(STICKY) (NEWZIMBABWE) Why MDC reunification is impossible: Ncube
by Guthrie Munyuki I Daily News
COMMENT - I've said it a hundred times, but what are the democratic credentials of the MDC? They are a collection of neoliberal grifters, Matabele secessionists, and the remnants of the Rhodesian Front, whose members themselves were part of Rhodesian army units which committed atrocities, if they didn't commit atrocities themselves. There is even footage of Roy Bennet attacking minister Patrick Chinamasa, in parliament. But now many call themselves 'human rights lawyers', just because they try to cling on to their colonial estates.
MDC leader Welshman Ncube says a re-unification of the former opposition party is "impossible" and a coalition with the Morgan Tsvangirai-led party very unlikely because he is unprincipled.
The MDC split in 2005 because of Tsvangirai's failure to tackle violence and intimidation within the party, and his refusal to accept collective decision making, Ncube says in an interview published on Thursday.
“Of course there is a problem. The problems which led to the split remain alive today. They remain unresolved. In fact the cracks are wider today than they were in 2005. The only thing we literally share in common is that we agree that Zanu PF and Mugabe have been bad for the country,” Ncube told the Daily News.
“That’s about all that we agree on. We are not in agreement on just about anything and everything else. The things which divided us in 2005 still divide us today.
People cannot simply say these are personal differences. They are not petty and they are not personal.
They go to the foundation of the MDC itself.
“When we formed the MDC there were things that we agreed on, what we called a programme for change. That programme for change bound us to certain values and principles.
“And those values and principles included that it is an affront on anyone to be subjected to violence in order to secure the support of that person.
“There is no greater affront on the dignity of a human being than to subject a person to violence whether it’s within the family to say you must comply as my wife with my dictates, if you don’t I beat you. In the political arena it’s the same thing.
“If you don’t agree with me I then subject you to violence. It is an affront. It is a basic violation of the dignity of every person. And we agreed that we will never do that as a political party”.
“These are real issues. They are not petty. They are not personal. They are fundamental and if we are going to work together in whatever form, you must be able to address them.
“You can’t duck them or sweep them under the carpet. That’s why we have said and continue to say we regret contentiously any attempt to trivialise those issues into something personal and petty between Morgan and Welshman,” said the former University of Zimbabwe law lecturer.
Ncube charged Tsvangirai promoted violence at Harvest House, the MDC headquarters.
“Our colleagues in the MDC-T only have a rhetorical commitment to anti violence. Day in, day out, beginning with the time of the split, they employ violence.
“In the MDC, by 2005 we were running a militia in the party to abuse, to abduct, to beat up people. There were senior party members who were being abducted and taken to the sixth floor boardroom of Harvest House and stripped naked in front of girls and beaten,” claimed Ncube.
“(Tichaona) Mudzingwa (late former deputy minister of Transport), for instance was stripped naked at the party head office and made to stand on a table to address young people who included girls as young as 20 years, and was beaten.
“Frank Chamunorwa, who is our vice chairperson today, was beaten right at the gate of my house and had his arm broken.
“When the national council said we expel these people, the president of the party (Tsvangirai) said I reinstate them on my own, unilaterally. It simply says we do not have a commitment to the principle of non-violence. It’s a matter of public record that within the party, they use violence as an instrument of getting their way even among themselves.
“Let us go to the core value. We said never again will we have a country which is led by a man who makes decisions alone, who has power to overrule collective decisions. We want to institute collective leadership. What the president of the united MDC (Tsvangirai) did in reinstating those violent youths was overruling a national council decision.”
He said it was false to claim the problems between him and Tsvangirai were personal, insisting abhorrence for violence and corruption were among the issues which put him at odds with the prime minister.
“We identified in the programme for change that what had brought the economy to its knees was that instead of creating wealth the economy was feeding the greed of a few individuals through corruption. You don’t need to look too far, look at any council today controlled by our colleagues in the MDC-T.
“You can’t distinguish the corruption from the Zanu PF corruption and you ask yourself we are not there to replace Mugabe as an individual. We are saying let us replace Mugabe and Zanu PF with a system which is diametrically the opposite to the present one. But we have no confidence our colleagues in the MDC-T have equal commitment,” said Ncube.
“When people talk about reunification which I can rule out as an absolute impossibility, it will not happen. The best you can hope for is some coalition. It must be a coalition based on principles. But you cannot put in a coalition political parties which are at opposite ends of each other because that is where we are”.
The Industry and Commerce minister blamed Tsvangirai for finding comfort in his meetings with President Robert Mugabe which he said were fooling him into a sense of false comfort.
“In our view the prime minister and the MDC-T have been deceived and fooled by the appearance of power and cosiness with Mugabe to think that if you are having tea with Mugabe, you have power and influence.
“And the result of it is that we have seen a merry-go -round where constantly we are chasing our tails. Zanu PF is constantly firing red herrings, flares into the sky and we chase them and leave the real issues. But it’s a red herring constructed by Zanu PF.
“We completed the constitution exercise on July 18 last year. Zanu PF spent six months, from July to January 31, making us chase shadows. If you actually compare the final draft as of January 31 this year to the July 18 draft there is no material difference save for the suspension of two or three clauses from coming into effect until a certain period of time,” observed Ncube.
“But everything else is virtually as it was in July. But we spent six months on a merry-go-round. And it was deliberate, calculated, to waste time so that we do not do the real things that ought to be done. It is the failure to appreciate this Zanu PF strategy that we will be chasing red herrings until the election is unavoidable and the things that we ought to do have not been done.
“And this is our profound disappointment with our colleagues in MDC-T in failing to appreciate how Zanu PF is running rings around them. And they serve you with tea; they make you think you are important because they have included you in the meantime you are being deceived. The strategy of three Ds — delay, deceive and destroy. That’s what being applied to them,” Ncube said.
The apparent lack of unity between the two MDCs, said Ncube, was aiding Mugabe.
“There is no appreciation that the true beneficiary of this is President Mugabe. Tsvangirai doesn’t see that it undermines his own interests and his party and that the only person who stands to benefit from causing this paralysis in the government is the president and the party which has never wanted the GPA implemented from day one, is Zanu PF."
Labels: MDC, MDC VIOLENCE, WELSHMAN NCUBE
(NEWZIMBABWE) Indigenisation: Miners in the dark over proposed changes
by Business Reporter
THE Chamber of Mines says it has not received any "written communication" of proposed changes to the country’s indigenisation and economic empowerment laws.
In a statement Wednesday, chamber boss Winston Chitando said: As of now, the chamber of mine of Zimbabwe has not received any written communication or advised of the proposed changes. Neither has it been advised by any of its members of receipt of such communication.
“It is common knowledge that most of our members are positively engaged with government on the indigenisation and economic empowerment (programme) and keen on ensuring its expeditious conclusion in the spirit of unlocking the full value of the mining sector and its role in the economic transformation of Zimbabwe.”
Foreign companies are now required by law to transfer 51 percent of their Zimbabwe operations to locals with the beneficiaries expected to pay fair value for the equity.
But state media reports early this week suggested the government was looking at amending the legislative framework to remove the requirement for compensation with regard to mining companies.
However, Empowerment Minister Saviour Kasukuwere said Wednesday that this was not the case.
“I would like to advise the general public that implementation of the indigenisation and economic empowerment programme will continue to be guided by the Indigenisation Act (Chapter 14; 33), statutory instrument 21 of 2010 as amended, general notices No. 114 and 459 of 2011 and general notice 280 of 2012,” he said.
“As the minister responsible, I have the delegated legal responsibility to make regulations in the interests of achieving Government Policy on indigenisation and economic empowerment, which I deem necessary as my Ministry continues to implement, monitor and evaluate the programme.
“(But) my ministry continues to engage major mining companies on the basis of the term sheets, which we signed during 2012.
“As previously stated, the term sheets are non-binding and subject to negotiation and approval by the relevant Government authorities. Any reports to the contrary are misleading and misguided.”
Labels: CHAMBER OF MINES (ZW), WINSTON CHITANDO
(NEWZIMBABWE) US lifts sanctions on two banks
by Staff Reporter
THE United States government said Wednesday it had removed sanctions against the state-owned Agricultural Development Bank of Zimbabwe and the Infrastructure Development Bank of Zimbabwe.
The banks were among institutions and individuals slapped with sanctions by the US more than a decade ago over allegations of electoral fraud and human rights abuses.
On Wednesday the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control issued a licence that authorises transactions with the two banks “provided they don’t involve someone under U.S. sanctions”.
The US said the development was part of an “action for action” response to encourage continuing political progress after the country organised a referendum on a new constitution with fresh elections expected later in the year.
“Our sanctions program reflects a continuing commitment to help the people of Zimbabwe restore the stable, peaceful, democratic country they rightly deserve,” the State Department official said.
“We are prepared to consider further rolling back our sanctions on Zimbabwe in response to positive progress on Zimbabwe’s part in meeting its reform commitments.
The move comes after the European Union (EU) also suspended its own sanctions, offering to remove them completely if the country organise credible new elections.
Zimbabwe has however rejected conditional easing of the sanctions which President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu PF party say are illegal and responsible for the country’s economic problems.
Labels: BANKING, SANCTIONS, ZDERA
(NEWZIMBABWE) No indigenisation u-turn: Kasukuwere
by Staff Reporter
EMPOWERMENT Minister Saviour Kasukuwere has insisted that ownership deals reached with major mining companies remain unchanged and dismissed reports he was planning legislative tweaks to enable the takeover of foreign companies without compensation.
