Category Archives: Top Stories

Mahoka, Moyo expelled: Zanu-PF Women’s League takes aim at Kasukuwere

First Lady Dr Grace Mugabe at the Women’s League meeting in Harare yesterday

First Lady Dr Grace Mugabe at the Women’s League meeting in Harare yesterday

Tendai Mugabe, Harare Bureau
THE Zanu-PF Women’s League yesterday resolved at its national executive meeting to expel its two senior members Cdes Nomthandazo Eunice Moyo (deputy secretary) and Sarah Mahoka (secretary for finance).

The two are accused of undermining the First Lady, who is secretary for Women’s Affairs, corruption, insubordination and fanning factionalism with Cde Mahoka facing further charges of denigrating Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa and Presidential spokesman Mr George Charamba.

Sources who attended the meeting said the duo’s case will be referred to the disciplinary committee of the party and if confirmed, will then be ratified by the Politburo, according to party procedure, rules and regulations.

The sources said the Women’s League national executive meeting at the party’s headquarters also recommended that national commissar Cde Saviour Kasukuwere be put to his defence on a number of charges, among them trying to block last week’s nationwide demonstrations against Cdes Moyo and Mahoka.

Cde Kasukuwere then accused another party cadre Cde Jimayi Muduvuri of leaking information to our Harare Bureau to the effect that he was against the Women’s League programmes.

The Women’s League, one of the party’s three arms, yesterday called Cde Kasukuwere to order, saying he was not a member of the wing.

“The Women’s League resolved that Cdes Moyo and Mahoka should be expelled,” said the source. “That has to be endorsed by the Politburo, but a position has already been taken.

“Also on notice is Cde Kasukuwere whom the wing felt is fanning factionalism and is also accused of attempting to stop our demonstrations last week.”

Zanu-PF secretary for Women’s Affairs and First Lady Dr Grace Mugabe, told the wing’s members at the beginning of the meeting that they wanted to investigate all charges being levelled against Cdes Moyo and Mahoka, after which they would make recommendations to the Politburo.

“We are to analyse what has been happening this past week up to the weekend,” Dr Mugabe said. “It is about the Women’s League deputy Cde Sandi Moyo  and finance secretary Sarah Mahoka.

“So we are still looking to see if the charges against them are true or not. So that is why we are meeting here today.

“But we as the Women’s League executive can’t make a decision on whether what happened is true or not, but we will write down what we think will please the majority. After this we will then send our report to the Politburo as per procedure.

“We follow procedure so that we show them what the women from all the provinces agreed on. Women came in their numbers to show that they are not happy with the way the top 10 in the Women’s League national executive are working.

“So we are here to see if what was written is true and whether are we agreeing with it.

“We then write the points and then we send to our leaders and tell them that this is what the women have said and they are not happy about it. So the decision will be taken from there. There is disciplinary committee that will then decide.”

Before the wing’s secretary for information and publicity Cde Thokozile Mathuthu gave her Press statement after the meeting, journalists were allowed to enter the conference room.

Some of the Women’s League members were shouting and clapping their hands saying: “These (Cde Sandi Moyo and Cde Mahoka) we fired them, we now  want (Cde) Kasukuwere.”

Another member shouted: “Don’t say that, there are media people here”, to which another voice shouted from the floor: “But is it a lie?”

In her statement on the outcome of the meeting, Cde Mathuthu said: “Last week members of the Zanu-PF Women’s League staged a nationwide demonstration against Cde Eunice Sandi Moyo, deputy secretary for Women’s Affairs and Cde Sarah Mahoka, secretary for finance, over various allegations of impropriety and conduct unbecoming of persons in such high profile positions.

“On Monday 27 March, 2017, the wing’s top leadership referred to as the Top 10 met to deliberate on these demonstrations against the pair. The provincial chairpersons submitted petitions from their respective areas highlighting grievances they were raising against Cdes Sandi Moyo and Mahoka.

