Date News
2021-10-17
*Death Be Not Proud

Curious Case Of SAS Mine Disaster* The air is still heavy in the dozy mining and farming community of Lowdale, in Mazowe An unprecedented chain of events which plunged the community of about 500 labourers and artisans into mourning, is still fresh on their minds On October 6, a mine welder died in the line of duty, when a gas cylinder exploded, the next day, six of his colleagues met their demise under similar circumstances On October 6, a mine welder died in the line of duty, when a gas cylinder exploded, the next day, six of his colleagues met their demise under similar circumstances

The deaths happened at a nickel smelting plant owned by Labenmon Investments, operating under the name SAS Mine Lydia Garwe, (left) wife to the late Munashe Amon says she does not know how she will take care of the baby she is carrying Munashe Amon (21) who was the first casualty, had just joined SAS Mine having been attracted by their relatively better salaries compared to neighbouring mines His mother Mrs Maria Muswati, said he had not tasted the fruits of his switch His mother Mrs Maria Muswati, said he had not tasted the fruits of his switch

“He had worked for SAS Mine for over a month, and was yet to get his pay He was looking forward to using the better salary to improve his conditions and take care of his wife “Up to now I do not understand why he was the only person to be affected by the gas explosion on the day he died,” she said “Up to now I do not understand why he was the only person to be affected by the gas explosion on the day he died,” she said

The family had to confront the gory nature of their son’s death, as his body spent six days being studied by forensic investigators at Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals in Harare “The way he died, his body was broken into small pieces “They had to search the whole field picking up his remains “They had to search the whole field picking up his remains

“No one should die that way,” said Mrs Muswati Amon was buried at Chitamba Farm last Thursday She hopes that the company, which provided US$800 to cover for burial, will help “My son left a pregnant wife She hopes that the company, which provided US$800 to cover for burial, will help “My son left a pregnant wife

I am hoping that the company will extend some resources to help the child” The last memory his family has of him was when he nicked roasted maize from his brother’s plate, while rushing to work Amon’s wife, Lydia Gwaze could not muster words to communicate her pain, she could only wail in silence sitting against the muddied walls of their family rondavel Amon’s wife, Lydia Gwaze could not muster words to communicate her pain, she could only wail in silence sitting against the muddied walls of their family rondavel

Amon’s nephew, Dickson Mulamba who works at the same mine said he is struggling to erase the image of what he saw “I was working underground when the blast happened We thought they were blasting or something I was called, and when I went there, people were commiserating with me, at this point I did not know what had happened Someone then said now that the relative is here, we can begin looking for his flesh, that is how I knew that Munashe had died “We covered his remains with tree leaves, as we had been told not to touch anything until the police arrived,” said Mulamba In mining practice, what befell Amon should have been enough to get the mine shutdown Mr Jairos Amon and Maria Muswati, parents to Munashe Amon who died in the first blast say they are hoping the mine will give a payout to allow them to recover from costs Mr Simon Faindani, the mine manager recommended that the mine closes as they establish what had happened, this was the same recommendation which was given by the Mines and Mining Development officials when they visited the mine on the day of the first blast “In my 37 years in mining, I have never heard of a situation where an oxygen gas has exploded So we decided to stop operations as we could not make sense of the incident,” Mr Faindani said The oxygen gas is used to cut metals during the nickel smelting process Unbeknown to Mr Faindani and the Mine’s Safety, Health, Environment and quality manager Mr Elias Dzangwe, six mine workers of Chinese origin, including the general manager and the engineer snuck into the mine and started working “We closed the mine on October 6, oxygen gas is used a lot in the processes and it was not safe for us to continue without a proper report on what had caused the first explosion,” he said It was to their surprise that towards day-end on October 7, they heard an ominous sound, similar to the one whose consequences they were at that point, trying to grapple with Their offices, from which they heard the sound, are about one kilometre away from the nickel mine “We were about to have a staff meeting here (at the office site) when we heard a loud sound We rushed there, only to find people gathered by the gate, saying there are people who have been burnt in an explosion “The cylinders, which had caused the first accident had exploded again” said Mr Faindani He said the families of the deceased will be given assistance “We gave families US$1 200 for the funeral and we are in the process of sending papers to NSSA so that they are compensated “As for monetary pay-outs, the quantum will be determined by the mine owners, but the families will be given something,” added Mr Faindani The Ministry of Mines and Mining Development is currently investigating the oxygen gas cylinders and the mine’s safety protocols A source confided to The Sunday Mail on how the second blast could have been avoided “When the first blast happened, the engineer argued that Amon had failed to handle the cylinder properly “They did not want to accept that there could be something wrong with their equipment,” said the source The mine, which was recently reopened for exploration after the first attempt in 2017-2018, is trying to find its footing “The ore was at a stage where it was about to spill Stopping operations meant there were going to be wastages “The general manager and the engineer thought locals were being lazy, and decided to go alone “They brought four Chinese general hands and convinced two local workers, one who had been recruited in Guruve and Victor Mufakose, whose homestead is a stone’s throw away from the mine,” said the source One of the working contingent on the day, Mr Victor Mufakose, escaped death by a whisker when a phone call saved his life When The Sunday Mail visited the Mufakose homestead, Victor had gone to work at the company’s office to process some papers, but his father Mr Victor Mufakose (senior) narrated how he was almost caught up in the crossfire “After the blast, everyone who works at the mine was sent home “I told my son not to go to work, as it was risky and it had been cordoned off by the police,” he said His wisdom was ignored “We went to Amon’s funeral and when we returned, my son was not here I tried calling him and he was not picking “That is when we heard another blast I rushed there, worried that my son may have been caught up,” he said He found his son by the mine gate, calling for help as one of the Chinese workers was heavily injured, but still alive “It could have been Victor, but I am told at the time he was called to hold a device called a flag near the mouth of the furnace, he received a phone call and walked away to answer it “That is how he survived, otherwise it would have been a different story,” said Mr Mufakose (Snr) There are questions which still linger among the mine workers and the community, some of which include: Will the mine take care of the families left behind? Would the second blast have happened if the directive to close had been adhered to? Was it proper oxygen gas in those cylinders? Answers to all these questions are part of the speculation in Lowdale, a community that heard the loudness of death on October 6 and 7 *SundayMail*

2021-10-17
*Evidence Piles Against Forex Saboteurs* Prosecutor-General, Mr Kumbirai Hodzi said the State has gathered more evidence against economic saboteurs driving the spike in the exchange rate on the parallel market, in a development that will lead to more arrests and prosecution of the offenders Prosecution of the foreign currency violators will intensify this week, leading to presentation of evidence in the courts, while the compilation of the offenders’ dockets is almost complete The State’s Crack Team, dedicated to dealing with serious economic offences is handling the cases The State’s Crack Team, dedicated to dealing with serious economic offences is handling the cases

In an interview with The Sunday Mail yesterday, Mr Hodzi said the State is tightening the screws against economic saboteurs “More arrests, court appearances and prosecutions of the accused persons and their entities are going on The investigations have yielded credible evidence and the compilation of dockets in some cases is almost complete,” Mr Hodzi said The investigations have yielded credible evidence and the compilation of dockets in some cases is almost complete,” Mr Hodzi said

He added: “Prosecutions are going to be fast-tracked through the five teams that have been set up at Harare Magistrate Court Each team comprises a minimum of two or three seasoned prosecutors working with Investigators Another Crack Team is being established in Bulawayo at the Tredgold Magistrate Court Another Crack Team is being established in Bulawayo at the Tredgold Magistrate Court

” Mr Hodzi said the blitz on currency violations, which started on October 7, is gathering momentum “So far 14 accused persons or directors of accused entities have been arrested In all the cases the State has managed to establish prima facie cases against the accused persons In all the cases the State has managed to establish prima facie cases against the accused persons

The total value of foreign currency involved in these cases runs into tens of millions” Mr Hodzi said the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) and investigators are working through a National Interagency Taskforce which is operating around the clock with abundant resources allocated to the operation In a statement yesterday, the Zimbabwe Cross Border Association (ZCBTA) secretary general, Mr Augustine Tawanda commended Government efforts to tame the exchange rate volatility which it said is being driven by corporate indiscipline, greediness and primitive capital accumulation on the part of industry and commerce In a statement yesterday, the Zimbabwe Cross Border Association (ZCBTA) secretary general, Mr Augustine Tawanda commended Government efforts to tame the exchange rate volatility which it said is being driven by corporate indiscipline, greediness and primitive capital accumulation on the part of industry and commerce

“The current lawlessness and madness in the retail and wholesale sectors can’t be allowed to continue as it negatively impacts on the lives of ordinary citizens and other vulnerable groups in our society ZCBTA is concerned that there are no corresponding measures being taken by other relevant ministries to curb this crisis,” said Mr Tawanda He said the Ministry of Industry and Commerce should conduct value chain audit on exorbitant mark-ups of basic commodities and deploy inspectors to enforce compliance He said the Ministry of Industry and Commerce should conduct value chain audit on exorbitant mark-ups of basic commodities and deploy inspectors to enforce compliance

“It should also create a hot line for use by the public in order to stem out this rot in the retail and wholesale sectors and also ensure that there is no major distortion in the price of basic commodities and other locally produced goods country wide The Ministry of Energy and Power Development should take robust action against fuel dealers who access foreign currency from the RBZ at bank rates but continue to sell fuel in United States dollars,” he said Mr Tawanda said the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Resettlement should protect agro-based value chains and urged the Minister of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprise Development to revisit the concepts of People’s Shops and organise direct access of good from local manufacturers respectively Mr Tawanda said the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Resettlement should protect agro-based value chains and urged the Minister of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprise Development to revisit the concepts of People’s Shops and organise direct access of good from local manufacturers respectively

He, however, appealed to the Government to open up space for cross border traders to conduct business within the confines of Covid-19 protocols given that over 300 000 traders have lost their source of income In a statement on Thursday, the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) urged authorities to work with business to implement solutions that are not heavy-handed, as the arrest of business leaders will destabilise the market “As we had stated in our submission, a heavy-handed approach to a problem that has its cause squarely in sub-optimal policy implementation creating arbitrage opportunities would be unsettling to the markets It is our considered view that the measures agreed at the consultative dialogue should be given time to take effect as they are going to most likely cause an adjustment of behaviours in accordance with their efficacy on the challenges being addressed “Essentially, at the centre of this is a policy correction, when policies fail we should not arrest people, we should correct the policies for efficacy” The blitz on economic saboteurs was launched on October 7, with authorities warning of more jail time for those caught in the net adding that the State will vigorously oppose bail for offenders who had become a security threat *SundayMail*

