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Mutinhiri kicked out as minister

Sunday, 20 November 2011 10:22


TRACY Mutinhiri, the deputy minister of Labour and Social Welfare and former
Zanu PF Women’s League Commissar, will cease to be minister next month
following her expulsion from the former ruling party in September this year.

Sources said President Robert Mugabe is expected to send her a letter of
dismissal from government when he comes back from China, where he had gone
for a business visit.

“If that letter has not been sent to her, it means she will get it as soon
as President comes back to his office” said one of the sources.
“She has to leave office in the second week of December.”

Efforts to get a comment from Mugabe’s spokesperson, George Charamba, were
unsuccessful as his mobile number was not reachable.
Mutinhiri, former Marondera East legislator, was suspended from the party
for five years after the party leadership found her guilty of undermining
the party.

She was also accused of voting for MDC-T chairman Lovemore Moyo in the March
elections for Speaker of Parliament. Zanu PF had fielded its own chairman,
Simon Khaya-Moyo, who lost to the MDC-T chairman.

After she was accused of voting for the wrong candidate in an election where
a secret ballot was used, she claimed that she had received death threats
from Zanu PF activists.

Zanu PF claimed that it knew the identities of its MPs who had voted for the
MDC-T candidate. Mugabe lashed out at the MPs in public, but never mentioned
them by name.

Zanu PF activists invaded Mutinhiri’s farm in Marondera but they were later
ordered to leave by party officials. She later claimed State Security
minister Sydney Sekeramayi was behind the invasion because he wanted to
replace her with Zanu PF’s provincial secretary for security, Lawrence
Sekeramayi is the senator for the area.

Mutinhiri expects to leave office anytime soon

In an interview with The Standard yesterday, Mutinhiri (pictured) said she
had not received communication of her pending dismissal from Mugabe, but was
expecting it anytime.

“I expect this because the Constitution says one ceases to be a minister
after 90 days of suspension from Parliament,” said Mutinhiri.
“Since I was expelled from Parliament on September 14, I expect to leave
office anytime soon.”

Asked if Zanu PF had proposed a name to replace Mutinhiri, party
spokesperson Rugare Gumbo said that was the preserve of Mugabe.

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GPA principals meeting hopeless, say analysts

Sunday, 20 November 2011 11:45

NOTHING positive will come out of the three principals’ meeting this week,
as Zanu PF has hardened its political position ahead of its national
conference next month in Bulawayo, political analysts have said.

President Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime
Minister Arthur Mutambara are scheduled to convene a meeting to discuss the
outstanding issues of the Global Political Agreement (GPA).

The meeting is expected to be attended by the Sadc facilitation team in
preparation of South African President Jacob Zuma’s visit. Political analyst
Charles Mangongera said Zanu PF had hardened its position as it prepares for
its annual conference.

He said it was unlikely to agree on anything with the facilitation team. “We
will see them becoming more and more recalcitrant and intransigent. I do not
see them capitulating on any of the outstanding issues as Mugabe will want
to demonstrate resoluteness to his followers,” said Mangongera.

“At any rate, both Zanu PF and the MDC seem to have agreed on narrowing
reforms to issues around the electoral management framework rather than a
holistic reform process.”

He believes Zanu PF now has an upper hand in the negotiations compared to
the two MDC formations. Professor Lovemore Madhuku concurred with Mangongera
adding that only “fools” would expect anything positive to come out of the
meeting with Zuma’s facilitation team.

“Nothing will come out of this meeting. (Morgan) Tsvangirai is now weaker
than ever before. Zanu PF is now in a stronger position than the MDC and
those outstanding issues have been overtaken by events,” said Madhuku.

“These meetings have become talk shows, no one in their right state of mind
would expect Zuma to succeed, looking at his moral authority and given he
can’t even control his own party.”

Another political analyst, who requested anonymity, said the only positive
development expected from the meeting was that they will denounce the recent
reported incidences of political violence.

The analyst said Zuma’s team must urge for a quick finalisation of the new
constitution. “It will be important though for Zuma’s team to take note of
the violence and make a firm statement that Sadc will not tolerate more of
the same,” he said.

“Their biggest contribution could be to urge the quick conclusion of the
constitutional process. It is important that any future election be held
under a new constitution and Zuma’s team could add impetus to the current
drafting process,” said the analyst.

The MDC-T has said, without addressing issues such as security sector
reforms, re-staffing of the Zimbabwe Election Commission (ZEC) and state
sponsored violence, the country would not have free and fair elections.

Disabled people denounce presidential scholarship

PEOPLE with disabilities have claimed that they were being excluded from the
Presidential Scholarship because of their condition. Not even one of them
has benefitted from it since its inception.

Addressing journalists at a workshop in Mutare recently, National
Association of Societies for the Care of the Handicapped (Nascoh) executive
director, Farai Mukuta, bemoaned the trend, saying it was retrogressive.

“No disabled person has benefitted from the Presidential Scholarship. The
able-bodied people, even without proper qualifications, are benefitting,”
said Mukuta.

Mukuta said the government must consider disabled people in setting its
development goals. “We want to have a strategy to ensure that disabled
people are included in national planning. We challenge you journalists to
empower us,” said Mukuta.

