THE MILITARY

As Zanu PF factions destroy each other, the military will have a huge say as to who would take over from President Mugabe.

THE MILITARY

As Zanu PF factions destroy each other, the military will have a huge say as to who would take over from President Mugabe.

PROPHET WALTER MAGAYA

He is a controversial prophet who continues to draw large crowds with his promise of miracles. But as his popularity soars he faces all sorts of allegations. So far he has survived.

TSVANGIRAI THE SURVIVOR

Two secretary generals tried to topple him but failed. His wife walked out but returned home. Now MDC leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, is plotting his way to State House.

NEWSDZEZIMBABWE

Latest news, entertainment and sports.

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

WE ARE FAILING TO FIX ECONOMY, SAYS MNANGAGWA

VICTORIA Falls – Vice–President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Wednesday admitted that the cash-strapped government is now finding difficult to fix the frail economy, the Financial Gazette can report.
 

He made the remarks at the ongoing Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) congress at the resort town of Victoria Falls where he was guest of honour.
 

“There is a stalemate in the economy,” said Mnangagwa. We are gathered here to map a way forward. Where there is a stalemate in the economy like in our case it’s not easy, it’s not easy to move away from it. We don’t want our economy to be in a stalemate like now. This means, it’s now difficult to attain our 2016 budget.”
 

Mnangagwa’s statement comes as government is struggling to pay salaries for some 350 000 civil servants on its payroll.
The public sector wage bill currently accounts for over 80 percent of government expenditure, meaning that a paltry amount remains for crucial infrastructure development projects, critical in turning around the economy.
 

Mnangagwa added: “Our economy has not been performing optimally for several reasons, chief among them being the effect of illegal economic sanctions imposed by some countries in the west and their allies.
 

“Because of this, key parastatals, state–owned banks and certain key individuals were targeted  by these  illegal sanctions, resulting  in our inability to access  balance of  payment support, international funding. The net effect of this was that the country missed out on certain global opportunities and could not grow as fast as she should have.
 

“The country is branded as dangerous for visitors and risky for foreign direct investment. (This means) our 2016 National Budget target will be difficult to attain.”
 

Zimbabwe is now highly informalised with statistics showing that at least 94,5 percent of Zimbabweans are informally employed, resulting in government’s revenue base dwindling.
An estimated US$7 billion is said to be circulating in the informal sector, which is nearly two-thirds of Zimbabwe’s gross domestic product.


The Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa recently admitted that the formal sector was now dead, resulting in revenue challenges for Treasury in the face of investor fatigue, lack of balance of payments support and poor inflows from aid agencies.
 

Indications are that further job losses are inevitable as employers are likely to react in the coming months by either slashing salaries or offloading workers onto the streets.
Hundreds of workers are being thrown out of their jobs as more and more companies collapse or downsize.
 

The situation has forced many unemployed people to resort to vending to eke out an honest living. Most banks are now restricting depositors to a single withdrawal per week, allowing a maximum withdrawal of US$500.
 

Faced with growing pressure to rescue the ailing economy, government plans to introduce bond notes in October, whose value will be at par with the greenback, ostensibly to incentivise exporters.
 

The bond notes will be equivalent to US$200 million. The facility will be backed by the African Export-Import Bank.
 

The move has since been backed by President Robert Mugabe, although many believe government wants to bring back the Zimbabwe dollar through the back door.

MORE CHURCHES CALL FOR MUGABE'S OUSTER

More churches are joining the call for President Robert Mugabe to relinquish power forthwith in the wake of the country’s ever-deteriorating economic situation.

And in a major departure from the mild positions that faith-based organisations usually take with regard to politics, churches under the ambit of the Zimbabwe Divine Destiny (ZDD) even threatened to embark on “mass action” to help force Mugabe to leave office.

ZDD’s announcement also came as public sector workers ratcheted up their threats to embark on strikes if their salaries were not paid in full now.

Addressing a media conference in Harare yesterday, ZDD executive director, Ancelimo Magaya, said churches would soon embark on peaceful demonstrations to help force Mugabe to step down.

“This is the right time for action. There is no better time than this. I am saying President Mugabe should step down and Zimbabweans should mount pressure to make sure that the president steps down. But the pressure must be violent-free.

“I believe strongly that there is an emergence of a prophetic force that is going to be unstoppable. The church is ready to confront Mugabe, but when I say confront I am not talking about violence.

“When the prophets confronted the king, they did not hold swords. It’s simply prophetic confrontation. The church is ready to do that. All what we need to do is to harness and coordinate that prophetic voice,” Magaya said.

He emphasised that while Zimbabweans should remain peaceful, they should not be docile, but must resist all forms of oppression.

“What I am saying right now is something that I can never reverse even in the courts of law. It is in the public domain (Mugabe’s failures). If I were given an opportunity to meet Mugabe I will tell him exactly what I am saying right now.

“I believe that when one approaches the complex monster of dictatorship, one can never prescribe one approach. Yes, we do recognise diplomatic engagements which are very important.

“But I also believe that confrontation cannot be ruled out as long as it is not violent.  We need to use all methods to make sure that this machinery is dismantled,” Magaya said.

Speaking while commemorating the UN Convention against Torture, Magaya also said Zanu PF had started to intimidate people ahead of the eagerly-anticipated 2018 national elections.

“People must not dread elections, but our history as a nation is that fear and consternation grip us when elections come. Why?

“This is because those in power especially, use violence and torture to intimidate the electorate and this has already started to unfold almost two years away from 2018. Shame on all the perpetrators of violence,” he said.