2021-10-17
*I Exposed ED, Says Chamisa* MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa says his tour of Masvingo that invited a backlash from Zanu PF mobs exposed President Emmerson Mnangagwa as an unpopular leader Chamisa’s visits to many parts of the province, largely considered to be Mnangagwa’s stronghold, were met with violence from groups of Zanu PF supporters who tried to prevent him from meeting MDC Alliance supporters Some MDC-Alliance officials were allegedly abducted by the rowdy Zanu PF members and forced to denounce their leader on camera Some MDC-Alliance officials were allegedly abducted by the rowdy Zanu PF members and forced to denounce their leader on camera

Chamisa told The Standard on Friday in an exclusive interview that the reaction by the ruling party to his meet-the-people tour showed that Mnangagwa’s supporters were no longer confident that their leader still commanded popular support “It is clear Zanu PF and Mnangagwa are not wanted, but use all those tactics to win,” said the MDC Alliance leader, who narrowly lost the disputed 2019 election to his Zanu PF rival “They use intimidation and violence to force people “They use intimidation and violence to force people

” Chamisa said he was humbled by the amount of support he was given by the villagers, who said they were ready for change “What surprised and humbled me is how the ‘Ngaapinde Hake Mukomana’ mantra is everywhere,” he said “You ask teachers, they talk about it, in the army they talk about it “You ask teachers, they talk about it, in the army they talk about it

“It’s like a common phrase in bottle stores, nightclubs It’s everywhere” “The feeling in areas I visited is that there is no leadership in this country” “The feeling in areas I visited is that there is no leadership in this country

“Even Zanu PF people are disappointed with what they are seeing “The political leadership is so unpopular and detached from the people” “They had a mythical view of Mnangagwa and now that he is in power, they are really shocked” “They had a mythical view of Mnangagwa and now that he is in power, they are really shocked

“Get it from me; Zanu PF is extremely unpopular and not people-centred “It is the biggest enemy of the people” He said Zanu PF officials were resorting to violence because they had realised that it would be impossible to win a free and fair contest” He said Zanu PF officials were resorting to violence because they had realised that it would be impossible to win a free and fair contest

“It (Zanu PF) is unelectable in rural areas, hence the violence you see Nobody beats up a person, who likes him like what Zanu PF does,” Chamisa added “After this tour, I now understand why they use violence and intimidation, especially in rural areas “After this tour, I now understand why they use violence and intimidation, especially in rural areas

” Chamisa and his entourage were harassed in Chiredzi, Bikita, Zaka, Chiredzi and Ngundu Zanu PF acting political commissar Patrick Chinamasa claimed that Masvingo villagers were refusing to be addressed by the MDC Alliance leader, hence the violence Police were also accused of failing to deal with the violent Zanu PF supporters, but the mainstream opposition leader said the law enforcement agents were constrained from carrying out their duties “Our police are also victims of repression from Zanu PF,” Chamisa said “You can even tell from their body language that they know what they are doing is wrong, but they are just protecting their jobs “There is a very concerted effort to conflate the police and Zanu PF when in fact the state does not belong to a political party” Chamisa said government workers and traditional leaders were also unhappy with the alleged abuse by Zanu PF “Traditional leaders are living in fear and lamenting abuse and being treated like mujibhas for Zanu PF,” he said “Those working in government say they are being forced to work as Zanu PF commissars “They say there is no separation between the party and government that is a big issue and they say it affects their standing in communities” He claimed that villagers living close to the border with Mozambique also expressed concern about vote-rigging during elections “I heard the issue of vote-rigging and that people from Mozambique have identity documents and come here to vote,” Chamisa added “They also spoke of the issue of multiple voters and it is a big issue they want addressed “We met doctors, teachers and other civil servants who spoke on the issue of dilapidated infrastructure, especially in hospitals, it’s decaying “They spoke of their welfare and how the government has neglected them,” Chamisa said Added Chamisa: “People have a lot of issues they are raising “I spent the whole week in Masvingo and they are saying they need a new kind of politics based on development, life-changing ideas “They are also saying there is need for their representatives like Members of Parliament and councillors to be accountable and accessible “Most of them are not People want MPs and councillors who are accountable to them, it is a big thing “There are issues to do with Chingwizi villagers where locals were displaced without proper alternatives “Women said politicians are taking advantage of their poverty and politicising food aid “Politicians are riding on the people’s poverty and saying if you cannot support us, there won’t be food for you Some of the Zanu PF supporters that waylaid Chamisa said they were not happy about his alleged role in the imposition of sanctions against Zimbabwe by western countries “On sanctions, people do not understand what they are,” Chamisa said “They said they just heard it from Zanu PF and they think it is a political party “They think sanctions are a political party that will challenge Zanu PF working with Chamisa to remove Mnangagwa” The MDC Alliance accuses Mnangagwa of trying to create a one-party state by closing the democratic space and sponsoring a rival party led by Douglas Mwonzora *Standard*

2021-10-16
*LONG READ: Marechera, Biggest Tree In Savannah* Sun-weathered, pirated copies of Dambudzo Marechera’s Guardian Fiction prize-winning debut, The House of Hunger (1978), can be found spread out on cracked pavements under the eaves of Harare’s shops, going for a few smudged US dollar notes A couple of years ago, as if it were the doing of a beneficent fate — perhaps an accidental archivist had suddenly discovered remaindered copies in an abandoned warehouse — virtually new copies of Marechera’s posthumously published novella, The Black Insider, appeared on the same streets In Zimbabwe, where mainstream publishing of fiction has all but collapsed — a mirror of the general decrepitude brought about by the late dictator Robert Mugabe’s rule — the Marechera legend has been kept alive by such unorthodox, make-do means: kukiya kiya, in the local lingo In Zimbabwe, where mainstream publishing of fiction has all but collapsed — a mirror of the general decrepitude brought about by the late dictator Robert Mugabe’s rule — the Marechera legend has been kept alive by such unorthodox, make-do means: kukiya kiya, in the local lingo

Now, the publication of They Called You Dambudzo, a confessional memoir by the German scholar Flora Veit-Wild about her relationship with Marechera, brings new insights to what was generally thought to have been a biographer-subject affair, but whose ballast, in fact, had been a tempestuous, disease-ridden love affair The new details in the memoir mean that, far from retreating from public imagination, the legend of the Zimbabwean writer, who died on August 18 1987 at 35 years old, will continue to grow even as we approach next year, when he will have been dead for as long as he was alive Marechera’s cult in Zimbabwe remains strong Marechera’s cult in Zimbabwe remains strong

In part, this is because Zimbabweans born long after his death realised that the conditions he wrote of in the title story of the book The House of Hunger — “where every morsel of sanity was snatched from you the way some kinds of birds snatch from the very mouths of babes” — didn’t cease at independence in 1980 Democracy came then, ending a torrid bush war, but freedom stayed behind In Europe, on the African continent, and elsewhere, new readers continue to discover a writer who upended the idea of what it meant to be an African writer In Europe, on the African continent, and elsewhere, new readers continue to discover a writer who upended the idea of what it meant to be an African writer

“I think I am the doppelganger whom, until I appeared, African literature had not yet met And in this sense I would question anyone calling me an African writer Either you are a writer or you are not Either you are a writer or you are not

If you are a writer for a specific nation or a specific race, then fuck you,” Marechera once said with characteristic caustic wit Yet even though the cult remains strong, the fascinating facts and, at times, disturbing details about his life are worth repeating here, because they are receding from the public memory; his contemporaries are dying off and the documentary biography Dambudzo Marechera: A Source Book on his Life and Work (1992), the single biggest fount about his life, written by Veit-Wild, is almost impossible to find in Zimbabwe and in the subregion (if you can find it on the second hand book market, it will not cost less than $50, much more than most working class Zimbabweans earn in a whole month) Dambudzo Marechera was published locally by the University of Zimbabwe Publications (the primary publisher was Hans Zell, a German publisher) Dambudzo Marechera was published locally by the University of Zimbabwe Publications (the primary publisher was Hans Zell, a German publisher)

Written over several years and involving some 70 interviews with family and friends, including Marechera’s mother Masvotwa Venenzia Marechera, and some of his siblings, childhood friends, classmates and lecturers from the University of Rhodesia (now the University of Zimbabwe) and University of Oxford, fellow writers and poets, people and friends from London and Oxford and his publisher, James Currey, it is an exhaustive compendium of the writer’s life and work Although by the time it came out it was common knowledge in Harare’s literary circles that the two had been in a relationship, the biography didn’t hint at their intimacy and love triangle (involving Veit-Wild’s husband); it focused on the man and his work In the introduction, she describes the writer as a “beloved friend” In the introduction, she describes the writer as a “beloved friend”

At home, in Rusape, where Charles William Marechera was born on June 4 1952, he went as Tambu (short for Tambudzai) Later, shedding his Anglo-Saxon heritage, he became Dambudzo — the noun form of the Shona word for troubles He was so named because, as family legend says, his mother carried him for 11 months He was so named because, as family legend says, his mother carried him for 11 months

