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Mugabe favours Sekeramayi to succeed

Saturday, 21 May 2011 23:23


PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe has dumped the two main rival factions in Zanu PF,
which for years have been plotting against each other to succeed him, in
favour of the Minister of State Security in his office, Sydney Sekeramayi,
authoritative sources said.

The sources said the 87-year-old leader confided in his inner circles in
February that he preferred Sekeramayi to succeed him ahead of both Vice-
President Joice Mujuru and Defence minister Emmerson Mnangangwa.

Although he may not openly choose a successor, Mugabe has vast influence on
who can take over from him in Zanu PF. The issue of succession has become so
hot in Zanu PF in recent months amid increased reports of Mugabe’s ill
health compounded by his advanced age.

For a long time, Mugabe has been oscillating between supporting Mujuru and
Mnangangwa, causing confusion among his party supporters. This is not the
first time that Sekeramayi’s name has been tossed in the succession ring.
Sekeramayi, described as very intelligent and calculating, is seen as a
presidential contender partly because of his powerful voice in Zanu PF’s
upper echelons.

The “spymaster”, as he is affectionately known in party circles, has served
as a minister in Mugabe’s cabinet since the country’s Independence in 1980.
He also still commands both support and respect among the military.

“It is now common knowledge in our circles that the President prefers
Sekeramayi,” said one source. “This is why people like Mutasa (Didymus) can
openly castigate the two factions and telling supporters to rally behind
Mugabe and no one else”.

Sekeramayi is considered a moderate and is also “acceptable” among the hawks
due to his close links with the army and intelligence. Mutasa, who is Zanu
PF secretary for administration, recently told a rally in Manicaland that
they should neither join the Mujuru or Mnangagwa factions but support the
liberation party.

“If you are in either of the factions, move out as we should all be in
President Mugabe’s faction,” said Mutasa.

Indeed, said sources, there is a Mugabe faction in Zanu PF which comprises a
clique of loyalists, who believe Mugabe can rule until he dies. Mutasa
yesterday professed ignorance that Sekeramayi was Mugabe’s anointed

“I don’t know anything about that,” said Mutasa. “In any case, such issues
are not discussed in newspapers but in our politburo meetings.”

In 2004 Mugabe appeared to have anointed Mujuru. When elevating Mujuru to
vice-president in December 2004, Mugabe said she was destined for “higher
office”, a statement which many analysts concluded to mean her anointment.

Mujuru is the wife of former army chief, Solomon Mujuru, who remains highly
influential in government and the military.

But University of Zimbabwe political science lecturer John Makumbe said Zanu
PF was unlikely to violate its party hierarchy by imposing someone junior
ahead of Mujuru, who has been Vice-President since 2004.

“Mujuru is likely to be the successor to Mugabe because she is the
Vice-President,” said Makumbe. “Zanu PF rarely violates its party hierarchy.
She (Mujuru) is more acceptable in the party than Mnangagwa and John Nkomo
(Vice-President) who would be considered junior to her.”

Mnangagwa’s disadvantage stems from his stint as Minister of State Security
during the Gukururahundi era, where an estimated 20 000 people were killed.
Mugabe has not forgiven Mnangagwa for his alleged role in the botched
Tsholotsho saga, in which his faction was accused of plotting to unseat him.

But, Makumbe said, the securocrats would resist Mujuru as they considered
her too accommodative and friendly to Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, a
situation which threatens their political and economic interests.

Sources said Mnangagwa is the hawks’ favoured successor in their strategy to
protect themselves in a post-Mugabe era.

“Hawks would prefer someone who sings from the same hymnbook with Joint
Operations Command (JOC) and Mujuru is definitely not one of them because
she does not condone violence,” said Makumbe.

Another analyst said hawks would rather prefer Sekeramayi to Mujuru if their
plans to prop Mnangagwa faltered. But the succession matrix would favour the
last acting Vice-President, should Mugabe resigns or die in office.

