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.

Friday, 31 July 2015

TWO YEARS OF MUGABE MISERY

Today marks exactly two years since Robert Mugabe and his beleaguered and faction - ridden political party, Zanu PF, staged the mother of all electoral theft and rigged themselves into power on July 31,2013.
Two years down the line, the illegitimate Zanu PF regime has totally failed to rescue the national economy from an endless tailspin that has led to an unprecedented number of workers losing their jobs in the formal sector as several companies and industries continue to close down. Thousands of people have been unleashed onto the streets as desperate vendors struggling to eke out a living. More than 60 000 people have since lost their jobs in just a short period of two years.

Following upon the disappointing Supreme Court judgment that was handed down on July 17, 2015, at least 16 000 more workers have since lost their jobs as broke and struggling companies are jostling to downsize their business operations.Zimbabwe is facing a national socio - economic crisis of unprecedented proportions.

Oblivious of the collapsing economy around him, Robert Mugabe has embarked on endless foreign jamborees that have cost the national treasury no less than US$100 million in only two years. The bloated civil service is struggling to be paid on a regular basis and in his mid - term fiscal policy review statement that was presented in Parliament on Thursday, July 30, 2015 a thoroughly exasperated and out - of - sorts Minister of Finance, Patrick Chinamasa announced that the government intends to cut the size of the civil service by at least 40%.
This effectively means that at least 200 000 civil servants will soon be laid off and dumped on the job market. Things have gone horribly wrong in Zimbabwe. The national economy has virtually imploded and central government is now totally bankrupt.Robert Mugabe might have successfully managed to rig the elections on July 31,2015 but he has certainly dismally failed to rig the economy.The end game is beckoning.

 The MDC calls upon all patriotic Zimbabweans to come together and help save their country from total collapse. The ruinous economic policies that that have been pursued by the bankrupt Zanu PF regime in the past two years have led to massive capital flight. The ill - conceived and unco–ordinated so - called indigenisation program has scared off potential investors and led to the severe downsizing and closure of the few remaining businesses that are still operating in the formal sector.

We are now faced with the horrifying spectre of a national economy that has been virtually informalised in a very short two years. The revenue base for the tax authority continues to shrink and there is a real likelihood that the Zanu PF regime will very soon be totally unable to pay civil servants their salaries and other benefits. Zimbabwe is presently in an economic and financial hell hole.

 The prevailing economic condition is clearly unsustainable. Something has got to give. Robert Mugabe and his broke Zanu PF regime should immediately swallow their pride; bite the bullet and admit that the economic situation needs emergency surgery.
As the MDC, we have always advocated for a social democratic socio - economic trajectory that would stimulate job creation and also trigger the sustainable growth of the country’s agricultural, manufacturing and industrial base.

Zimbabwe is an agro - based economy that can only remain vibrant provided that the agricultural sector is provided with adequate infrastructural and financial support.With the prevailing massive power load shedding and shortage of dams and irrigation infrastructure, our otherwise very hard - working and committed commercial and communal farmers will never be able to provide enough food for the nation.

Put simply, Zimbabwe will remain a net importer of food.This is a very embarrassing and humiliating state of affairs for a country that, only a few years ago, was the bread basket of Southern Africa.The country needs to have a grain reserve of about 1,2 million metric tonnes of maize but right now, only 40 000 metric tonnes of maize have been delivered to the Grain Marketing Board.

The Zanu PF regime is totally bankrupt and they don’t have the money to import the required maize in order to feed the nation. The MDC calls for the holding of an emergency national convergence indaba aimed at rescuing the country from the impending disaster.
At least 3 million Zimbabweans will be facing starvation by year end if no emergency remedial action is taken by the Zanu PF and other concerned stakeholders.A government that cannot feed its own people is not fit for purpose.Robert Mugabe should take a long,hard look at himself and proceed to do the honourable thing of resigning in order to save the nation.We trust that good sense and patriotism will prevail and that the clueless Zanu PF regime will see the light and throw in the towel. That is the only decent thing to do in the prevailing circumstances.

MDC: EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES FOR ALL
Obert Chaurura Gutu
National Spokesperson

CASTRATE THEM, URGES GRACE

The First Lady Grace Mugabe has called on the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs to align the existing laws to the new constitution to ensure no marriages are allowed to children below 18.

She also said stiffer penalties should be meted on those engaging in child marriages. The First Lady said older men who entice kids into early marriages should be castrated.

She said she will, on behalf of women in Zimbabwe, continue advocating for castration through various platforms in the country. 

The First Lady was speaking to thousands of women from different pursuits of life and school children who gathered at the Harare International Conference Centre for the launch of the African Union Campaign on Ending Child Marriages this Friday.

Mugabe implored chiefs represented at the launch by Chief Fortune Charumbira to continue spreading the gospel against child marriages. Dr Mugabe castigated some sentences that are being given to perpetrators of child rape such as community service saying they leave a lot to be desired.

She took a swipe at some young school children who seduce older men saying they should first concentrate on their education, adding that school girls should do first things first.

 Mugabe said she is also not happy with some older women and members of the community who blame their children.

The First Lady said it is the responsibility of the community to build and bring up a child.

WATCH : BOY DRIVER IN TROUBLE

A school boy driving a car in Harare found himself in a heap of trouble after bumping into another car.

