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Mnangagwa feels the heat over Chamisa’s SADC network – The Zimbabwe Mail

resident Emmerson Mnangagwa with Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema


ZIMBABWEAN President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government is increasingly becoming worried about the growing anti-establishment wave sweeping across the region after a recent shock victory by former opposition leader, now Lesotho Prime Minister Sam Matekane (pictured), security sources recently in Maseru say.

Matekane was sworn in on 28 October. Highly placed sources told The NewsHawks that Mnangagwa fears Zimbabwe might be the next front for shock change in the region.

Matekane, like Zambia’s Hakainde Hichilema, is an ally of Zimbabwe’s main opposition Citizens’ Coalition for Change (CCC) leader Nelson Chamisa. Chamisa attended the inauguration in Maseru and met with Matekane at the event which was also attended by regional leaders, including South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and Hichilema of Zambia.

Mnangagwa did not attend as he was presiding over the recent Zanu PF congress, and was represented by Foreign minister Frederick Shava. Although he is a political novice leading a new party that was formed six months ago, Maketane’s Revolution for Prosperity (RFP) and its two coalition partners won 56 out of 120 parliamentary seats, a slim majority in parliament, making the business mogul, who has interests in mining, aviation and real estate, Lesotho’s 10th prime minister, and setting a new political record in the region.

He also makes the list of several opposition leaders in the region to defeat incumbents following Hichilema, who dislodged Zanu PF ally, Edgar Lungu of the Patriotic Front (PF). In 2020, Lazarus Chakwera defeated Peter Mutharika in the Malawian general election, while Felix Tshisekedi also won the Democratic Republic of Congo plebiscite in 2019.

In this year’s Kenyan election, veteran opposition leader Raila Odinga, who is close to Chamisa, fell short, losing to former deputy president Willian Ruto.

Hichilema and Chakwera’s victories in Zambia last year and in Malawi in 2020 respectively changed the electoral narrative in the region where incumbents hardly lost power through polls; with allegations of rigging or electoral theft.

Zambian election Mnangagwa similarly exhibited such fears when Hichilema inflicted a surprise victory over Lungu. Intelligence sources told The NewsHawks that Mnangagwa’s administration is closely monitoring Chamisa and Hichilema’s relations and manoeuvres, especially after the local opposition leader’s meetings with the Zambian President twice inside five months; first in Lusaka during his inauguration on 24 August 2021 and in South Africa on 26 January during a book launch.

They met again on 28 October, in Lesotho. The book launch was held at the Johannesburg Holocaust and Genocide Centre, 1 Duncombe Road, Forest Town. Hichilema was guest speaker at the launch of a book titled Expensive Poverty: Why Aid Fails and How it Can Work, written by his friend Greg Mills, director of the Brenthurst Foundation, a Johannesburg-based organisation established by the Oppenheimer family in 2005 to promote new ideas and innovation to strengthen economic performance in Africa.

With Brenthurst, Mills has directed numerous reform projects in Africa, including Rwanda (2007-8), Mozambique (2005-11), Swaziland (2010-11), Malawi (2012-14, and again 2020/1), Kenya (2012 and 2020), Lesotho (2008; 2019- 20), Liberia (2006/7), Zambia (2010; 2016), Zimbabwe (2009-13), Ghana (2017), Ethiopia (2019-20), Nigeria (2017-18), and almost continuously at various levels of government in South Africa.


The foundation reportedly bankrolled Hichilema’s United Party for National Development during the last general election and before.

Since HH (Hichilema) came to power, the Zimbabwean intelligence has been working hard to establish the nature of his relations with Chamisa and whether it involves financial support,” an intelligence source said. “Their worry is on various fronts: diplomatic, political and geopolitical.”

Concern over the economy

As reported by The NewsHawks last week, Zanu PF remains worried by the state of the economy ahead of general elections next year, with ruling party officials believing economic hardships will present a big hurdle for the party’s quest to win polls at all levels. Amid indications that Mnangagwa — who secured a mandate to lead the party at next year’s elections —— will call an election at the earliest legally stipulated time, sitting legislators remain concerned that their prosects may be affected by the state of the economy.

Zanu PF got a majority in the National Assembly in 2018 after amassing 144 seats while MDC-Alliance, then under the leadership of Nelson Chamisa, got 64 seats.

