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President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Saturday assured Zimbabwe's white farmers that their land will not be taken, calling on them to work together with the government ahead of landmark elections on July 30.

Under his predecessor Robert Mugabe, white farmers were evicted in favour of landless black people from 2000 by a controversial policy that wrecked agriculture and triggered an economic collapse. 

But less than two weeks to go before Zimbabwe's first elections since Mugabe's ouster, Mnangagwa moved to quash any fears the practice would be repeated.

"This issue of new (land) invasions is a thing of the past. The rule of law must now apply," Mnangagwa told a group of about 200 white and Asian people gathered in the capital Harare, adding that the "animal farm mentality," was a thing of the past.

"I am saying we should cease to talk about who owns the farm in terms of colour. It is criminal talking about that. A farmer, black farmer, a white farmer is a Zimbabwean farmer."

Mnangagwa said his government was "racially blind" and needed the expertise of everyone across the economy. 

Zimbabwe's white population has fallen to less than one percent of the country's 16 million after Mugabe imposed the policy to expropriate farms in 2000.

Agricultural output crashed in the aftermath, with investors leaving and mass unemployment forcing millions of Zimbabweans out of the country to seek work.

- 'A lot of encouragement' -

Mnangagwa acknowledged the failure of the land reforms, saying the expertise of white people in the farming sector was still needed and encouraging them to take part in rebuilding Zimbabwe.

"We must build the Zimbabwe we want. We want to restore the status of Zimbabwe as a food basket of the region," he said.

"He gave us a lot of encouragement. We came here to ask for options for farming," Louisa Horsely, 51, told AFP. 

"I wanted to know if my husband's expertise is still needed if he wants to farm and wants to help other people to farm and that is what we are interested in. It sounds (like) he wants us to be part of it."

Tara Chatterton, 39, who runs an auctioning business, said she attended the rally to hear what Mnangagwa's plans were since the military intervention last year that resulted in the removal of Robert Mugabe after nearly four decades.

"We are here just to see... what he is aiming at in trying to bring the country back up and trying to get people to work together as one nation," Chatterton said.

Paul Sexton, 71, who works for a printing company, said he was impressed that the leader "didn't make any outlandish promises".

"It's going to take time and that's the truth."

AFP

Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa is putting money his government doesn’t have on the line to increase its 350,000 workers’ salaries as the country gears up for next month’s elections.

Mnangagwa has pledged that the July 30 elections, the first since Robert Mugabe was forced to step down in November after almost 40 years in power, will be free of the rigging and violence that marred previous votes. His ruling party’s chances of victory should get a lift from his promise to grant 15 pay rises to civil servants, who swallow up 90 percent of the government’s budget, and improve benefits for war veterans who fought white-minority rule.

“With the elections imminent and government workers a euphemism for party loyalists, the timing of the public sector wage hike proposals appear to be politically motivated,” Hasnain Malik, the Dubai-based head of equities research at Exotix Capital, said by email. “This is not an increase that the government can afford.”

Besides raising questions about the election’s credibility, the spending spree will hamper efforts to rebuild an economy shattered by a failed land reform program, hyperinflation and mass emigration. Mnangagwa, 75, is facing a challenge from Nelson Chamisa, 40, leader of the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change, in the presidential race.

The opposition has promised to scrap bond notes, introduced in 2016 as a form of currency, and compensate former white farmers who lost their land if it’s elected to rule. The MDC also said on Thursday its longer-term goal would be to join the rand monetary union and the Southern African Customs Union.

Warnings Unheeded

Zimbabwe’s wage bill equates to just under 20 percent of gross domestic product. Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa, who was repeatedly overruled by Mugabe when he sought to curb bonuses and pay hikes aimed at bolstering dwindling government support, appears to be facing the same situation under Mnangagwa. While he cautioned at a conference in Harare last month that the pay increases will make the government’s already shaky finances even worse, his warnings have gone unheeded.

Containing the wage bill will require the government to drastically cut staff numbers, which wouldn’t be affordable under current labor laws, and they will have to be changed, according to John Robertson, a Harare-based independent economist. In the meantime, he expects spiraling labor costs to be a further drag on an economy that’s halved in size since 2000.

“We are already uncompetitive, so higher wages will make exports impossible,” Robertson said by phone from Harare.

