Author Archives: ZimSitRep_W

Headline news 1 December, 2015

More condoms given out and yet more STIs

via More condoms given out and yet more STIs – New Zimbabwe 30/11/2015

MUTARE: There has been a high demand for male condoms in Manicaland province but still sexually transmitted infections remain on the increase, the Zimbabwe National Family Planning (ZNFP) has said.

ZNFP provincial manager Dyson Masvingise said there has been a high consumption of condoms but there was a surge in the cases of STI`s in the province.

Masvingise said 1 577 900 condoms were distributed in the third quarter of 2015 but STI cases were still very high.

“We wonder what these condoms are being used for. It’s so worrisome,” Masvingise told an Adolescence Sexual Reproductive Health Forum recently.

He said Manicaland province is still witnessing as high as 5 000 STI cases per quarter, adding “the trend is worrisome considering resources being poured into the fight against HIV”.

According to Manicaland Annual Provincial Narrative Report 2014, there were 14 267 females who were treated of STI`s while 7 667 were males.

“The most affected age group is 25-49 years,” said Masvingise.

He said the council has managed to distribute 59 720 female condoms, adding that this has been a major development since most women have been shunning this method.
“There has been a low uptake of these condoms since they were introduced but there has been an improvement,” said Masvingise.

He said there is need for advocacy to persuade men to accept the use of female condom by their partners.

‘Zim should be registering higher economic growth’

via ‘Zim should be registering higher economic growth’ | The Herald November 30, 2015

ZIMBABWE should register annual growth rates of between 7 percent and 8 percent over the next ten years to make up for the two decades of lost economic growth and lift the country above its regional counterparts. Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa believes the progress registered by Zimbabwe’s regional competitors during the period of economic instability up to 2008 is not out of reach.

“We need to catch up on our time considering that we have lost a good 20 years over issues of resolving the land question. So we need to catch up and for that to happen we need to grow consistently at around 7 percent to 8 percent for the next 10 years. If we fail then we are not getting there. We have the potential,” said Minister Chinamasa.

Minister Chinamasa was speaking at a post budget breakfast meeting with captains of industry hosted by The Herald Business and the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries last Friday.

To catch up, Zimbabwe crafted an economic policy framework to create wealth and give impetus to economic growth to ensure the country achieves its growth potential. The 2016 budget sets the tone for aspired faster economic growth. “Our growth rate is too low. At 1,5 percent this year and 2,7 percent next year. We should never be content with a Gross Domestic Product of $14 billion. It’s so little. This is why we are concentrating on the policy framework,” said Minister Chinamasa.

Apart from the policy framework, Minister Chinamasa is looking to mining to spur economic development. “As we go forward I am now looking on mining to give me the growth that I am expecting and in this regard we are pushing on increasing the production of diamonds,” said Minister Chinamasa.

As part of efforts to capacitate the mining sector, Government introduced a policy to consolidate all diamond mining companies into a single entity to bring transparency in the mining and marketing of diamonds. The policy is, however, facing stern resistance from existing diamond mining companies, but Government says it will not relent.

Minister Chinamasa said the resistance has forced Government to consider other avenues to exploit the gems. “We have agreed with Minister of Mines and Mining Development (Walter Chidhakwa) that we must forge ahead with our own efforts. We are now consolidating three concessions, Marange Resources, Kusena and Gye Nyame into one company.

“We are going to proceed to exploit diamonds on the three concessions and we have already acquired necessary machinery from Belarus. So I am expecting to see a leap in our production of diamond carats from the current three million carats to about six to seven million carats next year,” said Minister Chinamasa.

Value addition and beneficiation is critical in Government’s plans to secure consistent economic growth rates. This is especially important now that China, the major consumer of commodities, minerals, is undergoing an economic slowdown. The decline in the prices of commodities due to the slowdown in China means that producers of commodities are also exposed.

Zimbabwe, being one of the major producers of minerals is also vulnerable to that decline. This has forced Zimbabwe to expedite the process of value addition and beneficiation to minerals to break ranks with countries which are primary producers.

Already, Government has implemented a number of measures in the diamond and gold sectors which have started paying dividends. Aurex Diamonds (Pvt) Limited, a subsidiary of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, is now cutting and polishing diamonds mined in the country, after their compulsory cleaning to improve their quality.

“I am happy to say that Aurex Diamonds has already acquired state-of-the-art equipment from India,” said Minister Chinamasa. With respect to platinum, Government has agreed with platinum producers a roadmap on the base of which they are going to move from concentration to base metal and ultimately to refinery.

“Concentration gives them 25 percent purity; the next level is to do 50 percent and then 75 percent. I told them that I am keen to get them to 75 percent. They must put in the necessary infrastructure to refine platinum by the end of next year, in the case of Zimplats which is already doing 50 percent. So on platinum we are okay and on diamonds we are on course,” said Minister Chinamasa.

On gold, measures to increase production of gold and marketing of value added products have also started bringing rewards. Minister Chinamasa hopes increased chrome ore exports which resumed three weeks ago will contribute significantly to economy growth. “So I am expecting to see exports of chrome ore contributing meaningfully not only to the fiscus but also to growth,” said Minister Chinamasa.

China pushes for deeper engagement with Africa

via China pushes for deeper engagement with Africa | The Herald November 30, 2015

BEIJING.- Chinese President Xi Jinping and his African counterparts will have much to celebrate at the upcoming Forum on China-Africa Cooperation in Johannesburg, South Africa this week. When the forum was first established in 2000, trade volume between China and Africa was only $10 billion. Now China has become the continent’s largest trading partner, with trade volume expected to exceed $300 billion in 2015.

By the end of 2014, more than 2 500 Chinese companies were conducting business in Africa, which has a total population of more than 1,1 billion. But China-Africa engagement is also at a crossroads, with China poised to have a long-term slower growth and Africa seeking to upgrade its agrarian and manufacturing industries.

Adding to the concern was an announcement by the Ministry of Commerce earlier this month that China’s investment in Africa fell by more than 40 percent year-on-year in the first half of 2015. “The decline in investment was due to various reasons, such as shrinking demand amid global economic slowdown and volatile geopolitical situations in some African countries,” said Liu Hongwu from the Institute of African Studies under Zhejiang Normal University.

Describing China as “a small player” in African investment, Liu estimated that China accounted for only 3 to 4 percent of total investment in Africa. He believed that in the long run, China’s investment in Africa will continue to rise. That is in line with the vision of Premier Li Keqiang, who pledged to boost China’s investment to Africa.

China’s engagement with Africa is changing. After decades of helping African countries build infrastructure and providing aid, China has seen more companies expand their presence in other areas such as agriculture, transportation and consumer goods.

The African market has become one of the most important markets for Lenovo, the world’s largest PC maker. Smartphones made by Huawei are also popular in African countries, with sales trailing only behind Samsung.

How the two continue to forge a “win-win” relationship will become the focus of Xi’s visit, which analysts say will demonstrate the importance China attaches to the continent, just like Xi’s first overseas visit to South Africa after he assumed office in 2013.

Xi is expected to announce new measures to help Africa with industrialization, food security, public health and disease prevention, said Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi when attending the ministry’s 15th Lanting Forum on Thursday.

He said mutual cooperation has entered a new era, calling on the two sides to combine China’s advantage in development experience and production with Africa’s advantage in natural and human resources.

Wang added that the two sides share much in common and hold similar stances on many international and regional issues. The suffering and hardships they both experienced help them understand each other and cooperate in development.

This partially explains China’s continuing aid to African countries. Since 2012, the Chinese government has lent a hand in around 900 aid programmes in Africa, helping the continent cultivate more than 30 000 professionals on various fields, said vice commerce minister Qian Keming on Thursday.

Qian said China will diversify imports from the continent and buy more products in addition to primary commodities, particularly natural resources, which now accounts for the bulk of China-Africa trade.

In recent years, China has also made increased efforts to address other concerns. Since the outbreak of the deadly virus last year, China has delivered more than 750 million yuan ($117 million) worth of humanitarian aid and sent hundreds of medical workers to the front line in Ebola-stricken West Africa.

“China’s all-out efforts in helping Ebola-inflicted African countries demonstrated China’s image as a responsible country and significantly fortified and developed the Sino-African friendship,” said President Xi in a letter sent to Ebola fighters.

The issue of wildlife protection is also expected to be part of the discussion at the upcoming forum, according to Dr. Patrick Bergin, CEO of the Africa Wildlife Foundation. – Xinhua.

Hwange power station risks lockdown

via Hwange power station risks lockdown | The Herald November 30, 2015

THE State Procurement Board has put Hwange Thermal Power Station at the risk of closure by continuing to ignore calls to float a special tender to buy two transformers to replace existing ones that are in bad shape. Zimbabwe Power Company has written to the SPB in the last two months seeking to float the special formal tender to buy the transformers but there has not been any approval from the tender board.

The effect of the forced closure of the thermal power station would be devastating to the country considering that power generation at Kariba Power Station is at its lowest owing to low water levels in Kariba Dam.

ZPC asked the SPB two months ago for a special formal tender for two transformers to replace existing ones, but there has not been any approval, posing a great risk to power generation.

In correspondence seen by The Herald, ZPC managing director Mr Noah Gwariro first wrote to the SPB on September 22, 2015 requesting that they be granted authority to float a special formal tender among 15 participating bidders within 14 days after advertising the tender in The Herald and Chronicle on July 30, 2015.

There was to be a compulsory site visit on August 17, 2015 before the tender closed on August 31, 2015 when 15 bids were received, but the tender was cancelled after they all failed to meet tender specifications.

“Failure to urgently replace the transformers poses great risk to the power station as failure on the transformers, as indicated by oil leaks, which can happen any time from now, will result in loss of power generation at Hwange Power Station,” said Mr Gwariro. “An analysis of transformer oil results carried out at Hwange Power Station indicates that 2 X 10MVA transformers for Unit 2 and 3 were in a bad state.

“A refurbishment of the 2 X MVA transformers was carried out as an interim measure. However, the refurbishment does not guarantee performance of the transformers and they need urgent replacement.” Mr Gwariro said given the water problems experienced at Kariba South Power Station, there was need to sustain Hwange Thermal Power Station’s generation capacity.

He requested permission to do the tender and conclude it at ZPC and only report on the results to the SPB. SPB principal officer Mr Cledwyn Nyanhete responded to Mr Gwariro letter on September 25, 2015 asking for various documents, among them copies of the tender advertisement, tender opening minutes, bid documents, procurement committee meeting minutes and evaluation report showing comparative schedules with detailed reasons for disqualification or acceptance.

Mr Gwariro wrote to the SPB on October 6, 2015 requesting the board to urgently conclude the matter. “The test results show that the current running transformers can fail any time and delays in availing replacement transformers will result in losing power generation at Hwange Power Station,” he said.

“Given the current acute power shortage bedevilling the country, loss of power generation at Hwange Power Station will cause worse load shedding to business and households.” Mr Gwariro wrote again on October 19, 2015 complaining about the delays at the SPB that saw the board requesting that the company conducts a pre-bid conference for the tender.

“We would like to advise that after submitting our urgent request for a special formal tender for the above mentioned requirement on the 22nd of September 2015, despite numerous follow-ups you returned the tender document on 16 October 2015, almost a month from date of submission,” he said.

“Despite the urgency we have indicated, we have noted that you returned the tender document recommending a pre-bid conference for the tender. In our view, a pre-bid conference is not necessary as all the participating bidders attended a site meeting at Hwange Power Station and familiarised with site.

“Participating bidders also attended a de-briefing meeting held at ZPC Head Office where they were taken through their shortcomings. We, therefore, feel that there will not be anything new to present or discuss with the bidders which was not covered by the two meetings mentioned above.

“We would also like to bring to your attention that the valid tax clearance certificate has no material effect as no bidder was affected by this requirement. The main reasons for non-compliance by bidders were technical issues. We, therefore, request for your quick resolution of this matter.”

Chinamasa ashamed of his $4bn budget

via Chinamasa ashamed of his $4bn budget – New Zimbabwe 29/11/2015

FINANCE minister Patrick Chinamasa says he was ashamed as Treasury chief to have stood before an expectant nation to present a slender national budget of only $4 billion.

He, however, insists he has invented the correct policy measures to revive an economy battered by years of mismanagement, massive flight of foreign capital and a Western imposed trade embargo.

“Since I came into the ministry, I have hardly been worrying about figures. A whole minister of Finance presenting a $4b budget! It does not make me proud,” Chinamasa told business executives at a post-2016 budget review seminar in Harare Friday.

In his budget statement, Chinamasa unveiled a raft of policy measures with a strong slant towards revitalising agriculture, once the mainstay of the country’s economy before the current Zanu PF led government tripped it down through a controversial land reform process after 2000.

This, Chinamasa said, was all that was required to revive the economy.

“I have been worrying more about those promises which can see our cake grow,” he said.

“The officials can worry about figures and so on and in fact most of my quarrels with officials are over the figures where they want to confine me, to tie my hands with respect to figures. They defend the little which is there. I want to see policies that create wealth.”

Chinamasa said he viewed the country’s US dollar denominated economy as both a curse and a blessing.

The use of foreign currency, he said, was a curse in that it denied the country a monetary instrument for growth while the silver lining was in that it remained attractive to investors who are spared the trouble of seeing their finances subjected to different exchange rates.

In comments probably directed at fellow Zanu PF cabinet ministers Patrick Zhuwao and Chris Mutsvangwa who have persistently shouted him down for his pro-West stance, Chinamasa criticised those who have shown resentment for particular investors.

“For us let’s look at investors as investors; don’t worry about where they are coming from. Don’t worry about the colour of their skin. The US dollar is a US dollar, period!” he said.

“Often sometimes you find that attitudes, say, to Indians, or to Chinese are derogatory. I told you how China is growing.

“So, it is someone who is in a very worse position laughing at someone who is galloping along on a horse. So we need to change our attitudes, we need to welcome foreign capital.”

Despite benefiting from cheap Asian imports, ordinary Zimbabweans have derided the products for their poor quality.

Meanwhile, business leaders who were part of Friday’s meeting largely endorsed Chinamasa’s 2016 budgetary interventions but demanded pledges
from the minister he was going all the way this time to fulfil his pledges.

Banc ABC group chief economist James Wadi warned of a plunge into further debt if Treasury misses its 2016 revenue targets at a time government expenditure was hardly shifting downwards.

Germany envoy fears violent 2018 polls

via Germany envoy fears violent 2018 polls – New Zimbabwe 29/11/2015

GERMANY ambassador to Zimbabwe Ulrich Klockner says the resurgence of political violence and the on-going infighting within Zanu PF derail hopes of a free and fair 2018 election.

Political violence erupted last month in Harare South after scores of Zanu PF supporters invaded an MDC-T rally.

Zanu PF supporters who were armed with bows and arrows attacked their political opponents accusing them of occupying “our” venue resulting in the injury of over 20 MDC-T supporters.

Early this month in Chitungwiza, a Zanu PF man murdered two fellow party members in an internal political fight over leadership positions.

In an interview with NewZimbabwe.com in Harare last week after his visit at the Youth Forum offices, ambassador Klockner said the political violence if it goes untamed it will affect the 2018 elections.

“We see now political violence slowly coming back and these are bad signs,” he said.

“Fair and open elections in 2018 would be an enormous perspective and everybody must feel that if they participate the polls will produce the results they want and this is what must happen.

“By so doing, there will be peace and which means that there will be no human rights violations.”

Ambassador Klockner said political parties should denounce violence and teach their supporters the importance of tolerance in the communities they live in.

“There should be consensus within the society on the direction the country should take,” he said.

Over 5000 at Harare global AIDS summit

via Over 5000 at Harare global AIDS summit – New Zimbabwe 29/11/2015

THE 18th International Conference on AIDS and STIs in Africa (ICASA) kicked off in Harare on Sunday, with more than 5,000 delegates from about 150 countries expected to attend.

The biennial ICASA conference, which is a premier gathering of health personnel, policy makers, people living with HIV and others committed to ending the pandemic, ends on December 4.

Health Minister David Parirenyatwa described ICASA as “a tremendous platform for researchers from all around the globe to share latest scientific advances in the field, learn from others experiences and develop strategies for facets of a collective effort to prevent and treat HIV.”

“Zimbabwe has a long history in the response to HIV and AIDS.

“As one of the countries severely affected by the pandemic, we have recorded some internationally acclaimed milestones particularly the reduction of both HIV incidence and prevalence and scaling up access to treatment under difficult conditions as well as our leadership role as a pathfinder in domestic financing for HIV through our AIDS levy, which has now been recorded and shared as an international best practice,” he said.

The conference programme would see a number of presentations on bio-medical advances, elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV as well as progress by countries towards meeting the United Nations target of ensuring that at least 90 percent of the population know their status.

Govt to distribute cotton inputs

via Govt to distribute cotton inputs | The Herald November 30, 2015

THE Government will be distributing free cotton inputs for the next three cropping seasons in order to encourage farmers to grow the crop, a cabinet Minister said last Thursday. Presenting the 2016 National Budget, Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa said the Government had unveiled a support scheme for cotton inputs valued at US$25,8 million, targeting to put 250 000 hectares under the crop this cropping season.

A total of one million cotton growers are set to benefit from the scheme, with each farmer receiving a package covering a quarter of a hectare. In that regard, a total of 2 156 tonnes of seed cotton has already been dispatched to growers.

At least 255 000 ha will be supported under private cotton contract farming, with 157 500 growers expected to benefit from this arrangement. “Over and above the restructuring of Cottco, Government will also be giving free cotton inputs to cotton farmers for the next three seasons in order to encourage cotton production,” said Minister Chinamasa.

He said the Government recognised the importance of reviving cotton production, given the significant agro-linkages with the textile industry, and involvement of over 300 000 smallholder farmers.

Cotton production, at its peak, was the major source of incomes and livelihood for rural communities around the Gokwe, Sanyati, Rushinga and Checheche areas, accounting for close to a fifth of agricultural exports.

The numerous challenges facing the sector resulted in output declining from peak levels of 353 000 metric tons in 2000/01 to 136 000 tonnes the past season. In the 2015 cotton marketing season, the crop size further declined to 102 000 tonnes.

Other factors undermining cotton production include decline in international prices, also against the background of competition from such substitutes as synthetic fibres. The decline in output is notwithstanding the installed ginnery capacity of 427 000 tonnes of seed cotton. — New Ziana

Statement by Chinese President Xi Jinping

via Statement by Chinese President Xi Jinping: Let the Sino-Zim flower bloom with new splendour | The Herald November 30, 2015

At the invitation of President Robert Gabriel Mugabe, I will pay a state visit to Zimbabwe on 1-2 December. I am very much looking forward to this first visit of mine to Zimbabwe.

Though I have not been to Zimbabwe, I am no stranger to this beautiful country and its people. Zimbabwe boasts a time-honoured history, splendid civilization, picturesque scenery and rich resources. And more importantly, the Zimbabwean people are hard working, creative, courageous and strong-willed.

The Zimbabwean people have all along been committed to upholding national independence and dignity and building a stronger African continent through unity. They have persevered in their endeavour despite the test of time and setbacks, just as the stone-carved Zimbabwe Bird at the ruins of Great Zimbabwe. In fact, it is headwind that makes birds fly even higher.

China and Zimbabwe, in spite of the vast distance between them, have maintained a traditional friendship that is deep and firm. During the national liberation struggle in Zimbabwe, the Chinese people steadfastly stood behind the Zimbabwean people as comrades in arms. I was touched to learn that many Zimbabwean freedom fighters who received training from the Chinese side both in China and at Nachingwea camp in Tanzania can still sing songs such as the “Three Rules of Discipline and the Eight Points for Attention”.

It was on the very day that Zimbabwe gained independence, 18 April 1980, that our two countries established diplomatic relations. Over the past 35 years, our two peoples have stood with each other rain or shine, and enjoyed strong friendship and fruitful cooperation. In August last year, President Mugabe paid a successful state visit to China. The two sides agreed to be good partners, good friends and good brothers who treat each other as equals and support each other for win-win cooperation and common development. This agreement has provided a vital guidance for the growth of China-Zimbabwe relations.

China is now Zimbabwe’s fourth largest trading partner and the biggest source of investment. Projects funded and undertaken by China, such as the expansion of the Victoria Falls Airport and Kariba South Hydro-power Station and telecom transformation of TelOne, will give a strong boost to infrastructure development in Zimbabwe.

China-Zimbabwe friendship has also taken root and sprouted in the heart of our two peoples. I know there is a Chinese mothers’ group in Zimbabwe called “Love of Africa”, and a “Father Cheng” from China who is so close with the local community that even his car plate number is remembered by the kids there. Over the years, they have brought care and warmth to local orphans. Such concrete actions are manifestations of China-Zimbabwe friendship of the current generation and sow the seeds of friendship for future generations.

During his visit to China last year, President Mugabe gave the Chinese people a pair of lion cubs on behalf of the Zimbabwean people. They are now living in the Shanghai Wild Animal Park. They have been named “Jin Jin” and “Fei Fei”, which sound the same as the first Chinese characters for Zimbabwe and Africa and symbolize China’s friendship with Zimbabwe and Africa. As messengers of China-Zimbabwe friendship, the two cubs are very popular with the Chinese people, especially kids.

The extraordinary development of China-Zimbabwe relations shows that our friendship is rooted in the cultural tradition of our two countries that values sincerity and friendship, in the basic principles of independence and mutual respect that we both adhere to in conducting foreign relations, and in the common mission of our two countries to grow the economy and improve people’s livelihood.

Despite the constant profound and complex changes in the international landscape, it remains a cornerstone of China’s foreign policy to consolidate China’s relations with Zimbabwe and other African nations.

This will never change. In conducting China’s relations with Africa, we adhere to the principles of sincerity, practical results, affinity and good faith and uphold the values of friendship, justice and shared interests. We will work with Zimbabwe and all other friendly African nations to pave a broader and more solid road of mutual benefit and common development for China and Africa.

The Chinese people are striving to achieve our “two centenary goals” and realize the Chinese dream of great national renewal, while Zimbabwe is making vigorous efforts to promote the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation and achieve economic independence and self-reliant sustainable development.

I look forward to having in-depth exchanges of views with President Mugabe and friends from all sectors of Zimbabwe during my visit, with the aim of enhancing friendship between our two countries, exploring new opportunities for cooperation in all areas and delivering more benefits to our two peoples.

l We need to continue to understand and support each other on issues involving our core interests and major concerns. China firmly supports Zimbabwe’s efforts to safeguard national sovereignty, security and development interests and its choice of the development path that suits its national conditions.

l We need to synergise our development strategies, translate our economic complementaries into more tangible outcomes of cooperation, carry out more exchanges on guidelines of development and take our practical cooperation to a new level.

l We need to strengthen our cultural and people-to-people exchanges, enhance cooperation in such areas as education, culture, health, tourism, youth, think-tanks and media, consolidate the public support and social basis for China-Zimbabwe friendship, and carry this friendship forward to future generations.

l We need to enhance our collaboration in international arena and uphold the legitimate rights and interests of developing countries. China values the important contribution to the solidarity and development of Africa that Zimbabwe has made after assuming the rotating chairmanship of the African Union.

Following my visit to Zimbabwe, President Mugabe and I will attend the Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in Johannesburg, South Africa. This will be the second Summit in the 15-year history of FOCAC, and the first China-Africa summit on the African continent.

As one Zimbabwe idiom goes, “chikuni chimwe hachikodzi sadza”, Chinese people also believe that “when everybody adds firewood, the flames will rise high.”

I look forward to joining African leaders at the FOCAC Summit and working with them to advance our friendship and cooperation, lift China-Africa solidarity to a new high and build a better future for China-Africa friendship and cooperation.

Harare in November is decorated by full-blown red flamboyant blossoms. They give us enthusiasm, hope and strength. I am convinced that with the dedicated cultivation of the Chinese and Zimbabwean peoples, the flower of China-Zimbabwe friendship will bloom with even brighter splendour.

British envoy urges 2018 C/Wealth return

via British envoy urges 2018 C/Wealth return – New Zimbabwe 29/11/2015

BRITISH ambassador to Zimbabwe Catriona Laing has urged Harare to reconsider inviting back election observers from Commonwealth countries in efforts to ensure more transparency in the conduct of local elections.

Laing was joined by EU ambassador Philippe Van Damme and Australian ambassador Suzanne McCourt during a panel discussion at Dr. Ibbo Mandaza’s SAPES Trust last week.

The three envoys also chorused their pleas for the impoverished nation to clean up its act in terms of fighting high level corruption and observing its own laws if it genuinely longed for the restoration of long broken ties with the West.

Laing urged her hosts not to squander the opportunity availed by the 2018 polls to demonstrate change of attitude in the handling of elections.

“Ultimately, the 2018 election is going to be an absolutely critical moment for Zimbabwe,” she said.

“If Zimbabwe wants to return not just economically to the international fold and also politically, it will need those elections to be endorsed by international observers of some kind.

“…the Commonwealth could be invited into observing these elections.

“It’s really up to Zimbabwe to decide; does it want these elections endorsed internationally as a key benchmark in terms of returning into the international community,” Laing added.

President Robert Mugabe’s broke government, currently out to charm the
international community in efforts to open up lines of credit, 2002, banned observers from Britain’s former colonies for alleged bias against his regime.

The move elicited a suspension from the rich bloc and a subsequent pull out by Zimbabwe.

McCourt, on her part, said she was encouraged by the thawing of relations between Canberra and Harare which has since been hosting western business delegations.

She however urged more clarity on the country’s indigenisation policies which she said tended to scare away potential investors from her country.

“I have a very clear mandate as ambassador to encourage commercial relations with all the countries that I am accredited to including Zimbabwe,” she said.

“I have been clear to ministers that I have met with and to the media that for me to encourage Australian businesses to come here, Australian businesses told me that they would like to see, for example, clarification around economic policies, particularly around indigenisation.

“They would like to see a more investor friendly business environment.

“A strong and impartial legal system is not only self-evidently important for the functioning of a society but also for the encouraging business because a company wants to know whether it can take a contract to court and have it enforced if necessary.”

Van Damme said business concerns were not just limited to foreign investors but even domestic ones.

“All investors have the same concerns,” he said, “What they need is legal security, predictability; they are not speculators, they are industrialists.

“They need clarity on ownership and clarity on indigenisation policies and also clarity on land tenure.”

He added: “The auditor general has made remarkable and courageous diagnostics of the parastatals in this country. I am always surprised why this has not been systematically taken up by parliament or by the press.

“Without addressing governance issues in those sectors, a lot of international investors would be reluctant not only because of perceived corruption but also because the lack of governance in all those sectors.”

Government focuses on mining sector

via Government focuses on mining sector – NewsDay Zimbabwe November 30, 2015

GOVERNMENT is working towards getting more output from the mining sector through beneficiation and value addition, Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa has said.

BY VICTORIA MTOMBA

Speaking at a breakfast meeting with captains of industry in Harare last Friday, Chinamasa said government was pushing hard to increase the output of diamonds next year.

He said the consolidation of the diamond sector was taking long due to some resistance.

“Meanwhile, we have agreed with the Minister of Mines and Mining Development [Walter Chidhakwa] that we must move on. We are consolidating three concessions, that is, Marange, Gye Nyame and Kusena. We have acquired the necessary equipment from Belarus,” he said.

Chinamasa said the move would see output from the diamond sector doubling to six million carats next year from the current three million carats. He said chrome exports began three weeks ago and he expects the mineral to contribute to the fiscus and economy as well.

“The thing is, we have to expedite the process of beneficiation. We are going to put a lot of effort into that. Aurex is already polishing and cutting diamonds and it has acquired a state-of-the-art equipment for that,” he said.

Chinamasa said he has agreed with platinum producers on a road map from concentration to refining of platinum.

“In the case of Zimplats, they are at 50%. I told them I am keen to get them to 75% on refining by end of year.”

The mining sector is expected to grow by 2,4% this year on the back of planned investment largely driven by strong performance of gold, chrome, coal, nickel, platinum and diamonds. Since 2009 the mining sector’s contribution to the economy has been declining due to falling commodity prices and other challenges in the sector.

Zim needs new thinking

via Zim needs new thinking – NewsDay Zimbabwe November 30, 2015

Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa last Thursday presented the 2016 National Budget where he indicated he had set aside $4 billion for the coming year.

It would, however, appear that next year’s budget is somehow more or less the same as the previous three or so years.

For the year 2013, former Finance minister Tendai Biti presented a $3,8 billion budget before his successor Chinamasa chipped in with a $4,2 billion budget in 2014 and a $4,1 billion budget for 2015 which was, however, later revised downwards to $3,9 billion.

The above figures suggest that Zimbabwe’s economy is not going anywhere — but static. We believe the economy should grow through local and foreign direct investment. Yet the figures show this hasn’t been the case for the country although the authorities would want us to believe that the economy is on a rebound.

Clearly, the panacea to the economy lies in revamping moribund self-serving indigenisation and investment policies that have for long been cited by potential foreign investors as the major scare.

Under these policies, government has been found wanting, indicating left and turning right in most cases.

The Essar Africa Holdings deal to revive Ziscosteel is one such example. For long the nation was told everything was in order, but Chinamasa last week admitted that the deal had collapsed, and that over 3 000 Ziscosteel employees would be laid off as a result.

Netherlands-based VimpelCom was also forced to sell its 60% stake in Telecel Zimbabwe after intense friction with hawks in government who wanted to grab the investment for a song.

If this is not another indicator of the “unfavourable” government policies forcing flight of investment by foreign firms, we do not know what else is. One wonders why a country crying for investment would fail to respect property rights by targeting foreign firms simply for selfish gains at the expense of the whole country.

The signs are clear that the economy can only rise from the ashes with foreign direct investment. Is it not ironic that in other countries, $4 billion would be an allocation for a particular portfolio rather than the whole country, while in others Zimbabwe’s budget could be for a single company? It is now time for President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu PF party to swallow their pride and accept that Zimbabwe comes first before personal interests and do away with policies that threaten foreign capital.

Zimbabwe needs a new thinking — not the “we-went-to-war” mantra preached by Mugabe and his top Zanu PF officials at any given opportunity.

If the investment conditions become favourable, other organisations could come in handy and opt to fund sectors of their preferred interests, thereby reducing the strain on government’s proposed allocations.

Investors are interested in infrastructure development in the country under the build-operate-transfer facility, but conditions are not favourable at the moment.

Zimbabwe cannot continue to have a static budget. The country’s leaders must accept that the electorate needs a new paradigm shift and look forward to economic prosperity to achieve their aspirations.

‘Govt awaits diamond miners decisions on merger’

via ‘Govt awaits diamond miners decisions on merger’ – NewsDay Zimbabwe November 30, 2015

GOVERNMENT is still awaiting decisions from diamond mining companies on whether they want to be consolidated into one entity or not, Mines deputy minister Fred Moyo told Parliament on Wednesday.

by VENERANDA LANGA

Moyo was responding to a question by Southerton MP Gift Chimanikire (MDC-T) who wanted to know if diamond mining companies had adhered to the policy.

In March, the Mines ministry announced plans to consolidate all diamond mining companies into one big firm, with the State owning 50% of the shares.

“The government position is that a decision has been made to consolidate diamond mining companies, not only in Chiadzwa, but all diamond mining companies in the country and the current position is that we have been consulting the companies so that this policy position is not implemented with attrition from a legal point of view,” Moyo said.

“We hope that all the companies will have held their annual extraordinary general meetings, so that we get a position as to whether they agree to consolidate or not.

“For those who would have decided that they do not want to consolidate, then obviously, we will engage them with regards to how we are going to deal with their position going forward.”

Moyo said at the moment, a few companies had conducted their extraordinary general meetings and it was difficult to disclose the outcome of their decisions.

“It is also important to note that almost all these companies had their agreements with ZMDC [Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation] and their operating licences had expired. So that is the other complication that we have, but we will be able to apprise this House on this important matter once development has unfolded.”

Musikavanhu MP Prosper Mutseyami then said Moyo should explain if diamonds were still being mined in the country, bearing in mind that all the licences for diamond mining companies in Chiadzwa have expired.

“Some mining is still taking place in Chiadzwa for those companies whose licences are in order. For those companies whose licences have expired, obviously the law would not allow them to continue operating,” Moyo said.

‘Chinese President visit inconsequential’

via ‘Chinese President visit inconsequential’ – NewsDay Zimbabwe November 30, 2015

OPPOSTION parties yesterday scoffed at the “much-hyped” two-day State visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping, describing the jaunt as “inconsequential” and unlikely to yield the anticipated boon for Zimbabwe’s frail economy.

BY OBEY MANAYITI

In separate interviews with NewsDay ahead of the Chinese leader’s arrival in Harare tomorrow, the opposition parties said the Asian country was sceptical of Zanu PF’s long unresolved succession issue and would not risk making mega investments for now.

According to government officials, the visit is expected to open up new investment channels, as well as cement the already existing ones between Zimbabwe and China.

“It’s turning out to be a token visit and after all the promises and mega deals, the Chinese President is not even going to open a chicken run. All we will have are speeches and hot air about this being historic visits without anything to mark the history,” People’s Democratic Party spokesperson Jacob Mafume said.

“It is shameful that after all these years, the only investment from China will be the gaping halls in Chiadzwa and Marange to store water after the Chinese took the diamonds.”

MDC-T spokesperson Obert Gutu also said the Chinese would not gamble with the investment money under the current unstable political situation exacerbated by Zanu PF succession wars.

“The Chinese are fully aware of the fact that Robert Mugabe is in the sunset of his political career and as such, they will never commit any serious and big money in the Zimbabwean economy until the succession issue is resolved,” he said.

Madock Chivasa, from the National Constitutional Assembly, said there was nothing big to expect from the visit.

“There cannot be anything to expect out of the visit. Chinese are known for plundering Zimbabwe’s resources with the assistance of Zanu PF and it’s for that reason that the Chinese President is here to solidify their long-term relationship of looting resources, especially minerals,” he said.

Renewal Democrats of Zimbabwe spokesperson Pishai Muchauraya said: “We will not be happy if our resources are to be parcelled out for nothing all in the name of embracing the Chinese. We have seen so much exploitation of our resources, particularly diamonds in Chiadzwa, and we hope the visit is not about finding more ways of siphoning our resources.”

Kurauone Chihwai, from MDC, also said nothing would happen until Zimbabwe has a new leader.

However, Zanu PF political commissar Savior Kasukuwere hailed the visit, dismissing the opposition as “barking dogs devoid of mental steadiness”.

“The Chinese invest a lot of money in this country and they are the biggest investor even in the whole of Africa. We will not waste our time listening to what the opposition is saying,” he retorted. “We are looking forward to the visit. These opposition are just barking dogs.”

Zanu PF spokesperson Simon Khaya Moyo weighed in, saying the State visit has nothing to do with the opposition.

“This is a State visit and it’s [opposition] not their business to comment on that. The Chinese are our all-weather friends,” Khaya Moyo said.

“We have a warm relationship with them and they helped us liberate the country and continued supporting us for economic emancipation.

“They are investing in Zimbabwe and helping us develop our economy by injecting a lot of foregin direct investment. Who doesn’t want to welcome such a friend? We are not worried about opposition parties. It’s not their business.”

Zanu PF youths hold leaders hostage

via Zanu PF youths hold leaders hostage – NewsDay Zimbabwe November 30, 2015

A GROUP of rogue Zanu PF youths reportedly stormed a party provincial executive meeting in Chinhoyi on Saturday, where they shouted obscenities at their leaders and briefly held them hostage as factional wars continue escalating ahead of the conference to be held in Victoria Falls on Monday next week.

BY OBEY MANAYITI/NUNURAI JENA

The youths were said to be aligned to suspended provincial youth chairperson Vengai Musengi, who was recently relieved of his post alongside Joseph Nyariri and Silas Chimbiro over a litany of allegations.

“They came to the meeting, but the chairperson Ephraim Pepukai Chengeta told them that they should leave because they were serving a suspension. However, they defied him and kept on interjecting the speakers,” Zanu PF acting provincial chairperson Tawanda Rupiya said.

“A group of youths came to the meeting and started to shout obscenities and derogatory names at officials just outside the venue.

“After the meeting was over, the youths went on to close the gate and barred vehicles from leaving. They demanded money to let some officials pass.”

Contacted for comment, Musengi said the group had been invited by provincial secretary for administration Simbarashe Ziyambi.
“There was no quorum on the meeting and anyone was allowed in the discussions. It’s not true that I sponsored the youths. I don’t have that kind of money to do that, but what I know is they are from Makonde and they are loyal to Ziyambi,” Musengi said.

Ziyambi was not available for comment.

Meanwhile, Ziyambi has allegedly barred some senior party members from conducting meetings in the province accusing them of fanning factionalism and despondency.

In a letter to one of the affected members, Kadoma Central MP Fani Phiri, Ziyambi claimed that the prohibited officials had accused politburo members Prisca Mupfumira and Edna Madzongwe of bewitching and causing the death of Kadoma legislator Joan Tsogorani.

Part of the letter read: “It has come to the attention of the provincial leadership that you are alleged to have been grossly abusing your position in the party, causing divisions and fanning factionalism.

“Against this background and in line with Article 10, Section 79(1) of the Zanu PF constitution, you Fani Phiri are hereby prohibited with immediate effect from carrying out any and all Zanu PF Mashonaland West provincial executive council programmes and activities until your case has been finalised by the provincial disciplinary committee.”

The letter was copied to Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko, who is the party’s national disciplinary committee chairperson and Zanu PF political commissar Saviour Kasukuwere.

In a recent interview, Mupfumira disclosed that she had a bone to chew with Kadoma Zanu PF members for labelling her a witch at Tsogorani’s funeral.

MDC-T infighting gets nasty

via MDC-T infighting gets nasty – NewsDay Zimbabwe November 30, 2015

MDC-T Chitungwiza provincial youth organising secretary Kudakwashe John quit his post in frustration on Saturday, as intraparty clashes continue to haunt the opposition party since its elective congress last year.

by PAIDAMOYO MUZULU

The party’s national youth chairperson Happy Chidziva confirmed the matter yesterday, but said he was going to meet the provincial youth executive to sort out the mess.

“The youth leadership had a quarrel during a meeting over issues they were discussing and John threatened to resign, but his purported resignation is a nullity,” Chidziva said.

“I am going there tomorrow (today) to meet the full executive and iron out the differences. It was just a small quarrel.”

 However, informed sources said the differences were so sharp that there were now two distinct camps in the executive — one backing former national organising secretary Nelson Chamisa and the other fighting in party secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora’s corner.

“The executive is split along factional lines. Those perceived to be in Chamisa’s camp are being purged through sinister subtle moves,” the source said.

“The [provincial] youth chair [Jabu Mthunzi] and secretary Blessing Tangwara are at the centre of the problems, as they seek to remove other elected members from the executives.”

The factions in the MC-T have been growing, but party leader Morgan Tsvangirai this year incorporated Chamisa into the national executive and some of the people who lost during the congress as he tried to unify the party after the acrimonious congress.

Govt clamps down on gays

via Govt clamps down on gays – NewsDay Zimbabwe November 30, 2015

GOVERNMENT has reportedly clamped down on foreign gays and lesbians attending the International Conference on Aids and STI’s in Africa (ICASA) in Harare and seized their workshop material at Harare International Airport, NewsDay has leant.

BY OBEY MANAYITI/PHYLLIS MBANJE

This came as suspected State security agents yesterday pulled down an exhibition stand mounted by the group to display and house its members and sex workers at the conference venue.

The exhibitors were later allowed to display their wares, following massive protests and lobbying by local and international human rights groups.

Addressing a pre-conference workshop for key people, Kene Esom, the executive director of African Men for Sexual Health and Rights (AMSHeR), said the confiscation of most of their material by the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) had disrupted the group’s programmes.

“The material is still held because the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority is still conducting an assessment on them. The challenge is that we have attended many conferences of this nature and we have never been required to pay duty on such conference material, especially when you had bid to host the conference,” Esom said.

“As you can see, it has impacted on the quality of the pre-conference because we have agenda material and information material for interaction, which we haven’t gotten.”

Esom said when Zimbabwe won the bid to host the conference, his organisation made an effort to lobby Health and Tourism ministers, as well as the National Aids Council (NAC), among other stakeholders, to guarantee the non-discrimination of key populations such as transgender people.

He also disclosed that their exhibition stand was temporarily ransacked and pulled down, after State security agents felt offended by some of the material on display.

Esom challenged the local community to break the silence on same-sex relationships and be more tolerant.

Speaking at the same event, NAC chief executive Tapiwa Magure said it was not fair to discriminate key populations because they would be left behind in terms of accessing vital information.

“I want to assure you that we will not discriminate anyone in this country. I want to make sure that information reaches out to everyone,” he said.

President Robert Mugabe has, however, repeatedly sounded his disdain for homosexuality and repeated his anti-gay stance at the just-ended United Nations Summit in New York, the United States.

Mugabe has often described lesbians and gays as “worse than pigs and dogs”.

The local gay population has accused the country of “dodging” the question about the participation and wellbeing of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people in Zimbabwe and those attending the on-going ICASA.

Gays and Lesbians’ Association in Zimbabwe director Chesterfield Samba in a statement said the government had always exhibited homophobic attitudes to these groups, hence it was a high risk population.

“Sex between men is criminalised in Zimbabwe, thus driving them underground and making them difficult to reach with HIV interventions,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS (UNAids) yesterday marked the ICASA official opening with a call for countries to further accelerate their response to Aids.

The conference is taking place in Harare this week against a backdrop of great progress in the Aids response, even though stakeholders in the health sector still face a number of challenges in reducing the spread and impact of the disease.

“Africa is on the brink of breaking the Aids epidemic. We have no time to lose. We have five years to fast-track the Aids response,” UNAids executive director Michel Sidibe said at a Press conference in the capital.

UNAids is introducing its new fast-track strategy which involves front loading investments in the Aids response to reach an ambitious 90-90-90 treatment target by 2020, where 90% of people living with HIV would be in a position to know their status and an equal number accessing treatment .

The conference was opened by Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa, where he made a veiled attack on gays and lesbians saying: “We equally reject attempts to prescribe ‘new rights’ which are contrary to our values, norms, traditions and beliefs.”

Zanu PF youth director acquitted

via Zanu PF youth director acquitted – NewsDay Zimbabwe November 30, 2015

ZANU PF youth director Francis Hungwe has been acquitted on charges of contravening the Immigration Act by providing a Chinese national with a forged resident permit.

by PAIDAMOYO MUZULU

Hungwe, who was represented by Admire Rubaya, was discharged by Harare magistrate Tendai Mahwe at the close of the State’s case last Friday when the prosecution failed to prove a prima facie case against him.

Hungwe was denying the charge, arguing that the offence had been committed by his party colleague, Fidelis Fengu, who has since been convicted and sentenced for the same crime.

“After the close of the State case, the court is convinced that the prosecution has failed to prove a prima facie case and, therefore, there is no need to put the accused to his defence. You are, therefore, discharged and since you had pleaded not guilty, you are acquitted,” Mahwe ruled.

Prosecutor Francesca Mukumbiri led evidence from two witnesses.

The first witness, Guo Yongiu, a director of Plastics and Pipes Industry, told the court he knew Hungwe as a Zanu PF member who used to solicit donations for the party’s welfare.

“I know him from the time they came asking for fuel and accommodation assistance used in running the party affairs,” Guo said.

He added that in July when Hungwe came seeking a donation, that is when he was told of Xu Sheikeng, who needed a resident permit.

“I told Hungwe about my business partner who needed a resident permit as he could assist since he was connected,” he added.

He, however, under cross-examination conceded he did not see the money exchanging hands or who brought the forged permit.

The investigating officer had a torrid time as he relied on hearsay evidence and a purported admission by the accused during interrogation.

Govt to tax insurance brokers’ commission

via Govt to tax insurance brokers’ commission – NewsDay Zimbabwe November 30, 2015

COMMISSION earned by insurance brokers from transactions with insurance and reinsurance companies will now be liable to taxation under the new budget.

BY TATIRA ZWINOIRA

The new tax requirement was announced by Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa during his presentation of his 2016 National Budget last Thursday.

Speaking at a meeting organised by Southern African Parliamentary Support Trust (SAPST) on the reforms in the budget concerning tax, a consultant Josephine Matambo said the increment would allow insurance firms or brokers to claim credit on input tax they were charged from other suppliers.

“When you compare with other countries, you will find that short-term insurance is actually subject to value-added tax (VAT).
The thing with VAT is that it is useful because it takes off cascading cost on costs and allows you to claim credit on the tax payment that you have made. When you claim it back, you are actually reducing the cost structures of your business,” he said.

“But when you look into the insurance and banking industry, because they are not subject to VAT, their services are exempt, they will not be able to claim back the input tax that they were being charged by other suppliers because their services and products are exempt.”

Chinamasa, in his budget statement, said the tax proposal was considered in view of the constrained capacity of the industry, as evidenced by failure by some players to settle obligations to policy holders.

“I, therefore, propose to limit the VAT payable on short-term insurance to commission earned on the buying and selling of insurance policies by brokers and agents of insurance and reinsurance firms. This measure takes effect from January 1, 2016,” he said.

Senior economist Prosper Chitambara said taxes levied on goods or services were considered to be bad for the individual or society at large.

“Corrective taxes, or ‘sin’ taxes, are levied on goods and services that are considered to be bad for the individual or society at large. Examples include taxes on alcohol and cigarettes, and products and activities with negative environmental consequences,” Chitambara said.

“Corrective taxes can improve fiscal revenues, while at the same time, reducing socially and environmentally undesirable activities, thereby, promoting good public health.

“A review of literature in a number of countries has demonstrated that tobacco taxes reduce tobacco consumption, while providing a stable and reliable source of fiscal revenues.

“The Philippines increased excise taxes on cigarettes and alcohol in 2013. The tax hike resulted in an increase in cigarette prices and more than doubled the tobacco tax revenue collected in 2013 over 2012. Higher taxes on tobacco and alcohol together netted revenue estimated at $1,4 billion.”

To Beat Mugabe, Zimbabwe Needs a United Opposition

via To Beat Mugabe, Zimbabwe Needs a United Opposition – The New York Times NOV. 26, 2015

WASHINGTON — Political violence is on the rise in Zimbabwe. Two people were axed to death and three others were hospitalized in clashes earlier this month. More than 50 people were arrested for holding rallies in the capital, Harare, in November, prompting statements of concern last week from the United States and the European Union. The opposition has stepped up protests, promising mass weekly demonstrations nationwide against President Robert Mugabe’s nearly four decades in power.

Zimbabwe’s beleaguered opposition is down but not out. Because of Mr. Mugabe’s grip on the security services, a public uprising such as the one seen in Burkina Faso last year is unlikely in Zimbabwe. But there is another option to help bring genuine democracy to the country: quietly supporting a broad opposition coalition.

In September, former Vice President Joice Mujuru released a political manifesto that was a strong rebuke to Mr. Mugabe, 91, and the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) party. Ms. Mujuru matters because she is a veteran of Zimbabwe’s liberation war, has belonged to the ruling party for over three decades and was for many years a close associate of Mr. Mugabe’s. She was sacked from her position in December 2014 for allegedly planning to topple Mr. Mugabe.

Ms. Mujuru’s newly unveiled political manifesto has made a splash: It calls for re-engagement with Western countries and a reversal of some of Zimbabwe’s most controversial policies, including land reform.

But could she actually unseat Mr. Mugabe, who has been in power since 1980? Yes, but not by herself. Ms. Mujuru seems to understand this; plans for a coalition with other opposition groups are currently being discussed. With Ms. Mujuru’s liberation war credentials and the opposition’s diminished but still considerable support, a coalition could finally beat ZANU-PF in polls scheduled for 2018, if elections are reasonably free and fair.

Mr. Mugabe is unlikely to hand over power voluntarily. If he does not die in office, he will most likely run for re-election. But because of the plunging state of the economy and unprecedented splits in the ruling party, Mr. Mugabe, or his anointed successor, could be beaten.

If Mr. Mugabe hands the reins to Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa — who is now the front-runner to succeed him — before elections, ZANU-PF’s political fortunes might actually sink lower than if Mr. Mugabe runs himself in 2018. This is because Mr. Mnangagwa lacks broad political support and because Ms. Mujuru has grass-roots popularity among ZANU-PF supporters. Before she was sacked in 2014, Ms. Mujuru commanded support from nine out of 10 provinces in party elections.

The longstanding opposition, led by Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change, has splintered over leadership struggles. In January 2014, its former secretary general and finance minister, Tendai Biti, broke ranks with Mr. Tsvangirai, forming his own movement, now known as the People’s Democratic Party.

But all is not lost for the opposition. Mr. Tsvangirai is now engaged in coalition talks with Ms. Mujuru and her People First camp. Speaking on the potential of joining forces, Mr. Tsvangirai said Ms. Mujuru and her allies “deserve our support for their new sense of patriotism and the realization that together we are bigger, better and more formidable.” Ms. Mujuru’s camp has also discussed potential alliances with Mr. Biti and other smaller opposition parties.

Academic research shows that broad opposition coalitions greatly improve the chances of transition to democracy in authoritarian-leaning countries like Zimbabwe. A case in point is Nigeria, where earlier this year opposition unity led to a peaceful transfer of power. My own research in Zimbabwe found that splits in the opposition and a lack of sound political strategies hurt the chances for democratic reform during Zimbabwe’s power-sharing government, in office from 2008 to 2013. The opposition must learn from these mistakes and come together.

The benefits of a coalition in Zimbabwe are clear. Given Ms. Mujuru’s nationalist credentials and Mr. Tsvangirai’s broad support base, a cohesive opposition alliance between the two stands a real chance against ZANU-PF in 2018, with or without Mr. Mugabe.