"The ministry has not changed this legislative framework and reports to the contrary are misleading and misguided," Kasukuwere told reporters in Harare on Wednesday.
Under the indigenisation programme, foreign companies must transfer ownership and control of at least 51 percent of their Zimbabwe operations to locals with the beneficiaries expected to pay fair value for the equity.
But the State-run Sunday Mail reported that the government was working on changes to the legislative framework in order to remove the requirement for compensation with regard to mining companies since mineral resources belonged to Zimbabweans.
Observers said if implemented, the changes would invalidate compliance agreements reached with platinum producers Angle American and Impala Platinum as well as the local unit of a Canada-based junior gold producer.
But Kasukuwere said he would continue to engage with the companies on the basis of deals already agreed but insisted that the “term sheets” were however non-binding.
“With the view to achieve a 51 percent indigenisation shareholding requirement, on a mutually beneficial basis and in line with this my ministry continues to engage the major mining companies on the basis of the term sheets which we signed in 2012 and part of 2013,” he said.
“As previously stated, the term sheets are non-binding and subject to negotiation and approval by the relevant government authorities. We are engaged with these companies to make sure that we bring then in line with the expectations of our nation in terms of the resource value. This is subject to us discussing with key ministries and relevant bodies.
“This is work in progress and proposals which are being done on a daily basis will not change the course of what we are trying to do and what the government has mandated us to do and we believe that we will continue to engage with the business community to achieve the expectations of the law and of our country.”
Labels: INDIGENIZATION AND EMPOWERMENT ACT (ZIMBABWE), SAVIOUR KASUKUWERE
(NEWZIMBABWE, NEWSDAY SA) US to announce policy shift on Zimbabwe
by Moses Matenga I NewsDay
THE United States will announce major policy changes in its relations with Zimbabwe in a few weeks’ time, Ambassador Bruce Wharton has said.
Wharton told Star FM on Monday night: “It is my sincere hope that we will announce changes on Zimbabwe policy within the next few weeks, and I hope it will be taken in the context that it has to be taken.”
Wharton said the United States understood that Zimbabwe had no obligation to invite observer missions from Western countries during forthcoming general elections, but he hoped the country will open up to the widest scrutiny.
Asked to clarify on the policy changes, the US Embassy public affairs dean Sharon Hudson said she had no adequate details.
Zanu PF representative during the live phone-in radio programme, Christopher Mutsvangwa, spoke glowingly of the US, describing the country as an “elephant” in the international arena.
“Zimbabwe should look forward to working with America. Anything that makes Zimbabwe-America relations move forward is good for Zimbabwe because we are a small country while America is a big country,” Mutsvangwa said.
Relations between Zimbabwe and the United States have been frosty since the latter imposed sanctions in 2001.
However, the US has since re-engaged Zimbabwe with a view to normalising diplomatic relations. Last week, a State Department envoy Andrew Young called on President Robert Mugabe.
Labels: AMBASSADORS, BRUCE WHARTON, SANCTIONS
(NEWZIMBABWE) Makoni attacks MDC's record in government
by Moses Chibaya
OPPOSITION leader Simba Makoni on Wednesday attacked the MDC-T’s record in government, insisting that the party’s claims that it stabilised the economy through dollarisation were a fraud.
The MDC-T went into government in 2009 after disputed elections forced President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF party to sign a power sharing pact negotiated by Zimbabwe’s neighbours.
The MDC-T’s Finance Minister Tendai Biti scrapped the local currency and replaced it with a multiple currency regime under which the United States dollar, the Botswana pula and the South African rand all became legal tender.
The measures are credited as a key factor in bringing down the country’s trillion dollar inflation to single digits and arresting the economic freefall.
But Makoni, a former finance minister who was a losing presidential candidate in 2008 with his Mavambo-Kusile party, says neither Biti, who implemented the currency transition, nor Zanu PF’s Patrick Chinamasa who was acting finance minister and announced the measures in January 2009, can claim credit.
“The people of Zimbabwe dollarised this economy in October 2007 long before Chinamasa made his announcement in January 2009 that we were abandoning the Zimbabwe dollar… that’s when dollarisation took place,” Makoni told a news conference in Harare.
“Dollarisation is the only factor that brought some modicum of relief to the Zimbabwean economy, not the MDC.”
Makoni described the performance of the unity government as “dismal and pathetic.”
MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s boasts that his party’s government role brought back goods to formerly empty shelves was nothing to celebrate, Makoni said, as most of the goods were imported.
“They promised to stabilise the economy,” Makoni said, “well, as far as I know the economy continues to decline. I know that Prime Minister Tsvangirai will want to boast that the shops are full of goods. It is true shops are full of goods, but whose product?
“I know that if you walked into a supermarket in 2006, I would say 90 percent of the goods on the shelves there were made in Zimbabwe and the other 10 percent that was imported were luxuries not basic commodities.”
The productive sector in Zimbabwe has continued to face severe operational constraints that have curbed production capacity, with Biti revealing that in the first quarter, exports raked in a paltry US$689 million against a bloated import bill of US$1,739 billion.
Exports for the first three months of the year declined by 10.3 percent while exports increased by 14 percent compared to the same period last year.
The decline in exports has been exacerbated by an increase in imports of manufactured and processed goods, which the minister said was not sustainable.
Most manufacturers in Zimbabwe have complained about erratic power supplies and expensive short-term capital while industries in Bulawayo are battling severe water shortages.
Labels: MDC, SIMBA MAKONI
(NEWZIMBABWE) CIA, M16 trained security services: Sekeramayi
by Staff Reporter
STATE security minister Sydney Sekeramayi has said it was ironic that the West was leading calls for so-called security sector reforms having helped train the country’s defence and security establishment for more than 20 years.
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC-T party is insisting that reform of the security sector remains one of the outstanding issues in the implementation of the Global Political Agreement.
The party blames service chiefs for helping President Robert Mugabe stay in power by brutalising its supporters during the inconclusive 2008 elections and wants to force them out of office before new elections due this year.
However, Zanu PF has ruled out any tempering with the defence and security establishment and Sekeramayi said Wednesday that they were surprised the West was backing calls for the so-called reforms.
He said: “The British Military Advisory and Training Team left the country in 2001 after a 20-year stint with our army. They did not complain then, why now?
“In the same vein, the President’s Department held various exchange programmes with other Western intelligence services among them CIA, BND (Germany intelligence) and M16.”
Sekeramayi also said the security services chiefs must remain in office whatever party assumes power after elections expected later this year.
“We will be going for elections in this country and one would want to assume and expect that any government that comes into power will respect the existing institutions in the country,” he said in a lecture at the Zimbabwe Defence College.
“All these officers were very active in the liberation struggle and they are in their current positions not by favour but competence. We would expect that the professional role they play would be respected. We do not expect any leader to say that they do not want so and so.
“The talk about removing the commandant elements is misguided. It is not something originating internally but from external forces. It is something that we must reject. It is an attempt to destabilise the defence and security forces.
“It is an attempt to plant a spirit which removes the discipline that is there among the security forces but we believe that our defence and security forces will continue to be disciplined and professional.”
However, a number of serving generals have already publicly stated that they would not work under a leader who did not participate in the country’s liberation struggle, a thinly veiled reference to Tsvangirai.
Labels: ARMED FORCES, CIA, MI6, SYDNEY SEKERAMAYI
(NEWZIMBABWE) Why voters are deserting Tsvangirai
by Simukai Tinhu I guardian.co.uk
FOURTEEN years ago, the Movement for Democratic Change launched itself onto the scene as Zimbabwe's main opposition party with great local and international fanfare.
The MDC gave rise to a new understanding of Zimbabwean politics, which sought to explain the vulnerability of President Mugabe's Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (Zanu-PF). Not since independence from British rule in 1980, had an opposition party played such a significant role in the nation's politics.
For the first time, Zanu-PF went on to lose a majority in parliament, and its octogenarian leader was relegated to second place after being beaten by MDC's Morgan Tsvangirai in the first round of the 2008 presidential elections. Many Zimbabweans predicted that the MDC juggernaut would sweep to victory in the next elections, scheduled to take place at the end of the current coalition government.
But recent voter surveys, (notably Afrobarometer and Freedom House) and some not-so-well-attended MDC political rallies (in comparison to 2002 and 2008 election campaigns), suggest the MDC may have indulged in undue optimism. Indeed, the words "MDC" and "lose" are being flung around liberally these days by both local and international analysts.
Why is the MDC losing support?
One suggestion is that, with MDC politicians being caught up in corruption scandals while in government, some voters doubt the party's ability to run the country differently from Zanu-PF. Another is that Zanu-PF's populist policies, such as the campaign for the indigenisation of foreign-owned companies, have won sympathy from many Zimbabweans, who are largely unemployed. The MDC's opposition to this policy has also been used by Zanu-PF to suggest that Tsvangirai's party is against black empowerment.
In addition, the improved performance of the Zimbabwean economy, in comparison to the period prior to the formation of the coalition government in 2008, has been a double edged sword for the MDC. Tsvangirai's party has claimed that, with the finance and industry ministries in its hands, it has successfully transformed the economy from an inflationary nightmare to one that has consistently recorded growth, following years of Zanu-PF's mismanagement and the land grab policy that destroyed the agriculture sector (formerly the backbone of the economy). However, restoring the economic fortunes of the country has led to the end of the worst food shortages and hyperinflation, meaning that the previously successful message on the need to fix the economy holds less weight.
