuppers diamond output

Mining in Marange has been hampered by a court challenge involving three producers disputing government’s refusal to renew their licences, Mines and Mining Development minister Walter Chidakwa has said.

Source: Dispute scuppers diamond output – NewsDay Zimbabwe September 28, 2016

BY VICTORIA MTOMBA

In February, government ordered nine mining firms — the bulk of them in Marange — to stop operating as their licences had expired.

The decree came on the back of the formation of the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) to run all diamond operations in the country.

Chidakwa told guests at the launch of the Interim Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper on Monday that government changed the structure in the diamond sector as it was not benefiting the communities and the country.

“They went to the Constitutional Court and we know that they will not win. This has taken us off the wheels. What this has done is we are not able to produce in those areas where there is contest. We are not able to produce at Anjin, Gye Nyame and Mbada. We hope the matter will be resolved soon,” he said.

The three companies had initially lost at the High Court.

Chidakwa said changing of the structure of the sector was not nationalisation, but government did not renew licences of companies.

Chidakwa said government bought equipment for Diamond Mining Corporation (DMC) and output has doubled in the past four months.

DMC was a joint venture between Dubai’s Pure Diamond and the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation.

“At Marange, they were producing 10 000 carats and now we are producing 50 000 carats. It’s not good enough and it’s not meeting the 300 000 carats, which was produced when all the mines were operational,” he said.

Chidakwa said the diamond companies that have been operating in the country were not declaring dividends at all, in violation of the agreement.

The companies, he said, were not doing exploration work and did not establish any resource in the area.

Chidakwa said in Marange, the government has seen new gravels which indicate good grades.

He said the government was monitoring the production on a daily basis.

ZCDC is mandated to be in charge of all diamond operations in the country.

All diamond producers, including Murowa, are supposed to be amalgamated into ZCDC.

The country has not received much from the diamond sector amid claims that at least $15 billion could have been spirited away in Marange in seven years.

Clamp down on Zanu PF thugs before it’s too late

The resurgence of politically-motivated violence in the past few weeks is uncalled for and what is needed now are level heads before the situation spirals out of control.

Source: Clamp down on Zanu PF thugs before it’s too late – NewsDay Zimbabwe September 28, 2016

Comment: NewsDay Editors

No matter how it is spun for political and propaganda purposes, the sight of people with gory wounds on their faces and macabre injuries on their backsides is shocking and an intervention is needed now.

It is a pity President Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF were never committed to the peace and reconciliation organ and are not too happy with the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission, but what this means is that perpetrators of violence will continue doing so with impunity because the organisations meant to thwart this are incapacitated.

Just what do the police and Zanu PF thugs — we call them thugs because that is just what they are — hope to achieve by assaulting people?

Politics is all about convincing people in a civil manner to see things from your viewpoint, rather than bludgeoning them into submission.

There is no reason for the police, whether following orders or in drunken stupors, to viciously assault people in their custody.

We hope that all the officers accused of perpetrating the dastardly torture on MDC-T activists are brought to book and made to pay for their waywardness in the courts of law.

Now more than ever before, there is need for an impartial police force, before a spirit of vigilantism sets in.

It was heartrending to hear victims of Zanu PF brutality narrate their torture, including a tale where a former student leader was allegedly forced to sleep with an older woman and we can only wonder what inspires people to act in such a cruel and inhuman manner.

The police should also investigate the alleged presence of torture chambers at the Zanu PF headquarters, where the MDC-T activists allege they were taken to.

Failure of which, the Zanu PF thugs would have all, but received carte blanche to act as they please, knowing they are out of reach of the law.

Zimbabwe should not be allowed to descend into anarchy, as the wounds of 2008 are still fresh, the scars of Operation Murambatsvina are not healed, while Gukurahundi will always remain etched in the minds of Zimbabweans.

The only way the country can avoid a repeat of these dark periods in its history is by ensuring that the rule of law is upheld, extra-judicial punishment is outlawed and, above all, the creation of a professional police force.

Failure to which, Zimbabwe is being dragged into a political black hole by a seemingly uncaring government, which puts its survival above everything else, including the country’s future.

National roads conditions survey funding lagging: Zinara

THE Zimbabwe National Roads Administration (Zinara) says funding for the National Roads Conditions Survey undertaken earlier this year is lagging behind amid early estimates that $5 billion is required to rehabilitate the country’s road network

Source: National roads conditions survey funding lagging: Zinara – NewsDay Zimbabwe September 28, 2016

BY TATIRA ZWINOIRA

The survey was launched in April this year to conduct research on the entire road network system in the country to ascertain the extent of the road infrastructure dilapidation.

Zinara chairperson Albert Mugabe told NewsDay on the sidelines of Lafarge Cement Zimbabwe roads capacity building workshop in Harare that the mindset of decision-makers needed to change as the extent to fixing road infrastructure was great.

“We launched a national road survey and when that is done, we will know the actual condition of our roads and be in a position to quantify what the requirements are. We launched it a little earlier this year and we hope to get some results after a year or early next year. Remember, the component of the road survey is funding and we have tried our best to ensure that the funding is in place, but every now and again, we lag behind in terms of funding,” Mugabe said.

“Instead of looking at how much we need to fix the road network, what we actually need to do is look at it inversely, in that if we do not fix our road network, then what will be the cost? When I tell what our requirement is, it is going to be a big figure, but the bigger one is actually the cost of not fixing the road.”

He said the early estimated figure of $5bn needed for road infrastructure had to be substantiated, as the survey would reveal a higher figure needed as the entire road network system was beyond its lifespan.

Mugabe said the main source of funding for the road survey was from the toll fees Zinara received, which were then distributed to different councils.

The road survey, if well-funded, is expected to be completed at the end of the first quarter of next year.

Yesterday’s workshop was hosted by Lafarge Zimbabwe as part of an initiative to encourage the use of cost-cutting newer concrete road technologies that can be used in developing cheaper and more sustainable roads.

One of the main technologies being championed is the use of adhesives that can keep the road together, which requires less maintenance.
Another includes using hydromedia, a fast-draining type of concrete that helps to quickly minimise the risk of flooding.

LafargeHolcim countries technical support engineer, Rex Titus, said the newer road materials used in road construction had the potential to improve smooth flow of business and provide support system transportation.

Currently, the poor road infrastructure stems from a lack of adequate financing towards regular maintenance in the country, which has interferred with the smooth flow of business

“As Lafarge, we contribute to building better infrastructure in Zimbabwe through supply of materials such as cement and aggregates, as well as our technical expertise and other services. We are available to partner with government and other private players to build sustainable road infrastructure in Zimbabwe in a cost effective manner,” Lafarge Cement Zimbabwe commercial director Edith Matekaire said.

Mines Amendment Bill aims to plug externalisation

THE Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill will put in place measures to stop externalising money through a clause which stipulates that mining title holders must bank in Zimbabwe, an official has said. by VENERANDA LANGA

Source: Mines Amendment Bill aims to plug externalisation – NewsDay Zimbabwe September 28, 2016

Mines ministry deputy legal adviser Thammary Viriri told stakeholders during a public hearing on the Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill in Harare at the weekend that government had seen it fit to curb capital flight after noting that many mines had bank accounts outside the country.

Section 59 of the Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill states that every holder of a mining right should conduct his or her financial transactions related to mining at financial institutions registered in Zimbabwe.

“Government discovered that there are many people doing mining activities that are banking offshore,” Viriri said.

“This has resulted in the country suffering from cashflow problems, and so, Section 59 of the Bill seeks to ensure mines use local facilities for banking activities.”

A participant at the hearing, Pisirayi Mangwengwende, said there should be separation between the powers of the Mines ministry and the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.

“We want local financial markets to benefit, but there must be differences between mining legislation and banking, companies or indigenisation regulations,” Mangwengwende said.

“The issue of mining companies banking in Zimbabwe is best regulated by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe under appropriate exchange control regulations. It may not be necessary for the section to be considered under the Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill.”

Zimbabwe Federation of Small-scale Miners chief executive officer Wellington Takavarasha said the Bill must ensure small-scale miners get support from local financial institutions.

“There should be a clause which indicates financial support for small-scale miners because commercial banks have been shunning them. One finds that if there are any loans available for miners, there is nothing reserved for small-scale miners, yet businesses that do not bring in a lot of money, like bottle store operators, get bank loans compared to small-scale miners,” he said.

Cosmas Sunguro, from Marange, said women in mining must be supported with loans and access to mining rights.

Recently, Parliament heard that diamond miner Jinan Mining Company, a joint venture between Marange Resources and Anhui for Economic Construction Company (Afecc) of China, allegedly smuggled out of the country more than $500 million diamond proceeds from Chiadzwa and deposited the money into its Botswana bank account.

Zimbabwe police fire teargas on street vendors

POLICE fired teargas at stone-throwing vendors resisting removal from city streets on Tuesday in the latest flare-up of protests against President Robert Mugabe’s 36-year rule.

Source: Zimbabwe police fire teargas on street vendors – The Zimbabwe Independent September 27, 2016

Army trucks and tankers joined Harare’s regular municipal police in a drive against the hawkers, pursuing them through the streets of the capital while firing teargas and water canons.

The southern African nation’s 80% unemployment rate has left thousands of people surviving by selling fruit and vegetables, mobile phone credit, trinkets and second hand clothes on sidewalks in the city centre.

Such vendors see the city streets as key markets and have over the years refused to be moved from the central business district.

As security officials moved in, some of the vendors fought back, hurling stones and bricks.

“The government has ruined the economy and here they are, trying to interfere with our only means of survival,” said 28-year-old Gilbert Fodya, as he fled from the police.

“I have to run away because I can’t afford to lose the little that I have,” he added, clutching a bundle of belts.

Mugabe, 92, has been confronted with a series of protests in the last few months from a wide range of opponents who say Zimbabwe, once considered one of Africa’s most promising economies, has slipped into irreversible decline under his rule.

He denies this and blames Zimbabwe’s economic problems on Western sanctions.-Reuters

Kenya urges quicker electoral reforms to meet 2017 vote date

KENYA’S government said it’s urging a quicker overhaul of the national electoral body so it’s completed before Aug. 8, 2017, the date the East African country’s constitution stipulates it must hold the vote.

Source: Kenya urges quicker electoral reforms to meet 2017 vote date – The Zimbabwe Independent September 27, 2016

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission’s board must step down by mid-October to allow the recruitment of new officials and for the electoral reform process to go forward, according to government spokesman Eric Kiraithe.

Kenya’s administration “wants to see the process expedited,” Kiraithe said by phone from the capital, Nairobi, on Tuesday. “Everybody with a part to play must do their part.”

President Uhuru Kenyatta on Sept. 16 assented to law amendments that will remove IEBC commissioners and overhaul the voter register in a bid to calm nationwide protests earlier in the year by the main opposition Coalition for Reforms and Democracy, which demanded the changes.

Kenyan Attorney-General Githu Muigai told lawmakers on July 20 they may consider moving the vote from Aug. 8 if the electoral reforms drag on.

Kiraithe said that the preparations and timing of the polling won’t be affected. “We will ensure that elections take place on time,” he said.

A committee made up of representatives of the Treasury, attorney-general and Interior Ministry has been established to negotiate and facilitate the “orderly and dignified exit” of the IEBC commissioners, Kiraithe said later Tuesday in an e-mailed statement.

Kenyatta, 54, is seeking a second term in next year’s vote as the candidate for the Jubilee Party, the product of a recent merger of smaller political groups.

He will probably square off against former Prime Minister Raila Odinga, if the ex-premier is chosen as CORD’s candidate.-Bloomberg

UK’s foreign policy and Mnangagwa

Currently, it is hardly a stunning discovery that the British are seriously contemplating pivoting on a post-Zanu PF government and new dispensation which has Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa as its leader.

Source: UK’s foreign policy and Mnangagwa – The Zimbabwe Independent September 27, 2016

Simukai Tinhu,Political analyst

In this endeavour, London’s representative to Harare, Catriona Laing, has been on a charm offensive as she leads attempts to normalise relations with Zimbabwe’s governing party. Besides an image that captures her sharing lighter moments with the vice-president, she has already declared to some that Mnangagwa is a man the British can do business with.

This pretty much “gung-ho” approach at rapproachement is a source of deep mystery to many Zimbabweans. To be sure, it is not that long ago, in a British-influenced 2002 United Nations report, that Mnangagwa was fingered in a diamond exploitation ring in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), presumably in an attempt by London to undermine the Zanu PF government. The then Labour government of Tony Blair, even contempted — at least according to former South African president Thabo Mbeki and former British Chief of Defence Staff, Lord Guthrie — toppling Mnangagwa’s party from power through a military invasion.

With such unpredictable approach to foreign policy, it is no wonder that last year, the witty English playwright and author, Alan Bennett, who penned the brilliant The History of Boys and Talking Heads, told the British Broadcasting Corporation’s Radio 4 audience that being adept at inconsistency is probably the most distingushing character of the British. One can imagine the ire that these sentiments drew from his fellow nationals. The Telegraph’s Michael Henderson, failing to grasp Bennett’s wit, called the octogenarian an “ungrateful bore”.

Henderson’s apoplexy towards his countryman is by no means an indication that the British are blind to this perception of their national character, particularly by outsiders. But, instead of Bennett’s description, they prefer a much more euphemistic phrase to capture that character: “We are pragmatic”, is what the foreign policy mandarins at White Hall would tell you.

Indeed, pragmatism — which presumably is behind Laing’s attempts at sanitising and backing Mnangagwa — is viewed as the foundation of British conduct on pretty much everything, including foreign policy. In other words, in terms of its behaviour on the international stage, Britain does not like being straightjacketed by an ideology, belief system or principles; in the case of Mnangagwa, someone’s history, but prefers to pursue a course that is practically achievable to attain or further its foreign policy objectives and interests. This approach follows Hans Morgenthau, the Australian realist’s thinking, that action must follow reality rather than deep convictions or emotions about some 20 000 ethnic minority people who were killed by their government in the 1980s in some Third World country.

This disregard for steadfast rules, history, principle, friendship or even prudence, when it comes to how they conduct their foreign policy, must be the reason why Zimbabweans shouldn’t be surprised by the British’s attempt to pivot towards the Zanu PF regime.

What is this pragmatism?

Britain’s commercial self-interest is at the heart of their pragmatic foreign policy in Zimbabwe. In order to illustrate how commercial self-interest drives London’s behaviour towards Zimbabwe, let me divert a little and pick one particular era — post Second World War period — and look at how the British were even prepared to undermine their most important relations with their most important ally, the United States, in order to further their economic interests.

In 1946, the Soviets applied for licences to manufacture British jet engines, and soon afterwards to buy sample Meteor and Vampire aircraft. This was sensitive merchandise that the Americans insisted should not, under any circumstances, fall into the hands of the enemies.

At a time that the US was contemplating the possibility of a war against the former Soviet Union, former British prime minister Clement Attlee went on to approve the sale of some 85 Nene and Derwent Rolls-Royce jet engines which were duly shipped to the Soviet Union. The then US Air Force secretary, Stuart Symington, was not amused. He laid bare the Americans’ thinking on the British foreign policy conduct in a letter to a friend: “The Soviet sale,” he wrote, “illuminates a distinct British philosophy, not just an engine sale.”

Again, in 1961, prime minister Harold MacMillan attempted to sell the long-range Vickers Viscount jet to the Chinese. The American reaction was ferocious, with The Okland Tribune accusing “Great Britain (of) … (being) guilty of another disservice to the free world for the sake of monetary profit.” The Americans threatened to veto it through the Cocom, an organisation of 17 countries in which they were the most powerful member. But, MacMillan was unmoved, and threatened the translantic relationship by threatening to resign from this “nonsense” (Cocom).

British historian, Max Hastings, prefers the term commercial self-interest to describe what is at the centre of the mandarins at White Hall’s attempts to redirect Britian’s policy towards overlooking Mnangagwa’s past record and normalise relations with the Zanu PF government rather than the abstract notions of democracy, human rights and the rule of law they publicly espouse.

In the low politics of a country of people of a lessor god, democracy, human rights and rule of law, no matter London’s extravagant rhetoric and Britain’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s commitment to these principles, are secondary if not non-existent to the old country’s commercial interest.

Mnangagwa’s politics

Mnangagwa is a man of serious gravitas. He is the second most powerful, if not already the most powerful man in Zimbabwe, given his association with the security sector, in particular the military, and Mugabe’s serious health problems.

On the nation’s political landscape, he has successfully projected himself as a man in the centre between the indecisive opposition on one hand, and reactionary Zanu PF elements on the other hand. In other words, his politics has been carefully crafted to give the semblance of a politician who is leading a centrist movement within Zanu PF, a remarkable shift from 10 years ago. Mnangagwa does not only like to be seen as serious, but also business-like and as fully in command of his brief. Except for formal TV and press conferences which he struggles with when conducted in English, he knows how to articulate himself to his audiences at political rallies.

That, however, is only a small part of his resumé.

Whereas the British see a man they can do business with, Zimbabweans see something different. Indeed, Mnangagwa’s chequered human rights record is appalling and well-documented.

The Midlands godfather is regarded as the man who has been central to President Robert Mugabe’s authoritarian rule, and by extension, the nonagenarian’s brutality. As an enforcer of Mugabe’s policies, Mnangagwa can not seperate himself from the 1980s massacres that came to be known as “Gukurahundi”. In those atrocities, thousands of women and children died, bodies were mangled and communities destroyed in the Matabeleland and Midlands regions of Zimbabwe.

In 2005, via the shadowy Joint Operations Command (Joc), thousands of peri-urban dwellers, who are known to be opposition supporters, were hounded out of their homes in a brutal operation known as Murambatsvina. Displaced, many became homeless, their livelihoods destroyed and their children missed schools for months, years and some never went back.

And lately, in 2008 he headed a hecatomb against the opposition supporters in the second round of presidential elections. Hundreds died, forcing the opposition MDC-T leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, to withdraw from the elections.

Indeed, to many Zimbabweans, more than once, Mnangagwa should be held to account for violation of human rights.

Many see Mnangagwa’s appraisal by the British as a concerted attack on their efforts at democratisation.

With such a dark record, one would have thought that London would be at the forefront of at least facilitating a pre-hearing to consider evidence against Mnangagwa at an international court, or at least to have initiated a containment strategy aimed at derailing his ambitions. Alas, they are at the forefront of promoting and aiding him as the potential successor of Mugabe.

What is it then that Mnangagwa has done to make London ignore his alleged crimes and also given them the confidence that he can facilitate their commercial interets?

How he charmed the British

From the outset, the British have never made secret their dislike for Zimbabwe’s strongman, Mugabe. In the run-up to independence, Britain, which had automatically ruled out Joshua Nkomo because of his Soviet links and electoral dynamics, did everything in its power to derail Mugabe taking over, including discreetly facilitating the ill-fated Zimbabwe-Rhodesia regime of Abel Muzorewa. But Mugabe’s ascendance was inevitable. And when he took over, Britain had no option but to work with him, particularly when he initially showed a moderating hand on his foreign and internal policies in a Cold War context.

But the British were always sceptical of the sustainability of this approach by a man they regarded as a Marxist. They were wary that Mugabe would change his policies. Still, as leader of the southern African nation at the time, they had to work with him in order to protect their commercial and strategic interests, hoping that someone would soon take over within the party. Their association with Mugabe was purely pragmatic.

The year 2000 marked a sharp turn in Mugabe’s policies as he grabbed white and foreign-owned land and threatened foreign-owned entreprises through the indigenisation law. The British immediately ceased their convenient association with the then octogenarian, sought refuge in the opposition as they waited for someone within the liberation movement to take over. Support for the MDC was never necessitated by interest in advancing democratic efforts, but attempts to dislodge Mugabe and secure their interests. In 2004, with the emergence of Joice Mujuru as a serious contender after she was made vice-president and with the backing of her husband, the late General Solomon Mujuru, the British pinned their hopes on the most powerful woman in Zimbabwe at the time.

Mujuru was long regarded as a moderate and her thinking Western-oriented. Her nemesis in factional politics, Mnangagwa, who, during that period was cast as a hardliner and a representation of the old and nationalistic politics of Zanu PF, watched and learnt from Mujuru: if you want to be friends with the West, you have to depart from hydra nationalistic and Marxist rhetoric and practice of his party.

During the period of the Government of National Unity within the opposition MDC, the Midlands godfather implemented some of what he had learnt from Mujuru. Indeed, during this period, his rhetoric sharply shifted from that of a hard revolutionary to that of a moderniser. And, when he took over Mujuru’s position as vice-president in late 2014, his transformation into a modern-day pragmatic politician quickened. He started to use various platforms to air rhetoric that was music to London. This message in the rhetoric was not only meant to send a message to the British that he undestands their concerns, particularly around the economy, but also that he is different from his boss Mugabe.

The most classic one is: “We cannot do without the West”, an acknowledgement that Mugabe’s hydra nationalistic and unrealistic notions of sovereignty will have no place in his administration. In other words, he was trying to say that he understands the limitations of the notions of sovereignty of a smaller nation, particularly in a globalised system.

Such rhetoric, not only sent the message that his Harare administration will have an ear to London’s requests, but will also be willing to play ball and by its rules, in particular, economic reforms. Indeed, he has used his closest ally in government, Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa — who has since told the nation, in a desperate attempt to woo the West in general, that he has fallen “in love with the IMF (International Monetary Fund) and World Bank” — to push for a raft of the neo-liberal prescriptive economic policies: cutting public spending, adopting investor-friendly policies and attempts to re-ignite relations with the Bretton Woods financial institutions.

Although these efforts have been reversed by Mugabe, this moderating trend in government policy he led has provided an opening for a British initiative.

The best way to describe Mnangagwa’s calculated rhetoric and action is the notion of a “courtier’s instinct” used by Henry Kissinger’s biographer Walter Isaacson to describe someone’s willingness to say what those with power or influence want to hear or see in order to gain their favour. His “courtier’s instinct” has not only been confined to economic positions, but also in respect of property rights and the rule of law. In January this year, he told a group of mourning white Zimbabweans that he had defended white farmers from land invasions in the Midlands region, which he controls through his godfather status. He is now being seen by the British media as a man who secretly supports white farmers.

Tinhu is a political analyst based in London.

To be continued next week…

At 50, Botswana discovers diamonds are not forever

WHEN David Magang opened Botswana’s first domestic law firm shortly after independence in 1966, he and his country were starting from scratch.

Source: At 50, Botswana discovers diamonds are not forever – The Zimbabwe Independent September 27, 2016

Since then, both he and the former British protectorate, which celebrates its 50th birthday this week, have travelled a huge distance based largely on Botswana’s vast diamond wealth.

With those riches running low, the outlook is less rosy.

Trained in London, Magang was one of only two local lawyers – the rest being British or South African – while Botswana, an expanse of arid scrubland the size of France, had just 7 km of tarred road and a capital that amounted to little more than a railway station.

“On the face of it Botswana was very poor – good for hunting and not much else. It was basically an agrarian, subsistence society,” Magang told Reuters.

“All we had was a railway, and that was owned by South Africa and Rhodesia.”

The 77-year-old is now chairman of a luxury golf and housing estate on the outskirts of Gaborone – still known by some as ‘The Station’ – while Botswana is the world’s biggest diamond producer and one of Africa’s richest and most stable countries.

Its road network stretches for nearly 7000 km, the government’s credit rating is the highest on the continent and per capita income has risen 13-fold to US$7000 thanks to growth averaging 8,2% a year, according to the World Bank.

Over the past half century, only South Korea and China boast such dramatic increases in national wealth.

“I compare it to an ant and an elephant,” President Ian Khama, the son of founding father Seretse Khama and his British wife, Ruth, told Reuters in his wood-pannelled offices in the heart of Gaborone’s bustling government district.

Outside his window, labourers hammered away near high-rise apartment and office blocks more akin to Dubai than the sleepy town romanticised in British author Alexander McCall Smith’s tales of Ma Ramotswe and her ‘No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency’.

“It’s chalk and cheese when you compare what the country looked like back then to what it is now,” Khama said.

“EATING DIAMONDS”

To mark the 50-year milestone, armies of state workers have festooned street-lights with flags and daubed roadside rocks with sky-blue paint, Botswana’s national colour.

But the celebrations are also tinged with unease.

The cornerstone of Botswana’s success has been one commodity, diamonds, coupled with a rigid adherence to prudent use of their revenues, a rarity on a continent where natural riches are routinely squandered, stolen or the cause of civil war.

Besides roads, they have funded hospitals, schools and a welfare state that provides free healthcare and education to all, generous by African standards.

There is also a US$5,4 billion sovereign wealth fund and US$8 billion in central bank reserves.

But each of Botswana’s 2,3 million people knows that, unlike in the movies, the gems do not last forever, and the breakneck growth they have fuelled in the past will not be repeated.

Even if output remains constant, with a growing and ageing population – life expectancy has risen to 64 despite one of the world’s worst HIV/AIDS epidemics – the net effect is a per capita windfall that shrinks a fraction each year.

“In a sense, we are eating diamonds,” said economist Keith Jefferis of Gaborone-based econsult. “There is no immediate threat to Botswana’s current ‘business model’ but diamond mining is unlikely to provide economic growth in the future.”

NEED BETTER PEOPLE, NOT ROADS

In response, the government has achieved some success in its attempts to wean the economy off diamonds.

Mining made up just one fifth of GDP last year compared with half in the late 1980s at the height of the diamond boom, while financial services and tourism – the Okavango Delta is one Africa’s premier safari destinations – are growing fast.

But Botswana’s banks and hotels are not generating sufficient numbers of jobs to satisfy a population used to rapidly improving standards of living. Unemployment is stuck above 20% and is more than double that for young people.

“So many graduates are just street-walking with no jobs,” said Marks Leselwa, a 53-year-old labour claims adjudicator in Gaborone. “I’m worried by the fact that there is no employment.”

This is not to say Botswana is doomed.

Improvements in mining technology and new discoveries mean the ‘end of diamonds’ once forecast for 2018 has been pushed out to as late as 2050, Khama said, giving time to address one acknowledged failing: high-quality education.

“Modern economies are propelled by people who have been properly trained. One of the mistakes we made is not training people to be doers and creators,” Magang said. “But I’m an optimist. We can easily fix that.”-Reuters

‘They tried to crush her spirit’: Anti-Mugabe activist freed after 82 days in custody

Critics of Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe have celebrated a court order for the release of an anti-government activist who has been in custody for nearly 12 weeks.

Source: ‘They tried to crush her spirit’: Anti-Mugabe activist freed after 82 days in custody | News24 2016-09-27

Harare – Critics of Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe have been celebrating a court order for the release of an anti-government activist who has been in custody for nearly 12 weeks.

But there are loud questions as to why mother-of-five Linda Masarira of the Tajamuka [We are Agitated] protest movement was kept inside a maximum security prison for so long.

She was arrested on July 6 in Harare. Lawyers have been trying to get her freed ever since.

Masarira has not been tried or convicted of a crime. But her case has been complicated by a warrant of arrest issued against her in the eastern city of Mutare on June 6, when she did not turn up for a court hearing on a different matter.

She says she was in hospital on that day receiving treatment for a dislocated finger sustained during a police beating.

She’s been seen in court recently with bandages on her hand.

Thelma Chikwanha of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights said on Facebook on Monday: “Justice [David] Mangota has ordered the release of Linda Masarira who has been in custody since her arrest on 6 July.”

“Great stuff,” commented former finance minister and opposition leader Tendai Biti on Twitter.

Pastor Mawarire, who was arrested on July 12 for organising a stayaway and is now living in exile, tweeted: “Victory is not only Linda’s release. It is that she still stands strong coz they tried 2 crush her spirit. Welcome home @lilomatic #ThisFlag“.

David Coltart, Zimbabwe’s former education minister, wrote on Facebook: “This is another example of law being used as a weapon against those who oppose this corrupt and ruthless regime.”

Zanu PF torture victims recount harrowing tales

ZANU PF activists reportedly “arrested”, tortured and detained at the ruling party’s headquarters peaceful marchers protesting against President Robert Mugabe’s rule, before handing them over to the police, it has been learnt. BY OBEY MANAYITI

Source: Zanu PF torture victims recount harrowing tales – NewsDay Zimbabwe September 27, 2016

BY OBEY MANAYITI

The victims of the brutality yesterday recounted harrowing tales of their “arrest” by alleged Zanu PF activists and illegal detention at the ruling party’s headquarters in central Harare, before being handed over to the police.

These included MDC-T legislators, Fani Munengami and Ronia Bunjira, who recounted their chilling testimonies at their party’s Press conference attended by party leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, his deputies Nelson Chamisa and Elias Mudzuri, as well as party spokesperson Obert Gutu and several diplomats.

The torture victims also claimed police details openly indulged in alcohol and drug binges before they turned to savagely assault them.

Munengami chronicled how they were abused and assaulted as they moved from one police station to another and watched in horror as police officers reportedly took drugs.

“Not only were they given free food, they were also on drugs. They were also drinking beer when they were beating us up,” he narrated.

“I think this is actually something that made them act that way. I was also surprised to see police officers being allowed to drink on duty and the reason might be for them to gather courage to beat up people.”

Munengami said he was terrified after his arrest.

“I was arrested just before 10 and bundled into a police lorry. What I know is when you are arrested, in terms of your security and safety, you must feel safe being in their custody, but in my case, it was different,” the lawmaker said, adding he was assaulted “non-stop” for hours on end.

Bunjira said she was shocked to see many people being subjected to several forms of torture, some of it dehumanising, by the roadside on September 17, as she was passing by in Waterfalls.

Pictures of police torture victims have gone viral on social media, with public anger mounting against the police in the aftermath of the clashes that followed a stillborn bid to demonstrate against Mugabe by opposition political parties under the banner of the National Electoral Reform Agenda (Nera) last week.

Former student leader, Ostallos Siziba, who was also tortured, said: “I was taken to the Zanu PF headquarters by about four men and taken to a room where I was severely beaten. After that, I was taken to another room, where I was further interrogated, with more than 20 men trying to force me to have sexual intercourse with an elderly woman, but I refused. That worsened my torture.”

Others, who said they were also taken to the Zanu PF headquarters, claimed they were held in blood-stained rooms and assaulted by different people, who accused them of pushing an anti-Zanu PF campaign.

Tsvangirai expressed concern over the deteriorating situation in the country.

“This is the nature of the beast. That is what dictatorship is all about. At this stage of our struggle, the testimonies merely illustrate the endurance that the people of Zimbabwe have had to confront. I think there are a lot of testimonies in the past 17 years,” he said.

“The struggle for change in this country is coming to an end. There is no way this regime will continue to brutalise and suppress people with impunity.”

Zanu PF brutalises Mujuru allies

AT least six Zimbabwe People First (ZimPF) officials — one of them a former military general — have been hospitalised after they were allegedly savagely attacked with machetes and axes by Zanu PF activists in Guruve on Sunday. BY RICHARD CHIDZA/JAIROS SAUNYAMA

Source: Zanu PF brutalises Mujuru allies – NewsDay Zimbabwe September 27, 2016

The clashes were allegedly triggered by Zanu PF youths, who invaded ZimPF official Obert Mutasa’s plot at Dunaventy Farm, accusing him of defecting to Mujuru’s party.