WATCH : WHEN I WAS SACKED



MARRIED COP IN TROUBLE FOR BEDDING PUPIL

A married cop has been arrested after bedding a 14-year-old minor at St Anthony High School nine times. 

Walter Bere (27) stationed in Zaka slept with the pupil at various places, including his matrimonial bed.

The cop was rumbled when he was caught fondling the girl in a Kombi parked near the school grounds during a sporting event. Angry parents reported the case to Masvingo Police Station resulting in the arrest of Bere.

Bere appeared before Regional  Magistrate Judith Zuyu last week charged with statutory rape.

Some of the places where he had sex with the girl since 2013 allegedly included the matrimonial home, his friend's home, in a disused vehicle parked in a garage at Jerera Growth Point in Zaka and several other hideouts.


The girl told the court that she was only raped durint the first sexual encounter. All the other times she agreed to it.
 

Bere said in court that he did not  realise that the girl was underage.  The case continues. mirror

 

 

MUTASA SLAMS INSENSITIVE GRACE

Former Presidential Affairs minister Didymus Mutasa (pictured) — who celebrated his 80th birthday quietly on Monday — says he is shocked by the insensitivity of Zanu PF’s leaders, who threw an extravagant 50th birthday party for First Lady Grace Mugabe last weekend, at a time when most Zimbabweans are wallowing in abject poverty.


Speaking in an interview with the Daily News yesterday, in the wake of President Robert Mugabe’s controversial wife throwing two mega bashes to mark her half century milestone, Mutasa also doubted whether a significant portion of the money that was raised from the parties would be channelled to charities as claimed by organisers of the events.

Grace’s lavish Saturday bash — which was held at the First Family’s Borrowdale mansion, and which was broadcast live on ZBC and went into the wee hours of Sunday morning — was attended by the country’s well-heeled from both politics and business, who paid through their necks to share a table with the increasingly powerful First Lady.

But organisers of the extravaganza defended the event, saying it was meant to fundraise for the Grace philanthropic work.

Insiders estimate that up to $5 million was raised from the glamorous gala — and on Wednesday the First Lady appeared to react to negative public sentiment by donating some of the proceeds to 50 charities, at an event at her Mazowe business hub that was attended by some government ministers.

However, Mutasa — a former close ally of Mugabe — said yesterday that there were no measures in place to ensure that money raised from such occasions was not abused and would find its way to the needy.

Talking about his own birthday, he said the occasion was a small family affair, with the day mostly “just like any other ordinary day, characterised by power cuts and water woes and dreams of a brighter day”.

“There was nothing for me to celebrate when the people of Zimbabwe are suffering. I could not do that as it would be unfair and against what I stand for,” he said.

“It is inconceivable that one can have a gala when people are suffering. If the funds raised during such occasions reach the people, then fair and fine, but what if it doesn’t?

“It is doubtful that such funds reach the people. I am a member of the presidential fund that ensured that money donated to the president is distributed well. I don’t know whether that is what is taking place everywhere,” Mutasa added.

He said the greed and corruption manifesting in Zanu PF was a cause for concern that could only be confronted by a united front of people determined to achieve their “total emancipation”.

“I sometimes wonder whether this is the Zanu PF that I once belonged to. If what is happening now is what was happening when we were in Zanu PF, then it is really sad and we regret it ever happened. I would like to apologise profusely to the people of Zimbabwe for having been part of this system that is just after power,” Mutasa said.

He spoke as Zanu PF’s factional and succession wars get nastier and messier, and after former Vice President Joice Mujuru said on Wednesday that she was content watching the ruling party’s “sad circus from the terraces”.

At the same time, outspoken war veteran Margaret Dongo also told the Daily News that it would be a “fatal political mistake” if the likes of Mujuru and Mutasa rejoined the post-congress Zanu PF — particularly now, as being suggested in some circles.

This came amid claims earlier this week that Mugabe no longer believed that Mujuru and Mutasa plotted to oust and assassinate him, and suggestions that some post-congress Zanu PF bigwigs were actively working to lure the former VP back to the warring party.

Contrary to ill-founded expectations in some quarters, the post-congress Zanu PF has not known peace since it expelled Mujuru, Mutasa and other top officials from within its ranks — with the party subsequently splitting into two distinct and bitterly-opposed formations.

Speaking in a brief interview with the Daily News on Wednesday, and after being asked how she viewed the worsening factional and succession ruckus within Zanu PF, Mujuru said: “Ndiri kuonawo zviri kuita vamwe, and it’s interesting (I’m just watching what others in the party are doing and it’s interesting)”.

She also added that she was content watching these shenanigans from the “terraces” and declined to answer any further questions — including whether she was prepared to rejoin her erstwhile comrades in the post-congress Zanu PF.

But Dongo was emphatic that it would be a mistake if Mujuru and her allies rejoined Zanu PF as Mugabe was “back to his old cunning ways” and would only seek to use them.

“It is obvious that if they make a mistake to go back, he will use the divide and rule strategy by punishing those who were against Mujuru to please her and her group. It is not just talk by Mugabe, it is a public apology. It is only a question of time before this happens,” Dongo said.