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Zanu PF tries to arm-twist Sadc: MDC-T

Saturday, 21 May 2011 23:34


ZANU PF tried to arm-twist the Sadc at the just ended summit in Namibia to
change its tough stance on President Robert Mugabe and his party reached at
a summit in Zambia two months ago, the MDC-T said yesterday.

Sadc’s troika heavily reprimanded the former ruling party at the Livingstone
summit in March, and told Mugabe to end violence and politically-motivated
arrests, among other things.

But Zanu PF came out guns blazing at last week’s summit hoping to overturn
the Troika decision in the absence of the facilitator, SA President Jacob
Zuma, according to the MDC-T.

Other sources said Zanu PF also wanted to push for early elections by
insisting that the inclusive government was not functioning as the parties
were not speaking with one voice on issues such as land, sanctions and

Zanu PF also did not want the roadmap to free and fair election, said the

MDC-T spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora said his party was happy that Sadc
leaders refused to listen to Zanu PF. “We understand that Zanu PF wanted
Sadc to review the Livingstone resolutions on Zimbabwe based on the position
of papers of protagonists of interested parties,” said Mwonzora.

“We were happy the summit proposed to review the Sadc position on Zimbabwe
as reflected in the resolution arrived at in Zambia. It was improper to
review a position of that nature on the basis of a position paper of an
interested party. It appears Sadc is being informed by its technical

Mwonzora said for Sadc to reach a conclusive position on Zimbabwe, there was
need for it to get a full report from the facilitator for it to have a
better appreciation of progress being made by the negotiators.

“We are happy they will be a special summit next month where the Zimbabwean
issue will be deliberated. At the summit as the MDC, we will insist on a
clear roadmap to free and fair elections,” said Mwonzora. “We will also
insist on security sector reform. We will insist that we must not have a
partisan army, a partisan police and a partisan Central Intelligence

A source who attended the summit said Sadc was very hostile to the Zanu PF
position because it was now aware that the party was trying to “ambush” all
the processes in a bid to make all Sadc initiatives irrelevant.

However, Zanu PF negotiator Patrick Chinamasa said the proposal to put
Zimbabwe for deliberation was put by Botswana President Ian Khama after
Banda had called for it to be deferred since Zuma was not present.

“It’s not true what the MDC is saying. What happened is that the proposal
came from the chairperson on the organ on Defence President Rupiah Banda to
defer deliberations on Zimbabwe because President Zuma was not there,” said

“However, Khama insisted that the matter be debated. President Mugabe
chipped in saying the matter can’t be up for deliberations since the
facilitator and the other two MDC formations were not around. We are
lawyers, President Mugabe, Mnangagwa and I and so it would have been
irregular for us to discuss while others were not there because they are
also affected.”

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, who heads the main MDC formation, his
deputy Arthur Mutambara and Professor Welshman Ncube were not at the summit
after being informed in advance that Zimbabwe would not be on the agenda.

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Health ministry working to deal with information gap —Madzorera

Saturday, 21 May 2011 22:51

Disability HIV and Aids Trust (DHAT), head of operations Hamida Mauto said
HIV-positive people with disabilities faced many challenges when trying to
access health services.
“Information on HIV and Aids that includes testing, counselling and
dispensing of medication which is available in the country only suits those
people who are able-bodied,” she said.

“Therefore deaf and blind people face a huge challenge as they remain in the
dark. Confidentiality is being compromised as one will have to go with a
translator as many health care-givers do not know sign language and health
institutions do not have Braille, which is meant for blind people.”

Mauto said fear of stigma and discrimination also prevented some people with
disabilities from being tested or to seek more information on HIV and Aids.
She said there was also a wrong perception that people with disabilities
were not at risk of contracting HIV and Aids.

Addressing a regional HIV/Aids workshop last week in Harare, Health and
Child Welfare minister Henry Madzorera said the government was working to
ensure the accessibility of HIV information to people with disabilities.

