17 Apr

Zimbabwe Working on Logistics for Diaspora Vote, Moyo Says

Sibusiso Moyo, Zimbabwe’s foreign affairs minister, said the country is working on the logistics of allowing citizens who live outside the country to vote in general and presidential elections scheduled for this year.

The “constitution allows them to vote,” the former general said in an interview on Monday with Bloomberg Television in New York.

The refusal of the Zimbabwean government under the leadership of former President Robert Mugabe to allow members of the diaspora to vote has been the cause of disputes with the opposition over the last two decades as the country’s economic collapse led a quarter of its population to emigrate. Elections were marred by violence and irregularities.

While Zimbabwe’s ruling Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front has strong support in rural areas, the opposition Movement for Democratic Change is popular in cities and with citizens who have left the country for economic reasons. The economy has halved in size since 2000.

”It’s likely an electoral public relations designed to quieten increasingly vocal debate surrounding the Diaspora vote, but it’s practically impossible at the moment as the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission hasn’t the technical resources or capacity,” said Rashweat Mukundu, an analyst at the Zimbabwe Democracy Institute.

“They’re struggling to manage their resources within the country right now and there’s simply no way they can handle the diaspora vote.”

Moyo also said members of Mugabe’s cabinet who fled the country when the military took control temporarily in November are welcome to return but must account for any crimes. The minister was the military official who announced the takeover in a televised address.

Source: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-04-16/zimbabwe-working-on-logistics-for-diaspora-to-vote-moyo-says

20 Mar

Moti Doubles Zimbabwe Investments as Economy Seen Opening Up

Moti Group is preparing to double its investments in Zimbabwe to $500 million after the removal of Robert Mugabe as president in November saw the government adopt a more open approach to foreign companies.

Emmerson Mnangagwa, 75, who replaced Mugabe after the military briefly took control, has declared that “Zimbabwe is open for business” and has said he will ease the country’s local ownership rules and re-engage lenders such as the International Monetary Fund.

He is faced with an economy that has halved in size since 2000, a cash crisis that limits withdrawals from banks and an inability to pay government workers on time.

In partnership with Sakunda Holdings, a Zimbabwean company whose head Kudakwashe Tagwirei is linked to the ruling party, Johannesburg-based Moti plans to spend $250 million over the next four years in projects ranging from chrome-ore mining to fertilizer, diamond polishing and pharmaceuticals. The group has already invested about $250 million to date, mainly in mining.

The company wants to invest before elections scheduled for later this year after which more investors may come into the country and cause asset prices to rise, Zunaid Moti, the company’s 43-year-old chairman, said in an interview. The plans would make Moti one of the biggest investors in Zimbabwe.

“This is yesterday, that’s tomorrow,” Moti said, as he smoked a cigar in his Johannesburg office and compared mining potential in his home base of South Africa to that of Zimbabwe. “It’s virgin.”

Moti Group has also been approached by private-equity firm Carlyle Group to look at investment opportunities in the southern African country, he said. Carlyle declined to comment.

Moti Group has recently taken on British politician Peter Hain as an adviser to connect the company to “the right people in Europe, and more specifically in the U.K. when needed,” said Moti, who is considering selling as much as 25 percent of his business to selected investors at a later stage.

To read the full article, click here.

16 Feb

Death of Tsvangirai Threatens Unity of Zimbabwe’s Opposition

The death of Zimbabwe’s main opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai has left his party in disarray ahead of presidential elections later this year.

Tsvangirai, who led the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change, died Wednesday at the age of 65 from colon cancer.

He had been nominated to run against President Emmerson Mnangagwa in the presidential vote expected in the first half of this year but indicated last month he was considering bowing out of the race after undergoing treatment, saying it was time to leave his party in “new hands.”

While the MDC on Thursday appointed Nelson Chamisa, 40, as acting party president for 12 months, he may face challenges from deputy leaders Elias Mudzuri and Thokozani Khupe.

On their Twitter accounts, the three men have each claimed to be the official party voice and speak for Tsvangirai, fueling media speculation that they’re locked in a power struggle.

“The fear for the opposition is that his sad passing will exacerbate the ongoing leadership battle in the party, which may cause it to split or otherwise be in disarray ahead of polling,” said Derek Matyszak, senior research consultant at the South Africa-based Institute for Security Studies.

The party has previously splintered with senior officials Tendai Biti and Welshman Ncube forming their own parties.

Chamisa, a lawyer, was widely seen as Tsvangirai’s favored successor. Khupe is MDC’s longest-serving vice president and holds an information technology degree, while Mudzuri is an engineer with a master’s degree in public administration from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and a former mayor of Harare.