There are, of course, a number of challenges — namely deciding who would lead and who would play second fiddle.

Moreover, ZANU-PF will not go down without a fight. A Mujuru-Tsvangirai coalition would face harassment and violence at the hands of the state security apparatus, as seen in 2008 and previous elections in Zimbabwe. This month a military general admitted as much, saying that ZANU-PF would rule forever. The opposition would need to win big and make conciliatory promises to the old guard, most likely including amnesties, in order to avoid a repeat of the 2008 violence.

Despite these obstacles, a broad opposition alliance remains Zimbabwe’s best chance to escape the yoke of Mr. Mugabe. While Western governments must tread carefully, they can play an important role in helping to quietly push opposition leaders to join hands for the good of Zimbabwe and democracy in southern Africa.

Creating a new narrative for Zim

via Creating a new narrative for Zim – The Zimbabwe Independent November 27, 2015

MOST progressive Zimbabweans, including our opposition political parties, talk about the need for a new narrative, but I think that we ought to be very specific what that new narrative ought to be.

Vince Musewe

Our problem is that, to date, our political discourse has been more about the past and because of that, we have failed to create a compelling national vision that captures our collective imagination of the future as a country.

We must begin to dream and plan now, because if we do not know where we are going, any road will take us there (Alice in Wonderland) and we shall find ourselves in a place where we do not necessarily intend to be.

Despite numerous blue prints since 1980, we have not achieved much as a country. In fact, if we look at our social indicators today, we have actually regressed. This is mainly because of a lack of leadership and a commitment to broad-based inclusive economic and social development.

First and foremost, any new narrative has to be based on the principle that Zimbabwe belongs to all who live in it and those who were born in it. Up to now, our politics have been unnecessarily racist and exclusive. This has marginalised the majority of our people from meaningfully contributing in building a better future.

In any country where a significant sector of the population feels excluded and marginalised, as has been white Zimbabweans, women and our youth and those in the diaspora, that country will never live up to its full potential.

What continues to boggle the mind, for example, has been the obsession with excluding white Zimbabweans from the farming sector and yet, they not only make a miniscule portion of our population, but have the invaluable skills which we need in agriculture to assist us in achieving food security. Next, once again, Zimbabwe will be faced with serious food shortages and yet we have the skills and the resources to grow enough to feed ourselves and even export as was the case before.

We also still have some degree of tribalism within our society where one’s tribe can either open or close doors. This is such a pity given the talent that Zimbabweans have. Our new narrative cannot afford that.

Our skills and talents can never be fully realised until we develop a sense of a collective responsibility that is inclusive in nature and we dare to imagine a better future for all. Unfortunately, most of us have accepted the narrative of control, intimidation and selfishness by those who are in power as normal.

Secondly, we must learn to be proud of who we are once again. Zimbabweans have faced so much violence and emotional abuse and the result is that we no longer believe in ourselves. We are no longer a proud nation but instead, we have low self-esteem and apathy. Until we get our pride back, we will continue to accept abuse by the state security and the police. That needs to change.

In his book titled Crossing the Threshold of Hope, his holiness John Paul II admonishes us not to be afraid of man.
“For man is always the same” he wrote. “The systems he creates are always imperfect, and the more imperfect they are, the more he is sure of himself. This comes from our hearts because our hearts are always anxious.”

It is only when we destroy the throne that we have created in our hearts for other men that we can begin to live to our full potential and gain the self-confidence necessary for us to create the Zimbabwe we truly want.

In our new narrative, we want Zimbabweans to be creative, innovative and wealthy without fear of expropriation of their wealth or assets by the state. In other words, the government must have nothing to do with allocating economic resources or assets to citizens, but must merely create an environment for success.

We want Zimbabweans to speak their mind and explore who or what they can become under a government that respects the dignity of its people and the right to pursue their personal ambition unhindered.

Zimbabweans fear to challenge the status quo and have created cocoons in their minds hoping that things will change by themselves. Fear is arresting our potential. We need to be courageous and always challenge the status quo, that way we will become better and be able to create the Zimbabwe we truly want; it will not emerge through mere hope or inaction.

In addition to being fearless, Zimbabwe must see the emergence of legitimate and selfless leaders who put the country first. This requires that all of us to have the courage to speak truth to power. The future we desire can only be created through sacrifice and vision.

“While there are manuals on how to put up the most complex structures, there is no toolbox on how to rebuild a destroyed nation. People have to look to their culture, their history, the nature of the crisis they face and come up with their own solutions.”

These were the words of the president of the African Development Bank, Donald Kaberuka, with regards to Rwanda.
As Zimbabweans, we need to appreciate that nobody but ourselves is going to rebuild Zimbabwe and we must stop expecting others to do it for us. We are the masters of our own destiny.

I have always wondered why most African nations are poor despite having all the resources while others are rich but with much lesser resources in comparison.

Authors Daron Acemoglu and James in their book Why Nations Fail Robinson, explain quite clearly why countries fail. They found that it has nothing to do with culture, geography or ignorance, but more to do with extractive political institutions as opposed to inclusive ones.

Extractive political systems do not create inclusive economic institutions that allow citizens to live up to their full potential. They are, in fact, dictatorships or oligarchies that oppress the majority. Liberation struggle elites have created extractive political institutions to protect their economic interests at the expense of the majority. Liberation from colonialism has turned out to be oppression of blacks by blacks. This is evident in most of Africa today.

In Zimbabwe, our challenge is to begin to move towards inclusive political and economic institutions. However, that can only happen if we are serious about creating better social conditions.

My contention here is that, even if we are to pour billions of dollars into our economy, we are unlikely to see any significant change until we address the value system of “none but ourselves” which has prevailed in Zimbabwe since 1980. We are unlikely to see any profound fundamental economic and social change until we change the way we think about ourselves, our country and our future.

Another interesting observation in the book Why Nations Fail is that politicians actually know the right answers and what needs to be done to create economic prosperity, but it is not in their interest to do so lest they be rendered powerless. The slogans by politicians to “empower and develop” citizens can therefore, never be sincere because their fulfilment would lead demand for change.

For far too long we have bought the lie that only those who participated in the struggle have the inalienable right to rule us. Even when they have shown us that they are unconcerned and disinterested in creating the future we desire, we seem to have accepted their claim to power. We have waited patiently for things to get better and to this day, our country is in no better shape than it was during the colonial era.

We have even bought the lie that we are victims of exogenous factors such as Western sanctions.This victim mentality has disempowered us since it assumes that we can do nothing to change our economic and social circumstances.

In fact, we are complicit victims of the greed, corruption and selfishness that we have seen. The time has come to reject the lie and we must now free ourselves from this paradigm which only serves the interest of a few.

In order to create the Zimbabwe we want, we desperately need leadership renewal which is underpinned by accountability and the promotion of a national inclusive agenda that nullifies all vested political interests, particularly tribal prejudice.

We must include of our brothers and sisters in the diaspora in building a new modern state by the adoption of new management techniques, cultures and new technologies. They have international experience that the country really needs in order for us to create a modern economy.

We have to reinstate private property rights and the rule of law as these are sacrosanct to successful private enterprise.

We have to see the de-politicisation of state security and the police to engender a culture of social justice and the protection of human rights. We must see the healing of past injustices committed against all Zimbabweans and we must take the necessary steps for restitution. We must compensate all those that have experienced loss, material or otherwise, since 1980.

Lastly, we must ruthlessly deal with corruption, greed, theft and the rampant abuse of public resources.
For me these are the hard issues that the current leadership has avoided.

In my opinion, a new narrative for Zimbabwe can never be created by those who created our current circumstances, they are too lost in the past and are irrelevant in the future we imagine.

Musewe is a Harare-based economist and author. These New Perspectives articles are co-ordinated by Lovemore Kadenge, president of the Zimbabwe Economics Society (ZES). E-mail: kadenge.zes@gmail.com, cell no. +263 772 382 852.

Mnangagwa’s ZISCO ‘lies’ laid bare

via Mnangagwa’s ZISCO ‘lies’ laid bare – New Zimbabwe 26/11/2015

PUMPED UP and feeling anointed to succeed after the Zanu PF congress, Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa toured the collapsed Ziscosteel in December 2014 and declared that the company – closed since 2009 – would soon resume operations.

Addressing a campaign rally in his then Chirumhanzu constituency, the Midlands political godfather declared: “Very soon, production will resume at New Zimsteel (Zisco’s new name) and this will go a long way in reviving the economy.”

The suffering 2,500 workers – unpaid pretty much since 2011 when President Robert Mugabe launched a purported $750 million takeover of the steelmaker by Essar Holdings of India – would have been relieved by Mnangagwa’s announcement.

But Mnangagwa’s “re-open soon” was still to materialise in February this year when he, again, gave another assurance while campaigning in Kwekwe for his wife Auxilia ahead of the Chirumanzu-Zibagwe parliamentary by-election.

Said the vice president: “We want each minister to recommit themselves to the agreement which was made between government and Essar Holdings.

“New Zimsteel is one of the strategic projects aimed at reviving the economy. We want to do this in a space of a week and seal the deal once and for all.”

Come November and Mnangagwa’s declarations notwithstanding, the government was delivering Christmas horror for Zisco workers.

Presenting his 2016 budget proposals Finance minister, Patrick Chinamasa, said all the remaining workers would be fired by December 1; the Essar Holdings takeover was effectively dead in the water.

All workers fired

Chinamasa admitted that workers were owed $100 million in outstanding salaries but said nothing about whether and when they would be paid.

The minister said the workers had to be fired in order to make the company attractive to prospective new investors.

“Central to this is the need to free the Ziscosteel balance sheet, historical baggage liabilities including the accumulation of new obligations with regards to wages that arise on account of workers who are not working and are sitting at home,” he said.

The Zisco woe also hits all tax payers with Chinamasa saying government would take over the company’s debts which are estimated at more than $700 million.

This adds to the $1billion Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe debt the government also recently loaded on the taxpayer; debts at other mismanaged government companies such as Air Zimbabwe, NRZ have also or are being equally heaped on the taxpayer.

When President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu PF party assumed power at independence in 1980, Zisco was the largest integrated steelworks in sub-Sharan Africa north of the Limpopo.

The company employed more than 6,000 workers and was the mainstay of towns such as Redcliff, Kwekwe and a key part of the country’s industrial hub in Bulawayo.

Millions invested

Hundreds of millions of dollars (mostly loans from Germany and Chinese banks) were invested into upgrading Zisco’s blast furnaces and key plant over the years.

But management incompetence, corrupt government interference with ministers accused of looting the company destroyed Zisco well before the sanctions Mugabe blames for Zimbabwe’s economic problems were imposed at the turn of the millennium.

The Germany lenders – still unpaid – were recently trrying to seize Zimbabwe diamonds in Belguim as well as Harare government property in South Africa.

However, quite why the celebrated Essar Holdings takeover collapsed remains unclear.

Deputy industry minister Chiratidzo Mabuwa, could not shed any light as recently as October, telling MPs that; “It will take a lot of time for me to explain what exactly happened in the ESSAR case.”

Challenges in the global steel industry might have influenced an Essar re-think; steel firms are closing in countries such as Britain as prices collapse due, in part, to a glut of cheap product from China.

But the deal also fell victim, again, to Zimbabwean politics.

Essar could not move ahead with the takeover due to a disagreement between Zanu PF then mines minister, Obert Mpofu, and his industry counterpart Welshman Ncube of the MDC during the coalition government.

Political wrangling

Mpofu refused to sanction the deal, claiming the country had sold a key asset too cheaply.

Mnangagwa conceded before Parliament in October that lack of cooperation between Mpofu and Ncube frustrated the Indian investor.

“We discovered that there was no cooperation going on,” Mnangagwa said.

“Down the line, ESSAR which had raised some funding for the project could not keep the money for several years sitting without implementation.”

The vice president did not explain why the presidency failed to bring the rowing ministers to order so the deal could be implemented.

In his budget statement this Thursday, treasury chief Chinamasa said the dismissal of the workers and takeover of the company’s debt would, he hoped, make Zisco attractive to new investors.

Any buyer would however, need to build the steelworks anew, as the site has been reduced to an industrial wasteland and Redcliff itself to a ghost town.

Govt fires Zisco staff, takes $700m debt

via Govt fires Zisco staff, takes $700m debt – New Zimbabwe 26/11/2015

GOVERNMENT will, with effect from December 1 this year, terminate all contracts for Ziscosteel workers on three months’ notice and absorb its wage liabilities in a bid to attract investors to resuscitate the company, Finance Minister, Patrick Chinamasa has said.

The development confirms the collapse of the Redcliff steelmaker’s much-vaunted takeover by an Indian company despite vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa insisting in February this year that plans to restart the closed company were at an advanced stage.

Presenting the $4 billion 2016 national budget Thursday, Chinamasa said the country cannot realise meaningful economic recovery without a performing steel industry hence the need for measures to resuscitate the company.

“The country cannot make meaningful economic recovery without a robust steel industry and efforts to resuscitate Ziscosteel should be expedited,” Chinamasa said.

Chinamasa said the wage bill at the ailing steel company continued to balloon while most workers are engaged in other activities or are sitting at home scaring away investors in the process.

The company also owes workers more than $100 million in salary arrears.

He said government would take over the company’s liabilities but in the process dismiss all workers to enable a fresh start to the revival of the firm.

“Central to this is the need to free the Ziscosteel balance sheet, historical baggage liabilities including the accumulation of new obligations with regards to wages that arise on account of workers who are not working and are sitting at home or pursuing other engagements,” said Chinamasa.

He said government, like it did with the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, will take over the liabilities so that Ziscosteel becomes attractive to any investor who might be interested in taking over the organisation.

“Accordingly all contracts for Ziscosteel employees will be terminated on a three months’ notice with effect from 1 December this year and government through the ministry of industry and commerce will be updating honourable members on progress in engaging a new investor,” the finance minister said.

Government and Essar struck a $750 million deal in 2011 with the investor agreeing to take over Ziscosteel’s foreign debt, which amounted to $300 million, and to share the domestic debt with government, which totalled $72 million at the time.

To date the deal faced many obstacles and no investor has started work at the former iron and steel giant once considered Africa’s largest steel manufacturer before it collapsed in 2008.

Headline news 27 November, 2015

Govt misses ZimAsset targets

via Govt misses ZimAsset targets – The Zimbabwe Independent November 26, 2015

NEW economic growth projections made by treasury under the 2016 Budget strategy all but confirm that growth forecasts espoused under government’s ambitious economic blueprint, ZimAsset have been missed as finance minister Patrick Chinamasa presents 2016 National Budget today.

By Bernard Mpofu/Taurai Mangudhlazimasset-targets-1

Although government projected an average 7,7% annual GDP growth between 2013 and 2018 under ZimAsset, with peak growth targets of as much as 9,9% in 2018 under the economic blue print, figures from the 2016 budget strategy paper indicate the country’s economy could only grow at an average of 3,4% during the period.

budget-strategy-1

Weak commodity prices on the international market and a looming drought prompted government to lower GDP forecasts for this year.

 

Zanu PF faces restructuring crisis

via Zanu PF faces restructuring crisis – DailyNews Live 26 November 2015

HARARE – Zanu PF has not yet completed its restructuring programme and is hurtling towards the December annual conference with provinces headed by acting provincial chairpersons, party spokesperson Simon Khaya Moyo confirmed yesterday.

Addressing a news conference last night after a marathon politburo meeting at the party headquarters in Harare, Khaya Moyo said the ruling party is currently concentrating on district structures and will work on provincial structures later.

“Some are finishing their restructuring this weekend, it’s not a big deal at all,” he told reporters. “We are not electing provincial chairpersons, those will come later. We are dealing with districts.”

He said the politburo received a report from the disciplinary committee over the ongoing votes of no confidence passed against several officials in various provinces.

“The national disciplinary committee chaired by Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko presented its report to the politburo. I won’t be able to give you the details of that report, suffice to say it has been well received by the politburo and where there are adjustments, they will be done internally,” Khaya Moyo said.

“Decisions have been made, I will give you the information soon.” The restructuring exercise has been blighted by factional and succession wars.

Early last month, the Mashonaland Central provincial coordinating committee suspended some of Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s most vocal allies, including provincial youth league chairperson Godfrey Tsenengamu, Paul Rwodzi, the provincial secretary for administration and Batsirai Musani, who is provincial secretary for security.

The trio was accused of inviting Mnangagwa to the province recently where he engaged in bizarre apostolic rites as he allegedly sought spiritual help from Madzibaba Wimbo, who is famed for “prophesying” Mugabe’s presidency way back in 1957.

In Mashonaland West, youth leader and Mnangagwa ally Vengai Musengi has been barred from representing the party, as purges continue in the faction-riddled party.

The disciplinary hearing also came after a vote of no confidence was passed against Musengi and his deputy Joseph Nyariri last week. The two turned the tables and ousted the new provincial executive led by Tawanda Rupiya.

In Manicaland, women’s league boss Happiness Nyakuedzwa was also suspended after being accused of disobeying First Lady Grace Mugabe.

Meanwhile, Khaya Moyo said the secretary for administration Ignatius Chombo tabled a detailed report on the preparations of the 15th national people’s conference scheduled for Victoria Falls. The agenda includes the state of the party, the state of the economy and ZimAsset clusters.

“On the agenda, we will also have the liberation war heritage, sports, culture and religion, women’s affairs and youth affairs,” added KhayaMoyo.

‘Campaign against Chamisa escalates’

via ‘Campaign against Chamisa escalates’ – DailyNews Live 26 November 2015

HARARE – Supporters of Kuwadzana legislator Nelson Chamisa say his rivals in the MDC are allegedly ratcheting up the pressure to get him isolated and banished from the party.

One of his allies who spoke to the Daily News yesterday said the latest indication that there was a campaign against Chamisa came at a recent meeting at the MDC’s Harare headquarters, Harvest House, where his opponents had allegedly attacked him and accused him of attempting to illegally wrest power from former prime minister Morgan Tsvangirai.

The insider also claimed that there was growing anger within the MDC about the party’s mooted coalition with the People First movement while it was seemingly unwilling “to take bold risks” to oust Zanu PF from power.

Another source claimed that the party’s vice president, Thokozani Khupe, had allegedly teamed up with secretary general Douglas Mwonzora, deputy national chairperson Morgen Komichi and national organising secretary Abednico Bhebhe “to thwart any chances of Chamisa leading the party” by  portraying him as an impediment to the mooted coalition with People First.

But Khupe downplayed the rift between her and Chamisa when the Daily News contacted her yesterday.

“Leaders were elected at congress. Chamisa contested and lost to (Douglas) Mwonzora, but we appointed him to the national executive. So, why would we want him out now?” she asked rhetorically.

“It does not make sense, does it?  We talk a lot with Chamisa, even in Parliament. As the vice president of the party, I talk to all party members so we have a cordial relationship,” Khupe added.

Tsvangirai’ current mandate runs until 2018 and the MDC leader has not stifled leadership renewal debates within the party, but has instead called for internal discourse within party structures and not through the media.

The Daily News has also been told, including by people close to Chamisa,  that Tsvangirai has consistently rebuffed calls to either haul over the coals or expel the Kuwadzana legislator.

Another source claimed that the party’s vice president, Thokozani Khupe, had allegedly teamed up with secretary general Douglas Mwonzora, deputy national chairperson Morgen Komichi and national organising secretary Abednico Bhebhe “to thwart any chances of Chamisa leading the party” by  portraying him as an impediment to the mooted coalition with People First.

But Khupe downplayed the rift between her and Chamisa when the Daily News contacted her yesterday.

“Leaders were elected at congress. Chamisa contested and lost to (Douglas) Mwonzora, but we appointed him to the national executive. So, why would we want him out now?” she asked rhetorically.

“It does not make sense, does it?  We talk a lot with Chamisa, even in Parliament. As the vice president of the party, I talk to all party members so we have a cordial relationship,” Khupe added.

Tsvangirai’s current mandate runs until 2018 and the MDC leader has not stifled leadership renewal debates within the party, but has instead called for internal discourse within party structures and not through the media.

The Daily News has also been told, including by people close to Chamisa,  that Tsvangirai has consistently rebuffed calls to either haul over the coals or expel the Kuwadzana legislator.

Chaos consumes Zanu PF women’s league

via Chaos consumes Zanu PF women’s league – DailyNews Live 26 November 2015

MUTARE – The Zanu PF women’s league in Manicaland is burning in line with the deadly factional and succession wars devouring the ruling party nationally, with bitterly-opposed factions in the troubled province now resorting to hiring thugs to harass their opponents, the Daily News has learnt.

A meeting of the league that was held at Queens Hall in Mutare on Monday to probe the debilitating fights for power that have consumed this key organ over the past few weeks also degenerated into complete chaos, amid fears of a looming bloodbath.

Among the senior party officials who attended the tumultuous meeting were the national women’s league deputy secretary Sandi Moyo, Masvingo resident minister Shuvai Mahofa, and a close ally of First Lady Grace Mugabe, Sarah Mahoka.

The team wanted to probe, among other things, allegations that have been levelled against national league spokesperson Monica Mutsvangwa that she participated in a recent irregular meeting in Mutare where regional women’s league boss Happiness Nyakuedzwa — who had been reported to have been ousted in a still-born vote of no confidence actively participated.

Nyakuedzwa, who is still under a cloud and is said to belong to the party faction that supports Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, marshalled her own votes of no confidence against those who had sought to oust her from power in the meeting that was attended by Mutsvangwa.

Insiders who spoke to the Daily News yesterday said it was this background that gave rise to the chaotic scenes at Monday’s meeting, amid claims that Mnangagwa’s opponents had gone to the extent of hiring drunken thugs to destroy his allies at the gathering.

However, Nyakuedzwa — who apparently has the backing of the majority of the Women’s League in Manicaland — is also said to have bussed in dozens of her supporters “to match the firepower of the rival faction” which it was claimed was led by Letina Undenge, the wife of the party’s acting provincial chairman, Samuel Undenge.

“Undenge hired those people but it appears they did not have full information on what they were supposed to do because they ended up even wanting to assault her as well.

“Undenge is a national leader and I don’t know what she is doing trying to destabilise the provincial structure?” an emotional Nyakuedzwa charged when she was contacted by the Daily News.

She added that the “failed demonstration” against her and Mutsvangwa clearly showed that the rival faction had become desperate.

“If the issue was about my alleged disrespecting of the first lady, a crime that I’m till now yet to be formally charged with, then where are all these other claims that the hired people were talking about coming from?

“It only shows how desperate Undenge and (Nokuthula) Matsikenyere are, and unfortunately they are dragging the name of the first lady in all this to prop up their personal ambitions for power,” Nyakuedzwa fumed further.

Other witnesses at the chaotic meeting claimed that Undenge’s group had started the ensuing anarchy by throwing insults at Nyakuedzwa to the effect that she was a concubine to former Presidential Affairs minister Dydimus Mutasa.

Repeated efforts by the Daily News to reach Undenge yesterday failed, as she was not picking her cellphone.

But speaking after the Monday meeting, Sandi Moyo told State media that Mutsvangwa had a case to answer. However, other women’s league members who attended the meeting denied knowledge of such a resolution.

“I think time has come where each one of us must account for her actions because if we fail to do so, things will get out of hand. People lose respect for their leaders and we cannot allow that.

“I am therefore saying things cannot be left unresolved. I am setting up a commission of about four to five people who will have to go and find out how things happened there and why the first lady’s name was dragged into factional issues.

“First of all, it’s a worry she (Mutsvangwa) participated in the second meeting which was illegal. That alone tells us that there is a case for her to answer,” Sandi Moyo was quoted saying.

But women’s league national secretary for administration Esphinah Nhari denied that such a resolution was ever made.

“We do not know about that issue. We feel ashamed because as the women’s league we have got a way of approaching the media and we do not know how that issue came to the media.

“The fact is, we never agreed on that and the minutes of the meeting are there for all to see,” she said.

“I am totally surprised and it shows there is a hidden agenda. We spent most of the time arguing. Where did this resolution come from? She simply wanted to dictate to us and this resolution never existed unless she went and talked with the secretary (Amai Mugabe) without our knowledge,” Mahofa, who is national secretary for security, said.

China is Zimbabwe’s largest investor

via China is Zimbabwe’s largest investor – DailyNews Live 26 November 2015

HARARE – China has become the largest foreign investor in Zimbabwe after the emerging Asian giant poured more than $200 million into the country in 2014, latest figures show.

This comes as the southern African country attracted a total of $545 million last year in foreign direct investments — a 36 percent surge from $400 million registered in 2013 — according to United Nations Conference on Trade and Development report on Zimbabwe.

Industry minister Mike Bimha yesterday told delegates attending the ongoing Zimbabwe-China Business Conference in the capital that China was looking at surpassing the $200 million figure this year.

“China is now our biggest source of foreign direct investment (FDI) with a total sum of $238 874 520 having been invested in 2014 in agriculture,
construction, manufacturing, services, transport and tourism sectors” Bimha said.

“As we speak right now, it is no secret that the majority of investment delegations that came into Zimbabwe were from China. We project that last year’s figure may very likely be overtaken by the amount of investment the Chinese are bringing in this year,” he added.

Some of the Chinese companies at the conference included Sinosteel Corporation, currently negotiating for investments in the ferrochrome sector, China Hi-Tech Corporation, negotiating in the textiles sector and China Volant Industry, also in ferrochrome negotiations and others.

Speaking at the same event, Investment Promotion minister Obert Mpofu said the move by both countries to broker private sector deals was a sign that trade figures between the two countries were going to surge.

“Most of Zimbabwe’s FDI comes from China after the Look East Policy, however, after recommendations from our One Stop Investment Centre Committee we are looking at ensuring that the investment terrain is smooth for all investors,” he said.

This comes as United Nations Economic Commission for Africa Executive Secretary Carlos Lopez said African leaders had to confront the reality that Chinese investment in Africa was not enough for the “mineral sacrifices” it was warranting.

The hard-pressed southern African nation last year brokered infrastructure and platinum deals with China and Russia respectively, but government has come under fire from various quarters as the deals are yet to materialise.

China’s investments abroad are massive, amounting to $870 billion at the end of last year, according to data released by the Heritage Foundation, an American research institute. The United States leads the way, having received a little more than $72 billion.
Of the total, China pledged investments of $20 billion to Africa with countries like Chad and Niger now owing to China about 15 times what they receive from the International Monetary Fund.

However, Mpofu told delegates that Zimbabwe was in the process of tapping into China’s massive FDI policy through investment law reform.

“China certainly can do more, but at the moment as a ministry we are working towards ensuring that investment processes in the country are smooth so that more investment comes,” he said.’China now Zim’s largest investor’

Disciplinary cases divide Zanu PF

via Disciplinary cases divide Zanu PF – NewsDay Zimbabwe November 26, 2015

THE Zanu PF politburo yesterday failed to agree on several disciplinary cases under consideration as the ruling party battles to contain factionalism that has reached boiling point.

BY MOSES MATENGA

Party spokesperson Simon Khaya Moyo told journalists after the meeting last night that Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko, who chairs the national disciplinary committee, presented a report on cases that were under hearing. “It (the report) has been well received by the politburo. Adjustments will be done internally,” Khaya Moyo said. He refused to shed light on whether there were likely to be casualties.

He said the meeting also touched on the impending visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping next week and the Zanu PF conference next month.

Zimbabwe: Scourge of Child Marriage

via Zimbabwe: Scourge of Child Marriage | Human Rights Watch Zimbabwe: Scourge of Child Marriage

(Lusaka) – Child marriage in Africa often ends a girl’s education, exposes her to domestic violence and grave health risks from early childbearing and HIV, and traps her in poverty, Human Rights Watch said today. Zimbabwe’s government should lead by example at the African Union Girls’ Summit on Ending Child Marriage and pledge to set and enforce 18 as the minimum legal age for marriage.
The summit, in Lusaka, Zambia, on November 26 and 27, 2015, will highlight the devastating effects of child marriage in sub-Saharan Africa, where 40 percent of girls marry before 18, and seek to secure commitments from governments to end the practice. Zimbabwe’s president, Robert Mugabe, is currently the African Union chairperson.
“The Zimbabwean government should show that it is serious about tackling the scourge of child marriage and raise the minimum age to 18,” said Dewa Mavhinga, senior Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch. “The future of millions of African girls depends on African leaders taking action to end a devastating practice that robs girls of education and exposes them to abuse.”

In a 2014 survey by Zimbabwe’s National Statistics Agency, one in three women ages 20 to 49 surveyed reported that they married before age 18; an estimated 4 percent marry before age 15, the survey found. Since most child marriages are unregistered customary law unions, the survey is the best indicator of the scale of the problem in Zimbabwe.

Between October 13 and November 10, Human Rights Watch interviewed 35 women and girls who were child brides in six provinces – Matabeleland South, Masvingo, Midlands, Mashonaland East, Mashonaland Central, and Harare – as well as two dozen government officials, lawyers, experts, and religious and traditional leaders.

Zimbabwe has conflicting legal provisions on the minimum age for marriage. Zimbabwe’s constitution does not expressly prohibit child marriage, and a number of laws effectively condone it. The gaps in the law, extreme poverty, poor access to education, and harmful religious beliefs and social norms fuel child marriage in Zimbabwe, Human Rights Watch found.

Child marriage is common in indigenous apostolic churches, charismatic evangelical groupings which mix Christian beliefs with traditional cultures and have approximately 1.2 million followers across the country. The Zimbabwe Council of Churches and the Apostolic Christian Council of Zimbabwe acknowledge that the practice was more prevalent among apostolic followers than other religious groups. A midwife who is a member of the Johwane Masowe Shonhiwa apostolic church told Human Rights Watch that church doctrine requires girls to marry between ages 12 and 16 to prevent sexual relations outside marriage. “As soon as a girl reaches puberty, any man in the church can claim her for his wife,” she said.

Archbishop Johannes Ndanga, president of the Apostolic Churches Council of Zimbabwe, a coalition of over 1,000 indigenous apostolic churches, told Human Rights Watch that “virginity testing” – which includes the insertion of fingers into the vagina – of girls as young as 12, was widely practiced in the apostolic churches. “If found to be virgins they would get marks on their foreheads,” he said. “Older men in the church will then choose these ‘fresh girls’ to become their wives, often joining polygamous unions. If a man marries a woman who is not a virgin, she is required to find a virgin girl for her husband to marry as compensation.” The World Health Organization has determined that virginity testing is a discredited and abusive practice with no scientific basis.

Human Rights Watch also documented discriminatory social norms that link a girl’s perceived sexual “purity” to her family’s honor. If a girl becomes pregnant, spends the night outside the family home, is seen with a boyfriend, or returns home late after seeing a boyfriend, her family may force her to marry for the sake of honor. In some cases girls who become pregnant or are sexually active decide to enter a customary marriage because they fear being rejected, beaten, or abused by relatives.

In most cases of child marriage Human Rights Watch documented, girls had no sex education before they became pregnant or married. The Health and Child Welfare Ministry found in a 2010 survey that young people, especially those ages 10 to 14, lacked basic knowledge of reproductive health. The government’s national school curriculum does not include a comprehensive sex education program. Many Zimbabweans fear that providing young people with contraception contributes to promiscuity. Many indigenous apostolic churches actively discourage use of contraception.

The negative health consequences of adolescents’ limited access to reproductive health information and services can be life-threatening. Early childbearing contributes to maternal mortality, and is a leading cause of death among girls ages 15 to 19 globally. Although the overall HIV infection rate has dropped in Zimbabwe, it remains high, at 15 percent, and Zimbabwe has the sixth-highest number of annual adolescent AIDS-related deaths in the world. According to UNAIDS, HIV prevalence is almost twice as high among women and girls ages 15 to 24 as among men and boys of the same age.

“Zimbabwe’s government and religious leaders should recognize that comprehensive sex education and access to contraception are essential to preventing child marriage and protecting girls from HIV transmission and early childbearing,” Mavhinga said. “Early childbearing can lead to death or serious injury, including obstetric fistula.”

Some child brides Human Rights Watch interviewed had experienced violence such as beatings or verbal abuse from their in-laws or other relatives. Nearly all the child brides said their husbands had abandoned them, leaving them to care for children without financial support. Many described mental distress and suicidal feelings as a result of their situation.

Education can help protect against child marriage, but many girls said they dropped out of school because their families could not afford school costs. Nearly all the child brides Human Rights Watch interviewed were not able to continue their education after marriage, either because of their financial situation, their husband would not permit it, or they had to care for a baby. Many indigenous apostolic churches forbid girls to continue education after marriage. One church elder in the Johwane Marange apostolic church in Masvingo said: “Formal education is not important because the church will teach her the necessary skills to work with her hands and provide for her family. Skills like weaving baskets and mats to sell.”

In October 2014, two former child brides asked the Constitutional Court to have child marriage be made a criminal offense and declared unconstitutional. They asked the court to declare 18 the minimum age for marriage and to have all marriage laws amended. The government opposed the claim on the grounds that the applicants had not been forced into child marriage, but had “simply opted to live in unregistered unions when they were minors”; and since the Marriages Act permits girls to marry at 16 and boys at 18, “the differentiation arises from biological and psychological maturity levels for boys and girls.”

In July, Zimbabwe became the eighth country to join the African Union campaign to end child marriage in Africa. In her keynote address, Zimbabwe’s first lady, Grace Mugabe, called on the Justice Ministry to revise Zimbabwe’s laws to set the minimum marriage age at 18, but her recommendation has not been carried out.

The government has yet to finalize and implement a national action plan on ending child marriage, as the African Union has requested. The action plan should set out the government’s strategies, in partnership with key stakeholders – donors, community leaders, adolescents, and nongovernmental groups – to address child marriage in Zimbabwe.

“President Mugabe and his government should not ignore the suffering of hundreds of thousands of girls in Zimbabwe who are robbed of their futures through early marriage,” Mavhinga said. “The government should drop its objection to the constitutional challenge, reform its laws, and ensure that the minimum age of 18 for marriage is applied across the country, including by religious denominations.”

For further details, recommendations, and accounts by child brides, please see below.

Child Marriage in Zimbabwe
Africa has 15 of the 20 countries in the world with the highest rates of child marriage. According to UNICEF, if the current trend continues, the number of child brides in Africa is expected to double by 2050.

Zimbabwe’s National Statistics Agency in 2014 published the results of a survey called the Zimbabwe Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey, which found that 32.9 percent of women between 20 and 49 married before age 18. There has been no comprehensive national study, either by the Zimbabwean government or independent organizations, of the number of girls who drop out of school due to child marriage or of the other harmful effects they suffer.

The government has not produced an action plan to create and strengthen community-based child protection mechanisms with a particular focus on child marriage, including shelter facilities or other mechanism to support girls turned away by their husbands or their families. Local organizations such as the Musasa Project – a nongovernmental group working to protect girls’ and women’s rights – provide shelter for abused girls, but their facilities are not available countrywide.

According to Real Open Opportunities for Transformation Support (ROOTS), a nongovernmental organization campaigning to end child marriage in Zimbabwe, child marriage is most prevalent in poor traditional farming communities and in areas where illegal gold panning is the main source of income. Illegal gold panners have easy access to cash when they sell gold which enables them to lure vulnerable girls living in poverty.

Gaps in Zimbabwe’s child protection system result in lack of protection for victims of child marriage and significant obstacles to girls seeking redress. For example, girls have limited information about their rights, often do not have the money to travel to where they can seek protection from the authorities, and when they do, the authorities often dismiss their concerns as “a family matter.”

Contradictory Laws
Zimbabwe has conflicting legal provisions on the minimum age for marriage. Zimbabwe’s constitution does not expressly prohibit child marriage, and a number of laws effectively condone it.

Section 78 of the constitution says that anyone who has attained the age of 18 has the right to found a family and that no one should be compelled to marry against their will. The government has said, however, that section 78 does not set 18 as the minimum age for marriage, but simply confers a right on those above 18 to found a family.

Zimbabwe’s Customary Marriages Act sets no minimum age for marriage, while the Marriage Act, which governs monogamous marriages, states that girls under 16 cannot marry without the written consent of the justice minister.

The Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act makes it a criminal offense for anyone to promise a girl under 18 in marriage or to force a girl or woman to enter into a marriage against her will. It also makes it a criminal offense to use cultural or customary rites or practices to force a woman to marry. It provides that any adult man who has sexual relations with a willing child between ages 12 and 15 is guilty of statutory rape because children in this age group are considered too immature to make informed decisions about their sexual behavior, so the child’s consent is no defense. However, the law says that if the person is married to a child under 16, having sexual relations with the spouse is not statutory rape.

Zimbabwe has ratified international conventions that oblige it to protect children against child sexual exploitation and abuse, including child marriage. These include the Convention on the Rights of the Child; the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women; the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child; and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights. But unless the government revises domestic laws to incorporate the requirements under these treaties, Zimbabwe’s courts have little power to enforce these international legal obligations.

Key Recommendations to the Government of Zimbabwe

To the President

  • Publicly support law reform to make 18 the minimum marriage age.
  • Finalize, in consultation with nongovernmental groups and affected communities, a comprehensive national action plan to end child marriage.

To the Ministries of Justice and of Women’s Affairs, Gender and Community Development

  • Take necessary legislative steps to harmonize marriage laws to make 18 the minimum marriage age, and ensure that the laws require free and full consent of both spouses, requirements for proof of age before marriage licenses are issued, and imposes penalties on anyone who intimidates, threatens, or harms anyone who refuses to marry.
  • Provide regular training for police and prosecutors on their legal responsibilities to investigate and prosecute violence against women, including child marriage.
  • Withdraw opposition to the lawsuit by victims of child marriage before the constitutional court seeking the criminalization of child marriage and a ruling to set 18 as the minimum marriage age.
  • Facilitate the provision of shelters, legal services, and other support mechanisms to protect girls from child marriage and to support those currently in child marriage and those turned away by their families.
  • Initiate local and national awareness campaigns that provide information to parents, guardians, religious leaders, and community leaders about the harmful effects of child marriage, emphasizing the health risks of early pregnancy and HIV transmission and the benefits of girls’ education.
  • Adapt and adopt best practices from other countries to empower girls, for example by providing girls with safe spaces, economic incentives and support to families in need, information about the harm of child marriage and about sexual and reproductive health, and life skills training.
  • Support and strengthen initiatives by local groups and the Apostolic Christian Council of Zimbabwe to combat child marriage.

Education Ministry

  • Develop retention strategies to help prevent child marriage and to keep married girls in school, such as providing incentives for families to keep girls in school, scholarships, expanded school feeding programs, adequate sanitation facilities, and life skills programs for married girls through targeted outreach and support programs, and evening or part-time formal schooling and vocational training opportunities.
  • Empower girls and boys with information and knowledge about their reproductive and sexual rights by introducing a comprehensive sexuality education curriculum.

Health Ministry

  • Ensure access to reproductive health information and services for adolescents.

Selected Accounts

Confidence S., 22:

I was 14 years-old when I got married to a 42-year-old man who had a wife already. My aunt who was looking after me said I should get married to the man because he was rich and would look after me. But he was very abusive; he did not allow me to leave the house to visit friends or go to the shops. He always suspected me of having younger boyfriends. I was in form 2 [in secondary school] and pregnant when he married me. I stopped going to school. At that time girls who fell pregnant were expelled from school.

After me he married two more wives. His other wives did not want me – they chased me away but when I tried to go back to my family my aunt and mother also turned me away saying they had already accepted lobola (bride price) from him. When I went back to him, his other wives would fight me. He used to beat me and shout at me. He refused to let me continue with school. After two years of marriage, life was so difficult for me that I tried to kill myself by drinking rat poison. I was in hospital for one week after which my family finally took me back. Child marriage ruined my life. Now I do not work and cannot find a job because I stopped going to school.

Abigail C., 15:

I fell pregnant last year when I was 14-years-old. I had stopped going to school that same year because my mother, who works as a maid earning US$50 per month, could not afford to send me to school. I had an affair with an older man who had a wife. The woman who lives next door is the one who persuaded me to have an affair with this man. I received no sex education at all, and when I had sex with this man I fell pregnant. I went to live with his mother because he was staying with his first wife. In June I went to hospital and gave birth to a baby, who died within a few minutes of birth. The nurses told me my baby died. After that I went back to live with my mother. I wish to go back to school because I am still a child.

Rutendo C., 16:

I stopped going to school last year when in grade 7 because my parents did not have money to send me to school. One day after I had stopped going to school my grandfather saw me in the fields having sex with my boyfriend, who was 25-years-old. He went and told my parents to send me away to get married to my boyfriend. My parents did not want to send me away but he forced them saying, “You cannot keep a child who has been defiled; she has had sex and she must go.” So I went and lived with him as his wife, we are still together and I am 8-months pregnant now.

Justine T., 38:

When I was 16 I met a young man who I talked to about my problems. He was very understanding. We had sex. I didn’t know that I would get pregnant. But that’s what happened. That’s the reason why I stopped going to school. When you are pregnant, you are not allowed to continue with school [a policy that was later revised to allow pregnant girls to continue with school]. At home, they also don’t want you there. They told me to go to and live with the person who made me pregnant.

At that time I didn’t know anything about sex. Nobody gave me any sex education. If I knew about it I wouldn’t have fallen pregnant…It was 1998. I was pregnant. My husband came home drunk and started shouting at me. I was angry and I shouted back at him, then he beat me up. I was very hurt and became angry. That’s what caused me to do what I did. I poured paraffin all over my body and set myself on fire. Then I woke up in hospital. I am trapped in this situation. I am failing to find work to support myself and my family. My children have stopped going to school because we cannot afford to send them to school.

Agnes N., 19:

I got married when I was 16. One day I was late coming from school and my grandmother who looked after me saw me standing with my boyfriend when it was nearly getting dark, about 6 p.m. Later when I got home she told me to go back to my boyfriend and I did. I stopped going to school, but my husband who was at the same school continued and failed his exams. He stayed with his sister who was abusive to me, she wanted me to go back to my family; she blamed me for his failure in school.

Later I fell pregnant and his uncle tried to force me to abort but I refused. My husband neglected me. Sometimes I went without food, and tried to go back to my family but my grandmother would not take me back. Eventually she took me back; I gave birth at my grandmother’s house. Life is difficult for me because am not working and the father of my child has never supported his son.

Rosemary M., 19:

I was 15 when I got married. I was pregnant at the time. I had already stopped school in grade 4 when both my parents died. My husband would beat me and he had many girlfriends and did not look after me. When I gave birth my baby died after four days. I got pregnant again but the baby died after four months. His mother chased me away saying she wanted grandchildren but my babies were dying. Whenever my husband beat me she would say, “Beat her some more! When she feels the pain she will leave.”

My brothers refused to take me back saying marriage was my choice so I must live with it. At that point I thought of drowning myself to end my suffering, but I then decided against it. He got another wife saying he did not want a childless wife. Later I gave birth to a baby girl who is now 7-months-old but he does not support me and his child. My sister looks after me and my child.

Munesu C., 16:

I am 16, I ran away from home to get married when I was 14 after I had sex with my boyfriend, who was 21. I was afraid my family would discover that I had had sex so I went to live with my boyfriend as his wife. I was in grade 7 at the time and stopped going to school. After about 7 months my husband and his three brothers began to complain that I was not getting pregnant. He never beat me but always complained that I was barren. I used to do a lot of hard work washing clothes, cleaning and cooking for my husband and his relatives. After two years of marriage he sent me away saying I am barren, and my mother took me back. My wish is to go back to school but my mother cannot afford to send me back to school.

Chamwa M., midwife in the Johwane Masowe Shonhiwa Apostolic faith church:

Our church doctrine is that girls must marry when they are between 12 and 16-years-old to make sure they do not sin by having sexual relations outside marriage. As soon as a girl reaches puberty, any man in the church can claim her for a wife. A man is allowed to have as many wives as he can manage, and as many children as he wants. All pregnant mothers give birth at home; going to hospital or using modern medicine is prohibited. Use of contraceptives or other family planning methods is also prohibited – only God can plan families and God’s commandment was “Be fruitful and multiply.”

We have prophets in our church who will know if anyone in the church disobeys the rules and goes to hospital to seek medication or uses contraceptives like pills or condoms. When a man says God has shown him in a dream that he should marry a certain girl, that girl cannot say no to the word of God. If she says no, God’s curse will be upon her life; she may fail to find a husband for the rest of her life, or she could be barren for the rest of her life.

Archbishop Johannes Ndanga, president of the Apostolic Christian Council of Zimbabwe (ACCZ), a coalition of over 1,000 apostolic churches in the country. The coalition is campaigning to end child marriage. He said:

We are trying to change, and stop child marriage in our churches, but we face a lot of resistance from some churches who hold on to many beliefs that justify exploitation of girls. For example, virginity testing and polygamy is widely practiced in our Apostolic faith churches – I too, before I got to know about human rights, I used to enforce virginity testing in the church that I lead. Girls as young as 12 years would be checked for virginity by church elders, and if found to be virgins they would get marks on their foreheads to show they are virgins. Older men in the church would then choose these “fresh girls” to become their wives, often joining polygamous unions. If a man marries a woman who is not a virgin, she is required to find a virgin girl for her husband to marry as compensation.

We are facing strong and sometimes violent resistance from some of our member churches who continue with harmful practices of child marriage and abuse. In May 2014, after we received reports of abuse of young girls at the church, we asked the police to help us shut down a member church… The church members resisted and used sticks to beat up nine police officers, journalists, and ACCZ officials.

Joshua M., elder in the Zion Apostolic Church:

We continue to allow a man to marry many wives in our church but now support the ACCZ campaign to end child marriage. The problem is that girls and women are not allowed to speak in church, and cannot question church doctrine, and this perpetuates their abuse and lack of rights. If a man stands up in church and says God showed him in a dream that he should marry a certain girl, then that is God’s commandment which must be obeyed. Girls become afraid to disobey God. Our church has pledged to stop child marriage in our church.

Chief Chiveso, traditional leader from Mashonaland Central Province:

Traditional leaders in Mashonaland Central province have come together to campaign to end child marriage. In cases where young girls who are, say, 14 or 15-years-old, and get married in our communities, we summon the man to the traditional court and also refer the case to the police. We do not know how the police deal with such cases, but at the traditional court we sometimes ask the man to compensate the father of the girl child, and if the girl is not pregnant she goes back to school. We encourage pregnant girls to go back to school but sometimes it is not possible due to poverty.

Govt, UN agency unveil teen condoms

via Govt, UN agency unveil teen condoms | The Herald November 26, 2015

United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in conjunction with Government, launched the CONDOMISE campaign yesterday, distributing small-sized condoms for the ages of 15 and above. Speaking in Chitungwiza yesterday during the launch of the three-day campaign, UNFPA senior technical advisor Mrs Bidia Deperthes said this age group also needed to be catered for given that some of them were becoming sexually active at a young age.

“We have brought seven types of condoms. We have small condoms which are 49 ml for the young people who start being sexually active at the age of 15 but can not fit the adult sized condoms that usually slip and exposed them to sexually transmitted diseases and HIV,” she said.

Mrs Deperthes said the different types of condoms, flavours and scents would attract the young people and thus end up protecting themselves. “This is the best way to attract the young people through music, T-shirts and the message ‘This will help them to always CONDOMIZE’ and this is a methodology campaign, the huge campaign is coming in 2016 for Zimbabwe,” said Mrs Deperthes.

This comes against the background of a raging debate whether children in school should be given condoms as the targeted 15-year-olds are still in school.

Also speaking at the same occasion, Ministry of Health and Child Care STI and Condom coordinator, Mrs Anna Machiha said they hoped the campaign would attract both the young and adults to use condoms. “We are highly burdened with HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted infections (STIs), so condoms are very important in reducing new infections of HIV and STIs. We are targeting Harare these three days and we shall distribute 300 000 condoms,” she said.

She said they had changed the way of campaigning not to promote condoms but to attract people to use them. “We have blended entertainment and education so as to influence people to use protection, so we are doing the campaign through road shows where we give prizes and educate the public on condom use.

“People usually don’t like to use condoms but we are advocating that they should use them. Everyone should protect him or herself. The CONDOMISE campaign is not for sex workers only,” she said. The CONDOMISE campaign is a pre-campaign for the upcoming ICASA conference where more than a million condoms will be distributed.

Another split imminent in MDC-T: Report

via Another split imminent in MDC-T: Report | The Herald November 26, 2015

A split is looming in the opposition MDC-T party due to power struggles between leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai and former national organising secretary Mr Nelson Chamisa, a local think tank has said. Mr Chamisa, the charismatic Member of Parliament for Kuwadzana East, was reduced to an ordinary card-carrying member during the party’s congress last year after losing the race to become secretary general to Mr Douglas Mwonzora, a move that was allegedly engineered by Mr Tsvangirai.

Mr Chamisa has lost none of his clout, though, and a serious rift has grown between the two politicians which is feared to soon culminate in a split.

The Zimbabwe Peace Project, in its just-released report for October titled, “Internal Strife: A cancer in Zimbabwe’s Main Political Parties”, notes that apart from the skirmishes in the ruling Zanu-PF during its restructuring exercise, the rift between Messrs Tsvangirai and Chamisa was the main reason for intra-party violence in the period under review.

“Known for splintering and re-splintering, the opposition party‘s propensity for possible splits is always present with the party leader, Morgan Tsvangirai being pitted against Kuwadzana (East) legislator, Nelson Chamisa. Although the party still denies any rift, instances in certain areas, for example in Bulawayo following the death of Nkulumane legislator, Thamsanqa Mahlangu, among a few others, illuminate turbulences and power struggles within the party,” says the report.

