Harare, November 17, 2012 - Struggling national airline, Air Zimbabwe, which
this week returned to the skies making history by flying back from
Johannesburg empty has slashed prices to regain lost business.
Air Zimbabwe on Friday issued an advert for its promotional fare to
Johannesburg as it attempts to lure back long lost customers.
“Air Zimbabwe is pleased to announce further promotional fares. Return
ticket to Joburg USD 350 including taxes and service fees. One way USD 180
including taxes and service fees,” read the promotional statement send to
South Africa Airways which had virtually taken over Air Zimbabwe business
during its almost over a year absence from the skies charges USD 630 for a
return flight to Johannesburg. It can go up to USD 800 during peak periods.
The promotion is valid until the end of December.
Meanwhile British Airways operated by Comair has also launched a promotional
package to encourage travellers to fly with it.
They have launched the British Airways Christmas Shopping special promotion.
It is offering passengers two bags at 23 kgs for free during the christmas
season until the 11 of January 2013.
Competition in the Zimbabwe aviation industry is likely to get stiff as more
airlines are making a return to the country after years of withdrawal. Dutch
KLM which left in the late 1990s made a return last month offering a direct
link between Harare and most European capitals via Amsterdam.
Emirates also made an entry a few months ago with a direct flight from
Harare to Dubai. Kenyan Airways has since increased its flight frequency
between Harare and Nairobi by introducing an
afternoon service. Mozambique’s LAM also started a service between Harare
Other airlines such as Qatar airways are said to be waiting in the wings to
get licences to fly into Harare.
The Harare international Airport last year commissioned Africa’s longest
runway which allows the airport to handle even the biggest aircrafts in the
world. Recently Ethiopian airways flew its Boeing dreamliner into the
country with so much ease.
by Business Reporter
THE country’s economic prospects now hinge on a rebound in the mining sector
which has the capacity to generate over US$14 billion over the next four
years, Finance Minister Tendai Biti has said.
Presenting his 2013 budget statement to Parliament Thursday, Biti suggested
that the government was coming round to considering mining as the mainstay
of an economy long considered agriculture-based.
“Mining is going to be the anchor driver of this economy in the output
period on the way to 2018 capable of generating US$14 billion dollars
annually. As of 2009 mineral export was 230 percent by the end of 2011
mineral exports accounted for 47 percent of total exports led by platinum 43
percent gold 28 percent and the diamonds 20 percent,” said Biti.
Agriculture has traditionally been the main driver of the country’s economy
but changes brought on by the land reforms as well as persistent droughts
have seen output plummeting over the years although tobacco and cotton
production have been recovering lately.
In contrast, mining output has been rebounding since the government ended
the hyperinflation of the last decade with the ditching of the Zimbabwe
dollar and introduced a raft of key liberalisation measures to improve the
The sector is expected to grow by 16.7 percent this year, up from the
initial forecast of 15.9 percent although most operators continue to be
constrained by unreliable power supplies as well as unending liquidity
problems in the economy.
But with industrial capacity utilisation plummeting 13 percent principally
due to the lack of credit lines as well as competition from imports and
agricultural output hit by drought, Biti is now pinning his hopes on mining.
He said: “We expect gold deliveries of at least 17 tonnes it’s a good figure
in that it is going up, in 2009 it was a mere 5 tonnes but Zimbabwe used to
produce 50 tonnes of gold so that is our target coal 2 million, Nickel 10
platinum 12 chrome 282 tonnes.
“The disappointing thing as we keep on saying over the years is asbestos
where there is zero production and l think it is imperative that we sort out
our challenges in Zvishavane.”
World Bank chief economist Nadia Piffareti said the strong performance in
the mining sector could be used to power recovery in stagnating sectors of
the economy such as manufacturing.
“The mining sector is the only sector capable of autonomous growth; what
that means is that whatever you do, your model of development in the medium
term should start there. You need to manage the mining sector properly,”
Piffaretti told a recent meeting on the economy in Harare.
Staff Reporter 2012-11-16 17:35:00
MUTARE - Zanu-PF's senior Politburo members in Manicaland have come out guns
blazing over the looting of the diamonds in the region by outsiders while
locals struggle for survival.
Speaking in a no-holds barred provincial co-ordination conference held at
Mutare Poly, various speakers compalined of the looting of diamonds from
Marange and said the so-called community shares trusts had the potential to
further divide the people and instigate the locals to take matters into
Highly charged Zanu-PF national secretary for women's affairs, Oppah
Muchinguri, set the tone of the lively debate by saying it was not good for
people to be divided according to their districts.
'While, we welcome the establishment of community shares trust, they should
not just benefit a few individuals.
We have heard the Governor (Chris Mushohwe) saying all the community shares
trusts for Manicaland's seven districts were launched by President Mugabe
when he launched the Marange-Zimunya Community Shares Trust in July, but we
have not heard anything of that sort for Mutasa District. We only know of
Community Shares Trust and nothing else. This thing should be all-inclusive
for it to have the buy-in of everyone because we don't want a situation
where we will go around saying it is the governor and provincial chairman
(Mike Madiro)'s project since this was launched from where they hail from.
"We have people in Chimanimani who are set to benefit from the launch of the
Chisumbanje Community Shares Trust following the establishment of an ethanol
plant there, but how will people in Mutasa and Rusape benefit where the
sources of water which irrigate the sugarcanes are based?
There is widespread looting of funds and lack of transparency in the
management of the Marange-Zimunya Community Share
Ownership Trust, according to The Zimbabwe Natural Resource Dialogue Forum.
The trust was set up as part of the government’s nationwide project to
empower local communities. In an exclusive interview with The Zimbabwean
last week, the Manicaland Coordinator of ZNRDF, Freeman Bosvo, expressed
serious concern over the initiative.
“It is nearly five months after President Robert Mugabe handed the Trust a
$50 million cheque from the mining companies. As ZNRDF we are concerned that
it is not clear whether the money has been handed over to the Trust or not,”
Bosvo complained there was no transparency in the selection of trustees.
“The opaqueness and secrecy in which the Community Share Ownership Trust is
operating raises more fears of corruption and nepotism,” said Bosvo. “We
note the glaring exclusion of elected Members of Parliament, Councillors,
Community Organisations and Civil Society in playing an oversight role.”
He said ZNRDF was also interested in hearing the position of those who were
relocated to ARDA Transau and what they stand to benefit from the money
presented to the Trust.
The people upstream also contributed to the establishment of the sugarcane
plantations because they managed to practice good farming methods that did
not result in the siltation of rivers that supply water to Osborne and
Rusape dams respectively. We need something that will benefit the whole
province and not a few communities," she said amid wild applauses from the
Chipping in, former Zanu-PF Manicaland provincial chairman, Basil Nyabadza,
said time had come for people to be analytical on everything being proposed
and presented to them.
"Like what Muchinguri said, we want community shares trusts that benefit
everyone because failure to do so they (shares trusts) will further divide
people as everyone will be out to protect his or her territory. Each
district is interdependent on each other and benefits should be for
"We should take a leaf from Israel, which is surrounded by hostile nations,
but it is a master of its own destiny.
As I speak, the Chisumbanje Ethanol Project is on its knees, but as the
leadership of the province what have done to push for its opening? We have
failed our people because of politicking and not delivering, yet we are
saying community shares trusts are the way to go. The problems besetting the
Chisumbanje project are a result of our lukewarm approach to issues and this
has allowed a few individuals to frustrate everything.
We should sit down and come up with a resolution that will send a clear
message that the people of Manicaland want to see the project back on track.
So many avenues have been tried without success and it is only President
Mugabe who has a solution to the challenges besetting the project. Why are
we taking our time to have President Mugabe intervene?" said Nyabadza.
However, Mushohwe, said it was a Cabinet decision that came up with policies
and guidelines in the formation of community shares trusts and they were
just mere implementers. Zanu-PF national secretary for administration,
Didymus Mutasa, said laws were enacted to be amended and changed.
"The problem is that we usually agree on things during meetings but fail to
implement them. Laws on community shares trusts are not cast In stones, they
can be changed to suit the needs of the people. The same Cabinet can still
change them if lobbying is done.