“Today, Tuesday 28 March, 2017, the Women’s League national executive also met here at Harare party headquarters as a follow up to the Monday meeting by the top 10.

“Again, chairpersons of the Women’s League presented petitions from their respective provinces against the two executive members, which were discussed at length.

“Following those deliberations, it suffices at this stage to say that due processes regarding the resolution of disciplinary cases of this nature will be followed through according to the rules and guidelines of our revolutionary party.

“The nation will be advised about the fate of the two Cdes in the fullness of time. The nation will be appraised of the outcome after we conclude the requirements of our Zanu-PF party constitution. No action has been taken against them yet, as we are still to conclude the requirements of our Zanu-PF constitution.”

Asked on claims by Cde Kasukuwere that the Women’s League was hijacked, Cde Mathuthu said: “I am sorry Cde Kasukuwere is not part of the national executive of the Women’s League.”

Harsh penalties for side marketing urged

Deputy Minister Davis Marapira

Deputy Minister Davis Marapira

Tawanda Mangoma in Chiredzi
Government is considering stern measures against farmers who practice side marketing of cotton, a development that has seen most companies closing after failing to recover their investments.

Addressing farmers during a recent tour of cotton fields in Chiredzi and Checheche, Deputy Minister of Agriculture Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Responsible for Crops Cde Davis Marapira said farmers should blame themselves for destroying the cotton industry by the promotion of side marketing.

He said farmers contracted by a company, should sell all their cotton to that very company and a breach of that agreement warranted arrest.

“We have observed that most fertilizers which were meant for cotton production were sold to sugar cane farmers in Chiredzi,” said Deputy Minister Marapira.

“Most of the cotton crop was grown without fertilizers, but surprisingly Government through the Presidential Inputs Scheme gave you adequate inputs. Private players like Parrogate contracted some of you, but you decided to sell fertilizer, for a cheap price for that matter.”

Deputy Minister Marapira said he visited the Taraffen Ginnery in Triangle which closed five years ago and the officials blamed side marketing of their contracted crop.

“I visited the Tarrafen Ginnery in Triangle, the ginnery is closed and they said they have a $17 million debt,” he said. “Asking them how they got that debt, they said they financed farmers with inputs, but they would breach the contract by selling the cotton to other players.”

Deputy Minister Marapira said Government would allow ginneries to engage the police to arrest farmers who breached their contracts.

“This year, Government says report farmers who practice side marketing of cotton,” he said. “We don’t want a situation where farmers frighten investors, we want more players coming into the industry so as to give the farmer a wider choice as to which company best suits their interests.”

Asked how they are surviving in the cotton industry where most private player’s have folded their operations, ETG Parrogate southern region director Mr Dakarai Makuyana said their inter-personal relations with farmers had seen them thriving.

“Side marketing affected us also to a larger extend as private players, that is why most of our friends closed down,” he said. “As ETG Parrogate, we learnt that developing a bond with your farmers is the only way we can defeat side marketing and also making sure that adequate extension services are rendered.” Cotton Company of Zimbabwe southern region business manager Ms Marjorie Chaniwa said companies which did not fund the crop should not be issued with licences to purchase cotton as that alone promoted side marketing.

“The issuing of licenses for the purchasing of cotton to companies which did not finance the crop is the first step which promotes side marketing,” she said.

La Liga boss Zim-bound

Laliga bossRobson Sharuko Senior Sports Editor
ANTONIO BARRADAS, the leading representative of La Liga in Africa, is set to make a landmark visit to Harare on Friday to explore partnerships that could, among other things, open avenues for Zimbabwean footballers to ply their trade in the Spanish top-flight league.

La Liga clubs, led by their heavyweight brands Real Madrid and Barcelona, have dominated world club football in recent years with the last three winners of both the FIFA Club World Cup and the UEFA Champions League coming from Spain.