The report notes that, “Conflict around specific personalities persists much to the threat of unity within the party.” It also chronicles a number of incidents across the country involving the MDC-T which have been fomented by the internal strife. It notes that factionalism has led to clashes in Harare and Chitungwiza, leading to disruption of meetings.

It is the same story in Norton where youths “are divided on allegiance to former legislator, Voice Chinake, and a new player Matemera, who wants to contest the Norton parliamentary seat in 2018”.

In Matabeleland South the party was “failing to hold meetings as a result of intra-party factional squabbles” while in Midlands, “(t)he environment has thawed a bit after the major drivers of inter-party violence shifted their energy and attention to factional fights within their political parties.”

Politburo sets tone for Zanu-PF conference

via Politburo sets tone for Zanu-PF conference | The Herald November 26, 2015

The Zanu-PF Politburo yesterday set the tone for the forthcoming 15th annual National People’s Conference, unanimously agreeing that the indaba will centre on improving people’s livelihoods as espoused in the Government economic blue print, Zim-Asset. The conference is slated for Victoria Falls from December 7-13. Speaking after the Politburo meeting yesterday, Zanu-PF secretary for information and publicity, Cde Simon Khaya Moyo said the conference would be about the economy.

“The secretary for administration Cde Ignatius Chombo gave a detailed report on the preparations for the 15th National People’s Conference encompassing the agenda and indeed the programme for the conference,” he said.

“The agenda includes the state of the party, the state of the economy focusing mainly on Zim-Asset clusters which you are all aware of. Zim-Asset will be the main centre for discussion and Cde (Patrick) Chinamasa (Finance and Economic Development Minister) will present a paper on that as the conference proceeds.”

Added Cde Khaya Moyo: “We shall also have on the agenda the liberation war heritage, sports, culture and religion. Women and Youth affairs will also be discussed. Only accredited delegates will be allowed to attend the conference.”

Some sections of the media were speculating that the conference would see the Zanu-PF constitution being amended and some leadership changes taking place. Provinces have come up with recommendations for the conference, chief among them being the endorsement of President Mugabe as the party’s candidate for the 2018 elections.

Cde Khaya Moyo said a report from the national disciplinary committee decisions had been well received by the Politburo, with ‘decisions being taken’ on pending cases. He, however, declined to reveal the decisions. “The national disciplinary committee chaired by Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko presented its report to the Politburo, which report was well received,” Cde Khaya Moyo said.

“I won’t be able to give you details of that report suffice to say it has been well received by the Politburo and where there are adjustments, they will be done so internally. This is an internal matter. We will give you details later as soon as I am ready. I would not know whether (or not) there have been casualties but decisions have been taken.”

There has been a spate of votes of no confidence and counter votes of no confidence in provinces such as Mashonaland West, Manicaland, Mashonaland Central and Masvingo. Cde Khaya Moyo said national commissar, Cde Saviour Kasukuwere also presented a report on the ongoing restructuring exercise.

“The restructuring is not complete yet but it is almost complete and is going on extremely well,” he said. “I want to appeal to members of the press to be truthful and avoid falsehoods. Have your facts, do not imagine things and write things that do not exist anywhere. I hope you will measure up to our expectations.”

He said the party’s secretary for external affairs, Cde Simbarashe Mumbengegwi gave a brief on President Mugabe’s coming visit to Paris, France this week for a Climate Change conference. Cde Khaya Moyo said Cde Chombo also reported on the meeting of secretaries-general of former liberation movements that took place in Mozambique last week.

Ministers give clueless stares…•President takes them to task over settlement

via Ministers give clueless stares…•President takes them to task over settlement •admit land slated for airport expansion | The Herald November 26, 2015

PRESIDENT Mugabe yesterday took to task two Government ministers over an illegal residential settlement that has mushroomed near the Harare International Airport, asking them to explain why it was allowed to crop up. Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister Saviour Kasukuwere and his Transport and Infrastructural Development counterpart Dr Joram Gumbo could not give satisfactory answers.

The settlement is being administered by a housing co-operative calling itself Nyikavanhu Housing Cooperative, but gives a view of a haphazard “squatter camp” as it is largely composed of makeshift houses. President Mugabe, who was cutting the ribbon to officially open the first phase of the Harare International Airport Road, looked at the settlement and was not impressed.

He said the settlement tarnished the image of the country and the settlers should be immediately relocated. After cutting the ribbon, the President asked Dr Gumbo about the legal status of the settlement. Dr Gumbo said he was not sure about its status and referred questions to Minister Kasukuwere, who was not immediately available.

When Minister Kasukuwere was eventually called to explain, he said the settlement was a housing cooperative. Said President Mugabe: “Ko izvo zviri kubuda uko zvii? Apa hapaite kuti mupe vanhu nekuti panhu panopfuura nemavisitors. Haisi land yeexpansion yeairport here?”

Minister Kasukuwere concurred that the land was for airport expansion. President Mugabe then added:“Vanhu vari apa ngavabve.” Legislator for Harare South, which forms part of the settlement, Cde Shadreck Mashayamombe, who was also present when President Mugabe made the order, said the area would be cleared within 14 days.

He agreed that the area was reserved for airport expansion and other related services such as construction of hotels. Cde Mashayamombe said a delegation led by Harare Metropolitan Provincial Minister of State Cde Miriam Chikukwa would visit the area today to inform the residents that they should move out.

He said some of the occupants were illegal settlers who invaded the land in 2000. Cde Mashayamombe said the settlers were offered alternative land in Stoneridge Park, but some refused to vacate. “They settled themselves on that land in 2000 and in 2013 Government ordered them to move to Retreat Farm in Harare South where they were offered 2 000 stands,” he said.

“About 700 complied and some resisted and regrouped with other new occupants to expand the settlement. We are already in the process of relocating them, but now that the President has raised concern over the settlement we are going to speed up the process.

“In 14 days the place will be clear and tomorrow (today) we are visiting the area with the Minister of State (Miriam Chikukwa), provincial administrator (Mr Alfred Tome), Harare mayor (Bernard Manyenyeni) and the district administrator of that area to inform the residents of this development.”

Some of the residents who spoke to The Herald said the area was cleared for residential occupation. One of the residents, who only identified himself as Mr Jena, said they were given an offer letter as Nyikavanhu Housing Co-operative in 2006. He said they were also in possession of a letter from the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe clearing them to build houses on that land.

“We have all the paperwork to build houses here under Arlington Subdivision E,” said Mr Jena. “The sub-division is of 500 stands measuring 2 000 square metres.” Mr Jena said since 2010 they had paid instalments amounting to $4 000. One of the residents who refused to be named said he bought his stand from a member of the cooperative through an estate agent for $22 000.

“I am not sure of the legal status of this area because I bought this stand through an estate agent for $22 000,” he said. “As it stands right now, I am stopping all the developments I am carrying out until I have a clear picture of where this is going.”

ZBC Grace live: Prove she pays – Madhuku

via ZBC Grace live: Prove she pays – Madhuku – New Zimbabwe 25/11/2015

PROFESSOR Lovemore Madhuku’s National Constitutional Assembly party has written to the ZBC demanding proof of payment from Grace Mugabe for the live coverage of the First Lady’s “divisive” national rallies.

Grace is touring the country holding rallies during which she denounces political opponents and the private media.

All her rallies are given live coverage by ZBC through the state broadcaster’s television and radio stations.

Grace Mugabe is not a government official and the public broadcaster never covers live the rallies of opposition political parties, even if they offer to pay.

The opposition NCA on Wednesday demanded to see proof of payment for the live coverage from President Robert Mugabe’s wife.

“It is in the public interest that NCA party is requesting you to disclose the cost incurred by ZBC when covering Zanu PF gatherings,” read the letter which the party’s national spokesperson Madock Chivasa wrote and delivered to the ZBC chief executive on Wednesday.

Other parties not covered on TV

“How much does Zanu PF pay to get uncensored coverage by ZBC at its rallies? We are challenging you to disclose and show any proof of payment for the coverage given to Zanu PF gatherings and specifically the First Lady’s rallies.

“Failure to do so will leave us with no option, but to approach the courts of law to force you to provide this important information”.

ZBC charges $30 per year for TV viewership from the public.

The state broadcaster’s inspectors move from house to house demanding listenership and viewership fees.

Chivasa said despite Grace’s rallies being dominated by hate speech, ZBC continues to ignore other political parties in its programming.

“As NCA party we have observed for some time your unprofessional coverage and abuse of the national broadcaster ZTV to further the interests of Zanu PF,” reads the latter.

“NCA party is also urging you to stop broadcasting Zanu PF gatherings if you are not in a position to give the same coverage to other political parties in Zimbabwe.

“Failure to comply with this demand will result in a massive national campaign by NCA party to denounce the national broadcaster and to urge citizens to stop paying ZBC licenses.

“It’s the NCA’s hope that you take this communication seriously and attend to the issues raised.”

 

$60k fraud Min gets Con-Court reprieve

via $60k fraud Min gets Con-Court reprieve – New Zimbabwe 25/11/2015

THE HIGH Court on Wednesday granted Mashonaland Central provincial minister Martin Dinha, 53, a chance to have his case heard before the Constitutional Court.

Dinha is charged with allegedly extorting $60,000 from a white commercial farmer as protection fee against eviction.

The minister is also facing bribery and money laundering charges and is out of custody on $1,000 bail.

Dinha sought an order to refer his case to the Constitutional Court on the basis that his rights to a fair trial had been infringed upon.

This was after High Court judge, Happias Zhou, ordered that the trial goes ahead without the de-classification of certain state secrets required by Dinha to use in his defence.

Through his lawyer, Advocate Thabani Mpofu who is being instructed by Tapson Dzvetero of Antonio and Dzvetero Legal Practitioners, Dinha argued that his right to access to information had not been respected.

Advocate Mpofu said referral of the matter to the Constitutional Court would not affect the proceedings of the trial.

“The court is possessed of the jurisdiction to make the referral. I submit that the determination made by the High Court is not final and definitive in the context of the trial.

“It closes the chapter on the issue of the dockets but not on the issue of the trial,” he said.

Justice Zhou granted the relief to have the matter referred to the Constitutional Court and suspended the trial for now.
He said the application was not frivolous and vexatious and deserved the right to be heard by the highest Court.

The state alleges that sometime between 2012 and 2013, Centenary farmer Guy Frank Dollar clashed with newly-resettled farmers who had been allocated A2 plots at his farm.

Zanu PF administrator for Muzarabani district, Saineti Madzamba, later informed Dinha about the incident.

It is further alleged that Dinha then advised Madzamba that Dollar was supposed to pay a $60,000 security fee in order for him to retain his farm.

Because of the illegitimate pressure exerted upon him, the State alleges Dollar sourced for the money which was later paid to Dinha on March 28, 2013.

On the day in question, Madzamba was driven to Dinha’s house in Bindura by Dollar’s employee, one Shelton Chiparausha Chinyere, to hand over the alleged bribe.

When they got to Dinha’s house they were allegedly told that the minister had since gone to China.

Dollar later rang Dinha over the phone who then allegedly instructed him to hand over the money to one Tsitsi Nyika.

On the same day, the State alleges, Dinha’s wife phoned Nyika and instructed her to deposit $40,000 into Dinha’s POSB account.

On April 17 of the same year, upon his return, Dinha made a transfer of $30,000 into his other POSB account.

The State further alleges, on various occasions between April 2013 and July 15 this year, Dinha made several withdrawals, leaving a balance of $1,012.

In his statement to the police, Dollar claims he later personally met Dinha who thanked him for the money.

Dinha allegedly claimed to have sent the money to “a higher authority”.

Minister admits govt incompetence

via Minister admits govt incompetence – New Zimbabwe 25/11/2015

TRANSPORT deputy minister Michael Madanha has admitted government sloppiness in the supervision of road construction and maintenance in the country which often sees newly repaired roads quickly return to their previous sorry states.

Responding to questions by backbenchers in Parliament on Wednesday, Madhana cited “poor workmanship” by contracted firms in cases where roads targeted for maintenance are quick to deteriorate.

“I think it is something very visible that some sections on our roads – particularly on this road which was recently rehabilitated, that is, the Plumtree-Harare-Mutare road, some sections are showing signs of failure,” Madhana said.

“There are various reasons to this, the first one which we suspect is the major one and it has to do with lack of supervision and poor workmanship.”

He was responding to a question by fellow Zanu PF legislator, Irene Zindi, who had asked him to state government policy towards contracted companies whose maintenance failures are quick to be noticed through pothole riddled roads, less than a year after completion.

In a country with scarce financial resources, Zindi followed up, asking why government seemingly did not find it worth the while to carry out constant inspection on the said work.

Zindi also asked why the same companies put all their efforts in constructing good roads in neighbouring South Africa and yet did a shoddy job locally.

Poor workmanship

“The actual issue is poor workmanship,” Madhana responded.

“The supervision is there and the engineers are there but the problem is poor workmanship. That is the correct answer which I can give to this problem.”

He added: “Definitely as a Ministry, we have seen that something was amiss on the quality of our roads.

“So, what we are doing as a Ministry is that we are taking corrective measures so that whoever is responsible for delivering poor quality work must account for his actions at his cost. That is the solution to this problem.”

However, Madanha’s response only served to ignite more questions by legislators on why government was seemingly unperturbed by poor services from tender holders on road maintenance.

Bulawayo Easy MP Thabitha Khumalo asked why government failed to employ Zimbabwean engineers from local universities to provide expert supervisory work.

Musikavanhu MP Prosper Mutseyami weighed in, telling the minister some of the roads are already bumpy and experience melting tar with only two weeks of the maintenance.

MPs not satisfied

“Are you telling me that when this poor workmanship was in progress you were not aware that this was going on?” he asked.

Binga North MP Dubeko Sibanda asked the evidently besieged minister to disclose “at what point in your Ministry’s hierarchy, supervision could be lacking?”

“Maybe there was a misunderstanding of some sort,” said Madanha.

“I did not say that there is lack of supervision in the Ministry but I said that it is one of the causes …one of the causes of poor workmanship is lack of supervision, which is correct.

“Now, the Ministry does its supervision through the Department of State Roads and this department is the one responsible for all the supervision and any defect which is a result of construction by the constructor is supposed to be rectified by the contractor at his cost.

“The Ministry will not foot any bill for the rectification of those works.”

The country’s road infrastructure remains in a poor state despite millions paid to government through toll fees being administered by Zinara.

The situation is blamed for the continued loss of lives every year with massive looting by government and Zinara officials from the road maintenance coffers has also been cited among the causes.

‘Makorokoza’ finally embraced

via ‘Makorokoza’ finally embraced – DailyNews Live 27 August 2015

HARARE – Government wants to legalise hundreds of thousands of small-scale miners, colloquially known as makorokoza, who scrape out tiny amounts of gold from abandoned mine shafts using dangerous and polluting techniques.

This emerged in Masvingo last weekend at a national dialogue conference on artisinal miners, sugar cane cutters and farm workers organised by leading grassroots-based rights group ZimRights, led by Okay Machisa.

Small-scale miners complained bitterly that top politicians in President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF were seizing their small mine claims the moment they strike gold.

The small-scale miners asked government to speedily review procedures in allocating mining concessions in the country, saying the current processes were fraught with abuse by politicians, resulting in double allocations.

Artisanal miners from Battlefields in Kwekwe called for an urgent review of steep licence fees. It costs $350 just to register a mines prospector’s licence, a top-line ripple for most makorokoza.

The miners also slammed the hefty Environment Management Agency (Ema)’s pollution fines, pegged at $2 000, describing them as “unreasonable” and “unaffordable.”

It is estimated that there are between 300 000 and 400 000 artisanal miners in Zimbabwe, most of them unskilled, under-equipped, with little appreciation of the environment and using rudimentary methods and processes to extract minerals.

Because most are employed by unregistered enterprises or individuals, they said they were exploited by barons or “sponsors” who give them peanuts after rich pickings. One small-scale miner said their duo hit $7 000 worth of gold, and were given $300 each, while the “sponsor” pocketed the rest.

Pardon Mlambo, an artisanal miner, said: “The challenge that we have is that we are exploited by sponsors, who get a lion’s share of the proceeds after we have endured the hard and precarious work.”

The government of the mineral-rich southern African nation, which touts its strict environmental rules, is worried about unchecked informal miners and want their operations formalised

“We agree that the system has not been well, government has taken the initiative to normalise, formalise the system,” deputy minister of Mines and Mining Development Fred Moyo, told the artisinal miners at the conference.

Typically, artisanal miners are young males, but there are occasional female underground workers such as the ones at the conference who also complained bitterly about exploitation by sponsors.

Accompanied by the Masvingo provincial mining director Chris Dube, Moyo accused the artisanal miners of creating the barons that are now exploiting them.

“Zvoto zvina mazera, kwamuri kuma miners kune zvoto zveko, mashefu (You created bosses in this informal industry),” the deputy minister said. “Ukainda kuBondolfi kune vakuru venyu ikoko, kusina (If you go to Bondolfi, there are head honchos there, even though there is no) political leadership. So, all this thing has to be stopped so that it operates formally.

“Ini ndiri (I am an) MP we(in) Zvishavane, the other day I was being introduced, kwahi (they said) these are the big boys, kwahi pamakorokoza ose vanosaluta ivava (all the small-scale miners salute these guys), they are not even councillors! You have created your own barons within yourselves, toda ku (we want to) correcta (correct) all this so that anyone who wants to go into (mining) business can go in fairly.”

Lured by record prices for gold, which topped $1 150 an ounce this year, thousands of informal miners use toxic mercury to extract gold from rocks chipped out of narrow tunnels.

Those who go underground to extract the gold and the barons share 50-50 the earnings, but the small-scale miners also have to use their earnings to foot bills for power, water, equipment and all ancillary charges arising from the operation, leaving them with meagre earnings despite doing all the donkey work.

“Model ye50-50 we don’t recognise that model ye50-50 as ministry of Mines,” Moyo said.

“The reason why people are being exploited is that there is no legal space for small-scale miners.

“I said it myself that there is an industry around artisanal miners, the suppliers of claims, materials, explosives, buyers of gold, providers of intelligence. All these things, the maze of illegal operations all emanate from the fact that it has no legal authority to operate transparently and access markets.”

The Zvishavane-Runde Zanu PF MP staunchly rejected accusations that ruling party officials were seizing mining claims from artisanal miners the moment they strike gold.

“If there are things happening, don’t make it sound as if there is some politics that has to be

observed or feared; have your claim, mine, access markets,” Moyo said.

Official estimates show makorokoza produce around 25 percent of approximately 1 500 kg of gold produced in Zimbabwe per month and sell it to local dealers at cut rates below the market.

Moyo said government was pushing for amendments to the Mines and Minerals Act, which will be tabled in Parliament this session, regulating the small-scale miners by urging them to formalise their operations, apply for official mining concessions with environmental permits and pay taxes.

“If we have the numbers (of artisanal miners) going into millions as we think they do, then we have a dilemma,” Moyo said.

“How can millions of people be engaged in illegal business in a nation? Is it possible that we can have a million people engaged in a business that is termed illegal? If it is illegal business, how is it possibly transacted with the law failing to stop it?

“That perspective brings the dimension that says around the small-scale miners is a big market of beneficiaries. Those who sell equipment to them are illegal, those who buy minerals from them are equally illegal, (and) those who live with them in their homes become accomplices and so on?”

He said government has supported the small-scale miners despite their illegal operations.

“We have done our part, we have reduced royalties for small operators, it’s 1 percent now, and electricity, we also reduced that,” Moyo said.

“We will set up offices where you can buy explosives from government; right now we don’t know where you get explosives.”

With gold prices soaring, informal miners are willing to take big risks to scrape a living out of deep caves, some a century old, abandoned by international mining companies.

Miners have died when weakly-supported tunnels collapsed during rainy season.

And they regularly handle mercury with their bare hands, even though the liquid metal can cause birth defects, miscarriages, nerve damage and renal failure.

“You use cyanide, mercury, we don’t have your names in the ministry of Industry, we want to formalise that supply side as well,” Moyo said.

Artisanal miner Runyararo Mashinge said: “Often we are affected by the chemicals such as carbon that are used in the mining, but we have no medical cover for treatment. When we fall ill, usually the sponsors who get mining tributes through their political connections abandon us.”

Machisa said the policy conference deliberately afforded stakeholders a crucial discussion to improve the welfare of the marginalised socio-economic groups.

“Decriminalising artisanal mining is important for people to benefit from their resources and do it legally,” Machisa said.

The mining industry has overtaken the convulsing agriculture sector as Zimbabwe’s main foreign currency earner, contributing the bulk of the country’s export earnings last year.

Mujuru gets PF ball rolling

via Mujuru gets PF ball rolling – NewsDay Zimbabwe November 26, 2015

FORMER Vice-President Joice Mujuru has reportedly approved a proposed People First (PF) project constitution, setting in motion plans to launch the party, which has been on the cards for several months now.

RICHARD CHIDZA

NewsDay is reliably informed Mujuru appended her signature as leader of the new opposition party last Tuesday, paving way for a massive recruitment exercise, whose epicentre, sources said, was the Zanu PF political hotbed of Mashonaland East province.

PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo confirmed that the document was with Mujuru, although he was unsure whether she had signed it.

“I am not sure about signing. As far as I know, it has not been signed, but we have generally agreed that it is a good document. We are still consulting with our sympathisers and supporters,” he said. “We need them to give input before the final document, but so far we are happy with what we have.”

It is expected that the party’s constitution will be founded on Blueprint to Unlock Investment and Leverage for Development (Build), a policy document Mujuru publicised about two months ago.

Mujuru has for several months kept people guessing on her next political move, making subtle hints she was on the verge of forming a party, although she has been publicly coy.

On Tuesday, she issued a statement berating President Robert Mugabe for continuously accusing her of plotting to kill him, yet he was yet to present evidence to back his claims.

In forming her party, Mujuru has the support of Gumbo, former Zanu PF secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa and former ministers Dzikamai Mavhaire and Kudakwashe Bhasikiti.
They are among a number of several Zanu PF members who were axed from the party on allegations of plotting to oust Mugabe and fanning factionalism.

Sources claim PF has undertaken an intensive recruitment drive across the country’s provinces, targeting disgruntled Zanu PF and MDC-T activists in the process.

“They are on a massive recruitment drive and are attracting former MDC-T and Zanu PF activists, who have been dumped or are disillusioned. Zanu PF is aware of this and that is why you have (First Lady) Grace (Mugabe) panicking,” an insider said.

Last week, Grace called on Zanu PF youths to be vigilant and watch former Marondera Central MP Ray Kaukonde’s activities in Mashonaland East closely.

She claimed the former Zanu PF provincial chairman and Gumbo were giving youths, some as young as 15 years old, cash to be part of their project ahead of the 2018 elections.
Gumbo said Grace’s accusations should be dismissed with the contempt they deserved.

“We are no longer members of Zanu PF, why should she be worried about how we conduct ourselves?” he asked.

“We are organising and getting ideas from people. We believe that any transformation will have to come from the people.

“We do not believe in the Zanu PF thinking of one centre of power. It is a feudalistic, primitive and monarchical understanding that does not have a place in modern societies.”

Foreign travel budget exceeded by 240pct

via Foreign travel budget exceeded by 240pct – New Zimbabwe 25/11/2015

THE government overspent by 25 percent in the eight months to August, with the cost of foreign travel skyrocketing, while revenue collection missed targets due to poor economic performance, a report by a think tank has shown.

A frequent flier, President Robert Mugabe is regularly criticised by the opposition for spending millions travelling abroad at a time the Harare administration is struggling with its finances in a poor economy.

The veteran leader’s foreign travel schedule increased this year after his appointment as chairman of the African Union (AU) and the regional SADC grouping.

He recently returned from Turkey where he attended the G20 summit and is expected to soon leave for France for United Nations climate talks.

After that he will likely attend a two-day China-Africa forum in neighbouring South Africa early next month.

Finance minister, Patrick Chinamasa, presents his 2016 budget to Parliament on Thursday.

The government ran a budget deficit of $240 million after expenditure amounted to $2,54 billion against revenue of $2,3 billion, according to a report by the Zimbabwe Economic Policy Analysis and Research Unit (Zeparu) released on Wednesday.

Foreign travel expenses exceeded budget by nearly 240 percent while employment costs and capital works overshot the target by 16 percent and 23 percent, respectively.

To plug the gap, government used a combination of a rare surplus from the previous quarter and domestic loans and treasury bills amounting to $171,3 million.

Tight liquidity

Recurrent expenditure at 94 percent was 16,4 percent higher than the target, Zeparu noted.

Revenue collection was getting worse after falling behind target by $208,1 million — 4,2 percent below last year’s figures for the same period underpinned by low industrial capacity utilisation, company closures and depressed consumer demand.

“Tight liquidity conditions, which have manifested in decelerating money supply growth and high interest rates, have continued to depress economic activity through limiting consumption and investment,” said Zeparu.

The continued free fall in commodity prices had hit the mining sector hard and affected its contribution to economic activity, it noted.

Gold deliveries rose by 34,2 percent to 13,211kilogrammes — anchored by a 115 percent increase in deliverances by artisanal miners — about three quarters of the target of 17,500kg.

But mineral earnings for the nine months to September — excluding diamond revenue — fell 11 percent to $1,26 billion with gold, platinum, palladium and nickel contributing 85 percent to the total earnings.

Zeparu said inflation, which closed at -3,29 percent in October, is likely to edge to -1,87 percent in December.

“The government has taken action to tackle deflation. For example, it has put into place measures to reduce imports by removing basic goods from travellers rebate and banning the importation of second-hand clothes,” said Zeparu.

“This is likely to impose some level of upward pressure on the inflation rate, as these were exerting high levels of competition on domestic producers,” it added, noting however, that the measures were not enough to break the economy out of deflation.

Chinamasa: Creation of a society of ENVY

via Chinamasa: Creation of a society of ENVY – New Zimbabwe 25/11/2015

“ONE thing I like about their community is that they are not apologetic about their SUCCESS” – A statement no doubt inspired by Phillip Chiyangwa.

I write this because I know how careless with our lives “Our dear leaders” are. They are unwittingly creating a society that will consume itself and yet they know what to do and they have the tools to do something about it.

I write this article because I realised that what is emerging from the new middle class in Zimbabwe (The Rang Rover set) is a new form of divine right (i.e. the irrational belief that wealth comes because God has blessed someone) and the creation of a society of envy.

Given how small the population is (generously put 15 million of us world-wide, the same population as the city of Shanghai), we can’t afford to be stupid and reckless. We can’t afford to be normed to be selfish and allow greed to flourish. We cannot normalise and make respectable the suffering of others and ignore those that are on the margins; and we certainly can’t afford to have others left behind.

It is in all our best interests to lift each other and realise that, that so-called “success” is based on the under consumption of others in our society. Therefore, we all have a duty to society to make sure our fellow brothers ad sisters are also taken care of. This will improve our standard of living and make us more agile and more robust.

I also, draw inspiration from an Igbo proverb; “when you see a slave being cast into a pit and you are a slave know that your turn will be next” – Things Fall Apart. Understanding the histories of others has an advantage. It allows us to actually prepare ourselves for the same eventual fate when it’s our turn.

The Tiger countries led by South Korea and China learnt a very important lesson; a lesson that potentially saved the global economy from a total and fatal disaster in the 2008 financial crisis. Unlike in the West, they had learn from their financial crisis and had regulated their markets.

In the case of China, limits were put on derivative trading; some industries were not open to investors. That lesson was also that the market could just as easily be corrupted and that, some industries should not have any foreign investment. In other words, there was a limit to what raw capitalism could achieve and certainly it didn’t take care of other externalities. Simply put, GREED ENSLAVES US ALL!!  Or as the Malay president put it, “absolute power corrupts rulers absolutely in the same way that absolute power to the global financiers can corrupt absolutely”.

A new economic formula was introduced to South Korea, Indonesia and Malaysia, free markets. If they liberalised their economies and used the now discredited Laffer curve i.e. limited taxation for the rich and were attractive to foreign investors, wealth would trickle down and they too could have the good life and poverty would be a thing of the past.

So they followed the rules of marketization; they stream lined the fat (i.e. cut public spending), opened up their markets to that thing Mr Mnangagwa has become enslaved by “Foreign investment”. Their leaders’ job – yes including the brutal Suharto of Indonesia who had risen to power through a patronage system which became impossible to get rid of when the East Asian crisis occurred – he too was trying very hard not to “scare the foreign investors” away.

However, power is a curious thing. As money poured into the countries and big companies and banks moved in, it seemed they had never had it so good. Consumer spending increased exponentially and, eventually, national and individual debts began to rise. Overvalued condominiums in Bangkok, which no one lived in suddenly, became investment properties and the biggest real estate bubble began.

The first country that experienced the first economic crush was Thailand and thereafter it was a domino effect, South Korea followed and then Malaysia. The heart breaking images of South Korean housewives queuing with their last dollars to save their country is an image that most Koreans will never forget.

When the contagion got to Indonesia, Suharto refused to bow down to the IMF but eventually he had no choice. Watched over by the IMF, he signed the IMF deal and for a while it appeared as if the problem had been solved. However, the IMF dollars had simply been shuffled off to pay foreign investors who were quickly evacuating the country. Within a year, the Indonesian currency lost 80% of its value and the taxpayers were left to pick up the tab and the real wealth of those countries had been devoured.

At the time, this phenomenon was blamed on the fact that, Asian economies were “not western enough”. However, soon after, Tiger countries took hard measures and said “never again”!! They began implementing stringent measures and swore never again to be beholden to the global financial institutions.

These are lessons we haven’t learnt based on the man I currently follow like a hawk, Patrick Chinamasa. I follow him largely because a couple of years ago the EU said “the Zimbabwean establishment knows what to do to come out from the cold”; knowledge the state hasn’t told us about but they are happy to communicate with the EU (maybe it’s a matter for the senior politicians just like Mpoko’s one-year hotel bill) lol!

By the way, we are still waiting for Patrick to tell us what exactly he signed up to in Lima, Peru, in part, because since his return, the Economist (the Neoliberal bible) has suddenly started to tell us to give him a chance! There would be no need for IMF loans if you had implemented real governance structural change not these soft coup d’états that they do; and they all know this which is what’s mind-boggling.

To me Chinamasa a.k.a the “formidable diplomat according to Mr Mnangagwa” (lol!) appears answerable to global financiers and not to Zimbabweans. What’s he doing aside from going to global finance conferences, political posturing and waving a flag?

Since 2013 the economy has less liquidity; at the same time the economy has deflated and he has confusing fiscal policies which change daily. What’s ironic is, the ghost workers on the civil service payroll existed when he was Justice Minister – then they were an important political tool at the expense of all of us.

So, Mr Mnangagwa, it’s bad enough that you and your Gangster G-40 group have turned us into a real life laboratory for what happens to a society in distress and experiencing hyper-inflation. You steal food from our families’ mouths, terrorise us and put on spectacles when we actually don’t have the money for these endless rallies which are a huge source of embarrassment to the country and tarnish our image in the eyes of other Africans.

Your policies will externalise an entire economy, increase inequality and greed will flourish and become uncontrollable. Already we a society of envy.

Chiyangwa’s videos speak more about the value system you have created!

Prisons overwhelmed, $1, 7 m needed for food

via Prisons overwhelmed, $1, 7 m needed for food – New Zimbabwe 25/11/2015

THE Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services (ZPCS) says it is overwhelmed by prisoners’ population which has exceeded the holding capacity by 12% causing them to struggle to feed inmates.

The country’s prisons have a population of 19 000 inmates against a holding capacity of 17 000.

Early this year, inmates at Chikurubi maximum security prison rioted over hunger resulting in the death of more than five prisoners and the injury of  scores of others after the authorities had opened fire to stop a looming mass escape.

It was also recently reported that inmates at Chikurubi had gone for years without eating meat and only to be rescued by the national parks which supplied them with game meat.

Early this month, authorities revealed that there was also a shortage of plates to serve the scarce food to the hungry prisoners.

Acting ZPCS Commissioner General, Rhodes Moyo, told the state media Wednesday that government was failing to provide the normal three meals per day to the ballooning number of prisoners.

He said $1.7 million per month was needed to feed the inmates.

“If we are to feed each prisoner with standard food worth S$2 per person, we require $1.7 million against a budgetary allocation of about S$650 000 per month from government,” said Moyo.

He said they are running the prisons department with a deficit of over $1 million per month.

Moyo said private businesses are reluctant to partner with the authorities in income generating projects aimed at improving the plight of inmates.

“We have tried to partner some local companies but most of them did not own up to kick start proposed businesses such as poultry among others,” he said.

Headline news 26 November, 2015

LATEST: Chaos over Mutsvangwa probe

via LATEST: Chaos over Mutsvangwa probe | The Herald November 25, 2015

Chaotic scenes rocked the Zanu-PF Women’s League probe into allegations of participating in an illegal meeting being labelled against the league’s national spokesperson, Cde Monica Mutsvangwa yesterday, with rival members openly hurling insults at each other.

As things came to a boil, Mutare City Council Ward Seven councillor, Cde Manyara Jusa was grabbed by the collar by some of the people gathered for the meeting, accusing her of being a divisive element.

The probe team, led by deputy secretary for Women’s League, Cde Sandi Moyo, was accompanied by Cdes Shuvai Mahofa and Sarah Mahoka among other members.

They wanted to probe allegations levelled against Cde Mutsvangwa for participating in a meeting where Cde Happiness Nyakuedzwa, who had been ousted in a vote of no confidence by disgruntled members of the women’s league, actively participated.

Details to follow….

 

Govt body probes abuse of vendors

via Govt body probes abuse of vendors – New Zimbabwe 25/11/2015

THE Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) on Tuesday started investigating cases of human rights abuses which were perpetrated against vendors by the municipal police in Harare and Bulawayo.

At least 170 000 vendors were in July displaced with their wares worth over 500 000 confiscated countrywide after government had directed the local authorities to evict traders from the CBD.

According to reports, some of the confiscated goods were handed over to the First lady Grace Mugabe who later donated them at a rally in Murombedzi.

In its July human rights monitoring report, the Zimbabwe Peace Project NGO reported that 261 vendors were arrested in Harare, Gweru, Masvingo, Mutare, Bulawayo and Domboshawa.

ZHRC chairperson Elasto Mugwadi invited vendor representative organisations to a Tuesday meeting in Harare.

One of the organisations which were part of the meeting, the Vendors Initiative for Sustainable Economic Transformation (VISET), told NewZimbabwe.com that they were happy with the engagement.

“They wanted to hear from us how the evictions of vendors were conducted in Harare and Bulawayo and we told them that they were violently handled,” Samuel Wadzai, VISET director said.

“What excited us is that all the organisations which were there spoke coherently and with one voice on how these evictions were conducted by the local authorities and there was no contradiction, a thing which we hope that if well captured is going to produce a comprehensive report on human rights violations.”

Wadzai said the Commission also heard of the on-going harassment of vendors by the local authorities who “are” doing nothing to address the plight of the traders.

“At the moment, government is doing nothing to address the concerns of vendors who deserve markets to conduct their business and we had a chance to highlight this to the commission and told them human rights violations on vendors have not stopped,” he said.

Harare city council has failed to allocate vendors malls in the central business district because of their increasing number.

The council had tried to move vendors away from the CBD by allocating them stands outside of town a move which has been resisted.

Vendors argue that the new places where the authorities have moved them to have no ablution facilities.

They also say these areas are far from their customers. As a result, they have been slowly returning to the CBD during the night which is when the municipal police would have knocked off.

Eight nabbed for elephant poisoning

via Eight nabbed for elephant poisoning – New Zimbabwe 25/11/2015

HWANGE: A joint operation between cops and Parks and Wildlife has netted eight villagers who are believed to be part of a poaching syndicate that has been poisoning elephants in the Hwange National Park.

Close to 70 elephants were found dead in the last three months at different points within the game park, with the biggest number at Sinamatela Camp.

Eight men Forget Shoko, 26, Stephen Moyo, 45, Gift Ndlovu, 31, Makwikwi Mujeje, James Nkomo, 75, Thandazani Sibindi, 30, Phathisa Moyo, 25, and Ngangezwe Khumalo, 29 on Tuesday appeared before Hwange magistrate Lindiwe Maphosa.

They were charged individually and jointly for crimes ranging from illegal possession of cyanide, illegal possession of firearms and illegal possession of raw ivory.

Shoko is from Lubangwe under Chief Shana, Moyo and Nkomo are from Dete, Ndlovu from Hwange district and Mujeje from Hwange town while Sibindi, Phathisa and Khumalo are from Tsholotsho under Chief Siphoso.

Shoko who, on Friday last week, was found in possession of a pair of ivory weighing 26kg and valued at $6, 500, pleaded guilty to the crime and was sentenced to 10 years in jail.

He confessed he administered cyanide while in the company of Moyo, Nkomo and Mujeje in the national park.

Surprisingly, Nkomo was freed after charges against him were withdrawn while Mujeje escaped with a $200 fine with an alternative three months jail term.

Moyo also had lighter sentence of seven months (three months for possessing cyanide without a licence, two months for possessing a firearm and a further two months for possessing 108 twists of mbanje) which were recovered buried in a small hole together with nine rounds of ammunition at his homestead.

Sibindi, Phathisa and Khumalo will know their fate on December 8 after the court deferred trial to allow the State to investigate further.

The trio was found in possession of three tusks and 5kg of cyanide.

Ndlovu, in whose car a 375 rifle was found, had charges withdrawn after Mujeje exonerated him by telling the court the firearm was his.

Prosecutor, Onias Nyathi, told the court that Ndlovu and Mujeje were arrested on September 9 at a roadblock in Lupane when a team of security agents stopped and searched the car leading to the recovery of the rifle hidden in the boot.

Through a tip off, cops proceeded to Dete where Moyo and Nkomo were arrested and they indicated that they had cyanide which they were keeping in the bush.

A kilogramme of the deadly substance was recovered.

Shoko was arrested in Lubangwe leading to recovery of a pair of tusks weighing 26kg and valued at $6, 500.

Sibindi, Phathisa and Khumalo were also arrested on the same day and a 5kg bag of cyanide and three tusks were recovered.

In 2013, more than 100 elephants died as a result of cyanide poisoning where poachers would administer the substance on salt pans and water points.

Poachers renewed the attack three months ago in the national park and officials from the Parks and Wildlife have expressed concern over trivialisation of the cases by the courts.

Mugabe party said to be split over international lender ties

via Mugabe party said to be split over international lender ties – NewsDay Zimbabwe November 25, 2015

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe’s ruling party is in the grip of a generational split over whether to improve relations with international financial institutions in a bid to rescue the battered economy, according to about a dozen senior party officials.

Bloomberg

The old guard including Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, 69, and Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa wants better relations with the International Monetary Fund to rebuild an economy blessed with diamond deposits, the world’s second-biggest reserves of platinum and chrome, after South Africa, and fertile farm land. Younger leaders see better ties with the west as a threat to their chances of making money because legislation requiring the sale of assets to black investors would likely be softened, the people said.

With President Robert Mugabe, 91, increasingly unable to direct policy due to his frailty, party leaders are feuding over Chinamasa’s references to weakening legislation requiring that all businesses should be 51 percent black-owned because it has driven away investors, the people said. They asked not to be identified because the position of the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front party is that there are no divisions.

Zimbabwe Loses
“The Zanu-PF factional wars are threatening this relationship-reconstruction exercise pursued by Chinamasa and there is only one loser: Zimbabwe,” said Alex Magaisa, a constitutional lawyer who lectures at the University of Kent and advises investors in London on ownership laws in Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe had had its voting rights at the IMF revoked in 2003 because of arrears on payments and while those were restored in 2010 it still cannot borrow. It’s now planning to clear arrears of $110 million to the IMF, $1.15 billion to the World Bank and $601 million to the African Development Bank by April, Chinamasa said in an Oct. 9 statement.

That would allow the country to resume borrowing from the lenders to finance infrastructure projects needed to boost power supply and repair neglected roads and water pipes. In total it has about $10 billion in debt.

Zimbabwe is wracked by drought, deflation and unemployment of 95 percent and is isolated from lenders and western donors because of disputes over forced seizures of white-owned farms and elections marred by violence and irregularities. The economy is expected to expand 1.5 percent this year and 2.7 percent in 2016, Chinamasa said this month.
Any change in current legislation that’s compelled companies including Impala Platinum Holdings Ltd. and Anglo American Platinum Ltd. to hand control to black investors would threaten the financial fortunes of younger government leaders.

“We can’t expect to change the leadership of President Mugabe and we’re going to congress to discuss economic revival, not any leadership change,” Zanu-PF spokesman Simon Khaya Moyo said when asked about party splits in a phone interview from Harare, the capital. “We elected President Mugabe to lead us into the 2018 elections. I don’t know the factionalism you’re referring to. We have one leader.”

The dispute has pitted older leaders like Chinamasa, 68, and Mnangagwa against officials such as Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Minister Patrick Zhuwao, 48, and local government minister Saviour Kasukuwere, 45. The younger leaders are allied with the president’s wife Grace Mugabe, 50, who in December was appointed to Zanu-PF’s politburo after she took over as head of the women’s wing of the party.

“We heard some top politicians saying we will re-look at indigenization. This means they’re saying to myself and all of you that you should go home and sit,” Zhuwao, who is also Mugabe’s nephew, told government youth ministry officers in the eastern city of Mutare. “Those who are talking about foreign direct investment are precisely saying we should go home.”

Revolutionary Aims
Chinamasa and his allies are working against the aims of the party’s revolution by undermining efforts to disempower whites and foreigners for the benefit of black Zimbabweans, two of the senior party members said. Control of the economy needs to be handed to black Zimbabweans, with or without IMF approval, they said.

Seven calls to Chinamasa’s mobile phone and office weren’t answered when Bloomberg News sought his comment.

Chinamasa is trying to “mend bridges,” Magaisa said. He, and allies like Mnangagwa, are “really looking at a post-Mugabe era by re-building relations with the west.”

The faction that includes Zhuwao and Kasukuwere believes that the IMF wants to slim down the civil service. Chinamasa was forced to back down after Mugabe countermanded a Finance Ministry order to withhold bonuses in September. Mugabe also halted plans to cut back on a civil service wage bill that swallows more than 80 percent of Zimbabwe’s revenue by saying state workers wouldn’t be fired.

The finance minister’s opponents are “not presenting any viable alternative to what Chinamasa is trying to do,” Magaisa said. “The argument that Zimbabwe can go it alone is empty, futile and not supported by facts.”

‘VP surviving on Mugabe’s charity’

via ‘VP surviving on Mugabe’s charity’ – DailyNews Live 25 November 2015

HARARE – Despite the widespread belief among many Zimbabweans that Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa is a powerful man in the warring post-congress Zanu PF, he is, like other party bigwigs, surviving solely on President Robert Mugabe’s benevolence, a local think-tank has said.

Commenting on the goings-on in the ruling party and the country in a recent report, the Zimbabwe Democracy Institute (ZDI) said Mnangagwa would also depend on the benevolence and goodwill of Mugabe if he was to ever become Zimbabwe’s next leader.

According to the report titled “Complexities around Zanu PF succession: State and party constitutions”, Mnangagwa’s ruling party foes, the ambitious Young Turks known as the Generation 40 (G40), also controlled‘VP surviving on Mugabe’s charity’ critical party structures — which worked against his interests.

Thus, for Mnangagwa to power ahead and overcome these constraints, he needed the intervention of Mugabe, who was the ultimate puppet master.

“Despite the possibilities, the vice president’s mere occupancy of the position does not mean that he will be automatically nominated in the event of Mugabe’s death, resignation or incapacitation.

“As a presumptive heir, instead, this will depend on Mnangagwa’s successful exercise of his position as state vice president, and those positions as the second in command of Zanu PF, to consolidate power, and not his colleagues’ acknowledgement that they must obey him because he occupies these offices.

“Thus, Mnangagwa needs to use these positions to institutionalise his authority in order to entrench himself within the party system if he is to stand a better chance at winning the party’s nomination,” ZDI added.

The report also points out that due to the concentration of power in both the party and the country in Mugabe’s hands, Mnangagwa had a significant disadvantage as he did not possess the necessary powers that he needed to consolidate his authority over the party in preparation for the departure from office by Mugabe.

“As head of the party, president Mugabe has immense powers that allow him control of the main organisational and appointment machinery of the party.

“This is at the expense of other party institutions such as the central committee, the politburo and the office of his deputy, Mnangagwa,” ZDI said.

The Pedzisai Ruhanya-led think-tank also believed that analysts had prematurely concluded that as vice president Mnangagwa was better positioned to take over the party leadership than other party bigwigs, which was not entirely true.

“Unlike the president of the party, Mnangagwa cannot bump enemies from influential positions within the party, and replace them with allies.

“For example, he cannot re-assign his opponent Saviour Kasukuwere from the influential position of political commissar, nor can he have Jonathan Moyo booted out of the politburo, thereby weakening the powerbase of the G40,” it added.

Mnangagwa gives Tomana unbridled power

via Mnangagwa gives Tomana unbridled power – DailyNews Live 25 November 2015

HARARE – Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa (pictured) has asked Parliament to approve a controversial change to the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act, giving the Prosecutor-General (PG) Johannes Tomana wide discretionary powers to withhold private prosecution certificates in a vast range of circumstances.

The law previously allowed private parties to personally lodge  criminal  charges against any offending party even if Tomana did not wish to pursue charges.

This comes after Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku with the full complement of the white-wigged Constitutional Court (Con-Court)bench, in an unprecedented step, blasted Tomana’s refusal to comply with a court order to issue a private prosecution certificate for Munyaradzi Kereke to face trial for allegedly sexually assaulting an 11-year-old girl five years ago, and committed the PG to 30 days in prison for defying court orders by the High Court and Supreme Court that he issues the certificates.

The 43-year-old Rock Foundation Medical Centre founder has relied on Tomana to stall efforts to stand as a defendant in court charged with the 2010 alleged rape of the 11-year-old girl at gunpoint.

The girl, represented by gritty Harare lawyer Charles Warara, had won two court orders for Kereke to be privately prosecuted but Tomana had defied the court decrees.

But after a sharp reprimand from the Con-Court, on November 4, certificates nolle prosequi were issued by Tomana’s deputy Florence Ziyambi on behalf of the PG and on his instructions. In an obvious response to the Con-Court’s decision, Mnangagwa tabled an amendment in the National Assembly proposing a comprehensive re-enactment of Section 16 of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act giving the Prosecutor-General the power to withhold such certificates in a wide range of circumstances.

“I move that the … Criminal Procedure and Evidence Amendment Bill be recommitted in terms of Standing Order Number 153 (1),” Mnangagwa told the National Assembly on November 18.

“It means that we recommit the Bill back to the order paper so that we can have the amendments that have been proposed to appear in the order paper. That is Parliamentary procedure.”

In his Constitutional Court application, Tomana argued that he was the only person with the discretion to issue a certificate for private prosecution. He argued that his decision was not subject to any review by the court.

But the Con-Court rubbished his argument, noting that Section 164(3) prescribes that a court order must be obeyed by the State and all persons and governmental institutions and agencies to which it applies.

The amendment tabled by Mnangagwa also excludes companies from bringing private prosecutions, overturning the Supreme Court’s decision on that point in the Telecel case, at least for the future.

Telecel dragged Tomana to the High Court for dropping charges against businesswoman Jane Mutasa,  arrested in March 2010, after allegedly swindling $750 000 airtime from the mobile phone operator.

Mutasa, a senior member of the ruling Zanu PF, was controversially cleared together with her PA Caroline Gwinyai, Telecel’s regional sales manager Charles Mapurisa and commercial director Naquib Omar after Tomana flatly refused Telecel permission to pursue a private prosecution against Mutasa, who sat on the company’s board.

In a letter dated April 23, 2010 sent to Telecel’s lawyers, Tomana said: “Kindly note that I have read the witnesses’ statements in the police docket and have satisfied myself that the evidence therein does not establish a criminal offence against the four suspects.

“In the circumstances, I find it contra bono mores (against good morals) for me to grant my certificate in this matter. In essence I, therefore, withhold my certificate of Nolle Prosequi (decline to prosecute) and decline to issue the same.”

Godfrey Mamvura of Scanlen and Holderness — Telecel’s lawyers — approached the High Court, arguing Tomana misdirected himself when he withdrew charges against the four.

Mnangagwa said on Thursday that the change ensures that any court order compelling Tomana to issue certificates nolle prosequi was an infringement of the independence conferred on the PG by section 260 of the Constitution, which states that the “Prosecutor-General is independent and is not subject to the direction or control of anyone.”

These were the same arguments kited by Tomana in his ex parte application in the Con-Court. An ex parte application cites no-one else as a respondent, defendant or opposing party. But leading constitutional law expert Tererai Mafukidze and Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, who applied to the court and were granted permission to take part in the case as amici curiae or friends of the court, implored the court to reprimand Tomana.

“The application (Tomana’s) is frivolous and vexatious and constitutes an abuse of the process of court.  It is so lacking in merit that it is deserving of the most serious censure,” Mafukidze argued.

Despite sustained campaigning over the past year, the opposition has failed to have any impact on the government, which even before coming into office in 2013 was not keen on prosecuting the Zanu PF officials.

Lawyer and opposition lawmaker Obert Gutu said Mnangagwa’s motion was highly objectionable and unconstitutional.

“You can understand that Vice President Mnangagwa is trying to circumvent the full impact and effect of the recent Constitutional Court ruling on the Munyaradzi Kereke saga,” Gutu said.