Cash Shortages
Even without the latest salary increases, the government has been struggling to pay its workers on time as it contends with chronic cash shortages. Zimbabwe abandoned its own currency in 2009 to end hyperinflation, and has used mainly U.S. dollars.

While Zimbabwe has paid $110 million of arrears to the IMF, it’s still saddled with $1.7 billion in arrears owed to the African Development Bank and World Bank that it needs to clear before it can tap new loans from multilateral lenders. Zimbabwe’s total debt is expected to reach $14.5 billion this year, the Finance Ministry said in the budget.

Given that a credible commitment to fiscal deficit reduction is a key part of securing new funding, the proposal for big salary increases “is a negative development, taken in isolation,” Malik said

Credit: Bloomberg

Zimbabwe will hold a general election on July 30, President Emmerson Mnangagwa said, a vote he has pledged will be free and fair with international monitoring after the ouster of 94-year-old strongman Robert Mugabe.

Mnangagwa, who took power after the November military coup against Mugabe, counts on the election to bolster his legitimacy as he pursues a promised break with Mugabe’s repressive policies while urging foreign investors to return to Zimbabwe. Missing from the July ballot for the first time in 20 years will be Zimbabwe’s foremost political gladiators, Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai, the longtime opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader who died of cancer in February.

Mnangagwa has invited the Commonwealth to monitor voting in Zimbabwe for the first time since 2002 when Harare was suspended from the group over accusations of rigged elections. He has applied for Zimbabwe to rejoin the Commonwealth. Should the election be certified by international monitors, it could be a key step to a resumption of financial aid by foreign lenders for the first time in two decades.

The vote is being cast as a fight between the old guard of Zimbabwe’s 1970s independence war and a younger generation. Mnangagwa’s main challenger is 40-year-old Nelson Chamisa from the MDC, who has energised the party, drawing huge crowds at rallies in some of the ruling ZANU-PF party’s rural redoubts.

Sixty percent of the 5.4 million voters on the new register are under 50 years old, according to official data. Separately, the Constitutional Court dismissed an application by Zimbabweans living abroad to be allowed to vote. The court did not immediately give a reason.

In a brief statement in an official government gazette, Mnangagwa said that he had fixed July 30 “as the day of the election of the president, the election of members of the national assembly and election of councillors.”
Prospective candidates will be registered on June 14. A presidential run-off vote is set for Sept. 8 if no candidate gets the 50-plus-one percent mark required to win.

For the 75-year-old Mnangagwa, victory would accord him democratic legitimacy after taking power following the coup. Nicknamed “Crocodile” for his secretive and insular demeanour, Mnangagwa goes into the election with the advantage of incumbency, allowing him access to state resources for his campaign.

Crucially, Mnangagwa enjoys the backing of the army, which analysts say remains averse to a leader lacking a pedigree from the independence war against Britain. “Though the election looks like it will go to the wire, the greater likelihood, based on cold-blooded analysis, is that experience, depth and state incumbency will triumph over youthfulness,” said Eldred Masunungure, a professor of political science at the University of Zimbabwe.

Critics say Mnangagwa was Mugabe’s most loyal acolyte and blame him for a government crackdown on rebels loyal to political rival Joshua Nkomo in the mid-1980s that rights groups say killed 20,000 civilians.
Mnangagwa has denied the charges and says political freedoms have improved under his short tenure and that he is repairing frosty relations with the West.

- Reuters

CLAIM:

On Friday, May 18, 2018, President Emmerson Mnangagwa said Zimbabwe had received a loan from the United Kingdom, which would go towards easing the country’s cash shortages.

“For the first time after nearly 20 years, we have received a soft loan, from the British, of $100 million and the (RBZ) governor has been telling me how he has disbursed the money and as from yesterday almost every single bank in the country had received part of the $100 million received,” The Herald quoted the president as having said.

Mnangagwa was to repeat the claim at a political rally in Mutare on Saturday.

Speaking in Shona, Mnangagwa was quoted by The Sunday Mail saying:

“We now have good relations with Britain, this week, on Tuesday, they gave us $100 million to help us resolve the cash crisis in the country.”

DETAILS OF THE BRITISH LOAN:

On Thursday, May 17, 2018, the Commonwealth Development Corporation (CDC), announced it would partner Standard Chartered Bank in extending an investment facility of up to $100 million to private Zimbabwean businesses seeking capital to grow.

