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Biti, Kore arrested as police seal-off MDC HQ to aid Khupe takeover

HARARE – Police arrested five senior MDC Alliance officials on Friday after they attempted to enter the party’s Harare headquarters, which is being occupied by a rival faction. The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) was thrown into turmoil by a March 30 Supreme Court ruling which said Nelson Chamisa’s ascendancy to the MDC-T party leadership was irregular – but Chamisa had by then formed the MDC Alliance party, which contested the July 2018 elections, winning 110 seats in the National Assembly and Senate. Thokozani Khupe, Chamisa’s leadership rival in the MDC-T who participated in that election as leader of the MDC-T, won two seats. Most MDC members still regard Chamisa as their leader and accuse President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government of siding with Khupe’s faction in the battle for c...

Traffic at Beitbridge doubles

THE Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) says the volume of traffic at Beitbridge Border Post has doubled in the last few days. BY MTHANDAZO NYONI Beitbridge Border Post is one of the busiest inland ports in sub-Saharan Africa and links the northern and southern corridors, with 500 vehicles and 10 000 travellers passing through the port daily. In a statement yesterday, Zimra spokesperson Francis Chimanda confirmed a surge in traffic at the border post. “The increase has been largely attributed to the different COVID-19 testing protocols implemented by different countries in the region, which have seen transporters diverting their trucks from some routes to and from South Africa and transiting through Zimbabwe, resulting in the increase in the flow of traffic through Beitbridge,” he said. “Th...

ASL seeks to snap up Dawn Properties

Hotelier African Sun (ASL) has made an offer to snap up Dawn Properties in a deal that will see it assume ownership of the property firm’s key assets and its delisting from the local bourse. BY FIDELITY MHLANGA Currently, Dawn Properties owns hotels that are being leased by ASL but both companies are owned by Arden Capital, formerly Brainworks. ASL company secretary Venon Musimbe said should the acquisition be approved by shareholders, it intended to apply to the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange for a voluntary delisting of Dawn Properties. “Shareholders are advised that African Sun Limited (African Sun) is in discussions with Dawn Properties Limited (Dawn) for the acquisition of 100% of the issued share capital of Dawn in exchange for African Sun shares based on an agreed price,” Musimbe said. “Sh...

Soldiers, police help Khupe seize control of MDC Alliance HQ

HARARE – Troops and armed police on Thursday night seized the Movement for Democratic Change Alliance’s headquarters in central Harare, before facilitating the building’s occupation by a rival faction, the party said. “In the dead of night, armed soldiers and police aided (Douglas) Mwonzora youths to forcibly enter Harvest House,” the MDC Alliance said in a statement early Friday. “Their unlawful actions have nothing to do with constitutionalism and everything to do with capturing the opposition at any cost. Political power comes from the people, not soldiers.” Mwonzora, the MDC Alliance’s former secretary general, previously wrote to the police in April on behalf of a party called the MDC-T, asking for help in capturing the building. The latest political manoeuvres follow a ruling of the ...

MDC rejects activists’ abduction ‘cover-up’, presses for independent probe

HARARE – The MDC Alliance on Thursday poo-pooed the interim findings of a government investigation into the abduction, torture and sexual assault of three female party activists, saying it was not credible. Home Affairs Minister Kazembe Kazembe on Thursday read out an eight-page “update” on “progress made so far” by a government-ordered multi-agency inquiry into the May 13 incident, concluding that the women – who include Harare West MP Joana Mamombe – had lied about their abduction and torture. The MDC Alliance said Kazembe’s statement was an “unfortunate and desperate attempt by the authorities to stage a cover-up and save face following the state’s well documented history of enforced disappearances.” Mamombe, Netsai Marova Cecilia Chimbiri, who had earlier participated in an anti-govern...

Zimbabwe raises $20 million in T-bill sales to fight coronavirus

Finance Minister of Zimbabwe Mthuli Ncube, gestures during an interview with AFP at the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting, on January 22, 2019, in Davos, eastern Switzerland. (Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP) The outbreak has hit an economy that was experiencing its worst crisis in a decade, marked by shortages of food, medicines and foreign currency. Minister Mthuli Ncube said the funds would be spent on protective equipment and go towards payouts to those families worst impacted by COVID-19. In all, the government aimed to raise 1 billion Zimbabwe dollars in emergency coronavirus funding, with the rest coming from “the insurance and pension funds”, he told a parliamentary committee, without giving details. Banks and other local investors are usually the main buyers of Zimbabwe’s ...

