Top stories for May 6-10


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China shows Zimbabwe business is business– China, which has described itself as an all-weather friend of Zimbabwe, today showed Harare that business is business. Chinese ambassador to Zimbabwe Lin Lin said Beijing is prepared to arrange a financial package for Zimbabwe’s economic recovery programme but will need collateral in the form of Zimbabwe’s mineral resources. “My government is committed to give our support to Zimbabwe’s economic recovery. What I can say now is that the two sides are carrying out discussions on lines of credit provided by Chinese financial institutions as proposed by Zimbabwean side using your minerals as kind of security. We are looking forward to reach a kind of an agreement on that issue and I hope sometime this year.” Zimbabwe, on the other hand, has indicated that it will continue to sell its diamonds through the Dubai Diamond Exchange though proceeds from the March sale have not yet been remitted. Less than half the nearly US$30 million realised from the auction has so far been paid.

 

New RBZ governor says only discipline can save Zimbabwe
The governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, John Mangudya, who took over the job on 1 May today said Zimbabwe can overcome all its challenges if people work as a team and inculcate discipline. “I have optimism to believe that we shall overcome our challenges. We need to remain positive and work together as a team. It shall come to pass. The greatest panacea of our challenges is discipline. Discipline to utilise our resources efficiently. Discipline to know that we need to increase production before we increase consumption. Discipline to refrain from living beyond our means, as this would bring greed and corruption. Discipline enough to find an equilibrium position or a point of harmony between the need to promote indigenisation and the need for foreign direct investment and the ability to synchronise the two. Discipline to know that we need to work very hard for this economy,” he said.

 

Biti to know his fate today
Movement for Democratic Change secretary-general Tendai Biti will know whether he will retain his parliamentary seat or not today after Speaker Jacob Mudenda makes a decision. Biti who led a group of nine other legislators and other party officials to suspend party leader Morgan Tsvangirai and other senior officials including the national chairman Lovemore Moyo and organising secretary Nelson Chamisa was in turn expelled from the party which is now seeking parliament to recall the seats. The current constitution says if a legislator leaves or is expelled from his party, he or she loses the seat which belongs to the party. Biti wrote to Mudenda saying he should not entertain the request because such a request should come from the party’s secretary-general. The Tsvangirai faction says some of the legislators are likely to abandon Biti and go back to the main wing, while the Biti faction says more legislators are waiting to join them. Today’s ruling is likely to mark the official split of the party because either way, Mudenda’s ruling will lead to two factions- one loyal to Biti and the other to Tsvangirai. In the last split in 2005, each faction retained the MPs who sided with it.

 

Biti 1 Tsvangirai 0
Movement for Democratic Change secretary Tendai Biti today scored his first victory against his more popular rival party leader Morgan Tsvangirai when the Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda referred their case in which Tsvangirai is seeking to recall from Parliament nine legislators that sided with Biti to suspend him from the party. Biti, who is one of the legislators, argued that he, as secretary general, was the only person with powers to recall legislators. Mudenda said in a statement today: “As the Honourable Speaker of the National Assembly, l have studied the contents of the two similar letters addressed to me on the dates aforesaid. I have concluded that the letters contain no legal issues that require the Honourable President of the Senate or the Honourable Speaker of the National Assembly to determine or rule on whether or not to act pursuant to the provisions of section 129 (1)(K) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe. In any case, neither the Honourable President of the Senate nor the Honourable Speaker of the National Assembly has any authority and role to play in the internal disciplinary actions, disputes or differences within political parties, which matters may be appropriately dealt with by a competent court.” Mudenda’s ruling is likely to result in a long-drawn battle that could be too costly for Tsvangirai because his faction does not have any money. The Biti faction not only has the money but it also has more resources. Biti himself is a lawyer and so is the faction’s spokesman Jacob Mafume. Mudenda’s action could also see more legislators, who were scared of losing their seats, changing sides.

