Top stories for June 11-15


Jonathan Moyo back on the front page – Information Minister Jonathan Moyo, who had a torrid time at the weekend after President Robert Mugabe first called him a “devil incarnate” and then a “weevil”, seems to have survived the onslaught and is back on the front page of The Herald. Moyo was pictured today with Moses Musarurwa, the head of manufacturing at BAT and the picture was posted on the home page of The Herald website. The story did not quote Moyo who toured BAT today at all. It quoted Lovemore Manatsa the managing director of BAT as saying that the company had no intention of divesting from Zimbabwe. “Over the past four years we have put in about US$5.4 million in infrastructure and particularly now in the distribution part of the business. So that was the point of engaging key stakeholders including the minister of information to put the point across that we are not divesting out of Zimbabwe,” Manatsa was quoted by The Herald as saying. “As part of that engagement to make sure that we are not talking from the tops of our heads we invited them to come through to BAT headquarters here and walk through and appreciate what we are talking about and that is basically the reason why the minister and his team came in today.”

Civil servants to be paid after Christmas this year
Zimbabwe’s civil servants, whose pay dates have been playing yoyo of late, will receive their December salaries after Christmas this year according to a schedule released by the Civil Service Commission. Teachers and soldiers, who constitute the majority of the civil service will, however, be paid before the biggest Christian holiday with teachers receiving their salaries on Christmas Eve. According to the schedule soldiers and teachers will be paid almost mid-month each month while the rest of the civil servants will be paid just before month-end. Pensioners will be paid on the last day of each month. The government has this year been struggling to meet its US$155 million monthly salary bill. It reportedly employs 230 000 workers but there have been reports that there could be as many as 75 000 ghost-workers. A report by Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee tabled last month showed that the Ministry of Agriculture was paying 11 employees who had long left the civil service.


Can Mwana Africa provide the answer to Zimbabwe’s platinum refinery problem?
Mwana Africa says it is planning to have its nickel smelter at Bindura Nickel Corporation back in operation in the first half of next year and the smelter could be adapted to treat platinum group metals. Although it did not give the time-frame for the adaptation, the move could save the country millions of dollars as the company says it will only spend US$26.5 million to bring the smelter back into operation. Platinum miners were given up to the end of this year to set up a refinery or they will be barred from exporting raw platinum to South Africa where it is currently refined. Platinum mining companies have argued that it is not viable to start a refinery in Zimbabwe because production is too low and there are erratic power supplies. The Chamber of Mines said as much as US$5.3 billion is needed to build the refinery and boost output. The Mwana project is likely to cost a fraction of that. China has said it is willing to put up the refinery with local partners. A Russian consortium has invested in a platinum operation in Zimbabwe and aims to boost production to 600 000 ounces a year, more than what the platinum companies argue will make the refinery viable.


Blow for Tsvangirai as Gorden Moyo steps down
Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai today received a terrible blow when Bulawayo provincial chairman Gorden Moyo said he was stepping down because he could not work under a fragmented leadership. Moyo, the founder of Bulawayo Agenda was brought into politics by Tsvangirai who appointed him a special adviser in the Prime Minister Office hoping he would lobby donors to give more aid to the inclusive government and this prop the MDC. “I am stepping down from the office of the chairman of the province of Bulawayo MDC with immediate effect. I continue being available to work towards the emancipation of the people of Zimbabwe, in particular my constituency in Makokoba. Once the time is right, once the conditions are right for people to work in a unified fashion; when all people, progressive forces, every political party in the country combine to work to install democracy … to push for the democracy project in Zimbabwe, I am available. But under the current circumstances, in the current contexts where there are fragments in the MDC, I can’t be a member and be part of any of those fragments at leadership level. I remain an ordinary member … working as a Member of Parliament,” Moto said according to Business Day.


Biti says Mugabe and Tsvangirai have failed the nation
Opposition leader Tendai Biti says both President Robert Mugabe and former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai have failed the nation. Mugabe represents the failure of the liberation movement while Tsvangirai is the face of the failure of the democratic struggle. Biti and Tsvangirai are involved in a tussle for the Movement for Democratic Change. Biti and his lieutenants suspended Tsvangirai but Tsvangirai in turn expelled Biti and his group. Biti’s group says Tsvangirai must appear for a hearing on his suspension on Wednesday. “Zimbabwe requires new thinking, a new conversation and a new discourse. President Robert Mugabe represents the failure of the liberation movement that is ZANU-PF while Tsvangirai is the face of the failure of the democratic struggle. The two are a reflection of each other, a direct reflection of everything that is wrong with this country, politically, economically, socially and morally. We cannot therefore just fold our hands and wait for things to move on their own; we cannot be doing the same things over and over again. It is the height of insanity but, as a people, none but ourselves will rescue this nation. It is a generational calling that we must take up without reservation if we are to rescue this nation. Zimbabwe is crying for rethinking because the pre and post-independence politicians have failed the nation,” he was quoted as saying.


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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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