Since the death of former army commander and Zanu PF kingpin retired General Solomon Mujuru, President Robert Mugabe has been having an easy ride in the party as politburo members have no guts to openly confront him over the succession issue.

The situation has been made even worse by the departure of former politburo guru Dumiso Dabengwa who together with Mujuru could stand up to Mugabe, demanding to know when he would relinquish power and usher in leadership renewal.

Mujuru and Dabengwa forced Mugabe to call for an extraordinary congress in 2007 where they plotted to replace him with former politburo member and ex-finance minister Simba Makoni.

The late Vice-President Joseph Msika also used to intervene at critical moments like when he blocked suggestions by Zanu PF officials in 2007 that Mugabe be declared life president.

Ironically, it was Mujuru who was instrumental in helping install Mugabe as Zanu PF leader in Mozambique in 1976 when guerrilla fighters were resisting his ascendancy.

Before his death in a mysterious fire in 2011, Mujuru had become a thorn in Mugabe’s flesh.

Mugabe has been at the helm of Zanu PF since 1977 after seizing its leadership from founding leader Ndabaningi Sithole in a prison coup in 1974 and has ruled Zimbabwe uninterrupted since 1980.

With the departure of Mujuru and Dabengwa, Mugabe has been having it easy. At the party’s Goromonzi conference in 2006, Mujuru and his allies blocked Mugabe’s attempts to extend his presidential term by two years outside an election from 2008 to 2010. He had been controversially re-elected in 2002.

Mugabe’s six-year term was due to end in 2008 while parliament’s five-year term was to run until 2010 following parliamentary polls in 2005. So in a bid to ensure the presidential and parliamentary terms ran concurrently, Mugabe and his loyalists tried to extend his tenure by two years but Mujuru and others rejected that.

After blocking Mugabe, Mujuru’s faction, which had triumphed during the 2004 congress, gained momentum in the run-up to the 2008 elections and forced an extraordinary congress in December 2007 as the internal power struggle reached its zenith.

Their plan was for Makoni to challenge Mugabe for the presidency with Dabengwa as his deputy, but this was blocked by presidential loyalists, including Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa.

After this, Mujuru and his allies tried to fight Mugabe from outside. Makoni sensationally quit Zanu PF with a plan to register himself as the party’s candidate on nomination day just before the 2008 elections supported by Dabengwa. Mujuru and the rest would then leave to urge Zanu PF supporters to back Makoni in a bid to stage a palace coup against Mugabe.

Dabengwa confirmed this in a recent interview with the state-owned Sunday Mail, although the Zimbabwe Independent extensively reported on this at the time.

However, Makoni lost the plot and the entire plan was thrown into disarray.

After the departure of Dabengwa and Makoni, and the subsequent death of Mujuru, Mugabe virtually has no challenger in Zanu PF.

No one has the courage to confront him anymore and that is why before party conferences in Mutare, Bulawayo and now Gweru he easily retained his position.

Before Mujuru and Dabengwa emerged as firebrands, Mugabe used to have problems from the late Edison Zvobgo, Edgar Tekere and Enos Nkala, among others.

After Tekere was expelled from Zanu PF and Nkala fell by the wayside following the Willowgate scandal, Zvobgo became the main voice of dissent within the party.

Zvobgo gave Mugabe problems until his death in 2004, just before the explosive congress that year.

Current actions by the party’s factional leaders Joice Mujuru, widow of the late General Mujuru, and Mnangagwa show Mugabe is no longer under any challenge.

All Zanu PF structures have endorsed Mugabe to continue leading the party and stand for re-election next year when he would be 89 years old ahead of the Gweru conference next week.

When Mujuru was still alive and Dabengwa in Zanu PF, Mugabe was always forced to sweat to retain the party leadership and remain as the uncontested candidate in presidential elections.

