Home Letter From Zimbabwe No smoke without fire

No smoke without fire

No smoke without fire
BACK THEN: People holding posters of Chiwenga during the coup

They say everything happens for a reason.

So when changes take place in influential establishments, one can easily conclude that something is surely brewing within the corridors of power.

For sometime now, there has been talk and unconfirmed reports that President Emmerson Mnangagwa and Vice President, Constantino Chiwenga no longer see eye to eye.

Apparently the latter feels more powerful since he played a leading role in the November 2017 coup which ultimately led to Mngangagwa’s rise to the top.

There have even been rumours of a second coup in the making, allegedly to topple the sitting president in favour of the vice president who is a former army commander.

While these talks could have been easily dismissed, the latest re-deployments of top army officials have done nothing but fuel the speculation that indeed Mnangagwa is working round the clock to consolidate his power which is ostensibly under threat.

On Monday, it was announced that the President had retired four military generals who served under the former leader, Robert Mugabe and also worked very closely with their former boss, Chiwenga.

The retired generals are now set to be re-deployed to various diplomatic missions, far from the daily happenings within the army.

The move has been viewed by critics as an attempt by Mnangagwa to weaken Chiwenga, who is apparently still extremely influential in the army.

According to reports, one of the generals, who is a former head of presidential guard, gave orders to the soldiers who dealt with the August post election violence to use force, which then resulted in the death of six people.

What is even more interesting about these re-deployments is that they happen while Chiwenga is in India for medical attention.

While life and work has to go on despite the absence of another person, in Zanu PF and government, nothing is taken at face value hence the speculation that there was a reason for Mnangagwa to act the way he did while his deputy is away.

We have heard from the grapevine that the former army boss opposes almost everything that the President says or does hence the latter had to make this crucial decision of retiring generals who could in future be a threat to his rule.

And to make sure that he is safe, Mnangagwa quickly replaced the former generals with men who are allegedly closely related to him or from his home province. By doing this, the President is making sure that he is surrounded by people he can trust, people who can never plot his demise.

There is, however, no guarantee that he is totally safe. Who could have thought that the once powerful Mugabe would one day be booted out by people who were seemingly unwaveringly loyal to him?

Time will tell if these talks of a rift at the top are just a fallacy.

However, if the history of the ruling party is anything to go by, then Mnangagwa might not finish his term – for him to do so, surely more heads will have to roll.


  1. This coup should never have happened if SADC showed more courage to step in and do something as regional bloc. This country is part of the regional bloc

  2. ” 25 Feb 2019
    Torture and shocking conditions: the human cost of keeping migrants out of Europe
    -Europe Editor and Presenter

    It’s been heralded as the start of a new dialogue. The first summit between the League of Arab States and EU member states ended with a lofty statement of shared values.

    European leaders shook hands with their Arab counterparts and discussed issues such as Syria, Yemen and nuclear proliferation. They agreed to tackle the “common challenge” of migration.

    Footage from inside camps in Libya shows migrants living in shocking conditions. And there are disturbing signs that some migrants are being tortured by people traffickers.”

    The Footage has been seen by a global audience the SHOCKING AND INHUMANE treatment of migrants at the Khums Detention Centre in Libya (this shocking and inhumane treatment could be happening elsewhere) resembling the slave trade when people were whipped, chained and beaten – this is waht is happenng at this Detention centre and No one including those in authority are taking responsiblity . the migrants are living in SQUALOR AND FILTH NOT FIT FOR HUMANS and one would think the African Union would step in and save these people the migrants are crying out for help AND HAVE THE UNCHR WORDS SCRIBBLED ON THE WALL WHERE THEY LIVE CRYING OUT OF HELP this sort of treatment should never happen in the 21ST CENTURY

    One other footage was a picture of a man dressed in camuoflage uniform (one must realise that Libya is run by gangs of militias) pointing a GUN to the head of a MIGRANT the horrific suffering of the migrants has been condemned by AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL

  4. “Libya: child refugees abused in UK-funded detention centres

    Children tell of being starved and beaten in camps part-funded by British govern

    Tue 20 Nov 2018 12.37 GMT
    This article is over 3 months old
    Child refugees are facing abuse and malnutrition in a network of 26 Libyan detention centres the British government is helping to fund, the Guardian has learned.