Lastly, it appears the opposition has been unable to counter attacks on the character of its leader, Morgan Tsvangirai. Zanu-PF has successfully turned nasty rumours into political currency, damaging Tsvangirai's political fortunes. His messy romantic life has been criticised, and he has been caricatured as indecisive, leading many Zimbabweans to doubt his sincerity and capacity to lead the country.
Even core voters desert MDC
This goes some way to explain why Zimbabweans in general are deserting the MDC, but not its core supporters. The majority of the party's votes have traditionally come from urban areas and the Matabeleland and Midlands regions. Why is it that the attitudes of voters from these areas have changed recently?
Within the last five years, there has been a mushrooming of urban based Pentecostal churches that target young urbanites. These groups have traditionally been the core of the MDC support. Whereas 10 years ago, the MDC had the capacity to attract 60,000 young urban dwellers to a political rally, today it is the Pentecostal church leaders who get the crowds.
Led by the likes of the charismatic Emmanuel Makandiwa and Hubert Angel, these churches are apathetic about politics and have a tendency towards puritanism. It is not surprising that a promiscuous presidential aspirant will have little chance in winning votes among young born-again believers.
Zanu-PF has also seized on a heightened anti-western mood to intensify its portrayal of Tsvangirai as a front for neo-colonialists. Buoyed by the "Africa Rising" narrative, this message appears to be resonating with mostly young and educated Africans, and Zimbabweans are no exception. Judging from the two most recent elections in Africa; Kenya and Zambia, where Uhuru Kenyatta and Michael Sata ran campaigns based on sustained anti-western rhetoric, the MDC might need to devise a strategy to guard itself against being portrayed as its stooges.
The MDC's alienation of voters from the Mateleland and the Midlands regions appear to have been shaped by a number of factors. First, residents say they are dissatisfied with the party's failure to decentralise the state, both politically and constitutionally. Second the voters, who are predominantly Ndebele speaking, have accused Tsvangirai of not doing enough to ensure that the violence of Gukurahundi, where an estimated 20,000 civilians were allegedly killed by the state, is resolved or at least kept in the limelight.
Third, some of Tsvangirai's personal behaviour, such as impregnating a 23-year-old girl from Matebeleland, initially denying responsibility and then admitting that he was the father, seems to have helped reverse inroads that the party had made in this constituency in the last 10 years.
Finally, the Matebeleland and Midlands regions have become targets of competition by the resurrected Zimbabwe African People's Union (Zapu-PF), a party once led by Joshua Nkomo before he was forced into a political union with Zanu-PF, and the smaller MDC formation led by Welshman Ncube, crowding the MDC in the process.
Zanu PF has its problems too
There are a number of problems within Zanu-PF which the MDC should use to increase its leverage and electoral punch. Most important is Mugabe's age and health, which remain something of a liability for the party. It will be interesting to see how much campaigning Mugabe will be capable of in the run-up to the elections. The younger Tsvangirai should be able to use this opportunity to outdo Mugabe on the campaign trail.
Until recently, it was difficult to deny that Zanu-PF had a disproportionate advantage over the nation's most precious resource; talented politicians, who have masterminded Zanu-PF's stranglehold on Zimbabwean politics since 1980. However, some of these leaders have either recently died (Mujuru; Mudenge) or are now old and frail (Shamhuyarira; Murerwa, amongst others) or have deserted the party (Makoni; Dabengwa). Those who have remained have either been thoroughly discredited (Mahoso; Moyo), or fatigued and have withdrawn to the backstage of politics.
What are the options for the MDC?
There are three possible options for the MDC. The first is to join a "coalition of the opposition" with Zapu-PF and the smaller MDC faction, which would have a chance at retaining votes from the Matabeleland and the Midlands. However, this might be problematic given the enmity that exists between Tsvangirai and Ncube.
The second is to scale back its ambitions and be realistic about what the party can achieve. The MDC must decide if it wants the presidency or a majority in parliament, or both. The reality is that winning the presidency now seems a very difficult task, considering Tsvangirai's tainted leadership. Indeed, based on recent surveys, his chances are much slimmer than in the last two elections. This leaves the MDC with one option; recapturing the majority in parliament, this time with a much wider margin that will give it a shot at pushing for reformist legislation. It seems the party will have to wait for Tsvangirai's svengali, Tendai Biti – probably a more capable leader – to take over if they want to win presidency too.
The third is simply to ignore the polls, which is what the MDC seems to have done so far, based on the premise that they are generally wrong.
The demise of authoritarianism in Zimbabwe will surely come. But there is little reason to think that the day is near, and even less to think that the opposition MDC is the party that will torpedo the current dictatorship. Today the party is more dysfunctional and commands less authority and support than ever before, and it shouldn't come as a surprise when it loses, even in a free and fair election.
Simukai Tinhu recently graduated from the University of Cambridge with an MPhil in African Studies. Tinhu was contributing to African Arguments, part of the Guardian Africa Networkguardian.co.uk
Labels: MDC, MORGAN TSVANGIRAI
(NEWZIMBABWE, BUSINESS DAY SA) ZITF: China, SA, top exhibitors
by Business Day
SOUTH Africa and China have the highest number of exhibitors at the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) which opened in Bulawayo on Tuesday.
ZITF chairman Bekithemba Nkomo said on Monday that with 95% of exhibition space sold, South Africa and China had the largest representation. "South Africa has booked the largest exhibition space after taking up 800m² square metres - up from last year’s 400m².
"China has maintained its 600m² square metres that it had taken up last year."
Malawian President Joyce Banda will officially open the international trade fair on Friday.
Analysts have speculated that the high interest from South Africa and China was a reflection of the race between the two countries to make inroads into Zimbabwe’s economy.
South Africa’s Deputy Trade and Industry Minister Elizabeth Thabethe is scheduled to address a business breakfast tomorrow. Issues for consideration at the meeting include funding and access to markets for small to medium-size enterprises.
The instability in South Africa’s mining has made Zimbabwe a lucrative destination for investment in the sector, while the "Look East" policy President Robert Mugabe embarked in 2003 had endeared the country to the Chinese.
"Given the possibility of elections in 2013, investors are readying themselves for a move into Zimbabwe," said Trevor Maisiri, a senior analyst based at the Johannesburg office of the International Crisis Group.
"Investors are also now at a point where they are willing to work with whomever wins elections and runs the government. They are positioning themselves to move into Zimbabwe."
South African resources companies have vast interests in the Zimbabwean mining sector. These include Impala Platinum, Anglo American Platinum and Pretoria Portland Cement.
SA companies also have a strong presence in the Zimbabwean financial services sector and operate two banks — MBCA, a subsidiary of Nedbank, and a unit of Standard Bank, Stanbic.
Further, state-owned South African Airways has tapped into Zimbabwe’s airline industry, following the demise of national carrier Air Zimbabwe, since 2009.
It has also emerged that South Africa has overtaken China as the largest buyer of Zimbabwean tobacco, since the selling season began in February.
Meanwhile, Air Zimbabwe officials said they were on course with their "restructuring exercise" after the national carrier resumed domestic and regional daily flights two weeks ago.
Air Zimbabwe will double the number of flights from Harare to Bulawayo to match increased demand during the ZITF and will run a morning and evening flight schedule.
Labels: BEKITHEMBA NKOMO, ROBERT MUGABE, ZIMBABWE INTERNATIONAL TRADE FAIR, ZITF
Malawi leader jets in for ZITF
Welcome ... President Joyce Banda with President Robert Mugabe and VP Joice Mujuru
by Staff Reporter
MALAWI President Joyce Banda arrived in Harare Tuesday for a five-day State visit during which she will also open this year’s Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF).
Banda took over as President in April last year following the sudden death of Bingu wa Mutharika, who was a close ally of President Robert Mugabe and shared the Zanu PF leader’s distrust of the West.
After assuming office Banda immediately pressed Zimbabwe to re-pay a US$24 million loan extended by Mutharika as she battled an economic crisis blamed on the collapse of relations with the West under Mutharika.
Speaking before she left Malawi, Banda said she would be looking to use the visit to improve co-operation and expand trade relations between the two countries.
“Zimbabwe is not only our long-term friend, but also a strategic partner in terms of trade. It goes without saying therefore that relations between the two countries are critical,” she told reporters.
“Again, since I became President, I have made it a point to visit our neighbours and friends not only as an obligation of courtesy, but also to assure them that my government will make sure that our relations are not only maintained but allowed to expand.”
In Harare President Mugabe appraised her on progress in implementing the Global Political Agreement (GPA) which was facilitated by the regional SADC grouping.
“Our progress in the implementation of the Global Political Agreement has been adversely affected by the unjustified and illegal sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe by the European Union, the United States and other Western countries,” he said.
“While I would like to thank your great country and other Sadc countries for their unwavering call for the removal of these debilitating sanctions, our detractors have not shown any willingness to have them unconditionally removed.”
Banda will officially open the 54th edition of the ZITF in Bulawayo on Friday.
Labels: JOYCE BANDA, ROBERT MUGABE, ZIMBABWE INTERNATIONAL TRADE FAIR, ZITF
Opposition doesn't engender confidence
Wed 24 Apr. 2013, 14:00 CAT
The opposition should take the observations made by Charles Milupi seriously and in a positive manner. Charles says the opposition political parties have slim chances of forming government unless they reform. We agree.
