Friday, December 30, 2016

(NEWZIMBABWE) Farm row: F/affairs, lands ministers clash as diaspora returnee et al farmers take eviction

COMMENT - The same corrupting factor again - Tongaat Hulett, South African regional sugarcane refining monopolist. Tongaat Hulett is at least 20% owned by Anglo-American Corporation, the same company that holds 85% of De Beers, the diamond monopolist. (Also see: The Diamond Empire, 1994) Anglo-American Corporation was formed in 1917 by sir Ernest Oppenheimer and J.P. Morgan, Rothschild baron associated family member and their US agent, respectively. (Read: The House Of Rothschild, by prof. Niall Ferguson) It's the Rothschild Barons. The reason I say all this, is because it is important to know that whether it's the IMF/WB setting conditionalities like ESAP, De Beers going after the Chiadzwa and Marange diamond fields, or Tongaat Hulett bribing minister Douglas Mombeshora, the reason it is all in the same interest isn't some general class interest or 'White Monopoly Capital', but the interest of one very wealthy very specific family. - MrK

A source said the government had been put under pressure to honour its obligations under the BIPPA arrangement hence the speed with which it moved to evict the farmers.

A farmer who spoke to Newzimbabwe.com last week said government had been put under pressure by “senior sugar business people” and that large sums of money had exchanged hands.

(NEWZIMBABWE) Farm row: F/affairs, lands ministers clash as diaspora returnee et al farmers take eviction to court
by Mthulisi Mathuthu
29/12/2016

THE dispute over the Triangle Ranch in Masvingo turned ugly this week with the foreign affairs department accusing the minister of lands of resettling A2 farmers on the property without following “proper procedures”.

Newzimbabwe.com reported last week on the eviction with “immediate effect” of the farmers from a part of the sugar cane ranch which was acquired from Tongaat Hulett and subdivided into various plots for the resettlement of 174 A2 farmers.

On Wednesday, the Lowveld Sugar Cane Growers Association, mostly diaspora returnees, children of liberation war heroes and poor people, filed an urgent chamber application for an interdict. The association is part of the Hippo Valley Farmers Association-the broader group which represents the 290 farmers issued with the offer letters by Minister Douglas Mombeshora in April this year.

The hearing started on Thursday and will continue on Friday after lawyers from the foreign affairs said they needed time to file opposing papers because they needed to obtain affidavits from Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi and the Permanent Secretary Joey Bimha. Only the lands ministry had filed opposing papers by Thursday.

The matter is being heard by High Court judge Justice Loice Matanda-Moyo. The farmers are being represented by Mberi and Associates while the foreign affairs department is represented by Mumbengegwi and Partners.

The farmers made the urgent application to stop their immediate eviction pending another application to the Administrative Court which opens next month.

In his eviction order, minister Mombershora said the farmers should “cease all or any operations” and leave the property “immediately” because the “purpose for withdrawal outweighs the representations” made by the applicants.

But the farmers argue that they should be allowed to harvest their sugar cane while government must compensate them.

A member of the association told Newzimbabwe.com that during the brief appearance on Thursday, officials from the foreign affairs were “clearly unhappy” with the urgent application, labelling the evictees “enemies of the state”.

The spokesperson said the government officials felt that the farmers should have waited for the administrative court case.

She added, “We are now being labelled enemies of the state but we went to the High Court because Mombeshora said we should leave immediately. But how can we just leave after we have invested in our plots and do so without compensation?”

A government lawyer told Newzimbabwe.com that their argument is that Mombeshora resettled the farmers without following “proper procedures” hence the minister was put under pressure to evict the farmers “immediately”. The lawyers said, as such, the farmers have no case because they occupied the property due to the minister’s “error”.

The spokesman for the farmers said they had been told to claim compensation from the original owners of the farm, something she said was ridiculous.

She added, “But how can we claim compensation from Tongaat Hulett when we did not get the offer letters from them?”

She said while the lands ministry was offering alternative land, there was no guarantee yet that that was a genuine offer and that they would be compensated and allowed to harvest their sugar cane which is now one and half meters high.

Tongaat Hullet, whose core businesses are sugar, starch and property management is listed on the

Johannesburg Securities Exchange.

The Triangle Ranch is covered under the Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (BIPPA), hence the ministry of foreign affairs involvement. Agreements under BIPPA require that government pay fair compensation in currency of the former owner’s choice for both land and improvements. Zimbabwe and South Africa signed the BIPPA deal in 2010.

South African president Jacob Zuma was in Zimbabwe recently.

A source said the government had been put under pressure to honour its obligations under the BIPPA arrangement hence the speed with which it moved to evict the farmers.

A farmer who spoke to Newzimbabwe.com last week said government had been put under pressure by “senior sugar business people” and that large sums of money had exchanged hands.

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Saturday, December 17, 2016

(NEW ZIMBABWE) Transactions up 23pct on bond notes

COMMENT - More cash increases the number of transactions. Dollarisation stopped hyperinflation, however it also reduced currency in the economy. - MrK

(NEW ZIMBABWE) Transactions up 23pct on bond notes

HARARE:The value of transactions processed on Zimbabwe’s National Payment System (NPS) increased from $1,2 billion to $1,5 billion as the volume of transactions went up by 13 percent in the week the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) introduced bond notes, a report by the central bank has shown.

The central bank on November 28 injected $10 million worth of bond notes into circulation followed by an additional $7 million last week. The notes which trade at par with US dollar are expected to help ease a banknote shortage.

The RBZ has said it will release a total of $75 million worth of bond notes by the end of this year.

Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS) transactions which accounted for 83,25 percent of the total value of the NPS transactions, increased by 23,25 percent to $1,284 billion in the week to December 2 . Point Of Sale (POS) transactions also increased by 11 percent from $104,97 million to $116,88 million during the week under review.

Mobile transactions increased by 29 percent from $92,28 million to $119,43 million while ATM transactions rose by 23 percent from $16,76 million to $20,61 million.

Cheque transactions, which account for a paltry 0,1 percent of the transactions on the NPS, declined 17,8 percent from $1,65 million to $1,36 million.


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Friday, December 16, 2016

(LUSAKATIMES) IMF advises Zambia to delay re-financing $2.8 billion of Eurobonds

COMMENT - IMF: please don't pay off those Eurobonds so quickly.

(LUSAKATIMES) IMF advises Zambia to delay re-financing $2.8 billion of Eurobonds
December 14, 2016

Zambia should delay its planned re-financing of $2.8 billion worth of Eurobonds until financing conditions ease, an International Monetary Fund representative said on Monday.

“We would caution the government not to tap into the international markets at this time,” the IMF’s resident representative, Alfredo Baldini, told reporters during the release of an IMF report on growth in sub-Saharan Africa.

The Eurobonds were issued from 2012 to 2015, and the Zambian government planned to re-finance them with longer-dated bonds at a lower cost, Finance Minister Felix Mutati said on Dec 7.

“The financing conditions are pretty tight right now, and it will be very expensive,” Baldini said on Monday.

In fact, the bonds would only fall due in 2022, 2024 and 2025, so the government didn’t need to rush into re-financing them, Baldini said.

The Zambian government has relied on external financing as its spending rose over the past few years while revenue remained almost the same, which has put pressure on its exchange rate, Baldini said.

Mutati said last week the equivalent of 19 percent of Zambia’s gross domestic product was being used to service debt and the government wanted to reduce that to about 15 percent.

Zambia issued a $750 million Eurobond in 2012, followed by a $1 billion issue in 2014 and another worth $1.25 billion last year, mainly for infrastructure projects.



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The overwhelming success of austericide

COMMENT - These are the effects of austerity. They do not regrow the economy or make it more sound. They just destroy the existing economy and replace it with a more globalized economy.

The overwhelming success of austericide
Posted by revoltingeurope ⋅ April 19, 2013

Vincente Clavero

The austerity Taliban will be satisfied by the announcement by the IMF that, despite the policies advocated by them, the debt crisis in Spain may now extend for no less than ten years. According to the latest report of the Fund, presented this week by its chief economist, the Frenchman Olivier Blanchard, there’s no expectation, even by 2018, that the budget deficit will have fallen to 5.5%. And this means countless sacrifices by citizens demanded by today’s Popular Party government and its Socialist predecessor have failed in the objective to balance the public accounts.

This colossal failure, to which Angela Merkel’s Germany and well-paid technocrats of Brussels have contributed, can only surprise those who did not want to see the blindingly obvious. Cut after cut to the budget, without accompanying measures to counteract the effects of recession, meant it was guanateed that our economy was going to end up as a complete ruin. Just take a look at the main forecasts of the IMF to understand the magnitude of austericide, which in 2013 will leave us with an unbearable unemployment rate of 27%.

To hide their shame, the Popular Party Government is determined to make us believe that next year the economy will recover and begin to straighten out the dire employment situation. I hope so, but neither the Bank of Spain, nor the European Commission, nor the IMF have been able to find sufficient reasons to substantiate that optimism. Quite the contrary: the view shared by the three agencies is that unless a miracle happens, in 2014, with a fall in GDP of 0.8% – we will continue to be immersed in the the deepest economic crisis.

Rajoy has announced that next week he will launch a new reform plan, which will affect entrepreneurship and pensions. That’s bad news, based on the measures taken so far on these matters. The self-employed have seen VAT rise significantly and tax arrangements in other areas deteriorate, and since the Right returned to power in late 2011 pensions have deteriorated substantially.