The already desperate poverty in the family was exacerbated by the early death of Marechera’s father in an accident The tragedy pushed the family from their council-owned house into a shanty town, and his mother into prostitution For high school, Marechera managed to get into St Augustine’s, an Anglican Church-run school, where his facility across the arts — drama, painting and writing — was clear At A levels, he achieved three distinctions and a generous scholarship to study for a BA honours in English at the University of Rhodesia He was then a drinker, who spent a lot of his time at the students’ bar on the university campus Although he still read widely, guided by his own instincts, Marechera neglected his work; consequently, his grades were lacklustre Even then, it was clear Marechera was better read than any of his peers — his lecturers said he was by far the best African student they had ever had — and whenever he handed in assignments, his strong skills of analysis, originality and a creative mind were apparent Even in ordinary conversation, despite his speech impediment, his evident pleasure in words was palpable He was some kind of an alchemist, oxidising words created in a different, colder context, to make sense of his own situation in the far, tropical reaches of the empire On being expelled from university for participating in the student demonstrations of 1973, Marechera was awarded a scholarship to New College, Oxford He arrived at Heathrow Airport with “neither money nor personal belongings”; when Iris Hayter, the wife of the warden of New College, received a call from airport authorities about a certain black Rhodesian who had just landed, she told them: “Put him into a taxi and send him here” It was the beginning of a difficult relationship with the institution, which saw him sent down the following year His expulsion from Oxford was an enduring source of the writer’s legend, a self-mythology from which Marechera derived joy Two theories surround his expulsion from Oxford, the one being that he set fire to university buildings; the other that he was given a choice between accepting psychiatric help or leaving the university: “I had to invite them to expel me” Marechera’s stay at New College was troubled: drunken, obnoxious behaviour, borrowing money without returning it, and accumulating debts at the local bookstore “The final major crisis occurred in early 1976 when he assaulted students and members of the domestic staff, threatened to murder named people and to set the college on fire (he started one small fire); he was also arrested and fined by the police one night for being drunk and disorderly” When the college authorities offered him the choice of a treatment or expulsion, he agreed to see the psychiatrists at the local Warneford Mental Hospital, where the doctors concluded that he was “not mentally ill”, instead suggesting counselling He did not take up the offer After another outbreak of violent behaviour and a missed tutorial, he was expelled on March 15 1976 There is little doubt that these bouts of drunken unruliness, truancy from class and lack of application in his studies, were made worse by his stay in the forbidding and alienating ambience of Oxford — he was one of two black students who enrolled that year at New College But some of the strange, anti-social behaviour was already apparent in Rhodesia A family secret related to Veit-Wild by Marechera’s brother, Michael, might help to explain Marechera’s tragic trajectory In the legend, from 1850, a great-grandmother accused of being a witch was taken to the forest and tied to a tree However, her end would come — starvation in the wild or being torn apart by predators — her fate was sealed Her spirit had apparently wandered in those forests until a century later Towards 1969, Marechera’s mother, a descendant of the “witch”, lost her mind It appears the spirit of the “witch”, which wanted Marechera’s mother as its host, was visiting illness on her to force her into a covenant When she consulted a traditional healer, n’anga, she was told she could get rid of the mental illness only by passing it on to one of her own “She did not choose Lovemore (the eldest), because he was her favourite She did not choose me because I was named after a powerful ancestor whose spirit would protect me from such things She chose Dambudzo” In 1972, when Marechera was sitting for his A levels, he began to suffer delusions “He was sure two men were following him everywhere (Yet) only he could see them” He managed to sit for his exams by taking “many tranquillisers” Father Keble Prosser, St Augustine’s headmaster, said that Marechera “showed a number of signs of clinical mental illness, including hearing voices threatening him” “Subsequently, I felt he must have known what mother had done When later he left for England my bones told me he was running away from something,” Michael said, summing up what, if true, was a sordid instance of Shona metaphysics “When he returned to Zimbabwe he refused to see his mother — I now understand why It is difficult to explain such matters to those who do not know our culture But I feel this story explains why Dambudzo always said he had no family and why he saw himself as an outcast” Expelled from Oxford, Marechera began the next episode of his life in despair, a “homeless wanderer” What became The House of Hunger was written, in Marechera’s own account, in a tent by the River Isis, Oxford, in the kitchen of Stanley Nyamfukudza — his compatriot enrolled at Oxford, and a future writer himself — and in the home of other friends Just less than a year after Oxford, he sent a collection of the short stories (then with the title At the Head of the Stream) to James Currey, publisher of Heinemann’s imprint, the African WriterS Series He wrote back immediately to say he was “most impressed” by the collection Even before the formal acceptance of the manuscript, Currey sent Marechera an advance of £150 Currey’s enthusiasm for the work was shared by external reviewers of the manuscript; one wrote: “It’s as terrible a book as it sounds, raw and very powerful I don’t know another book about Africa that deals with the whole situation at such a level, except perhaps (Doris) Lessing or (Bessie) Head …” On its publication in December 1978, Lessing herself wrote of “the book (as) an explosion”, an aptly ironic description of the ceremony for the Guardian Fiction prize, which Marechera shared with the Irish writer Neil Jordan It was a fiasco Marechera hurled Chinese at the chandeliers, shouted at the attendees and was a nuisance For the US edition of the book, Lessing wrote the blurb: “If this is his first book, what may we not hope for from his next …” Yet The House of Hunger was, in popular appeal, realisation and critical acclaim, his summit — an achievement he would neither replicate nor surpass The next manuscript, published as Black Sunlight (1980), was accepted more in the hope that it would encourage him to write a “proper” novel But the novel Currey hoped for never came Currey complained to Veit-Wild that Marechera used to send him unrevised manuscripts: “Each one looked as though he’d blasted it out on the typewriter It was always a cluster of fireworks; there was always exceptional material there” When Currey received readers’ reports that suggested changes, Marechera was unable or unwilling to make them “This was the problem It seemed to me he had far more brilliance and exceptional talent than practically anybody else, but he needed to move on from this sort of amateur brilliance to learn the craftsmanship of holding an audience” In Harare, where he returned in 1982 for the adaptation of The House of Hunger by the South African-born British filmmaker Chris Austin, he found it difficult to get published Mindblast was published after it was first rejected by Zimbabwe Publishing House, which held the local rights of The House of Hunger It was the last book to be published in his lifetime The work — comprising plays, diaries and poetry — shows that brilliant mind, but it is uneven in quality The publishers’ rejection slips, which Marechera ascribed to censoring hands, were a source of his anguish “While he was disgruntled by the publishers’ ignorance and their failure to appreciate his style of writing,” Veit-Wild writes in her memoir, “he also wondered whether he was capable of producing a literary work with the scope and energy of his previous books” In August 1987, Marechera’s friends found him ill in his flat; he was emaciated and had only one, partially functioning lung In the early hours of August 18 1987, he lost consciousness and never awoke He was only 35, a victim of Aids-related pneumonia “In a way he was too old to live and too young to die,” was the verdict of the Zimbabwean filmmaker Simon Bright, who knew Marechera from London The Dambudzo Marechera Trust, consisting of the writer’s brother Michael, South African poet Hugh Lewin, and Veit-Wild, was set up The trust published the novel The Black Insider (1990); a poetry collection, Cemetery of Mind (1992); and Scrapiron Blues (1994), a compilation of his poetry, children’s stories and journals — one of Wole Soyinka’s books of the year in 1996 The posthumous books were all compiled and edited by Veit-Wild At the height of the cult of Marechera, Zimbabwe was sometimes conflicted with its most famous writer “I am honoured to be in Harare, Zimbabwe, the land of Dambudzo Marechera,” the Ugandan writer Taban Lo Liyong said, during the Zimbabwe International Book Fair in Harare in 1991 What these well-meaning, laudatory outbursts may occlude is something more revolutionary and far-reaching that Marechera achieved: that is, to lay the foundation of a whole new literature, in both Shona and English Many young, aspiring writers visited him in Africa Unity Square, a park in the centre of Harare’s central business district, where the vagabond poet typed away in his open-air, makeshift office Africa Unity Square, where these youths went to meet Marechera, clutching their manuscripts and notebooks — consulting him about publishing while paying no heed to the slander and disregarding the almost universal suspicion with which he was viewed by the literary and political establishment — is the real headquarters of Zimbabwe’s post-colonial literary tradition Some of these people include Robert Muponde, now a Zimbabwean literary scholar based at the University of the Witwatersrand, and the author of the recently published childhood memoir, The Scandalous Times of a Book Louse (2021) Muponde is said to have learnt to type on Marechera’s typewriter Then there is Charles Samupindi, the late author of the intense tragic novel Pawns (1990), the forgotten book about the betrayal of guerrillas of the 1970s struggle for Zimbabwe’s freedom I am not sure if the writer Phillip Zhuwao, who also died young when he had begun making a mark in South Africa’s literary circles, met Marechera, but the influence of the older writer on his work is clear When Dambudzo Marechera: A Source Book on his Life and Work, Scrapiron Blues and Cemetery of Mind came out, I was in high school When the school librarian ordered these books, I and a few other friends borrowed and read them with reverence and diligence It was impossible to think that this boy — this erudite writer who had gone to Oxford where he tried to burn down a library — was our countryman By then the Mugabe dictatorship was well established and, with the surrender of the founding nationalist Joshua Nkomo to save his fellow Ndebele-speaking supporters from the Gukurahundi genocide by joining Zanu PF, no sigh of protest could be heard in the land For this reason, Marechera’s dissident voice — this phrase is used flippantly these days — was prophetic Apart from Marechera himself, we attempted to read all he had read and so, in many ways, Marechera was an alternative curriculum, one that digressed from nationalist imperatives and platitudes, and the examination-oriented demands of the Victorian-light syllabus then foisted on us Even some of the nicknames we appended to ourselves from those years were unapologetically literary; one friend — who tragically died young, and who discovered Fyodor Dostoyevsky through Marechera — went as Dostoyevsky These were monikers my high-school English teacher, Kudzai Ngara, now a literature professor at the University of the Free State, queried at the time Did we realise what heavy burdens we were taking on ourselves? he asked But we were naive, as one is when 16, and thought we could take on the burden — curse, even, now that I think of it — of literature Yet Ngara wasn’t just a check on my literary delusions, but my biggest enabler He loaned me from his own collection some of the novels that were not in the school library This is how I came to read the US writers James Baldwin and Richard Wright, the Nigerian Wole Soyinka, the Ugandan Okot p’ Bitek and many others Once, while returning his copy of Song of Lawino and Song of Ocol, I remarked that the Ugandan was “easy reading”; he gave me an important lesson on Africa’s oral tradition, observing that the kind of simplicity p’Bitek conjured in those stories doesn’t come easy In 2012, one of my editors at the Mail & Guardian, where I was arts writer, asked me to edit for length a piece about Marechera that Veit-Wild had originally written for Wasafiri She had often been asked, she began, why she hadn’t written a proper Marechera biography instead of the documentary biography; her answer — “that I did not want to collapse his multi-faceted personality into one authoritative narrative, but rather let the diverse voices speak for themselves” — was not the whole truth She really couldn’t write his life story without including hers Born in 1949, she came of age in the student upheavals of 1968, when she enrolled at the Freie Universität Berlin, the epicentre of the protest movement Like many others of her generation, she was asking questions about Germany’s Nazi past, in which millions of Jews were murdered It was in the strikes of 1968 that she met her future husband, Victor Wild, one of the leaders of the protest movement Wild was a conscientious man who read widely on how Europe had underdeveloped Africa, colonialism, and what happens after the end of the colony When Mugabe visited Essen in 1976 as a guerrilla leader, Wild was there and had a picture taken with him In trying to answer some of these questions — how the dominance of the centre over the periphery could be undercut — Victor and Veit-Wild decided to move to Zimbabwe A toolmaker by profession, Wild got a job as a technical instructor at a trainee centre for a Harare company It was at the inaugural Zimbabwe International Book Fair, in 1983, that Veit-Wild first noticed Marechera The next time was at a lunchtime reading in Harare’s central business district, where Marechera was in the company of his girlfriend: a certain Olga, a German woman teaching in rural Zimbabwe Veit-Wild and Marechera’s first proper encounter was “on a hot October” or when “Harare (is) in heat”, as Marechera would say October, the hottest month of the year in Zimbabwe, is historically when most suicides take place Veit-Wild had gone to chat to writer Charles Mungoshi about Zimbabwean literature at his offices in the Avenues, on the northern edges of Harare’s central business district Marechera happened to be in Mungoshi’s office at the Zimbabwe Publishing House where he worked as an editor Marechera sometimes went there to freshen up (some of these offices still retained the showers and baths used by their previous occupants) and warm up after nights spent under Harare’s skies; his sonnets clearly not long enough to cover both his feet and head “What a gorgeous visitor you have, Charles … Please, young lady, sit down” It was Marechera, who then offered her a vodka, which she declined But they had drinks later that very night “I felt good with him, though not infatuated … At times, he reminded me of a lurking animal” After a missed date, they finally met at a hotel on the outskirts of Harare where their sexual relationship began In the morning, when she told him she had to go back home — to her husband and two children — Marechera burst out: “What? You want to leave me here stranded? Surrounded by dissidents” In the Gukurahundi genocidal war, the armed militants Mugabe’s North Korean army unit were ostensibly fighting were known in popular Zimbabwean discourse as dissidents “Is this a trap? With whom are you plotting?” Marechera was paranoid, rightly so, as he was trailed and hounded by spies from the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) “Go and tell your colleagues from the CIO where they can find me” Not long afterwards, Marechera called Veit-Wild and, using one of his favourite phrases — “How can I put it to you?” — proposed that she leave her husband, bring her two sons along, and marry him She said no and the topic never arose again Yet Marechera smarted at the power dynamics of the affair “I was the one who allotted the time we could spend together Dambudzo went along with it, but the grudge that I was the one in charge rankled” He was still living on the streets, and Veit-Wild suggested to her husband that Marechera move into the cottage on their suburban property in Highlands, northern Harare The thinking was Marechera’s moving into a home with a proper bed, regular meals and space to write would do him good Wild “was very welcoming”; he liked Marechera as a person, and for his erudition Veit-Wild was moving between the two beds: the marital bed in the big, colonial-style house and the tiny cottage meant for black domestic servants For a while the unusual set-up — this transgressing of ancient taboos — held Forget sex across the race divide in a land in which former Rhodesian Prime Minister Ian Smith once vowed would never have majority rule, “not in a thousand years”, here was a woman taking on the polygamists at their own game (I doubt the word polyandry was known in Harare then) Yet it was not just romance Marechera, a brilliant critic and an avid reader of the luminaries of the category now known as global literature (he loved Salman Rushdie), was expanding Veit-Wild’s literary worldviews “Without me being aware of it at the time, Dambudzo was helping me, a newcomer to Africa, a white woman from Europe, to find firm ground on the minefield of how I was to approach Africa, Africans, African literature” Veit-Wild realised that Marechera wasn’t well and suggested that he seek help: psychotherapy He refused “No, thank you Leave me alone” Yet he couldn’t survive without other people’s help: those who bought him drinks and cigarettes at Harare’s pubs, and sometimes gave him a roof After losing his portable typewriter, his old friend from Oxford, Stanley Nyamfukudza, replaced it; the poet and scholar Musa Zimunya opened up his office, where Marechera wrote At the University of Zimbabwe, where he was a cult hero, students would sneak him into their halls of residence for a night or two “He seemed to think that he was entitled to be cared for by others,” Veit-Wild observes, “‘I am a writer The world owes me a living,’ was his tacit credo” When cohabitation with his lover and her husband proved disastrous — there was an incident in which cops became involved — Marechera moved out Together with another friend, the Wilds started paying for his flat in Sloane Court, on Herbert Chitepo Avenue, in the Avenues area of Harare The very thing that Marechera scorned, middle-class comfort — a flat, regular income from a job, medical insurance — would have made him a better writer, giving him space to write and revise But in Marechera’s thinking, middle-class comfort was equivalent to selling out “They all have their jobs, you know, all my contemporaries from university, they are civil servants or university lecturers or editors — they are selling their souls” In Zimbabwe, criticism of Veit-Wild began in the mid 1990s, when she returned to Germany to take up a position as African literature professor at Humboldt University If the tone of critique has changed, its substance remains the same: that, in her own words, “I had made money and reputation out of my affiliation with Marechera” The publication of They Called You Dambudzo is certain to reignite the generation-old debate of Veit-Wild’s role in Marechera’s life and work and the place of Europeans and the West in African literature and literary initiatives The US scholar Marzia Milazzo’s searing review in the Mail & Guardian is an extreme example of this new combativeness In Zimbabwe itself, critique of Veit-Wild has come mainly from the scholar Tinashe Mushakavanhu, who argues that, although the German scholar and, by extension, the European academy, do a lot to keep Marechera alive and visible, “they also bury him amid a sequence of affective and theoretical presumptions that take away his black agency and participate in a process of forgetting him altogether What we have is a carcass, remnants on which they built their version of the African writer infected by European philosophy and theory to a point where he has no identity and is unrecognisable as himself” Yet, in many ways, the most trenchant critique of Veit-Wild remains the one made in the mid-1990s by the poet and university lecturer Musa Zimunya If his critique has the most heft, it is because his relationship with Marechera goes back to 1973, when the two were students at the University of Rhodesia In Zimunya’s critique, published as a two-part series in the now defunct Parade magazine in December 1995 and January 1996, he traced his differences with Veit-Wild to an interview the German scholar conducted with him for her first book, Patterns of Poetry in Zimbabwe “Flora had already arrived at a conclusion, she didn’t like my poetry because it was borrowing too heavily on the Shona tradition, and it mattered little that she did not understand that tradition” Veit-Wild’s attitude towards him, Zimunya wrote, was “condescending, presumptuous and downright insulting”, adding that Veit-Wild’s mission was “to purge Zimbabwean literature of its perceived primitive traditions and its historical content” Flora Veit-Wild’s memoir, They Called You Dambudzo, published by Jacana Media, “reignites the generation-old debate of Veit-Wild’s role in Marechera’s life” In They Called You Dambudzo, Veit-Wild half-concedes her adversary’s arguments: “… I can see that Zimunya had his points I did not know anything about Shona tradition” She also admits that, even though her literary knowledge was quite sparse, “I still dared ask very outright questions and did not withhold my own personal views and judgments” In his critique, Zimunya also threw up a philosophical conundrum: “My literary experience does not tell me that Dambudzo would be forgotten without Flora and the so-called trust,” Zimunya argued But would Marechera be as well known as he is today if the Dambudzo Marechera Trust hadn’t been set up to publish The Black Insider, Cemetery of Mind and Scrapiron Blues — half of Marechera’s oeuvre? The fate of the late Charles Samupindi — the gifted author of Pawns and Death Throes, who died in 1993 — is instructive; Samupindi is virtually unknown outside of Zimbabwe’s literary circles and even in Zimbabwe his works are hard to come by Samupindi, Marechera’s own literary son, is, in effect, an orphan and lies buried in a metaphoric unmarked grave, with no name in the street So desperate is Samupindi’s fate that he doesn’t have even a Wikipedia entry Samupindi’s lot is not an outlier In Zimbabwe, there is no tradition of writing literary biographies, not even of celebrated writers To my knowledge, there are none on the novelist Yvonne Vera, Charles Mungoshi nor the poet Chenjerai Hove, now all late To what extent, then, do we owe the visibility and nuanced understanding of Marechera to Veit-Wild’s Dambudzo Marechera: A Source Book on His Life and Work and the other posthumous works? Somewhere in Zimunya’s heated critique, there was a salient point not fully explored: “As for me, I shall resist with every gram of my will anyone — white or black — who tries to convince me that I should shine the shoes of literary tourists” The term “literary tourist”, an interesting coinage, is at the heart of this unlikely trajectory By chance, a young German woman, a neophyte of African literature, encountered an important personage in African literature and ended up as the authority It’s an unusual arc, for tourists rarely take back home anything of value except trinkets and airport curio art What made this possible? One day, in 1988, Veit-Wild went to meet the recently appointed German ambassador to Zimbabwe with a request; she needed money to undertake editorial and biographical research on Marechera “Do write a little proposal for me, make a list of what has to be undertaken and a budget of the costs you foresee,” the diplomat told her “If it is not excessive, I might be able to help” The ambassador had then convinced the German Foreign Office to give her a grant and a 33-month stipend The funds enabled her to travel to Britain, throughout Zimbabwe, and elsewhere interviewing people who had known Marechera Would Zimunya or any other black Zimbabwean scholar have been able to just walk into the German embassy with this proposal and receive this money? I doubt it And of this privilege, her identity as a white German woman residing and working in the former colonies, Veit-Wild isn’t sufficiently aware In the poem Identify the Identity Parade, Marechera hinted, obliquely, at the big struggle over his legacy: I am the luggage no one will claim The out-of-place turd all deny Responsibility The incredulous sneer all tuck away Beneath bland smiles; The loud fart all silently agree never happened; The sheer bad breath you politely confront With mouthwashed platitudes: ‘After all, it’s *Poetry’* I am the rat every cat secretly admires; The cat every dog secretly fears; The pervert every honest citizen surprises *In His Own Mirror: Poet* Marechera is akin to a big tree in the savannah, certainly not the jacaranda that lines the streets of his haunts in Harare’s Avenues area — trees imported by British settlers from Brazil; nor is he the musasa tree he writes of on the first page of The House of Hunger; Marechera is closer to the baobab itself, muti mukuru, the big tree, providing fruit to the weary traveller, bark to the healer, and a nest to the birds of the sky — some of them migratory stocks that have flown from northern climes Whether vendors of pirated fiction on Harare’s streets; scholars in Africa, Europe and elsewhere; writers and readers across the globe, Marechera will continue to nourish us for a long time to come *Mail & Guardian*