“He is trying to render the ruling by the Con-Court a brutum fulmen, (a court order that’s incapable of being enforced). We urge parliamentarians, including Zanu PF legislators, to thunderously reject this backdoor and nefarious attempt to defy the ruling of the Con-Court. In fact, VP Mnangagwa’s wicked plan should be shot down at the level of the Parliamentary Legal Committee. This plan is not only grossly unconstitutional but it is also tantamount to an unmitigated attack on the independence as well as the integrity of our judiciary. Mnangagwa’s plan stinks to high heavens.’’

Jacob Mafume, a lawyer and spokesman of the opposition PDP, said the independence of the Prosecutor-General was not that he becomes the sole judge of who gets criminal redress in the courts but it was that he operates independently in a rational manner.

“In this case, where the Prosecutor-General is behaving irrationally, surely citizens must seek redress from the courts, or better still, bypass him and get protection from the court where they have been criminally wronged.”

He added: “What he (Mnangagwa) has done is to spread presidential immunity to himself and his friends before he even assumes power.

“Imagine when he eventually does assume power, there will be an orgy of raping, stealing, even murder, with these people knowing they have the Prosecutor-General in their pockets.”

Mujuru followers get death threats

via Mujuru followers get death threats – DailyNews Live 25 November 2015

HARARE – Supporters of former Vice President Joice Mujuru and her People First project say they are receiving death threats for campaigning for her and the movement.

Victims of the terror campaign told the Daily News yesterday that the blood-curdling threats against them had been a big problem particularly in Harare and Manicaland province.

People First spokesperson Rugare Gumbo also confirmed that the movement’s supporters were being stalked and harassed to prevent them from engaging in their political activities.

“We are not surprised that the enemies of democracy are employing these primitive methods of intimidation, threats and stalking our disciplined supporters who have not done anything wrong. Fortunately, all this will not work.

“We are also aware that everyone in the post-congress Zanu PF, including President Robert Mugabe, is panicking because of People First, hence the reason they are abusing their incumbency with State security agents, attempting to infiltrate us.

“But we know that what attracts people is to give them hope. Zimbabweans have suffered enough and so we will not be intimidated and will remain resilient as we work to extricate the country from the mess that it finds itself in, thanks to Zanu PF’s misrule.

“We will continue to do what we are doing because we are clear about the direction which we are taking and nothing can stop us,” a resolute Gumbo said.

People First coordinator for Hatfield constituency in Harare, Juliet Gutsa, said the death threats had started about two months ago, causing many activists to go underground.

She said she had personally received such calls from an unknown number, warning her against mobilising support for Mujuru.

Gutsa also said that unidentified men had also visited her former husband at the University of Zimbabwe where he works and threatened him after he refused to divulge details of her political activities and place of residence.

“At first the caller, a woman who refused to identify herself but kept on pestering me for about three days, asked me to tell her my place of residence.

“But when I refused, insisting that I wanted to also know about her, she changed her modus operandi as I started receiving calls from a male voice instructing me to stop my political activities or risk disappearing the (Itai) Dzamara way,” the visibly-distressed Gutsa said.

Dzamara is the journalist-cum-democracy activist who was abducted by suspected State security agents early this year after calling for Mugabe’s resignation. He has not been found to date.

“I then heard from my ex-husband that three men had come to his work place inquiring about me, saying I was wanted by police over a political case.

“I then took the matter to my superiors who followed up the issue and found out that the number belongs to the security structures in Mbare.

“I am worried about my security because a colleague in Manicaland Province has also told me that she has been receiving similar calls. I will however, not be cowed because we are determined to support Amai (Mujuru) and we are encouraged by the response the People First project is getting.

“I have never seen anything like this before. Women who have previously shied away from politics are coming out of their shells in support of Amai,” Gutsa added.

The threats against People First also come as State security agents have also allegedly heightened their surveillance on key Mujuru allies that include Gumbo, former Presidential Affairs minister Didymus Mutasa and former Masvingo provincial minister Kudakwashe Bhasikiti — prompting them to beef up their security.

A few months ago Bhasikiti apprehended one of the agents who was allegedly on a spying mission at his residence and farm.

And only last weekend, Mugabe himself repeated the post-congress Zanu PF’s untested claims that Mujuru and her allies wanted to oust and kill him, and that they were corrupt individuals who had abused their positions while still in high office.

But Mujuru dismissed the claims as lies on Monday, and dared authorities to haul her to the courts if they believed their propaganda.

China set to pledge more aid to Africa ahead of Xi’s trip

via China set to pledge more aid to Africa ahead of Xi’s trip – NewsDay Zimbabwe November 25, 2015

China is set to announce new aid to African nations when President Xi Jinping visits Zimbabwe and South Africa next month, a senior Chinese official said on Wednesday.

Reuters

The trip is likely to boost China’s relations with Africa, which supplies oil and raw materials such as copper and uranium to the world’s second-largest economy.

China is Africa’s largest trading partner and the trade volume between them amounted to $220 billion in 2014, according to China state news agency Xinhua.

Zhang Ming, one of China’s vice foreign minister, said President Xi will provide further details in his keynote speech on Dec 4.

“As for whether China will continue to provide support and aid, there will be no doubt about it,” Zhang said, declining to provide further details on the aid amount and its purpose.

Xi is scheduled to meet Zimbabwe’s 91-year-old President Robert Mugabe on December 1-2, Zhang said. He will also meet South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma on December 2-3 and co-chair a two-day summit between China and African countries in Johannesburg after the meeting.

The summit in December will be the second such high-level forum following one held in Beijing in 2006, Zhang said.

“This African trip by President Xi Jinping will be the most important, comprehensive and valuable visit in recent years,” Zhang said.

Xi visited Africa in 2013 shortly after he took office as president. Mugabe reciprocated with a visit to China in 2014 in an attempt to seek loans and investments to lift Zimbabwe’s struggling economy.

Beijing’s focus on growing trade and aid in Africa leaves it open to charges by the West of turning a blind eye to conflicts and rights abuses in the continent.

Trade with resource-rich Africa has exploded in the last decade as China feeds its industrial machine amid African demand for cheap Chinese products.

The EU has rejected what they call China’s “cheque book” approach to doing business with Africa, saying it would continue to demand good governance and the transparent use of funds from its trading partners.

Chinese firms in Africa also face criticism for using imported labour to build government-financed projects like roads and hospitals, while pumping out raw resources and processing them in China, leaving little for local economies.

China’s friendship with Africa dates back to the 1950s, when Beijing backed liberation movements in the continent fighting to throw off Western colonial rule.

Chinese sentenced to 10 years in prison

via Chinese sentenced to 10 years in prison – NewsDay Zimbabwe November 25, 2015

HARARE magistrate Tendai Mahwe yesterday sentenced a Chinese national, Li Chengping (57), to an effective 10 years in prison for illegally possessing gold and emeralds despite the defence counsel’s spirited efforts to have the convict spared a jail term.

by PAIDAMOYO MUZULU

Chengping was arrested at Harare International Airport on November 17 this year while on his way to China in possession of 2,94 grammes of gold valued at $105,70 and three pieces of emeralds valued at $240,70 without being a holder of a licence or permit which allows him to deal in the minerals.

Mahwe, in sentencing Chengping, said he applied his mind to the law and the circumstances of the convict.

“After taking into consideration all the factors, for possession of gold, you are sentenced to five years in prison, and for the second count of emeralds possession, you are sentenced to another five years. This effectively makes them 10 years in prison,” Mahwe said.

“I take that you broke the law while being aware of what it says about minerals since you are involved in mining at Zvishavane.”

Breach of the Minerals Act attracts a custodial sentence within the statute.

Chengping’s lawyer Tich Muhonde had last Friday implored the court to be lenient with his client, whom he said was a first offender, and sentence him to a fine equivalent to double the value of the minerals found on him.

Muhonde had argued that the fact that he pleaded guilty was a special reason why he should not be given a custodial sentence in addition to being a first offender.

“The accused is a foreigner, unsophisticated and non-conversant with the mineral laws of this country, who intended to use these stones as souvenirs. This, coupled with the negligible value of the emeralds and gold, should weigh in his favour,” he said.

Mobile money up 30pct to $512m, Potraz

via Mobile money up 30pct to $512m, Potraz – New Zimbabwe 24/11/2015

THE country’s telecoms regulator says mobile money transfers have grown nearly 30 percent to $512 million in the three months to September while revenue in the sector dropped three  percent.

The country has three mobile operators – Econet Wireless, Telecel and NetOne which all run mobile money transfer services.

In a quarterly report, the Postal and Telecommunications Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz) said the number of mobile money subscribers had increased by 7.7 percent to 6,2 million compared to 5,8 million recorded in the first quarter.

“Mobile money transfer service has been on an upward trajectory since inception. The total value of deposits on mobile money platforms increased by 25.8 percent to record $512 million from $407 million recorded in the previous quarter,” said Potraz.

During the period under review the number of agents increased from 25,427 to 27,862.

Revenue generated by the mobile operators in the second quarter registered a 2.9 percent decline to $183 million.

“The continued decline in total mobile revenues can be attributed to consumer substitution of voice service with Over the Top (OTT) services such as Whatsapp, Viber and Skype,” said Potraz.

Fixed telephone voice service revenues declined by 14.6 percent to $30,5 million from $35,6 million in the previous quarter. Total investment in fixed telephony shot up 119.3 percent to $6,8 million.

Zimbabweans dismissive of 2016 budget

via Zimbabweans dismissive of 2016 budget – New Zimbabwe 24/11/2015

AN air of resigned pessimism appears to grip the country ahead of Thursday’s 2016 national budget presentation by Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa in parliament.

Chinamasa is expected to try and tame the civil service wage bill which is chewing the greater chunk of the national purse.

He is also expected to propose ways of reversing the country’s high import bill which has been fuelled by access to cheap South African made products and porous borders which have seen second hand clothing flood the local market.

Adding to the pressure is the need to find money to import the staple maize to feed a hungry population affected by recurrent drought.

There is also the headache of the country’s multi-billion dollar debt burden and shrinking revenues as tax-paying companies either struggle or collapse with most economic activity shifting to the informal sector.

Faced with this herculean task, Zimbabweans say they are expecting nothing short of a high sounding document from the treasury chief come Thursday.

Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe President Takavafira Zhou said he was not optimistic.

“I don’t see Chinamasa performing any miracle because all sources of revenue seem now exhausted,” Zhou said, adding that high level corruption was an albatross around the economy’s neck.

“Chinamasa is in fact going to come up with a political budget that props up and tries to ensure that Zanu PF will have an added advantage in the 2018 electoral race.

“We need someone who will come up with more constructive, realistic and pragmatic, solution and Chinamasa is not that person.”

Similarly, political commentator Ngoni Chigogo feels Chinamasa needs to do more than just throw high digit figures around.

He feels Chinamasa should ensure transparency in terms of the country’s abundant natural resources.

No miracles expected

“I expect Chinamasa to institute a regime of transparency especially in terms of revenue generated through the exploitation of our natural resources; he should restore investor friendly policies,” Chigo said.

He adds that pressure for Chinamasa was not only emanating from a stubborn economy but from spiteful Zanu PF colleagues who have criticised his fresh look-West stance in efforts to unlock lines of credit from US and western controlled lending institutions.

Indigenisation and war veterans ministers Patrick Zhuwao and Christopher Mutswangwa have voiced displeasure over Chinamasa’s attempts to charm the hostile west.

Chigogo continued: “It is difficult to be optimistic for now before Chinamasa comes out and tell us about the measures he has up his sleeve on fighting corruption, luring back foreign investors, among the measures.”

MDC spokesperson Kurauone Chihwayi said Chinamasa’s tenure so far as the Treasury boss has been marred by endless battles to pay civil servants on time, let alone their bonuses.

“It would be expecting too much from Chinamasa if you want him to invent strategies that can bring back the economy on its feet,” he said.

“They have been struggling to mobilise resources to pay civil servants. It is clear that the Mugabe regime is not just bankrupt in terms of money but in terms of ideas.

“There is nothing Chinamasa is coming to present. He will just present something to hoodwink Zimbabweans into believing the Zanu PF regime is doing something.”

Pro-Zanu PF businessman Tafadzwa Musarara said Chinamasa’s budget will be hollow if it does not restore the country’s capacity to feed itself.

“This economy will only grow if we look inwards. We can’t go anyway with our huge import bill currently.

“We have to migrate through the budget from a stagnant to a functioning economy which is self-sustaining and only then we can attract foreign direct investment,” he said.

MDC-T activists’ trial fails to kick off

via MDC-T activists’ trial fails to kick off – NewsDay Zimbabwe November 25, 2015

The trial of MDC-T Highfield East legislator Erick Murai (44) and 15 others, who were arrested early this month on charges of public violence, failed to kick off yesterday as scheduled after the prosecution indicated the State papers were not yet ready.

BY NQOBILE NKIWANE

Murai’s co-accused persons are Memory Ncube (33), Acquiline Sangani (68), Erenia Chiradza (34), Rutendo Bvute (29), Stella Manyanga (64), Herbert Mwadira (18), Tafadzwa Kambala (25), Snikiwe Mandava (53), Peter Mafara (33), Shephered Munyadzi (40), Michael Matemai (67), Farai Kushata (42), Clide Mushamba (30), Givemore Mapirahwa (30) and Memory Mudyabumbe (46).

The suspects appeared before Mbare resident magistrate Anita Tshuma, who postponed the trial to December 8.

The suspects were previously released on $200 bail each and were also ordered to report twice a week at Harare Central Police Station as part of their bail conditions.

Allegations against the MDC-T activists are that on November 8 this year, they attended an unsanctioned rally and pelted police officers with stones.

The State alleges that on November 2 this year, one Trouble Hasha, applied for permission at Mbare Police Station to hold an MDC-T rally, which was to be held at Kazembe Rising Stars Primary School in Hopely, but the regulating authority did not approve of the rally.

However, on the day in question, the activists proceeded to gather at the primary school with other MDC-T supporters, Murai included, dressed in their party regalia.

Police officers got information that the suspects were gathered at the school and when they got there, they discovered the culprits had drums and catapults.

The State further alleges when the police, who were led by Inspector James Chimombe, ordered the members to disperse, the party activists allegedly turned violent and threw stones at the police.

The court also heard the situation turned worse after the MDC-T members charged towards the police, prompting the law enforcement agents to release teargas and firing warning shots to disperse the crowd.

Some 16 members were later arrested by anti-riot police, who allegedly saw them throwing stones at the police.

Tafara Chirambira appeared for the State.

Trade union body challenges minister

via Trade union body challenges minister – NewsDay Zimbabwe November 25, 2015

The Zimbabwe Rural District Council Workers’ Union (ZRDCWU) has filed a constitutional application challenging the recently passed Labour Amendment Bill, arguing it gives more power to the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare and thus infringes on the union members’ constitutional rights.

BY CHARLES LAITON

The challenged Bill, which was sponsored by Labour minister Prisca Mupfumira, was published and became law in August this year, thus substantively amending various provision of the Labour Act.

ZRDCWU secretary-general James Gumbi said the provisions that were amended, among others, included Section 120 (7-11), which dealt with investigations of trade unions and employers organisations and Section 72 (2)(b), which dealt with grounds upon which a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) could be nullified or denied registration.

In his founding affidavit in a matter filed yesterday, Gumbi argued the said amendments to the Labour Act infringed on unions members’ right to organise, right to collective bargaining, freedom of association and right to protection of the law.

“In terms of Section 120 (7)(b), the minister now has power pending the determination of the Labour Court application to appoint an administrator, who has power to ‘exercise all power of a substantive administrator until the provisional administrator’s appointment is confirmed by the Labour Court’,” Gumbi said.

He further argued Section 120 (7)(c) further validated the acts of the provincial administrator even if the court declines to appoint such a provisional administrator, adding it grants the administrator immunity of any unlawful or illegal acts conducted during his term of office.

“This, in effect, authorises the minister to interfere with operations of a trade union and employer organisation without following due process and creates a window for the executive to determine the operation of the labour movement, and impose an Executive of its choice on the labour movement,” he argued.

“The hallowed rights of workers to organise and negotiate their employment conditions have now been, or run the risk of being terminated by the minister’s new wide powers to appoint virtual curators to trade unions, employer organisations and employment councils.”

Turning to the issue of CBAs in the amended law, Gumbi said the amendment to Section 79 (2)(b) of the Labour Act, which provides that a CBA may be denied registration, if in the opinion of the minister, it is contrary to public interest, was in contravention of Section 65 (5)(a) of the Constitution.

“The amendment takes away the interpretation of this legal principle and places it in the hands of a member of the Executive who might not even have legal expertise,” he said.

“The amendment allows the minister to bar collective bargaining agreements by virtue of mere opinion without affording the parties to the agreement an opportunity to make any submissions or be heard . . . the Executive is now meddling in the covenants of citizens with no jurisdiction.”

He added: “The limitation imposed by the amendment is not fair, reasonable, necessary or justifiable in a democratic society based on openness justice, human dignity, equality and freedom.”

The matter is yet to be set down for hearing and ZRDCWU is represented by Lawman Chimuriwo.

Ex-PM, Chamisa rift blamed for violence

via Ex-PM, Chamisa rift blamed for violence – New Zimbabwe 24/11/2015

THE rift between MDC-T leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, and once-trusted ally, Nelson Chamisa has been cited among the more than 400 recorded cases of political violations in October.

However, MDC-T supporters continue to dominate the list of victims of the abuses mostly at the hands of Zanu PF followers and the security organs of the state.

The violations, according to the Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) report, also sucked in the first lady, Grace Mugabe.

This is after her Rushinga rally last month saw soldiers being roped in to beat up Zanu PF supporters stampeding for freebies she had donated.

“… Most of the victims of political violence for October were from MDC-T at 40 percent of the incidences,” the ZPP says.

It further adds that 32.2 percent of the victims were those whose political affiliations was unknown.

Zanu PF internal fissures also contributed to the cases.

“Victims from Zanu PF made up 24.2 percent of total incidences.

“These figures show a slight increase for Zanu PF from September which stood at 22.2 and a considerable increase for MDC-T which had 34.9 in September.”

Internal MDC-T turmoil

Mashonaland West had the largest number of violations at 14, with most of them (12) perpetrated by Zanu PF.

Matabeleland had no recorded violations for the month of October. All in all Bulawayo and the two Matabeleland provinces rated very low.

Said the ZPP: “… the main opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) had its share of internal turmoil in October.

“Conflict, albeit milder than it is in the ruling party, showed that unity of purpose is at threat in MDC-T.

“Known for splintering and re-splintering, the opposition party‘s propensity for possible splits is always present with the party leader, Morgan Tsvangirai being pitted against Kuwadzana legislator, Nelson Chamisa.

“Although the party still denies any rift, instances in certain areas, for example in Bulawayo following the death of Nkulumane legislator, Thamsanqa Mahlangu, among a few others, illuminate turbulences and power struggles within the party.”

ZPP gets its data from a network of 420 community based primary peace monitors spread in all the country’s 210 constituencies.

The peace lobby was conceived shortly after 2000 by a group of Churches and NGOs working was to become a vehicle for civic interventions in a time of political crisis.

‘Realign investment laws’

via ‘Realign investment laws’ – NewsDay Zimbabwe November 25, 2015

THE government should put in place policies that improve the ease of doing business in the country, as well as restore confidence for both local and foreign investors, stakeholders said in their submissions to the 2016 National Budget.

BY VICTORIA MTOMBA

Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Union (ZCTU) president, George Nkiwane said there was need to reform the licensing processes and reduce multiplicity of levies and authorities. He said the government needed to relook several pieces of legislation including the Exchange Control Act, Zimbabwe Investment Authority Act, Securities Exchange Act, Local Authority Act, Immigration Act and Environmental Act.

“While the exchange control and the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange set foreign investor participation in local entities at between 40%-100% the, Zimbabwe Investment Act and Indigenisation Act provides a threshold of 49%,” Nkiwane said.

“Such fragmented pieces of legislation create administrative challenges and send conflicting information to potential investors and, hence, the need to synchronise them and set an investor friendly environment.”

He said the budget’s priorities should be based on the attainment of socio-economic rights. Nkiwane said there was need to simplify personal and corporate tax systems by reducing the number of tax rates and tax relief measures creating a system with low rates and broad base.

The Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries, in its submission for the budget, said there was need to review, rationalise and simplify all licensing arrangements to both lower the cost and simplify business processes.

“We recommend that government accelerates the implementation and operationalisation of the National Competitiveness Commission in order to address the high cost environment and other issues as identified in the study by the Ministry of Industry and Commerce,” the business lobby group said.

CZI said national level negotiations should be replaced by plant level ones related to productivity. The group said guidelines should be given on arbitration, which specifically state that wage increases should be productivity based.

“We recommend that the following three issues are of concern to industry to be dealt with namely, retrospective application of the law, which appears to be unconstitutional, treatment of benefits prior to dollarisation and dismissal of employees due to misconduct — according to the new law, the dismissed employee is entitled to retrenchment benefits,” CZI said in its submission for the budget.

Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers’ Union president, Wonder Chabikwa said the agriculture sector required $2 billion for retooling, machinery and irrigation upgrades.

He said there was need to consider the the removal of Value Added Tax on electricity, water and other primary products for the agriculture sector.

“We are also looking at the land tax and levies that are very high and should be reduced in view of the prevailing situation in the sector and can be reviewed upwards when things improve,” Chabikwa said.

He said farmers were proposing taxes of 25 cents and 50 cents per hectare for cattle ranching and 50 cents and $1 per hectare for crops.

Chabikwa said cattle ranching face challenges of foot and mouth outbreaks, while crop yields have been on a decline.

Commercial Farmers’ Union spokesperson, Olivier Hendrik said farmers were looking forward to the introduction of incentives in the coming budget, as the business operating environment was not conducive.

“We need incentives as farmers, we need cheap fuel and fertilisers. We are also looking for the provision of compensation for farmers in this budget for farmers who lost their land in the past 15 years,” he said.

Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa will present the 2016 National Budget tomorrow amid expectations that the economy would grow by a modest 2,7% while the projected budget is around $3,85 billion.

Govt targets to raise $3,85bn in 2016

via Govt targets to raise $3,85bn in 2016 | The Herald November 25, 2015

Government is targeting to raise $3,85 billion in revenue in 2016, slightly lower than the $3,9 billion that was projected for this year, Treasury has announced.

In a pre-Budget strategy paper, Treasury said by December 31 this year, Government anticipates that it will miss its 2015 revenue target of $3,9 billion as it expects to raise $3,69 billion by year end.

Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa is expected to present the 2016 National Budget tomor- row.

“The slowdown in economic activity is also being reflected through underperformance in revenues. Cumulative revenue collections for the period January to August 2015 amounted to $2,29 billion, against a target of $2,50 billion. For the rest of 2015, revenues are projected at $3,69 billion against the original budget $3,9 billion,” said Treasury in a pre-Budget announcement.

“Revenues in the medium term are projected to increase marginally in line with expansion of the revenue base. In 2016, total revenues are projected at $3,85 billion. Measures will be put in place to strengthen revenue collection, plug revenue leakages, strengthening revenue administration and rationalise the tax expenditure regime in order to meet the target.”

Treasury said during the first half of 2015, the Government faced rising expenditure pressures. Overall expenditure for the first seven months of 2015 amounted to $2,25 billion, militating against timely implementation of planned projects and programmes as well as payment of some overdue obligations.

“As we look into 2016, focus will be on managing expenditures in line with revenue developments. Specific key areas include the following – striking a balance between current expenditure demands and necessary development programmes financing including infrastructure and priority social spending,” it added.

The manufacturing sector was said to be on a recovery path and was projected to grow by 2,1 percent in 2016 owing to a number of measures put in place by the Government under the Zim-Asset programme. Treasury said in 2016, the Government will continue to monitor and evaluate the impact of trade measures that were put in place over the past three years, in support of the manufacturing sector.

These measures include the reduction and, in some instances, removal of duty on inputs into production and the upward review of import tariffs and licensing requirements on finished imports which can be easily produced locally.

It said electricity is a key factor of production in all sectors of the economy and hence the need to ensure incremental power generation in line with economic growth.

“The ongoing construction work on the Kariba South Extension together with the construction of Hwange 7 & 8 and other solar projects will be accelerated in order to further improve power supply. Furthermore, development of mini-hydro power stations on all major dams in the country will also be prioritised,” it added.

Govt spells out private prosecution guidelines

via Govt spells out private prosecution guidelines | The Herald November 25, 2015

Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa yesterday tabled new amendments to the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Bill, including the conditions under which the Prosecutor-General must issue private prosecution to a private party when the State declines to charge an accused person.

The Bill sailed through the committee stage a fortnight ago, but VP Mnangagwa moved a motion to have it recommitted before the Chamber to allow him to include new provisions aimed at improving it.

Major highlights of the amendments are conditions of issuance of private prosecution and the reduction from seven days to 72 hours within which the PG can appeal against a court decision to grant an accused person bail.

One of the new provisions seeks to delete part of Clause 6 of earlier amendments which provides that the PG cannot be compelled to issue a private prosecution if he declines to charge an accused person.

The new amendments tabled yesterday give the conditions of issuance of private prosecution.

“The Prosecutor-General shall grant the certificate referred to in subsection (1) if (a) there is produced to him or her by the private party a written request in the form of a sworn statement from which it appears to the PG that the private party (i) is the victim of the alleged offence or is otherwise an interested person by virtue of having personally suffered, as a direct consequence of the alleged offence, an invasion of a legal right beyond that suffered by the public generally,” reads the provision.

Another condition is that the private party must have the means to conduct the prosecution and that it has to be conducted by the individual personally or through his or her legal practitioner.

The PG is empowered to refuse granting the certificate if the conduct complained of did not disclose a criminal offence and if there is no possibility of proving the charge.

The private party is required to disclose additional evidence that might have not been before the PG when he made the decision declining prosecution.

It is also provided that any failure to do so shall constitute an offence of defeating the course of justice.

There was a heated debate on the proposed amendments as some legislators felt that the amendments were self-contradictory.

Harare West MP Ms Jessie Majome (MDC-T) said the amendments on one hand “purported” to compel the PG to issue private prosecution certificate but further goes to make a U-turn and take away the right being conferred to a private party.

Zvimba West MP Cde Ziyambi Ziyambi (Zanu-PF) concurred with Ms Majome saying the provision contradicted itself.

“We are giving the PG a lot of powers to refuse arbitrarily granting of private prosecution,” said Cde Ziyambi.

In response, VP Mnangagwa said there was no contradiction adding “the two lawyers got lost”.

Both Ms Majome and Cde Ziyambo, who are members of the Parliamentary Legal Committee (PLC), were latter to concur again in condemning another provision which sought to amend Section 121 of the principal Act by reducing from seven days to 72 hours the period within which an accused can remain in custody while the PG launches an appeal against bail

Ms Majome said there was no need to confer powers to the PG to interfere with a decision of the court when it grants bail to an accused person.

She said the PG was not a judicial officer and should be treated equally with other parties that appear before the court.

Cde Ziyambi said he did not understand the rationale and practicality of reducing the days from seven to three considering that some cases could have taken place in remote areas such as Gokwe hence might take long to prepare appeal papers.

“Are we not going to breed laziness in the PG’s Office as they are going to have a second bite of the cherry. The separation of powers principle is now diminished when the PG has the power to override the decision of the court,” said Cde Ziyambi.

VP Mnangagwa said the two were misinterpreting the amendments saying when the PG was appealing he or she was not elevating himself to the level of the court.

The amendments sailed through the committee stage before they were referred to the PLC.

ZETDC close to 106MW power supply contracts

via ZETDC close to 106MW power supply contracts | The Herald November 25, 2015

THE Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company has made progress towards concluding power supply agreements with regional utilities anticipated to feed at least 106 megawatts into the national grid between December and early next year.

Power utility, Zesa Holdings transmission and distribution unit, ZETDC has engaged South Africa’s ESKOM, Mozambique’s Hydro Cahorra Bassa and independent producer, Lusengwa of Zambia.

ZETDC managing director Engineer Julian Chinembiri confirmed in an interview yesterday that the negotiations are ongoing with a number of regional utilities for supply contracts.

“HCB officials are coming to Zimbabwe in the first week of December. We are seeking an additional 50 megawatts from them. With ESKOM, we are looking at next week (to hear what they say), they have their own problems so they have to consult the board and their local energy regulator,” Eng Chinembiri said.

He said they would accept any reasonable amount of power supply ESKOM can spare considering South Africa is also battling shortages.

The ZETDC managing director said Zambia’s Lusengwa had indicated willingness and possibility of supplying 56MW while HCB of Mozambique might agree to double current supply to 100MW.

Zimbabwe is facing debilitating power shortages with average requirement of 2 200MW at peak periods of demand for electricity against current constrained power generation capacity of about 900MW.

Equipment at one of the country’s major generation plants, Hwange Thermal Power Station, has outlived its useful life and is therefore frequently breaking down, reducing available generation capacity.

The outdated power plant has installed capacity for 920MW, but is currently able to produce an average of between 470MW and 570MW.

The country’s other major and dependable power station, Kariba South, which is a 750MW capacity plant has been forced to lower its optimum output level to a maximum 475MW due to receding water levels in Kariba Dam, which supplies the water for power generation.

Government, through Zimbabwe Power Company, is working hard to increase the country’s generation capacity through the 300MW capacity expansion of Kariba South and 600MW extension of Hwange. Sino-Hydro was awarded the two extension contracts.

Further, about 20 licences have been issued to independent power producers, as part of national efforts to ramp up power production and ameliorate the prevailing deficit and stem out deficits.

These include tenders awarded to private investors for construction of solar power stations, small hydro plants and generation of electricity using coal bed methane in Matabeleland North.

In terms of Government’s medium term economic blueprint, Zim-Asset, Zimbabwe will generate power excess to its requirements by 2018, which will be exported to other countries facing deficits in the region.

Cut cabinet spending, not teachers: MDC

via Cut cabinet spending, not teachers: MDC – New Zimbabwe 24/11/2015

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe has been urged to cut his cabinet’s spending first before tampering with the country’s 500,000-strong civil service.

In a statement, the opposition MDC led by former Industry minister Welshman Ncube said government was shifting the burden to desperate workers and in particular teachers.

Party spokesperson, Kurauone Chihwayi, was responding to media reports that cabinet has given a go-ahead to a staff rationalization program that could see half of the civil service lose jobs.

“We find it incomprehensible that this move seems to be only targeting teachers when nothing is being done about Zanu PF youth officers who are on a civil service salary while doing absolutely nothing to benefit the nation,” said Chihwayi.

“It is our contention that as long as government does not first deal with the incessant spending of its bloated cabinet, unnecessary and pointless foreign trips by President Robert Mugabe and his equally bloated entourage and put a lid on corruption, all its talk of cutting
unnecessary spending is insincere.

“We view this as a new low for President Robert Mugabe’s government, whose wife Grace’s flaunting of obscene wealth through dishing out all sorts of goodies at Zanu PF rallies is in direct contrast to the country’s failing economy.”

In the past twelve months, media reports claim Mugabe has spent over a month “air-borne, earning the veteran ruler the nickname “Frequent flyer”.

The MDC said this is a clear example of how the Zanu PF government’s commitment to putting Zanu PF first comes at a high price for ordinary Zimbabweans.

“It is apparent that the country’s funds meant for provisions in education are being redirected into big wigs’ pockets,” said Chihwayi.

“The government has failed dismally to come up with a plan to finance education for all and bring sanity into the labour sector because it is obsessed with milking citizens of the little they still have for the personal benefit of a few individuals.”

Doctors strike: Unions warn of deaths

via Doctors strike: Unions warn of deaths – New Zimbabwe 24/11/2015

THE industrial action at the Premier Service Medical Aid Society, (PSMAS) subsidiary Premier Service Medical Investment entered its second day Tuesday with no end in sight.

While authorities said they were working around the clock to resolve the impasse, civil servants representatives warned of unnecessary deaths and called on Public Service Minister Prisca Mupfumira to “pay up”.

Government owes PSMAS almost a $100 million while the health insurer, in turn, owes PSMI $44 million in unpaid subscription.

PSMI has been unable to pay its workers in the past five months despite government having deducted subscriptions from its workers, sources said.

Operations at PSMI facilities have, in the past two days, ground to a halt.

“Everything has stopped, the doctors, pharmacists and dentist have not reported for work and we have had to shut doors,” a source claimed.

PSMAS board chairperson, Jeremiah Bvirindi, said his board is working hard towards a solution.

“Most of our business comes from government and we deal with civil servants but they have over the last half year received services almost for free because government has failed to pay.

“We are engaging government to find a solution and sooner rather than later this will pass. We have plans in place including a plan B and C,” Bvirindi said.

Government must pay

Insiders claimed Bvirindi’s board might be facing sabotage from Mupfumira after it rebuffed her demands to have suspended PSMAS managing director Henry Mandishona re-instated.

Zimbabwe Teachers Association (Zimta) chief executive officer, Sifiso Ndlovu, said Mupfumira must pay and keep her hands off company affairs.

“There are people with terminal and chronic illnesses that are life threatening. These need to be considered,” said Ndlovu.

“Any interference will compromise the independence of not only the institution but also its jurisprudence. The minister must stay away but pay to save lives.”

He said his association’s membership has been affected severely by the wild-cat strike.

An Apex Council member David Dzatsunga said there could be unaccounted for deaths due to the strike.

“It has caused a lot of pain and suffering as well as obvious deaths although this is not immediately quantifiable,” he said.

“At the moment it because almost impossible to apportion blame to anyone but government because the bulk of the PSMAS revenue comes from the state.

“We are aware government is struggling with revenue but we have a situation of life and death and this needs to be a priority.”

Politburo meets today

via Politburo meets today | The Herald November 25, 2015

THE zanu-pf Politburo is meeting today ahead of the revolutionary party’s 15th Annual National People’s Conference to be held early next month in Victoria Falls.

Although the party’s spokesperson, Cde Simon Khaya Moyo, could not be reached for comment yesterday, it is understood that preparations for the conference would be discussed at length during today’s meeting.

The meeting also comes at a time when there has been a spate of votes of no confidence in various provinces.

In Mashonaland West a vote of no confidence was passed on provincial youths chair Cde Vengai Musengi and his deputy Cde Jospeh Nyariri.

Only a day after that vote of no confidence, Cde Musengi and his colleagues turned the tables and passed a counter vote of no confidence against four members of the Youth League who engineered their ouster.

Those booted out included Cdes Nelson Tinapi, Tafadzwa Muteketa, Tawanda Rupiya and Richman Mudaviri.

Provincial youth chairman for Mashonaland Central Cde Godfrey Tsenengamu was also suspended in unclear circumstances.

The Politburo is expected to hear those cases over and above the disciplinary report that was supposed to be tabled at the last meeting.

At the last Politburo meeting, Cde Khaya Moyo indicated that the disciplinary hearing report would be tabled at the Politburo’s next meeting.

On the December conference, committees are expected to present reports on the state of preparedness.

At least eight committees were set up to work on the preparations of the conference.

This comes at a time when provinces had come up with recommendations for the conference, chief among them being the endorsement of President Mugabe as the party’s candidate for the 2018 elections.

They argued that although there were still two years before the elections, it was important to reaffirm President Mugabe’s candidature in light of successionists’ machinations being peddled by some ambitious elements in the revolutionary party.

The provinces emphasised that President Mugabe was the only centre of power in the party.

Chinese firms seal $28m chrome deal

via Chinese firms seal $28m chrome deal | The Herald November 25, 2015

Zimbabwe has sealed two deals with Chinese companies running into several millions of dollars for the off-take tantalite and chrome following the lifting of a four-year-old export ban on chrome ore.

A Chinese company, CITIC International Corporation Limited yesterday signed a $28 million chrome and tantalite importation agreement with a Zimbabwean company Newton Mining in a deal expected to transform the fortunes of the country’s chrome sector.

Speaking after the signing ceremony at the China-Zimbabwe investment meeting yesterday, CITIC International general manager Mr Anqi Fu said the agreement has a one-year time-line.

“We signed a trade agreement or a memorandum of understanding to import some minerals from Zimbabwe to China with a Zimbabwean company, Newton Mining. We are mostly looking at chrome and tantalite.

The lifting of the ban on chrome ore exports also saw the Chinese company; Tsingshan and Steel International placing order of four million tonnes of chrome ore worth about $400 million from small-scale miners.

Another Chinese company, Sinosteel Corp, which is also China’s biggest chrome importer, acquired a stake in Zimasco Consolidated Enterprises Limited, a Mauritius-based holding company of Zimbabwe’s Zimasco.

The investments and agreements signed between Chinese companies and local companies in the chrome mining sector symbolise China’s commitment in developing the country’s chrome mining sector.

Head of the Chinese business delegation that is currently in the country, Mr Zhi Luxun said Zimbabwe remains one of China’s most important trading partners in Africa.

He said most Chinese corporations have expressed interest in doing business in Zimbabwe. He however, added that Government should work towards ensuring policy consistency to ensure smooth engagements in business.

“China is always willing to expand while opening up to the outside world and Zimbabwe has a great chance to exploit the available markets. It is worth emphasising that China is an open market,” said Mr Luxun.

Recently Beijing Pinchang from China signed a tantalite and tin deal worth $102 million with the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation over Kamativi Tin Mine.

Chief Justice gives Judiciary clean bill . . . ‘We’re apolitical, impartial and uphold the highest professional standards’

via Chief Justice gives Judiciary clean bill . . . ‘We’re apolitical, impartial and uphold the highest professional standards’ | The Herald November 25, 2015

Zimbabwe’s Judiciary is apolitical, impartial and upholds the highest professional standards in executing its duties, Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku said yesterday as he dismissed claims that the Judiciary was compromised by political interference.The Chief Justice was responding to concerns by the leader of the obscure Zimbabwe Empowerment Movement (ZEM) Mr Garikai Sithole during a briefing ahead of a tour of Masvingo Civil Court that is set to be upgraded to house the High Court.

Mr Sithole had appealed to Chief Justice Chidyausiku to ensure judges appointed to the bench did not succumb to political pressure to pass judgments prejudicial to opposition parties. The ZEM leader claimed that some members of the bench passed judgments based on political affiliation, a situation he said had put a blemish on the country’s judicial system.

Chief Justice Chidyausiku dismissed Mr Sithole’s claims, saying there was no evidence that the bench favoured political parties in Zimbabwe. He said the country’s Judiciary was impartial and did not consider political affiliation when making decisions.

“I think we are very impartial and fair in the way we discharge our duties as the country’s Judiciary. What I know is that all our judges are apolitical. There are Zanu-PF members and MDC members who have been jailed after committing various offences and this shows that we are impartial. We do not tolerate political interference,’’ he said.

Chief Justice Chidyausiku said while every human being was susceptible to making mistakes, there was no proof that members of the bench in Zimbabwe had passed judgments based on political considerations.

“We will always make it a point that we take action if there is proof that a member of the bench has made political decisions. We (judiciary) do not work like that and aggrieved parties are always free to come to us and appeal if they feel they have been shortchanged.

“To tell the truth, I have never witnessed political interference in the operations of members of the judiciary,’’ he added. Turning to the issue of corruption in the judiciary, Chief Justice Chidyausiku said he would never condone rotten apples although he noted that it was difficult to prove corruption among members of the judiciary.

He said he was not aware of individuals who were freed by the country’s courts after buying their way out of the dock saying members of the public should report corrupt officers to the police so that punitive action is taken.

“Normally corruption is between two people; that is the person who wants to buy his freedom and the person who is receiving the bribe. It is difficult to prove the corruption in such cases as the two would want the vice to remain a closely guarded secret between them,’’ he added. Chief Justice Chidyausiku said Zimbabwe was far better than most African countries in terms of corruption among members of the judiciary.

Last month, the government of Ghana suspended seven out of 12 high court judges in the wake of allegations of bribery stemming from a documentary made by an investigative journalist.

Sino-Africa and Sino-Zim relations: The present

via Sino-Africa and Sino-Zim relations: The present | The Herald November 25, 2015

China’s principled action in the United Nations Security Council, especially over the Zimbabwe issue in 2008, has drawn ever more respect among African countries who see China as a reliable development partner that respects their aspirations and sovereignty.

Following the liberation of South Africa in 1994, Africa entered a new phase with the achievement of political independence on the continent and preparations for the new millennium.

China continued to support African development into the 21st Century and Africa’s growing commitment to enhance its collective strength through unity.

The phrase “African development” indicates the focus of China’s exceptionally important role in Africa in supporting development according to Africa’s own agenda, as well as South-South Cooperation, Africa-Asia collaboration, and common development goals.

China has also supported Africa’s efforts to apply economic growth to social development.

“Africa is at the initial stage of an economic take-off and China is striving to achieve modernisation.

“Both sides are fast integrating into the ongoing economic globalisation,” Premier Li Keqiang said at the African Union headquarters in Ethiopia in 2014, in an Africa Policy Statement from the new Chinese administration of President Xi Jinping.

“China-Africa cooperation, which is consistent with the trend of the world, requires that we base ourselves on our respective development stages, give consideration to each other’s concerns, and constantly seek and expand the areas of converging interests.”

“We should not limit our cooperation to energy, resources and infrastructure but expand it to industrialisation, urbanisation, agricultural modernisation and many other areas, and put greater emphasis on green and low-carbon development as well as ecological and environmental protection,” Premier Li said.

“What is more, we should combine the role of the market with that of the government, enhance the synergy of business-society interactions and innovate on practical cooperation, so as to make China-Africa cooperation a model of complementarity, practical results and efficiency.”

This is known as the 4-6-1 speech.

It contains four main principles, including equality, solidarity, inclusive development and innovative, practical cooperation.

Six areas are proposed to upgrade cooperation, including industrial and financial cooperation, poverty reduction, ecological and environmental protection, cultural and people-to-people exchanges, peace and security.

These will inform the forthcoming Summit of the Forum on China Africa Cooperation (Focac) to be held in Johannesburg, South Africa in December, following the 6th ministerial meeting of Focac.

Premier Li spoke of the need to deepen the China-Africa relationship by enhancing collective dialogue and practical cooperation through Focac.

He noted that, coming to the 15th anniversary of Focac in 2015, there is need to improve this mechanism, enrich its content, and make the platform more practical and efficient.

More and more African countries have begun to “look east” in the new millennium, including South Africa which is a member of the BRICS grouping of emerging economies — Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa.

“Zimbabwe’s Look East policy has yielded positive results that have become an inspiration for many African countries,” one African ambassador said.

The two-way trade volume has increased, as has China’s investment and project contracting, and cooperation has expanded rapidly in the areas of agriculture, infrastructure and energy, among others.

China is Africa’s largest trading partner, having developed a mutual, vibrant partnership with trade volumes increasing exponentially over the past decade, rising from US$10 billion in 2000 to almost US$200 billion in 2012, and was projected to reach US$220 billion for 2014.

Chinese investment in Africa has grown over the past decade, with direct investment estimated at more than US$30 billion in 2014.

China has become Zimbabwe’s second largest trading partner after South Africa, with the trade volume reaching $1.24 billion for the five-year period since 2010, which is double the volume recorded for the previous five years.

Zimbabwe and at least 15 other African countries have received Approved Destination Status, as a destination for Chinese tourists, although Africa is still viewed as an unknown destination and visitor numbers remain low. Two-thirds of Chinese tourists visit neighbouring countries in Asia.

China’s principled action in the United Nations Security Council, especially over the Zimbabwe issue in 2008, has drawn ever more respect among African countries who see China as a reliable development partner that respects their aspirations and sovereignty.

The Chinese government “does not agree to any form of sanctions against Zimbabwe.”

Although there was no doubt about the course of action, it was costly, as China had to expend its own political capital at a time when it was seeking to strengthen relations with Europe and the United States.

China appreciates the consistency of Zimbabwe’s foreign policy in its support for China’s aspirations on reunification through the One-China Policy, and “views Zimbabwe as a trustworthy friend and an important partner.”

Now that China has surpassed the United States as the world’s largest economy, a feat achieved in December 2014, the wooing is in reverse, and China’s President Xi was feted this year in Washington and in London, where he resided at Buckingham Palace as guest of the British royal family.

Together, China and Africa are pressing for reform in global governance through the United Nations structures, and especially representation on the UN Security Council.

Agriculture and food security has been a main focus of Chinese cooperation with Zimbabwe, through the construction of dams and water treatment plants, as well as provision of tractors and combine harvesters for rural development.

The way forward requires deeper understanding of the realities of Past, Present and Future relations, including cultural and historical, as well as greater interaction through academic and media exchanges, volunteers, tourism, people-to-people and other sectors, and expanding the opportunities for joint research between institutions and individuals in various priority areas, such as infrastructure, poverty eradication, and history.

A key area of cooperation is that of sharing information and knowledge, strengthening the platform for collective dialogue and exchange of views, academic exchange of ideas, and an educational initiative to strengthen understanding of China-Zimbabwe relations and potential.

Both sides are frank in their assessment of the dearth of accurate information and reliable perspectives, and the need for more academic exchanges between universities, research institutes and think tanks, as well as education, sports, arts and culture, among others.

Symposia on China-Africa and China-Zimbabwe relations are a good example of the kind of interaction that can be strengthened between Chinese and African institutions and individuals, and seven have been held in Zimbabwe over the past seven years, involving some very senior scholars from both sides.

The establishment of Sardc’s Institute for China-Africa Studies in Southern Africa, in Harare, is another milestone in this regard.

 This article from the Southern African Research and Documentation Centre (SARDC) through its Institute for China-Africa Studies in Southern Africa, is part of a series exploring the dimensions of China Africa relations in advance of the FOCAC Summit to be held in Johannesburg in early December. www.sardc.net

Mutare: Zanu PF near blows over Grace

via Mutare: Zanu PF near blows over Grace – New Zimbabwe 24/11/2015

WARRING Zanu PF Women’s League factions in Manicaland almost came to blows Tuesday after a delegation of national leaders descended on the province on a fact finding mission.

The delegation, led by deputy national chairperson Angeline Masuku, watched in horror as rival groups traded accusations and insults at Mutare’s Turner Memorial Library.

Masuku was forced to eject some of the provincial leaders but under fire chairperson Happiness Nyakuedzwa seemed to have lived to fight another day as she sat among the top leaders throughout the meeting.

The mission is investigating the conduct of national member Monica Mutsvangwa in the chaos that have rocked the provincial leadership in the past few months including suspensions and counter-suspensions.

First Lady Grace Mugabe has remained the main divisive element as rival camps mirror divisions at the top of the ruling party over who should take over from President Robert Mugabe continue to fester.

The group reportedly agitating for Grace is led by Letina Undenge who is wife to the province’s acting chairman, Samuel, while the other rooting for Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa is fronted by Nyakuedzwa.

Undenge accused the Nyakuedzwa faction of not respecting First Lady Grace Mugabe. She also attacked national women’s league executive member Monica Mutsvangwa for her role in belittling President Robert Mugabe’s wife.

Rival groups traded insults with Nyakuedzwa accused of being a member of former Vice President Joice Mujuru’s faction kicked out last year, while her supporters accused Undenge of being an MDC-T member.

Report to be presented to Grace Mugabe

Some of the placards from Undenge’s runner read: “Nyakuedzwa, Mutasa (Didymus former Zanu PF secretary for administration)’s wife must go,’’ “Monica Mutsvangwa must go,’’
“Monica Mutsvangwa respect the chairman Dr Samuel Undenge”.

The ruling party’s Science and technology deputy Evelyn Mutsago in the province’s women league hit back at Undenge, accusing her of being a “lying snake”.

“This was supposed to be a meeting; you are abusing the First Lady. We will accept none of this.

“Why did you come with placards?  You appear to love the First Lady but you don’t. We will beat you for that, they are lying that we are against the First Lady,’’ Mutsago said.

She received support from the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Collaborators Association Manicaland chapter chair Angeline Muponda.

Undenge claimed she was defending Grace.

Masuku’s delegation comprised among others, secretary for security Shuvai Mahofa.

“We came here on a fact finding mission as the national women’s executive; we are not going to give you what we discussed in the meeting,” Masuku said, addressing reporters.

“But the members spoke their minds, almost all of them spoke what they feel except for a few. We are happy with what we got.

“We got what we need and want; we are going to compile our report from the meeting and gave to our leader the First Lady Grace Mugabe,’’ Masuku said.

Zanu PF remains sharply divided in Manicaland and elsewhere in the country as factional fights continue.

‘Mugabe holds the aces’ – Mavhinga

via ‘Mugabe holds the aces’ – Mavhinga – DailyNews Live 24 November 2015

HARARE – Human Rights Watch senior researcher for southern Africa and former Zimbabwe civic society leader — Dewa Mavhinga — says President Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF’s failure to ensure leadership renewal at the top could come back to haunt the party in the 2018 elections, although he does believe that Mugabe still holds (all) the aces in deciding who succeeds him; Mavhinga speaks to Senior Assistant Editor Guthrie Munyuki and below are the excerpts of the interview.

Q: When you were part of the civil society here, you backed a new Constitution to protect and promote people’s rights; is this happening from your perspective?

A: Although the constitution-making process was wrong in that it was dominated by political parties concerned mainly about their political interests, as part of civil society I backed the new Constitution because it had great potential to protect people’s rights and improve their lives.
But unfortunately there is no implementation, and the 2013 Constitution, which is no longer a new Constitution, has not changed people’s lives for the better. The Constitution has turned out to be a cloud without rain.
The Zanu PF has inexplicably delayed the establishment of key constitutional institutions like the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission thereby dashing people’s hope for justice and accountability for past human rights abuses. Under the dispensation of the 2013 Constitution Zimbabweans continue to suffer and many would find it very difficult to point to anything positive in their lives that came from the new Constitution.