As usual, Rajoy, his party and the media chorus that encourages him say that socialist PM José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero is to blame, but he’s hardly the only culprit. Zapatero’s big mistake was being overcome by a panic attack in May 2010 and to have embraced neoliberal policies that the Popular Party then gladly accelerated. But Rajoy has been in the Moncloa Palace for a year and a half and to date has not only not fixed anything, but he has done further damage, plunging Spanish society, including those who voted for him, into utter despair

El Publico 19.4.2013

Translation by Revolting Europe



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Monday, December 12, 2016

(NEWS 24 SA) Avoid land invasions plant the crops


In his keynote address, former finance minister Nhlanhla Nene, who is now a resident adviser at Thebe Investment Corporation and a nonexecutive board member at Allan Gray, referred to the World Bank review of South Africa’s agricultural sector published just before the 1994 democratic election.

The review had found that large-scale producers had been able to generate substantial volumes of output, achieving national food self-sufficiency for most commodities. It also found that the agricultural sector was, and to some extent continued to be, characterised by significant policy distortions that have resulted in less than optimal levels of efficiency in many parts of the sector, average farm sizes were too large, and ownership of rural assets, most notably land, was highly skewed.
COMMENT - The World Bank in 1994 concluded that farm sizes in South Africa were too large for efficient use, which is not surprising, considering 87% of the land was given to fewer than 10% of the population. That's why 71% of South Africa's population is 'urban'.

Western Cape Minister of Economic Opportunities Alan Winde: On the EFF call for illegal land invasion, he said the party was specifically “a flashing light to us”.“We haven’t found a solution to land reform in the province. We need to up our game. We have to find a solution within the market space.”
'Market based solutions' aren't going to lead to landredistribution.

(NEWS 24 SA) Avoid land invasions plant the crops
Dec 11 2016 06:01 Peter Luhanga
-

Don't blame others for land invasions - Makhura
ANC youngsters behind Joburg land invasions, ANC supporter confirms

Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Minister Senzeni Zokwana has urged farmers and investors in the agricultural sector to use and plant crops on all available arable land to prevent the call by the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) for illegal land invasions.

Addressing more than 600 industry specialists attending the recent two-day African Agri Investment Indaba in Cape Town, Zokwana said: “Let’s not fear what the EFF is saying. Any piece of land that is meant for agriculture, let’s use it. Let’s plant on all available arable land to prevent them [the EFF] from invading.”

He said about 65% of South Africa’s population was urban, which is projected to reach 71.3% by 2030 and nearly 80% by 2050. Feeding this burgeoning population is a challenge.

“We hope our potential investors will see this as a perfect opportunity to invest in agriculture, and associated upstream and downstream industries,” he said, adding that it was sad to note that Africa spent about R340 billion annually on food imports alone, and most African countries continued to be exporters of raw materials and net importers of value-added products.

“Our natural resource base in the form of abundant agricultural land, combined with our tested ability to produce primary products, should be a leading motive for us to initiate an industrialisation programme through the promotion of downstream agroprocessing industries,” Zokwana said.

In his keynote address, former finance minister Nhlanhla Nene, who is now a resident adviser at Thebe Investment Corporation and a nonexecutive board member at Allan Gray, referred to the World Bank review of South Africa’s agricultural sector published just before the 1994 democratic election.

The review had found that large-scale producers had been able to generate substantial volumes of output, achieving national food self-sufficiency for most commodities. It also found that the agricultural sector was, and to some extent continued to be, characterised by significant policy distortions that have resulted in less than optimal levels of efficiency in many parts of the sector, average farm sizes were too large, and ownership of rural assets, most notably land, was highly skewed.

“This performance, combined with the active suppression of black farming, meant that the agricultural sector had underperformed in terms of its contribution to national income, exports and employment creation,” Nene said.

He also said the National Development Plan identified agroprocessing as a potential driver of economic growth, job creation and increased exports, and an opportunity for the creation and growth of small and medium-sized businesses.

It also identified obstacles; historically high levels of concentration in agricultural value chains; high and increasing levels of vertical integration between agriculture and agroprocessing; access to infrastructure – specifically irrigation and farming equipment; and lack of access to consumer markets.

Among other insights Nene pointed out were that finance remained a critical challenge for new and black-owned businesses, while alternative sources of funding that have emerged from settlements by the Competition Commission, for example, have facilitated entry into agricultural value chains.

“These funds had less stringent requirements, allowing greater flexibility to take a risk on new entrants. Increased competition means some new entrants will fail. The volatility in commodity prices and key variables such as the exchange rate also require support to ride out shocks,” he said.

Asked about US president-elect Donald Trump and what his victory and policies meant for Africa and particularly the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa), he said the agreements are signed and sealed, and were supposed to be honoured, while Zokwana said some of Trump’s policies might not work in real politics.

Western Cape Minister of Economic Opportunities Alan Winde said what was worrying was Trump’s view of Africa. However, “Agoa is a concern because of his views, but it’s a signed deal”.

Asked whether the Western Cape farm workers’ strike in 2011 and talk of farmers embarking on mechanisation had led to job losses, he said mechanisation led to the loss of about 65 000 jobs in the sector. This compares with the total South Africa agricultural jobs today of 196 000.

In his keynote, Winde said foreign direct investment flows into Africa’s agricultural, forestry and fisheries sector reached more than $200 million in 2014 and projections showed the upward trend is set to continue.

On the EFF call for illegal land invasion, he said the party was specifically “a flashing light to us”.

“We haven’t found a solution to land reform in the province. We need to up our game. We have to find a solution within the market space.”


Wesgro chief executive Tim Harris said that the fundamentals of agriculture remained strong in the Western Cape.

Harris said that the Western Cape agricultural industry could create 100 000 jobs in a few years and the EFF call for illegal land grabs had not had any impact on investors flocking to the province.

“The best way to deal with populist policies is to make them less popular,” said Harris.

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Saturday, December 10, 2016

(THE MAST) EX-MINERS CALL FOR A REVOLUTION …to end peoples sufferings



(THE MAST) EX-MINERS CALL FOR A REVOLUTION …to end peoples sufferings
By Thulani Phiri and Michael Kasonde

RETRENCHED Miners’ League of Luanshya chairperson Alex Musosha says there is need for a revolution in Zambia to end poverty and the inequalities that exist in society.

And the ex-miners from Kitwe and Mufulira have threatened to walk to Lusaka to press President Edgar Lungu’s to fulfil his promises.

Musosha said in an interview that the current leaders were selfish and never cared about the suffering masses.

“The crisis we are in can never be addressed by the PF. PF can't create any jobs for us. We need to look for hope somewhere; we need a revolution and revolutionary leaders to end this poverty and suffering in this country. Mr Lungu's government has turned us into destitutes,” Musosha said.

“Twachula pafula (we have suffered enough)! PF should stop mocking us because we can react. The poverty we are going through will speak for us some day.”

He said the ex-miners would have received what President Lungu promised them if his government was not selfish.

�“If President Lungu and his government were not selfish, we would have gotten the benefits we deserve. The farming plots, the ex-gracias and loan debts they promised that they would help us to settle could have been fulfilled if this country had sincere leaders. They have deserted us after giving them a vote," Musosha complained.

He said the PF government was abusing citizens’ rights by telling lies in a country they claimed was a Christian one.

�“Why should people suffer like this with insincere leaders in a Christian nation? Good leaders are those that sacrifice for the poor. We have a crop of leaders that are so selfish and only interested in personal gain. This is why there is so much poverty," said Musosha.�


"We also have a President in Edgar Lungu who can't defend his own citizens. It seems our President sees it normal. Things are not normal in the country. The Presidency has gone to the head of Mr Lungu. He can't see us as citizens any more.”

The ex-miners recently regretted voting for the Patriotic Front and President Lungu in the August 11 general elections as none of the promises made during campaigns had been fulfilled, except for a few who had connections in the ruling party and government.

And in Mufulira and Kitwe, the ex-miners are mobilising for a protest walk to Lusaka to alert President Lungu's government that it had failed to fulfil its promises to them.�

“Surely fellow ex-miners, how can the issues involving the employer and ex-miners be politicised? It is a shame and disappointing indeed. There are even some people among us masquerading as spokespersons of the former miners, they are paraded and busy praising President Edgar Lungu on state owned ZNBC but what's on the ground is something else. All we want is the money that was taken from us dubiously and the land [that was promised to us],” said Donald Kabashila, chairman of the Ex-miners’ League of Mufulira.

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Friday, December 09, 2016

(ZAMBIAN OBSERVER) British envoy calls for immediate stop to Zambia’s high expenditure

COMMENT - British Ambassador, himself a neoliberal appointee doing Captain Renault in Casablanca: "I'm shocked, shocked to find gambling going on in here!". What effect did you think the Eurobonds were going to have? And what was this money spent on? Not fuel and agriculture subsidies and pensions. And yet they're the ones who have to pay for this heist. - MrK

(ZAMBIAN OBSERVER) British envoy calls for immediate stop to Zambia’s high expenditure
December 8, 2016
By Mike Riley

BRITISH High Commissioner Fergus Cochrane-Dyet says high expenditure by the Zambian government must not be allowed to continue because the country has been spending more than it can afford.

And EU head of delegation to Zambia Ambassador Alessandro Mariani says 2017 is very promising for the country as new projects are due to come on stream in the new year.

Speaking during an EU-Zambia Partnership media breakfast in Lusaka yesterday, High Commissioner Cochrane-Dyet said the current trajectory of high fiscal deficits and mounting public debt could not be allowed to continue.

According to ZIPAR, Zambia’s external debt increased by 6.3 per cent from US$6.3 billion as at August 2015 to about US$6.7 billion as at September 2016.

“Zambia’s need for economic reform is pressing. It is sad that debt servicing has returned to become a major feature of government expenditure. Subsidies, public sector costs, along with debt servicing, dominate. This cannot continue indefinitely. Expenditure must be reduced and revenue increased. This process will not be easy for the government – or painless for ordinary Zambians,” High Commissioner Cochrane-Dyet told stakeholders at Lusaka’s Taj Pamodzi Hotel.