Magaya’s sentiments come after other churches recently called on Mugabe to resign, including the influential Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops Conference (ZCBC).

Meanwhile, Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) secretary general, Raymond Majongwe, said yesterday that the government was lying that it was broke, as it could afford to pay the army and military their full salaries.

He said the government was being “selective” in its treatment of its workers, warning that  could prove disastrous in the long run, including facing a likely stay-away.

“The action will mean withdrawal of our labour. We learnt from the war veterans that if you want anything from government use your feet, run on the street, get arrested and get beaten.

“If that is what government wants us to do, the flesh is here, ready to be beaten. We are not just fighting and making unnecessary noise, but are demanding what is legitimately ours.
“Any workers who do not stand up to fight for their cause will only have themselves to blame, because we are talking of a government that knows how to consume money by buying expensive vehicles, staying in hotels and flying all over the world,” Majongwe thundered.

He said if the government was sincere about paying them their salaries, they should borrow the money for this purpose.

“Government should understand that we cannot survive on piece-meal offers. The money they want to give us will have deductions incurred through the withdrawal process. Government is also setting a dangerous precedence.

“Once we are told the June salaries will be paid in July and so forth we may actually end up having three months of unpaid work. Many companies and parastatals such as National Railways of Zimbabwe and the Grain Marketing Board collapsed because workers were promised their salaries in such a way,” Majongwe said.

Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe president, Obet Masaraure, said the government wanted workers to report for duty without it looking after their welfare.

He said the government knew very well that workers’ monthly obligations such as rentals 
could not be deferred to another month.

“We reject this callous move and we are calling on all affected workers to sit-in with us in protest, at the ministry of Finance’s offices in Harare on the 1st of July. We will protest until our salaries are paid in full, failure of which we will call for our members to engage in a massive nationwide strike,” he said.

Apex council chairperson Cecelia Alexander said the government should not hold the union accountable for what its members could decide to do.

“Government makes it hard for us to believe them because they are not upfront with their issues. We just speak on behalf of our constituency and whatever they decide will prevail.
“Hutsi hweteargas hukanga hwatosvora ticharamba takasvinura nekuti ndizvo zvatakazvipira (We are prepared to be choked by police teargas as we are determined to get our money),” Alexander said.

Zimbabwe Democratic Teachers Union president, George Mushipe, said even prior to last Monday’s meeting between the government and civil service union representatives,  pay slips with the July date had already started circulating without consultations.

He said it was in that light that they felt that talk of workshops and regular consultation between the employer and the employee was just “academic jargon to silence the workers”.
“We need a living salary because we have expenses. Demonstrating is outlying anger at what government is doing to its dedicated workers. This is not the time for workshops while our families are starving. Workshop talk is a ploy to divert our attention from real issues,” Mushipe said. daily news

REMOVE LOGO, ZEC ORDERS MANGOMA

RENEWAL Democrats of Zimbabwe (RDZ) President Elton Mangoma has been ordered to change his party’s logo by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) as it resembled that on the national flag.
The fledgling opposition party, which was formed June last year, uses a black eagle with wings spread across the Zimbabwean map as its symbol.
ZEC has summoned the former MDC-T treasurer general to inform him the symbol clashed with that on the Zimbabwean national flag.
The Justice Rita Makarau chaired electoral body insists the eagle was a national symbol and could not be reproduced by any political party for its own identification purposes.
Mangoma has since been asked to provide a different logo to allow a party candidate to contest the Mazowe North by-election which is due mid next month.
The correspondence, also seen by RadioVOP, was signed by ZEC chief election officer Constance Chigwamba.
“The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission is requesting you to report to our head office polling and training department in connection with the symbol used by your candidate in the Mazowe North by-election to be held on July 23, 2016,” read the letter.
“In this regard, your office is to assist by adhering to the above request as a matter of urgency and no later than June 17, 2016 so that the process of ballot printing is not delayed.”
Mangoma, on his part, remained defiant, insisting he was not going to take the matter seriously. He vowed to approach the courts in attempts to block any arm-twisting by ZEC.
“RDZ contested 3 elections last year, all conducted by yourselves using the same logo. We have spent substantial resources promoting that same logo. 
“We take this as electoral harassment by you on behalf of Zanu PF. If there is anything wrong, then please have the courts settle it,” Mangoma in his written response to ZEC. radio vop

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

MANYENYENI SUSPENSION QUASHED, GETS ARRESTED

The High Court today ordered the reinstatement of Harare mayor, Bernard Manyenyeni who had challenged his suspension by local government minister, Saviour Kasukuwere over two months ago.

This comes amid unconfirmed reports that the suspended mayor has been picked up for questioning by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission.
Justice Lavender Makoni ordered Kasukuwere to pay the costs of the suit and interdicted him from suspending Manyenyeni who is now allowed to continue with his duties.
Manyenyeni was initially suspended on April 20 this year on allegations of insubordination and unprocedurally appointing James Mushore as Harare town clerk. newsday

GRACE IS A HEARTLESS STEP MOTHER, SAYS LUMUMBA

FORMER Zanu PF activist Acie Lumumba says there is no hope in the ruling party, urging youths to find another political home that will steer their cause for real empowerment.
Lumumba, who is on the verge of launching his own political party this week called Viva Zimbabwe which is going to focus on youth upliftment, said First Lady Grace Mugabe was now effectively in charge of government with Cabinet ministers, including Vice-Presidents, now reporting to her.

He said Zanu PF was so drenched in corruption to the extent that it had become a norm for the top leadership to line their pockets at the expense of the whole citizenry.