Q: What’s the main driving force in the violation of human rights which you have noted since the new Constitution kicked in?
A: Since the new Constitution came into force major human rights violations have been in the Zanu PF government’s failure to improve the economy and guarantee socio-economic rights.
Millions of Zimbabweans live in extreme poverty without access to basic necessities. There are no jobs. In 2013, Zanu PF promised to create 2,2 million jobs, but instead workers are losing jobs and going home with nothing. That is a great injustice. Displacements and evictions of Tokwe-Mukorsi flood victims in Mwenezi and on farms around the country are also major violations of people’s rights. Zimbabwe has a big problem of child marriage, where girls as young as 12, 13, 14 or 15 drop out of school, get married and get pregnant but there is little focus on this issue.

Q: You cover southern Africa in your research; would you say the region is improving its rights record and why?
A: The glass is half-full, not half-empty. Compared to the rest of the continent, southern Africa has the least conflicts and is the most stable which is good for human rights as most abuses occur in situations of conflict and war.
However, countries in southern Africa should do more to curb corruption and improve economic governance in order to meet the socio-economic rights of their people. For instance, in Zimbabwe the government is failing to stamp out political violence; in Mozambique the threat of another civil war between Dhlakama’s Renamo and government forces continues to hover; in South Africa foreign nationals from the continent continue to face waves of xenophobic violence and no justice; the DRC is faced with massive internal displacement because of conflicts there; and in Swaziland, Africa’s last absolute monarchy, opposition political parties are banned.
Unfortunately Sadc leaders removed the Sadc Tribunal’s power to decide over human rights and justice issues, so where citizens find not justice in their own countries they can no longer look to the regional court.

Q: Civic groups and pro-democratic forces have decried the slow pace in aligning laws with the new Constitution, yet Zanu PF government says it needs money for that; should there be a time frame for aligning laws?
A: To say the Zanu PF government needs money for the aligning of laws is a lame excuse, there is simply lack of political will to implement new and progressive laws.
The government made a mistake of disbanding Copac before full implementation of the new Constitution and alignment of laws. Zimbabwe should have followed the example of Kenya.
In Kenya, when they had a new constitution in 2010 they set up a Constitution Implementation Commission with a strict mandate to ensure that Parliament implements the Constitution and aligns the laws within five years.
Failure of which any person could petition the High Court for an order directing Parliament to ensure implementation. If Parliament defies the High Court order the Chief Justice was empowered to advise the President to dissolve Parliament.

Q: Zanu PF critics say a strong coalition of opposition parties could end its rule in 2018; what’s your take on that?
A: The source of Zanu PF’s demise lies in the party’s inability to democratically decide Mugabe’s succession and its failure to ensure leadership renewal at the top. The vicious purge of former vice president Joice Mujuru and her supporters confirmed Mugabe’s unwillingness to go, and worse, the real possibility that Mugabe’s successor could be his wife, Grace. This gives rise to the reality of more purges in Zanu PF as the way is paved for the First Lady.
This process has obviously severely weakened the party and strengthened the chances or an organised coalition of opposition parties defeating Zanu PF in 2018.

Q: Who should lead this coalition and how is it likely to deal with electoral issues which have always been a source of conflict between Zanu PF and opposition parties?
A: It should not matter that much. We must move away from the concept of winner take-all and an all-powerful executive president whose post becomes the only post worth having.
Switzerland has a system of government where the post of president rotates among seven people and there is no fight to occupy that post.
We can have a scenario where the powers of the president are devolved, decentralised and shared more equally, and perhaps re-introduce the post of prime minister as head of government.
Where presidential power is not concentrated in one person, but spread and shared, each leader’s worth is considered, and everyone has an opportunity to contribute to building a better Zimbabwe.
Imagine a scenario where all political parties have a stake in government and all working together for the good of Zimbabweans!

Q: There have been consistent statements by the military that they would only accept a person with impeccable liberation credentials to replace President Robert Mugabe as the next leader; do you see this determining who wins in 2018?
A: The military has been a factor in politics only because the Zanu PF government under president deliberately cultivated partisan politics and allowed them to improperly interfere in civilian and political affairs.
If, as appears to be the case, president Mugabe puts forward his wife, a former typist who is not a freedom fighter, then it is likely that the military will stand behind their commander-in-chief for as long as he is around and in charge.
But of course things will be very different when he is not around.

Q: How does the infighting in Zanu PF shape the electoral terrain and likely outcomes of 2018 elections?
A: What is happening in Zanu PF is not in-fighting, it is purging of potential successors to Mugabe to pave way for a preferred successor who is yet to be named.
It is deliberate side-lining of former freedom fighters and an attempt to re-create Zanu PF. The on-going purging by expulsion from Zanu PF inevitably creates another centre of power outside of Zanu PF, mainly around Amai Joice Mujuru, who for 10 years from 2004 to 2014 was viewed by observers as the obvious and preferred successor to Mugabe.
Those in Zanu PF have by now realised that they were sold a dummy when they were told all those malicious lies about Joice Mujuru, so when more heads roll they are likely to join her.
Putting Grace Mugabe forward as Mugabe’s successor is a huge political gamble that may backfire.

Q: What scenarios are likely to emerge in the internal succession power dynamics of Zanu PF politics between now and 2018?
A: Democracy in Zanu PF is an illusion; the issue of succession will be decided in Mugabe’s favour.
If he chooses his wife, or his personal banker, Gideon Gono, his party will simply rubber-stamp the decision.

Q: To what extent will that shape Zimbabwe’s future in probably, post Mugabe era?
A: Because Mugabe is the big man of Zanu PF politics, it means internal party power dynamics will change significantly when he is gone, and whoever he chooses to be successor will face fresh challenges in the post-Mugabe era.

Q: Who holds the aces in the Zanu PF power struggles and why?
A: Those people close to Mugabe, who can influence him, hold the aces in Zanu PF because Mugabe is the personification of the Zanu PF institution.
In December 2014, the Zanu PF constitution was amended to depose all power in Mugabe to make all senior party appointments instead of holding elections.
He has all the power, so those who have his ear carry the day. Such people in Mugabe’s inner circle, the political Holly of Hollies, obviously include his wife, Grace.

Q: Which direction are we likely to see Joice Mujuru taking?
A: Joice Mujuru is likely to rally freedom fighters behind her and the vast majority of disgruntled Zanu PF members and well as ordinary Zimbabweans who identify with her vision and political manifesto.
Mujuru will have to overcome a number of challenges which all other opposition leaders face, that is: threats to personal security, harassment and persecution from state agents and Mugabe’s supporters; doubts from suspicious members of the public who might think that eventually she may return to Zanu PF; the challenge of levelling the electoral field to make free and fair elections possible; building alliances with other political formations to form a coalition; and finally, the difficult task of mobilising Zimbabweans to support and be registered to vote in 2018.
From her silence in the face of attacks and insults from Grace Mugabe, Joice Mujuru has shown that she is a woman of peace who would rather not pick a public fight with Mugabe despite all the ill-treatment.

Q: How influential is she now that she is outside the Zanu PF comfort zones?
A: Joice Mujuru fought for the liberation of Zimbabwe, and as such she is a celebrated freedom fighter whose late husband General Solomon Mujuru was an iconic freedom fighter and Zimbabwe’s respected first black commander of the Defence Forces.
For 10 years she was Mugabe’s deputy and is the longest serving acting president since independence — this enabled her to build support within Zanu PF and across Zimbabwe.
The horrific and mysterious death of her husband has earned her a lot of sympathy from people who may suspect foul play.
Despite State media attempts to soil her image; to many Joice Mujuru remains a powerful woman with gravitas and credibility, and is likely to appeal to Zimbabwe’s largest and most powerful political constituency: women.
But to enhance her political influence Mujuru will need to emerge as a political unifier and a builder of  a coalition of forces that put the interests of all Zimbabweans first.

‘End this Mugabe abuse’

via ‘End this Mugabe abuse’ – DailyNews Live 24 November 2015

HARARE – President Robert Mugabe’s ongoing endorsement to be the post-congress Zanu PF’s presidential candidate in the eagerly-anticipated 2018 national elections is immoral and abusive of the nonagenarian, as he will not be fit to run for office then, analysts and opposition figures say.

Mugabe, who will turn 92 next February, is the only leader that Zimbabweans have known since the country got its independence from Britain in April 1980. He is also already the world’s oldest leader.

MDC spokesperson Obert Gutu said yesterday that Zanu PF was clearly abusing the increasingly-frail nonagenarian.

“Aging is an irreversible process and already at the age of 91, he is exhibiting clear signs of infirmity, tiredness and forgetfulness. It is scandalous to have him continue in office as Head of State when he is in that shape.

“In 2018, he will be 94 years old and it will be tantamount to a gross abuse of the rights of elderly persons should Zanu PF persist that he runs again for presidential office,” Gutu said.

Mugabe, who has visibly slowed down over the past few years, was involved in an embarrassing fall early this year at the Harare International Airport while returning from Ethiopia where he had just been installed as the new chairperson of the African Union.

He again stumbled in front of world cameras while attending the India-Africa Forum Summit in New Delhi, India late last month.
Gutu said that Mugabe’s endorsement by the ruling party suggested that his supporters deified him.

“As far as all the various factions within Zanu PF are concerned, Mugabe is a demi-god who should lead their party until donkeys grow horns. Mugabe’s word is
a command and no one in Zanu PF has got the guts or temerity to openly challenge him for the leadership of that party.

“The endorsement that Robert Mugabe is their presidential candidate for 2018 will be replicated by all provinces. Zanu PF is a fully-fledged one-man dictatorship and this is precisely how a dictatorship operates,” Gutu added.

Political analyst Dewa Mavhinga said it was clear that Mugabe was no longer fit for public office.

“Today, at his age, Mugabe should not be holding public office. But that did not stop Zanu PF from presenting him as candidate for presidential elections in 2013 because the party is built around him.

“As long as he is alive, Zanu PF will continue to say Mugabe is our best foot forward, no matter how many times he stumbles and falls.

“In the meantime, they will still look to him to name a successor who now increasingly looks like it will be his wife and not Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa,” Mavhinga said.

He added that Mugabe had personalised Zanu PF to the extent that there was “nothing new about his candidature in the 2018 election”.

“What all this also shows is that the Zanu PF institution is personified by president Mugabe himself and that he probably intends to die in office.

“What the provinces are doing is to snub Mnangagwa and other contenders who want to succeed Mugabe. This move also paves the way for the establishment of a family dynasty, or if that fails, it means Mugabe will take his party with him when he goes,” he said.

Another political analyst, Shakespeare Hamauswa, said Mugabe’s endorsement was proof that party members were simply jostling for the top post yet there was no clear-cut way of resolving the succession issue.

He adds that the endorsements were also a sign that there were other people who were benefitting from his continued stay in power.

Grace still in the mix

via Grace still in the mix – DailyNews Live 24 November 2015

HARARE – As the post-congress Zanu PF hurtles towards its crucial annual conference to be held in Victoria Falls early next month, amid the party’s worsening factional and succession wars, First Lady Grace Mugabe has left the door open for her supporters to push for a return of the women’s quota system in the former liberation movement.

Well-placed sources who spoke to the Daily News at the weekend said President Robert Mugabe’s increasingly-influential wife told a closed door party meeting that preceded her rally in the Harare suburb of Mbare last Thursday that “it was up to women to push for the return of the quota system”.

This means that despite her recent Grace Mugabe still in the mix pronouncements to the contrary at her rallies — that she does not harbour any ambitions of higher office in the party — the door is still open for her supporters, particularly the women’s league — to push for her to become one of Zanu PF’s two vice presidents, as per the party’s old constitution.

“She reminded the women’s league that they were the ones who had allowed amendments to the party’s constitution which took away the women’s quota system.

“Amai gave us a challenge saying ‘you let it happen so are you ready to fight for its return? It is up to you to fight for what is rightfully yours’ and we all agreed with that,” one of the sources said.

Contacted for comment, one of the first lady’s most vocal supporters, Sarah Mahoka — credited with coining the slogan “Pasi nevanoti Eve haatongi” (Down with those who say Grace should not rule) — all but confirmed the development.

“As the Zanu PF women’s league we are saying the party’s constitution must fulfil the national Constitution that advocates for 50/50 representation between women and men in all positions, both in government and the party,” Mahoka said.

“That is our position even as a province (Mashonaland West). We have not said the presidium but all positions in the party. We are asking for 50/50. We are the ruling party and the national Constitution is ours as well. So, why does it have to differ with that of the party?” she added.

A senior party official who attended the Thursday closed door meeting also said that Grace had appeared to blame her predecessor, Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri, for not doing anything to stop “retrogressive” amendments to the constitution that disempowered women.

“She exonerated herself saying previously the constitution said the other vice president should be a woman but it was Muchinguri-Kashiri’s executive which okayed the deletion of the clause, and so if women wanted it back they had to work for it,” the official said.

If the open demands by the Zanu PF women’s league are accommodated, Grace’s supporters envisage a situation where she will be catapulted to the vice president’s post with one of Mugabe’s current co-deputies — Emmerson Mnangagwa and Phelekezela Mphoko — necessarily being demoted.

Mnangagwa, who has since late last year been heavily tipped to take over from Mugabe, was derailed by the same policy in 2004 when the women’s league again pushed for the elevation of former Vice President Joice Mujuru to be one of the nonagenarian’s deputies.

And to add to his woes, several youth provincial executives including Harare and Mashonaland Central provinces have moved to endorse Mugabe as the party’s presidential candidate for the 2018 national elections, while “decidedly refusing” to name the VP as the nonagenarian’s deputy — leaving the man known as Ngwena (Crocodile) in limbo.

In the meantime, it is also said Grace went on to heap praise on the Zanu PF political commissar for Harare Province, Shadreck Mashayamombe, at the Mbare briefing — describing him as a “former rebel who realised his mistake and came back kuna (to) Amai”.

“First it was Mashayamombe who was being admonished for previously aligning himself with Mujuru before she thanked him saying he is now working hard for the party, before calling on (Mbare MP and former politburo member Tendai) Savanhu and promising to help him reconnect with the people”.

Addressing party supporters at successive rallies in Harare, the Midlands and Mashonaland East provinces, Grace also took a dig at some war veterans she said were opposed to her.

Likening herself to a powerful engine, the increasingly-influential Grace described her rivals as cowards who trembled with fear each time they heard she was holding a rally.

“They can say what they want to say … but I won’t stop. I have the energy, I have a 60-horsepower engine to work for the people,” she said, adding that ‘there are people who are afraid when they see the 60-horsepower working … and start to badmouth me. When that happens I work harder and get into 90-horspeower (mode)”.

And while she has emphasised that she is content with being Mugabe’s wife, she has gone on to say that she was chosen to her position by women and thus no one had the power to remove her other than the women’s league — a loaded statement that insiders say leaves room for her to take a higher post should that league “choose to push for her further elevation”.

Zanu PF will fall in 2018 — Coltart

via Zanu PF will fall in 2018 — Coltart – DailyNews Live 24 November 2015

MUTARE – Respected former Education minister David Coltart has predicted the fall of President Robert Mugabe’s post-congress Zanu PF in the much-awaited 2018 national elections.

Speaking in an interview with the Daily News yesterday, Coltart said last year’s  brutal purging of former Vice President Joice Mujuru and her allies from the ruling party — which he described as a fatal political error — would forever haunt Mugabe and Zanu PF.

He said instead of dousing the ruling party’s seemingly unstoppable factional and succession wars, the purging of Mujuru and other bigwigs had worsened the situation and severely weakened Zanu PF.

Zanu PF is currently divided along two main factions, one said to be led by embattled Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa and the other comprising the party’s ambitious Young Turks who are commonly referred to as the Generation 40 (G40).

Although there have been spirited attempts by Mugabe and party spin-doctors to paper the cracks, First Lady Grace Mugabe told supporters in Harare on Thursday that factionalism was wreaking havoc in the former liberation movement.

“Zanu PF is collapsing because of the purges against the former vice president Joice Mujuru. If what we see happening in the party continues, if this issue about G40 and Amai Mugabe is in fact real, then Zanu PF will be at its weakest by 2018.

“You don’t need to be a political analyst or a rocket scientist to understand that whenever a political party splits, it rarely emerges stronger but emerges much weaker.  So, one can easily predict the fall of Zanu PF,” Coltart said.

The former Cabinet minister in the government of national unity, and a senior official in the Welshman Ncube-led MDC, said the ructions in the ruling party would also possibly result in serious violence if not handled carefully.

“The three Zanu PF factions (Mujuru, G40 and Mnangagwa) all have support within the military services and for the first time we face the prospects of physical power being directed and exercised within the party itself.

“Basically, the chances of violence erupting with this situation are high. This is the most volatile situation in the party since the Unity Accord,” Coltart added.

And with Mugabe old and frail, and struggling to end the squabbling among his lieutenants, Coltart said “the nuts and bolts are off” and Zanu PF was now hurtling towards total collapse.

“That Mugabe is physically and mentally weak is no longer an issue to be ignored as he has tumbled on a number of occasions. He has also issued incoherent speeches,” he said.

But Coltart also lashed at the opposition for failing to unite due to their petty fights for power and big egos, a development that had played into Zanu PF’s hands.

“One of the things that is affecting opposition politics is personal issues … and we need to see more of opposition leaders being prepared to subordinate themselves to other leaders.

“It is ridiculous in this country that we have (Joice) Mujuru, (Morgan) Tsvangirai, (Tendai) Biti, (Elton) Mangoma, (Welshman) Ncube and (Simba) Makoni under different political entities.

“If you ask them what policies and programmes they will implement after Mugabe, you will find that they are all the same,” Coltart charged.
Critically, he said, opposition parties should engage in dialogue aimed at choosing a single leader with the mettle to take on whoever would emerge as Zanu PF’s candidate in the 2018 elections.

Grace fears Mujuru pull

via Grace fears Mujuru pull – DailyNews Live 24 November 2015

HARARE – The ghost of former Vice President Joice Mujuru continues to haunt the ruling post-congress Zanu PF, with First Lady Grace Mugabe surprisingly warning party supporters yesterday to be wary of calls for them to follow “Amai” as this could be a cunning ploy by the People First movement to garner support for Mujuru.

Speaking at her latest rally in Mberengwa — which was attended for the very first time by embattled Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, probably because the Midlands Province is seen as one of his strongholds — Grace expressed fears that Mujuru and the People First movement are eating into Zanu PF’s support base in many areas.

Over the past few months, Grace’s supporters, mainly the party’s ambitious Young Turks known as the Generation 40 (G40) — who are rabidly opposed to Mnangagwa — have moved to popularise the politically loaded refrain “Munhu wese kuna Amai (Everyone must follow Grace) as they allegedly seek to derail the VP’s presidential ambitions.

And following her ouster from Zanu PF, Mujuru — together with other party stalwarts that include former Presidential Affairs minister Didymus Mutasa and war veteran Rugare Gumbo — are setting up the “original” Zanu PF that uses the slogan People First, and which plans to contest the eargerly-anticipated 2018 national elections.

Grace said yesterday that Mujuru should not be treated lightly, claiming that she was campaigning vigorously in the Midlands Province through Gumbo.

“There are some war veterans who used to be in Zanu PF, the likes of Rugare Gumbo, who are coming to you with pamphlets written ‘Munhu wese kuna Amai’, but he will be referring to Joice Mujuru.

“Beware, and ignore him and his People First” Grace said, adding that Gumbo “has a history of being troublesome, dating back to the liberation struggle”.

She also tore into opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, accusing him of having allegedly invited economic sanctions against the country from the West, to induce people to rebel against President Robert Mugabe.

“We must always remember that this country came through the barrel of the gun. There was sacrifice and blood was lost, so we must all resist them when they come. They are coming because we have information that Rugare Gumbo is splashing money around in this province to buy your loyalty. We will not allow it to happen,” Grace said to her unusually subdued audience that only appeared to clap hands when she demanded so.

‘‘Dairai nesimba, muri kuzvinzwa here? Ndati kune presidential input scheme munoiziva here? (Respond with energy, do you hear me. I said there is a presidential input scheme, do you know about it?)”, she said as some supporters began to troop out before she wound her speech, and as some provincial bigwigs made frantic efforts to stop them from walking away.

Grace also bemoaned, once again, the “return of factionalism in Zanu PF”, admonishing senior party officials whom she accused of sponsoring the deadly divisions.

“I hope that I have not been misinformed that factionalism does not exist in this province. I just hope it is true. Are you sure you are telling the truth? Are you really sure about that?,” she asked.

And in what appeared to be a significant change of views and her tactics, the first lady also moved to flatter Mnangagwa with praises yesterday, disputing that there was any bad blood between her and the VP.

She said contrary to reports that she was at loggerheads with the Midlands godfather, the two were actually very good friends. She told the crowd that the two had shared a helicopter ride from Harare to yesterday’s rally — and surprised many by chanting a slogan pushing for the under fire VP’s ascendancy to power.

A satisfied Mnangagwa could be seen smiling broadly at Grace’s praises, and duly reciprocated the niceties, exalting the first lady as the Queen Mother.

“You see this man here (Mnangagwa) has a clean history. No one here can doubt the role he played in the war. He fought the war. This man is very upright … let me tell you …,” she said.

She also added that Mnangagwa was more powerful than she was and that she was privileged to associate with both the country’s two vice presidents — a major contrast to Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko’s recent controversial utterances that Grace was ahead of the VPs on the pecking order.

“Mnangagwa and I are very good friends, very good friends. There is nowhere written that Mai Mugabe will take over. We are law people. We follow the law. I am learned. I am Doctor Mugabe. I read the law. I do not usurp people’s power.

“Even when the president travels, I do not take over, but VaMnangagwa does. What I do is only share a bed with the president,” Grace said.

“If I go around, I am doing it as your mother. It’s my right to go around meeting my family. These things, that I want a post, are coming from people among us who are not progressive. My only privilege is that I sit with the presidium on top, but I am below them. I am actually asking them to teach me the ropes because I am under them and they know better. I want God to help me humble myself,” she said.

Grace also said she did not give orders to the vice presidents, but only shared information that she would have received from the women as their leader.

“I do not give them orders. When I said I tell them stuff to write, I did not mean that I give them orders. I only transfer to them what the women would have told me to pass on, and for them not to forget the information,” she added.

On his part, Mnangagwa thanked Grace for having visited Mberengwa and blessing them with food, knowledge and song — adding that he had been overjoyed by the development.

“We have gathered here because the Queen Mother has come to us. There is no one who becomes the Queen Mother without the Lord’s knowledge and there is no one who becomes King without the Lord’s knowledge.And I as a son of this area, I am elated because when she goes back she will report that she was welcomed. I hope she comes back again and again, with more food and more words of unity,” Mnangagwa said.

Responding to Grace’s statement, People First spokesperson, Rugare Gumbo did not mince any words in dismissing the first lady.

“I don’t want to glorify some of these theatrical and psychiatric comments from these people, it does not help anything. The people of Zimbabwe must judge what kind of people they are dealing with. She was right in my former constituency and for the record, the dam and other water infrastructure in there I built when I was MP for the area and quite honestly with the help of Mai Mujuru when she was Water minister.

“The people of Mberengwa take me as their hero, I went to war, was arrested together with her husband and for her to make such nonsensical comments about me I can’t tolerate. She is soiling my good name, claiming I splashed money in the province, what money  do I have.

“The people of Mberengwa are struggling to make ends meet and I have nothing to help them with yet she wants to insult me like that. I am consulting my lawyers to see the possibility of instituting legal proceedings against her,” said Gumbo.

CZI calls for criminalisation of side-marketing

via CZI calls for criminalisation of side-marketing – DailyNews Live 24 November 2015

MUTARE – Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) has called for the enactment of a law that criminalises “side-marketing” to protect agricultural financiers.

Side-marketing is when a farmer decides to sell their produce outside the contractual agreement after being supplied with inputs to grow the crop.

Over the last decade, many financial institutions and corporates have suffered huge losses after being prejudiced by unscrupulous farmers.

CZI president Busisa Moyo told industry stakeholders in Mutare on Thursday that such a law would protect financiers’ investment in elaborate input credit schemes that are being fleeced by small-holder farmers.

“Government should put in place a policy that criminalises side marketing if ever we are going to have sanity in the sector,” Moyo said.

“Cottco is now almost completely gone. Every year they would lose up to 50 percent of what they would have given to farmers… It may have had its own management problems but this has been its major problem. That’s the reality. We just have to criminalise it and will have sanity,” he added.

Cottco has been running an elaborate Input Credit Scheme under which it would commit its own funds on an annual basis to provide seasonal finance to smallholder farmers — most of them lacked collateral to qualify for commercial banks loans.

The company would also additionally provide technical assistance to farmers to manage their crop.

However, information at hand shows that Cottco lost most of this investment to farmers would sell their crop to other buyers and evaded loan repayments.

Once the largest cotton company in Zimbabwe, Cottco has been struggling with a legacy debt of over $41 million since dollarisation in 2009.

The company’s shares were suspended from trading on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange in November last year after the troubled group applied for provisional judicial management to the High Court.

Rampant side-marketing in the cotton industry saw production declining to its lowest level in the last three seasons due to a reduction in inputs support to farmers resulting from the practice.

Output fell seven  percent to 135 000 tonnes from 145 000 in the preceding season.

Besides low input support to farmers, production was negatively affected by changes in the rainfall patterns while many farmers also shifted from cotton farming in preference of better paying cash crops such as tobacco.

Headline news 25 November, 2015

MPs called to stop arbitrary detentions

via MPs called to stop arbitrary detentions – New Zimbabwe 24/11/2015

PARLIAMENT has been urged to move with speed to deal with a piece of law that has been described as “obnoxious” by critics of President Robert Mugabe’s administration and used for further detention of mainly opponents of the regime.

The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) said Parliament should “harmonise section 121 (3) of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act (CPEA)” as a matter of urgency.

The provision relates to the pre-trial rights of those detained or accused of criminal offences as provided in the Constitution.

“While this infamous law had attracted notoriety and controversy, since 2008 ZLHR noted that in almost all cases where the same section had been invoked, the prosecution either abandoned the appeal or lost the appeal in the higher court on the basis that the appeal lacked merit,” said ZLHR in statement this week.

“Furthermore, section 121 (3) of the CPEA was mostly invoked in cases involving charges of a politically-related character and also cases invariably involving human rights defenders.”

“Because the NPA was not, in terms of that law, compelled to provide reasons for its prosecutors’ decisions to invoke the provision, it effectively meant, therefore, that such a provision and its invocation rendered the judicial officer and his or her findings irrelevant hence it was an assault and an affront on the independence of the judiciary,” the lawyers body added.

ZLHR added that while Parliament is currently considering the controversial law it “remains concerned that there is no provision in the Bill to amend” the discredited section “to remove the possibility of arbitrary deprivation of liberty by the NPA”.

Therefore, ZLHR said, Parliament should “repeal” the controversial section “as it allows prosecutors to arbitrarily deprive persons of liberty for seven days by merely advising a judicial officer of an intention to appeal against bail granted.”

The NPA was also called upon to “embrace the United Nations Basic Principles on the Role of Prosecutors and the African Union Guidelines on the Right to Fair Trial and Legal Assistance in Africa as useful guidelines on the role and responsibilities of prosecutors”.

Activists argue that the same law has been repeatedly abused by prosecutors from the NPA over the years.

According to the lawyers’ group, the government has used the law, “to veto bail orders granted by judicial officers, distorting the concept of separation of powers as envisaged in any democratic society by undermining the authority of the judiciary to make rulings and decisions that advance the best interests of justice and the rights to personal liberty, rights of arrested and detained persons”.

Two months ago, the full bench of the Constitutional Court, led by Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku made a ruling declaring “the notorious” section “to be unconstitutional and against the letter and spirit of provisions on the right to liberty”.

Chidyausiku’s declaration, hailed by rights groups and defenders, came after a private citizen Fanuel Kamurendo, petitioned the court in 2014 protesting against the violation of his fundamental right to liberty.

Pres: No Uhuru party, lets clean Tanzania

via Pres: No Uhuru party, lets clean Tanzania – New Zimbabwe 24/11/2015

NEWLY ELECTED Tanzanian President John Magufuli has scrapped independence day celebrations to spend the money on a clean-up campaign, an official statement said.

“It is so shameful that we are spending huge amounts of money to celebrate 54 years of independence when our people are dying of cholera,” Magufuli said in a statement read on state television late on Monday.

Magufuli, who took power earlier this month after winning October 25 elections, has introduced a swathe of austerity cuts and crackdowns on public corruption.

Those include the suspension of unnecessary foreign travel for government officials, allowances for seminars and meetings as well as lavish cocktails and dinners by public institutions.

“The money should instead go to delivery of social services,” Magufuli said, announcing the street cleaning exercise.

Tanzania last month saw a major cholera outbreak with nearly 5 000 cases and dozens of deaths, according to the World Health Organisation.

Annual independence celebrations usually see military parades, choirs and traditional dances at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam. No official cost has been given of the savings made by cancelling the revelries.

Magufuli ordered government officials to oversee the clean-up exercise in their districts.

Tanzania, then Tanganyika, won independence from Britain on December 9, 1961.

Mugabe ruins Telecel to punish Makamba?

via Mugabe ruins Telecel to punish Makamba? – New Zimbabwe 23/11/2015

MADNESS has gripped the government of Zimbabwe. It has once again demonstrated its malevolence and callous disregard for the welfare of its people. The decision by a bankrupt government to acquire a 60 percent stake in mobile telephone company Telecel is the latest example of how destructive the government of Robert Gabriel Mugabe is.

Here are the facts. In 1980 when Zanu PF got into power it inherited a number of parastatals which, despite 15 years of comprehensive sanctions against Rhodesia, were fully functional.  These included the National Railways of Zimbabwe, Air Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company (ZISCO).

The first two are bankrupt while ZISCO to all intents and purposes no longer exists. In 1980 ZISCO had the capacity to produce a million tons of liquid steel yielding 850 000 tons of long steel products. It supplied all of Zimbabwe’s long steel product requirements with excess capacity to export. The company employed 6,500 people with many others employed at its subsidiaries Lancashire Steel and Buchwa Mine. All that is gone with disastrous consequences for people in Redcliff and Kwekwe.

The National Railways of Zimbabwe no longer offers a reliable passenger and cargo service. Air Zimbabwe ranks as one of the most unreliable airlines in the world kept arterially afloat to feed Mugabe’s vanity. These examples are only a microcosm of the damage the Zanu PF government has inflicted on the country’s economy and resultant welfare of its people.

This begs the question why a bankrupt government with such a disastrous record in the management of state entities should acquire a stake in a privately owned company. The answer inadvertently was provided by Telecommunications Minister Super Mandiwanzira. He said this insane decision was made at the behest of his principal.

Who is his principal?  Robert Mugabe. And why would Mugabe against all economic sense and logic want to take over Telecel without the resources and expertise to run it? The answer lies in his personal vendetta against the Chairman of Telecel Zimbabwe and head of the Empowerment Corporation that has a 40 percent stake in Telecel Zimbabwe, James Makamba.

Before an elaboration of this point it is necessary to highlight the insanity of government’s takeover of Telecel. The National Social Security Authority (NSSA) will provide the financial guarantee on behalf of ZARNET a bankrupt state owned internet service provider. A source close to ZARNET had this to say about the deal:

“Asking ZARNET to acquire Telecel is ridiculous. ZARNET has been in financial trouble since its formation in 1997 so it simply lacks the capacity and financial resources to take over Telecel. It is a scandal on its own to even begin to think like that.  Of course it is clear that ZARNET is being used as cover for some murky deal.”

When NSSA was asked to underwrite this deal its chairman Robin Vela has this to say:  “As promised I met with investment committee yesterday to discuss NSSA’s support for the project to acquire Vimplecom’s shareholding. I understand Vimplecom’s interest to be 60 percent equity and 80 million US dollars shareholders’ loan; I can disclose that NSSA’s investment team and management has formally declined to participate in the transaction based on the assertion that NSSA was just  funder providing an unsecured loan.  This is fundamentally against what NSSA’s mandate is given NSSA is the custodian of Pensioners’ funds on which securing the capital and gaining a return on the same is a critical requirement.  NSSA does not lend funds directly to any company.  It lends to banks under strict and limited conditions. The Telecel transaction would not qualify as such.”

The lengthy quotation is absolutely critical as it conclusively proves the unethical and illegal nature of the deal. NSSA has a fiduciary duty to secure Pensioners’ funds and has no business to invest in risky commercial ventures. There are also wider implications on the investment climate in a country where capricious politicians make self-service decisions.

Back to Makamba. It’s common knowledge that Mugabe suspected that Makamba had an affair with his wife. The businessman was jailed for seven months ostensibly for foreign currency violations. He was repeatedly denied bail on charges whose penalty was only a financial one. Due legal process was denied to him. Today Makamba lives in exile because his freedom in his homeland is not guaranteed.

But these Zimbabweans like Makamba and others in enforced exile are not the real victims.  The people who lost employment as a result of their exile bare the real victims. The country suffers because it has lost some of its most enterprising citizens. Telecel will not survive a government takeover. The same government could not profitably run the first mobile telephone operator TelONe.  Given the malicious intent behind the Telecel takeover it is doubtful that the company will continue to exist. The livelihoods of thousands of Zimbabweans will be ruined.

It will also be further confirmation that the regime in Harare has no regard for property rights. The downward economic spiral will continue with resultant poverty for the majority of the country’s citizens. At a time when Telecel’s licence was under threat Vimplecom’s chief business development and portfolio officer Anton Kudryashov said: “We don’t feel welcome in Zimbabwe and it is not good. We want to feel appreciated for what we are doing and we would like to see our licence fully restored.”

A country that drives away its most enterprising citizens and adopts a hostile posture to potential investors is destined to fail. The Telecel takeover by government is the latest body blow to an economy that has spread and deepened poverty in Zimbabwe and driven millions of its citizens to foreign lands.

In the case of Telecel, a vindictive head of state condemns thousands of his citizens to destitution to settle a personal score. It is this malicious vindictiveness that drives the decision to acquire Telecel by a government that will run it to the ground. This is how low Mugabe’s government has sunk.  It has become insensitive to the welfare of its people in its pursuit of unbridled power and selfish accumulation of wealth for a few individual.

Mujuru hits back at Mugabe

via Mujuru hits back at Mugabe – NewsDay Zimbabwe November 24, 2015

Axed Vice-President Joice Mujuru yesterday implored Zanu PF to stop denigrating her by continuing to make false allegations that she plotted to kill President Robert Mugabe in the same manner the late Democratic Republic of Congo leader, Laurent Kabila, was assassinated in 2001.

By Staff Reporter

In a statement, quickly becoming her favoured means of responding to brickbats from her former colleagues, Mujuru said after she was accused of plotting to unseat Mugabe and consulting witch doctors, she challenged her accusers to take her to court, but they had not done so almost a year since she was fired on those allegations.

“When I denied the allegations a year ago, I challenged the authorities to take action in a court of law. This is still to happen,” she said.

“I was accused of plotting to overthrow the President, I was accused of visiting witchdoctors for assistance and that I had betrayed the ethos and the values of the liberation struggle. I did nothing wrong.”

Mujuru, believed to be at the forefront of the yet-to-be-launched People First party, said, now that she was no longer part of the ruling party, she should be allowed to be free to do as she pleased, without Zanu PF being obsessed with her.

“Lately, I have been said to be a part of People First, as if it is a crime. I am free to do whatever I choose to do with my life outside Zanu PF,” she said.

“It is part of the freedom I fought for when we went to war. This is enshrined in our State Constitution. We should desist from thinking and believing that any other political party is illegal or unconstitutional for that matter.”

Mugabe at the weekend claimed Mujuru had plotted to kill him in the same manner Kabila was assassinated by aggrieved aides.

He said they had fought the liberation war together with Mujuru, but she had rebelled, accusations Mujuru has strenuously denied.

“Let’s put our People First and avoid focusing an entire nation’s energy on denigrating a poor widow, who is quietly, lawfully and constitutionally pursuing her own wishes outside Zanu PF,” Mujuru said in response to Mugabe’s allegations.

She instead urged her former boss to expend his energies on dealing with electricity shortages, the economic crisis, poverty and mitigating the potential drought “bedevilling our nation”.

In messages pregnant with innuendo, Mujuru signs off by saying: “Let us Build Zimbabwe together by putting the People First.”

Build is an economic blueprint she publicised a couple of months ago, while People First is the party she is reportedly expected to lead.

“Zimbabweans are free to choose whom they want or wish to lead them or what party they want or wish to join or support,” she said.

Mujuru has for the better part of the year kept the nation guessing on her political plans, although most believe she is readying up for a challenge against Mugabe.

There is no love lost between the two since the President’s wife First Lady Grace Mugabe last year vehemently and repeatedly accused Mujuru of plotting to oust him, accusations that led to her being fired as Vice-President.

No to Mugabe dynasty

via No to Mugabe dynasty – Biti – NewsDay Zimbabwe November 24, 2015

FIRST Lady Grace Mugabe has become a threat to the existence of the Zimbabwean State and must be stopped, opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) leader, Tendai Biti, has said.

BY RICHARD CHIDZA

Biti told NewsDay in an interview yesterday that Zimbabweans should “rise up and object” to the creation of a “Mugabe dynasty”.

He was reacting to media reports that Grace’s son, from her first marriage, Russell Goreraza, had joined his mother and was now donating “goodies” to ordinary people during her “meet-the-people rallies”.

“Grace is creating a dynasty and if there is anyone doubting her ambition to succeed Mugabe, then the past two weeks should have convinced them. We are now seeing Grace putting together the building blocks towards the establishment of a Mugabe dynasty and they need the old man to stick around as long as is possible to allow for this to happen,” Biti said.

Asked what the PDP intends to do in order to stop Grace, the former Finance minister said opposition parties needed the help of Zimbabweans.

“Grace does not pose a threat just to the opposition, but to Zimbabwe as a whole. Zimbabweans must rise up and stop this madness. They must loudly object to this nonsense. If collectively, for a second, we think we can outsource the struggle for democracy in this country to an opposition that cannot organise a bust-up in a bar, then there is no hope for Zimbabwe,” the PDP leader said.

Goreraza, has made donations at his mother’s rallies, donating foodstuffs in Harare, Midlands and Mashonaland East and Central .
With Zanu PF literally at war internally, as the search for President Robert Mugabe’s successor continues unabated, Grace has been tipped as a possible contender to the throne, but she has vehemently dismissed this.

While addressing a rally in Mberengwa district in the Midlands last week, Grace said the fact she has never acted as President in Mugabe’s absence was enough evidence she is not in the running.

“Goreraza is obviously being groomed for political office and you will continue to see him around ahead of 2018. Bona Mugabe-Chikore [Mugabe’s first child] is also eyeing a position in the Mashonaland West provincial youth leadership,” a source told NewsDay.

MDC-T spokesperson, Obert Gutu, concurred with Biti that Grace could be setting up a family structure to rule Zimbabwe.

“They are trying extremely hard to establish a family dynasty. It appears they are keen admirers of the North Korean-style dictatorship. But then, they will never succeed.

“Zimbabweans are not fools. As soon as Robert Mugabe is out of the political scene, Grace Mugabe will become thoroughly irrelevant. She will be shunned like the Biblical leper,” he said.

When she joined full-time politics last year, Grace claimed some people were planning to publicly humiliate her once Mugabe was out of the picture.

Team finalises Sino-Zim deals . . . As President XI Jinping’s visit nears

via Team finalises Sino-Zim deals . . . As President XI Jinping’s visit nears | The Herald November 24, 2015

AN inter-ministerial committee chaired by Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi met in Harare yesterday to finalise several agreements to be presented to Chinese President Xi Jinping who is expected in Harare next Tuesday.The meeting also sought to put financial value to the agreements, which are being discussed within the context of the mega deals signed between Zimbabwe and China during President Mugabe’s state visit to the Asian economic giant in August last year.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Ambassador Joey Bimha confirmed the meeting, saying the agreements covered Zimbabwe’s priority areas such as energy, agriculture, water reticulation and infrastructure development among others.

Although the value of the agreements could not be verified last night, it is understood that it runs into billions of dollars given the nature of the projects. The expectation is that President Xi will set the tone for the operationalisation of all agreed projects.

The implementation of the projects is likely to start during the first quarter of next year, while others are already at various stages of execution. Said Ambassador Bimha: “Minister Mumbengegwi today is chairing an inter-ministerial meeting with ministers involved in the projects that we want to undertake with the assistance of our Chinese counterparts.

“There are a number of agreements that we are looking at including agriculture, energy and water reticulation. “The Chinese will also bring their agreements that we will discuss together with ours.” According to Ambassador Bimha, a lot of ground work was done to present a befitting welcome to the leader of world’s second biggest and fastest growing economy.

He added that Government was attaching great importance to President Xi’s visit, which is the second by a Chinese leader in the history of Zimbabwe. The first visit was in 1996 by President Jiang Zemin.

“It is such an important visit and we have made adequate preparations to receive President Xi,” said Ambassador Bimha. “China is an economic power house and we are very well prepared.” President Mugabe had already indicated that Zimbabwe was looking forward to President Xi’s visit with great interest.

He told reporters in Turkey recently where he was attending the G20 Summit in his capacity as the African Union chairman that they would discuss several issues relating to economic development and areas that Zimbabwe would want assistance from China.

“We actually await the visit with very great interest and when he visits us, we shall be discussing some of the projects and programmes we would want China to assist us in undertaking,” President Mugabe said. He added: “It’s more than the visit of the Chinese head of state that is very important to us. We will discuss programmes of cooperation.”

President Xi will be in Zimbabwe on a two day State visit after which he would proceed to attend the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation in South Africa. The Chinese have adopted a progressive foreign policy where they extend financial assistance and expertise to African countries without strings attached.

The cordial relations between Harare and Beijing have unsettled many Western countries that isolated Zimbabwe when it embarked on pro-people, black economic empowerment policies such as the land reform programme.

Number of tobacco farmers drops

via Number of tobacco farmers drops | The Herald November 24, 2015

The number of farmers who have registered to grow tobacco has dropped from over 86 000 last year to slightly above 69 000 this year, statistics released by the industry regulator show.

In its latest bulletin, the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) said a total of 69 092 farmers have so far registered for the 2015/16 season compared to 86 992 who had registered by the same time last year.

New registrations for 2015/16 now stand 8 755, down from 16 140 last year in a similar period.

About 15 421 hectares have been put under the crop so far amid indications of more farmers shifting to irrigation to mitigate the effects of unpredictable rainfall patterns.

According to the same TIMB report, 2015 seasonal tobacco exports have increased to 125.4 million kilogrammes compared to 119.9 million kilograms in the corresponding period the prior year.

Tobacco has become Zimbabwe’s major foreign currency earner, with close to 92 000 farmers growing the crop as at the 2014/15 season, a number significantly higher than 52 000 farmers three years ago.

Seasonal tobacco sales for 2015 were 198, 7 million kg compared to 216, 1 million kg in 2014.

Many farmers have abandoned traditional crops like maize and cotton in preference of tobacco, but lack of expertise and unsuitable conditions have resulted in a number of them producing a poor crop, analysts have said.

Last season, most tobacco growers complained about low prices while the merchants argued that the quality of the crop was poor. – New Ziana.

Dinha seeks Concourt reprieve

via Dinha seeks Concourt reprieve | The Herald November 24, 2015

The trial of Mashonaland Central Provincial Affairs Minister Martin Dinha hit a snag yesterday after the case was deferred to tomorrow for the High Court to hear a defence application for referral to the Constitutional Court.

Dinha is facing charges of allegedly extorting $60 000 from a white commercial farmer as protection fee against eviction.

Through his lawyer, Advocate Thabani Mpofu, Dinha raises constitutional issues following Justice Happias Zhou’s ruling earlier this month declining to postpone the trial until the de-classification of certain State secrets that Dinha wants to use in his defence.

The matter was deferred to enable both the defence and State counsel to file their heads of argument today ahead of the hearing tomorrow.

Dinha wants the court to refer his case to the Constitutional Court arguing that his right to a fair trial was infringed upon after Justice Zhou ordered his trial to go ahead without him being given the critical documents for his defence.

He also argues that his lawyer is now afraid to represent him if he cannot access the critical evidence for his defence.

“My counsel has already indicated that he is unable to defend me if he does not have access to the evidence in question as he does not wish to end up being a subject of criminal proceedings,” said Dinha in his application filed at the High Court.

He argues that his right to fair trial under Section 69(1) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe was violated.

“Such right cannot be upheld if the State is allowed to conceal from court exculpatory evidence, neither can justice be served if I do not get the opportunity to mount a competent defence,” Adv Mpofu said.

“I submit that the determination made by the trial court is insensitive to my right to fair trial, therefore constitutionally invalid.”

Dinha further stated that after the court ruling on November 3, he did all he could to ensure that the documents he needed were de-classified and placed into counsel’s possession but with no joy.

“Unfortunately I cannot in these proceedings refer to the steps that I have taken in this regard as that has security implications,” he said. “The bottom line is that I have failed to make any headway and my interest are therefore at risk.”

The State has opposing the application for lack of merit.

On November 3 Justice Zhou ruled that Dinha had ample time to put his house in order from the day he was indicted for trial on August 31.

“He had ample time to institute whatever measures were appropriate and enabled him to access the documents, which he needed for the prosecution of his defence. He did not do that.”

The judge then told Dinha to make arrangements between November 3 and yesterday to ensure he filed his defence.

Dinha (53) is being charged for criminal abuse of office or alternatively bribery.

He is also facing money laundering charges. He is out of custody on $1 000 bail.

He allegedly demanded $60 000 from Mr Guy Frank Dollar as protection fee against eviction from Tsoro Farm in the Centenary area.

Adv Mpofu is instructed by Mr Tapson Dzvetero of Antonio and Dzvetero Legal Practitioners.

Mujuru plotted to kill me Kabila way, Bob

via Mujuru plotted to kill me Kabila way, Bob – New Zimbabwe 23/11/2015

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe has again claimed that former deputy, Joice Mujuru, wanted to kill him in order to take over power.

Speaking in Gweru Saturday, the 91-year-old president also attacked opposition MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai saying he could not think for himself and depended on whites for funding and ideas.

Mugabe was addressing guests at the handover of Gushungo House at Woodlands Park suburb in the Midlands capital.

The property was donated by Gweru businesswoman, Smelly Dube, in honour of Mugabe’s contribution to the liberation struggle.

The Zanu PF leader said although they had been comrades in the liberation struggle, Mujuru plotted to kill him the Laurent Kabila way.

Kabila, the former DRC leader, was shot dead by one of his bodyguards in 2001, after Zimbabwe helped save him from violent ouster by rebels which invaded from Uganda and Rwanda.

Mujuru was Mugabe’s deputy for 10 years and seen as his successor until she was ousted last year, accused of plotting a coup as well as engaging grand corruption.

The former VP has since denied the coup and graft allegations – charges over which she has not been prosecuted either.

Fired with Mujuru were several cabinet ministers and senior party officials said to have been part of her coup plot, including then Zanu PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo.

On Saturday Mugabe accused Gumbo of vacillating during the liberation struggle and being divisive in his Mberengwa home area by wanting dominance over Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Mugabe said unlike Gumbo, Mnangagwa was not rebellious.

Mugabe also turned on long-term rival and opposition MDC-T leader Tsvangirai saying he could not think for himself and depended on the local white community for political guidance.

“He (Tsvangirai) and the late (Gibson) Sibanda were approached by whites who crafted MDC for them so that they could fight liberation fighters,” said the president.

“Tsvangirai committed the sin of fighting the liberation fighters and he would be judged by those sins when time comes.”

PSMAS doctors down syringes

via PSMAS doctors down syringes – The Zimbabwean 24.11.2015

It never rains but pours for the troubled Public Service Medical Aid Society (PSMAS) as doctors at the parastatal’s West End Hospital have terminated their services

It never rains but pours for the troubled Public Service Medical Aid Society (PSMAS) as doctors at the parastatal’s West End Hospital have terminated their services with immediate effect, effectively crippling operations. The move comes at a time when some permanent doctors at the hospital are also on strike.

When the Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association (ZHDA) visited the hospital, a visibly confused general manager Dr Maulana and the operations director Dr Mapesa could be seen frantically trying to attend to patients in the casualty section but it was evident they were fighting a lost cause. In a letter dated 23 November 2015, West End Locum Casualty Officers said that they are no longer able to provide their services citing a chain of unpaid salaries and unfulfilled promises.

“We have collectively decided that we cannot continue to work in the absence of payment for work from previous months. We will therefore join and support the strike action undertaken by our permanent colleagues. We have made previous communication to this matter and have been promised payments which until now have not materialized, “the officers said.

“Any move towards payment of our salaries will promptly encourage us to get back to work as zealously as we have always done,” concluded the officers. Pharmacists and laboratory technicians have also indicated that they will soon join their colleagues since they are also affected. Doctors who spoke to ZHDA publications said they were last paid salaries in June 2015 despite the fact that PSMAS had the luxury to pay minister David Parirenyatwa in advance for work he has not done.

The doctors accuse Dr Maulana of ignoring them and threatening them with dismissal if they do not turn up for work but the officers are adamant that they are as good as unemployed since they have not been paid in six months.

“As it stands, it’s almost like we are not employed since there was is money coming anyway,” said one of the angry doctors. “When we came on board, we came for money not charity. We do charity elsewhere not locums. They think they can hire new locums, they can try that route but it will not work. No one wants to labor for nothing especially at West End where there are high patient volumes,” the doctors fumed. Operations at West End hospital have virtually collapsed and it seems the management is also clueless on how to handle the crisis which is now affecting innocent patients who have been paying PSMAS diligently over the years.

The ZHDA condemns the latest developments at West End and vindicates the Association’s calls for the dissolution of the web of corruption bedeviling the health sector led by minister Parirenyatwa who shamelessly abused his authority to siphon US$100 000 from PSMAS at a time when the parastatal is failing to pay its own workers.