2021-10-16
*Can Mopane Worms Save Us?* For as long as anyone can remember, mopane worms have provided a critical source of nutritional and financial sustenance for Zimbabweans, especially in the country’s southern most provinces In recent years, civic leaders and scientists have turned to the lowly invertebrate, enlisting it to help mitigate malnutrition and pondering its adaptation to climate change Now, the mopane has once again flexed its outsize power, helping buoy the economy in the cattle-ranching town of Gwanda, in the southern part of the country Now, the mopane has once again flexed its outsize power, helping buoy the economy in the cattle-ranching town of Gwanda, in the southern part of the country

In a good year, the rainy season in Gwanda is followed by a bumper harvest of mopane worms, which are in fact not worms at all but the leaf-eating caterpillars of emperor moths Hundreds of visitors are drawn annually by the promise of plentiful mopanes, considered a delicacy in Zimbabwe, Zambia, Namibia, Botswana and South Africa They set up elaborate makeshift camps, staying for days or weeks to collect, clean and dry their bounty before transporting it for resale They set up elaborate makeshift camps, staying for days or weeks to collect, clean and dry their bounty before transporting it for resale

Their mild flavour can be enhanced with a range of seasonings, and once dried; the worms can be preserved in salt and packed in tins, extending their shelf life for months or even years Visitors to the town of Colleen Bawn in southern Zimbabwe set up roadside camps in 2017 to harvest mopane worms In 2020, the mopane worm was the biggest in 20 years, says Violet Makoto, a spokesperson for the Forestry Commission of Zimbabwe In 2020, the mopane worm was the biggest in 20 years, says Violet Makoto, a spokesperson for the Forestry Commission of Zimbabwe