The CDC is the UK’s development finance arm, while Standard Chartered is a leading British bank, whose Zimbabwean unit is the oldest in the southern African country.

The five-year facility will see CDC and Standard Chartered share the default risk on up to US$100 million of new loans originated by Standard Chartered Bank Zimbabwe in the southern African state.

The investment will be used for capital expenditure and for helping businesses meet their day-to-day financing needs. The likely recipients will include firms in the food processing, manufacturing and agriculture sectors.

In an interview with the Financial Times, CDC chief executive Nick O’Donohoe stressed that the funding would not be to Zimbabwe’s government, but private firms.

Commonwealth Development Corporation (CDC) chief executive Nick O’Donohoe

CONCLUSION:

While the loan will improve Zimbabwean businesses’ access to foreign currency, improve local production and reduce pressure on the country’s current account in the long term, it is incorrect to say, as Mnangagwa claimed, that the British have given Zimbabwe funds to ease its cash crisis.

While the president claimed the funds had already been disbursed to Zimbabwe, the Financial Times, which broke the story, reported that CDC and Standard Chartered Bank were in the process of drawing up a list of private firms to benefit from the facility.

The president’s statement created the impression that the $100 million loan was being directly injected into circulation in Zimbabwe, which is not the case.

 

Source: zimfact.org

Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa said Saturday that he will proclaim the 2018 election date at the end of May.

Addressing a rally in Mutare, Manicaland province marking the start of the ruling ZANU-PF election campaign, the president said the party will intensify its campaigning once the election date is proclaimed.

According to the country's constitution, the elections must be held between July 21 and August 21. Zimbabwe's parliament last week passed the Electoral Amendment Bill which now awaits presidential assent to become law.

The bill seeks to give legal effect to the bio-metric voter registration system that was done by the national electoral body for the first time. As political parties gear up for the polls, ZANU-PF has finished selecting its candidates while the main opposition party the MDC Alliance is still to conclude candidate selection.

President Mnangagwa, who took over from former president Robert Mugabe in November last year, will fight it out with the youthful leader of MDC Alliance Nelson Chamisa in the presidential poll. As the nation edges towards the polls, voters' roll inspection opened on May 19 and will run until May 29.

About 5.4 million people in Zimbabwe are registered to vote in the elections.

 

Source: Xinhua

President Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa, who has positioned himself as a pro-business president since his November 2018 inauguration, has indicated that his ascension has coincided with an increase in investor interest in Zimbabwe.

On February 8, 2018, the Herald newspaper quoted Mnangagwa saying: “We have secured more than $3bn in foreign direct investment in just seven weeks. We want this country to move forward. We want jobs for our children. For a start, we are addressing the production levels of agriculture where we are modernising all forms of production. We will move into modernising the processing chain.”

Addressing a church gathering in Shamva on April 25, 2018, Mnangagwa announced that investment commitments to Zimbabwe had increased to $11 billion. The Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) quoted the president, who is routinely referred as “ED” by the local media, as saying: “For the past four months, we have been discussing and realised that investment commitments have passed $11 billion as companies are angling themselves for mutual benefit.”

FDI defined

The International Monetary Fund’s Balance of Payments and International Investment Position Manual (BPM6) defines foreign direct investment as international investment by an entity resident in one economy in an enterprise resident in another economy that is made with the objective of obtaining a lasting interest.

The lasting interest implies the existence of a long-term relationship between the direct investor and the enterprise and a significant degree of influence on the management of the enterprise. Direct investment involves both the initial transaction that establishes the relationship between the two entities and all subsequent capital transactions between them and among affiliated enterprises, both incorporated and unincorporated.

According to the IMF, a direct investment enterprise is an incorporated or unincorporated enterprise in which a direct investor that is resident of another economy has 10 percent or more of the ordinary shares or voting power (for an incorporated enterprise) or the equivalent (for an unincorporated enterprise).

The direct investor may be an individual, an incorporated or unincorporated private or public enterprise, a government, or an associated group of individuals or enterprises that has a direct investment enterprise in an economy other than that in which the direct investor resides. The ownership of 10 percent of ordinary shares or voting power is the criterion for determining the existence of a direct investment relationship.
Investment approvals versus commitments

The Zimbabwe Investment Authority (ZIA), the state agency responsible for overseeing and licencing foreign investment into the country, routinely provides information on the value of projects it would have approved. However, ZIA does not provide data on actual investment, within the boundaries of the IMF definition of FDI.