Mutasa, the former minister of State Security, who turned 80 on Monday, said the “circus” in his former party was “tragic” — as people were putting their personal interests and the pursuit of power before the interests of Zimbabweans.

Expelled from Zanu PF last year, along with a coterie of other senior party officials, on untested allegations of pushing for Mugabe’s demise and the ascendancy of Mujuru to the top post, Mutasa has since turned into a fierce critic of the ruling party.

Apart from the two major Zanu PFs that now obtain, Mugabe’s post-congress faction is also further divided along two main factions — one allegedly led by Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, and the other reportedly fronted by the party’s ambitious Young Turks, the Generation 40 camp that is said to include the likes of the party’s political commissar Saviour Kasukuwere and Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko.

Mugabe recently told party youths, in a rare and unusually candid address, that he had received intelligence to the effect that the party was polarising around Mnangagwa and Mphoko — adding ominously that people who were pushing for either of the two men to succeed him needed to stop doing so forthwith.

And while the factional fights are getting all of the party’s attention, this is happening at the expense of the country’s comatose economy — with most Zimbabweans now shamefully poorer than they were when the country attained its independence in April 1980.

PAY BACK $1,5 BILLION FIRST, CHINA TELLS ZIM

NEW details are emerging from Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s recent trip to China amid revelations the Chinese will not give Zimbabwe the much-needed financial bailout unless it provides a payment plan for loans totalling US$1,5 billion accessed from the Asian economic giant over the past few years.

It has emerged that part of the reason for Mnangagwa’s visit to Beijing between July 5 and 10 was to seek an emergency rescue package for the country, which is facing a severe liquidity crunch.
During his visit Mnangagwa met several officials from the Communist Party of China (CPC), including Vice-President Li Yuanchao, in need of help.


Government has failed to implement its ambitious economic blue-print, ZimAsset, which it claims is the panacea to the country’s economic woes, partly because of lack of funds.

ZimAsset, which among other things promises to create 2,2 million jobs in the five-year period between 2013 and 2018, requires US$27 billion funding for implementation.

China, which has told Harare that it does not provide budgetary support, has provided Zimbabwe with over US$1 billion in concessionary and preferential loans. It has also given Zimbabwe US$100 million in grants and interest-free loans.

Mnangagwa reportedly pleaded with the Chinese to assist with funds, but just like President Robert Mugabe who visited the country in August last year, came back empty-handed.

The loans the Chinese are concerned about include the US$150m given to the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe in 2013, US$200m loan used to procure farming equipment (2011), a US$51m extended to the Grain Marketing Board (2012) and US$70m advanced to the Central Intelligence Organisation.

China also extended a US$36m loan to Zimbabwe after then vice-president Joice Mujuru approached the Chinese in 2013. Recently, Zimbabwe received digitalisation equipment worth US$3m as it futilely sought to beat the June 17 International Telecommunication Union’s deadline to migrate from analogue to digital broadcasting and US$218m for NetOne expansion.

Sources who accompanied Mnangagwa said the Chinese kept questioning Zimbabwe’s capacity to repay the loans since it had already defaulted on other loans.

Sinosure, an insurance company which guarantees all government-to-government loans involving the Chinese, was also reportedly refusing to guarantee further loans to Zimbabwe.

“Sinosure, an insurance company, is refusing to guarantee more loans from Chinese banks to Zimbabwean companies because of the government’s failure to repay arrears,” said a source adding: “In fact, Sinosure had closed its doors to Zimbabwe, but the Vice-President asked for a second chance and promised to make a follow-up on the outstanding loans.”

Mnangagwa assured the Chinese that he would personally be involved in following up on the outstanding loans, the source said.
The Chinese also expressed concern over the way Zimbabwe structured its deals before dispatching a team of experts from the International Co-operation Centre and National Development and Reform Commission of China to train Zimbabweans in areas such as structuring projects into bankable projects, establishment and management of special economic zones.


Chinese experts have also been deployed to Mugabe’s office.
During his visit, the straight-talking Chinese leaders also gave Mnangagwa a sobering reality check by raising several critical issues that Mugabe and his government usually feel uncomfortable dealing with.


Diplomats who followed Mnangagwa’s visit and officials who were part of the delegation to Beijing said the Chinese mandarins raised fears about Mugabe’s age, Zanu PF leadership renewal, Zimbabwe’s investment climate and ease of doing business, the country’s relations with Western countries, political risk, government’s failure to tackle corruption and bureaucratic red tape, among other thorny issues. independent

FOREIGN FUNDING : ZANU PF GUILTY

President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF has no moral and legal standing to accuse the MDC-T of surviving on foreign funding because it was also guilty of the same offence, analysts have said.

Information ministry secretary George Charamba, who also doubles as Mugabe’s spokesperson, told the State media on Wednesday that the government could soon deny the MDC-T funding under the Political Parties Finance Act alleging that the main opposition party was getting foreign funding.

He said this after MDC-T secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora was quoted saying he would lead a four-member delegation to Europe as they start preparing for the 2018 general elections.

Charamba immediately interpreted the report as suggesting the MDC-T officials would be going to get money to build a war chest for the elections. He also threatened that the government would stop any engagement effort with the European Union.

The MDC-T has since denied that it was getting financial support from the European Union member countries.

But media scholar and political analyst Pedzisai Ruhanya yesterday said Charamba’s threats could only be reasonable if the two main parties were abiding by the Act.