Although senior party leaders believe Mugabe is no longer a viable but risky candidate given his advanced age and health problems, they are unable to mobilise to force him out because of the party’s strict disciplinary codes, hierarchical arrangements, patronage and internal rivalry which allows his divide-and-rule tactics to thrive.

Mugabe survived spirited attempts during the recent constitution-making process to bar him from standing in the next elections on term limits and age grounds.

Senior Zanu PF and MDC party officials, working in cahoots, recently tried to insert in the draft constitution clauses to render Mugabe ineligible for re-election but the veteran ruler viciously fought back to defeat the plot.

Joice Mujuru and Mnangagwa have been locked in a protracted battle to succeed Mugabe despite their recent official denials for fear of a backlash.

Denials they are interested in succession even when their supporters confirm it show how much fear Mugabe has instilled in them and why he is once again the undisputed Zanu PF leader even though he lacks popular support and legitimacy.

(Source)

Zimbabwe’s former Ambassador to China and top Zanu (PF) member, Chris Mutsvangwa, has acknowledged that challenging party President and First Secretary, Robert Mugabe, for his position is “perilous”.

In an exclusive interview with The Zimbabwean, Mutsvangwa, considered a hardline strategist, said no-one would openly challenge Mugabe without his approval.

“Anyone who challenges Mugabe for the top job does so at his own peril. Any party official who wants to succeed him will only do so with his (Mugabe’s) blessings,” stressed Mutsvangwa.

His remarks come ahead of the party’s annual conference on Tuesday, and at a time when all 10 provinces have endorsed the 89-year old leader as their candidate in next year’s presidential poll.

Observers say the “unanimous” endorsement, which in the past has been marked by muffled rebellion by some provinces, reflected recognition among those eyeing Mugabe’s post that it would be futile to challenge him.

Mutsvangwa was the Zanu (PF) candidate for the Norton House of Assembly seat in the March 2008 general elections, but lost to the MDC-T. He was recalled from China several years ago under unclear circumstances, but remains influential in the party where he is part of the think tank and has become enormously wealthy.

While his remarks make it clear that there will be no leadership renewal ahead of the conference, tension within the party was highlighted by its secretary for information, Rugare Gumbo, who said the party would die if it continued to frustrate the Young Turks.

“Obviously, the party needs re-generation, otherwise we run the danger of becoming extinct. We don’t want the party to die by keeping out young blood; the so-called Young Turks will guarantee our survival,” Gumbo told The Zimbabwean.

“We are actively encouraging the young crop to contest in primary elections and to be brave enough to challenge their older colleagues where they feel they have a chance of winning. Many have taken up the message,” added Gumbo, who was beaten by a Young Turk, Makhosini Hlongwane for the Mberengwa East seat in 2008.

He said Zanu (PF) needed “new thinking, new ideologies and new means of carrying the party forward”.

But he was careful to defend Mugabe’s stay in power, saying his recent endorsement showed that he was the most popular leader in Zanu (PF), and called for careful blending of old and new blood.

“Even if, as a senior member of the party I might want Mugabe to go, who am I to go against the will of the people? Let the people decide,” he said.

Mugabe is considered a shrewd strategist who has, over the decades, managed to pit party heavies against each other, taking advantage of the dirty history and ill-gotten wealth of his lieutenants. They are said to be wary of challenging him openly because he can expose them and cause their arrest.

Even though there was evidence of revolt, the provinces finally endorsed him as their leader yet again in 2004 and 2007. Meanwhile the Young Turks are increasing their pressure to push out the veterans in order to gain a better position on the gravy train.

Mugabe seems set to follow the trend whereby Zanu (PF) leaders die in office. High profile lieutenants and former Vice Presidents, Joshua Nkomo, Simon Muzenda and Joseph Msika, all remained office holders until their death, despite being ill for long periods. Vice President Nkomo is critically ill in South Africa.

