ED top adviser quits

Source: ED top adviser quits | Newsday (News) BY BLESSED MHLANGA ONE of President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s top aides, Petina Gappah, has quit her trade and investment advisory role and vowed not to renew her contract after being frustrated by the Zanu PF leader’s close lieutenants, who she accused of pursuing personal wealth accumulation at the […]

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Source: ED top adviser quits | Newsday (News)

BY BLESSED MHLANGA

ONE of President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s top aides, Petina Gappah, has quit her trade and investment advisory role and vowed not to renew her contract after being frustrated by the Zanu PF leader’s close lieutenants, who she accused of pursuing personal wealth accumulation at the expense of genuine reforms to turn around the country’s fortunes.

Gappah, a lawyer and writer, was among Mnangagwa’s first group of top aides at the birth of the new dispensation in 2017, globetrotting with the President and driving government’s re-engagement efforts with the Western world.
She was part of a government delegation that travelled with Mnangagwa to Davos for the World Economic Forum last year, leading government’s international public relations campaign.

Prior to that, she had worked at the World Trade Organisation in Geneva for 17 years.

Writing on her Facebook wall on Tuesday, Gappah said Mnangagwa’s aides just wanted to “eat” and were not keen to depart from the past.

“Having worked in government for 18 months, I have come to understand the vested interests that are making change difficult. I have come to understand that for many, reform is the last thing they want because to them, it is simply
their turn to eat. I have come to understand we are in a transition with no easy fixes. But it is clear as day that Zimbabwe needs a total transformation,” she observed.

Gappah indicated she had no plans to renew her contract with the Office of the President (OPC).

“Yesterday, my consulting contract with the (Office of the President) OPC ended. As I am not renewing it, I spent the day clearing out my office, doing my ‘exit memo’ and recalling my utterly crazy year or so,” she wrote.

But Information permanent secretary Ndavaningi Mangwana yesterday professed ignorance over the role Gappah played in Mnangagwa’s government.

“I am not aware of the position Dr Gappah held in government and what position she is resigning from. It may help if I am given the information of where she worked and in what capacity,” he said

“In any system where there is need for change, there is no homogeneity of views. Resistance to change will always be found stemming from such factors as anxiety because some people are being taken out of their comfort zones. Some
resistance comes from self-interest, which is based on the status quo. This is not a scenario peculiar to Zimbabwe, but applies to all countries and organisations which undertake the scope of change that the Second Republic has
embarked on. So while not confirming Dr Gappah’s analysis because I would need more detail, I wouldn’t be surprised if this is what she saw because that’s the most natural thing in system overhauls.”

In her Facebook post, Gappah took potshots at senior officials in Mnangagwa’s government, saying most of them were incompetent and did not share their leader’s vision to transform the country’s governance system.

“There are many reasons behind this, bureaucratic wrangling and bungling and inefficiencies, incompetence, not enough change agents, basic fear of change as well as an imaginative deficit that cannot see beyond the present, and of
course, many vested interests. But as time moves, ultimately those reasons will cease to matter. Because this government, and ED’s leadership, will be judged on its failures, and not on the reasons for those failures,” she said.

Gappah blasted government for failing to uphold basic human rights, saying it was a promise made by the regime, but yet to be delivered.

“Beyond political rights, are other freedoms that were promised to the people of Zimbabwe, but have not been delivered because government has done nothing to align various laws to the Constitution. A key failure that affects almost a
million people is the basic, simple question of citizenship which has a knock-on effect on rights to vote and freedom of movement. There is significant anger, and deep mistrust, and with good reason,” she noted.

Gappah added that Zimbabwe was facing a governance crisis, which had nothing to do with the main opposition MDC.

“The crisis in Zimbabwe is one of governance. It is not about legitimacy. The MDC failed to prove its win in the Constitutional Court. And by not publishing the V11s to back their claim that (Nelson) Chamisa won 2,6 million votes,
they cannot even win in the court of public opinion. This does not get government off the hook. Because governance, poor governance, and not legitimacy, is at the heart of our crisis,” she opined, calling on Zanu PF to self-
introspect and transform to carry the nation’s dreams and aspirations forward.