“Of the current political parties, none speak directly to the voice or aspirations of my generation. We are faced with a generational divide between old ideas and new thoughts, between Rhodesian wounds and democratic messaging that speak to a generation largely divided by who was active and who was not active pre-independence,” Lumumba said.

The former Zanu PF Harare secretary for tourism said corruption had destroyed any hope of a fruitful Zimbabwe adding the vice had reached alarming where only brave young people would take it head-on.

“People don’t understand the level of corruption in this country. Corruption is like a drug, once you take it for the first time, you don’t know that you are in it. It overtakes and consumes you and you literally lose human compassion and no longer care about human beings,” he said, adding he was also once deep in the vice before realising how he was going down the drain.

Lumumba said Zanu PF had embraced corruption to the extent that most leaders in the party were being rewarded by being appointed to the most senior positions.

The former Zanu PF apologist also took a dig at Grace, saying she was becoming more powerful than her husband President Robert Mugabe, a situation he said was ruinous.

He said this was a sign that there was no hope to talk about in the present generation of leaders.

“Ministers are being told what to do by the First Lady. What do you call that? It’s total madness,” he said while equating her to a “heartless” stepmother.

“You have the First Lady having more rallies than her husband. When she gets up at the rallies and says they are trying to keep me silent, but I will not keep quiet. When we try to speak, it’s not allowed, we are just supposed to listen to her. Again that is total madness. This just shows you the foolishness happening in Zanu PF,” he said. Lumumba has threatened to expose Zanu PF and government officials, particularly his former bosom buddy and Indigenisation minister Patrick Zhuwao, who fired him from chairing a youth body. newsday

CHINAMASA SEEKS WESTERN AID AS MUGABE TELLS THEM TO GO HANG

A few weeks after President Robert Mugabe told Western countries to “go hang”, Zimbabwe’s Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa will this week lead a delegation to Europe for meetings with global multi-lateral lending institutions.

Chinamasa will engage the country’s creditors as Zimbabwe inches closer to a historic debt rescheduling, and will head to the United Kingdom in early July where he is scheduled to address the Africa Confidential conference dubbed: Zimbabwe: Rebooting and Rebuilding on July 5.

Mugabe, whose regime has struggled to stabilise the country’s tottering economy, but maintained a firm grip on power by foul means, told thousands of his Zanu PF party supporters that his government did not need any aid.

But according to the organisers of the London conference, Chinamasa will be accompanied by a senior delegation “including Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor John Mangudya, ministers of Trade and Commerce (Mike Bimha) and Mining (Walter Chidakwa)”, among other officials.

“The government is to finalise its agreement to repay some $1,8 billion of arrears to multilateral financial institutions triggering its re-entry into the international financial system after almost two decades in the cold,” the organisers said.

Chinamasa confirmed his Europe sojourn, but could not be drawn into providing details of the discussions and decisions that lie ahead.

“Its about meeting some French businesspeople and organisations as well as that country’s Finance minister for discussions on their interests that they have shown in Zimbabwe. I will also go to Brussels as well as the UK,” Chinamasa said.

Asked if he will be meeting Paris Club creditors to discuss Zimbabwe’s debt, Chinamasa was non-committal.

“We will discuss a broad range of issues, investment opportunities and explain where we are with our debt arrears and soliciting for their support,” Chinamasa added.

Mugabe’s relations with the West have hit the rocks since his government embarked on an exercise to redistribute land meant to correct colonial land imbalances, but which turned into an orgy of violence and plunder.

The 92 year-old leader has also been accused of rights abuses and electoral theft since the turn of the century leading to travel restrictions on his family and inner circle. The news comes as Zimbabweans continue to struggle with chronic cash shortages especially of the US dollar, the main denomination in the country’s multi-currency financial system. Government has had to stagger payments of salaries to civil servants as the economic problems continue unabated. newsday

MUJURU SUPPORTERS ATTACKED AFTER RALLY

SEVERAL Zimbabwe People First (ZimPF) supporters have been hospitalised following suspected retributive attacks by people believed to be Zanu PF supporters, who accused them of attending former Vice-President Joice Mujuru’s campaign rally in Harare last Saturday.

Party spokesperson Jealousy Mawarire yesterday described the attacks as barbaric and meant to instil fear into opposition supporters.

“We have a number of our supporters who were attacked, harassed and injured by Zanu PF thugs in Harare South, Glen View and Glen Norah,” he claimed.

“Seven of these had to receive medical attention and of these, two are still hospitalised.”

Mawarire said one of the victims, Patricia Pfachi (56), sustained a broken arm and a dislocated wrist, while 35-year-old Collen Mbava had his right eye injured in the attacks.

Mbava reported his case at Waterfalls Police Station under RRB 2825475.

Another victim, Matilda Marichi (34), also sustained severe injuries and reported the matter at the same police station under RRB 2825476.

Mawarire said ZimPF was paying medical bills for its injured members and working in liaison with the police to ensure the suspects were brought to book.

“It’s really barbaric that people are maimed, harassed and almost murdered for peacefully attending a political gathering,” he said.

“It is also unthinkable and outright psychopathic for these thugs to harass service providers, including ice-cream and water vendors, who capitalised on the tens of thousands of Harareans who thronged the Saturday rally venue to sell their wares and also listen to president Mujuru, their mother.”

Mawarire urged party members to remain vigilant and steadfast in their quest to dislodge Zanu PF in the 2018 elections.

Contacted for comment, Zanu PF provincial youth leader Edson Takataka denied that his party was involved in the attacks.

