04 May

Zimbabwe Ruling Party Primaries Marked by Upsets and Mayhem

Zimbabwe’s ruling party saw some major upsets and raucous bickering during its primaries this week ahead of general elections due by August.

Senior officials including Oppah Muchinguri, the chairwoman of the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front, Industry Minister Mike Bimha and Chris Mutsvanga, an adviser to President Emmerson Mnangagwa, all lost the nominations in their constituencies, according to tallies released by the party on Thursday. Mutsvanga said in a letter to Zanu-PF that he rejected the results.

The primaries in some areas took place amid chaos after ballot papers arrived late or were delivered to the wrong locations. In several wards in Mashonaland West Province, brawls broke out and opposing sides threw bottles at each other, according to Jairos Wirirani, who went to vote in the small farming town of Raffingora, north of the capital, Harare..

“It’s not surprising that the old guard is falling,” Rashweat Mukundu, an analyst at the Zimbabwe Democracy Institute, said by phone from Harare. “We’re seeing a reconfiguration of politics in Zanu-PF, and by extension Zimbabwe.”

Before the resignation in November of Robert Mugabe, who ruled the southern African nation since 1980, Zanu-PF usually imposed approved candidates.

Mnangagwa, who replaced Mugabe as president and the head of Zanu-PF, said in an interview with the state-controlled Herald newspaper published on Wednesday that the disorganization in the primaries was a result of a bid “to root democracy into the party.”

On Thursday, he acknowledged complaints that police helped organize the voting process in some areas and told the Herald that the practice was illegal.

The main opposition Movement for Democratic Change will hold its primaries next week, a spokesman for the party, Luke Tamborinyoka, said by phone Thursday.

Source: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-05-03/zimbabwe-ruling-party-primaries-marked-by-upsets-and-mayhem

13 Feb

Mugabe’s Fall Has Veteran Miners Jockeying for Zimbabwe Comeback

Robert Mugabe’s fall as Zimbabwe president is setting the scene for the return of a London mining listing for Andrew Groves and his long-term business partner — and former England cricketer — Phil Edmonds.

Groves is preparing to relist the pair’s Zimbabwe coal, chrome and gold assets in London through the reverse takeover of a cash shell, or dormant company. He sees the ascent to the presidency of Emmerson Mnangagwa, a man who served more than half a century at the side of Mugabe, as beneficial.

“I’d like to build it into a mid-tier mining company,” Groves said, adding that he has a lot of local contacts. “I’ve known Emmerson — the new president Emmerson Mnangagwa — for 15 years. He’s made a huge change already.”

Mnangagwa, Zimbabwe’s former spy chief, became president in November with military backing and has offered to hold elections by July. His administration abolished rules that mining operations must be at least 51 percent owned by black Zimbabweans for all minerals other than platinum and diamonds.

The southern African nation is geologically rich, with deposits of gold, chrome, lithium, coal, diamonds, platinum and iron ore. Mine development stalled under Mugabe, whose policies led to a collapse in the economy and hyperinflation.

All Change

“Everything has changed in the country,” said Groves, who won’t hold an executive position in the new company. “There’s a huge amount of euphoria.”

Groves and Edmonds delisted their Sable Mining Ltd. venture, which was trying to build a iron-ore mine in Guinea, less than two years ago. That followed a slump in prices of the commodity and bribery allegations that were denied by the company. The company’s market value reached 300 million pounds ($414 million) in 2010 before collapsing to just 2.2 million pounds and being delisted.

Now renamed Consolidated Growth Holdings Ltd., the private company that holds Zimbabwe and Guinea assets is in talks with London-listed Contango Holdings Plc for a reverse takeover.

To read the full article, click here. 

24 Jan

It Would Be a Pitch Like No Other: Zimbabwe Eyes Bond Market

It’s a sales pitch as tough as they come: the economy has halved since 2000, unemployment’s at 90 percent and bank withdrawals are capped at $40 a week.

What’s more, the government’s behind on World Bank loan payments and some officials have been sanctioned by the U.S. and Europe.