ZimPF spokesperson, Jealousy Mawarire, yesterday confirmed that six party officials were savagely attacked and were under heavy police guard at a private hospital in Bindura.

“I can confirm that six of our officials were brutalised by Zanu PF youths over a farm at the weekend,” he said.

“They reported the matter to the police in Guruve, but to our surprise they are now being detained while in hospital. There are six heavily-armed police details guarding those in hospital, with one of them holding an AK47 rifle.”

Among the six, Mawarire said, was war veteran and former ambassador, Retired Brigadier General Agrippa Mutambara, now a senior official in the opposition party.
Mawarire accused the government of using Nazi-type tactics against its opponents.

Tension escalated following ZimPF leader and former Vice-President Joice Mujuru’s rally in the province early this month, with ruling party activists seeking to smoke out identified opposition supporters in the Zanu PF stronghold.

Mashonaland Central, which is Mujuru’s home province, could be an election battleground given it has been a Zanu PF stronghold since independence in 1980.

ZimPF Mashonaland Central provincial interim chairperson, Godfrey Chimombe, said the opposition party’s officials had been held incommunicado for four days.

“We survived death by a whisker. Trouble began when we went to Guruve to rescue our members, who were being illegally detained or held under house arrest by Zanu PF thugs for four days,” he said.

“The youths were singing outside and were being denied food. We sought assistance from the police in Guruve, but they refused. They even refused to open a case on the issue. People were beaten and the provincial youth chairperson, Titus Manyika, had his Ford Ranger vehicle vandalised.

“The police and CIO (Central Intelligence Organisation) operatives congratulated the Zanu PF youths for what they did. The worst part is that our members, who were assaulted and are seeking medication at Shashi Hospital in Bindura, now stand accused of the violence.”

Mashonaland Central provincial police spokesperson, Inspector Milton Mundembe, said he was yet to get details of the clashes.

Zanu PF provincial chairperson, Dickson Mafios, said he was away and had not been briefed on the matter.

“I am actually in Gweru on my way from Bulawayo. I have no information on the violence,” he said.

Kereke bail hearing today

Source: Kereke bail hearing today | The Herald September 27, 2016

Chief Court Reporter

The bail hearing for convicted rapist and former Bikita West legislator Munyaradzi Kereke is expected to go ahead today after the private prosecution filed its response to the application for bail pending appeal. Kereke, who is serving a 10-year jail term for raping his 11-year-old niece, is challenging both conviction and sentence. But in the response filed at the High Court yesterday, private prosecutor Mr Charles Warara said Kereke had no prospects of success on appeal.

“The applicant (Kereke) is a flight risk now that he has a long jail sentence hanging over him,” said Mr Warara. “The grounds of appeal and the present grounds advanced for his admission to bail are clearly at variance.”

Mr Warara said the conviction of Kereke was on the basis of overwhelming evidence which could not be challenged now.

Kereke, he said, failed in his attack on the judgment of the court a quo to demonstrate the misdirection which would warrant an appeal court to intervene.

Kereke argues that his chances of success on appeal were bright.

He is offering to deposit $2 000 with the Harare Magistrates Courts, surrender title deeds of a single immovable property and passport to the Clerk of Court, among other stringent conditions in a bid to buy his freedom.

The regional magistrate, Mr Noel Mupeiwa, sentenced Kereke to 14 years behind bars, but set aside four years for five years on condition he does not commit a similar offence within that period.

The court, however, acquitted him on charges of indecently assaulting the victim’s elder sister.

Kereke insists that the charges he was convicted of were fabricated by the complainants’ maternal grandparents after he refused to pay their school fees arrears, but Mr Mupeiwa said at the time the case was reported to the police, the arrears had already been settled.

Advocate Thabani Mpofu instructed by Mutandiro and Chitsanga, will act for Kereke in the matter.

Limpopogate trial takes off

Source: Limpopogate trial takes off | The Herald September 27, 2016

Tendai Rupapa: Senior Court Reporter

The trial of former zifa chief executive Henrietta Rushwaya and her two alleged accomplices, who are accused of organising the “Limpopogate” match-fixing scandal commenced yesterday, with the trio denying the charges. They argued that the charges were fabricated in a bid to “fix” them. Rushwaya is jointly charged with former zifa board member Edzai Kasinauyo and axed Warriors assistant coach Nation Dube.The former zifa boss claimed that another former zifa chief executive Jonathan Mashingaidze, was implicating her because there was bad blood between them. On the other hand, Kasinauyo submitted that the charges were framed by people who did not want him to be at zifa as a professional.

The trio is represented by Messrs Simon Mupindu, Harrison Nkomo and Simon Simango.

The State, led by Mr Simbarashe Makoni with the assistance of Ms Chipo Matambo, called its first witness Maxwell Takaendesa, the former zifa technical director who testified against the trio.

Takaendesa told the court that basing from the messages he was shown by the Warriors coach Calisto Pasuwa in which he was communicating with the “whistle blower” Leeroy Kundishora Waguta, Rushwaya was the mastermind.

He said if the players had agreed to the plan, they were going to be paid $15 000 each, while the accused persons were to pocket $40 000 each per game.

“I reported the case to the President’s office after reporting it to Mr Mashingaidze. I did so because I was safeguarding the nation’s interests,” he said.

“When I calculated the money they were each (accused persons) going to receive, I discovered that it was close to half a million. That is why I decided to approach the President’s office,” he said.

He added that he did not know Waguta and that his evidence was based on the WhatsApp messages, which were forwarded to Pasuwa by Waguta.

“I believed the messages and that is why I reported the matter to my superiors,” he said.

However, during cross-examination, Rushwaya’s lawyer Mr Mupindu produced screenshots of manufactured WhatsApp chats purporting to be between Waguta and a zifa official.

He said he wanted to prove to the court that messages can be manipulated.

“I put it to you that these charges were a ploy by Waguta and other zifa officials to have the accused persons arrested, would you dispute it? These messages were created and I have just proved to the court that it is possible,” he said.

He asked: “Besides the messages, what other evidence do you have against Rushwaya linking her to the offence and also that I have shown you that messages can be tampered with, can the honourable court rely on that?”

In response, Takaendesa said besides the messages, he had no other evidence.

Takaendesa was also cross-examined by Kasinauyo’s lawyer, Mr Nkomo who produced a copy of Kasinauyo’s passport, which showed that he was in Dubai during the time he is alleged to have been in Sandton, South Africa holding meetings with the other suspects.

Takaendesa said he could not dispute nor confirm that Kasinauyo was in Dubai adding that his evidence was only centred on the messages.

Mr Nkomo added that according to zifa structures, Kasinauyo had the right to know the names of the national team, a submission which Takaendesa did not dispute.

“Because you lost your job at zifa, you are now being spiteful to fix the accused persons,” he said.

In response, Takaendesa said his emotions were towards his former employers not the accused persons whom he said were his colleagues.

Dube, through his lawyer Mr Simango challenged the State to prove how he was connected to the offence.

He argued that he was never approached by anyone or tasked to leak the national team list and distributing money to players.

Magistrate Ms Lucy Mungwari remanded the matter to October 5 for trial continuation.

Pasuwa, Mashingaidze and Warriors goalkeeper Tatenda Mukuruva are some of the State witnesses.

Allegations are that between January and February this year, Rushwaya, working in cahoots with Kasinauyo, former Wariors coach Ian Gorowa and Dube, was involved in acts of soccer match-fixing targeting the South African Premier Soccer League teams.

RioZim picks Chinese firm to design $2,1bn Sengwa power plant

Source: RioZim picks Chinese firm to design $2,1bn Sengwa power plant | The Herald September 27, 2016

RioZim Ltd chose a state-owned Chinese company to design a $2,1 billion power plant it plans to build in Zimbabwe and is lobbying South Africa’s electricity utility to buy from the facility to help attract investors.

State Nuclear Electric Power Planning Design and Research Institute, based in Beijing, “has already come in to design the generators” for the 2 800-megawatt coal-fired Sengwa plant, RioZim non-executive director Caleb Dengu said.

RioZim has written to South African Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson asking that Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd buy 2 000 megawatts, he said.

Zimbabwe rations power daily, producing and importing about 1 300 megawatts against demand of about 2 200 megawatts.

RioZim is working on raising funds through equity and debt for the facility, chief executive officer Noah Matimba said in May last year.

Of the $2,1 billion needed for the plant, $50 million will be for a coal mine that will supply the station.

“There are some companies from Dubai which are interested, we have from South Africa which are interested, but they all have conditions which some of them are beyond our control,” Dengu said in a September 22 interview at the site of the plant and coal mine, that is about 450 kilometres northwest of the capital, Harare.

“Most of them will say they will finance if Eskom comes on board with an off-take agreement, because they trust Eskom, because it is bankable. ZESA is not bankable,” he said.

Eskom is aware of some of RioZim’s plans, but hasn’t had any direct engagement, spokesman Khulu Phasiwe said by phone.

Discussions would begin on a government bilateral level and then the utilities would be involved when it reaches a technical stage, he said.

Excess capacity could become a part of the Southern African Power Pool, a common market for electricity in the 15-nation Southern African Development Community, he said.

Maropeng Ramokgobathi, a spokesman for South Africa’s Department of Energy, didn’t immediately respond to an e-mail seeking comment. – Bloomberg.

Chinamasa applauds taxpayers

Source: Chinamasa applauds taxpayers | The Herald

Business Reporter
Minister of Finance and Economic Development Patrick Chinamasa, has applauded compliant taxpayers for sustaining Zimbabwe’s economy and pledged Government’s support in creating a conducive operating climate for business to thrive.

“ . . . the future economic growth should be private sector-driven. Government is fully aware of the importance of the private sector, and will continue to adapt its policies in order to create an environment conducive for sustainable business operations,” said Minister Chinamasa.

Speaking at the Taxpayer Appreciation Awards Dinner on September 23 2016, the Finance Minister highlighted that economic growth is an important pillar of effective domestic resource mobilisation.

“You cannot draw blood from a stone. Thus, you cannot generate sufficient tax revenues from the private sector when the economy is not performing.

“In our case, the fiscal and monetary policy measures that we are pursuing are meant to promote economic growth and redeploy resources towards productive sectors.

“This is the case with the Command Agriculture Initiative which we have embarked upon for the 2016 /2017 agricultural season,” added Minister Chinamasa.

The minister spoke about measures the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) is taking to fight corruption.

“Fighting corruption is a key performance metric for the ZIMRA Board of Directors. I would, therefore, urge you all to join in the fight against corruption for the benefit of current and future generations.

“Let us not just think about ourselves but our grand-grandchildren, the rural folk, our unemployed youths, men and women, the homeless, the sick who are failing to access drugs, children dropping out of school, among others,” said Minister Chinamasa.

Taxpayer Appreciation Awards were introduced in 2011 to honour compliant taxpayers who pay their taxes and customs duties on time and in full.

This year the awards ceremony was held under the theme “Harnessing Technology to Promote a Culture of Voluntary Tax Compliance” to underscore the quintessential role of automation in improving convenience and reducing cost of tax compliance.

Over 60 taxpayers were recognised for their tax and customs compliance.

Zimbabwe scraps double taxation with China to boost cooperation – Xinhua

The Zimbabwean government enacted a law last week to remove double taxation for individuals and firms doing business between Zimbabwe and China to boost economic cooperation between the two nations.

Source: Zimbabwe scraps double taxation with China to boost cooperation – Xinhua | English.news.cn 2016-09-26

HARARE, Sept. 26 (Xinhua) — The Zimbabwean government enacted a law last week to remove double taxation for individuals and firms doing business between Zimbabwe and China to boost economic cooperation between the two nations.

Under the Statutory Instrument, investors in any of the two states would only be taxed in their country of operation in a move that is also expected to improve the ease and cost of doing business for expatriate workers of both countries.

“Agreement shall apply to taxes on income imposed on behalf of Contracting States or of its local authorities, irrespective of the manner in which they are levied,” reads part of the Statutory Instrument.

The law follows an agreement concluded between Zimbabwe and China early this year to relieve double taxation of income earned in one jurisdiction by the resident of the other.

The law also clarifies, standardizes and guarantees fiscal treatment of tax payers who engage in business in the two countries to protect them against double taxation.

Economic cooperation between Zimbabwe and China has grown steadily in recent years, with China now being Zimbabwe’s biggest foreign investor and second largest trading partner.

Bilateral trade between the two countries reached 1.24 billion U.S. dollars in 2014.

 

President rejects Special Economic Zones Bill

Source: President rejects Special Economic Zones Bill | The Herald September 27, 2016

Zvamaida Murwira Senior Reporter
President Mugabe has thrown back to Parliament the Special Economic Zones Bill after expressing reservations on a clause which seeks to suspend the Labour Act whose effect would have exposed workers to serious abuse by employers.

Parliament will now have to meet again next week to consider reservations expressed by the Head of State and Government and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces.

The Special Economic Zones Bill becomes the first proposed law to be referred back to Parliament by the President during the life of the Eighth Parliament.

A fortnight ago, Speaker of the National Assembly Advocate Jacob Mudenda announced in a Government Gazette that he had submitted the Bill to the President for his assent after it sailed through both the National Assembly and Senate.

Clerk of Parliament Mr Kennedy Chokuda confirmed that President Mugabe referred the Bill back.

“Yes, the Bill was referred back to Parliament in terms of Section 131 (6) of the Constitution. Parliament will have to consider issues raised by the President when it resumes sitting. He has a right to do that if he feels that there is something that needs to be considered which he has done in respect of this Bill. The Speaker of the National Assembly will notify the House of the referral and Parliament will sit on October 5 2016 to consider the issues raised by His Excellency the President,” said Mr Chokuda.

Although Mr Chokuda declined to divulge reasons for the referral, a reliable source said President Mugabe cited section 56 of the Bill, which he said was not consistent with section 65 of the Constitution as it sought to suspend operations of the labour laws in special economic zones.

Section 56 of the Bill provides as follows: “The Labour Act [Chapter 28:01] and the Indigenisation

Economic Empowerment Act [Chapter 14:33] shall not apply in relation to licensed investors operating in a special economic zone.”

Section 65 (1) of the Constitution provides; “Every person has the right to fair and safe labour practices and standards and to be paid a fair and reasonable wage…(4) Every employee is entitled to just, equitable and satisfactory conditions of work.”

“The President’s reasons are very clear. He is clearly safeguarding the interests and rights of workers. His argument is that the clause that suspends the labour Act is unconstitutional and he has exercised his power in terms of the law to withhold his assent on the Bill. The Bill now stands referred to Parliament in terms of Section 131 of the Constitution,” said the source close to the developments.

Section 131 (6) of the Constitution provides as follows: “When a Bill is presented to the President for assent and signature, he or she must, within twenty-one days, either-

(a) assent to it and sign it, and then cause it to be published in Gazette without delay; or

(b) if he or she considers it to be unconstitutional or has any other reservations about it, refer the Bill back to Parliament through the Clerk of Parliament, together with detailed written reasons for those reservations and a request that the Bill be reconsidered.

The subsequent subsection provides for procedure to be followed when a Bill has been referred back to Parliament.

Section 131 (7) provides as follows: “Where a Bill has been referred back to Parliament in terms of subsection (6)(b), the Speaker must without delay convene a sitting of the National Assembly, which must (a) reconsider the Bill and fully accommodate the President’s reservations; or (b) pass the Bill, with or without amendments, by a two-thirds majority of the total membership of the National Assembly; and in either case the Speaker must cause the Bill to be presented to the President without delay for assent and signature and must give public notice of

the date on which the Bill was sent to the President.”

The Constitution goes on to provide what the President is obliged to do if not happy with the retention of the Bill in the form in which he had referred it back to Parliament.

Section 131 (8) provides as follows: “If a Bill that has been presented to the President in terms of subsection (7) fully accommodates the President’s reservations, the President must assent to the Bill and sign it within twenty-one days and then cause it to be published in the Gazette without delay, but if the President still has reservations about the Bill, he or she must within that period either-(a) assent to the Bill and sign it, despite those reservations; or (b) refer the Bill to the Constitutional Court for advice on its constitutionality.”

Govt secures $423m for new agric season

Source: Govt secures $423m for new agric season | The Herald September 27, 2016

Business Reporter

Government has secured $423 million to support the 2016/2017 agricultural season while negotiations are currently underway for a further $500 million, Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa has said.“For the 2016/2017 agricultural season we are putting our money where our mouth is,” said Minister Chinamasa while launching the Zimbabwe Interim Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper yesterday.

The purpose of the I-PRSP is to enhance Government efforts in fighting poverty and to ensure inclusive growth, guided by the country’s national development plan, the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation.

“Already Government secured more than $423 million towards supporting the 2016/2017 agricultural season and the objective is to be self-sufficient in food security in the event that the heavens smile on us and give us normal rains this season,” he said.

Minister Chinamasa noted that agriculture remains the anchor of poverty reduction and is a common outcome throughout many consultations that were undertaken by Government.

In support of the revival of agricultural production, Government adopted a Special Maize Production Programme targeting 400 000 hectares of land for the forth-coming season expected to produce at least two million tonnes of maize, enough to meet national grain requirements for the country.

In his Mid-Term Fiscal Policy Review, Minister Chinamasa said more than 310 000 hectares of land had been identified, of which over 105 000 hectares is irrigable land, while over 204 000 hectares is dry land.

Under the programme, farmers have been signing performance contracts, initially for three consecutive growing seasons, commencing with the 2016/17 summer season, and will receive support covering maize seed, fertilisers and tillage.

This programme will cost approximately $516 million for the initial three years, and key expenditures relate to inputs and labour, including harvesting costs, land preparation and transport expenses.

Several initiatives being implemented by Government come at a time when this year’s estimated maize grain harvest of 511 816 tonnes is falling short of the normal national grain requirement of 2,2 million tonnes.

However, Government interventions to provide for the national maize grain deficit of 1,7 million tonnes are being complemented by private sector and development partners.

Zim police force needs human rights education

THE ghastly pictures of female protesters cruelly beaten by police officers while in custody remove any doubt that we have a brutish police force seriously in need of a basic education in what constitutes human rights.

Source: Zim police force needs human rights education – NewsDay Zimbabwe September 27, 2016

guest column: LEARNMORE ZUZE

It is sad that their superiors, by remaining silent this long, have abetted the bestial conduct.

While I fully agree that appealing to the police force’s sense of morality is a needless waste of time, a remorseful condemnation of these barbaric actions by their superiors would, at least, give a colour of professionalism to the force.

While there is also a school of thought that there could be political party youths garbing police uniforms and using the privilege to attack perceived political opponents, one thing remains clear: Zimbabwean police officers need training on what human rights are and why these inalienable rights should be observed by all Zimbabweans.

It may be possible that some officers have had training in this regard, but, palpably, the majority has not.

And this is clearly evidenced in their conduct. It is apparent that the callous beatings and the gory wounds seen at the courts last week betray a vengeful police force, not even aware that their constitutional obligation merely consists of apprehending suspects and not bludgeoning defenceless women in custody.

If anyone doubted that the police are among the worst perpetrators of violence, then last week’s events should put the debate to rest.

The focal point, at this juncture, should be on reforming or rehabilitating the police force, a task which, however, is next to impossible, given the silence which amounts to condoning the behaviour by their seniors and the rate at which their fiendish acts continue.

One is left to ask: Is the police force aware of its real or supposed role in peacekeeping? Should members of the police force do the bidding of political parties? Should such a unit even be partisan in the first place? Why should a lawfully trained police officer attack a chained person?

These questions appear rhetorical, but in all honesty, these answers have become necessary and all progressive democratic minds must continue hammering on this high canon of common legal sense until headway is made.

Police bosses have been quick to spring to the defence of the police force where the police have acted with impunity and pointless cruelty.

It even defies the mind, while at it, that a whole minister can stand and ask for anyone to bring forward evidence of police brutality in a country with countless victims of police violence, not to mention the overwhelming video evidence.

In other countries, the images that have emerged so far, of savagely injured men and women, would have warranted the resignation of both the responsible minister and Police Commissioner-General, but I digress.

Most police recruits are conscripted into the force and go through elementary training, but it is extremely doubtful whether they have come across a curricular on the rights of the citizenry.

It is doubtful whether they have understanding of their duties. One cannot become a law unto themselves simply because they have donned a police uniform.

But looking at the behaviour of these young officers, as they brazenly go about their duties, one is left wondering whether or not they have hearts of flesh in their chests.

They seem to, all of a sudden, lose the little of humanity in them once in the street, even kicking a 64-year-old grandmother.

A police officer on duty is still a Zimbabwean and the Constitution demands that they act in accordance with the law.

What we saw last week in those images should lead to a firm case of aggravated assault against the officers identified.

It is not part of their duties to savage suspects like that. That is a classic example of taking the law into one’s own hands, if ever we needed one.

They have become both the enforcer and the judge, quite contrary to the basic tenets of the Constitution, which they should be conversant with.

Even more sad is the fact that little to nothing has been seen in action against these rogue officers from the side of the courts.
Many a time, suspects have struggled to stand in the dock and wounds have been visible on their bodies, but nothing fruitful has resulted from the routine command to investigate the suspects’ complaints.

This has, to a huge extent, contributed to the unending animalistic behaviour by police officers who torture people in custody.

If it could be knocked hard in the heads of officers, as the Constitution points out, that they can be tried in their individual capacities for the criminal actions, they would revise their actions.

The onus is also on responsible citizens to identify and report these excesses.

Even if police officers should identify protesters breaking the law, they still retain their human right not to be subjected to inhuman treatment. The courts have the sole mandate to punish offenders.

All said and done, the time has come for the police force to have training in human rights.

We may be casting blame on a force which thinks its mandate is to defend the government of the day.

High Court frees pro-democracy activist Masarira

HIGH Court judge, Justice David Mangota yesterday ordered the release of pro-democracy activist Linda Masarira after he declared that her three-month incarceration for alleged public violence was illegal.

Source: High Court frees pro-democracy activist Masarira – NewsDay Zimbabwe September 27, 2016

by XOLISANI NCUBE

The ruling came after several attempts by her lawyers, Tendai Biti, Andrew Makoni and Obey Shava to have her released on bail at the magistrates’ courts hit a snag.

Masarira also had a warrant of arrest awaiting her for failing to appear at the Mutare Magistrates’ Court on a different case.

Justice Mangota yesterday cancelled the arrest warrant and ordered her release on free bail, without any reporting conditions.

Masarira had languished in remand prison since her arrest on July 6, 2016, for allegedly obstructing or endangering free movement of persons or vehicles during the massive shutdown led by cleric, Evan Mawarire.

Her lawyers said: “We had sought a habeas corpus order (a recourse in law whereby a person can report an unlawful detention or imprisonment before a court) because her inordinate incarceration is illegal and has no basis at law. Justice Mangota ruled in our favour.”

The pro-democracy campaigner had been denied bail on the basis that she was on an outstanding warrant of arrest in another matter, where she is appearing at Mutare Magistrates’ Court.

The opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday hailed the judiciary for upholding the Constitution and ordering her immediate release.

“As the PDP, we are pleased in that the courts remain brave and continue to uphold the Constitution despite unjustified threats by Zanu PF’s [President] Robert Mugabe,” the party said in a statement.

Tajamuka leader further remanded

#TAJAMUKA/Sesijikile leader Promise Mkwananzi and his co-accused, Bruce Usviso, were yesterday further remanded to October 20 when they appeared at the Harare Magistrates’ Court facing public violence charges

Source: Tajamuka leader further remanded – NewsDay Zimbabwe September 27, 2016

BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE

Their routine remand appearance before magistrate Vongai Muchuchuti-Guwuriro yesterday came following their release on bail by High Court judge Justice Happias Zhou after spending several weeks in remand prison as the lower courts classified them as unsuitable candidates for bail.

Mkwananzi was released on $100 bail while Usviso was released on $50 bail. As part of their bail conditions, the activists were ordered to surrender their passports, report once a week at the Harare Central Police Station Law and Order section, reside at their given addresses and not to interfere with State witnesses. The State alleges that Mkwananzi, Usviso and their other alleged accomplices incited public violence and destroyed properties during a mass demonstration that rocked Harare on August 24. Two vehicles belonging to the police and Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation were allegedly torched during the demonstrations.

The two are being represented by Tonderai Bhatasara.

$2,7bn poverty reduction strategy launched

GOVERNMENT has launched the Interim Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (I-PRSP) for Zimbabwe, which requires $2,7 billion to implement in the period 2016 to 2018.

Source: $2,7bn poverty reduction strategy launched – NewsDay Zimbabwe September 27, 2016

BY VICTORIA MTOMBA

Speaking at the launch of the document yesterday, Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa said government and development organisations have secured $800 million so far for the implementation of the I-PRSP, leaving a funding gap of $1,9 billion.

He said the $1,9 billion would be mobilised through the budget and other domestic savings and the private sector.

“Any piecemeal approach will not work. This strategy for 2016-2018 is a precursor to the full strategy over approximately five years for sustained poverty eradication,” he said.

Chinamasa said the social sector was one of the major illnesses of the economy, evident through unemployment and shortage of drugs in hospitals.

“The voice was that if you sort out the agriculture problem you will have attended to the other issues. The common outcome throughout the consultation was agriculture is the backbone of the economy,” he said.

“On our part for the 2016/17 agricultural season we are putting our money where our mouth is. Already the government secured more than $423 million towards supporting the 2016/2017 agricultural season and the objective is to be self-sufficient in food security in the event that the heavens smile on us and give us normal rains this season.”

Chinamasa said if government does not get revenues, it would not be able to carry some of its programmes hence the need to have a fat and healthier private sector and a thin public sector.

He said the paper would be used by government to source funding from the World Bank after clearing the arrears.

The national consultant for I-PRSP, Jesimen Chipika said the consultation on strategy began in March this year and was linked to the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio Economic Transformation, President Robert Mugabe’s 10 point plan and the Sustainable Development Goals.

She said the paper seeks to eradicate poverty and ensures inclusive growth, improvement in the livelihoods of citizens. Chipika said the economy need to grow at 7% growth rates, receive normal rainfall and continue to use the multicurrency system.

The strategy paper is anchored on seven pillars that include, agriculture productivity, social sectors, private sector, infrastructure sector, environment and climate change, gender women and youth development and strengthening governance.

Remove Mugabe-ism root and branch

It is no secret that the country’s opposition movement has become so obsessed with the removal of President Robert Mugabe from power such that it is not clear what strategy they have for Zimbabweans after the President is gone.

Source: Remove Mugabe-ism root and branch – NewsDay Zimbabwe September 27, 2016

Comment: NewsDay Editor

There has also been increasing agitation over Mugabe’s failed economic policies, which have worsened the plight of the majority. Indeed the justification to remove Mugabe from power is there, but it is how this whole operation before — during and after should be executed for the benefit of the country.

Without that plan, the effort by the coalition of opposition political parties and civic society groups could be all foam and no substance; this could be all sizzle and no steak to say the least.

It is important, therefore, to heed the recent calls made by Zapu leader and former Zanu PF politburo member, Dumiso Dabengwa that removing Mugabe alone from power might come short of the real change Zimbabwe is crying out for. Much attention should also be paid to the “evil system” that has sustained Mugabe and his party since 1980.

Notably, Zanu PF is apparently no longer a political party, but a perverted system and even if Mugabe were to leave today, the system will remain to the detriment of the future of the country. The opposition should understand that a nation is primarily run by systems, not individuals, and once a system takes root, it becomes a stronghold that may not be so easy to uproot.

This is the tragedy of our great nation — Zimbabwe. So before the opposition forces think of wrestling for the control of the country and start planning to win the 2018 elections, they need to begin preparing how they will deal with Mugabe-ism, because it is bound to outlive the man himself — from the government structures through the civil service.

There is no doubt that the civil service has largely been built on patronage and thousands of civil servants would continue to pay homage to Mugabe by probably trying to throw spanners into the work of the new government.

When First Lady Grace Mugabe alluded to it, the opposition dismissed her utterances that Mugabe would continue to rule from the grave as mere gibberish or hubris, but she meant exactly that. No doubt the system will obviously become a stumbling block to whoever is going to take over. Hence, it is wise to start preparing for this kind of eventuality and the problems we face may be perpetuated by the said system. So what is critically needed now is a post-Mugabe blueprint that would guide Zimbabwe out of its current crisis.

Either way, Mugabe merely personifies this system, but it is much bigger and stronger than him in all its dictatorial tendencies. This is the system against that all opposition forces must coalesce to dismantle this water-tight institution built over decades.

Hopefully, the opposition will also not inherit and build a similar system once it is in power. Whenever change comes to Zimbabwe, the majority would require a complete overhaul of the system, and not just political change. Zimbabweans can only hope that there would be no divisions in the opposition camp over positions.

The only way out is to ensure that these extensive, deep-seated changes would be made at the earliest possible opportunity.

Deeds Registries, Judicial Laws amendment bills set for debate

THE Deeds Registries Amendment Bill (2016) and the Judicial Laws Amendment Bill are among several pieces of legislation likely to be tabled for debate when the Fourth Session of the Eighth Parliament opens next Tuesday.

Source: Deeds Registries, Judicial Laws amendment bills set for debate – NewsDay Zimbabwe September 27, 2016

by VENERANDA LANGA

President Robert Mugabe is set to officially open the session on October 4.

The Bills are expected to transform the current paper-based court processes by migrating to computer-based technology.

Expectations are also that when the Deeds Registries Amendment Bill is enacted, an electronic deeds registry will improve the ease of doing business and access to company documents kept at the Deeds Office.

According to the Parliament of Zimbabwe Bill status report, the Deeds Registries Amendment Bill was gazetted on August 12 and remains open for public scrutiny until this month end.

Amendments to clause 3 and 4 of the Deeds Registries Amendment Bill read: “The amendments sought by these clauses (3 and 4) will permit the digitisation of the deeds registry and the eventual establishment of an electronic deeds registry, which will supplement the paper-based one, thereby greatly expediting and facilitating deeds registry administration.

“Access to the electronic registry for the purpose of information-gathering and conveyancing work or notarial practice will be subject to certain safeguards against fraud, violations of privacy and other abuses.”

The Judicial Laws Amendment Bill is expected to amend the High Court Act, Magistrates’ Courts Act and the Small Claims Courts Act with a view to speeding up settlement of certain suits or actions of a commercial nature.

To expedite finalisation of court processes, the Bill seeks to ensure court applications can be made electronically, including authentication of documents, summons by electronic means and digitisation of other records for any judicial proceedings.

Legal specialist Kuda Hove, in his recent paper on information communication technology (ICT) legislation, said there was need for government to provide the necessary ICT infrastructure and trained personnel to successfully implement the plans of digitising court services.

Mugabe’s UN pull-out rant – four reasons why it won’t happen

You don’t have to be an Einstein to figure out that it costs significant taxpayer resources to fund multilateral organizations. Just do the math! So how does Mugabe hope to fund that organization in his head if he cannot even pay his government’s employees on time, let alone account for stolen diamonds money?