Mugabe has led the party since the mid-1970s when he toppled Ndabaningi Sithole in a palace coup. At the time the then Zanu, together with Joshua Nkomo’s Zapu, was fighting the Rhodesian Front government of Ian Smith that had unilaterally declared independence from Britain in 1965.

Mugabe’s strongest contender in next year’s poll, which he insists should be in March despite strong local, regional and international opposition, will be MDC-T’s Morgan Tsvangirai, who for the first time since independence in 1980 beat him in 2008 but pulled out of a run-off in protest at widespread violence and victimisation of his supporters.

Past opponents

In the past, Masvingo, Midlands, Mashonaland East and Harare provinces stood out as the dark sheep in the Zanu (PF) pen when they showed signs of opposition against Mugabe’s continued stay at the helm.

Numerous Zanu (PF) heavies, who have openly challenged Mugabe’s rule, have fallen by the wayside, either being expelled from the party or relegated to insignificant positions.

Dzikamai Mavhaire, who has now bounced back as a senior member in Masvingo, is a classic example. He spent long years in the political wilderness when, in the 1990s, he openly called on Mugabe to go.

He was reportedly fronting for the late outspoken politburo member and Lancaster House negotiator, Eddison Zvobgo, who at that time was also eyeing the party’s presidency.

On the eve of 2008 general elections, other senior members, particularly Dumiso Dabengwa and Simba Makoni, who had failed in their backroom attempts to have Mugabe step down, pulled out, later forming a loose coalition of independent candidates, Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn.

Makoni, who for years was touted as an heir apparent, was reportedly convinced to pull out of the party by the late General Solomon Mujuru, who then led one of the prominent factions in the party.

Mujuru is said to have promised that he and his supporters would join Makoni – but apparently developed cold feet at the last moment, and then died in a mysterious fire.

New blood

A number of new young leaders are reportedly making frantic efforts to stamp their presence in the constituencies they are eyeing. These include former advisor to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor, Munyaradzi Kereke, and ZiFM head and journalist, Supa Mandiwanzira.

Among the Young Turks who have already had a taste of power are Mugabe’s nephew Patrick Zhuwawo, Mhondoro-Ngezi MP Bright Matonga, Youth and Empowerment Minister Saviour Kasukuwere, Tourism Minister Walter Muzembi and former Information Minister Jonathan Moyo.

The likes of Eddison Zvobgo Jnr, former journalist Kindness Paradza, former Zifa CEO Henrietta Rushwaya and past Masvingo Provincial Chairperson Daniel Shumba, are also reported to have thrown their hats into the ring.

They will be competing against the old guard that seems reluctant to let power go because of the massive wealth they acquired through their positions in the party.

(Source)

The topic is probably the last one that Zimbabweans want to hear about and justifiably so. With the Zimbabwean dollar in free fall, the usefulness of money for all its basic functions such as medium of exchange, unit of account and store of value disappeared.

Gideon Gono, a seasoned banker who spent much of his career in the banking sector, has failed to steer the sector out of devastating monetary challenges.

The country’s currency ceased to be a store of value as people lost their life long savings over night under a hyper-inflationary environment which had spiralled out of control. In response, the Zimbabwean government adopted the US dollar and the South African Rand as official currencies.

Whilst evidence on the ground suggests the strategy has worked to some respectable degree thus far, questions still remain regarding the extent to which the country can continue to operate the economy under dollarization and multi-currency system.

In general, relying on another country’s currency is living dangerously as its messy. The economy of the adopting country is directly affected by the policies of the other country especially with regards to the performance of that country’s exchange rate.

In the event of any of the currencies adopted by Zimbabwe crashing, the country will be directly affected to the extent of all assets and cash holdings denominated in that currency.

Although such a scenario is not expected or anticipated to happen in the short term, the long term possibility cannot be completely written off especially with the South African Rand.

Whilst South Africa has been a reliable and stable regional currency patron over the years, the country is facing a myriad of social and economic pressures whose future ending circumstances are not known.