“Zanu PF needs to start thinking of itself not as a ruling party, but the governing party or party of government, with governance rooted in its obligations to the people of Zimbabwe as set out in the Constitution to which we all
agreed,” she said.

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Rotten eggs wrapped in fresh glittering plastics 

Source: Rotten eggs wrapped in fresh glittering plastics – The Zimbabwe Independent August 23, 2019 “The police would not allow any march because, they said, too many people are suffering and they would be tempted to join in. So, in other words, the police will not allow people to protest against their impoverishment, because too […]

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Source: Rotten eggs wrapped in fresh glittering plastics – The Zimbabwe Independent August 23, 2019

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“The police would not allow any march because, they said, too many people are suffering and they would be tempted to join in. So, in other words, the police will not allow people to protest against their impoverishment, because too many of them are suffering. This is, quite frankly, the best reason ever given for banning a demonstration anywhere in the world.”

THE New Dispensation was once again working overtime this week to prove to the world just how old it is.

MUCKRAKER
Twitter: @MuckrakerZim

After the opposition MDC called for mass protests last Friday and throughout this week against the government, President Emmerson Mnangagwa grabbed the opportunity to prove all those who foolishly believed the lie he was a “reformer” wrong.

First, the police banned the march. Then they sent out their strongest cops to gather all the rocks from all nearby construction sites, pack them in a supermarket bag, take photos and post them online as evidence of MDC plans to unleash violence.

Before we knew it, a small gathering, at one intersection in central Harare, was being pummelled by riot cops. The cops did not just disperse the crowds; they made sure they did so as brutally as possible, in full view of the international press.

The MDC did not even need to work too hard to prove the point that there is no real New Dispensation. They just needed to wait and let the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) and their clueless handlers do it for them.

If it was Mnangagwa’s deliberate ploy to let the world know that he was no reformer, it worked really well.

Stunning raison d’être

Muckraker wishes to appeal to the leadership of the ZRP to promote whoever is in charge of crowd control in Bulawayo district.

While other police officers across the country were giving flimsy excuses for banning the marches, such as the threats of violence and the lack of adequate police details to monitor the demonstrators, the crew down in Bulawayo were more frank.

The police would not allow any march because, they said, too many people are suffering and they would be tempted to join in.

So, in other words, the police will not allow people to protest against their impoverishment, because too many of them are suffering. This is, quite frankly, the best reason ever given for banning a demonstration anywhere in the world.

Our police are much in demand on missions around the world. We hereby plead with the United Nations to take more of our cops on more missions to teach the world these basic lessons in policing.

Fake news

Still on all things demo, you can always trust our professional state media to put things into their proper perspective.

“MDC Alliance Bulawayo demo flops,” The Herald reported.
“Calm prevails: Byo ignores MDC A call to illegal protest,” The Chronicle said.

This is the beauty of Zimpapers. You can make up anything and it becomes news. Never in the history of journalism has an event flopped, without it actually even happening.

This is why only the bluntest journalists there rise to the top nowadays. Muckraker laughed into his tea the other night when Peter Ndoro, the experienced SABC journalist, suppressed his urge to laugh as he interviewed the acting Herald editor Tichaona Zindoga (when will they ever give him the job?), who insisted no excessive force had been used on protesters.

We sympathise with Ndoro. He obviously felt some of his brain cells dying by subjecting his mind to such rank dullness. Everyone at Herald House knows one truth: you can have a room full of intelligent people, but when Zindoga walks in, the average IQ in that room automatically collapses. It’s just how averages work. Basic maths.

These are the tools Mnangagwa is using to sell his economic policies to Zimbabweans. May Heaven help him.

Mboko thriller

While the country has had many shortages over the years, it has never had a shortage of comical vice-presidents.
Since his appointment in 2014, Phelekezela Mphoko’s only contribution to the country was to make the nation laugh.