Mukuta’s remarks were echoed by several other participants at the workshop,
who appealed to the governor of Manicaland, Christopher Mushowe, to take
this complaint to President Robert Mugabe.

Mushowe, who is patron of the Presidential Scholarship, was represented by a
senior official from his office. However, Mushowe denied discriminating
against those who are disabled, saying the allegations were unfounded and

“The scholarship programme does not discriminate,” said Mushowe. “It does
not also look at one’s political affiliation. We select children from every
district across the country. What people must understand is that we cannot
accommodate everyone at once.”

Mushowe said they would this year consider only 500 children due to shortage
of funds. The programme used to offer scholarships to between 1 000 and 2
000 students.

Mukuta said his organisation was pushing for a significant representation of
the disabled people into the country’s policy-making positions.
It is estimated that people with disabilities constitute 10% of the country’s

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Masunda speaks on Borrowdale mall

Sunday, 20 November 2011 11:45

HARARE mayor, Muchadeyi Masunda has challenged those who are critical of the
construction of an ambitious mall in Harare to come forward with their
objections, since the development will only start mid-next year.

Residents of suburbs next to the proposed mall claim the construction
negates environmental concerns and therefore should be halted. The
residents say the mall, to be built on a piece of land between Dandaro
Village and Borrowdale West in Harare, is being built on a wetland and that
the city by-laws prohibited such construction.

“The actual construction is not scheduled to start until June 2012 and that
should give all interested parties ample time to work with us, as the
designated town planning and licensing authority, to resolve any outstanding
issues concerning administrative and regulatory matters,” said Masunda in
written responses.

He said the proposed mall would add a new dimension to the landscape of
Harare and go a long way “towards decongesting some of the existing

Constructors of the audacious mall last week dismissed the suggestions by
residents that the shopping centre was being built on a wetland and
therefore, construction should be halted.

Michael van Blerk of West Properties, who oversee the development of the
mall, last week said since Borrowdale was constructed in the 1960s, the
violation of the area could not then be blamed on the construction of the
mall, to be known as the Mall of Zimbabwe.

“Dandaro and Borrowdale West are built on the same ecological environment
and anyone who complains is being mischievous,” said van Blerk, who
described the residents’ call to halt construction as disingenuous.

He said the company had applied for a change of use from the government and
had been granted that. “This was advertised and only six objections were
received and were adjudicated to by the minister (of Local Government, Urban
and Rural Development, Ignatius Chombo), but were ruled not to be of any
substance,” he explained.

Giving an example of the construction of Julius Nyerere Street, which was
built on top of an open stream, Van Blerk blamed urbanisation and
population growth for the change in the environment.
Van Blerk said his company had complied with requests from the government
regarding construction of the mall and currently, an environment impact
assessment was underway.

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Firm seeks Mugabe’s help to recover licence fees

Sunday, 20 November 2011 10:44

A firm has appealed for President Robert Mugabe’s assistance to recover
US$20 000 it had paid to obtain a licence before the ministry of Mines and
Mining Development cancelled all licences to cut and polish diamonds.

In a letter dated October 25 2011 addressed to President Mugabe, Mustrite
Investments sought his intervention so that the money it had paid for a
licence can be returned.

Conrad Tarupiwa, Mustrite managing director said the company had been vetted
and adjudged fit to do business. “We managed to secure an investor and
entered into a partnership agreement. The investor was to bring in cutting
and polishing material.

However, while we were in the process of machinery logistics (sic) coming
into the country our licence was cancelled/suspended pending
investigations,” Tarupiwa wrote.

He said that Mustrite had managed to secure an investor on the grounds that
a licence had been secured. The company later lost the investor, he claimed.

Tarupiwa said they never bought a single diamond using that licence and
hence the plea for Mugabe to intervene for a reimbursement of the licence

“We are humble and law-abiding Zimbabweans. US$20 000 is money that could
seriously help our families embark on other ventures,” Tarupiwa wrote.
The licence ran from January to December 31 2011.

According to correspondence seen by The Standard, the ministry suspended the
licence on the basis that there were some outstanding issues that had to be
addressed first.

“Following careful consideration of the findings of a joint inspection of
your diamond cutting and polishing factory in June 2011 by the ministry,
Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe and the ZRP Minerals Unit, you
are advised that your licence remains suspended until you have regularised
the following outstanding issue: no equipment and security systems,” Prince
Mupazviriho, permanent secretary in the ministry of Mines wrote in a
September 16 2011 letter to Tarupiwa.

“You can write to the ministry requesting another joint inspection once you
have addressed the outstanding issue.” But Tarupiwa said there was no way
the company would meet what the ministry wants before the licence expires
next month.

However, in an earlier letter, the ministry had advised Tarupiwa that the
US$20 000 for a licence fee is non-refundable. “More so, failure to secure
funding for your project was not caused by the ministry. The licences are
issued on assumption that applicants have a strong base to conduct
business,” Mupazviriho wrote in a September 5 letter.

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Kunzvi Dam project: Council weighs funding options

Sunday, 20 November 2011 10:38

ONCE complete, the Kunzvi Dam project is expected to produce at least 250
megalitres of potable water, a development that would help alleviate Harare’s
water crisis.