The Spanish top-flight league has also supplied winners of the last three UEFA Europa League titles, which have all been captured by Sevilla, while five of the last seven winners of the tournament have also come from La Liga in what has clearly been a ruthless domination of the European club football landscape.

But, for all its recent dominance of the world club football, La Liga still trails the vastly popular English Premiership in terms of both global appeal and the billions of dollars generated by England’s top-flight clubs, whose value as a business entity continues to soar as it feasts on its growing global popularity.

The La Liga leaders have been trying to counter the English Premiership’s appeal around the world and, two years ago, they opened an office in Africa — whose headquarters are in South Africa — as part of the initiatives to take their top-flight league around the globe.

They have since spread their tentacles to Nigeria and Kenya.

Now, the man who leads that project in Africa, Barradas, is coming to Harare this week for a landmark meeting with ZIFA president Philip Chiyangwa to explore a number of business opportunities, including unlocking the doors for Zimbabwean football players to ply their trade in Spain.

“There are a number of issues on the agenda and Antonio is set to arrive in Harare on Friday and will meet the ZIFA boss Philip Chiyangwa and his team and explore areas that could be beneficial for both parties,’’ those who are organising the trip told The Herald yesterday.

“Clearly, La Liga have seen the potential that Zimbabwe provides, in terms of expanding its business around the world and also offering opportunities for Zimbabwean footballers to take their talents to Spain through established partnerships that will make it easy for them to pursue their dreams.

“Football is a huge industry around the world and it has been sort of stagnant in Zimbabwe, in terms of its evolution from the amateur to professionalism, and you can’t make that massive jump without having the right contacts around the world who only need just a phone call to open opportunities for you guys.

“The fact that Zimbabwe was the only country from Southern Africa at the recent Nations Cup finals caught the eyes of those who know what value means and there are a number of your players who also impressed even though you were knocked out in the group stages of that tournament.

“There has always been this question as to why it’s difficult for Zimbabwean players to crack it into the major leagues and I don’t mean playing for Barca or Real Madrid, but the smaller teams in La Liga and only a few months ago the whole continent was buzzing that Khama Billiat was a genius, but he is still in South Africa and these are the opportunities that we are talking about.

“La Liga is a big brand now and the game is technical and that is why the clubs from that league are dominating the game in Europe and in the world and it’s important that Zimbabwean players, the exceptional ones, also get a chance to play there instead of just focusing on playing in England.

“There is also the issue of academies and how talented young players from your country can be taken to Spain for the development of their talents at a very young age.’’

CAPS United’s success in the CAF Champions League this season, where they eliminated five-time African champions TP Mazembe, has also not gone unnoticed.

The Green Machine are reported to be close to concluding a three-year sponsorship deal with the country’s fastest growing mobile network provider.

The two parties are reported to have met on Monday although neither party was prepared to confirm the meeting.

The La Liga bosses have also warmed up to Chiyangwa’s rise in football on the continent and his growing influence in the game around the world and want to exchange notes with him.

“Clearly, your FA boss has enjoyed a stunning rise in the boardrooms of African football and the world has been watching what he has been doing, the mountains he has moved, and it’s natural that those who make decisions would want to interact with him and find ways of how they can move forward together,’’ the sources said.

“He has big connections at FIFA and CAF now and it’s only natural that those who have a vision for the future find a direct line to him and that is why you see all these heavyweights coming to your country and this is just a start.’’

Chiyangwa has denied social media reports claiming he had been appointed the CAF secretary-general.

“I understand that there is a story circulating on the social media, insinuating that I have been appointed to the position of CAF secretary-general. There is no such development, and these are absolute falsehoods,’’ he told the official ZIFA website.

“A CAF secretary-general is the head of CAF’s secretariat, and a full-time employee of the confederation.

“This is an inferior position to the ones I hold now, therefore, I do not harbour any ambitions whatsoever of landing that position.

“Above all, I currently hold far more superior positions to the vacant post, I am the President of both the Zimbabwe Football Association and COSAFA and it will be illogical for me to be appointed as the CAF Secretary- General.