"I agree with Muchinguri and Nyabadza because the community shares trusts
should involve the entirety of Manicaland. This will help to unite us, than
to leave people saying it is Governor Mushohwe's project," said Mutasa.
Political analyst John Makumbe has said the community trust concept does not
guarantee the empowerment of communities, adding that only a few individuals
would corruptly benefit.
“The money is likely to be used and abused by the various ministries
involved in development and the communities are unlikely to benefit much
from this,” Makumbe said.
The Minister of Youth Development, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment
Savior Kasukuwere has said the trust funds should be run by local boards
comprising chiefs, councilors, a lawyer and an accountant, who is the
custodian of the scheme.
“The community benefits through construction of infrastructure like roads,
clinics, schools and water facilities,” he said.
But sources said pressure from fellow senior Zanu-PF officials from the
province is mounting on Senior figure Zanu PF politburo members, Minister of
State for Presidential Affairs Didymus Mutasa to help them stop the looting
of the wealth, but Mutasa is also linked to the plunder.
Mutasa and his Indigenisation counterpart Saviour Kasukuwere, have been
linked to Israeli and Russian underworld gold and diamond dealers who were
deported this year after a raid on their hideout.
The incident helped to shed light on activities in the underworld of diamond
and other precious mineral dealings, as well as the nexus between politics
and dirty business.
For some time there have been reports that senior Zanu PF officials,
including ministers and politburo members, are minting money in criminal
underworld deals involving mainly diamonds and gold. The situation
deteriorated after the discovery of alluvial diamonds in Chiadzwa.
Mutasa and Kasukuwere’s alleged links to the gangland dealers were
discovered during a raid last month on a hideout located at Number 57
Follyjon Crescent by crack units drawn from the police, immigration, Central
Intelligence Organisation and Zimbabwe Revenue Authority
The swoop on the house — believed to be owned by Thamer Al Shanfari, the
former chairman of Cayman Islands- based mining company Oryx Natural
Resources (ONR) — on early this year led to the arrest of a Russian
national, Alexander Filegon alias Alexander Filatov, and an Israeli, Mike
Raslan, who were said to be diamond and gold dealers.
Filegon and Raslan were later deported.
It was during the raid at Number 57 Follyjon – a popular rendezvous for
hardened dealers frequented by Zanu PF ministers and politburo members –
that Mutasa and Kasukuwere’s names cropped up.
Security agents who were part of the raid said Filegon and Raslan were
unshaken by the raid despite the serious allegations levelled against them,
boasting they were well-connected and nothing would happen to them.
“During the raid one of the major issues of interest was that Raslan and
Filegon appeared unperturbed by the swoop by security units and the
subsequent searches despite the seriousness of the allegations,” one of the
security agents involved told the Zimbabwe Independent this week.
“In fact, Raslan boasted that he is well-connected within the Zanu PF top
hierarchy and alleged that he has been involved in a mining joint-venture
with the first family in the DRC.
He proceeded to show his political connections by summoning ministers
Didymus Mutasa and Saviour Kasukuwere to witness the raid and the ministers
Wealthy dealers in Zimbabwe of all shades often claim without producing
evidence that they are working with or for the first family either to get
protection or intimidate their business partners and clients. Their
allegations have been denied.
Security agents conducting the searches said they ignored the ministers as
they proceeded to ransack the premises but a furious Mutasa sprung into
action by blocking the exit gate and delayed the team’s departure after
conducting the raid.
Another security agent involved in the raid said: “It was clear the
ministers and those dealers were working in cahoots because Mutasa, visibly
angry, even blocked the exit gate and delayed the security team’s exit from
the premises after the end of the search,” the security agent said.
Although no diamonds or cash were discovered at the premises, Filegon, who
was accused of violating immigration laws and working in the country as a
“geological consultant” at Benson mine in Mutoko on a tourist visa, and
Raslan were both arrested and later deported.
Mutasa said allegations that he came to the house after being called by
Raslan were “absolutely nonsense” adding, “I don’t do things like that.”
Kasukuwere said he had gone to the house for a meeting with South African
businessmen to explain the indigenisation policy and not to rescue Raslan
and Filegon. He said he did not know the two but was there at the invitation
of Shanfari, whom he said was a major investor in the country.
“We were there for a separate meeting. We had a prior business meeting. I
don’t interfere with the law. I don’t know the two you are talking about. I
was there to see the owner of the house,” Kasukuwere said.
“There were some South African businesspeople, who wanted to understand the
business climate in the country and the issue of indigenisation. Some are
interested in investing in Zimbabwe.”
“By the time we got there, they were refusing to open the gate for officials
and I told them to open it and cooperate.”
In 2008, Shanfari was put on the United States government sanctions list
because of his links to President Robert Mugabe and ONR, but he issued a
statement denying the links and said he resigned from the company in 2002.
Shanfari was also mentioned in a report produced by a panel of United
Nations experts titled the Illegal Exploitation of Natural Resources and
other forms of wealth of the Democratic Republic of Congo, dated October 8,
2002. The report alleged that ONR represented covert Zimbabwean military
financial interests in negotiations with state mining companies in the DRC.
The report also alleged ONR and Shanfari were engaged in the illegal
trafficking of blood diamonds from the DRC and were financing Zanu PF during
The raid at the house was led by a senior immigration official, Evans
Siziba, after whistle blowers revealed the two were dealing in diamonds and
had stashed about US$400 000 at the premises while trading in illegal
diamonds and gold.
Zimbabwe's diamond sector has been blemished by allegations of graft, and
labour and human rights violations which occured when Harare deployed
security forces to drive away illegal miners from the eastern Marange
Global watchdog Kimberley Process then suspended exports from there but
lifted the ban after government said it had pulled the security forces out
of the area.
Natural resource extraction watchdogs accuse President Robert Mugabe's party
of funneling profits to senior military and political leaders but on Monday
defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa denied the charges in an interview with
the state-owned Herald daily. He dared those making the accusations to
present the proof.
Finance Minister Tendai Biti, a member of the anti-Mugabe Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) party, complained in July that of the $600 million
diamond revenue expected this year, only $46 million had materialised.
WASHINGTON — With national elections expected next year, President Robert
Mugabe's Zanu PF party and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC-T) formation are currently grappling with primary
elections which have become a source of serious intra-party conflict over
the past few years.
Primaries are supposed to ensure that each party presents its strongest
candidate in the general election and give the people a bigger voice in
choosing the leadership.
But few party bosses want to be challenged, especially in their own
The debate over primaries has surfaced in the in Mr. Tsvangirai's party,
whose senior leaders recently contradicted each other over these elections.
Party organizing secretary Nelson Chamisa initially said every member
intending to represent the MDC in the election would be forced to go through
primary polls, noting that "there won’t be any sacred cows”.
But the prime minister's party on Thursday said while they do plan to hold
primaries in December as sitting lawmakers would have to be confirmed by
Spokesman Douglas Mwonzora said the MDC's standing committee had agreed that
the MDC would hold confirmation elections in which party structures will
vote to retain or replace incumbent candidates.
Some aspiring politicians call this a "sweetheart deal" meant to protect
incumbents from challengers.
“First, we will hold primaries where we do not have Members of Parliament.
We call these constituencies orphaned. After that we will have a
confirmation election in areas where we have MPs. The aim is to weed out
unpopular MPs,” Mwonzora said.
For its part, the Zanu PF old guard afraid of losing constituencies to
challengers, is pushing the party to consider new regulations to guide the
conduct of primary polls that may block former Information Minister Jonathan
Moyo and businessman Phillip Chiyangwa from contesting.
But Zanu PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo tells VOA the regulations are still being
by Fungai Kwaramba I Daily News
PRIME Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC-T party will hold primary elections
in December, but sitting MPs will have to be confirmed by their
Folllowing a meeting of the party's standing committee this week, spokesman
Douglas Mwonzora said: “We are preparing for primary elections and we are
going to confirm the actual dates, but they will definitely be held in
“First, we will hold primaries where we don't have MPs. We call these
constituencies orphaned. After that we will have a confirmation election in
areas where we have MPs. The aim is to weed out unpopular MPs."