    In the first accounts to the media from minors being held in the camps, the children described being starved, beaten and abused by Libyan police and camp guards. One said the conditions were like “hell on earth”.

    According to documents seen by the Guardian, there are 26 active camps which are part-funded by the UK across Libya. While the existence of the camps had previously been reported, the scale of the network was not public. There are no exact figures available on the number of children being held but there are thought to be hundreds and possibly more than 1,000. There are at least 5,400 refugees and migrants being detained in total, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) says.
    Child refugees are facing abuse and malnutrition in a network of 26 Libyan detention centres the British government is helping to fund
    Child refugees are facing abuse and malnutrition in a network of 26 Libyan detention centres the British government is helping to fund Photograph: Handout

    The Department for International Development confirmed the government was contributing funds for the centres: “We continue to help fund the European Union Trust Fund’s work to improve conditions for migrants in detention centres.”

    The government insists the funding is necessary as part of a humane effort to dissuade people from making the dangerous Mediterranean crossing. Arguing that migrant detention centres are the responsibility of the Libyan authorities, it is understood to have raised concerns over the treatment of detainees with the Libyan government.

    But critics see the Libyan camps as a way for European countries to outsource their problem with migrants and asylum seekers and contend that they are implicated in the problems with a system they fund “to make sure they don’t get to Europe”.

    The revelations from the children – who risk severe punishment if guards discover they have been speaking to the media – provide the most detailed account yet of life in the camps for minors. Earlier this month, Amnesty International said conditions in the detention centres were unsustainable and that torture and ill-treatment were rife.

    “There is a callous disregard on the part of Europe and other states for the suffering of those languishing in detention centres,” the Amnesty report said.

    A 16-year-old boy in one of the centres said: “I have been here for four months. I have tried to escape three times to cross the sea to Italy but each time I have been caught and brought back to the detention centre. We are dying here but no one is taking responsibility. We need to be taken to a place of safety but we are locked in here 24 hours a day. We do not see sunrise and we do not see sunset.”

    The centres are designed to keep asylum seekers from crossing the Mediterranean to Europe. The UK and other EU countries have spent tens of millions trying to prevent asylum seekers from conflict zones, such as Eritrea and Sudan, entering the region. Last year the UK government spent £10m in Libya on various initiatives, including the detention centres.

    Critics see the work as part of the government’s former “hostile environment” migration policy, intended to deter people from seeking sanctuary in the UK as well as removing those who were already in the country.

    A 13-year-old Eritrean asylum seeker in a Tripoli camp told the Guardian detainees got just one or two small portions of white pasta a day and many were starving and malnourished. Diseases such as TB were rife. Many possessed just one T-shirt and one pair of shorts and were freezing now temperatures were dropping.

    “I am very scared and very hungry,” the boy said. “I want to reach the UK where I will be safe. We have nothing here, no food, no clothes, no phones. I miss my mother and father so much.”
    Guardian Today: the headlines, the analysis, the debate – sent direct to you
    Read more

    A 30-year-old Eritrean asylum seeker in the camp said the boy had travelled from Eritrea via Sudan with a 16-year-old cousin.

    “He cries all the time for his parents,” she said. “He is so sad I let him go to sleep with me. The conditions here are so bad. We are treated like donkeys, not like human beings. We are not allowed to have phones so we have to hide them when the police come.”

    This week a 24-year-old refugee tried to hang himself in the toilet area of one of the camps, a 16-year-old in the same camp said. Three others saw him and quickly cut him down. He survived.

    The teenager said his friend had lost hope because he was registered with UNHCR in January 2018 but was still languishing in the detention centres.