In order for dollarization to succeed over the long term, there must be permission and mutual understanding between Zimbabwe and the US and South Africa, allowing Zimbabwe to continue adopting the US dollar and the Rand as official currencies.

However, the current situation is not sustainable as no mutual interest exists between Zimbabwe and the United States regarding dollarization. The current practice is undesirable given that Zimbabwe and the United States have limited bilateral trade because of existing targeted sanctions imposed against President Robert Mugabe’s regime.

Although meaningful achievements have been witnessed especially with regards to price stabilisation and restoration of some level of confidence in the economy, the country is still experiencing acute shortages of US dollar and Rand currencies particularly in the rural areas.

In some places, people have resorted to batter trading using livestock such as chicken, goats and cattle. Circulating a strong currency such as the US dollar among the general populace of a poor country such as Zimbabwe is no easy task. The finance sector is bedevilled by acute liquidity related problems.

Efforts by the government to borrow from the private sector have not been successful whilst financial instruments floated onto the market did not find any takers. That has worsened the country’s fiscal problems since no government can successfully implement its policies without borrowing unless it has a strong balance sheet.

Where a country does not manage its own currency, investors are not keen on buying and supporting government debt, hence the central bank has found itself failing to sell its bond and treasury bill instruments.

Among other problems, export trade has continued to suffer. There is no business motivation for importers in Asia, Europe and other Western countries to buy goods from Zimbabwe unless they are cheaper or not available locally.

A well-managed local currency is a strategic tool which the country can use to influence trade with other countries. China and Japan are dominating international export trade primarily because of their product pricing which is partly influenced by the value of their local currencies.

Countries with stronger currencies therefore find it cheaper to buy from these countries particularly China. Zimbabwe has a very conducive manufacturing environment because of very low labour costs. The job market is characterised by high unemployment levels and therefore favourable to manufacturing.

However, that potential may never be realised unless foreign countries see an economic imperative to buy Zimbabwean goods, hence the need for the country to have its own currency. Whilst dollarization has helped by eliminating devaluation risk, the strategy has not worked in attracting the much needed global capital and investment.

But which currency should Zimbabwe re-introduce? Is it the same Zimbabwean dollar? That is the most challenging part. The Zimbabwean dollar is associated with a bad image and the bad experiences associated with the currency may be difficult to shake off.  It may be a good idea to introduce new currency with a different name. Abandoning the dollar symbol may not be a bad idea after all.

In order for the new currency to be respected on the foreign exchange market, the government should take careful and necessary steps needed to create confidence in the new currency system. A phased introduction starting with coins operating alongside the US and Rand currencies is the best strategy. Only lower coin denominations should be introduced first.

The strategy will help to avail money for small transactions such as transport and daily shopping, promoting low level commerce whilst at the same time thwarting the possibility of currency hoarding for speculative purposes.

An important part of the process lies in the exchange rate management system to be implemented. A flexible exchange rate regime must be adopted. Previously, Zimbabwe found itself in a mess primarily because of the central bank’s practice of fixing the exchange rate coupled with reckless money printing activities. In the end, the system was subject to abuse by both the central bank and people in general.

A Fixed exchange rate regime works for stable economies which are not susceptible to foreign currency shortages. Efforts to create a fixed rate regime by any country with foreign currency shortages will most likely result in a parallel foreign exchange market. The initial floatation may however peg the new currency at par with the Rand. The economies of Zimbabwe and South Africa are inter-linked and the currencies are likely to have positive romance.

Another alternative is to join the Multilateral Monetary Area, formerly Common Monetary Area, which is currently composed of South Africa, Swaziland, Lesotho and Namibia. That way the Zimbabwean currency will be pegged at the same level as the Rand and other regional currencies. These countries’ economies are greatly interlinked and it makes great sense to trade with currencies which reflect their common social and economic backgrounds.

