Pokello and Jackie Ngarande pour money as Gringo Lazarus Boora goes under the knife in Chitungwiza

SOCIALITES Pokello Nare and Jackie Ngarande on Wednesday came to ailing popular actor Lazarus Boora’s rescue after they poured much of the money needed towards settling the medical expenses accrued during his surgery. Known as “Gringo&#8221…

SOCIALITES Pokello Nare and Jackie Ngarande on Wednesday came to ailing popular actor Lazarus Boora’s rescue after they poured much of the money needed towards settling the medical expenses accrued during his surgery. Known as “Gringo”, Boora went under the knife at CitMed in Chitungwiza on Tuesday after suffering from to an appendix rapture. Gringo’s […]

High risk of chaos in Zimbabwe

Dear Family and Friends, Source: High risk of chaos in Zimbabwe – The Zimbabwean Everything’s upside down in Zimbabwe this October. Usually known as suicide month because of extremely high temperatures, the blistering heat has yet to take hold this summer. Instead of shorts, T shirts and slip slops this mid-October we’re back in jackets […]

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Dear Family and Friends,

Source: High risk of chaos in Zimbabwe – The Zimbabwean

Everything’s upside down in Zimbabwe this October. Usually known as suicide month because of extremely high temperatures, the blistering heat has yet to take hold this summer. Instead of shorts, T shirts and slip slops this mid-October we’re back in jackets and jerseys until midday in my home town. Every day high winds rip the new fruit off plum and apple trees and strip the purple flowers off the Jacaranda trees and every night the temperatures drop to ten degrees Celsius or less. The summer birds are back in our gardens: red winged Louries, paradise Flycatchers and the beautiful ghost bird (grey headed bush Shrike) who spends most days being mobbed by other birds as it raids nests and snatches eggs.  So far there’s no sign of the Abdim’s Storks whose appearance usually signals the arrival of rain and while we wait for them, and the rain, we also wait for something to happen in Zimbabwe as every day we move closer to a state of complete paralysis.

For eight months, with lowered eyes and gritted teeth, we have watched the Zimbabwe government turn us into a nation of paupers. In a single day in February 2019 when they converted all our US dollars in banks, savings and pensions into Zimbabwe dollars they condemned 95% of the population to poverty. What had been one hundred US dollars was now called Zimbabwe dollars and worth only forty US dollars; eight months later that one hundred dollars in the bank or on the pay slip is only worth six US dollars. ‘Everything is upside down’ is the phrase on the streets because the real problem is that the prices of everything we buy is pegged to the US dollar exchange rate  so prices go up every day but salaries and wages don’t.

A loaf of bread was ninety cents in January, now it’s almost sixteen dollars;  a tin of baked beans has gone from eighty cents to eleven dollars; sugar from two to forty dollars and maize meal from eight to seventy dollars in the past eight months. The price of electricity increased by 580% last week, going from three to twenty dollars per kilowatt hour. A litre of fuel was $1.31 in January, today it’s $18.60. It now costs almost one thousand dollars to fill a standard sixty litre car fuel tank.  It’s no good saying oh but that’s only sixty five US dollars, the fact is that 95% of the population don’t have or earn in US dollars and for them, this money, food, medicine, fuel and electricity crisis is a silent death sentence, gathering victims by the day.

Zimbabwe’s economy is forecast to shrink by 6% this year and retailers say their sales have dropped by 50% in the last few months. A survey last week showed that food prices in Zimbabwe are 50% more than in South Africa. The sad fact that we still import most of our food from South Africa twenty years after the Zimbabwe government seized all commercial farms, continues to be lost in the propaganda, ignored by the media. Connecting the dots just isn’t happening at home but we wonder if our neighbouring countries are watching our freefall and preparing for the inevitable influx under their border fences.