He said health workers at all levels had been trained on disability issues,
deaf awareness and sign language to improve communication.
But Madzorera admitted that a lot still had to be done to improve access to
information on HIV and Aids, as many programmes have not been taking people
with disabilities into consideration.

It also emerged at the workshop that the sharp decline in the HIV prevalence
rate of 13,1% did not take into consideration people with disabilities.
The country does not have statistics on people with disabilities who are
HIV-positive, therefore it becomes difficult for donors who may be willing
to support them.
The workshop was hosted by DHAT and was attended by health representatives
from Botswana, Malawi and Zambia.

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Mugabe ‘micro-managing’ Mines ministry

Saturday, 21 May 2011 23:45


PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe is reportedly micro-managing the Ministry of Mines
and Mining Development following rampant reports of corruption by senior
Ministry officials, authoritative sources said.
The sources said Mugabe was not happy with the way special mining grants
were awarded to miners with some paying amo-unts ranging from US$100 000 and
US$500 000 with an insignificant amount being paid to government.

They said Mugabe was also incensed by the continued reports of senior
officials who were demanding bribes in exchange of lucrative mining rights.
For the past few months, said the sources, Mugabe has been deeply involved
in the awarding of special grants to miners before signing them because he
does not trust senior officials in the ministry.

“The President no longer trusts anyone within our ministry because of the
rampant corruption among senior ministry officials,” said one source. “There
is even an incident where a very senior official had his other eye injured
in skirmishes with some prospective miners who were duped of their money.”
Responsible minister Obert Mpofu on Friday refuted the allegations adding
that it was “rubbish” that Mugabe was now overseeing some major functions
within his ministry.

“I don’t know what you are talking about. It’s actually rubbish because the
President has got nothing to do with the issuing of special grants,” he said
before he hung up his mobile phone.

However, in sharp contradiction with Mpofu, Presidential spokesperson George
Charamba admitted that Mugabe was in actual fact overseeing the awarding of
the special grants in the mining sector.

He, however, tried to downplay the issue.

“They have always been done by President Mugabe,” said Charamba. “No wealth
can just be placed in the hands of people without the President’s consent.
So the President routinely deals with the issue of mineral grants.”

Last year, Mpofu was accused in front of Mugabe of soliciting for bribes by
Canadile Miners (Pvt) Limited deputy chairman Lovemore Kurotwi, revelations
that are said to have stunned  the President.

Kurotwi is currently being charged with fraudulently acquiring diamond
mining claims in Chiadzwa in Manicaland province.

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Youths embark on voter education

Sunday, 22 May 2011 00:06


BULAWAYO — The MDC-T youth assembly has embarked on a voter education
exercise to ensure over 1 million of the party’s youths are registered to
vote ahead of upcoming elections, officials have said.
The voter education exercise comes amid the realisation that thousands of
youths in the Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai-led party are not registered
to vote.
“We have embarked on a voter education programme,” said Promise Mkhwananzi,
the MDC T youth assembly secretary-general.

“We want to ensure that 1 million youths get registered and once that is
done, Zanu PF is finished.”

He said the programme was also designed to ensure that the MDC-T youths
would be able to “roll out protests to defend the party votes should Zanu PF
rig in upcoming elections.”

The Youth Initiative for Democracy in Zimbabwe, which is spearheading a
programme to assist youths with voter registration, indicated that “getting
registered to vote is not youth-friendly” owing to the RG Office’s
tendencies of citing various excuses to bar youths from registering for

Mudede could not be reached for comment last week as he was said to be out
of the office.

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Electorate confused over poll dates

Saturday, 21 May 2011 23:54


More than five months into the year, Zimbabweans are no wiser as to when the
next elections will be held with Global Political Agreement (GPA) principals
seemingly pulling in different directions and giving contradictory

At least four dates are being cited as the time when elections would be
held. Zanu PF prefers to have polls this year, while Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai has announced elections could be held sometime next year.

But others say 2013 is the most feasible date and yet again, Tsholotsho
legislator, Jonathan Moyo has claimed that if elections are not held this
year, then they should be no polls till 2016.

