Zimbabwe News Roundup

ZMC threatens media

The Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC) has threatened to charge media houses in Zimbabwe a heavy penalty if they do not pay part of their profits to the media regulatory body by end of March. The commission’s chief executive officer, TafataonaMahoso, known to many in the media as a hangman, wrote a letter to media houses last week threatening them with heavy penalties if they do not pay 0,5percent levy of audited gross annual turnover to the commission.

MLF trial latest

The trial of three Mthwakazi Liberation Front leaders who are facing treason charges opened this week with one of the key state witnesses dismissing police claims.

Charles Thomas, John Gazi and Paul Siwela pleaded not guilty to treason charges after being arrested in March last year for distributing flyers calling for the separation of Matebeleland region.

Key witness Headman Sibanda shocked the police by dismissing their claims that he had seen Thomas and Gazi distributing flyers.– Radio VOP

PM calls on world to help

The international community must ensure that Zimbabwe’s looming elections are free and fair and not stolen once more by Robert Mugabe’s Zanu (PF) party, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai declared this week.

“My call to the world is, ‘You must insist on the necessary reforms to create a conducive environment for free and fair elections and a lasting solution to the crisis in Zimbabwe,” he said in an interview in London.

“Zimbabwe can’t afford isolation and continued vilification by the world,” he said.

“Above all we don’t want to be treated like a pariah state. We need the international community to ensure that the will of the people is respected.” – timeslive.co.za

No sign of Zuma visit

There is still no sign that the regionally appointed mediator in Zimbabwe’s political crisis, South African President Jacob Zuma, will visit soon. He was expected last week. But his International Relations advisor, Lindiwe Zulu, said GNU leaders in the coalition government had not yet set a date for the visit.

“He is coming as soon as possible,” said Zulu. It is widely hoped that the mediation team will start putting more pressure on the coalition government to implement key reforms before elections.– SW Radio Africa

NetOne sues Gono

The state-owned cellphone operator, NetOne, has hauled central bank governor Gideon Gono to court, demanding that he pays more than $800,000 in outstanding bills.

According to a schedule compiled by NetOne and attached to the summons, Gono last serviced his debt in August last year when he paid $50.

In November 2009, Gono paid $200,000 and $100,000 in September the following year while in February and June last year he only paid $4 towards his debt.

Gono has challenged the bill and queried how NetOne levied foreign currency-denominated tariffs for its services. – timeslive.co.za

Mpofu fears asset freeze

Zimbabwe is planning to announce new guidelines for its diamond and mining policy, according to a report on the Rough & Polished website.

The government is intent on remaking its image in the world as an ethical miner of diamonds. A minister said that Harare wants to attract new investments and concerns about “blood” diamonds. Mines Minister Obert Mpofu reportedly said the policy was crafted in consultation with international mining firms.

Mpofu told CNN that the government would focus on trading with friendly Countries.

“We will do business with friendly countries but if we start telling people who we have sold the diamonds to and at how much, then what do you expect to happen to our companies?” Mpofu said. “They (the west) will freeze their money and as I speak, ZMDC has its money frozen by the United States.”

More Zesa VIP debtors shamed

Multiple farms grabbed during the often-violent land reform have been getting electricity supplies for free, as ordinary Zimbabweans battling to survive the country’s struggling economy are switched off for owing paltry amounts.

Saviour Kasukuwere, who as Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment minister is leading President Robert Mugabe’s campaign to “spread wealth to the people”, raked up $100 602,22 in unpaid Zesa bills as at December 31, 2011.

Some of the defaulters locked out Zesa employees and set vicious dogs on them for trying to disconnect power. Legislators from across the political divide – including judges, provincial governors, ministers and their deputies and permanent secretaries, are listed as defaulters. – dailynews.co.zw

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