Top stories September 11-15


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Mugabe insists China trip was a success-President Mugabe yesterday insisted that his trip to China was a success. He did not go to China to look for budgetary support.“Ndinoda kuti ndikuudzei kuti rwendo rwatakaita kuChina was very, very productive. Izvi zvekunzi tingadai takauya takazadza mabox emari, aah hameno kuti manegotiations iwayo hazvisiizvo zvaanoitwa. You agree nenyika kuti tine maprojects akati neakati, neakati atinoda mari dzakati dzakati saka ndozvatinazvo. Tinoda kuti either you give us loans, soft loans dzisina interest yepamusorosoro or you come and join us toita joint venture. So the country yamuri kukumbira inouya as partner to you. Hamungopihwa mari hakuna nyika inongopa mari. Here and there you get a grant, yes we did get a grant, a small grant but we had commitments. Our roads yes, vachauya voita our roads, vachauya kuagriculture, vachauya kuzoshanda nesu kudiamonds,” Mugabe told chiefs according to The Herald.

Government in aggressive tax drive as revenue shrinks
Zimbabwe’s finance minister Patrick Chinamasa today announced a raft of tax increases as government registered a $112 million shortfall in targeted revenues in the first half of the year, while signalling a flexible approach in applying the country’s foreign ownership law in a bid to attract sorely needed investment. Government revenues in the first half of the year were $1.735 billion, against a target of $1.847 billion, with value-added tax (VAT) and pay as you earn (PAYE) being the major contributors. Expenditure in the first half stood at $1.953 billion, exceeding the $1.848 billion target. The government wage bill shot up to $1.486 billion, representing 76.1 percent of total expenditure. In a bid to shore up sagging revenues in the face of ballooning expenditure, Chinamasa announced tax increases on fuel, employee allowances and mobile phone credit and handsets with effect from September 15, 2014. “Whereas the income tax act obliges employers to deduct and remit PAYE to Zimra, the trend that has been observed especially in public enterprises it that fringe benefits were not being subjected to employees taxes as is required by the law,” Chinamasa said. Customs duty on motor vehicle imports, which he said account for 10 percent of total imports, is also set to go up in November. Excise duty on fuel will rise from 30 cents per litre to 35 cents for petrol and from 25 cents to 30 cents per litre for diesel, which will likely raise fuel prices. Chinamasa slapped a five percent excise duty on mobile airtime effective September 15, while cellphone handsets will be subject to a 25 percent customs duty from October 1. Government, however, reduced royalties on gold by primary, large-scale producers to five percent from seven percent.

Grace, Mujuru graduate
First Lady Grace Mugabe and Vice President Joice Mujuru today graduated with Doctor of Philosophy Degrees at the University of Zimbabwe. Grace’s thesis was on the changing social structure, the functions of the family while Mujuru’s thesis was on strategic exploratory entrepreneurship study of sustainable agricultural business.

Tsvangirai says Masvingo will never be ZANU-PF again
Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai today said despite the party’s dismal loss in Masvingo last year, the province will never be ZANU-PF again. In his speech to mark the party’s 15th anniversary in Masvingo town, Tsvangirai said despite the contrived official results in last year’s elections, the fact remained that Masvingo was one of the MDC’s strongest provinces. “We are under no illusion that notwithstanding the fudged results of the last election, people of Masvingo will never be ZANU-PF again,” he said. The MDC controlled Masvingo after the 2008 elections when it won 14 out of the 26 seats but last year it failed to win a single seat. Tsvangirai said his party was going to mobilise people for the ultimate people’s victory through a free, fair and credible election because its calls for dialogue with the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front had been spurned. “We called for dialogue but our genuine offer was spurned. We are sending out a clear and unequivocal message that we reserve our right to mobilize the people for the ultimate people’s victory through a free, fair and credible election,” he said. “This struggle has been long, the cost has been great and we pledge that we are taking charge of the endgame. We pledge a new paradigm that will address our current predicament and the solution to the serious crisis that we face as a nation. This anniversary is a forerunner to a watershed congress in October where the key event will not be elections for top positions, important though they may be because we are a democratic party. That Congress next month has serious other business to transact. At that Congress, we will spell out our clear roadmap to the next election and the party programmes we will embark on. We will adopt the building blocks to organisational transformation so that we have a transformed and reinvigorated party that can match the formidable challenges and mount a victorious electoral campaign.”