“For some time, Zambia has been running a fiscal deficit; in layman’s terms – Zambia has been spending more than it can afford. The clearance of external debt that occurred under the Highly Indebted Poor Countries Initiative (HIPC) over a decade ago, has been obliterated by the accumulation of new debt, including three Eurobonds.”

He added that while the EU welcomed the Zambian government’s steps to address the country’s serious economic problems through the “Zambia Plus” approach, he appealed to the government for continued positive engagement to ensure effective implementation of the cooperating partners’ financial and technical assistance.

“For cooperating partners to support Zambia, we require positive engagement from the government as well as other Zambian partner organisations, including those among civil society. It is important that we have access to ministers, permanent secretaries and other senior officials to ensure our assistance is aligned with government policy. Occasionally, it is extremely useful to meet with HE the President himself [Edgar Lungu],” said High Commissioner Cochrane-Dyet, who also stressed that part of the EU member states’ assistance was directly relevant to the government’s economic reform programme as outlined through the five pillars in the 2017 national budget.

Earlier, Ambassador Mariani told stakeholders that 2017 was set to be “a very promising year” with new projects quickly reaching an advanced stage.

The end-of-year joint briefing highlighted, among others, a comprehensive review of the EU’s project assistance during 2016 in various sectors such as the 40 million euros signed for renewable energies on November 28, and a 2017 outlook.

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Stealing Pensions Is Passive Eugenics

COMMENT - This is typical neoliberal boilerplate theft of public and private resources. 1) Run up government debt, 2) say that 'we don't have the money' for subsidies and programs that help people instead of transnational corporations and 3) start slashing food, agriculture, energy subsidies, and target the biggest prize of all, pensions. This is theft. There is no rational economic reason to start doing away with pensions, which is what he talks about. And frankly, part of this economic streamlining of society, is getting rid of the very old, the sick and very poor in what amounts to passive eugenics. This is at the real heart of elite, neoliberal thinking. Anyone who is concerned about the economy will want people to have more money, not 'more choices', which ends up being the choice you can afford. - MrK

THE MAST EDITORIAL COMMENT FOR 08/12/2016:

Pension reforms or theft of workers’ money?
December 8, 2016

In the 2017 budget speech, the Minister of Finance, Felix Mutati, alluded to the need for pension reforms in order to give people “more freedoms and choices”.

He stated that “the government will in 2017 present legislation that will allow new entrants into public schemes, revise the employer and employee contributions upwards, facilitate private sector management of pension funds and revise the benefit scheme to ensure longer-term protection for pensioners”.

The first question to the finance minister would be: where and how did the current pension system fail the Zambian workers? Without clarity on this issue, the direction of the proposed pension reforms will be muddled in ambiguity. Giving the workers “more freedoms and choices” is a poor and dishonest explanation of what has gone wrong.

The pension system in Zambia has failed on account of political inertia, massive corruption in the management of pension funds and archaic operational systems. This is failure by design and not by default. The three factors allow our ruling and business elite unhindered access to workers’ money without having sweated for it.

Since 1992, several studies have been undertaken and recommendations made on how to improve the pension management system. Several countries were visited, stakeholder consultations held and the national budget speeches by Ronald Penza, Emmanuel Kasonde, Edith Nawakwi and subsequent finance ministers made mention of pension reforms.

Why have these reforms remained illusive? Why is it proving difficult to prioritise such a critical aspect of livelihood affecting hundred thousands of our workers? Why do ministers, permanent secretaries, chief executive officers of corporations get their post-retirement or end of contract entitlements that quickly? Yet the same system is lethargic in dealing with the pension needs of the ordinary workers!

For the ordinary Zambian worker, life after retirement or at the end of a contract is a nightmare. Forms have to be filled in, countless journeys made to “push” the papers and unending phone calls made in follow-ups. It is rare to receive all pension dues within a year. We have in our midst retired workers that are still not fully attended to 10 years after retirement. The hopelessness and frustrations on their faces tells it all. These are dejected and impoverished citizens. Yet they served their homeland diligently over a long period of time. Now that they are no longer needed in revenue generation, they are cast aside like garbage! Many of them have been spared the misery of dealing with the pension offices through death. They died after retirement without accessing their pension money.

Who is the beneficiary of this daylight robbery?

Increasingly, pension funds are now being channelled towards financing the construction of shopping malls, “gated” housing complexes and upmarket office spaces. All of these target the rich. The poor Zambian worker is therefore financing the luxurious living and working environment of the rich. It is an investment that is not in the best interest of the workers.

What if the pension funds were used to construct modern public markets in the compounds where the majority of the workers live?

How about low-cost houses that would be rented or eventually owned by an ordinary worker?

Why not channel some of the funds into profitable micro-credit schemes owned and managed by workers themselves?

Unfortunately, this will not happen. We live in an economic system where the interests of the workers come last. The worker’s wealth is appropriated for the wellbeing of the elite.

The 2017 pension reform is therefore meant to formalise an existing trend. Workers will be forced to pay more towards pension funds whilst the private sector will now have unhindered access. This is not about ensuring longer-term protection for pensioners. It will be a reform that enhances the avenues for stealing workers’ hard earned pension funds. Just like civil works’ contractors get away with millions of dollars without completing projects, the private pension fund managers will follow suit. They will join the bandwagon. They will make millions out of the pensioners but give nothing back. Ours is a country where political patronage overrides legal, commercial and economic considerations. Zambian workers have not gained much from the existing pension system; they stand to lose even more from the envisaged 2017 pension reforms.

Yes, pension reforms are urgently required in our homeland. These should be reforms that put the interests of the workers first, that empower organised labour in running the pension funds, where viable investments that improve working class communities and services are prioritised and where robust ICT platforms and mobile phone application services will make it possible to access pension funds on day one of retirement without stepping foot away from one’s locality.

Some countries having similar GDP per capita to that of Zambia are successfully moving along that path. All it takes is a dose of political will and honesty.

Our trade unions could also play a significant role in enabling this change. Their collective voice has been missing all along. It is time for justice and fairness to prevail.

A pension system is too important for the working masses to be left primarily in the hands of politicians.

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Tuesday, November 29, 2016

(LUSAKA TIMES) ZESCO workers oppose its pending privatisation

(LUSAKA TIMES) ZESCO workers oppose its pending privatisation
November 29, 2016

Unionised workers at state run power utility ZESCO have opposed government’s intention to privatize the company.

The National Union of Energy and Allied Workers (NESAWU) has revealed that around 58,000 workers will be thrown into the streets if government goes ahead with its intended privatisation of State Owned Enterprises.

Union General Secretary Mansom Musawu said workers at ZESCO are alarmed at government’ intention to privatise the firm and other State Owned Enterprisers (SOEs) as announced in the 2017 National Budget.

“As workers who have grown with ZESCO, we would like to put it on record that ZESCO is a viable organisation whose cash flow and availability of materials have improved tremendously since the introduction of the prepaid electricity metering system,” Mr Musawu said.

He said the workers are demanding that ZESCO remains in the hands of the government as a strategic company for economic growth and development.

Privatisation has only worked to the advantage of investors who are reaping huge profits

Mr Musawu charged that the private sector cannot be trusted to take electricity to the rural areas due to their narrow focus on profits and cost recovery.

“The evils of privatising ZESCO far outweigh the benefits. We have learnt lessons from the privatisation of ZCCM and other parastatals which are paying very little mineral loyalty tax and company corporate tax below what the 944,000 formal workers are paying to the treasury through Pay as You Earn (PAYE),” he said.

He said the loss of quality jobs in privatised companies such as ZCCM, Zambia Airways, UBZ, Zambia Railways, Zamtel (LapGreen) led to an explosion of precarious jobs through casualization and outsourcing.

“Evidence is there that privatisation took bread from the mouth of poor workers. Privatisation has only worked to the advantage of investors who are reaping huge profits while failing to grow jobs and pay enough taxes to fund our developmental needs.”

He added, “The intended privatisation of state owned enterprises will throw over 58,000 workers in unemployment and poverty. According to the 2014 Labour Force Survey published by the Central Statistical Office (CSO), the electricity, gas, stream and air conditioning sector employs over 16,000 workers.”

we would like to see more professionalism, transparency and no political interference in the way ZESCO is managed on issues such as ZESCO’s earnings from its power exports.

He stated that throwing 58,000 jobs contradicts government’s policy of creating 100,000 jobs by the year 2017 and 1 million jobs by 2021.

“NESAWU would like to see more professionalism, transparency and no political interference in the way ZESCO is managed on issues such as ZESCO’s earnings from its power exports.

“How much is ZESCO earning from its optic fibre cable which is being used by companies such as commercial banks, Airtel, MTN, ZAMTEL and government institutions?
How much is ZESCO owed by government institutions in electricity bills such as police, the army, water utility companies, government ministries, office of the President, education sector and government institutions?”
He asked, “How much are contractors siphoning from ZESCO on security, construction and cleaning when the company has its own staff to do this kind of work?
How much is ZESCO spending on personal emoluments and fringe benefits for its top heavy management which is leading to corporate greed?
How much is ZESCO losing by selling electricity through vendors who get a commission of 3% from ZESCO and at the same time charge customers through a Commission?”

Mr Musawu said the Industrial Development Corporation should not be used to kill companies but to create more companies and quality jobs through economic diversification.

“The electricity industry will always remain viable as it is critical ingredient in every economic activity. Given the presence of large rivers in Zambia and the positive economic growth, the country has recorded, government should borrow enough funds to build large hydro-electric dams in the Northern Province where the rain belt has shifted. Such projects should be able to pay for themselves as there is ready market in Zambia and the sub region which are experiencing power deficits.

