Biti Never Proposed Diaspora Tax – Makusha Mugabe

Finance Minister Tendai Biti never proposed a diaspora tax. It is an indictment of Zimbabwean journalism that not less than five news websites, including the zimguardian, the Voice of America, The Zimbabwe Mail and Harare Tribune have all carried the story.\r\n

Even the Chronicle in Bulawayo reported it as if it was factual that Biti proposed this tax. But it is not clear who started the story.

NewZimbabwe.com which wrote the story on Biti launching an academic report that proposed the tax seems to have got it right. They reported that he launched a report by academics.

They even provided a link to download the report which showed that it was a proposal by this group of academics.

The full list of the academics who proposed it is given below.

But the Zanu PF propaganda website www.talkzimbabwe.com then went and wrote: "Finance Minister Tendai Biti has a new plan to raise funds – taxing those Zimbabweans who are living abroad.

"Minister Biti unveiled the plan in a national reconstruction report unveiled by Biti at a seminar at Manchester University, England, recently" – cut-paste journalism at its worst.

The truth is that this was an independent report published by The University of Manchester’s Brooks World Poverty Institute.

The "research" was carried out by a team of academics and policy experts, "by accessing Government and policy documentation as well as talking to policy makers" according to their own Press release.

It was launched by Dr Biti, Zimbabwe Minister of Finance at a public lecture at The University of Manchester on 11 December as we reported here.

Biti himself said: "Of course I haven’t proposed any such a tax.

"The report I launched is an independent academic report. I have no influence on it’s crafting nor does the same bind government .

"I personally think a citizen tax is not practical. In any event there should never be taxation without representation"

The full list of the academics who proposed it is given below: Former senior permanent secretary Dr Tendai Bare a Commissioner in the Public Service Commission of Zimbabwe. She has also directed programmes at the Commonwealth Secretariat in London.

Dr Blessing Chiripanhura holds a PhD in Economics and has worked at the University of Sheffield and the Zimbabwe Congress of Trades Unions.

Beth Chitekwe-Biti is currently completing a PhD degree in Urban Development and Planning at the University of Manchester. She is the Founder and Director of Dialogue on Shelter and sits on the Secretariat of Shack Dwellers International.

Dr Fay Chung holds a DPhil from the University of Zimbabwe and worked in the Ministry of Education in Zimbabwe in various capacities including as Minister of Education before joining UNICEF as Chief of Education. She moved to UNESCO before returning to Zimbabwe.

Dr Tapiwa Magure holds a degree in medicine, an MA in Public Health and an MBA. He has worked in the health ministry in Zimbabwe and is currently the Executive Director of the National AIDS Council.

Lance Mambondiyani is currently completing his PhD in Finance at the University of Manchester. He has worked in the finance sector in Zimbabwe in various capacities and is an investment analyst for an international consulting firm.

Dr Jeannette Manjengwa is the Deputy Dean of Social Studies at the University of Zimbabwe where she also lectures in Environment and Development at the Centre for Applied Social Sciences. She has worked in education and in the Ministry of Environment and Tourism of Zimbabwe.

Dr Innocent Matshe holds a PhD in Agricultural Economics from The University of Manchester and currently lectures at the University of Zimbabwe’s Department of Economics.

Dr Ngoni Munemo holds a PhD in Political Science from Columbia University. He is currently Assistant Professor of Political Science at Williams College in the USA.

Dr Sobona Mtisi holds a PhD from the University of Manchester and is currently a Research Fellow in Water Governance at the Overseas Development Institute.

Mike Nxele works at the International Telecommunications Union in Geneva. With a background in Human Resources Management he was Human Resources Director for the Posts and Telecommunications in Zimbabwe before joining the UN in Nairobi and Geneva.

And Dr Desire Sibanda who holds a PhD in Finance from the University of Bath and is currently Permanent Secretary for Economic Planning and Investment Promotion in Zimbabwe. He has worked in the Zimbabwe Civil Service and ZIPAM.

Lead author is Dr Admos Chimhowu from The Brooks World Poverty Institute at The University of Manchester. www.changezimbabwe.com