Trade deficit narrows 29pct in October

via Trade deficit narrows 29pct in October – New Zimbabwe 23/11/2015

ZIMBABWE’S trade deficit narrowed by 29 percent to $279,7 million in October as exports rose slightly, latest data from the national statistics agency has shown.

The Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (Zimstat) data shows that exports in October were up six percent to $236 million compared to the previous month while imports declined 12 percent from $583, 6 million to $515, 9 million.

Some of the exports include beef, tobacco and other agricultural produce as well as wines, minerals and scrap metal.

Cumulatively to October, Zimbabwe’s imports bill stood at $5 billion while exports amounted to $2 billion, indicating a continued reliance on imported goods as local industry remains depressed.

Some of the imported products include fish, milk, cheese, sausage casings, agricultural products including maize, sugar related confectionary, biscuits, electrical energy, chemicals, fertilisers, vehicles and generators.

The biggest import source for Zimbabwe in the period under review was South Africa with $201 million followed by Singapore with $115 million.

Headline news 24 November, 2015

David vs Goliath: The battle to bring Kereke to justice

via David vs Goliath: The battle to bring Kereke to justice – The Standard November 22, 2015

For five years, Harare lawyer Charles Warara had to endure threats of million dollar lawsuits, arrest for alleged rape and the might of powerful State institutions as he battled to obtain justice for an 11-year-old girl allegedly raped at gunpoint by an influential Zanu PF politician.

BY CHARLES LAITON

Initially, Warara says he did not anticipate what lay ahead after the girl’s guardian, Francis Maramwidze, sought his services to follow up the rape case against then Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe advisor Munyaradzi Kereke that was being handled by the police.

Kereke, now Zanu PF’s Bikita West MP, was accused of raping the hapless girl at gunpoint while she was under his custody and the case was first exposed by The Standard in 2010.

Dockets mysteriously disappeared at Harare police stations and when the case was eventually handed to the Attorney General’s office, the then head of the institution, Johannes Tomana refused to prosecute.

Kereke managed to evade the courts, but the girl’s relatives, through Warara, would not be deterred — fighting tooth and nail, even when Tomana made it clear he would never allow the legislator to stand trial.

However, tables were turned last month when the Constitutional Court (ConCourt) convicted Tomana of contempt of court for refusing to give Maramwidze a certificate for Kereke’s private prosecution.

The ConCourt last week rejected an appeal by Kereke seeking to delay his prosecution on the rape charges, in a major milestone for the country’s justice system.

Warara said the victory had come at a huge cost for himself and the victim’s family.

“It will be sufficient to state here that as a matter that is sub-judice I will not disclose much. However, you all may be aware that I got involved in this matter for the first time on 16 December 2010,” he said last week as he reflected on his arduous search for justice.

“It now has been running for five years. One can write a book from the letters and the documents that have been exchanged between my office and the various lawyers who have acted in these numerous splinter cases that all were born out of the letters and court papers written to the police and the then Attorney General.”

He said they did not understand why police and the AG’s office were determined to treat Kereke’s case differently.
“The letters are now a matter of public record,” Warara says.

“In all, we were demanding to know why this rape case has been treated differently.

“What obviously incensed my client [Maramwidze] about the conduct of the case was the secretive manner in which it was sought to be ‘killed’.

“My client was not even advised officially until we had filed papers in court that the then AG had declined to prosecute the matter.”

Warara said on December 17 2010, he dispatched his first letter to the police demanding to know why Kereke had not been arrested four months after the case was reported.

He said it struck him as unusual in a rape case that an accused person would not be arrested and that police could not update the complainants on the investigations for four months.

“At this point, I advised my client not to leave matters any more in the hands of the police because there was clearly a breach of the police Charter which required the police to act in a certain way,” the lawyer added.

“Even more surprising was the conduct of the investigating officer who took long to respond to the letters sent to him.

“What started off as a letter to the police, unknown to me, would wind up being a battle in the courts involving some of the best legal brains in Zimbabwe.

“My letter of 17 December 2010 to the Borrowdale police was ignored and I wrote yet another letter on 13 January 2011. On 18 January 2011, I received the first reply from the police.”

Warara said police, in their response, said they were investigating the matter and would forward the docket to the then AG’s office.

But nothing happened until he wrote another letter on February 14, 2011 when he was advised the docket was now with the AG’s office.

Unsurprisingly, there was a deafening silence from the AG’s office until around December 2011 when Warara decided to make a follow-up.

“It was obviously strange to me that since February 2011 there was no movement on the matter and even worrying was the fact that neither the police nor the AG had stated why the matter had just died a natural death for almost a year since its referral to the AG,” Warara said.

“My client was naturally getting worried and wanted a clear response from Tomana. None came, notwithstanding three letters addressed to that, otherwise esteemed office.

“Then came the bombshell. The docket was no longer with the AG, having been returned to the station which dealt with the matter in 2011, no date was given.

“This was now July 2012 and possibly a year had already gone without efforts to advise me of the status or movement of the matter.”

At that stage, all hope appeared lost that the traumatised girl would ever receive any justice.

“We were now at tipping point.  We had to then get the police to tell us the outcome of Tomana’s perusal of the docket,” he added.

“That never came despite physical visits to get first-hand explanations. It was so frustrating that none disclosure of the case was now the rule both with Tomana’s office and the police.

“We were kept guessing. By this time we were sure no direct answer would come until we got to court.”

Determined to see the case go to court, Warara did everything he could to keep the matter alive.

“We ended up writing letters to some obscure police offices like the Victim Friendly Unit because the station that had been the recipient of the docket did not want to state the decision of the AG,” he said.

The case took a dramatic turn when The Standard reported Maramwidze’s woes as he fought to have Kereke arrested. The powerful Kereke decided to go for the lawyer and Warara’s problems started.

“I received a letter soon after the publication in The Standard of an article on the rape case,” Warara remembers.

“The letter, as you would imagine, was a threat to sue me for $5 million for defamation of character.

“That was not all. He soon filed a letter of complaint to the Law Society through his lawyers.”

“The letter was published before it even reached the Law Society secretary.

“That letter was an attempt to have the case turned against me personally.

“Kereke was now aware that I had been a family friend of the Maramwidzes and that he wanted to fight me using the police.”

Warara said at one point he was accused of raping the victim, as his detractors tried to finish him off.

“A plot was hatched against me so that I would be arrested for abusing the two girls who were the complainants,” he said.

“I was called early morning by ZRP Homicide Section. I went there to find out police officers were accusing me of child abuse.

“They refused to state who had complained, only referring to Kereke’s lawyer’s 20-page letter that was sent out savaging me.”

To his relief, Warara said, police soon realised they had been sold a dummy and disclosed to him they had been sent “by powerful people” to arrest him. Efforts were also made to intimidate Maramwidze into withdrawing the case against Kereke.

“They even visited my home to interview my children. They failed to get evidence,” Warara said.

“These were not constables but senior officers in the police force who wanted my client to turn against me and accuse me of child abuse.

“Sadly for these officers, they soon realised they did not have a complainant. They then never followed up the case of Kereke’s letter.

“It may be interesting to know that the AG’s office was then involved in seeking to turn the case against me.  It all failed when they could not turn my client against me.”

Warara then filed a counter suit against Kereke and the case is still pending before the courts.

“It will not be necessary to discuss the pending cases but there are no less than two cases that are in the High Court as spin offs from this rape allegation,” the lawyer said.

“In total, no less than 10 cases have been filed in various courts in a fight to get this case concluded.

“Some of the cases have simply died a natural death. It was clear to me that these cases and applications filed against me personally were designed to frighten me from pursuing the case. That proved futile.

“I soon realised when we started that we would go for the long haul with the case and that would turn out to be costly.  Due to public support, the case would continue to be fought.

“I only met Kereke once since these cases started and it was clear he was not giving up the fight.”

Warara said if it wasn’t for the ConCourt’s intervention, the Zanu PF legislator would never have been charged.

“All this reads like a sad chapter in the legal history of our country,” Warara said.

“Innocent young girls remain without protection as long as people in positions of influence protect the influential and powerful.

“I have vowed to fight such favouritism and I will not allow fear of man to get the better of me.”

He is now determined to have the case taken to the Magistrates’ Court in Harare before Christmas.

Kereke rape case timeline

  • Girl allegedly raped by Kereke in 2009.
  • December 16 2010, lawyer Charles Warara takes up case.
  • 2010 The Standard publishes story on the case.
  • Soon after Kereke threatens to sue Warara for $5 million for defamation of character.
  •  May 2014, High Court orders Tomana to issue Maramwidze certificate to prosecute Kereke.
  • October 2014, Supreme Court strikes off Kereke’s appeal against the High Court ruling. The case ends up in ConCourt.
  • October 2015, ConCourt convicts Tomana of contempt of court for refusing to issue Maramwidze a certificate for Kereke’s private prosecution.
  •  November 2015 ConCourt rejects Kereke appeal for delay of prosecution.

Grace

via Grace – NewsDay Zimbabwe November 23, 2015

First Lady Grace Mugabe stirred a hornet’s nest when she blamed miniskirts for attracting rapists. The tirade has caused an outrcry from gender activists and readers.

Social media was awash with comments from people castigating the First lady for her miniskirt remarks.

Calvin Da Nobriega said “A rapist is someone who cannot control his urges. Do rapists only attack women wearing mini skirts? There are many stories of men raping babies or elderly women or even animals. These are sick people and not wearing mini skirts will not stop them.”

Below are some of the sentiments expressed by netizens on the issue.

grace mini 1

 

ZSE opens week in negative territory

via ZSE opens week in negative territory – The Zimbabwe Independent November 23, 2015

THE Zimbabwe Stock Exchange industrial index eased 1,48% to close trades on 118,79 points weighed down by losses in heavyweights Delta, Innscor and OK Zimbabwe.

Delta, the largest counter on the local bourse shed 3,8% of its share price to close trades while conglomerate Innscor, the second largest concern lost 1,4%. OK eased 0,4% to US5 cents.

On the upside gains were recorded in mid cap counters insurer First Mutual, Mashonaland, Meikles, Willdale and ZBFH.
The mining index was unchanged on 22,33 points.-Staff Writer

Searching my soul this Sixteen Days

via Searching my soul this Sixteen Days – The Zimbabwean 23.11.2015

It’s Sixteen Days again and I am in trepidation.

The media, who largely forget about us during the year, will be upon us with their incessant, last minute requests for sound bites on what this period from 25 November (International Day of No Violence Against Women) to 10 December (Human Rights Day) actually means.

It’s been that way since we started the campaign ten years ago. Is there anything new to say? 2015 has come and it’s almost gone. In 2008, Southern African Development Community (SADC) Heads of State signed the Protocol on Gender and Development, vowing to halve gender violence by 2015.

Six SADC countries have undertaken prevalence cum attitude surveys to measure how far we have come. These surveys tell us that women’s lifetime experiences of gender violence vary from one in four in Mauritius to four in five in Lesotho. Clearly we are nowhere near halving gender violence.

In October, a task team met to realign the targets of the SADC Gender Protocol to the global Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) that for the first time put gender violence on the global agenda. We have shifted the goal posts to 2030. We now talk about “reducing” gender violence, without daring to put a figure on it.

In my personal life, two unrelated incidents have made me step back as I prepare psychologically for the campaign. Recently, I experienced the efficiency of South African systems in responding to a trumped up case of animal rights abuse and it made me wonder why our systems are so lack lustre when it comes to women’s rights abuses.

I happened at the time, and now, to be grappling with a case of domestic abuse close to my chest in which as an activist and friend I have found myself sorely wanting.

First: the case of the dog. A fortnight ago I took my dog Gigi for a walk as I usually do on a Saturday morning that turned out to be unusually hot. On turning the corner onto a busy road, Gigi decided she was tired, sat down and refused to budge. No amount of coaxing (I had two litres of water) would change her mind. As I could not leave her in the road to go and fetch my car, I did my best to push, pull and cajole us to a security guard I knew so I could do the necessary.

Lo and behold while doing so a woman in a posh car slowed down and started calling me an abuser and called the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA). Offering no practical help, she stalked me all the way to the security guard, and parked her car for 45 minutes while I walked in the blazing sun to go and fetch my car, that the dog happily jumped into.

To my surprise, by the next day, I had received a visit from the SPCA, threatening legal action for crimes as yet unnamed. The case blew over but the questions did not. I asked both the SPCA and the over- zealous complainant if they would have gone to the same lengths had this been a woman in need. I am awaiting an answer.

My friend’s case weighed heavily on me at the time. Hers is one of the most common yet unacknowledged forms of gender violence: years and years of emotional and verbal abuse. According to the research we have conducted in six countries, emotional, psychological and verbal abuse constitutes 40 to 50% percent of the violence experienced by women in a lifetime. Yet nowhere do we find this recorded in police statistics.

The effects, however, are devastating. Mental and physical illness interlock in a vicious negative cycle. They reflect most directly in number of days work lost (I can confirm that in the case of my friend we are talking several weeks this past year). Indirectly, emotional abuse erodes the sense of agency, of self- worth, so key to human development. Ultimately the costs reflect in career opportunities lost, and economies missing out on these vital contributions that women could be making.

Four years ago I stepped in to help my friend’s husband with a loan to complete a course so he could get a better job, hoping that financial relief would bring some joy on the home front. I miscalculated: more money resulted in greater consumption of alcohol and even more abuse. So I, a gender activist, seem to have aggravated the situation: a painful lesson.

In this case and in our work I have reached the conclusion that ending violence starts with empowering women. I helped my friend to get a job and I have tried to support her professional growth. I am so happy that she has finally found the courage to go to court. I am praying that our systems will work for her in the same way they work for animal rights.

One thing that is new about our campaign is that this year we started the Sixteen Days a week early – on 19 November Women’s Entrepreneurship Day. On this day, we celebrated the 1500 survivors of gender violence who have reclaimed their lives through a unique combination of life skills and better business suss. As we gather evidence of what has changed in their lives, we find that a number of abusive partners have reconciled with these women, now that they are in a stronger position to negotiate their own space within relationships.

What this tells us is that ending violence should not be a zero sum game. Win-win solutions are possible, if only we start where we should: with the survivors of violence, and the attitudes of our societies.

As we look to the next fifteen years, what we need is not more of the same, but a big shift in how we think, act, and whom we target. If women are at the heart of the problem, they should also be at the heart of the solutions. Post 2015, we need a combination of voice, choice and control for women to direct their own destinies.

(Colleen Lowe Morna is CEO of Gender Links. This article is written in her personal capacity as part of a special series for the Sixteen Days of Activism being produced by the Gender Links New Service).

Youths to demonstrate against Mphoko’s stay in hotel

via Youths to demonstrate against Mphoko’s stay in hotel – NewsDay Zimbabwe November 23, 2015

THE Democratic Assembly for Restoration and Empowerment (Dare) plans to demonstrate against Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko this week over his continued stay at a five-star hotel at taxpayers’ expense.

BY OBEY MANAYITI

Mphoko is close to clocking a year at a top hotel, as the government tries to secure “appropriate” accommodation for him since his appointment last December.

Dare youth wing said it will also hand in a petition after the demonstration, to show disgust at what it termed senseless spending?

“As the Dare youth movement, we have to exercise our constitutional right of petitioning and demonstrating against the VP,” Elvis Mugari, the president of the youth movement said.

“We are saying the VP must vacate that five-star hotel with his grandchild because he is living lavishly, while the general public is suffering and finding it difficult to have food on their table.

“Quite a huge amount of taxpayers’ money has been spent on him, yet the country is in comatose, ravaged by incessant power cuts affecting every sector, unemployment, poor health facilities, poor investments among challenges,” he said, adding that there was strong mobilisation for participation in the demonstration.

Mphoko has been under pressure from various quarters over his continued stay at a hotel, at a time the government is struggling to meet its obligations.

The government was expected to start paying bonuses to civil servants last week, but failed to do so to members of the uniformed forces, as previously announced due to financial constraints.

There was an outcry in Parliament recently when MPs demanded VP Emmerson Mnangagwa to explain why his counterpart continued to stay at a luxurious hotel. Mnangagwa assured legislators that the government was working hard to ensure Mphoko gets a house.

Efforts to get an update on the government’s position regarding the issue from Information minister Christopher Mushowe were fruitless as his mobile went unanswered.

Grace, son donations raise eyebrows

via Grace, son donations raise eyebrows – NewsDay Zimbabwe November 23, 2015

OPPOSITION parties and analysts have demanded that First Lady Grace Mugabe should explain the source of clothes and goodies she and her son Russel Goreraza has been dishing out in large quantities to Zanu PF supporters.

BY MOSES MATENGA

Grace, has of late been staging rallies in different provinces, where she has donated food and clothes, including suits to traditional leaders, a move that has raised the ire of opposition parties, who yesterday queried the source and motive behind the hand-outs.

Goreraza donated 3 000kg of salt, 3 000kg of sugar, 3 000kg of bathing soap and 1 000 litres of cooking oil in Murewa on Saturday, after making almost a similar donation in Mbare and Mberengwa.

Grace gave suits, shoes and shirts to chiefs over and above bicycles for their security personnel.

The First Lady also donated 8 000 litres of cooking oil, 150 tonnes of maize, 105 tonnes of rice, secondhand clothes weighing 3 184kg, maize seed and fertiliser to people in Murewa.

Among the donations were also soccer kits donated to eight secondary schools in the province.

MDC-T said Zanu PF was not treating people fairly, amid suspicion the goods Grace and her son donated were looted goods.

“It just goes to prove that both Grace and her son, Russell, have an extremely low and contemptuous opinion of the people of Zimbabwe as well as our traditional leaders,” MDC-T spokesperson, Obert Gutu said. He said they were treating people like beggars, who should survive on the benevolence of the First Family.

“This is in extreme bad taste. Zimbabweans are a very proud and hardworking people, who don’t deserve to be treated in such a disgraceful, patronising manner.

“Those groceries are, obviously, looted property. Those people have got absolutely no shame. How can a country be run on hand-outs from the First Family? We are not surprised, however, because dictatorship thrive on the pauperisation of the masses.”

People’s Democratic Party spokesperson, Jacob Mafume said Grace and her son should disclose the source of the goods.

“It is primitive politics, where a leader of a party can donate goodies without disclosing where they come from. We are seeing a worst case of abuse of State resources at an unprecedented rate,” he charged.

“It would appear as if Mugabe and his family destroyed the nation so they could be able to buy things for people. How does a First Lady of a suffering people show so much wealth?”

Political analyst, Takura Zhangazha, described the dishing out of goodies as a strategy to patronise the recipients, describing it as sad for Zimbabwean politics.

“It’s the politics of materialism with the intention of winning hearts and minds of poorer citizens and voters. It essentially means their intention is to move away from value-based politics, to that of patronage. In this case, only those with money or access to vast resources will qualify to be political leaders and it’s a sad development for Zimbabwe politics,” he said.

Zanu PF won’t listen to MDC-T: Mnangagwa

via Zanu PF won’t listen to MDC-T: Mnangagwa – NewsDay Zimbabwe November 23, 2015

Zanu PF has vowed to continue pressing ahead with its programmes regardless of protests by the opposition MDC-T Members of Parliament concerning alleged violations of the Constitution.

BY BLESSED MHLANGA

Speaking in Mataga last week, Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa said First Lady Grace Mugabe would continue handing over government-sourced farming equipment at party rallies despite protests by parliamentarians.

“They asked me why [Grace] was donating government equipment when she was not part of government, but I vexed them with English and told them that there is a difference between donating and handing over and they sat down with tails tucked,” he said.

The VP said the MDC-T, whose numbers had dwindled in Parliament, could continue making noise in the august House, but that would not stop the “Zanu PF train”.

“They can continue complaining and talking, but Zanu PF will not be stopped. We will continue to rule and rule and rule,” he said.

Mnangagwa’s statements came just after Grace had handed over four tractors, plough shears, planters and an assortment of foodstuffs to villagers in Mataga.

The tractors are part of a government-to-government loan agreement between Zimbabwe and Brazil.

The VP seemed to endorse the First Lady’s call that MDC-T president, Morgan Tsvangirai should never be allowed to rule Zimbabwe.

“He asked white people to put Zimbabwe under sanctions and asked them to remove the sanctions only when he gets into power, but he won’t get into power. How will he get into power, in which year and who would have allowed him to get that power? This country came through the blood of our ancestors . . . the bones of Mbuya Nehanda will rise again, it will never happen for him to rule Zimbabwe,” Grace said.

The First Lady also attacked former Zanu PF spokesperson, Rugare Gumbo, saying he was a sell out even during the liberation struggle.

She said he was busy circulating messages in Mberengwa promoting a yet-to-be-formed political party, People First, which is expected to be led by fired Vice-President Joice Mujuru.

She called on the people of Mberengwa, were Gumbo hails from, to throw the party out of their space if they wanted development.

Job cuts cause fresh exodus

via Job cuts cause fresh exodus – DailyNews Live 24 August 2015

CAPE TOWN – “I always thought I would be the last one to leave Zimbabwe. But with the current situation, I had no choice but to come down here to fend for my family,” said 42-year-old Calvin Kavara.

The skilled engineer and father of three feels betrayed by his Zanu PF party which has failed to deliver its election promises of 2,2 million jobs and has presided over more job losses since 2013 due to mismanagement of the economy.

“I had hoped against hope that things would get better soon, but after I was laid off about a month ago, I had to make some tough decisions,” he said with a sad smile on his face.

Kavara — a casualty of the recent Supreme Court Labour ruling which saw an estimated 20 000 people losing their jobs in less than a month — joins thousands of people who are crossing Zimbabwe’s borders daily in search of greener pastures.

Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, Mozambique, South Africa, the United Kingdom, Australia and the United States, among other countries, have for more than a decade become a sanctuary for Zimbabwe’s economic refugees and the trend is rising again — after a reprieve during the coalition government era between 2009 and 2013 — due to a resurgent economic meltdown.

Economist Eddie Cross estimates that up to 5 000 people a day are now crossing the country’s southern border into South Africa, a number he said could translate to more than 40 000 a week or two million people by the end of this year.

“Some will return but the majority will stay and seek new lives. Can South Africa take such an additional burden at this time? I think not,” he said.

The Bulawayo South legislator blamed the mass exodus into South Africa — where only a few months ago Zimbabweans were fleeing from xenophobia attacks — on Zimbabwe’s deteriorating economic situation.

“Every aspect of life is affected by the economy and how it is performing. Despite the statements by the pundits, our economy has resumed the downwards slide that characterised the economy from 1997 to 2008.

“Inflows to State coffers have shrunk and suddenly there is no money in the market. Companies are retrenching staff or simply winding up their affairs. Human flight has resumed with a vengeance into any country that will have our economic refugees,” he said.

Political analyst Blessing Vava says President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu PF have failed the majority of Zimbabweans and cannot claim to be their saviour by rushing labour law amendments through Parliament.

“The collapse of Zimbabwe’s economy originated from ‘market fundamentalism’, but the recent crisis has been due to a total collapse of the nationalist interventionist paradigm, itself a creature of the Third Chimurenga — the chaotic land reform — and ZimAsset policies,” he said.

Vava noted that government recently indicated plans to cut the public sector wage bill to 40 percent of total revenue from the current 80 percent.

“Therefore, the Supreme Court ruling is not surprising: it had been planned already. And it is clear that Harare is succumbing to pressure from institutions like the IMF and World Bank, and of course the East, which are prescribing these austerity measures as pre-conditions for a financial bailout.

“It is shocking why the international community is quiet while all this is happening in Zimbabwe. Their only loud cries were when Cecil the Lion was killed. It boggles the mind,” he added.

MDC secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora said Zimbabwe can revive its economic fortunes under Morgan Tsvangirai, who proved his mettle during the inclusive government era when live improved significantly for the majority of Zimbabweans.

“Tsvangirai is an astute visionary. He went into the inclusive government to improve the economy, reduce State-sponsored violence and delivered a new people driven democratic Constitution. Tsvangirai and the MDC achieved just that,” he said.

Mwonzora  said the MDC leader — who has controversially lost elections to his political nemesis Mugabe, albeit under controversial circumstances since 2002 — remains the best bet for the ailing country.

“Though famous and enjoying mass support, Tsvangirai remains down to earth and approachable. Resultantly, the masses love and trust him. That is why he remains the face of the struggle and Zimbabwe’s best foot forward in the long and arduous fight against tyranny, repression and deprivation,” he said.

French firm to speed up digitisation

via French firm to speed up digitisation | The Herald November 23, 2015

ZIMBABWE has signed a three-year deal with a France based satellite provider Eutelsat Communications to speed up the television digitisation process in the country. In a statement, the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) said under the agreement, Zimbabwe will be provided with capacity to deliver 12 free-to-view-channels to 48 Digital Terrestrial Television transmitters.

The authority said it will enable Zimbabwean viewers to have a wider choice of television stations and programmes as well as improved picture quality. Zimbabwe is still using analogue television signal after missing the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) June 17 deadline to migrate to digital.

BAZ chief executive Obert Muganyura told our Bulawayo Bureau yesterday that the French satellite operator will provide optical fibre connectivity to the broadcasting transmitter sites. He said that the agreement will transform the country into a nationwide provider of digital broadcast services.

“With this Eutelsat partnership and our project partners, the stage is set for Zimbabwe to accelerate the transition from analogue to digital TV in order to deliver improved service to viewers nationwide,” said Muganyura.

Eutelsat chief commercial and development officer Michel Azibert said the contract marked the company’s first step to participate in Zimbabwe’s digitisation process and would further expand its footprint in Africa.

“We are delighted to see Eutelsat 3B’s increasing weight in the African landscape and to be part of this continent-wide movement to go digital,” he said. Meanwhile, Muganyura said the first batch of the transmitters was being installed at five of the 48 transmission sites.

He said so far Kamativi and Kenmuar had been completed while Nyanga, Susamoya and Mutare were still work in progress. “We’re expecting to conduct our first test of this new service sometime in December,” said Muganyura. He added that the official launch was expected in the first quarter of 2016.

The project is managed by BAZ that is working with Transmedia which is the country’s national signal carrier, ZBC and Huawei that are responsible for the sourcing of digital equipment, including set-top-boxes for users.

Coal mining concerns threaten electricity generation at Hwange

via Coal mining concerns threaten electricity generation at Hwange | The Herald November 23, 2015

HWANGE Power Station (HPS) experiences a deficit of 3 000 tonnes of coal every day as coal miners are failing to supply the adequate feedstock citing capitalisation concerns. HPS consumes 8 000 tonnes of coal daily but miners have only managed to supply about 3 500 tonnes leaving power generation under threat. Hwange Power Station general manager Mr Arnold Chivurayise confirmed the situation during a tour made by Parliamentarians who were assessing the operations of the country’s power plants last week.

“We consume an average of 8 000 tonnes of coal a day, but we’ve challenges with our miners, who are mainly complaining about capitalising their operations. “We currently get an average of 3 500 tones. Every day, we are accumulating a deficit of 3 000 tones and this is a threat to electricity generation,” said Mr Chivurayise.

Situated in the North Western part of Zimbabwe, Hwange Power Station is the largest coal-fired power station with 920Megawatts installed capacity which comprises of 4×120 Megawatt and 2×220 Megawatt units. It is the 14th largest thermal station in Southern Africa.

“Traditionally, we were running with stockpile reserves of 45 days, but we are currently running on 20 days. We are getting most of the coal from Makomo Resources, out of the three miners who supply us,” said Mr Chivurayise. On expansion, Mr Chivurayise said the company signed a $1,5 billion contract with Sinohydro Ltd, last year but to date $3 million has been pooled for initial works.

The deal, which still needs full financial cover, will see Sinohydro Corp add 600 MW of electricity at the Hwange plant as well as a transmission line. Mr Chivurayise said Sinohydro has done the geo technical studies and the Zimbabwe Power Company is working towards financial closure before end of January 2016. Hwange Power station operates as a base load station, with its availability averaging 80 percent and a plant load factor of 65 percent.

The station designs largely represent technologies of the late 1960s and some of the equipment such as the boiler controls has had to be replaced with modern digital process controls.

Parly seeks to lower Kariba project costs

via Parly seeks to lower Kariba project costs | The Herald November 23, 2015

THE parliamentary portfolio committee on Mines and Energy says it will lobby for deferment of all Zimbabwean-imposed statutory fees to lower the overall cost of the project to increase generation capacity at Kariba South Hydro Power Station. Kariba South’s capacity of 750 megawatts will be expanded by 300MW, as part of Government’s efforts to increase national output to close the electricity demand deficit. Other projects are planned in the country.

Zimbabwe requires 2 200MW at peak of demand, but it can only generate an average of 900MW due to limited generation capacity and shortage of water needed to generate power at the Kariba hydro power plant. The contract for expansion of Kariba South, was awarded to Sino Hydro at an engineering procurement and construction cost of $354 million, but it is expected that the total cost of extending Kariba South will be $533 million.

However, the EPC cost to increase the power plant’s capacity rose to $369 million due to inflation in China after implementation of the project was delayed. Project implementation would not start before financial closure.

Price adjustment was provided for in the contract with Sino-Hydro in the event the consumer price index rose in China, where the equipment for the project is being manufactured, before financial closure. Last week legislators visited Kariba to familiarise themselves with the ongoing Kariba South power plant expansion project and to get first hand insight into the extent of the falling water levels in the Kariba Dam.

The law makers have in the past expressed serious concerns about the total cost of expanding the power station’s production capacity and the impact on consumers as loans for the project will be paid from sale of electricity.

A special purpose vehicle had to be created to warehouse the assets of the newly formed. Kariba Hydro Power Station company, with revenue generated from the old and new plant ring fenced to clear the interest cost component and the loan capital borrowed from China to finance the project.

As such, legislators in the portfolio committee, which has oversight on mines and energy in the country, believe deferring the statutory fees would lower the project cost and potential burden on the consumers of the power.

Statutory fees payable by the Zimbabwe Power Company, which the lawmakers want deferred, include $4,4 million to National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority, $1,2 million to Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority and $2,7 million to Environmental Management Authority.

Acting chairperson of the parliamentary portfolio, Simbaneuta Mudarikwa said extension of Kariba South’s capacity is a national project and that all statutory fees must be deferred for some time.

“Kariba South bank extension is a national project, so all other statutory fees must be deferred until such a time that the project is completed,” he said. “There is need for deferment of all statutory fees because we have no electricity and it is a national project, but we are the same people wanting to destroy the revenue base for the national project,” the MP said.

Deferring the statutory fees payable on the project would also lessen the financial burden of implementing the projected on ZPC, which has to raise other resources required for development of the national power project.

This is because the contractor, Sino Hydro, is only proving $369 million, while ZPC has to secure shortfall for the total project cost of $533 million. As such, ZPC borrowed $160 million from Standard Chartered Bank.

This would fund other obligations on ZPC, including $28 million for the escrow account holding the loan and for loan servicing, $48 million to spruce up the existing plant, which will finance interest payments, $15,7 million for advisors to different aspects of the deal and $7 million initial deposit.

Legislators also got first hand sight of the drastic drop in the water levels in Kariba Dam due to a poor hydrological year around the Zambezi River, which supplies the dam, catchment area in the last season.

Grace defies lawsuit threats, gives tractors

via Grace defies lawsuit threats, gives tractors – New Zimbabwe 22/11/2015

THE First Lady Grace Mugabe weekend went on yet another round of dispensing government sourced farm implements at Zanu PF rallies, ignoring opposition threats to sue her for grabbing and abusing state resources.

In her two rallies, President Robert Mugabe’s wife took time to berate critics who view her as silently staking a claim to presidency at the expense of Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

“We respect the law. On top of that I am well educated that is why I am Dr Mugabe,” she ranted before government officials and party followers.

“I read and understand the Constitution. They want to reduce me to a dull person who knows nothing. I do not usurp any body’s powers.”

But the controversial Zanu PF women’s league secretary appeared to toss her assumed principles right through the proverbial window during her Mberengwa and Murehwa provincial rallies Friday and Saturday.

She parcelled out tractors, planters, sprayers, fertiliser and other implements running into hundreds of thousands of US dollars.

All the implements were channelled through Zanu PF structures.

The MDC-T has threatened to approach the courts in attempts block Grace’s continued grabbing of implements sourced through an agreement between Zimbabwe and Brazil.

“We said that few days ago that we are seriously considering taking legal action to have her stopped from doing that,” Gutu told Newzimbabwe.com last week.

Quizzed by opposition legislators on why Grace, a non-government official, was distributing government assets last month, VP Mnangagwa struggled to defend the practice.

Mnangagwa said the First Lady was “just handing over equipment as identified by the ministry of agriculture”.

The opposition also threatened to push through a motion via parliament aimed at stopping the abuse of government property.

Gutu said they were still consulting with a legal team on how to file the challenge.

Presidential spokesperson George Charamba last week refused to discuss Grace’s controversial actions, saying he could only comment if the first lady resumed parcelling out the tractors.

“I want you to wait for events so that you don’t anticipate events…she can’t carry out what has not happened. Wait for tomorrow,” he said then.

He was not reachable Sunday when further attempts to seek his comments
were made.

MDC-T: Grace wheel chair talk delusional

via MDC-T: Grace wheel chair talk delusional – New Zimbabwe 22/11/2015

OPPOSITION parties on Sunday described utterances by President Robert Mugabe’s wife Grace that her husband was going to rule even from a “special wheel chair” as hallucination.

Grace told Zanu PF supporters at Murewa centre that Mugabe, who has been nominated for the 2018 elections as Zanu PF Presidential candidate, would rule until he turned 100.

She said the “people” still want Mugabe because he respects them and his nomination for the top post in the forthcoming elections bore testimony to that.

Recently, liberation war veterans made similar statements and threatened war should Mugabe lose to the opposition.

Obert Gutu, the Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC spokesperson, told NewZimbabwe.com that Grace was hallucinating.

“This is delusional,” said Gutu.

Gutu said Grace, who is touring the country on her whirlwind “meet the people” rallies with an entourage of government ministers using state resources, was being selfish.

“It (Grace’s tour) is not about the interests of the majority of the struggling people of Zimbabwe,” he said.

“Grace Mugabe and her cronies amongst the ruling elite are only interested in looting State resources and lining up their pockets with ill-gotten cash.

“In fact, these people don’t love Robert Mugabe and what they are doing is to abuse the old man for their own selfish agendas through using him as a shield to continue to loot and pilfer State resources.”

Mugabe, who turns 92 in three months time, has ruled the country since independence in 1980.

He has never allowed succession debate in his party.

Recently his party’s youth secretary Pupurayi Tongarepi told reporters in Harare that only Mugabe’s death would pave way for the succession debate.

People’s Democratic Party’s national spokesperson Jacob Mafume said it is not true that Mugabe will rule forever as he has already given power to his wife.

“It is clear that the person who is now in charge of the country is Grace who has been put there with the tacit approval of her husband,” said Mafume.

“The interests of the country are secondary to their need to hold on to power and enjoy the national budget as a personal budget.

“It has been clear to all that the president will soon rule not only from a wheelchair but from an old people’s’ home.”

Zanu PF officials ‘consult n’angas’ for posts

via Zanu PF officials ‘consult n’angas’ for posts – NewsDay Zimbabwe November 23, 2015

SEVERAL senior Zanu PF bigwigs are reportedly frequenting traditional healers, fortune tellers and prophets in a bid to take over from aging President Robert Mugabe, the party’s political commissar Saviour Kasukuwere claimed at the weekend.

BY MOSES MATENGA

Kasukuwere told thousands of party supporters in Murewa last week that some party officials were burning the midnight oil and using the cover of darkness plotting to take over from the President, but warned they were wasting time as the President was there to stay.

“N’angas (traditional healers) and prophets are in trouble these days. We, however, say, down with those who are not sleeping dreaming of a post that is not there. Some did not sleep dreaming of a post that is not vacant,” he said.

“How can you bet for horses when there is no race? In 2013, we agreed that Gushungo [Mugabe] was in charge. Let him rule. When we say one centre of power, we mean exactly that. The December (2014) congress flushed out rotten elements and don’t build castles in the air. We have one President and one Amai, let them rule our country.

“There is no First Man’s vacancy and there is none for the First Lady because she is there. Those that dream are wasting time. There is a person in the name of our father, Cde Mugabe,” he said before introducing the First Lady.

Grace also showered Kasukuwere with praises for his work as political commissar.

Zanu PF is embroiled in serious fights, as the battle to succeed Mugabe, who has been endorsed as the party’s Presidential candidate for 2018 when he will be 94, heats up.

Grace is on record as saying Mugabe would rule even if he turned blind and a special wheelchair would be made for him and he would be pushed to rallies and meetings.

Several Zanu PF officials have been seen frequenting churches led by popular prophets in what observers said was a sign they were seeking divine intervention as they tried to position themselves to take over from Mugabe.

Others have been spotted in apostolic robes at shrines in the past.

21 out of 61 community share trusts fully capitalised

via 21 out of 61 community share trusts fully capitalised – NewsDay Zimbabwe November 23, 2015

ONLY 21 out of 61 community share ownership trusts (CSOTs) received seed capital from qualifying businesses within their jurisdiction, as required by the indigenisation law that businesses should contribute 10% towards CSOTs.

BY VENERANDA LANGA

This was disclosed in the National Assembly on Wednesday by Youth deputy minister, Mathias Tongofa.

He said to date, $134 million had been pledged by qualifying businesses to capitalise CSOTs, of which most of the amount has not been paid.

Tongofa was responding to a question from Mabvuku Tafara MP James Maridadi, who wanted to know if companies had finally complied with their obligations to capitalise CSOTs.

“To date, $134m has been pledged by qualifying businesses, and out of the 61 CSOTs, 21 have received seed capital from qualifying businesses within their jurisdiction,” Tongofa said.

“A total of $38 182 698 was released to the trusts and has been directed towards socio-economic infrastructure development in the communities. The trusts have managed to provide goods and services to their respective communities to the value of $14,6m to date. The balance of $23,7m remains in the accounts of the trusts for various purposes including investment,” he said.

Tongofa said some of the qualifying businesses that fully honoured their pledges to CSOTs included Zimplats, Unki and Pretoria Portland Cement (PPC).

“Zimplats pledged $10 million to Mhondoro Ngezi, Chegutu and Zvimba CSOTs. Unki pledged $10m to Tongogara CSOT and Pretoria Portland Cement pledged $3m to be shared equally between Gwanda and Umguza CSOT.”

He said some of the qualifying businesses had submitted their payment plans, which were approved by his ministry, while the ministry was engaging the companies to ensure they fulfilled their pledges. 60 CSOTs are rural, while Mabvuku Tafara is the only urban CSOT.

On the issue of Zimunya Marange CSOT, Tongofa disclosed that out of the $50m pledged by diamond mining companies, Mbada Diamonds, Anjin, DMC, Marange Resources and Jinan, which had pledged to pay $10m each to the CSOT, only $250 000 was released by Marange Resources and $200 000 by Mbada Diamonds.

The issue has spilled into Parliament, with investigations ongoing as to whether there was a signed agreement between the Youth ministry and the mining companies on the pledges.

According to the list given to the National Assembly by Tongofa, several mining companies are struggling to pay their pledges to CSOTs.

Mugabe is suffering – Grace

via Mugabe is suffering – Grace – NewsDay Zimbabwe November 23, 2015

President Robert Mugabe is a poor man living a modest life because he is carrying the burden of Zimbabweans seeking economic emancipation from the oppressive Westerners, First Lady Grace Mugabe has claimed.

BY STAFF REPORTER

Speaking at Mataga growth point in Mberengwa in the Midlands Province on Friday, she said it has been reported that her husband was rich and had lots of money, but he was “just a simple man, who was passionate about the suffering people of Zimbabwe”.

“Where have you seen a person who commits their life to suffering for other people? Mugabe has committed his life to his life to suffering and he is suffering for you,” she said.

“You hear people lying that Mugabe has money, lots of money and even when the land reform started, some white farmers thought they could come to me because they thought, since I was young, I could be bought, they offered me $10 million and I refused. I am prepared to suffer for the people of Zimbabwe.”

Despite painting pictures of a suffering President, the First family owns and runs the multi-million dollar dairy company, Gushungo Dairy.

Mugabe has also been reported in some media circles to be one of the richest African Presidents.

Former Zanu PF spokesperson, Rugare Gumbo said he did not know Mugabe and his family were suffering at all.

“I don’t know if they are suffering or rich, but you can judge for yourself from the opulence in which they are living and tell me if that is poverty,” he said.

MDC-T spokesperson, Obert Gutu said the claims by Grace were grossly false and insulting to the people of Zimbabwe because their extravagant and lavish lifestyle was well documented.

“The false claims by Grace are a gross insult for suffering people of Zimbabwe and for Grace to falsely claim that her family is poor when the first family lifestyle is well in tandem with the rich and famous . . . This unmitigated arrogance is not only offensive, but extremely insulting to the suffering people of Zimbabwe,” he said.

Grace further said people should not envy her for staying in State House adding it was a painful experience and had constantly been praying to God for strength to go on.

“It’s painful to stay at the State House, I tell you it is painful because everyone will be looking up to you and wanting to know what you are going to do next,” she said.

Grace told villagers she had flown to the venue in a presidential helicopter and while it was the air she could see huts dotted far from each other and wondered how people would reach the venue.

On Friday Grace told a rally she often skips meals in solidarity with starving Zimbabweans.

A tribute to Sam Moyo – a giant of agrarian studies

via A tribute to Sam Moyo – a giant of agrarian studies | zimbabweland November 23, 2015

Professor Sam Moyo, director of the African Institute of Agrarian Studies, and a giant of agrarian studies has died tragically as a result of a car accident in New Delhi. This is a terrible loss for Zimbabwe, Africa and the world. Sam had a massive intellect and a deep knowledge of agrarian issues, especially in Zimbabwe. He argued strongly for land reform throughout his career and was always an advocate for radical alternatives that challenged oppression and exploitation in whatever form.

I first got to know Sam in the 1980s, when he was working at the Zimbabwe Institute for Development Studies, then a think tank linked to the President’s office. As a PhD student interested in similar themes, he was always welcoming and encouraging, as he has been to so many others since (see this from Alex Magaisa posted over the weekend). Over the years we have had many, many conversations: always challenging, always inspiring. We did not always agree, but I have always massively respected his commitment, integrity and intellectual depth.

Certainly in the last 15 years, as the debate around Zimbabwe’s controversial land reform has continued, Sam’s contributions – and those of his colleagues at AIAS – have been essential. Their district level study published in 2009 preceded our book, and set the stage for a more mature, empirically-informed debate that (sometimes) has followed. Sam has often been inaccurately pigeon-holed as being on one ‘side’ or another. But his scholarship is far more sophisticated than this. In Zimbabwe’s land debate nearly everyone at different times disagreed with him, but they all listened. Whether inside the state and party, among opposition groups or with the World Bank and other donors, no one could ignore what Sam had to say. And his influence in seeking a more sensible line has been enormous.

But Sam’s scholar activism was not just focused on Zimbabwe. He was frequently invited by governments, social movements and others around the world, and particularly in southern Africa. His experiences in Nigeria, teaching at Calabar and Port Harcourt universities, were influential too, giving him a wider perspective than many. His on-going contributions to South Africa’s land debates have been important also, as he shared Zimbabwe’s lessons. More broadly still, he was central to a wider engagement with agrarian studies from the global South, offering a challenge to those who argued that the classical agrarian question is dead. From the perspective of peasants, social movements and struggles across the global South, it certainly is not. Together with Paris Yeros in Brazil and Praveen Jha in India, and as part of a wider collective of Southern scholars linked to the journal Agrarian South, he has made the case for a revived agrarian studies, in the context of land grabs and intensifying capitalist exploitation across rural areas.

Sam’s intellectual leadership has inspired many. He was recently president of Codesria, the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa, and was a director of the Southern African Regional Institute for Policy Studies (SARIPS) for a period. Since being established in 2002, AIAS in Harare has become a centre for training and research, with the annual summer schools attracting researchers, activists and others from across Africa. Earlier he was involved with ZERO, the Harare-based regional environment organisation, together with Yemi Katerere; another organisation that attracted young researchers who established their careers under Sam’s guidance. Like all the organisations he has been involved with, ZERO was ahead of the game, set up when few were thinking about the connections between environment and development. And, as with AIAS, Codesria, SARIPS and ZIDS, it mixed solid research, with a deep political commitment to social justice and equality.

With the passing of Sam we have lost a giant. I will miss our intense conversations on his veranda in Borrowdale, as we tested out our ideas and findings on each other, and he smoked furiously. I was always a few steps behind Sam, and it took me days to digest the content of our lengthy exchanges. But they have always been important and formative, even when we disagreed. This is a terribly sad moment and this tribute has been difficult to write. Professor Issa Shivji summed up many people’s feelings well in a post on Sunday: “We have lost one of our great comrades: utterly committed, a most unassuming scholar and an absolutely decent human being”. So thanks Sam for your friendship, inspiration and commitment. You will be very sorely missed.

This post was written by Ian Scoones and first appeared on Zimbabweland

The Implications of another Regional Crop Failure

via The Implications of another Regional Crop Failure – The Zimbabwean 22.11.2015

Every decade or so we have a regional drought – the last really serious one was in 1992 when I can remember temperatures in the mid 40’s and virtually no rain over vast swathes of the country.

Rivers dried up, the sugar cane in the lowveld died and what few Hippo were left in the South East lowveld were kept alive in swimming pools and farm dams. At that time we owned a few shares in an 84 000 acre ranch near Beitbridge and we had to destock the property completely, I do not think there was a blade of grass in 250 kilometers in all directions.

The maize crop failed in South Africa and the crop in all other SADC States was well below normal. What saved the country that year were two men – the one, the Chairman of the GMB Cephas Msipa and the General Manager Rensen Gapare. These two executives watched what was happening and before most were aware of the impending disaster, they took steps to secure over a million tonnes of maize from overseas traders and at the same time tied up shipping, port and railway capacity.

Although we all appreciated that we were in one of the most severe regional droughts in our history, we did not run out of our basic foods. In those days we had a railway system that could handle two million tonnes of bulk traffic a month, we had 700 000 tones of silo storage and all silos were in good working order.

Right now we have a looming crisis again, the South African crop planting season has almost completely failed – the rains are two months late and temperatures have been unusually high. Whatever happens now in South Africa, they will not be able to recover the ground lost and I would expect that the maize crop will be less than half what it has been this past season – already a short crop.

If this applies to the other SADC States – especially those normally self sufficient such as Malawi, Zambia and Mozambique, then we will be faced with the need to import very large quantities into the region. This past season with a short crop in all regional States, total import demand was about 6 million tonnes. If this season is worse, this figure could double.

What people do not appreciate are the logistics that are involved. In Zimbabwe we will have to import over 1,2 million tonnes of maize this year. Some will come in as grain, some as maize meal. But in all cases the imports to Zimbabwe will be across the borders – a phone call will secure a truck load of either product from Zambia or South Africa at about $220 a tonne. Delivery can be affected in 7 to 14 days and the cash turnaround is short – perhaps one month.

If Zambia has a significantly smaller crop and South Africa has to import more than half their national requirements, then it is possible that both States would suspend exports to preserve local stocks – especially if the new crop is not only smaller than anticipated, but late and stocks in country are running low. Both States hold less than three months supply in stock at any one point in time.

In Zimbabwe such a scenario would mean that we would be in the market for perhaps 2 million tonnes of maize – sufficient to supply the country for the next 15 to 18 months in anticipation of a very small local crop. In such a situation, if the region has had to import 6 million tonnes this year, the outlook for 2016/17 might be 12 million tonnes of grain.

The logistics would be as follows if all of this had to be supplied by either the USA or South America.

Total import demand                                            12 million tonnes

Shipping at 25 000 tonnes per vessel               480 vessels

Railway Wagons required at 40 t/w                 300 000 wagons/trucks

Southern African Ports are generally congested and have only limited capacity to handle products like bulk grain and such a substantial increase in tonnages and shipping would put pressure on all SADC Ports and railways. In fact today I doubt if such volumes could in fact be handled by regional infrastructure. Certainly the Zimbabwe railways could not cope – they do not have the wagons or the locomotive capacity and our rail network is in a poor state of repair with no train control communication systems.

The other problem would be where to store the product when it arrives from the coastal ports? Virtually all GMB silos are no longer in a state to store maize or any other bulk grain (we need 400 000 tonnes of wheat as well) and bagging and stacking capacity are all much reduced.

Then there are the financial implications. It costs $150 to $180 a tonne to grow maize in southern Africa. This is about the market price in the USA. To that price we have to add storage fees the country of origin, transport to the nearest Port, Port charges and fees, shipping costs, Port costs in the SADC and then inland transport by road or by rail. The net result is that imported maize from overseas is generally $100 a tonne more expensive than local maize.

Imports have to be paid for up front – this means that the importer has to pay for the product and almost all costs of transit, up front in one form or another. Then, instead of buying a 40 tonne load at a time, they have to buy in 25 000 tonne lots.

It will take anything up to 3 months to bring maize to the depot of consumption and thereafter you have to add at least another month to two months from a cash flow perspective – cash turnaround is 5 months instead of one month. This ties up hundreds of millions of dollars at any one point in time.

It was for this reason that Zimbabwe has had a strategic grain reserve policy since the 1992 drought. Under this policy the GMB is supposed to hold at least 500 000 tonnes of maize in stock at anyone point in time plus $100 million in cash to be able to order another 400 000 tonnes on an emergency basis when a crop failure like this one, looms. The GMB has failed totally to fulfill its obligations and we have virtually no stocks, what small stocks are held by the Board are being distributed as food aid in rural districts worst affected by the poor wet season last year.