Mwonzora said in an election confirmation, party structures will vote on
whether they need to retain the incumbent candidates or not.
“A primary election includes one or more people while in the confirmation
there is only one candidate where people will decide whether they still want
"If sitting MPs are not confirmed by their constituencies, then they are
given an opportunity to fight for a place in the primary elections."
The resolution is contrary to an earlier pledge by party organising
secretary, Nelson Chamisa, who recently said every member would be forced to
go through a primary election.
“There are no two dip-tanks in the party and there won’t be sacred cows. We
will not entertain the Animal Farm kind of thing where some animals are more
equal than others. In the party we are all leaders and comrades,” Chamisa
was quoted as saying last month, three weeks before Wednesday’s standing
committee meeting which confirmed the deal for sitting MPs, many of them
accused of incompetence.
Zimbabwe is set to hold elections early next year to end a coalition
government which has been in power since 2009.
Saturday, 17 November 2012 00:19
Takunda Maodza in BUHERA
MDC-T leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai has threatened another land revolution
unless Government revises the current land tenure system that distributed
land from a few white farmers to hundreds of thousands of black families.
In his remarks during a tour of the drip irrigation system he installed at
his homestead in Humanikwa Village in Buhera West yesterday, Mr Tsvangirai
said the challenge in Zimbabwe was not about land shortage, but the tenure
“We had the land reform. Some people were injured while others were killed.
It was a violent programme. The concept (drip irrigation system) here is
that we can use a very small piece of land and produce enough to feed
ourselves and even for export.
“We have lots of land in this country. We can even donate some of it to the
Mozambicans and Zambians.
“The challenge is that we are using ancient methods of farming and the
current land reform exercise will cause another land revolution unless we
change the method of land tenure,” he said.
Mr Tsvangirai, whose party is on record promising to return land to white
former farmers, did not elaborate on what he meant by ‘‘another land
The land issue was also the basis of a protracted liberation war. The field
day at Mr Tsvangirai’s homestead drew diplomats from the United States of
America, Britain and other European countries. The Japanese Ambassador was
Mr Tsvangirai condemned Government’s farm input support scheme saying it
was high time communal farmers sourced their own seed and fertiliser.
He said previous efforts by Government to assist farmers had not
translated into bumper harvests.
“We gave you inputs before and nothing came out of it. Until when should
Government continue spoon feeding you?
“We must give you fishing rods, not fish. The challenge we have is not about
land ownership but productivity,” Mr Tsvangirai said.
Ironically, a few minutes later, Mr Tsvangirai donated 10kg seed maize and
25kg of fertiliser packs per household to villagers who attended the event.
His remarks contradicted those of his deputy agriculture Minister Seiso Moyo
who blamed the poor harvest the nation experienced on the effects of climate
Addressing the same gathering, Deputy Minister Moyo said: “Over the years
Government has committed more resources to agriculture but it has not been
matched by increasing yields.
“We are not seeing increased harvests because of climate change which is
affecting harvest leading to food insecurity in most households throughout
He said the Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation
Development was putting in place measures designed to ensure food security
and these included consideration for drip irrigation.
“Our greatest challenge therefore Mr Prime Minister as a Government is how
we can promote this system (drip irrigation) to cover the whole country.
This technology can transform the agriculture sector in Zimbabwe,” deputy
minister Moyo said.
Meanwhile some women in Buhera are up in arms with Mr Tsvangirai whom they
accused of abusing his powers to exploit defenceless females.
The elderly women in Buhera have voiced their dismay over Mr Tsvangirai’s
bed hopping attitude which has seen him fighting court battles with many
women whom he dumped after either impregnating them or making false
According to ZTV news the Buhera women say women from across the country
should join hands and disown Mr Tsvangirai for his misdeeds.
“Is that democracy when a woman’s dignity is destroyed by Tsvangirai? We are
tired of the Prime Minister’s antics of humiliating women,” said one
elderly woman in Humanikwa Village where Tsvangirai hails from.
“How can we say we have a Prime Minister when all he does is sleep with any
woman he can lay his hands on? Women should unite against this male
chauvinist,” said another villager in the area.
The sentiments by the Buhera women follow Mr Tsvangirai’s sex escapades
which have seen him dating, impregnating and divorcing several women since
the death of his wife Susan in a car accident in 2009.
By Richard Chidza, Staff Writer
Saturday, 17 November 2012 14:37
HARARE - President Robert Mugabe’s $20 million agricultural inputs scheme —
a project widely seen as a vote-buying gimmick— is turning out to be his
biggest setback in the drive to lure new voters.
The programme, launched at the Zanu PF headquarters early this month, roared
into life last week in most provinces where it has been hijacked by party
office bearers and marauding bands of youths.
In the process the rank and file of the party have been sidelined.
A groundswell of discontent is building among ordinary villagers and farmers
who feel alienated after top Zanu PF officials who have hijacked the
distribution snubbed them.
Chaos and politicisation has hit the $20 million project, whose handling by
Zanu PF leaders on the grassroots level has left potential voters angry
dealing a blow to the 88-year-old’s bid to retain existing voters and win
Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo said the scheme was for Zanu PF cadres
only, confirming the disgruntlement among impoverished villagers who had
hoped the Mugabe scheme could pull them out of their situation.
“The presidential inputs scheme is a Zanu PF programme that is meant to
benefit members of the party,” said Gumbo.
“It is not a government programme and I do not see why anybody who is not a
member of the party should feel aggrieved,” Gumbo told the Daily News
In areas such as Manicaland’s Mutare North constituency, villagers say the
abuse linked to Mugabe’s input scheme has put them off, adding the project
has done little to win their hearts.
In villages and resettlement areas such as Mukuni South, Nyamajura and Dora,
villagers were seething with anger after only a handful of Zanu PF office
bearers received between 10 to 15kg of maize seed last week.
“The President will get votes from those few people receiving the seed since
the rest of us are being snubbed,” said a traditional leader who refused to
He said he travelled to Zumbare Growth Point on Thursday where the inputs
were being distributed only to be told off.
“Only a few people in Zanu PF’s books were given the seed. Others were told
to wait for another consignment. The scheme has deepened resentment for Zanu
PF. People are wondering why Zanu PF leaders are creating this hostility if
they want Mugabe to win. Pamwe ndiro bhora musango racho (Maybe it is a way
of undermining Mugabe’s popularity),”
Phillip Jasintu, the MDC deputy youth chairperson for Mutare North
constituency, said even resettled farmers known for their allegiance to Zanu
PF failed to benefit when seed was distributed at Nyamajura Community Hall
“It was only for the Zanu PF at heart. No one else was considered. In fact
some farmers were being chided for demanding the seed when they have not
been attending party meetings,” he said.
Gorden Kanetsa of Chikuni Village said many villagers were put off after
being snubbed from the project last year.
“We did not bother to pursue it because last year during the distribution
held at Dora Secondary School, we were told it was for Zanu PF people only.
We will meet at the ballot,” said Kanetsa.
Mugabe is still reeling following a devastating 2008 first round defeat to
veteran trade unionist and now Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.
A subsequent bloody run-off election in which hundreds lost their lives was
condemned at home and abroad with Mugabe’s erstwhile comrades in the region
ditching the veteran Zimbabwean strongman.
Mugabe, at the helm of the country since independence from Britain 32 years
ago, sheepishly agreed to form a coalition government with his arch foe,
that is expected to pave way for an uncontested election expected next year.
MDC Mashonaland West chairperson Japhet Karemba told the Daily News that
non-Zanu PF members and the elderly were being turned away.
“They should not lie to Zimbabweans that it is for every citizen. It is a
Zanu PF vote buying project because Zanu PF chairpersons are in-charge of
the distribution and our people are being turned away. Those that are not
active members of Zanu PF are being turned away or they do not even know
about the programme at all,” Karemba said.
Reports from Manicaland and Mashonaland Central where Mugabe personally
launched the scheme, indicated that most of the committees set up to manage
the distribution of the inputs are members of Zanu PF amid accusations of
corruption and nepotism.
Interestingly Zanu PF this week deployed politburo members to drum up
support and activate its election machinery ahead of a party conference to
be held in Gweru next month.