The project is expected to take three years to complete. Harare Mayor
Muchadeyi Masunda said they were considering foreign financial assistance as
the mega-project cannot be funded by local resources due to liquidity

He said the city could enter into a strategic partnership with a partner
who brings in investment to the tune of US$539 million and the city would in
turn, provide a customer base and the current infrastructure.

Alternatively, the city could secure a loan facility of US$539 million and
pay back over a period of 25 years. “Cash flows were projected to establish
the viability of this option. The cash flows indicate that the option is
viable,” he said.

Masunda said there are three institutions — African Development Bank (AfDB),
Agence Francaise de Development (AFD) and the Bill and Melinda Gates
Foundation (BMGF) — that could finance the project but there are sticking
issues that needed to be ironed.

He urged politicians from across the divide to refrain from indulging in
unnecessary rhetoric which could jeorpadise the city from raising US$1,3
billion for Kunzvi and Musami dams.

“As things stand, regional and international financial institutions, with a
huge appetite for funding the type of capital projects under consideration,
are understandably reluctant to deal with our central government which has,
for example, not been able to honour our obligations to France (US$400
million) and Germany (US$800 million),” he said.

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Water woes to persist till 2015

Sunday, 20 November 2011 10:36

HARARE’S water problems, which are causing perennial outbreaks of
water-borne diseases like cholera and typhoid, are set to continue for at
least the next three years, if not longer.

A council document on the development of the Kunzvi Dam, touted as the
panacea to the city’s water woes, shows that the project may only yield
fruit in 2015.

The document prepared by Town Clerk Tendai Mahachi last month says in order
to expedite the completion of the US$539 million project, it becomes
imperative that all remaining phases and construction be executed
simultaneously on a turnkey basis, that is, design and construct at the same

A look at the document shows that the construction of the dam was three
years behind schedule. It says a lot still hangs in the balance, with the
city fathers grappling with securing a loan for the project, which they say
can be paid back within 25 years.

At least three million dollars is needed before the end of the year for
document review, final design and preparation of tender documents. The
proposed implementation schedule shows that Harare hopes that construction
of the dam will begin early 2012 and stretch to 2014.

It also hopes that existing facilities will be rehabilitated between 2012
and 2015 while construction of proposed water production treatment and
transmission mains, including pump stations, will also happen at the same

Construction of a proposed main distribution system is expected to be done
from 2013 to 2015 while house connections will be done from 2011 throughout
the project.

“Harare and its environs require a new water supply source for continued
growth and development,” Mahachi states in his paper.“Already, shortage of
water is reducing the development in both industry and commerce and in the
socio-economic development of the people.

“Housing for all concept cannot be achieved unless water is availed, and
with industry operating at less than 50% capacity, the suppressed demand may
actually be at least another 50% of current demand.”

Regular water cuts causing disease outbreaks

Regular water cuts in Harare have caused the outbreak of water-borne
diseases in the past few years. More than 200 people are being monitored at
Beatrice Infectious Diseases Hospital following a typhoid outbreak in the
capital at the back of acute water shortages.

Although council authorities had earlier said they were above the situation,
Harare city council health director Dr Prosper Chonzi last week admitted it
will be difficult to contain the outbreak as many residents relied on water
from shallow, unsafe wells and marshlands because they do not have access to
piped water.

More than 4 000 people, most of them from Harare, died of cholera in 2009,
yet another disease blamed on the collapse of water, sanitation and
prevention services in Zimbabwe.

Harare mayor Muchadeyi Masunda said the Kunzvi project will complement the
city’s water supply, adding that government has set up a steering committee
charged with ensuring that the project takes off the ground.

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ZUJ dumps Kereke over arrests

Sunday, 20 November 2011 10:35

Own Staff
THE Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ) last week dumped Greencard Medical
Aid owner and advisor to Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) Governor Gideon
Gono, Munyaradzi Kereke for causing the arrest of The Standard Editor,
Nevanji Madanhire and a reporter Nqaba Matshazi.

The two, who are facing criminal defamation charges and a charge of stealing
documents from GreenCard offices, were released on US$100 bail each.
ZUJ president Dumisani Sibanda said it was no longer going to be associated
with Kereke in future, who used to sponsor journalistic awards.

Sibanda said ZUJ was not going to be blinded from condemning Kereke’s action
that threatens press freedom and the right by the media to free expression.

“As ZUJ, we subscribe totally to the higher values of a free media and we
will not hesitate to defend the media’s unfettered freedom to expose the
ills of society. We therefore, declare that in future we will not deal with
Dr Kereke in programmes that seek to enhance journalistic standards because
his actions put him in direct confrontation with the cherished ideals of a
free media. The ideas of a free press cannot be subordinated to personal

Sibanda said if Kereke felt aggrieved, he should have channelled his
grievances to the Voluntary Media Council (VMCZ) for redress rather than
resort to draconian action.

“The arrest has resulted in the journalists being treated as common
criminals. Cells were not built for journalists pursuing their professional
duty of reporting without fear or favour, but for murderers and other
undesirable elements of society. It should be made clear that sponsorship
that seeks to hold the media at ransom will be rejected and exposed for what
it is.”

Sibanda called on Kereke to withdraw the charges against Madanhire and
Matshazi and approach VMCZ for redress. “Criminalisation of journalism kills
investigative reporting, which is key in combating corruption and promoting
institutions that foster democracy,” Sibanda said.