For that to happen, Zimbabwe must cooperate and comply with the requirements of the grouping, including all monetary policy frameworks especially with regard to quantitative easing and exchange rate management. However, the history of the central bank under the guidance of Dr Gideon Gono is one that is not encouraging.

Dr Gono, a seasoned banker who spent much of his career in the banking sector, has failed to steer the sector out of devastating monetary challenges. In fact, the governor is blamed for the country’s previous financial crisis attributed in part to reckless and irresponsible monetary policies under his governorship.

His monetary experiments which included continuous money printing among others went beyond prudent boundaries of economic management. If the country is to launch a new currency, the question is how will it be managed and by who? Common wisdom suggests the Central Bank needs restructuring especially with regards to its mandate and structure.

The operations of the Central Bank must be characterised by very little government influence. Because the governor is expected to be a highly technical individual, there is need to depoliticise the appointment of the governor by taking away that task from the President and pass responsibility to the board.

The government should however maintain its level of influence through the Finance Minister who must be given the responsibility of appointing the board. An ideal board must be composed of key stakeholders such as labour, industry and banks through various associations and other interest groups. In addition, the governor should not chair the board.

The current structure where the governor chairs the board creates a boss-subordinate relationship between him and the board, taking away the sense of responsibility and accountability. Global developments in the sphere of corporate governance have seen stakeholders increasingly questioning the wisdom of having chief executives doubling as board chairmen.

To achieve sustainable planning and undertake sound fiscal interventions, the Zimbabwean government needs various tools one of which is the country’s local currency. Financial instruments meant to ensure smooth operations of financial markets can only be introduced successfully if the country has its own currency. Without its own currency, the country will not realise meaningful economic growth and development.

(Source)

ZANU-PF and MDC-T are crafting economic blueprints that place emphasis on job creation, but differ on how the jobs will be created. While the indigenisation programme will buttress Zanu-PF’s blueprint, MDC-T’s would be supported by foreign investment.

The two parties are coming up with the economic blueprints ahead of next year’s harmonised elections.

Vice President and Zanu-PF’s Second Secretary Cde Joice Mujuru yesterday said the economic blueprint would be premised on sustainable job creation buttressed by the indigenisation programme.

MDC-T spokesperson Mr Douglas Mwonzora said theirs, to be launched next Thursday, advocates job creation backed by foreign investment.

Cde Mujuru said Zanu-PF did not believe European nations – reeling from a debt crisis – had the capacity to lead Zimbabwe’s economic growth.

She said this in a speech read on her behalf by the party’s Secretary for Information and Publicity Cde Rugare Gumbo at a one-day workshop organised by Zanu-PF’s economic cluster committee to craft a blueprint that would direct the country’s economic future.

“We support the creation of an economic environment in which we develop and create our own jobs in a sustainable manner,” said Cde Mujuru.

“Transferring our natural resources and value of existing companies into the hands of indigenous Zimbabweans and providing the necessary strategic support in terms of financing and skills development will facilitate an exponential growth of our economy.

“As Zanu-PF, we will not allow the development of a culture of economic dependency on other nations and we do not believe that countries that have failed to create jobs for their own citizens should be at the forefront of our economic growth processes.

“Thus, sustainable job creation, particularly for the country’s youths, should be one of the key tenets of the blueprint.”

Cde Mujuru said it was important that Zanu-PF goes to next year’s election with an economic blueprint in light of the lack of policy unanimity among parties in the inclusive Government.

She hailed the party’s ministers in the inclusive Government.

“We are pleased to note the progress of economic ministries under the leadership of Zanu-PF ministers,” said Cde Mujuru.

“The mining sector has made a significant contribution to the development of the economy, particularly with the discovery, exploration and mining of diamonds whose revenue has boosted the national fiscus.

“We hail the successful hosting of the Diamond Conference that provided the world with an insight of diamond mining in Zimbabwe in an honest and transparent manner.”

