By Tichaona Chifamba HARARE (Xinhua) --
Tempers are flaring across Zimbabwe’s
two major political parties as they choose candidates to contest
in forthcoming general elections scheduled for Aug. 21 at the
Mnangagwa is expected to proclaim the election date anytime soon
as amendments to the Electoral Act have been passed by
Parliament and are now before Senate.
The ruling party
Zanu-PF and the main opposition party MDC-T faction led by
Nelson Chamisa are grappling with complaints of vote rigging and
imposition of candidates by senior party officials.
Zanu-PF has had to
conduct re-runs in primary elections to choose candidates for
Members of Parliament, senators and councilors, while in the MDC-T,
the selection of candidates “by consensus” and holding of
primary elections in some selected areas have been met with
The smaller parties
have apparently found it easier to choose candidates by
consensus, with the smaller MDC in the current legislature
coming up with candidates who will contest under the banner of
the MDC Alliance, which is also led by Chamisa.
Democratic Party led by Tendai Biti has also chosen its
candidates who will also contest under the MDC Alliance banner.
The People’s Rainbow
Coalition which is led by former state vice president Joice
Mujuru, who was fired from government and Zanu-PF by then
President Robert Mugabe in 2014, is yet to come up with
candidates amid reports that Mujuru’s own National People’s
Party is failing to come up with political structures in the
Mujuru wants to
contest for the presidency but so far no other candidates for
the legislature and local authority elections have been
However, the party
is said to be preparing to train about 50,000 polling agents
during the first week of June.
It remains to be
seen if the coalition, which has failed to hold rallies opting
for door to door campaigns because of resource constraints, will
be able to train such a huge number.
treasurer-general Elton Mangoma also leads another outfit of
small political parties under the Coalition of Democrats (Code)
banner but besides indicating that he wants to contest for the
presidency, there is nothing much to show for what is happening
on the ground.
Mugabe is said to be
supporting the New Patriotic Front which is being led in the
interim by former minister in his government Ambrose Mutinhiri,
but leadership squabbles have hit the fledgling party.
The party is yet to
announce its presidential candidate amid speculation that
Mutinhiri is merely warming up the chair for a candidate to be
unveiled at a later stage.
All in all, about
120 parties have registered with the Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission to contest in the elections, with former cabinet
minister Nkosana Moyo also throwing his hat in the ring as
leader of the Alliance for People’s Agenda.
parties, only the smaller faction of the MDC-T led by Thokozani
Khupe has come up with an election manifesto which pledges to
fight corruption and calls for devolution of power to the
launched its manifesto whose theme is “Unite, fight corruption,
develop, re-engage and create jobs.”
Zimbabwe government offers 15
per cent pay
rise to agitated workers after strike threat
HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) --
The Zimbabwe government on Monday increased its
pay offer to civil servants from 10 to 15 percent as part of
efforts to improve the welfare and working conditions of its
workers, the state-run Herald newspaper reported Tuesday.
The increment is
effective July 1, 2018.
chairperson Cecelia Alexander said the government made the offer
during a meeting of the National Joint Negotiating Council (NJNC)
which brings together government and workers representatives.
urged the government to further increase the offer so that it
matches or surpasses the poverty datum line, currently pegged at
591 U.S. dollars.
The lowest paid
government worker earns 253 dollars per month, and the workers
want this increased to 720 dollars.
“The Apex council,
while appreciating this gesture, is still urging government to
improve the offer to a level at or above poverty datum line for
the lowest-paid civil servant,” she said.
She advised civil
servants that wage negotiations with government were ongoing
until such time when an acceptable deal has been reached.
The government last
week tabled a 10 percent offer after teachers, the majority of
the public sector workers, threatened to go on strike when
schools opened last Tuesday.
The strike threat
came after doctors spent the whole of March on strike demanding
better pay and improved working conditions.
In April, nurses
also briefly downed tools demanding better pay but had to rush
back to work after government threatened them with dismissal
after they had rejected money offered by the government.
As some teachers
were reportedly agitating for a strike, Alexander said there was
no need for industrial action because they were engaging with
presenting its position and we as workers we are also presenting
our position. For now we continue with service delivery while
negotiations continue. We are now going with the new offer to
our membership and hear what they say also,” she said.
As part of measures
to improve working conditions, government last week also
rescinded its decision to bar teachers from going on vacation
Teachers, who were
short changed by the vacation leave ban, will be paid cash in
lieu for the accrued days effective from July but in a staggered
deferred vacation leave for teachers in 2016 as a cost-cutting
government also revived manpower development benefits, a move
which will see civil servants going on study leave using their
accrued vacation leave days.
It also reduced
rentals for civil servants to a figure which is not more than
the housing allowances for the workers.
Zimbabwe imports 400 mln USD to
ease cash shortages
HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua)--
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has imported about 400 million U.S.
dollars cash in the first four months of this year to ease cash
shortages in the economy, governor John Mangudya said last week.
He told the
state-run weekly Sunday Mail newspaper that bank queues were
expected to minimize within the next two months as cash flows
improve from tobacco and gold exports.
The central bank
will also draw from the 1.5 billion dollars extended to it by
the Afreximbank in December 2017, he said.
“What I want to
promise the nation is that within he next two months, the queues
are going to be minimized.