This week, almost a year after he left government, it was heart-warming to see him still diligently continuing his national duty of providing comic relief to a battered people.

It was reported that the man went on the run, inept members of the Zimbabwe Anti-corruption Commission (Zacc) in hot pursuit. The man fled upon realising he was about to be herded into a cell.

Not that police cells are unfamiliar to Mphoko.

When a couple of Zimbabwe National Roads Administration (Zinara) chefs were caged at Avondale Police Station for corruption, he swooped solo on the hapless cops like action hero Sylvester Stallone in Rambo 3, and sprung his buddies from their cells.

According to Mphoko, his jailbreak theatrics had nothing to do with the fact that the Zinara fellows were big donors to Grace Mugabe’s campaign, or that they were rumoured to have some business deals with the First Family. No, he said this week. Letting suspects out of jail was just part of his job as VP.

“I am now being persecuted as if I did all these operations in my own individual capacity . . . when I acted as part of the Presidency,” Mphoko said in a press release this week.

As if that was his only jailbreak escapade. While the nation was still admiring his Avondale heroics, the man actually did another raid on a police station in Bulawayo, this time to free some rowdy Zanu PF youths.

Only in a banana republic does a whole adult proudly state that breaking criminals out of jail was part of his job description. If you ever got arrested on a Friday night for public drinking outside Mukandabhutsu Bottle Store, you know who to call.

Haunted

Muckraker apologises to all who are begging the nation to feel some sort of pity for Mphoko. Apparently, according to some, we are supposed to believe that there is a dark plot against the poor chap.
Well, if there is, then good.

Let’s be fair. It is hard not to point and laugh at a man who tried to convince the world that the late founding leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, Morgan Tsvangirai, personally tried to assassinate the late vice-president Joshua Nkomo, and said Gukurahundi is a Western conspiracy.

What of the time he begged then President Robert Mugabe to appoint the nonagenarian leader’s wife Grace as the vice-president to replace Mnangagwa who had been sacked, because he was too lonely: “I am now lonely, your Excellency, l felt it yesterday. Kindly appoint a counterpart for me. I am glad because people have identified the one they want. Do not be afraid or ashamed to appoint your own wife,” he whined.

Or the time the Mphokos refused to leave the Rainbow Towers Hotel for virtually a year, living it up on tax dollars, just because the government was too slow in finding a mansion suitable enough for their lofty tastes.

We are sure Mphoko will be dragged kicking and screaming unless, of course, they find a cell as luxurious as the Rainbow Towers penthouse suite.

Mnangagwa ideal for paranoia olympics

When failure stalks like a bad smell in a crowded lift, paranoia is bound to set in. Mnangagwa and his Zanu PF are ample evidence of this.

Pummelled by crisis after crisis, be it foreign currency shortages, power outages lasting 18 hours, runaway inflation, so embarrassing government has suspended the publishing of the figure that is now in three digits or global condemnation for a brutal clampdown on protesters, they have been seeing shadows everywhere even in their own party.

Zanu PF MP Killer Zivhu is the victim of this after he was suspended for merely suggesting that the wives of Mnangagwa and MDC leader Nelson Chamisa encourage their husbands to the table of national dialogue.

A whole disciplinary committee has been set up by the moribund party to charge Zivhu for “disloyalty and treachery” for making the call for dialogue of the two political leaders.

A baffled Zivhu has called the charges “ludicrous”.

Paranoia is looming large where even satire is seen as a threat to the establishment as evidenced by the callous and disgraceful abduction and torture of comedian Samantha Kureya, better known as Gonyeti, in addition to opposition party and civil society members countrywide.

Nobody believed that anyone could be worse than the doddering Mugabe’s 37 years of catastrophic rule, but Mnangagwa is surely making a good fist of it with the stench of abject failure that has characterised his presidency since he was catapulted into power in 2017.

No doubt, he is a top contender for “paranoia olympics” gold medal.