“Zanu PF thinks that foreign funding is only when the money comes from hostile countries to them,” Ruhanya said.

“But when it is coming from friendly countries like China and Russia, it is not foreign funding. Charamba is correct in applying the law, but not on application. According to his understanding, Chinese and Russians are not foreign. That is his new definition.”

“If Charamba is serious, the law should also apply to Zanu PF,” he said. Mugabe’s Zanu PF had been turning to China and Russia for financial support after being slapped with sanctions by the West. China reportedly bankrolled Zanu PF’s 2013 election campaign.

Political analyst Takura Zhangazha said Charamba’s utterances were more of “a pot calling the other pot more black”.

“All political parties, Zanu PF included, get foreign support in cash and kind. The law should apply to all,” Zhangazha said.

He said Zanu PF’s intention was to clearly undermine the capacity of opposition parties as the country approaches the 2018 general elections.

“Our political culture is no longer based on values, but is now monetised, resources-based and patronage-directed. Zanu PF is trying to deny opposition parties necessary resources to campaign. It is not democratic. Our political system is party-centred,” he said.

Zhangazha, however, urged both Zanu PF and MDC-T to respect the laws of the land regarding funding of political parties.
Another political analyst, Ibbo Mandaza, said Charamba’s statement showed that Zanu PF was running scared. He said Charamba, a civil servant, was speaking on behalf of Zanu PF showing the level of panic in the ruling party.


“That both Zanu PF and the MDC-T receive foreign funding was a known issue,” Mandaza said.

He said Charamba’s statement also showed double standards by Zanu PF which was pledging commitment for engagement with the EU yet it was threatening them at the same time. Mugabe on Wednesday threatened to boot out EU envoys claiming they were funding vendors to resist relocation to designated areas. newsday

ZIMASSET HAS FAILED, SAYS MOYO

ECONOMIC Planning minister Simon Khaya Moyo has conceded that Zanu PF’s much-touted antidote to the economic collapse — the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (ZimAsset) — has missed most of its targets.

Speaking at the Small and Medium Enterprises and Co-operative Investment Expo in Harare on Tuesday, Khaya Moyo said economic growth targets had fallen short since the launch of ZimAsset in 2013.

“As you may be aware, government started implementing ZimAsset in 2013. Our ZimAsset runs from 2013 to 2018,” Khaya Moyo, who is also Zanu PF spokesperson, said.

“Since the commencement of ZimAsset implementation, economic growth realised has fallen short of targets set in the blueprint.
“ZimAsset targeted economic growth averaging 7,3% during the plan period (October 2013-December 2018), with the economy expected to grow by 3,4% in 2013 and 6,2% in 2014 and continue on an upwards growth trajectory to 9,9% by 2018.


“However, the country could only manage growth rates of 3,4% in 2013 and 2014 respectively.”

This is the first time Zanu PF has admitted that its economic blueprint has suffered the same fate of its predecessors in failing to stimulate economic development. Zimbabwe is currently experiencing a serious economic downturn that has resulted in massive company closures and job losses, despite Zanu PF promising in its 2013 electoral campaign that it would create over two million jobs.

This has been worsened by a recent Supreme Court ruling, which triggered massive job cuts after it gave the employer the right to terminate employees’ contracts on three months’ notice without having to pay retrenchment packages.

To date, over 9 000 workers have been laid off since Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku delivered the ruling two weeks ago.

But Khaya Moyo said the decline in economic growth in 2014 was a result of poor investment performance, low business confidence, liquidity constraints, infrastructure and energy deficits, limited fiscal pace, depressed domestic demand and subdued international prices for major exports.

“It is the duty of government and my ministry in particular to turn around this economy and achieve desired economic growth,” he said.

Khaya Moyo also conceded that the country was receiving the least foreign direct inflows compared to her neighbours, while savings had declined due to high cost of capital.

He said the public debt now stood at $7,94 billion, translating to 56% of the country’s gross domestic product.

On agriculture, Khaya Moyo said it was now “a pale shadow of its vibrant self of the 1980s” due to climate change and poor financing.

The manufacturing industry was also underperforming, forcing the country to rely on cheap imports.

“This, I must mention, compromises the ZimAsset objective for the country to become self-sufficient in food and regain its status as the breadbasket of Southern Africa,” he said. “As I mentioned earlier, poor performance of the agricultural sector has negative downstream implications for the rest of the value chain.”

President Robert Mugabe and his ruling Zanu PF party often blame Western sanctions for the country’s failure to meet its development goals that has seen it lagging behind the rest of Africa. newsday

ARMY GETS NEW INDIAN CARS

Zimbabwe is set to receive several vehicles from Indian automobile manufacturer Ashok Leyland with a large chunk of the consignment reportedly destined for the army, sources said yesterday.

The vehicles were acquired last year under a $50 million loan facility reportedly funded by Exim Bank of India. The consignment also includes buses.

The development is likely to raise eyebrows as it comes at a time the financially-crippled government is struggling to pay salaries for civil servants and provide essential social services, including water and health.

Under the deal, the Tourism and Hospitality Industry ministry is the contracting party and the vehicles would be used for tourism-related business, disaster management and by other government departments.

