THE curtain has come down on 2013, a year which had intrigue that would make a sizzling Western movie in the mould of legendary director Sergio Leon’s The Good, Bad and the Ugly.
The year saw an end to the Government of National Unity, a marriage of convenience between Zanu PF, the MDC-T and MDC; a landslide, if controversial, victory for President Robert Mugabe and his party in the July 31 polls; a recycled cabinet; worsening liquidity crunch; an ailing banking sector, and the passing on of global icon Nelson Mandela. The following are some of the highlights of 2013:
January: Tetrad Investment Bank applies for commercial banking licence.
February: It emerges electronics giant Phillips is eyeing a comeback into Zimbabwe after almost a decade in oblivion.
March: NMBZ Holdings shareholders okay, among other things, the placement of shares with a foreign investor in the financial services group.
Hunyani divests out of Softex.
April: PG Industries completes the disposal of its stake in Mutare Board and Doors.
Former Zimnat boss Oliver Mtasa takes over as chairperson of Afre Corporation from respected lawyer Innocent Chagonda in line with National Social Security Authority (Nssa)’s resolution that its directors should not chair boards of companies the fund has shareholding in.
Bindura Nickel Corporation Ltd announces that the first shipment of nickel concentrate from its Trojan Nickel mine was dispatched.
November: Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono steps down from the central bank after 10 years at the helm.
December: Bindura Nickel Corporation returns to profitability with a profit of US$3,3 million in the six months to September 30 from a loss of US$7,9 million last year on the back of increased production at its Trojan Mine.
January: Vice-President John Nkomo dies after a long battle with cancer.
Mugabe’s wife, Grace, takes over the bulk of Interfresh Holdings Ltd’s prime Mazowe Citrus Estate.
February: Meikles Limited chairperson John Moxon is exposed as the mysterious donor of several vehicles worth millions of US dollars to Zanu PF.
Tongaat Hullet’s Triangle empowerment compliance plan is shot down by government.
Sixty companies in Bulawayo are said to be on the verge of collapse.
March: Indigenisation minister Saviour Kasukuwere orders foreign-owned banks to comply with the controversial 51% empowerment requirement, triggering a series of run-ins with Gono and others opposed to the move.
April: Human rights defender Beatrice Mtetwa is arrested on charges of obstructing the course of justice.
AMG Global Chartered Accountants boss Afaras Gwaradzimba comes under fire for his role in the liquidation of Sagit Stockbrokers, amid allegations he could have inflated the asset base of the securities trading firm to get a handsome payout for his services as liquidator, to the prejudice of creditors.
May: Former journalist Jealousy Mawarire files a Constitutional Court case to hold elections by June 29 under suspicious circumstances.
Nelson Mandela is hospitalised for treatment of a recurring lung infection.
July: Elections are held on the 31st, marking the end of a unity government credited with bringing stability to a collapsing economy in 2009.
August: Mugabe’s landslide election victory triggers trepidation in Zimbabwe as people rush to make bulk purchases.
The mainstream index lost a solid 11,09% on the day trimming down the year-to-date return in a single day from 51,72 to 34,89%. Market capitalisation fell by a strong US$626,33 million to US$5,41 billion.
September: Tinopona Katsande’s sex tape goes viral and story is reported by H-Metro. She is suspended from her job with ZiFM.
October: Hopes of a quick economic turnaround under the new Zanu PF government are further dampened as it emerged that a Nssa Harare Regional Employer Closures and Registrations Report for the period July 2011 to July 2013 shows 711 companies in Harare closed down, rendering 8 336 individuals jobless.
In the same month, Mugabe recycles the same personnel derided as “deadwood” when he finally announces a cabinet mostly comprising the Zanu PF old guard. A case of old wine in new bottles.
December: Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s anti-apartheid icon, dies aged 95.
January: Zimbabwe Electoral Commission chairperson Justice Simpson Mutambanengwe resigns from the commission amid indications he could have been pushed out of the electoral body for his outspokenness and independent views by a Zanu PF clique that viewed him as a danger to their political survival ahead of elections.
March: Curriculum vitaes of individuals seeking election into public office on behalf of Tsvangirai’s MDC-T were found floating in Odzi River, Manicaland province.
May: The Supreme Court orders Mugabe to proclaim a date for general elections, saying the poll must come no later than July.
June: Mugabe fast-tracks changes to electoral laws, and unilaterally proclaims July 31 as the election date, enraging his arch-rival, former premier Tsvangirai, who responded by filing an urgent application at the Constitutional Court challenging the move.
July: Nssa directors convene an urgent meeting to compel a fellow member — Joseph Kanyekanye — to step down from the board of Capital Bank in line with a board resolution that the fund’s directors do not chair boards of companies where they have shareholding.
Kanyekanye eventually steps down from the boards of Capital Bank and Rainbow Tourism Group.
August: Mugabe’s landslide victory courts controversy as it emerged that a shadowy Israeli security company — Nikuv International Projects Ltd — played a key role in allegedly securing a Zanu PF win.
The situation is exacerbated after it emerges Mugabe met Nikuv CEO Emmanuel Antebi and other senior Zanu PF officials a day before the elections. A series of controversial payments to Nikuv spanning a six-month period from February 4 to July 30 amounting to more than US$10 million were made by Registrar-General Tobaiwa Mudede’s office into an FBC Bank account are unearthed.
A few days after a shock defeat at the hands of Mugabe, Tsvangirai’s marriage was thrown into a crisis after revelations his wife, Elizabeth Macheka, exchanged intimate SMS conversations with her former husband just months after their wedding last September.
An estimated US$1 billion is withdrawn from banks in panic after Mugabe’s victory.
October: In a landmark ruling likely to send shockwaves in the banking sector, the Supreme Court orders Standard Chartered bank to pay back a client’s funds which it surrendered to the RBZ following Gono’s directive six years ago.
December: Transport minister Obert Mpofu’s business empire in trouble as Allied Bank manager gets beaten up by soldiers and other depositors seeking to withdraw funds.
Former adviser to Gono, Munyaradzi Kereke, files a constitutional application challenging the Anti-Corruption Commission for its failure to investigate Gono.
Trust Bank licence is revoked amid allegations of abuse of depositors’ funds.
Herald editor Caeser Zvayi is sent home on forced leave over a story headlined Gono, Biti ties raise suspicion which was described by Information minister Jonathan Moyo as “based on emotive and false assertions that smacked of a hidden political agenda with nothing to do with the legal case”.