Just when the nation was beginning to warm to the idea that elections would
not be held this year, President Robert Mugabe thunderously announced that
there was no reason why polls could not be held this year.

This follows a meeting of Mugabe’s Zanu PF party’s politburo, which
reportedly berated its negotiator, Patrick Chinamasa for saying polls could
not be held this year and proposing that they either be held next year or

But on the other hand, Tsvangirai told a press conference on the sidelines
of the World Economic Forum summit in Cape Town, South Africa, that
elections could only be held within 12 months but certainly not this year.

Welshman Ncube, leader of a faction of the MDC told a business conference in
Bulawayo that elections were impossible this year, with the nearest possible
date for a poll being March next year.

The main stumbling block, all parties claim, is the finalisation of a new
constitution, which Mugabe insists should be completed this year, while
Tsvangirai and Ncube’s parties claim that this is not possible.

Bulawayo legislator, David Coltart has waded into that debate saying Zanu PF’s
proclamations should be ignored as it was impossible to complete the
drafting of the new charter.

“No matter what Zanu PF says to Sadc (Southern African Development
Community) leaders, fact is we cannot complete (the) constitutional reform
process and have elections this year,” he wrote on micro-blogging site
Twitter, last week.

“(We) cannot start electoral process in Zimbabwe until we know whether we
have an executive president or prime minister, proportional representation
or first past the post and dual citizenship or not.”

Coltart, a lawyer by profession, said any shortcuts that Zanu PF tried would
be equivalent to tearing up the Sadc-brokered GPA.

Parties must allow wounds to heal— analysts

University lecturer and analyst Lawton Hikwa said it was obvious that at
some point elections had to be held but having a poll this year might not be
a priority, arguing that the constitution and economy needed more attention.

“This is causing unnecessary anxiety and it confirms that there are problems
in the GPA,” he said. “Given the 2008 election violence, people still have
fresh memories and having an election so soon may not be expedient.”

This anxiety, Hikwa argued, could be a deterrent to investment as it
portrayed an unstable country at a time Zimbabwe is desperate for investors.
Hikwa said the best time to hold elections would most probably be either
late next year or in 2013, when the constitution would have been dealt with
and the economy back on steady ground.

Another analyst, who preferred to remain anonymous, claimed there was a lot
riding on this election and more so for Zanu PF than the other parties.
But he said he did not see Mugabe going ahead with polls this year,
dismissing this week’s call as rhetoric and a way to test waters to see if
election talk would gain favour with voters.

“Mugabe will not counter (South African president) Jacob Zuma, who has
already spoken of conditions to be met before any elections are held,” the
analyst said.
“He might be seen to be contradicting him (Zuma) but I think he is trying to
show that he is his own man.”

Zuma has called for an electoral roadmap to be in place before polls, but
Zanu PF seems to be singing a different tune. Its chairman, Simon Khaya-Moyo
claimed his party was against the roadmap but would be bound by the GPA.

But without a definite date for elections, tension continues to mount with
reports of violence and intimidation across the country.
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No progress in improving human rights: US official situation

Saturday, 21 May 2011 23:48


ZIMBABWE is still not eligible for benefits under the Africa Growth
Opportunity Act (Agoa) because it has not made any progress in promoting the
rule of law and political reforms, a senior United States official said last

Responding to a question during a teleconference on Tuesday, deputy
assistant US trade representative for Africa Constance Hamilton said America
would not remove economic sanctions against Zimbabwe  until there was a
definite move towards democracy.

“State department officials said that as long as human rights violations,
land seizures, intimidation of those participating in the political process
continue, the sanctioned individuals and entities on the list who continue
to perpetuate and benefit from these acts are unlikely to be removed,” she

Hamilton’s brief centres on advancing bilateral, regional and multilateral
US trade and economic cooperation initiatives with the countries of
sub-Saharan Africa.
However, Minister of Trade and Industry Professor Welshman Ncube explained
that Zimbabwe had never been a participating member of Agoa since the
legislation’s inception.

