Top stories for May 21-25


No need for Zimbos in South Africa to panic- Pretoria says- Zimbabweans who obtained work permits under the Special Dispensation programme in South Africa in 2009 do not need to panic. Pretoria has no intention of reversing the benefits of the dispensation. A statement by the Department of Home Affairs today said that the programme which allowed close to 250 000 Zimbabweans to be regularised had enhanced national security and the management of migration, It had also helped to mitigate widespread abuse of Zimbabweans illegally in the country by corrupt employers and officials. “It is not South Africa’s intention to reverse the benefits of the dispensation,” the statement said.


Mugabe old but still not the longest serving leader in Africa
Love him or hate him, President Robert Mugabe who returned home from Singapore today, might be the oldest leader in Africa but he is still not the longest serving. There are four ahead of him. Topping the list is Paul Biya of Cameroon followed by Mohamed Abdelaziz of the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo of Equatorial Guine and Jose Eduardo dos Santos of Angola. Mugabe is fourth if Abdelaziz is not counted. Mugabe was in Singapore for medical check up but there has been speculation that he was not there for an eye check-up but for cancer treatment. A 28- second video of Mugabe allegedly entering a private hospital in Singapore was widely circulated.


MDC has five factions not two- Holland
The Movement for Democratic Change Guardian Council which met for two days this week said it was shocked to find out that the party has five factions and not just the two warring ones, one led by president Morgan Tsvangirai and the other by secretary-general Tendai Biti. “We were shocked as Guardian Council to find that we don’t have two warring factions, we have five. That was even worse, a divided people will never win an election in Zimbabwe, never,” Holland was quoted by Newsday as saying. She did not say who led the other three factions. The Newsday story confirmed the story in The Herald that the statement issued by the Guardian Council on Thursday claiming to condemn the Biti faction was doctored by Tsvangirai and his team after the council sent it to him to have a look. The council condemned both factions and urged them to unite. It said that if the MDC could unite with the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front to form an inclusive government, it did not see why Biti and Tsvangirai could not unite.


Is the government abandoning indigenisation or tightening it?
It depends on who you listen to. The Sunday Mail today said the government had made a major climb-down. Information Minister Jonathan Moyo says: “Not at all. I don’t know or understand where that suggestion is coming from. It would be sheer folly for anybody to imagine that we would abandon or ditch a policy or programme that was overwhelmingly endorsed by the electorate in unprecedented numbers as recently as 31 July 2013. We are reviewing and tightening the indigenisation and empowerment policy by being pragmatic without being dogmatic about it. In any event, the record should show that we did acknowledge in our election manifesto — you can find that on Page 35 — that, while the law is clear that at least 51 percent of the shares or ownership of every public company and any other business shall be owned by indigenous Zimbabweans, there has been some confusion and misunderstanding over the modalities for achieving this threshold. Consequently, we pointed out that, going forward there is a need to review, tighten and strengthen both the law and policy to, among other things, clarify the fact that the indigenous Zimbabweans cannot be expected or required to buy back their God-given natural or economic resources. This is why we have been having this review and tightening process under Zim Asset.” But Moyo says the government has identified two approaches to implement indigenisation. These are the Production Sharing Model (PSM) and the Joint Empowerment Investment Model (JEIM). Whatever the case, The Insider warned last year that it is now easier for the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front to sell-out now that it has the vote in the bag. But the party knows that the Zimbabwean electorate is not dumb. It can ditch the party, despite its two-thirds majority, like it did in 2008.


Tsvangirai ill
Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai is ill. Reports say he failed to attend a star rally that he was supposed to address at the Zimbabwe Grounds in Harare following doctor’s orders. His top lieutenants were expecting him to make a show and left it until afternoon to tell the crowd that Tsvangirai would not make it. Some of the people were so disappointed that they did not wait to hear the acting secretary-general Tapiwa Mashakada address the crowd despite pleases from organising secretary Nelson Chamisa who broke the news. The reports did not say what Tsvangirai is suffering from. Tsvangirai turned 62 in March.


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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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