Top stories August 16-20


Mutsvangwa says Mutasa is misleading Mujuru that she will succeed Mugabe- Zimbabwe’s Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Christopher Mutsvangwa, who is also the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front legislator for Norton, says ZANU-PF Secretary for Administration Didymus Mutasa is destroying the party and is misleading Vice-President Joice Mujuru into believing that she will succeed President Robert Mugabe.  In an interview with The Herald, in which the paper said he was speaking as a war veteran, Mutsvangwa also said that Mujuru should not be deceived by post-independence titles of office and she should stop deluding herself because she did not down a Rhodesian helicopter during the liberation war. He said Mutasa, now currently number four in the ZANU-PF hierarchy after Mugabe, Mujuru and Simon Khaya Moyo, was an opportunist who had joined the liberation struggle at the last moment but had been sowing seeds of disunity all along. Mutsvangwa claimed that Mutasa misled Edgar Tekere who was Mugabe’s number two to quit the party and form the Zimbabwe Unity Movement.  That was the end of Tekere’s political career. He also claimed that Mutasa misled Simba Makoni, who was also ranked as one of Mugabe’s potential successors, into quitting the party and later forming the Mavambo-Kusila-Dawn party. Makoni has been languishing in political oblivion since. Mutasa was now misleading Joice Mujuru to think she would take over from Mugabe as she is currently number two but he warned her: “We all know each other as comrades from the shared war effort. She should not be deceived by the post-independence titles of office. She was accorded them much later in our shared lives. “Zvekare hapana comrade akanga akatakura pfuti mbiri mbiri ari mumwe. Taingove mumwe neimwe. Kupedzisa nekukanda pasi manyepo ekudonhedza helicopter yemuvengi akaumbwa naWebster Shamu kumupembedza kuti abviswe kuvamwe macomrades. Ngatisanyengedzwe nePovho nemagwara atavakudyidzana nawo mushure mekupera kwehondo yerusununguko.”

Mutasa down but not yet out

Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front Secretary for Administration Didymus Mutasa who came under a lot of flak from President Robert Mugabe for the way his office handled the youth conference and party administration in general including companies owned by the party may be down, but he is not yet out. Mutasa who was blasted by Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Christopher Mutsvangwa for sowing seeds of disunity within the party sees to still have something up sleeve. According to The Sunday Mail the party’s Masvingo province is reported to have endorsed him for the national chairman’s post currently held by Simon Khaya Moyo who is expected to rise to Vice-President though some from the former Zimbabwe African People’s Union feel he is not senior enough to take up the post. The same applies to Mutasa. The post of national chairman has historically been reserved for someone from the former ZAPU so that the presidium has two people from the former ZANU-PF and two from the former ZAPU. Mutasa has been accused of destroying the party in his quest to rise. Mutsvangwa went to the extent of calling him an opportunist who joined the liberation movement at the last minute to share the spoils. He said Mutasa had turned himself into the Manicaland supremo by misleading senior politicians there who were touted as Mugabe’s potential successors such as Edgar Tekere and Simba Makoni. There is still four months to the decisive party congress but it seems the battle has begun. And it could be ugly.



Twelve years on, Mugabe says he doesn’t understand why Zimbabwe is under sanctions

President Robert Mugabe yesterday said he did not understand why Zimbabwe was placed under sanctions by the United States and the European Union 12 years ago. His party, the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front, said last year that the sanctions had cost the country US$42 billion. Zimbabwe was placed under sanctions ostensibly because of human rights violations but ZANU-PF has all along argued that they were imposed because of its land reform programme under which it forcibly took land from white farmers.  Addressing delegates to the Southern African Development Community summit in Victoria Falls at which he took over as chairman of the regional body, Mugabe thanked SADC for standing behind Zimbabwe and consistently calling for the removal of EU and United States sanctions, which he said were illegal because they were never sanctioned by the United Nations.  “We don’t understand why they have ever been imposed. To tell you the truth, we don’t. Neither does SADC understand. Without your support, we would not be standing on our feet today. We will remain eternally grateful for that. I say, once again, thank you SADC.  We shall forever be grateful to Southern African countries for the sacrifices they made for Zimbabwe to be free.” The EU has lifted all targeted sanctions at individuals and firms except Mugabe and his wife Grace and the Zimbabwe Defence Industries. It is expected to review bilateral aid on 1 November. The United States has refused to review its sanctions on Zimbabwe.



Simba Makoni told to wake up

Mavambo Kusile Dawn leader Simba Makoni has been asked to wake and revive the party but he says he is not a dictator who tells people what to do. The criticism came at the party congress when one member George Mudombo complained that Makoni was too shy and was not building party structures.  “Our leader is well-branded but is poorly positioned. You cannot be a leader when you are shy; you cannot be in politics, when you don’t want to be known,” Mudombo said according to New Zimbabwe.Com. “There are no structures out there. If anyone says there are structures, it’s a lie. MDC Renewal team is even better because they have contact persons around the country; but MDK does not have." Makoni said he had a different strategy and preferred inclusive leadership.  “Kana mauya muchifunga kuti ndichakuudzai kuti chairperson wekwakati ndiani, handikwanisi kukuudzai.  Kana ndikati endai munoita icho nechocho necho tinenge tasiyana sei navavo vanoti isu tisu tinogona?” he reportedly said.  MKD was formed in 2008 when Makoni left the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front to contest for president. Makoni said he had wanted to represent ZANU-PF but had decided to go it alone after realising that party leader Robert Mugabe would not step down. At the time Makoni was said to be backed by former army commander Solomon Mujuru who refused to endorse Mugabe at the 2006 party conference and called for a special congress in November 2007 but lost. Foreign Affairs Deputy Minister Christopher Mutsvangwa claimed at the weekend that Makoni was misled into forming MKD by Didymus Mutasa who wanted to sideline him from the presidential succession race. Mutsvangwa claimed Mutasa also misled Edgar Tekere to form the Zimbabwe Unity Movement.