“Zimbabwe was excluded in the whole process a decade ago owing to
disagreement between the US government and the then Zanu PF-led government,”
said Ncube.
“There was no GPA when Zimbabwe was excluded for political reasons,” said
Ncube, adding that the country has never sought to apply to join in the Agoa
Hamilton’s statement comes at a time when Zambia will host the 2011 Agoa
Forum in a fortnight’s time. It will be the centrepiece of the US government’s
trade policy with sub-Saharan Africa.

The 2011 forum marks the 10th year that government officials, business
leaders, and civil society from African countries and the US will convene to
promote trade, business, and investment opportunities that sustain economic
development on the continent.

The 2011 Forum’s theme is Enhanced Trade through Increased Competitiveness,
Value Addition and Deeper Regional Integration.
This year’s forum promises to attract trade ministers and delegations from
the 37 Agoa-eligible African countries, as well as a large US government
delegation expected to be led by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and US
trade representative Ronald Kirk.
The forum will bring together over 800 participants.

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Councillors slam Harare City Council’s housing department

Saturday, 21 May 2011 23:47


HARARE City councillors are up in arms against the council’s housing
department which they accuse of sabotaging their efforts to deliver
accommodation to residents.
Councillors who attended last week’s full council meeting unanimously
slammed the department, with the sole Zanu PF elected councillor Eveline
Njiri from Epworth, lambasting housing director Justin Chivavaya for
allegedly jeopadising her chances of re-election.
“Last year, some people in my ward were soaked by rain and I went to his
(Chivavaya’s) office and the Town Clerk (Tendai Mahachi) told him to address
their plight but to date, he has done nothing,” Njiri said.

“This has caused me problems because my superiors are now asking why I am
taking too long to deliver what the people voted me for.”

Mbare’s councillor Friday Muleya expressed concern that since last year’s
launch of a housing project under a US$5 million Bill and Melinda Gates
Foundation fund, residents in his area continued to wait in vain.

“We have been waiting for a report from that department since the
groundbreaking ceremony in September last year,” Muleya said.

“The Mayor (Muchadeyi Masunda) is doing his best in securing funding for
various projects but everything gets blocked in these departments.”

He said he aimed at providing between 500 and 1 000 new houses per year.
“But it’s been two years now since we came into office and we have not
provided even a single house because some people are sleeping on the job
while others are on a mission to sabotage us.”

Muleya also complained about the department’s failure to come up with a
Mupedzanhamo Phase 2 project to decongest Mbare and create more employment.
In an interview after the meeting, Kuwadzana councillor Thomas Muzuva also
complained at the slow pace at which co-operatives were being allocated
“I have 10 cooperatives I am working with in Kuwadzana but only one which
was formed in 2004 finally got allocated some land in February,” he said.
“Council recommends that a cooperative must be given land once each member’s
total contribution gets to US$800 but a lot of cooperatives which have
exceeded this figure continue to be frustrated until some members drop out.”

Deputy director James Chiyangwa however told the meeting that the department
had “assisted many who approach it”.
Efforts to get comments from Masunda and Chivavaya were fruitless last week.

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Apostolic sects slammed

Saturday, 21 May 2011 23:47

By Silas Nkala

SOME church organisations in the country have condemned apostolic sect
churches and Zanu PF for turning their churches into venues for political
The condemnation comes after Zanu PF has targeted the apostolic sects in an
effort to boost its dwindling support base.

It is believed that Zanu PF forcibly obtained most signatures for its
anti-sanctions petition from apostolic sect church  members. Recently state
media reported that at least 2,2 million people had signed the
anti-sanctions petition.

Association of Evangelicals in Africa’s Director of Ethics, Peace and
Justice Commission in Southern Africa Patson Netha said the church should be
a place of uniting the people from different political parties.