“I am also an advisor to the CAF President, Ahmad Ahmad, who is also the Vice President of the Federation of International Football Association (FIFA); zvidiki here izvozvo?” (is that a small responsibility?) Dr Chiyangwa said.

CAF secretary-general Hicham El Amrani quit his post on Sunday.

Speeding kombi kills Grade 5 pupil at zebra crossing

Natasha tshuma

Natasha tshuma

Nqobile Tshili/Eliah Saushoma, Chronicle Reporters
A GRADE Five pupil died on the spot while a man was critically injured after they were hit by a speeding commuter omnibus  while crossing a road in Bulawayo yesterday.

The speeding kombi hit Natasha Tshuma, a pupil at Gampu Primary School and Mr Bongani Sibanda — a conductor with a kombi from which the pupil had just disembarked from — at a zebra crossing at  the Rio turn-off in Matshobana suburb.

Mr Sibanda, who was helping Natasha to cross the road, was rushed to Mpilo Central Hospital with serious injuries.

The accident occurred at about 7AM while Natasha was on her way to school from Pelandaba suburb.

Natasha’s grandfather Mr Ephraim Sibanda said he was devastated by his granddaughter’s “painful death.”

“The devil came in the morning. My granddaughter was taken in a painful way,” said Mr Sibanda.

He said Natasha started commuting to school on Monday as she usually stayed with him in Matshobana suburb, about 150 metres from her school.

“Her mother was staying in South Africa and when she came over the weekend, she requested that Natasha visits her and we allowed the visit. So yesterday (Monday) she came to school from Pelandaba suburb,” he said.

Mr Sibanda said they thought it was good for the child to stay with her mother.

“Today (yesterday) was supposed to be her second day but tragedy struck as she was hit by a car while trying to cross the road being assisted by a conductor. She died on the spot,” he said.

Mr Sibanda said one of his daughters saw Natasha’s body lying on the road while on her way to school and she rushed home to inform the family
He said his wife collapsed when she heard her granddaughter had died in a car accident.

“When I got there, scores of people were already gathered. Her body was covered with a blanket. My granddaughter was gone,” said Mr Sibanda.

Mr Enock Bako, the driver of the kombi from which Natasha disembarked, said: “I had asked Bongani to accompany the child at the zebra crossing when the two were hit on the inner lane. The kombi was speeding and it suddenly hit Bongani on the arm and ribs while the child was dragged for about five metres towards where I had parked my kombi.”

When a Chronicle news crew arrived at the scene, a sombre atmosphere had engulfed the area with teachers and some residents bursting into tears as police took away Natasha’s body.

Acting Bulawayo Provincial Education Director Mrs Ollicah Fikelephi Kaira said the Ministry was mourning with the family as it was difficult to lose a child.

Bulawayo police spokesperson Inspector Precious Simango said the speeding driver has been arrested and would appear in court soon.

She appealed to drivers to exercise caution on the roads.

@nqotshili

JUST IN: Grade Five pupil dies after being hit by car, conductor critically injured

road death

Nqobile Tshili, Chronicle Correspondent

A Grade Five pupil died on the spot while a conductor was critically injured after they were hit by a car while crossing a road in Bulawayo Tuesday morning.

The Gampu Primary School pupil was hit by the vehicle while being assisted to cross a road by a conductor of a kombi she had just disembarked from.

More details to follow

Checheche Catholic priest in sex scandal

Lorraine Towindo and Nyasha Chawatama
A CHECHECHE Roman Catholic priest who committed his life to celibacy is under fire for bedding a young girl.

Father Charles Makowa of St Peter’s Catholic Church in Checheche has been allegedly involved with several women from his church with the latest being a minor whose mother is the Parish Youth Advisor (tete). The mother’s name cannot be mentioned to protect the minor.

The man of cloth confirmed the developments that are making him leave the church, while the girl’s mother said if the story sees the light of the day the writers would die.

