Zimbabwe will scrap a law that denies foreign platinum mining companies control of their operations in the country, the mines minister said on Thursday.
Foreign platinum and diamond miners have been restricted to only 49 percent ownership of their Zimbabwe operations by the black economic empowerment law introduced during Robert Mugabe’s rule. The law was aimed at increasing black Zimbabweans’ stake in the mining sector, but foreign investors said its implementation was often murky and open to abuse.
Zimbabwe holds the world’s second-largest known platinum reserves behind South Africa.
Asked to confirm a Bloomberg report that Zimbabwe will scrap the black empowerment rules for platinum, Winston Chitando told Reuters in a WhatsApp message: “Confirmed. It’s part of continued review of (the) Zimbabwe is open for business mantra.”
On when the amendments will be brought to parliament, Chitando said that dates would be announced soon.
Chitando, who is in Washington with Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube scouting for investment in Zimbabwe, did not respond when asked whether the changes will be extended to the diamond sector.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa is keen to revive the mining sector after years of reticence from foreign investors during Mugabe’s rule.
Investor interest in Zimbabwe’s underexplored resources has improved more recently, however. Australia’s Arcadia Resources is setting up a lithium mine while privately owned Karo Resources signed a $4.2 billion deal to set up a platinum mine and refinery and revived a Russian joint venture for a big platinum project near Harare.
Among existing operations, Impala Platinum and Anglo American Platinum have assets in Zimbabwe while Sibanye-Stillwater has a joint venture mine with Implats.
Although no foreign platinum company had been forced to cede control, investors said the empowerment law added to the country’s political risk profile.
The finance minister has said that Zimbabwe attracted $8 billion into mining last year alone and that projects are expected to take off in the next three years.
The government of Zimbabwe under President Emmerson Mnangagwa has failed to bring about political and economic changes needed to improve the country’s reputation, the State Department said on Thursday.
The comments relate to President Donald Trump’s decision this week to extend by one year U.S. sanctions that target more than 100 entities and individuals in Zimbabwe, including Mnangagwa.
“We believe that President Emmerson Mnangagwa has yet to implement the political and economic overhaul required to improve the country’s reputation with the community of nations, and with the United States,” State Department spokesman Robert Palladino told reporters.
“The actions of the targeted individuals continue to undermine Zimbabwe’s democratic processes,” he said, adding that there were ongoing concerns in the United States over human rights abuses in Zimbabwe.
Mnangagwa has called for U.S. sanctions to be lifted against the ZANU-PF ruling party, top military figures and some government-owned firms. The sanctions were imposed during long-time rule of former president Robert Mugabe.
Washington has called on Mnangagwa to change Zimbabwe’s laws restricting media freedom and allowing protests.
Nearly one and a half years ago when Alyssa Milano asked women to click MeToo on their social media platforms, the #MeToo movement was born. Since then millions of women have indicated through social media that they too have been victims of sexual harassment or assault.
The power of this movement has been its ability to show the world how pervasive sexual harassment is. And it’s had an effect on perpetrators. In the film industry producers and actors such as Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey and Bill Cosby all lost their jobs.
But is Africa part of this global movement against sexual violence? In her assessment of transnational activism in Africa, author Titilope Adayi, indicates that the global dimension of #MeToo has centred on the involvement of certain countries such as the US, the UK, France, India and China. There’s been virtually no mention of Africa or the Middle East.
But the visibility of #MeToo makes it easy to overlook the very powerful campaigns against sexual violence that go on in Africa. Most are happening outside the digital space.
MeToo was actually started by an African American women, Tarana Burke in 2006 – 11 years before #MeToo – to help young women deal with sexual harassment. Her campaign wasn’t on social media and didn’t become global. But it has now been tagged on to the digital campaign.
Before #MeToo there was the #EndRapeCulture campaign which was started in South Africa in 2016 by African women students. The #EndRapeCulture campaign was powerful enough to force universities in South Africa to appoint task teams to deal with the pervasive normalisation of sexual violence on campuses. But #EndRapeCulture didn’t become a global movement, even though it combined direct action (topless protests) with the digital campaign.
So why didn’t the #MeToo make big inroads into Africa?
The response of African women
One of the reasons for the lack of uptake is related to the racial nature of the campaign. It was started by white, wealthy women in the film industry in the US who had access to digital platforms.
Another reason #MeToo wasn’t that big in Africa is because of the very strong patriarchal culture in which women fear being stigmatised when they speak out about sexual harassment or assault. The very visibility of this kind of action makes them more vulnerable. Women are also afraid that their families may find out about the abuse. Women are therefore silenced by “cultures of respectability”.