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Ncube mulls new salary increases

Source: Ncube mulls new salary increases – The Zimbabwe Independent August 23, 2019 FINANCE minister Mthuli Ncube is mulling fiscal and monetary policy interventions to stimulate the economy. The measures will, among other outcomes, see interest rates dropping and some sort of tax cuts for workers in the current financial year. By Chris Muronzi In […]

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Source: Ncube mulls new salary increases – The Zimbabwe Independent August 23, 2019

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FINANCE minister Mthuli Ncube is mulling fiscal and monetary policy interventions to stimulate the economy. The measures will, among other outcomes, see interest rates dropping and some sort of tax cuts for workers in the current financial year.

By Chris Muronzi

In an interview this week, Ncube told the Zimbabwe Independent he would move to lower interest to stimulate production, but indicated this would be a gradual process.

On the fiscal side, he said he was considering various options available to him to stimulate the economy, such as tax cuts.

This, he said, was necessary to stimulate aggregate demand locally in the wake of what he described as a wage compression — a situation in which salaries for low-skilled workers and high-skilled employees gravitate towards each other. Apart from these interventions, Ncube said he would also raise salaries for civil servants.

He added this would be done in a sustainable manner and will not be “exorbitant”.

“We are doing everything we can so that we can stimulate demand. We are pushing for an increase in wages. Obviously, this will be done in a sustainable manner and it can’t be an exorbitant amount and industry is doing the same by increasing wages,” he said.

“We are also going to lower interest rates over time so that we reduce the cost of borrowing. This is to enable industry to borrow and ensure that we don’t get into unnecessary expenditure that are not prudent and in line with everything we are doing. We want to stimulate demand and ensure that supply constraints to industry are unblocked.”

Ncube said government has launched a ZW$40 million venture fund to invest in industry and doubled financial resources to the Industrial Development Corporation from ZW$30 million to ZW$60 million, adding government was sourcing other facilities to aid industry. He said he was satisfied with fiscal reforms he undertook since he became Treasury boss, adding his focus was now on the micro economy.

Turning to the introduction of a new currency, Ncube said this would be done gradually. “The process for introducing a fiat currency is over time. There is no really big rush to do so. It is governed by the normal process of drip feeding the money in circulation. But this will be determined by such things as demand for cash or credit. So this will done gradually over time,” he said.

“As we go forward, we are going to focus on jobs creation, productivity and focus on raising competitiveness.”

Ncube said the current economic hardship were transitory and would come to pass. “It took a while to get here (current economic situation), 37 years of mismanagement in some areas. And it’s going to take some time to get everything right. It’s a painful period but it’s a transitory and temporary period that will come to pass. At the same time, we are cushioning those who are impacted in areas of food, cash transfers and transport in urban,” he said.

He defended command agriculture, saying he would ensure accountability and every cent will be repaid. “The US$3 billion you refer to is well-accounted for, is actually accounted for. We can provide documentation should anyone desire to see that documentation. Regarding what we are doing with the extra ZW$2 billion that we have allocated for the command initiative: firstly, it is in the budget. It was approved by parliament. This means it will be tracked properly. Secondly, we are also going to be working with the banking sector.”

The Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) is investigating possible abuse of funds under the controversial command agriculture scheme amid claims that there are no records of how close to US$3 billion was disbursed. One of President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s close associates and advisers, Kuda Tagwirei, was heavily involved in the scheme that began in 2016, as his company Sakunda was said to be the financier and major beneficiary.

The Agriculture ministry last month told parliament’s Public Accounts Committee it had no idea how US$2,9 billion disbursed for command agriculture was utilised.

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Tracing Zimbabwe’s economic crisis: Fuel shortages, hunger, inflation

President Emmerson Mnangagwa promised change, but for Zimbabweans it seems like the same old economic crisis. Source: Tracing Zimbabwe’s economic crisis: Fuel shortages, hunger, inflation | The New Humanitarian Hunger, rocketing inflation, power blackouts, fuel queues – Zimbabwe has been here before, but it’s been a decade since things were quite this bad, ever-resilient citizens […]

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President Emmerson Mnangagwa promised change, but for Zimbabweans it seems like the same old economic crisis.