He said the chanting of political slogans which have characterised
gatherings of some apostolic sects in recent months was illegal and must be
Such activities are not only offending to some people but to God as well, he

“The church must be for everyone so that it can deal with issues of
injustice,” said Netha. “The Church must not take sides on any party
Netha said the church must speak against the perpetuation of injustice no
matter which political party is responsible.
The Zimbabwe Christian Alliance (ZCA) executive director Useni Sibanda said
the “invasion” of the independent Apostolic Faith sects by Zanu PF was an
unfortunate development that would infringe on the freedom of religion.

“We call upon the church leaders to maintain their credibility by not
allowing themselves to be manipulated by politicians,” said Sibanda. “There
is need to maintain a critical prophetic distance between the Church and the
State. We also call upon Copac to respect the views of the Church and the
Christian community on the separation of the state and the church.”

The Christian community emphasised during the constitutional outreach that
the church needed to independently handle its issues through the relevant
Church umbrella structures without the interference from the state.

Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo dismissed accusations by church
organisations saying  they were nothing but a manifestation of jealousy over
his party’s cordial relations with the apostolic sects.

“Any church is free to associate with any party. There is no one who should
come between God and churches. We know they support opposition parties and
the West. Is that what God told them to do?” asked Gumbo cynically.

President Robert Mugabe, Vice-President Joice Mujuru and Zanu PF ministers
Webster Shamu, Nicholas Goche and former minister Amos Midzi have been
featured on national television attending Apostolic and Zion churches
services, where they are said to have preached their party mantra.
Zanu PF politicians  have been featured in the media wearing apostolic sect
regalia, a move which other churches described as “blasphemous and an abuse
of the sect’s regalia and misuse of avenues meant for worshiping God.”

Some of the church leaders have been seen chanting anti-sanctions slogans
and encouraging their members to sign the petition.
Efforts to get a comment from the Johanne Masowe, Johanne Marange, Zion and
other apostolic churches were fruitless.

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Recycling industry gains momentum

Saturday, 21 May 2011 22:52


While most of us continue to see the used plastic bottles and waste in
general as nothing more than litter, there are some that have finally
realised that there is money to be made from waste.
And now they are doing all they can to not only rid the country of a
persistent problem but are making quite an awesome living through it. Last
week this column concentrated on Tisunungureiwo Cooperative operating from
the Graniteside industrial area, a cooperative that buys all kinds of
recyclable waste, sorts it out and stores it for resale.

This week, in an attempt to establish just how well the recycling industry
is fairing in the country, StandardLife&Style embarked on a mission to find
exactly who it is that buys the used plastic bottles that organisations such
as Tisunungureiwo would have gone to such great trouble to collect.

Paying a surprise visit at Number 21 Conald Road in the Graniteside
industrial area, where CS Plastics, formerly known as Save$Centre is
located, Life&Style was left more than convinced that the recycling industry
has finally  become a reality in Zimbabwe. CS Plastics is one of the
recycling companies that purchase the used plastic bottles that
Tisunungureiwo Cooperative would have stored.

Most consumers might not actually be aware of it, but the bulk of the
plastic buckets that we store our water in and the plastic cups we buy from
the different retailers countrywide actually come from the many Cascade,
Mahewu and PET bottles that we would have used and more often than not,
carelessly discarded of.
Having collected the countless bottles, CS Plastics then tasks themselves
with thoroughly cleaning each and every single bottle before they are sorted
according to their types, chipped and placed in the injection machine, the
machine used to manufacture plastic products, through the injection moulding

In less than five minutes of processing, they would have produced an array
of highly marketable plastic products, mostly 15 and 20-litre containers as
well as buckets, dishes and cups.

“On a normal working day, we can make about 500 15-litre or 400 20-litre
buckets which we then supply to retailers all over Zimbabwe,” said Commander
Gwatinyanya, an assistant machine operator at CS Plastics.

Asked whether it was hygienic to use the used and often dirty plastic
bottles to make such products as kitchen utensils like cups, Gwatinyanya
said they only used the used bottles to make buckets and dishes as they
purchased what they called “virgin plastic”, which would not have been used
before, from such companies as AI Davies.