Cde Mujuru said Zanu-PF would continue promoting the growth of Small and Medium Scale Enterprises, especially in rural areas to ensure the populace participated in the economy.

She said Community Share Ownership Schemes had gone a long way in bringing tangible development to the people.

“We take note and salute the progress the party has made and the gains scored by the people of Zimbabwe through the implementation of indigenisation and economic empowerment policies and programmes, particularly in the mining sector,” said Cde Mujuru.

Some of the projects undertaken by Community Share Ownership Trusts, she said, included the construction of Musasa and Banga Primary Schools and Chirume Dam in Zvishavane and the rehabilitation of roads in Gwanda.

Chairman of the economic cluster committee Cde Obert Mpofu said the Zanu-PF’s economic blueprint would form the basis of its election manifesto.

“This workshop will focus mainly on producing an economic blueprint by setting core objectives of the national economic blueprint, reviewing, critically analysing and thoroughly debating sector strategies and policies to employ in turning around the economic fortunes of our country in a manner that is consistent with Zanu-PF’s ideology,” he said.

“We hope to come up with a proposed Zanu-PF Economic Policy Blueprint which will be presented at the 13th National People’s Conference for adoption.”

“This is intended to form the basis of crafting a robust economically-driven 2013 election manifesto.”

The conference would be held in Gweru from December 4 to 9.

MDC-T’s economic blueprint would be titled: “Jobs, Upliftment, Investment, Capital and Environment”.

Mr Mwonzora said the the creation of jobs would be backed by foreign direct investment.

“It is our economic and social vision for Zimbabwe. Juice is not achievable at the moment, but in the event that we take over the leadership of the country,” he said.

The blueprint is a counter to Zanu-PF’s Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment programme under which foreign owned companies operating in Zimbabwe are obliged to cede at least 51 percent shareholding to indigenous people.

MDC-T is on record condemning the economic empowerment policy.

(Source)

The MDC led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has said Robert Mugabe has conceded failure to run the government following admittance by his spokesperson, George Charamba in State media that he has resorted to handouts and donations.

Charamba lamely claimed that Mugabe donated farming inputs through donations he got from “men and women of goodwill who made available the resources to buy inputs so that the Zimbabwean farmers, after being failed by their ‘own government’ can still go back to the field”.

In a statement, the MDC said such statements show that Mugabe and his lieutenants are in agreement with the people of Zimbabwe that he has failed to run this country.

“For Mugabe who is repeatedly and monotonously referred to as the head of state and government by a schism of his bootlicking structures and state institutions to concede that the same government he is head of has failed to support its farmers is not only astonishing but a self defeating conjecture.”

“Charamba in an attempt to justify Mugabe’s controversial input scheme has not just exposed the deep rooted weaknesses of Mugabe and Zanu PF’s system of patronage but the serious ills of a system aimed at turning people into charity cases.”

“What was demonstrated by President Tsvangirai in Buhera is a clear testimony of a visionary leadership aimed at not only improving food security but also transforming and improving rural lives. The people in the rural areas do not want systems that relegate them to perpetual recipients of hand outs but real programmes that uplift them to look after themselves.”

“Furthermore, there is more to this whole Presidential Well Wishers Special Agricultural Inputs Scheme than meets the eye. What is the scheme meant to achieve? If the parastatals are not functioning at the level expected by the government, then there should be an overhaul of the system.”

“Why should tax payers’ money continue to be expended by parastatals that are not serving their purposes? If Mugabe says the farmers are “not receiving support from government institutions such as the Grain Marketing Board”, then he should deal with such a government institution since he says he is the Head of Government.”

“Mugabe must accept that he has failed. If the whole machinery, which has nationwide depots fail to support farmers, then how does he explain his capacity to distribute the same if it is not targeted at Zanu PF zealots,”?

