Zimbabwe recently commemorated what it termed the Anti-Sanctions Day on the 25th of October, 2020 and it was joined by a number of African countries but the day that followed was full of drama in many angles.
On the 26th of October, 2020, news platforms were awash with pictures of Scott Sakupwanya, a Zimbabwean based gold trader with huge sums of money and gold bars which made many commentators to associate such money and the gold with illicit deals.
This was also quickly followed by another gold related scandal involving Henrietta Rushwaya who is alleged to have tried to smuggle the precious mineral through the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport.
These developments caused and worsened the debate on whether Zimbabwe’s economic problems resulted from economic sanctions or corruption?
The American Embassy and others attributed the situation to corruption while China and others blamed sanctions on the same matter.
Using the Connections2Communities (C2C) platform, I sought to find out more on these two economic evils that were being discussed and this led to the following summarized points as shared by many Zimbabweans across the board:
1. Many people in Zimbabwe attend to the issue of economic sanctions and corruption in a partisan way.
2. As regards Scott Sakupwanya’s licensed gold buying and selling case, some people asked if it is legal in Zimbabwe for people to hoard or stash huge amounts of cash in their homes, and if that is not, then what is it that is creating a parallel economy with its own currency exchange rates.
3. Some people believe that there is rampant attempts of blackmail that are inspired by the need to settle political scores as Scott Sakupwanya said in response to press enquiries. He attributed the mishap to his stolen phone from which images were extracted and used as evidence of some illicit gold trade going on in Zimbabwe.
In whichever way, blackmail and corruption are both vices that must not be tolerated in society because they tend to create more problems than those that the perpetrators thereof seek to solve.
4. There was also a widespread view that the inconsistent government policies of the ruling political party was also to blame for the economic problems in the country.
5. It was also noted that mining, just like agriculture, is a cornerstone of our economy and as such, the government should not subcontract the institutions that drive these two but should rather effectively manage them for the good of the nation.
This can be done through curbing corruption, avoiding side marketing and closing porous avenues such as smuggling and externalization which divert revenues.
6. People recommended that as a nation, we should have the right national attitude which make sure that economic sanctions will not be able to cloud the national good. If we collectively do the right things, we can minimize the sanctions shock. The pervasive nature of corruption and absence of national interest across the Zimbabwean society is killing the economy.
7. The standoff between countries like the USA and China regarding sanctions in Zimbabwe creates a balance by removing extreme isolation and this can mean that since China is an economic powerhouse, trade with it can offset the deficit and absorb the sanctions shock.
8. There was a general call for a shared understanding on what must be regarded as issues of national interest among all stakeholders in order to deal with and avoid political interference especially where issues of corruption are identified as is the case with local governance and government officials. The media was encouraged to avoid being partisan in its reporting.
9. People voiced concern on the prices that the government pays for goods and services in its procurements since most of these prices are inflated way above the market rates and no one cares because such prices are designed to cater for kickbacks.
If we factor in the size of our economy, it means we are losing big time as a country since the this results in projects that never seem to end yet the quality of is work compromised. Surely our ruling party is aware.
10. Sanctions against Zimbabwe by western governments was caused by patent behavior of national leadership that was based on weak social systems, i.e lack of checks and balances which could have been avoided had our governance system matured earlier.
11. Other contributors to the discourse felt that the corruption narrative is a paid or sponsored mantra designed to erase the economic sanctions argument. A general shared sentiment was that if we are a responsible people, we would act accordingly and correct the challenges at hand that the imposers of economic sanctions argue are the reasons.
The above views are a summary of my discourse with others on economic sanctions and corruption.
However, my personal view on economic sanctions against Zimbabwe is that they must be lifted since they were unilaterally imposed by the USA and its allies as a result of the land reform exercise.
I believe that sanctions have a tendency and the capacity to increase the levels of corruption in a country and so their consequences can far outweigh what they seek to achieve.
As for corruption, I believe that it be formidably resolved while not pretending as if sanctions are also something that need urgent attention.
Brian Tawanda Manyati is a Chartered Governor and an Accounting Technician.
