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.