Welcome to Zimbabwe, where new president Emmerson Mnangagwa wants to sell debt to revive one of the world’s worst-performing economies and end its isolation from international capital markets. The odd thing is, the pitch might just work.

“It is a tall order, but no longer out of the question with the change in leadership,” said Hasnain Malik, the Dubai-based head of equities research at Exotix Partners LLP, who covers Zimbabwe.

Mnangagwa, 75, is mingling with the elite of the capitalist world at Davos this week, two months after replacing Robert Mugabe.

Under Mugabe, 93, who ruled the southern African nation for almost 40 years until the military ousted him in November, Zimbabwe turned from one of the continent’s most promising economies into a virtual pariah state.

His sanctioning of violent takeovers of white-owned farms from 2000 crushed agriculture, the mainstay of the economy, and caused investors to flee.

Inflation surged to 500 billion percent, according to the International Monetary Fund, as Mugabe printed money in a desperate attempt to get out of the hole he’d created.

Hyperinflation only ended in 2009 when Zimbabwe scrapped its worthless dollar and adopted the U.S. version, which is still the dominant currency among a basket of notes accepted as legal tender.

While Mugabe’s exit paves the way for Zimbabwe’s reintegration into the global financial system, bond investors will first want to see credible elections, evidence of more fiscal discipline and a deal with the IMF for financial help, Malik said.

Spy Chief

Mnangagwa, a former spy chief who was close to Mugabe throughout his presidency and the nation’s liberation war before that, plans to hold elections within five months and invite international observers, he said in an interview with Bloomberg in Harare, the capital, last week. He’s confident he’ll win.

To read the full article, click here.

22 Dec

Mnangagwa Reveals 30km Walk Escaping G40 Assassins After Being Fired By Mugabe

PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has revealed walking more than 30 kilometres crossing the boundary between Zimbabwe and eastern neighbour Mozambique in a dramatic escape from G40 assassins.

He was speaking in South Africa Thursday on his first foreign trip as president, after taking over power in Harare last month.

The then vice president was fired by former president Robert Mugabe from government and Zanu PF at the behest of the veteran leader’s wife Grace and her G40 allies in the ruling party.

He then escaped into exile, saying assassins were on is trail but warning he would be back in two weeks to take over power.

In Pretoria Thursday, Mnangagwa told South African business leaders and Zimbabweans based there that he had been warned his life was in danger in the aftermath of his sacking from government as Mugabe’s deputy on November 6th.

“I came here to pay homage to my brother President Jacob Zuma,” he explained. “I spent a good 16 days as a diasporan here in South Africa after walking some 30 kilometres crossing the border into Mozambique.” He added; “After I had been fired around 4 o’clock (on November 6th), intelligence had made me aware of the next move intended to eliminate me.

“Fortunately, I found a (business) card in my wallet which bore the name of a colleague here, Maphosa whom I phoned and he picked me. I came here and I was well looked after.”

An angry Mugabe fired Mnangagwa from government after his wife had been booed at a youth interface rally in Bulawayo as the bitter Zanu PF succession struggle edged towards an explosive end.

The military then entered the fray, first with a damning statement from former Commander Defence Forces General Constantino Chiwenga on November 13th before tanks moved into Harare and Mugabe was placed under house arrest.

To read the full article, click here. 

27 Nov

Mugabe Quit Over Fear of Being Zimbabwe’s Qaddafi

An emotional Robert Mugabe finally agreed to end his 37-rule in Zimbabwe when army generals who’d seized power told him they wouldn’t prevent protesters from storming his home unless he relented, three people familiar with the talks said.

The peril from the protesters was real. Three days before they’d approached the gates of his mansion, known as “the blue roof,” in the affluent northern Harare suburb of Borrowdale. Chris Mutsvanga, a leader of veterans of the liberation war against white-ruled Rhodesia in the 1970s, threatened to unleash a fresh wave of protests when Mugabe, confused and tearful during his final days in power, didn’t immediately resign after thousands poured into the streets on Nov. 18.