Truly there is need, as Charles suggests, for the opposition to audit their actions if they are to remain relevant to the country's politics.
Politics is a very serious and important undertaking. We should all be aware that politics is an area of great importance for promoting justice, peace, development and community among all. Politics should be regarded as a vocation, a way of building up society for the common good.
And what our people are seeking is genuine democracy in which the leaders are servants of the electorate and not its abusers, manipulators, robbers. Good governance only occurs when we have intelligent, honest and humble leaders who see politics as a vocation to serve the people. No one deserves to be elected unless they love their country more than themselves. Therefore, those who enter politics should play their roles with care. Those who seek to represent the people as politicians should fight injustice and abuse; should devote themselves to the welfare of all. Their responsibilities as politicians will be exercised legitimately if they are committed to the common good of society.
And as for those who vote when election time comes, they should only vote for honest, hardworking and selfless leaders. They should vote wisely and only for people known for their honesty, ability and concern for the welfare of all. Politics should be honest and responsible because it is an effective way of serving others and working for the integral development of one's country.
We know that some people find it strange to talk of honest politics since to them, politics is mostly perceived as a dirty game because of opportunistic and dishonest politicians.
The behaviour of our opposition leaders does not engender confidence. Look at an opposition leader like Hakainde Hichilema and ask yourself: what does he stand for? What does he believe in? What is it that he's looking for in politics?
Here is a leader who not very long ago was accusing Rupiah Banda, his sons and other associates of corruption. Not very long ago, Hakainde was denouncing Rupiah and the MMD over corruption. But today, they are bedfellows and all between them is okay. Even the corruption that Hakainde used to accuse Rupiah and the MMD of is no longer an issue for him. What has cleansed Rupiah and the MMD of corruption in the eyes of Hakainde? Clearly, Hakainde stands for nothing. What matters to Hakainde is whether you support him or not. If you support Hakainde, you can be anything, you can do anything, he will have no problems with you. Look at William Banda! How can a serious politician, a politician of honour and integrity, take William for a political advisor and right hand man? How can a politician of honour and integrity defend the corruption of a man and a political party which not very long ago he was accusing of corruption? Was Hakainde lying to the Zambian people when he was accusing Rupiah of corruption? Hakainde has never explained to the Zambian people how he has cleansed Rupiah of corruption. Was Hakainde talking about things he didn't know? Was he making wild and false allegations against Rupiah?
William's political violence is well known and documented. Hakainde has no problem with William's background. Why? Probably he is looking for violent people because they fit well in his political strategy and tactics. How else can one explain all these things, all these negations? Well, Alexander Hamilton once said, "Those who stand for nothing fall for anything."
It seems for Hakainde, anything about those he considers to be political opponents goes. If Rupiah is seen to be his political opponent, anything bad or negative about Rupiah goes. It's simply a question of painting a political opponent black without justification. Look at Hakainde's behaviour today towards Michael Sata! Anything against Sata goes. Hakainde doesn't even hesitate to weigh the truthfulness of what he is saying about someone he detests. As Charles says, for some of these people, there are no principles to advance or defend. They swing to any side or to anything regardless of whether it is in line or not with their principles. The truth is that they have no principles to promote or defend and that's why they have no difficulties swinging from one end of the pendulum to the other in no time. What principles is Hakainde advancing or defending? Why is Hakainde in politics? Hakainde is in politics for vanity, to simply satisfy an ambition. Hakainde is not in politics for the good of the country or anybody else; he is in politics to become President and satisfy his ego with that. That's all that matters to Hakainde. And these are the things that today set Hakainde and Charles apart. They are both opposition leaders but Hakainde has chosen to defend corruption and Charles has decided not to defend that which is clearly rotten and immoral. Of course, Charles will soon be smeared with the filth of being bought by those in power. But Hakainde himself had gone into an alliance with Rupiah and the MMD when they were in power. Hakainde and Rupiah worked together in the 2011 elections to ensure that Michael doesn't win.
If Hakainde and those in the opposition working with him had any sense of dignity in themselves, they would feel very ashamed as a result of what Charles is saying about their conduct. They are actually a disgrace to the politics of this country and an embarrassment to those who previously supported them thinking they meant well when they were nothing but defenders of corruption and evil.
As Charles correctly observes, it will not be possible for the opposition to win an election without having to clearly define their principles and enable the Zambian people to know exactly where they stand on the most important issues of our time. Fighting corruption is a very important issue of our time. But Hakainde and his colleagues in the so-called opposition think the issue of corruption is nothing but a political tool to use against those whom one is opposed to. For those one supports, it is not an issue.
This is a vision Hakainde and his opposition colleagues are offering Zambia. But we know that to be successful, leaders must invoke an alchemy of great vision. The very essence of leadership is that you have to have vision. You can't blow an uncertain trumpet. Politics is a very important undertaking. And we believe that a bit of the reason for politics is to throw little torches out to lead people through the dark. Omar Nelson Bradley once said: "We need to learn to set our course by the stars, not by the lights of every passing ship."
Effective leadership is putting first things first. Leadership is a potent combination of strategy and character. And it is said that if you must be without one, be without strategy, and not character. We hope Hakainde and his friends understand what we are trying to say. Reason and judgment are the qualities of a leader. The true test of character is not how much we know how to do, but how we behave when we don't know what to do. The whole world steps aside for the man who knows where he is going. People do not follow uncommitted leaders. And as Charles says, "If you are known as a party that will fight corruption, you must be seen in all your actions" to be fighting corruption.
Labels: CHARLES MILUPI, MMD, OPPOSITION, UPND
Chirwa moves out of Fallsway Villa
By Staff Reporters
Wed 24 Apr. 2013, 14:01 CAT
PROFESSOR Clive Chirwa has moved out of the luxurious Fallsway Villa Apartments in Lusaka where he was lodging and paying K72 million per month.
And President Michael Sata yesterday suspended Professor Chirwa as Zambia Railways Limited (ZRL) chief executive officer, pending investigations by the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) on corruption allegations.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Finance has threatened to withdraw the US$120 million Eurobond fund from ZRL if it is not quickly utilised.
And Prof Oliver Saasa says Prof Chirwa wants to live a lavish lifestyle.
A check at Fallsway Villa apartments where Prof Chirwa was lodged, established that he had since checked out to an unknown residence.
Sources at the apartments located on Thabo Mbeki Road said that Prof Chirwa had moved out around midday just after President Sata suspended him.
The sources said Prof Chirwa had been aware of his suspension because he spent most of the time at State House on Monday.
And in a letter to Prof Chirwa dated April, 22 2013, President Sata said that Prof Chirwa was suspended due to several corruption allegations levelled against him.
"I am suspending you from duty and you will be on half pay; and as part of other conditions, you will have to vacate the lodge and wait in the Zambia Railways Limited accommodation until the matter is completed," read President Sata's letter in part.
"By copy of this letter, the Anti-Corruption Commission has been instructed to carry out full investigations concerning the allegations of corruption."
And President Sata has appointed transport and communications permanent secretary Dr Muyenga Atanga to take charge of the company.
"...this will require you to take charge of the rail line including the inter mine rail, which is so critical to the running of the mining sector," said President Sata in a statement issued by his special assistant for press and public relations George Chellah.
Five former ZRL board members on Saturday alleged several illegal and unapproved actions by Prof Chirwa, including an alleged attempt to shift company headquarters from Kabwe to Lusaka, staying in an apartment that costs KR72,000 per month as well as appointing himself chair of the tender committee of ZRL, which allegations Prof Chirwa dismissed as nonsense.
On the other hand, Prof Chirwa alleged that board officials were claiming allowances whenever they called for a meeting with the permanent secretary and the minister.
The five members, Mark Chona, chairman, Prof Saasa, Geoffrey Mulenga, Irene Mbewe and Jonam Mwansa, dismissed Prof Chirwa's claims.
And Prof Saasa, who was vice-chairperson of the board, said Prof Chirwa's suspension was long overdue.
"If he was left out, that wouldn't have been fair; we just said he should step down to make sure that we, as individuals, do not interfere in the investigations," he said.
"The law should see to it that we are out to make sure that thorough investigations are undertaken. I think the charges that we levelled against him and the charges that he leveled against us are sufficient for the public to know the truth."
Prof Saasa urged the ACC to extend investigations to former board members of the company.
"I feel very happy when I realise that government has stepped in now to do the probe. That should not spare all of us, including Chirwa and myself, to be subjected to investigations," he said.
"To me, this is happy hour. The President is actually endorsing what the board has been saying about the man. He should not be there and there is no way we can justify him to continue at that place."
Prof Saasa said the probe instituted would make the public know the truth about the happenings at ZRL.
"We understand that he has also been ordered to move out of Fallsway apartments. For me, that means that as the board, we have been vindicated because that was only one of the many charges against many. He has also levelled a big charge against us too, where he claimed that we had so many board meetings," he said.
"I don't know how he defines board meetings; which is extremely unfair to us. That allowance paid to us, that is KR2,600, is below the standards allowances in other parastatals. But since it is in the public domain, it would appear as if we are just denying things. It is only the probe that will decide the truth."
And Transparency International Zambia (TIZ) president Lee Habasonda welcomed Prof Chirwa's suspension, saying it would provide an opportunity for both parties to exculpate themselves.