“They emerged in some areas where they were believed to have become extinct,” she said The rains were good “compared to previous years, which means mopane worms are in abundance,” says Sizalobuhle Sibanda, 23, who has a home in the southern part of Gwanda Travel bans prompted by concerns over the spread of the coronavirus helped keep the crowds at bay Travel bans prompted by concerns over the spread of the coronavirus helped keep the crowds at bay

“COVID-19 restrictions worked in our favour because it meant people from other cities could not travel and harvest our worms,” Sibanda says Mopane worms, known as amacimbi in the Ndebele language and madora in Shona, feed on the leaves of mopane trees, mostly found in dry, arid regions in southern African countries Long a source of sustenance, the value of mopane worms continues to grow Long a source of sustenance, the value of mopane worms continues to grow

In the face of drought, climate change and a harsh economic environment, a good harvest can help sustain Zimbabweans for the rest of the year, Makoto says Families both sell the worms and lay in a supply for themselves “Because the mopane worm is dried, it lasts families for months on end,” she said “Because the mopane worm is dried, it lasts families for months on end,” she said

Mopane worms are among a host of high-protein, low carbon-footprint insects now being studied as an antidote to malnutrition Some climate modelers predict that as the climate warms, Zimbabwe’s mopane forests will expand, more resilient than other species in the warmer, drier climate Canning and processing facilities have opened in Zimbabwe and neighbouring Botswana with help from the African Development Bank Canning and processing facilities have opened in Zimbabwe and neighbouring Botswana with help from the African Development Bank

But because the bulk of the mopane trade exists outside of formal channels, its monetary worth is difficult to capture – estimated earnings for South Africa alone range from $39 million to $85 million a year In Zimbabwe, estimated earnings have ranged from $500 000 to $600 000 a year, says Tarwirei Elliot Mutedzi, spokesperson for Mopane Worms Enterprises, which farms the worms for sale But Mutedzi says that’s likely a significant undercount that doesn’t factor in the vast quantity of worms exported across Africa and to the United States, Europe and Asia “The mopane worm industry is still largely informal,” Mutedzi says “Hence there is no accurate data to quantify the exportation” The benefit of the worms in Zimbabwe is seen most clearly in this informal economy, where they play an important role as supplemental nutrition for rural families and a valuable item to barter and generate income A study in South Africa suggests that harvesting mopane worms can account for one-third of household income there “Mopane worms, which occur naturally, provide economic value to communities as they are a low-cost and high-protein food source compared to beef and other protein food sources that need investments,” Felix Chari, a lecturer in the department of economics at Bindura University of Science Education, said “They are also a profitable harvest, as community members who harvest them supply rural markets as well as supermarkets in urban areas, boosting livelihoods” Rethabile Mlilo, a married mother of three, lives in Nkulumane, a high-density suburb of Bulawayo, Zimbabwe’s second-largest city On a chilly, sunny morning, she rises early to prepare mopane worms for sale “I have been selling amacimbi for about six years now and among my other wares, they give me the most profits,” she said Selling mopane worms enabled Mlilo to add two rooms to her rural second home and pay primary school tuition for her children As travel for worm harvesting resumes, the Forestry Commission is advocating for better regulation, both of the camps where people live while collecting the worms and the methods for worm collection and sale External mopane harvesters who set up temporary shelter in mopane communities often cause a health hazard because there aren’t toilets where they camp and people use the bush to relieve themselves, Makoto says Mopane campers also cause rapid deforestation because they cut down trees for firewood and to harvest the worms before they mature Coronavirus restrictions have prevented the impromptu camps, Makoto says, providing important relief that the Forestry Commission is aiming to build on into the future *AMH*

2021-10-16
*Can Mopane Worms Save Us? For as long as anyone can remember, mopane worms have provided a critical source of nutritional and financial sustenance for Zimbabweans, especially in the country’s southern most provinces In recent years, civic leaders and scientists have turned to the lowly invertebrate, enlisting it to help mitigate malnutrition and pondering its adaptation to climate change Now, the mopane has once again flexed its outsize power, helping buoy the economy in the cattle-ranching town of Gwanda, in the southern part of the country Now, the mopane has once again flexed its outsize power, helping buoy the economy in the cattle-ranching town of Gwanda, in the southern part of the country

In a good year, the rainy season in Gwanda is followed by a bumper harvest of mopane worms, which are in fact not worms at all but the leaf-eating caterpillars of emperor moths Hundreds of visitors are drawn annually by the promise of plentiful mopanes, considered a delicacy in Zimbabwe, Zambia, Namibia, Botswana and South Africa They set up elaborate makeshift camps, staying for days or weeks to collect, clean and dry their bounty before transporting it for resale They set up elaborate makeshift camps, staying for days or weeks to collect, clean and dry their bounty before transporting it for resale

Their mild flavour can be enhanced with a range of seasonings, and once dried; the worms can be preserved in salt and packed in tins, extending their shelf life for months or even years Visitors to the town of Colleen Bawn in southern Zimbabwe set up roadside camps in 2017 to harvest mopane worms In 2020, the mopane worm was the biggest in 20 years, says Violet Makoto, a spokesperson for the Forestry Commission of Zimbabwe In 2020, the mopane worm was the biggest in 20 years, says Violet Makoto, a spokesperson for the Forestry Commission of Zimbabwe

“They emerged in some areas where they were believed to have become extinct,” she said The rains were good “compared to previous years, which means mopane worms are in abundance,” says Sizalobuhle Sibanda, 23, who has a home in the southern part of Gwanda Travel bans prompted by concerns over the spread of the coronavirus helped keep the crowds at bay Travel bans prompted by concerns over the spread of the coronavirus helped keep the crowds at bay

“COVID-19 restrictions worked in our favour because it meant people from other cities could not travel and harvest our worms,” Sibanda says Mopane worms, known as amacimbi in the Ndebele language and madora in Shona, feed on the leaves of mopane trees, mostly found in dry, arid regions in southern African countries Long a source of sustenance, the value of mopane worms continues to grow Long a source of sustenance, the value of mopane worms continues to grow

In the face of drought, climate change and a harsh economic environment, a good harvest can help sustain Zimbabweans for the rest of the year, Makoto says Families both sell the worms and lay in a supply for themselves “Because the mopane worm is dried, it lasts families for months on end,” she said “Because the mopane worm is dried, it lasts families for months on end,” she said

Mopane worms are among a host of high-protein, low carbon-footprint insects now being studied as an antidote to malnutrition Some climate modelers predict that as the climate warms, Zimbabwe’s mopane forests will expand, more resilient than other species in the warmer, drier climate Canning and processing facilities have opened in Zimbabwe and neighbouring Botswana with help from the African Development Bank Canning and processing facilities have opened in Zimbabwe and neighbouring Botswana with help from the African Development Bank

But because the bulk of the mopane trade exists outside of formal channels, its monetary worth is difficult to capture – estimated earnings for South Africa alone range from $39 million to $85 million a year In Zimbabwe, estimated earnings have ranged from $500 000 to $600 000 a year, says Tarwirei Elliot Mutedzi, spokesperson for Mopane Worms Enterprises, which farms the worms for sale But Mutedzi says that’s likely a significant undercount that doesn’t factor in the vast quantity of worms exported across Africa and to the United States, Europe and Asia “The mopane worm industry is still largely informal,” Mutedzi says “Hence there is no accurate data to quantify the exportation” The benefit of the worms in Zimbabwe is seen most clearly in this informal economy, where they play an important role as supplemental nutrition for rural families and a valuable item to barter and generate income A study in South Africa suggests that harvesting mopane worms can account for one-third of household income there “Mopane worms, which occur naturally, provide economic value to communities as they are a low-cost and high-protein food source compared to beef and other protein food sources that need investments,” Felix Chari, a lecturer in the department of economics at Bindura University of Science Education, said “They are also a profitable harvest, as community members who harvest them supply rural markets as well as supermarkets in urban areas, boosting livelihoods” Rethabile Mlilo, a married mother of three, lives in Nkulumane, a high-density suburb of Bulawayo, Zimbabwe’s second-largest city On a chilly, sunny morning, she rises early to prepare mopane worms for sale “I have been selling amacimbi for about six years now and among my other wares, they give me the most profits,” she said Selling mopane worms enabled Mlilo to add two rooms to her rural second home and pay primary school tuition for her children As travel for worm harvesting resumes, the Forestry Commission is advocating for better regulation, both of the camps where people live while collecting the worms and the methods for worm collection and sale External mopane harvesters who set up temporary shelter in mopane communities often cause a health hazard because there aren’t toilets where they camp and people use the bush to relieve themselves, Makoto says Mopane campers also cause rapid deforestation because they cut down trees for firewood and to harvest the worms before they mature Coronavirus restrictions have prevented the impromptu camps, Makoto says, providing important relief that the Forestry Commission is aiming to build on into the future *AMH*

2021-10-16
*Granny Uses Football To Fight Vice* She takes more than 30 percent of whatever she receives from her Canada-based son to fund the activities of her own football academy 65 year old Gogo Mavis Katsande gets nothing in return but satisfaction For her, the ultimate victory lies in seeing members of her Greenlight Youth Soccer Academy who are mostly orphans and vulnerable children affording a smile at the end of the day For her, the ultimate victory lies in seeing members of her Greenlight Youth Soccer Academy who are mostly orphans and vulnerable children affording a smile at the end of the day

She has nurtured more than 40 players who have gone to make it at Premiership and lower division clubs over the past eight years But she hasn’t been able to benefit anything since the only contract her Kambuzuma-based nursery had with them was verbal The current Chibuku Super Cup leading goalscorer Bruno Mtigo who has netted five times for Ngezi Platinum Stars at one point was even sheltered by Gogo Katsande at her Glen View home The current Chibuku Super Cup leading goalscorer Bruno Mtigo who has netted five times for Ngezi Platinum Stars at one point was even sheltered by Gogo Katsande at her Glen View home

The soccer boots he used when he joined Central Region Division One side ZPC Munyati from where Ngezi Platinum snatched him, were bought by Gogo Katsande She claims no compensation at all although she will be able to recoup something for the sale of her current players as she now has binding contracts with them after registering the academy with the Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) “We now have contracts with our players and in future we will be able to get something if we sell any of our players,”said Gogo Katsande “We now have contracts with our players and in future we will be able to get something if we sell any of our players,”said Gogo Katsande

“But, our primary objective has ever been to help the youth move from drugs and other social vice, providing them with an opportunity to learn life skills while playing football “I am happy that we have been able to churn out talented footballers some of whom are doing well in the top-flight and some lower divisions “The likes of Admire Dzvukamanja, Bruno Mtigo among other players all came through this Academy “The likes of Admire Dzvukamanja, Bruno Mtigo among other players all came through this Academy

“We mostly take those members of the society who are vulnerable, the orphans, those from child-headed families and others “Our aim is to take them from the streets and help them shun socially-detremental activities like child marriages which are rampant in the high density surburbs “We self-fund the project as what we want to see at the end of the day are smiles on the faces of these children “We self-fund the project as what we want to see at the end of the day are smiles on the faces of these children