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Sunday, November 13, 2016

(LUSAKA TIMES) ZCC IH sues FQM claiming $1.4 billion

COMMENT - This is awesome. What happened?

(LUSAKA TIMES) ZCC IH sues FQM claiming $1.4 billion
November 14, 2016

ZCCM Investments Holdings has started the process of claiming up to $1.4 billion from First Quantum Minerals Ltd accusing the firm of engaging in fraud.

The claim includes $228 million in interest on $2.3 billion of loans that ZCCM-IH said First Quantum wrongly borrowed from the Kansanshi copper mine, as well as 20 percent of the principal amount, or $570 million, according to an internal company presentation, dated Nov. 4, obtained by Bloomberg.

The company is also seeking $260 million as part of a tax liability the Zambia Revenue Authority said Kansanshi owed it, as well as the cost of the mine borrowing money commercially that ZCCM-IH said could have been avoided.

ZCCM-IH said in papers filed in the Lusaka High Court on Oct. 28 that First Quantum used the money as cheap financing for its other operations.

ZCCM-IH also last month filed a notice of arbitration against Kansanshi in London over the same matter.

No figure was mentioned in the court filings.

ZCCM-IH owns 20 percent of Kansanshi.

But in a statement released Monday evening, FQM President Clive Newall said having carefully studied the claims made in both the Notice of Arbitration and Statement of Claim, First Quantum is firmly of the view that the claims are utterly without merit, or indeed any foundation in facts.

“It is notable that the Kansanshi Mining Plc deposits were fully repaid to KMP and were then used to fund a major investment program in Zambia, including the successful construction and commissioning of the Kansanshi smelter and expansion of the processing plant and mining operations.

“On October 28, 2016, KMP also received a Statement of Claim filed in the High Court for Zambia naming additional defendants, including First Quantum, its subsidiary FQM Finance Ltd., and a number of directors and an executive of the named corporate defendants. This dispute arises out of the rate of interest paid on deposits made by KMP with the Company’s financing entity, FQM Finance Ltd. The funds on deposits were retained for planned investment by KMP in Zambia.”

He said, “FQM Finance paid interest on the deposits to KMP based on an assessment of an arms-length fair market rate, which is supported by independent third party analysis. ZCCM disputes that interest rate paid to KMP on the deposits was sufficient. Unfortunately, ZCCM has taken the extra-ordinary additional step of commencing a further action in the High Court for Zambia, making allegations repeated from the Notice of Claim against certain First Quantum directors and an executive that are inflammatory, vexatious and untrue.”

“In fact, KMP is now indebted to FQM Finance for the funding of further investment in Zambia. The Company is currently engaged in constructive discussions with representatives of the Zambian Government, which holds a 92% direct and indirect majority shareholding in ZCCM, with a view to achieving an amicable resolution. We do not believe it is appropriate to comment further on the arbitration or court proceedings while they run their proper course, but we will provide further information as and when required.”

Meanwhile, Philippe Bibard, a spokesman for a minority shareholder group based in France said FQM is disregarding the rights of minority owners in ZCCM-IH in dealing directly with government.
*With Additional Reporting by Bloomberg

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The Post if offline, shut down by Edgar Lungu's PF

The Post has gone offline.

https://www.facebook.com/postzambia/

The Post is slowly turning into The Mast.

https://www.facebook.com/themastzambia/


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Sunday, October 23, 2016

(LUSAKA TIMES) IMF Bailout: A Strangulation of Zambia’s Future

COMMENT - Excellent article. Even more, it is already known that if there is this level of economic violence, pushed to a head by austerity measures, there are going to be what the former World Bank Vice Chairman Joseph Stiglitz has called the IMF Riots.


(LUSAKA TIMES) IMF Bailout: A Strangulation of Zambia’s Future
October 23, 2016

Fellow countrymen and women, comrades and friends, allow me to first echo the wise words of the revolutionary icon Thomas Sankara. “Debt is a cleverly managed reconquest of Africa.” “He who feeds you, controls you.”

Once again, our leaders today have failed to think. They were employed by the Zambian people to think wisely on behalf of the nation. They were voted to improve and safeguard the welfare of the Zambian people. They were not employed to contract gigantic loans from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) or any other lending institution. Even at gun point, I refuse to accept that borrowing money from the IMF at the detriment of Zambia’s future is part of their mandate. Their mandate is to think of alternative sustainable ways to resuscitate the economy, as opposed to rushing to the IMF for a bailout that strangles the country’s future especially the poorest citizens. A government that cannot think of alternative ways to regrow the economy apart from borrowing from these money-lending institutions is not fit to hold public office. It is now clear, our ministers are appointed, not to think on behalf of the ministries they lead, but to ceremonially occupy such positions while shamelessly enjoying free housing, transport, electricity, airtime, state security and gallivanting around the globe at the expense of taxpayer’s money.

the IMF promotes a fertile ground for breeding poverty, making it impossible for poor countries to eradicate poverty and realize food security
.

I am struggling to understand why our politicians have failed to comprehend that the so called bailout package from the IMF has never been a viable and sustainable option to resuscitate an ailing economy. You do not need a PhD, bachelor’s degree, diploma, or certificate to understand the ramifications of an IMF bailout package. A simple perusal through the conditionalities attached to such a bailout package should enable even a rural dweller, who has never been to school, to understand that the IMF bailout is a well-calculated scheme to keep the poor poorer.

There is no rocket science involved in understanding that the IMF discourages you from subsidizing your own farmers. In this regard, the IMF promotes a fertile ground for breeding poverty, making it impossible for poor countries to eradicate poverty and realize food security. The IMF further emphasises reduction of government funding to health and education, a condition that goes counter to the campaign championing access to education and healthcare for all. Such a condition further strangles the country’s efforts to build a productive human resource pool. It is simple. If you don’t fund your education system, then the country’s capacity to produce its own skilled manpower – teachers, nurses, medical doctors, lawyers et cetera is substantially curtailed. In the long term, such skills will have to be sourced externally at an astronomical cost on the country’s treasury. Moreover, privatization and liberalization, which are a hallmark of the IMF, have the potential to completely decimate domestic industries. Fellow Zambians, you will agree with me that we have been yearning for a Zambia with the capacity to produce its own goods and services. The IMF is here to shatter this dream. Surely, with all these real-life practical examples, it is shocking to see our ministers, some of them very educated, failing to understand that the IMF is here to perpetuate poverty. Our dream to become a politically and economically independent country will remain an illusion as long as we embrace institutions like the IMF and the World Bank.

Fellow patriots, allow me to conclude by stating one logical fact. Should Zambia accept this IMF bailout, it is the elite politicians that should bear the burden of austerity measures. Ordinary Zambians have suffered enough already. As part of austerity, the republican president should be relocated to another modesty housing. This may sound crazy to most of you because you are accustomed to seeing a republican president living a lavish lifestyle in state house. It cannot be disputed that the country spends astronomical sums of money in trying to sustain state house.

Moreover, it is immoral to continue enjoying a lavish life in state house while your citizens are dying of hunger induced by austerity measures from the IMF. Unless an international trip will add value to the country’s well-being, the republican president and his ministers should not gallivant around the world. It is important to note that most of the international trips are totally irrelevant to the suffering common man. Additionally, the use of a private jet aircraft on international trips should be abolished. We should also scrape off free entitlements such as housing, fuel, electricity, transport et cetera from our ministers. Most importantly, the ridiculously big and expensive ministerial cars which guzzle unreasonable litres of fuel should be auctioned and cheaper cars purchased in their place. There are many other ridiculous entitlements that we need to scrap off from our public office bearers. Politicians too, need to share in the burden of austerity.

By Peter Mubanga Cheuka


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Tuesday, September 13, 2016

(MINT NEWS PRESS) Mugabe: The Dictator?

COMMENT - Rhodesia was named after Cecil John Rhodes, the Founding Chairman of the board of directors of De Beers, which was to become the world's largest diamond mining company. De Beers was founded by the First Lord Rothschild in 1887. Zimbabwe could seriously upset the diamond market by supplying 20% of global diamond production from the Chiadzwa and Marange diamond fields. Morgan Tsvangirai used to work for Anglo-American De Beers when he was a miner.
"Morgan loves the mining industry because he was a miner and was given his start in life by Anglo American. He is a miner at heart but he sees both sides of the picture and this policy is not good for the workers or investors," said Tsvangirai's biographer Sarah Hudleston.
Or their desire to turn Chiadzwa and Marange into DebZim or ZimDeb, like Debswana and Namdeb - the MDC's Plans For The Mines:
We will nationalise diamonds and ensure that government goes into partnership with genuine investors.
Like the world's biggest diamond miner, De Beers. - MrK

(MINT PRESS NEWS) Mugabe: The Dictator?
Is Zimbabwe’s 92-year-old leader really the oppressive dictator the West makes him out to be, or is he demonized for not succumbing to a history of destabilization and intervention attempts by the West?
By Caleb T. Maupin | August 27, 2016

WASHINGTON — (Analysis) In covering a recent protest movement unfurling in Zimbabwe, mainstream Western media seem unable to report on country’s president without making references to him as a “dictator” and “authoritarian.”

Yet the case against Robert Mugabe, the 92-year-old president of Zimbabwe and leader of the Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF), is difficult to justify, especially considering all of Zimbabwe’s recent elections have been monitored by the United Nations, and the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), the main opposition party, currently divided into two factions, is widely represented in the government.

Further, Zimbabwe’s emergence as a nation struggling against not just the power of colonialism and white supremacists, but also the economic domination of a settler minority, tells an entirely different story.