Contacts: LinkedIn – briantawandamanyati
Email – firstname.lastname@example.org
It’s Controversy after Controversy for SMM Administrator Gwaradzimba as Allegations of Fraud Land on His Face
Brian Kazungu, 19/04/2021
The SMM Administrator, Afaras Gwaradzimba is engulfed in a dark cloud of fresh controversy following new allegations of fraudulent changes on the Companies share allotment form in order to make an ‘illegal’ transfer of shares to a ‘fictitious’ company called SMM Holdings (UK).
Even though the operations of companies in a given country are governed by a specific Act of Parliament, like the Companies Act, surprisingly, the form which was used for the transfer of shares in this case has two different Acts thus raising eyebrows on a potential case of fraud.
The CR2 form, now called CR11 which was used in this case is a statutory document in its own right in line with the Companies Act 24:03 but it was altered to also ‘illegally’ accommodate the smuggling-in of the Reconstruction of State Indebted and Insolvent Companies Act for the purpose of SMM share transfers.
Under this new revelation, Gwaradzimba is thus being accused of rewriting or amending the Companies Act without any legal authority to effect those changes and for violating the established legal proceedings in managing corporate issues.
The alleged fraud is said to have been necessitated by the fact that under normal circumstances, subject to the Companies Act, there is no provision for the involvement of a State appointed Administrator in the affairs of a company since a company is subject to control and management by its Directors.
Mr Mushai from the Companies Registry said that the CR2 form is a statutory document which means that it is a form required in terms of the relevant regulations and Act of Parliament.
He further added that if there is a new allotment of shares, there is a need for those responsible to submit another CR11 form rather than to alter the layout of such a statutory document.
In 2009, an attempted controversial takeover of SMM Holdings, a United Kingdom registered entity through AMG Global Nominees, a company owned by SMM Administrator, Gwaradzimba was short down by the Supreme Court in the UK under case A3/2008/0918.
However, under the new but contested company status, SMM Pvt Ltd which was 100% owned by SMM Holdings Pvt Limited is now under Nickdale Investments situated at the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and SMM Holdings Limited (UK) whose registered address is Block 2, Tendeseka Park, Samora Machel Avenue in Harare, Zimbabwe.
It is therefore not clear how a foreign registered company is using a local address for its correspondence and thus further raising eyebrows and speculation on an attempt to secretly highjack a company from its actual owners.
In a letter copied to Mr. Gwaradzimba as well as to the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs and the President of Zimbabwe, SMM Holdings is contesting the new share arrangement as fraudulently illegal.
“Based on the records kept at the Registrar of Companies, it is clear that it was represented as true and fact that a company by the name SMMH Holdings Limited (UK) was allotted shares and the address of this fictitious company was fraudulently represented as a Zimbabwean address notwithstanding the fact the UK Court of Appeal precluded no other company except our company to be a shareholder of SMM even if the reconstruction scheme that was purportedly approved and implemented without our knowledge and consent was to be accepted as a lawful scheme.
SMM Holdings is also seeking clarity on the basis upon which a company take over which was dismissed in a United Kingdom Supreme Court went on to be successfully recognized as legal in Zimbabwe when the company in question remains the same.
It also further highlights and provides evidence to the fact that Mr Gwaradzimba was well aware of the United Kingdom Supreme Court ruling which he went ahead to act against.
“It is worth highlighting that prior to the placement of SMM under extrajudicial reconstruction and the appointment of Gwaradzimba as Administrator, our company was the sole shareholder of SMM.
..It will be noted that while our company was divested of the control and management of SMM on the basis that SMM was indebted and insolvent, the government of Zimbabwe used Mr. Gwaradzimba’s personal company, AMG Global Nominees Private Limited (AMG), the appellant in this as a vehicle to acquire the bearer share warrants in SMMH…
It follows that when Mr. Gwaradzimba filled the papers in Zimbabwe on 12 November 2009, he has constructive knowledge that the attempt to acquire the shareholding in SMMH had failed and as such, there could be no basis of any lawful relationship between AMG and SMMH.” SMM highlighted.
Gwaradzimba is no stranger to controversy in the SMM matter since even from the start, his appointment, modus operandi and remuneration has been challenged by various stakeholders including the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and by investigators that were tasked with a fact finding mission on allegations of criminal activities in the company.