Zanu PF’s political life hinges on winning the next elections with
commentators saying a loss would signal the demise of the once mighty
political institution as happened to United National Independence Party in
Zambia and Kamuzu Banda’s Malawi Congress Party.
Saturday, 17 November 2012 00:19
Civil servants yesterday said they still demand salaries that are in line
with the poverty datum line despite the five percent inflation-linked
salary increase announced by Finance Minister Tendai Biti.
Presenting the 2013 National Budget on Thursday, Minister Biti said civil
servants would receive an inflation-linked salary increase next year.
Their representatives said indexing salaries to inflation would result in
civil servants getting an insignificant increment.
Minister Biti said he would adjust the civil servants’ salaries by 5,5
percent in line with the anticipated inflation level of five percent.
He said the Government would continue to improve the welfare of civil
servants through “scaling up the provision of non-monetary incentives”.
In an interview yesterday, Zimta chief executive Mr Sifiso Ndlovu said the
announcement by Minister Biti would not improve the salaries and working
conditions of the restive workers.
“The criteria he used of taking inflation into account means nothing for
the worker because what is needed is a salary that tallies with the poverty
datum line,” he said.
He said the inflation-aligned salary increment would result in workers
getting increments of less than US$20.
“We are still to get a real salary increment that we have been advocating
for throughout the year and we still demand that to be addressed,” he said.
Mr Ndlovu said Minister Biti should also ensure that the education sector
gets real funding and not “nominal” figures.
“The budget has only confirmed the legacy of Zimbabwe prioritising
education but the problem is we wait for that money to be channelled
towards the education sector,” he said.
“He has allocated about US$1 billion which is 27 percent of the total
budget to education but at the end of the day it’s not about figures but
real funding being given to the sector.”
Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe chief executive Mr Manuel Nyawo said there was
nothing to celebrate about the US$1 000 tax free bonus threshold.
“The money comes once per year and why should we celebrate that? By the time
we reach January, we will be broke and that doesn’t change our situation,”
“The PDL is above US$600 but the minister is coming up with a five percent
increment and what does that mean to someone earning US$296?”
College Lecturers Association of Zimbabwe president Mr David Dzatsunga said
they would continue demanding salaries that would transform the lives of
“This is the problem that arises when someone does not consult the parties
involved in the salary increments,” he said.
He said the civil servants would continue pressing their demand for a
‘decent’ salary increment.
“This means our war with him will never end until we get a decent salary
increment. It is ridiculous for someone who spent the whole of 2012
without a salary increment to get five percent in a country where prices
are adjusted regularly,” he said.
Minister Biti said with the 5,5 percent adjustment the civil service wage
bill would reach US$2,645 billion, which is about 68 percent of his total
The total budget is US$3, 8 billion.
Education Minister David Coltart says his ministry has sourced $9 million
from international donors for the writing of minority language textbooks for
schools as the nation inches closer towards introducing various languages
from Grade One to Grade 7.
In a Facebook message, Coltart said the money will be administered under the
Education Transition Fund, launched soon after the inception of the unity
government in 2009 to revive the education sector.
He said indications are that there are few readers or texbooks written in
minority languages for use in primary schools.
According to Coltart, there are also few texbooks even in languages like
shona and sindebele, a situation not conducive for Curriculum Development in
He said writers should contact his ministry in finding ways of accessing
Difa Dube of the Kalanga Language Development Committee said this move is a
step in the right direction.
Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe Schools Examination Council (ZIMSEC) is yet to
assign dates for marking Grade 7 exams as the early December results
deadline fast approaches.
Teachers expected to mark exams taken at the end of October say they haven’t
been called by ZIMSEC officials to start the marking period.
Grade 7 results are expected to be made public between the first and second
weeks of December to allow parents and students time to seek schools for
Form One placement.
ZIMSEC faced criticism following a number of problems ranging from disputes
between the teachers, parents and pupils.
The exam body hasn’t indicated a reason for current the delay.
Secretary general Raymond Majongwe of the Progressive Teachers Union of
Zimbabwe confirmed the reports to Studio 7 saying teachers in his
organization are in the dark about the way forward.
Saturday, 17 November 2012 00:22
Daniel Nemukuyu Senior Court Reporter
CENTRAL Intelligence Organisation director-general Retired Major-General
Happyton Bonyongwe yesterday won a US$10 million defamation suit against
Africa Consolidated Resources boss Andrew Cranswick. Rtd Maj-Gen Bonyongwe
sued Mr Cranswick over a WikiLeaks report that linked him to diamond
looting in Chiadzwa.
High Court judge Justice Ben Hlatshwayo granted a default judgment against
Mr Cranswick and ordered him to pay costs of the suit.
“The application for rescission of judgment is hereby dismissed with costs.
The application for default judgment be and is hereby granted.
“The defendant (Mr Cranswick) shall pay to the plaintiff the sum of US$10
million as damages for defamation together with interest thereon at the
prescribed rate calculated with effect from the date of judgment to the
date of full payment both dates inclusive.
“The defendant shall pay costs of suit,” ruled Justice Hlatshwayo.
Acting on behalf of Mr Cranswick, Harare lawyer Mr Jonathan Samukange said
he would contest the outcome at the Supreme Court.
“Naturally, we have to appeal against such an order. We are going to file a
Supreme Court challenge soon. We are waiting for the record and when it is
ready, we will draft the appeal papers,” he said.
Before the court proceedings were instituted, Rtd Maj-Gen Bonyogwe’s lawyer
Mr Joseph Mafusire of Scanlen and Holderness law firm wrote to Mr Cranswick
demanding the money.
The parties failed to agree, resulting in the filing of the lawsuit last
The report the CIO boss complained about was headlined: “Regime elites
looting deadly diamond field” and it was dispatched on December 8, 2009.
According to Rtd Maj-Gen Bonyongwe’s lawyers, the report indicated that
“certain high-ranking Zimbabwean Government officials and well-connected
elite were generating millions of dollars in personal income by engaging in
illicit trade in diamonds from Chiadzwa mine in eastern Zimbabwe.”
Rtd Maj-Gen Bonyongwe was mentioned among other officials or personnel or
officers in the Zimbabwean Government.
Mr Mafusire, in the above-mentioned letter, quoted a portion of the
WikiLeaks report that reads: “Cranswick said that RBZ Governor Gideon Gono,
Grace Mugabe, wife of President Robert Mugabe, Vice President Joice Mujuru,
(the then) Mines and Mining Development Minister Amos Midzi, General
Constantine Chiwenga and wife Jocelyn, CIO director Happyton Bonyongwe,
Manicaland Governor Chris Mushohwe and several white Zimbabweans including
Ken Sharpe, Greg Scott and Hendrick O’Neill, are involved in the Marange
It was Rtd Maj-Gen Bonyongwe’s contention that the report was false and he
was never involved in any illegal trade of diamonds from Chiadzwa.
He felt the report that reached millions worldwide seriously defamed him
and that he should be paid damages.
“Our client was never involved in any trade in diamonds from Chiadzwa or
anywhere else. He has not been involved in any mineral of whatever kind in
Zimbabwe or elsewhere,” Mr Mafusire said.
Mr Cranswick’s conduct, Mr Mafusire argued, severely damaged Rtd Maj-Gen
Bonyongwe’s fame and reputation.
It has impugned his dignity and character, he said.
“As a result of your conduct, our client has suffered damages. He intends to
clear his name. That is done by claiming damages for defamation. In the
premises, we are instructed to demand, as we hereby do, payment of the sum
of US$10 million as damages for defamation,” said Mr Mafusire.
The lawsuit was filed at the time the First Lady Amai Grace Mugabe filed a
US$15 million defamation claim against The Standard Newspaper that published
stories based on the same WikiLeaks report.
Dr Gono also filed a US$12,5 million suit against the same newspaper over
on November 16, 2012 at 11:19 pm
It is a long road from Jambezi Village in the dry district of Hwange, in
Matabeleland, to the opulence and influence that currently surrounds Obert
Mpofu. Growing up in rural Jambezi, Mpofu came from a family of limited
Mines Minister Obert Mpofu (centre) is a man of significant means
During the long guerilla war against the racist regime of Ian Smith, Mpofu’s
family—like the majority of people in Matabeleland—supported the Zimbabwe
African People’s Union (ZAPU), a rival liberation group to President Robert
Mugabe’s Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU).