Source: Tracing Zimbabwe’s economic crisis: Fuel shortages, hunger, inflation | The New Humanitarian

Hunger, rocketing inflation, power blackouts, fuel queues – Zimbabwe has been here before, but it’s been a decade since things were quite this bad, ever-resilient citizens in the capital, Harare, say.

The trigger for a sudden surge in prices came last month, when the US dollar was abandoned as legal tender, 10 years after Zimbabwe ditched its worthless local currency and dollarised as inflation hit 89.7-sextillion percent – that’s 20 zeroes.

The same ruling party is at the helm now as 10 years ago, noted Godfrey Kanyenze of the Labour and Economic Research Unit of Zimbabwe, a trade union-linked think tank. And that has added to the worries, he said, because few people trust it has the ability to steer the country out of the current mess – in which a third of the rural population is struggling to cover basic food needs.

Zimbabwe already faces a range of humanitarian concerns, with the UN and international aid groups filling gaps in food security, health and HIV care, water and sanitation, and social protection for vulnerable citizens.

“This is management by crisis,” Kanyenze told The New Humanitarian. The government is “pushing a mantra of ‘austerity for prosperity’, but it’s a government without a human face and it’s just knee-jerk reactions.”

The government says the decision to return to a single, Zimbabwean, currency is crucial to stabilising the economy.

John Kazingizi sells fruit and vegetables with his wife in Hatcliffe market, a high-density suburb of Harare. “What worries me most is prices keep increasing and my sales keep going down, as people are no longer buying as they used to,” he told TNH last week.

The couple struggle to find the money to buy a little fresh stock each day and meet their basic household costs – including repayments on a debt they took out to cover school fees for their five children. “We just need our economy to work again,” said Kazingizi.

The Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development, a social and economic justice NGO, has argued that banning the US dollar and all foreign currencies will simply boost the black market.

“There is a need to address the root causes of the current currency crisis, which are rampant corruption, mismanagement of public finances, and impunity being enjoyed by those that are fuelling the crisis through arbitrage and resource haemorrhage,” the NGO noted in a press statement.

The central bank’s move has not put an end to strike threats, which likely helped prompt the government’s currency decision last month. The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions is warning it will call a stayaway to protest the rising cost of living, although it has not yet set a date.

When the unions last led a work stoppage in January, following the sudden announcement of a fuel price increase of 150 percent, security forces shot dead 17 people and raped 17 women, according to Human Rights Watch.

Fuel prices have been hiked three-more times since January, with an average daily commute now costing as much as $20.

More of the same

President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s cash-strapped government had long insisted the Zimbabwe dollar would only be re-introduced when the economic fundamentals were right.

Yet with inflation almost hitting 175 percent for June, 18-hour power cuts, and 3.5 million people facing drought-induced hunger in the countryside, “the fundamentals are clearly out of whack,” noted Mike Chipere-Ngazimbi, economics researcher at South Africa’s University of Pretoria.

disastrous harvest – with maize production just 45 percent of last season – has compounded the hardships. The World Food Programme aims to reach 1.2 million people with food aid, but by March next year an estimated 5.5 million will be unsure where their next meal will come from.

When Mnangagwa came to power 18 months ago after a military coup ended the 30-year reign of President Robert Mugabe, he promised reforms.

But Mnangagwa, a ruling party stalwart, has failed to deliver a programme attractive enough to investors or multilateral financial institutions, or win over a country shocked by the army’s violent enforcement of last year’s close-run election result.

The one bright spot in Zimbabwe’s recent economic history was a period of coalition government between Mugabe’s ZANU-PF and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change lasting from 2009-2013. Then, GDP growth ramped up to more than 9 percent – although overall poverty levels remained stubbornly high.