And in many countries women are quite aware that the law won’t protect them. In a range of countries, including South Africa and Zimbabwe, secondary victimisation of survivors is rife in male dominated courts, where conviction rates for rape are on average below 10%.
But women in many African countries have staged street protests. This enables them to avoid individualised attention, but nevertheless makes their causes visible.
In Kenya women started #MyDressismyChoice protests in the streets of Nairobi after a woman was assaulted at a bus stop for wearing a miniskirt. In Senegal two young women started “#Nopiwouma” to challenge Senegal’s silence on gender based violence. It means “I will not shut up” in Wolof. The campaign #Doyna, also in Senegal means “that’s enough”.
A consequence of not wanting to speak out about sexual harassment is that high profile men get away with this behaviour, and even when women speak out there may still be no consequences.
South Africa has a very high incidence of gender based violence. A recent example involved the former deputy minister of education Mduduzi Manana, who beat up two women in a nightclub. He resigned from his job, and was eventually forced to relinquish his parliamentary seat, but it took a very long time.
In Uganda, MP Sylvia Rwabwogo filed a complaint against a man who had stalked her for eight months. He was eventually sentenced to two years in prison but she was strongly criticised by Ugandans who expressed their sympathy for the “enamoured” student.
Organisations such as the African Union (AU) have also failed women when it comes to sexual assault. In January 2018, women staffers appealed to senior officials to end harassment in the AU. The matter was only dealt with after it reached the media. The AU’s limp-wristed response was to say that vulnerable young interns and volunteers hoping for permanent work were targeted, but that it could do little to protect them.
African novelist and film maker, Tsitsi Dangarembga, from Zimbabwe laments that #MeToo has not reached Zimbabwe were sexual harassment is also rife. She herself was in an abusive relationship for nearly eight years.
In South Africa women started another campaign, #MenareTrash, to challenge men to speak out about the epidemic of violence against women, especially intimate femicide by men killing their partners. There was a big push back by men against the campaign because some felt they were all being stigmatised.
This doesn’t appear to be a problem confined to South Africa. Globally men have problems showing solidarity with women speaking out against sexual harassment, assault and rape. This was clearly evident in Brett Kavanaugh’s case in the US. Accused of attempted rape, he went on to be confirmed as a judge of the US Supreme Court.
Uncertainty continues to surround the opening for business of a number of bureaux de change in the commercial city as the regulator conducts thorough investigations into their operations.
Over 50 bureaux de change in Dar es Salaam have not opened for business for one week now after the Bank of Tanzania (BoT) conducted an inspection into their undertakings.
Preliminary findings by the regulator established that some of these businesses were flouting the law, regulations and procedures associated with the money changing business.
The head of communications at the BoT, Ms Zalia Mbeo, said the central bank will only be in the position to issue a complete statement on the matter after completion of the ongoing inspection.
"Inspection is still on. We will only issue a statement on which ones will resume operations and which ones will not upon completion of the exercise," she said.
The Citizen has established that at least 52 bureaux de change in Dar es Salaam remained closed until yesterday as they awaited the regulator's probe into their operations.
Until yesterday, Terminal, UAE, Kariakoo as well as Tanzania Post Corporation (TPC) bureaux de change were the only ones doing business in Dar es Salaam.
The service is also available in commercial banks.
TPC said earlier this week that it was planning to open forex shops in all its offices -- located across the country -- before the end of this month in a deliberate effort to cash in on the closure of money shops.
Postmaster General Hassan Mwang'ombe was quoted saying towards mid-this-month, its foreign exchange services will be available in 19 regions where TPC has offices, insisting that the corporation has financial muscles to do the job and at the same time adhere to laws, rules and regulations.
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) says severe penalty awaits anyone who default in the procument process in project execution in the corporation.
NNPC Managing Director, Dr Maikanti Baru, also warned management and staff of the corporation against any action that contravened the provisions of the Public Procurement Act in the award of contracts.
He gave the warning on Wednesdsy in Abuja at a Supply Chain Management workshop for NNPC Procurement Managers.
Baru cautioned staff against contract splitting and accumulation, which he described as a deliberate act by procurement managers to subvert due process in the procurement process.
He noted that the corporation was commited to transparency in every aspect of its operations, adding that all procurements and contract awards in the corporation under his watch so far had been carried out in conformity with the Public Procurement Act.
The NNPC boss directed the Supply Chain Management Division to step up its level of monitoring of the various tender boards within the corporation for full compliance.
He commended President Muhammadu Buhari for the early approval of the NNPC budget, assuring that as the chief revenue earner for the nation, NNPC was committed to the economic policies of the Federal Government.
“The whole essence of the next level is to ensure that things are done correctly and speedily for the benefit of the people”, the NNPC boss said in a statement.