“I actually don’t know about that. We don’t do such type of politics in our party and we don’t fight people,” he said.

“It could be their supporters turning against each other. I am a full-time pastor and I don’t believe in violence. We are actually working to build our structures and we don’t have time for violence.”

Police spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba said she had not yet been briefed about the incidents.

“I don’t have that report. If they reported to police, that matter will be investigated,” she said.

In March this year, suspected Zanu PF supporters stormed a ZimPF rally in Glen View and forced Mujuru’s supporters to flee after they pelted them with stones.

Mujuru has, meanwhile, changed the dates for her Masvingo rally from July 6 to July 9 to accommodate working people.

Initially the rally was scheduled for midweek, but has been moved to Saturday, with Mawarire saying the party had bowed to pressure from its supporters to hold the rally at the weekend.

“Our supporters suggested to us to move the rally to a weekend to allow those who are employed to also attend,” he said.

“We have moved the rally from July 6 to July 9. It will be easier for all our supporters to attend. We have considered the requests from our supporters.”

Mujuru is billed to hold rallies in all parts of the country before ZimPF’s official launch in October this year. newsday

GET WELL MESSAGES POUR IN FOR TSVANGIRAI

THERE was an outpouring of sympathy for MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai yesterday following his disclosure that he has cancer of the colon and was undergoing treatment in neighbouring South Africa.
Tsvangirai made the unusual step of disclosing his medical status, something most political leaders in the country, particularly President Robert Mugabe, have failed to do.

Yesterday, many, including his political rivals, stampeded to wish him a quick recovery and hailed his decision to go public with his health status.

Zimbabwe People First (ZimPF) leader Joice Mujuru said she wished Tsvangirai well and urged Zimbabweans to give him the privacy he needed during his time on the mend.

“Dr Joice Teurai Ropa Mujuru and ZimPF would like to join Zimbabweans in praying for Tsvangirai, who is recuperating after surgery,” Mujuru’s spokesperson Gift Nyandoro said in a statement yesterday.

“We applaud the former Prime Minister for coming out in the open about his medical condition. As a party, our prayers are with him and we urge Zimbabweans to give him the privacy that he needs during this time that he is on the mend.”

Tendai Biti’s People’s Democratic Party (PDP) said it had been saddened by the news of Tsvangirai’s illness.

“We ask the Lord of healing to look kindly on him in this his hour of need. We are sure he is a fighter and that he will find the strength to fight this battle as he has fought against the oppression of the people of Zimbabwe,” PDP spokesperson Jacob Mafume said.

“We are confident that he will be well in order for him to put his broad shoulder to turn the wheel of democracy and justice for all together with others. We are certain that he deserves to see a new Zimbabwe in good health. We wish him a speedy recovery.”

Zanu PF politburo member and Higher and Tertiary Education minister Jonathan Moyo tweeted: “I wish Tsvangirai full and complete recovery in his fight against colon cancer. May God’s favour be with him.”

Former Zanu PF Mashonaland Central youth leader Godfrey Tsenengamu also sympathised with Tsvangirai. newsday

D DAY FOR SUSPENDED HARARE MAYOR

HIGH Court judge Justice Lavender Makoni is today expected to hand down judgment on an urgent chamber application filed by Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) seeking an order to stop Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister Saviour Kasukuwere from suspending, dismissing or removing Councillor Bernard Manyenyeni from serving as mayor of Harare.

Justice Makoni on June 17 reserved judgment after hearing arguments from lawyers representing Clr Manyenyeni and Cde Kasukuwere.

ZLHR lawyers Professor Lovemore Madhuku, Dzimbabwe Chimbga, Bellinda Chinowawa and David Hofisi who filed the urgent chamber application on June 10, argued that Cde Kasukuwere was not permitted by Section 114 of the Urban Councils Act, as read with Section 278 of the Constitution, to re-suspend a mayor whose suspension has lapsed by operation of law.

In the urgent chamber application, Madhuku, Chimbga, Chinowawa and Hofisi argued that Cde Kasukuwere could not split facts and suspend Clr Manyenyeni in installments as doing so amounts to abuse of process.
The lawyers argued that in suspending Clr Manyenyeni, Cde Kasukuwere has exercised powers that are non-existent and that are not in accordance with the Constitution.
Madhuku, Chimbga, Chinowawa and Hofisi want the High Court to issue an order setting aside the letter suspending Clr Manyenyeni and for him to be allowed to continue to carry out council business and receive his allowances.

Cde Kasukuwere first suspended Clr Manyenyeni from serving as mayor of the City of Harare on April 20 this year, after accusing him of acting unlawfully and defying his directive by ordering Harare City Council councillors not to approve the appointment of seasoned banker James Mushore to the position of Town Clerk.

Clr Manyenyeni only resumed duty on June 6 as Cde Kasukuwere failed to cause a thorough investigation to be conducted within 45 days as envisaged by Section 114 of the Urban Councils Act (Chapter 29:15) as had been ordered by High Court judge Justice Mary-Zimba Dube, when the lawyers first challenged the suspension of Clr Manyanyeni in April.

But on June 7, Cde Kasukuwere issued Clr Manyenyeni with a fresh letter of suspension, citing some grounds of misconduct purportedly committed in 2015. herald

THIEVES STEALING SOLAR STREET LAMP BATTERIES

Continuous theft of solar lamp batteries had delayed the installation of solar lights along the Airport Road in Harare as we all as in the central business district (CBD), a council official has said.