” Yet Gogo Katsande, never at any point in her life, including in the days when she was still a teacher, ever think that one day she would develop a passion in football development Living in Glen View with her family, she always wanted to watch movies although she would pay attention to some key football matches like the World Cup and Africa Cup of Nations Of course there wasn’t much she could do as mostly her family would press to switch to such events Of course there wasn’t much she could do as mostly her family would press to switch to such events

Her love for the game came about in 2012 when her grandson, Brandon came back home from a training session at a place called Mandundu or Chemhanza in Glen View 1 with some sweet news “He had just written his Grade 7 examinations and was in the process of looking for a place for Form 1 So this other day he returned from his routine training sessions at Mandundu So this other day he returned from his routine training sessions at Mandundu

“He told me that he had been selected as one of the beneficiaries of a scholarship program and was in line to be enrolled at Mt Pleasant High This is how I ended up accompanying him to the training ground as I wanted to enquire more about the scholarship “It was from the interactions that I ended up becoming interested in joining the amateur academy “Eventually I became more and more interested in the game The coaches who founded this academy eventually left for greener pastures and left me to run the project “Our coach, Malvern Mhonda works on bit-part basis, coaching a certain club which pays him and comes down to us because he loves the club and mostly he does it for free” The project has given the football world the likes of Mtigo, Dzvukamanja, Tafadzwa Chimoyo, Sage Mbirimi, Aaron Mafuva (ZPC Munyati), Tangwara Makumbe (TelOne), Leonard Jani (Whawha), Kelvin Mapingure (Herentals U20), Xolani Dube (Golden Valley) among others Internationally, another football-loving grandma has become an internet star after a video of her performing trick shots from her wheelchair was posted online Violet Slater, 85, from Telford, Shropshire, was dubbed ‘Gran-aldo’ after she was filmed volleying a football into the top corner of the net Her grandson Kodi, 11, has been sharing the clips to raise people’s spirits during the coronavirus lockdown They have been viewed hundreds of thousands of times after initially being uploaded by Violet’s 34-year-old son Phil She performs her trick shots in her son’s back garden where Kodi has a football training area Violet is filmed bouncing the ball off a net before scoring goals and chipping the ball into a bucket She also slots the ball into the bottom corner of the goal after threading it through two red gates At the end of the video Violet also manages to chip the ball into a bucket without even looking She says the football has given her new enthusiasm since her husband Harry’s death in 2017 from dementia She said: “It’s put the life back into me to keep on going It’s so exciting to know all my friends and family are watching “I get so carried away watching football especially if it’s my favourite team Wolves My deceased husband was a keen fan” It does not always go to plan as she can also be seen kicking a ball over the garden wall and into her own face But lockdown is giving her plenty of time to practise She said: “I don’t like to be beaten so I persevere until I get it right “I tend to stick my tongue out when I concentrate though, I have a good teacher in my son and grandson “I can’t wait to get back to practice to keep me on my toes — which as you can imagine is difficult in a wheelchair’ Match Of The Day host Gary Lineker retweeted the clip and said: “well played Violet” Violet’s son Phil is her full-time carer He installed the mini football pitch in his back garden so he could train with Kodi and Violet asked if she could join in *Herald*

2021-10-16
*Volatile Exchange Rate Symptom Of Mistrust* The volatile parallel market exchange rate being experienced in the country is a manifestation of deeprooted mistrust and lack of confidence in the monetary policy, as well as an increase in money supply through the payment of contractors and farmers, as well as a malfunctioning and rigged forex auction system Analysts are urging the authorities to depoliticise economic decisions Zimbabwe, which re-introduced the local currency in 2019, is experiencing serious volatility in the parallel market exchange rates which have adversely affected economic growth by creating business uncertainty, as well as increasing domestic prices Zimbabwe, which re-introduced the local currency in 2019, is experiencing serious volatility in the parallel market exchange rates which have adversely affected economic growth by creating business uncertainty, as well as increasing domestic prices

There are four exchange rates one meets when transacting goods and services: the official auction exchange rate (ZW$8855: US$1); swipe to US$ (ZW$180 to US$1; mobile money to US$ (ZW$200 to US$$1) and cash to US$ (ZW$165 to US$$1) Economic analysts, labour, industry bodies and business leaders say the parallel market exchange rate volatility mirrors the lack of trust and confidence in the market Economic analysts, labour, industry bodies and business leaders say the parallel market exchange rate volatility mirrors the lack of trust and confidence in the market

To preserve value, Zimbabweans are seeking to invest in property or buy US dollars, which they keep outside the banking system, because of lack of confidence in the local currency “It’s a dilemma that Zimbabwe is going through cycles of potential hyperinflation in a period of under two decades Because of the legacy issues, there is no sane Zimbabwean who is going to trust the Zimbabwe dollar no matter how much temporary stability we will attain Because of the legacy issues, there is no sane Zimbabwean who is going to trust the Zimbabwe dollar no matter how much temporary stability we will attain

So there are two things that the Zimbabwe government can never buy: confidence and trust,” CEO Africa Roundtable chairperson Oswell Bimha said “So it means people know that they have lost value somehow and others are still reeling from the effects of that loss of value So whatever happens, somebody tries to get where they will get the best value saving as far as possible So whatever happens, somebody tries to get where they will get the best value saving as far as possible

“Two, somebody tries to keep their value to themselves It means you will not take your money into the bank Three, that’s why you see this whole accommodation, it’s amazing how Zimbabwe is investing in housing, 99% of them fully paid for Three, that’s why you see this whole accommodation, it’s amazing how Zimbabwe is investing in housing, 99% of them fully paid for

“It means people are trying to lock value What does it mean? It means you have no savings culture in the economy It means you then lose, all deposits you get are transitory, they are transitory deposits It means you then lose, all deposits you get are transitory, they are transitory deposits

They come and go That is a manifestation of a deeprooted confidence and trust in the monetary system of this country” Economic analyst and academic Stevenson Dhlamini cited an increase in money supply, payment of farmers and contractors as major drivers of parallel market rates” Economic analyst and academic Stevenson Dhlamini cited an increase in money supply, payment of farmers and contractors as major drivers of parallel market rates

“A lot of money recently was created and that has increased the money supply Secondly, it’s the delay in the disbursement of bids in the (forex) auction system Inflation is just going up and it’s pushing the black market to also increase their premiums They take advantage of that,” he said “There is also decreasing faith in the Zimbabwe dollar People are now preferring the US dollar to the Zimbabwe dollar because of price instability The decrease in exports and that’s why the auction system is not having sufficient foreign exchange “The auction system is not adhering to the forces of demand and supply There are some elements of tampering with the pricing So the auction system is compromised in its stability to find the true value of the currency That’s also pushing people to the black market If only they can clear that backlog and avail auction forex on time and stop interfering with the true price of the US dollar within the auction system, we might have an element of sanity there” Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers (CZR) president Denford Mutashu said currency volatility has created confusion on the market and extreme cases were when the supplier or manufacturer, tuckshop or wholesaler flatly refuses any other payment for goods and services except USD dollars cash, which comes with sweet discounts to entice the retailer or wholesaler Mutashu said unfortunately most formal retail and wholesale players have seen their US dollar cash sales decline to less than 5% of total daily or periodic sales “This creates an unfair advantage as one is forced to compete with those that exclusively sell in US dollars directly to customers The preference for US dollars by suppliers is informed by the need to augment forex sources after getting an average 30% of foreign currency requirements from the auction market,” he said “There has been an increase in demand for US dollar cash payment for goods and services in the general economy, from rentals, fuel, utilities and salaries,” he said As the economy opened after successive Covid-19 Level Four lockdowns to the current Level Two, Mutashu said the demand for foreign currency has more than doubled Clothing retailers, hardware outlets and electronics shops import more than 80% of the goods they sell “The above paints the reality on the ground and should inform authorities on various approaches to be taken to address this elephant in the room Cost drivers have not been letting up and these are huge pricing determinants” Zimbabwe Chamber of Informal Economy Association secretary-general Wisborn Malaya blamed big corporations for driving the parallel market rate “They are saying the informal traders and illegal traders inflate the exchange rate But to be frank, how much is being generated by these people in the streets such that they inflate the currency to that level? A lot of money is being inflated by the big companies,” he said “There are big business players that inflate the money These are the ones that dictate the pace for these figures to start to change in the market” Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) western region chairperson Ambrose Sibindi said: “As workers we are very much worried because if the exchange rate is about 160 against the US dollar, it means their income is eroded” “Most workers don’t own houses, they are lodgers and we all know that a room in the high-density suburbs costs between US$25 and US$30 When you are having a family, you can pay between US$50 and US$60 for accommodation per month,” he said He said the majority of workers were earning less than ZW$30 000, while the poverty datum line is hovering around ZW$54 000 “It shows that things are not right in Zimbabwe for the worker,” he said As a way forward, Bimha said the government should depoliticise economic decisions “So, how do we proceed, how do we rectify it? Let’s depoliticise economic decisions Let’s go back to usage of stable currencies until people have forgotten For it will not be in the next generation, it will be in the next 10 years,” he said “We need to use dual currencies for the next 10 years until such times people are seeing value in our local currency Not legislating value, no Until they are experiencing it That’s how best we can go back to permanent stability “Otherwise anything else we are going to be doing it’s stop gap, it’s gymnastics and we will continue to have cycles of temporary stability and inflationary threats We then lose critical mass and time in terms of macro-economic stability and timing at the time where we are supposed to be benefiting from the global process of metals,” he said Dhlamini said Mangudya should tighten monetary policy, never increase money supply arbitrarily and also pay bids on time on the auction system “I think those would go a long way in improving the situation on the ground This approach of arresting people who hoard a lot of money using banks is not very effective Gideon Gono (former Reserve Bank governor) tried it before and we have seen it not being effective,” he said “It is part of the reasons that undermined the auction system in 2008 when Gideon Gono tried it So we have seen the effects of such measures; they are know Why are we repeating them when we have seen them fail in previous policy endeavours in a hard time inflationary environment?” Economic analyst Alice Chenjerai said the government needed to have transparent monetary policy and opt for a long-term exchange rate which will hedge against any risks if there is a fluctuation in the exchange rate “The government should reduce its public expenditure Public expenditure by the government mainly affects how exchange rates are fluctuating in the market Also, the political environment and economic situation for the country is also affecting exchange rate fluctuation,” she said Sibindi urged the government to utilise the Tripartite Negotiating Forum effectively and abide by its resolutions “I think to be honest, when our President (Emmerson Mnangagwa) came into office in 2017, he said he is a listening president We will expect him to listen to what we are saying How? Mind you we have that forum called Tripartite Negotiating Forum which brings in the government, labour and employers,” he said “That forum has proved to be the most useless It’s a toothless bulldog We are expecting that it should be the forum that should set the pace, where we dialogue and agree on things But that forum has failed to work and we are worried “This is why, as informal economy associations, we have collaborated to say we want financial inclusion in the country Why financial inclusion? Financial inclusion for the informal workers and traders promotes them to also have equal access to financial requirements for their projects or businesses to say they can go to a bank and access money,” Malaya said Mutashu implored companies and institutions accessing forex from the auction market to price their goods responsibly and desist from short-changing consumers and the general public He said the huge demand for foreign currency has meant players not accessing forex from the auction use internal sales and source the remainder from the parallel market “CZR therefore calls upon government and business to urgently meet and map the way forward as consumers grapple under the heavy weight of the exchange rate dilemmas,” he said “CZR also implores the government to set up an inter-ministerial committee to interrogate the foreign currency exchange rate challenges, abuses, manipulation and arbitrage and map the way towards stability as the parallel market exchange rate poses a great risk of declining company projections and bottom lines” Malaya, on the other hand, advocated for financial inclusion, saying through it, informal traders would not be given complicated collateral requirements for them to access money from the banks They will also not be given short-term loans at high interest rates “They will be accessing the money just like any other big companies and they do their business and become bankable traders That will remove the issue of saving their little dollar in the open space where sometimes the black market is ruling and then being blackmailed,” Malaya said He said financial inclusion will encourage informal traders not to keep money under the pillow, but bank it in the formal banks “When that happens, it closes this gap which is being used to say informal traders are abusing the black market rate The black market is being influenced by the big companies,” he said In a bid to address currency volatility, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), together with the ministries of Finance and Economic Development and Industry and Commerce, met with leaders of the business community this week to deliberate and find solutions to the volatility of the parallel market exchange rates In a statement following the meeting, RBZ governor John Mangudya said the parties unanimously agreed that while macro-economic fundamentals were sound to support exchange rate stability, immediate measures were necessary to contain the movement of the parallel exchange rates Mangudya said it was noted that the recent volatility in the parallel exchange rates was due to behavioural factors In order to address these negative behavioural traits, it was agreed that a holistic and collaborative approach was required, he said The RBZ chief said the government affirmed its commitment to continue supporting the foreign exchange auction as a dependable and transparent source of foreign currency in the country The RBZ, Mangudya said, undertook to continue tightening money supply under its conservative monetary targeting framework to ensure that money supply would not be a source of exchange rate destabilisation It also promised to accelerate the implementation of special attractive money market instruments including exchange rate-linked instruments as an alternative investment avenue for local currency to the holding of US dollars; review bank policy rates to curb speculative borrowing; refine and streamline the foreign exchange auction system to ensure that it continues to play its price discovery role in the foreign exchange market; and deal with the funding backlog of foreign exchange allotments and take appropriate measures to ensure that the backlog does not recur The Bankers Association of Zimbabwe committed itself to ensuring that all bids submitted to the foreign exchange auction are authentic; ensuring continued due diligence on all their customers and applications for foreign exchange; refraining from facilitating parallel market transactions through matching They also undertook to improving efficiency in the facilitation of letters of credit; enhancing reporting of suspicious transactions; promptly implementing regulatory directives on freezing of bank accounts for participants in illicit foreign currency transactions; promoting confidence in the banking sector by clearing the foreign currency backlog promptly; and improving oversight on bank overdrafts to ensure that broad money is kept under check The retailers’ associations urged the government to ensure a level the playing field in their respective operating environments by attending to the menace of foreign currency traders milling outside and around shops and trading areas; identifying and bringing to book funders of foreign currency traders; and dealing with informal traders operating without licences and sometimes outside legal or policy parameters The manufacturing sector undertook to ensure responsible pricing and to comply with the three focal areas under Statutory Instrument 127 of 2020 On their part, the government and the RBZ pledged to continue supporting the manufacturing sector by levelling the playing field to ensure that exporters obtain fair value for their exports *NewsHawks*