COVID-19 hits Zimra revenue collection

THE Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) says the 2020 revenue performance will relatively decline to the initial projections in view of the anticipated economic slowdown and turbulences in the operating environment exacerbated by the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. BY MTHANDAZO NYONI Zimbabwe has, due to the dreaded pandemic, induced an indefinite lockdown to combat the spread of the deadly virus. However, the move, according to Zimra spokesperson Francis Chimanda, has impacted negatively on revenue collection. “Indeed, revenue collection has greatly been affected due to the lockdown-related factors that include shutdown of borders, travel restrictions that have disproportionately reduced imports, thereby affecting revenue collection from excise duty and customs duty, reduced rece...

Getbucks records $20m loss

GETBUCKS Microfinance Bank Limited (GMBL) posted a $20 million loss for the six months ended December 2019 owing to net monetary losses as the bank’s assets are predominantly liquid. BY TATIRA ZWINOIRA The loss for the period under review was registered after a profit-after-tax of $21 million in the comparative 2018 period. “The primary reporting numbers are inflation adjusted. Borrowings reduced from $78 million to $47 million reflecting real reduction in funds available for deployment into the loan book. The 40% reduction is reflected in the adverse movement as the income statement moved from a $21 million profit in prior year to a $20 million loss in the current year,” GMBL chairman Rungano Mbire said in a statement accompanying the results. “This was predominantly a result of a $10 mil...

Chamisa vows ‘enough is enough’ as his lawyer Mpofu freed on bail

HARARE – MDC leader Nelson Chamisa on Wednesday vowed “enough is enough” as he warned that homes have become “dens of poverty”, accusing the government of mishandling the coronavirus outbreak and clamping down on civil liberties. Chamisa attended the court appearance of his lawyer Advocate Thabani Mpofu, who was freed on Z$20,000 bail by a Harare magistrate. Mpofu, arrested on Sunday, was accused of improperly luring a client from another law firm; filing an affidavit with a court by someone who “does not exist” and allegedly plagiarising the same affidavit to be used in a separate application. His lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa said the charges were trumped-up. “We must say enough is enough. We can’t continue like this. People are suffering with this perpetual (coronavirus) lockdown, with no clar...

Zimbabwe government views Covid-19 crisis as an opportunity to loot new donor funds

 A man wearing a face mask holds the newly introduced 10 bond note in Harare, Zimbabwe, 20 May 2020. The government has introduced new 10 and 20 bond notes to help ease the cash crisis. Zimbabwe’s annual inflation is at 676.4 percent as of March 2020 from 540.2 percent in February. The country is facing food shortages also worsened by the current drought. EPA-EFE/AARON UFUMELI For the longest time, the Zimbabwean Government has been fighting to have sanctions removed. They blame all our problems on sanctions they say were imposed on us by white imperialist states who are bitter that our government took land and gave it back to “the people”. This narrative is fed the people of Zimbabwe at political rallies and on state media. In the past, national disasters such as the cholera outbreak...

Innscor slapped with record $40.6 mln penalty for Profeeds acquisition

According to the Commission, Innscor contravened the merger notification provisions in the Competition Act. The contravention attracted a hefty penalty of $40.59 mln with the Commission also directing the group to divest out of the business. CTC is a statutory body established under the Competition Act [Chapter 14:28] with twin mandates of implementing Zimbabwe’s competition policy and execution of the country’s trade tariffs policy, but the primary objective is enforcing the Competition Act. In a letter to Innscor’s investment vehicle, Ashram Investment (Private) Limited, dated May 21, 2020, Competition and Tariffs Commission director Ellen Ruparaganda said the merger involving Profeeds, Produtrade and Ashram be prohibited and that Ashram divests from Profeeds immediately.  A penalty...

MDC Alliance ends boycott of Parliament after strategy questioned

HARARE – The MDC Alliance ended its boycott of Parliament on Wednesday, a day after 18 of its 84 MPs defied the party whip and attended a sitting of Parliament. The MDC Alliance boycotted parliamentary proceedings starting May 8 to protest against the dismissal of four of its legislators at the behest of a faction opposed to the party leadership. The decision to end the boycott was taken following a meeting of the party’s National Council in Harare, said spokesperson Fadzayi Mahere. “It is resolved that following consultation with our structures and constituents, our MPs and councillors are to immediately resume in Parliament subject to further review. We maintain that it is unlawful and a misconstruction of reality for any other party to withdraw MDC Alliance MPs from Parliament,” Mahere ...