Opposition parties like the MDC, which receives support from the United States, are allowed to operate freely in Zimbabwe. Newspapers that support the MDC and openly praise the previously existing apartheid regime are widely distributed, coexisting alongside pro-government state media. The idea that Zimbabwe is a totalitarian state that forbids dissent is simply not consistent with reality.

While Western media has few positive things to say about Mugabe, Zimbabwean voters clearly disagree. A 2015 survey by Zimbabwe’s Mass Public Opinion Institute found that Mugabe continues to enjoy popularity among the country’s urban and rural populations.

Even in 2012, a year before the last elections were held, popular support for the MDC was on the decline. In May 2013, The Guardian quoted Raymond Majongwe, secretary general of the 14,000-strong Progressive Teachers’ Union, as saying: “I’m feeling seriously let down by the MDC.”

His statement came after the party entered into a power-sharing agreement with the ZANU-PF following contested elections in 2008, but before that so-called “unity government” ultimately dissolved. He noted, presciently:

The power-sharing agreement could be the undoing of the MDC leadership. They exposed their own naivety and appetite for opulence and extravagance. In four years the level of wealth these MDC guys have accumulated is shocking. If the MDC wins the election, fine, they can go ahead and loot the country like their predecessors.”

US has long planned to oust Mugabe

U.S. machinations to overthrow the Mugabe-led government in Zimbabwe are nothing new, particularly in terms of Washington’s support to the MDC.

Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the MDC, who served as prime minister from 2009-2013, toured the world in 2009, meeting with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and U.S. President Barack Obama. After his meeting with Obama, Tsvangirai said he was “grateful to him for his leadership” and that Obama would “continue to provide us with direction.”

In “Supporting Human Rights and Democracy: The U.S. Record 2005-2006,” the State Department reported: “The U.S. human rights strategy in Zimbabwe focused on maintaining pressure on the regime, assisting democratic forces, strengthening independent media, increasing public access to information, promoting accountability for the regime’s crimes, and providing humanitarian aid for Zimbabwe’s suffering people.”

The report further noted U.S. efforts to disseminate information on civil rights and made accusations of fraudulent parliamentary elections.

The State Department’s 2007 Performance Report on Zimbabwe boasted of the United States’ role in propping up the MDC as a viable opponent to Mugabe’s ZANU-PF:

“Following the bloody onslaught of the Mugabe regime against the MDC and civil society during the past year, USG [U.S. government] assistance helped rebuild the party’s battered structure and better position it to participate in the upcoming elections. The USG also assisted the MDC to effectively identify, research, and articulate policy positions and ideas within Zimbabwe, in the region, and beyond. In particular, USG technical assistance was pivotal in supporting MDC\’s formulation and communication of a comprehensive policy platform, which demonstrates the party’s preparedness to take over the reins of government in 2008.”

In a 2008 analysis of the document, Stephen Gowans, a Canadian writer and political analyst, noted:

“The neo-liberal, foreign investor-friendly economic policies Washington favors are central to the policy platform of the Tsvangirai faction of the MDC. The State Department document reveals that the MDC’s policy orientation may be based more on US government direction than its own deliberations.”

It’s also important to consider the role of U.S. aid money and the U.S. Agency for International Development, or USAID, in Zimbabwe. The organization, which has a long history of imperialist intervention under the guise of humanitarian aid, has remained active in Zimbabwe despite targeted sanctions imposed by the U.S. In fiscal year 2012, for example, Zimbabwe received $152,534,664 in U.S. economic assistance, including $61,987,763 from USAID and $49,648,024 from the State Department.


‘Rhodesia’ was wiped off the map

To understand why Washington is working to topple Mugabe, the country’s repeatedly elected president, and the ZANU-PF, its internationally-recognized government, one must be familiar with Zimbabwe’s history.

Defenders of the Israeli settler regime will often accuse their critics of being “inflammatory” and “extremist” for wanting to “wipe Israel off the map.” However, there is historical precedent for the erasure of European settler regimes. Zimbabwe became a country after Rhodesia, a country whose 1969 constitution enshrined the rule of whites, was toppled.

Rhodesia was the name given by settlers to the region in southern Africa that the indigenous people called Zimbabwe. It was named after Cecil Rhodes, the famed colonizer and advocate of British imperialism. When Zimbabwe declared its independence from Britain in 1965, the white minority owned almost all of the land, except for the Tribal Trust Lands, where black Africans were forced to live, similar to the “bantustans” of South Africa. During the day, blacks worked as servants and laborers in the estates, plantations, and cities owned by whites, and at night they returned to the designated areas where they were allowed to live and farm.

Roger Riddell, a staff member of the Catholic Institute for International Relations and editor of the institute’s series “From Rhodesia to Zimbabwe,” wrote an article in 1980, titled “Zimbabwe’s Land Problem: The Central Issue.” In the article, Riddell explains that not only did Europeans hold vastly more land than the Africans, they also held more fertile agricultural land:

“The importance of land in Rhodesia does not lie so much in the inequalities per se, but because inequalities in access to land are accompanied by growing overpopulation, landlessness, land deterioration, and increasing poverty in the African areas alongside serious underutilization of land in the European areas.”

The 7 million Africans were not full citizens of Rhodesia, unlike the white minority, which peaked at just under 300,000 in the late 1960s. Ian Smith, the wealthiest white farmer and prime minister of Rhodesia from 1964-1979, said: “The white man is the master of Rhodesia, has built it and intends to keep it.” The country’s 1961 Unilateral Declaration of Independence, which was committed to independence from Britain but not majority rule, reserved 50 national assembly seats for the country’s white settler minority and just 15 for the African majority.

Receiving weapons and support from both China and the Soviet Union, the indigenous African population took up arms against Smith’s white-minority rule in the 1970s. ZANU-PF, currently the ruling party in Zimbabwe, is the result of a merger of several different armed revolutionary organizations that fought against the apartheid government of Rhodesia. Britain deployed troops to fight against the African people, and the U.S. formally recognized and backed the Rhodesian apartheid regime. International media and Western politicians generally referred to the uprisings of impoverished African people as “terrorism” and supported the white settler government in the name of opposing “communism.”

As the white settler government of Rhodesia faced a wider insurgency from African people, it became a favored cause among white supremacists. Neo-Nazis and fascists from all over the world went to fight against the African rebels. James Earl Ray, who was convicted of assassinating Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., had worked closely with the “Friends of Rhodesia.” During his 2015 killing spree inside a church in South Carolina, the white supremacist murderer Dylann Roof wore the flag of the long deposed Rhodesian settler government.

Mugabe emerged as the charismatic leader of the armed uprising. With Mugabe as their commander and representative, guerrilla fighters carved out what the white settlers called “no-go areas,” liberated territories which were controlled by the African revolutionaries and served as bases for the uprising. ZANU-PF described itself as a socialist party. Interviewed during the war, Mugabe said:

“It is absolutely wrong to allow a set of individuals to acquire control and ownership of those resources that are God-given. They are not man-made, the land, the water, the forest, the animals, the fish in the river, the minerals. These are given to us by nature, and it is in principle wrong for any one man to claim ownership of such resources that should belong to the people as a whole.”

On Dec. 21, 1979, the prolonged conflict known as the Rhodesian Bush War concluded with the signing of the Lancaster House Agreement. Rhodesia was abolished, and the Republic of Zimbabwe came into existence. The treaty specified that the new government could not seize white-owned land for ten years. At the time of the agreement, the country’s 120,000 white families controlled at least half of the country’s arable farmland, while 7 million Africans lived in extreme poverty.


Eroding white supremacy, changing property relations

Many predicted a “white genocide” following ZANU-PF’s election under the new constitution. However, once ZANU-PF assumed power in the elections following the 1979 treaty, no such thing occurred. Despite leading a “white republic” and ordering his troops to slaughter tens of thousands of civilians, Ian Smith, the leader of the white settler government, was spared any punishment for his documented war crimes. He lived in luxury on his estates until his death of natural causes in 2007.

Many whites left Zimbabwe, relocating to South Africa or Europe, but aside from a few incidents, no reports of widespread revenge killings took place. In accordance with the Lancaster House Agreement, whites who were owed pensions by the oppressive Rhodesian apartheid government continued to received payments from the new government until 1990.

The government led by ZANU-PF vastly expanded access to education, and Zimbabwe leads Africa in adult literacy. During the 1990s, the economy of Zimbabwe, presided over and tightly regulated by the ZANU-PF, was described by the Washington Post as being “among the strongest on the continent.”

The ZANU-PF government stayed true to its promise not to forcibly redistribute property until 1997, long after the ten year period agreed to in the treaty. Prior to 1997, many white farmers left Zimbabwe, voluntarily selling their property to the state for negotiated compensation. Britain welcomed white farmers with open arms, and has even established Zane, a charity that supports whites who wish to migrate from Zimbabwe.

Beginning in 1997, land belonging to the white minority has been gradually, forcibly redistributed to Africans. Veterans of Zimbabwe’s revolutionary army were the first to receive land, and by 2011, over 237,000 African families had acquired their own land, while 300 white farms remained intact.

When the land seizures began, Western press reports alleged the land reform was corrupt and giving land only to government bureaucrats. However, The Zimbabwean published the results of a 10-year study of the program, which found that less than 17 percent of the land went to civil servants, and the overwhelming majority went to rural peasants, unemployed Africans, and others who were not deeply connected to government officials.

No one debates that the majority of those who have received land hold a favorable view of the ZANU-PF government. Following the land redistribution campaign, violence erupted on more than a few occasions when white farmers refused to give up land and held violent standoffs with government officials and locals.


‘We want to be left alone’

As the reforms began, Mugabe was subject to demonization in Western media. In 2000, ZANU-PF suffered its first major defeats at the polls and began sharing power with the MDC, which has received funding from the State Department and whose leader has openly admitted to taking “direction” from President Obama.