Zimbabwe has been
facing bank note shortages since 2016 due to a widening trade
deficit and runaway government expenditure.
The governor also
said the biggest challenge facing Zimbabwe in relation to the
cash crunch was poor circulation of money.
“If the money was
circulating, we would not be having the cash challenges that we
have. Zimbabweans are looking at foreign currency as a store of
value and not as something that they should circulate,” he said.
circulating the money in the country, many people in the country
were exporting the cash through paying for digital satellite
television, school fees and shopping in foreign countries, among
many other means of cash flight, the governor said.
In 2016, the central
bank introduced local bond notes to ease the cash crunch but
these have not helped much since these are being put into the
market sparingly and in tandem with the value of exports to
avoid stoking inflation.
million bond notes and 40 million bond coins are in circulation.
Initially trading at
par with the U.S. dollar, the bond notes have significantly lost
value to the greenback on the black market.
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe orders
banks not to offer service to Bitcoin dealers
HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) --
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has directed all
banking institutions not to provide banking services to
facilitate anyone dealing with or settling virtual currencies
and once again warned the public against trading in
cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Litecoin saying that they
risked losing their investments.
In a statement, RBZ
said the move was taken to safeguard the integrity and soundness
of the country’s financial system and to protect the public in
It said dealers and
investors in any kind of cryptocurrency in Zimbabwe were not
protected by law and that virtual currencies were traded in
exchange platforms that were unregulated the world over.
“The opacity and
pseudonymous nature of virtual currencies resents regulatory
concerns due to the potential risks to the public and financial
stability. The nature of cryptocurrency transactions makes them
the currency of choice for money launderers and other criminals,
seriously undermining global efforts to combat money laundering
and the financing of terrorism,” the central bank said.
Many Zimbabweans are
trading in cryptocurrencies which have given them quick yields,
but RBZ also warned that anonymity surrounding deals made it
difficult for law enforcement agencies to trace transactions.
It added that any
instrument or platform that resulted in the flow of foreign
currency or value into and out of the country or between
residents and non-residents was subject to approval in terms of
“The anonymity of
transactions in respect of virtual currencies has the potential
to result in exchange control circumvention as the transfer
would not be effected and reported by an authorized dealer in
foreign exchange,” it said.
A local company
recently introduced an ATM in Harare which it said would be
loaded with U.S. dollars and would be used to transact Bitcoins.
The central bank
said it would continue monitoring regional and global
cryptocurrency development in order to inform policy direction.
But in the mean
time, the bank has urged the public to stay away from the
“Any person who
buys, sells or otherwise transacts in cryptocurrencies, whether
online, or otherwise, does so at their own risk and will have no
recourse to the Reserve Bank or to any regulatory authority in
the country,” it said.
Zimbabwe elections body sets
fees for voters’ roll inspection
HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) --
The media and observers wishing to inspect the
provisional voters’ roll ahead of Zimbabwe’s elections will have
to pay accreditation fees, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC)
In a notice
published Wednesday, ZEC said local observers will pay 10 U.S.
dollars while those from the continent will pay 20 dollars.
foreign embassies in Zimbabwe will pay 50 dollars, while those
from any country outside Africa will part with 100 dollars.
journalists accredited with the Zimbabwe Media Commission and
working in the country for foreign media houses will pay 50
dollars while those working for local organizations will pay 10
Africa will pay 20 dollars, ZEC said.
voters’ roll will be open for inspection from May 19-29.
Mnangagwa has not yet proclaimed election dates, but the
constitution stipulates that polls should be held between July
21 and August 21 taking into account the last election date of
July 31, 2013.
harmonized presidential, legislative and local government
elections every five years.
Zimbabwe elections: Blind
demand secrecy of vote
HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) --
A blind Zimbabwean voter has filed an application
at the High Court seeking to compel the Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission (ZEC) to provide ballot papers in Braille or the
template ballot to ensure secrecy of the vote by visually
Abraham Mateta wants
ZEC to put in place administrative measures to enable people in
his condition to vote by secret ballot in forthcoming elections
due by Aug. 21.
should provide tactile voting devices to all blind people who
wish to vote by secret ballot, Mateta said.
Also, those who wish
to be assisted to vote should select their own assistants and
cast the vote without the involvement of a presiding officer or
any other third party, he argued.
The matter is yet to
be set down for hearing, the state media Herald reported
ZEC Minister of
Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Ziyambi Ziyambi and
Attorney-General Prince Machaya are cited as respondents in the
According to the
country’s electoral laws, people who are either illiterate or
are living with a disability may, upon request, be helped to
vote by a person of their choice.
For the blind, the
presiding officer is entitled to observe the casting of the
ballot for that particular voter.
The person offering
assistance does not need to be on the voters’ roll, but should
be above 18 years of age, should not be an electoral officer,
election agent, chief election agent, and candidate or
accredited observer in the election.
“I am advised that
the above provisions require ZEC and the other respondents to
this application to ensure that I have equal opportunities to
exercise by right to vote in secret, regardless of my
disabilities or other factors.
“My disability does
not mean inability to vote by secret ballot,” Mateta said.
He urged the courts
to treat the matter with urgency so as to ensure that his rights
were not infringed upon.
“Where my rights are
in danger from an imminent violation especially due to state
inaction, it is only fair and just that this court urgently
intervenes to protect me and those who are similarly
disadvantaged,” he said.