2021-10-16
Volatile exchange rate symptom of mistrust The volatile parallel market exchange rate being experienced in the country is a manifestation of deeprooted mistrust and lack of confidence in the monetary policy, as well as an increase in money supply through the payment of contractors and farmers, as well as a malfunctioning and rigged forex auction system Analysts are urging the authorities to depoliticise economic decisions Zimbabwe, which re-introduced the local currency in 2019, is experiencing serious volatility in the parallel market exchange rates which have adversely affected economic growth by creating business uncertainty, as well as increasing domestic prices Zimbabwe, which re-introduced the local currency in 2019, is experiencing serious volatility in the parallel market exchange rates which have adversely affected economic growth by creating business uncertainty, as well as increasing domestic prices

There are four exchange rates one meets when transacting goods and services: the official auction exchange rate (ZW$8855: US$1); swipe to US$ (ZW$180 to US$1; mobile money to US$ (ZW$200 to US$$1) and cash to US$ (ZW$165 to US$$1) Economic analysts, labour, industry bodies and business leaders say the parallel market exchange rate volatility mirrors the lack of trust and confidence in the market Economic analysts, labour, industry bodies and business leaders say the parallel market exchange rate volatility mirrors the lack of trust and confidence in the market

To preserve value, Zimbabweans are seeking to invest in property or buy US dollars, which they keep outside the banking system, because of lack of confidence in the local currency “It’s a dilemma that Zimbabwe is going through cycles of potential hyperinflation in a period of under two decades Because of the legacy issues, there is no sane Zimbabwean who is going to trust the Zimbabwe dollar no matter how much temporary stability we will attain Because of the legacy issues, there is no sane Zimbabwean who is going to trust the Zimbabwe dollar no matter how much temporary stability we will attain

So there are two things that the Zimbabwe government can never buy: confidence and trust,” CEO Africa Roundtable chairperson Oswell Bimha said “So it means people know that they have lost value somehow and others are still reeling from the effects of that loss of value So whatever happens, somebody tries to get where they will get the best value saving as far as possible So whatever happens, somebody tries to get where they will get the best value saving as far as possible

“Two, somebody tries to keep their value to themselves It means you will not take your money into the bank Three, that’s why you see this whole accommodation, it’s amazing how Zimbabwe is investing in housing, 99% of them fully paid for Three, that’s why you see this whole accommodation, it’s amazing how Zimbabwe is investing in housing, 99% of them fully paid for

“It means people are trying to lock value What does it mean? It means you have no savings culture in the economy It means you then lose, all deposits you get are transitory, they are transitory deposits It means you then lose, all deposits you get are transitory, they are transitory deposits

They come and go That is a manifestation of a deeprooted confidence and trust in the monetary system of this country” Economic analyst and academic Stevenson Dhlamini cited an increase in money supply, payment of farmers and contractors as major drivers of parallel market rates” Economic analyst and academic Stevenson Dhlamini cited an increase in money supply, payment of farmers and contractors as major drivers of parallel market rates