A flag-off ceremony for the vehicles was held in India on June 28.

Sources said some of the cars were destined for the army but the Tourism ministry was used as a shield to bust the international trade embargo imposed on the army.

Tourism and Hospitality Industry minister Walter Mzembi confirmed the importation of the vehicles.

“You have done this story before, tourism is the contracting party and the consignment is for its use and other government departments,” he said.

Last year, Mzembi told a local news agency the cars would be used to promote domestic tourism.

Mzembi said the order included government vehicles, some for the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (Zimparks), game-viewing equipment, luxury buses and school tourism buses.

Army spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Alphios Makotore told NewsDay on Wednesday to send questions to the private email of an officer in his department.

The officer later told this paper to redirect the questions on the official Zimbabwe National Army email address adding, “besides I think these questions could have been directed to the Zimbabwe Defence Forces public relations”.

Zimbabwe Defence Forces spokesperson Colonel Overson Mugwizi was not reachable for comment yesterday.

Zimparks had by last night not responded to questions sent on Wednesday.

Ashok Leyland pride themselves as the “pioneers in the design, development and manufacture of specialised defence vehicles for armed forces”.

It claims that over 70 000 vehicles on its Stallon platform form the “veritable logistics backbone of the Indian army and make us the largest supplier of logistics vehicles to them”.

Ashok Leyland says it was a “known company that has provided logistic mobility solutions to the armed forces over the years” including among others, troop/load carrying vehicles, light recovery vehicles, field artillery tractor and truck firefighting.
Last year, Ashok Leyland Limited said it had won a contract to supply vehicles to Zimbabwe.


“The company has bagged a contract from the Ministry of Tourism and Hospitality Industry, Government of Zimbabwe, for the supply 670 vehicles valued at approximately $50 million. The order is planned to be executed in the financial year 2014/15,” the company said in a statement to the Bombay Stock Exchange. newsday

MAN JAILED FOR FONDLING WAITRESS'S PRIVATE PARTS

A BULAWAYO man will regret the day he fondled a waitress’s private parts as he was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment for indecent assault.

Marvellous Ncube, 31, appeared before magistrate Batanai Tuwe facing a charge of indecent assault.
Ncube pleaded not guilty to the crime. The magistrate sentenced him to 12 months but suspended six months on condition he does not commit a similar crime.

Ncube will serve the remaining six months in prison. Prosecuting, Dzidzai Josiah said on April 6 at around 8PM the victim was at the counter when Ncube came from behind and put his hand between her legs from behind and fondled her private parts.

When the victim pushed off his hand Ncube started to insult the victim saying she’s stupid. A police officer Tayengwa Mhlanga, who was a patron at the sports bar, spotted Ncube.
Tayengwa told the court how Ncube fondled the victim.

“I saw him put his hand underneath the buttocks as if to touch the private parts. I went up to him to show him my police identity card,” he said.

He said he called another police officer who was on duty from Southampton Building to arrest Ncube.
Ncube told the court that he was not drunk and remembers the events of the alleged night.

“I didn’t touch her. I just asked for a drink and she called me a thief. I was surprised when the police officer arrested me,” he said. Tuwe found Ncube guilty of indecent assault.

“Indecent assault can easily turn to rape and this matter calls for a deterrent sentence. The rights of women must be seen to be upheld by the courts,” he said. chronicle

CHINAMASA BANS SECOND HAND CLOTHES IMPORTS

FINANCE Minister Patrick Chinamasa yesterday announced a 10 percent increase in import duty on second hand vehicles and a ban on the importation of second hand clothes.
Presenting the Mid-Term Fiscal Review in Parliament, Chinamasa increased surtax on imported second hand vehicles of five years and older to 35 percent from 25 percent in a bid to protect local car assemblers and contain the growing import bill.

Chinamasa announced a cocktail of measures to protect local industry which include a ban on second hand clothes and the scrapping of rebate on imported basic goods that can be produced locally from August 1. He said the economy continued to be weighed down by a ballooning import bill, with exports remaining constrained.

Imports for the six months to June this year stood at $3,1 billion from $3 billion recorded in the corresponding period last year, he said, adding that imports are expected to grow by six percent this year.

BUDGET HIGHLIGHTS

›› Economic growth revised downwards to 1,5 percent
›› Government to reduce wage bill from 80 percent to 40 percent of total budget.
›› Duty on second hand vehicles increased.
›› Groceries such as maize-meal, meat, sugar and flour to be removed from Traveller’s Rebate
›› Importation of second hand clothing and shoes banned
›› Agriculture output projected to decline by 8,2 percent in 2015.
›› $3 million facility for SMEs
›› $5 million seed money for Women’s Bank.
›› Revenue target reduced to $3,6 billion from $3,99 billion
›› World Bank to fund audits of Public Enterprises.
›› Blankets to be removed from the Open General Import Licence for two years.
›› Exports projected to decline by 5 percent

Exports account for 50 percent of the country’s liquidity, he said.

A marginal 0,4 percent growth was seen in exports receipts for the six months to June this 
year amounting to $1,3 billion compared to $1,22 billion recorded in the corresponding period last year.