Source: Mugabe’s UN pull-out rant – four reasons why it won’t happen – NewsDay Zimbabwe September 26, 2016

Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably the reason why so few engage in it. This was an observation by one Henry Ford. By all accounts, Ford was an extremely successful industrialist who pioneered and transformed the automotive industry as we know it. I got thinking about this quote following reports of threats to pull out of the United Nations (UN) by President Robert Mugabe. Zimbabwean media reported that on his return from a rather pointless trip to the recent UN General Assembly (UNGA), Mugabe addressed his supporters telling them that he and other African countries are demanding permanent seats on the UN Security Council (UNSC) or they will pull out and form a splinter organization. Either this was Mugabe playing to the gallery, or was just being foolish, or was just not thinking. If he wasn’t thinking, it’s because he is wont to make emotional decisions – given that Mugabe is a serious narcissist. Here are the four reasons his threat will not happen.

A lone voice

Mugabe wants to be recognized as a man with a cause, but an esoteric cause unfortunately. He wants to play the role of that swashbuckling pan-Africanist – the only remaining one carrying the torch of a bygone generation. Which is why he is always ridiculing younger leaders of having lost the ideals of yesteryear leaders. He seems bewildered that a younger generation of African leaders have a very different vision from his. This is why he is reported to have labeled them cowards. He mistakes this for cowardice, and fails to see than the younger generation of African leaders have a more transformational vision anchored on the view that in a globalized world, taking the podium at the UN General Assembly is not an opportunity to pontificate, but a chance to play your cards right on the global chessboard. That is realpolitik (for the unfamiliar – this means politics or principles based on practical rather than moral or ideological considerations). I have written about this before here Yamamoto:Wanted! Visionary and architect…

Reform of the UNSC is a legitimate debate. In fact he has just in the last few years discovered that it’s something that can make his voice ring above others. The UN was largely structured by the victors of the Second World War, including the ones Mugabe hopes will be supportive of his breakaway expedition. Mugabe is not the first person to talk about reform of the UNSC – yet he is the first to make threats of breaking off from the UN. Mugabe must however be mistaking that forming a splinter organization is as easy as how he unilaterally and single-handedly pulled out Zimbabwe from the Commonwealth grouping! In fact, as of more than 20 years ago, Japan and Germany had become the second and third largest contributors of funding to the UN so much so that they both started pushing for permanent seats. They have been pushing, and they are still pushing – but none of them have made threats to form a splinter organization even though they would have the means to finance any such efforts. These, and other countries are mindful of realpolitik, and the fact that the UN was a creature of victors of the last world war.

A pull-out will ruin Zimbabwe

Any splinter, were it to happen (which it won’t) would ruin Zimbabwe and worsen Mugabe’s trouble at home. Zimbabwe is technically insolvent. The books cannot balance and Mugabe’s government is living from hand to mouth – which is why his presence at the UNGA just to make a mere speech is inconsistent with that of a man whose country’s dire financial circumstances requires radical and extreme level of financial prudence. His attendance wasn’t the wisest use of Zimbabwean resources – in contrast, Tanzania President John Magufuli skipped the UNGA to focus on the recent Kagera earthquake disaster. Zimbabwe is running a frightening budget deficit by its standards, which now exceeds a billion dollars. It can rarely pay government employees on time. As a desperate measure, it now first pays soldiers, then the police, doctors and the rest are paid more than a month later.

But guess what, many of the deficits and financial shortcomings of Mugabe’s government are actually covered by the UN agencies –surprise, surprise! A former heard of Unicef in Zimbabwe once said to me “… most of these government ministers, all they have is political power, but I have more resources. My budget is bigger than that of the Ministry of Finance.”

The education sector which had all but collapsed in Zimbabwe under Mugabe’s watch was resuscitated by Unicef through what they termed the Education Transition Fund through which they printed and distributed over 22 million textbooks across schools in Zimbabwe. Among several other programs, Unicef funds and runs several other child welfare programs supporting thousands of children whose circumstances would be extremely desperate because under Mugabe’s watch, the welfare system has collapsed.

Hunger is stalking over a third of the population in Zimbabwe. The Zimbabwe government in February appealed for $1,5 billion food aid from well-wishers. Much of the food aid being distributed today in Zimbabwe is coming from or through the World Food Program – a UN agency. In short, the UN agency is feeding a third of Zimbabweans – a staggering chunk of the population.

And here is another kicker! The Ministry of Health and Child Care is now largely funded by donors, mainly the United States, Global Fund and UN agencies such as World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations Development Program (UNDP), Unicef and United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). To understand the gravity of the issue – Zimbabwe allocated $330 million to the Health ministry in its 2016 national budget. That represents 8,3% of the total budget (well below the 15% Abuja target and the Sub Saharan Africa average of 11,3%).

Yet, a measly $200 000 has been reportedly disbursed to the same Ministry – that means the Health Ministry has as of eight months into the year 2016 received only 6% of what it was allocated in the budget – rendering the budgeting exercise merely academic. On a pro rata basis, the ministry has received a mere 9% of what it must receive to date. This means the rest of the burden is carried by donors including the same UN and its agencies, which Mugabe in his moments of excitement is threatening to pull out from. Nonetheless he will not miss a moment to fly to Asia to have his ‘eyes’ checked for cataracts.

It’s a resources game

When I was young, you would always find within our boys group, that one guy who could never throw punches when the mud hits the fan. It was often such a guy who would have a loud mouth, and would create trouble, banking on others to back him up. When you threaten to split from a global organization, you better have the resources to back it up. The current top 17 funders of the UN provide over 80% of the UN regular budget. These are: United State of America (22%), Japan (9,6%), China (7,9%), Germany (6,3%), France (4,8%), Britain (4,4%), Brazil (3,8%), Italy (3,7%), Russia (3%), Canada (2,9%), Spain (2,4%), Australia (2,3%), South Korea (2,0), Netherlands (1,4%), Mexico (1,4%), Saudi Arabia (1,1%), Switzerland (1,1%). Just 17 countries! The rest of the world provides just about 19% of the global body’s budget – that includes Zimbabwe and the rest of Africa.

In 2015, the US contributed $621,9 million to the UN regular budget. At the same time – 35 countries contributing the least paid just about $28,269 each (this includes Zimbabwe, if at all it paid its dues). The US also paid about $2,4 billion towards a separate peacekeeping budget – whereas the 20 countries contributing the least amount paid about $8,470 each (which again includes Zimbabwe if at all it paid up).

So you don’t have to be an Einstein to figure out that it costs significant taxpayer resources to fund these multilateral organizations. Just do the math! So how does Mugabe hope to fund that organization in his head if he cannot even pay his government’s employees on time, let alone account for stolen diamonds money? But here is the juicy part. Mugabe says that Zimbabwe and Africa will pull out of the UN (I am not sure who else in Africa he speaks for). Yet currently, 70% of the African Union (AU) Commission is funded by donors –a staggering number. At an AU Foundation event in South Africa last year, Mugabe pledged 300 cows to the organization. It’s ridiculous, but he did it. Only that the cows did not exist at the time of making the donation – so he has had to hassle the cows up by hook or crook from Zimbabweans. Reports say that cows prices are as low as $50 a herd in Zimbabwe. This means that worst case, Mugabe’s funding through this route is $15 000.

Lack of Leverage

Realpolitik and national interests drive power games on the global political chessboard. As noted above, the current UN structure was crafted by victors of the last world war. The countries that Mugabe seems to be counting on in supporting his splinter group are China and Russia which are in fact permanent members of the UN, and as such haven’t got an interest in Mugabe’s pursuit. If you are making demands of Mugabe’s kind, you have got to have a bargaining chip. In other words, you must have leverage. When you say: give us two permanent seats or else – the other part will say or else what? The leverage must be of serious consequences. And the threat you make, must not only be real, but exercisable with drastic consequences. But Mugabe hasn’t got that, neither does Africa as a block. There is no leverage at all. Even Japan, the third largest economy in the world hasn’t got such leverage.

So Mugabe’s threat is just one of those empty threats. There is no strategy to it. Russia and China have no strategic incentive to splinter with Mugabe and whoever is on his side. Interestingly – a contact in the top echelons of the Chinese government advised me that nobody really takes Mugabe seriously at the UN with his rambling speeches. He says that they now refer to him as “that mad man from the tropics”.

Do the math and get real

Mugabe must get real and wake up. It is not clear from the top 17 funders of the UN shown above which ones Mugabe intends to convince to pull out of the UN. But if you do the math – it’s just an empty threat. If he has the stupidity to do it, he would find himself on a lonely journey, and such a journey would precipitate the collapse of his government sooner than he could dream of. Why?

Because much of what is happening today in Zimbabwe is in fact funded by the UN and its agencies, including health, education and social welfare. So, true to form, Mugabe’s rants are all form and no beer; all sizzle and no steak!

Ken Yamamoto is a research fellow on Africa at an Institute in Tokyo. He researches and travels frequently between Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda and Zimbabwe. Email your views to yamamotokensan@gmail.com

Mugabe takes flak over UN speech

OPPOSITION political parties have labelled as hypocritical demands by President Robert Mugabe (pictured) for reforms at the United Nations Security Council, saying the Zanu PF leader should first implement security sector reforms at home before demanding reforms at the UN.

Source: Mugabe takes flak over UN speech – NewsDay Zimbabwe September 26, 2016

BY BLESSED MHLANGA

MDC-T spokesperson, Obert Gutu, branded Mugabe as suffering from selective amnesia after the Zanu PF party declined to implement security sector reforms and demilitarise the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission’s secretariat to level the political playing field ahead of the 2018 elections.

Gutu urged Mugabe to use the same zeal he exhibited in calling for reforms at the UN and implement reforms which were in line with the Constitution.

“Mugabe has a record of always speaking with a forked tongue saying what he doesn’t mean and meaning what he doesn’t say. He has a selective memory and forgets that he is refusing to reform in his own country and the whole world knows that,” Gutu said.

“Before Mugabe can call for reforms of the UN Security Council, he should, first of all, reform his own Zanu PF regime’s wayward, corrupt and thuggish style of governance. After all, charity begins at home.’

Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) spokesperson, Jacob Mafume, had no kind words for Mugabe.

“His ministers are saying that ‘you can’t reform yourself out of power’ and it’s a bit rich for him to expect any reform by the UN Security Council,” Mafume said.

“The man has no inkling on how hollow and empty his rhetoric sounds. He has exposed himself as a power-hungry despot who does not follow any known democratic rule in dealing with people both in Zanu PF and outside Zanu PF.”

Zimbabwe People First (ZimPF) spokesperson, Jealousy Mawarire, dismissed Mugabe’s speech as “high-sounding signifying nothing” which nobody would take seriously even if his calls for UN reform could be legitimate.

“A message is as good as the messenger. He (Mugabe) might have a good message, but it cannot be sent through because he has serious human rights issues here and home, so no matter how much sound he might add to his speech what people get from him is his history,” Mawarire said.

‘Mugabe UN exit call suicidal’

OPPOSITION parties and political analysts yesterday described President Robert Mugabe’s threat to withdraw Zimbabwe’s membership of the United Nations (UN) as “suicidal”.

Source: ‘Mugabe UN exit call suicidal’ – NewsDay Zimbabwe September 26, 2016

BY BLESSED MHLANGA

They added Zimbabwe’s comatose economy could not sustain itself without aid from international bodies.

Yesterday, the parties told NewsDay in separate interviews that the pull-out would trigger unmitigated suffering, disease outbreaks and deaths through the collapse of the health sector, water and sewer reticulation systems, which were largely funded by multilateral donors through UN agencies.

Analysts said Mugabe was further alienating Zimbabwe through his reckless comments by accusing other African leaders of cowardice, at a time his financially-hamstrung government is struggling to implement capital projects without donor assistance.

Addressing thousands of Zanu PF supporters on his arrival from the 71st UN General Assembly on Saturday, Mugabe threatened to mobilise other African countries to pull out of the UN in protest over the body’s alleged refusal to reform its Security Council.

He said Africa would form a splinter group headed by China and Russia if the UN Security Council remained unchanged at next year’s summit.

In December 2003, Mugabe unilaterally pulled the country out of the Commonwealth after the group, which comprises Britain and its former colonies, maintained its suspension of Zimbabwe over alleged human rights abuses.

Harare mayor and president of the Urban Councils’ Association of Zimbabwe, Bernard Manyenyeni, yesterday said the proposed UN pull-out would cripple all the cities and local authorities that were heavily dependent on aid sourced by UN donor agencies.

“The remark is undiplomatic and ungrateful. Right now, the UN is finalising hunger alleviation programmes for Zimbabwe, including urban areas. The UN has some other on-going positive interventions for our failed State, its footprint in urban interventions cannot be ignored — cities are desperate for more aid,” he said.

The UN, through its agencies, injects at least $1,6 billion into the country each year to support the Health Transitional Fund and Educational Transitional Fund, among other initiatives.

MDC-T spokesperson Obert Gutu said a government, which needed UN intervention to stop a cholera outbreak that killed over 4 000 people in 2007/8, could not honestly wish for an exit at any time.

“It would be a complete and unmitigated disaster should Zimbabwe proceed to withdraw from the United Nations,” Gutu said.

“Thanks to decades of misrule, mismanagement and rampant corruption by Zanu PF, Zimbabwean cities were virtually carried on the back of the UN as they failed to deal with sewerage reticulation and purchase of water treatment chemicals, resulting in an unmitigated cholera outbreak. As we face biting food shortages, the UN is feeding over a million of our people, while government is clueless. Imagine what would happen if, say, the mad man pulls us out.”

People’s Democratic Party spokesperson Jacob Mafume said Mugabe’s rants should be dismissed as “irresponsible political grandstanding”.

“Pulling out of the United Nations would be a disaster. The African nations must also remember that they are behind in paying their dues for the UN and African Union membership. They always want things they do not pay for. We have not benefited from our withdrawal from the Commonwealth. We thought African nations never followed us out,” he said.

“For Zimbabwe, it will be a disaster on issues like HIV and Aids, education and so on. He (Mugabe) must go and rest in peace, this old man.”

Zimbabwe People First top official, Rugare Gumbo, said given the significance of UN to Zimbabwe, Mugabe’s comments “are not rational, but made by a man who cares about nothing, but himself”.

“We cannot afford the same mistake he made when he unilaterally pulled out of the Commonwealth. We cannot survive alone in a global village without help given that we can’t even hold our own economy,” he said.

Gumbo described Mugabe as “a stubborn person, who is just worried about himself, his wife [First Lady Grace Mugabe] and children, and a legacy which is already in tatters”.

Analyst Pedzisai Ruhanya dismissed Mugabe’s call as “oxymoronic”.

“It’s not possible. His utterances show that he resides in another place which we don’t know. His bankrupt government is receiving budgetary support from UN agencies. Look at the work being done by Unesco [United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation], UNDP [United Nations Development Programme], which is even supporting the entire elections management of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission,” he said.

“He says he wants to move out of the league of nations, going where? To the stone age, the medieval era? We are living in a contemporary world . . . these are rantings of a deluded old man. Mugabe should just go and stay in some secluded place and stop pretending to run the country.”

Former Education minister and top MDC official, David Coltart, said: “Zimbabwe’s pull-out of the Commonwealth, Sadc Tribunal and the trashing of the International Criminal Court shows one should never underestimate his (Mugabe’s) destructive capacity.”

Analyst Rashweat Mukundu said Zimbabwe was a “basket case”, which could hardly provide food for its own people and a UN exit would be suicidal.

“Zimbabwe is a basket case as we have been fed by UN mobilised donors for nearly a decade. Our health, including HIV and Aids treatment, is anchored on international support. One could envisage that all this will collapse should Zimbabwe pull out,” he said.

“Should this happen, we have to negotiate an insurmountable number of agreements to re-engage with the world inclusive of trade, telecoms, health, diplomatic relations, environment management issues . . . that makes this threat idle talk”.

Removing Mugabe, Zanu PF alone not enough: Dabengwa

ZAPU leader Dumiso Dabengwa has said removing President Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF alone is not enough, saying Zimbabweans must also weed the country of the “evil system” that has sustained the governing party since 1980 to guarantee economic turnaround.

Source: Removing Mugabe, Zanu PF alone not enough: Dabengwa – NewsDay Zimbabwe September 26, 2016

BY NQOBANI NDLOVU

Addressing party supporters at Gadadi business centre in Umzingwane district, Matabeleland South province, Dabengwa on Saturday said Mugabe and Zanu PF’s “bad governance lies at the root of the country’s socio-economic problems”.

He, however, warned that pushing out Mugabe was not the end game, adding the 92-year-old veteran politician had created a system which could remain a stumbling block to economic recovery after he was gone.

“‘Mugabe must go’ is a starting point for a democratic agenda because he personifies all that is wrong with the all-pervasive dictatorial machine. However, taking the first step is not the same thing as arriving at a destination,” Dabengwa said.

“We must get rid of Mugabe from power, but it is equally important to get rid of the system that has sustained him in power for so long and with so many negative consequences of the gravy train. He has perfected a system that has allowed the country to be bled through run-away corruption.”

He said Zapu was also against the introduction of bond notes which government plans to introduce purportedly to ease the liquidity crisis, describing the move as “mischievous”.

“We are strongly opposed to the introduction of worthless paper money that will amount to the mopping up of hard-earned foreign currency. The move is mischievous because we know that in the absence of investor-friendly policies, there will be no capacity to pay our way internationally and get back to productivity,” the Zapu leader said.

Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor John Mangudya recently declared that there was no going back on bond notes, saying the first batch should start circulating on the market end of next month, despite public fears that the notes were a replica of the long-discarded Zimbabwe dollar.

Gukurahundi, a ticking time bomb: Mpofu

FORMER Bulilima East legislator, Norman Mpofu (MDC-T), has urged government to carefully handle the emotive Gukurahundi issue and facilitate national healing and reconciliation, saying failure to do so could trigger civil strife.

Source: Gukurahundi, a ticking time bomb: Mpofu – NewsDay Zimbabwe September 26, 2016

BY SILAS NKALA

The warning came amid rising public anger over Zanu PF’s failure to address amicably the conflict that claimed over 20 000 lives of suspected Zapu supporters in Matabeleland and Midlands provinces in the 1980s.

Mpofu told Southern Eye yesterday that citizens were becoming agitated by government’s refusal to bring the issue to finality.

“Crimes against humanity have been committed by a bunch of criminals currently masquerading as democratic leaders of this country. Human rights have been violated by government institutions like the army, police and Central Intelligence Organisation against the citizens.
What is sad is that these heinous sins continue to be committed even today,” Mpofu said.

“It then goes without saying that the nation is sick and, as such, it definitely requires a form of healing and reconciliation.”

Mpofu said other forms of justice cannot work due to the numbers directly and indirectly involved, as victims and perpetrators “are just too big for justice to
prevail”.
“An attempt to arrest and bring to book perpetrators might trigger more problems for the already troubled nation. A civil war is a big possibility. Zimbabwe, as a nation, is not ready and ripe for healing and reconciliation,” he said.

“Zanu PF and its current crop of leaders are at the centre of the problem. If a commission on national healing is set up today, obviously Zanu PF will dictate the pace and have a big say on who goes in.”

He said the problem was that State-sponsored violence and crimes against humanity still prevailed.

“If the government leaders are still in a Gukuraundi mode, why waste time and resources to heal the nation . . . Zimbabwe needs to go through political metamorphosis. A new crop of leaders, who are politically sober and free from the sins of the past, are the only answer to bring together the dislocated nation,” Mpofu said.

“Without a (late former South Africa President Nelson) Mandela kind of a person, Zimbabwe can kiss goodbye to national healing.”

Post-Independence Survivors Trust director, Felix Mafa Sibanda, said: “It is surprising that Zanu PF preaches love, forgiveness, healing and reconciliation to hoodwink citizens to garner votes.”

MDC deputy spokesperson Mbuso Siso said the Gukurahundi issue would only be solved if the coalition of opposition parties wins the 2018 elections.

Siso said the fact that Zanu PF, during the Government of National Unity, opted to negotiate for the national healing to be deferred for 10 years, showed that it was not ready for national healing.

Charity begins at home Mr President

President Robert Mugabe on Saturday threatened that African countries would pull out of the United Nations (UN) if their demands for two permanent seats on the Security Council were not met.

Source: Charity begins at home Mr President – NewsDay Zimbabwe September 26, 2016

Comment: NewsDay Editor

The demands for permanent seats on the UNSC are quite legitimate and Africa has been campaigning strongly for reforms at the world body.
However, where we do not agree with Mugabe is on the threats to pull out of the UN and we hope this was just political grandstanding and rhetoric from the President, who always postures as the ultra-pan African.

Despite his grandstanding, Africa’s voice at world forums is dumbed-down by leaders like Mugabe, who are failing to lead their countries well and end up having to send the begging bowl to the UN.

What Africa instead needs is to strengthen itself and its structures and be united if they are to achieve anything at the UN.

That means upholding constitutionalism, respect for their respective national institutions and above all respect for their people.

It is, thus, hypocritical, for leaders like Mugabe, who are accused of human rights violations to demand UN reforms.

As it is, Mugabe and his Zanu PF party are stalling key electoral reforms, yet he has the temerity of demanding UN reforms.

As they say, charity begins at home and Mugabe should start by reforming some institutions in the country, failure to which, then he has no moral high ground to demand anything from anyone.

It is disingenuous for Mugabe to threaten that Africa is ready to pull out of the UN, when the continent is unable to look after its own affairs.

For example, the African Union (AU) is in a sorry state and cannot even administer its own affairs nor agree on peace and democracy initiatives on the continent, so the threat of pulling out of the UN is akin to seeing a speck in a neighbour’s eye yet Africa has a log in its collective eye.

Normally, we would have ignored Mugabe’s statements upon his return from UN. However, we fear this is becoming a dangerous trend where the President sulks and threatens to pull out of organisations that do not agree with him.

He unilaterally dragged Zimbabwe out of the Commonwealth organisation and threatened to pull out of Sadc when they censured him for failing to observe a roadmap to free and fair elections.

We hope that Africa ignores Mugabe’s calls, as the world moves towards globalisation, as the continent will be the biggest loser if it develops an attitude of throwing tantrums and its toys out of the pram always when things do not go their way.

Africa must fix its affairs first if it is to be taken seriously on the world stage.

Dutch investors demand transparency

DUTCH investors and traders want consistent and transparent policies in place before investing in Zimbabwe, an ambassador has said. Last year, Zimbabwean exports to The Netherlands totalled $66,1 million, which was mostly agricultural products. During the same year, Zimbabwe imported $15,82 million worth of goods, mainly in machinery and chemicals.

Source: Dutch investors demand transparency – NewsDay Zimbabwe September 26, 2016

BY TATIRA ZWINOIRA

Netherlands Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Zambia and Malawi, Gera Sneller told reporters at the official launch of Zimbabwe Netherlands Business Link (ZBNL) last week that many companies were interested in coming to do trade and invest in the country, but wanted a stable environment in place.

“Once a year, we as ambassadors are called back for an ambassadors’ conference. One of the things we do during that week is that we have ‘speed dating’ as it is called. During those hours, Dutch businesses can come to the ambassadors of their choice and spend 15 minutes talking to the ambassador about the possibilities. This year, all the companies that I spoke to wanted to talk about Zimbabwe,” Sneller said.

“Having said that, the first question they ask is about the business climate. They want to know whether their investments will be safe in Zimbabwe. Unfortunately, given the situation that we have at the moment, especially the many policy changes that we have seen, the inconsistency of government makes it very difficult for Dutch companies to take that last step to come and invest in Zimbabwe.”

She said Dutch businesses were known for taking commercial risks, but they needed to know that government had its policies in place, which were transparent and consistent.

The main areas for investment were in agriculture, horticulture, information and technology, and services among others. On the trading side, agricultural produce has remained a favourite.

Investment worries come on the backdrop of a reversal by government to cut the excessive wage bill and the looming introduction of bond notes.

ZBNL acting company secretary Goof de Jong said there was potential to inject hundreds of millions of dollars in investment and trade, but clarity on policies was needed.

“You need a good investment climate and what they are looking at is a good financial system, which is currently a problem. The financial system is not stable. They look at security of tenure, judiciary and good companies, they look at many factors,” de Jong said.

This comes as The Netherlands has helped officially launch the ZBNL, which will facilitate trade and investment between the two countries.

Since 1955, the council had been operating unofficially trying to boost trade between the two governments and was formally constituted in November 2011.

An agreement was signed with the embassy in February 2015 where funding was committed by the embassy to assist ZNBL to formalise its legal status as a non-profit trust and towards a working office.

Wait for 2018: Chihuri tells opposition

POLICE Commissioner-General, Augustine Chihuri, has warned opposition political parties to stop pushing for President Robert Mugabe’s ouster before the end of his term, but wait for another opportunity to challenge him in the 2018 general elections.

Source: Wait for 2018: Chihuri tells opposition – NewsDay Zimbabwe September 26, 2016

BY BLESSED MHLANGA

Addressing officers commanding police districts and provinces on the Public Order and Security Act (Posa), Chihuri on Friday vowed to crush any demonstrations against Mugabe’s rule.

“The motive of these demonstrations is to try and remove a legitimately-elected Head of State, as if those wishing were denied the opportunity to participate in the previous elections, where they failed dismally and, as if there are no chances of any elections in future,” Chihuri said.

“Everyone knows that there is the ballot in 2018, giving everyone a chance to go and try their luck once more. Their perpetual demonstrations cannot be condoned. They should wait for the ballot.”

Chihuri, who has publicly declared his allegiance to Zanu PF, accused the opposition parties of engaging in acts of violence and disturbing peace “because they are driven by hate and a political desire to cause mayhem and anarchy.”
He ordered his subordinates to toe the line or jump ship.

“I am aware that some among you may be suffering from certain illusion (mutyutyu) and ignorance, but I want to make it abundantly clear that we are dealing with matters of national security and, therefore, we expect each and every one of you to play
ball within the dictates of the law. Those that feel they cannot stand the heat are free to jump ship,” Chihuri said.

His comments came at a time police officer commanding Harare district Chief Superintendent Newbert Saunyama, has banned peaceful demonstrations in Harare’s central business district for a month.

Chihuri also defended police heavyhandedness in crushing demonstrations, saying: “Indeed, policing experiences the world over, even in mature democracies, is that no social deviants, the criminally-minded would ever thank the police for thwarting their criminal intents. If this was to happen, it would be analogous to a rat thanking the cat for patrolling its home. So it is not surprising to hear the buzz phrase of ‘police brutality’ from those who wish to employ violence to unseat a constitutional government.”

The police boss added: “Brazen attempts aimed at vilifying the police as a brutal and heartless organisation will never dissuade us from discharging our constitutional mandate.”

Chihuri also insinuated that anti-government demonstrations were always designed to coincide with key regional and international events such as Sadc, African Union, European Union and United Nations Summit summits in order to blackmail Mugabe’s government and please “Western funders”.

He appealed to Attorney-General Prince Machaya to ensure people with financial means “and spurred by evil agendas” were not allowed to challenge and abuse the law.

“At times, there are occasions when we feel facts are not properly represented or that the Attorney-General’s Office has acted unilaterally or on their own volition without representing our interests and those of innocent citizens going about their daily chores and the nation at large.”

But opposition parties yesterday reacted angrily to Chihuri’s utterances, accusing him of “partisanship and acting like a Zanu PF political commissar”.

“One of the mistakes was to allow people like Chihuri to continue in office. They act as if the Constitution was not changed.
Demonstrations are like the 2018 elections — a constitutional right,” People’s Democratic Party spokesperson Jacob Mafume said.

MDC-T spokesperson Obert Gutu said: “Chihuri is not a politician. He has no business lecturing to opposition political parties when to and when not to stage peaceful demonstrations. Chihuri should not adopt a condescending and patronising attitude to Zimbabweans. In fact, he is part of the problem and not part of the solution.”

MDC’s Kurauone Chihwayi also lambasted Chihuri, saying he was trying to curry favour with Mugabe while attempting to defeat the people and the Constitution.

“Chihuri is trying to be relevant in the political sphere in Zanu PF. In this attempt, he is trying desperately to speak Mugabe’s language, including that of attacking the judiciary and threatening the people. He has acted in the most unprofessional manner in his quest to be a loyal service chief to Mugabe,” Chihwayi said.

‘Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill anomaly should be corrected’

HARARE residents on Saturday expressed concern over failure by the Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill to include gold and diamonds among the 19 strategic minerals critical for the turnaround of the economy.

Source: ‘Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill anomaly should be corrected’ – NewsDay Zimbabwe September 26, 2016

BY VENERANDA LANGA

Speaking during a public hearing conducted by the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines and energy, which was sponsored by the Southern Africa Parliamentary Support Trust and the Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association, the residents said the anomaly should be corrected before the Bill was passed into law.

Amendments in section five of the Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill 2016 identify 19 strategic minerals that were said to be strategic to the economy.

These include coking coal, natural gas or coal-bed methane, iron ore, uranium, chrome, platinum group metals, phosphate ore, beryllium, lithium and tin tantalite, rare earths elements, natural graphite, magnesite, tungsten, antimony, manganese, fluorspar and caesium.

Zimbabwe Small-Scale Miners Federation chief executive officer, Wellington Takavarasha, said it was disappointing that diamonds were not on the key minerals’ list.

“The world over diamonds are listed as strategic minerals, but they have not been listed as part of the 19 in the Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill,” Takavarasha queried, adding there should be reconsideration to add gold and diamonds as strategic minerals.

The Bill, in section 52 also proposes amendments highlighting that no mineral, including industrial scrap shall be exported in their raw form, unless consent was given by the Mines minister, adding the minister has to prescribe incentives to promote beneficiation. But, Centre of Natural Resource Governance’s Tapiwa Naji, said it should be taken into cognisance that not all minerals needed to be beneficiated before they were sold.

“The issue of beneficiation has to be targeted at certain minerals only because there are some precious stones that can be sold without beneficiation. There must be detailed research and understanding of which mineral needs to be beneficiated,” Naji said.

Researcher, Gracian Godzonga said it was important to talk of infrastructure that allowed for beneficiation of minerals first before placing rules that no minerals shall be exported in raw form.

Wence Kutekwatekwa, the director of Virimai Projects said there was need for more clarity on the Bill pertaining to issues of beneficiation infrastructure as the country was faced with other challenges such as power.

Ex-Zanu-PF trio sued over legal costs

Source: Ex-Zanu-PF trio sued over legal costs | The Herald September 26, 2016

Daniel Nemukuyu Senior Court Reporter
FIGHTING the ruling Zanu-PF in court has proved costly for three politicians who were fired from the revolutionary party after their lawyers turned against them and dragged them to the High Court over unpaid legal fees to the tune of $25 000.

Rugare Eleck Ngidi Gumbo and Dydmus Mutasa, who are now with a new political outfit Zimbabwe People First, together with Youth Advocacy for Reform and Democracy leader Temba Mliswa made headlines between 2015 and early this year for frequenting the High Court with suits against the revolutionary party.

The trio was last year expelled from Zanu-PF for allegedly trying to topple President Mugabe.

For the legal suits, the highly litigious trio enjoyed the services of Nyakutombwa, Mugabe Legal Counsel when they did not have the capacity to pay the law firm.

Nyakutombwa, Mugabe Legal Counsel raised a bill for all the services rendered but the three failed to pay.

After unsuccessfully trying all the avenues to recover the debt, the law firm has issued summons at the High Court claiming the outstanding $25 000 from the politicians.