Tsvangirai’s death comes only three months after the ousting of Robert Mugabe, who ruled Zimbabwe for 37 years until the military seized control in November 2017 and forced him to resign.

Mugabe’s Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front named Mnangagwa to succeed him. A date for the presidential election hasn’t yet been announced.

To read the full article, click here.

15 Feb

Morgan Tsvangirai, Zimbabwe’s Former Prime Minister, Is Dead

Morgan Tsvangirai, who led Zimbabwe’s main opposition party for almost two decades and failed to unseat Robert Mugabe as president in several elections that were marred by allegations of violence and rigging, has died. He was 65.

Tsvangirai, who has been battling cancer, died on Wednesday, the opposition Movement for Democratic Change’s vice president, Elias Mudzuri, said by phone.

A former labor union leader, Tsvangirai helped found the MDC in 1999, the first party since independence in 1980 to pose a major threat to the rule of Mugabe’s Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front.

While the MDC won control of Harare, the capital, and other urban areas where Tsvangirai was wildly popular, the security forces helped Mugabe cling to power.

Mugabe finally quit in November 2017 after the military seized control of the country and his own party threatened to impeach him.

The MDC nominated Tsvangirai to run against Emmerson Mnangagwa, who Zanu-PF chose to succeed Mugabe, in presidential elections scheduled for 2018.

He indicated on Jan. 8 that he was considering bowing out of the race after undergoing treatment for colon cancer, saying it was time to place the party in “new hands.”

Morgan Richard Tsvangirai was born on March 10, 1952, in the southern district of Gutu, the son of a bricklayer father and a mother who was a subsistence farmer.

He first worked as a plant operator at Trojan Nickel Mine in the northern town of Bindura and entered union politics, becoming the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions secretary-general in 1989.

Tsvangirai joined forces with other labor and civil-rights leaders in 1999 to form the MDC, as opposition grew to Mugabe’s increasingly authoritarian leadership and mismanagement of the economy.

The MDC won its first political battle in a 2000 referendum, when it defeated constitutional changes that Tsvangirai said would have entrenched Mugabe’s rule.

After the loss, government-backed militants embarked on the seizure of thousands of white-owned farms and evicted about 3 million people, mainly farmworkers of Malawian, Zambian and Mozambican descent, according to the United Nations.

To read the full article, click here.

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. 

29 Jan

Zimbabwe: Fresh Moves to Arrest Grace Mugabe

The declaration by President Emmerson Mnangagwa last week that former first lady Grace Mugabe is no longer immune to prosecution appears to have left Mugabe’s garrulous wife vulnerable to arrest as vultures circle above her, bracing for a kill.

Grace made a lot of enemies during her time as first lady and Mnangagwa’s pronouncement has opened floodgates of legal trouble for the once most feared woman in Zimbabwe.

In an interview with BBC’s Mishal Husain during the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, Mnangagwa said Grace enjoyed no immunity and could be arrested and taken to court on any charges.

South African model Gabriella Engels, who was walloped with an electric cord by Grace and was left nursing a deep cut on the head and other injuries, has rekindled her fight for justice and is planning to have Mugabe’s wife dragged to South Africa to face the music.

“If I had the opportunity to meet the new Zimbabwean president, I would ask him to do the right thing and handover Grace for prosecution,” Engels told The Standard yesterday.

Engels’ lawyers were working hard to bring Grace to justice in South Africa so that she can answer to the case of assault.

“We are aware that she is no longer a person of power, that her husband was ousted from office and that the government of Zimbabwe said she does not enjoy any immunity anymore,” Engels’ mother said.

“In light of the latest developments, our lawyers are working on that case to secure justice for my child.”

Engels said her family was grateful and happy that Zimbabweans ousted the Mugabes because they were now abusing power to put fear into her family.

“Most definitely, I am happy, we are free and we will continue to fight until we get justice,” she said.

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 Jan

Zimbabwe President Seeks to Woo Lenders by Paying Loan Arrears

Zimbabwe is committed to repaying arrears to external lenders so that it can resume support programs with institutions such as the International Monetary Fund and end years of isolation from global capital markets, said the country’s president.

Emmerson Mnangagwa, the 75-year-old who took over as leader of the southern African country in November after the military pressured Robert Mugabe into resigning, said one of his priorities is reintegrating his country into the global financial system.

The economy has halved in size since 2000, credit lines from most lenders have been withdrawn and infrastructure has crumbled.