“A lot of money recently was created and that has increased the money supply Secondly, it’s the delay in the disbursement of bids in the (forex) auction system Inflation is just going up and it’s pushing the black market to also increase their premiums They take advantage of that,” he said “There is also decreasing faith in the Zimbabwe dollar People are now preferring the US dollar to the Zimbabwe dollar because of price instability The decrease in exports and that’s why the auction system is not having sufficient foreign exchange “The auction system is not adhering to the forces of demand and supply There are some elements of tampering with the pricing So the auction system is compromised in its stability to find the true value of the currency That’s also pushing people to the black market If only they can clear that backlog and avail auction forex on time and stop interfering with the true price of the US dollar within the auction system, we might have an element of sanity there” Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers (CZR) president Denford Mutashu said currency volatility has created confusion on the market and extreme cases were when the supplier or manufacturer, tuckshop or wholesaler flatly refuses any other payment for goods and services except USD dollars cash, which comes with sweet discounts to entice the retailer or wholesaler Mutashu said unfortunately most formal retail and wholesale players have seen their US dollar cash sales decline to less than 5% of total daily or periodic sales “This creates an unfair advantage as one is forced to compete with those that exclusively sell in US dollars directly to customers The preference for US dollars by suppliers is informed by the need to augment forex sources after getting an average 30% of foreign currency requirements from the auction market,” he said “There has been an increase in demand for US dollar cash payment for goods and services in the general economy, from rentals, fuel, utilities and salaries,” he said As the economy opened after successive Covid-19 Level Four lockdowns to the current Level Two, Mutashu said the demand for foreign currency has more than doubled Clothing retailers, hardware outlets and electronics shops import more than 80% of the goods they sell “The above paints the reality on the ground and should inform authorities on various approaches to be taken to address this elephant in the room Cost drivers have not been letting up and these are huge pricing determinants” Zimbabwe Chamber of Informal Economy Association secretary-general Wisborn Malaya blamed big corporations for driving the parallel market rate “They are saying the informal traders and illegal traders inflate the exchange rate But to be frank, how much is being generated by these people in the streets such that they inflate the currency to that level? A lot of money is being inflated by the big companies,” he said “There are big business players that inflate the money These are the ones that dictate the pace for these figures to start to change in the market” Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) western region chairperson Ambrose Sibindi said: “As workers we are very much worried because if the exchange rate is about 160 against the US dollar, it means their income is eroded” “Most workers don’t own houses, they are lodgers and we all know that a room in the high-density suburbs costs between US$25 and US$30 When you are having a family, you can pay between US$50 and US$60 for accommodation per month,” he said He said the majority of workers were earning less than ZW$30 000, while the poverty datum line is hovering around ZW$54 000 “It shows that things are not right in Zimbabwe for the worker,” he said As a way forward, Bimha said the government should depoliticise economic decisions “So, how do we proceed, how do we rectify it? Let’s depoliticise economic decisions Let’s go back to usage of stable currencies until people have forgotten For it will not be in the next generation, it will be in the next 10 years,” he said “We need to use dual currencies for the next 10 years until such times people are seeing value in our local currency Not legislating value, no Until they are experiencing it That’s how best we can go back to permanent stability “Otherwise anything else we are going to be doing it’s stop gap, it’s gymnastics and we will continue to have cycles of temporary stability and inflationary threats We then lose critical mass and time in terms of macro-economic stability and timing at the time where we are supposed to be benefiting from the global process of metals,” he said Dhlamini said Mangudya should tighten monetary policy, never increase money supply arbitrarily and also pay bids on time on the auction system “I think those would go a long way in improving the situation on the ground This approach of arresting people who hoard a lot of money using banks is not very effective Gideon Gono (former Reserve Bank governor) tried it before and we have seen it not being effective,” he said “It is part of the reasons that undermined the auction system in 2008 when Gideon Gono tried it So we have seen the effects of such measures; they are know Why are we repeating them when we have seen them fail in previous policy endeavours in a hard time inflationary environment?” Economic analyst Alice Chenjerai said the government needed to have transparent monetary policy and opt for a long-term exchange rate which will hedge against any risks if there is a fluctuation in the exchange rate “The government should reduce its public expenditure Public expenditure by the government mainly affects how exchange rates are fluctuating in the market Also, the political environment and economic situation for the country is also affecting exchange rate fluctuation,” she said Sibindi urged the government to utilise the Tripartite Negotiating Forum effectively and abide by its resolutions “I think to be honest, when our President (Emmerson Mnangagwa) came into office in 2017, he said he is a listening president We will expect him to listen to what we are saying How? Mind you we have that forum called Tripartite Negotiating Forum which brings in the government, labour and employers,” he said “That forum has proved to be the most useless It’s a toothless bulldog We are expecting that it should be the forum that should set the pace, where we dialogue and agree on things But that forum has failed to work and we are worried “This is why, as informal economy associations, we have collaborated to say we want financial inclusion in the country Why financial inclusion? Financial inclusion for the informal workers and traders promotes them to also have equal access to financial requirements for their projects or businesses to say they can go to a bank and access money,” Malaya said Mutashu implored companies and institutions accessing forex from the auction market to price their goods responsibly and desist from short-changing consumers and the general public He said the huge demand for foreign currency has meant players not accessing forex from the auction use internal sales and source the remainder from the parallel market “CZR therefore calls upon government and business to urgently meet and map the way forward as consumers grapple under the heavy weight of the exchange rate dilemmas,” he said “CZR also implores the government to set up an inter-ministerial committee to interrogate the foreign currency exchange rate challenges, abuses, manipulation and arbitrage and map the way towards stability as the parallel market exchange rate poses a great risk of declining company projections and bottom lines” Malaya, on the other hand, advocated for financial inclusion, saying through it, informal traders would not be given complicated collateral requirements for them to access money from the banks They will also not be given short-term loans at high interest rates “They will be accessing the money just like any other big companies and they do their business and become bankable traders That will remove the issue of saving their little dollar in the open space where sometimes the black market is ruling and then being blackmailed,” Malaya said He said financial inclusion will encourage informal traders not to keep money under the pillow, but bank it in the formal banks “When that happens, it closes this gap which is being used to say informal traders are abusing the black market rate The black market is being influenced by the big companies,” he said In a bid to address currency volatility, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), together with the ministries of Finance and Economic Development and Industry and Commerce, met with leaders of the business community this week to deliberate and find solutions to the volatility of the parallel market exchange rates In a statement following the meeting, RBZ governor John Mangudya said the parties unanimously agreed that while macro-economic fundamentals were sound to support exchange rate stability, immediate measures were necessary to contain the movement of the parallel exchange rates Mangudya said it was noted that the recent volatility in the parallel exchange rates was due to behavioural factors In order to address these negative behavioural traits, it was agreed that a holistic and collaborative approach was required, he said The RBZ chief said the government affirmed its commitment to continue supporting the foreign exchange auction as a dependable and transparent source of foreign currency in the country The RBZ, Mangudya said, undertook to continue tightening money supply under its conservative monetary targeting framework to ensure that money supply would not be a source of exchange rate destabilisation It also promised to accelerate the implementation of special attractive money market instruments including exchange rate-linked instruments as an alternative investment avenue for local currency to the holding of US dollars; review bank policy rates to curb speculative borrowing; refine and streamline the foreign exchange auction system to ensure that it continues to play its price discovery role in the foreign exchange market; and deal with the funding backlog of foreign exchange allotments and take appropriate measures to ensure that the backlog does not recur The Bankers Association of Zimbabwe committed itself to ensuring that all bids submitted to the foreign exchange auction are authentic; ensuring continued due diligence on all their customers and applications for foreign exchange; refraining from facilitating parallel market transactions through matching They also undertook to improving efficiency in the facilitation of letters of credit; enhancing reporting of suspicious transactions; promptly implementing regulatory directives on freezing of bank accounts for participants in illicit foreign currency transactions; promoting confidence in the banking sector by clearing the foreign currency backlog promptly; and improving oversight on bank overdrafts to ensure that broad money is kept under check The retailers’ associations urged the government to ensure a level the playing field in their respective operating environments by attending to the menace of foreign currency traders milling outside and around shops and trading areas; identifying and bringing to book funders of foreign currency traders; and dealing with informal traders operating without licences and sometimes outside legal or policy parameters The manufacturing sector undertook to ensure responsible pricing and to comply with the three focal areas under Statutory Instrument 127 of 2020 On their part, the government and the RBZ pledged to continue supporting the manufacturing sector by levelling the playing field to ensure that exporters obtain fair value for their exports *NewsHawks*

2021-10-16
*2021 Growth Rates Under Threat* Respected banking sector executive, *Israel Murefu (IM)* has completed his tenure as president of the Employers’ Confederation of Zimbabwe ( Emcoz) Murefu recently passed the baton to Schweppes Holdings human resources executive Demos Mbauya, who has to complete several important programmes initiated by his predecessor But Murefu’s tenure as the Emcoz president was eventful But Murefu’s tenure as the Emcoz president was eventful

He came in during a time when the Tripartite Negotiating Forum (TNF), which is a platform for business, labour and government to discuss pertinent national issues, became a legislated body During his tenure, Murefu also had to navigate the devastating impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has wreaked havoc on the country’s economy since the global outbreak at the end of 2019 The devastation resulted in at least 30% of the country’s workforce losing their jobs, according to estimates by business The devastation resulted in at least 30% of the country’s workforce losing their jobs, according to estimates by business

The World Bank estimates that up to 500 000 people lost their jobs in the country as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic This week, our deputy business editor *Kudzai Kuwaza (KK)* caught up with Murefu to discuss his term of office, the challenges confronting Zimbabwe’s economy and the power and foreign currency shortages that continue to blight industries Below are excerpts of their discussion Below are excerpts of their discussion

KK: You became president of Emcoz during a difficult period for Zimbabwe KK: You became president of Emcoz during a difficult period for Zimbabwe

Now that you have completed your assignment, how would you describe your tenure as president? IM: I would describe my tenure as eventful but successful because we achieved a number of objectives that we had set out to achieve on my election as president The tenure had its trials and tribulations but we had more successes than unfinished business although scope for further achievements still remains KK: What were the highlights of your term of office as president? IM: The highlights were the promulgation of the Tripartite Negotiating Forum (TNF) Act in 2019, the review and realigning of our strategic plan, collaboration with other business member organisations (BMOs), social dialogue as it related to Covid-19 disruptions, where, as TNF, we recommended the establishment of a stimulus package for business rescue from the devastating effects of the pandemic and its attendant lockdowns, promoting the current national vaccination programme, assisting business to adapt to the new normal, the creation of the Bulawayo chapter of Emcoz and participating at the International Labour Organisation conferences where in 2019, a convention 190 dealing with violence and harassment in the workplace was adopted as well as many other smaller but important achievements, which are too numerous to mention KK: What were the highlights of your term of office as president? IM: The highlights were the promulgation of the Tripartite Negotiating Forum (TNF) Act in 2019, the review and realigning of our strategic plan, collaboration with other business member organisations (BMOs), social dialogue as it related to Covid-19 disruptions, where, as TNF, we recommended the establishment of a stimulus package for business rescue from the devastating effects of the pandemic and its attendant lockdowns, promoting the current national vaccination programme, assisting business to adapt to the new normal, the creation of the Bulawayo chapter of Emcoz and participating at the International Labour Organisation conferences where in 2019, a convention 190 dealing with violence and harassment in the workplace was adopted as well as many other smaller but important achievements, which are too numerous to mention

KK: What were the major challenges that you had to deal with during this period? Were you successful in dealing with these? IM: The major challenges have been around the functioning and operations of the TNF, which are still not what we expected and in particular the lack of operating procedures and a secretariat to give effect to the decisions of TNF, failure by authorities to heed our call for tax relief to business related to expenditures incurred by employers in the fight against and prevention of Covid-19 We also experienced slow pace in the finalisation of the Occupational Health and Safety Bill, the Labour Amendment Bill and the Productivity Bill which are yet to be considered for passing by Parliament There are also issues of lack of consensus among social partners on the question of the best approach to minimum wage setting, the inconclusive reconstitution of the Nssa (National Social Security Authority) board as well as non-participation of business and labour in sub-committees of the National Task Force on Covid-19 There are also issues of lack of consensus among social partners on the question of the best approach to minimum wage setting, the inconclusive reconstitution of the Nssa (National Social Security Authority) board as well as non-participation of business and labour in sub-committees of the National Task Force on Covid-19

However, most of these issues are still work in progress and I hope they will gather traction and momentum within this coming year KK: We have seen an upsurge in the exchange rate in recent weeks despite the existence of the foreign currency auction market and other measures put in place to stabilise the markets What impact will this have on business? IM: The exchange rate, especially on the alternative market and the gap between it and the official auction rate, has been our major Achilles heel because it appears there is no solution in sight to contain or narrow it What impact will this have on business? IM: The exchange rate, especially on the alternative market and the gap between it and the official auction rate, has been our major Achilles heel because it appears there is no solution in sight to contain or narrow it

The alternative market rate seems to be falling unabated and the effect and impact of it on prices is inflationary KK: So, what has been the impact of this on the economy? IM: It has caused prices to shoot through the roof and price increases tend to affect everyone in the whole economic spectrum because everyone buys from the same market When the local dollar loses its purchasing power, it affects its attractiveness as no one will want to keep this currency or hold it as a store of value A solution around the different exchange rates is needed sooner rather than later to avoid a relapse into hyperinflation Inflation makes the cost of doing business go through the roof and planning and budgeting becomes a headache or nightmare because of uncertainty Everyone must play their part in ensuring that our currency maintains the value that is still remaining in it because no one wants the situation that prevailed in 2008 to return KK: Zesa Holdings has announced a schedule for power outages How will this affect business and its efforts to increase capacity utilisation? IM: Zesa must put its hands on the deck and needs to be supported in any efforts to supply adequate power to industry Power drives industry and it is the life blood, and without adequate power the cost of doing business shoots through the roof Generators cannot run industry sustainably and they are costly to business Without power, capacity utilisation and productivity suffer and ultimately gross domestic product growth will be affected We need a solution around energy supply now rather than later if our economy is to remain on a sound recovery footing KK: In light of all these developments, do you think the projected growth rate by the government of 7,8% by year end is still achievable? IM: The projected 7,8% growth rate by the end of this year is seriously under threat and may not be realised without adequate and affordable power The Minister of Energy and Power Development needs to ensure that Zesa is adequately resourced and capacitated to supply enough power to industry The use of generators is not only expensive but unsustainable Without power most of our efforts to grow the economy will be in vain When GDP growth is stunted, everything else is affected in the same manner and this dynamic needs to be fully understood by the authorities so that remedial measures to assist Zesa to generate adequate power are implemented now rather than later *ZimbabweIndependent*