The extent of Mpofu’s direct involvement in the war as a young teenager was
limited to being an occasional messenger between ZAPU comrades in
then-Rhodesia and neighbouring Zambia. In his late teens he was accepted for
training under legendary ZIPRA commander, Nikita Mangena; however, Mpofu was
dismissed shortly afterwards for being “untrainable and divisive within the
camp”, according to a high level ZIPRA source.
Mpofu’s lack of military training is supported by a former colleague who
noted that while Mpofu claims to have attained the “guerilla rank equivalent
of Major…he seemed clearly awkward with firearms” and needed a crash course
in how to operate and use a pistol when presented with one.
Mpofu the Journalist
Mpofu subsequently left Zimbabwe to study journalism at the University of
New Delhi. While his career as a journalist would be short-lived—brief
stints as a reporter in Zambia, and years later as a manager at Zimbabwe
Newspapers—his time in India would pay dividends three decades later in
securing a market for Marange’s tainted diamonds.
From Mpofu’s return from India it was clear he had ambitions for himself. In
the early days of an independent Zimbabwe Mpofu made a career decision some
still consider opportunistic: he renounced his family’s political roots and
joined ZANU. The reason was less political than a matter of survival.
At the time Mpofu was working as a manager with Customs and Excise in
Harare, where he was remembered for engaging in conduct unbecoming of a
civil servant, including accepting a junket to Bulgaria from the Balkan
Airlines representative at Harare International Airport.
He was later investigated for allegedly smuggling some televisions into
Zimbabwe. Several sources have confirmed that faced with the possibility of
criminal charges, Mpofu sought out the advice of Enos Nkala, a ZANU
patriarch, who recommend that joining the party would result in a favourable
Mpofu did and he was never charged with any infraction. The political
conversion was no small matter considering the growing repression of ZAPU
supporters and leaders by President Mugabe and his party.
The persecution culminated in the infamous Gukurahundi massacres, in which
the North Korean-trained Fifth Brigade executed an estimated 20,000 people
in Matabeleland. The pogroms achieved their purpose: in 1987 ZAPU leaders
capitulated and merged with ZANU, effectively marginalizing any political
competition to Mugabe.
Mpofu’s political conversion
For Mpofu, his political conversion opened up doors, launching his career as
a ZANU politician, first at the provincial level and finally at the national
level where he quickly rose through the ranks. In 2000, the President
appointed him Governor of Matabeleland, and five years later, Minister of
Industry and International Trade—an appointment best remembered for his
failed attempt to fix commodity prices during hyperinflation, resulting in
As he rose through the ZANU ranks, Mpofu began dabbling in the private
sector. Other than his flagship companies— Trebo and Khays, Maminza
Transport, Khanando Safari and Tours, and the recently acquired ZABG bank,
which are registered companies— little is known of Mpofu’s business empire.
The Zimbabwean media has often referred to Mpofu going on a real estate
“buying spree”, primarily in Bulawayo and Victoria Falls, since the Marange
diamond rush but have provided little corroborating evidence.
The most detailed, yet unconfirmed report, listed cash-purchases of a
supermarket in Victoria Falls’ Chinotimba high density suburb, three houses
in a medium-density area, two cruise boats on the Zambezi, five houses in
Mkhosana high-density suburb, three houses in Chinotimba, two industrial
stands, one large stand in Chisuma, one big industrial stand next to
Chinotimba stadium, four industrial stands on the Airport road, and four
Proving ownership of many of these properties, particularly in high-density
areas, is difficult due to non-existent, or out of date, municipal records.
Mpofu’s habit of not registering his smaller companies further hampers
efforts to get a full picture of his business holdings.
Obert Mpofu’s 60th Birthday Bash
In December 2011, however, Mpofu’s vanity got the better of him and he
unwittingly gave Zimbabweans a window into his empire. He did it in the most
public forum possible—a 16 page advertorial in The Chronicle, a pro-ZANU
daily in Bulawayo.
The advertorial was ostensibly published and funded by Mpofu to mark his
60th birthday and his doctorate in “Policy Studies” from the Zimbabwean Open
University, a distance based institution. Among the words of encouragement
from family members and articles extolling Mpofu as the “minister with [a]
diamond touch”, a “leader of quality and stead” and a “true people’s
servant” were advertisements linked to Mpofu’s main businesses.
Among the listed companies with established links to Mpofu were Trebo and
Khays, Maminza Properties, Maminza Transport, Khanondo Safari and Tours,
Khanondo Car Hire, Horseshow Estate, KoMpofu La Sports Bar, Luna Rainbow
Tours, Guest Paradise Lodge, Good Memories Lodge, Mswelangubo Farm, New
Miners Restaurant (Hwange), Accut and Crews Village, Moya Security and
Matetsi Meat Butchery.
PAC could not definitively link Mpofu to several other businesses that took
out adverts, including, Zainali Holdings, Clarendon Court P/L, Moban
Investments, and Steelfab Engineering (a division of Engzib Investments).
Ryan’s Brick Work was also listed—a company known to have installed tens of
thousands of dollars of brick paving at his Umguza residence ahead of his
60th birthday party.
Like many of his ZANU brethren, Mpofu built much of his wealth through
“vulture capitalism”—a money for nothing appropriation of profitable
businesses and/or assets that are later “legitimized” through normal
The land seizures of the 2000’s are one expression of this phenomenon,
whereby top ZANU apparatchiks acquired commercial farms and took over the
business affairs of the former white owners. Without exerting any sweat
equity or risking any financial obligation with a bank a few of these
individuals turned themselves into successful farmers overnight.
Many others, including Mbada CEO Robert Mhlanga and the late General Solomon
Mujuru, made fortunes exploiting high value minerals—particularly
gold—during Zimbabwe’s intervention in the war in the Democratic Republic of
Although a wealthy man before his appointment as Minister of Mines in 2009,
Mpofu’s assets and spending habits have grown exponentially since he granted
the first diamond mining licence to Mhlanga and David Kassell, a South
African scrap metal dealer, neither of whom had any prior mining experience.
With the media attention mostly focused on his real estate holdings in
Bulawayo and Victoria Falls, less attention has been given to his
landholdings which PAC has determined likely place him in the top five
landowners in the country. In Matabeleland his holdings come second only to
the 135,000ha owned by the Oppenheimer family in Shangani, 200 kilometers
northeast of Bulawayo.
Among Mpofu’s land holdings are:
• 10,006ha, North Part, Umguza Block. This is property formerly owned by
Cold Storage Commission (CSC) and is known specifically as Blocks 39, 40 and
• 1027ha, Auchenburg Farm, Nyamandlovu.
• Green Haven farm. Located close to the Umguza River just outside Bulawayo
on the Victoria Falls road, this is a farm Mpofu has reportedly owned for
some time and where he keeps most of his herd.
• 3,700ha, Umguza CSC Block.
• 2,300ha, Young Farm, Nyamandlovu.
• 8000ha, Horseshoe Ranch, Matetsi. It is believed Mpofu bought this
property from Bill Bedford in 2008 for an undisclosed sum. At the time of
publication, hunting and safari operations were run by Shaun Kearney, a
• 100ha, in Epping Forest B section, a part of Accut and Crew, a formerly
white owned farm bought for resettlement in 1996. Now referred to as
Mswelangubo farm it serves as Mpofu’s main residence. The property has
undergone extensive upgrades recently including approximately $150,000 on
fencing and paving ahead of the lavish December 2011 party, the cost of
which is estimated at another $250,000.
In March 2012 a 10-kilometre stretch of road to this house was being
resurfaced by a brand new Caterpillar excavator—something that the Umguza
Rural Council would not have the money to do. The property also houses
several commercial ventures, including a horticulture business, an abattoir
and a chicken factory.
The Auchenburg and Young farms and Umguza Block are named as such in the
2005 list of sanctioned farms and businesses managed by the US Treasury
Department’s Office for Foreign Asset Control (OFAC).