 Zimbabwe owes about $9 billion to lenders such as the World Bank and African Development Bank and has fallen behind in payments, with arrears recently amounting to about $1.8 billion.
If his bid to revive the economy is to succeed, Mnangagwa will need access to billions of dollars of support.
“There are limitations to engaging with Bretton Woods institutions — the limitations are as a result of our arrears with those institutions but they are giving positive indications that they would want to accommodate us,” he said in an interview in his office in the capital, Harare, last week.
“We shall recommit ourselves to paying our debts, our arrears. I believe that they will embrace us in the same manner they are embracing other countries.”
Re-engaging with international lenders would be a first step for the Zimbabwean government, which is also considering a debut international bond sale so that it can invest in infrastructure.
“If this succeeds, we would really need a substantial injection into our economy, in particular into the productive economy,” he said.
“Basically a capital injection into capital projects. Infrastructure development is what we want: dams, roads.”
Still, the Zimbabwean leader demonstrated little appetite for cutting costs in the manner that the IMF and other lenders have urged.
The country’s more than 500,000-strong civil service accounts for about 90 percent of budget expenditure, crowding out investment in much-needed projects such as restoring the capital’s water supply and fixing its roads.
To read the full article, click here.
19 Jan

New President Plans Zimbabwe Revival by Restoring Economy, Democracy

Zimbabwe’s new president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, has a plan to revive one of the world’s worst-performing economies and end its isolation: pay compensation to white farmers whose land was confiscated, sell bonds to rebuild infrastructure and hold internationally acceptable elections.

It’s a tall order for a man who served more than half a century at the side of former President Robert Mugabe and was a key figure in a government that oversaw an economy that halved in size since 2000 and the collapse of the agricultural industry.

Yet, Mnangagwa, a 75-year-old former spy chief, remains optimistic he can win lender support and tap international capital markets.

“Can we not do it? We think we should do it,” he said of a potential bond sale in an interview Thursday in Harare, the capital. He wore a gray suit in an office decorated with photographs of himself as a young man and there’s a crocodile-themed mug, a reference to his nickname earned during the liberation war against white-minority ruled Rhodesia. “We really need a substantial investment in the productive economy.”

Mnangagwa’s rise to power was problematic. After seemingly Mugabe’s heir apparent for decades, in recent months he clashed with the president’s wife, Grace, and finally fled the country on Nov. 6 after she accused him of plotting a coup.

That day, he was fired as vice president, and two hours later he learned that his life was in danger. He set out for the eastern border with Mozambique and crossed the frontier with his son and three soldiers.

“I could not use the formal border so I used the informal one which resulted in me walking for over 30 kilometers at night,” he said, adding that some tracks were filled with land mines. “Because I am a former guerrilla I understand the area, I operated there.”

To read the full article, click here.

07 Dec

Investors Are Looking at Zimbabwe’s Budget: Post-Mugabe World

When Patrick Chinamasa marks the start of his second stint as Zimbabwe’s finance minister by presenting the budget on Thursday, investors will be looking for policy changes in addition to fiscal plans in the post-Robert Mugabe era.

While the government needs to rein in runaway spending, end cash shortages and recapitalize banks, signals that it plans to revise or repeal contentious policies such as forcing companies to transfer 51 percent stakes to black Zimbabweans could be a game-changer. It could lure back investors and smooth engagement with lenders like the International Monetary Fundand the World Bank.

Chinamasa, a lawyer, was reappointed last week by President Emmerson Mnangagwa, less than two months after former leader Mugabe moved him to another portfolio. Mugabe resigned two weeks ago after an army-led coup ended his 37-year rule. During his tenure, agricultural output collapsed due to forced repossessions of commercially productive, mainly white-owned farmland, Zimbabwe abandoned its currency in 2009 due to hyperinflation and the economy has halved in size since 2000.

A half-hearted attempt at solving expropriation, taming inflation and curbing the country’s massive import bills would be a continuation of Mugabe’s “insular budgetary policies,” said Charles Laurie, head of country risk at Bath, England-based Verisk Maplecroft. There will be “intense scrutiny” of Chinamasa’s plans by investors who expect “business-friendly budgetary policy,” though the focus would mostly be on the empowerment law.

“Repealing or gutting the law will be an essential step in signaling to foreign businesses that Zimbabwe is serious about fostering a viable business environment,” Laurie said. “It’s nearly impossible to imagine a revival of Western investor appetite should this politically motivated law remain on the books.”

Leading Efforts

Chinamasa has led efforts to revive the struggling economy and tap fresh credit. While Zimbabwe has paid $110 million of arrears to the IMF, it’s still saddled with $1.7 billion arrears to the World Bank and African Development Bank and external debt exceeds 70 percent of gross domestic product.

To read the full article, click here.