When the three were expelled from Zanu-PF last year, they approached the law firm seeking legal services.

“As a result of their expulsion, they approached the plaintiff and retained the plaintiff for the provision of several legal services related to their expulsion from the aforesaid political party.

“The services included challenging the aforesaid expulsion and seeking the enforcement of certain constitutional rights,” reads part of the plaintiff’s declaration.

In coming up with the bill, the law firm charged the trio for all opted services rendered and for all court attendances in terms of the Law Society of Zimbabwe General Tariff of 2011.

No guarantee of success was given nor was failure of the cases a basis for non-payment of the due fees, the lawyers argued.

The trio lost all their cases at the High Court and the Supreme Court and became evasive in terms of settling the legal bill.

Mutasa and Gumbo were represented in a High Court case in which they were contesting expulsion from Zanu-PF under HC1914 and they left a balance of $2 950.

The lawyers are also claiming $5 181 from Mutasa and Mliswa for legal services rendered while they were pursuing another case at the Constitutional Court registered under CCZ 10/15.

Mutasa is being separately sued $1 380 for services in a case he required spoliation order against the Office of the President and Cabinet.

Mutasa and Mliswa were also charged $12 463 in another constitutional challenge filed under CCZ 9/15 at the Constitutional Court.

The law firm is also claiming $4 945 from Mutasa for representing him in a case he was fighting the Constituency Elections Office.

The lawyers want the trio to pay costs of the suit and to be obliged to pay interest on the total figures owed at the rate of 5 percent per annum calculated from the date of issuance of the summons to the date of payment in full.

In one of the cases in which Mutasa and Gumbo were contesting expulsion at the High Court, the duo chickened out on March 30 this year.

The court ordered the duo to pay legal costs incurred by Zanu-PF and President Mugabe in defending the aborted court application.

Will white farmers in Zambia feed Zimbabwe?

Source: zimbabweland | Will white farmers in Zambia feed Zimbabwe? September 26, 2016

The El Niño drought has hit southern Africa hard. Malawi, Mozambique, Zimbabwe and seven provinces in South Africa have announced emergencies. Coming on the back of a bad season last year, the food situation across the region is dire. Large volumes of food will have to be imported into drought-affected areas, with a regional deficit of 7.3 MT reported. News reports – including one from the Southern Daily that was widely circulated – point to white farmers who fled from land reform in Zimbabwe and now farming in Zambia as the saviours. Is this really the case or, as ever, is it a bit more complicated?

Who is producing Zambia’s food?

As discussed last week, the figures on how much food is needed and where is confused, but the latest on Zimbabwe suggest that up to 4.1 million people will need food aid before the end of the consumption season. While the estimates may be problematic, even adding a large margin of error, the bottom-line is that food must be imported into Zimbabwe in large quantities. The nearest source is Zambia, where good rainfall produced a harvest higher than predicted at 2.8m tonnes (not 3.3m as the Southern Daily reported, which confusingly took figures from 2014 and reported as if this year).

Who then is producing all this maize in Zambia? One of the oft-repeated narratives has been that the food being supplied to Zimbabwe now is being produced by white farmers who were evicted from Zimbabwe during the land reform. In a 2004 piece by Jan Lamprecht on the blatantly racist, white-supremacist site AfricaCrisis.org gloated that white farmers outcompeted 150,000 peasants in Zambia. Even President Mugabe seemed to have been swayed by the propaganda, commenting on the success of former large-scale commercial farmers from Zimbabwe at a rally. This was the narrative too of the error-filled Southern Daily piece (that was sent to me at least four times when it came out, with commentaries not dissimilar to that on AfricanCrisis.org). The evicted-farmers-save –Zimbabwe narrative is prevalent, but is it true?

Certainly there are some former commercial farmers now farming in Zambia – in such places as Mkushi block. Mkushi has attracted South Africans, Tanzanians, British and Zimbabweans, and is a focus for large-scale agriculture in the centre of the country.  Estimates suggest there are perhaps 750 white Zimbabwean farmers in Zambia, rising from 400 following land reform in 2000. External finances, such as through Agrivision Africa supported by the IFC, has allowed the capitalisation of commercial operations, and farms there produce a mix of crops, ranging from soya to maize to beef and dairy. Many commercial agricultural enterprises in places like Mkushi are highly productive, and currently very profitable. In part this results from skill and investment, but also the combination of recent periods of good rainfall and supplementary irrigation capacity that has improved production.

Maize being exported to Zimbabwe in part comes from such farms, but it’s actually – and contrary to the simplistic narrative – primarily grown on smallholder producers across the country. Maize production – and so the ability to export – has been massively supported by a highly-subsidised input support programme over a number of years. For example, in 2011 the Government of Zambia spent US$184 million on 182k MT of fertiliser and 9k MT of hybrid maize seed. This amounted to 0.8% of GDP then, and 30% of total agricultural expenditure. This is an enormous investment and, as in Malawi before, it has boosted maize production massively, but probably unsustainably. Today smallholders in Zambia produce around 2.5m tonnes annually, while large-scale producers 300k tonnes in a good year, like this past one.

In other words, the maize export story from Zambia is driven not by valiant white farmers of the much-promoted narrative (although they of course contribute) but mostly by the efforts of smallholders (including of course black Zimbabwean migrants who came during the Federation era, and have been important producers in central Zambia since then). But in fact the big story too is the role of massive (and fiscally untenable) subsidies from the Zambian state (and its aid donor allies), and big questions as to whether this will continue under the new political dispensation.

White farmers in Africa: mixed fortunes

White commercial farming in Zambia, as Zimbabwe before, and in experiences from Nigeria and Mozambique too, has been one of mixed fortunes. The lack of infrastructure, limited state support and poor finance and other support systems, made many farmers complain bitterly about their new settings. They had been successful farmers in Zimbabwe in the context of a massively supportive environment, with huge subsidies and state support, consistent from the 1950s at least until the 90s. This is not the case in Zambia – or Nigeria and Mozambique. Commercial farming in Zimbabwe was not always an independent, heroic effort by whites in the face of adversity. Of course there is always skill, hard work and entrepreneurial acuity in the mix, but state support, infrastructure and public investment was also part of the picture.

However, despite the challenges – and many gave up – some former farmers from Zimbabwe have become highly successful in Zambia. Considerable private resources from other businesses (some still in Zimbabwe) have been invested to make these farms going concerns, and now in the context of favourable exchange conditions and high demand, they are definitely contributing to the feeding of the region. But there is also other food entering circulation from a range of sources, most notably from smallholders in Zambia, and, as discussed last week, from production not captured by standard crop surveys and livelihood assessments in Zimbabwe itself.

A regional approach?

SADC and COMESA have always tried to take a regional approach to food security, with the expectation that at different times different countries or regions will feed others. An approach to open borders and trade should, ideally, allow low-cost food to move from places of surplus to those of deficit.

Supply of maize from surplus areas in Zambia to the Zimbabwean market has been restricted, however. Controversial restrictions on exports have helped drive the trade underground. Despite the formal limits, there is much that is travelling across the border illegally. The allure of the US dollar in the Zimbabwean economy is attracting much speculative trading activity, including in food (as well as other commodities). With a declining Zambian kwacha due to the collapse in mineral commodity prices, selling food to Zimbabwe in US dollars is an attractive prospect, and formal restrictions are very often circumvented. This of course adds to the liquidity problems and cash crisis in the Zimbabwean economy, as the dollars end up in Zambia, even if food is provided. This cross-border currency exchange politics is creating potentially large problems, especially as the US dollar increases in value against other regional currencies.

As much research shows, trade restrictions damage investment and can undermine food security. An open trading regime by contrast, it is argued, is efficient and economic, and offsets risks, which because of differential patterns of rainfall and the widespread reliance on rainfed production makes sense. Ensuring that there is regional surplus and efficient movement will offset the requirements for shipping from elsewhere in the world, which is slow and expensive. In this respect if Zambia feeds Zimbabwe, Malawi and Mozambique this year (and maybe South Africa too), this is fine, and the reverse may be the case at other times.

This post was written by Ian Scoones and appeared on Zimbabweland

Quest Motors capacity utilisation falls

Source: Quest Motors capacity utilisation falls | The Herald September 26, 2016

Tinashe Makichi Business Reporter
Quest Motors’ capacity utilisation has fallen to below 5 percent due to its failure to make foreign payments for critical raw materials.

In an interview with The Herald Business last week, Quest Motors chief executive Talik Adam said this is despite the fact that the company falls under the manufacturing category which is given top priority on the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe import priority list.

“By virtue of us being a manufacturing company we are automatically on top of the RBZ’s priority list but we have been facing challenges in procuring critical raw materials due to challenges in making foreign payments. That has also seen our capacity going down to below 5 percent.

“It is unfortunate that this is happening at a time when we need to procure more knocked down kits and spares for our business but we remain positive as we are going towards the end of the year,” said Mr Adam.

The RBZ recently further revised the import priority list moving tuition fees and student living expenses and cash importation to the top list.

The list which started off with six items has now grown to nine to include, cash importation, school fees and remittances of salaries for Zimbabwean diplomats stationed abroad.

The priority list was meant to ensure fair and equitable distribution of foreign currency reserves to priority areas within the country and the manufacturing sector was top of the list.

“On the back of the current challenges we are facing I am still calling for more Government support for our operations to thrive and we will keep singing that song,” said Mr Adam.

Addressing the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Transport and Infrastructure early this year Mr Adam said the revival of the country’s vehicle assembling sector can be backbone for Zimbabwe’s economic turnaround.

He said line ministries and parastatals have continued to defy a directive issued by the Office of the President and Cabinet through a circular in 2011 compelling purchase of motor vehicles from local assembly plants by Government departments and Parastatals, an industry player said.

The circular directed that any deviation from this norm needs to get authority from Government because local assemblers have been struggling due to low volumes, while hundreds of millions of dollars are wired to foreign car firms annually. The directive on vehicle procurement was sent out to 23 Government Ministries and two public institutions.

“My factory, when it was working at full capacity on a single eight-hour shift we were producing between 12 000 and 15 000 vehicles a month, and was employing close to 15 000 people. We have tried at times to kick-start it ending up with 12 000 vehicles sitting in my plant and without being able to pay the suppliers for it. It has created major problems. And the irony of it is we have had the vehicles sitting there but Government departments have continuously imported vehicles even the models that we are manufacturing,” said Mr Adam.

He said despite the fact that Quest Motors is producing brands like Foton Turnland locally, Government imported about 600 units of the same brand from China.

Govt to bolster Zimra operations

Source: Govt to bolster Zimra operations | The Herald September 26, 2016

Talent Gore Herald Reporter
Government will continue strengthening the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority’s (zimra) operations in an effort to fight corruption at the country’s border posts, Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa said last Friday.

His remarks come amid reports that the $600 000 security upgrade done at the Beitbridge Border Post was beginning to pay dividends, with corrupt officials being exposed mainly by the closed circuit television (CCTV).

Government secured the equipment, which also includes lie detector machines, to curb corruption at the border post and CCTV cameras were installed at points unknown to border personnel.

“The introduction of closed circuit television system (CCTV) at the Beitbridge Border Post is meant to monitor adherence to procedures and curb corruption,” Minister Chinamasa said on Friday while addressing delegates at the fifth edition of the Taxpayer Appreciation Day in Harare.

“The Electronic Single Window System, for instance, provides a platform, which enables all Government agencies operating at ports of entry and exit to coordinate their activities to reduce turnaround time. I would like to applaud ZIMRA for a job well done for the various initiatives, which it launched for purposes of accountability and transparency which we believe will help curb corruption. As the Government, we will do everything within our means to strengthen ZIMRA’s operations through embracing appropriate technology.”

 Minister Chinamasa urged African countries to improve their efficiencies in collecting taxes and duties. He said such efficiencies could be enhanced by preparing the continent to tackle complex tax evasion schemes, which went undetected in the absence of proper skills to gather intelligence and share it across the continent.

“I appreciate the critical role that institutions such as the World Customs Organisations (WCO), African Tax Administration Forum (ATAF), Southern African Development Community (SADC) and Eastern and Southern Africa Money Laundering Group (ESAAMLG) are playing in preparing our countries to mobilise domestic revenue and fight illicit activities,” Minister Chinamasa said.

Minister Chinamasa applauded taxpayers for their contribution to the economy of Zimbabwe.

“It is indeed a momentous occasion where we celebrate responsible citizenship, good corporate governance accountability and real patriotism which are exhibited through paying taxes,” he said.

“Indeed, you are sustaining hospitals, the education sector, the civil service, our infrastructure and several social amenities and services which the Government provide to its people”.

ZIMRA Acting Commissioner General Happias Kuzvinzwa urged African countries to work together to improve the efficiency of their systems.

“Let us exchange information and intelligence, benchmark with each other’s systems and continue to proffer solutions to the challenges our continent faces,” he said. “The efficiency and effectiveness of our systems and keeping abreast with technology will keep us relevant in our respective countries as the revenue administrators,” he said.

RBZ moves on diaspora remittances

Source: RBZ moves on diaspora remittances | The Herald September 26, 2016

Tinashe Makichi Business Reporter
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has engaged a central bank from the region to help it set up a diaspora remittance system aimed at promoting sustainability of the sector, RBZ exchange control director Morris Mpofu has said.

“Diaspora remittances remain a critical source of liquidity in the market and the RBZ will continue to place effective systems to encourage use of formal channels by citizens living outside Zimbabwe.

“Therefore we are currently working on setting up a diaspora remittances system and we are in the process of engaging reputable institutions on the SADC region in undertaking this project,” said Mr Mpofu but declined to mention the identity of the central bank.

It is estimated that about three million Zimbabweans are residing in the Diaspora and there has been growing recognition that migration if managed properly can positively contribute towards national development.

The RBZ, however, has come up with several policy interventions aimed at enticing the diaspora to use formal channels in remitting funds back home.

He said remittances are a stable and significant source of external financing for developing countries, overshadowing official development assistance, private debt and portfolio equity.

India, Israel and Ethiopia have taken advantage of large inflows of remittance to issue diaspora bonds to raise project finance for public sector investment programmes. Israel raised about $25 billion within a 30 year period.

Given the importance of remittances to the country, Mr Mpofu said the RBZ in close collaboration with other Government departments will continuously review policies that govern remittances industry with a view of promoting sustainability of the remittances sector.

“Regrettably, it has not always been easy for Zimbabweans outside the country to send money home. Many have been forced to send via cross border buses and other risky and unreliable methods which resulted in many customers losing the money.

“Sometime this year a team of officials went to India with the aim of understanding how the Indian system on diaspora remittances works. The visit does not necessarily mean that we will end up with a system exactly the same as that of India. Yes there are some good things that we might end up incorporating but the trip to India was just to understand how their systems operate,” said Mr Mpofu.

He added that the RBZ’s new Diaspora Remittances Incentives Scheme is set to reduce the cost of diaspora remittances into the country.

The DRIS, an extension of the central bank’s 5 percent export incentives scheme that was announced earlier this year will come into effect on October 01, 2016.

Mr Mpofu said the 5 percent incentive will benefit both the money transfer agent and the receiver of the funds on the basis of a 2 percent/3 percent split.

“DRIS is in line with the Reserve Bank’s efforts to incentivise all earners of foreign currency in the country, it doesn’t matter whether it’s an exporter of goods, exporter of services, remittances or any free flow of money into the country.

“The five percent DRIS is going to be shared between the company (Authorised dealer with Limited Authority) and the recipient. Three percent is going to go to the recipient and 2 percent to the Authorised Dealer with Limited Authority (ADLA). This is to assist in reducing the cost of receiving and sending remittances.

“The mode of payment is such that the ADLA is expected to prefund the payout. That is why we are giving them the 2 percent, because we know it will be on a reimbursement basis. The Reserve Bank pays the incentive on the basis of money received,” said Mr Mpofu.

He said the five percent DRIS will be implemented on a reimbursement basis which the RBZ will do “within 48 hours of the money having been sent.”

DRIS was announced by RBZ governor Dr John Mangudya earlier this month in the Mid-term Monetary Policy. It is aimed to boost diaspora remittances into the country, which have dipped of late.

Freedom of assembly and association is also a human right!

Heal Zimbabwe condemns the disruption of a Zimbabwe National Students Union (ZINASU) General council meeting by police on 24 September 2016 in Mutare. The General council meeting that was taking place at Forestry Industry Training centre failed to take off after police disrupted the meeting and arrested 19 people. Among those arrested are 18 students and former ZINASU President, Pride Mkono.

Source: Freedom of assembly and association is also a human right! – The Zimbabwean 26.09.2016

Former Student leader, Promise Mukwananzi, who had been invited by the students to address the meeting, was also briefly detained   and told never to set foot in Mutare again. All the 19 arrested are currently at Penhalonga police station. The ZINASU meeting was part of the union’s regular meetings to review the state of tertiary education in Zimbabwe.

Section 58 of the constitution provide for freedom of assembly and association, as such the unlawful arrests are a violation of such a provision. Heal Zimbabwe is increasingly worried by the increase in cases of unlawful arrests of citizens by the police. The arrests of the 19 people come hardly a week after police on 24 September 2016, unlawfully assaulted and arrested 3 women for participating in the  #NERA demonstration.

Heal Zimbabwe implores the government to listen to the concerns of citizens and respect the enjoyment of fundamental human rights and freedoms by citizens. Meanwhile, a Heal Zimbabwe team is currently in Mutare assisting and meeting the immediate needs of the arrested.

To report any human rights violation taking place in your area, feel free to contact Heal Zimbabwe on the following hotline numbers 0779449071/0777462931

Pinocchio paper – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 24th September 2016

Source: Pinocchio paper – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 24th September 2016

Botswana’s President Ian Khama deserves the Nobel prize for doing the unthinkable: telling an African leader to step down because he has passed his sell-by date

The Herald’s reaction is that it is un-African for a fellow African president to criticise Mugabe. So it responds by calling President Khama ‘queer’. That really is ‘un-African’ . . . (see: http://www.herald.co.zw/khama-should-shut-up-on-zimbabwe/).

The Vigil, on behalf of Zimbabweans, apologises to President Khama, who has helped to make his country an island of good governance and prosperity in an ocean of corruption and inefficiency.

President Khama will no doubt already know that Mugabe’s mouthpiece the Herald is like Pinocchio, the puppet in the children’s story whose nose grows longer every time he tells a lie. So he will not be surprised if the Herald’s nose is now so long as to stretch all the way to Botswana.

We believe the Herald would be a worthy winner of the Ig Nobel Prize awarded every year at Harvard university as an alternative to the Nobel Prize. After all,this year an award went to a team for their psychology paper ‘From Junior to Senior Pinocchio; a Cross-Sectional Life Span Investigation of Deception’. They were chosen for ‘asking a thousand liars how often they lie and for deciding whether to believe those answers’.

In fact, the Herald would qualify for two Ig Nobel awards. A second one went to Japanese researchers ‘for investigating whether things looked different when you bend over and view them between your legs’.

British Ambassador Catriona Laing might think that the Herald report on her remarks about the police’s handling of the Harare demonstrations came from between their correspondent’s legs (see: http://www.herald.co.zw/uk-backs-police-stance-on-illegal-demos/). So might the UN view the paper’s report of Mugabe’s ‘mega success’ at the recent New York meeting.

The Ig awards for the Herald would be suitable (and timely) – they carry a cash prize of a Zimbabwean ten trillion dollar note (see http://zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/821-love-rats-in-cheap-trousers-win-prize-for-weird-science).

Other points

  • The Vigil’s petition is now on the petition parliament website: ‘Raise issue of persecution of political activists with Mugabe regime in Zimbabwe. We ask the UK govt to raise the issue of persecution of activists with the Zimbabwe govt. The last election was hugely rigged. Misgovernance & corruption have destroyed the economy resulting in starvation & 90% unemployment. Civil unrest is growing & protesters refused bail & jailed without trial. Linda Masarira, locked up since 6 July on trumped-up charges, has health problems & is the mother of 5 children (youngest 2 yrs). Accused of inciting riots in the female section of Chikurubi prison on 10/9, she was moved to solitary confinement in the dangerous male section – we fear for her safety. Other activists are also still incarcerated, many needing medical care after violent treatment by the police. Both Gift Siziba’s hands are believed to be broken. This vicious persecution must stop.’ You can sign if you are resident in the UK. https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/167277.
  • The Matabeleland South Province of our sister organisation ROHR has been working hard to help the Matobo villagers who are being evicted from their homes to make way for an extension of an Agricultural and Rural Development Authority farm. At least 40 are in police custody after an attempted demonstration against the evictions (for ROHR statement and updates, see: http://www.rohrzimbabwe.org/matobo-villagers-every-right-demonstrate-evictions/ and news story, see: http://bulawayo24.com/index-id-news-sc-regional-byo-96957.html).
  • The next Zimbabwe Action Forum has been postponed to 8th October at 6.15 pm. It will discuss a diaspora initiative on achieving a level playing field for free and fair elections in 2018. We are collecting ideas and you are welcome to email co-ordinator@zimvigi.co.uk with any. The feeling at the Vigil was that any interim authority should not include politicians.
  • We are working on a history of the Vigil. Photos of the Vigil will be taken next week for the book. Please come and take part. Also photos from the earlier years of the Vigil (2002 – 2006) are no longer available. Anyone who has photos from this time please email them to co-ordinator@zimvigil.co.uk. We are looking particularly for photos of Archbishop Pius Ncube’s visit on 24th July 2004 and Roy Bennett’s visit on 6th August 2005.
  • Thanks to those who came early to help set up: Shylette Chipangura, Munyaradzi Garikayi, Kevin Gondo, Isabell Gwatidzo, Josephine Jombe, Jonathan Kariwo, Fungayi Mabhunu, Honest Madondo, Emmanuel Magarira, Phillip Mahlahla, Marian Mangani, Jenniffer Maritsa, Shiella Matiza, Praisego Moyo, Bianca Mpawaenda, Roseline Mukucha, Alfredy Mukuvare, Tracy Mupeti, Cathrine Musa, Emilia Nyamhandu, Tawanda Rusape, Alice Shimika and Maureen and Douglas Tavengwa. Thanks to Roseline, Cathrine, Josephine and Praisego for helping at the front table, to Alfredy, Phillip, Kevin, Honest and Gift Moyo for putting up the banners and preparing the new tarpaulin for the next time it rains and to Bianca and Marian for handing out flyers.

For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website. For videos of Vigils and other events, check the ROHR facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/www.rohrzimbabwe.org/videos?fref=photo.

FOR THE RECORD: 42 signed the register.

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

  • ROHR Birmingham branch meeting. Tuesday 27th September from 11 am – 2 pm. Venue: Strathallan Hotel, 225 Hagley Road, Birmingham B16 9RJ. Contact: Chair: Gladys Muduve 07956430115, Info & Publicity: Tecla Bandawe 074 50507650 and Organising Sec: Janemary Mapfumo 07412310429.
  • Swaziland Vigil. Saturday 1st October from 10 am to 1 pm outside the Swaziland High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB.
  • ROHR National Executive meeting. Saturday 8th October from 12 noon. Venue: Strand Continental Hotel (first floor lounge), 143 Strand, London WC2R 1JA. For directions see below.
  • The Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) is the Vigil’s partner organization based in Zimbabwe. ROHR grew out of the need for the Vigil to have an organization on the ground in Zimbabwe which reflected the Vigil’s mission statement in a practical way. ROHR in the UK actively fundraises through membership subscriptions, events, sales etc to support the activities of ROHR in Zimbabwe. Please note that the official website of ROHR Zimbabwe is http://www.rohrzimbabwe.org/. Any other website claiming to be the official website of ROHR in no way represents us.
  • Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF). Saturday 8th October from 6.15 pm. Venue: Strand Continental Hotel (first floor lounge), 143 Strand, London WC2R 1JA. From the Vigil it’s about a 10 minute walk, in the direction away from Trafalgar Square. The Strand Continental is situated on the south side of the Strand between Somerset House and the turn off onto Waterloo Bridge. The entrance is marked by a sign at street level. It’s between a newsagent and a shop. Nearest underground: Temple (District and Circle lines) and Holborn.
  • Zimbabwe Action Forum (ZAF) meets regularly after the Vigil to discuss ways to help those back in Zimbabwe to fight oppression and achievetrue democracy.
  • Monthly Itai Dzamara protest Saturday 8th October. From 2 – 6 pm outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London. The protest is to mark nineteen months since Dzamara’s abduction by intelligence agents.
  • Zimbabwe Vigil’s 14th Anniversary. On Saturday 15th October we will mark the Vigil’s 14th anniversary.
  • Mike Campbell Foundation Fifth anniversary: Taking Effective Steps to Fight Dictatorship – Restoring Justice, Restoring People.  Wednesday 26th October at 6.30 pm. Venue: the Royal Geographical Society, 1 Kensington Gore, London SW7 2AR. For tickets: https://event.bookitbee.com/8186/mike-campbell-foundation-5-year-anniversary-event/.
  • Zimbabwe Yes We Can Movement holds meetings in London as the political face of ROHR and the Vigil.
  • Zimbabwe Vigil Highlights 2015 can be viewed on this link: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/campaign-news/746-zimbabwe-vigil-highlights-2015. Links to previous years’ highlights are listed on 2015 Highlights page.
  • Facebook pages:

Spring in Zimbabwe

Despite the long dry season (no rain now for 6 months) and the rising temperatures which will exceed 40 degrees Celsius in many parts of the country, the trees are leading the way in declaring that the seasons are changing again. The Msasa trees are coming out with new foliage and this year has been quite spectacular – deep purple to light green and everything in between. The colors are so delicate and when the sun shines through the foliage it is very beautiful. The leaves are shiny with a covering of natural oils designed to limit moisture loss by evaporation.

Source: Spring in Zimbabwe – The Zimbabwean 25.09.2016

This year the flowering trees have been abundant and the first trees to come through – the Bohemia and Dombeya as well as the Knob Thorn are now being followed by others and sometimes the colors are almost florescent. To me this is an indication that the trees and shrubs can sense that this year, the rains will be much better than last year. It seems to work but I have no idea how it can happen.

That is not true of our body politic – the stock market continues to wallow in utter misery. There is almost no investment taking place and nearly all Banks and financial institutions are totally preoccupied with how to stay afloat from a liquidity perspective. Sales are shrinking and capital flight continues unabated. The move from the formal trading systems to informal is actually accelerating as foreign exchange through the banking system dries up.

As far as the State sector is concerned the problems persist, revenues are continuing to shrink and we will be lucky to see total revenues reaching $3,4 billion. The use of phantom money for local transactions continues and even accelerates. The attempt by the Minister of Finance to do something about staff costs – even though they were modest and unlikely to make a significant impact on the problem, have been swept aside by the President who seems to have no idea about just how serious the situation is.

It shows just how low public confidence has gone that people here see no possibility of change. When we were locked in a civil war between 1972 and 1980 and were operating under universal, mandatory UN sponsored sanctions, it was the sight of farmers plouging their lands and preparing for another cropping season that signaled to us that we had hope, there was a future. Now all we see in the rural areas is dry burnt veld. I have never experienced a time when Zimbabweans of all persuasion simply see no chance of a better, brighter future.

Some three weeks ago I wrote a weekly letter where I detailed the bizarre activities of the President – his flight from Swaziland at midnight, his unscheduled arrival in Dubai the following day and said that in my view he could not come back from this. Indeed he has not recovered from this trip and even his strongest supporters in the Party are saying that he must retire. He is becoming the subject of ridicule in the country and abroad.

But everyone asks who will push him into retirement – if it is not done by international or regional pressure then the street might do so and that would be both violent and humiliating for the man who was once so dominant in our affairs and in Africa. The key question is just where is the leadership of regional States when it is needed most? Khama has at least come out and stated the obvious and called for Mr. Mugabe to retire.

Our Church leadership has also come off the benches on the sidelines and joined the fray – some calling this week for the President to retire and hand over to new leaders who can take the country forward. The main denominations have asked to see the President and even the Pope is reputed to be sending out someone to try and talk sense into him. But in the court of public opinion, none of this is seen as going to work and the depression continues and even deepens.

A country that has no vision dies and that is precisely the problem at this moment and time in Zimbabwe. All that we can see is not the new leaves and flowers in the trees, just the stark, bare, dry ground and the veld scorched by wild fires. The heat of the sun suggests that all we can expect is more of the same.

But the reality is that the seasons do change – every year and we can rely and plan on that basis. When we were at our lowest in the war and I really thought that Ian Smith would lead us into an Armageddon, we had the intervention of Henry Kissinger – only now do we appreciate how amazing that was at the time – the Secretary of State for the most powerful country in the world taking the time to visit the region and deal with our delinquent leadership.

Even then it was the South Africans who held the key to the future and it was pressure on South Africa to deal with Ian Smith and force his removal from effective leadership that was needed. After that meeting Smith played no further significant role in the affairs of the country or in the resolution of the war.

In Burma or Myanmar as it is now known, there seemed to be no solution to the continued control of an unelected Military Junta who had ruled the country for decades. Then suddenly the Chinese withdrew their support and protection of the Junta and in secret talks a road map to democratic elections was agreed and then implemented. The result: new leadership and fundamental change.

In Zimbabwe the problem is that no one sees any prospect of any sort of international intervention. South Africa is totally preoccupied with its own problems and exhibits very little appetite for any sort of intervention in our affairs. The international Community, caught up in the Middle East and in the global migration crisis, is also preoccupied and a silly little State like Zimbabwe with an annual turnover of a small town, is really not worth the time of day, especially as we are not killing each other – at least not yet.

We have short memories and it must be recalled that when we were at our lowest in 2007/2008 that the President of South Africa intervened in our affairs and very effectively. He steered the negotiations held behind closed doors and oversaw the emergence of a new Government in 2009 that had a good chance of implementing the required reforms needed to restore our future. He was kicked out of office just two days after swearing in the new Government and his successor did not follow through and the effort failed.

Now we are back to square one and see nothing that might bring change. Surely that is precisely where the dry arid bushveld in Zimbabwe finds itself – no sign of rain, just relentless heat. Yet the trees dredge up the resources they need for revival from deep underground and the result is splashes of color and new growth. That is what we need to do right now, dig deep and carry on, in fact go beyond that – prepare for the new days and the new season that is surely coming. Not sure how or where from, but it is coming.

British Ambassador under fire

Source: British Ambassador under fire | The Sunday Mail September 24, 2016

Britain continues its stance to further scuttle any economic re-engagement with Zimbabwe with parliamentarians in London seething with anger after their Ambassador in Harare arranged a meeting between Government and a British businessman.

The Sunday Mail has gathered that the chief diplomat to Zimbabwe, Ambassador Catriona Liang, has come under fire for her role in facilitating former United Kingdom cabinet minister Lord Peter Benjamin Mandelson’s visit to Zimbabwe early this year.

Lord Mandelson visited Zimbabwe to thrash out a deal to provide private financial assistance for Zimbabwe to raise over US$1 billion needed to repay arrears to international finance lending institutions that include the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

The Briton met Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa among other key Government economic officials

The visit was made possible by Ambassador Liang’s office, leading to a tentative arrangement for Lord Mandelson to assist Zimbabwean authorities raise the bail-out package.