Nevertheless, ZIA’s statistics of projects licenced in the first quarter of 2017 show a wide gap between commitments claimed by Mnangagwa and approved FDI investments. ZIA chief executive Richard Mbaiwa told journalists at the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair that the agency had licenced projects worth about $950 in the first quarter of 2018.

The Herald quotes Mbaiwa saying: “The enquiries that have come to ZIA have increased very significantly. If I look at the first quarter of 2018, comparing to the first quarter of 2017, you see a very significant increase.
“In terms of projects that we have actually licensed, not those that made commitments such as the $4,2 billion by Karo Resources and others and not licensed by ZIA, I am not including those; I mean the ones ZIA has actually licensed, for the first quarter we are standing at just below a billion dollars.

“The figure (for licensed projects) is about $950 million. In the first quarter of 2017 we were at about $150 million. So, you can see the difference, the jump. Normally, the first quarter is the slowest, especially in the previous years. When we had $150 million in the first quarter, by end of the year the figure would have gone up to between $1,5 billion and $2 billion,” he said.
“So we think that this year, with the first quarter just shy of a billion dollars, we are quite positive that by end of the first quarter maybe we would have already surpassed last year’s total figure ($1,2 billion project approvals for whole of 2017).

Expected Direct Investment (EDI) versus actual FDI

Mnangagwa’s presidency has indeed seen a notable increase in foreign investor interest, as shown by several high-profile visits by investors, who include the chief executive of multi-billion dollar British development financier Commonwealth Development Corporation, Nick O’Donohoe, mineral fertilizer mogul Dmtry Mazepin, rated the 61st richest Russian by Forbes in 2015, Sergey Ivanov Jr, the chief executive of the world’s number two diamond miner Alrosa and mining entrepreneur Loucas Pourolis, chairman of the London and Johannesburg-listed Tharisa plc. Pouroulis signed a $4,2 billion deal with the government, to develop a platinum mine and refinery in the country.

In February, a high-level delegation from US multinational conglomerate General Electric visited the country and expressed interest in the 2 400 megawatt Batoka hydropower project, which is estimated to cost $4 billion.
During his April state visit to China, Mnangagwa also met Xiang Guangda, with the president’s aides announcing that Xiang’s Tsingshang Holdings – which lays claim to being China’s second biggest stainless steel manufacturer – was interested in setting up a $4 billion steel plant in Zimbabwe.

Xiang already has interests in Zimbabwe through ferrochrome firm Afrochine Smelting, which was set up in 2012. In 2013, the Chinese firm was reported to be planning to invest in a power plant that would generate as much as 1 000 megawatts to supply its Selous plant, with the surplus power being fed into the national grid. Five years on, it remains unclear if Afrochine is still pursuing the power project.

In an article he wrote for the Sunday Mail, presidential spokesman George Charamba suggested Xiang’s power plant ambitions had been frustrated by the previous administration: “But he (Xiang) has been knocking on Government offices for the past three years, to no avail. Still, he didn’t give up on us.

“In that 30-minute meeting (with Mnangagwa), the investor was able to walk away with concrete commitments on all his requirements, opening the way for an early start to the project.”
Another Chinese billionaire Zhang Li, who is considering investing over $1 billion in the Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company, also returned, having first come to Zimbabwe in October, 2017, when he was hosted by former President Robert Mugabe.

ZIA statistics of licenced projects, juxtaposed with data from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), reveal a significant variance between FDI approvals and actual investment. The UNCTAD publishes an annual report on global investment, which provides details of FDI trends at the national, regional and global level. The UNCTAD’s World Investment Report is a widely used resource for FDI data.
While ZIA has approved projects worth an average $1 billion annually over the past few years, Zimbabwe’s FDI has averaged $400 million since 2013.

Conclusion

While ZIA data shows an increase in investor interest in Zimbabwe, with $950 million worth of approved projects comparing favourably with the annual average value of approvals in previous years, there is no evidence to back up Mnangagwa’s February claim, made at a Guruve rally, that the country secured more than US$3 billion in FDI in seven weeks as reported by The Herald. 