"The development will give Prof Chirwa and dissolved board members chance to clear themselves because the monies involved are too huge to go without proper explanation," said Habasonda.
And works and supply minister Christopher Yaluma said the suspension of Prof Chirwa and dissolution of the board would not affect the operations of ZRL.
Yaluma disclosed that the government would constitute another board soon.
He said the dissolution of the board was done to help the ACC carry out an effective investigation.
"There must be continuity, so the government has put in place contingencies to ensure that we sustain the continuity without at any given point derailing the plans that have been put in place for Zambia Railways Limited. We are going ahead; it is business as usual," Yaluma explained.
Asked to clarify whether the K248 million salary, K72 million per month in rentals as well as an offer of 25 per cent stake in Zambia Railways were part of the package given to Prof Chirwa, Yaluma, who could not disclose the actual contents of the contract, said that the emoluments agreed on were not as exorbitant as the ones claimed.
He, however, said that Prof Chirwa had bargained earlier for an adjustment to his salary and an offer of 25 per cent stake in the parastatal at the end of his contract earlier, which the government rejected.
And finance deputy minister Miles Sampa said the ministry was monitoring the recipients of the US$750 million infrastructure bond, which was sitting idle in some parastatals.
"Obviously, Zambia Railways by now should be implementing and utilising that money but they are more occupied on internal wrangles than implementing the programmes. Even the Ministry of Health, we allocated the funds for UTH and we haven't seen any construction going on there or that they have bought a new dialysis machine or a new CT scan. We haven't seen that happening and yet we have already indicated to them that they have US$29 million. We haven't seen that happen at Kitwe, Ndola or Livingstone General Hospital," he said.
Sampa said the government intended to reallocate the funds to other needy economic areas as opposed to leaving the money lying idle.
"We will be monitoring all the recipients, and if there is any recipient showing a sign of abuse or taking time to utilise the money... this money is not meant to be idle, it is supposed to be ploughed into the economy so that in the long run, we have the desired economic impact on the nation. That is how we will justify it and the spill-over facilities will be able to generate adequate income to meet the cost of this Eurobond. Where we will see recipients delaying or not using the money on time, we will not hesitate to recall those funds and reallocate them to other needy economic areas," he said.
Sampa said the road sector was utilising the money following a warning last year when some money was returned to the treasury.
"The road fund is running out, so they have moved pretty quickly. They have done well from last year when we warned that they were not using the money allocated to them. They are way ahead of schedule in terms of utilisation," Sampa said. "We will not hesitate as a ministry to recall these funds from these state-owned enterprises that are dragging their feet and reallocate them to other state-owned enterprises or projects that we believe can quickly have an impact on the economy."
And on his facebook page, Sampa posted: "As sang by Puff Daddy 'The More Money You Get: The More Troubles you See.' $120M into Zambia Railways, 'Things Fall Apart'. We are sending a boma Auditor to position there permanently. Pali Eurobond; Wina azamangiwa..."
And Zesco managing director Cyprian Chitundu recently said the utility had so far used $30 million of the US$255 million it benefited from the US$750 million Euro-bond for the construction of the 120 megawatts Itezhi-Tezhi power plant while Zambia Railways had not yet started using the US$120 million from the Eurobond as it was in the process of awarding contracts.
On the falling copper prices, Sampa said there would be no impact on Zambia's economy as most of the copper had already been sold at a higher price.
"So the impact on the international market is not instant on the Zambian market. The long-term outlook of copper is that the price will remain relatively stable-to-high, so this is only a short-term setback. We believe the kwacha will be stable and we expect it to strengthen more so with the Statutory Instrument that is coming up in the next few days," he said.
The Statutory Instrument to be signed by the minister of finance is a follow-up to the amended Bank of Zambia Act that would state specifics on the movements of foreign currency.
Sampa said the Statutory Instrument was expected to correct the current anomaly in the amount of money coming into local banks from the exports.
Labels: CLIVE CHIRWA, MUYENGA ATANGA, ZAMBIA RAILWAYS
Canisius Banda quits MMD for UPND vice-presidency
By Kombe Chimpinde
Wed 24 Apr. 2013, 14:01 CAT
DR Canisius Banda has officially resigned from the MMD to take up the position of vice president for politics in UPND.
In letter dated April 19, 2013 and addressed to party national secretary Kapembwa Simbao, Dr Banda said the UPND was his new platform for his long-lived endeavour to serve the Zambians.
In a letter of appointment dated April 12, 2013, the UPND said Dr Banda's appointment as vice-president for politics was a result of a National Management Committee (NMC) meeting held by the party.
"After much prayer and careful thought, and thorough consultations and finding I, in keeping with the existential and developmental values that I espouse such as freedom of inclusiveness, diligence, patriotism and tolerance, wish to notify your office that I have accepted this offer of vice-president," the letter read in part.
"I consulted my widowed mother, wife, son, the rest of my family and friends, among other stakeholders, including fellow members of the MMD, the clergy, traditional leaders and senior citizens."
He wrote that it would be of interest for the party to note that many senior members of the MMD had advised him to take up the position, a thing he found touching.
Dr Banda said he had received the UPND's offer with honour and prayed that the MMD would regain vibrancy and tick again.
Last week, UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema, who is on record saying that the poaching of members from the UPND was a non-issue, wrote to Dr Banda to inform him of the offer.
"Your responsibilities, among others, will include overall organisation of the party programmes across the country. You will be required to ensure smooth operations of the party activities in liaison with relevant party structures; this entails total commitment and the spirit to cooperate with all party members," the letter signed by Hichilema and secretary general Winstone Chibwe read in part.
The letter, however, did not include the conditions of service that Dr Banda would be entitled to as his position in the UPND is a full-time job.
And Dr Banda said he stayed in the MMD despite it having been terribly traumatised.
"I stuck with the MMD seeking its resurgence. I now leave the MMD in a stable and much healed state than it was just after the 2011 general elections," said Dr Banda.
"It is now time for me to further consolidate the opposition by adding the little value that I possess to the UPND; I am focusing on the opposition because the current order of governance in Zambia seeks to keep people shackled in the chains of poverty. It is causing despair and frustration in the citizens. My overall goal is to see people live in freedom, free of poverty. My passionate desire is to become the people's servant, to participate in delivering to them that which their lives depend upon, that which they seek."
Labels: CANISIUS BANDA, MMD, UPND
Luhila testifies in Rupiah's oil corruption case
By Namatama Mundia
Wed 24 Apr. 2013, 14:01 CAT
Zambia's former high commissioner to Nigeria Alexis Luhila yesterday explained how Rupiah Banda sent a special envoy incognito to Nigeria for unknown business and how he questioned the secrecy behind travels of the same envoy.
This is in a case where former president Banda is charged with abuse of authority of office contrary to section 99 (1) of the Penal Code Chapter 87 of the Laws of Zambia.
Banda is alleged to have on dates unknown but between May 1, 2008 and September 24, 2011 abused the authority of his office by procuring a government-to-government oil contract in Nigeria, in the name of the Republic of Zambia, which in fact was meant to benefit himself and his family.
During examination-in-chief led by Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Mutembo Nchito, Luhila, 62, told chief resident magistrate Joshua Banda that he was a businessman of House No. 406 Kudu Road in Kabulonga and a former high commissioner to Nigerian.
Luhila testified that he heard from his staff that there was a special envoy that would come in and out of the High Commission.
He said he got concerned and worried about his status.
Luhila said one day, he received instructions from the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, asking him to proceed to Lagos.
Luhila said there was a Zambian who had travelled to Lagos to see prophet TB Joshua but that unfortunately, the person became insane and destroyed property.
He said he travelled to Lagos in the company of two other officers.
Luhila said when boarding the aircraft, he met the special envoy.
"This special envoy was telling me he was returning to Abuja from Lagos en route to Zambia. This special envoy happened to be a friend, a colleague, who also happened to be high commissioner to Malawi and he happened to be a friend, whom I knew, Mr Kachingwe MMD national secretary Maj Richard," he said.
Luhila said he was depressed to see Maj Kachingwe and it confirmed reports he was getting from his staff that Maj Kachingwe was going there incognito.
"We travelled together up to Lagos and we parted in Lagos," he said.
Luhila said he was depressed that Maj Kachingwe kept on going to Nigeria when the former was high commissioner in that country.
He said he was in Lagos for four days and thereafter, he, with two other officers, returned to Abuja.
Luhila testified that he later phoned then president Banda.
He said he phoned Banda to register his concern and displeasure that his colleague was being sent from another station and wanted to find out what was happening.
Luhila further said he phoned State House and spoke to senior private secretary, a Mr Mulimba, who told him Banda was in a meeting.
He said Mulimba asked him what the message was but he told him he wanted to speak to the president himself to register his displeasure over Maj Kachingwe's presence at his station.
Luhila said Mulimba advised him that it would not be good to speak to Banda about that matter.
He said Mulimba told him that if he so wished, he (Mulimba) could tell Banda about his concerns, to which he agreed after gathering courage.
Luhila said 10 to 15 minutes later, he received a phone call from Banda, who told him not to question his authority, saying he had the right to appoint a special envoy and that it was in no way threatening his position as high commissioner.
He said Banda told him that he had the authority to appoint a special envoy at any time.
Luhila said three weeks later, Banda phoned him and told him that he should meet a special envoy but did not tell him who it was.