However, the installation process has started after Harare City Council instituted measures to protect the batteries.

Harare City Council spokesperson Mr Michael Chideme said the authority lost 52 batteries from theft, prompting the council to remove all 588 solar light batteries along the Airport Road as a measure to secure them.

“We were drawn back by theft which is why we removed all the batteries from the solar street lights along the Airport Road.

“We can now safely say we have reconstructed battery boxes to ensure that the batteries are safe and secure from thieves and vandals,” said Mr Chideme.
He said the solar street lights, especially those along the Airport Road were not up to par in terms of their quality because of flooding from the drainage system that affected the installation sites and moisture among other problems.

“We have tried to solve the issues that affected the standard functioning of the solar street lights to ensure their durability,” said Mr Chideme.

Primedia, the contractor responsible for installing the solar street lights along Airport Road said it should have completed the installation process along the road by end of this month as previously agreed on.

Solar street lights have currently been installed along Airport Road and Robert Mugabe Way among other roads.

Samora Machel Avenue is also undergoing the solar street lights installation as the local authority aims to install 10 000 solar street lights in Harare by the end of 2016.
The use of solar power as a source of street lighting is expected to reduce the local authority’s electricity bill. herald

NRZ TO FIRE 1 400 WORKERS

Mavima
Over 1 000 National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) workers are set to be retrenched after the completion of a forensic audit of the company, the board chairman Mr Larry Mavima said yesterday.


The ailing parastatal, which is saddled with a $144 million debt with the workers owed over $68 million in outstanding salaries, is set to embark on a forensic audit of its estates, assets and human resources as part of the implementation of its turnaround strategy.
In an interview, Mr Mavima said the parastatal would soon retrench non-essential staff to ease the burden on the ailing entity.

“It’s quite evident that NRZ is overstaffed in relation to the business we are generating and we don’t see an avalanche of business coming to NRZ in the foreseeable future,” he said.
“Therefore, after the forensic audit, we are looking at retrenching between 1 000 and 1 400 people.

“The retrenchment exercise will be done professionally in all the departments of NRZ.
“This is being necessitated by the desire to save the company from continued trouble.
“The industrial action that we experienced recently was a blessing in disguise as it made us realise that we can do with a very lean structure.”

Mr Mavima said the impending retrenchment would also assist in cost cutting and positioning the company for growth.

“The retrenchment is meant to save the company from further collapse and thus the exercise isn’t a witch hunt.

“We are looking at cutting costs, so the retrenchment will affect everyone across all the departments, including managers at all levels,” he explained. NRZ employs about 5 700 people.

In April, over 4 000 NRZ workers embarked on an industrial action to press their employer to pay them their outstanding salaries dating back more than 15 months. As a result of the strike that lasted more than a month, the parastatal lost about $250 000 a day.

In 2015, the volume of goods NRZ moved tumbled to 2,8 million tonnes from 3,5 million the previous year on the back of increased challenges besetting the parastatal.
The railway company is grappling with challenges such as ageing infrastructure and equipment which has surpassed its designed lifespan, vandalism, huge debt and lack of cheap lines of credit for retooling.

The falling commodity prices on the global market have also affected the company’s key customers, notably those in the coal and chrome industries, resulting in a sharp drop in the business. chronicle

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

CIVIL SERVANTS REJECT ADVANCE PAYMENT

Civil servants’ representatives yesterday said they were finalising consultations on the $100 advance payment offered by Government amid indications that the majority of workers had rejected the proposal.

Government on Monday met civil servants’ unions and offered them $100 for transport while they awaited their June salaries to be paid in a fortnight. The employer offered to pay the advance payment by Friday, but civil servants said they would give their position today after consulting their membership.

Apex Council team leader Mrs Cecilia Alexander said they were finalising consultations to make a determination.

“Unions are still on the ground and it is only after their compilations that the Apex Council will sit down and come up with a position,” she said. “Our position will be informed by the input from the unions and tomorrow (today) everything will be clear on which route we will be taking.”

Government, which is facing cash flow challenges, has managed to pay members of the Zimbabwe National Army and Air Force of Zimbabwe while police and prison officers will get their dues tomorrow. Teachers will get their salaries on July 7 while health workers and the rest of the civil service will be paid on July 14.
Zimbabwe Teachers Association (Zimta) chief executive Mr Sifiso Ndlovu, said their members “were ready for anything.” “We are in the middle of consultations, people are very angry and we don’t know how to control them,” he said.

“It looks like they are ready for anything and what is coming out clear is that when Government came for that meeting they had a position and they are processing the money. What is coming out is anger and we have to manage that anger such that it is not converted into something else. My fear is that Government may shut down if we are not careful. It does not need to be handled with arrogance.”

Zimbabwe Rural Teachers Union national spokesperson Mr Gibson Mushangu, said for rural workers, the $100 would be eroded by expenses.
“Members are saying the money will be spent on transport other than taking care of their welfare,” he said.

“To access that money it means travelling to withdraw it and on arrival at the bank one might even fail to get it. So they are saying come last day of the month we won’t be able to go to work.”

Said Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe secretary general Mr Raymond Majongwe: “People are arguing that if we start off like this, it will continue like this forever. Workers want their lump sum for food, rentals and other liabilities. They are saying Government should come back to the table with a better offer or they go on strike.”

Government is rationalising the civil service to cut on its wage bill which stands at $200 million per month translating to more than 80 percent of revenue collected. The rationalisation exercise is expected to save $400 million annually. herald

MUJURU IS CORRUPT, SAYS KASUKUWERE

Zimbabwe People First leader Dr Joice Mujuru has skeletons in her cupboard among them diamond smuggling and must not pretend to be clean, Zanu-PF political commissar Saviour Kasukuwere has said.