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Homosexuality issue referred to Mugabe, Tsvangirai

Sunday, 20 November 2011 10:29

THE contentious issue of homosexuality has been referred to President Robert
Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai for political discussion after
the Constitution Select Committee (Copac) failed to agree on the issue.

Documents in possession of The Standard show that Copac has shelved
discussions on gays and lesbians’ rights. The documents also reveal that the
committee is divided on whether Satanism should be included or not in the
new constitution.

The contentious issue of gay rights was referred for political discussion
because there were people who were of the notion that homosexuality did not
qualify to be a right.

“The debate was based on the feeling that the constitution is there to
protect minority rights while others felt that people spoke strongly against
the issue during the outreach programmes, which they argued was a clear
indication they wanted it forbidden in this country,” the report says.

Tsvangirai opened a hornet’s nest with calls for the legalisation of
homosexuality. While in the UK recently, Tsvangirai said he hoped the new
constitution would come up with freedom for sexual orientation, immediately
drawing the ire of Zanu PF and cultural activists in Zimbabwe.

The prime minister has been questioned on why he seems to say one thing to a
Zimbabwean audience and another to a foreign audience. Mugabe has described
homosexuals as worse than “pigs and dogs”.

On the issue of Satanism, the report says the technical committee could not
reach a consensus because others argued there was freedom of worship already
and therefore, it encompassed Satanism because it’s part of worship.

The report also shows that the country is set to ban the interception of
telephonic private conversations and replace it with the “Namibian Section
However, The Standard could not by the time of going to print verify what
the Namibian Section 13 says.

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Masiyiwa among Africa’s richest

Sunday, 20 November 2011 11:09

TELECOMMUNICATIONS mogul Strive Masiyiwa is one of the richest in Africa,
according to an inaugural survey by Forbes magazine. The Forbes Africa’s 40
Richest list was topped by Nigerian businessman Aliko Dangote worth US$10,1

Masiyiwa is worth US$280 million and is tied on position 34 with South
African national, Adrian Gore. Masiyiwa is both an entrepreneur and
philanthropist, having fo-unded Econet Wireless Zimbabwe which began
operating in 1998.

The mobile operator could have come on the mobile market earlier had the
businessman not fought in the courts for an operating licence. To date
Econet is the largest mobile operator with over five million subscribers and
controls over 70% of the mobile telephony market.

Masiyiwa was rank-ed above African National Congress politician Cyril
Ramaphosa who was on position 36 with a net worth of US$275 million.
Masiyiwa is the group chairman of the South African-based Econet Wireless
which is now a global telecommunications group with operations, investments
and offices in more than 15 countries in Africa, Europe, USA, Latin America
and Asia-Pacific.

The company’s activities include mobile cellular telephony, fixed networks,
enterprise networks, fibre- optic cables, and satellite services.
They also provide payment solutions to banks across Africa.

Other business activities include operations and investments in some of
Africa’s leading businesses in areas such as financial services, insurance,
renewable energy, bottling for Coca-Cola, hotels and safari lodges.

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Politics stall setting up of NEC

Saturday, 19 November 2011 18:16

IT’S the politics stupid. A negotiator to the power-sharing deal has stalled
the formation of a body designed to give advice to government and formulate
economic plans and programmes, among other things, saying the matter has to
be dealt with by political parties.

The Global Political Agreement (GPA), the bedrock on which the inclusive
government was formed, stipulates that there be a National Economic Council
(NEC) to give advice to government, formulating economic plans and
programmes for approval by government and such other functions as would be
assigned to the council by the government.

According to Article 3 (c) of the GPA, NEC is supposed to comprise
representatives of the parties in the coalition government — Zanu PF, MDC-T
and MDC. It is supposed to comprise representatives from various sectors of
the economy such as manufacturing, agriculture, mining, tourism, commerce,
financial, labour, academia and other relevant sectors.

Economic Planning and Investments Promotion minister Tapiwa Mashakada said
on Thursday the setting up of NEC was stalled by politics.
He said the ministry has done a framework for NEC which was taken to the
Council of Ministers. “We took it to cabinet and we had one of the
negotiators who indicated that the issue of the NEC is political. It mustn’t
be driven by a government department, in this case by the Ministry of
Economic Planning.
“The negotiator was more comfortable with the NEC being driven by political
parties,” Mashakada said.

Mashakada hoped the negotiator would be persuaded to release NEC so that his
ministry can run with the planning and its implementation.

“We are the chief planners of the economy. We need a forum where business,
academia, labour and everybody come together, recommend policies to
government, evaluate government programmes and projects and assist
government as a think tank.”

Mashakada said the ministry would continue to harp on this so that it can be
implemented because it’s apolitical.

“It must be apolitical and it’s a vital organ in the implementation of the
MTP (Medium Term Plan) and indeed other government projects and programmes,”
he said.

So has NEC been added onto the list of outstanding issues?

“Yes it has joined the long list. Those are the pains of transitional or
coalitional governments but we will do our part” Mashakada said.
Since the signing of the GPA in 2008 and the creation of an inclusive
government in 2009, parties in the coalition are haggling over outstanding
issues which they say are inimical to the smooth working of government.