He said he was happy because Banda had reconciled him with Maj Kachingwe.
Luhila testified that Banda told him the same special envoy would call him, and in about 20 minutes, he received a call from Maj Kachingwe, whom he later met at a hotel.
"Then we drove to a place called four towers NNOPC (Nigerian National Oil Petroleum Company)," he said.
Luhila said that they were met by two men and he was directed to wait at the foyer while Maj Kachingwe proceeded to a certain office.
He said after about 10 minutes, Maj Kachingwe emerged from there with a small khaki envelope and told him that they could go.
Luhila narrated that they drove to the hotel and Maj Kachngwe told him not to tell his staff about his presence.
He said Maj Kachingwe refused when he offered him lunch and transport.
Luhila said Maj Kachingwe decided to use a shuttle from the hotel to the airport.
He said the following day, he went to the office and while there, an officer in charge of economic matters, Margaret Kaemba went to his office and told him that there were two guests and that they were friends of Banda's, adding that it was important that he meet them in his office.
Luhila said he did not know the names of the two guests but he asked Kaemba to bring them into his office.
He said the two guests told him that they were friends of Banda's and they knew that there was a special envoy of the president Maj Kachingwe in town.
Luhila said the guests told him they were aware he accompanied the special envoy to NNOPC and that they were not happy that they were being left out of the deal.
He said when he heard what they were saying, he was not happy with their presence and he chased them.
Luhila said Maj Kachingwe had already told him not to share with his staff about his presence.
He said he told the two guests that since they were claiming to be friends of the president, they should call him themselves.
Luhila said that that was what he knew about his interaction with the special envoy.
And Luhila said he was happy when Banda phoned him so that he could accompany Maj Kachingwe.
"When the president called me again, he said 'Kazembe, please don't question my authority. I am entitled to appoint a special envoy. This appointment of a special envoy has nothing to do with your position. This is just a special envoy'," said Luhila.
The matter comes up this morning for cross-examination by Banda's lawyers.
Earlier, Magistrate Banda sustained the defence's objection not to admit the request for 45, 000 barrels per day term crude oil purchase contract and proposal for solid minerals document dated November 25, 2008.
Magistrate Banda ruled that the witness had not satisfied the requirements for admissions of such documents.
The defence had argued that the witness, Derrick Kasonka, could not produce the photocopy because there was no diligent search for the original document.
Labels: ALEXIS LUHILA, CORRUPTION, RUPIAH BANDA
UNDP refuses to back down on poll funds
Sunday, 21 April 2013 00:00
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is insisting on funding the forthcoming harmonised elections in a move that has raised eyebrows over its interest in the polls. This comes as the three-member Cabinet committee tasked with mobilising the funds is preparing to convene a crucial meeting this week to review strategy.
Last week, Government cancelled an earlier request for the UNDP to bankroll the polls after the UN agency refused to follow the stipulated terms of reference. Authorities said the country would work to meet the US$132 million poll budget using local resources.
However, the UNDP maintains it wants to be “invited to the party”. In a statement last Friday, the United Nations agency said it was still open to funding the plebiscite.
Part of the statement reads:
“The UN remains open to engage with the Government of Zimbabwe to determine if an agreement can be reached on the modalities that will allow the NAM (Needs Assessment Mission) to be conducted in accordance with the UN General Assembly resolutions.”
Deputy Prime Minister Professor Arthur Mutambara, who chairs the Cabinet committee, told The Sunday Mail yesterday that UNDP funding was no longer necessary since Zimbabwe has the capacity to hold the polls using local resources.
He said his committee will meet in Harare this week to deliberate on its fund-raising mission. Other committee members are Ministers Patrick Chinamasa (Justice and Legal Affairs) and Tendai Biti (Finance).
“We do not need the UNDP anymore. We can afford to fund the elections on our own, and that is exactly what we are going to do. It is not proper for us to have foreigners funding our own internal processes and setting conditions for us,” he said.
“We are going to have a crucial meeting this week. After this meeting, I am sure everything will be in place for the committee to announce that money will be ready for the polls and how we intend to raise the money.”
Prof Mutambara would not be drawn into divulging the amount of money his committee has raised so far.
He, however, revealed that key mining and telecommunications stakeholders have already made firm commitments to fund the elections.
“What I can only say at the moment is that we have received firm commitments from the mining sector and the mobile phone sector.
“From the look of things, it is clear that there is going to be enough money for the elections.”
Zimbabwe is scheduled to hold harmonised presidential, parliamentary and council elections this year.
Initially, the Government approached the UNDP for funding, but the UN agency appeared to have been in no position to grant the request after receiving the application late.
The inclusive Government principals later set up the Cabinet committee to mobilise funds locally with the UNDP initiative being complementary. Government objected to the UNDP’s involvement after the agency set conditions that included dispatching a mission to “assess” the political situation in the country.
Labels: 2013 ELECTIONS (ZW), ARTHUR MUTAMBARA, UNDP
Tsvangirai secures comfort after Govt
Sunday, 21 April 2013 00:00
Sunday Mail Reporter
In a clear move to secure his future after Government, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has officially pleaded with authorities to allow him to purchase his official Highlands mansion for US$4,5 million and his official Mercedes-Benz vehicle for an undisclosed amount. The MDC-T leader’s plea is indicative of the fact that he is not confident of winning the forthcoming harmonised elections while also raising suspicion on the source of his funds.
Impeccable sources told The Sunday Mail last week that Mr Tsvangirai initially disclosed to Public Works Minister Mr Joel Gabuza Gabbuza that he wanted to purchase the luxurious property priced at a whopping US$3 million.
He was asked to make an official request in writing which he did two weeks ago.
The ministry advised the PM that he could only secure the house after paying the US$3 million as well as a further US$1,5 million which would settle a loan granted to him by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe for the purposes of renovating the property.
Although Minister Gabbuza last night said he is yet to receive official communication on the proposed house purchase, sources maintained the Prime Minister submitted a formal request.
Mr Tsvangirai’s spokesman, Mr Luke Tamborinyoka, could not be reached for comment last night, but several MDC-T officials who commented on the matter expressed shock that their boss had that kind of money to spend on a house, especially now when his party is facing serious financial challenges.
An MDC-T provincial executive member who spoke on condition of anonymity said most party officials were disappointed by their leader’s decision.
“The MDC-T is a party for change, but, definitely US$4,5 million is not small change.”
Another top party official said Mr Tsvangirai risked alienating himself from the party “which is in dire straits.”
“It is wrong timing to do such a thing. Why couldn’t he wait until after the elections? After all, everyone knows that the party’s finances are in a bad state.
“I do not remember the last time we bought vehicles, but, just go to Jongwe (Zanu-PF headquarters in Harare) and you will see how many vehicles are parked there. People in the MDC-T are not happy. We do not even know the last time we bought chairs for our offices.”
The Highlands mansion courted some controversy for the Prime Minister after he was accused of securing two separate loans for the same property. He had allegedly received US$1,5 million from Treasury and another US$1,5 million from the Reserve Bank.
Last week, the Western media attacked him over his apparent love for a lavish lifestyle. In an article titled Tasting Good Life, MDC-T Slips off Pedestal, The New York Times wrote that Mr Tsvangirai was content with forming the inclusive Government alongside Zanu-PF to secure a luxurious lifestyle.
CNN also quizzed him for failing to identify with the masses.
In addition, the Prime Minister’s spending sprees came under the spotlight after he reportedly splashed US$300 000 to buy the silence of his traditional wife, Ms Locadia Karimatsenga Tembo.
Labels: CNN, MDC CORRUPTION, MORGAN TSVANGIRAI
Harare runs out of water chemicals
Sunday, 21 April 2013 00:00
Harare is fast running out of water treatment chemicals and this has seen most parts of the city going without water for the last two weeks.
The crippling shortage is said to have followed the suspension of deliveries by the Harare City Council’s only supplier, MT & N, following discoveries that the company had erroneously delivered a poisonous chemical, sodium cyanide, to the city’s Morton Jaffray Waterworks. Town House is believed to be making frantic efforts to secure alternative suppliers. Harare City Council procurement committee acting chairperson Clr Victor Chifodya last week confirmed the shortage, adding that the local authority was compiling a strategy report on procuring adequate chemicals.
“The situation is that the supplier who had won the tender to supply the water treatment chemicals was implicated in the supply of poison to Morton Jaffray (Waterworks).
“The supplier has, however, since stopped supplying the chemicals, but the challenge now is getting people with the capacity to meet demand.
“We are working on a report to finalise the chemical issue as well as the way forward. We have some chemicals in stock, but these may not stretch over a long time because they are not enough,” he said.
Clr Chifodya added that the other challenge faced by council was that most suppliers were demanding cash upfront.
“We have tried to engage Zimphos, but they are also not in a position to provide the chemicals because they are still owed some money by the city council. Zimphos now wants cash upfront for the chemicals.”
Last year, Harare was on high alert after the water treatment chemicals supplier reportedly delivered sodium cyanide to Morton Jaffray Waterworks. Although the company’s employees were taken to court, they were later acquitted after it was found that the delivery of the poison was an error. Contacted for comment, Water Resources Development and Management Minister Mr Samuel Sipepa Nkomo professed ignorance on the alleged shortage. The minister said he had been told by Town House authorities that the recent water shortages were as a result of pipe bursts.