Father Makowa is alleged to have bedded the minor from 2014 when she was 14-years-old. – H-Metro

Bumper harvest to spur Agric sector growth

Dr Made

Dr Made

Farirai Machivenyika Senior Reporter—
The agricultural sector is expected to grow by 12 percent this year buoyed by a bumper harvest expected this season, with early projections showing the country could produce over 2,8 million tonnes of cereals and other food crops. This was said by the Minister of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development, Dr Joseph Made while addressing students attending the Joint Command and Staff Course Number 30 at the Staff College in Harare yesterday.

“Cereal production is expected to surpass 2,5 million tonnes and agriculture is projected to grow by 12 percent in 2017 being spurred by mostly tobacco, cotton, sugarcane, cereals, dairy and beef,” said Minister Made.

“Other food crops (groundnuts, sunflower, sugar beans, round nuts, soya beans, sweet potatoes, cowpeas and rice) are expected to surpass 350 000 tonnes,” he said.

He said as a result of the Command Agriculture initiative, total area under maize had increased by 52 percent from 1 161 997 hectares in 2015/2016 to 1 770 389 in 2016/2017.

Dr Made said $137 million had been mobilised for the purchase of grain by the Grain Marketing Board.

“To date $137 million has been raised out of which $34 million has already been deposited into the GMB Strategic Grain Reserve account with the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe. The Agricultural Marketing Authority is also mobilising $85 million towards grain payment,” Dr Made said.

He said Government was looking at expanding the Command Agriculture initiative to cover livestock and other crops like wheat, soya beans, cotton, beef and dairy.

“Government should immediately establish a Command Agriculture Revolving Fund. In case the private sector decides to invest elsewhere in future, we do not want the programme to remain exposed without support,” he said.

Dr Made added that Government would also establish a National Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Authority to spearhead mechanisation and irrigation development.

“The National Mechanisation and Irrigation Authority would be charged with both short and medium term strategy that includes development of the current irrigation potential of 500 000ha, and under mechanisation, purchase 50 000 tractors, combine harvesters and others requirements for both livestock and cropping projects,” he said.

Dr Made also said specific agricultural and agro-processing zones would be established for value addition of produce.

Government introduced Command Agriculture this farming season which saw the State assisting farmers with inputs like seed, fertiliser and fuel.

The farmers were given a five tonne per hectare target.

The Presidential Inputs Support Scheme saw more farmers getting resources in a development expected to significantly boost production.

Manyuchi was careless: Manager

Sports Reporters
WITH debate still raging on what went wrong with Zimbabwe’s boxer Charles Manyuchi following the embarrassing first round defeat to rising star Qudratillo Abduqaxorov, his management team have also criticised the showboating which cost him the WBC welterweight silver title at the weekend.

Manyuchi’s manager Chris Malunga told the Singaporean media that the 27-year-old was “careless” in his approach.

The Uzbek boxer capitalised on Manyuchi’s clowning early in the match and sent him to the canvas twice to bag the match in just two minutes and 56 seconds.

“The technical approach was a bit bad on our side,” said Malunga.

“Charles was careless. That (the showboating) is his style of fighting, but I felt it was a bit early for him to do that.”

Manyuchi, whose record has now been dented to 20-3-1, will now need to go back and prepare for a possible rematch with the 23-year-old.

Malunga remained confident that Manyuchi will still rise.

But it is usually not easy to get a rematch and his Zambian stable Oriental Quarries Boxing Promotions would need to make an aggressive bid against the Uzbek.

Abduqaxorov’s camp has since indicated that he will defend his title against Russian Dmitry Mikhylenko, the man who was defeated by Manyuchi last year for the belt.

It may take time before Manyuchi gets another shot. However, Malunga said they have not given up on their dream as they were still eyeing the gold title.

Malunga said the knockout should spur Manyuchi to work harder on his shortcomings.