With the exception of Horseshoe Ranch, Mpofu acquired the rights to control
most of this land for free. At this juncture an important distinction needs
to be made: the absence of any record of payment or land titles point to
Mpofu controlling, but not owning, many of these properties, particularly
those that were once State-owned.
In addition to the above listings of approximately 25,000ha:
PAC has learned that Mpofu also controls Winter Block, a 40,000ha section of
land next to Umguza Block. A source with an intimate knowledge of the Cold
Storage Commission land holdings confirms that this is an entirely separate
parcel of land. Following the land invasions of 2000, Winter Block was
largely divided between former Vice-President Joseph Msika and High Court
Judge Maphios Cheda.
Msika died in 2009 and Cheda has maintained only a minimal interest in the
area after being awarded another farm in 2008. Since then Mpofu has
primarily used Winter Block to graze his cattle, which he has boasted is the
biggest herd in Zimbabwe. With total farm holdings of at least 65,000ha,
this would also place Mpofu amongst the country’s biggest landowners.
Mpofu’s possession of land belonging to the Cold Storage Commission is
likely in contravention with Zimbabwean law. The terms of the Land
Acquisition Act—the legislation responsible for the dispossession of most
white-owned land—explicitly limits expropriations to private and
commercially held farmland, not state assets. His exclusive use of the land
raises several questions, including how Mpofu obtained this government land,
and what, if any, rent State coffers receive for its use.
Mpofu and his cattle
Cattle hold a special place in the social status of African men. They are
another form of currency and symbol of a person’s success and influence. In
Mpofu’s case his herd is clearly a big source of personal pride and
legitimate revenue. He has said that he has a herd of about 3,000 breeding
cattle, and uses a feedlot in Umguza to fatten another herd of “about a
1,000 at a time.” Mpofu’s farm manager, Dumisani Moyo, claims that they
“sell about 50 cattle every week…and the profits are good.”
If those numbers are correct, Mpofu would gross as much as $50,000 a week
from this business during culling season, although some observers think his
output is closer to half that. Several sources confirm that the Minister is
a regular attendee to auctions held by CC Sales in Bulawayo and Harare.
However, witnesses and agents alike both say they have never seen Mpofu
actually purchase any cattle himself. Most suspect it is done through
proxies, including Dumisani Moyo. If Mpofu’s herd is as big as he says it
is—approximately 4,000 cattle—he will have spent some serious money to build
and maintain it to that size.
Mixed pedigree cattle sell at auction for a minimum of $600 a head,
conservatively valuing Mpofu’s cattle purchases at over $2 million. Mpofu’s
ranching operations are run by Innocent Ncube, who is widely respected for
his farming acumen. In the last year he has also invested heavily in new
infrastructure, including a 330 metre-long shed (at a cost of $100,000)
beside the railway line that runs through Umguza.
Cattle are not Mpofu’s only passion. His acquisition of marque properties in
Bulawayo and Victoria Falls would make Mpofu the envy of any Monopoly
player. However, unlike his cattle business that actually generates income,
Mpofu’s real estate dealings appear to be a chronic cash drain on the
Minister. It is estimated that since mid-2009, Mpofu has acquired urban
property in Matabeleland worth at least $5 million.
During the same time frame it is estimated he has invested at least $2.5
million in renovations to properties in Bulawayo, Victoria Falls, Umguza and
Nyamandlovu. His best known, and most prized, fixed assets include:
• Anchor House, Bulawayo. This five-storey building at the corner of Fort
Street and 12th Avenue is Mpofu’s most recent known acquisition. In mid-2012
it was undergoing renovations, including a full paint job. The purchase
price is unknown but similar buildings currently sell between $1-$2 million
in Bulawayo’s depressed real estate market.
• A property commonly known as the Centrust Building, Bulawayo. Bought for
$750,000 in 2011, it is one of Mpofu’s single biggest cash purchase. The
building, located at 47 Fort St, housed several businesses including a
travel agency of the same name. The purchase included subdivision A of Stand
9.The property was bought from the Khaley family in a deal reportedly
facilitated by Bulawayo businessman Hitish Patel. All tenants vacated the
building when Mpofu hiked the rent. In March 2012 the building was empty.
• A dilapidated two-storey office block on the edge of Bulawayo’s central
business district, at the corner of Fife and First Avenue. It has been under
construction for more than two years.
• York House, Bulawayo. At seven stories, this is one of Bulawayo’s tallest
buildings and is said to be Mpofu’s pride and joy. Purchased for a song by
Mpofu’s company Trebo and Khays in 2007 during the height of hyperinflation,
it was partially rented by AgriBank until 2011. It is has sat empty for
almost two years as it undergoes extensive renovations, including a full
interior gutting and the installation of new elevators.
Contractors familiar with the project estimate the renovations at least
$1.5million. With the long-term absence of rental income, Mpofu is
undoubtedly drawing on other sources to pay for the renovations.
• 46 Magpie Road, Bulawayo. This ostentatious two-storey property is located
on a two-hectare plot in the tony suburb of Burnside. Mpofu acquired it more
than 20 years ago but it has quadrupled in size after undergoing recent
renovations estimated at $150,000. Mpofu’s Hummer has been seen at this
address, as have police and private security guards.
• 10 Livingstone Road, Suburbs, Bulawayo. Several sources confirmed they
have met Mpofu at this suburban property, which sometimes acts as his office
in Bulawayo. It has extensive security, including expensive surrounding
walls, gates and guard house. It is also where Three Waters Investments, a
diamond trading company, is known to conduct business. Since becoming
Minister of Mines, Mpofu has also made some other interesting purchases—both
for himself and some of his companies.
After Trebo and Khays, his best known business is Khanondo Safari and Tours
in Victoria Falls. According to company brochures and its website, Khanondo
offers a range of activities including boat cruises on the Zambezi River,
game drives, tours as far afield as Namibia, helicopter flights, white water
rafting adventures and “VIP transfers”. All the assets required to offer
tourists these services, other than the helicopter, are “owned” by Khanondo.
Khanondo also offers accommodation to suit different budgets, ranging from
Guest Paradise Lodge ($120 a night) to the five star Victoria Falls Deluxe
Suites ($330 for bed and breakfast). Khanondo also recently completed
construction on the High Mount Lodge, described by a company official as
“[topping] the accommodation rankings of Bulawayo due to its beauty and
Victoria Falls is the jewel among Zimbabwe’s disintegrating tourist
But since 2000 when land seizures, hyperinflation and political violence
took hold, tourists have largely abandoned Zimbabwe in favour of
neighbouring countries. Despite the economic setbacks suffered by many tour
operators, Khanondo has made several investments others cannot afford.
In 2011, for example, Khanondo took receipt of a brand new 80-seat boat
worth $250,000. It also took possession of the best dock on the Zambezi
River and bought a smaller boat, for more intimate breakfast and sunset
cruises. Khanondo’s car rental business also boasts the town’s only luxury
fleet of cars, including Mercedes sedans, high-end SUVs, safari jeeps and
The value of the cars pictured on Khanondo’s website would conservatively be
in excess of half a million dollars. These are not Mpofu’s only luxury
vehicles. He personally owns several cars but his two favourites are a new
Range Rover Sport (base price: $80,000) and a black Hummer ($60,000). The
former is regularly seen at his Burnside residence. Largely because of its
gas guzzling thirst the Hummer is a rarity in Zimbabwe, even among other
elites, where the price of petrol is high and shortages are frequent.
Mpofu in Transport
Since becoming Minister, another Mpofu company, Maminza Transport, has also
come into possession of several Volvo heavy haulage trucks and some drilling
equipment. The FH 12 model trucks, believed to be as many as eight, are kept
at the former Clan Transport depot on the Plumtree Road in Bulawayo. Both
trucks and drilling equipment have been seen in Hwange, where coal is mined,
raising the possibility that Mpofu is diversifying into another resource
under his ministerial control.