Lord Mandelson heads Lazard, a New York Stock Exchange-listed financier.

Ambassador Liang’s role has however irked a number of British parliamentarians who argue that her conduct was contrary to the British government’s position to block any direct financial assistance to Harare.

Ms Liang, an economist, has spent much of her career in Africa serving in Botswana, Kenya, Sudan and Somalia.

Clearance of the arrears will see Zimbabwe becoming eligible for accessing new funding from the Bretton Woods institutions.

During a recent question and answer session in the British Upper House — the House of Lords — several British MPs took senior minister and former Scottish leader, Baroness Goldie to task over the role of Ambassador Liang in arranging the Harare meeting.

During the session, Liberal Democrats representative, Baroness Falkner of Margravine made it clear that Ambassador Liang was out of line in facilitating the visit.

“My Lords, perhaps I may draw the noble Baroness’s attention to the original point of this question,” Baroness Falkner said.

“I myself have benefited from facilitation by our embassies and missions abroad, as many other Members of the House of Lords may have done.

“However, does she not accept that there was a slight error of judgment on the part of our high commissioner in Zimbabwe in facilitating a well-known lobbying group to carry out business on behalf of a financial institution with a Government who are legendary only for their human rights abuses and deep financial corruption?”

In response, Baroness Annabel Goldie, who was responding on behalf of the British government, admitted that Ambassador Liang facilitated the meeting.

“If the noble Baroness is alluding to the reference by the noble Lord, Lord Oates, to the visit by the noble Lord, Lord Mandelson, I should make it clear that the noble Lord visited Zimbabwe in a personal capacity in February of this year. He had been in a private engagement in South Africa,” Baroness Goldie said.

“He simply asked the British government if he could be helpful in promoting their objectives in Zimbabwe and, given his experience, our government said that he could reinforce the case for reform, which I think is what we all want to see.

“To that end, the British embassy in Harare facilitated the meeting, which was attended by the British Ambassador.

“It was constructive and focused on the need for economic and rule-of-law forms. That is precisely the kind of dialogue that is essential if we are to see any progress made,” she said.

Earlier, Lord Oates had also taken Minister Goldie to task over the role of the British Embassy in arranging the Harare meeting.

He said: “I am grateful to the minister for her answer. She will be aware of the deep disquiet among people in Zimbabwe at the news that the British embassy in Harare had facilitated a meeting this year between the noble Lord, Lord Mandelson, chairman of Lazard International, and Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa.

“Will the minister therefore give an unambiguous statement to this House, and more importantly to the Zanu-PF regime, that we as a people and a government will oppose any further funds to the Zimbabwean Government until they have demonstrated a sustained adherence to the Constitution of Zimbabwe and an end to the gross human rights abuses of the people of Zimbabwe?”

In response, Baroness Goldie admitted that, “I should point out to the noble Lord that we have an ambassadorial presence in Harare, and that is very important. It is a necessary diplomatic conduit for the work that the British Government do, not in funding the Zimbabwean Government but, for example, in providing invaluable help for infrastructure projects by working with implementing partners and NGOs.

“However, at the end of the day, what other financial institutions choose to do with a foreign government is not really under the control of the British Government.”

A statement released by the British Embassy in Harare in the wake of the visit last month read: “Lord Mandelson visited Zimbabwe as an extension of a private visit in South Africa. Lord Mandelson asked the Foreign and Commonwealth Office if he could be of assistance in promoting UK government objectives in Zimbabwe.

“Given Lord Mandelson’s experience as a senior UK minister and European Union Commissioner for Trade, we agreed he could help reinforce the case for economic reform with the Government of Zimbabwe.

“To this end, the British Embassy in Harare facilitated a meeting with Finance Minister, Patrick Chinamasa, at which Lord Mandelson was accompanied by the British ambassador.”

Lord Mandelson was later ordered by the British Parliament to explain his visit to Zimbabwe.

British newspaper The Telegraph quoted Labour MP and chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Zimbabwe, Kate Hoey, saying Lord Mandelson will be asked to disclose whether the British Foreign Office paid for his visit to Harare and what was discussed during the meetings with Minister Chinamsa.

She said: “I think it is important for the Foreign Office to be open and transparent about who paid for Lord Mandelson’s trip and what involvement they had in making it happen.

“They should also explain why the British Ambassador arranged for him to see the Zimbabwean Finance Minister and accompanied him to his meeting.

“In particular, there should be openness about why and what capacity Lord Mandelson met the Finance Minister – and what, if anything, came out of that meeting.”

The African Export-Import Bank and Lazard are mobilising US$1,1 billion to help Zimbabwe clear its arrears with the World Bank.

Zimbabwe owes external creditors about US$10 billion, with arrears to the World Bank, African Development Bank and IMF at US$1,15 billion, US$600 million and US$110 million respectively.

The three global financiers want Zimbabwe to settle these arrears.

VAT revenue collections jump 50pc on fiscalisation

Source: VAT revenue collections jump 50pc on fiscalisation | The Sunday Mail September 24, 2016

Munyaradzi Mlambo
THE Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) has recorded an over 50 percent increase in Value Added Tax (VAT) collections on local sales in the first seven months of the year, compared to the same period last year after connecting most fiscal devices installed in 2010 and 2011 directly to its servers. Fiscal tax registers record financial transactions from businesses and transmits the data in real time to tax collectors.

Experts believe that the spike in revenue collections, especially after the gadgets were introduced, could possibly mean that there have been leakages in the tax collection system. Last week, Zimra board chairperson Mrs Willia Bonyongwe told The Sunday Mail Business that the success of fiscalisation pushed Government to widen its tax bracket to categories that are either paying VAT through manual returns or are non-compliant.

“You are aware that Zimra has now connected most of the fiscal devices installed in 2010/2011 directly to their servers. This had a positive impact on VAT collections because it not only increases compliance but it mitigates against under declarations. “VAT on domestic sales rose by more than 50 percent during the first seven months of 2016 compared to 2015. This was most notable from May 2016.

“Therefore, this is now being extended to other categories who are currently either paying VAT through manual returns or are non-compliant,” said Mrs Bonyongwe. Government recently proposed to extend the fiscalisation programme to category A, B and D taxpayers from January 2017.

The categories cover VAT registered operators whose annual turnover is less than US$240 000. Category A and B is for operators who submit VAT returns bi-monthly, while category D is for VAT registered operators who submit VAT returns in any other month as approved by the Commissioner-General of Zimra. The first phase of fiscalisation is scheduled to be completed this month.

Expanding the exercise has raised expectations Government will be able to shore up the national purse. According to Mrs Bonyongwe, broadening fiscalisation will enhance monitoring of the sales transactions, improve enforcement and compliance and at the same time eliminate corruption and VAT fraud.

“It will also preserve sales records for audit purposes as the information obtained is in electronic and standard format, which is easier to analyse when doing audits,” she added. During the first six months of the year, the country’s tax collections missed the target by more than 12 percent as most of the tax heads underperformed.

Apart from introducing electronic tax registers, fiscalisation also involves installing gadgets such as electronic printers and electronic signature devices. Government made fiscalisation legally enforceable through Statutory Instrument 104 of 2010 on June 8, 2010. In Tanzania, there has been an appreciable increase in revenue collections after the Tanzianian Revenue Authority compelled retailers to install fiscal devices.

As a result, tax collections for Arusha improved by 9,6 percent between 2010 and 2011 and 23 percent for 2011 to 2012. Due to the full deployment of the electronic tax register, Tanzania expected to ramp up collections to US$370 million (600 billion shillings) a month, up from US$250 million (400 million shillings) in 2014.

Italian spies sneak in

Source: Italian spies sneak in – Sunday News September 24, 2016

Harare Bureau
FIVE Italians, known for operating in political hotbeds such as Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq and Libya recently sneaked into the country pretending to be eye specialists on a mission to provide eye specialist services at St Albert Mission, raising suspicion that some European countries have upped their spy missions in Zimbabwe.

Reports of the five Italians who stayed in the country for over a month emerged following last week’s revelations that two British spies sneaked into the country early this month, pretending to be aviation security experts. Government has since refuted claims that the British spies were in the country to assist in aviation security issues.

Details at hand show that the five Italians led by Kara McNamara arrived in the country on 3 August, 2016 and left on 17 September, 2016 after camouflaging themselves as eye specialists at St Albert Mission Hospital in Mashonaland Central Province.

Our Harare Bureau established that Government authorities raised eyebrows over the McNamara team’s visit since it was not cleared by the Ministries of Health and Child Care as well as Foreign Affairs. A track record of McNamara’s movements show that the team was picked at an airstrip at Nyamanyeche Game Range that lies between Guruve and Centenary by one of the heads at St Albert’s Mission Hospital.

It has emerged that despite the team claiming they were in Zimbabwe to offer medical assistance, they never conducted any health work. Information shows the suspected spies visited Guruve, Mbire, Rushinga, Mt Darwin, Hoya, Chimhanda and Kanyemba lodges. Probed by Government authorities over the purpose of the suspected spies, Catholic leaders in Mashonaland Central defended the team saying they did not need clearance from Government since they were doing humanitarian work.

Government sources said; “They (McNamara and team) previously served in Afghanistan, Iraq and in Lybia in 2010. In January, they were in Syria. They came under Jesuits sponsorship and some of them are either serving or retired from the Italian army.”

Health and Child Care Permanent Secretary Retired Brigadier-General Dr Gerald Gwinji yesterday said he was unaware of the visit by the Italians.

“I am not aware of such a team. It could be that the hospital had its arrangements, but I don’t know much about that,” he said.

Contacted for comment, one of the heads at St Albert’s Dr Julia Musariri professed ignorance over McNamara’s visit. “I don’t know anything about that,” she said before hanging up the phone.

The revelations come at a time British Ambassador to Zimbabwe Ms Catriona Laing is alleged to have lied about suspected British spies who sneaked into the country early this month. A Cabinet Minister last week dismissed her claims that the visit was linked to the aviation sector. The revelations give further evidence that the suspected undercover agents came to Harare as part of Britain’s plot to subvert the Government through sponsoring opposition parties and shadowy “hashtag movements”.

Transport and Infrastructure Development Minister Dr Joram Gumbo who superintends the aviation sector denied that Government had made any correspondence with the dubious duo.

Adamson and Birnie visited Zimbabwe on 5 September and alert authorities raised the raised flag about the clandestine visit.

The two British operatives are understood to be known for engineering violent street “protests” in North and West Africa and it is believed that they visited Zimbabwe on a similar mission as the West ratcheted its plot to destabilise the country by sponsoring civil unrest. Dr Gumbo said, “I have no knowledge whatsoever of those two and I only read it in the newspaper. If they were indeed working on issues to do with aviation, I would have been in a position to know.”

Zinwa decends on Govt departments, local authorities

Source: Zinwa decends on Govt departments, local authorities – Sunday News September 24, 2016

Chakanyuka, Sunday News Reporter
THE Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) has handed over its debtors to debt collectors as it intensifies efforts to recover more than $134 million it is owed in unpaid water bills.

Part of the debt dates back to 2009 when the country adopted the multi-currency system. Among some of Zinwa’s biggest debtors are Government departments, local authorities and farmers. The trio owes the water authority a combined $104 million, which is about 77 percent of the total debt owed to Zinwa.

The Government departments owe $38 million, while local authorities and farmers each owe the water authority about $33 million. Other debtors include domestic users ($11 million), parastatals ($7 million) mining companies ($5,7 million) schools ($1,5 million) and industry ($988 000).

Zinwa has since engaged four debt collectors who have been allocated different catchment areas where they will be operating from. Flaintop Business Consultancy will be operating in Gwayi, Mzingwane and Sanyati catchment areas, Matsika Legal Practitioners in Save catchment area, Mavhiringidze Law Chambers in Runde catchment area and Chirenje Legal Practitioners Mazowe-Manyame catchment area.

Zinwa corporate communications and marketing manager Mrs Marjorie Munyonga told Sunday News that engagement of debt collectors was part of a raft of measures to recover the money. She said the local authority was also considering disconnecting defaulters.

“The appointment of debt collectors is one of a wide range measures that the authority has instituted as it moves in to ensure that all those who receive service, pay for the commodity. Some of the measures we are employing include engaging our debtors, approaching the courts and as a last resort disconnecting water supply. We are however emphasising on engagement with our debtors,” she said.

Mrs Munyonga lamented the nonpayment of water bills, a development she said had resulted in a number of operational challenges.

She said the money being collected was not enough for the water authority to meet its statutory responsibilities.

“As a result Zinwa has been left to operate on a hand-to-mouth basis, a situation that has severely hamstrung its ability to timely repair and rehabilitate water supply infrastructure, pay for critical requirements such as water treatment chemicals, electricity and plant spares.

“The authority is also struggling to pay its statutory obligations such as taxes, levies, NSSA contributions, protective clothing for employees and monthly salaries. The authority therefore appeals to all those with outstanding bills to take urgent steps towards retiring their debts,” she said.

Despite Zinwa writing off debts of around $55 million in August 2013 following a Government directive the move has not helped inspire the authority’s debtors to pay up.

In January last year, Zinwa was owed about $103 million but the amount went to $115 million by the end of that year before the debt ballooned to $134 million this year as the water authority’s clients continue to default.

Mrs Munyonga said clients who had quarries regarding the status of their accounts were free to visit respective Zinwa catchment offices.She also urged owing clients to make payment plans with Zinwa to clear their debts.

Cost of living increases slightly

Source: Cost of living increases slightly – Sunday News September 24, 2016

Dickson Mangena, Business Reporter
THE cost of living as measured by the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ) for low-income urban earners has slightly increased by 0,52 percent with a monthly basket for a family of six increasing from $567,91 in July to $ 571,14 in August.

The consumer watchdog said the food basket increased by $2,12 or 1,73 percent from $122,60 in July to $124,72 in August while the price of detergents increased by $0,84 or 7,43 percent from $11,31 to $12,15.

“As CCZ we assume that the slight increase could be attributed to various factors and these include the current cash shortages, the schools opening and fluctuating fuel prices,” said CCZ.

Most commodity prices increased while just a few decreased or did not change in prices.

“Increases in prices was recorded in margarine by $0,10 from $0,85 to $0,95, cooking oil by $0,05 from $1,35 to $1,40, rice by $0,11 from $1,59 to $1,70, onion by $0,28 from $1,20 to $1,48, bath soap by $0,06 from $0,69 to $0,75, mealie-meal by $0,15 from $10,80 to 10,95, meat by $0,25 from $3,50 to $3,75, salt by $0,03 from $0,23 to $0,26 and laundry bar by $0,15 from $1,05 to $1,20,” said CCZ.

It noted that decreases were recorded in bread which went down by $0,05 from $0,75 to $0,70 and flour by $0,04 from $1,73 to $1,69 while the price of milk, sugar, tomatoes, tea leaves, cabbage and washing powder remained unchanged.

“The CCZ continues to encourage consumers to shop conscientiously and to always buy certified products. Where the products are not certified, the consumers should exercise their right to information by carefully examining if the products they are purchasing are well labelled, packaged and provided with vital information such as manufacturing and expiry dates and ingredients used in the make-up of the products.”

The survey is conducted twice during the first and the last weeks of every month. The total cost of the food basket and the price of each commodity are arrived at by averaging prices gathered from retail outlets throughout the country.

Price controls Bill gazetted

Source: Price controls Bill gazetted – Sunday News September 24, 2016

Harare Bureau
WANTON overpricing of goods and services is set to be thing of the past following gazetting of the National Competitiveness Commission (NCC) Bill last Friday.

The Bill provides the framework to reduce prices of goods and services in the economy by encouraging competitiveness and improving the ease of doing business. Gazetting of the Bill also paves way for the repeal of the National Incomes and Pricing Act Chapter 14:32.

There has been concern that goods and services are overpriced in many sectors of the economy and, once in force, the NCC will ensure fair pricing across the board.

According to the Bill, the NCC will develop policies to make Zimbabwe competitive on a global scale. Part six of the Bill reads:

“The functions of the Commission shall be to… develop, co-ordinate and implement key income and pricing policies that will enhance Zimbabwe’s global competitiveness; monitor evolving sector specific subjects and strategies for enhancing Zimbabwe’s global competitiveness.”

The NCC states that the Commission will also monitor any tariff or price hike for services such as electricity, water as well as police fines.

“The function of the Commission will be to …review all price changes by the Government, statutory corporations and local authorities when charging or levying user fees, rates penalties and fines payable by the public and clients,” states the Bill.

Other functions of the Bill include “to continuously monitor the cost drivers in the business and economic environment… to provide a platform for dialogue between the public and private sector, labour, academia, and non-state actors on the subject of competitiveness.”

The Bill highlights that the Commission will compile an annual national report on competitiveness as well develop periodic competitiveness frameworks and strategies. Under the Bill, services public and private entities are compelled to provide information that may be required by the Commission pertaining to issues on competitiveness.

Most products and services in Zimbabwe are overpriced owing to a combination of factors that include high costs of doing business, borrowing and a culture of profiteering inherited from the hyperinflationary era. The appreciation of the US dollar against other currencies on the globe has also led to Zimbabwe’s products to be priced higher in comparison to the region, leading to influx of imports from neighbouring countries.

Studies show that the economic successes of developed countries such as the United States, Brazil, United Arab Emirates, Ireland and South Korea has been benchmarked on sound competitiveness frameworks. An international expert on competitiveness Mr Kevin Murphy recently told our Harare Bureau that Zimbabwe should strategise for competitiveness to ensure economic growth. Mr Murphy said in Africa only a few countries such as Tanzania, Rwanda, Egypt and South Africa have standardised competitiveness frameworks.

Bond notes unnerve potential investors

Source: Bond notes unnerve potential investors – The Standard September 25, 2016

The impending bond notes appear to have scared away prospective investors who have now adopted a wait-and-see attitude — waiting to see how the market will react to the pseudo currency.

BY TATIRA ZWINOIRA

In his mid-term monetary policy review, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor John Mangudya said bond notes in denominations of $2 and $5 would be issued next month as part of the $200 million export incentive facility guaranteed by the African Export-Import Bank.

He said bond notes worth $75 million would be in circulation by the end of December.

Sources told Standardbusiness that research had shown that investors were afraid to take out money from their investment with bond notes in circulation.

“Foreign investors are going to be spooked by the spectre of this [bond notes] being somewhat of a backdoor entry of the Zimbabwe dollar. They cannot understand it as it is of no value to them. For them, what makes Zimbabwe attractive right now is the fact that they can get dollars. So, any threat to that scenario frightens them and they become uneasy,” the source said.

The source said the announcement of the arrival of the bond notes came when investors were already expressing anxiety after Cabinet rubbished proposals by Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa to cut salaries and suspend bonuses for civil servants as a way to create more fiscal space for government.

Cross-border traders said bond notes had to be convertible 1:1 with the United States dollar, failure of which would result in the immediate emergence of the black market for the greenback.

“If the bond notes are not readily convertible to the United States dollar, this will force traders to start looking for foreign currency itself as opposed to bond notes because local traders rely on foreign currency,” said Zimbabwe Cross-Border Traders’ Association secretary-general Augustine Tawanda.

About 3 840 cross border traders are believed to be leaving the country on a daily basis to buy goods for resale.
Financial analyst Persistence Gwanyanya said the export incentive facility would partly alleviate cash shortages in the local economy, which had been losing significant sums of money through illicit financial outflows.

“In its original sense, localising some portion of the currency would make economic sense as it minimises the occurrence of externalisation. The country lost an estimated $1,8 billion in illicit financial outflows in 2015, which is more than 30% of total deposits and this is unsustainable,” he said.

“This [export incentive] concept supported by the current and capital account controls in place together with increased uptake of plastic money will go a long way in improving the cash situation in the country.”

Gwanyanya said there was no reason to insist on the dollar usage in local transactions, adding that no country in the world would sustain such a situation.

RBZ insists that bond notes are an anti-money laundering measure as depositors were holding onto the cash. RBZ said between May and September, the banking sector exported $250 million but the bulk of it was being held outside the banking system.

Gwanyanya said there should be measures to sustainably rebalance the economy towards increased production and exports, while reducing consumption and reliance on imports.

“There should be more focus on production at the moment, especially given the high levels of consumption in Zimbabwe,” he said.

Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ) executive director Rosemary Siyachitema said there was need for more education about bond notes.

“I think that more and more people are getting to understand what is intended by the bond notes and how they will flow into the economic system, just as the bond coins did. However, I think there is need for more education as consumers learn more about bond notes. We [CCZ] are going to ensure that it is part and parcel of consumer education,” Siyachitema said.

Retailers have said they will embrace bond notes the same way they accommodated bond coins.

Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers president Denford Mutashu said the fact that the bond notes would be at par with the dollar and the setting up of an independent bond to ensure that bond notes would not exceed the $200 million guarantee had removed scepticism over the currency.

“The export incentive stands to boost local production and create more employment opportunities for the people who, in turn, will increase our customer base that has been shrinking,” Mutashu said.

Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries president Busisa Moyo said the lack of cash impeded business activity and in the first half of the year, most businesses went down by 15% to 30% on volumes.

“Having a widely accepted medium of exchange improves economic activity so the festive season and opening of schools next year should see a more liquid economy which can actually purchase goods,” he said.

“Swiping and plastic money penetration is still very low and below 10% of the active population.”

However, Moyo said the incentive should have come in the form of the South African rand.

Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce president Davison Norupiri said he expected that as time passed, the bond notes would be accepted by the business community.

“If they are distributed and sent into the market, according to what he [Mangudya] said, it is really not going to be that bad to the economy. There is going to be liquidity and obviously the queues will be wiped out from the banks. But at the same time, there are people who always try and be careful with the way they trade,” Norupiri said.

Exports, which contribute over 60% of the liquidity flows into the country, totalled $1,12 billion for the first half of the year, a decline of 9% from $1,23 billion recorded in the same period last year.

RBZ has also put a 2,5 to 5% incentive to drive remittances amid indications that $1 billion was being channelled through the informal system annually.

Zim must now stand on its own: Chinamasa

Source: Zim must now stand on its own: Chinamasa – The Standard September 25, 2016

Finance minister, Patrick Chinamasa on Friday hinted that Zimbabwe had been abandoned by the international financial institutions on whom it had pinned its hopes for economic revival and was now literally on its own.

BY TATIRA ZWINOIRA

The minister indicated in his speech that the country would have to stand on its own in terms of sourcing critical credit lines. He all but appeared to have given up on his earlier attempts to implement cost-cutting reforms as a condition demanded by the international community for financial bail-out.

Speaking at a Zimra Taxpayer’s Appreciation Awards ceremony on Friday, Chinamasa said with little prospects of getting external support, the government now needed to seriously step up efforts to get money from the informal sector to fill in the gaps.

This comes amid reports that investors have adopted a wait and see attitude in the wake of worrying and unusual policy shifts from government — the latest being the trashing of Chinamasa’s proposal to cut the civil service wage bill. The Finance minister had proposed to cut the number of civil servants, their allowances as well as suspending bonuses for two years.

Within days of the announcement of these proposals, the minister had been shot down by a fellow Cabinet minister, who declared Chinamasa’s proposals had no Cabinet approval and were therefore null and void.

Chinamasa said the African Union had encouraged African economies to intensify domestic mobilisation efforts as development aid might be a thing of the past.

“What this means is that as individual countries, we can no longer rely on development assistance to support our budgets. In the case of Zimbabwe, we have not had any budgetary support from outside for a very long time,” he said.
“In truth, therefore, we are on our own. We now have to seriously look at domestic mobilisation as paramount to our economic development. Talking about domestic resource mobilisation, the issue that comes to my mind has been that of the structural shift that is taking place in Zimbabwe’s economy over the past 20 years.”

The structural shift Chinamasa was referring to was to do with the economy turning into an informal market, making it the main contributor to government revenue.

Economic experts and analysts said Chinamasa’s statement that the country was now on its own referred to the tripartite partners, namely, The World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF) and African Development Bank, which had promised to revive funding to Zimbabwe.

The government effectively disregarded the tripartite partners by not implementing conditions set by the three preferred lenders to cut the civil service wage bill that consumes over 97% of government revenue.

This has come as a potential capital injection of $5 billion, according to financial experts, was expected.

Economist John Robertson said the country had not done enough to demonstrate why it deserved help from the international community.

“How do proposals that are agreed upon with Cabinet later get reversed? We are on our own in respect of international bodies like the IMF and the World Bank, but we are receiving humanitarian aid. The minister is not admitting that we are receiving a charity as it would mean admitting to failure,” Robertson said.

However, contrary to Chinamasa’s statement, aid organisations have been keeping the country alive, with USAid being the biggest aid contributor, having spent $2,6 billion over a 36-year-period to date.

The second biggest donor is the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development aid organisation which has given hundreds of millions of dollars over the years.

The increasing headaches of his job seem to be weighing heavily on Chinamasa’s mind after he said he hardly slept owing to the downturn of the economy.

“I yearn for the day I can have a good night’s sleep. I can only have that good night’s sleep when our economy is performing, which is when all our economic players are generating sustainable business levels. I will also go to sleep when we are generating sufficient resources to support government programmes,” said Chinamasa.

Given Friday’s position put in the open by Chinamasa, Zimbabwe may be facing a real possibility of prolonged and deepening economic woes.

Epworth residents recount the horror of police gun shots

Source: Epworth residents recount the horror of police gun shots – The Standard September 25, 2016

Many residents of Epworth are still trying to come to terms with events of last Saturday and many are yet to recover from the trauma they suffered the day when armed police stormed their neighbourhood to stem anti-government protests.

By XOLISANI NCUBE

The police ended up firing live bullets into the air to disperse the protesters as they were getting overwhelmed by the increasing numbers. The protests were organised by the National Election Reform Agenda (Nera).

Julo Marufu (34) — an informal trader at Solani business centre in Epworth — last week recounted the frightful incident as if it had just happened.
“I had never heard the sound of a gun in my entire life, especially from close range like what happened last Saturday. All along I had imagined that a gun is used in a war situation until last week,” a scared Marufu narrated with a quiver in his voice.

He said he witnessed the incident unravelling as if it was a movie on a giant screen.

“It was around mid-day when I saw a group of people gathered in front of those shops [pointing towards Solani shops]. They were singing anti-government songs. As they moved towards here, [heading to the east of the shopping centre], I saw a group of around 15 police officers who were on foot, trying to get into a kombi to go and stop these protestors, but the kombi driver refused to take them there,” Marufu said.

“They passed here [approximately 45 metres from the shops] with one police officer whom I know and identified [name supplied] from Dombo Police Station holding a gun in his hands. I did not mind them because they did not provoke me at all. After five or so minutes, I walked towards the main road to see what was happening as I heard noises from the protestors shouting Hatidi! Hatidi! Hatitye! [We don’t want! We don’t want! We are not afraid]. As I was on the road, I saw, with my own eyes, this officer [name supplied] standing at that turn off to Kubatana Primary School firing in the air. I heard two shots.”

He added: “I was frightened and in a split of a second, I made many decisions; but my primary concern and fear was for my six-year-old child who was playing along the road. I looked around but could not find him. Everyone dispersed immediately and I could not remain standing there.”

“I ran for my dear life, but in my mind, the safety of my child mattered the most. Thank God he had sought refuge at a certain house and I heard him crying uncontrollably because the gun was fired while he looked. He saw the officer pulling the trigger and even today, he can dramatise it for you. It’s horrifying,” Marufu said.

Although the police have refuted reports of guns having been fired, Marufu said it was surprising because “everyone saw it”.

“I don’t think we have reached that point that would demand the use of guns, especially when no one has been attacked. If they are saying they did not use the gun, why did that officer and his colleagues patrol this area armed like that? It’s very bad to say the least,” he said.

“I had respect for the police and even sympathised with them whenever they were attacked by these protestors, but after what they did last week, they have lost my confidence.”

During the protest, The Standard reporters witnessed an incident where police intercepted the demonstrators but when they saw several pockets of determined resistance they fired shots into the air. They only managed to break the demonstration after threatening to fire live bullets at the demonstrators.

Although the law does not prescribe when to use a firearm during a riotous situation, constitutional law expect Lovemore Madhuku said generally, the wanton use of guns was discouraged by the Public Order and Security Act.

“They are not allowed by the law even to display those arms when dealing with demonstrations, save when the situation becomes deadly. But that decision [to say the situation has become deadly] is not prescribed. It has to be a reasonable situation,” Madhuku said.

“The law safeguards and upholds public safety first so that no police officer is reckless with any weapon he is armed with.”

Another Epworth resident, Damson Damson said it was shameful police were denying that they opened fire to wad off protestors.

“If they think that using a gun will intimidate us from stopping demanding electoral reforms, they are fooling themselves. They can kill us if they so wish but our demands will not be reversed,” he said.

Stella Mpofu (60), another vendor operating from Solani business centre, said she could tell a sound of a gun from that of a fired tear gas canister.

“We saw everything happening. Some of us were born pre-independence and are survivors of the armed struggle. We saw guns and lived with them,” she said.

“The officer with a gun was not putting on anti-riot regalia. He was smartly dressed and we can even tell you where he stays because we deal with them daily.”

Mpofu said while she was not afraid of guns, she feared for the safety of children.

“They should stop being reckless like that. It is surprising that the officer failed to control the gun when he fired. It sounded as if it was on automatic and he was struggling to manage it. It’s a pity,” she said.

National Police spokesperson, Chief Superintendent Paul Nyathi was not responding to calls and messages sent on his mobile phone last week.

Cash shortages cripple mobile money

The prevailing cash shortages have suffocated mobile money subscribers, who are failing to get their money or do cash-out transactions.

Source: Cash shortages cripple mobile money – The Standard September 25, 2016

BY VICTORIA MTOMBA

The crisis, which now makes it almost impossible for subscribers to make cash-out transactions even for as little as $5, is a setback to the financial inclusion plan. Mobile money was touted as the key driver to financial inclusion by virtue of its wide network coverage.

A survey conducted by Standardbusiness last week revealed that customers were failing to cash out money they would have received through the mobile money platform as the agents did not have cash to disburse to customers.

A mobile money agent named Peter (not his real name), said his business, like any other business, was affected by the cash challenges prevailing in the country.

“The net effect of that is that it affects our commission because the more transactions that one does, the more the agent earns. Yes, there are some agents who are now double charging customers $2 for every $100 withdrawn in addition to the cash-out charge. So for every $100 cashed out, one is charged $5. This has been happening with EcoCash agents only because they are the ones with a wider network coverage. It’s illegal to double charge clients but if customers resist that, they will not be able to access the cash,” Peter said.

He said that some agents that were connected had become cash barons, selling cash to desperate Zimbabweans.

Standardbusiness heard that support banks which included Steward Bank used to give EcoCash agents cash but they had since stopped as some of the agents were “spinning” the cash and not taking it back to the banks.

“The agents were getting cash from the bank but they were not depositing the money back. They would do Real Time Gross Settlement transfers to their agent accounts and then collect the cash as if they wanted to serve clients and yet they would go on to sell the money to other people,” the source said.

In the past, a support bank branch could disburse as much as $300 000 a day to agents.

People in the rural areas have been hardest hit, amid claims that agents were giving subscribers part of their money in the form of groceries.