    In a message sent late on Monday evening he said: “All the refugees are waiting to do like what our bro do cos they suffered long time. Libya is hell on earth. The world never help us and see our problem.”
    There are believed to be hundreds and possibly more than a thousand child refugees in the camps
    One 17-year-old Eritrean boy who escaped from a detention centre and reached the UK has claimed asylum. An expert medical report found almost 50 torture scars on his body, consistent with being beaten with batonsand sticks. In a witness statement the boy said some of the injuries were sustained in beatings from guards at the camp, and others from traffickers. Many of those in the camps are from Eritrea but there are also asylum seekers from Ethiopia, Iraq, Somalia, Sudan and Syria.

    The policy to keep out as many asylum seekers as possible by holding them at key crossing points into Europe appears to be working. In the year ending March 2018, the number of asylum applications in the UK from main applicants decreased by 8% to 26,547. The falls are consistent with the wider trend across Europe, with a decrease of around 41% in applications to EU countries in the last year.

    Giulia Tranchina, of Wilsons solicitors, who is representing the 17-year-old Eritrean boy in London, said: “What young men, women, children and babies are suffering in detention in Libya is one of the biggest failures of our human civilisation. European governments, in our name, with our taxpayers’ money, are paying Libyan authorities, militias and army generals to continue detaining and torturing refugees on our behalf, to make sure they don’t get to Europe.”

    A spokeswoman for UNHCR said: “We remain incredibly concerned about the plight of detained refugees and migrants. Conditions in detention are extremely dire.”

    She said the current figure of 5,409 refugees and migrants being detained in Libya did not include those being held captive by smugglers.

    A DfID spokeswoman said government funding was also used to encourage migrants to return to their home countries, for emergency evacuations of refugees, and for healthcare. UK government officials had raised with their counterparts in the Libyan Government of National Accord the need to respect the human rights of migrants, ensure the provision of basic services and explore alternatives to detention centres, she said.”
    The Libyans seem to have an ongoing totally disregard for human rights of migrants at the Khums Detention camp
    and the African Union claims that 2019 is the year of Refugees/Returnees and Internally Displaced persons it would be interesting to know what part they are playing

  5. This article is indepth how a scheme destroyed the economy
    “INDEPTH: How a ‘giant Ponzi scheme’ destroyed Zimbabwe’s economy
    28th February 2019 News Headlines

    By Bloomberg News

    ALMOST two decades of profligate monetary policy has destroyed Zimbabwe’s economy and fuelled rampant inflation, decimating the savings of its people twice.

    Hyperinflation of as much as 500 billion percent in 2008 made savings worthless and led to the abolition of the local currency in favour of the dollar the following year.

    In 2016, former President Robert Mugabe’s cash-strapped government introduced securities known as bond notes that it insisted traded at par with the dollar. In 2018, it separated cash from electronic deposits in banks without reserves to back them, causing the black-market rate to plunge.

    Last week, it threw in the towel and allowed bond notes to trade at a market-determined level, once again slashing the value of savings. The decision came after the southern African nation faced shortages of bread and fuel, was hit by strikes and protests, and President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s drive to attract new investment floundered.

    “At the root of this is the currency crisis,” said Derek Matyszak, a Zimbabwe-based research consultant for South Africa’s Institute for Security Studies. “This is analogous to them creating a giant Ponzi scheme that originated under Mugabe. What we are seeing now is that Ponzi scheme collapsing.”

    ‘1-to-1 Fiction’

    The latest step, while welcomed by what’s left of the country’s business sector, is unlikely to solve Zimbabwe’s problems because all it does is reflect exchange rates on the black market, according to Steve H. Hanke, a professor of applied economics at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.

    “The 1-to-1 is a fiction,” Hanke said. “They are saying officially we are going to condone what has been happening anyway. It officially says, ‘we robbed you.’”

    The interbank rate for the new currency is about 2.5 to the dollar, data published on the central bank’s website shows. That figure is meaningless because the authorities are failing to divulge the volume of trade, according to marketwatch.co.zw, a website run by financial analysts. It estimates the black-market rate for the bond notes is 3.36 per dollar.

    The origins of Zimbabwe’s currency crisis stretches back to a violent land-reform program initiated by Mugabe in 2000, which slashed export income and devastated government finances.