Air Zimbabwe fraud case is political says former CEO

The criminal case in which two former Air Zimbabwe officials, former company secretary Grace Pfumbidzayi and former Chief Executive Officer Peter Chikumba, are accused of defrauding the national airline of €5 175 593 and US$502 748 through an insurance scam, is politically motivated and is aimed at denying Chikumba his terminal benefits,  the former Air Zimbabwe boss said yesterday. “Air Zimbabwe Holdings (Pvt) Ltd is being abused and misused by powerful politicians in a bid to drag my name into alleged clandestine transactions such that I lose my right to claim my terminal benefits,” he said according to The Herald. Chikumba and Pfumbidzayi are alleged to have defrauded the national airline through a scam that involved Navistar Insurance. Pfumbidzayi said the national airline was forced to use Navistar when the ZIMRE Holdings, through which the airline was insured, was placed under sanctions. “The appointment of Navistar Insurance under these circumstances was lawful. Prior to March 16, 2009 Marsh Insurance Brokers (Pvt) Ltd acted as the local insurance broker to Air Zimbabwe Holdings (Pvt) Ltd placing the risk with Nicoz Diamond Insurance Zimbabwe who in turn reinsured the risk to Zimre Reinsurance Company who further reinsured the risk with the international market via London aviation reinsurance brokers, Willis Aviation.  On an unknown date but prior to January 31, 2009 Zimre Reinsurance Company (Pvt) Ltd was placed on the sanctions list thus the reinsurance cover on Air Zimbabwe Holdings (Pvt) Ltd’s aeroplanes ceased at midnight on January 31, 2009,” Pfumbidzayi said in her defence outline.



Mutsvangwa in trouble over Mujuru, Mutasa remarks

Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Christopher Mutsvangwa is in trouble over his remarks about Vice-President Joice Mujuru and Presidential Affairs Minister Didymus Mutasa at the weekend in an interview with The Herald. Mutsvangwa disparaged Mujuru and Mutasa, number two and number four in the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front, by telling Mujuru that she was not the automatic successor of President Robert Mugabe as she had been offered the post of Vice-President by Mugabe. He also said it was a lie that she downed a Rhodesian helicopter during the liberation war rubbishing this as propaganda by Webster Shamu who was in the party’s information department at the time. Mutsvangwa also said Mutasa was an opportunist who had been sowing seeds of disunity since the 1980s when he misled former secretary-general Edgar Tekere, then number two to Mugabe, to leave the party and form the Zimbabwe Unity Movement. Mutsvangwa claimed that Mutasa had done the same thing by misleading Simba Makoni, another potential successor to Mugabe at the time, to form the Mavambo Kusile Dawn party. Mutsvangwa said Mutasa was now misleading Mujuru to think she was the heir apparent to Mugabe so that he too could rise. Party spokesman Rugare Gumbo said Mutsvangwa would face disciplinary action because his remarks were uncalled for. “This is an internal issue and it will be dealt with following the party's rules and regulations as laid down in the procedures and action will be taken accordingly,” Gumbo said, adding that as a senior member of the party Mutsvangwa knew how to communicate if he had any issues with the leadership.


Zimplats shuts down its biggest mine

Zimbabwe’s biggest platinum miner, Zimplats, has closed down its Bimha Mine, the largest of its four mines, to safeguard its employees and equipment following an underground collapse of the mine last month, the company’s chief executive Alex Mhembere said today.  The move is expected to see a drop in production of 70 000 ounces of platinum. Zimplats produced 240 000 ounces of platinum in the 2014 financial year which ended in June. The collapse of a section of the mine last month was due to the accelerated deterioration of ground conditions which were first spotted in 2011. No one was injured during the collapse. The company says it spent US$6 million on trying to address ground stability on the mine but despite these efforts there was accelerated deterioration from May this year.  “Zimplats wishes to inform shareholders and other stakeholders that a decision has now been made to cease all mining operations at the Bimha Mine with immediate effect in order to safeguard the safety of underground personnel and equipment,” Mhembere said in a statement.  In July 2014, a collapse within a section of the underground working area of the Bimha Mine was triggered by the accelerated deterioration of ground conditions associated with a major fault, the Mutambara Shear, which transgresses through the mining area. Over recent weeks, ground conditions have continued to deteriorate and, as a consequence, it has been decided to withdraw employees in high-risk areas with immediate effect and to implement orderly closure procedures across the rest of the mine.  A team of Company and independent advisors has been appointed to conduct detailed investigations to re-engineer and/or arrest the current mine stability concerns at the Bimha Mine.”  Mhembere said  the closure of Bimha is likely to see a decline of 70 000 ounces in production but production at the three other mines- Mupfuti, Rukodzi and Ngwarati- is not likely to be affected.  Employees from Bimha had been deployed to the other mines.


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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.


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