“Thus the so called head of state and government and commander in chief of the defence forces, Robert Mugabe, is nothing but a monumental failure,” the party said

(Source)

In 1983 and 1984, I was the prosecutor at Plumtree Magistrates Court before my secondment to the Ministry of Justice, Legal & Parliamentary Affairs and transfer to Gwanda.

A Kezi magistrate was on Friday arraigned before the courts in Bulawayo for allegedly causing the disappearance of records of cases he had presided over, which were supposed to be brought for scrutiny and review at the High Court.

Stephen Mavuna (30) of Kezi, was not formally charged with criminal abuse of office when he briefly appeared before Bulawayo magistrate Tawanda Muchemwa.

He was remanded to November 30 on his own cognisance and was ordered not to interfere with witnesses in the matter.

Charges against him are that between 2009 and 2012 at Plumtree Magistrates Courts where he was stationed before his recent transfer to Kezi, Mavuna presided over criminal cases where he gave various sentences.

The sentences required that the records of proceedings be sent to the Regional Court for scrutiny and then to the High Court in Bulawayo for review and appeal before a judge within seven days of the sentences.

However, it is alleged Mavuna did not send the records to Bulawayo, but instead kept them in his office and later reportedly caused their disappearance.

The records have not been recovered and Mavuna is being accused of doing disfavour to the appellants by denying them justice.

To cover up for the offence, Mavuna allegedly made false entries in scrutiny and review registers.

This was reportedly discovered and reported to the police leading to Mavuna’s arrest and the recovery of Criminal Record Book covers in his office.

The record of proceedings was not recovered.

(Source)

The Institute for Democratic Alternative of Zimbabwe that is reportedly funding Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s press and research department has opened investigations into the alleged abuse of donor funds by the Premier’s office.

The Herald is reliably informed that Idazim is funding the PM’s press and research office but senior officials have been siphoning funds for personal use.

An administrator is said to have fled to the United Kingdom after Idazim launched the investigations.

Sources say Idazim pays rentals for number 14 Bath Road in Avondale, which houses offices for the PM’s press and research team. The press team is responsible for the production of the Prime Minister’s Newsletter.

The non-governmental organisation also pays salaries for employees in the press and research department.

The employees in the PM’s press department earn between US$1 200 and US$1 700 net salaries depending on grades.

According to sources, the office cost US$750 in rentals a month but senior officials from the PM’s press team have been claiming US$1 500 for the past two years.

“The officials were also in a tendency of hiring and firing employees. They would go for months pocketing the dismissed employees’ salaries without notifying Idazim, which is responsible for the salaries. As a result the NGO lost thousands of dollars in salaries for the ghost workers,” a source that declined to be named said.

“As we speak the administrator (name supplied) in the PM’s office responsible for all activities at 14 Bath Road offices — from rentals to the disbursement of salaries — has since fled to the UK following investigations by Idazim.”

The funding of the PM’s press and research team has confirmed the existence of parallel structures in the inclusive Government and interference by Western funded donors.

Yesterday Idazim tried to distance itself from the PM’s Office when contacted for comment.

“There is some data which is missing in your story,” said its director Mr Joy Mabenge, in a telephone interview with The Herald from South Africa.

He professed ignorance about Idazim’s investigations into abuse of funds by the PM’s Office.

“There are no investigations taking place but an institution has many people, some of the things that happen are beyond my knowledge,” Mr Mabenge said.

Mr Mabenge promised to call The Herald after verifying facts later. He claimed the administrator was in the UK on holiday.

Idazim works closely with the United States Agency for International Development in Zimbabwe, Royal Netherlands embassy in Zimbabwe, German International Services Zimbabwe Office, Research Triangle International and the United Nations Development Programme Zimbabwe.

Registered in South Africa in February 2008, Idazim claims to be a think-tank and high-level facilitation platform whose mission is to deepen the search “for a democratic alternative to social exclusion and political repression”.