CS Plastics are ready to provide transport to collect plastics that weigh a
tonne and more.

“People should never burn plastics. The least that they can do is put it in
the bins and we will come and relieve them of it, and we will pay for it,”
Gwatinyanya said.
And indeed, many people have as a result found a way to make a decent
living. That is why nowadays it is no longer rare to come across people
scrapping through bins, carrying bags full of used plastic bottles.

But most importantly, this is a true reflection that as a country, Zimbabwe
has come of age and is on the right track to helping restore our now
degraded environment.
Recycling is definitely the way to go!

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Tobacco farmers bemoan poor prices

Sunday, 22 May 2011 00:15


TOBACCO farmers are disgruntled over the prices being offered at the auction
floors and are urging government to urgently intervene on the issue.
This year, the number of registered tobacco growers surged to 60 000 against
last year’s figure of less than 15 000 farmers owing to the profitable
returns that the crop has been known to offer.
Zimbabwe Progressive Tobacco Farmers Union President Nicholas Kapungu said
prevailing prices at the floors were only serving to deter new farmers from
growing the golden leaf next season.
“We have a whole lot of experienced farmers in our union who have been
farming tobacco for many years, but the prevailing prices are nothing short
of sabotage,” said Kapungu.
He said that prices last week were hovering between US$0,80 and US$1,20
regardless of crop quality.
“As a union, we are not even consulted when the authorities select buyers,”
said Kapungu. “Government is not paying attention to the needs of farmers
and, as a union, we call upon the authorities to address our plight.”
Official statistics from the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (Timb)
showed that 87 million kilogrammes of tobacco worth US$231 million had gone
under the hammer at an average price of US$2,65 by day 62 of the selling
season on Wednesday.
Highest prices offered at Tobacco Sales Floor, Boka Tobacco Floors and
Millennium Tobacco Floors stood at US$4,50, US$4,85 and US$4,46
Farmers at TSF who spoke to The Standard last week bemoaned poor prices at
the auction floors and urged government to take urgent action.
Mrs Makuvamombe from Macheke said she had brought four bales to the floors
in April and after the tobacco was  auctioned, one bale mysteriously
disappeared although indications were that it had been sold at a  good
“I think government is supposed to intervene because the marketing system is
not fair,” she said.
She also castigated other farmers for bribing buyers not to pay commensurate
prices for particular bales that deserved higher prices.
Blessmore Nyanga from Shamva said he had withdrawn his bales from the floors
after prices became increasingly unfavourable.
Nyanga said that the costs involved until the final sale were phenomenal and
did not tally with what he had expected in terms of price offered.
“I had eight bales and was charged US$25 per bale. Besides that, I had to
foot the commission and weighing charges before all my bales were auctioned
at less than US$2 per kg,” he said.
Bornface Vambe from Chinhoyi said he was not happy with the prices being
“As you can see, I can’t pay labour, buy fertilisers and meet other
overheads,” said Vambe.
Boka Floors spokesperson Rudo Boka explained that it was not in the interest
of the floors to short-change farmers but urged authorities to engage and
train farmers on how best to produce top quality crop.
“The competition among buyers is still limited but Chinese companies that
have been buying on behalf of the Chinese market have been offering the best
prices,” she said.
“A number of farmers are not registered and this affects buyers’ planning
capabilities as they would have already sourced money from international
markets that is in accordance with available tobacco.”
At least 90% of auctioned tobacco from Zimbabwe is destined for the export
Millennium Tobacco Floors chairman, Hillary Mombeshora said that some buyers
had not been participating in the auctioning process despite being
registered, a situation which may be contributing to low prices on the
“A number of countries including Brazil and Malawi have taken to farming
tobacco in large quantities, so that will certainly influence world market
prices,” he said, adding that as the selling season progressed prices had
generally been on a low note.
Auctioneers said good quality crops were getting prices over US$4 per
kilogramme. They said Timb should now focus more on quality instead of
quantity if farmers are to get good returns.