Econet Wireless Zimbabwe spokesperson Lovemore Nyatsine said the liquidity constraints in the country had not spared the mobile money transfer sector, but said he was not aware that some agents were putting an extra charge on subscribers who wanted to make cash-out transactions.

“Our customers are automatically charged displayed applicable tariffs only, regardless of the cash limitations. All agents have strict operating guidelines that they must adhere to and they sign contracts with clear penalties for any activities which are illegal. We take any malpractices seriously to protect our customers,” he said in responses to inquiries by Standardbusiness.

Nyatsine could not disclose how much money was given to agents by support banks.

“Although it is the responsibility of agents to ensure that their agency business is liquid, EcoCash and the Econet Group are playing an active role to link agents with the core support banks for liquidity support. Steward bank offers low cost float loans to EcoCash agents and this offering has always assisted agents in remaining liquid.”

Nyatsine said Econet would continue partnering with local companies and retailers who appreciated the benefit of using EcoCash merchants.

“…we continue investing in appropriate technologies that lessen the reliance on cash for day-to-day transactions like POS [point of sale] machines and other electronic platforms.”

Telecel Zimbabwe Public Relations, Corporate Social Responsibility manager Francis Chimanda said the company accessed cash from banks subject to availability. He said the daily withdrawal limit was too low to service its wide agency network.

“Due to the nationwide cash shortages, our agents are struggling to access cash from the affiliate banks to rebalance their float levels. In the event that they do get cash, the withdrawal limits are also a hindrance as they do not provide enough cash for agents to run our service. In addition, the balance between cash-ins and cash-outs is lopsided, hence the need to constantly approach the banks for cash,” Chimanda said.

He said the continual unavailability of cash should push subscribers to embrace a “cashless society” using debit cards, pay merchants via the platform, pay bills and pay each other via the platform without handling physical cash.

Zimbabwe has been grappling with cash shortages since the beginning of the year. Bank queues have become a common feature at most banks, forcing most of them to place a $100 limit on withdrawals. The crisis has also resulted in the disappearance of big denomination notes like the $100 note.

RBZ has come up with measures that include reducing bank charges to drive the usage of plastic money.

Mobile money subscriptions during the first quarter of this year stood at 8 061 443, indicating a 9,93% increase from 7 333 388 for the quarter ended December 2015.

Dabengwa backs transitional government

ZAPU leader Dumiso Dabengwa yesterday backed calls for a National Transitional Authority (NTA) to run Zimbabwe’s affairs till the next elections, arguing it was necessary to guarantee a peaceful transition.

Source: Dabengwa backs transitional government – The Standard September 25, 2016

By NQOBANI NDLOVU

Dabengwa, who was addressing party supporters at a rally held at Gadade Business Centre in Umzingwane district, Matabeleland South, said an NTA was an unavoidable “soft-landing” option to the country’s socio-political and economic crisis.

He urged Zimbabweans to reject another government of national unity (GNU), saying it would only delay Zanu PF’s removal from power and give the ruling party an undeserved breathing space as happened during the term of the unity government between 2009 and 2013.

“The economic and political crisis will deepen and become increasingly impossible to contain. It is patently clear therefore that some soft landing needs to be devised to prevent chaos and meltdown,” he said.

“One promising initiative is the formation of an NTA proposed by citizens organised in the panel of concerned citizens. Basically, the NTA would be a non-party administration composed of respected technocrats and professionals.”

He said the NTA, which was bandied around as an immediate option to ease the country’s varying ills that had sparked, “Mugabe Must Go” protests would also implement necessary electoral reforms to guarantee free and fair elections.

Zanu PF has rejected calls for electoral reforms, with Higher Education minister Jonathan Moyo recently declaring the ruling party could not be seen “reforming itself out of power”.

However, Dabengwa defended the NTA as a necessary evil compared to a formation of another unity government, which he said would only delay “real change” and result in the “destruction of the opposition movement through Zanu PF’s devious means.”

“It [NTA] would depend on the current Parliament and judiciary, and other arms of government. Its job would be to see the implementation of required changes to prepare for free and fair elections and to depoliticise immediate reconstruction.

“There are rumours that some external forces are encouraging the formation of another GNU…that would either be a dead end or a recipe for a GNU, which would erode fundamental change in a way worse than the previous concoction of 2009-2013 that polluted the opposition and gave breathing space to the Zanu PF way of doing things,” Dabengwa said.

“Zanu PF in all its forms should not get a lifeline and a chance to blunt real change of direction by seducing, corrupting and co-opting the opposition.”

African leaders are cowards: Mugabe

Most African leaders are cowards who have no direction, President Robert Mugabe said yesterday while threatening to orchestrate a split of the United Nations.

Source: African leaders are cowards: Mugabe – The Standard September 25, 2016

By Everson Mushava

Political analysts and local opposition leaders immediately dismissed Mugabe’s UN pull-out threat as unrealistic utterances of an abnormal old man which risked isolating Zimbabwe further.

Mugabe made this scathing attack on his colleagues, accusing them of failing to push — like he did — for reforms in the UN General Assembly. He said if the reforms were not forthcoming, Africa alongside countries like Russia, China and India would pull out of the UN.

He was addressing about 2 000 Zanu PF party supporters at the Harare International Airport soon after touching down from the United States where he was attending the UN General Assembly.

He said although agreement was yet to be reached, the intention was to make the pull-out manoeuvres in earnest at the UN General Assembly next September.

“I don’t know if we are going to come up with a common decision. There are other countries who are cowards. Africa is now led by new leaders who are no longer members of the founding fathers of the Organisation of African Unity. It is now led by cowards only, without direction… It cannot only be Mr Mugabe who comes out calling for UN reforms,” Mugabe said.

MDC-T spokesperson Obert Gutu said Mugabe’s threats to pull out of the UN showed that he was now out of touch with reality.

“The UN is a body that encompasses the countries of the world. For him to say he wants to form a splinter organisation, it shows that he is not normal,” he said

“Mugabe is calling for reforms with too much passion, but he forgets that charity begins at home. He should reform his governance and avoid being a tyrant and despot. All right-thinking people would just laugh at his utterances.”
Political analyst Alexander Rusero said Mugabe was too idealistic.

“There is a divide between reality and a wish. It is very unfortunate on the part of the President to think that Russia and China could back their calls. The structure of the UN is reflective of the victors of the World War 2,” Rusero said.

“So Russia and China are comfortable, they cannot support an African cause. They have their own issues, for example, China does not want to see Japan as a vetoing power. The structure is likely to continue. Mugabe’s call although it makes sense, it is not possible.”

He added: “What Mugabe is saying does not resonate well with other African leaders. This will further isolate Zimbabwe. Mugabe is a loner in the wilderness. Other countries like Botswana actually want Mugabe himself to go.”
Mugabe accused the United States, France and Britain for acting as a stumbling block to reforms in the international body. He said Africa went to this year’s UN meeting after having formed a committee to push forward the continent’s demands to have two countries with veto powers in the Security Council.

“Britain, France and the US are resisting UN reforms, so we say; the UN is strengthened by outside countries. They should not cry when we unite to form our own organisation with China, India, Russia and other countries and leave them alone,” Mugabe said.

He also said Zimbabwe told the US and Britain at the UN meeting to remove sanctions imposed on the country.

“Secondly; we talked on Africa’s representation in the UN. The whole Africa says it has not been given powers given to other countries that are the permanent members (Britain, France, US, Russia and China),” Mugabe said.

“I think you heard what I said there. We said we want UN to reform so that African also has powers that are similar to that of the five permanent members. They gave themselves power that nothing can be done without their approval.”
Mugabe said African countries met in Swaziland and decided that it also wanted two countries with veto powers in the UN Security Council.

Zimbabwe also quit the Commonwealth in 2003 protesting against the country’s continued suspension from the group over allegations of gross violations of human rights.

Mugabe also attacked #ThisFlag founder Pastor Evan Mawarire and Chimurenga music guru Thomas Mapfumo for organising demonstrations to embarrass him during the UN General Assembly. He thanked the Zanu PF linked December 12 Movement for subduing the protests.

“You have heard of December 12. They sent their leadership to talk to us. We thanked them for the job well done, Mawarire was there but we never heard of him,” Mugabe said.

“We are the only country with a person who came from here, assembled four people and claim they represent the whole Zimbabwe and want to embarrass us at the UN. It is a shame, a real shame.

“World over countries have problems, but they don’t come with their problems to the UN meeting. I heard even Thomas Mapfumo wanted to come as well, being sent by the whites. So I say down with those whites who sponsor them.”

Mugabe tactfully avoided responding to Botswana President Ian Khama’s controversial call for him to retire and leave the country in the hands of a younger leader who could pull Zimbabwe out of its current economic abyss.

Khama torched a storm last week when he told international news agency Reuters that Mugabe should pass the baton stick to someone else who could save Zimbabwe from further collapse. He said Zimbabwe had become a burden to its neighbours and the region because of Mugabe’s failures.

Battered protesters at a loss for words on police brutality

Source: Battered protesters at a loss for words on police brutality – The Standard September 25, 2016

The Glen View women who were arrested by police last Saturday for participating in a protest by opposition parties under the banner of National Electoral reform Agenda (Nera) have recounted harrowing experiences at the hands of the law enforcement agents.

news in depth BY EVERSON MUSHAVA

The abuses came to light after gory pictures of Esther Mutsigiri, Gladys Musindo and Beatrice Rutsvara were taken and published at Mbare Magistrates’ court last Monday as evidence of police brutality.

The pictures showed the women’s badly-injured backsides. Some of them had difficulties sitting and had to attend the whole court session on Monday while lying on their bellies.

The Standard on Wednesday caught up with Mutsigiri and Musindo upon their admission at a Harare private hospital to receive medical attention. That was after they had been released on $400 bail each.

Mutsigiri and Musindo were arrested the same day that five opposition MPs — Trevor Saruwaka (Mutasa Central), Fani Munengami (Glen View North), Ronia Bunjira (Harare), Lillian Timveos (Senator Midlands) and Nomatemba Ndlovu (Gwanda Central) — were also arrested.

The women gave harrowing tales of police brutality whereby they were assaulted intermittently from 10am when they were apprehended until 6pm when they were put in official detention.

The two said the police took turns to assault them and at times kicked and stepped on them while they lay at the back of a police truck. This continued for many hours before they were finally surrendered to the police station.

They said they would not forget the eight-hour ordeal in their lifetime. They claim they were beaten the whole day, and the situation worsened when the police officers allegedly became drunk after taking beer at a birthday party of a police officer’s son in Kuwadzana.

The abuse did not end in the truck. It continued after they were booked for detention at the police station. They were denied medical treatment even when they bled from the wounds inflicted during the heavy assault with batons. Later on, they said they were forced to take an overdose of painkillers.

Mutsigiri, who opted to describe herself as an activist, said: “When the police apprehended me, a police officer identified as Gaffer slapped me in the face. I became confused and started hallucinating.”

“One of the senior police officers ordered me into the truck and I told him I was so confused from the open hand assault that I could not see the entrance of the truck. He, however, laughed and told me in a threatening manner that I would soon find the entrance. He slapped me hard and true to his words, I don’t know how, but I found myself in the truck,” she said.

While in the truck, she together with others allegedly received a flurry of blows with clenched fists and batons that sent them flying from one corner of the truck to the other.

“They continued to beat me and when I tried to block them, they got really angry and the beatings became worse” Mutsigiri said.

“They ordered us to lie on our bellies and took turns to whip our backsides, and stepped on us. They would stop and continue anytime they felt like. When they discovered that our backs were swollen, they ordered us to sit on our buttocks so that the swelling would not get worse.”

She said one of them boastfully claimed they would be rewarded for arresting and assaulting them.

“We will get food for arresting and beating you. If we apprehend 12 more, we will be given Chicken Inn and a further number, we will get pizzas and you say Mugabe is bad and he should go, what do you mean?” Mutsigiri quoted one of the police officers as having boasted.

She claimed that they were taken to Kuwadzana where the police officers joined a birthday party and from there they were taken to Kuwadzana police station where the police officers were given more food.

“They started assaulting us with baton sticks again while we lay on our bellies. Somehow I braved a question and asked them why they called one of them Gaffer and the answer was that he got the name because he can kill. They also harassed one police officer with the name Kaseke whom they said was being lenient with us,” Mutsigiri added.

“After we had been assaulted and could no longer sit, the police officers started arguing on what to do with us.
Some of them said it would not be prudent of them to detain us in our state. They said detaining us would expose the brutality. They, however, had no choice because they had already reported at the station that they had arrested us.”

While in custody, the detainees said they were not allowed medication, but would be given an overdose of amoxicillin and paracetamol tablets.

“They gave us three amoxicillin and three paracetamol tablets each and ordered us to take all the six at once.
Having taken the tablets, I started experiencing various kinds of pain, including headaches, stomach aches, and heartaches and so on,” Mutsigiri said.

“When we were released, they told us that we should take two amoxicillin tablets each, not three as they told us what to do in remand prison.”

She added: “When we asked to go for treatment, the police refused, saying our situation was a hot potato. They said if we went to hospital, we would report that we had been assaulted by the police.”

“Yes, they beat us but that will not stop me from protesting. They have strengthened us. It is not like we are not demonstrating for a worthy cause,” Mutsigiri said.

Musindo, a Joice Mujuru’s ZimPF supporter and mother of two suffered a swollen eye, bruised leg and lacerated backside. She said each time she recalled the manner in which they were assaulted, it appeared like a horror movie.

“They beat us from morning until they surrendered us to the station at 6pm. I have never experienced such cruelty,” Musindo said moments before she was whisked away to have an X-Ray taken.

“While we were in Kuwadzana, the police beat up a certain man and threw him out of their moving truck. We later saw him at Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison; he was there, just lying down without moving. I think he broke his back.”

Munengami tried to beg with the police to stop the indiscriminate attacks on women but his plea fell on deaf ears.

Musindo’s husband, William Phiri said he would not join politics after the gruesome attack on his wife.

Nera last week suspended protests in Chitungwiza to attend to victims of last week’s police raids.

Cop charged with murder

Source: Cop charged with murder | The Herald September 24, 2016

Fungai Lupande Court Reporter
A police officer based at Police General Headquarters allegedly pushed a motorist following an altercation over parking space in Mt Pleasant, leading to his death.

Amos Magodhlyo (33) on Thursday appeared before Harare magistrate Ms Bianca Makwande facing murder charges.

He was remanded to October 11 on $200 bail. Ms Makwande ordered him to surrender his passport, reside at the given address and to report twice a week at ZRP Marlborough.

Magodhlyo is represented by Mr Tawanda Takaindisa.

Prosecutor Ms Audrey Chogumaira alleged that on September 12 this year, Magodhlyo parked his vehicle at Bond Shopping Centre in Mt Pleasant.

He parked next to the now deceased, John Lesley Hart, and an altercation ensured when Hart wanted to drive off.

Hart advanced towards Magodhlyo and poked him in the stomach.

It is alleged Magodhlyo pushed Hart and he fell on his back, hitting the tarmac with the back of his head. He bled profusely and lost consciousness.

Hart was taken to Avenues Clinic in Harare for treatment and died on September 21, nine days later.

Kereke bail hearing deferred

Source: Kereke bail hearing deferred | The Herald September 24, 2016

Chief Court Reporter
Former Bikita West legislator Munyaradzi Kereke will have to wait a little longer after the High Court yesterday deferred hearing his application for bail pending appeal to Tuesday.

Kereke is serving a 10-year jail term for raping his 11-year-old niece.

Justice Happias Zhou postponed the hearing to next week to allow the private prosecutor Mr Charles Warara to file his response.

“We could not file our response on time. We want to make a comprehensive response. We need sufficient time for that,” said Mr Warara.

Through his lawyer Advocate Thabani Mpofu instructed by Mutandiro and Chitsanga, Kereke filed an application for bail pending appeal at the High Court on Wednesday.

He argued that his chances of success on appeal were bright.

The former legislator is offering to deposit $2 000 with the Harare magistrate’s court, surrender title deeds of a single immovable property and passport to the clerk of court.

In addition, he is also willing to continue residing at number 12 St Andrews, Hatfield in Harare, until the finalisation of the appeal and would accept any other stringent conditions, which the court may want imposed.

Adv Mpofu also stated in the bail application that the imposition of appropriate conditions would ensure that his client is tied down to the country.

“Such conditions, must bear on the surrender of title deeds, passport and the imposition of a healthy reporting regime,” he stated.

“Applicant was whilst appearing before the magistrate’s court not incarcerated and cooperated well with the law enforcement machinery.”

Adv Mpofu further stated that Kereke had also known for long that he was facing these serious charges but never did anything to put himself beyond the reach of the law.

Regional magistrate Mr Noel Mupeiwa, sentenced Kereke to 14 years behind bars but set aside four years for five years on condition that he does not commit a similar offence within that period.

The court, however, acquitted him on charges of indecently assaulting the victim’s elder sister.

Kereke still insists that the charges he was convicted of were fabricated by the complainants’ maternal grandparents after he refused to pay their school fees arrears, but Mr Mupeiwa said at the time the case was reported to the police, the arrears had already been settled.

President to open new Parly session

Source: President to open new Parly session | The Herald September 24, 2016

Thandeka Moyo Bulawayo Bureau
PRESIDENT Mugabe will officially open the 4th Session of Parliament on October 4.

Clerk of Parliament Mr Kennedy Chokuda yesterday said President Mugabe would also present the legislative agenda for the upcoming new session of Parliament on the same day.

“President Mugabe will open the 4th session of the 8th Parliament of Zimbabwe on October 4.

“He will also present the legislative agenda for Parliament,” said Mr Chokuda.

“The outline of the legislative bills are expected to be brought before Parliament for consideration.”

Some of the laws that are likely to be on the next Parliament session’s legislative agenda have to do with cyber-crimes following the abuse of social media in a bid to destabilise the country.

This week, Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services Minister Supa Mandiwanzira said Zimbabwe has formulated the National Cyber Security Policy on computer crimes such as data protection, electronic transactions and commerce to ensure that commercial activities are protected and regulated.

The Bills that are expected to deal with cyber-crimes include the Cyber Security Bill, the Data Protection Bill and the E-Commerce Bill.

Recently, Minister Mandiwanzira said: “Some of the issues the ICT Policy and the Bills (Cyber Security Bill, Data Protection Bill, and the E-Commerce Bill) will respond to include abuse of people’s data when they go to banks, insurance houses, and medical aid societies.

“Data is now being spread all over, people hacking into accounts and sending negative stuff all over.

“We are going to address these issues very soon.”

Top hospital in radiation storm • 12 patients, including pregnant woman, exposed • Concerns over cancer, sterility, cataracts raised

Source: Top hospital in radiation storm • 12 patients, including pregnant woman, exposed • Concerns over cancer, sterility, cataracts raised | The Herald

Paidamoyo Chipunza Senior Health Reporter
Harare Central Hospital has come under fire for reportedly exposing 12 patients, including a pregnant woman, to the effects of ionising radiation, The Herald can reveal.

Radiation effects can lead to cancer induction, sterility, cataracts as well as manifestation of genetic or hereditary effects that can contribute to children being born with defects.

At high levels of exposure, one can experience blood changes, radiation burns, nausea and even death.

The hospital’s actions contravene sections of the Radiation Protection Act and Medical Licensing Regulations.

Information gathered by The Herald showed that the hospital installed a CT Scanner serial number 9531 sometime in May this year and invited patients through social media requiring CT Scan to come in for free services.

“Harare hospital is doing CT scans for free this week. If you know anyone who needs one, kindly tell them to go with their CT scan request and medical records,” reads the WhatsApp message.

At least 12 patients — including a pregnant woman and four children below the age of 10 years — responded to the call for free CT scan, which were all done at the hospital despite it having no valid licence to install and use radiation in accordance with the law.

The Radiation Protection Act 14 (a) reads: “No practice shall be adopted, introduced, conducted, discontinued or ceased and no radiation source within a practice shall as applicable, be mined, milled, processed, designed, manufactured, constructed, assembled, acquired, imported, exported, distributed, sold, loaned, hired, received, sited, located, commissioned, possessed, used, operated, maintained, repaired, transferred, decommissioned, disassembled, transported, stored or disposed of except in accordance with prescribed requirements.”

Section 15 (c) further reads: “For purposes of this Act, any department of Government, public or statutory body, or board or local authority, which for the purpose of performing its functions, uses or is required to use radiation shall comply with the provisions of this Act and any prescribed requirements in the same manner and to the same extent as any other person using radiation.”

Sources at HCH alleged that apart from having no licence, the hospital failed to notify regulatory authorities of their intention to import, possess or use a CT scanner in line with local requirements.

It is further alleged that the room that housed the machine was also not design-approved by local authorities to conduct such high risk practice.

The equipment was also not assessed locally to ensure safety for patients, workers and the public, fully exposing all those who took part in the free programme to the effects of ionising radiation, which include different types of cancers.

The hospital is also facing allegations of failing to inform physicians and machine operators of the patients’ conditions.

Without dismissing allegations of contravening the law, HCH chief executive officer Ms Peggy Zvavamwe, said no patients were put at risk because quality assurance tests were done by both the manufacturer and the hospital’s own physicists.

“They (manufacturer) only handover such equipment for use when they have done necessary quality checks, including simulations on mannequins (dummies), and are ready to guarantee these.

“Having followed such a process they handed over the CT scanner equipment to HCH for us to begin user orientation under their watchful eye,” said Ms Zvavamwe.

She said locally, counter verification was done by their own nuclear physicist.

“Of importance is the fact that this verification confirmed that configuration had been done to the acceptable parameters by the installation team from the manufacturer and no adjustments were made on the original settings attesting to the assured safety issues.

“We do not say this to justify any procedural omissions that may have been made in terms of existing radiation protection laws but just to give assurance that no client or staff of ours was put at risk,” said Ms Zvavamwe.

She said the procedural oversight in using radiation equipment was acknowledged and the hospital had since presented its evidence to the Radiation Protection Authority of Zimbabwe for verification and possible licencing .

“We await release of our license, which we expect soon so that this much needed technology is availed to our clients,” she said.

RPAZ chief executive officer Mr Reward Severa, yesterday said it was important for all those who deal with radiation, including Government departments to observe the law because it was put in place to keep patients safe from the effects of radiation.

“Medical facilities that do not follow the law are not only putting patients at risk, they are also compromising on the occupational health and safety of medical personnel as well as exposing the public that visits these facilities accompanying patients,” said Mr Severa.

Radiation technologies are useful in a number of applications that contribute to socio-economic development.

In Zimbabwe, radiation technologies are used in industrial process control, diamond sorting, agriculture, baggage screening, veterinary, dental and medical radiology, nuclear medicine and radiotherapy.

However, exposure to ionising radiation is known to have adverse effects on people, both present and future generations and the environment, hence the need to regulate its use.

Govt robbing health fund: Nurses

HUNDREDS of pregnant women and their unborn babies’ lives are at risk due to a serious drugs shortage and worker unrest which has rocked Harare Central Hospital since Wednesday, with nurses accusing government of looting their allowances.

Source: Govt robbing health fund: Nurses – NewsDay Zimbabwe September 24, 2016

BY BLESSED MHLANGA

Midwives at the hospital were staging a sit-in protest over the failure by government to pay them allowances under the Unicef-funded Health Transitional Fund (HTF) for over six months now.

“We have not been getting the incentives which have in the past years been set at $59 a month. We have it on good authority that government officials are feeding themselves on money which is ours,” said one of the nurses, who refused to be named.

A meeting to try and resolve the impasse, which was attended by clinical director George Vera and principal nursing officer Lucia Godzongere on Thursday, failed to yield results, resulting in many expecting mothers being turned away from the hospital.

Ministry of Health permanent secretary Gerald Gwinji is reported to have sent Godzengere to read the riot act on the nurses forcing them to go to work or risk losing their salaries for days not worked.

The nurses who attended the meeting convened by Godzongere yesterday said they were not given copies of the strongly-worded letter.

“Gwinji, in the letter, ordered us not to cry over donor funds because the donors were not our employers. He threatened to deduct money from our salaries for the days we have been on a sit-in. We are not sure if he will carry through his threat,” said another nurse.

The health workers said they had now resolved to write to Unicef urging it to discontinue funding the HTF because the money was not reaching them.

“The money is being used to fund the luxurious lives of ministry bosses. We understand that even our matrons get $1 000 every quarter yet they are failing to pay us our $177 per quarter,” said another source.

The nurses said their work was being made more difficult due to the serious shortage of drugs used during major operations.

“We are being forced to operate on pregnant mothers without administering analgesic drugs like morphine or pethedine. Major operations are being conducted on unsedated mothers who have to be so brave to go through the operation,” said a source.

The maternity wing head, only identified as Matron Pedzisai, refused to comment, referring all the questions to her bosses, who were not picking their calls.
Gwinji had not responded to questions sent to him by the time of going to print.

MDC-T spokesperson Obert Gutu said his party was aware of the challenges faced by expecting mothers at the hospital at a time President Robert Mugabe was draining the fiscus in air travel, expensive birthday parties and party gatherings.

“It’s a cruel regime that could be bothered less by the collapsing health sector. Mugabe and his top government ministers get treated outside Zimbabwe on taxpayers’ money. Even his own grandson was born in a well-equipped hospital outside the country,” Gutu said.

“This is a regime that has since January spent over $40 million on air travel for Mugabe, but has failed to invest just a million in the health sector.”

People’s Democratic Party spokesperson Jacob Mafume described Mugabe as a health tourist who was neglecting local hospitals and spending taxpayers’ money in Singapore.

“He has no mercy for the people of Zimbabwe, the amount of money spent on his travels would have bought drugs for all the hospitals for the whole year,” he said.

More death row inmates fight capital penalty

Source: More death row inmates fight capital penalty – NewsDay Zimbabwe September 24, 2016

THE Constitutional Court (ConCourt) will next week hear the third case of death row inmates fighting to have their sentences commuted.
Legal experts, Veritas, who recently also took two other death row cases to the ConCourt, will next Wednesday assist condemned prisoners Farai Lawrence Ndlovu and Wisdom Gochera to fight for the commuting of their death sentences. The pair are represented by Tendai Biti of Biti Law Chambers.

BY VENERANDA LANGA

Ndlovu has been at Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison for the 2012 murder of Michael Sunderland and Geoffrey Andrew Povey, while Gochera was convicted of the murder of a South African in 2002.

According to Veritas, the two were sentenced to death shortly before the new Constitution came into force in 2013.

“The argument, on their behalf, is that the new Constitution effectively abolished the pre-existing law that provided for the carrying-out of the death penalty and the new law providing for the death penalty had not been enacted at the time the court application was filed.

“Hence, the argument is that they cannot now be executed because the law to be applied is the law as it existed at the time of filing the application,” Veritas said in a statement.

Other death row cases that Veritas took to the ConCourt are those of Cuthbert Tapuwanashe Chawira and others versus the Minister of Justice and others, and Emmanuel Dolosi versus the Minister of Justice and another.

Chawira and other death row inmates have been awaiting execution for lengthy periods, with some going up to 18 years living in constant fear that any day they will be called for execution, and living in appalling jail conditions, coupled with other cruel and inhuman treatment.

Although the ConCourt sat to hear the two cases, it has not yet passed a judgment.

Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa (pictured), recently attended the ninth International Meeting of Justice Ministers in Rome, Italy, where he said Zimbabwe was on the path to abolishing the death penalty.

In July this year, Veritas also succeeded in getting the courts to agree that life prisoners will now be eligible for parole like other convicts through a case they helped bring before the courts, Makoni versus Commissioner of Prisons and another.

The ConCourt ruled that life imprisonment without the possibility of release constituted a violation of human dignity and amounted to inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment in breach of sections 51 and 53 of the Constitution.

 

Govt preoccupied with sycophantic nothingness

The news that Zanu PF is planning a “thank you” rally today in honour of President Robert Mugabe as he returns from the United Nations (UN) begs the question what is he being thanked for

Source: Govt preoccupied with sycophantic nothingness – NewsDay Zimbabwe September 24, 2016

Comment: NewsDay Editor

Mugabe left the country for Venezuela for the Non-Aligned Movement summit, then proceeded to the UN, where he gave a largely prosaic speech and we wonder what he is being thanked for.

In the past, such rallies have been organised for Mugabe, like when he assumed the rotational African Union chairmanship. While it was really unnecessary, it was understandable why his fanatical supporters thronged the airport to welcome him.

However, this time, we just do not see the reason for this thank you rally; it is a waste of time and resources.

Recently, Higher Education minister Jonathan Moyo was lamenting the lack of “policy space”, which has crippled government work, but we can only wonder when this government does its work when it’s preoccupied with sycophantic nothingness.

Four short months ago, Zanu PF organised a million-man march in Mugabe’s honour and another such show of power is being organised today, surely then, when will government have policy space, when they spend their time trying to ingratiate themselves with the President instead of doing real work?

Everyday Zimbabweans are reminded that Mugabe was elected for a five-year term that ends in two years’ time, so we do not understand this paranoia and the need for this show of power.

If Mugabe is secure in his job, then he should spend more time fixing the country rather than these airport speeches and elaborate reminders that he won elections.

Mugabe is probably the only leader in the world who regularly gives speeches at the airport when he returns from foreign engagements, and it is quite strange why he sees the need for that.

If Zanu PF is so desperate to show its gratitude for Mugabe, then they have plenty of time to do that at their party headquarters in Harare or at their conference scheduled for later this year.

Right now, what is needed is for Mugabe and his ministers to concentrate on getting the job done, stop seeing shadows and, above all, work on getting Zimbabwe back on track — that is if they are capable of that.

As it is, we would tend to believe that these numerous pointless rallies are nothing but a diversionary tactic and a concession that Mugabe has failed to run the country.

Instead of working to get the country on track, Mugabe would rather shift Zimbabweans’ focus onto something useless and by so doing, his governance record becomes a blur and people do not ask questions about how he has run the country aground.

Mnangagwa defends Mugabe’s rule

ACTING President Emmerson Mnangagwa has defended President Robert Mugabe’s 36-year-old rule, arguing the 92-year-old leader is still capable of managing the country’s affairs, despite increasing pressure from different groups to step down over his failure to revive the fortunes of the country.

Source: Mnangagwa defends Mugabe’s rule – NewsDay Zimbabwe September 24, 2016

BY CHARLES LAITON

Mnangagwa made the remarks yesterday while responding to a constitutional application filed by Tajamuka/Sesijikile spokesperson, Promise Mkwananzi, who is seeking an order compelling Mugabe to step down on allegations that he has failed to properly run the country.

In his personal application, Mkwananzi argues Mugabe is not capable of carrying out his work due to advanced age and was failing to properly execute some of his duties as stipulated in the country’s Constitution and, as such, should be forced to step down.

“This is an application in terms of Section 167(2)(d) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe for the determination of whether the President has failed to fulfil his constitutional obligations and duties as required by Section 90(1) and (2),” Mkwananzi said in his founding affidavit.

“The mandate of the first respondent (Mugabe) is centred upon these core duties provided in Section 90(1) and (2) and any act or conduct inconsistent with these duties amounts to a breach of his constitutional obligations.”

Mkwananzi also claimed there was unchecked and institutionalised abuse of State power and resources during the colonial era and the first 20 years of the country’s independence.