In subsequent pronouncements, Mnangagwa appears to be cautious as he talks about FDI commitments, not secured investment. As the ZIA and UNCTAD statistics show, approved projects and actual FDI investments vary significantly. As such, commitments to invest demonstrate interest but do not paint the whole picture. - Zimfact

 

- The Source

The African Development Bank is leading talks with Zimbabwe and its creditors to make plans for the nation to pay off some of its arrears so it can restore relations with lenders, said Akinwumi Adesina, the bank’s president.

During almost two decades of economic mismanagement the southern African nation’s debt surged to more than 70 percent of gross domestic product and the economy has halved in size since 2000, according to the government.

“We’re talking with the government and were looking for a way we can all have a common agreement and hopefully reach a mutually acceptable timeline for an arrears clearance,” Adesina said in an interview on Monday in Johannesburg. “The AfDB is spearheading that conversation with all the creditors.”

While Zimbabwe has paid $110 million of arrears to the International Monetary Fund, it’s still saddled with $1.7 billion of arrears to the AfDB and World Bank. The Finance Ministry forecast total debt of $14.5 billion in the 2018 budget.

It needs to clear the arrears so it can once again seek foreign assistance from lenders such as the IMF.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa took power in November when Robert Mugabe resigned as the nation’s leader after the military temporarily took control and effectively ended his 37-year reign. He has pledged to revive the economy and sell bonds to finance infrastructure development.

“With the new government it creates a new opportunity to support the country to unlock its potential and to stabilize,” Adesina said. A new Zimbabwe is great for “political stability and regional trade in the Southern African Development Community area.”

The nation abandoned its own currency in 2009 as runaway inflation rendered it worthless, opting instead for a basket of currencies that includes the dollar, South Africa’s rand, the pound and Botswana’s pula.

 

- Bloomberg

Zimbabwe’s brand architecture after the downfall of Mugabe through the ‘soft’ coup of 15 November 2017 is hard to define.

The replacement of Robert Mugabe after the seizure by the military and his erstwhile Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, contributed to the weakening of an already fragile brand.

Enduring, albeit National Brands are naturally a representation of order strengthened by the consolidation of democratic ethos and values. This explains why the new president is struggling to take brand Zimbabwe on a new and acceptable trajectory.

Zimbabwe, post-Mugabe is facing an existential crisis of creating a brand promise and accompanying experience. This is because the leaders assumed office through force and power seizure rather than through constitutional means. The result of which is supposed to create a social contract, as both the promise by leadership and the ‘experience’ citizens and national stakeholders are supposed to enjoy.

If managed well, the impending 2018 general election is supposed to deal with this dilemma. However, it has become common knowledge that foreign powers like Britain and the European Union seem keen use the electoral process to launder the coup. This will only serve to delay the resolution of the brand crisis of legitimacy and credibility.

It is for the benefit of Brand Zimbabwe if the internal stakeholders engage extensively and build consensus on the electoral conditions that will lead to the plebiscite so that there won’t be any dispute on the outcome. Yet, the prevailing situation is that of an incumbent bent on pleasing outside forces rather than complementing internal stakeholders in building an enduring brand.
We need to examine three major national branding indicators in order assess where Brand Zimbabwe stands after Mugabe’s rule.

Defining the Big Idea

After Mugabe, the new regime seems to be struggling to define a ‘big idea’ that unites the people of Zimbabwe. This has seen the new leaders running around the globe, like proverbial headless chickens, riding on a rather hollow concept: ‘Zimbabwe is open for Business.’ This is a very weak idea, for lack of better phraseology.

It does not mean anything to internal stakeholders. It creates the impression that Zimbabwe is up for sale for pittance. The challenge for the new leadership that emerges from an democratic election which is not disputed would be to craft a big idea that would anchor Brand Zimbabwe. This big idea should become the shining light that will guide citizens in moving the country forward.

United States’ 44th president Barack Obama’s administration was anchored on inspiring its citizens on the promise that the USA could rebuild and reclaim its global leadership through the, “Yes We Can” and “Forward” campaigns. These big ideas served to motivate the citizens to buy into his vision to rebuild America after the debilitating global financial crisis on 2008.

Constant Messaging and Visual Style

Enduring brands are anchored on a constant set of positive messages. The new administration entered office on the promise of a ‘New Dawn! New Era’! This is an ambitiously bold statement which should be made when internal stakeholders are prepared to meet the brand promise.