Meeting a friend this week whose salary was US$250 in February, he should now be taking home Z$$3,875 if his pay was being converted at the current bank exchange rate. It’s not of course and he’s only actually getting Z$600 a month (US$40). In eight months his salary has gone down by eighty percent leaving him and his family in dire straits. It took one relation with persistent diarrhoea and his month’s salary was depleted in a day. Doctor’s consultation fee, antibiotics and simple medication left a bill Z$550. “I don’t know what to do next” he said and there was no answer, not for him or literally millions of others in exactly this same situation. In Zimbabwe’s last economic collapse in 2008 people went and worked in neighbouring countries to survive and send money home. This time they can’t even do that as there is a 370,000 backlog of passport applications and a waiting list of two and a half years.

As I write doctors earning less than the equivalent of US$80 a month have stayed away from work for six weeks. They say they are incapacitated and can’t afford to go to work.  230,000 civil servants are about to follow their lead. They want their salaries linked to the US dollar and converted to Zim dollars at the prevailing exchange rate. Lowest paid civil servants currently earn the equivalent of less than seventy US dollars a month. Teachers Union President Mr Zhou said there is “the urgent need for a national declaration of incapacitation” and said members were being “mobilized to go on strike” next week.  The Council of Churches Secretary General Rev Mtata said last week: “There is a high risk of chaos if the situation is not solved urgently.” Zimbabwe has now, undoubtedly, passed the point of no return and we are very fearful about what lies ahead.  Our government remain silent on the way out of this mess.

There is no charge for this Letter from Zimbabwe, now in its 19th year, but if you would like to contribute to production and mailing costs please visit my website. Until next time, thanks for reading this letter and supporting my books about life in Zimbabwe, love cathy 17 October 2019 Copyright © Cathy Buckle.  http://cathybuckle.co.zw/
For archives of Letters From Zimbabwe, to subscribe/unsubscribe or for information on my books about life in Zimbabwe please visit my website http://cathybuckle.co.zw/ or go to www.lulu.com/spotlight/CathyBuckle2018

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Latest on MDC MP Anele Ndebele who was accused of rap_ing and impreg_nating Form 6 girl

MDC Legislator for Magwegwe Constituency in Bulawayo, Anele Ndebele has refuted se_xual harassment allegations raised against him. The Chronicle reported earlier that Ndebele had been arrested for rap_ing and impreg_nating a form six pupil. Ndebele sai…

MDC Legislator for Magwegwe Constituency in Bulawayo, Anele Ndebele has refuted se_xual harassment allegations raised against him. The Chronicle reported earlier that Ndebele had been arrested for rap_ing and impreg_nating a form six pupil. Ndebele said responded by posting on Facebook that the State-run paper was peddling lies about him. He said: “Morning family. l […]

Old Mutual Zim makes improved retrenchment offer, as employees cling to their jobs

Old Mutual Zimbabwe has offered employees an improved retrenchment package after the first offer, made earlier this year, was met with limited uptake. Source: Old Mutual Zim makes improved retrenchment offer, as employees cling to their jobs | Fin24 Old Mutual Zimbabwe has offered employees an improved retrenchment package after the first offer, made earlier […]

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Old Mutual Zimbabwe has offered employees an improved retrenchment package after the first offer, made earlier this year, was met with limited uptake.

Source: Old Mutual Zim makes improved retrenchment offer, as employees cling to their jobs | Fin24

Old Mutual Zimbabwe has offered employees an improved retrenchment package after the first offer, made earlier this year, was met with limited uptake.

Back in April, the insurance giant rolled out a voluntary retrenchment scheme as a way of managing costs in “response to the deteriorating economic environment.” Few employees accepted.

The response to the voluntary retrenchment scheme was below expectations, said chief executive officer Jonas Mushosho in a memo to employees on Tuesday. Mushosho said it was imperative that the company reduce its costs of doing business due to relentless economic challenges in Zimbabwe.

Given the high the high inflation rate and the need to control total operating costs, it is important for the business to reduce costs, said Mushosho.

“Management is therefore tabling an offer for a voluntary staff retrenchment scheme on an improved package,” the memo said.