The redistribution process slowed agricultural production in Zimbabwe. The process of transitioning farms from the large plantations owned by white settlers, to small individual plots owned by African families, was difficult on its own. But it was also compounded by the fact that Africans who had never owned their own farms did not have easy, immediate access to many types of modern agricultural technology previously employed by white farmers. The U.S. made the economic situation far worse by imposing economic sanctions on Zimbabwe starting in 2001, heavily restricting its ability to export agricultural goods. The sanctions also limited Zimbabwe’s access to key agricultural imports needed to make fertilizer.

Speaking at the U.N. General Assembly in 2008, Mugabe said, “We want to be left alone.” He urged Western forces to stop meddling in his country’s internal affairs, and to allow Zimbabwe to alter its economic system toward one featuring a more equitable distribution of wealth.

Despite continued demonization in Western media, Zimbabwe continues to make economic changes. In December, Zimbabwe announced that it was adopting the Chinese yuan as legal tender. In exchange, the People’s Republic of China cancelled Zimbabwe’s $40 million debt to Chinese banks.

In March, Mugabe announced that the country’s diamond mines will be nationalized.

“Companies that have been mining diamonds have robbed us of our wealth,” Mugabe said. “That is why the state must have a monopoly.”

When making the announcement, Mugabe also pointed out that a recent drop in diamond prices has increased the frequency of swindling and corruption surrounding the already crime-stricken industry. Zimbabwe supplied about 13 percent of the world’s diamonds in 2013, but experts quoted by Reuters warned that the country is expected to account for less than 3 percent of the global supply this year.

The president criticized not only Western-owned mining corporations, but also those based in China, and argued that nationalizing the mines will ensure that the people of Zimbabwe get a fair share of the wealth created by their natural resources.

For those who follow U.S. foreign policy, it should be clear why Washington seeks an end to the rule of Mugabe and the ZANU-PF: Zimbabwe’s government is seizing control of the country’s natural resources, redistributing land, and cutting into the profits of Western corporations. Furthermore, Zimbabwe has aligned itself with China, an emerging economic rival of Wall Street.


Western intervention is never the answer

Western media and the CIA have learned to manipulate humanity’s basic feelings of compassion and solidarity for the purpose of conducting “regime change.” Media campaigns routinely highlight atrocities — both real and invented — and build up public opinion for “humanitarian intervention.”

This is the case in Zimbabwe, where Western media selectively report on corruption, violence and suffering in line with biases for regime change held by Washington and its Western allies.

It also happened in Libya, where NATO bombing and a coordinated campaign to topple the government of Moammar Gadhafi were carried out with the stated objective of saving the lives of innocent people. However, the result has been widespread chaos and poverty in what was once Africa’s most prosperous country. The previously stable country stands divided today, as rival factions battle for power, while militant groups like Daesh (an Arabic acronym for the terrorist group known in the West as ISIS or ISIL) have set up shop.

Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria have all suffered the effects of U.S.-backed regime change waged in the name of human rights. The populations that were championed as oppressed victims in the Western media broadcasts that built the case for intervention, are far worse off than before.

American media’s talk about human rights is selective. Governments that reject economic domination by American-based banks and corporations, and those which compete with them on the global market, become targets of demonization. Meanwhile, atrocities perpetrated by repressive regimes that cooperate with the U.S. are generally overlooked, or, as in the case of Saudi Arabia, supported.

A movement like the one unfolding in Zimbabwe right now — a movement championed in Western media and led by someone who has since fled to the U.S. — is unlikely to improve the situation of Zimbabwe’s people. U.S. efforts to cripple Zimbabwe’s current leader and party by funding the opposition isn’t evidence of U.S. concern for human rights; it’s evidence that Mugabe and the ZANU-PF aren’t adhering to the rules of U.S. hegemony and Western dominance.

While Zimbabwe certainly faces social and economic challenges, the Pentagon will not solve them. Western destabilization and intervention will make matters worse. Only the African people — people who have defeated an oppressive regime and rolled back the horrors of white minority rule — only they can lead the country forward.

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Tuesday, September 06, 2016

(THE PATRIOT ZW) Story behind demos

(THE PATRIOT ZW) Story behind demos
By Patience Rusare -
September 1, 2016

ZIMBABWE, in recent weeks, has been rocked by violent demonstrations, mainly by MDC-T, Zimbabwe People First supporters and the ‘civil’ society, in a bid to effect regime change.

A spate of clashes spread on the streets of Harare as the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) fought running battles with violent protesters who hurled stones at law enforcement agents, set tyres ablaze, burnt a ZRP and a ZBC vehicle, while some razed to the ground the popular Copacabana flea market in the central business district (CBD).

They looted shops including one of the chain supermarkets Choppies and attacked innocent citizens, in the mayhem.

‘Managed Change Formula’

It is important to note that what is happening now is exactly what happened between 2007 and 2008 under ‘Save Zimbabwe Campaign’, then led by Dewa Mavhinga.

It is a repeat of the regime change agenda coined ‘Managed Change Formula’ by the International Crisis Group (ICG).

Managed Change Formula is a pre-programmed series of co-ordinated events taking place in different parts of the world, but timed to happen as part of a series with one event designed to influence the decisions of the next event and so on.

On March 5 2007, the ICG published a report titled Zimbabwe: An end to stalemate which claimed that a solution to the problem of Zimbabwe had been found as an agreement had been reached between the democrats of MDC and the moderates of ZANU PF to form an interim government.

In its report, long before people knew, the ICG, purported to be an intelligence supplier to Western governments documented that, ‘ZANU PF would negotiate with the MDC on a constitutional framework, power-sharing agreement, detailed agenda and benchmarks for a two-year political transition beginning in March 2008’.

And exactly six days later, there was violence as MDC senior party officials like Morgan Tsvangirai and Nelson Chamisa deliberately provoked the ZRP in order to be restrained physically.

The violence was timed to influence a meeting organised by the British Parliament to discuss the ‘Zimbabwean issue’.

Again, it was to influence the March 23 2007 US Congress meeting on Zimbabwe.

It is at the US Congress meeting where Dr Douglas Gwatidzo, who was chairperson of the Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights; the same doctor who treated Tsvangirai, Chamisa and other MDC officials, gave an exaggerated medical report on the extent of the injuries.

In his accounts Dr Gwatidzo admitted to having been warned in advance to prepare to receive and treat injured people prior to the violence.

However, the climax was on March 28 2007, at a British sponsored hearing on Zimbabwe in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) where Britain called for Chapter Seven sanctions and Zimbabwe only survived the sanctions because China and Russia used their veto.

In events strikingly similar to the repetitive cycle of violence in 2007, the current disturbances, however, came at a time the MDC-T has reached a dead end and all opposition political parties on the table have no chance of winning elections.

After all failed attempts to give Tsvangirai and MDC countless political make-overs, US and the West ‘went shopping’ for a new face and voice with the same message (regime change).

The latest protests come nearly two months after a ‘stay-away’ advocated by a social media movement #ThisFlag led by one Pastor Evan Mawarire.

Enter Mawarire

Pastor Mawarire was barely known beyond his small congregation in Harare when he posted a ‘scripted video’ on the internet in April calling for Zimbabweans to ‘shutdown’ the country.

As part of his training to what he is doing now, Mawarire and his wife Samantha were in London, England, between 2007 and 2011 disguised as directors of church-cum companies His Generation Ministries and World Changers Limited respectively.

After his initial training he was despatched back to Zimbabwe in 2011 and set up his own church called ‘His Generation’ that has a congregation of about 50 – again another cover-up.

The narrative used to describe Pastor Mawarire as a simple pastor who came out of nowhere is not by coincidence.

And Mawarire is not a political accident who emerged as the voice of the voiceless Zimbabweans who took his creativity to the social media.

As part of further training, Mawarire had to undergo leadership development training.

In The Patriot of August 19-25 2016, a story headlined ‘Mawarire: Con artist or activist’ highlights that upon his return from Britain in 2011, Mawarire underwent some sort of leadership-development training, attending the Toastmasters International (TI) sessions.

Toastmasters International is a non-profit educational organisation that operates clubs worldwide for the purpose of helping members improve their communication, public speaking and leadership skills.
It offers a programme of communication and leadership projects designed to help people learn the art of speaking, listening and thinking.

After about 10 years of training, he knew exactly what to say, to ‘move’ the Nation.

Besides, he had a ‘good’ background; serving as child president in Zimbabwe between 1993 and 1994 after having been elected child MP for Mashonaland West Province’s Hurungwe constituency.
In 2011, he was chosen one of Zimbabwe’s 10 Outstanding Young People by the Junior Chamber International (JCI) for moral leadership.

The JCI is an American non-governmental organisation (NGO) of young people between 18 and 40 years old.
It’s supposed to encourage youths to be responsible citizens and to participate in efforts towards social and economic development and international co-operation, good-will and understanding.

Pre-meditated violence

Prior to the violent protests, international media was deployed to cover every form of violence against these groups for distribution to the rest of the world.

Last week’s protests were designed to damage the image of President Robert Mugabe at the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) VI summit in Kenya and at the 36th Southern African Development Community (SADC) summit in Swaziland.

The protests were designed to influence SADC to have Zimbabwe on their agenda.

It is our reading that the climax could be slated for the UN Security Council meeting running concurrently with the General Assembly to be held next month in New York, US.
Mawarire’s arrest was well orchestrated.

He wanted to be arrested and the ZRP unwittingly played right into his hands. He became the ‘victim’.

And the huge crowds that gathered at the Harare Rotten Row Magistrates’ Courts during his hearing were all staged to strengthen his profile.