Labels: HARARE CITY COUNCIL, MDC CORRUPTION
Govt to amend indigenisation law
Sunday, 21 April 2013 00:00
Government is currently working on a legislative framework through which locals will be able to use mineral resources on mining claims as a contribution for equity in foreign mining ventures, while also relegating the vendor financing model, it has been learnt.
Information gathered by The Sunday Mail Business indicates that the Ministry of Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment is working with the Attorney-General’s Office to legislate the proposed amendments.
Presently, the Indigenisation and Empowerment Act (especially Chapter 14 of 2007) does not allow for the expropriation of shares by the Government for indigenisation purposes but allows for shares to be acquired at fair market value.
However, the proposed amendments that are expected to be finalised soon are designed to ensure that “the people of Zimbabwe benefit fully, and without cost whatsoever, from enterprises that exploit their God-given natural resources”.
A white paper from Government seen by this paper indicates the desire to “revise materially” the policy and law on indigenisation and empowerment.
“The Ministry and Government of Zimbabwe would like to revise materially, the policy and law on indigenisation and empowerment with respect to the acquisition of 51 percent shareholding in all non-indigenous businesses operating in the country.
“The motivation for this position arises out of the desire to ensure that the people of Zimbabwe benefit fully, and without cost whatsoever, from enterprises that exploit their God-given natural resources.
“Government’s endeavour in this regard is to realise shareholding in such non-indigenous businesses in exchange for natural resources, thereby creating enterprise partnerships between non-indigenous investors and indigenous entities based on contribution of resource of capital in the measure reflected in by our 51/49 percent law,” read the white paper.
Last year, the Government, through General Notice No. 280 of 2012, tried to factor in the changes, but the Parliamentary Legal Committee, whose mandate is to ensure that proposed laws are not unconstitutional, issued an adverse report on some of the proposals.
In August 2012 it was, however, noted that the notice was “ultra vires” (beyond the powers of) its enabling legislation.
The proposed amendments are therefore tailored to ensure that provisions of the regulations are in line with the content of general notices.
In essence, if the amendments sail through, locals, as represented by the National Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Board (NIEEB), will be able to use the valuation of mineral resources as contribution to their stake in mining companies.
Foreign companies have increasingly been using vendor financing models as ideal instruments to be used by locals to pay for their acquired stake in foreign mining companies.
Through this model, locals were expected to pay for their share in the companies using future dividends.
But policymakers view this as a flawed model as it is not considered as a fair or secure way of reclaiming the country’s non-renewable resources.
President Robert Mugabe is on record on as saying the value of minerals underground should be used as the payment contribution for the 51 percent indigenous shareholding.
“The ministry and the Attorney-General’s Office are working flat out to effect the amendments,” said a Government source who refused to be identified as he is not authorised to speak to the Press.
Government has so far approved 100 indigenisation plans out of a total of 397 initiatives proposed by mining companies as the country’s empowerment drive moves a gear up.
Summary of Proposed
* Provisions relating to thresholds, net asset values and time frames for achieving compliance (Amendment Sections 3, 4 and 5)
* Provisions relating to process after minister rejects either a provisional or revised plan (Amendment to sections 6 and 7)
* A new section 8 designed to implement the new policy directive requiring relinquishment of 51 percent share in non-indigenous businesses whose operations pertain to the exploitation of natural resources.
* New provision regulating businesses in the reserved sectors of the economy prescribed under the Third Schedule (Amendment to Section 9)
* Compulsory compliance certification bringing indigenisation process to logical conclusion (Amendment to Section 11)
* New provisions on procurement achieving the following (1) regulation of procurement practices of private and public companies and (2) preferential procurement for women, youths, disabled and local communities (Amendment Section 12 and a new Section 12A)
* A new comprehensive section, an establishment of community share ownership trusts (Amendment to Section 14 B)
* A new general section on minimum empowerment quotas for special interests group (New Section 15 (to be removed as a proposal )
Labels: INDIGENIZATION AND EMPOWERMENT ACT (ZIMBABWE)
An eagle does not hunt flies
Mon 22 Apr. 2013, 14:00 CAT
In a multiparty political dispensation, political competitors don't necessarily have to like each other, but they must tolerate one another and acknowledge that each has a legitimate and important role to play.
And moreover, the ground rules of society must encourage tolerance and civility in political or public discourse.
No matter who is in power, no matter who has won or lost an election, all must agree to cooperate in solving the common problems of the nation, of society. The role of the opposition is essential in any multiparty democracy worthy of the name. And any opposition political party that refuses to cooperate with those who have won elections and formed government, those in power, is not fit to be part of the opposition.
In a multiparty political arrangement, the ruling party and opposition are competitors in the same political arena just as much as two opposing soccer teams are competitors on the same pitch. For a proper soccer match to take place, both sides must cooperate while each competes to score more goals against the other. Without the other side, there is no soccer match - there can only be a team or teams. In a multiparty political system, there is continuous engagement of the opposition and those in government. The two have to work together in order to propel society forward. There has to be a unity of opposites between the opposition and the governing party. The two - the opposition and the ruling party - are two sides of the same coin. And this is why there has to be a loyal opposition, without which there can be no unity of opposites in such a multiparty political system. And without the unity of the opposition and the governing party, national unity and cooperation is threatened and, with it, the progress of the nation and the wellbeing of citizens.
It is therefore important that those who are in the opposition and those who are in the ruling party learn to work together. Of course, the two may not be at the same level of political strength or popularity. And sometimes, the opposition may be very weak and small but still it is opposition and deserves a proportionate recognition. The opposition also should not fall into simply believing that because it is called opposition, then it should automatically be given the political clouts that it has not earned. This is why sometimes small opposition political parties come together to form an opposition alliance or coalition so that collectively, they can have a bigger clout and consequently a relatively bigger recognition. This is politics and this is how it works. The bigger the clout of the opposition, the bigger its influence. The bigger the influence of the opposition, the bigger the cooperation expected from it. Those with more to give, more is expected of them.
Multiparty politics is not about enmity between those in the opposition and those in government. It is about cooperation between those in government and those in the opposition. When this cooperation totally breaks down, multiparty politics ceases and the country should be expected to head in the direction of insurrection, chaos and turmoil.
There are some people who erroneously think an opposition politician cannot be involved in government projects. How will an opposition member of parliament function without working with government ministers on various issues affecting his or her constituency? How will an opposition member of parliament resolve the many problems and challenges his or her people are facing without visiting and dealing with government ministers?
Harry Nkumbula, as leader of the opposition, seems to have understood this very well and encouraged opposition African National Congress members to work with Dr Kenneth Kaunda and his UNIP government. In 1965, Harry called a meeting of leading ANC leaders and advised them not to stay away from Dr Kaunda's government because doing so served nobody's interests. He even advised them to give him a list of leading ANC cadres for appointments in the UNIP government. We are told a list was drawn of ANC cadres, who included even the current Southern Province minister Daniel Munkombwe, and given to Dr Kaunda for appointments. All those on that list were appointed to various government positions. This didn't make Harry a lesser opposition leader. This didn't make the ANC a ruling party. Of course, the political situation changed over the years, necessitating a one-party state. Again, when the necessity for a one-party state came, Harry and the ANC leadership responded favourably to it. It's not our intention to go into the merits or demerits, into the necessity or otherwise of a one-party state. Our position on this score has been repeatedly made clear: we believe that the single party state, except at rare moments in history, is a recipe for tyranny, a disaster.
We also believe that authentic multiparty democracy is not merely the result of a formal observation of a set of rules but the fruit of a convinced acceptance of the values that inspire democratic procedures: the dignity of every human person, the respect of human rights, commitment to the common good as the purpose and guiding criterion for political life. If there is no general consensus on these values, the deepest meaning of democracy is lost and its stability compromised.
We therefore agree with observations made by Helen Polley, an Australian senator who recently visited our country, that there must be mutual respect between the opposition and the party in government and that this was key in advancing developmental projects. Polley pointed out that there was need for coordinated action and that our politicians should put their differences aside to ensure the best outcome and that the needs of the community must be put first. This is the only sure way the opposition can truly and responsibly hold the government accountable and ensure transparency in its decisions and actions.
There is also need for the government to set high standards in its dealings with the opposition. Those in government should be expected to show maturity, sensitivity and respect in their dealings with those in the opposition. Sometimes those in the opposition can be very trivial, very narrow in their discourse, but it would be suicidal for those in government to also sink that low. Sometimes the opposition is too small compared to the ruling party to take such high levels of responsibility. There is no need for the government to try and kill a fly with a hammer - the eagle doesn't hunt flies. Tolerance requires the powerful to ignore nuisances from the weak and concentrate on more important things.
Board's claims are nonsense - Chirwa
By Allan Mulenga and Gift Chanda
Mon 22 Apr. 2013, 14:00 CAT
PROFESSOR Clive Chirwa yesterday dismissed as nonsense the dissolved Zambia Railways Limited board members' claims that he wanted to live a lavish lifestyle and was making corrupt undertakings.
And government has dissolved the Zambia Railways Limited board with immediate effect. But dissolved board chairperson Mark Chona hoped investigative wings would move in to investigate allegations the board levelled against Prof Chirwa.
In an interview yesterday, Prof Chirwa, who is Zambia Railways Limited (ZRL) chief executive officer, explained that he differed with the board members because he was opposed to misuse of company funds through unnecessary board meetings.