He said management would endeavour to conclude the current round of retrenchments timeously in order to preserve the value of the package.

Zimbabwe is officially experiencing hyperinflation, it was announced last week. The country is also facing regular fuel price hikes, data price hikes, and its worst drought in almost four decades.

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Pensioners Sleep Outside Zimbabwe Banks as Savings Vanish Again

Source: Pensioners Sleep Outside Zimbabwe Banks as Savings Vanish Again – Yahoo (Bloomberg) — As hundreds of pensioners line up outside a bank in central Harare in the hope of collecting their pensions, military veteran Elias Nyabunzi has a sense that he has seen this all before. If there is cash available, he will collect […]

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Source: Pensioners Sleep Outside Zimbabwe Banks as Savings Vanish Again – Yahoo

(Bloomberg) — As hundreds of pensioners line up outside a bank in central Harare in the hope of collecting their pensions, military veteran Elias Nyabunzi has a sense that he has seen this all before.

If there is cash available, he will collect the equivalent of just $26, down from the $400 he was getting a few months back. A decade ago when he went to collect the lump sum he was also entitled to after 25 years in the army he was given just $1. The rest had been eaten away by hyperinflation, he was told.

“It buys nothing,” the 62 year-old says of the pension as he stands under a purple blossomed jacaranda tree wearing a faded England tracksuit.

Pensioners in Zimbabwe, who are estimated to number about 500,000, are among the hardest hit in an economy that’s stagnated for almost 20 years, a result of a botched land reform program and a profligate central bank printing press. Abrupt changes in the currency system have wiped out savings twice in a decade and, according to the government, the economy has halved in size. While pensioners have little choice, in total about a quarter of the population of 16 million has left.

This June the authorities suddenly banned the use of foreign currencies and reintroduced the Zimbabwe dollar, which has since plunged 59% against the U.S. dollar. That’s a problem in a country where almost everything is imported.

In 2009 the opposite happened when the Zimbabwe dollar was abolished after a bout of hyperinflation.

Now, many pensioners have had to sell their assets, take in lodgers or depend on remittances from their children, who’ve emigrated to find work.

Those with no other financial lifeline live from hand to mouth.

“I live like a destitute,” says Patrick Nyanhewe, 78, a former waiter who spent 36 years at the country’s leading hotels, and cant afford to pay for essential medical equipment.

He has asked a lobby group, the Zimbabwe Pension and Insurance Rights Trust, to fight for what he believes he is due.

The group estimates that the national pension industry is worth $22 billion. The Insurance and Pensions Commission, the industry regulator, says its worth about a third of that. The commission didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

It is “to justify the low benefits that they are paying through understating the size of the industry,” Martin Tarusenga, ZIMPIRTs general manager, said in an interview from his office in Harare’s city center.

Currency changes and an inflation rate that was estimated at 300% by the International Monetary Fund in August, aren’t the only threats to pension value, says Tarusenga. The pension industry is riddled with poor management, use of improper accounting methods and a lack of proper record keeping, he added.

The pension trust has sued the government over its decision to halt the publication of annual inflation figures and has objected to the value of the pensions being switched to Zimbabwe dollars from the U.S. currency.

Tarusenga’s comments jar with those of national president Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Destitute, Hungry

In a televised state of the nation address on Oct. 1, Mnangagwa promised that parliament would pass the Pension and Provident Funds Bill.

“It is designed to ensure compliance with international standards,” he said. “The ultimate objective is to protect policyholders and pensioners so that they fully enjoy their rights and benefits.”

That’s cold comfort for Morgan Moyo, who fought as a guerrilla in Zimbabwe’s liberation war in the 1970s and later served in the army.

“We never thought that we would be suffering like this,” the 65-year-old said. “If you see a person who looks destitute, hungry and with worn-out shoes and clothes, you know that it’s a pensioner.”

