PRELUDE: Another leak exposes how the latest development has the Zimbabwean government saying the deal involves 300 buses, but on the 17th January 2019, a Belurusian official is heard announcing that the deal is for 1,000 buses. So what happened to the 700, they disappeared? Was contract revised downwards? The government is silent on this huge discrepancy.
By Simba Chikanza | More holes have emerged in the deal in which Emmerson Mnangagwa has sold off land three times that of Masvingo in exchange for a paltry number of Zupco buses. An official representative of Belarusian manufacturing plants Mr Vadim Zhuk has spoken following a ZimEye investigation that reveals how Emmerson Mnangagwa has sold land 3 times that of Masvingo town and as big as Mutare to the Belarusian government in exchange for 300 ZUPCO vehicles.
Zhuk’s report claims the 300 buses were sold to Zimbabwe at no cost. But Mnangagwa is on video revealing that the deal is in exchange for state land. The development comes as the government spokesman, Nick Mangwana also responded to ZimEye saying, “Hey, there is no land that has been sold Simba. All Agricultural Land in Zimbabwe belongs to the State.”
But the earlier state media reports clearly say 10,000 hectare land is being sold to the Belarusian government in this deal entered into on the 17th January 2019. Mangwana called it mere “state land”. But even the ZANU PF manifesto policy and spirit dating back to 1975 titles it ancestral land which cannot be sold especially to a foreign country for anything.
Questions have remained on how the deal which the government officially values at $350 million is being financed, a mere lease? The questions have been compounded by the absence of signed documentation amid loud denials by Mnangagwa ‘s spokesman. More worries have emerged following a string of mega deals that have all but flopped since the November 2017 military coup. One of the companies recently contracted for a whopping USD5,2 billion was found to be shelf entity with no known director, and the official broker speaking on ZimEye.com later confessed that the government was deceived.
An official Belarusian report says, “In Zimbabwe, 10 thousand hectares of land allocated to the Belarusian agricultural holding.” The February 2019 report continues saying:
The other day, Zimbabwe was visited by specialists of the Agro-Industrial Holding of the Office of the President of the Republic of Belarus. This enterprise (former name – Machulishchi Agricultural Complex) will be engaged in the cultivation of crop production, production and processing of meat and milk, said CEO Eduard Demyanov.
– Now there is scrupulous work in several directions: we select suitable sites, conduct land samples research to determine what fertilizers need to be applied, and study irrigation and logistics issues. In addition, will determine the geography of supplies of seeds and fertilizers, to choose the most appropriate method of delivery of agricultural equipment in Zimbabwe , – stressed Edward M.. “
Also commenting, Mnangagwa’s spokesman George Charamba replied with a four word, “You can believe anything!!!”
He also wrote on Twitter saying, “Under Zimbabwean law, a President cannot sell agricultural land; he can only lease in terms set out in law. The trouble is when ignorant people move from misunderstanding a story to convicting and launching a tirade over nothing!!! It smacks of ideology.”
Another leak exposes how the latest development has the Zimbabwean government saying the deal involves 300 buses, but on the 17th January 2019, a Belurusian official is heard announcing that the deal is for 1,000 buses. So what happened to the 700, they disappeared? Was contract revised downwards? The government is silent on this huge discrepancy.
It is important to note that the land has been sold to the Belarusian government, not to Mr Zhuk’s company.
Can Mnangagwa manage any business of any kind?
Emmerson Mnangagwa has gained reputation of allegedly destroying businesses. The last 40 years are full of records showing that any enterprise he touches dies. Since the day when he was put in charge of all parastatals during the Robert Mugabe era, every one of those has experienced a sudden death.
In January last year he was mocked by the prime minister of Russia, Dmitry Medvedev who said his country would never give him a penny. Medvedev also subtly titled his business ethics “unjustified.”
Meanwhile, the state broadcaster, ZBC however said Zhuk is setting the record straight with regards to the cooperation of the Zimbabwe and Belarus for the production and assembly of passenger buses.
The full ZBC report says:
In accordance with the agreements reached between the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe His Excellency E.D. Mnangagwa and the President of the Republic of Belarus His Excellency Alexander Lukashenko in January 2019 during the official visit of the delegation of Zimbabwe to Belarus, a project is currently being implemented to organise the joint production of passenger buses in Zimbabwe said Mr Zhuk in a statement to the ZBC News.
He clarified that to date, the following work has been done and the following results have been achieved:
1. Exchange visits carried out. Zimbabwean specialists visited the Republic of Belarus and the MAZ plant, which has been producing buses and trucks for over 75 years and employs more than 18 000 people.
Belarusian specialists visited the Republic of Zimbabwe and studied the possibility of creating an assembly production of buses on the basis of the enterprise AVM Africa.
2. The technical specification has been signed and approved for buses that will be produced in Zimbabwe. This technical specification has been compiled taking into account the requirements of the Zimbabwean side, as well as taking into account the experience of the company AVM Africa, which has made a number of proposals and improvements to buses taking into account the existing experience.
3. The production facilities of AVM Africa which will be used to assembly of buses were certified. The type of equipment with which it is necessary to equip the production facility has been determined.
4. The possibility of using local components for the production of buses has been determined. Thus, components manufactured by the Republic of Zimbabwe will also be used in the manufactured buses.
5. The Republic of Belarus has confirmed its readiness to transfer technologies and know-how at no cost
6. A decision was made to sell buses to be produced in Zimbabwe to the markets of third world countries in South and East Africa.
Mr Zhao further explained that cooperation of the Republic of Belarus and the Republic of Zimbabwe does not involve the supply of READY-MADE BUSES, but their PRODUCTION in the Republic of Zimbabwe using local components and involving local specialists.
He said the project will create additional jobs, train Zimbabwean specialists in modern technologies in mechanical engineering, and increase the flow of foreign currency in Zimbabwe by exporting buses produced in Zimbabwe to other countries on the African continent.