“It may be tougher this time around, given the state of the economy and the fact that in 2018 there was a lot of goodwill following the ouster of (former president Robert Mugabe) Mugabe. Zanu PF MPs have expressed their concern over the state of the economy numerous times,” said a Zanu PF legislator.

“It is also on record that legislators have not been happy with the performance of Finance minister Mthuli Ncube, whom we believe has largely failed to deal with the economy. The Hansard is full of complaints and concerns from legislators.”

Concern over the economy was also highlighted by the party in the central committee report presented during congress last week.

On the economy and national security, the ruling party said price volatility caused by sharp exchange rate movements had become a security threat “which consequently had blighted its chance of a landslide win in the 2023 harmonised elections”.

The party hailed interventions by the government, including the introduction of gold coins, which have stabilised the exchange rate, but called for more measures to strengthen the economy. “However, there have been concerns regarding the welfare of the population. It would therefore be prudent for the government to address social welfare issues, including service delivery so that as we approach the elections in 2023 the country does not fall into the same predicament that befell it in 2021 whereby the opposition won some of the crucial urban by-elections despite several infrastructural development programmes done by the ruling party,” the central committee report says.

In July, senators said Ncube and the Reserve Bank had run out of ideas as shown by the introduction of complicated policies that confuse and disadvantage the ordinary people while failing to address the economic crisis. The upper House said the introduction of countless measures had failed to address economic problems, arguing that the minister ignored advice to dollarise which came from stakeholders during budget consultations.

In June, Zanu PF supporters strongly warned the party of impending electoral defeat in the 2023 general election because of the economic crisis.

They also accused Mnangagwa’s deployees in government, particularly Ncube, of failing to address economic challenges while behaving as if they are sabotaging him.


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Biden: Willing to Talk to Putin About Ending War in Ukraine – VOA Zimbabwe

WHITE HOUSE AND WASHINGTON —

U.S. President Joe Biden raised the possibility Thursday of talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin to negotiate an end to Moscow’s war against Ukraine but said he had yet to see any willingness on Putin’s part to halt his 10-month invasion.

“I’m prepared to talk to Putin but only in consultation with NATO allies,” Biden said at a White House news conference after holding several hours of private talks with French President Emmanuel Macron about Ukraine and other issues. “I have no immediate plans to contact Mr. Putin. I’m not going to do it on my own.”

“There’s one way for this war to end, Putin to pull out of Ukraine,” Biden said. “It’s sick what he’s doing. If he’s looking for a way to end the war, he hasn’t done that.”

Macron said he was confident the U.S. would continue to support Ukraine with more military and humanitarian assistance.

“It’s about our values,” the French leader said. “Having the U.S. support Ukraine … is very important.”

Biden said the U.S. “will never ask Ukraine to compromise” to end the war without the consent of the Kyiv government.

Earlier, before their private discussions, Biden said as he welcomed Macron for the first state visit of a foreign leader during his presidency, “France and the United States are facing down Vladimir Putin’s ambition.”

“The alliance between our two nations remains essential for our defense,” Biden said. “The U.S. could not ask for a better partner than France.” He described France as “our oldest ally and unwavering partner in freedom’s cause.”

Macron, speaking on a sunny but chilly morning in Washington, said, “As war returns to European soil with Russian aggression against Ukraine, and in light of the multiple crises facing our nations and societies, we need to become brothers-in-arms once more.”

He said Washington and Paris “share the same faith in freedom and democratic values.”

While agreeing on their determination to support Ukraine, Macron expressed sharp concerns to Biden about the U.S. leader’s Inflation Reduction Act, or IRA, approved by Congress earlier this year that provides billions of dollars to support the U.S. clean energy industry, and a separate measure that bolsters U.S. semiconductor manufacturers.

Macron told congressional leaders Wednesday that the measure was “super aggressive” toward European companies.

“The consequence of the IRA is that you will perhaps fix your issue, but you will increase my problem,” he said, noting that France makes “exactly the same products as you.”

At the news conference, Biden said the legislation was “never intended to exclude” European trading partners. “We’re back in business,” he said of U.S. economic advances. “Europe is back in business.”

Macron said, “France wants the same new manufacturing jobs.”

Biden acknowledged that some aspects of the legislation might need to be tweaked, as he put it, and said he was confident that U.S. and European negotiators could work out differences so both the U.S. and European economies can prosper.