In addition, the country is broke, we do not have any financial reserves to speak of and access to no international credit lines large enough to help us meet any emergency in food supplies. The last time we faced a basic food shortage of this magnitude was 2008 when the collapse of the agricultural industry, like the whole economy, was at an all time low driven onto the rocks by massive inflation. There was no money to import our basic needs and our shops were completely empty.

That year we were saved from a real calamity by the G20 Summit in 2007 where the President of South Africa persuaded the international community to support the process of political reform and change that he was instituting and which would lead to the Government of National Unity in February 2009. The USAID stepped up to the mark and imported sufficient maize to feed 7 million people right through the critical stage and to keep the country stable.

This year, we are on our own, aid agencies do not have the budget to help, our government does not have the capacity to step into the breach and the private sector is as broke as everyone else.

We better all go to Church this Sunday and pray for rain.

International rights groups petition Mugabe over Dzamara

via International rights groups petition Mugabe over Dzamara – NewsDay Zimbabwe November 21, 2015

Amnesty International (AI) and Human Rights Watch (HRW) have called on other civic groups in Africa to join them in a plea to President Robert Mugabe to investigate and resolve the circumstances surrounding the disappearance of journalist-cum-human rights activist Itai Dzamara.

by Phyllis Mbanje

In a joint petition expected to be handed over to Mugabe on November 30, the two international human rights groups said the President should direct the government to take all measures necessary to establish the fate and whereabouts of Dzamara, who went missing on March 9 this year.

“We call on you to promptly establish a commission of enquiry into the enforced disappearance of Itai Dzamara and ensure that those suspected of criminal responsibility are brought to justice in fair trials. The pro-democracy activist has not been accounted for since his disappearance on March 9, 2015,” the document read.

The 36-year-old pro-democracy activist was allegedly abducted by suspected State security agents while at a barber shop in Harare’s Glen View suburb.

The High Court ordered the ministers of Home Affairs (Ignatius Chombo) and State Security (Kembo Mohadi), the Police Commissioner-General (Augustine Chihuri) and the Director-General of the Central Intelligence Organisation (Happyton Bonyongwe) to investigate Dzamara’s disappearance and report fortnightly on progress.

“We note that Itai Dzamara had previously been targeted by State security agents, beaten up, abducted and unlawfully detained.
Other activists have been previously abducted in similar manner by unknown perpetrators, who later turned up to be State security agents,” the two groups said.

The human rights organisations said they were concerned with the paucity of detail contained in the reports sent so far by the police to the Registrar of the High Court.

They described the reports as inadequate and perfunctory, providing “no substantive details” of steps taken by the police except to confirm that investigations into Dzamara’s disappearance were underway.

Anger over Grace police, army ‘abuse’

via Anger over Grace police, army ‘abuse’ – NewsDay Zimbabwe November 21, 2015

OPPOSITION political parties have criticised First Lady Grace Mugabe for ordering the police and military to distribute “goodies” to citizens in the name of the ruling Zanu PF.

BY RICHARD CHIDZA

Grace told thousands of Zanu PF supporters in Mbare this week that she would give them food.

But after grumblings that the “goodies” might be “stolen” by party apparatchiks, she said the army and police will be responsible for the distribution door-to-door.

The Zanu PF women’s league chairperson has been touring the country, doling food hand-outs and farming equipment, some of which is reportedly part of a $90 million government deal with Brazil.

People’s Democratic Party (PDP) spokesperson, Jacob Mafume said Grace was turning out to be Zimbabwe’s own version of executed 18th century French Queen, Marie Antoinette, who reportedly retorted that hungry citizens should eat cake.

“The use of the army is abuse of State institutions by the First Lady, who is a mere party functionary and should not be allowed anywhere near the army. She is being badly advised and committing crimes in the process,” he said.

“Grace does not have immunity. The one with immunity is the President, hence her advisers should bring her up to speed for she will be made to account sooner rather than later.”

He added: “It is now clear that Grace is behaving like Marie Antoinette in the former French Queen’s last days. It would serve her well to study a bit of history.”

The country’s main opposition party, the MDC-T, has threatened to take Grace to court on allegations of “pilfering” State resources.

Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa was forced to explain to Parliament Grace’s role in government programmes and he had to bite his tongue.

MDC-T spokesperson Obert Gutu said Grace should not be allowed to abuse the military and police for “party factional wars”.

“She is not a government official and as such, she has no constitutional mandate to boss around the police and the army. She must ‘Stop it!” he said

“As the MDC, we are totally bamboozled why all those men and women in Zanu PF, some of whom are quite honest and patriotic citizens, are just looking aside as this woman literally runs amok. Zimbabwe is not a monarchy.”

Gutu added: “This is the very reason why the MDC is mooting the idea of taking this matter up with the courts. We cannot just stand aside and watch as Grace Mugabe continues to defile and bastardise State institutions.”

Grace has been touted as a possible successor for her 91-year-old husband and is reportedly now locked in a bitter war for control of the ruling party with Mnangagwa.

She has, however, declared she has “no presidential ambitions”.

MDC-T mulls setting up radio, TV stations

via MDC-T mulls setting up radio, TV stations – NewsDay Zimbabwe November 21, 2015

THE main opposition MDC-T is mulling establishing its own radio and TV stations to counter Zanu PF hegemony in the public media, officials have claimed.

BY OBEY MANAYITI

Last week the party relaunched its monthly newsletter Real Change Times and moves were also underway to go into broadcasting.

MDC-T secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora yesterday said the information department was currently conducting a feasibility study on how to go about such an ambitious project.

“It’s a long-term plan and also very expensive, but we have begun the feasibility studies and everything seems to be going well. The information department is going to work on that,” he said.

“I think some of the organisations have tried to apply for the licences, but unfortunately the government has not allowed them.
We will approach the government, of course, and apply for a licence to have our own radio and if the government refuses, then we will go to plan B. But we are very serious, Zimbabweans must have an alternative voice.”

Mwonzora was not yet sure where the stations would be located.

MDC-T spokesperson, Obert Gutu said it was imperative for the opposition party to launch an alternative platforms as people were fed up with Zanu PF propaganda.

“We have very advanced plans to launch our own free-to-air digital satellite television channel as well as a radio station,” he said.

“The MDC realises that the Zanu PF regime is most unlikely going to relax its rigid and vice-like grip on the electronic media and so we have to think and act outside the box.”

He added: “You can be assured that before the next elections, the MDC would have launched its own television channel and radio station. We will rock the local and international political scene and very soon, the faction-ridden and beleaguered Zanu PF regime will be left high and dry as we use alternative, but lawful and highly effective mass media strategies to reach out to the millions of our supporters.”

Grace paves way for Mnangagwa

via Grace paves way for Mnangagwa – NewsDay Zimbabwe November 21, 2015

FIRST Lady Grace Mugabe made a dramatic U-turn yesterday when she said Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa was her boss in the party and he did not take instructions from her.

by Blessed Mhlanga

In a one and a half-hour long address at Mataga Growth Point, Mberengwa, in Midlands province, Grace appeared to dump a faction of the ruling party known as Generation 40 (G40) that had of late claimed her as its leader under the mantra “munhu wese kunamai” (all support to the First Lady).

President Robert Mugabe’s wife said the constitutions of both Zimbabwe and Zanu PF were very clear on who would take over the reins of power in the event that her husband is incapacitated.

“Have you ever heard that I have ever acted as President any time that President Mugabe has left the country? Nonsense!
Mnangagwa is the one who is second to the President and will always be in be charge when the President is away.

“Even if he [Mugabe] stops being President, the Constitution is clear that the VP will hold the reins. I will not be President because I sleep in the same bed and eat with him. I am an educated person and I have a doctorate. I know how our party constitution works,” she said much to the amusement of Mnangagwa’s allies, particularly Gokwe-Nembudziya MP, Justice Mayor Wadyajena, who celebrated uncontrollably.

The G40 group, said to be led by Zanu PF political commissar Saviour Kasukuwere, is reportedly fighting hard to block Mnangagwa’s rise to succeed Mugabe as the 91-year-old leader gingerly walks into the sunset of his half-a-century political career.

In endorsing Mnangagwa’s leadership, Grace said the VP’s liberation struggle credentials and loyalty to Mugabe were impeccable and “he is a good man”.

She castigated those pushing an agenda to catapult her into the Presidium at the Zanu PF conference next month as non-progressive elements, who were bent on destroying the party.

“They said I was giving instructions to the two VPs yet I talk to them as the leader of the women’s league and they listen because I will only be reporting to my seniors the problems of the people and as servants of the people they listen,” she said.

Grace went further to say Mnangagwa was second to Mugabe, leaving Mphoko with egg on his face before he left the stage in a huff, reportedly for security reasons.

Mphoko, who has largely become Grace’s chief aide introducing the First Lady at most of her rallies, suffered two embarrassing moments during the rally after he was called “Mboko”, a derogatory Shona word for “fool”, by Midlands acting vice-chairman Kizito Chivamba.

Mphoko did not take it kindly and called Chivamba on stage and told him before a bemused crowd that he did not merit his position.

“You do not deserve to be party chairman — I am serious about this. You called me ‘Mboko’, when my name is Mphoko. Do you know what that means? Do you speak Shona properly?” he said, while holding Chivamba by the shoulders.

Grace then handed Mphoko another blow when she asked him why he did not know her totem.

“You taught us today that people can be disciplined in public, so let me also discipline you. How come you don’t know my totem up to this time? I am of the Shoko (monkey) clan,” she said jokingly to the amusement of the crowd.

Mugabe’s spokesperson George Charamba said Mphoko had to leave early since he had come by road and because of security reasons he had to leave before the function was over.

Grace travelled to the venue accompanied by Mnangagwa in the presidential helicopter, while Mphoko went by road.

Thousands of people attended the rally after being bussed from as far as Kwekwe, some 350km away, to brave the heat with temperatures soaring to over 38 degrees.

Police had to be called for crowd control, as people began to walk away while Grace was still addressing party supporters.

First Lady condemns mini skirts

via First Lady condemns mini skirts – NewsDay Zimbabwe November 21, 2015

Zanu PF women’s league secretary First Lady Grace Mugabe is on a collision course with gender activists after her remarks that women who wear mini skirts have no one but themselves to blame if they are raped by sexual perverts.

BY BLESSED MHLANGA

“If you walk around wearing mini skirts displaying your thighs and inviting men to drool over you, then you want to complain when you have been raped? It’s unfortunate because it will be your fault,” Grace said while addressing thousands of Zanu PF supporters at a rally in Mberengwa yesterday.

She called on women to wear long dresses or trousers. Grace said the type of dressing, which left women’s legs exposed, was a result of moral decadence.

“Wear clothes like Mai Mugabe or you can chose a trousers, but not those which are too tight. These types of clothes are the signs of moral decadence in our country,” Grace said.

The statement by the First Lady comes at a time women’s movements Katswe Sisterhood held a demonstration in Harare demanding the right to dress as they please.

Former Katswe Sisterhood director, Winnet Shamuyarira said she was angered by Grace’s statement.

MDC-T spokesperson Obert Gutu said: “The statement by Grace is very disgraceful and denigrating to any woman and more so coming from a woman and the First Lady.”

Vice President preaches unity

via Vice President preaches unity | The Herald November 21, 2015

VICE PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa yesterday hailed First Lady Amai Grace Mugabe for bringing zanu-pf members together at a historic Women’s League rally in Mberengwa and urged the party to remain united.

In a vote of thanks after the Women’s League secretary Amai Mugabe’s speech, VP Mnangagwa said unity was key to success and that no enemy could penetrate a united party.

“We want to thank you mambokadzi (queen) for visiting the (Midlands) province,” he said. “You have brought the party together in Midlands at a historic event here at Mataga. We have been gathering here, but today’s gathering is a unique one.

“I have never seen such a huge crowd gathering here. May you continue with your good work. You have brought us food to eat, farming equipment, clothes and above all, the good message.”

VP Mnangagwa said zanu-pf was a people’s party and no one had a right to personalise it.

He said all people were free to be part of the party because it accommodated everyone.

“zanu-pf is for the young and old, short and tall, rich and poor, witches and Christians and everyone else,” said VP Mnangagwa. “No one can claim to personalise zanu-pf, trying to put it into your own pocket. That is not possible.”

VP Mnangagwa said unity was key to success.

“If we are united, no evil can come among us,” he said. “Nothing will be able to separate us. Here in Mberengwa, we are united and may you (Amai Mugabe) take the good news to the President. Tell him that we are a united party here.

“We must work together in unity for the development of the nation. As you all know, we are our own liberators. We left for the war and we liberated this country through unity. We can still build our own nation together.”

VP Mnangagwa said there was nothing wrong with the First Lady handing over to the masses tractors, part of the farm equipment sourced from Brazil under the More-Food Africa programme, on behalf of the President.

He said the MDC-T opposed the idea in Parliament under a wrong impression that Amai Mugabe was donating the equipment when she was merely handing them over to the people.

“The tractors we have here came from Brazil,” said VP Mnangagwa. “We were troubled in Parliament by the MDC-T members who were failing to appreciate the difference between handing over equipment and actually donating.

“MDC members threatened to take the matter up questioning why the First Lady should be allowed to distribute Government equipment. They said she was donating them. But I said no, there is a difference between donating and handing over a donation.

“She is the First Lady of this country. It was the President’s idea to source the tractors for his people and if he decides to send his wife to handover the equipment to the people, there is no problem with that,” VP Mnangagwa said to applause.

Drought will devastate economy

via Drought will devastate economy – The Zimbabwe Independent November 20, 2015

CLIMATOLOGISTS have warned that the El Nino weather phenomenon, caused by the warming Pacific Ocean, is expected to devastate eastern and southern African nations, including Zimbabwe, this year and in 2016.

Editor’s Memo by Dumisani Muleya

Unicef already says about 11 million children in eastern and Southern Africa are facing hunger due to one of the strongest El Nino occurrences in decades. It says El Nino will cause droughts and floods resulting in untold suffering among children who will be vulnerable to diseases like malaria, diarrhea, cholera and dengue fever.
According to State of the Environment in Southern Africa, done by Sadc, between 1800 and 1992, Zimbabwe experienced 16 devastating droughts.

Between 1981 and 1983 most of Southern Africa experienced drought; 1983 was particularly bad for the entire African continent. From 1991 to 1992, Southern Africa, excluding Namibia, experienced the worst drought in living memory.

A dry year can result in large-scale crop failure, food shortages and in extreme cases, famine. Trees and grasses wilt and die and animals perish from hunger and thirst.

Subsistence farming, which provides rural Zimbabweans with food, will be in ruins. Drought, associated with suffering and loss of crops, livestock and wildlife, also causes people to trek for long distances to the few sources of water that may still be available.

During such hard times, some people — waiting for the rain or dreading the coming of the dry season, to borrow from award-winning writer Charles Mungoshi’s prominent titles — would pray for rain both in traditional and christian ceremonies, and the onset of the rains is often viewed as the single most important event of the year.

In Zimbabwe people used to make a pilgrimage to the Njelele shrine located in the Matobo Hills in Matabeleland South province just outside Bulawayo between August and September annually to pray or do rituals for the rain.

Of course, there are modern methods of trying to counter and minimise the impact of drought. El Nino is caused by the warming of the Pacific Ocean and not climate change though there some believe that this weather condition may be intensifying due to global warming. Climate change is a controversial subject as there are contending schools of thought on what causes it.

Based on extrapolations of the Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee results of 2015, approximately 1,5 million Zimbabweans (16% of rural households) are likely to be unable to meet their food needs during the 2015/2016 hunger season.

While the drought has impacted the entire country this year, regions most affected by food insecurity include Matabeleland North, Midlands, Matabeleland South and Masvingo. Food shortages have badly affected communities in those regions, especially vulnerable populations. Government interventions have not been enough.

Drought has direct and indirect economic, social, and environmental consequences. Some of these problems are difficult to avoid, even with early preparation.

However, others are avoidable, especially those stemming from poor economic planning and a delayed drought response. For Zimbabwe, poor planning and delayed response will expose people and the economy to serious damage by the looming drought. The economy is already imploding and drought will just make things worse.

Drought-induced economic problems include those resulting from diminished dairy and beef, crop, timber, and fishery production; lack of power for industrial use; decline in agriculture-dependent industries; increased unemployment in agriculture and other drought-affected industries; strain on financial institutions (capital shortfalls, credit risks); loss of revenue to state and local governments (from reduced tax base); reduced navigability of waterways; and increased costs for transport of water and development of new sources (Wilhite and Glantz, 1985). Such impact is felt across the economy by municipalities, business and industry, agricultural enterprises, households and individuals, and government.

In 1992, Zimbabwe’s GDP fell by 8% in real terms due to drought, with the agricultural sector shrinking 3%. Because countries like Zimbabwe are driven primarily by agriculture, the economic mainstay, effects of droughts are direct and can be devastating.

Headline news 21 November, 2015

Mnangagwa blames West for climate change

via Mnangagwa blames West for climate change – DailyNews Live 20 November 2015

HARARE – Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa yesterday said the West is to blame for the climate change that is going to see countries like Zimbabwe receiving low rainfalls this season.

Speaking at the launch of the national climate change response strategy, Mnangagwa said the bulk of climate change issues emanated from Europe and America.

“Mwari akasika nyika ndokutipa nzizi, shiri, makomo nemiti zvose zvakanaka. Isu nokuda kunakigwa ndokutanga kugadzira zvunhu. Dzimotikari mafekitari kuita kuti hupenyu hwedu huite nani. Asi hatisisu takatanga. Zvakatanga kumhiri, vakatanga neindustrialisation. (God created the world the way he intended it to be but because man wanted a different life we started polluting the environment through making vehicles and constructing factories. But we did not start with is, it started in Europe through industrialisation).

“Asi vaingoburitsa utsi huchienda mudenga dzamara paita gumbeze reutsi zvinoita kuti kana zuva rabuda, harichasviki pasi pano patiri. Zvino ndozvokanganisa hurongwa hwaMwari nokuda kunakigwa kwedu.( Smoke was constantly being emitted into the atmosphere, creating a blanket of pollution which hinders the sun from shining on us. This is what ruined God’s creation – our desire to enjoy the good life).

Mnangagwa said the western world should fund development programmes across the globe since they are to blame for climate change and its resultant effects.

“Saka tichitaura the developed countries ndovakatanga nazvo ndovakakanganisa zvinhu zvaMwari. Ngavatipe mari yekuti tigadzirise zvibudirire. (So when we speak of the developed world, we say they ruined the world, therefore they should give us the money to redress what they damaged.)

Mnangagwa went on to plead with the developed world to assist developing countries to fight the effects of climate change, saying “this is a legitimate request even God will support our request”.

The vice president said the effects of climate change pose risks to the current strategies of tackling multi-sectoral challenges.

The world is currently experiencing recurrent droughts, floods and extreme temperatures.

“To this end, the impact of climate change is projected to impede economic growth, as it affects climate sensitive sectors such as water, agriculture, livestock, energy, health and environment as well as manufacturing, mining and transport sectors which are all critical,” he said.

Mnangagwa said because of the poor yields likely to be expected in the rural areas, government was in the process of distributing maize seed and fertiliser to over 300 000 vulnerable households.

He said as part of the medium to long-term strategies to stem the trend of reduced water availability caused by climate change, government was acquiring dam construction equipment from Egypt, China, Brazil and Belarus.

French Ambassador to Zimbabwe Laurent De Lahouse said the country’s carbon emissions only contribute 0,045 percent of the global emission.

“Zimbabwe suffers severely from the consequences of climate change – the change is wind patterns and the drought in Southern Africa has direct impact on the agricultural production in Zimbabwe,” he said.

A country in waiting

via A country in waiting – The Zimbabwean 20.11.2015

Dear Family and Friends,

Going from a first world to a third world country is always a trip of mixed emotions, culture shock and confusing adjustments. On the last leg of the journey from anywhere to Zimbabwe you know you’re almost home because rules suddenly go out the window.

One piece of cabin baggage on the plane is ignored as people heft two, three or more bulging bags on board; weight restrictions are disregarded and as for queues – not a chance! Suddenly it becomes a free for all as people push and shove determined to get in before you, get out before you, get in front of you. Witnessing this behavior can’t help but make you feel ashamed to be a Zimbabwean.

The moment your feet hit the tarmac you have to immediately re-learn the rules of being in a distrustful society. Instead of there being two or three speedy queues for returning residents at Harare airport, there is only one line which snakes its way across the arrivals hall and soon a hundred or more exhausted travelers wait, and wait and wait to get to the front. You find yourself looking at your feet to avoid catching the eyes of frustrated foreigners who shake their heads and sigh loudly at the bureaucracy and equally slow queue for visitors.

More absurdity awaits. After taking your luggage off the carousel, instead of being able to choose green or red entry routes, everyone must queue all over again. This line is even longer because now residents and tourists are all in the same queue.

When you finally get to the front you must lift your luggage onto a conveyor where the contents are scanned: scrutinized by tax collectors searching for anything that may yield a dollar or two in revenue. Once through with the formalities you head for the toilet where you find a door with no lock, only one of three hand basins has water, the soap dispenser doesn’t work and neither does the hand dryer.

Hello Zimbabwe! What a way to be welcomed into our beautiful country where the first rain in seven months has fallen, cooling the baked ground, dampening the choking dust. From nowhere the rain brings sausage flies and giant moths. In the mornings the ground is littered with shimmering, discarded flying ant wings. Mousebirds, louries, barbets and spectacled weavers gorge themselves on ripe figs while high up in a Musasa tree a pair of Scops Owls look down, wide eyed and accusing.

After weeks away nothing has changed: electricity is unlikely, water is rare but the politicians are too busy to care as they continue to scramble for positions in the silent succession war. We remain a country in waiting: waiting for everything from water and electricity to growth, jobs and prosperity, but most of all waiting for truly free
and fair elections and political change.

I end with a message of condolence and support to people in France
after a week of horror in which so many innocent people were murdered. Like you we know how it feels to know the perpetrators of horror are walking amongst us, living in our neighbourhoods and we share your pain. Until next time, thanks for reading, love cathy. 20 November 2015. Copyright � Cathy Buckle. www.cathybuckle.com <http://www.cathybuckle.com/>

‘Zim debt strategy ambitious’

via ‘Zim debt strategy ambitious’ – DailyNews Live 20 November 2015

HARARE – Diversified insurance giant Old Mutual says Zimbabwe’s target to have paid off its $1,8 billion arrears to its preferred creditors by April 2016 is ambitious and demands strong political will.

The company’s research unit, Old Mutual Securities, said Zimbabwe still has a long way to go before servicing its debts and accessing funds from international money markets,

“The Lima target is an ambitious one that can only be achieved by arranging adequate bridging financing with regional banks” Old Mutual Securities said in its manager’s digest for the third quarter of 2015 report released this week.

“Politically real commitment and will has to be shown in meeting IMF targets for access to much needed long term credit and economic recovery,” the company added.

This comes as Zimbabwe is working on a cocktail of economic strategies geared at clearing its combined $1,8 billion in arrears owed to the African Development Bank (AfDB), International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank.

However, scepticism remains on whether the southern African nation can pay back its debts, as it is presently repaying a paltry $150 000 a month.

Saddled with a $10 billion external debt, Zimbabwe has not received financial support from the IMF, World Bank and AfDB since 1999 due to its failure to pay arrears and policy differences between President Robert Mugabe and the west.

The IMF team has on many occasions reiterated that Zimbabwe needs to finalise its debt strategy in order to clear outstanding arrears to pave way for access to lines of credit.

Last month, Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa led a delegation to the IMF/World Bank annual meetings in Lima, Peru were he pitched Zimbabwe’s arrears clearance strategy on preferred creditors.

At the meetings, creditors and the Zimbabwean delegation came to the consensus that the country’s 1,8 billion arrears – IMF, $110 million, the World Bank, $1,15 billion and the AfDB, $601 million – were to be fully paid by April 2016 with Zimbabwe adopting a debt financing model to honour the debts.

According to Chinamasa, Zimbabwe had settled on a “novation of debt” strategy, whereby new debt would replace the old debt.

“International Financiers have indicated that should Zimbabwe be able to do this, the country can gain access to long-term international credit.

Old Mutual Securities noted that the persuasion to contemplate granting access to credit for Zimbabwe has been made easier by the successful completion of the 15 month SMP programme as guided by the International Monetary Fund’s Staff Monitored Programme.

However, the securities firm was quick to point out that apart from the promise of access to long term financing, government still had to continue with some of the important plans it has promised financiers.

“This includes arresting the growth in Non-Performing Loans,  Amendments to the Banking Act and RBZ Act in order to increase confidence within the financial sector. Following through with a strategy to lower the civil servant wage bill to below 40 percent of tax revenue; increasing tax revenue collection transparency and expenditure accountability as well as enhanced public sector finance management,” the company said.

‘Zimbabwe on the brink’

via ‘Zimbabwe on the brink’ – DailyNews Live 20 November 2015

HARARE – Zimbabwe is on the brink of total collapse and the infighting in Zanu PF could trigger unprecedented chaos in the country – with the death of two political activists from the ruling party – a sign of a “rotten regime” that is on its “wits end”, the Oxford linked NKC African Economics (NKC) has said.

Citing the resurgence of political violence and rising poverty levels, as well as continued company closures in the country, the respected economic think-tank said Zanu PF is now in a cul-de-sac.

In its latest report, NKC predicts the downfall of President Robert Mugabe’s party – which has ruled Zimbabwe for the past 35 years.

In the report titled, “Renewed violence an inevitable consequence of regime decay,” NKC says Zanu PF is walking dead.

“The US (United States) and European Union (EU) have raised a fresh red flag over reports of increasing violence and growing repression in Zimbabwe. These are issues we highlighted some time ago as likely consequences of regime decay and increasing political instability,” the report reads.

According to NKC, the prevailing economic conditions place Zimbabwe in the ‘Potential Conflict Watch’ list that also includes countries like the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Guinea-Bissau, Madagascar, and Western Sahara.

“The increase in violence, intimidation and inevitable repression has seen a renewed clampdown on government opponents with the arrests of more than 50 people during the second week of November at various protests and student demonstrations,” noted NCK in its report.

The economic think-tank also buttressed views made by analysts last week that Zanu PF’s ugly factional fights could turn violent-with Mugabe now unable to meet the rigours and demands of his punishing workload due to old age.

“The simmering succession contest taking place within the ruling party is also resulting in conflict and violence as First Lady Grace Mugabe turns on her one-time ally (and her husband’s most likely successor), Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

“Mrs Mugabe’s intentions are unclear though she clearly has some ambitions, and her methods of inciting violence and her venomous tongue have turned on  Mnangagwa. The internal conflict in Zanu PF has at least as much potential for violence as inter-party conflict. Both are being fuelled by the simmering discontent in Zimbabwe – a consequence of a growing economic crisis and rising frustration and anger.”

The UK-based research company also added that Zimbabwe’s political system has long appeared immune to any domestic or external pressures, and has defied all predictions to date of its imminent demise.

“We suggest that those days may now be numbered due to a series of fresh hammer blows to its long-suffering people.

“We have already argued that the combined impact of several recent economic blows on ordinary people – removing hawkers from the streets and denying them even that meagre existence, thereby adding thousands of new unemployed to a number that is already terrifyingly large – is not sustainable and is likely to increase the level of anger, frustration, and desperation in the country. Inevitably, confrontation, violence and repression will follow.

“If we put rising internal conflict within Zanu PF and plans to drastically reduce the public payroll into the mix, it becomes even more toxic. Zimbabwe has moved closer to the brink,” added the report.

Analysts have said contrary to the government’s heavy propaganda, the Zimbabwe economy is “definitely dying”, as manifested by worsening liquidity challenges, company closures and job losses.

‘Zanu PF trying to derail Tsvangirai’

via ‘Zanu PF trying to derail Tsvangirai’ – DailyNews Live 20 November 2015

HARARE – With Zanu PF arguably at its weakest point ever due to its deadly factional and succession wars, there are claims that the ruling party is working to weaken the MDC ahead of the 2018 elections by manufacturing divisions among opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s leadership team.

Both Zanu PF and MDC sources claimed in interviews with the Daily News yesterday that President Robert Mugabe’s ruling party was “hellbent on stirring animosity” between Tsvangirai and former MDC organising secretary Nelson Chamisa.

“There is a massive propaganda and disinformation campaign against Save (Tsvangirai) and the MDC by Zanu PF ahead of the 2018 national elections.

“The sad reality is that some MDC bigwigs are biting this misinformation blitz by the CIO,” a Zanu PF source said.

An MDC official corroborated the view, saying some of his senior colleagues were allegedly and “willingly participating in the plot as they feel that with Chamisa out in the cold their own political careers will fly”.

“Many colleagues in the party know that after Tsvangirai very few can stand against Chamisa as you know that this young man has a strong support base. This is why they also want to eliminate him from the equation before Tsvangirai’s departure,” the official who is sympathetic to Chamisa said.

Although Chamisa is not a member of the MDC’s standing committee – its top decision-making body – some of his comrades have accused him of allegedly leading a party faction that wants Tsvangirai out, a claim that Tsvangirai himself is said not to support.

After Chamisa lost elections for the party’s secretary-general post to Douglas Mwonzora last year, many of his internal detractors thought that the youthful legislator was finished.

However, he has confounded them by continuing to participate fully in party processes and remaining the most visible party legislator in Parliament where he often locks horns with senior Zanu PF bigwigs. For the past few weeks, State media have been awash with reports of the alleged divisions between Tsvangirai and Chamisa, as well as claims that the latter is leading a powerful faction that wants Tsvangirai out.

“If you look at all this, you will see that this is a well-calculated move to force president Tsvangirai to act against Chamisa.

” But I tell you that no one will separate the two as you know they have come a long way together,” another senior MDC official said.

Contacted for comment, MDC spokesperson Obert Gutu said the opposition movement was united.

“The MDC is a united political party under the very able, visionary and charismatic leadership of Morgan Tsvangirai. Let me categorically state that there is absolutely no friction or rift between Morgan Tsvangirai and Nelson Chamisa,” Gutu said, adding that the party’s detractors and State security agents were “busy” trying to create a picture of friction and disaffection within the MDC.

“The truth of the matter is that there’s no leader within the MDC structures who is unhappy with the leadership of Morgan Tsvangirai.

“Zanu PF infiltrators, as well as CIO agents are busy at work trying to collapse the people’s project, the MDC. But they will never succeed in destroying us. We are as solid as the rock of Gibraltar.

“We know that the CIO has set aside a staggering amount of $100 million in a counter-intelligence project to destroy both Morgan Tsvangirai and the MDC that he leads. But all these nefarious plans will come to naught. They will never see the light of day,” Gutu added.

Psmas, Labour minister headed for showdown

via Psmas, Labour minister headed for showdown – The Zimbabwe Independent November 20, 2015

A SHOWDOWN is looming between Labour minister Prisca Mupfumira and the Premier Service Medical Aid Society (Psmas) board, with Mupfumira accusing the board of sitting on the findings of an Ernst and Young audit report, and hypocrisy.

Kudzai Kuwaza

A forensic audit draft report on the utilisation of Psmas funds dated February 20 2015, reveals that 11 Psmas executives, including former CEO Cuthbert Dube, splurged US$22,8 million in “executive allowances” outside the payroll and evaded tax, resulting in the company coughing up US$9 million to the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority.

In all, Psmas executives received US$86,9 million in salaries, bonuses and allowances between 2009 and 2013 at a time the company owed creditors US$119 million and was struggling to pay its workers. Dube, his driver, two secretaries, and 11 executives shared US$22 888 281,28 outside the payroll between 2012 and 2013.

The executives also shared US$24 million in allowances and US$7 million in bonuses through the payroll. Psmas purchased vehicles worth US$6 709 973. Its board members were paid extortionate fees.
In an interview yesterday, Mupfumira queried why the board has not brought senior executives — who are fingered in the report — to book.

“The audit report was done in February. Why has the board not implemented the report’s recommendations? Why has there been no disciplinary action or dockets opened to deal with the executives implicated in the report.”

She scoffed at accusations she was interfering in the operations of Psmas by reinstating the medical aid society’s MD Henry Mandishona, suspended by the board on September 4 this year. The board has since reversed the directive issued by Mupfumira by suspending Mandishona again.

“As government we are a major shareholder with more than 80% of our members being Psmas members,” Mupfumira said. “The board is now complaining of interference from government. Why did they not complain when government used a statutory instrument to save their assets from being sold to pay the debts they owe health institutions? They only want government involvement when it suits them.”

Mupfumira said she was not defending Mandishona, but wanted a comprehensive report on the goings-on at the medical aid society.

Enduring Gracian era of political barbarism

via Enduring Gracian era of political barbarism – The Zimbabwe Independent November 20, 2015

Zanu PF rubbishes outgoing US ambassador Bruce Wharton. In fact the US has during his tenure in Harare mobilised aid and support for Zimbabwe. His approach has been low-key but persuasive.

MUCKRACKER

The Zanu PF regime, however, has called his departure a case of “another failed diplomat who has sugar-coated the continued sanctions on Zimbabwe by America.

“His departure from Harare is another case of good riddance to bad rubbish just like his predecessors over the past 15 years”.

Zanu PF doesn’t seem to understand that only the US Congress can lift sanctions and their grounds for support are based squarely on improved behaviour.

Cynicism
“Go Bruce and never come back,” the Zanu PF mouthpiece Sunday Mail proclaims.

Foolishly at the same time the ruling party boasts the prospect of the admirable democracy that Zimbabwe is on course to attain continues to shake the very foundations of the West.

“We have discovered over time that what our enemies fear most is a Zanu PF government led by Cde Mugabe so we are going to keep it that way until their fear consumes them.”

The facile propagandist writing this rubbish is Vukani Madoda, whose column is called the Sharp Shooter. And how is this for cynicism: “Go Bruce and never come back. We will not miss you. Without Itai Dzamara you have nothing.”
So now we know.

As Herman Melville once said: “We may have civilized bodies and yet barbarous souls. We are blind to the real sights of this world; deaf to its voice; and dead to its death. And not till we know, that one grief outweighs ten thousand joys will we become what Christianity is striving to make us.”

Dreams
A measure of humour in all this. Zimbabwe is planning the mass production of motor vehicles, the Herald reports.

So, a country that cannot produce enough toilet paper or tissues and thus imports that for US$1 million a month is claiming authorship of vehicles that are clearly miles apart in the planners dreams.

Muckraker is at the same time reminded of Henry Ford’s dictum to purchasers, that “you can have your car in any colour you like so long as it is black”.

Endless feuds
Then there is the amusement provided by the internecine feuding in the ruling party.

Regional loyalties have been split asunder by what used to be a coherent and powerful party.

Compounding this maladroit comedy of errors has been numerous contending parties with nothing much to recommend them.

It is sad in a way that the opposition occupies the space that should go to Zanu PF. They should be churning out policy papers and contending with MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai on a range of issues. Why aren’t they doing it?
Gracedale

Gracedale Racecourse, Gracedale Heights, Bon Marché Gracedale, Gracedale Boutiques, Gracedale Toilets, among a host of other silly inventions — could this be coming during this era of political barbarism led by First Lady Grace Mugabe and her bootlickers?

A group of youths, obviously blindfolded by looting and being used for political expediency, have reportedly requested the renaming of Borrowdale Road to Grace Way. For whatever achievements not known to Zimbabweans, does Grace really deserve such an honour?

Who is Grace by the way? Should we constantly have to repeat that she is merely a secretary who was conferred with a fake and dubious PhD by the University of Zimbabwe last year and imposed on the people as the leader of Zanu PF’s Women’s League?

She is the also the protagonist of the bedroom coup which culminated in the ouster of former vice-president Joice Mujuru, denigrating herself in the process by spitting childish venom against perceived enemies who were accused of plotting to topple the “I want to die in office” President Robert Mugabe. What sensible thing has she ever done except worsening the livelihoods of the majority Zimbabweans who can hardly afford a decent living.

At this alarming rate of folly, it’s not shocking to find some overzealous Zanu PF opportunists requesting the hiring of technological expertise from the Far East to remodel robots to flush out Grace for Green since the mantra today is “Munhu wese kuna Amai”.

And for her lack of intelligence, Grace can even go into overdrive and suggest she be ordained, “Her Excellency, the King”.

Such levels of docility and selfishness in Zanu PF are really perplexing.

Besides, someone should enlighten the nation on the essence of the current wave of her rallies.

Disarray
Zanu PF’s seasoned propagandist Tafataona Mahoso recently unleashed a tirade against a group of young turks in Zanu PF, the G40, and calling them sellouts for their incessant attack on war veterans.
“The money which the G40 are making and celebrating is centred on the US-Dollar whose many notes bear and celebrate images of North America’s war veterans and independence war heroes. The North-Americans respect and honour their own war veterans and war heroes so much that they have put images of them on their money. They will defend their war veterans as fiercely as they defend their dollar.

“In contrast, the G40 decampaign their own Zim-Dollar the same way they now decampaign our liberation war veterans,” Mahoso wrote in the Patriot.

From this, it’s undeniable the ruling party is being plagued by factional fights despite their futile denials.
At least Grace, who was surprisingly civilised in her address and nice to journalists, confirmed yesterday Zanu PF is riddled with factions. Thanks Dr Amai!

Comatose
A political party in the comatose state like Zanu PF should never envision for a moment when all its activists will unite for the same cause.

Having learnt and mastered the art of plundering from its leaders, infighting and looting will not end until they are booted out of power.

Mahoso could be right on G40, but he should be reminded he has also contributed to the mess that is rocking the ruling party and the country by being one-sided in his cheap propaganda where he seems not to realise the United States and the West are not responsible for creating dictatorship ruining Zimbabwe today.

It is him and other like-minded so-called academics that are to blame for supporting tyranny instead of realising the liberation war was not fought for that but democracy and prosperity.

If he truly believes in the war vets, then he should also support what they originally fought for not this travesty and dystopia.

Poachers should rot in jail, says VP

via Poachers should rot in jail, says VP | The Herald November 20, 2015

Poaching is a menace to the country’s struggling economy and poachers are as good as murderers who deserve to rot in jail, Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa has said. Officially opening the Zimbabwe National Climate Change Conference in Harare yesterday, VP Mnangagwa said poachers had to endure the wrath of long jail terms. The conference, meant to showcase Zimbabwe’s solidarity with other nations in fighting climate change, was attended by Government officials, representatives of embassies, university students and high schools pupils and other stakeholders.

“There are some people who do not want to see our country progressing forward,” he said. “These people come in form of poachers poisoning our water sources in national game parks all in efforts to selfishly gain a few horns. “In my own view, these poachers should be arrested and locked away as the jail is where they rightfully belong. Justice has to prevail and the law should strictly catch up with these criminals and all their acquaintances involved in this illegality.”

VP Mnangagwa said Government was prepared to work with the judiciary and ensure that effective and deterrent sentences were imposed on notorious individuals involved in poaching game across the country.

He said the rampant rise of poaching was a time bomb waiting to explode on economic growth. “Poaching is not only a threat to the game parks (ecosystem) that are losing elephants each year,” said VP Mnangagwa. “This is a cause for concern for the whole nation and our economic sector is at stake following these massive elephant deaths.

“Let us unite in the fight against this crisis and protect our elephants as it is the nation that ends up suffering at the carelessness of a few greedy individuals.” VP Mnangagwa commended Government’s engagement of the uniformed forces in stopping the madness of poachers.

“The security of our wild life is important as it also contributes to the general effects of climate change, we need these animals as well to supplement our ecosystem and protect the environment,” he said. Government recently deployed soldiers to national parks on a mission to investigate and make arrests of individuals involved in poaching.

Environment, Water and Climate Minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri recently said Government efforts had shifted to all the other national parks as cases of poaching were rapidly spreading. Some arrests in relation to poaching have already been made and security agents are working tirelessly to ensure that all those involved in this illegality face the music.

“We have heard of new developments around Kariba District and Mana Pools and we have been notified that poachers are moving and multiplying in those areas. We have made one arrest in Kariba and we hope the culprit will comply with investigations so as to make more arrests,” she said.

President inks Bill to name, shame tax offenders into law

via President inks Bill to name, shame tax offenders into law | The Herald November 20, 2015

PRESIDENT Mugabe has signed into law a Bill that empowers the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (zimra) to name and shame tax offenders. The Finance Act, which was signed into law last Friday after its passage in Parliament on October 1, amends among others, the Revenue Authority Act to allow the tax collector to publish the names and addresses of tax offenders.

“Despite anything in this section, the Commissioner-General may, in relation to a taxpayer or other person who is convicted of a tax offence — (“the offender”) in respect of which all appeal or review proceedings relating to the offences have, within the period allowed, been completed or not instituted (or, having been instituted, have been abandoned), publish for general information the following particulars — the name and at area of residence of an offender; and any particulars of the offence that the Commissioner-general thinks fit; and the particulars of the fine or sentence imposed on the offender; any other particulars specified in the first schedule,” reads part of the new law. The law says a “tax offence” covers smuggling or any other offence against any of the eight listed legislation.

The laws covered are the Betting and Totalisator Control Act; Capital Gains Tax Act; Customs and Excise Act; Income Tax Act; Income Tax (Transitional Period Provisions) Act; Stamp Duties Act; Tax Reserve Certificates Act and Value Added Tax Act. Experts say the taxman’s naming and shaming move may curb tax avoidance. While steering the Bill in Parliament, Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa, said the move would enhance zimra’s operations.

“Mr Speaker Sir, in order to enhance efficiency in the operation of zimra, as well as improving compliance to legislative requirements by taxpayers, I proposed to amend the legislation to provide for the publication of names of convicted tax offenders,” said Minister Chinamasa.

‘Kariba water levels can last till February’

via ‘Kariba water levels can last till February’ | The Herald November 20, 2015

THE Zimbabwe Power Company says it can maintain current power generation limit of 475 megawatts at the Kariba South power plant until February next year even if it does not rain within that period.

Kariba South Hydro Power Station general manager Kenneth Maswera, however, said both ZPC and its Zambia counterpart, which draw water from Lake Kariba for power generation, may have to reduce their individual production to a maximum of 250MW if the prevailing dry spell persists.

The power utility had to reduce generation at the Kariba plant after the Zambezi River Authority, which administers the border river between Zimbabwe and Zambia ordered them to scale down production from the installed capacity of 750MW due to fast receding water level in the lake.

Kariba Dam’s water level should be maintained at 478,7m and 474,8m to sustain its socio-economic mandate for the two Southern African countries, but poor rains in the river’s catchment last rain season means water inflows into the lake did not reach the expected levels.

“Assuming there is no drop of rain (around Kariba Dam catchment area) the current water levels can last until February,” Kenneth Maswera, general manager for Kariba Power Station told lawmakers in Kariba.

“Beyond that all the power stations might have to reduce generation to about 250 megawatts.”

Persistent dry spell would mean further reduction in the water allocation by ZRA between Zimbabwe and Zambia, which currently stands at 40 billion cubic metres after having been revised downward from 45 billion cubic metres earlier this year, which would reduce the optimum electricity available to Zimbabwe.

According to ZRA, water allocation to Zambia and Zimbabwe’s power utilities could be halved if inflows into Zambezi River do not improve, to avoid depleting the water levels in Lake Kariba to critical levels.

The country is already facing critical shortage of power with generation at an average of 900MW while demand at peak periods averages 2 200MW. This has negatively impacted households, commerce and industry.

“The Zambians have already used up their allocations for this year and are already using their allocations for next year. The matter is being handled at a highest level. We have used 85 percent of our allocations.”

“Currently Kariba Power Station is meeting 45 percent of national supply, today it’s producing 468 megawatts. We are now running low to mitigate against the lake running low.”

“The source of water for our dam is in North West of Zambia, Sanyati and Gwai rivers in Zimbabwe, this year our water levels started very low because we didn’t have adequate rainfall from the main supplies. There was no significant inflow into the lake this year,” Mr Maswera said.

The lake water levels still have headroom of about 2,6 metres between which the neighbouring power utilities can maintain current reduced generation of 475MW for Zimbabwe and 305MW for Zambia, which generates on the northern bank of Zambia River, which has an installed capacity of 1 020MW.

Government has already contracted Sino Hydro to expand Kariba South by a further 300MW to resolve power shortages. Other projects are ongoing across the country, the main one being 600MW Hwange extension.

Engineering costs for the expansion of Zimbabwe’s Kariba Hydro Power Station by China’s Sino Hydro Ltd., has increased to $354 million from the initial $369 million due to the increase of inflation from the China, an official said.

Mugabe to rule from wheelchair: Grace

via Mugabe to rule from wheelchair: Grace – NewsDay Zimbabwe November 20, 2015

First Lady Grace Mugabe yesterday joined war veterans in making a declaration that her husband, President Robert Mugabe, would be elected into office even in a wheelchair because he has unparalleled wisdom to lead the country.

by Xolisani Ncube/Moses Matenga

The First Lady said many had tried to remove the aged leader, almost 92 and in power since 1980, but had failed because he was anointed and would die in office.

“We must thank God that we have a leader like VaMugabe. He is a strong man and has a vision for his people. That is a leader we want. Leadership is not forced on people. If you are a leader, they will love you,” she said.

Grace said Mugabe had lived long because Zimbabweans needed his wisdom, and that all African countries yearned to have a leader like him, referring to outgoing United States ambassador to Zimbabwe Bruce Wharton’s remark that Mugabe was a lion of Africa.

Meanwhile, the First Lady yesterday moved to appease journalists by promising to give them food handouts so they could stop writing negative things about her. Professing love for them, she said those who wrote negatively about her were “probably doing so out of hunger”.

“Journalists from Daily News, NewsDay, (The Zimbabwe) Independent, you are all my children and I like you. I know you can’t do without me. I’m back! If you hear them (journalists) making noise, you know they are hungry. They want food so they can write stories. I have brought rice for you!” she said.

Officials in the President’s Office took down the names of all the journalists covering the rally so that they could receive the food handouts from the First Lady.

As has become the norm, informal traders at the populous Mupedzanhamo, Siya So and Mbare Musika markets were temporarily forced to close shop and marched to Grace’s rally, bringing unfamiliar calm to the usually vibrant and boisterous community.

Small shops around Shawasha flats, close to where Grace was making her address, were also closed, while businesses near Magaba faced the same fate.

Even cobblers at the Magaba flyover and fruit and vegetable traders at the Mbare market also temporarily closed shop.

However, Grace tried to downplay the closure of markets and in her speech, thanked the crowd for coming “despite not being forced” to do so through bussing of people.

“As early as 6am, the local commissars were knocking on our doors and politely asking us to attend the rally,” a resident at one of the flats said.

France confirms banned Mugabe invite

via France confirms banned Mugabe invite – New Zimbabwe 19/11/2015

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe will, early next month, attend the United Nations (UN) international climate talks (Cop 21) in Paris despite being banned from travelling to Europe.

Some western countries are also understood to have opposed the French decision to invite the Zimbabwean leader.

The European Union (EU) has since lifted most of its sanctions against Harare but maintained a travel ban against Mugabe and his wife Grace.

France will host the annual climate talks from November 30 to December in 11 in Paris and authorities have confirmed the meetings will go ahead despite last week’s terror attacks which claimed more than 120 lives.

Mugabe’s travel ban does not affect meetings of the UN and French ambassador to Zimbabwe, Laurent Delahousse, confirmed the veteran leader had accepted an invitation to the Paris conference.

“President Mugabe’s acceptance of our invitation shows the country’s commitment to ending poverty and improving relations,” said Delahousse.

He was addressing delegates to a two-day National Climate Change Response Strategy conference in Harare Thursday.

The envoy conceded that there had been opposition to Mugabe’s invitation from countries such as Britain, Sweden, Germany, United States of America and the Netherlands.

Mugabe, in power since independence 35 years ago, remains a pariah in the West, accused of gross human rights abuses and electoral fraud.

The Zanu PF leader rejects the charges, arguing he is persecuted for his black empowerment agenda which has seen farm land taken from a handful of white farmers to hundreds of thousands of poor blacks.

Currently chairman of the African Union, Mugabe recently attended the G-20 meeting of the world’s advanced countries.

Before that he had also attended the India-Africa forum in New Delhi as part of what has been a hectic foreign travel schedule this year.

MPs call for Made resignation after GMB rot report

via MPs call for Made resignation after GMB rot report – NewsDay Zimbabwe November 20, 2015

A REPORT by the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Public Accounts yesterday revealed the rot at the Grain Marketing Board (GMB).

by VENERANDA LANGA

Opposition MPs called on Agriculture minister Joseph Made to resign, accusing him of failing to rein in management at the parastatal.

The motion on the Public Accounts Committee report on GMB for 2011 to 2014 audit reports was introduced by its chairperson, Paurina Mpariwa, who said GMB had failed to maintain the stipulated strategic grain reserves levels of 500 000 metric tonnes.

It said the parastatal’s accounts were in shambles and yet it continuously failed to rectify issues raised by the Auditor-General for three years.

The committee report said during the periods under review, the GMB board downgraded maize totalling 61 396 metric tonnes, with a replacement value of $18 111 820, due to poor storage facilities, poor tarpaulins and delays in fumigation. “The Consumer Council of Zimbabwe advised that the maize could have fed 1 534 900 households of six people each for a period of one month,” the report read.

Seconder of the motion, Gutu North MP Ticharwa Madondo (Zanu PF) said the decision by the GMB board to launch a $30 million stockfeed plant was unwise.

“It would have been better if they had put the $30 million towards rehabilitation of silos,” he said.

Mabvuku-Tafara MP James Maridadi (MDC-T) said Made should fire the GMB board and management before he, himself, resigned.