    In response, then-Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Gideon Gono, known as ‘God’s banker’ because of his close ties to Mugabe, increased printing of Zimbabwe dollars exponentially to pay government workers, stoking inflation and eventually making the currency valueless.

    Printing Money

    “It was a Ponzi scheme in the past,” said Ashok Chakravarti, an economist and lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe. “Especially in the Gono era, where that chap just kept printing money.” Gono didn’t answer a call to a mobile phone number he has used in the past.

    The currency’s collapse led to the predicament Zimbabwe now finds itself in – chronic cash shortages and rampant inflation.

    By late 2008, some Zimbabweans had reverted to barter trade as illicit dealings in foreign currencies flourished. In February 2009, the answer the government came up with was to switch to the use of foreign currencies, mainly the US dollar.

    “Dollarisation puts a hard budget constraint on the system,” said Hanke. “You can’t go to the central bank or any other government institution to get credit for the government.”

    Repaying Debt

    The pressure on government finances led to history repeating itself, with a loophole being found: the introduction of bond notes and locally denominated electronic money.

    That contributed to money in circulation growing to more than $10 billion, according to George Guvamatanga, the permanent secretary in the Finance Ministry. The figure was $6.2 billion in 2013, said Tendai Biti, a senior opposition leader and former finance minister.

    “If you continue to print money, you are destroying what you are creating,” Guvamatanga said. Under a stabilisation program introduced by Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube in October, the government is now repaying domestic debt, has stopped issuing Treasury bills and has no overdraft with the central bank.

    That’s helped the economy move toward “walking on two legs, there is an effort to go in a different direction. It’s an inevitable adjustment.”” Chakravarti said.

    “It’s very unfortunate that this is the second time in 10 years people have lost the value of their savings. In 2009 we all went down to zero including me.”

    For some observers the latest development isn’t a sudden discovery of fiscal discipline. It’s another admission of failure and the victims are Zimbabwe’s people.

    Zero Savings

    To Biti, who says the new currency will fail because it isn’t backed by reserves, it shows the country has come full circle.

    “It’s theft because people had regrouped and rebuilt their lives from zero based on the US dollar,” he said.

    The country’s best hope is to join southern Africa’s Common Monetary Area, which is dominated by South Africa and its rand, Biti said. That would give certainty to business and impose fiscal discipline on the government, as opposed to the current arrangements that are unsustainable, he said.

    “It’s a Ponzi economy,” he said.”

  6. This is another article seen by a global audience
    “Refugees in Libya ‘tortured’ for breaking out of detention centre

    Nearly 150 detainees broke out of their cell in Tripoli’s Triq al Sikka earlier this week to protest against abuse.
    by Sally Hayden
    2 Mar 2019”

  7. “Detention centres must be closed’

    An EU spokesperson said they were aware of the report and following the situation closely. “As repeatedly said, the detention centres in Libya must be closed,” the spokesperson said.

    “The situation in these centres is unacceptable. The EU raises the unacceptable condition in detention centres in all of its meetings with relevant Libyan authorities at both political and technical level, in Tripoli and elsewhere.”

    Rights group Amnesty International’s Matteo De Bellis said of the report of abuse, “if confirmed, constitutes yet another case of brutal violence against people arbitrarily held in Libya’s notoriously abusive detention centres”.

    “European governments and institutions keep saying that they advocate the end of arbitrary detention of refugees and migrants, but they have not taken any decisive action to ensure this would happen,” De Bellis said.

    Libya’s DCIM, the UNHCR and the Dutch foreign ministry did not respond to requests for comment.

    Migrants and refugees in Libya are brought to detention centres that are formally under the authority of the country’s interior ministry but in reality are controlled by armed groups, the real power in the country.

    Thousands of refugees and migrants are currently being held in indefinite detention by DCIM.

    Among them are people from Somalia, Eritrea, and Sudan – countries where the security or political situations are unstable and serve as a push factor for those seeking safety and freedoms.

