Home Letter From Zimbabwe Working for free

Working for free

Working for free
FILE PICTURE: Teachers in previous protest

On average, teachers in Zimbabwe earn $400 (bond) which in ‘real terms’ is equivalent to almost P1, 100.

I am saying in real terms because the government, in its cloud cuckoo land, still maintains that the bond and the US are at par when the situation on the ground is to the contrary.

Indeed, the prevailing rate of the US dollar against the bond is 1:3.6.

Now let me try to budget this hard-earned salary of $400 bond.

Transport: $60

Lunch: $40

Rent: $200

Basic Groceries and toiletries: $200

Airtime: $20 (we all need to communicate right?)

Total: $520

Here I am assuming this teacher stays alone and has no dependents.

The truth of the matter though is that most have families, children who go to school and extended families.

So if their net income is only sufficient to pay rent and buy food, where are they expected to get money to cover all other expenses such as school fees?

‘Zvakapresa’, it’s tight, as they would say.

And by the way, I can say this budget, especially for groceries, is only valid for 24 hours as prices now change willy-nilly!

This is as a result of a number of factors, such as fuel prices going up.

I am not talking about that massive price increase which sparked riots but the subsequent increases which are silently being effected by filling stations.

This week teachers went on strike, demanding an adjustment of their salaries and better working conditions.

A strike truly justified if you ask me!

I had a chat with my sister-in-law on Tuesday as she told me she had, like many other teachers, heeded to the call to down tools.

Again, like her colleagues, getting paid in the US dollar would be a better deal as the bond quickly gets eroded.

This is a fact that we cannot run away from and which the government needs to admit.

Fuel has gone up and continues going up, the price of bread has doubled, transport fares have gone up, prices of basic commodities have gone up, yet salaries have remained stagnant.

Surely the government cannot expect people to turn a blind eye to this when they are practically offering their services for free.

So if the government is sincere about solving issues as they have said, the decision makers in this instance should be realistic and award teachers accordingly.

If President Emmerson Mnangagwa can afford to blow thousands of dollars in useless ‘thank you’ rallies, then it means there is money to spend and thus he must make sure teachers are given what they deserve.

But knowing our government, it will react with wrath to the strike and even threaten to fire the teachers like they did with the nurses when they also went on strike.

Talking of nurses, they, together with all other health workers, have started working three times a week to enable them to cope with transport challenges.

At least in this scenario somebody became realistic enough to acknowledge that salaries of health workers are just not enough for them to work normal working hours.

So one way or the other they will have to address the concerns of the teachers, so that the students, who are the main losers, don’t continue to miss lessons.


  1. This is absolutely ridiculous this article shows the how corruption has spiralled out of control

    “In July 2018, police in Harare arrested 5 suspected illegal gold traders following a tip off from an anonymous source.

    The five suspects were arrested with $4m and 98kg of gold stashed in suitcases while trying to leave the country.

    National police spokesperson Paul Nyathi who confirmed the arrests, told a local daily that the suspects were apprehended by police following a tip off.

    Nyathi said the five suspects were believed to be illegally dealing in gold and were arrested at the leafy Harare suburb of Borrowdale.

    Another local publication revealed that the cash and gold stock was confiscated and secured by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and Fidelity Printers, as investigations continued.

    However, it emerged that the $5 million gold and cash scandal involving the five Indian suspects were released along with their “loot”.”

  2. In a letter to the Reserve Bank this is part of an article indicating massive fraud on a large scale withconnections to the Former First Disgraced Lady Grace Mugabe

    “There is an urgent matter needing your attention in the utmost public interest and national security and for which I raise the below questions.

    1. On what basis has your office, the entire Central Intelligence (CIO) and the ZDF for several years to date allowed a well known Kenyan Indian criminal, Mr Paul Kamlesh Pattni, the same man who grounded the Kenyan economy, to smuggle foreign gold into Zimbabwe and freely trade it with Fidelity Printers?

    It is open public knowledge that Kenya will now take 90 years to recover, all because of this individual who also used to trade with Grace Mugabe and her husband, the former president.