Investigators in the SMM saga found Gwaradzimba’s appointment to be a conflict of interest since he was a former SMM auditor. “….it is the considered opinion of the Investigators that the appointment of Gwaradzimba and Manikai was ill considered and, therefore, inappropriate…” The investigators said.
In the same vein, the RBZ also regarded his remuneration in the SMM deal to be ‘unscrupulous’.
“…..the fact still remains that Mr Gwaradzimba, the Administrator is getting payments set at 6% of gross proceeds, of all SMM companies which is even more lucrative than shareholders themselves, let alone revenues to Government.” Gono reported to President Mugabe.
Interestingly, Gwaradzimba who was appointed by Chinamasa to run the affairs of SMM under the controversial Reconstruction Act is on record saying that he does not directly run the operations of the company, and yet, it is his mandate under the same Act.
What Is Hopewell Chin’ono – Is He A Journalist, Activist or A Politician? – Identity Literacy 101
Mutumwa Mawere, 30/12/2020
I hope Mr. Chin’ono will forgive me for using WHAT instead of WHO in asking the question raised in a WhatsApp group created by Mr. Tinashe Jonasi called #Unite Zimbabwe that I am a member of.
A question was posed in this group on whether Mr. Chin’ono is a journalist or an activist
As a member of the C2C initiative, I thought of weighing in on this question to help provoke, inspire and ignite conversations on one of the most complex but simple human problems.
Issues of identity, identity politics, citizenship, nationalism and patriotism have challenged mankind since creation.
Who am I? If I say I am who I am, most human actors would seek to go further to import profession, tribe, clan, family and career in the description.
It would not be self-evident to many that the human identity is after all a gift of nature and the properties of humanity are not divisible by profession.
It is the case that humans without any exception enter life as complete actors and cannot change this identity into another.
Common sense, logic and reason dictates that humans have no capacity to create a new identity but life gives all of us stages to act on.
Branding is a human creation but is limited to the specific grouping or identity one belongs to.
If this is accepted, then the answer to the question raised above is that Mr. Chin’ono is a human being who is endowed like all of us with certain unalienable rights including the right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.
In his pursuit of happiness, he is entitled to choose which mask to use to solve a problem.
Is there a problem in Zimbabwe that needs fixing? It is easy to bury one’s head in the sand and choose to point fingers at anyone who tries to raise awareness of the problem.
What is the role of the media? It is inform, educate and entertain. You can pretend that speaking truth to power requires a profession but the truth of the matter is that those who step forward and choose to use their voices to provoke, ignite and inspire change know better that civics ILLITERACY could be the most pervasive problem.
The cat does not need to be black or white to do the job.
Below is an extract of the thread in the group:
[12/29, 12:42 PM] +263xxxxxx: Is Hopewell Chin’ono a politician?
[12/29, 12:44 PM] Arnold Mutaviri: What is he?
[12/29, 12:45 PM] mdmawere1: He may not know it but it is self-evident that he is a human being of flesh who is mortal and fallible.
[12/29, 12:46 PM] +263xxxxxx: He is a public figure and an investigative journalist
[12/29, 12:48 PM] mdmawere1: Does being a public figure mean that he loses his right to possess his constitutional rights?
[12/29, 12:51 PM] +263xxxxxx: He doesn’t lose any constitutional right but maybe the problem lies with my understanding /definition of a politician.
Can we say in all fairness and truth that Chin’ono is a politician?
[12/29, 12:53 PM] +263zzzzzz: No he is not
[12/29, 12:54 PM] mdmawere1: What if he is who he may choose to be?
[12/29, 12:56 PM] +263xxxxxx: There is a difference between a politician and an activist or social/political commentator. Chin’ono might be raising some fundamental societal issues but he is no politician.
[12/29, 12:56 PM] mdmawere1: Who is a judge or should be a judge?
[12/29, 1:00 PM] mdmawere1: How many people are called politicians when they are no different to thugs?
[12/29, 1:01 PM] +263yyyyyy: No he is an activist
[12/29, 1:03 PM] mdmawere1: On what authority do you conclude this as fact?