    Around 15,000 refugees and migrants were returned to Libya last year under a 2017 deal in which the EU supports the Libyan coastguard to carry out interceptions at sea by supplying funds, ships and training.”
    As the African Union is saying thiat 2019 is the year for REFUGEES/RETURNEES/INTERNALLY DISPLACED PERSONS if the AU is saying this surely SADC should be doing something
    What is the media doing to highlight the plight of refugees/returnees/internally displaced person including the conditiions of Refugee Camps?

  8. “Sudan: UNHCR Delighted As Major Human Rights Award Presented to a Sudanese Refugee
    Sudanese Refugee Wins Major Human Rights Prize
    Refugee Detained On Manus Island Wins Prestigious Human Rights Prize
    Abdul Aziz Muhamat, the Sudanese refugee who has been awarded a major international human rights prize for revealing the harsh reality of Australia’s off-shore refugee policy.
    press release

    UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is delighted that Mr. Abdulaziz Muhamat has received the 2019 Martin Ennals Award at the ceremony in Geneva today.

    Recognized as a true leader, human rights and humanitarian advocate, Mr. Muhamat has tirelessly cared for fellow refugees, and eloquently drawn the world’s attention to their plight.

    A refugee himself, Mr Muhamat has spent more than five years under Australia’s ‘offshore processing’ on Manus Island after having fled Sudan. His efforts to represent and give voice to some of the most vulnerable human beings on earth and under the most difficult conditions are a testament to his resilience and humanity.

    “I have the deepest admiration for Mr. Muhamat, for his courage, his humanity and indomitable spirit,” said Volker Türk, Assistant High Commissioner for Protection, who met with him earlier this week. “His testimony is a wake-up call to the world about what happens when policies dehumanize and mistreat other human beings.”

    UNHCR continues to urge that solutions be found for all refugees and asylum-seekers under Australia’s ‘offshore processing’ in Papua New Guinea and Nauru as a matter of urgency.”

  9. There should be funding made available from the regional bloc for refugees who want to further their education

  10. Even the dead are not shown any form of respect from this corrupt country
    ” Byo cremation machine seized by SA authorities
    On Mar 8, 2019 19,139 1

    By Jeffrey Muvundusi

    Tax authorities in South Africa have seized a crematorium machine from Japan headed for Bulawayo in a payment dispute, according to the city council.
    The Bulawayo City Hall
    The Bulawayo City Hall

    The machine is used in the disposal of a dead person’s body by burning it to ashes, typically after a funeral ceremony.

    The imported crematorium was supposed to complement the only one in the city situated at West Park Cemetery, used mainly by the Hindu community.
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    Bulawayo City Council chamber secretary Sikhangele Zhou said that the machine was being denied permission to leave the Durban port, the largest and busiest shipping terminal in sub-Saharan Africa.

    Council has spent thousands of dollars in a bid to settle the matter. So straining is the matter that council is contemplating dumping its “ineffective” lawyer handling the row.

    The crematorium machine was impounded while on transit to Zimbabwe by South Africa’s Revenue Services (Sars) supposedly over “inadequate import documentation”.

    This has left seething city fathers mulling engaging new lawyers to clear the hurdle which has since spilled into courts in the neighbouring country.

    “In view of lack of clarity on the progress, the deputy mayor Tinashe Kambarami felt that council should communicate directly with Sars regarding the cremator.

    “He wondered if it was not prudent to engage new lawyers. “In response, the acting director of Health Services explained that the cremator was still in South Africa. The issue was being handled by lawyers. At the moment the lawyers had not given any feedback,” reads the latest council minutes.

    Despite paying an initial deposit of $97 120 some two years ago, the crematorium machine is yet to arrive in Zimbabwe’s second largest city.

    As some point, council resolved to raise about R120 000 to pay Sars in storage fees and secure the release of the machine but till today, there has been no progress in the matter. Chamber secretary Zhou explained how the cremator ended up being holed up in Durban.

    “The cremator is in South Africa en route to Zimbabwe. Sars confiscated the cremator because of inadequate documents. The suppliers had not indicated that it was destined for Zimbabwe. This resulted in an unclear bill of landing. Council was being assisted in this matter by Majoko, a lawyer. He had assisted the suppliers to fight their case in the South African High Court.