The NGO works with what it terms “a network of pro-democracy institutions and actors”.

Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office Mr Jameson Timba could not comment on the matter as he was attending meetings yesterday. He promised to phone, but his phone later went unanswered.

(Source)

A Zimbabwean man who allegedly had oral sex with a neighbour’s four year-old-daughter was on Monday granted P500 bail by a Francistown magistrate. Themba Tshuma aged 30 was granted bail on condition that he relocates to Lobatse for security reasons.

He will be staying with his grandmother while police awaits a medical report to determine his sanity. The parents of the man have maintained that the married man allegedly committed the offence with his child’s play mate because he is mentally disturbed.

He was freed after the prosecution told court that they did not have a problem with the accused man granted bail as long as he does not set his feet near the complainant or interfere with police investigations.

“The suspect was previously denied bail because he stays in the same area with the complainant and we were afraid that the angry relatives of the complainant would harm him. Since his parents have promised to relocate him to Dinatshana village near Lobatse, we don’t have any problem with him being granted bail as long as he avails himself in court when needed,” State Prosecutor Chimbise Chigala told said.

Magistrate Milidzani Masiye-Moyo then granted Tshuma bail on condition that he pays P500, provide two sureties who are also going to bond themselves with P300 each. She also ordered Tshuma to relocate to Lobatse, not communicate with the complainant and not to commit a similar offence while on bail.

Meanwhile angry parents of the complainant have criticised the court for releasing the accused man from custody flatly dismissing allegations that Tshuma is insane.

(Source)

A company director in Bulawayo yesterday appeared in court for allegedly violently confronting a police biker who was part of President Robert Mugabe’s motorcade after he had arrested his colleague for interfering with the motorcade.

Newton Mlotshwa (58), director of Nemaks Civil Engineering, was not asked to plead to charges of assaulting or resisting a peace officer as defined in Section 176 of the Criminal Law Codification and Reform Act when he appeared before Bulawayo magistrate Tawanda Muchemwa.

He was granted $100 bail and will return to court on November 27 for routine remand.

The State had opposed bail, arguing that it wanted to make consultations before responding to the application.

It also said Mlotshwa was not a good candidate for bail since he had tried to flee from police. However, his lawyer argued he was a law abiding citizen and a good candidate for bail.

Charges against Mlotshwa are that last Friday at Ascot shopping centre along Gwanda Road at around midday, a sergeant Jeche, who is a biker with the Presidential Escorts Unit, arrested Prayer Gavhanga for failing to pull off the road to give way to Mugabe’s motorcade, which was heading to the National University of Science and Technology.

Mlotshwa, who was a passenger in the vehicle being driven by Gavhanga, did not take kindly to the arrest. He allegedly pushed Jeche from his motorbike and violently held the bike preventing him from taking off.

It was alleged that Mlotshwa removed keys from the motorbike’s ignition demanding to know why Jeche had arrested his colleague. Jeche was only rescued by soldiers who were part of the motorcade and Mlotshwa was arrested.

Gavhanga appeared in court on Monday before magistrate Evelyn Mashawakure facing charges of contravening Section 72 (1) of the Road Traffic Act (failing to comply with lawful instructions given by a police officer controlling traffic).

He was released on $50 bail.

(Source)

A leading diamond trade watchdog says £1.25 billion in diamonds has been stolen from Zimbabwe’s eastern diamond fields by president Robert Mugabe’s ruling circle and international gem dealers.

Partnership Africa Canada – a member of the Kimberley Process, the world regulatory body on the diamond trade – said alleges Zimbabwe’s gems have been plundered by the Mugabe regime.

Its report said vast earnings from Zimbabwe’s eastern Marange fields – one of the world’s biggest diamond deposits – have not reached the state treasury.

The PAC report, released to coincide with the Zimbabwe government’s conference on the diamond trade, cast a shadow over the Mugabe regime’s effort to win international respectability for its gem trade.

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