 

Tsvangirai says Mudenda ruling is a victory for his faction
The Movement for Democratic Change faction loyal to party leader Morgan Tsvangirai today said the decision by Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda to refer the dispute over whether it can recall Members of Parliament who sided with secretary-general Tendai Biti to suspend the party leadership was a victory for the faction because it can now proceed with recalling the MPs. The faction said Mudenda had educated Biti that he was not the only legitimate person who could ask Parliament to recall the legislators. “The response by Speaker Mudenda leaves the door open for the MDC to exercise its power of recall according to chapter 129(k) of the Constitution. Therefore, the party is going to proceed with recalling those Members of Parliament that no longer belong to it,” the party said in an unsigned statement.

 

Zisco being revamped!
The Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company (Zisco), now renamed NewZim Steel after its acquisition by India’s Essar Group, is to be revamped with the construction of a new steel plant. The 500 000-tonne plant will be built over two years at a cost of US$650 million. Essar’s Africa director Firdhose Coovadia today said the company had decided to build a new plant instead of refurbishing the old one because new technology was needed to make steel production more competitive globally. He said Zimbabwe only needs 100 000 tonnes of steel so the company will export the bulk of its production. It plans to increase production to one million tonnes in the second phase. Essar acquired 54 percent of Zisco with the government retaining 36 percent and minority shareholders 10 percent but the revamping of the company was stalled because of disagreements over mining rights for iron. Coovadia said all the misunderstandings had now been ironed out with the government. The small town of Redcliff just outside Kwekwe was built around Zisco.

 

Malema proves SA needs change
One of South Africa’s leading Mugabe praise-singers Julius Malema has proved that South Africans are craving for change. Once written off as a blabber-mouth, Malema, whose Economic Freedom Front went to the elections held midweek with calls for nationalisation of mines and taking over of land the Zimbabwe way, surprised everyone when his party shot up to become the third most powerful party in the country, less than nine months after its formation. Malema’s party polled 6.35 percent of the vote. Though this was 10 percent of the vote that the ruling African National Congress won, and just over a quarter of the Democratic Alliance vote, Malema could soon overtake the DA as the official opposition. Malema was quite clear in his election campaign that he wanted to go the Zimbabwe way in terms of revolutionising the economy. He did not even support the current black empowerment because it enriches individuals. He wants something that benefits the entire community. “We are going to take charge of our own lives like the Zimbabweans have done. You can say whatever you want to say about Zimbabweans . In the next 10 years they will be the only Africans in the whole of Africa who own their country because, why, they were ready to take the pain. Revolution is about pain. Revolution is change and change is painful. We are ready for that pain. We need that pain,” he said during the campaign.

 

Baba Jukwa exposed?
A London-based internet publication, New Zimbabwe.Com, today said it had received information and documents that revealed that Baba Jukwa, who has rocked the nation for more than a year, is really two South African-based Zimbabwean journalists, Mxolisi Ncube and MkhululiChimoio, who write for The Zimbabwean. But Jukwa’s fans are sceptical about the disclosure. “I don’t respond to rubbish! Jukwa wabatwa, Jukwa wabatwa, Jukwa wabatwa, Jukwa wabatwa, Jukwa wabatwa? Muchabatana ikoko isu tichi piwa ma updates naJukwa kuno, ” wrote one of the fans on Baba Jukwa’s facebook page. Jukwa came onto the scene on 22 March last year, six days after the national referendum that approved the new constitution. By today he had 405 835 likes. Baba Jukwa describes himself as a ZANU-PF insider and a “concerned father, fighting nepotism and directly linking community with their leaders, government, MPs and ministers”. The Insider has always been sceptical about this anonymous character and has argued that he was part of the ZANU-PF campaign. The New Zimbabwe report says the two journalists were probably working with intelligence services. Zimbabwe’s intelligence has infiltrated almost all news outlets except perhaps one-person operations, and usually at senior level.

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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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