In August 2011 Mpofu controversially appointed Farai Mutamangira, a friend
and lawyer who he has hired to represent Zimbabwe over its KP compliance
issues, to be CEO of the Hwange Colliery, a state-owned coal company. The
trucks, which retail at over $100,000 a piece, are decaled with “Maminza
Transport” signs on the doors and “OMM”—Obert Moses Mpofu—and a sequential
number stenciled above windscreen.
The origin of the trucks is a mystery.
There is only one Volvo dealer in Southern Africa—Babcock Africa Services in
Johannesburg. Because Mpofu is listed on EU and US sanctions over concerns
of his involvement in either corrupt or violent activity, it is illegal for
an international company like Volvo, through Babcock, to sell these trucks
directly to Mpofu.
One explanation could be that Mpofu purchased them through a proxy company
completely unassociated with his name—a loophole famously exploited by other
named individuals like Billy Rautenbach. Another answer may lie in the
November 2010 collapse of Core Mining, the South African diamond company
that joint ventured with the ZMDC to form Canadile.
In February 2012 Babcock won a liquidation order against Core Mining in
South African court for unpaid debts of $1.4 million, including for similar
Volvo trucks. Since Canadile’s implosion the company has reverted to being a
wholly owned entity of the government. Operating as Marange Resources the
company is wholly owned by the ZMDC, a State agency under Mpofu’s
As Marange Resources has retained most of Core’s assets there is very little
prospect of Babcock being able to collect on its judgment. This raises two
possible scenarios that Mpofu should clarify as soon as possible: did he
acquire these trucks at great personal expense and in breach of Western
economic measures or he is in possession of former Core Mining property that
legally belongs to Babcock?
Mpofu buys a bank
Of all Obert Mpofu’s acquisitions, none of them raised so much public
interest as his May 2012 purchase of the asset-less Zimbabwe Allied Banking
Group. ZABG has a storied history. Created by Reserve Bank Governor Gideon
Gono during hyper-inflationary times, it was always viewed with suspicion by
the banking sector which perceived it as a vehicle through which ZANU
insiders carried out currency manipulations—a fact highlighted by the bank’s
decline following the dollarization of the economy in 2009.
What Mpofu paid for the worthless bank is unknown. One media report claimed
he spent $22.5 million, while another put the figure at $27.8 million, after
accounting for ZABG debts of $15.3 million. What is certain is Mpofu,
through his company Trebo and Khays, invested at least $12.5 million—the
minimum capitalization required by banking laws to operate.
Gideon Gono has also confirmed that Mpofu is the “99.9% shareholder” of
ZABG, although he has two years within which to “regularize the ownership
structure” so no one shareholder can own more than 25 percent. Why would
Mpofu want to refloat a bankrupt bank? What benefit could it serve him? Some
speculate that the reason is simply about ego. “Once you have a farm and a
safari lodge, why not a bank?” one banker told PAC.
Others see it as a chance to capture the banking business of ZANU supporters
in Matabeleland and increase his political prestige. Others, a way to
dispense patronage and nepotism. All are valid, especially after he
announced his intentions to move the bank from Harare to Bulawayo.
Less charitable banking sources point out similar banks, in the hands of
other people, have been used for another purpose: laundering illicit revenue
streams. How the laundering is done can take several forms, including
extending bogus loans which go into default, or paying employees, often
family members, at rates higher than industry standards.
Having only taken control of ZABG in August 2012, there is no evidence Mpofu
has engaged in any money laundering; rather his prime motivation has a
diamond connection that has been overlooked by almost everyone. In March
2012, cabinet took a decision to compel all mining companies to bank their
money with local financial institutions following revelations that mining
companies—including ones operating in Marange—were stashing billions of
dollars in foreign accounts.
The decision has merit—capital flight is bad for any economy—but Mpofu’s
ownership of the bank opens the door to possible charges of conflict of
interest once mining companies, which are dependent on his ministerial
approval for their projects, start shopping for a local bank. Do they take
their business to ZABG, for example, in the hopes it will guarantee a
ZABG is not the only business through which Mpofu has used his ministerial
position to benefit from diamonds.
Mpofu also has a close relationship to Three Waters Investment, a diamond
trading company based out of one of his Bulawayo properties, 10 Livingstone
Road. Operations are aided by Nyasha Mpofu, a trained diamond sorter,who has
a reputation for dealing only in top quality gem diamonds.
She is also known to personally arrange for diamond shipments to
Johannesburg. PAC could not confirm claims that she is a relative of the
minister. Sources say the company is not part of the emerging cutting and
polishing industry—against which Mpofu was forced to act in 2011 following
concerns companies were illegally trading diamonds.
The perception—real or perceived—that a relative of the Minister is
obtaining a pecuniary benefit from an industry over which he has fiduciary
responsibility is troubling. It raises multiple conflicts of interest for
the Minister. Prime among them: What role did he personally play in
procuring diamonds for Three Waters Investment or facilitating their export?
What is not in doubt is how diamonds have helped to boost Mpofu’s political
influence and aspirations within ZANU structures. He is now clearly
considered the ZANU patron in Matabeleland, to which his political lessers
pay homage and seek protection. He routinely dispenses philanthropy and
personal patronage on a scale unmatched anywhere else in Zimbabwe.
In February 2012, for example, he provided a generator to Chinotimba Clinic
in Victoria Falls. A few months later, in June, he and his wife are reported
to have distributed ten tonnes of grain to 600 families in the district of
Ntabazinduna. One media report pegged the value of the donation at $180,000.
The next month he visited another village in Matabeleland with gifts of
grain, heifers for the chiefs, and a promise to build a chief’s hall.
He is often referred to as being a patron of the financially beleaguered
Highlanders Football Club and the Umguza Sinjalo Message Choir. His election
as ZANU’s only representative in Matabeleland in the 2008 elections has
often been attributed to his personal attention to his constituents needs,
including the payment of school fees for primary going children.
Diamonds have also allowed Mpofu to flex his muscles within ZANU circles.
While any presidential ambitions are firmly in check—as a minority Ndebele
the chances of winning the confidence of his Shona countrymen are nil—he has
made no secret of his intentions to seek one of two ZANU vice-presidencies,
upon the resignation of incumbent, John Nkomo, who is cancer-stricken.
Mpofu’s aspirations, however, face one small obstacle: one of the
vice-presidencies is reserved for someone who was a ZAPU member at the time
of the 1987 ZANUZAPU power sharing agreement. Mpofu jumped ship in 1982,
therefore making him ineligible, at least in theory. This rule, however, is
not set in stone. Mpofu has deftly played on his Marange connections to
cultivate key former ZIPRA members who could play decisive roles advancing
his political ambitions.
This is particularly the case with Tshinga Dube, the CEO of Marange
Resources, former CEO of ZDI and a member of ZANU’s politburo, the party’s
supreme decision-making body. Mpofu’s deference to the military chiefs who
control and exploit Marange’s riches—especially those aligned to Defence
Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, the heir apparent when President Mugabe
dies—also bode well for his efforts to consolidate his place within the ZANU
Mpofu’s recent financial windfall and political prestige is a fundamental
matter of public interest. Any time a senior politician in any country is
allowed to amass an unexplained fortune, as Mpofu has done, questions must
be asked not only about how that came to be, but why no steps have been
taken to investigate possible financial wrongdoing or usurping of the public
Mpofu’s wealth is symbolic of the larger mismanagement of Zimbabwe’s natural
resources. Certainly, he has become very rich since becoming the Minister of
Mines, making him a figurehead for the illegality occurring in Marange, but
this story is about more than Obert Mpofu alone. Ultimately it is about the
greed and corruption that lies at the heart of ZANU as a political
ZANU’s vulture capitalism has never been a one-man operation. From asset
stripping of state enterprises to farm seizures to currency manipulations
during hyper-inflation to Marange, their track record shows that ZANU hunts
and feasts as a pack. Their strength lies in their unity, not their
individual parts. They are deeply distrustful of each other, leading those
involved in any illegal venture to share the profits, rather than allow one
individual to amass wealth on the collective’s behalf, or expense.
Like a gang, they achieve conformity within the group by ensuring that
everyone is implicated in the illegality. Those that have gotten too greedy,
or sought to exit the game, have paid a hard price. They have been publicly
ridiculed, politically ostracized, forced into exile, and often stripped of
their wealth with the same speed with which they amassed it.