[12/29, 1:04 PM] +263xxxxxx: A politician must:
- Possess a political following (call it clout)
- .He must be entertaining some ideas of wrestle power from the incumbent (through Democratic processes or otherwise)
- Must have a political structure in place (party, logos, offices etc. )
- His ambitions must not be implied but explicit (that he want nothing but to be the next big thing politically
[12/29, 1:05 PM] +263yyyyyy: There is a thin line btwn the two. Characterized by behavior, actions, base.
[12/29, 1:06 PM] mdmawere1: And still remain human after all the above?
[12/29, 1:06 PM] mdmawere1: And between your ears lies is a mind that knows it all enough to judge others.
Zimbabwe’s Biggest Problem Is Denialism Says Businessman Fred Mutanda
Brian Kazungu, 24/12/2020
Fred Mutanda, a Zimbabwean businessman with interests in the pharmaceutical industry including a controlling stake in one of the country’s biggest drug manufactures CAPS said denialism was Zimbabwe’s biggest problem.
In his Christmas message to members of a Connections2Communities (C2C) social media initiative called What Is A Leader, Mutanda expressed concern on the way how circumstances are denied as if they never happened and yet those developments will be affecting people’s lives.
He then suggested that people need to agree on how to correct the wrongs such as Gukurahundi as well as the lack of rule of law and violation of property rights by the government rather than to be in denial.
The issue of denialism was also corroborated in a different conversation on Twitter by Zimbabwe’s former Minister of Tourism, Walter Muzembi who was commenting on the reports that South Africa’s Home Affairs Minister, Aaron Motsoaledi had shot down a proposed engagement with Zimbabwe authorities on challenges being encountered at the Beitbridge Border Post.
Mzembi indicated that whether there is crisis or not, there is a much bigger problem in the country which denialism and propaganda cannot solve.
Mutanda’s concerns in the What Is A Leader platform were also touched on by a fellow member who indicated that the problems in Zimbabwe dates back to the time of the Lancaster House Conference where many critical issues where left unaddressed.
Another member of the same group used examples in decrying the lack of good governance as evidenced by the mismanagement of funds and other resources which is meant for the development of communities such as was the case with Copper Queen Resettlement.
He said that even though the resettlement initiative had finances in place to cover for schools, clinics, tapped water and a 100km tarred road network, the reality on the ground was deplorable as the only symbol of what could have been there are clustered taps and their meters heaped at shopping centers.
Below is a WhatsApp between Mr Mutanda and other members on the issue of denialism and the situation on the ground in Zimbabwe.
[12/23, 19:30] Caps Mtanda: As the year comes to the end and we are going to celebrate Christmas my message to everyone on this platform is denialism. This is Zimbabwe’s biggest problem. Just like Holocaust denialism.
In the case of Zimbabwe, people deny that Gukurahundi happened. People deny there’s no rule. of law in Zimbabwe. These are things we have to think about. Agree on how the wrongs of the past can be corrected.
Dispossession of properties from black people by a black government. Thank you for reading
[12/23, 20:10] +263xxxxx: Mukoma Freddy thank you so much for your message. As for me, I would like to say we lost it as liberators of the struggle to accept to go to Lancaster House for negotiations. Why do I say so?
It’s simply because when the struggle was being waged the idea was to fight the system. The system that had created a situation where a minority (Whites) exploited the majority and the Nation’s resources.
When we agreed to negotiate we were made not to change the system but to inherit it from Rhodesia as it was.
Independence was not won but granted by the crown on the basis that the new Gvt at ‘Independence’ and even now became Administrators of the system of exploitation for the benefit of a few. By going to wage a war we wanted to change “The Laws.”
–The Administrative system of Gvt
-The Distribution of Wealth and Resources to our people equitably
-One man one vote
-Change the system of Education to suit our historical background than have our curriculum budget funded by British council
-Equitable distribution of Land
-Change national emblems and signs to our liking and historical background
– Define our relationships with other nations depending on what suits us
-Allow true Zimbabweans to rule their destiny not aliens polluting our political space as is happening since Lancaster Agreement which suits the exploitative nature of those still benefiting from exploiting us.
