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RBZ must keep tight lid on forex auction system – NewsDay

FOR a while the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has been “availing” United States dollars to businesses at a capped auction rate.

This means RBZ funds are the cheapest as they are availabled at around $88 versus $190 on the parallel market. Naturally, everyone wants a slice of that cake, so people have been funding their Zimdollar accounts to bid for the cheap money, but alas, RBZ does not have enough foreign currency to meet the auction obligations.

As a result, the RBZ owes a lot of businesses US dollars in unfulfilled auction obligations. Out of frustration, the businesses, which are sitting on a lot of Zimdollar balances, are using a two-pronged approach by seeking some of their US dollar requirements on the streets.

The net effect is wild exchange rate increases. In fact, some businesses are getting cheap US dollars from the auction system and selling them at a premium. RBZ is not policing the usage of the funds for intended purposes.

US dollars are given to various businesses. Some with known suppliers, for example Delta Beverages, concentrates can only come from Cinco in Swaziland and nowhere else. Juice comes from a few suppliers like Letaba. Likewise, Preforms closure labels come from known suppliers that meet Coke standards. It must ring alarm bells to RBZ if there is a sudden deviation from this. Most big companies use credible suppliers and have a three-quote policy. The RBZ team must have a database of such suppliers and be able to raise alarm when the preferred supplier is more expensive than other known players. Remember the shelf companies will naturally be more expensive than traditional suppliers.

So to win, the RBZ must:

  • Free up the auction rate such that it becomes a market-determined auction, lest speculators take over the auction system.
  • RBZ must improve the enforcement of the paper trail audit to determine if businesses which are getting US dollars from the auction floor are using them for intended purposes.
  • By whatever means necessary, RBZ must seek to improve forex inflows and simple laws of supply and demand must apply. –Ndebele

Govt must be serious about devolution

DEVOLUTION means transferring power and authority from central government to lower tiers of government, especially local authorities and provincial councils.

The government, despite having said it is implementing devolution, is unwilling to transfer administrative and fiscal powers to local authorities. The Ministers of State for Provincial Affairs are in place, but that is not enough. The provincial development co-ordinators are in office to co-ordinate government ministries at the provincial and metropolitan council levels. The Constitution envisages the establishment of provincial and metropolitan councils with the provincial council chairpersons likely to assume the powers that are being exercised by the Provincial Affairs ministers.

Ideally, under a devolved system, the provincial and metropolitan councils should have overall control of provincial or metropolitan affairs.

There is likely going to be power struggles between the provincial councils and the Ministers of State for Provincial Affairs, as well as the provincial development co-ordinators.

If devolution is properly implemented the idea is for the central government not to have parallel structures at the provincial and local authority levels of government.

Having Ministers of State for Provincial Affairs and a provincial development co-ordination is an indication that the government wants to maintain a tight grip on the governance of provinces.

Devolution, if genuinely implemented provides the government with an opportunity to refine itself and improve on social accountability and citizen participation.

There is currently no Act of Parliament to guide the implementation of devolution in Zimbabwe.

The government has produced a National Decentralisation and Devolution Policy based on Chapter 14 of the Constitution. –Harare Residents Trust

Opposition must remove fear in rural voters

THE 2023 polls, which both Zanu PF and MDC Alliance desperately need to win, will be determined by the rural vote.

With the majority of people generally resident in rural areas, Zanu PF has developed techniques to retain that vote.

Zanu PF has thrived on instilling fear, especially in rural voters. It is incumbent upon the opposition parties to debunk this fear if it fancies chances of winning the elections.

Fear of being beaten, murdered, tortured, targeted and displaced is what is keeping Zanu PF in power. This is what any serious opposition party must deal with in order to win the elections. Without that, certainly Zanu PF will retain power.

There is so much fear of Zanu PF violence in rural areas to the extent that people prefer to vote for the clueless party for the sake of peace.

Beneficiaries of the fast-track land reform programme cannot vote freely as they are always threatened with eviction and displacement if their polling stations record an opposition victory.

It is up to the opposition parties and other pro-democracy elements to break the fear factor and  counter Zanu PF propaganda which over the past four decades has turned some rural communities into no-go areas for the opposition.

Dealing with fear and vote-buying must also include making sure traditional leaders stick to their role of being custodians of customs and culture of their respective communities and desist from dabbling in partisan politics.