He and Nyabunzi were among those lining up in the early hours of the morning outside a branch of the Central African Building Society where elderly women huddle under blankets before the 8 a.m. opening of the bank.

When the doors open Elizabeth Msengwa, the branch manager, breaks the news that cash is in short supply. Only the first 500 in the line will be handed numbered cards by the bank’s security guards, and given Z$80, the equivalent of just over $5, mostly in coins.

“We have to try and make sure everyone gets something,” she says.

(Adds inability to pay for medical equipment in ninth paragraph)

To contact the reporter on this story: Ray Ndlovu in Johannesburg at rndlovu1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Gordon Bell at gbell16@bloomberg.net, Antony Sguazzin, Karl Maier

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Mnangagwa breathes fire as prices skyrocket, warns doctors: We’ll see what will happen at the end

President Mnangagwa yesterday warned businesses against relentless price increases, saying the Government will be forced to take action against such practices. He said a meeting will be held next week between the Government and business to find ways of…

President Mnangagwa yesterday warned businesses against relentless price increases, saying the Government will be forced to take action against such practices. He said a meeting will be held next week between the Government and business to find ways of resolving unwarranted price increases. The President also warned striking doctors, who have been absconding from duty […]

Rich Zim man partying with beautiful slay queens photos cause stir (See French kiss on pic no.2)

The saying ‘The beauty of a man is in his pocket’ was proved true today after pictures of a Rich Zimbabwean socialite Roland Muchegwa went viral on Social Media. Roland Muchegwa, a ‘loaded’ Zimbabwean tycoon who is popularly kno…

The saying ‘The beauty of a man is in his pocket’ was proved true today after pictures of a Rich Zimbabwean socialite Roland Muchegwa went viral on Social Media. Roland Muchegwa, a ‘loaded’ Zimbabwean tycoon who is popularly known in social circles as Uncle Roland has shut down the internet in South Africa. This is […]

UNCLE ROLLAND TRENDING

SA men are high moral compass to #RolandMuchengwa on GBV even though we retweet amongst rapists and sex offenders from SA.
No women does criminal record on a men before dating even post office failed to do it,stop h…

SA men are high moral compass to #RolandMuchengwa on GBV even though we retweet amongst rapists and sex offenders from SA. No women does criminal record on a men before dating even post office failed to do it,stop hating on happy SA women #AmINext #MenAreTrash #UyineneMrwetyana pic.twitter.com/L6furHnyrB — Malcolm X (@Tall_DarkUgly) October 17, 2019

Zimbabwe activists bid to stop export of 35 baby elephants

Source: Zimbabwe activists bid to stop export of 35 baby elephants – CNN The elephants are reportedly being held in Hwange National Park, pictured here in a photo from November 2012. Harare (CNN)Wildlife activists in Zimbabwe are pushing to halt an alleged plan to sell 35 baby elephants to China and Pakistan as part of an ongoing row over […]

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Source: Zimbabwe activists bid to stop export of 35 baby elephants – CNN

The elephants are reportedly being held in Hwange National Park, pictured here in a photo from November 2012.

Harare (CNN)Wildlife activists in Zimbabwe are pushing to halt an alleged plan to sell 35 baby elephants to China and Pakistan as part of an ongoing row over wildlife exports.