    2. How has Mr Kamlesh Pattni been allowed to smuggle out $59 million dollars hard currency stashed in suitcases in Feb to July this year alone?

    I have all the records including bank statements, cash books and passport stamps.

    3. What safeguards are there to ensure that this imported gold is authentic? Mr Paul Pattni is well known for previously trading in fake minerals and he once grounded the Kenyan economy doing this.

    I briefly spoke with him last night at 9pm and he is safe and continues untouched in Zimbabwe. (The investigstion has been carried out LIVE )

    My impeccable sources are willing to testify in court in Harare and we have piles of hard documentation to prove this investigation’s findings.”

  3. “Rio Tinto Forced To Stop Operations After RBZ Allowed A Kenyan Crook To Swindle Zimbabwe’s Last Remaining Forex Reserves”

  4. “This is the latest Press Release from RioZim Limited
    “Regarding the failure by Fidelity Printers and Refiners (Private) Limited (A subsidiary ofThe Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe) to pay foreign currency nostro for gold delivered.

    The Purpose of this Press release is for the Board ofRioZim to update allshaaareholders and stakeholders of the status ofthe Company following the withdrawal of the Cautionary Announcement dated 10 October 2018.

    The Withdrawl of the Cautionary Announcement was premised the the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to provide the company with adequate foreign currency to meet its operational requirments and to enable the Company to resume operations after an involuntary stoppage in October 2018 . As part of its committments made to gold producers in November 2018 to support their operations, the Reserve Bank undertook to allow all gold producers to maintain 55% of their export earnings in their foreign currency nostro accounts and to increase export incentives on all minerals. Notwithstanding these committments, the Board of RioZim regrets to advisethat the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe through its wholly owned subsidiary, FIDELITY PRINTERS AND REFINERS (PRIVATE) LIMITED , has been FAILING TO MAKE THESE COMMITTMENTS. As ofdate the Company experienced significant and persistent delays in payment of its foreign currency allocation for deliveries made to Fidelity Printers (Private) Limited since DECEMBER 2018 and this has severely affected the viability of the company’s operations and consequently,the company has been recently FORCED ONCE AGAIN to involuntarily suspend production across all THREE of its gold mines, pending FULL PAYMENT of its foreign exchange proceeds which it requires to procure the necessary consumables needed to keep gold production running. As per the company’s reviewed half year financial statments for the periodending 30 June 2018, the gold business contributed circa 90% of the company’s revenue. Therefore, the current stoppage in production has a material impact on the company’s performance .

    In the interim, as a result of the above , the company is currently engaging the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, Chamber of Mines and other authorities in Zimbabwe to ezxpediently resolve this matter.

    In the event that these engagements are unable to yield any position Resolution to the matter had hand within the immediate future and production at all the gold mines remain SUSPENDED INDEFINITELY.

    The Board shalll proceed toduly notify al lshareholders and the investing public by way offormal Cautionary Announcement”

  5. This is a latest article onthis Pattni an asian kenyan
    “Kamlesh Pattni who is widely accused of being the architect of Kenya’s most brazen looting of public coffers in which Sh100 billion was lost in a gold importing scam is facing similar accusations in Zimbabwe where he relocated to in 2006.
    Pattni who shot to infamy in the 1990s through the Goldenberg saga where he made fictitious imports and exports of gold, replicated his thieving ways in Harare where authorities are now astonished by the semblance of ideas on how to earn the country some foreign currency amid biting shortages that have dogged the country’s economy since 2016.
    The businessman now finds himself at the centre of graft investigation in Harare as president Emmerson Mnangagwa, who campaigned in July last year for Zimbabwe’s presidency on platform of ending corruption, goes after the big fish who have looted the country dry.
    The Mnangagwa’s administration is struggling to overcome the national economic destruction wreaked on Zimbabwe over three decades under Robert Mugabe. This included profligate spending, immense debt pileup, colossal corruption, and ravaging of the country’s once immensely productive agricultural sector.
    Last week Uhuru Kenyatta met Mnangagwa’s special envoy Perence Shiri. Weekly Citizen could not establish if Pattni’s name featured in the discussion. The envoy praised Uhuru’s leadership saying it has enhanced bilateral relations between Kenya and Zimbabwe as well as many other nations across the continent.
    Insiders aver that a company owned by Pattni, Suzan General Trading is among those being investigated by Harare authorities over theft of gold and other mineral worth billions of shillings which has contributed to the near collapse of the country’s economy.
    Pattni according to highly placed sources relocated to Zimbabwe where he established a thriving business using political connections.
    Sources say on landing in Harare in 2006, Pattni forged close ties with among others the then .