"Dissolved board members' claims are nonsense. What happened was that at the beginning, when I came from United Kingdom to take up this position, yes, I had a letter which I brought with from my lawyers to negotiate my contract. And that negotiation was carried out and that was the end," he said.
"There was nothing which I was claiming apart from what I was claiming at the beginning when the negotiations began. That was concluded and I am not claiming any more. We went into negotiations like any other CEO going into a contract, and that is all I did."
Prof Chirwa said board members had been getting unnecessary sitting allowances through unplanned board meetings.
"There were differences because I stopped the misuse of company money to actually have board meetings which are unnecessary in order to get sitting allowances…if somebody goes to see the minister or to see the PS (permanent secretary) and claim sitting allowances, that was nonsense. That is what led to that (differences)," he said.
"We had 28 meetings in total and it has accumulated to KR470,000 instead of spending, for this quarter, KR58,000, which is actually the money we are supposed to spend. Remember that we haven't had the meeting itself which is a scheduled board meeting which is on April 30, 2013. Per sitting, it is KR3,000 for the chairperson and KR2,600 for board members. When I stopped this, things started going bad."
Prof Chirwa explained that board members used to claim allowances whenever they called for a meeting with the permanent secretary and the minister.
He said allowances were necessary if someone had done some work.
"But if somebody wants to go and see the minister or the PS and claim sitting allowance, that is unacceptable," he said.
Prof Chirwa said it was shocking that Zambians had a culture of demanding unnecessary allowances.
"I am very surprised that people in Zambia have got this attitude of getting allowances. This thing should come to an end," he said.
"Perhaps this story of Zambia Railways will bring up some sanity within the allowance culture where without doing anything, you get allowances. This should be stopped once and for all."
Prof Chirwa said he was shaken about the manner in which former board members executed their functions.
"In fact, I am totally shaken. This is something that does not exist in Europe. If somebody is running a company, like a CEO, he is the one running a company, not the board chairperson who is non-executive. I am really surprised, very surprised," said Prof Chirwa.
On the shifting of ZRL headquarters from Kabwe to Lusaka, Prof Chirwa said it was not his proposal but it was a decision made by the previous administration.
"When I came to take up this position, I found that RSZ (Railway Systems of Zambia) headquarters offices were here in Lusaka. It is actually the board that proposed that we should actually move here. We just maintained the decision which was done by the board we inherited from the previous administration," he said.
On his stay at Fallsway Luxury Apartment, Prof Chirwa said it was not his intention to stay there, but it was management's decision.
"I am not the only one who is staying at the apartment, even some government officials stay there," he said.
On the claims that he had appointed himself board chair of the tender committee of ZRL, Prof Chirwa said it was procedural that the chief executive officer of the company assumed the position of the chairperson of the tender committee.
On the allegation that it rejected his demand of US$560,000 annual salary (or K248 million per month) and a 25 per cent shareholding in ZRL at the end of his five-year contract, Prof Chirwa said it was common practice and part of his contract.
Prof Chirwa also said the board was dissolved because some of the board members were unproductive.
"They have been holding meetings and meetings. They want to start throwing dirt at me. All these things are documented. I came here to do my work. I didn't come here to be bothered. These people are very unproductive. They have been saying Clive Chirwa here and there'. They are just peddling lies. There are only a few people who are doing this," he said.
And the government has dissolved the board of Zambia Railways in a bid to bring "sanity" to the institution.
Communications minister Christopher Yaluma told The Post in an interview yesterday that the board was dissolved on Thursday last week.
He said a new board would soon be put in place to propel the turnaround of Zambia Railways and a thorough forensic audit into the operations and expenditures of the company would be conducted.
"To revamp ZRL, we need to have a harmonised environment. The environment should be highly conducive to achieve what we want to achieve. We need to have a stable climate with sound relationship between all the stakeholders involved. In an event of having various discrepancies or perceived misunderstandings, it will make the challenge very difficult for the government to achieve our intended goals. So it is in this spirit of trying to ensure we achieve our goals of rehabilitating ZRL and bring it to what it once used to be that we have taken our first step as the government to dissolve the board of Zambia Railways," he said.
"The board in reality was dissolved on Thursday and the letters were written. The only thing that was remaining was to have the letters picked. I wrote the letters late on Thursday and I signed them but we left for Mongu with the President and so they couldn't be circulated."
Asked if the board was in any way hindering the turnaround of ZRL, Yaluma said was not quite so.
On the board's claims of public resources abuses by the rail firm and if any probes would be instituted, Yaluma said the government would definitely institute investigations.
During a press briefing yesterday, Chona, who served as board chairperson of the Task force on Corruption, said, he smelt corruption in the running of the ZRL.
"We have provided the information, it is up to our friends the investigating team to act," he said.
The members said they were not bitter with the decision taken by government to dissolve them but accused transport minister Christopher Yaluma of pulling a fast one on them.
Four members, Chona, vice-chairperson Professor Oliver Saasa, and members Geoffrey Mulenga and Jonam Mwansa said they had recommended to Yaluma that Prof Chirwa be fired following irregularities in the managing of the railway firm.
"He Yaluma agreed during the meeting we had with him and said he would inform State House to proceed with our recommendation but the next thing we hear is that he was going to see the head of state to fire us…," Prof Saasa said.
He said it was a pity that the board was at the mercy of politicians.
"Boards are supposed to be independent. Boards must hire and fire. The point we are making is that you find that the tail is wagging the dog when it should be the other way round [because it is the dog that wags the tail. But because there is someone holding on to that tail, giving it so much strength to be able to wag the whole dog, it was not the case," he said.
And Mulenga said the dissolved board officials were not bitter about being fired.
"We are very happy we are out of this problem, we can have peaceful sleep instead of thinking about what is going to happen next," Mulenga said.
"But the next board, who will replace us, if it has the people's interest at heart, will definitely not tolerate what Prof Chirwa was advancing. Good corporate governance demands that the CEO of the company is far away from tender processes."
The members maintained that Prof Chirwa's counter allegations that they were demands huge sums of money in sitting allowances were ridiculous.
"It is a heap of nonsense that we demanded to be paid K500 million," said Mwansa.
Five ZRL board members on Saturday alleged several illegal and unapproved actions by Prof Chirwa, including an alleged attempt to shift the company headquarters from Kabwe to Lusaka.
The five members, Chona, chairman, Prof Saasa, vice-chairman, and members Geoffrey Mulenga Irene Mbewe, Mwansa, dismissed Prof Chirwa's statements carried by the Daily Nation newspaper to the effect that they were demanding up to K500 million in sitting allowances.
Labels: CLIVE CHIRWA, MARK CHONA, ZAMBIA RAILWAYS
Financial woes in MMD need urgent attention - Mabenga
By Allan Mulenga
Mon 22 Apr. 2013, 14:01 CAT
MICHAEL Mabenga says the financial woes that have crippled MMD need urgent attention. Commenting on MMD deputy national secretary Chembe Nyangu's statement that the party's finances were dwindling because sources of funds had dried up, Mabenga, who is former MMD national chairman, said he was shocked that the party was facing serious financial constraints.
"This is the question of money and money demands that you should be able to sit down and discuss as a family. It is them to discuss and solve their problems," he said. "The best thing to do is for those people to sit down and see how best they can sort out their problems. It is difficult for outsiders talking about their problems."
Mabenga urged the MMD leadership to strategies on how best they could sort out its problems.
"Yes, it is the party I treasured; the party that I spent time on, but I knew other people will take over from there. It is difficult to see what is happening there. It is very difficult, unless the insiders. I have very little to say, but it is a difficult situation I guess," he said.
"They must sit down and find a lasting situation. Anyway, we wish them the best, they have to sit down and have strategies. They must speak as a family and see how best they can address those problems."
Nyangu last week said MMD's sources of funds had dried up.
Labels: MICHAEL MABENGA, MMD
Luapula PF warns UPND against anti-Kabimba demo
By Godfrey Chikumbi in Mansa
Mon 22 Apr. 2013, 14:01 CAT
PATRIOTIC Front Luapula Province political secretary Elizabeth Miyanda says the party in the province will not tolerate UPND's planned public demonstrations against Wynter Kabimba.
Miyanda's remarks follow UPND deputy secretary general Kachunga Simusamba's statement that his party would begin holding public demonstrations in all provincial capitals if the Anti-Corruption Commission did not show that there was an active investigation against Kabimba.
Miyanda said PF would not allow UPND's planned public demonstrations against Kabimba in Luapula because the PF secretary general had been cleared by the ACC and the announcement of the same was made public.
She said the PF in Luapula were now incensed with manoeuvres by the UPND to portray Kabimba as corrupt when it was made public that the ACC had cleared him of the allegations.
"As far as we are concerned, that is water under the bridge and that is why we shall not tolerate those demonstrations planned for provincial capitals; this is just a friendly advice, let the UPND abandon that plan because it will not succeed in Luapula," Miyanda said.
Miyanda wondered what the UPND was looking for when the ACC had stated that Kabimba, who is also justice minister, together with his defence counterpart Geoffrey Mwamba, had been cleared of the corruption allegations.
She said the PF in Luapula Province respected the ACC's clearance of Kabimba and would not be distracted by the UPND's allegations.
"We have a lot of trust in Kabimba. We know him as a clean leader and the UPND should not be provocative because we have always been very peaceful," she said.
She said it was clear that UPND had run out of issues to talk about hence their resort to waging war against Kabimba.
Labels: PF, UPND, WYNTER KABIMBA