With Zimbabwe’s car manufacturing sector virtually non-existent, thousands of Zimbabweans have resorted to second hand car imports from Japan and Britain, driving up the import bill.
The importation of second hand clothes and shoes will be banned with effect from September 1 this year. Goods will be subject to seizure and destruction.
Zimbabwe’s textile and leather industries have, since dollarisation, been under siege from the influx of imports, especially finished second hand clothes, shoes and leather products that forced some of them to close down.

The new measures also form part of extensive measures the government is taking to grow the economy, with the economic growth rate revised down from 3,2 percent to 1,5 percent due to a poor agricultural season.

The slower growth is also expected to impact government revenues, which have since been revised downwards to $3,6 billion from $3,99 billion after first half collections missed the target by 6 percent.

Minister Chinamasa said apart from the negative impact of second hand imports of shoes and clothes on industrial recovery, these products posed a health hazard, as they were not subjected to fumigation.

He said despite the customs duty rates of $5 per kg on clothing and 40 percent plus $1 per pair of shoes to reduce competition for local industry, the products had continued to flood the market.

“I, therefore, propose to remove secondhand clothing and shoes from the Open General Import Licence.,” he said.

“Furthermore, any future importation of second hand clothing and shoes will be liable to forfeiture and destruction. Over and above this, the emergence of vending of cheap, low quality and smuggled imports is further choking both our producers and retailers, in addition to limiting inflows into the fiscus”.

The sale of second hand shoes and clothes had become so rampant along virtually all streets of the country’s major cities, towns and business centres, as most of the products were evading paying duty.

The used products were sold everywhere including in front of formal retail shops, which negatively impacted on established businesses that pay rentals and taxes to the government.

Prior to the proliferation of secondhand shoes and clothes, this form of trade was confined to officially designated places such as Mupedzanhamo in Mbare and Nkulumane in Bulawayo.
The minister also removed from the travellers rebate such grocery items as mealie-meal, meat, sugar and flour.

“Customs duty is levied on selected groceries that include flour, mealie-meal, bath and laundry soap, washing powder, toothpaste and petroleum jelly, among others.

“Cross-border travellers continue to import groceries duty free under rebate. However, there is no justification for continued rampant importation, since locally manufactured products are readily available,” he said. World Bank to fund audits of Public Enterprises. herald

Thursday, 30 July 2015

MPOFU : NOTHING TO DO WITH ME

Former Mines and Mining Development Minister Obert Mpofu yesterday distanced himself from the alleged pledge of $50 million towards the Zimunya-Marange Community Share Ownership Trust by five diamond mining companies operating in Marange. Minister Mpofu, who is now in charge of the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development, said he was involved in all the other launches of Community Share Ownership Trusts to do with mining across the country except the Zimunya-Marange.

He made the remarks when he appeared before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment chaired by Zanu-PF MP for Gokwe-Nembudziya Cde Justice Mayor Wadyajena.

Former Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Minister Saviour Kasukuwere, who presided over the launch of several Community Share Ownership Trusts, said the companies — Mbada Diamonds, Marange Resources, Anjin Investments, Jinan and Diamond Mining Corporation – pledged $10 million each when President Mugabe launched the scheme in 2012.

But when the companies appeared before the same committee last year, expressed ignorance to the establishment of the trust with only Anjin Investments claiming to have pledged about $1,5 million.
Minister Mpofu also professed ignorance to the establishment of the trust saying it was under the purview of then Minister of Indigenisation Cde Kasukuwere.

“I have no recollection as to the invitation to this function,” he said.
“If you also look at records that are of public information, we attended most of the launches in Ngezi, Gwanda, Hwange functions. But I have no recollection as to the communication regarding this specific one.” Cde Wadyajena asked Minister Mpofu to confirm if he had any discussions with Minister Kasukuwere about the pledges and his subsequent instructions to ZMDC and the other diamond mining firms.

He added that when Minister Kasukuwere appeared before the committee recently, he advised them that the pledges had been discussed at senior level as such, there was no need to engage the companies directly.

“I don’t remember entering into any agreement with ZMDC to make any pledge. In fact, there was no such an agreement. This is a serious decision that would require proper documentation of that arrangement. You don’t discuss such major transactions verbally.

“If there was such an arrangement there should have been some documentation to that effect and I am not aware of that documentation,” said Minister Mpofu. herald

MPHOKO : I DON'T WANT TO BE PRESIDENT

VICE President Phelekezela Mphoko has dismissed claims that he is angling to succeed President Mugabe, insisting that he is content in his current post. The Vice President, appointed last year, said he should not be mixed up in succession plots after becoming a target of anti-Government tabloids. First Lady Grace Mugabe and Zanu-PF national political commissar Cde Saviour Kasukuwere have also denied similar claims, with Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa also being a target in a scheme which appears designed to cause distrust in the party’s hierarchy.

Mphoko, who is on a tour of developmental projects in Matabeleland South province, told villagers in Maphisa that the values of his party Zanu-PF did not allow him to fight for his leader’s post.

“It has been reported that I’m fighting with (Cde) Mnangagwa over the presidential post. I come from a culture with proper leadership that does not allow us to fight for our seniors’ posts,” the Vice President said.

“I want the people to know that I’m happy with my post as VP and I’m not fighting with Cde Mnangagwa over the presidency. President Mugabe is not only our leader, but our father. We therefore respect his leadership and this will never change.”