To rescue the country from hyperinflation, in which prices doubled almost daily, an early decision in 2009 did away with the Zimbabwe dollar in favour of a basket of foreign currencies. The downside was foreign currency shortages in an import-dependent economy where more dollars leave the country than arrive.

Since then, an ever-more creative series of currency policies have been put in place to address that problem.

Currency conundrums

In 2016, the government introduced bond notes and coins, supposedly worth the same as the US dollar. But they steadily lost value on the informal market – and became an immediate source of arbitrage profits for the well-connected.

The Mnangagwa government has encouraged adopting mobile money to reduce the need for physical cash. According to the reserve bank, mobile money was used for 85 percent of all retail transactions in the last quarter of 2018.

But high transaction fees and a 2 percent government tax makes mobile money expensive – further eroding people’s purchasing power. In the rural areas, where mobile money is the common payment system for livestock sales, people are turning to barter instead, according to FEWS NET, the USAID-funded early warning hunger monitor.

In February, as a step towards creating a local currency, the government introduced the Real Time Gross Settlement dollar, or RTGS – effectively a digital currency harmonising bond notes, mobile money, and debit cards tied to an official US dollar exchange rate.

Immediately, the RTGS dollar began to lose value on the parallel market.

“The economic situation makes us feel like orphans in our own country.”

Last month, the RTGS dollar was trading on the streets at about 13 to the US dollar, more than double the official interbank rate.

On 24 June, the government abruptly decreed that the country’s sole legal tender was the RTGS, renamed the Zimbabwe dollar, and abolished the use of multiple currencies. The aim was to end the informal market contributing to galloping inflation and restore government control over monetary policy.

Civil servants had been threatening to strike, demanding payment in US dollars, and there were reports the military was also unhappy with their RTGS denominated pay packets.

But the introduction of the Zimbabwe dollar has not halted its slide on the black market, and soon after the ban on the use of foreign currencies was announced, Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube said the tourist destination of Victoria Falls was exempted.

“It’s very clear the decision to move to a local currency was done in haste,” said Kanyenze of the labour think tank. “The economy was re-dollarising, and particularly the military were demanding to be paid in dollars.”

Kazingizi, the fruit and vegetable seller, said he sees little sign that things will improve any time soon. His wife gets up every day at 3 am to go to the market, he said, but the family still struggles to stay afloat.

“The economic situation makes us feel like orphans in our own country,” he told TNH.

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Zimbabwe Prophet warns Cyril Ramaphosa

Kingdom Baptist Ministries leader Ian Ndlovu has issued a prophecy warning South African President Matamela […]

Kingdom Baptist Ministries leader Ian Ndlovu has issued a prophecy warning South African President Matamela [...]

MDC DEMOS: US Ambassador to Zimbabwe Brian Nichols flies out to USA after being summoned by SB Moyo

United States Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Brian Nichols flew to Washington this week, amid reports he evaded reprimand by Zimbabwean authorities over his role in opposition MDC-Alliance’s illegal demonstrations last week. Mr Nichols allegedly met M…

United States Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Brian Nichols flew to Washington this week, amid reports he evaded reprimand by Zimbabwean authorities over his role in opposition MDC-Alliance’s illegal demonstrations last week. Mr Nichols allegedly met MDC-Alliance deputy national chairperson, Mr Job Sikhala, at the latter’s Chitungwiza residence where he assured the opposition that Washington would […]

SAD NEWS: Ruthless Zanu PF youths kill man in President Mnangagwa’s hometown (SEE PICTURE)

Ruthless Zanu PF youths from President Mnangagwa’s hometown in Kwekwe have reportedly killed a man at the vicinity of the Mbizo constituency offices. The suspects who are known Zanu PF youths have since been arrested and are currently being taken…

Ruthless Zanu PF youths from President Mnangagwa’s hometown in Kwekwe have reportedly killed a man at the vicinity of the Mbizo constituency offices. The suspects who are known Zanu PF youths have since been arrested and are currently being taken to Kwekwe Central police. Reports from Kwekwe state that the deceased’s body is still currently […]