The acquisition of Telecel Zimbabwe by government still hangs in the balance until payment has been made.
ICT minister Supa Mandiwanzira said “the best people to say whether government has paid or not is the seller not the buyer”.
“Ask VimpleCom whether they have been paid or not,” he said.
Government seized control of Telecel Zimbabwe after concluding a US$40 million deal to take over the country’s third largest mobile operator by buying out international telecommunications giant, VimpelCom, which ultimately held 60% in the local company.
VimpleCom confirmed having sold its shares to government on condition: “Transfer of ownership to Zarnet will occur after customary conditions are satisfied.”
Meanwhile, Telecel Zimbabwe has sued Telone for US$4,7 million owed to it in interconnection fees under case number HC11289/15.
Mandiwanzira downplayed the lawsuit: “That is normal business. If a company is owed, it has to look for alternative methods to recover its money. But we would want them to resolve such issues amicably and out of the courts.”
The International Conference on Aids and STIs in Africa (Icasa) has been occupying the news this week with memories of an earlier time.
This was an opportunity to recall President Robert Mugabe’s prejudice with his notorious “worse than dogs and pigs” speech.
Icasa promotes social values across the country. In 1995, government shut down an exhibit by Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe (Galz) at the Book Fair because it included gay participants. Mugabe was the guest of honour.
“Those who engage in such acts are insane. We cannot tolerate this otherwise the dead will rise against us,” he said in 1995. “Homosexuals are worse than dogs and pigs.
More recently, he took a swipe at Archbishop Desmond Tutu after the clergyman had said gays were nice people.
“Never, never, never will we support homosexuality in Zimbabwe,” Mugabe said.
Tutu said it was nice to be gay yet he has a wife.
Mugabe is struggling to come to terms with the new order.
The Icasa conference is attended by thousands of delegates including scientists and people living with Aids as well as government leaders.
In 2013, Mugabe denounced US President Obama accusing him of wanting to impose gay rights in Zimbabwe.
“Then we had this American President, born of an African father, who is saying we will not give you aid if you don’t embrace homosexuality. Even insects don’t do it,” he said. How daft can you get?
Excited about Xi?
This week Zimbabwe welcomed Chinese President Xi Jinping. He had an incredibly naïve article in the Herald this week. It said Zimbabweans were excited and happy by his visit.
Why should Zimbabweans be happy when they have no food. Why should they be happy when the farms are non-productive?
There was a fawning narrative by Hwange Colliery. It was a tribute to the State Procurement Board where everything seems to go pear shaped.
Xi deserves a Heroes welcome, the Herald said.
Our comment? Get real, Cde Xi.
“It’s now or never,” Didymus Mutasa ventured. He should know.
People demonstrating against Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko’s hotel stay deserve our support. Freewheeling state mandarins must account for their spending. Zimbabwe is a poor country and needs to watch its fiscal flows and set an example. Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa would probably agree. Imprisoning people for exercising their human rights is bad politics.
The same goes for sloppy presentation. Here are Muckraker’s least favourites: “Of course” — placed before virtually everything when nothing can be taken for granted; “Awesome” — as in “A truly awesome performance by the New York Philharmonic”.
These items should be confined to American teenagers, not civilised discourse. Count the number of “of course” you get in your next US news programme or BBC bulletin.
Perhaps the following piece in the Herald might release the disgust button when the temptation grows too deep. Awaiting the arrival of Xi this week we had this gem: “Historic moment beckons for Zim” Really? Who else felt it? Certainly not us! Can we curtail this nonsense.
Corruption not a sin
Corruption will never be a punishable sin in Zimbabwe. Ever wondered how quick those parastatal bosses are reinstated after being suspended for abuse of entrusted power for private gain.
This week government ordered that suspended CMED boss Davison Mhaka be reinstated amid indications the panel that conducted a probe into allegations of fraud against him was wrongly constituted.
Transport minister Joram Gumbo this week confirmed that he had directed the CMED board, led by Godwills Masimirembwa, to reinstate Mhaka as the managing director for the parastatal, but would not reveal the reasons why he did so.
Curiously, it would seem the more corrupt one is, the more they are likely to be promoted. Let’s look at some recent cases that have raised eyebrows.
Recently reinstated Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe chief executive officer and general manager, David Chawota — who is facing serious allegations of corruption — is again reportedly caught up in a series of fresh scandals involving conflict of interest, cronyism and tender irregularities in contravention of good corporate governance practices.
Chawota was sent on forced leave in July to facilitate investigations into alleged poor corporate governance matters at the parastatal.
In another development, it took ages for the fired Premier Service Medical Aid Society managing director Henry Mandishona to be shown the exit door after being suspended and reinstated with government approval.
One wonders at whose interests are these corrupt individuals serving because it seems its survival of the fittest in this vicious cycle of corruption.
Prophet Chinamasa to perform another miracle
TALK of the new prophets mushrooming in Zimbabwe then surely Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa would get a lot of followers following his microscopic vision that the Zanu PF government has no capacity to pay civil servants bonuses.
In April this year Chinamasa announced that there would be no bonuses for civil servants for 2015 and 2016 because the government was trying to reduce spending so as to revive the comatose economy.
He said the decision would be reviewed in the 2017 national budget.
Immediately for political expediency his boss President Robert Mugabe, reversed Chinamasa’s statement and urged him to find money to pay bonuses.
Mugabe sang from a different hymn book and said it was never agreed by his cabinet, and he arbitrarily pledged to pay the bonuses for the more than 400 000 civil servants.
Cabinet ministers followed suit and stampeded to endorse Mugabe’s political grand standing.
Public service minister Prisca Mupfumira assured the civil servants that they would get their bonuses.
“Nothing has changed from the statement made by His Excellency, President Mugabe, in April; we stand guided by that.
“Yes, we are facing financial problems, but we have to work out ways of making sure that our workers smile,” Mupfumira told a state-controlled paper.
“The uniformed forces will get their bonuses in November. For the other civil servants, the proposal is that we stagger payment because we don’t have the money to pay everyone at once.”
The soldiers’ November salaries were paid on the 13th, but without not only the bonuses, but also payslips.
“We received our salaries on November 13 and our authorities had assured us that we were to get our bonuses but up to now nothing has come and we are already in another month,” said the source.
Muckraker will be observing to see where the government will find the money to pay the bonuses, if they are going to be paid at all. But of course, Mugabe will have it his own way and force Chinamasa to perform another miracle if he wants to keep his job.
But who would want to lose such a post?