Wednesday, December 23, 2009


Nestlé are in trouble again. Some months ago it was revealed to the world at large that Nestlé Zimbabwe was buying milk from ‘you-know-who’s wife, Grace. Nestlé’s head office is in Switzerland and Switzerland is a member of the EU so Nestlé was accused of breaking sanctions against the ZANU-PF regime. It wasn’t going to go away and Nestlé was required (legally required in terms of EU policies) to stop purchasing milk from Grace, a specified person on the EU sanctions list.

This should not really create a problem for Grace because Zimbabwe has their own Daribord which purchases milk from wherever it can. There is a shortage of milk countrywide due to the destruction of dairy farming – just like all other farming produce. So Grace can easily sell her milk to Daribord.

But you have to remember that this Zimbabwe.

Next event was for workers from Grace’s farm to dump their milk on Nestlé factory doorstep and demand payment. It didn’t happen so the police, last week, arrested the MD and FD. The FD is Farai Munetsi – I know him well as we used to do business together. They were released without charge but Nestlé believed that their operations and their staff had been threatened by the regime and their African head office in Kenya decided to ‘temporarily’ close the factory doors.

Now the ZANU PF politicians get involved and shout their usual abuse from the rooftops of Harare that Nestlé can ‘go to hell’ and the government will take over their factory.

What will happen next? Watch this space but expect it to be the African political will that will win. At the expense of course of some 200 Zimbabwean workers who work at Nestlé in Harare, and at the expense of the economy and at the expense of the Zimbabwean consumer.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Lull Before the Storm?

I see that it is three weeks since I last appended to this blog. Apart from when I was away on holiday this must constitute a record. The main reason is that life – politically and economically has become almost as boring here as it is in the United Kingdom, Canada or Australia. But for the record: -

Roy Bennet’s trial has been adjourned to the New Year – this after Peter Hitschmann was called to give evidence and surprisingly to the prosecutor, was not available. Not a surprise to anyone else of course. Conveniently, Bennet will not be a ‘free man’ until after the ZANU PF Congress and after the continuing negotiations with the MDC and now, the South African negotiating team.

Lawyer Mordecai Mahlangu who had the ‘nerve’ to write a letter to the AG telling him that Hitschmann had no evidence to give at Bennet’s trial is still, presumably, on remand. Hopefully out of custody.

The MDC driver accused of engineering the theft of rifles from the Army barracks is also still on remand, but he is definitely IN custody, the State having appealed against the High Court decision to grant him bail.

And the negotiations continue. Although this time the South Africans are said to be taking a harder line against Mugabe following their complete surprise that Mugabe has failed to implement several of the matters agreed to in January. Why oh why are they surprised? Nobody else is.

Is this the lull before the coming storm?