The pomp and circumstance of a White House state visit for a foreign leader was on full display, with Biden and first lady Jill Biden greeting Macron and his wife, Brigitte Macron, and then watching as a band in colonial uniforms played the national anthems of both countries. A 21-gun salute for Macron’s visit rang out.

The two leaders and their wives waved from the White House balcony before Biden and Macron went inside for substantive talks. A state dinner was planned for the evening.

The Bidens took the Macrons to Fiola Mare, an upscale Italian seafood restaurant overlooking the Potomac River, on Wednesday evening.

Some information for this report came from The Associated Press, Agence France-Presse and Reuters.

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Bid for more MICE events: ZTA – Zimbabwe Independent

ZIMBABWE Tourism Authority Chief Executive, Ms Winnie Muchanyuka has urged players in the tourism and hospitality players to collaborate with government in bidding for Meetings Incentives Conferences Exhibitions Tourism (MICE) events.

Muchanyuka was speaking at the 2022 edition of the Hospitality Association of Zimbabwe Congress which kicked off in Victoria Falls yesterday. 

“I would like to encourage the hospitality industry to continue working closely with the ZTA and other government arms to jointly formulate strategies to bid for more MICE business. We must find strategic ways to collaborate in our quest to promote Zimbabwe as a first choice MICE destination,” said Muchanyuka. 

“There is a lot of potential for us to create more MICE businesses locally. We just need to have a more collaborative approach as a sector. If you look at our statistics for this year, you will find out that MICE contributed quite significantly to the general recovery of the sector.

Muchanyuka said hoteliers have indicated that most of the MICE business was generated from the domestic market which was mostly constituted of government agencies, the corporate sector and nongovernmental organisations.

“MICE business continues to be the dominating force in generating room occupancies for hotels,” she said. 

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Zim traverses globe to reclaim tourism markets – NewsDay

THE battle to reclaim tourism markets have accelerated since governments eased Covid-19 pandemic restrictions this year. In an interview with our business reporter Freeman Makopa (FM) this week, Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry minister Mangaliso Ndlovu (MN) tells us the strides the country has made. Below are excerpts of the interview:

FM: What is the outlook for the tourism industry?

MN: Since the beginning of the year, global tourism has continued to exhibit signs of consistent recuperation from the adverse consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic. Current trends for Zimbabwe have shown recovery, which has been supported by the bouncing back of worldwide inbound travel and growth in domestic tourism.

FM: How has the industry performed this year?

MN: The first nine months of 2022 saw a 165% rise in tourist arrivals. Arrivals increased to 693 498 during the period, from 261 415 during the same period in 2021. This is more than double the number of international arrivals received during the first nine months of 2021.

FM: This means hotel room occupancies have also improved

MN: Yes, on average, occupancies for the first nine months of 2022 grew by 21 percentage points. Occupancies rose from 21% in 2021 to 42% in 2022. Overall, this performance has been reinforced by domestic tourism, which is dominant, contributing 95% of tourism business in 2022.

FM: How has Zimbabwe managed to drum up domestic tourism during this difficult period, economically?

MN: Like any other country, Zimbabwe is traversing through the recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic and the on-going war in Ukraine. These have affected global economies, travel and trade. Given this economic situation, the tourism sector is implementing the National Tourism Recovery and Growth Strategy (TRGS), which is driving the growth of tourism. This is mainly through campaigns to accelerate meetings, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) and domestic tourism. The ZimBho, MeetInZim and InvestInZim campaigns have stimulated domestic and business tourism.

FM: Please share the investment levels into the sector attributable to these campaigns

MN: These campaigns have contributed to tourism growth doubling for January to September 2022 as alluded to earlier. There have been investments totalling US$306,7 million during the period, from US$90,4 million. This was mostly invested into accommodation facilities and vehicle hire.

FM: How do you plan to sustain this growth trajectory?

MN: The tourism sector is guided by the National Development Strategy (NDS) 1, 2021 to 2025 and the TRGS. NDS1 agitates for the growth of the tourism sector through increased investment into diversified products, while TRGS seeks to grow the tourism economy to US$5 billion by 2025. The ministry has the following programmes in place, in its endeavour to achieve the NDS1 goals: product development and diversification, instituting ease of doing business reforms, climate proofing of the tourism sector and establishing a tourism satellite account.