“Good boxers have taken such knockout (defeats) and come back. So it’s a learning process for us,” he said.

Malunga, who is now heading to Mexico for a title fight with another member of his stable Esther Phiri, also dismissed stories circulating on social media that the match might have been fixed.

“With due respect to everyone’s comments, let’s be very careful. I am appealing to everybody on the group that let’s be very careful with the comments we are making.

“Some of these comments are very negative and total rubbish, unacceptable and I have stated clearly that we are going to issue a comprehensive statement once we come back from Mexico, right now we are still on tour of duty and we do not want to get involved in too much of this.

“What we are looking for is to make sure that we defend the other title in Mexico.

“So all those comments which are coming up are very dangerous to the sport and certain individuals might end answering charges in courts of law because those are serious allegations, so let’s be very careful with our comments.

“I know that everyone is at liberty to comment the way they comment but certain comments are very false and alarming,” said Malunga.

But many in the boxing fraternity have raised concerns over Manyuchi’s showboating and clowning approach in his fight.

The way Manyuchi lost disappointed many of his fans and colleagues.

Boxing trainer, Issa Phiri of Hard Rock, said Manyuchi’s approach to the fight was unprofessional.

“The way Charles performed, I don’t think they did a lot of work as a camp to come up with a game plan towards the fight. I didn’t see the team work, I didn’t see what the camp did to help Charles to come up with a good approach.

“The approach in the first round was not very professional.

“I thought maybe they just felt since this young man is just new into the line, they can just take him easily. That’s why, the way I looked at the video, how Charles performed, he was just Charles without the corner man who told him what to do and he was not on guard.

“He was not serious. He performed as an amateur and he performed as someone who is at home I don’t know why?” said Phiri.

However, Phiri is convinced Manyuchi, given another chance, will bounce back.

Former Zimbabwe National Boxing Control Board member, Patrick Mkondiwa, who is also a referee, said Manyuchi was responsible for his defeat.

“First of all we are all disappointed. We were not really expecting this although in boxing a boxer can lose.

“The problem with this bout is our boy did not protect himself.

“From a referee’s perspective, we always tell them to protect themselves. It may be his style of fighting but it has cost him now. He is a good boxer but the problem is the guard,” said Mkondiwa.

Mkondiwa pointed out that although it’s not a pleasant experience, the loss is a good lesson for Zimbabwe’s top boxer.

“I was disappointed but it’s a good lesson, although it cost him his belt. Hopefully he comes back strong.

“Because he removed the guard, he was caught unaware and off guard.

“When he fell, what he should have done was to wait until the referee counted to eight. He was still dizzy and the other boxer went for a straight follow-up before he had recovered,” said Mkondiwa.

6 dead after plane crash

Part of the plane wreckage

Part of the plane wreckage

From Cletus Mushanawani in Vumba
Six people, four of them directors of Beira-headquartered Green Motor Services (GMS) who included a Zimbabwean, were killed in a plane crash in Vumba yesterday morning.

The eight-seater plane crashed in the Vumba Mountains around 8AM on the Zimbabwean side, while it was headed for Mutare where the deceased were due for a board meeting of the goods clearing firm.

Witnesses attributed the crash to bad weather, as it was misty in the area by the time of the accident.

The four GMS directors, Adelino DeJesus Mesquita (managing director), Isaac Noor (finance director), Antonio Jeorge Ucucho (legal advisor) and a Zimbabwean, Banele Sibanda (finance and accounts manager), together with crew members, Captain Rui Fonseca Tereira Dos Santos, who was being assisted by his son, Adelino De-Lopus Dos Santos, were aboard the Mozambican registered Air Transport Company plane, Islander BN-2A-300, Registration Number C9-AOV, when it went down.

Police chief national spokesperson, Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba, referred our Harare Bureau to Air Force of Zimbabwe for a comment yesterday night.

Efforts to get a comment from the Air Force of Zimbabwe proved fruitless at the time of going to Press.