“If there is anyone who should be furthest from the Agriculture ministry, it should be Made. GMB talks about the livelihoods of people and food security and yet it is in a mess. Parliament must bring Made to account for the mess at GMB, and after that, he should have the decency to go to Munhumutapa Building and resign and go to Rusape to become a farmer,” Maridadi said.

Bulawayo South MP, Eddie Cross (MDC-T) said South Africa and Zambia would not be able to supply Zimbabwe with maize this year due to drought.

“We will be forced to import maize from the United States or South America, and it requires 200 ships and five trains per day to bring the seven million tonnes of maize. The crisis is of a great magnitude because we have 750 000 metric tonnes storage capacity in our silos. If we have not been able to maintain them, it is criminal negligence,” he said.

Mazowe South MP Fortune Chasi (Zanu PF) said the GMB board was illegal, adding the law must take its course on those responsible for the rot.

Mutsvangwa, Charamba in vicious fight

via Mutsvangwa, Charamba in vicious fight – The Zimbabwe Independent November 20, 2015

DAYS after President Robert Mugabe embarrassingly read the wrong speech during the official opening of parliament in September, a war of words through popular social media application Whatsapp exploded between War Veterans minister Chris Mutsvangwa and Presidential spokesperson George Charamba.

Wongai Zhangazha

Mugabe in September re-read a speech which he had delivered in his state of the nation address in August, with Charamba explaining the humiliating fiasco as a mix-up in the president’s office secretariat. However, this triggered a fierce slanging match — a prolonged exchange of insults — between Mutsvangwa and Charamba via Whatsapp.

Mutsvangwa yesterday confirmed the clash, although Charamba refused to comment.

Throughout the acrimonious invectives, Charamba accused Mutsvangwa of being ignorant of how the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC) works, intellectually-challenged and having an inferiority complex.

Mutsvangwa returned fire, attacking Charamba while describing him as a parasite on the state feeding trough with no discernible liberation war credentials as he was merely a mujibha (war collaborator) and “cattle herd boy”.

“Sir, I thought you knew who does what in the OPC,” wrote Charamba. “Apparently you don’t, except to let blind anger lead your better judgment and pose as the only flawless one. Do better next time Sir.”

This angered Mutsvangwa who furiously shot back: “No one has any business embarrassing our political icons and the state we created. No brooking to whatever incompetence for whichever reason or excuse.”

Charamba responded by lashing out at Mutsvangwa: “Get back your youthfulness you super war veteran, the Rambo who won the war single handedly. You have a horrible complex. An acute deficiency that overpasses your meagre personality.

“… For far too long we have allowed you to hide behind the parapet of struggle as if you are the only fighter in town. We will pluck those feathery horns if you take matters too far.”

Mutsvangwa hit back saying he respected war veterans, not those “ensconced in the material comfort of a state we created”.

Charamba would not be outdone, accusing Mutsvangwa of going about extorting “genuflection from the whole society” which he said was being held hostage by the minister’s revisionist history.

“What do you know about the workings of the OPC,” Charamba fumed. “I am not like you who knows no boundary. I keep my sphere of work, and not pretend to be a self-appointed prime minister. You hoped to be the minister of information. Which is why you were dishing out orders to me as if I answer to you? Go hang on a banana tree.”

“I get judged by qualified civil servants not pseudo super performers. What have you done for war veterans since (the late war veterans leader Chenjerai) Hunzvi? A minister who behaves like a trade unionist!”

Charamba also ridiculed Mutsvangwa for having nothing to show since his ministerial appointment except empty noise. “Does a genuine tiger proclaim its tigritude?” he asked.

But Mutsvangwa would not let up saying: “Those who feed in the trough of the material opulence born by our blood, sweat and tears. On what pedestal does your pumped up arrogance stand; a presidential sinecure of a state created by others. Even after war survival, I have spent half of my life on my means, not state handouts.”

Mutsvangwa denied ever having ambitions to be Information minister, saying if offered he would have turned it down the same way he did an ambassadorial position in Germany after his posting to China.

Mutsvangwa also accused Charamba of rumour-mongering and being a “gossiper” on a global scale after he called him an “out and out coward” and a “pitiable creature quite unfit to be where you are” as minister.

Charamba threatened to expose Mutsvangwa over his dirty activities in China. But Mutsvangwa said he was removed from China because of “gamatox” (referring to former vice-president Joice Mujuru’s faction).

The two also challenged each other’s academic qualifications in egotistic ways.

Mutsvangwa said: “Publish your embellished cryptic CV peer to peer with mine and test proper judgment.”

To which Charamba reacted: “Are you piqued by my educational achievement? Are you aware two of my degrees are attained after independence, two well after independence through self-paid distance education when you were messing up things at ZBC, another when you were pretending to be busy in China.”

Charamba accused Mutsvangwa of “hobnobbing with the Americans and Europeans” and asked him why he was not on the sanctions list.

“Americans and Europeans belong to this earth to the global community,” Mutsvangwa replied.

“… They gave you the GSM switch you are using for your sms and the internet backbone you use/abuse …”
Then Charamba said: “I don’t buy my membership to Zanu PF. You don’t hold the book to membership to the club, you are a puny creature of low intellect.”

Contacted for comment yesterday, Charamba did not allow this reporter to ask any questions, saying: “I don’t do last minute paragraphs. I don’t want to comment on something that you want on your last day of publication.”
Mutsvangwa said the polemical exchanges came after a strategic seminar of war veterans in Kariba around the time when Mugabe delivered a wrong speech in parliament.

The minister said “sloppiness” around Mugabe by the likes of Charamba should not be tolerated and appeared to attack the Mujuru faction when he blasted an “extended family oligarchy from Mash(onaland) Central planning a fascist putsch straight out of Hilterite Germany”.

“Disconcerting dissonance!” he said. “They wallow in the opulence of a corrupt and amoral proximity to power. By the same token they despise the warts of pain, hunger and sufferance, a long signpost of the tortured ascendancy of the guerrilla leader, Mugabe, to power and global statesman … a reckless infantile attempt at plain robbery of the soul, tradition and substance of the Zimbabwe revolution.”

Mugabe officials, military face off

via Mugabe officials, military face off – The Zimbabwe Independent November 20, 2015

FIERCE clashes have erupted in government over the supply of systems, applications and products (SAP) software solutions and security of government information between senior officials in the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC), supported by intelligence bosses, and the Ministry of Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) backed by the military. The fight — fuelled by vested financial interests of top state bureaucrats — between OPC and ICT officials threatens to throw government’s sensitive information systems into disarray.

Hazel Ndebele

The bone of contention is whether Twenty Third Century Systems (TTCS), supported by the OPC and the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) chiefs, should continue providing SAP software solutions and securing government information systems despite foreign shareholding. ICT ministry officials and the military’s worry over government’s information security came after TTCS sold between 49 and 80% of its stake to South Africa’s JSE-listed Information Technology company, EOH Holdings Ltd.

OPC and CIO officials want TTCS to continue to supply SAP software solutions from Germany to government despite its new part foreign ownership. However, ICT ministry and army bosses are rejecting that, saying the arrangement poses a national security threat.

OPC and CIO chiefs want TTCS to continue, but ICT ministry and army chiefs have taken over Portnet Software since September 2 using the wholly state-owned entity Zarnet and the Rusunungo Nkululeko Holdings (RNH) controlled by the military to replace TTCS. Zarnet is under the ICT ministry.

Zarnet purchased 65 000 shares in Portnet, representing 26%, while RNH purchased 62 500 shares representing 25% of the issued share capital. This together made up the 127 500 shares purchased representing 51%. The new company which emerged out of this deal is named Zimbabwe Systems and Applications Products (Zimsap-Pvt Ltd).

ICT minister Supa Mandiwanzira in September justified the move to replace TTCS with Portnet or Zimsap, saying since TTCS now has foreign shareholding and thus posed a threat to national security as it had access to sensitive information. ICT ministry officials and army bosses say TTCS cannot be allowed to continue as Zimbabwe’s SAP solutions provider since the South African government, through the Public Investment Corporation (PIC), will have access to government information. The PIC, a registered financial services provider, is wholly owned by the South African government, with the Finance minister a shareholder representative. It is the largest institutional shareholder in EOH, the company which bought into TTCS.

Besides, EOH has a number of rich South African businesspersons as shareholders. There is also concern over the firm’s chief executive Asher Bohbot, an Israeli who is the largest individual shareholder in the group with 5%.

Most government projects done by TTCS — the sole contractor since SAP came into government in 1999 — were not tendered publicly, including the one in the OPC for e-government for US$18 million; Zimra (US$10 million), Zesa (US$5 million), ZMDC manpower (US$3 million) and ZMDC corporate (US$4 million) and MMCZ (US$4 million).

Projects tendered publicly include Finance ministry for US$2 million, NRZ (US$1 million, although it was initially pegged at US$3 million) and Nssa (US$7 million). By June this year, SAP/TTCS projects in Zimbabwe totalled more than US$34 million. Resistance from the OPC to the ICT ministry and army objections was clearly demonstrated in a letter, dated August 18 2015, by deputy chief secretary to the President and Cabinet Ray Ndhlukula to Zimpost chief executive Douglas Zimbango.

“We refer to a recent article in the newspapers raising security concerns regarding Twenty Third Century Systems and their relationship with EOH,” Ndhlukula’s letter reads.

“The office of the President and Cabinet was aware of this transaction which does not pose any security risk to the government of Zimbabwe or to any of its entities including your organisation.

“The Office of the President and Cabinet will continue to work with TTCS on the e-Government project or any other related work. In this regard, we wish to advise you to continue cooperating and working with TTCS on your SAP projects. Should you need any additional information or clarification, please feel free to contact this office.”

In a telephone interview yesterday Ndlukula refused to comment on any issues to do with TTCS saying: “It’s still premature for me to comment about the issue because we are still having meetings and discussions with senior people.”

However, sources say the ICT ministry and army are determined to push out TTCS and bring Zimsap, owned by Zarnet through a partnership with the Defence ministry’s Defence Economic Development Department (DEDD) or RNH, and Chafausipo Family Trust which initially owned Portnet, a local company which was established in 2005.

Sources say in a bid to save the TTCS’s money-spinning deal, the company’s group chief executive Ellman Chanakira has been frantically trying to reach out to the ICT ministry and army bosses. On September 18, he wrote a letter to Major-General Sibusiso B. Moyo, who is in charge of the military’s economic interests, trying to amicably resolve the conflict.

Efforts to get comment from Chanakira were fruitless as his mobile phone went unanswered. Mandiwanzira was said to be out of the country.

Govt in fix over job cuts

via Govt in fix over job cuts – The Zimbabwe Independent November 20, 2015

THE recent civil service audit report clearly indicates government has no choice but to cut jobs given tight liquidity constraints that have hampered its operations, despite the political consequences of failing to fulfil its promise to create 2,2 million jobs.

Kudzai Kuwaza

The audit report, which has circulated in various government ministries but is yet to be finalised by cabinet, proposes a cocktail of measures to reduce fiscal pressures emanating mainly from wages paid to civil servants, which gobble more than 80% of revenues.

The audit carried out between February and April this year recommends far-reaching reforms to meet government’s target of reducing the wage bill from 80% to under 40% of revenue, as indicated by Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa in his mid-term fiscal policy presentation.

The audit reveals there are 188 070 workers in government, concurred to by Treasury, covering 24 line ministries, of which 160 083 are on government’s payroll with 20 801 vacant posts as at July 1 2015.

The audit prescribes rationalisation of 2 000 accounting officer posts in the Transport ministry, as well as the rationalisation of posts in various ministries, including 73 posts in the Sport ministry, 20 in Tourism, 25 Information and 59 posts in Women’s Affairs.

Rationalisation and redeployment, the audit recommends, should be carried out for 682 teachers in overstaffed schools with less than 100 pupils. It also proposes that 2 888 government funded teachers be withdrawn from private and trust schools.

The audit prescribes the reduction in allowances paid to 12 544 student teachers per annum as well as the granting of unpaid manpower development leave to 1 473 teachers. It also proposes that government ceases to fund 758 schools offering non-formal education.

Government is also advised by the audit to abolish 37 data-capturer posts in line ministries, and to redeploy 340 deputy school heads that are underutilised in schools.

The audit found that in Primary and Secondary Education ministry, schools are overstaffed by 5 588 teachers. The report recommended that recruitment of temporary and relief teachers be put on hold until excess staff is absorbed.

“In the long term the teacher establishment should not exceed 102 600 teachers,” the report says.

In the Higher Education ministry, the audit established that teacher training and polytechnic colleges are overstaffed by 1 716 lecturers, and recommended recruitment of lecturers be frozen until excess staff is redeployed.

The report also discloses that 121 agricultural extension officers have been deployed in urban areas where there are no posts, as well as duplication of posts between Agritex and livestock production departments.

The report recommends that the 121 workers be redeployed outside urban areas.

Economist John Robertson said the private sector could help relieve government of excess staff on their payroll, but only if they put in place the right policies to spur private sector growth.

Chinamasa walks tight rope

via Chinamasa walks tight rope – The Zimbabwe Independent November 20, 2015

FINANCE minister Patrick Chinamasa is walking on a tight rope as he finalises his 2016 National Budget, due for presentation on Thursday next week, at a time revenues continue to dwindle.

Taurai Mangudhla

His task is no stroll in the park and his biggest headache, according to analysts, is making good on a promise to clear US$1,8 billon the country owes to multilateral creditors by mid-2016 and institute reforms that can convince cynical lenders and investors there is some form fiscal discipline.

The international community particularly investors, watch closely for policy reforms conducive to attracting foreign capital and a stable climate for investment.

Chinamasa also has to make allocations for usually neglected social services such as education, health and infrastructure whilst ensuring Zanu PF’s political interests are safeguarded in respect of timely civil service wage payments and even creating reserves for the 13th cheque.

This would happen at a time the public service wage bill, gobbling in excess of 80% of the budget, is sucking the economy dry amid recommendations for massive job cuts from the World Bank and IMF.
Already, a civil service audit report, has indicated government is considering implementing a raft of measures, which among other things, seek the rationalisation and abolishing of posts in the public service to save about US$400 million annually.

In his mid-term fiscal policy statement, Chinamasa set a target to reduce the wage bill to about 40% of the budget.

The treasury chief is expected by his principal and fellow cabinet ministers to come up with ways of increasing revenue collections despite a shrinking economic base as companies continue to downsize or shut down.

Latest figures released by Zimra for the third quarter of 2015 show a country in dire straits as net collections of US$878,22 million, which is 91,1% of the target of US$964 million. The revenue collector said there was a 0,71% decline in net revenue collections from the same period last year where US$884,46 million was realised.

The performance followed a 3,75% negative variance in individual tax targets, a 15,43% variance on Vat on local sales as well as negative 10,68% variance on customs duty. Company tax missed collection targets by 31,34% while mining royalties also missed the targets by 55,62%.

The decline in revenue collections and failure to meet targets has been attributed to a growing informal economy which is difficult to tax with government estimating small and medium enterprises account for about 40% of the country’s GDP.

Apart from increased informalisation of the economy, company closures took a toll on revenue collections and the country’s ability to generate taxes given that latest figures show industry capacity utilisation slid to 34, 3% in 2015 from 36, 5% last year.

The stressed industry is struggling to meet its tax obligations with Zimra figures showing the year 2015 started with a debt of US$1,4 billion which, after recoveries and new debts being raised, ended the third quarter at US$1, 9 billion clearly showing the extent to which economic woes has bedeviled industry.

ZNCC CEO Chris Mugaga said the 2016 budgetary demands are just too much for Chinamasa’s small pocket, the arrears clearance being his almost impossible task.

“The biggest question is how he is going to pay US$1, 8 billion and still support the budget,” said Mugaga in a telephone interview.

He said payment of the arrears should be treated as a top priority as it decides the fate of Zimbabwe’s re-engagement process with the multilateral lending institutions.

“Remember we were not forced to make this commitment, but it was voluntary so if Chinamasa doesn’t pay then we strain our relationship with these creditors,” said Mugaga.

Zimbabwe’s virtually broke government late October approved in cabinet an ambitious external arrears clearance strategy to pay off US$1,8 billion overdue to multilateral creditors by June next year in a bid to break its debt vicious cycle and secure at least US$2 billion in new funding to rescue a crumbling economy ravaged by recession.
Zimbabwe is currently saddled with a debt overhang of US$10, 8 billion accrued from both public and private sector borrowing.

The country has arrears estimated at US$1, 8 billion with its three preferred creditors, International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank (WB) and African Development Bank (AfDB) and has committed to repay these arrears by using its special drawing rights as well as securing new funding to clear the existing debt.

Apart from the arrears, Mugaga said Chinamasa faces tough political interests in respect of the civil service annual bonus. This comes at a time some hardliners in cabinet are opposed to reform on grounds it is tantamount to yielding to Western imperialist agenda.

The ZNCC executive argued Chinamasa’s authority is limited when it comes to the civil service bonus and wage reforms because of Zanu PF’s interests ahead of the 2018 elections.

Mugaga said Chinamasa may be tempted to somehow increase taxes at the risk of further hampering industry or perhaps use other methods such as increasing tollgates to increase revenues, adding that the national budget could remain stagnant at US$4, 1 billion due to lack of resources to fund growth as industry continues to struggle.
“I can say the budget will not change because there is just no money, the economy is getting more and more informal every day and Zimra is getting less to collect,” said Mugaga.

Independent Harare economist John Roberston said balancing arrears clearance and other normal budgetary demands, coupled with the need for sound policy reform was a herculean task for Chinamasa.

“Some of the reforms expected by the international community such as scrapping bonuses for civil servants and cutting the wage bill have almost been banned by President Robert Mugabe,” said Robertson, adding there is need for policy reform to inspire confidence in the economic turnaround strategy.

“We need real policy reform for example indigenisation should not be amended but repealed and the land needs to be back in the hands of good productive commercial farmers while ensuring the commercial value of land is restored.”

Robertson’s call for structural reform comes after the IMF demanded reforms such as reducing public employment spending, restoring confidence in the banking sector and improving the investment climate.

Factionalism tearing Zanu PF apart: Grace

via Factionalism tearing Zanu PF apart: Grace – The Zimbabwe Independent November 20, 2015

FIRST Lady Grace Mugabe yesterday further confirmed there are factions in Zanu PF which she said are tearing the ruling party apart. This came despite strenuous and occasionally menacing denials by senior government and party officials who claim internal battles over President Robert Mugabe succession were triggered by personality clashes than factionalism which they allege is a figment of the private media’s imagination.

Herbert Moyo

Addressing a crowd of party supporters that thronged the open space near Rufaro Stadium in Harare’s impoverished Mbare high-density suburb, Grace said the truth of the matter is that “factionalism is there in Zanu PF; it’s a no-brainer, factionalism is there”.

“Those who are engaging in factionalism know themselves. So I rebuked some of them and after that they went and told other war veterans. I rebuked them and said to them you can’t be engaging in such practices, holding people to ransom and refusing to be corrected just because you are a war veteran. I said no,” said Grace without disclosing names.

Grace’s admissions come in the wake of repeated denials over factionalism by party officials, including Presidential spokesperson George Charamba, who claimed last month that there were no factions in Zanu PF post-December 2014 congress but just personality clashes.

However, Grace bemoaned the impact of the infighting saying: “People here are suffering while we fight for positions in the party. Let me tell you I’m standing before you as the wife of your President who has been chosen to lead the Women’s League and that is all there is to it. That’s where I end, full stop, I want nothing else”.

Grace denied she had any ill-feelings towards war veterans, saying: “I stay with the biggest hero in my house. My husband spent 11 years in jail and when his son died, he was denied permission to mourn and bury him.”

“My own sibling (Reward Marufu) was a war veteran who died in 2010. He fought in the war and there isn’t anyone who doesn’t know that. Some of you were even trained by my mother’s son and now it’s said I hate war veterans.”

Grace’s speech, which lasted an hour and 20 minutes, was generally conciliatory. Grace also appealed to residents to “forgive” Mbare legislator Tendai Savanhu for his dalliances with ousted former vice-president Joice Mujuru. She also reached out to journalists from the Zimbabwe Independent, NewsDay and Daily News, describing them as her children who miss her when she is not around.

“Muri vana vangu, ndinokudai (you are my children, I love you) I will continue to speak and you continue to write,” said Grace.

‘Scribes urged to unite in the wake of arrest threats’

via ‘Scribes urged to unite in the wake of arrest threats’ – NewsDay Zimbabwe November 20, 2015

JOURNALISTS should unite in the wake of threats of arrests of more media practitioners, with government reportedly angling to create a case around the lack of ethical practices to justify a fresh crackdown.

BY MOSES MATENGA

Speaking at a Voluntary Media Council of Zimbabwe Quill Speak discussion in Harare on Wednesday, stakeholders said there was a plot to portray journalists as unethical and justify repressive interventions.

Lawyer Chris Mhike said scribes should put in place mechanisms to ensure ethics were adhered to and avoid politicians or corporates deciding for them on what was ethical or not.

“There is need for all players to unite and work on issues of ethics, government included, but ultimately, journalists should be in the forefront of upholding standards,” he said.

The Zimbabwe Independent Editor, Dumisani Muleya said people with their own agendas were making sweeping statements that journalists were unethical and corrupt.

He said conclusions should not be made on the basis of bar talk.

“A narrative of ethical collapse is identified, with some characters pushing it for reasons we don’t understand and know. There are challenges on ethical issues, but they are not new, we have had them. Those people who say in the past this and that, we dismiss them because they are not useful to us,” Muleya said.

“Those who think things have changed because they and their friends are not there, should not be taken seriously. There is no general ethical collapse, that is wrong and we still maintain that.”

He said there was a plot to intensify the arrest of journalists and urged media practitioners to stick to facts to avoid “tyrants attacking the media”.

Harare polytechnic journalism lecturer, Wellington Gadzikwa said: “We should ask who is saying ethics have gone down. It’s people, who think the media should be doing public relations for them.”

Standard Editor, Kholwani Nyathi said ethical practices in the media had improved with the coming of the VMCZ, which has made media players more accountable.

“In the past few months, there has been a worrying trend, with some sections of the media bringing a narrative of agenda setters. A week won’t go by without a critical analysis in some media circles accusing the media of being unethical,” he said.

“In the last two weeks, something happened that allowed people to sober up. Where we were going, the agenda was journalists were failing on ethics and government would have to intervene. We were in danger of going to the 2008 levels, where polarisation was prevalent, but the arrests of public media journalists (The Sunday Mail Editor Mabasa Sasa, Investigative Editor Brian Chitemba and reporter Tinashe Farawo) showed us we are all vulnerable and we should unite and not allow authorities to set an agenda for us.”

VMCZ executive director, Loughty Dube said: “There were generalised assumptions that the media is unethical. Newspapers are very ethical, you can’t say out of 200 stories in all newspapers, 10 stories are questionable then conclude, therefore, that newspapers are unethical.”

‘Make ruling on Kasukuwere contempt of Parly charges’

via ‘Make ruling on Kasukuwere contempt of Parly charges’ – NewsDay Zimbabwe November 20, 2015

MABVUKU-TAFARA MP James Maridadi has urged Speaker of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda to urgently make a ruling over an issue where a Parliament committee is seeking to charge Local Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere with contempt of Parliament.

by VENERANDA LANGA

In July, the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment, chaired by Gokwe-Nembudziya legislator, Justice Mayor Wadyajena, raised a matter of privileges, asking the House to charge Kasukuwere with contempt of Parliament.

This was after Kasukuwere had appeared before the committee to answer on mining companies in Marange failing to capitalise the Zimunya Marange Community Share Ownership Trust (CSOT).

When Kasukuwere appeared before the committee, he exchanged harsh words with Wadyajena, and even alleged that he had recordings of Wadyajena plotting to fight him.

Mudenda had promised to make a ruling as to whether there was a prima facie case to charge Kasukuwere with contempt of Parliament, but four months down the line, he still has not made a ruling.

Maridadi then raised the issue as a point of order to the Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly Mabel Chinomona.

“There is a ruling that the Speaker [Mudenda] promised to make over contempt of Parliament charges on Kasukuwere, which were raised by Wadyajena,” he said.

“When we were in Victoria Fall, during the pre-budget seminar, we witnessed infighting between Wadyajena and Youth Minister Patrick Zhuwao over the issue, and we need to know the results .”

But, Chinomona did not entertain Maridadi’s point of order, as it was raised in the middle of the question and answer session.

Kasukuwere was the Youth minister when mining companies in Marange were said to have pledged $50 million to capitalise the Zimunya Marange CSOT. This was not done and in 2013 President Robert Mugabe was made to present a $1,5 million cheque to Zimunya Marange CSOT, yet only $400 000 was paid, with the remainder still outstanding.

Zim gets $8,1m food aid emergency fund

via Zim gets $8,1m food aid emergency fund – NewsDay Zimbabwe November 20, 2015

THE United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) has announced the allocation of $8,1 million to Zimbabwe for immediate food aid amid indications that the predicted El Niño will likely result in a poor rainy season.

BY STAFF REPORTER

The allocated emergency funds will be used to support some of the worst affected communities that remain uncovered by current food aid responses.

According to the 2015 Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee (supported by government, UN, donors and NGOs), an estimated 924 000 people were currently food insecure and the figure is expected to increase to 1,5 million between January and March 2016 next year.

UN resident co-ordinator and UNDP Resident Representative, Bishow Parajuli, said communities hit by food insecurity would be assisted.

“The UN support will focus on responding to urgent needs of the food insecure population, with building community resilience as an integral component of the response, especially considering a predicted El Niño, which could mean another poor rainfall season,” he said.

The CERF allocation will be broken down as $4,3m for food assistance, $2,1m to ensure affected farmers access crop inputs and survival stock feed, $1,2m for the restoration of access to safe water and improvement of hygiene practices and over half a million dollars for lifesaving nutrition interventions.

Unicef representative, Reza Hossaini said the funding would go a long way in alleviating hardships in women and children, who usually bear the brunt of hardships caused by drought.

“With this funding, we and our partners will do our utmost to alleviate these hardships by providing affected communities with safe water, treatments for children with diarrhoea and severe acute malnutrition and critical lifesaving information for preventing diseases such as cholera and diarrhoea,” he said.

The overall food insecurity response plan was developed by the government, UN, humanitarian and development partners, among other stakeholders, following a call for support by Vice-President Emerson Mnangagwa who chairs Cabinet Committee on Food and Nutrition Security.

The plan seeks $132,2m, of which $54,1m has been received thus far, leaving a funding gap of $78,1m.

Budget strategy paper must be legislated for

via Budget strategy paper must be legislated for – NewsDay Zimbabwe November 20, 2015

In a significant positive development, the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development led by Patrick Chinamasa has published a 2016 Budget Strategy Paper ahead of presentation of the National Budget to Parliament next Thursday.

The Budget Strategy Paper outlines the macroeconomic framework and medium-term fiscal and economic priorities. Publishing the paper allows citizens to input into the formulation of the budget.

The Finance ministry is inviting public comments on the strategy paper, and will be conducting public consultation meetings to receive further input from stakeholders.

This is most welcome as it engenders participatory public policymaking as required under section 13 of the Constitution. This section compels the State and all institutions and agencies of government at every level to facilitate rapid and equitable development, and that measures to achieve this “must involve the people in the formulation and implementation of development plans and programmes that affect them”.

Participatory public policymaking allows national ownership of policies and programmes, and reduces difficulties in policy implementation. Strengthening civil society and the public’s ability to analyse budgets and participate effectively can play an integral role, not only in policies and service delivery, but also in constructing a more open and participatory democratic society.

However, the consultation process must be meaningful in nature for this to happen. It must not be about going through the motions or simply an academic exercise. Citizens must feel strongly that policymakers are making a serious attempt to take on board their recommendations.

I, therefore, would have expected the Budget Strategy Paper to be made public way before presentation of the budget to Parliament. Publishing the paper less than two weeks before budget day does not provide adequate time for citizens’ input to be factored into the budget.

I would like to believe that the consolidated draft budget has already been approved at the highest political level, thereby, diluting the impact of the public consultations on the Budget Strategy Paper.

Good practice for fiscal transparency is that the Budget Strategy Paper is published at least a month before tabling of the estimates of expenditure and revenue in Parliament. The other good practice is that the Budget Strategy Paper is legislated for in terms of the time that it is published and the process that it follows.

In South Africa, the Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement is provided for in section 6 of the Money Bills Amendment Procedure and Related Matters Act, 2009. It is submitted to Parliament at least three months prior to the introduction of the national budget. The Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement in South Africa must include the following: A revised fiscal framework for the present financial year and the proposed fiscal framework for the next three years; an explanation of the macro-economic and fiscal policy position, the macro-economic projections and the assumptions underpinning the fiscal framework; the spending priorities of national government for the next three years; the proposed division of revenue between the spheres of government and between arms of government within a sphere for the next three years; the proposed substantial adjustments to conditional grant allocations to provinces and local governments, if any; and a review of actual spending by each national department and each provincial government between April 1 and September 30 of the current fiscal year.

The statement is referred to the committees of finance and appropriations in the National Assembly and National Council of Provinces, who are required by the Act to consider it and report to their respective houses within 30 days. The committees have power to propose amendments to the fiscal framework.

In Kenya, the budget policy statement is submitted to Parliament for approval on February 28. The same happens at local government level, where the county fiscal strategy papers are approved by county assemblies.

The budget is only submitted to the Kenyan Parliament on April 30. The country’s financial year begins on July 1, thereby giving Parliament two months to debate and approve the budget. The whole formulation process and time frames are included in the fiscal act. This allows civil society and the public to know when to intervene in the budget process. This is why the Kenyan experience has been touted as a good practice that breeds transparency and credibility to the budget cycle.

Zimbabwe’s budget cycle is currently not transparent enough. You don’t know what is happening and at what time. We tend to leave public consultations to the last minute. The result is a budget process that is not people-centred.

Chinamasa should, therefore, seriously consider legislating for the budget cycle and budget strategy paper in the forthcoming amendments to the Public Finance Management Act. This will give meaning to his quest for participatory budgeting.

You have started well, comrade minister. Let us give impetus to this development through the necessary legal provisions.

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

Grace claims she often sleeps hungry

via Grace claims she often sleeps hungry – New Zimbabwe 19/11/2015

FIRST Lady Grace Mugabe, repeatedly criticized for her lavish shopping sprees, told her supporters Thursday that she now skips meals in solidarity with thousands of Zimbabweans facing hunger.

At a rally held in a poor Harare’s poor Mbare neighbourhood, Grace told supporters on she was skipping some of her meals to empathize with Zimbabweans who could only afford to eat once a day.

The World Food Program in August said 1. 5 million Zimbabweans needed food assistance because of recurring droughts.

She however assured Zanu PF supporters that they would have a good Christmas because she brought “goodies”— tons of maize and rice.

Meanwhile, Grace also hit out at Zanu PF rivals she accuses of plotting her ouster as party women’s league chair for allegedly disparaging war veterans.

She admitted simmering tensions fuelled within Zanu PF, largely over the succession of her 91-year-old husband.

President Mugabe has been in power since independence in 1980 and party leautenants are angling to take over as he increasingly shows signs of being weakened by age and reported poor health

Grace, thought to be interested in replacing her husband, defiantly challenged rivals to kill her if they wanted to silence her from condemning factionalism in the party.

Vakajaira kublackmaila vamwe vanhu (they are used to blackmail),” Grace said.

“They get so offended if someone states a fact. If you say something they are quick to say you hate war veterans.

“Let me tell you, you are not gonna get me. I have my mouth, you only silence me by shooting me and killing me. You are not gonna silence me!”

I won’t be silenced

The First Lady said if she harboured any ill feelings against the country’s liberators, she could start by poisoning her own husband she fondly described as a great hero who endured more than a decade during colonial rule.

Although she never mentioned any name, it is widely believed Grace’s diatribe was intended for Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa who is firming up to succeed President Mugabe.

Grace infuriated war veterans a couple of weeks ago when she railed against party rivals who had allegedly discarded their disciplinary conduct as was imparted during the war, in attempts to ascend to power.

The garrulous First Lady skipped her planned Masvingo rally after she was warned of an impending demonstration against her.

Turning away from her diatribe against party rivals, the Zanu PF women’s league boss also claimed some local journalists wanted bribes from her so that they could take off their spotlight on her.

“I like you (journalists) a lot. I know you can’t do without me; I am back, I am back!” she said with a light giggle.

“Someone said I was being vilified by the media because I do not pay but I said I don’t pay bribes. Instead, I give out rice, maybe they are starving.”

Grace’s Harare rally was attended by a dozen party MPs from Harare and some top party officials.

The usually filthy environs of the crowded township were spruced up for her rally.

The normally teeming vending stalls around the area were conspicuously empty with signs the traders were all ordered to attend the rally.

She disappointed many when she failed to parcel out freebies as has now become characteristic of her provincial tours, instead promising to send them through party structures at a later date.

Pre-budget prognosis: Template for useful economic reforms

via Pre-budget prognosis: Template for useful economic reforms – The Zimbabwe Independent November 20, 2015

A TIME of economic policy announcement presents an opportunity to reflect on how well policies are working to address existent economic challenges. It is also an opportune time to test our understanding of the real problems that Zimbabwe faces.

Persistence Gwanyanya

This second aspect is particularly important to me because analysts and policy makers alike are more focused on the immediate challenges without a clear understanding of their origin, nature and with limited reflection on the aspect of path dependence. To me, path dependence(the idea that history matters for current decision-making situations and has a strong influence on strategic planning) is important because it shapes a country’s economic discourse and deserves equal attention.

Zimbabwe is where it is today because of its past. Therefore, what Zimbabwe went through from the Unilateral Declaration of Independence in 1965 to Independence in 1980, the economic reform period of the 1990s, the land reform period in the 2000s and then dollarisation and Government of National Unity in 2009 played a significant role in shaping its socio-economic landscape. Importantly, the structural makeup of the economy largely owes it to this path dependence issue.

Over the 50-year trajectory highlighted above, the World Bank estimates that the Zimbabwean economy grew by an average of 1,5% annually, while its population grew much faster, meaning that an ordinary Zimbabwean today is poorer than in the 1960s. It is estimated that two thirds of Zimbabweans today live in poverty, with 16% of these in extreme poverty. High poverty levels are associated with a widening gap between the poor and rich, as well as erosion of the middle class.

This economic picture demonstrates the extent to which policies in Zimbabwe should be directed towards addressing poverty through inclusive growth and thus the need for implementation of economic reforms. Successful implementation of economic reforms in the 1950s saw Japan rise from economic ruins after Second World War in the 1950s to become the world’s second largest economy in the 1970s. Similarly, with implementation of economic reforms in the late 1970s, China managed to grow its economy to become the second largest in the world, hence the talk of the new millennium.

The same goes for the Asian Tiger economies namely South Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan, whose GDPs in the 1960s could be equated to the likes of Sudan and DRC, but by the 1990s their living standards had matched those of the Western countries. These examples just demonstrate that there is scope for successful economic reforms to turn around the Zimbabwe economy.

For an economy to grow there must be investment. A country that consumes everything it produces will not grow.

Zimbabwe finds itself in this predicament today. It is a consumptive economy with very low levels of investment and therefore has to rebalance by reducing consumption as a share of GDP and increasing investment. This fact may be difficult to swallow especially now when we are experiencing deflation which is largely believed to be a result of demand deficiency.

But the truth is demand constraints today are a result of a cyclical downturn and propensity to consume has remained high, which is Zimbabwe’s structural problem today. The major problem with structural challenges is that they get more entrenched if they go on unsolved for a long time.

In China for example, policy-makers could not easily buy the proposition that their economy was suffering from a structural imbalance due to low domestic demand, heavy reliance on external demand and over investment and therefore should rebalance. We now know better that this structural imbalance was a reality as the Chinese economy is faced with a slow down.

It is estimated that Zimbabwe’s consumption levels are around 80% of GDP and the country invests less than 20% of GDP. The high levels of consumption are reflected in huge budget deficits and private sector dissaving. Low levels of investment and de-industrialisation has resulted in huge dependence on imports and thus mounting BOP deficit.

Since dollarisation, the country has accumulated a balance of payment (BOP) deficit in excess of US$15 billion and this was funded from foreign capital in the form of foreign loans, diaspora remittances and foreign aid simply because of lack of savings locally. This structural imbalance where a greater portion of GDP pours into imports and excess imports are funded through creation of mainly short term debt is undesirable and no economy in this predicament can hope to grow. To put this into context, let’s assume that the country receives a significant inflow of say of US$20 billion today, ceteris paribus (with other conditions remaining the same), it will take at least seven years to consume this amount into imports assuming the BOP deficit remains at an average of US$3 billion per annum. This highlights the extent to which this structural imbalance will weigh down growth and should be addressed sooner rather than letter.

Lopsided consumption propensity in Zimbabwe can be traced back to the socialist ideology that guided our country’s economic history for a long period. In this system, the government assumed role prominence in the provision of public goods mainly education and health care. This largely explains the bloated civil service sector in Zimbabwe today. Because public goods were highly subsidised, there was little incentive for the private sector to save and could afford to live from hand to mouth. There was little incentive to address this structural imbalance because foreign direct investment (FDI) flows and other forms of foreign flows were high and filled the gap left by low savings levels and thus high consumption was desirable as it created the necessary growth stimulus.

Today this model no longer applies as the country’s foreign flows dry up in the wake of frosty relationships with the foreign investors, especially the West. The country should now save, invest and export so as to generate income for growth. This is what I mean by rebalancing the economy.

Rationalisation of public expenditure and employment costs is considered the lynchpin of this economic rebalancing notion.

The IMF Staff-Monitored Programme recommends that to generate desirable growth in Zimbabwe employment costs should be reduced to 40% of budget from the current level of 73%. This could be achieved through restricting wage increase, hiring and promotion freeze, and eliminating redundancies.

However, my view is that government is severely compromised in this area because rationalisation of labour is viewed as unpopular given the high unemployment and poverty levels. This means other options to rationalise public expenditure, mainly privatisation and commercialisation of state enterprises and parastatals , should be considered.

It is said that only five out of the 70 or so parastatals and state enterprises in Zimbabwe are operating viably.

As such, this sector remains an albatross on fiscus. Given the budgetary constraints, these parastatals need to be privatised sooner rather than later. However, the indigenisation laws are seen as a threat to privatisation, and as such these laws should be radically amended.

It is clear that fiscal consolidation measures cannot produce enough financial resources to lift this country from the current depression. An economy with an infrastructure deficit of US$14-US$20 billion definitely need significant inflows of FDI.

Given well over a decade of economic decay, the country needs to retool and rebuild its infrastructure to keep up with the world.

As such, there is need to create an investor-friendly environment, but indigenisation laws are seen as the elephant in the room.

The recent request by Aliko Dankote of Nigeria to have the indigenisation laws waived for him before he commits his US$1,2 billion investment into Zimbabwe bears testimony to this fact. The post-crises world is characterised by home bias and financial de-globalisation, hence the limited flow of international capital. As countries try to recover from crises they tend to be more cautious about foreign investments and pay more consideration to the investment climate. As such, Zimbabwe can only attract meaningful FDI if it improving the easy of doing business reforms sooner rather than later.

The constrained FDI flows will increase Zimbabwe’s reliance on debt. However, in light of the huge and mounting debt levels estimated at around US$10,8 billion, it is questionable whether borrowing is a sustainable growth path for Zimbabwe. Recent progress on Zimbabwe’s debt resolution strategy and the successful meeting with international financiers on the sidelines of the Lima conference in Peru will pave way for debt restructuring and/or rescheduling with the World Bank, IMF and Africa Development Bank, thus creating some breathing space for the fiscus.

However, it is my recommendation that any new debt should be deployed towards the productive sector and not consumption. This makes my recommendation towards rebalancing the economy more imperative.

As the economy rebalances towards more investment, competitiveness issues will assume an increasingly important role.

The current competitive situation where Zimbabwe is ranked 125th out of 142 countries by the World Economic Forum demonstrate the urgency of implementing measures to bolster competitiveness. Prior to dollarisation the country used to solve its competitiveness issues through devaluing the Zimbabwe dollar. However, this option no longer applies under dollarisation.

There is need to boost productivity. It is estimated that the US dollar in Zimbabwe is 45% overvalued, meaning there is need for productivity gain of the same magnitude to remain competitive.

You may have noticed from the above that this article proffers no new recommendations on rebuilding the Zimbabwean economy. But the reason why Zimbabwe has remained in the current economic predicament is attributable to the tendency of avoiding bold action by taking half measures on fundamental issues.

Successful implementation of the highlighted measures will set the stage for growth in the region of 5% (own projection). In business we know that the best strategies do not work where implementation and delivery are poor, and if this shortcoming remains the economy will continue to muddle through and growth will be contained below 2% in my projection.

Gwanyanya is an economist. These New Perspectives weekly articles are co-ordinated by Lovemore Kadenge, president of the Zimbabwe Economics Society. E-mail: kadenge.zes@gmail.com, cell: +263 772 382 852.

Zim explores Namibia to grow exports

via Zim explores Namibia to grow exports – The Zimbabwe Independent November 19, 2015

ZIMBABWE’S trade facilitation body, ZimTrade has called for local companies to consider growing exports to Namibia’s pharmaceuticals, construction and leather products sectors to improve the country’s trade position.

Zimtrade Chief Executive Sithembile Pilime on Thursday told delegates attending the launch the Namibia market survey findings on Thursday that while Zimbabwe has a negative trade imbalance with its Southern African peer, opportunities are abound to grow exports.

Official figures show that Zimbabwe’s exports to Namibia stood at US$8,9 million against imports of US$ 17,8 million.

“It’s very important that we push for that market. We own less than 1% of the market share .Namibia has vast opportunities in construction, pharmaceuticals, consumer goods and leather product,” she said.

Namibia imports 65% of its products from South Africa with 8% coming from Botswana.

Trade between Namibia and South Africa has been largely buoyed by the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) -a customs union among Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa and Swaziland.

Malvern Rusike, Director of Africa Corporate Advisors a consultant engaged by the country’s trade facilitation body to conduct the survey said while Namibia has a strong product demand for Zimbabwe’s products they are setbacks affecting trade between the two countries such as obsolete technology, antiquated machinery, lack of competitiveness and customs issue.

According Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries 2015 survey the manufacturing capacity utilisation was pegged at 34,3% down from 36,5% last year.

In Namibia the manufacturing sector contributes about 15% to the Gross Domestic Product with its light industry linked to agro processing.

“If we have the manufacturing capacity which has the ability to supply to that market, let’s do so,” Rusike said.

He said Zimbabwe can utilise bilateral and multilateral trade agreements between itself and Namibia.
The two countries signed preferential trade agreement.

Rusike said Zimbabwe needs to review trade policies and put incentives to promote exporters.

Though Namibia is lowly populated with an estimated population of two million its spending power is high its southern region taps into the Angolan market.

Namibia is indexed at 101 out of 189 under the World Bank Ease of Doing Business rankings where as Zimbabwe is ranked 155.-Fidelity Mhlanga

RENAMO censure motion defeated

via RENAMO censure motion defeated – The Zimbabwean 20.11.2015

The Mozambican parliament, the Assembly of the Republic, on Thursday defeated a motion of censure moved by the former rebel movement Renamo against the response given by the government to questions it had raised at the start of the month.

Renamo was clearly still smarting from the tough line taken by Interior Minister Jaime Monteiro on 4 November, when he insisted that the government will disarm Renamo’s illegal militia.

Monteiro was responding to a question from the Renamo parliamentary group, which accused the government of attempting to murder Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama, and asked “does the government think it is legally, morally and politically justified to resort to the defence and security forces for actions which seek to assassinate the Renamo leader, while at the same time expressing a will to hold a dialogue with Renamo?”

Monteiro categorically denied that the government intended to murder Dhlakama, but stressed that the defence forces will continue to collect weapons held illegally, including by Renamo. He promised that the collection of weapons will continue “until the last firearm in unauthorized hands is collected coercively or handed over voluntarily” to the defence and security forces, since “the possession and use of weapons of war is the exclusive prerogative of the State”.

In the motion of censure, read out by the spokesperson of the Renamo parliamentary group, Jose Carlos Cruz, Renamo once again claimed that the peace agreement it signed with the government in October 1994 allows it to keep an armed force.

He clearly believed that if a claim is repeated frequently enough, it becomes true. The peace agreement did indeed allow Renamo to keep armed bodyguards, but only for a limited period. The clause in question states: “Renamo shall be responsible for the immediate personal security of its topmost leaders. The Mozambican government shall grant police status to the Renamo members charged with guaranteeing that security”.

The agreement lists this as one of the “specific guarantees for the period between the ceasefire and the holding of elections”. The first multi-party general elections took place in October 1994, and since that date the Renamo militia has been illegal.

Cruz claimed that the government was resorting to “state terrorism” and intended to return to a one-party state. “Nobody in their right mind can accept the decision to disarm Renamo”, he declared.

He alleged that the two previous presidents, Joaquim Chissano and Armando Guebuza, “never said the Renamo security force was illegal”. Not only is this untrue, but Chissano has gone on record as saying that one of his biggest mistakes was failing to disarm Renamo.

In its written opinion on the Renamo censure motion, the Assembly’s Commission on Constitutional and Legal Affairs pointed out that armed political parties are banned under the Mozambican constitution which states “political parties are forbidden from advocating or resorting to armed violence to change the political and social order”.

It was the government’s duty, the Commission said, to guarantee public order and the security of citizens. This duty imposed the need “to remove completely threats to the security of the people and the state, which necessarily involves collecting firearms which are in illegitimate hands”.

Carrying that out was not “a declaration of war”, as Renamo claimed, but “the responsible acceptance of a Constitutional obligation”.

“The existence of Renamo armed men violates the constitutional order”, said the Commission. “The government’s action to disarm the Renamo men is a measure seeking to restore the constitutional order”.

In the brief debate that followed, Renamo continued to accuse Monteiro of lying, and demanded a parliamentary commission of inquiry into the two ambushes that the motorcade of Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama suffered in the central province of Manica on 12 and 25 September, and the disarming of Renamo’s bodyguards in Beira on 9 October. This impromptu demand, however, was not even included in the Renamo motion.

When the censure motion was put to a vote it was defeated by 125 to 77. In the vote the second opposition party, the Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM), joined forces with Renamo, but the combined opposition was easily outnumbered by deputies of the ruling Frelimo Party.

SA, Zim to jointly tackle Zanele death case

via SA, Zim to jointly tackle Zanele death case – New Zimbabwe 19/11/2015

SA health minister Aaron Motsoaledi met with Zimbabwe’s higher education Minister Jonathan Moyo to give an update on the investigation into the death of his daughter‚ Zanele.

Zanele Moyo‚ a student at the University of Cape Town‚ was found dead at her off campus apartment last month.

Motsoaledi also met his Zimbabwean counterpart David Parirenyatwa on Thursday to discuss “the puzzles around the unfortunate death” of Zanele, after which they released a joint statement on how they would resolve the matter.

The statement said the case was being dealt with at “the most senior ministerial state” because of “problems and confusion encountered thus far” in the investigation.

“The issues discussed were pertaining to concerns surrounding the events of the investigation and the manner in which the post mortem was handled‚” the statement said.

“To expedite and take the matter to its finality”‚ it was agreed that a process be set up between the health ministry in SA and Zimbabwean counterparts‚ with the help of relevant authorities and experts from both countries”.

This will entail “a review of the investigation and the progress made to date‚ post mortem procedures and conclusions‚ (and) the repatriation of the outstanding remains”.

Previous reports have suggested that after a postmortem was carried out in South Africa, Zanele’s body was repatriated with her heart missing.

Please spare hero Mugabe, pleads Grace

via Please spare hero Mugabe, pleads Grace – New Zimbabwe 19/11/2015

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe’s wife, Grace has pleaded with increasingly restless Zimbabweans not to turn against the long serving leader, adding this will plunge the country into irreversible turmoil.

She was addressing thousands of party supporters during her Harare rally Thursday afternoon.

Those who attended the Mbare rally received free bottled water from the First Lady. The 500 ml bottles had stickers which bore the Zanu PF logo and the familiar words: “Mother of the Nation Amai Dr Grace Mugabe”.

Grace repeatedly referred to her husband as a hero and urged Zimbabweans not to emulate Arab countries which she said were misled by the US into deposing their leaders.

“Please let us not mislead one another…our enemies are still bitter that they have been outsmarted by Zanu PF and still want to continue destabilising our country,” Grace said in a Shona address that lasted for more than an hour.

The First Lady said the US defied the UN by invading Iraq back in 2003 leading to the ouster and subsequent execution of its leader Saddam Hussein.

Since then, she said, the Asian country has never seen any peace.

“Even the former British Prime Minister (Tony Blair) has since apologised for bombing Iraq. There is nothing left of Iraq now,” Grace said.

“They did the same in Libya, killing (Muammar) Gaddafi for no apparent reason. As we speak, bombs explode everyday; people do not know when next a bomb will explode or when guns would be fired.

“So in our country let us endure our hardships but in peace.”

Zimbabwe’s security situation remains volatile with desperate citizens now turning to selling all manner of trinkets to survive.

President Mugabe’s government, sensing the apparent security risk posed by thousands of illegal vendors in CBDs, has moved to dislodge the traders from city streets under the pretext of restoring their glitter.

Police has responded with brute force to continued attempts by opposition activists to stage street marches to protest massive joblessness.

The opposition blames the current economic tailspin on President Mugabe’s failing leadership.

However, the First Lady took time to blame the situation on sanctions, which she said were imposed on the current government by the West at the instigation of the opposition.