FM: Tell us about the role of the private sector in these initiatives

MN: Zimbabwe’s tourism sector is government-led and private sector driven. The ministry and the private sector already have synergies to promote the country through bilateral agreements signed with other countries in the region and abroad. The ministry is currently implementing memoranda of understanding on cooperation in the field of tourism with South Africa, Zambia, Malawi, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. These provide the public and private sectors the opportunity to jointly market and promote destinations, exchange of programmes for professional in the sector and joint collaboration of private sector associations. Government also supports private sector participation at international travel fairs through subsidising participation fees of operators. The ministry through the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA), jointly with the private sector, participates annually at fairs such as World Travel Market in London, International Travel Bourse in Berlin, Germany and Indaba Travel Fair in Durban, South Africa. 

FM: What else is the government doing?

MN: Over and above the synergies, the ministry is establishing market presence in the country’s key tourism source markets. Two tourism attachés were deployed in August and September 2022 to China and the United Arab Emirates. An additional nine tourism attachés were recently appointed and are expected to be deployed in the first quarter of 2023 to Germany, France, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, India, South Africa, China and Japan. Physical presence in key source markets and the joint synergies with the private sector will aid government in promoting the destination internationally, attracting more tourists to the country.

FM: Tell us about financial support to the industry.

MN: The government of Zimbabwe has put in place several incentives to help the tourism sector. These include duty rebates on capital equipment for use in tourism development zones.  We also have SI 10 of 2022, which spells out rebate on duty for safari vehicles and tour buses and SI 279 of 2019, which spells out rebates in respect of new capital equipment for expansion, modernisation and renovation of hotels and restaurants within hotels.

The funding also supports boat equipment imports, among others. There are also tax breaks in tourism development zones and tax exemptions for investments into the Victoria Falls tourism special economic zone. 

FM: What are the developments on the electricity front, with regards to tourism?

MN: Electricity and water are already subsidised by the government. As a result, Zimbabwe has one of the cheapest utilities in the Sadc region in this respect. The government of Zimbabwe in 2018 launched the National Tourism Masterplan, which is an overarching guide to the development of tourism in Zimbabwe. The master plan identified potential tourism nuggets to grow new tourist attractions in Zimbabwe. The plan has identified 11 tourism development zones in Harare, Eastern Highlands, Chimanimani, Gonarezhou, Limpopo, Great Zimbabwe, Midlands, Bulawayo, Victoria Falls, Kariba and Mavhuradonha. Government has put in place incentives to support investments into special economic zones and tourism development zones that investors can take advantage of.

The national tourism policy agitates for an enabling environment to attract investment into the sector. It also uses tourism to attract foreign direct investment into the country. At the same time, the government will ensure the industry is protected from disinvestment through primary and secondary legislation.

FM: Are you happy with accessibility?        

MN: Accessibility is the backbone of the growth of tourism destinations. And air accessibility contributes significantly to the growth of regional and international tourist arrivals to any destination. Air Zimbabwe, therefore, plays a critical role in providing direct access to Zimbabwe from key source markets and an instrumental role in national identity. The airline connects Harare with local destinations such as Victoria Falls. To strengthen the role of Air Zimbabwe in connecting travellers, the government has allowed private sector players such as Fasjet and Kuva Air to fly from Harare to Bulawayo, Victoria Falls and Kariba. We are fully behind the capacitation of the airline and the massive investment in the expansion of the ports of entry.

FM: We have seen more airlines returning to this market. Please share with us what has been happening

MN: The cross-cutting role of infrastructure development, such as the expansion of airports has a huge impact on all sectors of the economy. Airport expansion will boost the country’s growth and transformation in trade and tourism as part of strides. Airport expansion, as seen with at Victoria Falls International Airport, will attract new aircrafts and airlines.

The expansion of Victoria Falls International Airport saw African airlines like Ethiopian Airlines, Air Botswana, Fastjet, Airlink and Kenya Airways increasing flight frequencies to the resort town.

It also attracted new airlines like Eurowings from Germany and Mack Air from Botswana.

This also increased the airport’s passenger handling capacity from 500 000 a year to about 1,5 million. 

Expansion will, therefore increase regional and international tourist arrivals into the country, tourism receipts and the sector’s contribution to gross domestic product as well as attainment of the US$ 5billion tourism sector by 2025.

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