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Zim dollar balances: CZI calls for UN conversion rate

Saturday, 19 November 2011 18:11


THE Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) has proposed that government
use the UN conversion rate of 35 quadrillion Zimbabwean dollars to US$1 on
liabilities rising prior to the dollarisation of the economy. The move, if
implemented, would bring closure to an issue which has been pending since
the country dumped the Zimbabwean dollar for multi-currencies in January

“We recommend that this exercise is speedily concluded using the UN rate of
35 quadrillion Zimbabwe dollars to US$1 dollar,” CZI said, adding that the
rate be adopted for any and all liabilities in the economy arising prior to
February 2009 to be backed by Statutory instrument.
This is one of the recommendations the industrialist’s body presented to
Finance minister Tendai Biti for consideration in crafting his 2012 national

Biti presents the budget to Parliament on Tuesday.

In his maiden budget presentation in 2009, Biti set aside US$6 million to
clear all Zimbabwean dollar balances.

However, nothing has moved amid allegations that some bank accounts had
suddenly fattened in anticipation of the “windfall”.
“There have been slow measures on this exercise and confusion over the rate
of Zimbabwe dollar and US dollar to be used on liabilities arising prior to
the dollarisation of the economy in 2009,” said CZI.

The confederation recommended the creation of an Infrastructure Fund, which
collects a statutory levy of 5%, and the creation of a board that becomes a
bankable institution to raise finance for key projects as opposed to
government tradition of simultaneously doing numerous projects that do not
get completed.

It said the Infrastructure Development Bank of Zimbabwe could manage this

“The current level of infrastructure is making it difficult to conduct
business and is hindering the economic growth of the country,” it said.
The country’s infrastructure is deteriorating and according to estimates,
requires US$16 billion for rehabilitation and upgrading.

Government has already said it has no money to rehabilitate the
infrastructure and asked for private sector’s support through the public
private partnerships.

Tuesday’s budget presentation by Biti would be closely followed by all
critical sectors of the economy to see how he would allocate resources.
Analysts say the current budget is not developmental, as it allocates more
resources to recurrent, instead of capital expenditure. Over 90% of the
budget is recurrent expenditure, with salaries chewing the bulk of that

This means that the Treasury is left with little fiscal space and Biti last
year said that so constrained is the ministry that it requires “fiscal
marksmanship” in allocating resources.

Witness Chinyama, head of Research at Kingdom Financial Holdings Limited,
told Standardbusiness that he is not expecting surprises in terms of
resource allocation as recurrent expenditure has always got the chunk of
resources during budgets.

Chinyama said Treasury has to avail more funds to the central bank, which is
at the core of the financial sector stability.

Biti said recently, the country will incur a US$700 million deficit this
year. But Chinyama said Biti has to say how the hole would be plugged.
Presenting his Budget Strategy Paper (BSP) in the House of Assembly last
month, Biti said the economy would grow by between 7,8% to 9% next year from
the anticipated growth of 9,3% in 2011.

Agriculture and mining would be the major drivers of this growth.

The balance of payments position is projected to improve, from a deficit of
US$789,7 million in 2011 to US$438,2 million in 2012.

The improvement is on the back of anticipated export growth and marginal
positive change on the capital account, according to the BSP.

Revenue growth to 34% of Gross Domestic Product from the current 30% would
be driven by current tax reforms targeting increased automation of the tax
collection system.

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RBZ creditors to wait longer

Saturday, 19 November 2011 18:10


RESERVE Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) creditors would be paid once funds are
available and treasury is looking into the matter, central bank boss Gideon
Gono has said. RBZ’s list of creditors has sister central banks, external
financial institutions and local banks among others.
It also includes the former workers who were retrenched in January and are
still to be paid their full packages due to cash constraints.
“The Bank will pay its creditors once funds are available. The aggregate
requirements are receiving consideration by Treasury as part of the 2012
budgetary provisions,” Gono said in written responses to Standardbusiness.

RBZ board resolved last year that government should take over the central
bank’s debt to allow the institution to start on a clean slate.
However, nothing has moved along that front as the proposed bill died before
it even went through Cabinet.

RBZ has a US$1,1 billion owed to central banks, external and local financial
institutions. As of June 30 last year, the bank owed a total of US$80,2
million to sister central banks such as South African Reserve Bank (US$10
million); Malaysian central bank, Bank Negara ( US$49,8 million) and US$20,4
million to the Reserve Bank of Malawi.

It also owes regional and continental banks who provided roll-over
facilities for grain, fertilizer and oil importations US$122,2 million. RBZ
said, of that debt, US$55,1 million was accumulated prior to 2003.

On the local front, RBZ owes financial institutions through corporates
(private sector) foreign currency accounts deposits of US$359,8 million and
US$79,9 million in statutory reserves.

Statutory reserves — amount of money any bank has to maintain with RBZ at 0%
for every deposit received from a customer — were scrapped in June last year
as part of risk containment measures in the banking system.
However, government owes the central bank US$1,4 billion, which the monetary
authorities say would be enough to extinguish its debt and remain with
US$300 million.

The US$300 million, RBZ says, would then be used to beef up the bank’s
lender of last resort role.
Treasury gave RBZ US$7 million this year to perform its lender of last
resort role, which had been suspended in 2008.

