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MUCKRAKER: Spiralling inflation! Now we know the enemy is within – The Zimbabwe Independent

George Charamba

JUST when Nelson Chamisa was starting to believe news that he has no influence left in the country, it was reported this week that he is in control of the economy. This must have come as a massive shock to the man.

Prices are rising in the shops, clearly because businesses are refusing to operate at a loss, as any patriot is expected to do. But there is a more sinister agenda. This is according to a man whose job is to speak on behalf of the country’s owner, but who spends most of his working hours tweeting into the void, and chatting with a Zambian youth leaguer.

“Chamisa is mobilising business to defend his urban vote against Zanu PF encroachment,” George Charamba said.

This is very important news, coming from the spokesperson of the highest office in the land. All along, we thought the government was in control of the economy. Clearly, we were wrong. It is now confirmed that they have long lost control and Chamisa is, we are told, now running the economy. Even he must be shocked at this unexpected turn of events.

Silly questions

Still on prices, it was reported last week that our owners had sent in a crack team to investigate why prices were going up all over the place. Of course, some of us patriots already knew what was going on. It was all because of those businesspeople being led by the nose by Chamisa and his fellow foreign quislings.

In case some people at Shake Caramba Headquarters were beginning to ask silly questions about incompetence and so forth, our owner said in a Sunday Mail article: “We even wonder if at all we are dealing with business anymore or with the politicians disguised as company executives seeking a political upset. Equally, politicians seeking to engineer market failures for definite political outcomes will be dealt with as political opponents and through rules of appropriate politics.”

So, when we sent out our people to find out what was going on, we already had answers for them. But, somehow, they developed minds of their own. In a report, they blamed money printing for all this nonsense. They even said our plans to fix the problem, like our genius strategy of flooding our country with cheap imports, would backfire.

No doubt, it is that boy Chamisa again — that boy we have told you has no structures, no money and no strategy — who paid our people and told them what to write in a government report. Where is the CIO when we are being infiltrated like so?

Jealous people

By now, we all know that we have jealous people among us who do not want to see us prosper. This is especially so for the opposition, which has no policy — except the policy of crying as loud as possible so that the West can hear them.

Recently, our benevolent leader bought us a new set of helicopters. Some of the choppers will be used by our police force to capture criminals, and also monitor a few other errant miscreants from the air. Others will be used to evacuate our people from disaster areas, say when there are floods, and also for medical air rescue.

Of course, even those who have whined about the absence of air rescue services came out to cry, saying we have our priorities in a twist.

According to the opposition CCC: “Zanu PF’s grossly irrational purchase of Kazan Ansat helicopters at an inflated price when public hospitals are under-equipped and broken demonstrates the regime’s misplaced priorities and lack of true concern for citizens’ welfare. Vote CCC.”

Of course, they forgot to tell us that their main priority should they grab the feeding trough is to succeed where America failed by giving us bullet trains, airports everywhere, and to ban the innocent Zimbabwe Bird.

Laughable Garwe

There must have been a lot of shocked people in the ruining party structures this week when it was declared that bribery is not an acceptable way to campaign.

According to the reeling party’s Mashonaland East provincial chairperson, Daniel Garwe, vote-buying is causing chaos in the party.

“We saw it in the primary elections; some used money to buy seats. The dangling of money is not doing us any good, but is destroying the party. If you are rich and have money, bring it for developmental purposes for the benefit of the masses,” Garwe said.

Surely, this Garwe fellow must be new to the party. What is he talking about? We all know that, for Zanu PF, there are only two ways of campaigning for office. The first is hitting people on the head with a suitably heavy knobkerrie, slashing their backs with whips or machetes, or, as one Saviour Kasukuwere would advise, spraying pesticide in their faces. These are the most trusted ways of persuasion.

When this fails, the next best thing is bribery. And now we see senior people like Garwe telling us to simply campaign without using these tried and tested methods? How does he expect us to win elections? By simply selling our policies? What a laugh.