Kasukuwere warned Dr Mujuru to stop boasting that she will not be arrested as she has cases of abuse of office and corruption allegations to answer for. He said that was the reason Dr Mujuru and members of her ZimPF party were ousted from the ruling Zanu-PF party.

Kasukuwere, who is also the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing, said this while addressing people operating businesses at Glen View Area 8 Home Industries in Harare yesterday.

“Mujuru knows that she committed the offences. You (Dr Mujuru) know that you will be arrested for committing the offences. Mujuru and some of her senior members were dismissed for corruption and they would steal during day time.

“For example, they are aware that in Masvingo all the money that was channelled for dam construction disappeared during their tenure in office. Zinwa also collapsed because of them and where are the irrigation schemes in Dande?” he said.

This comes in the wake of statements made by Dr Mujuru recently that the real reason she was sacked from Zanu-PF was because she had spoken out against corruption.
Kasukuwere said: “Musadenhe zvirere. Kana uri mbavha better utaure hako zvimwe. We are aware of the diamonds that were taken to Kenya and by the way, in whose name were these diamonds taken to Kenya?

“That party (ZimPF) also has diesel n’angas who lied about the Chinhoyi diesel issue. My question is where on earth would you see or obtain diesel from a mountain? he asked.”
Kasukuwere was accompanied by Minister of State for Harare Provincial Affairs Miriam Chikukwa, Small to Medium Enterprises Development Minister Sithembiso Nyoni and Harare provincial administrator Mr Alfred Tome, among other senior party and Government officials.

He first held a closed door meeting with officials at Glenview Home Industry Complex and later toured the complex. Kasukuwere said plans were underway to ensure that the complex was improved to create a better environment for business.

This comes after he was briefed that there were no toilets and electricity at the complex, among various other challenges. Kasukuwere warned some councillors not to abuse their offices by involving themselves in corrupt activities.

“Let’s shun corruption. We don’t want any councillors who move like a peacock and steal money from people to enrich themselves. If we catch you, you will have yourself to blame,” Kasukuwere said.

Minister Chikukwa took a swipe at people erecting illegal structures in the city which she said were mushrooming without proper documents. She said people should follow the normal procedures whenever they want to acquire land and that they should not be duped by land barons.

Minister Nyoni said she would continue taking new steps and measures to change the conditions of SMEs countrywide. herald

ZIMRA THREATENS TO IMPOUND CROSS BORDER BUSES

The Zimbabwe Revenue Authority has threatened to seize cross border buses which carry into the country goods banned under statutory instrument number 64 of 2016 which sought to tighten screws on imports of basic commodities. 

The parastatal has since written to cross-border transporters warning them against carrying goods which are restricted under the open general import license.
Zimra has been forced to suspend rolling out the new regulations which made the importation of food items, building material, furniture, toiletries and cooking oil among other things virtually impossible without permits due to resistance by travelers.

LEAVE OR WE WILL DRAG YOU OUT

Some Zimbabweans have given Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko seven days to vacate the plush Rainbow Towers Hotel in the capital where he has been burning taxpayers' funds with seemingly reckless abandon over the past two years, warning that if he doesn't heed their call, they would literally drag him out of the hotel.

Speaking to the Daily News yesterday after his release from police custody, National Vendors Union of Zimbabwe president Sten Zvorwadza said Mphoko should take heed of the warning by fed-up citizens.

Zvorwadza, 47, who was arrested on Saturday while staging a demonstration against Mphoko’s continued stay at the top hotel, appeared in court yesterday before Harare provincial magistrate Vakayi Chikwekwe, charged with threats to commit malicious damage to property.

The State alleged that he had closed the main entrance of the hotel and demanded that police officers leave the premises to pave way for a demonstration, arguing it was his constitutional right.

He was released on $200 bail and remanded to July 13 for trial.
Mphoko, who has been staying at the hotel since 2014, has got a government-issued house in the leafy Harare surburb of Grange which he does not want to move into, which cost the State a reported $3 million -- choosing instead to stay in the pricey Presidential Suite of Rainbow Towers.

Zvorwadza said Zimbabweans the were fed up with the vice president’s poor attitude, adding that Mphoko’s continued stay at the hotel was draining an already squeezed fiscus, as money used to foot his hotel bill could be channeled towards improving the dying health and education sectors.

“We will camp at the hotel until he leaves and if he continues staying there we will be forced to shut down operations at Rainbow Towers for supporting such corrupt activities. We do not want to disturb the activities there but they leave us no option.

"Failure to leave the hotel in seven days will result in people taking the matter into their own hands,” he thundered.

Zvorwadza said once the seven days had lapsed without Mphoko leaving the hotel, Zimbabweans would mobilise themselves to force him out.

Chipping in, the leader of pressure group Tajamuka, Promise Mkwananzi, told the Daily News that Mphoko’s "history of being a parasite" allegedy went as far back as the Second Chimurenga when stayed in a hotel in Mozambique, while other freedom fighters were fighting in the bush.

He said it was a terrible indictment on Mphoko that the VP's term would soon come to an end with him still staying at Rainbow Towers, and while three State houses were lying idle.

“He has become a real burden to society with his antics. Our campaign against his parasitic stay is escalating and when his seven days lapse, rest assured action will be taken,” he said.