Mugabe the best but figures don’t add up
The economy might be reeling but President Robert Mugabe, who won 61 percent of the poll last year, would garner 85 percent of the votes if elections were to be held now, according to The Sunday Mail. It says a survey by the Zimbabwe Global Initiative showed that opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai would only get 11 percent of the votes. Two percent would vote for any other candidate while 4 percent abstained. If correctly reported the figures do not add up as they exceed 100 percent. But more importantly ZGI was formed by a group of youths closely aligned to the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front. One of its founders is Psychology Maziwisa who is ZANU-PF deputy director of Information and Publicity who said soon after the launch that Mugabe was a leader “who virtually every Zimbabwean is fond of” and is “idolised by the entire African continent. ZANU-PF Secretary for Administration Didymus Mutasa is the patron of the organisation. Maziwisa said the organisation would seek to rewrite the history of the country because it had been distorted by the enemies of the country. “Our view is that the real Zimbabwean story needs to be told and we believe that if that is done well- in a concerted way… Zimbabwe will be seen in the best possible light in a couple of years if not months,” Maziwisa told a South African media group.

Chiwenga says squabbles in ZANU-PF are a passing phase but..
Zimbabwe Defence Forces chief Constantine Chiwenga says squabbles within the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front are a passing phase but he warned politicians to wage a clean campaign and not drag the defence force in. “Ours is to defend Zimbabwe, its people, its wealth, the independence and her national interest,” Chiwenga told The Herald.“What you have got to understand (is that) some people vavakuda zvigaro, akachishaya anombozama kumaramara, achipotsera madhaka uku, achipotsera kuti zviite, hazvishande. Go out there (and campaign). You can’t wish us away because we brought independence asi takasiya zvakadaro. This is the only country in the world where you have never seen military intervention, interfering with civilian rule. Iyezvi tiripano apa muri kutotibvunza isu tiri kuLesotho uko ndiko kwatinomhanyira kunogadzirisa the same people vakaita saivava vanotaura kuti isusu dai tatanga, ndabvisirwei dai ndaramba ndiripo. Tingaenda kunogadzisira vamwe isu tichiita the same thing muno umu? So, zvinopfuura, this is just a matter of time,” he said referring to Lesotho where the prime minister had to flee the country after squabbles there. ZANU-PF is holding its congress in December and there has been a lot of jostling for positions especially the top three- those of two vice-presidents and national chairman. The new constitution guarantees that the vice-president takes over to complete the term of the president if he or she dies in office. The previous constitution said a person could only act as president for 90 days after which elections had to be held. Mugabe has another four years in office.

MDC challenges Chiwenga – stick to the barracks
The Movement for Democratic Change has challenged Defence Forces chief Constantine Chiwenga over his statement that the army does not interfere in civilian life saying nothing could be further from the truth. Chiwenga said Zimbabwe was the only country in the world where you have never seen military intervention, interfering with civilian rule. “Our only problem with General Chiwenga’s statement is that our experience of the soldiers under his command is in fact a completely different story,” the MDC said in a statement. “The army has been involved in the violence against MDC supporters and the onslaught on innocent civilians suspected to belong to the MDC. We have witnessed the militarization of state institutions and entities against the dictates of national Constitution. Only in the last election, the country ran an election that was heavily militarised and which the people’s will was subverted.” It went on: “While we appreciate the statement from General Chiwenga, we hope the army will stick to the Constitutional position that makes them a non-partisan institution that does not meddle in political and other civilian affairs. That is the legitimate position that has support of the national charter.”

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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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