Poor reporters

Muckraker commiserates with journalists at the state-controlled Zimpapers, who have had to go public to tell their employers that the economy is not doing as well as they have been told to tell us.

In a memo to their owners, the reporters sounded like every worker in the Second Republic. They could no longer afford to travel to work, could barely afford basics, and don’t even have the tools to do their work with.

It gets worse. According to the reporters: “(Our newsroom) is now a haven of cockroaches, an embarrassment when visitors come through for meetings.”

This is the most accurate thing the Zimpapers reporters have reported on so far. Just like everywhere else in Mafialand, these are professionals who just want to do their jobs and go home. But, of course, our owners expect them to live with cockroaches to prove their patriotism, while our leaders eat on their behalf.

Unpatriotic journos

The reporters were not the only ones from Zimpapers, who were being unpatriotic this week. While our newspapers were telling us that prices are rising because of a political plot by our enemies, some of the accountants and executives at Zimpapers were singing a completely different tune.

In the company’s latest financial report, the company seems not to believe what its own papers are telling us. According to the company, prices are rising because of the exchange rate disparity imposed on the economy.

Says Zimpapers in a market update: “The period under review was characterised by local currency volatility, relatively high Zimbabwe dollar borrowing rates and depressed domestic demand … the quarter witnessed further widening of the gap between the official exchange rate and the parallel market rate that affected the general pricing of goods and services in the economy.”

Clearly, someone at the company needs to start reading their own papers a bit more. We cannot have such misinformed people leading such important institutions.

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Journalists play key role in ensuring free and fair election- says ZMC … – New

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By Staff Reporter

THE Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC) has called on the media to provide balanced coverage to all political parties, ensuring a free and fair election.

Speaking to local news editors in an engagement organised by Zimbabwe National Editors Forum (ZINEF), ZMC Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Godwin Phiri said as watchdogs, media is expected to give fair reports without any allegiance to political parties.

The meeting was aimed at briefing editors on the laws, policies and regulations governing the media during the upcoming polls.

“In the last election report there was reference to obliterating some political players, they were not even there in our media, it was just Zanu PF and MDC,” said Phiri.

“Players should be awarded fair and balanced coverage then we let citizens choose their preferred candidates”.


Media in Zimbabwe stands accused of affiliating with political parties.

While state controlled media gives a positive coverage to the ruling Zanu PF, private media has been accused of affiliating with opposition parties; this, Phiri said, affected the choice of readers.

Rights lobby groups have predicted a bloody plebiscite and journalists’ organisations have raised concerns over reporters’ safety.

Phiri urged media houses to fund journalists’ work as lack of resources exposed them to brown envelopes and unsafe working conditions.

Added Phiri: “Media houses also have a responsibility to protect journalists, incidences where they travel in candidates cars compromises their safety and the sector ”

President Emmerson Mnangagwa, Wednesday proclaimed August 23 as the general elections date.

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Magistrate asked to recuse herself after she is accused of lying – NewsDay

Muchuchuti on February 14 accused Millicent Moyo of Mutumbwa, Mugabe and Partners of lying that Katsimberis’ lawyer Tinomudaishe Chinyoka had travelled to South Africa for treatment while he was in Harare.

Harare regional magistrate Vongai Guriro Muchuchuti is on Thursday expected to hear submissions by prosecutors following an application by land developer Georgios Katsimberis seeking her recusal from his fraud case on the grounds that she is biased.

Katsimberis’ application followed a move by a member of his legal team Millicent Moyo to sue Muchuchuti for allegedly making false claims against her during court proceedings.

Muchuchuti on February 14 accused Millicent Moyo of Mutumbwa, Mugabe and Partners of lying that Katsimberis’ lawyer Tinomudaishe Chinyoka had travelled to South Africa for treatment while he was in Harare.

Moyo was standing in for Chinyoka, who was not feeling well, and had made an application to postpone Katsimberis’ trial.

Muchuchuti was insisting on proceeding with the case without Chinyoka, who was eventually forced to rush to court in his condition before he could travel for treatment in the neighbouring country.