However, Mnangagwa urged the court to dismiss the application, saying Mkwananzi had not followed the court rules for his case to be heard by the Constitutional Court.

“Applicant (Mkwananzi) had made this application in terms of Section 167(2) d of the Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (Number 20) alleging that the President has failed to fulfil his constitutional obligations, I am advised by my legal practitioners that such an application must, in terms of rule 27(2) of the Constitutional Court Rules 2016, be filed with the registrar and served on all interested parties within two days after the date of such application having been filed,” the Vice-President said.

“Applicant has not complied with this rule of this honourable court. On that basis alone this application must be dismissed for non-compliance with the rules of this court.”

Responding to the merits of the case, Mnangagwa said it was not true that there had been unchecked and institutionalised abuse of State power and resources.

“I admit contents of this paragraph, but deny that there has been unchecked and institutionalised abuse of State power and resources for the first 20 years of our independence and put plaintiff to the strict proof thereof,” he said.

Mkwananzi also criticised Mugabe for allegedly using foul language against his citizens, saying it was not befitting for the President to threaten his subjects.

“The man, who is supposed to unite the nation, is now at the forefront of creating divisions and factions amongst the citizenry,” he said.

“Such conduct is not becoming of a Head of State that is enjoined by the Constitution to embrace the diversity of the citizens.
“The first respondent has no right to threaten the very same citizens that voted him into power from exercising their rights, the same rights he is required to protect. He is not above the Constitution.”

In his response, Mnangagwa said he had no knowledge about what Mugabe was alleged to have said, but denied he had caused divisions in the country.

“Save to deny that the first respondent has caused divisions in the manner alleged, I have no knowledge of the rest of the contents of this paragraph and do not admit them,” he said.

The matter is yet to be set down for hearing.

Ndiweni rubbishes chiefs’ allowances, central governance system

Source: Ndiweni rubbishes chiefs’ allowances, central governance system – NewsDay Zimbabwe September 24, 2016

Ntabazinduna Chief Nhlanhlayamangwe Ndiweni, has lashed out at the “pittance” the government pays traditional chiefs as allowances, while accusing the centralised governance system “for achieving what colonialism failed to achieve” in terms of oppressing black people.
Addressing journalists at the Bulawayo Press Club on Thursday evening, the traditional leader said the institution of chieftainship has been set up to fail because it is under resourced.

BY KHANYILE MLOTSHWA

“If, as a chief, I travel on donkeys, how am I expected to hear cases involving men who drive in twin cab cars?” he asked “The point is that, from the beginning, I am set up to fail. I need to be properly resourced to carry out what I should do. I remember a chief, who stood up at Mhlahlandlela (King Mzilikazi commemorations), and said he had not been paid the paltry $300 for three months. How is he expected to do his duties? The man had not been paid for three months to look after 70% of the population, 70% of people in Zimbabwe rely on chiefs.”

Ndiweni said there was need to ensure that the Constitution and the laws in the country are “indigenous enough” to carry the weight of the Zimbabwean people’s aspirations.

“The other challenge I encounter is that, working from my traditional and customary law; I have to encounter Roman Dutch law all the time,” he said.

“We are 36 years into independence. There should be a heavy gravitation towards elements of my culture. For Islamic countries, and despite its weaknesses, Sharia Law takes precedence over all other laws. In my culture, I can deal with issues of inheritance. Why can’t we just close the master’s office?”

Ndiweni saluted Zimbabweans for trying their best to ensure that the Constitution carried their aspirations.

“Our Constitution needs serious indigenisation. I am thinking here on issues to do with devolution of power. Demanding devolution of power in the Constitution was the people’s way of saying they want the constitution to gravitate towards them and their aspirations,” he said.

“Centralisation has achieved so much that colonisation failed to achieve. It (centralisation) creates the impression that we are all the same, one block. Yet if you go to a wedding in any part of the country, you find elements of another culture; go to a funeral, and you see those elements of the culture there.

Khama nailed it; Mugabe now a costly liability

BOTSWANA President Ian Khama could not have said it better when he urged President Robert Mugabe to step down for the good of the country and its people.

Source: Khama nailed it; Mugabe now a costly liability – NewsDay Zimbabwe September 23, 2016

Comment: NewsDay Editor

In fact, what Khama said confirmed what millions of Zimbabweans have always been saying that at 92, Mugabe had become a costly liability to the country, an albatross around the necks of this great nation.

What makes Khama’s call for Mugabe to step down more palatable is that this is coming from a leader whose second five-year term in office ends in 2018, when he will hand over to Vice-President Mokgweetsi Masisi in a clearly defined succession matrix that makes instability almost impossible.

Yet, there are some among us who claim to support him simply for political expediency and to facilitate stripping of national assets!

It is true that there are many Zimbabweans and other nations that admired Mugabe for his role in the fight against colonialism, but when a leader fails to read the minds of his followers he becomes just as bad as the old system that he was fighting.

Instead of being a liberation fighter he has morphed into a political demagogue, loathed by the impoverished millions as worse than the oppressive regime of Ian Smith.

Is this what Mugabe fought for? Is this what he wants —that even his family will never know peace after he’s gone simply because of his unreasonableness.

As a leader, Mugabe should have known when to go. Right now it is clear that he has now outlived his usefulness, straining relations with all the regional countries as millions of Zimbabweans flood their countries in search of jobs to provide for their families.

Besides, Mugabe’s continued rule has done more harm than good. The Zanu PF administration has created more enemies than friends even among his African counterparts.

We believe Khama is speaking on behalf of other African leaders who do not have the spine to speak their mind for fear of antagonising the nonagenarian leader.

Is it not ironic that at the United Nations General Assembly in New York Mugabe spoke about good leadership and treatment of refugees, yet he’s pushing millions of Zimbabweans to other countries through his brutal rulership?

With huge numbers of undocumented Zimbabweans in South Africa, Botswana, Mozambique and Namibia there is no doubt that most regional countries have to cater for them — something not budgeted for.

Clearly, Mugabe’s bad leadership is putting a strain on the regional countries. An estimated 100 000 Zimbabweans migrated to Botswana in the wake of Zimbabwe’s economic and political crises. The same applies to other regional countries and the West.

We believe Khama is right after all — the situation in Zimbabwe is a cause for concern, and that if it is not tamed the country can easily gravitate towards anarchy. We have no doubt that the situation in the country is beyond Mugabe’s ability given his vegetative state due to his advanced age.

Someone must stop Mugabe urgently otherwise Zimbabweans should brace themselves for more hardships ahead as Zanu PF has failed to rescue the country from the economic predicament it finds itself in.

It is an abomination for Mugabe to seek a fresh mandate in two years’ time when he would be 94. Given the unemployment rate is 90% of mostly youth, Zanu PF league must urge their leader to stand aside in the interest of the country.

Zanu PF plots Mugabe ‘thank you’ rally

THE ruling Zanu PF party has organised a “homecoming party” and “thank you rally” for President Robert Mugabe, who is expected home tomorrow after attending the 71st session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

Source: Zanu PF plots Mugabe ‘thank you’ rally – NewsDay Zimbabwe September 23, 2016

by XOLISANI NCUBE

The planned rally comes at a time the 92-year-old Zanu PF leader is facing increasing pressure from local opposition parties and his peers in the Sadc region to step down due to old age and his failure to arrest the country’s economic meltdown.

Zanu PF Harare provincial commissar Shadreck Mashayamombe yesterday urged party members to be at Harare International Airport tomorrow afternoon to welcome their leader and “show him support for his sterling work”.

“Every party member is invited to Harare International Airport on Saturday at 1pm, as we welcome the President, Cde RG Mugabe, and to support the great work he did together with our friends based in America. Everyone must be at the airport,” Mashayamombe’s WhatsApp message to Zanu PF members read.

Mugabe, who on Wednesday was urged to step down by Botswana President Ian Khama, is expected to address hundreds of supporters in a show of power.

But Zimbabwe People First spokesperson Jealousy Mawarire yesterday laughed off Mugabe’s planned homecoming party, as a waste of the country’s resources at a time over four million citizens were facing acute food shortages.

“It’s an insignificant meeting especially for a dying small party like Zanu PF, which thrills itself by frog-marching people to its rallies to seek relevance in the eyes of the region and international community,” he said.

MDC-T secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora said: “The decision to hold that so-called rally is only meant to celebrate the suffering of the people of Zimbabwe, this is the time that Mugabe must resign.

“He is presiding over gross human rights violations in Zimbabwe … we hope the people of Zimbabwe will not lose heart in the struggle.”
At the rally, Mugabe is expected to respond to Khama’s calls for him to step down over his failure to run the country and being a burden to the Sadc region.

In a marathon travel schedule, Mugabe left the country last week for Venezuela to attend the Non-Aligned Movement summit before heading to New York for the UN General Assembly.

Mugabe had just flown in from Zambia, where he attended the inauguration of President Edgar Lungu, who defeated his main rival, Hakainde Hichilema, in a disputed poll last month.

The 92-year-old leader left the country at a time street protests were escalating due to economic decline and increasing unemployment and, according to insiders, he would use the platform to respond to Khama.

Already, placards rebuking Khama were reportedly being printed last night and would be displayed at the airport rally.

Mugabe has refused to step down, declaring that he would continue to rule Zimbabwe as long as “my people need me”.

His wife, First Lady Grace Mugabe, has also scoffed at suggestions that her husband should relinquish power — vowing he would rule from the grave in the event he dies in office.

Mugabe has already been endorsed as the Zanu PF presidential candidate for the 2018 elections.

Khama spot-on: Opposition

OPPOSITION parties have welcomed the move by Botswana President Ian Khama to break ranks with most African leaders in publicly calling on President Robert Mugabe to retire.

Source: Khama spot-on: Opposition – NewsDay Zimbabwe September 23, 2016

BY RICHARD CHIDZA

Known for his forthrightness, Khama this week called on Zimbabwe’s 92-year-old leader to allow for leadership renewal in the country.

While the ruling party scoffed at Khama’s suggestion and Mugabe’s administration remained tight-lipped, opposition parties roundly sang the Botswana leader’s praises yesterday.

MDC-T spokesperson Obert Gutu said Africa badly needed leaders of Khama’s calibre.

“This is the kind of assertive and positive attitude that we expect to have from all the leaders in the Sadc regional grouping. The MDC would like to most sincerely thank and, indeed, salute President Khama for calling a spade a spade.

“Mugabe is now an anachronism within Sadc in particular and Africa in general. He is way too old to cling to power. He is yesterday’s man. He should immediately step down to allow Zimbabwe to move forward,” Gutu said.

The spokesperson for the Welshman Ncube-led MDC, Kurauone Chihwayi, said Khama’s honesty should be applauded in the face of “protectionist tendencies” by African regimes.

“Zimbabwe needs honest friends like President Khama. President Mugabe should swallow his pride and step down to unlock the Zimbabwean economy. Zimbabwe is in ruins today because of corruption and incompetent leadership that is using State security apparatus to silence and oppress starving citizens,” Chihwayi said.

Former Finance minister Tendai Biti’s People’s Democratic Party spokesperson Jacob Mafume said Mugabe had turned Zimbabwe into the world’s laughing stock.

“Khama’s pronouncement is a commonsense position that any right-thinking person would have. The world cannot stop laughing at Mugabe’s performance at the UN and his strenuous efforts to get off his plane and onto podiums. We must all collectively hang our heads in shame for failing to correct such an obvious anomaly,” Mafume said.

Former Vice-President Joice Mujuru’s Zimbabwe People First spokesperson Jealousy Mawarire said Mugabe should not be allowed anywhere near State power given his advanced age.

“Khama is being honest and saying the kind of things most Zimbabweans are silently saying; that the country cannot be extricated from the economic arroyo (gully) that Mugabe plunged it into under the Zanu PF leader’s watch.

“Those that urge him to stay on should be charged with treason because there is no greater threat to our national security than the presence of a frail and free-falling Mugabe in the Office of President,” Mawarire, whose court application forced Zimbabwe into an election controversially won by Mugabe in 2013, said.

“These political maggots feasting on a decaying dictatorship should for once be patriotic and act in the interest of the majority by telling Mugabe to step down, call for fresh elections and leave those fit to run for political office to do so in a free and fair electoral environment.”

Khama said Mugabe’s continued presence on Zimbabwe’s political terrain and particularly as leader was a cause of instability in the region.

AB Communications launches two more radio stations

AB Communications chief executive officer Susan Makore has said the company’s two new stations, Hevoi FM (100.2FM) and 98.4 Midlands, have gone live and started broadcasting. by REJOICE CHINGWARU

Source: AB Communications launches two more radio stations – NewsDay Zimbabwe September 23, 2016

by REJOICE CHINGWARU

The launch of the stations beat the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe’s end of September deadline for all licensed stations to go online.

“These stations are currently playing music and full spectrum broadcasts are expected soon. The delays on full spectrum are due to issues beyond AB Communications’ control. The outstanding aspects to do with equipment are due to the current nationwide nostro funding challenges,” Makore said in a statement.

She said her company made requests for payment to foreign suppliers as early as June this year, but they were delayed due to the prevailing economic conditions.

“The government has challenges in remitting cash for external payments due to a depletion of nostro account balances. The requests that we submitted between June and July 2016 are still to be processed when ordinarily equipment would have been delivered within six weeks,” Makore added.

She said the two new stations’ programming would be determined by the audience preferences.

The coming on board of the regional stations further consolidates AB Communications’ market share in the media sector. It also owns one of the two national free-to-air commercial radio stations ZiFM Stereo, production house Mighty Movies, mobile advertising company TruckAds, music production house Oskid Productions and music events promotions 6 Finger Records.

Anti-corruption fight as good as dead in Mugabe’s hands

Source: Anti-corruption fight as good as dead in Mugabe’s hands – NewsDay Zimbabwe September 23, 2016

Just when you think it can’t get any worse, it does.

Last week, the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC) assumed — in one fell swoop — administration of both the Anti-Corruption Act and the Prevention of Corruption Act ostensibly “as part of efforts to strengthen the fight against the scourge” of graft, intoned a pro-regime newspaper known for its uncritical or — in all fairness — mostly fearful acceptance of anything from President Robert Mugabe.

Echoes: CONWAY TUTANI

So, let’s not shoot the messenger, but the message because the regime does not blink twice to inflict collateral damage on anyone, particularly State media reporters, who questions its motives.

From day one, the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) has been harried and harassed to the point of emasculation and paralysis for “daring” to investigate the corrupt big fish — who are invariably ruling party politicians — and their sidekicks in both the public and private sectors, and Mugabe has not raised a finger to stop this blatant persecution. ZACC has been hung out to try.

And this at a time Zimbabweans are fighting for the restoration and strengthening of State institutions can only be described as most shocking and scandalous. Nothing can be more illustrative of the fact that the regime and the people are marching in opposite directions.

The Methodist Church in Zimbabwe succinctly and stridently noted at its annual conference last month that: “In the midst of all these challenges, the predatory demon of corruption is becoming bolder and more shameless.”

Yes, the true prophetic voice uses forceful language that does not try to avoid upsetting other people.

The response from Mugabe has been close to nothing. All we have heard are fulminations and threats followed by excusing those fingered. He has not shown the requisite political will to tackle corruption, even in the face of glaring evidence. The nation has paid an unquantifiable price for this levity that underlines lack of political will.

Now we have Energy minister Samuel Undenge fingered over dubious tenders running into hundreds of millions of dollars, but still firmly ensconced in office. Yes, we might accept that Undenge “haagaye magetsi (does not generate electricity himself)” — as Mugabe defended Undenge last year from accusations of not having planned for the reduced power generation following the drop in water levels at Kariba Dam — but why hasn’t he taken the minister to task over those questionable tenders?

And now Mugabe has effectively dealt the death blow on ZACC, totally usurping what was remaining of the role of what should be a constitutionally independent body set up to fight graft.

Predictably, he has done that through his favourite route: Invoking a statutory instrument to bypass or circumvent Parliamentary scrutiny, debate and approval in his urge to rule by decree and exert total control.

But why the apparent rush to do that? Was the commission on the verge of exposing something explosive and so had to be quickly emasculated? That is not beyond the regime as it has done that countless times before. All this shows that the Zanu PF regime is reverting to type.

It is such cynicism from the Head of State that does not inspire confidence in him carrying out the mandate to fight corruption.

In its ruling convicting and sentencing to jail then Cabinet minister Frederick Shava for perjury — that is, lying under oath — to cover up corruption in the 1980s, the High Court said: “The post of minister is a very high office, which carries great status, privileges and powers. It also carries great responsibilities. The incumbent of such office is expected to lead by example. His primary duty is to observe the laws of the country. In this regard, the accused failed miserably.”

Yes, Shava not only failed, but he did so abjectly, which in itself was most aggravating, thus, deserved a jail sentence. But it’s like Mugabe did not have sight of that damning judgment — or totally ignored it as he has done with other court rulings — as he went on to make light of the matter, leaving the nation shocked beyond belief.

Sermonised and moralised the then Prime Minister Mugabe: “Who among us has not lied? Yesterday, you were with your girlfriend and you told your wife that you were with the Prime Minister. Should you get nine months for that?”

Please save us from this excuse of an example for which no one can be charged and convicted of undermining the authority of the President! This pathetic drawing of parallels does not work. Lying to your girlfriend falls under civil matters whereas lying before the court is a criminal case. It’s as simple and as straightforward as that.

Following that statement, the State immediately halted plans to prosecute other ministers accused of perjury in the first high-profile corruption scandal in independent Zimbabwe involving several ministers acting in collusion with high-ranking bureaucrats. A great opportunity to right things was lost and that is haunting the nation to this very day.

And that very same Frederick Makamure Masiiwa Shava — having been rewarded with the post of Zimbabwe Ambassador to the United Nations, among previous lucrative diplomatic postings, despite his criminal conviction arising from corruption — was on hand to receive Mugabe this week when he landed in New York for the UN General Assembly to sanctimoniously rail at Western powers over exploitation and rising global poverty.

All this while the same is prevailing at home through Mugabe turning a blind eye to corruption among his inner circle, which has led to, among other things, cash shortages with the imminent introduction of bond notes among the drastic effects.

And let’s be serious: Can someone conceivably investigate themselves as the OPC would like to mislead the nation? Would former United States President Richard Nixon have ordered investigations against himself over political corruption that led to his resignation in disgrace in 1974? Would South African President Jacob Zuma have instituted a probe against himself over the unapproved expensive improvements to his rural homestead for which he has taken out a bank loan to repay the misspent millions?

The US and South Africa emerged stronger from these corruption scandals because of truly independent commissions that were relentless in their investigations.

The key operative word is “independent”, not the farce we are seeing in Zimbabwe where ZACC and other commissions have been reduced to mere appendages of the regime to whitewash and sweep scandals under the carpet.

It’s up to the people themselves not to take this latest usurpation by the OPC lying down by being as relentless as they are currently.

“People of hope do not just hope while seated or lying down, but hope and act; act and hope,” observed the Methodist Church in Zimbabwe.
If people let the OPC have its way, the anti-corruption fight is as good as dead.

Zimra sees VAT doubling on automation

THE Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) expects valued-added tax (VAT) contribution to total revenue doubling to 34% at the end of this month on the back of further automation of the payment system.

Source: Zimra sees VAT doubling on automation – NewsDay Zimbabwe September 23, 2016

BY TATIRA ZWINOIRA

The expected increase in revenue contribution by VAT comes as a recent United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) study showed that digitisation of VAT could significantly increase revenues.

Zimra chairperson Willia Bonyongwe told NewsDay in an interview yesterday that the impact of automating or digitising payments would be most pronounced on VAT.

“It [impact of automation] is 17% from the first quarter and we expect it to be double that at the end of this month. If we continue with this momentum, then by year end, we could double our VAT on local sales. We have leakages because of using semi-automated systems and we, indeed, need full automation to plug the serious revenue leakages we are facing as emerging markets,” she said.

“The first thing is to agree with the UN report that, as Zimbabwe, we are lagging behind some of our counterparts in many respects.

“However, in the past few years, some ground was partially covered, although we still face a lot of leakages as Zimbabwe. Digitisation will help Zimra increase revenues and one of the specific mandates for this board is to accelerate automation in the form of completing the fiscalisation project.”

She said, for example, when the tax management system was implemented it netted many people who were evading tax, all tax heads who would not pay PAYE [pay-as-you-earn] and VAT, among, others showing advantages of digitisation of payments.

“We are working flat out to increase the number of operators on fiscal devices and on the tax management system,” Bonyongwe said.

The study by UNCDF stated that shifting from cash to electronic payments could provide a pathway to a broader range of financial services.

Additionally, it found that electronic payments provided cost savings and transparency for governments, development organisations and private sector players.

Currently, UNCDF is running an awareness campaign under the “Better Than Cash Alliance” banner, which seeks to get countries to increase digitisation of payment systems.

In a recent statement, UNCDF said further expanding digitisation of payments could fast-track a country’s economic modernisation, while digitising VAT can increase revenues.

In his mid-term fiscal policy review statement, Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa said Zimra had increased debt collection efforts through the implementation of client-tailored payment plans, appointment of agents, debt set offs, among others.

He said the result was a recovery of $326,53 million during the first half of 2016.

Other initiatives set out in the mid-term fiscal review include the VAT fiscalisation recording of taxable transactions in order to create an interface between taxpayers’ fiscal devices and the Zimra platform so as to enable real time monitoring of transactions by Zimra.

In the first half of the year, net revenue collections declined to $1,55 billion, compared to $1,66 billion over the same period in 2015.

Nera targets individual ‘brute’ police officers

OPPOSITION political parties under the banner of the National Electoral Reform Agenda (Nera) are preparing to sue individual police officers implicated in the brutal attack of protesters in the on-going demonstrations for electoral reforms.

Source: Nera targets individual ‘brute’ police officers – NewsDay Zimbabwe September 23, 2016

BY EVERSON MUSHAVA

Nera head of legal affairs Douglas Mwonzora yesterday said the opposition parties were currently busy gathering evidence on police officers who have been mercilessly bludgeoning protesters.

“We are already preparing lawsuits. We are not going back. The police officers violated people’s rights instead of protecting them. They should be made to account for their actions,” he said.

On Monday, ghastly pictures of Glen View protesters assaulted by the police during Saturday’s Nera nationwide demonstrations emerged, putting the issue of police brutality to the fore.

A report by the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum also identified the police as the biggest perpetrators of human rights abuses, being liable for 64% of the 555 abuse cases so far recorded this month.

The police have, however, denied that they were violating human rights, insisting they would be responding to provocation.

Mwonzora said he would also sue the police for the teargassing of opposition political leaders at Harare Magistrates’ Courts during the first Nera demonstration.

“Our principals were teargassed during a demonstration that had been sanctioned by the High Court. The police should also answer to that,” he said.

Mwonzora said the Nera demonstrations would go ahead today in Chitungwiza and other areas as earlier announced.

Outgoing French envoy mocks Mugabe

The outgoing French ambassador to Zimbabwe, Laurent Delahousse, used his farewell dinner on Wednesday to mock President Robert Mugabe over the Zanu PF leader’s embarrassing “wrong speech” gaffe last year.

Source: Outgoing French envoy mocks Mugabe – NewsDay Zimbabwe September 23, 2016

BY RICHARD CHIDZA

Delahousse also revealed that a section of Mugabe’s fractious regime had engineered a daredevil break-in at his official residence in Harare declaring a “diplomatic line was crossed”.

“It is my pleasure to welcome you to the French residence on Bastille Day (French National Day).

“I make no excuse … Sorry, I think it’s the wrong speech, it happens to the best of us [I am] not getting any younger,” Delahousse said amid laughter from his audience.

Mugabe last year read the same speech twice at two different occasions, in an embarrassing gaffe, which saw him ploughing through his State of the Nation Address at the official opening of the National Assembly.

Government was forced to withdraw the speech, but Zanu PF legislators had actually ululated and “thanked the President for a brilliant speech”.

The French National Day falls on July 14.

Delahousse, who has had a number of run-ins with authorities in Harare, could not resist poking fun at the veteran leader.

“Friends, tonight I am sad and confused, but also proud and happy. Sad because my government didn’t grant my request to stay an additional fourth year in Zimbabwe and decided to move all French ambassadors after the normal term of three years,” he said, again mocking the tendency of leaders on the continent of extending their terms of office.

The French diplomat then claimed a section of Mugabe’s government had broken into his official residence at the height of the violent protests that rocked Zimbabwe, describing the security breach at his home as a “serious diplomatic incident”.

“On the night of July 28, intruders entered my residence, went straight to my bedroom, took my hard drives and USB sticks as well as a few personal items, then a line was crossed,” he said.

“This was no ordinary robbery, but a professional intelligence operation and a political warning to me.”

Delahousse said the intrusion was the work of a rogue section of Mugabe’s government.

“I suspect that this unacceptable intrusion in a diplomatic residence was engineered by the same people who accused me, a limited clique of individuals who are uneasy with His Excellency President Mugabe’s decision to re-engage with Europe and the West after years of tense diplomatic relations,” he said.

The French envoy later told NewsDay the authorities had promised to look into the issue.

“The police and relevant arms of government have already been here and they have done their work. I am confident that if they want to do their work, they can produce results,” he said.

“The idea is to make sure this never happens again, but the French government does not want to create a storm out of this issue.”
Delahousse said he had apprised acting President Emmerson Mnangagwa of the issue, but refused to reveal details of the discussion, saying: “I would rather that remains as private as it was.”

Mugabe’s government accused Delahousse and US ambassador Harry Thomas Junior of funding and supporting social movements such as #ThisFlag and Tajamuka/Sesijikile that led the demonstrations.

MDC-T MP arrested, fined for parking at Mugabe’s office

HIGHFIELD West MP Eric Murai (MDC-T) yesterday caused a storm after he parked his vehicle at the entrance of President Robert Mugabe’s offices at Munhumutapa Building along Samora Machel Avenue in Harare.

Source: MDC-T MP arrested, fined for parking at Mugabe’s office – NewsDay Zimbabwe September 23, 2016

by XOLISANI NCUBE

Murai was intercepted by armed police officers and Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) operatives and interrogated before being handed over to Harare Central Police Station.

“They accused me of parking at a wrong place and I was fined $10 before they released me. I was subjected to some interrogations which had nothing to do with the allegations or the crime I was said to have committed,” Murai told NewsDay after his release.

Mugabe’s offices are classified as a high-security zone where ordinary motorists are not allowed to stop or park their vehicles. Pedestrians, too, are prohibited from loitering around the area.

MDC-T spokesperson Obert Gutu yesterday described Murai’s arrest and brief detention at Munhumutapa Building as illegal.

“He did nothing wrong to warrant such treatment and we condemn the police for doing what they did. This arrest is part of the ongoing harassment of MDC officials. But it will not help them or stop us from fighting for change,” he said.

Lumumba’s fraud, forgery trial postponed

HARARE magistrate Bianca Makwande yesterday set October 20 as the trial date for opposition VIVA Zimbabwe party leader, William Gerald Mutumanje, popularly known as Acie Lumumba (pictured), who is facing forgery and fraud allegations. BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE

Source: Lumumba’s fraud, forgery trial postponed – NewsDay Zimbabwe September 23, 2016

Lumumba allegedly sold his mother’s motor vehicle using fraudulent documents and is jointly charged with Jethro Tonderai Maphosa (21). The duo is out of custody on a $300 bail each.

According to the State, the complainants in the matter are the Central Vehicle Registry (CVR) and Justice Mabuto respectively.

It is alleged on an unknown date, Lumumba and Maphosa had in their possession a Toyota Ipsum with forged documents. The vehicle had no record in the CVR and Zimbabwe Revenue Authority systems.

The court heard the two hatched a plan to defraud prospective buyers and, acting in connivance, they approached Gilson Mubaiwa, who is yet to be arrested.

It is alleged the trio created a counterfeit vehicle registration book and fraudulently affixed it to the Toyota Ipsum.

The State alleges on July 17 last year, Mutumanje and Maphosa drove the vehicle to Royal Car Sales and Evans Mereki sold the motor vehicle to Mabuto for $1 850.

It is alleged the matter came to light after Mabuto took the registration book to Zinara offices on June 15 this year intending to have the vehicle licensed and was told the book was fake, leading him to report the matter to police.

Peter Kachirika appeared for the State.

Kereke launches audacious fresh bid for freedom

JAILED former Bikita West legislator, Munyaradzi Kereke, on Wednesday approached the High Court, where he launched a fresh application for bail pending appeal against both his conviction and 10-year prison term for rape. by PAIDAMOYO MUZULU

Source: Kereke launches audacious fresh bid for freedom – NewsDay Zimbabwe September 23, 2016

Kereke, who was convicted of raping a minor relative following a lengthy trial by regional magistrate Noel Mupeiwa in July, argues that his prospects of winning the case on appeal were high.

In the application, Kereke says his release would allow him to fend for his family as there was no guarantee that the appeal would be heard anytime soon, adding the court might reduce his sentence on review.

“Whatever date the appeal is heard assuming that the conviction is confirmed, there is no guarantee that the applicant (Kereke) would not have served the whole period which may pertain to an interference with the sentence which the court may make,” Kereke’s lawyer, Thabani Mpofu, said.

“A holistic consideration of such factors leads to the inescapable conclusion that admitting applicant to bail is the only available option. Applicant has strong prospects of success and that is a factor which must undoubtedly incline the court towards granting bail.”

Kereke said he was ready to deposit $2 000 bail, surrender title deeds of a single immovable property and continue to reside at his Hatfield, Harare, house until finalisation of the appeal.

Kereke was convicted through private prosecution after former Prosecutor-General Johannes Tomana had delayed his prosecution by nearly six years citing insufficient evidence.

Harare lawyer Charles Warara prosecuted on behalf of the victims.

Warara yesterday confirmed receiving the appeal, saying he would file opposing papers.

“I’m still studying the application and will oppose it and simply by glancing at it, there are a number of inconsistences in the application like his residence. Right through the trial he said he resided in Mandara and one cannot understand how he changed residences after being jailed,” Warara said.

Ex-SA central bank boss sets fund for poor Zimbos

FORMER South African Reserve Bank governor Tito Mboweni yesterday launched the Zimbabwe Solidarity Movement Fund (ZSM) that will cater for poor Zimbabweans in the country through supporting them with accommodation, food and education.

Source: Ex-SA central bank boss sets fund for poor Zimbos – NewsDay Zimbabwe September 23, 2016

BY PAIDAMOYO MUZULU

Mboweni said the decision was motivated by the sorry state of Zimbabweans begging on the streets of South Africa. Many Zimbabweans have crossed the borders fleeing from the imploding economy and political violence that has accompanied all general elections since 2000.

“It saddens me every day to see destitute Zimbabweans begging on our street corners. Let like-minded people help,” Mboweni said.

“Let us create a Zimbabwe Solidarity Movement to help our people. I volunteer to co-ordinate a solidarity programme. E-mail: ttmboweni1@gmail.com.”

The former governor immediately set up an account for the fund with some seed capital.

“I will instruct my bank to open a ZSM Fund tomorrow (today) with R10 000 seed amount. All should follow. It is for accommodation, food and education,” Mboweni explained.

Mboweni had not responded to an email sent to him yesterday for comments on the fund.