The bank is in the process of disposing its non-core assets and concentrate
on its core business. The assets had been accumulated when the bank engaged
in quasi-fiscal activities in the period 2006-2009 in response to the
growing national needs.

The amended legislation removed that clause which was blamed for fuelling
hyperinflation by allowing RBZ to engage in activities that fall under the
realm of treasury.
Gono said the disposal of the assets is in progress “and it would be
premature to explicitly announce the status of this process at this stage”.

RBZ says it had incurred some extraordinary debts when it financed national
interests such as funding the March 2008 harmonised elections.
It said RBZ had intervened by mobilising funds to clear the debt owed to the
International Monetary Fund to avoid the country being kicked out of the

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Biti says Zim businesses fear statistics

Saturday, 19 November 2011 18:07

FINANCE minister Tendai Biti says statistics are “software issues” for any
government, but that there is phobia in the business community that affects
the production of accurate data. In his keynote address on African
Statistics day on Friday, Biti said the low response rate is compromising
the quality and timelines of the Zimbabwean national economic statistics.

“There is that statistics phobia among our business community. When Zimstats
send them survey… they don’t understand how qualitative statistics are at
the epicentre of any planning processes and how it is frustrating when you
are working without current data or conflicting data,” Biti said.
Biti said the unavailability of accurate data is an invisible sign of

“There are things that people see as a sign of collapse or fragility of a
state; shops that are empty, roads with potholes, hospitals and schools that
don’t work. Those are physical signs of fragility,” Biti said.

“When you go into a planning office like the ministry of Finance there are
certain invisible signs of fragility that you don’t see and one of them is
data and statistics and capacity.”

Biti said the ministry is grateful to development partners for providing the
capacity building for the nation to have credible statistics.
Before the creation of the inclusive government, statistics produced by the
then Central Statistical Office (CSO) had been questioned by independent

CSO was later transformed into Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency

The 2011 African Statistics day was held under the theme “Keeping accounts
to improve Africa’s present for a brighter future”.
Biti also launched the publicity for the 2012 Population Census and the
Zimbabwe National Statistics Database 2011.

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Letter to Father Christmas

Sunday, 20 November 2011 13:37

Dear Santa Claus,
Since my kindergarten days I have never attempted writing a letter to your
distant address in the North Pole – a tradition of millions of kids on the

And neither have I been tempted to stay up until the wee hours to catch a
glimpse of your cherry coat and team of nine flying reindeers.

I am told that you come through the chimney in the dead of the night to fill
the empty stockings with goodies. I am also told that you also bring coal
for naughty children.

Santa, the winds of change have blown through our domestic football. Young
guns, especially the one who wears neon coloured boots and answers to the
name Knowledge Musona, have charmed us.

You should have been at Rufaro, Santa, on Tuesday night as the “Smiling
Assassin” struck two wonder goals. I was particularly impressed with his
sweet header. I must confess he is not a good dancer, although he did
attempt the “Zora Butter dance.” Just like you Santa, he is a jolly good
young fellow.

It has been a particularly good year for domestic football. What, with
millions being sunk into the league with the coming of Delta Beverages
through their Castle Lager brand and the Mbada Diamonds Cup. However Santa,
I am still depressed by the boo boys and hope that you will wipe out this
cancer that is creeping in our football.

I could go on Santa, but this Christmas please could you spare a thought for
Tineyi Maridzo – the forgotten World Boxing Organisation (WBO) Africa super
middleweight champion, who is about to be stripped of his belt.

Maridzo is supposed to defend his belt on home soil but has not been able to
do so as there are no local promoters willing to bankroll this tournament.
Several SOS have yielded nothing and it’s a classic case of being forgotten
by your own people.

It is highly likely that he could be stripped of his belt in the New Year.
Maridzo is a great boxer and this is how he won the continental title, as
reported by boxing arena in March this year.

“The fight started at a very fast pace, with Mikey Shultz landing solid
punches to the body and face of the champion Maridzo. It was clear the
challenger from Gauteng wanted to finish the fight very early.

The champion responded quickly by counter punching with hard blows also. The
second round followed the same pattern, with Shultz charging forward.

Mickey’s punches were beginning to have an effect on the champion as he was
often wobbled by Mikey’s punches. The round ended with Mikey throwing every
punch in the book in the hope of ending the fight.

The third round started the same way, with Mikey throwing more body punches
with Maridzo counter punching. It was after an exchange of punches at which
Maridzo caught Mikey with an over right punch flush on the jaw. Mickey went
down straight on his back like a pole. The referee on the night, Jaap Van
Niwenhuisen, counted him out.”

So you see Santa – Maridzo is a good boxer and we do not want such a great
talent to go to waste. And in the event you grant us our wish Santa, you can
take Maridzo’s belt to the North Pole on condition that you bring it back
next Christmas.

And if there is a local promoter willing to bankroll Maridzo’s title fight,
Santa, we hope that you will reward him abundantly in whatever he/she does.

And in the true spirit of Christmas, we hope that Zifa will rescind its
decision to hire foreign referees for the Mbada Diamonds Cup finals because
the local referees also need to be merry this festive season.