Speaking in Bulawayo at the weekend, a defiant Mphoko said he would continue staying at the hotel as it was similar to living in a government house, since the State had shares in Rainbow Tourism Group (RTG).

According to the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange, the National Social Security Authority owns 36,21 percent in Rainbow Towers, while Hamilton and Hamilton Trustees has a 32,08 percent stake in it. Stanbic Nominees own 19,96 percent shares of RTG.

The remaining 11,74 percent shares are held by minority shareholders, with the government reportedly holding a miniscule four percent direct share in the hotel group. NSSA is funded by working Zimbabwean citizens, not the State.
Mphoko also scoffed at the cited $3 million house that he is spurning, saying it only cost “one million and something” -- further likening his predicament to opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s stay at his State-owned Highlands home. Daily news

BLACKOUT HITS ZIM

A blackout has hit Zimbabwe this morning.
The Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) spokesperson, Mr Fullard Gwasira has apologised to consumers over the countrywide loss of electricity.

He said the loss of power was due to a system disturbance which emanated from outside the country, leading to the disconnection of Kariba Power Station, power imports and destabilisation of the national electricity grid.

Mr Gwasira explained the blackout and added that water levels at Kariba dam have risen but are not yet adequate for the country to stop importing power.

WOMAN DRAFTS SEX ROASTER FOR DAUGHTER-IN-LAW

Chief
IN a strange sexual arrangement, a woman in Gudo Village in Bikita, Masvingo Province reportedly drafted a sex roster for her daughter-in-law in which she ordered her to take turns to sleep with both her husband and his younger brother.

This was after she reportedly suspected that her eldest son was allegedly impotent after going for many years without a child.

It is reported that Muchaneta Masakura ordered her daughter-in-law Modi Besitara to have a slot between the sheets with her husband Simbarashe Mushakuro’s younger brother Rangarirai so that she could have a grandchild.

It is alleged that Simbarashe also agreed at the instigation of his mother who told him that it was the only way he would become a father.

Relating the story to B-Metro, Chief Mupwakwa whose jurisdiction the area falls under said Besitara’s “baby-crazy” mother-in-law forced her to take turns to have sex with her husband and his younger brother after she suspected that her eldest son (Simbarashe) was infertile.

To escape the brutal treatment, Chief Mupwakwa said Besitara brought the matter to his attention.

“It is one of the strange cases to come before my court. What happened is that Simbarashe and Modi have been married for a long time without a baby. Simbarashe’s mother who apparently suspected that her son was impotent and needed a grandchild became so impatient that she ordered Modi to also entertain Rangarirai in bed until she falls pregnant.

“From the look of things it is clear that Simbarashe at the instigation of his mother agreed to share his wife with his younger brother so that he becomes a father.

“Masakura sternly ordered her daughter-in-law to seduce Rangarirai in the hope of bringing a grandchild to the family. However, Modi who had supposedly disagreed with the arrangement brought the matter to my attention and I quickly summoned them to my traditional court,” said Chief Mupwakwa.

Chief Mupwakwa who described the matter as “awkward” said he postponed it so that he could have “ample” time to come up with a proper judgment.

 

 

UNPACKING MPHOKO RAINBOW TOWERS CLAIMS

(The Source) – Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko, under attack for staying at the Rainbow Towers hotel for close to two years, has justified his stay by suggesting no tax dollars are being lost because he is staying in hotel owned by the government.

“I live in a government hotel. It’s as good as staying in a government house,” Mphoko was quoted as saying on Monday.

Government does indeed own the Rainbow Towers building, but it does not own Rainbow Tourism Group (RTG), which runs the hotel. RTG is not a parastatal, even though government appears to treat it as such, most likely on the basis of its ownership of the building.

RTG history

RTG does have its roots in government. Its history can be traced to 1981, when the Zimbabwe Tourism Board was formed. In 1985, the government completed construction of a five-star hotel and conference centre in Harare, operating under a Harare Sheraton Hotel management contract. In 1991, the Zimbabwe Tourism Investment Company (ZTIC) was established to house government’s tourism interests, and the venture was soon renamed Rainbow Tourism Group.

The year 1999 was eventful for RTG. The Sheraton management contract was renegotiated and the hotel was renamed Sheraton Harare Hotel and Towers. RTG was privatised and listed. The government sold 70 percent of RTG to private and institutional investors.

In 2005, the Sheraton contract ended and management was localised. The businesses of Sheraton Harare Hotel and Towers and Harare International Conference Centre were merged.

The company was short of cash and had to go to shareholders for more money, via a rights issue. If a shareholder fails to follow their rights and raise money for the extra shares, they get “diluted” or their shareholding is reduced when the shares on offer are bought by someone else. This is what happened to what had remained of government shareholding then.

In 2011, one of the shareholders, Econet Wireless, sold its 11 percent shareholding to NSSA. RTG in 2012 held another rights issue and government shareholding was diluted even further. The shareholding of NSSA, which was the underwriter of that rights offer, went up.

Current shareholding

As of today, NSSA holds 36.21 percent of RTG. Hamilton & Hamilton Trustees, owned by investor Nicholas Van Hoogstraten, owns 32.08 percent. Stanbic Nominees owns 19.96 percent. The government, through the Ministry of Tourism, owns no more than four percent.

RTG owes NSSA some $13,6 million.

Often, NSSA is seen as a parastatal. In strict terms however, NSSA is a statutory body, and only holds investments on behalf of paying workers, both private and public. NSSA money cannot therefore be treated as government money.

It is therefore not true that government owns RTG, either through direct shareholding, or through NSSA.