If opposition parties can muster the rural vote, Zanu PF will be finished in 2023. There is no way Zanu PF can win the political jackpot without the rural vote. In the urban areas, they have always laboured in vain to produce positive results.

It is important for opposition leaders to make frequent visits to rural areas so that people can identify with them.

Such visits will also drive fear out of the ever-intimidated and lied to ordinary people. The voters will have confidence in them and vote for them.

Securing the rural vote must be the focus of opposition parties ahead of the 2023 elections. Every effort must be made to ensure the rural vote is secured since the 2023 ballot will be polling station-based which gives Zanu PF the vigour to frighten everyone to vote for the rogue party.

People look forward to seeing opposition leaders in action across all rural wards as they prepare to silence Zanu PF once and for all in the 2023 elections. –Taneta Fambai

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Politics

UN envoy meets Mnangagwa over Zimbabwe sanctions – SowetanLIVE

Zimbabwean president Emmerson Mnangagwa says the sanctions are illegal. File photo.

Zimbabwean president Emmerson Mnangagwa says the sanctions are illegal. File photo.
Image: REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo

Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Monday welcomed the UN Special Rapporteur on the Negative Impact of Unilateral Coercive Measures on Human Rights in Harare.

The envoy, Belarusian Alena Douhan, who is also a professor of international law, met President Emmerson Mnangagwa at State House.

In a statement the presidency said her 10-day trip aimed to “assess the impact of punitive economic sanctions on ordinary Zimbabweans”.

“These sanctions are illegal and hurt the most vulnerable in our society,” the presidency said.

Douhan also held a meeting with the minister of justice and legal affairs Ziyambi Ziyambi who gave the envoy an overview on the sanctions.

“We met the special rapporteur as the ministry of justice to give an overview of the effects of sanctions, but I am afraid that now we are unable to give details, or deliberations as you are aware they are on a fact-finding mission to establish the extent of the effects of sanctions on the ordinary people,” Ziyambi told journalists.

During the 10-day visit the special envoy will be in contact with civic society groups, Zimbabwe’s chief justice Luke Malaba, Central Bank governor John Mangudya, speaker of parliament Jacob Mudenda and political parties.

From her visit she’s expected to produce a report that will be made public in September next year at the UN Human Rights Council 51st session.

The US through the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act of 2001 (ZIDERA) placed an embargo on Zimbabwe’s ruling elite and companies linked to them because of an escalation in human rights violations linked to politics.

The European Union followed suit in 2002 through “common position 2002/145/CSFP”.

Over the years, the ruling party Zanu-PF has maintained that the sanctions affect ordinary citizens. But Western countries insist that Zimbabwe should put in place reforms and strong institutions to curb corruption, promote human rights and democracy for sanctions to be removed.

The EU and the US review their sanctions lists annually and last year they added President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s special adviser and businessman Kudakwashe Tagwirei to the list.

TimesLIVE

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Politics

UN envoy meets Mnangagwa over Zimbabwe sanctions – TimesLIVE

Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Monday welcomed the UN Special Rapporteur on the Negative Impact of Unilateral Coercive Measures on Human Rights in Harare.

The envoy, Belarusian Alena Douhan, who is also a professor of international law, met President Emmerson Mnangagwa at State House.

In a statement the presidency said her 10-day trip aimed to “assess the impact of punitive economic sanctions on ordinary Zimbabweans”.

“These sanctions are illegal and hurt the most vulnerable in our society,” the presidency said.

Douhan also held a meeting with the minister of justice and legal affairs Ziyambi Ziyambi who gave the envoy an overview on the sanctions.

“We met the special rapporteur as the ministry of justice to give an overview of the effects of sanctions, but I am afraid that now we are unable to give details, or deliberations as you are aware they are on a fact-finding mission to establish the extent of the effects of sanctions on the ordinary people,” Ziyambi told journalists.

During the 10-day visit the special envoy will be in contact with civic society groups, Zimbabwe’s chief justice Luke Malaba, Central Bank governor John Mangudya, speaker of parliament Jacob Mudenda and political parties.

From her visit she’s expected to produce a report that will be made public in September next year at the UN Human Rights Council 51st session.

The US through the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act of 2001 (ZIDERA) placed an embargo on Zimbabwe’s ruling elite and companies linked to them because of an escalation in human rights violations linked to politics.

The European Union followed suit in 2002 through “common position 2002/145/CSFP”.