GMS Mutare Dry Port general manager, Mr Lawrence Takawira, who also attended the crash scene in Vumba, said the four were due to attend a board meeting at the Mutare-based company.

GMS runs the Mutare Dry Port, which is involved in the clearing of goods from the Port of Beira in Mozambique.

“We were waiting for the four at Mutare Aerodrome from about 8am together with officials from Zimbabwe Revenue Authority and the Department of Immigration,” said Mr Takawira. “When the plane delayed in arriving, we phoned our Beira office and we were told by the managing director’s secretary that the four had delayed in leaving Beira because of the bad weather.

“We were advised that they would arrive at around 9am, but up to 11am they had not arrived. Someone phoned to inform us that there was a plane crash in the Vumba Mountains.

“After verification, we discovered that it was the plane carrying our senior executives. We rushed to the scene and it was confirmed that they were the people aboard that plane. Their death is a sad loss to both Zimbabwe and Mozambique.”

When our Mutare Bureau arrived at the scene around 1pm, the wreckage of the plane and human body parts were strewn all over the place near the summit of the nearly 1 911 metres high mountain where the plane crashed.

Scores of people from both Mozambique and Zimbabwe had scaled up the mountain to catch a glimpse of the wreckage.

The six bodies were later placed in body bags thrown to the scene by an Air Force of Zimbabwe helicopter, which had a torrid time airlifting the bodies.

The bodies were eventually airlifted after several attempts and were said to have been transported to Mutare Provincial Hospital for postmortem.

Zimpapers to grow top line in 2017

Mr Deketeke

Mr Deketeke

Business Reporter
LISTED media group, Zimbabwe Newspapers Limited, says it will focus on growing the top line while keeping an eye on costs, as part of key strategies for the business in the 2017 financial year.

Group chief executive Pikirayi Deketeke said in an interview that the group would continue to optimise revenue through innovation and product diversity in order to grow revenue streams.

This comes after Zimpapers saw revenue dipping 6,3 percent to $37 million in the 12 months to December 2016 while operating costs declined 23,5 percent to $21,8 million.

In line with the drop in revenue, the group recorded a drop in gross profit to $24 million from $30 million. After tax profit also fell to $2,2 million from $2,7 million.

Mr Deketeke said while keeping costs under wraps was paramount; growing the business required a sustained attack on the top line to optimise opportunities for improved profitability.

“Through the new products we have, such as The Suburban Newspaper, we will make an effort to make sure we grow the top line. New products have a gestation period and we expect that by now they have matured and are more acceptable to the market.

“We also expect that the market is now more familiar with them and we are beginning to see the growth coming through, (including products such as vernacular newspaper) Kwayedza,” he said.

“So, there is hope that the top line can grow and it is our momentum in 2017 that we need to drive growth in everything that we do. This can be in terms of growth in circulation volumes, advertising, listenership and our radios. Whether its events, there has to be revenue growth in all our business units,” Mr Deketeke added.

Zimpapers said it expects to benefit from restrictions through statutory measures such as rebates on some raw materials.

Some of the measures are already positively impacting on some of its operations including National Printing, which is now profitable. Natprint was the best performer in the group in February.

The Zimpapers chief said measures by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to cap bank interest rates at 12 percent per annum would help efforts to keep a lid on growth in operating costs.

Zimbabwe’s leading and only listed media group closed the year with borrowings at $37 million and a drop in borrowing costs should augur well for the company’s efforts to lower finance costs.

Other measures to keep costs within check will include a freeze on hiring, prudent procurement of raw materials (eliminating middlemen), and being prudent in managing other costs.

Mr Deketeke said the organisation had no plans to further reduce the head count, although he would not completely rule it out, adding that multi-skilling the firm’s workforce would be critical.

Being a diversified media group, Mr Deketeke said the organisation would seek to optimise benefits from its convergence concept where a single reporter should be able to provide material usable across the group’s different media platforms.

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