Those who know Mpofu say he is not capable of single-handedly masterminding
events in Marange, but he is smart enough to know how to help those that do.
That he has survived this long, shows he has enough sense to know that his
continued beneficiation is linked to placating the needs of a small and
tight group of political and military elites who have been in charge of
Marange since the very beginning.
Zimbabwe cannot be allowed to continue to trade diamonds in this fashion.
Those who naively or willfully look the other way to Zimbabwe’s
mismanagement of its diamond deposits—as the Kimberley Process has done—will
only undermine consumer confidence in the diamond sector. Industry members,
particularly those in South Africa, Dubai and India, who in any way
associate themselves with the companies operating in Zimbabwe—whether deemed
KP compliant or not—should be under no illusion as to the criminal elements
they are dealing with. They are not helping the economic recovery of an
In fact, they are doing the opposite—they are enabling corruption and those
who have led political repression and violence in Zimbabwe. Improvements
will only come if there is a unified response, beginning with industry
members, but supported by national governments, that demands better of
Zimbabwe. The next section offers suggestions on possible ways to support
Dear Family and Friends,
Almost two months ago Bulawayo made international news when city
authorities asked residents to engage in synchronized toilet flushing
at 7.30 pm every third day. Jokes came from all directions but as most
of us have endured years of water shortages in towns all over the
country, there wasn’t much to laugh about. Precious water stored in
buckets, plugs left in, toilets not flushed and ‘splash’ baths
with a few jugs of water are all very familiar so we sent sympathetic
messages to our friends in Bulawayo. Things came to a head after
repeated meetings with council officials yielded nothing. Over 800
WOZA members sent delegations to local council officers to complain
about prolonged water cuts but still they were fobbed off and so they
embarked on three days of protests.
On the 12th of November seventy nine WOZA members and two babies were
arrested and taken to Bulawayo Central police station for staging a
peaceful protest at the City Council Tower block. Later that day they
were released. The next day WOZA tried to protest again. At midday as
protesters arrived at the government complex in Bulawayo, riot police
arrived and arrested eleven WOZA members, taking them across the road
and putting them under guard in the Drill Hall. Police then went to
another central intersection where protesters were gathering and
according to the WOZA press statement the ‘police officers
disembarked to beat members who were marching towards the complex.’
Another eleven people were arrested and WOZA said police shouted
obscenities at the women and called them prostitutes. One police
officer who said he didn’t care if the protesters knew his name,
told the women: 'this country was liberated by blood and only those
who spilt blood can be the ones to talk.' This second group of eleven
protesters were taken to Bulawayo Central police station but as they
were disembarking the Chief Inspector arrived and told the riot police
to take the women back to where they’d come from. That didn’t
happen, instead the women were driven out of town and dumped at a
cemetery on the Victoria Falls road.
On the third day WOZA tried again. This time 150 of their members
managed to get to the steps of the Mayor’s office at City Hall.
There they were met, not by the Mayor but by senior police officers
who blocked their progress and the WOZA protesters had to disperse.
The Mayor did not emerge to talk to people he was elected to serve.
Nothing further was heard about the policeman who publicly said that
only people who had spilt blood had a right to talk.
Some of the demands made by WOZA were for an end to water cuts that
last longer than 24 hours; for the provision of water purifying
tablets and for an increase of the amount of water people are allowed
to draw from bowsers. At present people queuing at council bowsers are
only allowed 40 litres of water a day and WOZA said for an average
family of five people, this is simply not enough. Can you imagine five
people coping on just 40 litres of water a day – drinking, cooking,
bathing, toilets, washing. It works out at eight litres per person and
add a baby to the equation or someone who is sick or incontinent and
life becomes an utter nightmare.
Meanwhile, at the same time as this was going on and further down the
same road where women had been dumped at a cemetery by police, the
who’s who of Zimbabwe’s diamond industry were meeting in Victoria
Falls. The Zimbabwe Diamond Conference was being hosted by the
government to ‘shed light’ on diamond mining in the country. For
three days there was much pomp and ceremony: speeches, TV cameras,
bottled water on the tables but more questions than answers about just
exactly where all our diamond money is going. Mines Minister, Obert
Mpofu complained to delegates about the diamond watchdog groups:
“How then are you expected to be transparent when there are hyenas
chasing you?” he said. “They want to know what car you drive,
which house you are living in and what plane you are flying.”
The Minister’s gripes are a world away from the grinding struggle
of ordinary mums in the heat and dust as they try to keep their
families clean and healthy with only eight litres of water per person
per day. Diamonds, houses, cars and aeroplanes on one hand and eight
litres of clean water on the other; there’s something desperately
wrong with Zimbabwe’s priorities. Until next time, thanks for
reading, love cathy 17th November 2012. Copyright � Cathy Buckle.
Posted On : November 17th, 2012
A letter from the diaspora
By Pauline Henson
The Zimbabwe Diamond Conference which began on Monday was sponsored by the
Zim government and opened by Robert Mugabe. The intention of the Conference
said Mugabe was to “shed light” on the diamond industry and particularly on
the question of where all the diamond revenue is going.
President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe addresses 67th UN General Assembly
Diamonds will fund a power grab by Mugabe
It is not going to the treasury said the Minister of Finance a couple of
weeks ago, so if the money is not going to the treasury, where is it going?
Gold came into the story too with Mugabe’s move to decriminalise gold
panning. The fact is that whether it’s gold or diamonds, the question always
comes down to: Where’s the money going?
Money and politics, the two go together and particularly in Zimbabwe. It is
Mugabe’s insistence on elections in March that has fuelled all this talk
about diamond wealth. The fear has been voiced that diamonds will fund a
power grab by Robert Mugabe and his army generals but it was the report by
the highly respected Partnership Africa Canada on Monday that really caught
The Report spoke of “the biggest plunder of diamonds since Cecil Rhodes”
adding that $2 billion was a conservative estimate of the loss to the
Zimbabwean state. “Marange’s potential has been over-shadowed by violence,
smuggling, corruption and most of all by lost opportunity.
The scale of illegality is mind blowing” the PAC Report commented. And how
did Obert Mpofu, himself a man of considerable, unexplained wealth, respond?
After some rather rambling remarks about hyenas and transparency, he said it
was all the fault of sanctions.
The ‘usual suspect’, ie. the west, has stopped Zimbabwe getting good prices
he alleged. A more likely explanation is that Zimbabwe is so broke that she
will accept any price however low for her diamonds.
The guest speaker at the Victoria Falls Conference was Thabo Mbeki, a known
Zanu PF supporter and he joined in the chorus of anti-west vitriol. It is
always a popular line and the African delegates turned their wrath on the
American chair of the Kimberley Process and demanded her resignation.
As always in Zimbabwe, determining the truth of all these claims and counter
claims is not easy but if it’s evidence you’re looking for, the news that
Zimbabwe has already embarked on a project to build a new capital city
certainly suggests that the regime is not short of cash – from somewhere.
A new conference hall for Zanu PF is another project that is being funded –
Meantime, the present capital is enduring a water crisis so awful that it is
alleged Harare residents are actually drinking re-cycled waste, while the
regime has already started work on a new capital, ‘Zvimba City’ in Mugabe’s
home province is part of Mugabe’s ‘legacy’ no doubt.
Poor residents of Harare suburbs Rugare and Kambazuma are actually having
their property confiscated for non-payment of rates. Wherever the diamond
wealth is going, it is certainly not going to enrich the quality of ordinary
Country-wide violence against the MDC continues and the police are still not
taking action against known offenders. The arsonists in Mutoko who burned
down an MDC supporter’s home have not been arrested and the police have told
the victims that it is up to them to bring the suspects to the police
Maybe the diamond money would not solve all these problems but it would
surely make peoples’ lives more bearable? The Kimberley Process has decreed
that Zimbabwe’s diamonds do not qualify as ‘blood diamonds’ but they may
well be the cause of bloodshed in the future as the various interested
parties fight for the wealth the diamonds generate.
Yours in the (continuing) struggle Pauline Henson