He pleaded with fellow businesspersons and corporates to join him in showing solidarity with the struggling Zimbabwean immigrants.

“And we turn a blind eye to this? Time for solidarity for helpless Zimbabweans. Please join this humanitarian effort. You are good people! In difficult times, people rely on solidarity. Zimbabweans are desperate. We can help. Corporates who do business in Zimbabwe, all of us,” the ex-governor said.

Mboweni added that South Africans with the means cannot just pass by every day as disabled, the blind, juveniles and destitutes beg for money at the robots. The project funds, according to Mboweni, will be run by reputable South African charity organisations.

“I will, tomorrow (today), request the SA Council of Churches and The Gift of the Givers to manage the funds and Zimbabwean Solidarity Fund project,” he said.

The development was welcomed by many Zimbabweans on social media, including lawyer and academic Alex Magaisa.

“Well done @tito_mboweni for this great show of solidarity. The long-suffering sons and daughters of Zimbabwe appreciate,” tweeted Magaisa.

There are an estimated three million Zimbabwean economic migrants and political refugees who have settled in South Africa following the deepening economic and political crisis in Zimbabwe since 2000.

HIV+ children default on antiretroviral therapy

Many children living with HIV and Aids are defaulting on their antiretroviral therapy (ART) due to the stalking hunger worsened by the effects of the El Nino-induced drought, the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) has reported.

Source: HIV+ children default on antiretroviral therapy – NewsDay Zimbabwe September 23, 2016

By Phyllis Mbanje

Health experts say strict adherence to ART was key to sustained HIV suppression, reduced risk of drug resistance, improved overall health, quality of life, and survival. Conversely, poor adherence is the major cause of therapeutic failure. Achieving adherence to ART is a critical determinant of the long-term outcome in HIV-infected patients.

However, according to Unicef, among the 2 000 children who reported health problems in the first six months of this year were those who had defaulted on their antiretroviral therapy.

“With the failure of crops, families face the grim choice of spending their little money on food or buying books and paying school fees,” Unicef deputy representative in Zimbabwe, Jane Muita, said. “They will always choose food. But these are hard choices no family should have to make and we worry about the long-term developmental effects that the drought will have on affected children.”

While El Niño devastated crops and decimated livestock in Zimbabwe at the beginning of the year, its toll on children and their well-being is only now beginning to be felt.

Data from the Unicef-supported Child Protection Fund, which tracks welfare and protection needs among poor and vulnerable children, shows a sharp rise in children needing welfare assistance in 2016 compared to 2015.

Among the main findings, 20 000 children needed welfare assistance between January and July 2016 compared to 11 000 in the whole of 2015.

The biggest rise was in the education category, where 12 000 children reported needing school-related assistance in the first six months of 2016 compared to 2 000 in the whole of 2015.

Unicef said of concern also was an increase in sexual abuse and exploitation, neglect, physical and emotional abuse, and child labour, with 7 000 cases reported in the first half of 2016 alone, compared to 3 000 in 2015. This was because in some areas in the south of the country, parents were migrating to neighbouring countries in search of livelihoods, leaving their children at risk of abuse.

Zimbabwe, along with other countries in southern Africa, is in the throes of a drought that has devastated crops and livestock, dried up sources of livelihoods, including water, and left an estimated 4 million people, including 1,9 million children, in need of assistance. An estimated 90 000 children will require treatment for malnutrition.

So far, out of Unicef’s current funding appeal of $21,8 million for Zimbabwe, $3,1 million has been mobilised.

‘Govt paying lip-service to national healing’

OPPOSITION parties and civic groups in Bulawayo have accused the Zanu PF government of lacking commitment to national healing and reconciliation, as evidenced by the escalation of State-sponsored brutality against protestors.

Source: ‘Govt paying lip-service to national healing’ – NewsDay Zimbabwe September 23, 2016

By SILAS NKALA

Zapu deputy spokesperson, Iphithule Maphosa, yesterday said although the national healing programme was long overdue, it was now doubtful government would implement it given its propensity to crush dissent.

Ibhetshu Likazulu spokesperson Mbuso Fuzwayo said: “There’s no acknowledgement of wrongdoing by this government. It is still clear that those who hold different views are regarded as enemies and other arms of government are threatened by the Executive.

“The government does not show any sign of remorse at its evil deeds. Structures of violence are still in place. It’s unfortunate that this government does not accept responsibility over the killing of innocent people.”

Edwin Ndlovu, Bulawayo provincial spokesperson of the People’s Democratic Party, said the Zanu PF government, as the perpetrators of violence, should never be expected to spearhead national healing.

“No national healing and reconciliation can take place under this illegal and illegitimate regime. Actually, we would be forced to lobby Sadc and African Union, maybe, to lead the process. Asking rats or mice to account for missing ground nuts is asking for too much,” he said.

Former Vice-President Joice Mujuru’s Zimbabwe People First (ZimPF) said Zanu PF had never shown commitment to national healing its formation in 1963.

“All they want to see is blood and bodies on the floor. At a time when they should be healing people, they have been embarking on bloodletting operations ever since.

“Genocide and violence has become a culture from which they cannot escape. True and genuine healing will only be possible in a post- Zanu PF Zimbabwe,” ZimPF spokesperson, Methuseli Moyo said.

Govt engages diaspora for health funding

Government has started engaging Zimbabweans living in the Diaspora with a view to getting assistance in the raising of funds for the health sector.

Source: Govt engages diaspora for health funding – NewsDay Zimbabwe September 23, 2016

by XOLISANI NCUBE

Health and Child Care minister David Parirenyatwa yesterday said Zimbabweans living abroad with various expertise and resources were needed to help the under-funded health sector.

“It’s not a secret that government is facing financial challenges and we are appealing to our people in the Diaspora to chip in, in whatever form towards the revival and improvement of our health system. We are looking at human capital and medicinal assistance,” Parirenyatwa said.

“We are looking at assistance of whatever nature, be it specialised equipment such as scanners, X-rays and so on and so forth.”
He said many Zimbabweans were willing to contribute towards the development of the health sector.

“We are also looking at human resources, for example, Nust (National University of Science and Technology) has a shortage of medicine lecturers and we need such kind of people to assist,” Parirenyatwa said.

The country’s health sector has largely been supported by the donor community, notably the United States, Britain and the European Union. Donors have helped improve maternal and child health and nutrition, as well as ensuring the provision of essential medicines, vaccines and basic medical equipment.

But Parirenyatwa said over-reliance on the donor community was risky, urging Zimbabweans in the diaspora to help keep the country’s health sector afloat.

Parirenyatwa said essential drugs were still in short supply at public hospitals and clinics in urban and rural areas — largely due to under-funding and failure by many people to pay for the services.

The minister said skilled personnel who had fled the economic crisis prior to 2009 should return and help both in the private and public health sectors.

He is currently on a nationwide tour assessing the state of public health institutions.

Bob’s sold Zimbabwe to Chinese: Protesters

As President Robert Mugabe spoke at the UN General Assembly in New York this week – and blamed his country’s socio-economic plight on sanctions imposed by the West – rival groups of demonstrators protested outside.

Source: Bob’s sold Zimbabwe to Chinese: Protesters – Times LIVE September 23, 2016

As President Robert Mugabe spoke at the UN General Assembly in New York this week – and blamed his country’s socio-economic plight on sanctions imposed by the West – rival groups of demonstrators protested outside.

Pastor Evan Mawarire’s This Flag Movement – which spearheaded broadly based protests against the Zimbabwean government earlier this year, and members of Tajamuka joined forces to tell the world of their grievances.

Video clips shared on social media by the demonstrators showed a group of about 40 anti-Mugabe people protesting. In one clip they sing: ”Bob, you sold the country to the Chinese. Don’t forget, we voted you in – we will vote you out.”

”How does anyone support someone who runs down a country until there’s 95% unemployment? We are not demonstrating here because we want privileges. We are demonstrating because we want our rights,” said a Dr Manyika, who is based in the US.

After Mugabe’s UN speech, Mawarire, who is in exile in the US after fleeing Zimbabwe following a police crackdown earlier this year, said that official corruption has nothing to do with sanctions.

”What do sanctions have to do with corruption? What do sanctions have to do with citizens being arrested unjustly and tortured? Zimbabwe is not a private company,” he said.

The pro-Mugabe December 12 Movement staged its own demonstration, saying the West was crucifying Mugabe for giving land to landless Zimbabweans.

Businessman challenges bond notes introduction

HARARE businessman, Frederick Charles Moses Mutanda has approached the High Court challenging the planned introduction of bond notes, saying the move by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) is unconstitutional and an infringement on his fundamental rights. BY CHARLES LAITON

Source: Businessman challenges bond notes introduction – NewsDay Zimbabwe September 23, 2016

Mutanda’s application comes shortly after former Vice-President and opposition Zimbabwe People First leader Joice Mujuru filed a similar court challenge against the proposed bond notes.

Mujuru’s case is set to be heard at the Constitutional Court on Wednesday next week.

RBZ governor John Mangudya has indicated that the bond notes would be released into the market next month.

In his application filed on Wednesday, Mutanda said he had approached the court in his personal capacity after realising that his constitutional right to freedom was being or likely to be infringed by the central bank’s move.

Mutanda said the proposed bond notes, as a form of legal tender or currency for purposes of domestic transactions alongside other legitimate legal tenders, would violate his constitutional right.

The Caps Holdings major shareholder also said he had concerns over the expropriation of export proceeds earned by exporters, for summary placement in the central bank’s nostro account, adding there was nothing to back up the RBZ’s electronic “credits” or “payments” back into the same accounts.

“This conduct flies in the face of section 317 of the Constitution concerning the governor and the central bank’s duties and obligations to sound fiscal management; and/or the founding value of section 3 (1) (h) of the Constitution concerning good governance,” Mutanda said in his founding affidavit.

He accused Mangudya of not telling the truth about the true nature of the bond notes.

“I suspect the governor distanced himself from calling the bond notes legal tender and/or bank notes and/or currency, which is what they are or will be, because he knows there is a very specific statutory process for the introduction of legitimate legal tender/bank notes/currency and he has not followed that route,” he said.

“His (Mangudya) bond notes scheme has not followed the correct statutory route for its approval and introduction for use by the public and not just a specified segment of the public being exporters. I am also of the view that the governor is acutely aware of the public’s general opposition to the introduction or threat of a fresh form of Zimbabwean currency in the same category as the despised bearer cheques which contributed to hyperinflationary and general misery inflicted on the public.”

Mutanda cited the RBZ, Mangudya, Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa, Stanbic Bank and Attorney-General Prince Machaya as respondents.

 

56 protesters released on $30 bail each

Fifty-six protesters, who were arrested in August and charged with public violence after allegedly participating in the #ThisFlag and Tajamuka-organised shutdown, were yesterday released on $30 bail each by High Court judge Justice Happias Zhou.

Source: 56 protesters released on $30 bail each – NewsDay Zimbabwe September 23, 2016

BY CHARLES LAITON

The group is part of the many people who were picked up by police following violent clashes that rocked the city as law enforcement agents fought running battles with protesters.

In his judgment, Justice Zhou said the magistrate who dealt with the initial bail application had made a serious misdirection as there was no reason to incarcerate the protesters without compelling reasons.

The 56 suspects, according to the magistrate, had been denied bail on the basis that the State wanted to keep them at one place for purposes of carrying out an identification parade, but Justice Zhou castigated the court’s reasoning.

“It was a serious misdirection on the part of the magistrate to deny the persons their liberty for the reasons that there was need to have them in one place for purposes of carrying out an identification parade,” the judge said.

All the suspects are being represented by Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights lawyer Jeremiah Bamu together with Harare lawyer Charles Chikore.

 

Mugabe, Khama battle intensifies

Source: Mugabe, Khama battle intensifies – The Zimbabwe Independent September 23, 2016

Botswana sends spy chief to Zimbabwe

AS high-level political clashes between Zimbabwe and Botswana resurface and intensify, it has emerged President Ian Khama dispatched an intelligence delegation to Harare led by his spy chief to convey Gaborone’s annoyance with government’s accusations that the neighbouring state is providing paramilitary training to opposition MDC-T bandits to destabilise the country.

By Hazel Ndebele

Informed intelligence sources told the Zimbabwe Independent this week Botswana’s retired colonel Isaac Kgosi, the director-general of the country’s Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS), a close ally of Khama, was in Harare on August 30 and 31, to engage his counterpart, Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) boss retired Major-General Happyton Bonyongwe, on the volatile issue.

The rumblings of displeasure and growing agitation behind the scenes exploded into the public domain two days ago when Khama said President Robert Mugabe no longer has the capacity to provide effective leadership and must go.

This triggered a stormy reaction yesterday by Zimbabwe’s Higher Education minister Jonathan Moyo who, in an opinion article in this paper (see Page 14), said Mugabe would not be unconstitutionally stampeded out of office by regime change crusaders whom he said included local opposition parties, civil society groups, regional leaders like Khama and Western governments.

“As such, the Khamas of this world and their hopeless lot must be told in no uncertain terms to go hang,” Moyo said.

“This is because their stance seeks to subvert constitutional democracy in Zimbabwe by overturning not just constitutionality in terms of the letter of the law, but also by undermining constitutionalism in terms of the spirit of the law and its supportive conventional practice. The new constitutional position in Zimbabwe is that only the people can tell President Mugabe to go through a national plebiscite. Anything else from malcontents outside the constitutional process, is just mumbo jumbo.”

Intelligence sources said DIS and CIO liaisons are meant to defuse mounting tensions and avoid nasty public confrontations like these between the two countries which in 2008 escalated mutual hostilities until Botswana feared an imminent invasion.

If the Americans, as revealed in WikiLeaks cables, had agreed to Gaborone’s request for arms the two countries could have drifted to the brink of a first-time war.

According to leaked secret US Embassy diplomatic cables, Botswana asked the US to supply military equipment to ward-off a Zimbabwean military assault.

“Major-General (Gobuamang) Tlhokwane (now retired), then the Deputy Commander of the Botswana Defence Forces, is said to have approached a defence cooperation official at the US embassy in Botswana on July 14, 2008, and claimed that Zimbabwe had massed military forces on the border,” the cable said.

“Tlhokwane asked the US to help with global positioning systems, anti-tank missiles, short-range air defence systems, F5 under-wing tank system and helicopter gunships to help Botswana prepare for the expected attack. The requests for anti-tank missiles and a short-range air defence system make sense in the context of the current situation as Zimbabwe has more numerous and more advanced tanks and aircraft in their inventory than Botswana.”

US envoys, however, advised against giving Botswana weapons, warning provision of the equipment could harm America’s interests in the region and trigger a regional arms race.

“This mission is mindful of how a closer US government and (Botswana) security relationship, with possible provision of new arms and equipment, might impact our on-going diplomacy in Southern Africa and beyond,” the cable said. “We should examine ways to enhance institutional ties and other support for the government of Botswana and the Botswana Defence Forces where appropriate, but also in a manner that will not harm overriding US interests in Africa.”
Khama on Wednesday said Mugabe’s misrule was a burden to the entire region which is accommodating millions of economic refugees from Zimbabwe.

Renewed conflict between Harare and Gaborone came as it also emerged the white farmer, Mark McKinnon, who was evicted from his Domboshava farm months ago alongside his father Geofrey Kelly McKinnon amid state media reports that an arms cache had been found on their farm, is a well-known professional shooter who has represented the Zimbabwe National Shooting Team since 2000.

The official media story was carried to lend credence to reports that the opposition was preparing to arm bandits at a time civil unrest and protests were spreading.

Intelligence sources said in the aftermath of Harare’s renewed claims of destabilisation from Botswana an infuriated Khama dispatched Kgosi to meet Bonyongwe to convey his displeasure.

In 2009 MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai, then prime minister in the unity government, wrote a letter to Sadc chairperson and former South African president, Kgalema Motlanthe, complaining about “fabricated allegations of banditry training” against the MDC-T.

Bonyongwe and Kgosi’s meeting in Harare came three days after Home Affairs minister Ignatius Chombo claimed the MDC-T is training a terror outfit to destabilise the country.

“There is intelligence which we are gathering, and indications are that these people have been trained outside Zimbabwe to carry out these acts,” said Chombo. “In due time, we will expose what they have been doing behind the scenes leading up to these protests because a lot has been happening.”

Chombo’s claims came after a series of protests rocked the country. Since July 1, Zimbabweans have been taking to the streets to vent their anger over the country’s plethora of problems.

The Botswana delegation raised a number of concerns, including what they called false accusations against their government and country.

“The intelligence team of Botswana, other than dismissing claims of training bandits to destabilise Zimbabwe, encouraged proper communication channels and good relations between the two countries,” an intelligence source said.

“Basically the meetings were to defuse tensions and rebuild bridges.”

The information department of Botswana’s embassy in Harare, in an emailed response to enquiries from this newspaper, said: “We acknowledge receipt of your email and the office is currently consulting relevant authorities in Botswana.”
Botswana government spokesperson Jeff Ramsey yesterday said he had also forwarded questions from the Independent to the relevant offices.

In 2008, then Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa said government had evidence Botswana was providing military training to MDC-T members as part of a plot to topple Mugabe.

“Botswana has availed its territory, material and logistical support to MDC-T for the recruitment and military training of youths for the eventual destabilisation of the country with a view of effecting illegal regime change,” Chinamasa said.

However, the MDC-T and Botswana dismissed the accusations.

Meanwhile, allegations that the McKinnon family had an arms cache on the farm have proven false. It turns out that Mark is a gun enthusiast and professional shooter who has represented Zimbabwe in several shooting events, including at the International World Championships in Italy in July this year.

He was a member of the Mashonaland Gun Club.

Mark, who now stays in Canada with his family after being evicted from the family farm a few months ago, said all his firearms were registered.

“All our firearms were licensed as was the reloading equipment. I have shot all over the world for Zimbabwe and I have been in the national team since 2000,” he said from Canada. “In July we were in the world championships in Italy where Zimbabwe came 19th out of 40 countries. Who was shooting there? I have shot in South Africa, Zambia, Dubai, Kuwait to name just a few.

Moyo said: “Let Khama mind the desert that is Botswana’s troubled business while we mind our own challenges and exploit our country’s opportunities by taking seriously Mugabe’s call that the time has come for us to work together to industrialise and modernise Zimbabwe.”

NetOne in US$32m dodgy deals

Source: NetOne in US$32m dodgy deals – The Zimbabwe Independent September 23, 2016

A FORENSIC audit into the affairs of state-owned mobile phone operator NetOne has unearthed new evidence of mismanagement and corruption. Latest details show the company made shady payments totalling US$32 million to several firms without documentation, it has been established.

By Bernard Mpofu

NetOne’s board of directors ordered a forensic audit into the country’s second largest telecoms firm after it emerged several scandals were rocking the company.

Chief executive officer Reward Kangai and several other executives were sent on forced leave in March to pave way for the audit.

It is understood the audit, conducted by PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC), has now been completed and the report was submitted to the Auditor-General’s Office last month.

Sources close to the developments said payments totalling US$32 124 987,65 were made to 10 contractors without paperwork in a glaring abuse of public funds.

The companies, sources said, include Essar Tubes and Towers which received US$6 168 854,59; Gemalto (US$3 064 374,11); Huawei (US$1 586 248,79); Masimba Holdings (US$3 528 714,03); Bopela Group (US$913 174,24); Sectional Poles (US$987 822); Technotree (US$50 000); Intervoice Convergys (US$7 122 029,99); Redan (US$1 693 086,13) and Nokia Siemens (US$7 010 684,77), bringing the total to US$32 million.

“The probe revealed that NetOne operated 35 bank accounts with 13 banks which increases the risk of complicit and fraudulent activities by management as it may be difficult to efficiently keep track of transactions in the different accounts,” a source said.

“What was also suspicious was that management had different signatories for the different accounts and, on average, bank reconciliations were done 10 days after the transactions.”

The final report, sources said, also revealed Kangai made changes to the employment contracts of key managerial personnel without board approval and further allowed them to receive cash in lieu of holiday allowances.

“This resulted in NetOne paying a total of US$274 418,11 to senior management for the holiday allowances during the period under review (last five years). Some of those who benefitted from the payment include: Kangai US$135 701,94; the late finance director Matavire Dzimbanhete who received US$23 589,93; sales and marketing director Spiwe Ndoro who pocketed US$55 264,15; finance director Godfrey Tarupuwa who was paid US$41 726,01 as well as chief technical officer Darlington Gutu who received US$18 136,06,” the source said. “The encashment of holiday allowances by NetOne directors contravenes established best and common practice. It is best and common practice that such allowances as the holiday one have a ceiling. “The forensic audit also revealed that management paid themselves, without board approval, a total of US$211 102,20 in special incentives for excellent work done.”

NetOne financial results show that the company incurred a loss of US$3 million in the full year to 2015 despite a 20% growth in revenue to US$120 million.

On the contentious matter of base stations, sources said NetOne had been operating without any formal policies or procedures governing the acquisition of base stations. Controversial sites where Kangai presided over the installation of base stations include Avondale Christian Church, and Number 103 Good Hope, which is owned by Joyce Kangai.

The latest scandal comes after preliminary results of the audit revealed that NetOne engaged a local contractor, Bopela Group, to undertake a base station installation project without a contract amid disclosures that the contractor erected a base station at his wife’s house in the capital without the company’s approval. The audit, sources said, shows that in the period under review, Bopela was contracted by NetOne to construct base station foundations and to rig towers despite not having a contract to undertake the project.

“The audit revealed how on several occasions, the CEO directed the installation of base stations without necessary technical surveys of the stability of the chosen site or at sites that were not authorised for development,” a source said. “The audit also returned that management would wantonly approve the development of over 80 sites without seeking approval from respective local authorities. The cost of the company’s regularisation fines of US$1 050 per site is costing in excess of US$80 000 as a consequence of incompetent planning yet the normal cost of obtaining site approval is US$230 per site.”

In July, the Zimbabwe Independent reported that Kangai allegedly aided local contractor Bopela Group — which was engaged by the telecoms firm to work on a US$3,7 million base stations installation project — to evade tax after the company was hit by a garnish order for failing to pay taxes.

This was first revealed in the first draft of an audit report on NetOne titled “Provision of Comprehensive Forensic Investigation Services to NetOne Cellular Services” compiled by PriceWaterhouseCoopers on behalf of the Auditor-General.

The draft audit showed that following a garnish order on Bopela by the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra), the company’s managing director Agrippa Masiyakurima approached Kangai seeking approval to sub-contract the installation of 70 base stations to a firm, which was part of the Bopela Group. This apparent conflict of interest was meant to bypass Zimra from freezing the company’s funds.

It also highlighted that Huawei then advised Masiyakurima to amend his tripartite agreement and appoint one of his sub-contractors as the recipient of the outstanding fees.

Macharawanda Group, a unit of the Bopela Group, was selected as the sub-contractor and a new agreement was entered into.

The Bopela project, which involved installing base stations for NetOne, is part of the multi-million-dollar equipment deal with the Chinese technology firm, Huawei.

PwC also revealed that Huawei country manager Xiaohui Bao informed the auditors that the Bopela tripartite agreement was amended and Macharawanda was roped in because Bopela could not meet the construction deadline.

In 2012, government partnered Huawei in rolling out NetOne’s national mobile broadband project as competition in the telecoms sector intensified on the back of massive growth in data and overlay services.

IMF aborts Zim visit

THE International Monetary Fund (IMF) has abandoned its much-awaited visit to Zimbabwe amid indications the country’s arrears clearance plan approved in Lima, Peru, last year has totally unravelled. ‘

Source: IMF aborts Zim visit – The Zimbabwe Independent September 23, 2016

THE International Monetary Fund (IMF) has abandoned its much-awaited visit to Zimbabwe amid indications the country’s arrears clearance plan approved in Lima, Peru, last year has totally unravelled.

By Bernard Mpofu

An IMF mission was supposed to be in Harare two weeks ago to liaise with the government over the arrears clearance plan ahead of the fund’s annual meetings in the United States from October 3-9 this year.

The Zimbabwe Independent has also established on good authority that the Bretton Woods lender was now contemplating a new programme for Zimbabwe that might only come into effect after the 2018 elections, meaning the country will almost certainly no longer access the US$2 billion from international financial institutions.

This comes after the Independent last week reported that fierce behind-the-scenes battles have erupted in and around the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to ensure Zimbabwe is not discussed at the annual meetings of the boards of governors of the IMF and World Bank Group in Washington DC as the debt-ridden country seeks to secure new funding.

IMF country representative Christian Beddies said government officials were now expected to appraise the multilateral financial institution of Zimbabwe’s debt-and-arrears clearance plan during the annual meetings.

“The dates have not been finalised. I think they will finalise with the authorities (government) when they go for the annual meetings,” Beddies said in a telephone interview yesterday.

The annual meetings are usually held for two consecutive years at the IMF and World Bank headquarters in Washington DC and every third year in another member country.

The last time the IMF deliberated on Zimbabwe was on May 2 when its executive board concluded the Article IV Consultation with Zimbabwe and the third review under the Staff-Monitored Programme.

The rescheduling of the visit comes at a time Zimbabwe’s economic crisis is deepening as reflected by tight liquidity conditions resulting from limited external inflows and lower commodity prices. Inflation has also remained in negative territory on the back of a firming US dollar against regional currencies.

Meanwhile, IMF director of communications Gerry Rice a fortnight ago told reporters in Washington DC that the fund had not finalised any bailout package for the debt-ridden southern African nation.

“And again, I want to repeat that there’s no financing programme under discussion with Zimbabwe at this point.

Indeed, the authorities have announced a plan to clear the arrears. Once they are cleared, which they are not at this point, our board would need to discuss that,” Rice said.

“Meet, discuss that, and approve the normalisation of relations with Zimbabwe, and only after that could other things happen. But again, there is no financing programme under discussion with Zimbabwe at this point.”

Time is also running out for the debt-ridden government to settle its US$1,8 billion arrears to preferred international financiers — World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the African Development Bank (AfDB) — in order to access AfDB bridge financing for distressed countries like Somalia, Sudan and Zimbabwe.

According to an AfDB internal memo titled “Zimbabwe Processing of Debt Arrears Clearance Information Note for July 2016: The African Development Fund-13 Report”, the regional bank’s deputies agreed to ring-fence Transition Support Facility Pillar II resources for arrears clearance of Somalia, Sudan and Zimbabwe on a first come, first served basis.

This means should Zimbabwe, which has already missed its June 2016 deadline to meet its commitments, fail to repay arrears, the window could be closed

The AfDB said while government has shown commitment to implementing reforms, Zimbabwe has up to October this year to demonstrate how it wants to tackle its arrears before the facility is closed in December.

Short Essay: History of Zimbabwe Economy

What do we know about Zimbabwe and its economy? When we think about Zimbabwe, we recall the only term – hyperinflation. Zimbabwean inflation is so solid that the central bank of Zimbabwe had to make a 100 billion dollar note. As a result, Zimbabwe suffers from the strongest inflation in the world. There is hardly a country that can compete with it. Thus, many economists have become interested in the economy of Zimbabwe. They want to understand the major cause of this problem. We know that the weak economic condition of Zimbabwe is unnatural and probably artificial. This country is very rich regarding its resources and potential. However, the unskillful government of the current president Robert Mugabe cannot take advantage of the potential of his country. Unluckily, Zimbabwe is among the poorest countries in the world. Let us try to understand why.

Zimbabwe was a very powerful civilization between the 8th and 15th centuries AD. However, we know very little about the economy of that time. When we look at the 17th century, we will see that the majority of people in Zimbabwe, South Africa and other countries did not live in cities or common villages. They lived in the so-called tribes and fed themselves with the help of hunting and gathering. Therefore, it is impossible to speak about any economic flourishing at that time. The 18th century is characterized with the attempt of the creation of a powerful kingdom. In fact, this project was ruined by the growing interest of Europe in Zimbabwe. More and more white invaders came to Zimbabwe in order to settle down there. This land was attractive to them. The local people could not resist the power of the British pressure. What attracted Europeans in Zimbabwe? To begin with, it is land. European farmers moved from Europe to seize vast territories and develop agriculture there. Secondly, it is mining. When Europeans understood that Zimbabwe and surrounding countries are rich in platinum, gold and diamonds, they made it their colony. Thus, agriculture and mining had been the major fields of Zimbabwean economy by the middle of the 20th century.

If we speak about the period of Southern Rhodesia, we should say that the economy was based on production of chrome and tobacco. Unfortunately, the white population was privileged in Zimbabwe. They received land and rights while the rights of the black population were severely limited. They did not have land and equal opportunities in employment. However, the period of Rhodesian rule was useful for the economy of Zimbabwe. The country transformed from the agricultural state into one of the richest industrial giants. Due to the high level of development of the mining industry, the state possessed its own stable currency and experienced gradual economic growth. The rates of social inequality decreased and more and more people could take advantage of education and healthcare.

However, the situation changed cardinally in 1980s. Zimbabwe became an independent state on 18th April 1980. Robert Mugabe became Prime Minister. Later on, he became President in 1987. This personality is quite scandalous whereas his government exists primarily on foreign financial aid. Robert Mugabe is an authoritarian leader who conducts nationalistic policy. He planned to build socialism in Zimbabwe and criticized ‘Western lifestyle’. He began to persecute the white farmers and demonstrated his firm anti-American position. Zimbabwe was no longer a market economy whereas Mugabe chose another way of development. No wonder, the country was supported by the USSR and other socialist states. It received foreign financial aid that supported the rapid economic fall. After the collapse of the USSR the amount of aid reduced considerably. Zimbabwe remained without international support and its economy fell down to the current level.

The new president supported the policy of the total control of economy by the state. He believed that all companies, plants and factories should be nationalized. Private sector was persecuted and treated like a harmful element for economy. In 2000s 4000 white farmers were evicted from their lands. The government believed that their activity caused harm to the state. However, these households were prosperous and brought solid income into the budget. Eviction caused the further economic reduction and inflation.

Nationalized firms were supported by the state. Without doubt, these unproductive companies consumed money and gave nothing to the state. What is more, the corruptive government stole money while donating into nationalized business. No one can control the circulation of money in a nationalized company. Therefore, money is stolen from the budget and no one can accuse anybody of doing something illegal. The only victim is the people. The main idea of the rule of Robert Mugabe was to redistribute wealth from the white to the black population with the help of the means of the government-controlled economy. Doubtless, this plan could not be successful whereas the modern world lives according to the rules of the fair competition and market economy. Social instability and dictatorship of Mugabe frightened all potential foreign investors.

No one wants to invent into the unstable economy. Thus, this instability and inequality determines the current financial condition of Zimbabwe.

This article is written and produced by one of essay writing companies EffectivePapers.com.

Drama over spilled beer

Source: Drama over spilled beer | The Herald

Bulawayo Bureau

A man has been arrested after he went berserk and attempted to blow up a shopping complex in Queenspark West using explosives following an altercation with shop attendants.Admire Mangeya, a soldier, sent shoppers, imbibers, vendors and workers at the shopping complex running for their lives at about 4PM on Tuesday after he set the explosives in protest over a spilt glass of beer.He was immediately apprehended by the police, who recovered the explosives. Witnesses, who could not identify the type of explosives, said an army bomb squa