The sale has been in the works since last year, according to Advocates4Earth, an environmental lobby group that is suing the government over the alleged plan.
Activists claim the shipment of the baby animals has only been delayed because of a High Court application filed in May this year.
Zimbabwean wildlife authorities, meanwhile, deny they plan to sell the elephants.
Back in May, the government revealed it had made $2.7 million from the sale of 90 elephants to Dubai and China.
In June, President Emmerson Mnangagwa said the country needs to sell wild elephants to reduce its population of the animals and fund conservation efforts.
Advocates4Earth, previously known as the “People and Earth Solidarity Law Network,” is trying to prevent further sales, but director Lenin Chisaira told CNN he has reliable information that the animals could be shipped Wednesday and Thursday.
“The elephants are currently detained in Hwange (Zimbabwe’s biggest national park) but they are barring anyone, including us environmentalists and the media, from at least getting the details of the sale,” he said.
Tinashe Farawo, a spokesman for the Zimbabwe Parks and Wild Life Management Authority, told CNN that no sale is planned.
“The most important thing you need to know is we don’t sell them,” Farawo said, adding that baby elephants are normally captured for “management purposes” such as medical treatment.
He said people are “selling stories” that are “fiction” but said he would not discuss a matter that is before the courts any further.
In court documents seen by CNN, Advocates4Earth petitioned Harare’s High Court to prevent the sale. No date has been set for a hearing.
The activists said that if the government goes ahead with the sale, it will not only be in contempt of court but also in violation of the country’s and international animal welfare regulations.
Completing a sale when the matter is before the courts would “amount to reckless disregard of the court process,” People and Earth Solidarity Law Network said in the court documents.
“Kindly advise your client to stop forthwith the translocation of elephants which is at an advanced (stage),” lawyers for the group later wrote to government attorneys.
Chisaira cited a recent resolution at the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) meeting, which said elephants from Africa should no longer be sold outside the continent.
“Although the agreement is not yet binding, Zimbabwe is trying to run ahead of time before the law is effected,” he said.
Farawo, of the Zimbabwe Parks and Wild Life Management Authority, said people should be more concerned by the conflict between humans and wildlife.
“People are quiet about lives which are being lost as a result of wildlife, we have a serious problem of overpopulation of animals,” he said.
“There is no water, food and these animals end up invading communities in search of those resources.”

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Fuel dealer in court for excise duty evasion

Source: Fuel dealer in court for excise duty evasion – DailyNews Live 19 June 2013 HARARE – A fuel dealer yesterday appeared in court for failing to pay duty after misrepresenting to the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) that his fuel consignments were in transit to the Democratic Republic of Congo when they were destined for […]

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Source: Fuel dealer in court for excise duty evasion – DailyNews Live

19 June 2013

HARARE – A fuel dealer yesterday appeared in court for failing to pay duty
after misrepresenting to the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) that his
fuel consignments were in transit to the Democratic Republic of Congo

when they were destined for Harare.

Rolen Muchegwa, 44, allegedly used the name of shipping and clearing
company, Cilo Freight (Pvt) Ltd, to create a smokescreen not to pay duty
at the border.

Magistrate Tendai Mahwe remanded Muchegwa out of custody to July 17 on
$200 bail and ordered him to surrender his passport as part of his bail
conditions.

The court heard that in November 2009, Muchegwa allegedly misrepresented
to Zimra officials at Forbes Border Post that his fuel from Mozambique was
in transit to the DRC when in actual fact he was taking it to local
service stations in Harare.

Pursuant to his plan, Muchegwa allegedly connived with Cilo Freight’s
agent Charles Kativhu, who is still at large, and the two agreed to clear
the fuel tankers in Cilo’s name.

The court heard that between November 2009 and January 2010 the two men
allegedly caused the clearance of 43 tankers by Zimra purportedly as
consignments on transit to the DRC.

It is the State’s case that Zimra did not collect revenue equivalent to
fuel imported for sale in Zimbabwe and neither was Cilo paid.

Prosecutor Tungamirai Chakurira said in December 2009, Zimra
investigations department carried out routine checks and discovered that
the fuel tankers did not cross the border into Zambia.

Zimra is alleged to have approached Cilo for clarification but they could
not account for the consignment and were made to pay $270 000 but only
managed to pay $120 000 to date.

In March 2010, Cilo reported the matter to the police and investigations
carried out revealed that the fuel was delivered to service stations in
Harare, Chitungwiza, Chegutu and Marondera under Muchegwa’s instructions.

Investigations also revealed that Muchegwa received all the proceeds from
the fuel.

He went on the run after the offence was discovered and was subsequently
arrested on June 14, 2010. – Helen Kadirire

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