    “Majoko had been communicating with council well on this issue before he went on vacation in December, 2018. The issue of engaging new lawyers would be considered accordingly depending on progress,” Zhou said.

    There has been a low uptake of cremation despite the local authority encouraging its residents to take up the idea as a substitute to conventional burial in a bid to limit the fast dwindling burial space in the city.

    Council has also been planning to introduce mandatory cremations for children under 12 years. On average, the monthly rate of cremation stands at 12, with the majority being those who culturally and religiously believe in that type of funeral.

    This comes at a time when council is also struggling to account for a fleet of ambulances it purchased almost a decade ago, in another botched deal.

    In 2010, the local authority awarded a Harare-based company, Tracker Engineering Private (Ltd), a tender to install a vehicle tracking system and another to Access Medical Corporation to supply four ambulances.

    According to the local authority, it lost a total of $303 000, after paying a deposit of $100 000 for the vehicle tracking system and $203 106 for the ambulances.Tax authorities in South Africa have seized a crematorium machine from Japan headed for Bulawayo in a payment dispute, according to the city council. “

  11. This council should be sacked and investigated
    Ambulances which would be there to assist people in their time of need purchased about a decade ago and the person/persons are not being being investigated
    The following is the latest article affecting this Council in this Corrupt Country which it should be called
    Crisis in Bulawayo..City runs out of water treatment chemicals
    11 Mar, 2019 – 00:03
    Crisis in Bulawayo..City runs out of water treatment chemicals Bulawayo Town Clerk, Mr Christopher Dube

    Auxilia Katongomara, Chronicle Reporter

    Bulawayo water woes may worsen following revelations that the city is left with only a week’s supply of water treatment chemicals.

    The city is already on a 48-hour weekly water shedding schedule in all suburbs and at times the period is extended to 72 hours.

    The council said it is failing to raise the required foreign currency needed to buy the chemicals.

    According to the latest council report, the stock levels of ammonia and chlorine were at a critical level.

    “Chlorine is at critical one week’s supply. Ammonia is at critically low levels with stocks lasting less than a month but requisitions and orders have been done and stations are awaiting delivery. Aluminium sulphate, HTH stocks are enough for over two months,” read the report.

    The local authority says it requires US$208 000 every month for water treatment chemicals with aluminium sulphate being the most expensive at US$183 950 each month followed by chlorine which requires US$16 000 monthly.

    Other chemicals used in water treatment are ammonia, polyelectrolyte, lime and HTH.

    Ammonia is used to assist chlorine in the disinfection process of water, while poly-electrolytes are used in the process of coagulation and flocculation which helps clear murky waters.

    This is not the first time the local authority has faced water chemicals shortage.

    At one time the council stopped purification of water at its Criterion Water Works due to shortage of water chemicals.

    Bulawayo Town Clerk, Mr Christopher Dube yesterday declined to comment on the matter and referred questions to the Director of Engineering Services, Eng Simela Dube, who asked for emailed questions.

    The local authority last December started implementing a 50 percent debt cancellation policy for those paying their bills in foreign currency and all international organisations operating in the city are now required to pay for services in forex.

    The council is also selling residentail stands in foreign currency.

    These are some of the measures meant to boost the council’s foreign currency inflows.

    Last month, the local authority held an emergency finance review meeting and the Finance Director, Mr Kimpton Ndimande revealed that the local authority’s finances were in the red.

    Mr Ndimande said despite the 50 percent incentive for foreign currency, the initiative was still not very popular with residents.

    He said the major challenge council was facing from service providers was that they were now charging in foreign currency while residents were paying using RTGS and bond notes.

    “And there are general increases out there, prices have gone up, we need spares for motor vehicles, chemicals for water treatment just about everything we have is from outside the country and everything has gone up.

    The costs of our inputs have increased. If you look at our roads there is hardly any activity, we can’t get tar and other things to work on the roads,” said Mr Ndimande.”
    That is also a contributor of cholera