He said it was unfortunate that people were wasting time peddling lies instead of focusing on more important things that bring development to the country.

“The late Vice Presidents Cdes Joshua Nkomo, Simon Muzenda, Joseph Msika and John Nkomo never gave President Mugabe any problems and this is what we were taught in our party. I have no intentions to give our leader any problems.
“Those who want to be involved in fights for the presidential post are free to do so, but they should leave me alone because I’ve important work to do for the nation as VP.”
Cde Kasukuwere, who is also the Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister, recently distanced himself from the reports, saying he should be counted out of the imagined race.

He said he was there to assist and serve President Mugabe and should not be implicated in any succession plots and speculations.

President Mugabe has warned party members against propping up some leaders over others as this would create another “Gamatox” — a reference to a putschist cabal led by former Vice President Joice Mujuru who was expelled along with other top party officials for plotting to unconstitutionally depose him ahead of the 6th Zanu-PF People’s Congress last December.

VP Mphoko also warned Government officials against corruption, saying they risked losing their jobs. He said President Mugabe was an honest man who needed loyal people to represent him sincerely and serve the people.

“Let’s do our work in a manner that pleases the President. Abusing the system will not help us at all. President Mugabe is not a dealer or a gambler,” he said.
“He’s an honest man and straight-forward leader who needs people with the same values. When he puts policies, he does it for the country’s benefit.”

VP Mphoko said that those who benefited from the land reform programme should utilise their land to improve food security in the country.

“The Government deployed officials in different departments in the country to do their work and serve the people in their respective areas, but there are some who are busy stealing Government money and resources and shutting people out of their offices.
“I want to warn such officials that we will not hesitate to kick them out if they don’t do their work to develop the nation.” herald

ANGRY MZEMBI LASHES OUT

Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Walter Mzembi, has criticised the Victoria Falls Municipality for hiking rates by 650 percent despite Government having ordered a freeze pending consultations. Minister Mzembi said in an interview on Wednesday that such a move was counter-productive and would stifle the growth of the tourism industry, not only in the country, but also in the region.

Local Government, Public Works and National Housing acting permanent secretary Retired Colonel Joseph Mhakayakora, told the Parliamentary committee on Environment, Water, Tourism and Hospitality Industry on Monday that the rates hike had been implemented.
He said some tourism operators in the resort town would now pay as much as $9 000 a month in rates. Minister Mzembi said very few tourism players would be able to keep their businesses afloat after paying such high rates.

“I am really shocked by the degree of bureaucratic intransigence and overzealousness to administer vestiges of quasi-colonial municipal by-laws, consultation processes and one size fit all anti business tariffs that disregard completely operational viability. And this business of disregarding ministerial directives will not assist Zim-Asset,” he said.
“We are only taxing the tourist to death. And who will visit us? I am definitely engaging my counterpart Cde Saviour Kasukuwere (Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing) over this increase.”

“In fact, you may be interested to know that I had engaged the then responsible Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Dr Ignatius Chombo over this matter and we had agreed that the increase should be frozen.”

Minister Mzembi said it was wrong for Local Government officials to rush to Parliament with the matter before consutations were over.

” Our bilateral position with Dr Chombo was a directive to Victoria Falls Municipality through Principal Director for Urban and Local Authorities Ms Erica Jones that the two parties further engage towards a differential tariff formula and get back to us, not Parliament or the press,” he said.

“I am sure the new minister has not been appraised about this, but being a businessman that he is in his other life he will certainly understand what we sought to achieve. We need measured and sober responses to the challenges facing our economy and bureaucratic bravado will not help at this stage of implementing recovering solutions to ailing businesses.”
Minister Mzembi said tourism was a highly competitive market in which fixed products (destinations) were selected by mobile consumers with multiple destination choices, a dynamic that may increase the price elasticity of demand.

“As a result, the sector is particularly sensitive to issues related to imposed taxes and tax competition.” He said the tourist was being taxed several times through Value Added Tax, visa fees, airport taxes, food, accommodation, local transport and many other avenues meant to dry up their pockets. herald

CHIMENE SAVAGES MUCHINGURI

MANICALAND Provincial Affairs Minister Mandi Chimene yesterday launched an attack on Zanu-PF Politburo member Cde Oppah Muchinguri and Headlands legislator Cde Christopher Chingosho, accusing them of fanning division in the province. Minister Chimene claimed that Cde Muchinguri, who is also Environment , Water and Climate Minister had differences with her which she said dated back to more than 10 years.

Minister Chimene was speaking while addressing journalists from several media houses at a press conference at her Government offices. She named Cde Muchinguri as the person behind a recorded voice that was badmouthing her recently.

Cde Muchinguri, said Minister Chimene, did not belong to Manicaland, but came to the province because her father was a teacher there.

“Why should a fellow war veteran fight another cadre?” said Minister Chimene.
“I have no time to badmouth my colleagues. I know Cde Oppah Muchinguri has been addressing meetings calling us names, but I will not fight back. However, it doesn’t mean we are cowards. We can hit back.
“We are all children of Manicaland. I am better off because I am from Makoni, what about her who is from Zimuto in Masvingo. Her father came to Manicaland as a teacher.
“A lot was being said behind my back and I used to dismiss this saying I don’t rely on rumours until a youth member who attended a meeting at Cde Muchinguri’s house in Harare decided to record it.”