He now had an excuse to leave the country and go to South Africa; first to garner support of fellow Africans, before travelling to US to mobilise support of Zimbabweans in the Diaspora sympathetic to opposition parties.

And the timing was also calculated.

Mawarire had to be in the US for at least a month, touring most strategic American states while mobilising support for demonstrations at the UN General Assembly in New York from September 17-21 2016 because President Mugabe will be attending the meeting.

Upon his arrival in the US, Mawarire visited different cities including Atlanta, Washington DC and Dallas.

He met with US personalities including former congressman Ambassador Andrew Jackson Young from Georgia.
Ambassador Young once served as the United States Ambassador to United Nations.

While in Washington DC, Mawarire had to put up a little drama as he wept while addressing a seminar at the Atlantic Council think tank.

The Patriot can reveal that Mawarire plans to stage the protests daily, with Saturday and Wednesday as the major days.

On Saturday September 17, protests will be at the Zimbabwe Consulate offices from 12pm to 4pm ‘to raise awareness to the world all over’.

“Saturday’s demo is mainly to raise awareness to the world all over,” said one of the organisers, Moses Mafusire, on facebook page North America #Thisflag.

“Protesting kuUN headquarters is a little complicated because security is tight, so our message might not be heard easily and second, there will be other protestors from different countries protesting about their issues, so we will be sharing attention.

“So on Saturday, we will be at the Zim UN offices, so the attention is focused on us and our objective to raise awareness is easily executed.”

Another organiser of the demonstrations, Chiwoniso Mpofu, urged protesters to come mainly on September 21 to ‘heckle’ President Mugabe as he gives his address to the General Assembly.

“Wednesday 21 is very important because this is the day Mugabe is going to give his speech and address the GA,” she said.

“It will be great if those who can attend during the week to come on Wednesday 21 and confront him.
“We won’t be able to see him, but while he talks we will be talking too.”

For the march, the organisers are yet to secure permits for various areas between Union Square, the Palace Hotel and the Zim Consulate buildings.

Apparently shuttle buses are to ferry people from nearby areas such as Manhattan, Brooklyn, Plainfield, White Plains and Iselin.

And accommodation is all in place for those travelling from Boston, Massachusetts, Virginia, Texas, Indiana, Philadelphia and Washington DC.

Some protestors are booked at The Courtyard Newark Downtown located at 858 Broad streel Newark NJ 07102 under the name ‘Zimbabwe Family Reunion Group’.

The organisers say they expect thousands of people to attend the demos and speakers include, Mawarire, Thomas Mapfumo, Dr Noah Manyika, Promise Mkwananzi of Tajamuka and Patson Dzamara.

Dr Manyika is the founder of ‘Build Zimbabwe’, an organisation opposed to ZANU PF.

Again the New York demonstrations are designed to ensure Zimbabwe is discussed at the Security Council and Chapter seven sanctions is enacted.

Concurrently back home, the protests will gain momentum.

They are planning on increasing the violent protests from once a week, to twice or thrice a week.
Protestors will continue to provoke the ZRP for clashes as the pictures will legitimise their claims of ‘gross human rights abuses’ in Zimbabwe at the international platform.

They want the UN to intervene under the pretext that the country is now a threat to international peace and security.

They are willing to go to any length to have Zimbabwe on the agenda.

On August 10 2016, at an Itai Dzamara-organised demonstration, demonstrators tried to use children as ‘human shields’.

Innocent children, flowers in hand, were put at the front to confront ZRP officers.
The protestors were hoping ZRP would beat or disperse the children with teargas and water cannons and have the pictures all over the world with headlines screaming ‘Gross human rights abuses’, but their efforts were in vain.

Riot police neither attacked the children nor adult protestors who had no police clearance, a prerequisite to hold a demonstration.

Could it be that opposition forces are becoming desperate by the day?
NERA: Another Save Zimbabwe campaign?

One thing the opposition is good at is re-inventing itself into coalitions or alliances by a variety of names.

National Electoral Reform Agenda (NERA) is just like the 2007 Save Zimbabwe Campaign that brought together most opposition political parties and major civil society organisations with the agenda of ousting President Mugabe from power.

Opposition parties that had become irrelevant have suddenly found their voices.
Mawarire’s call to remove a democratically elected Government presented them with an opportunity to become relevant.

They are well aware they are not capable of winning any elections hence their resorting to violence.
Opposition parties are thriving on violence.

They have nothing to lose in promoting the violence and in fact, it is only violence that gives them political relevance.

Who can explain why NERA, formed in December 2015, is suddenly active after eight months of hibernation?

Suddenly, from not more than five political party signatures since December to June 2016 to 22 political party signatures in just a month?

Is there a third force behind?

They have been told to join hands for what they call the ‘greater good’ of removing President Mugabe and ZANU PF from power.

While Mawarire is garnering for support from the West and the US, these opposition parties will continue to cause havoc in the country.

They have called for another demonstration (today) and hope innocent citizens get seriously injured or die in the process.

No wonder the false social media message that a soldier had stoned a boy to death last week Friday.
This is what agents of regime change want.

They are not worried about the safety of citizens, let alone the needs of citizens.
They do not care that the so-called ‘Arab spring’ did not bring any good summer to countries such as Egypt, Tunisia and much worse Libya.

Prior to 2011, Muammar Gaddafi had turned Libya into Africa’s most progressive welfare state. Libya had the highest Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita and highest life expectancy in Africa. Less people lived below the poverty datum line than in The Netherlands.

It boasted free healthcare, education and numerous subsidies to support the well-being of the Libyan people

But look at what happened to Libya after the US/NATO interventionism.

It is now a failed state in complete political anarchy, with a destroyed economy and a war-torn society.

Libya does not have a functioning government, control of its borders or basic public services.
It’s being torn apart by warlords and rival militant groups.

Leaked emails for investigation of US Hillary Clinton’s server scandal revealed that the war against Libya was waged for economic and political reasons.

Libya’s nationalised oil reserves and plans to use gold as the chief reserve currency in Africa to compete against the euro and US dollar threatened US capitalist penetration in Africa.
It was never about the Libyans and in Zimbabwe it is still not about Zimbabwean interests.
It is well documented that Zimbabwe is endowed with vast minerals.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has assessed that Zimbabwe is the richest country in terms of natural resources per person.

What is currently happening in Zimbabwe is a push towards a war to loot the country’s natural resources and leave Zimbabwe a destroyed state, just like Libya.

That is the real story behind these so-called demonstrations.


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Monday, August 29, 2016

(THE PATRIOT ZW) The Struggle For Land in Zimbabwe (1890 – 2010)

COMMENT - The monopolisation of land a major source of poverty in Rhodesia, South Africa, Namibia, Kenya. It used to be 'white farmers' who monopolised the land, however they too are now increasingly removed from their land by the giant corporations, assisted by the IMF/World Bank's policies and approval. (Moeletsi Mbeki, 02:50) See Ambreena Manji's The Politics Of Landreform In Africa.

It is time to take the land from the giant corporations, and give it to the people. - MrK

(THE PATRIOT ZW) The Struggle For Land in Zimbabwe (1890 – 2010)…..how the BSAC usurped Chief Mutasa’s land
By The Patriot Reporter -
August 25, 2016

By 1896, more than 1 500 000 acres (600 000 hectares), virtually 100 percent of all arable land in the Melsetter District (Chimanimani), had been acquired and occupied by the Boer settler-farmers from South Africa, writes Dr Felix Muchemwa in his book The Struggle For Land in Zimbabwe (1890 – 2010) that The Patriot is serialising.

THERE were lots of gold reserves in the Manyika Kingdom, both reef and alluvial gold, especially along the Revuwe, Chua, Chimezi and Nyahombwe river valleys.

From the mid-19th Century, the Portuguese, led by businessmen Colonel Joaquim Carlos Paiva de Andrade, well known as Gouveia, and Manuel Antonio de Souza, supported by the Portuguese Government, grabbed land from Paramount Chief Mutasa in Manyika.

The Mozambican businesspersons and their company, the Mozambique Company, owned goldfields particularly in Mutare, Revuwe and Buzi river valleys, but not by Mutasa’s permission, but that of the Portuguese Government.

In fact, the Portuguese Government claimed ‘large parts of Shona country on the grounds that their traders and adventurers had penetrated this region during the early 16th Century’.

The claims included Umtali District (Mutare) and Nyanga as on Portuguese maps of that time, but this only drew counter-claims by the British South Africa Company (BSAC) and another company, the African Portuguese Syndicate (APS), owned by South Africans. (Bhila, 1982: pp.234-7)

Then the BSAC went further to impose a treaty on Paramount Chief Mutasa on September 19 1890, which provided that no one could possess land in Manyika except with the consent of the company.

The terms of this concession were quite similar, both in content and in spirit, to the Rudd Concession.
Two months later, on the night of November 16 1890, Major Patrick Forbes, supported by Captain R. Fiennes, made his way to the Paramount Chief, stormed Mutasa’s court, disarmed Gouveia’s soldiers, arrested the Portuguese leaders who were celebrating an agreement with the Paramount Chief and then replaced the Portuguese flag with the Union Jack.

Later on, however, an Anglo-Portuguese Convention of June 11 1891 partitioned the Manyika Kingdom, giving Portugal the Mozambican part of Manyika plus Gazaland and following the partition and the conquest of Matabeleland in 1893, the BSAC went further to include Manicaland in the Matabeleland Order-in-Council on July 18 1894 on the pretext that Manicaland was ruled by King Lobengula as part of Mashonaland before 1893 and was therefore part of the conquest of Matabeleland. (Palley, 1966: pp.114)
But Mutasa was not amused by this and protested directly to the British Secretary of State for the Colonies in London.

