Top stories for May 1-5


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300 workers being retrenched every week!– Some 7 500 workers lost their jobs when their companies failed to re-open after their December shutdown and 300 workers are being retrenched every week, Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai said at Workers’ Day today. “Despite this sad situation for workers and the ordinary people, top executives in both private and public companies were recently revealed to be earning obscene perks and salaries,” he said. “Corruption by the high and mighty and the well-heeled and well-connected in the public and private sectors is the cancer at the heart of our economy but there is no effort by anyone in government to stamp it out. I have said before that we have become so good at corruption and theft as a country that we have gone beyond the mere robbery and theft of public assets and proceeds from the country’s natural resources. We have perfected the art such that the people’s mandate and the people’s votes are no longer safe in this country. Even the people’s expression through an election is now susceptible to pilferage, as we all saw on July 31 last year. This is the grim environment in which we mark this year’s May Day.” Tsvangirai told the workers that the MDC would never abandon them and that he would not remain at the helm of the MDC forever. The party is holding its congress in October but Tsvangirai did not say whether he would be stepping down or not.

 

British Labour party leader likened to Mugabe
Britain’s leader of the Labour Party, Ed Miliband has been likened to Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe after warning property developers failing to build on their land to use it or lose it. According to the Huffington Post Miliband is Karl Marx, Hugo Chavez and Robert Mugabe all rolled into one. He is like Marx for planning to freeze energy bills and like Chavez for planning to put a cap on rent rises. The comparison to Mugabe carried a doctored picture of Miliband with Grace Mugabe.

 

Jonathan Moyo blasts police
Information Minister Jonathan Moyo today blasted the police for banning a march by journalists to mark World Press Freedom day. Police had initially approved the march but later reversed their decision because “events of national interest” had cropped up. But Moyo fired back: “This year’s official commemoration was not only in line with Zimbabwe’s obligations as a state party to the United Nations but also in recognition of and thus in accordance with Zimbabwe’s new Constitution which in section 61 (2), and for the first time in the constitutional history of our young democracy, specifically enshrines freedom of the media by providing that ‘every person is entitled to freedom includes protection of the confidentiality of journalists’ sources of information’. Against this background, and although it may please some vested political interests, the 11th hour cancellation of the commemoration of World Press Freedom Day by ZRP, without prior reference to the stakeholders involved including the Ministry and on the basis of opaque reasons, is very disappointing as it is manifestly neither in the public nor national interest not least because it is patently unconstitutional and without any transparent, rational or constructive justification.”

 

Mugabe may have to swallow his words
President Robert Mugabe may have to swallow his words about using the Dubai Diamond Exchange to sell the country’s diamonds. Last month, he said Zimbabwe would continue using the DDE 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”. Zimbabwe had just sold nearly 400 000 carats realising an average of US$76.91 cents per carat which was slightly higher than the US$72.96 realised at the second auction in Antwerp. But the money from Dubai, nearly US$30 million, has not been transferred to Zimbabwe more than a month after the auction. And everyone is crying- Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa, Mines Minister Walter Chidhakwa and the mining companies themselves. Chinamasa, under pressure because of the liquidity crisis in the country, says Dubai has failed the test. One Sunday Mail reader quipped: “moti vanotengesera kuAntwerp vanopenga here?”

 

Kwadzinorohwa matumbu ndko kwadzinomhanyira!
This aptly describes the Minister of Mines Walter Chidhakwa’s decision to stick with the Dubai Diamond Exchange after the country failed to recoup its proceeds from the diamond sales there in March for more than a month. Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa had said no more, because they had failed the test. But Chidhakwa now says: “The issue is that of the facilitator. It is a lucrative market. That we had a facilitator who did not do according to expectation does not take away the fact that we still have an opportunity to continue to sell in Dubai.” Although Chinamasa had said Chidhakwa would have the final say, it is Chinamasa who is running around looking for funds to run the country. So shouldn’t he have the final say? Or was Chidhakwa simply following the words of his principal, President Robert Mugabe who said: “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.” Zimbabwe’s all-weather friend, China, will tell you that when it comes to business there are no permanent friends or permanent enemies. Zimbabwe must do what is right for the country. It needs money. It should sell to those who pay, quickly. If Antwerp is not good enough why not try India? After all most of the buyers were reportedly from India?

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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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