We also hope that the festive spirit will envelope Rufaro and Gwanzura this
afternoon. DeMbare will play Kiglon while FC Platinum will collide with
Shooting Stars for the league decider. We hope there will be no violence
after the matches regardless of who wins.

Santa, may the best men win.

By Fanuel Viriri

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Inviting foreign artistes: Word of advice to ZTA

Sunday, 20 November 2011 10:52

When the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority boss and his team decided on bringing
international artistes for their perception management programme, they
should have been quite cautious considering the controversies that surround
the hefty budgets of such events.

Little did they know, they were waking up a sleeping giant. Bringing
international artistes has utterly become the business of the day for a
number of promoters. Each one on average this year has brought at least two
while some have brought as many as three.

But what is irking is that somehow, whoever is now involved in bringing
these artistes, most of whom are Jamaican nationals, has managed to alienate
the ZTA, whose brainchild it was to bring foreign performing atristes. Maybe
rightly so; considering the amount of confusion that institution puts into
the industry.

The question now is whether or not it is proper for ZTA to create such an
initiative and then stand aloof while individuals bring artistes on their
own for a different reason. Anyone who is bringing a foreign artiste today
is doing it for the money but they are not fitting into the model for which
purpose it was crafted.

The perception management programme should ideally be one that is all
inclusive, taking all citizens on board. It should be managed in such a way
that there are consultations before any artiste is brought into the country
and what the country at large benefits from the visit should be explained.

If we are marketing Zimbabwe what is the logic that an artiste comes here
and goes back to their homeland without visiting Gonarezhou National Park?
What is the rationale that we boast of the majestic Victoria Falls yet Akon
came and went without visiting the resort area? Is it the best that we can
do, that an artiste who lives a lavish life in their home country comes and
is booked at the Meikles Hotel and not at a resort?

The resort is the heritage of Zimbabwe, which is the same concept that
everyone is trying to sell. What needs to be marketed is not the hotel that
everyone, anywhere in the world knows about. And likewise; it should be
mandatory that whenever an artiste comes to Zimbabwe they visit at least one
of the resort areas. In essence; what this writer is implying is that the
goals of bringing these international artistes are now misplaced.

Is there anything that Sean Paul is going to say about Binga in his homeland
when he was holed-up in the Meikles hotel? Can Mr Vegas surely go back to
Jamaica and report seeing a rhino when he was being treated to a five star
experience at the Rainbow Towers?

If Kaseke and company had made it a point that they engaged these promoters
and crafted a policy that would rotate resorts where visiting artistes would
stay, then the task of promoting Zimbabwe would have been a lot easier.

The visiting artistes must be told the reason for them to come to Zimbabwe
is not just to fatten their pockets, which they will do eventually, but for
them to tell others what Zimbabwe offers when they go back home. Any artiste
is bound to have lasting memories about the Victoria Falls. Similarly, they
will have a memorable experience once they visit the Great Zimbabwe.

They are used to hotels; even better ones so to say. So why not hold their
hand into the jungle they have only experienced on Discovery Channel and
give them the real Zimbabwean experience?

The perception is surely not going to change, until Kaseke and company
realise they need to market the real Zimbabwe and not the imposed town life.
Until that happens, Zimbabwe will forever be an alien to its target market.

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Urgent need to revise laws on stolen asset

Sunday, 20 November 2011 10:51

So Gaddafi and his sons are gone. The National Transitional Council (NTC)
has officially declared liberation and has thanked the international
community, particularly Nato, for its role in the decapitating strikes
against the Gaddafi regime. Yet big challenges remain.

One of the reasons why I for one am not so impressed by this “humanitarian”
role of Nato in liberating Libya is simply because of the hypocrisy that
underlines the current discourse around the frozen assets for the Gaddafi

Make no mistake, Gaddafi was a delusional dictator and at the centre of his
heart lay a gigantic nothing. Yet that does not mean that anyone who opposed
him did so for good reason.

Indeed, when one studies the matter closely, one realises how Gaddafi was
heavily invested materially in the West and they knew the billions were
suspect yet they assisted Gaddafi to use pseudo names and complex investment
vehicles that have made it close to impossible to track down those assets.

Gaddafi is believed to have had around US$168 billion in assets abroad, most
of which has been frozen since the start of the year. Is it not strange that
the reason why those assets are going to be difficult to recover is not
Libyan laws but laws of countries with the money?

They make it easier, infact super easy for dictators to invest and make it
next to impossible for the victims and or the leaders of the “liberated
countries” to repatriate that money!

The international financial system, apart from deliberately not coming up
with a comprehensive legal framework to track down stolen assets, benefits
immensely from the investments of fallen dictators.

A secret diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks suggests that Libyan
officials had spread around US$32 billion in assets to different US banks in
US$300-US$500 million chunks. British media reports that Gaddafi owned 14
Cornhill, opposite the Bank of England, bought in December 2008 for 120
million and many other properties bought by his sons.

The World Bank has clear guidelines around “politically exposed persons”
which stipulates that banks are supposed to carry out due diligence on
accounts of top politicians, their families and close associates, especially
those suspected to be corrupt.

Was there any doubt that Gaddafi could be corrupt? Or was there any due
diligence taken to ascertain whether that money was earned through honest
means or banks were just gladly accepting these massive deposits.