For Mugabe, an almost president-for-life figure, the scenes were difficult to believe. He’d always been accompanied by a motorcade of heavily armed troops, decoy cars, police vehicles, motorcycle outriders and a fully-equipped military ambulance. But in recent years, the fate of figures such as Saddam Hussein and Muammar Qaddafi, both of whom died or were captured after going on the run, had weighed on him, according to the officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Ailing health and frequent confusion hobbled Mugabe during the talks. He wept often and called out for his deceased first wife Sally, and Nhamodzenyika, his son who died of cerebral malaria as an infant, the officials said. His friend Father Fidelis Mukonori, a Catholic priest who was mediating talks with the military, consoled him and begged him to eat and bathe.

Mugabe’s decision to step down and end a week-long standoff with the military came as his ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front was preparing to impeach him in parliament. It marked an anguished end to the career of Africa’s second-longest serving leader who had led Zimbabwe to independence in 1980 and dominated its political scene ever since.

To read the full article, click here

23 Nov

Mnangagwa’s Task: Rebuild Zimbabwe’s Economy From the Ground Up

When Emmerson Mnangagwa takes over from Robert Mugabe as Zimbabwe’s president on Friday, he’ll inherit an economic wasteland that will take years and a complete reversal of some of the government’s signature policies to set right.

Among Mnangagwa’s key challenges will be to revive an agricultural industry that collapsed following the Mugabe-sanctioned seizure of mostly white-owned commercial farms starting in 2000, unlock investment in the mining industry by clarifying so-called indigenization laws that force companies to sell or transfer 51 percent stakes to black Zimbabweans and reestablish international credit lines.

“The quicker policy credibility is established, the more foreign capital starts flowing,” said Hasnain Malik, head of equity research at Exotix Capital in Dubai. “Many of the ingredients of a great frontier market are in place in Zimbabwe. While there is much to be done on the government wage bill, recapitalization of the economy and the banking system, the starting point for investor expectations is very low.”

Mnangagwa’s ascension to the presidency follows the 93-year-old Mugabe’s decision to quit Tuesday under threat of impeachment from his own party. While the former intelligence chief has been part of Mugabe’s inner circle ever since he took power when white-minority rule ended in 1980, he and his faction within the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front have signaled that they plan to run the country’s finances differently.

Change is desperately needed. The economy is half the size it was in 2000, and has slipped from being one of the 10 biggest in sub-Saharan Africa to number 20. Formal jobs outside the government are virtually non-existent, there are chronic cash shortages and roads and other public infrastructure have crumbled. Many of the best-educated Zimbabweans have moved to neighboring South Africa and the U.K., leaving the country with limited expertise to rebuild.

Read more: Mnangagwa’s Task: Rebuild Zimbabwe’s Economy From the Ground Up

15 Nov

Zimbabwe’s Military Seizes Power, Threatening Mugabe’s Rule

The armed forces seized power in Zimbabwe after a week of confrontation with President Robert Mugabe’s government and said the action was needed to stave off violent conflict in the southern African nation that he’s ruled since 1980.

The Zimbabwe Defense Forces will guarantee the safety of Mugabe, 93, and his family and is only “targeting criminals around him who are committing crimes that are causing social and economic suffering in the country in order to bring them to justice,” Major-General Sibusiso Moyo said in a televised address in Harare, the capital. All military leave has been canceled, he said. A senior official involved in the army action said Mugabe is safe but declined to say where he was. People involved in the “purge” of liberation war veterans from the government will be arrested and charged, according to the person, who asked not to be named as the information isn’t public.

Denying that the action was a military coup, Moyo said “as soon as we have accomplished our mission we expect the situation to return to normalcy.” He urged the other security services to cooperate and warned that “any provocation will be met with an appropriate response.”

The action came a day after armed forces commander Constantine Chiwenga announced that the military would stop “those bent on hijacking the revolution.”
As several armored vehicles appeared in the capital on Tuesday, Mugabe’s Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front described Chiwenga’s statements as “treasonable” and intended to incite insurrection. Later in the day, several explosions were heard in the city.