It’s unfortunate that Zanu Pf as a Ruling Party has been infiltrated by aliens who are in to advance the interest of our former colonizers and International capital. These aliens have nothing to lose that’s why they allow our national resources to be exploited by international capital while real Zimbabweans suffer. These aliens are the ones who favor to bank their loot in Switzerland, Europe, America and UK.
Their children study abroad being pampered by corrupt proceeds from exploitation of national resources.
These aliens because they know that anytime they will not be there they use this system that is against majority progression to enrich themselves. They use the alien laws to screw up fellow black people who seem competent so that they kill competition of ideas and development ideas. If they see fellow black proving to be doing better than them while outside this bad system they use laws to disenfranchise them so that only them represent what is development by being front runners of capital to exploit our people and resources. This has been the case since 1980.Alternative voices are not entertained. Diversity is not allowed or encouraged. This is our situation and this stems from us having allowed us to be duped to negotiate at Lancaster House Conference. The consequences are what you have or are experiencing today. Zimbabwe requires a radical shift that has to come from the people and a Leadership committed to true and total emancipation of the country from exploitation from foreign interested parties and partners internally who act as fronts using structures of political parties and Gvt. We should not agonize but get organised. Aluta Continua…✊✊🤝🇿🇼
[12/23, 20:33] +25xxxxx: I strongly believe going back 40 years to blame a miscalculation of that period and export it to describe today’s misfortunes is a mission its own.
We have the human cap and resources to chart our own independent life. Incidentally we even inherited one of the best infrastructure and its superstructure, think of the Railway networks and its Communication systems.
I hail from the Copper Queen Resettlement 2 which was well financed to be the second best resettlement areas in the country with schools, clinics, all water metered villages with tapped water and 100km road network tarred.
Visit the reality my leader and the only symbol of what could have been are clustered taps and their meters heaped at shopping centers.
Now, we may have so many questions on what happened, what went wrong but I find it difficult to attach what my brother talks of Lancaster house conference and the reality in Copper Queen Resettlement 2.
I also remember one of the esteemed VP recently blaming the whites for not teaching them how to run the country 40 years after running and ruining it into the process.
[12/23, 20:49] Caps Mtanda: Thank you for your comments.
The problem is not the Lancaster House Conference. After every conflict there has to be a negotiated settlement. The Lancaster House is not the problem. But our failure to hold leadership or each other to account.
I was with ZPRA yet 99% of my family members were in ZANLA. I lost more than 10 family members in Mozambique.
No one accounted for all who died under the ruling party. No one held the leadership to account for all the comrades who died in Mozambique or in exile. It’s not the Lancaster House Conference. It’s our failure.
The war had to end. I operated with Zanla comrades in 1974 and 1975. I was in Chiweshe and Madziva when villagers were moved to protected villages.
We were all freedom fighters. Today we are idolizing Mbuya Nehanda. I was just a 17 year old when one of the Mbuya Nehanda spirit mediums died.
It’s painful and that’s the denialism I am talking about. We carried her body all the way to Angwa River. She was to be left on top of a tree.
In March 1975 H Chitepo was assassinated. That week Mugabe and Tekere left for Mozambique but did not attend Chitepo’s burial.
In August Edson Sithole was kidnapped in Salisbury. Our own people don’t want to talk about it. Instead they impose fear to suppress the truth.
I had differences with Edson but when Chitepo got killed he realized there was an enemy among us.
So the problem is not how we negotiated but our failure to implement what we agreed on as the Patriotic Front. That led to the death of Tongogara.
We brought a very good Constitution with a Bill of Rights from Lancaster House. Our problem has always been leadership. Hence this platform “What is a Leader”
Our problem is fear, fear of the unknown idolizing of our government leaders.
[12/23, 20:54] Caps Mtanda: Very interesting that you talk about Copper Queen Resettlement 2.
It was financed under the willing buyer willing seller Lancaster House Conference Agreement
[12/23, 20:58] +25xxxxx: Kuwait Dinar was supposed to electrify all schools and clinics…….by 1990 none is electrified
[12/23, 21:01] Caps Mtanda: All the money went into someone’s pocket. It should be allowed to continue happening today
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