Akere Muna, vice-chairman of Transparency International famously remarked at
the 2010 International Anti Corruption Conference in Bangkok, Thailand,
about an experience with bankers in which they remarked that they actually
lure these dictators to open accounts knowing fully well that those accounts
would be frozen and that money would be available to the bank only!

Right now, countries like Switzerland, Germany and US do well on the famed
Corruption Perception Index yet they are the havens not just of tax evaders
but of some of the world’s leading dictators.

The NTC has been pleading for months to have that money back yet we are told
it will take years! Victor Comras, a former money laundering expert for the
United Nations and US State Department laments that Bankers managing assets
for Gaddafi and his family might “act as if the assets belong to them,”
particularly with those converted into personal holdings.

To aggravate matters, there is currently no single international legal
regime or treaty setting procedures for tracing, recovering and repatriating
assets misappropriated or abused by deposed regimes hence assets will have
to be recovered country by country.

Consequently, uncertainty remains on what happens to the interest that
accrues to these foreign dollars stashed in Western bank accounts. If money
was frozen in the year 2000 and it remains frozen to this day, who is taking
the interest?

International banks! Ever wondered why it is easier to push through a UN
resolution to freeze assets yet the same UN Convention Against Corruption
(UNCAC) is glaringly silent on what to do with these frozen assets? Was it
an omission that UNCAC was silent on that or it was all a product of intense
lobbying by international banks?

Surprisingly, as the NTC struggles to get the assets unfrozen in the US
among a host of big nations, the US Treasury, in September quickly but
partially lifted some Libya sanctions in order to open the door for US
companies and individuals to do business with the Libyan National Oil
Corporation and other companies in Libya, as long as the transactions don’t
benefit anyone affiliated with the Gaddafi regime. One wonders what big
Libyan company has absolutely no connection to the formerly all powerful and
ubiquitous Gaddafi regime.

Would it be wild speculation if one argues that perhaps Libyan frozen money
is the money US companies are borrowing so they can do business in Libya?
The British Daily Mail reports some US lawmakers want to use frozen Libyan
assets to reimburse Nato countries for military operations.

Others want to link frozen assets to Libyan cooperation with investigations
into Gadhafi-era terrorist attacks, according to a Congressional Research
Service report released September 29 most likely so as to forfeit the money
altogether without Libyan approval. In other words, some folks want to
cash-in before the Libyans themselves.

Back home, we already know that over a hundred officials on the sanctions
list also had their assets frozen for years now. The question that has not
been answered by international banks operating in big Western nations is
what is happening to the interest being earned in those accounts.

We know that it is next to impossible for a 100% recovery rate of frozen
assets which means banks will simply benefit from some of the money. We have
been told that corruption is rampant in poor countries and less in the
richer ones.

I don’t know if that is necessarily true. The oppressed in Africa are caught
between the Scylla of repressive dictators at home and the charybdis of a
hypocritical international political economy.

Yet it is clear that transnational corruption continues unabated. A modified
UNCAC that takes into cognizance the current difficulties in recovery of
stolen assets is urgent and imperative.

l Due to circumstances beyond our control, the Editor’s Memo could not be
published today.

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Harassment will come to naught

Sunday, 20 November 2011 10:49

The adversity that befell the editor of The Standard, Nevanji Madanhire and
reporter Nqaba Matshazi last week is a sad reminder that media repression is
escalating, over two years after Zimbabwe’s political parties formed the
inclusive government.

After sleeping in filthy cells on Tuesday night and appearing in court on
Wednesday for alleged criminal defamation and theft, officers from the Law
and Order Section visited the newspaper’s offices searching for the two
again on Thursday.

This time it was in connection with a complaint made by Kembo Mohadi, the
co-minister of Home Affairs. The continued harassment of the staff at The
Standard by the law enforcement agents is an explicit attempt to instill
fear in journalists and stop them from pursuing investigative stories.

Enemies of a free press would rather see the newspaper casting a blind eye
on mounting corruption, greed and other ills besetting our society. They
want this paper to ignore issues that disturb their comfort zones.

The Standard shall not be intimidated by a flurry of police visits and
vexatious lawsuits meant to cripple the media house financially. The
desperate attempt to stifle the truth-telling role of the press, reducing it
to practicing yellow journalism, is an exhibition of desperation by those
who ascended to political power through unscrupulous means or those who have
accumulated wealth either through chicanery or the abuse of public office.

The timing of the arrests also shows that pledges made by parties to the
inclusive government to create conditions for an unfettered press, are
hollow. The media may be sliding back to the days when Zimbabwe was among
the worst places in the world for journalists to operate in.

While this is a worrying trend, The Standard shall continue with its
investigative role undeterred by those who are bent on muzzling it. The
harassment that is being orchestrated by enemies of a free press has
emboldened our journalists to dig even deeper to expose the rot that exists
within our society.

We owe our allegiance, not to politicians or business leaders who believe
that they are untouchable, but to the readers who are growing in numbers
each week. Our promise to them is —expect more investigative stories in the
many issues to come.

Quote of the week

"He is as good as gone as far as I can see, unless of course if we, the
winners of the next election, decide to be magnanimous and accommodate him
which ever way we deem necessary,” — Dumiso Dabengwa on President
RobertMugabe’s future.

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