She claimed Moyo had lied to the court and labelled her unprofessional.

The lawyer is now suing the magistrate for US$170 000 for allegedly lying.

Katsimberis, who is standing trial for alleged fraud involving US$1 million after he was accused of building a show house without approved plans from Harare City Council, says Muchuchuti has shown bias in the trial including attributing wrong statements to his legal representative.

Chinyoka last week applied for Muchuchuti’s recusal, arguing that prospects of a fair trial for his client were remote due to the magistrate’s conduct.

He said she should recuse herself because it was highly unlikely that she would be fair to Katsimberis since his lawyers were demanding a huge amount of money from her as damages for character assassination.

“The immediate reason is that a conflict of interest has risen between the magistrate and the defence over remarks not covered by qualified privileges made in court on 14 February 2023,” Chinyoka said.

“However, the events were a culmination of a string of events that have proved that the magistrate is no longer in a position to guarantee the accused person the right to a fair trial before an impartial tribunal as guaranteed in the constitution.”

He added: “Now that the defence counsel has instituted proceedings against the magistrate, it will be impossible to balance her own personal interest and those of the defence as the two are directly engaged against each other.

“The magistrate should recuse herself because she can’t be a judge and a litigant where claims of substantial amounts are sought from the respondent’s lawyers.”

Chinyoka said the law of recusal should be grounded in the pursuit to deliver justice.

He said justice is always based on assurances that there will be prospects of a fair trial and yet in Katsimberis’ case the court had exhibited signs that it was conflicted.

Chinyoka said Muchuchuti’s claims against Moyo in particular had exposed her bias as the lawyer never made the statements attributed to her by the magistrate.

“On page 288 of the signed transcript, that is the part where Ms Moyo made the application for the postponement of the matter and the signed transcript confirmed as indeed what Ms Moyo indicated to the Law Society that she said, ‘Your Worship, we are seeking a postponement for this matter and the reason is, Advocate Chinyoka, who was supposed to be handling the matter together with Mr Kanengoni, is not feeling well and so, he has to urgently fly to South African today.

“He has written a letter seeking postponement and I beg leave to tender a copy of the letter.”

“Later on, Ms Moyo said, ‘Your Worship, you will note from the letter that I have supplied that Advocate Chinyoka’s condition deteriorated late yesterday.

“His travel to South Africa is essentially an emergency, note therefore, the provision and availability of the appropriate documentation is something that is not yet in place, but Advocate Chinyoka being an officer of this court, he will make an undertaking to provide the court with the documents, be it flight itineraries.”

He said it was clear from the application that Chinyoka was in Zimbabwe and that his condition deteriorated the previous night and had to urgently fly to South Africa on that day.

Nothing in the application showed that Moyo said Chinyoka was already receiving treatment in South Africa, he said. 

Prosecutor Michael Reza will respond to the application on Thursday before Chinyoka makes his final submission on June 5.

Muchuchuti will deliver her ruling on June 7.

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EDITORIAL COMMENT: Treasury measures offer path to stability – The Herald

The wide-ranging set of measures announced by Minister of Finance and Economic Development Mthuli Ncube on Monday flesh out recent policy statements and make fundamental changes to economic management.

We need to finally stop what we have been seeing in recent years, cycles of nine months of relative stability, followed by three months of runaway inflation, and then the cycle restarting once the inflationary spiral has burned out and the speculators have been beaten back.

Fairly obviously we need something a lot better and inherently more stable where inflation and exchange rates map the fundamentals, which in the case of Zimbabwean fundamentals under Second Republic discipline should result in modest although continuous changes. 

If we get it right speculators and manipulators will not be able to act effectively.

The Minister’s programme has several aspects: More use of local currency; the Finance Ministry managing all aspects of foreign debt rather than just the budgeting; ensuring that creation of money supply is made impossible in many areas and severely curtailed in the rest; and switching the foreign currency auctions from the main supplier of foreign currency to net importers to being the price setter with the currency coming through the interbank system.

