Top stories for April 6- 10


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Tsvangirai says people must now refuse to be abused by Mugabe– Zimbabweans must refuse to be abused by President Robert Mugabe and his Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front and must take courageous action to force Mugabe to go back to the people, Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai said in Gweru today. Tsvangirai said Mugabe’s administration was incapable of turning around the country’s fortunes. The only way to get out of this quagmire was to take courageous action and refuse to be abused. “Do you think we stand a chance to get to 2018 with the current national leadership?” he asked. “We cannot wait till 2018 given the state of the nation. We have been taken to a hard place because of Mugabe and ZANU-PF. To get out of this quagmire, we ought to take courageous action and refuse to be abused.” He said that people should remain focused on what the problem of Zimbabwe is and find a solution to dealing with the issue. “Whether he likes it or not, we are going to force Mugabe to go back to the people because the people need solutions and they need to be consulted. It is about time Mugabe and ZANU-PF understand that the nation is in a crisis and they need to act. The people need to know how to end corruption. The people need to know what the so called government is doing for all the children who are coming out of schools. People want to know what this failed government is doing to ensure jobs are created. But we all know this government is incapable of transforming this nation into a prosperous nation that it is. We have natural resources that are benefiting a few and this has to change,” Tsvangirai said. This is the second time within a week that Tsvangirai has called on the people to take action against Mugabe. Some ZANU-PF supporters wanted him arrested for calling for an uprising but Information Minister Jonathan Moyo brushed this off as a cheap publicity stunt. Moyo said Tsvangirai was now history. There was nothing he could do today that he had failed to do over the past 15 years.

Marange diamonds raise US$99 million in three months
Zimbabwe has sold diamonds from its Marange mines worth almost US$100 million at two auctions held in the first quarter of this year according to information released today. The first auction was in Belgium in February where it sold 960 000 carats and the second in Dubai last month. It sold 381 000 carats. The two auctions netted US$99 million. The country is expected to produce anything up to 16 million carats this year. Zimbabwe has been selling its diamonds through middlemen because of sanctions by the European Union and the United States. EU sanctions were lifted last year following pressure from Belgium which felt it was losing out. The United States sanctions are still in force. The Antwerp World Diamond Council has promised the best prices for Zimbabwe diamonds and will help with beneficiation. Zimbabwe is now among the top five diamond producers in the world and is likely to produce a quarter of the world’s diamonds in future.

 

Gershom Pasi’s ZIMRA miracle
Zimbabwe Revenue Authority has exceeded its revenue target for the first quarter of this year and the commissioner-general Gershom Pasi said this was a miracle. “We have exceeded our quarterly target for January, February and March by two percent and for us it is a miracle given the state of the economy,” Pasi told a Parliamentary committee today but did not disclose any figures according to the Chinese news agency Xinhua. In the last quarter up to December 2013, ZIMRA missed its target by 18 percent after collecting US$877.6 million against a target of US$1.1 billion. It missed its target for 2013 by six percent collecting US$3.43 billion instead of US$3.64 billion. The government is currently experiencing a liquidity crunch and did not pay civil servants on time last month.

 

Mangoma finally goes to court
Movement for Democratic Change suspended deputy treasurer-general Elton Mangoma finally filed his court papers against his suspension today. And it looks the battle could be messy. The fight might not only expose party leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s weak leadership but his bedrooms politics as well because he has tended to ” marry” women associated with the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front. According to New Zimbabwe.Com, Mangoma says in his founding affidavit that when he handed Tsvangirai his initial letter in January: “It then hit me at that moment that this is a man who all along had lived and believed that he was a good or a messiah of some sort, who walked on water and could not be challenged or questioned.” Mangoma had cited as respondents, the party itself, Tsvangirai, party chairman Lovemore Moyo and secretary-general Tendai Biti though there have been reports that he is in the same camp with Biti.

 

Antwerp Move over, here comes Dubai
President Robert Mugabe today said Zimbabwe will continue using the Dubai Diamond Exchange to sell its diamonds following the successful auctioning of 380 626.24 carats for US$29.3 million last month. Zimbabwe sold 959 931 carats for US$70 million at the Antwerp World Diamond centre in February. Although Antwerp promised better prices than any other market, it turned out that Dubai is offering better prices. The average price at Dubai was US$76.91 cents per carat while that at Antwerp was US$72.96 per carat and not US$80 mentioned by AWDC chief executive Ari Epstein when he visited Harare. Mugabe said Zimbabwe was going to use Dubai because: “You do not have the evil heart of Europe…We want to be partners in trade. We want partners who regard us as human beings, partners who share our misfortunes and appreciate that we want to develop also in the same way that we appreciate their own development”.

 

Zimbabwean envoy to Nigeria summoned over Mugabe’s corruption remarks
Zimbabwe’s Head of Chancery in Abuja Stanley Kunjeku was today summoned by the Nigerian government over President Robert Mugabe’s remarks on 15 March whether Zimbabwe was heading Nigeria’s way in terms of corruption. “Are we now like Nigeria where you have to reach your pocket to get anything done?” Mugabe asked at a special birthday luncheon to mark his 90th birthday. The Nigerian government described Mugabe’s remarks as “vitriolic and denigrating on Nigeria and Nigerians”. Foreign Affairs Permanent Secretary Martin Uhomoibhi said: “We want to present the strongest protest in that statement; not only does it not reflect the reality in our country, but to come from a sitting president of a brotherly country is most unkind and very dishonourable.” Kunjeku said he would forward Nigeria’s protest to Harare.

 

Jonathan Moyo on the rampage
Information Minister Jonathan Moyo who opened the Pandora box when he exposed corruption at the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation in November continued on his campaign trail today with a startling revelation that some 3 000 individuals had gobbled US$600 million in salaries and allowances since 2009 and US$133 million last year alone. “Had these salaries been capped at US$6 000 per month and board allowances fees at US$10 000 per annum since 2009 we would have lowered the wage bills of chief executives, board members and senior management to US$78 million, which would have translated to a US$55 million annual reduction in the current wage bill. This would have saved the country about US$220 million and it would have amounted to 5.7 percent of 2013 Government expenditure,” he said. Moyo said political will was now needed to fight corruption because there were now some attempts to derail the fight. “This was under the cover of political excuses designed to create confusion by giving the false impression that individuals who have been fingered in corrupt acts are victims of some political intrigues and machinations of their real or perceived rivals,” he said.

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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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