HomeBusiness DigestThe good, the bad and the ugly of 2009

No quick Ariston dividend for Afrifresh

THE year has come to a close with the stuff that would make another good Western clip in the league of legendary director Sergio Leon’s The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.

Marriages of convenience, specifications, MDC-T compromises and later disengagement from the government of national unity were some of the highlights of the year.
Business magnates John Moxon and Nigel Chanakira spend the better part of the year at each other’s throats.

The good
In January, then acting Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa officially announces the use of multi-currencies in a bid to contain inflation and restore stability to the economy.  The move works.
In February, political rivals — President Robert Mugabe and MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai — finally form a government of national unity, almost five months after inking the global political agreement.
In March, Mugabe launches the Short-Term Emergency Recovery Programme (Sterp), a supposed know-it-all economic blueprint.
On the business front, mobile phone operator, Econet, invests US$94 million in its Zimbabwean operation to boost capacity.
In April, Tsvangirai visits the EU and US to bridge severed diplomatic ties with the international community but the trip is downplayed by state media.
In September, the International Monetary Fund releases US$510 million to Zimbabwe in Special Drawing Rights.
In the same month, the Supreme Court of Zimbabwe stays permanently the prosecution of former television news anchor and human rights activists Jestina Mukoko and others after ruling that they were unlawfully arrested and tortured by state spies for allegedly trying to topple Mugabe’s government.
In November, Zimbabwe and South Africa finally sign a long-mooted Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement with the Zimbabwe government promising to respect property rights in a bid to shake off doubts over the country’s high risk perception.
The battle between Moxon and Chanakira to control Kingdom Meikles Ltd (KML) is settled after the two protagonists agree on the finer details of the company’s demerger.
In December, TN Financial Services announces plans to reverse-list Tedco Ltd, the fist such announcement of a major deal on the ZSE.
The deal will see the emergence of TN Financial Holdings, a new entrant on the financial services scene strongly aided by Tedco’ branch network.
Finance minister Tendai Biti projects the economy will grow by 7% next year.
John Nkomo elevated to party and national vice-president.

The bad
From March and for the better part of the year, farm invasions continued.
In June, Deputy Youth minister Thamsanga Mhlangu is arrested for stealing former farm invasions commander and war veterans leader Joseph Chinotimba’s cellphone — a Nokia 1110. Mhlangu denies stealing Chinotimba’s cellphone.
He is later acquitted.
In October, Chanakira is airlifted to South Africa after being overwhelmed by stress.
A few weeks later, Econet Capital — an Econet Wireless investment vehicle — sells its 10% stake in KML to a consortium led by Rainbow Tourism Group (RTG) CEO Chipo Mtasa, Temba Mliswa and Philip Chiyangwa.
A few days later, Chanakira emerges with a 49% stake in KFHL after cornering Moxon politically.
The move to exit KML leaves Chanakira without any backing in his fight with
In November, Aico CEO Happymore Mapara is sent on forced leave but he gets a US$1 million golden handshake amid rumours that the executive would have dragged the temple along with him had the board decided to send him away empty handed.

The ugly
IN February, MDC Deputy Agriculture minister-designate, Roy Bennett, is arrested on the day he was supposed to be sworn in.
And Mugabe refuses to swear him in, arguing that Bennett faced “very serious” charges.
Vice-President Joseph Msika dies in August sparking a power struggle.
In October, Bennett is re-arrested on charges of attempting to topple Mugabe’s government. In the same month the MDC, citing lack of sincerity on Zanu PF’s part in resolving outstanding issues of the GPA, announces a disengagement from government.
After a fortnight of boycotting cabinet and government duties, MDC re-joins the unity government at the behest of the Sadc troika on politics, defence and security, which ordered a fresh round of talks.
In October, weapons of war, 20 AK-47s and a shotgun, are stolen from Pomona military base. The usual suspect, MDC-T, is fingered in the latest plot to destabilise government and an army major commanding the base reportedly commits suicide while in military detention.  MDC transport manager Pasco Gwezere is arrested over the arms and is languishing in remand prison despite the High Court granting him bail. The state invoked provisions of the law to keep him in gaol.
A new list of outstanding GPA issues balloons to over 20 further widening the differences. The new issues included the demand for security reforms, the setting up of the national economic council, the failure to kick start national healing, working relationships between Mugabe and Tsvangirai and land audit, etc. 
In the same month, the parties fail to meet the troika’s deadline to resolve the sticking points.
In October, a Bulawayo man alleges being sexually harassed by John Nkomo — a move seen as part of the dogfight for the vice-presidency in Zanu PF.


Chris Muronzi

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