The proponents of redollarisation are once again howling for all payments in US dollars. They forget the economic meltdown the last attempt produced and who forget that it only really worked even in a sub-standard way because the inclusive government, where opposition parties controlled most economic ministries, were prepared to create what amounted to fake US dollars, a programme that was continued up to the end of the first republic.

To get decent growth rates we need our own currency, although the economic fundamentals have to be managed. Now that all Government and parastatal fees charges are to be made in local currency a lot of the redollarisation drive is stymied. 

There will be some interesting results as those who think they exist in a US dollar environment will have to sell US dollars and buy local currency if they want their lights on, or travel on a new passport.

They can do this easily at their bank, at the bid rate on the interbank market, slightly below the mid-rate that forms the official rate. 

Some will, of course, follow their peculiar belief that the black markets are the ultimate markets and they will find some startling facts, the biggest one being that traders in those markets offer far less for a US dollar than they sell that same US dollar for five minutes later. 

There is not just a premium on the official rate, but possibly an even bigger premium between the bid and ask rates. No one is going to join the sellers of US dollars on the black market in their tears.

The foreign debt now becomes a total Finance Ministry function. It is already budgeted for. Sovereign debt servicing requirements, along with Government pensions and the salaries of judges, the President and Parliamentarians are lumped together at the front of the national Budget as Constitutional and Statutory Provisions. 

This means they are not approved annually by Parliament in a Finance Act like the far larger ministry budgets.

The provisions are set in the Constitution and in certain laws and last until these are amended. They are what have to be paid, regardless of what anyone thinks, and in some countries in the old days were tied to the customs duties that were set for an entire reign so the money was always there.

What has now happened is that the Finance Ministry will be buying the surrendered 25 percent of export earnings using tax revenue, and that revenue is already supposed to be budgeted for this purpose, and then using this foreign currency to service our foreign debt. 

This replaces the previous system where the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe bought the 25 percent, even if it was fully liquid to do so. 

Economists have been concerned that while the Reserve Bank was supposed to recycle the local currency it received from auction bidders to buy more foreign currency, the falling value of the Zimbabwe dollar and the rising exports created gaps that were filled with bookkeeping entries, potentially raising the money supply.

Zimbabwe has been in detailed negotiations with creditors over sorting out its debt arrears, and a lot of progress has been made. 

Creditors generally accept that Zimbabwe is a going concern now, and that what is now needed is the detailed plans. But that means we have to remain deadly serious, and assigning a quarter of exports to the existing debts and future debts definitely shows that.

As our debt arrears are sorted out it is now clear that there enough votes for use to enter new programmes for low interest, exceptionally well-managed infrastructure loans. 

This means we can fund far more cheaply new dams, new power stations and new roads, being able to pay back the money as we sell the water, sell the power and toll the roads. This is how everyone else does it. We just have to ensure our management is perfect.

For some time, the foreign currency auctions under a sort of managed Dutch auction have been supplying most of the foreign currency needed by priority importers. There have been problems with the management of the auctions trying to take into account demand as well as supply.

The new system does away with all that. A fixed amount is made available each week, and this is now being cut to US$5 million for a while. That will set an exchange rate. 

But obviously it is not enough money and here the second half of the policy comes into effect. 

Net exporters can continue to use and spend the 75 percent of their export earnings they retain but only for 90 days. 

At the end of that time whatever is left from date a payment was made into a Zimbabwean bank has to be sold on the interbank market. 

Obviously many exporters will be going further than just paying their foreign currency bills in the 90 days. They will also be able to buy goods and services locally, either using the foreign currency, which the vendor will be able to keep 100 percent for their own import needs, or selling the currency on the day of payment. 

It does not really matter since what will be happening is that a far higher percentage of export earnings will be entering the formal private-sector economy, either directly or via the interbank system, with those pure Dutch auctions setting a price.

This is how most countries operate, with the interbank system coping with the inflows and outflows and none of the dual currency approaches we have used for some time. 

We still need the pricing auctions, at least for a while, but hopefully we will be moving into the sort of territory occupied by most of the world sooner rather than later.

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