While RTG was once a parastatal, government’s control of the firm ended once it sold 70 percent to private shareholders in 1999, and subsequently saw its shareholding reduced because it could not fulfil its obligations as a shareholder.

But in practise the government has never let go of RTG, almost 20 years after privatising it. As demonstrated by Mphoko, the government still treats RTG as a parastatal, and one that officials can use for their own ends as they do with most state-owned enterprises.

At the core of the poisonous relationship between government and RTG is the ownership of the Rainbow Towers and Conference Centre. Government has retained ownership of the building, and RTG leases it from the Ministry of Local Government. The government pays nothing for using the Rainbow Towers and the conference centre. The costs are offset against RTG’s leasing costs.

According to various sources, government also refuses to pay for services at the other hotels that RTG actually owns, including the Bulawayo Rainbow. Government insists on using these for free, using RTG’s lease costs. There is no detail about the agreement, although RTG’s 2014 annual report disclosed annual operating lease expenses at $1.7 million.

This arrangement has been to the detriment of all the company, and to the shareholders of RTG, who have had to take a string of losses, partly caused by the company’s failure to detach itself from government.

Mphoko’s “it’s a government hotel” justification also betrays the attitude of government officials towards state owned enterprises, and why many of them are in a deep financial hole. Government officials do not treat parastatals as the commercial enterprises that they should be, accountable to competent boards and taxpayers. Instead, they are only seen as tools for the personal convenience of those in senior positions.

Even if RTG was a parastatal, which it is not, there cannot be justification for its abuse by the government or its officials, however senior.

THIEVES BREAK INTO CHIVAYO'S HOUSE

Businessman Wicknell Chivayo lost various clothing items and 30 pairs of shoes worth thousands of dollars to thieves who broke into his house in Ballantyne Park, Harare.
One of the suspects, Ignatius Magaya (40) of Mufakose, has since been arrested in connection with the matter.

Magaya is also facing 10 more counts of unlawful entry after he broke into houses of other people and stole various electrical gadgets and goods worth over $60 000 in April this year.
Some of the stolen property was recovered at Magaya’s farm in Kutama and when he was arrested, he was wearing Chivayo’s pair of shoes.

Magaya yesterday appeared before Mr Vakayi Chikwekwe facing 11 counts of unlawful entry. The prosecutor Mr Peter Kachirika, opposed bail and Mr Chikwekwe remanded him in custody to tomorrow for bail application. Magaya is being represented by Mr Lucky Mauwa of Mauwa and Associates. It is the State’s case that the offences were committed between October 2015 and June this year.
Magaya of Block 22, Mufakose, Harare reportedly scaled over precast walls of the complainants before using an iron bar to gain entry into the houses. On April 10 Magaya allegedly gained entry into Chivayo’s premises at around 2am and forced open the dining room door.

He then got into the house and stole clothes and several pairs of shoes.
It is alleged that on September 30, last year, Magaya smashed the garage window to gain entry into Michael Cain’s garage where he stole 20 litres of diesel, battery charger, chain saw and grass cutter.

On October 21 Magaya reportedly stole an Ipad, laptop, shoes and clothes from Musa Gumede in Greendale.

Using the same method, Magaya, the court heard, stole various household items from other complainants. Detectives received information that led to his arrest.
Nine plasma television sets and 30 pairs of shoes were among the recovered items. herald

ACTIVIST THREATENS TO BURN DOWN RAINBOW TOWERS

National Vendors Union chairman Stendrick Zvorwadza yesterday appeared in court for threatening to burn down Rainbow Towers Hotel during a demonstration against Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko’s continued stay at the five-star hotel.



Zvorwadza (47) appeared before Harare magistrate Mr Vakayi Chikwekwe facing threats to commit malicious damage to property. He was remanded to July 13 for trial.

Through his lawyer Mr Marufu Mandevere, Zvorwadza complained against the police.
He said: “Accused was not properly advised of charges he was facing upon his arrest. He was only advised in the afternoon after being arrested in the morning.

“He was not allowed to have blankets in the cells and spent the whole night with only one blanket, which he used as a mat.

“It was very cold. However, he was allowed to have his shoes.”
The prosecutor Mr Sebastian Mutizirwa did not oppose bail and Zvorwadza was remanded on $200 bail.

As part of his bail conditions, he was ordered not to visit Rainbow Towers Hotel.
It is alleged that on Sunday, Zvorwadza entered Rainbow Towers Hotel in the company of eight people, three of them carrying video cameras and believed to be journalists.
The court heard that Zvorwadza walked towards the foyer and shouted that he had come to have his breakfast.

Hotel management informed the police of Zvorwadza’s behaviour. Police officers attended the scene and ordered Zvorwadza out of the hotel and he shouted at them saying, “You police, you are disturbing my peace and abusing me. I am eating my money why you police are always after me (sic)?”

It is alleged that he resisted arrest and closed the hotel’s main entrance doors from inside and ordered police officers to leave the premises.
He told them that they wanted to demonstrate peacefully because it was their constitutional right.

It is alleged that Zvorwadza started shouting at the top of his voice that VP Mphoko had to immediately check out of the hotel because he was using taxpayers’ money.
The court heard that Zvorwadza also said VP Mphoko was refusing to stay in a house that Government bought him for $3 million.

Zvorwadza allegedly gave the hotel up to July 1 to ensure that VP Mphoko vacates the hotel. He said that failure to do so he would allegedly mobilise his members in their thousands to demonstrate and declare the hotel closed.

He said they would do anything to tarnish the image of the hotel and burn it down, the court heard. herald