With more than the definitive 100 days in office having elapsed, a new era is yet to see its dawn! The more things change the more they remain the same. This serves to expose the dysfunctional nature of the team in office. A team that is failing to meet the brand promise for lack of a big idea that will meet the citizens and stakeholders expectations.

Effective use of multiple media platforms

Zimbabwe has a very rich arts, culture, and sports heritage which lies largely untapped because of poor administration. We are home to the likes of World Karate champion Saiko Sensei Samson Muripo; heavyweight boxer, Charles Manyuchi, paralympian Elliot Mujaji; Olympic champion swimmer, Kirsty Coventry along with globally acclaimed musicians and artists who can be effective Brand Zimbabwe ambassadors.
This works if the brand is well managed and is free from the high reputational risk with which it is currently associated with Brand Zimbabwe. When the Big Idea is well defined, the messaging structured, then our media across all platforms can easily carry the message to a global audience.

In many of the instances, countries are focussed mainly on creating an ‘image’ rather than designing and offering a national brand experience. They end up failing to rally the citizens and external stakeholders around a single brand idea.

Countries must be alive to the following experiences that they should subject their citizens and stakeholders to:

Random experiences: Zimbabwe is in the category that delivers sporadic experiences. The citizens are never sure at any given time of what kind of experience to expect when they engage various departments and agencies. Surprisingly the country focuses on tasks and delivery of services, without considering the citizens’ perspective in measuring their impact.

Therefore, you find plenty of ‘very busy people’ but of little impact in delivering value. That’s why the president is all over the map telling whoever cares to listen that ‘we are open for business’, yet few believe him.
At one end the president is preaching free and fair elections, at the other, the military component in the ruling party commissariat are threatening to unleash violence. On one hand the country is pushing the dawn of a new era mantra, and yet on the other, it unleashes soldiers to kick out informal business from the CBD, tear gassing students peacefully petitioning the government to honor fundamental education rights at institutions of higher learning.

Differentiated experience: This is the ultimate approach towards delivering an exceptional citizen centric experience. The countries in this category are few.

Zimbabwe under Emmerson Mnangagwa is a brand without shape and form, mainly because of the means with which the administration usurped power, a military coup. This makes it difficult for it to build consensus through building a brand that appeals to the hearts and minds of a people.

Brand Zimbabwe is without a Big Idea, where citizens endure random experiences.

Tabani Moyo is the national director of the Media Institute of Southern Africa Zimbabwe, a chartered marketer, marketing, branding and reputation management consultant based in Harare. He writes in his personal capacity and can be contacted at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Lenox Mhlanga is a communication specialist and public relations consultant. He can be contacted at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

( The Source)

The headline on the Zimbabwe Herald could not have made it clearer: “Police tighten noose on Grace Mugabe.”

The newspaper, for 37 years the mouthpiece of Robert Mugabe’s government, is now the voice of the new president, Emmerson Mnangagwa. He replaced Mugabe when the long-time leader was deposed in late 2017. Over the last couple of months the Herald and a number of other Zimbabwean media outlets have published detailed accounts on police investigations into former first lady Grace Mugabe’s suspected role in ivory smuggling.

The first of these stories, less than two months after Mnangagwa took office, said the former first lady was being investigated for “illicit and illegal activities”. Information said to have come from the very top of Mnangagwa’s government implicated the former first lady in an organised crime ring “responsible for the poisoning of hundreds of jumbos in the country”. She was also accused of illicitly obtaining ivory from legal government stocks and either illegally selling it or exporting it as gifts for high profile foreign allies.

Zimbabwe is one of the key elephant range states and home to Africa’s second largest estimated elephant population of nearly 83,000 individuals, following Botswana. Though there are high elephant numbers, alarms have been raised over poaching in the country including the use of cyanide poison to kill large numbers of them. The first reported case of this was in 2013 when a single massacre of over 100 elephants happened at Hwange National Park. Since then it has become a common means of poaching throughout the country’s protected areas.

As more and more evidence has been leaked to the press, the government’s intention to prosecute her for ivory and rhino horn smuggling has become clear. If she has been involved in illegal wildlife trading and has links to poaching, then she should be prosecuted and, if found guilty, punished. But this is also all incredibly useful for the new president who stands to benefit politically from these investigations.

Politically useful

Mnangagwa needs to embed himself in power as presidential and parliamentary elections are due to be held later this year. For this, he needs to ensure the unity of ZANU-PF – Zimbabwe’s ruling party since independence – and root out any pockets of pro-Grace supporters.