Minister Chimene said their beef started in 1999 when Cde Muchinguri opposed her ascendancy to the Central Committee in preference for another candidate.
She said the smear campaigns against her would not affect Zanu-PF or the party’s province.
On Cde Chingosho, Cde Chimene accused him of organising a demonstration against her in Headlands during which villagers complained about the settlement of “foreigners” in local farms.

Villagers staged a demonstration against the settling of clergy Bishop Trevor Manhanga and Mines and Mining Development secretary Professor Francis Gudyanga ahead of landless villagers.

No comment could be obtained from Cde Muchinguri yesterday as her mobile numbers were not reachable. Cde Chingosho denied organising the demonstration, but said he shared grievances with the villagers.

“I was in Parliament when the demonstration was held,” he said. “I was only called to receive their petition against Mandi (Minister Chimene).

“Their issues are valid. How do you settle an A2 farmer when there are people residing in mountains because there is no land. During our campaigns, this is what we were telling people that we will resettle them once the acquisition process is complete.”

NO MONEY FOR ZAPU CONGRESS

ZAPU has been forced to postpone to year-end its elective congress that had been scheduled for next month because of the unavailability of funding.


The party is now scheduled to convene a meeting of its top brass — the national people’s council — to endorse the postponement. The meeting would be held in Bulawayo this weekend. In terms of ZAPU’s constitution, the five-year term of the current leadership will expire next month.


Dumiso Dabengwa, along with his executive, were ushered into office in August 2010, hence they should either seek re-election or give way to new blood to run ZAPU.
So dire are the party’s finances that ZAPU is even battling to fund the weekend meeting to give legal effect to the postponement of the congress.


Dabengwa admitted this week that it was no longer possible to hold the elective congress next month due to lack of resources.


“We are feeling the pinch from the economy. Even the meeting that we are supposed to hold this weekend, we will barely be able to finance the venue and to feed delegates over the two days it will be held. We have since asked our members to provide their own transport to the meeting,” he said.


At the weekend meeting, delegates are also expected to discuss the budget for the congress, which could be in the upwards of US$300 000. Observers are fearful that party leaders might use the absence of resources to extend their stay in office contrary to the spirit of internal party democracy.
Dabengwa was evasive on whether he would seek another term at the helm of ZAPU.
“That is something which congress will have to decide on,” he said.

MDC EXECUTIVE MEETS

 The MDC national executive today met in Harare and discussed, among many other issues, the crisis facing the ordinary people of Zimbabwe.

After an eight-hour meeting at the party headquarters in Harare, the executive restated its position that at the root of the national crisis is a fraudulent election. The only way forward, the executive noted, is a return to legitimacy through a free, fair and credible election.

The executive concluded that the only way Zimbabweans can get economic respite is if Zimbabweans freely elect a legitimate government that has the confidence of the people of Zimbabwe, the region, Africa and the broader international community.

The executive noted the collapse of the economy and how ordinary Zimbabweans are struggling to barely survive as the party in government remains clueless on solving the plight of the people.

The executive noted with serious concern the casualisation of labour through the indiscriminate termination of their contracts following the recent Supreme Court ruling. More than 9 000 people have lost their jobs in one week and the government has still not done anything to protect the callous dismissal of workers by their employers.

The executive also discussed the safety and security of the citizen, which remains under serious threat even though it is guaranteed under the new Constitution. The executive resolved to continue putting legitimate and constitutional pressure on the government on the issue of the workers, the vendors and for the State to find the missing Itai Dzamara and to give regular updates in compliance with a High Court order.

AUDIO : MOYO FEELS AT HOME

Newly appointed Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Prof Jonathan Moyo on July 30 said he felt at home in his new portfolio.

Moyo was speaking at the official opening of the Zimbabwe Open University International Research Conference at the Rainbow Towers Hotel in Harare.

In a jest-riddled address as the guest of honour, Moyo said it was his first public address as minister of Higher Education

“When I was invited, I thought twice about accepting this invitation, first because I am new to the ministry as you heard, about a month old in this ministry. Also as you heard; no controversies so far and the emphasis is so far,” he said to a rapturous audience.

CHINAMASA ANNOUNCES CIVIL SERVANTS JOB CUTS

Zimbabwe’s finance minister, Patrick Chinamasa has revealed plans to reduce the wage bill by 40% from the current 80% as the government struggles to reduce its expenditure.

In his presentation of the Mid-term Fiscal Review in Parliament on Thursday, Chinamasa the move would free fiscal space to cover projects under the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio Economic Transformation.

Chinamasa said revenue for 2015 would be $3,6 billion against a target of $3,99 billion. Expenditure would come down to $4 billion from $4,11 billion. He said the gap of $400 million would be financed from domestic and external sources.

He said there were some executives from parastatals who were earning above the stipulated salary of $9 000 set by Cabinet saying a Bill would be in place to ensure that Cabinet directive on salaries was enforceable.

Chinamasa removed groceries from travellers rebate saying the commodities can be obtained locally thereby boosting local industries.

He removed second hand clothing and shoes from the open general import licence adding that any future importation of second hand clothing and shoes will be liable to forfeiture and seizures.
He said tax amnesty on defaulters will be further extended by four months to October.