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Shut and go, Kasukuwere tells firms

Saturday, 21 May 2011 23:19


BULAWAYO — Foreign-owned companies opposed to the country’s indigenisation
and empowerment laws must shut operations and relocate to their countries of
origin, Minister of Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment
Saviour Kasukuwere said last week.
He said Chinese and Indian investors were ready to take over foreign-owned
companies that are resisting to hand over 51% shareholding to black
Zimbabweans, adding that Far East countries were ready to comply with the
country’s empowerment laws.

Speaking at a Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) organised business
seminar on black empowerment in Bulawayo last week, Kasukuwere singled out
ZimPlats as a company that is resisting to comply with the regulations.

“Foreign-owned companies are very arrogant, especially mining firms. If they
don’t want to give us 51% shareholding under the black empowerment
regulations, they should quit now and go back to their countries,”
Kasukuwere told delegates.

“The Chinese and the Indians are waiting to come in. Zimplats and other
foreign-owned companies and mining firms should go back to Australia and
their countries.
“We are capable of running our businesses and the whites should never think
that we will fail to run thebusinesses that we take over.”
ZimPlats, the country’s largest platinum extractor, is under pressure from
politicians clamouring for a stake in the company.

Kasukuwere warned foreign-owned firms against taking legal action against
his ministry for grabbing their shareholding under black empowerment laws.
“You can take us to court but you will never win,” Kasukuwere noted.

Early this month, the Affirmative Action Group (AAG) said white-owned
companies were deliberately closing companies to avoid being taken over
under the black empowerment regulations.

President Mugabe has vowed to forge ahead with plans to hand over 51% of
shareholding of white- owned companies to blacks to enable locals to own the
country’s resources.

Speaking at the launch of the anti-sanctions campaign recently, Mugabe urged
party supporters to seize foreign-owned companies as a way of pushing the
West to remove sanctions slapped on him and his close allies.

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Govt urged to open energy sector to private investors

Saturday, 21 May 2011 23:17


THE liberalisation of Zimbabwe’s power supply sector is the panacea to the
energy woes that are restraining the country’s economic recovery efforts, an
official at a growing electrical engineering company has said.
Zimbabwe’s electrical power needs have been catered for by one parastatal,
the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa) ever since the attainment
of independence in 1980, yet the latter has failed to consistently meet

Power Network Projects (PNP) business development manager, Alois
Matarangwanda said although Zesa is “warming up” to new players in the power
sector, more needed to be done in terms of reviewing power legislation.

PNP, which specialises in high voltage switchgear maintenance and substation
construction, has serviced electrical infrastructure for a number of
renowned companies and mines in the country.

Last year, the company, which recorded an annual turnover of US$1 million,
serviced and constructed power lines throughout the country.

It is currently negotiating with companies in Mozambique, Botswana, Zambia,
Uganda and Sudan to expand its market.

“We need legislation that will liberalise the power sector for independent
new players to create downstream efficiencies and competitiveness in terms
of service provision and charges,” Matarangwanda said.

“What we basically need is an enabling environment that will open up more
opportunities for the private sector to sufficiently cater for the country’s
power demand.”
Zimbabwe’s power sector is in dire need of recapitalisation, as the current
2 200 megawatts being generated falls short of the country’s industrial and
residential needs.

Zesa’s maintenance backlog and inadequate investment in power generation,
transmission and distribution has only served to exacerbate the prevailing
electricity load shedding.

Zesa defends load-shedding

Fullard Gwasira, the Zesa spokesman was last week defended the power utility’s
new load shedding programme that has seen most households now going without
electricity almost every day.

“The winter period has always been a challenging period as demand begins to
peak,”  he said.

“Zesa will continue to follow a planned load shedding schedulethat caters
for clients’ needs while allowing industry to operate viably.”

Gwasira said sections of the industry that have applied for uninterrupted
power supplies, at an additional cost will be ring fenced and will not be
affected by the exercise.

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