Grace Mugabe was his major rival to succeed President Mugabe and acted with her husband’s support to sack Mnangagwa as Vice-President in 2017. This led to a military backed coup which forced the Mugabes to step down and saw Mnangagwa elected leader by ZANU-PF.

Though Grace Mugabe lacks the party’s majority support, she does have backing from a group of younger ministers and party officials known as Generation 40. If she is found guilty of these crimes, she could end up in prison and so politically neutralised. Also, by pursuing her on ivory and rhino horn smuggling charges, Mnangagwa averts accusations of political vindictiveness.

The move to pursue Grace Mugabe also wins the new leader international favour. Far from being criticised for oppressing political opponents, Mnangagwa would be praised for making a stand in the protection of elephants and rhinos – which, today, has huge global concern. Between 2007 and 2014, the African elephant population declined by 144,000 animals.

The government may also be attempting to put a lid on past accusations against Mnangagwa, who was said to be the godfather of rhino horn smuggling operations. Partly through his role as Mugabe’s director of intelligence, he was accused of being involved with supplying horns to Chinese buyers nearly a decade ago. But before any judicial hearings or convictions, the police docket, in the hands of then Attorney General Johannes Tomana, disappeared.

Conservation drive

Within a month of coming into power, the stress on conservation became part of the new government’s narrative, creating a discourse which places Mnangagwa as a conservation stalwart and Grace Mugabe as a corrupt ivory smuggler.

Media trumpeted news that Mnangagwa’s youngest daughter, Tariro, had joined a group of young female rangers dedicated to fighting poaching in the Zambezi valley.

Mnangagwa was also quick to announce the stop of live elephant exports – a trade that had been directly pinned to Grace Mugabe.

Now, there are clear signals that the government is amassing evidence to make a stand against poaching and prosecute Grace Mugabe. Mnangagwa’s special advisor, Ambassador Christopher Mutsvangwa, summed up the case:

We received a report from a whistleblower…Police and the whistleblowers laid a trap for suppliers believed to be working for Grace Mugabe. The culprits were caught and that is how the investigations started. When we were confronted with so much evidence, there was no way we could ignore; we had to act.

If the allegations are true, then her actions are against CITES trade regulations, which bans the international trade in ivory. Zimbabwean law also outlaws poaching and the trade in ivory from poached elephants. It is also illegal, without a certified permit that meets CITES conditions, to remove ivory from the legal government stockpile for export and sale.

This is the first legal action against the Mugabe dynasty since Mnangagwa was elected president and appeared to allow the Mugabes a graceful exit. It could become a major political victory for the new Zimbabwean president, sanctioned by law and bolstering his international reputation.

 

Keith Somerville, Visiting Professor, University of Kent

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Monday said nearly $600 million in illegally externalised funds has been returned into the country under a 90-day amnesty and named corporates and individuals that have yet to repay over $800 million in a list dominated by diamond miners.

Mnangagwa’s amnesty expired last month but only $591 million out of an estimated $1,4 billion in funds illegally stashed abroad was returned, he said in a statement, adding that those that did not comply could face prosecution.

The published list showed 1,884 individuals and companies, and firms in the mining, agriculture, manufacturing sectors and cross border freight businesses had the highest amounts spirited abroad.

The struggling African Associated Mines allegedly externalised $62 million while diamond miners, Marange Resources (54,2 million), Canadile Miners ($31,3 million), Mbada ($14,7 million) and Jinan ($11 million) are on the list. Government was a 50 percent shareholder in all the diamond miners, which operated in the Chiadzwa diamond fields.

Marange, Mbada and Jinan were among the seven miners shut down in February 2016 for resisting nationalisation while Canadile, a joint venture between Lovemore Kurotwi’s Core Mining and the stateowned Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation suspended operation in 2010.

Operations at Shabanie and Gaths asbestos mines ground to a halt in 2008, three years after the government seized them from Mutumwa Mawere, under a controversial law that allows the state to take over assets of businesses deemed to be insolvent and incapable of servicing loans and charges owed to state institutions and agencies. The mines were subsequently placed under Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC). 

It is not clear from the list when the funds were externalised.

The funds were for export earnings that were kept offshore, payment of imports that never made it into the country and funds stashed in foreign banks.

 

- The Source

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