    With Mujuru’s help, Pattni got rights to manage the duty-free shops in Harare.
    Mujuru was appointed vice president by Mugabe in 2004.
    But in 2014, Mugabe sacked Mujuru as vice president and accused her and her cabal of planning to assassinate him. After firing Mujuru, Mugabe appointed Mnangagwa as vice president but later fired him.
    Mnangagwa, a former director of intelligence and architect of Mugabe’s most brutal crackdowns on dissent, who is nicknamed “the Crocodile” for his ruthlessness, last year took over as Zimbabwe’s president after the military forced Mugabe to resign. He later won the presidency in last year’s general election.
    But before Mujuru was sacked, she had parted ways with Pattni due to the businessman greed which saw him demand half of the profits.
    Through Mujuru’s influence, Pattni had started running duty-free shops in Zimbabwe before venturing into Kinshasha in DRC and Durban in South Africa.
    Things started going wrong for Pattni in July 2017 when his brother, believed to be his righthand man, Mukesh Mansukhalal Vaya was arrested together with three others — Farid Shahadat, Ryan Gregory Joseph and Delny Deanna Ashley — and booked at Borrowdale Police Station in Harare.
    But they were eventually released giving credence to rumours that Pattni had teamed up with another big shot in Zimbabwe government.
    Insiders add that when his brother was arrested, Pattni bribed Zimbabwe officials to release him and other accomplices in the theft of the $5 million gold.
    The five men linked to Suzan General Trading were released with the government saying they were its agents and partners.
    To facilitate the theft, sources claim, Pattni registered a Dubai-based outfit, Fidelity Printers and Refiners to ostensibly buy gold to help the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe boost its gold reserves
    Recently, FPR general manager Fradreck Kunaka was quoted by a Zambia newspaper saying “Suzan had a buying licence, which expired in April 2018 and the gold company was among a small band of dealers bringing in $16 million to $20 million monthly ― in cash ― to buy bullion from artisanal miners”.
    “The entity used to buy gold and deliver… around five kilogrammes per month prior to the expiry of the licence,” he said.
    But opponents rail at Pattni and his associates for running a scheme almost similar to the Goldenberg International scandal that rocked Kenya in the early 1990s while his sympathisers say he had actually helped the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe subsidiary in boosting its gold reserves.
    Amid persistent links to Suzan, the controversial merchant vehemently denied involvement in the gold and cash scandal, and owning any shares in the company controlled by Mukesh Mansukhalal Vaya.
    The latter also owns Africa Duty Free Investments in Zimbabwe.
    Through its special arrangements with the government-owned entity, the Dubai-based commodities trader would buy the mineral off the high street and deliver it for processing at FPR, and another Central Bank-owned company Aurex (Private) Limited before exporting value-added jewellery, they said.
    Pattni’s controversial past saw him being tried for an export compensation scheme during Daniel Moi tenure that has always given quite a number of people and competitors the “chills” about his intentions.
    But Pattni, who now calls himself “Brother Paul”, denies claims he was arrested and detained in Zimbabwe in July last year.
    Reports indicate that police in Zimbabwe recovered Sh400 million in cash and 98 kilogrammes of gold in suitcases at Kamlesh’s residence in Borrowdale, Harare and as well arrested Vaya alongside d Shahadat, Joseph and Deanna.
    Police in Zimbabwe said they suspected they were trying to smuggle the cash and gold out of Zimbabwe.”