Over the years, the ruling party Zanu-PF has maintained that the sanctions affect ordinary citizens. But Western countries insist that Zimbabwe should put in place reforms and strong institutions to curb corruption, promote human rights and democracy for sanctions to be removed.

The EU and the US review their sanctions lists annually and last year they added President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s special adviser and businessman Kudakwashe Tagwirei to the list.

TimesLIVE

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Politics

Colin Powell, military leader and first Black US secretary of state, dies after complications from Covid-19 – NewsDay

He shared Bush’s reluctance to project military strength across the globe, a view that was quickly displaced by the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

As Bush’s top diplomat, he was tasked with building international support for the War on Terror, including the Afghanistan War, but it was his involvement in the administration’s push for intervention in Iraq, over the concerns of many of America’s longtime allies, for which his tenure at State would become best known.

In February 2003, Powell delivered a speech before the United Nations in which he presented evidence that the US intelligence community said proved Iraq had misled inspectors and hid weapons of mass destruction.
“There can be no doubt,” Powell warned, “that Saddam Hussein has biological weapons and the capability to rapidly produce more, many more.”

Inspectors, however, later found no such weaponry in Iraq, and two years after Powell’s UN speech, a government report said the intelligence community was “dead wrong” in its assessments of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction capabilities before the US invasion.

But the damage was already done — to both Iraq, which the US went to war with just six weeks after Powell’s speech, and to the reputation of the once highly popular statesman, who was reportedly told by then-Vice President Dick Cheney before the UN speech: “You’ve got high poll ratings; you can afford to lose a few points.”

Powell, who left the State Department in early 2005 after submitting his resignation to Bush the previous year, later called his UN speech a “blot” that will forever be on his record.

“I regret it now because the information was wrong — of course I do,” he told CNN’s Larry King in 2010. “But I will always be seen as the one who made the case before the international community.”

“I swayed public opinion, there’s no question about it,” he added, referring to how influential his speech was on public support for the invasion.

In his 2012 memoir, “It Worked for Me,” Powell again acknowledged the speech, writing that his account of it in the book would likely be the last he publicly made.

“I am mad mostly at myself for not having smelled the problem. My instincts failed me,” he wrote, referring to the report he used that contained faulty evidence of supposed Iraqi WMDs. “It was by no means my first, but it was one of my most momentous failures, the one with the widest-ranging impact.”

“The event will earn a prominent paragraph in my obituary,” Powell wrote.

Shifting politics

After leaving the Bush administration, Powell returned to private life. He joined the renowned venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins in 2005, where he worked as a strategic adviser until his death. For a time, he gave speeches at “Get Motivated!” business seminars, and he authored the 2012 memoir.

Though the large majority of Powell’s time as a public servant was spent in Republican administrations, the later years of his life saw him supporting Democratic presidential candidates and harshly criticizing top Republican leaders.

By 2008, the longtime Republican’s coveted presidential endorsement went to another party when he announced his support for Obama’s White House bid. At the time, he touted Obama’s “ability to inspire” and the “inclusive nature of his campaign,” while criticizing attacks on the Illinois senator by Republican presidential nominee John McCain’s campaign as “inappropriate.” He was later named an honorary co-chair of Obama’s inauguration and endorsed him again in 2012.

Powell went on to vote for Hillary Clinton in 2016 over Donald Trump, whom he had strongly condemned as a “national disgrace and an international pariah.”

In an extraordinary move that year, three presidential electors in Washington state cast votes for Powell rather than Clinton, resulting in state fines that were later upheld by the Supreme Court.
He again snubbed Trump in 2020 during the President’s second campaign, announcing his support for Joe Biden in June of that year while blasting Trump’s presidency.
“We have a Constitution. And we have to follow that Constitution. And the President has drifted away from it,” he told CNN, adding that he “certainly cannot in any way support President Trump this year.” The retired general later delivered an address in support of Biden during the Democratic National Convention.

And after Trump incited a deadly insurrection at the US Capitol in early January 2021, Powell told CNN that he no longer considered himself a Republican, with the longtime grandee of the GOP saying he was now simply watching events unfold in a country he long served.

“I can no longer call myself a fellow Republican. I’m not a fellow of anything right now,” he told CNN’s Fareed Zakaria on “GPS.” “I’m just a citizen who has voted Republican, voted Democrat throughout my entire career. And right now, I’m just watching my country and not concerned with parties.” – CNN

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