And, he was very emphatic that he had never been under King Lobengula’s rule or any king and that since inception in the 14th Century, the Manyika Kingdom had never been under foreign rule. (Bhila,1982: pp.240)

The Paramount Chief’s son, Chimbadzwa, the heir-apparent, was even angrier with these insults from the British.

Despite the conflict between Paramount Chief Mutasa and the BSAC, the Company had, through the Order-in-Council of July 18 1894, laid claim to more than 1 907 492 acres (762 997 hectares) of land which was virtually over 70 percent of Umtali District which included Nyanga. (Palmer, 1977: pp.182)

By 1896, this amounted to 224 farms allocated and occupied by European settler-farmers in this most favoured agricultural region one on the Zimbabwean Highveld and it left very little land for Mutasa’s people who were being forced out of the district by the BSAC.

On January 9 1894, the acting resident magistrate of Umtali demanded the supply of compulsory labour from Chikanga, ‘one of Mutasa’s daughters in charge of a ward,’ and the Sub-chief totally refused to supply the ‘forced’ labour to the gold mines and farms in Umtali District.

The result was that when Magistrate G. Seymour Fort returned, he gave her a 48-hour ultimatum which she again ignored resulting in him moving to confiscate livestock as well as effect arrest.

During the ensuing altercation, Fambesa, the sub-chief’s husband was shot dead while defending her. (Bhila, 1982: pp.241)

In her trial, sub-chief Chikanga completely rejected the Company’s presence and any claimed rights in Manyika and the BSAC responded by banishing the sub-chief, her brother, Chimbadzwa (Mutasa’s heir apparent) and the Manyika Spirit Medium, Muredzwa, to Barwe country.

Paramount Chief Mutasa was also required to unconditionally surrender his whole territory, including the gold-fields, to the BSAC (Bhila pp. 244) and to promise that his people would pay ‘Hut Tax’ and ‘rent’ to the Company and to European settler-farmers.

Behind the scenes, the judgement was, of course, informed by Magistrate Seymour Fort’s prior knowledge of a raging succession war between Chimbadzwa, who detested the BSAC and his half-brother Chiobvu, who favoured the British.

It was a succession battle the Company had fuelled for over four years in a bid to win over Manyika.
So it was that by 1896, virtually all of Mutasa’s land had been usurped by the BSAC and the European settler-farmers and many of his people had left Manyika.

Chimbadzwa, his sister, sub-chief Chikanga, and the Manyika spirit medium, Muredzwa, had been forced into exile.

Tendai Mutasa was a very lonely man and he was little expected to rise against the European settler-occupation of land in June 1896, when the First Chimurenga broke out.

Melsetter District (Chimanimani)

South of Umtali District, Melsetter had been made an administrative district in 1895.
By 1896, more than 1 500 000 acres (600 000 hectares), virtually 100 percent of all arable land in the Melsetter District, had been acquired and occupied by the Boer settler-farmers from South Africa. (Palmer, 1977: pp.182)

Little land remained in African hands, the population of which had dwindled from over 40 000 in 1891, to less than 13 245 people by 1896. (Warhurst, 1975)

Most African people in the district had been gradually forced out of their ancestral lands and driven into the Odzi/Sabi low-veld areas of Zimunya, Marange, Nyanyadzi, Chibuwe, Chisumbanje and Chiredzi.
Those who remained in the district only remained as ‘forced’ labourers or ‘slaves’ called ‘Shangaans’ on settler-farms.

However, despite the great reduction in their number, subjugation of their chiefs and their enslavement, the people of Melsetter still rose up and joined the First Chimurenga against the Boer settler-farmers on August 13 1896.

But unfortunately for them, they were quickly defeated by the Boer territorial forces called the Burghers on August 27 1896.

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Friday, August 12, 2016

Bertolt Brecht On Economic And Political Illiteracy

“The worst illiterate is the political illiterate, he doesn’t hear, doesn’t speak, nor participates in the political events. He doesn’t know the cost of life, the price of the bean, of the fish, of the flour, of the rent, of the shoes and of the medicine, all depends on political decisions. The political illiterate is so stupid that he is proud and swells his chest saying that he hates politics. The imbecile doesn’t know that, from his political ignorance is born the prostitute, the abandoned child, and the worst thieves of all, the bad politician, corrupted and flunky of the national and multinational companies.”

― Bertolt Brecht


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Thursday, July 28, 2016

Stratfor on President Mugabe, Minister Mnangagwa, De Beers and Diamonds

COMMENT - Wikileaks shows the cluelessness of Stratfor's understanding of the Zimbabwean situation, as well as De Beers working in Zimbabwe against US policy. They admit sanctioning entire industries and many companies, in order to shape what comes after Mugabe - shape the Zimbabwean political scene. Not very democratic. According to Mark Schroeder of Stratfor:

To me this sanction is not about US businesses there (not much), but about
sanctions on Zimbabwean elite involved in the diamonds there to shape what
succeeds Mugabe
.

In other words, they think they are using sanctions to shape the Zimbabwean political scene. - MrK

Re: [Africa] ZIMBABWE/US/MINING - US blacklists Zimbabwean diamond companies

Released on 2013-02-26 00:00 GMT
Email-ID 5042006
Date 2011-12-13 20:49:49
From mark.schroeder@stratfor.com
To africa@stratfor.com
Re: [Africa] ZIMBABWE/US/MINING - US blacklists Zimbabwean diamond
companies

Maranga is good to make cash for some ZANU-PF elite. It is seen as under the control of the securocrats faction that involved the defense minister. The Mujurus, on the other hand, were seen as behind the River Ranch diamond area in the south, close to the border with South Africa.

To me this sanction is not about US businesses there (not much), but about sanctions on Zimbabwean elite involved in the diamonds there to shape what succeeds Mugabe. Mnangagwa and a host of other securocrats are facing this sanction. So the calculation among the securocrats has to be, if they go forward with Mnangagwa as their candidate, he is already under US-led international sanction, and the country will not be normalized. The US is likely to increase their rhetoric if Mnangagwa goes on to succeed Mugabe -- it's one thing to let Mugabe die out (the international community can do little about Mugabe), but they will not work with another securocrat.

Mnangagwa succeeding Mugabe will likely trigger renewed focus on sanctions and ZANU-PF might not have what it takes to withstand another 5 years of that.

So that's why they might need to focus on finding a successor who is not
under sanction but who can provide them security and financial guarantees,
in return for yielding power and not ending up in The Hague.


On 12/13/11 12:14 PM, Adelaide Schwartz wrote:

How important are the Marange/Chiadzwa mines for a ZANU-PF campaign? Is
this the principal operation from which Mugabe and co. receive cash for
political buy offs?

If this is a political move by the US as you raise below then I can't
help but think it is poorly calculated. What US businesses are still
there after repeated sanctions?
I agree that Mnangawa seems to be in the
top position for a "passed down win."


imo, real pull is US getting De Beers operators out (I don't think De
Beers has re-entered on their own but I would need to confirm since SA
changed the Kimb Process a few months ago)

On 12/13/11 9:11 AM, Mark Schroeder wrote:

here's an interesting development following the conclusion of the
ZANU-PF congress, though the date of the move is not clear. It would
mean that beneficiaries of Marange diamonds will not get US
cooperation-- and rather, will face sanction.
It is believed that the
Mnangagwa faction (the securocrats) benefits from the Marange
diamonds.
Back to our conversation on the future Zimbabwean election,
it would thus be very difficult for Mnangagwa to secure the election,
as he will face considerable international sanction/pressure against
him.
Remember that the rival ZANU-PF faction led by Joyce Mujuru is
effectively knocked out of the running following the death by
mysterious fire of her husband, Solomon Mujuru.

On the other hand, the MDC is still in a weak position and no way
ZANU-PF will just give up and let them win. It thus opens the door for
some compromise accommodation, though surely with some hard bargaining
to be done.

On 12/12/11 11:48 AM, Marc Lanthemann wrote:

US blacklists Zimbabwean diamond companies

Text of report by South African privately-owned, established daily
newspaper The Star on 12 December

[Report by Peta Thornycroft, Independent Foreign Service: "US
Blacklists Zim Diamonds"]

HARARE: The US has blacklisted several diamond companies that are
extracting rough stones from controversial diamond fields in eastern
Zimbabwe.

The Office of Foreign Assets Control has blacklisted companies owned
by a state mining company and a private limited company which has
been financially backed by a South African investor.

Human rights organizations and investigators were infuriated when
the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme recently cleared the
diamonds for export from Zimbabwe
.

But it will now become impossible for any US citizen -and the EU is
likely to follow -to buy any stones from or via any of the
companies, all based in Zimbabwe.


The stones sold in Zimbabwe are mostly bought by buyers in Asia that
don't have any trade restrictions.


Mining licences in the diamond fields have been issued to Mbar
Diamonds (Mbada)
, a Zimbabwean company backed by a Mauritian company
and funded by South African scrap dealer New Reclamation
, in which
Old Mutual has a 5.6 per cent share.

South African David Kassel is the CEO of New Reclamation, and has
been involved closely in helping set up the diamond mine run by
Mbada.

The companies placed on the blacklist are: Marange Resources
(Private) Limited (aka Block Wood Mining, aka Marange Resources, aka
Mmarange Resources Ltd) MMCZ Building, 90 Mutare Road, Harare,
Zimbabwe (Box 4101, Harare); Zimbabwe Mbada Diamonds (Private)
Limited (aka CONDURANGA, aka Mbada, aka Mbada Diamond Mining, aka
Mbada Diamonds), New Office Park, Block C, Sam Levy's Village,
Borrowdale, Harare.


Source: The Star, Johannesburg, in English 12 Dec 11 p 5

BBC Mon AF1 AFEausaf 121211 jo


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