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Letters to the editor

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We request information on beneficiaries of tax holidays

ON July 27, 2021, the Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights) filed a request for information on “tax holidays” with the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) and the Finance ministry.

In terms of section 7 of the Freedom of Information Act [Chapter 10:33], any citizen can request the disclosure of government policy and other information in the public interest.

The law requires that every public entity, public commercial entity or holder of a statutory office shall have a written information disclosure policy through which it discloses information in the interests of public accountability or that is required for the exercise or protection of a right.

ZimRights is convinced that both or one of them Zimra and/or the Finance ministry are the custodians of information relating to the granting of tax holidays to certain corporates.

It is in this light that ZimRights has written to these public entities requesting the following information:

  1. A written information disclosure policy in terms of section 5 of the Freedom of Information Act if any; and
  2. Particulars of the tax exemption policy in force especially;

2.1 Type, and business sector of persons, including corporate persons exempt from liability for corporate or other income tax in Zimbabwe in the example format:

(Great Dyke Investments (Private) Limited — platinum mining joint venture — exempt via Statutory Instrument 26 of 2021 effective from January 1, 2020);

2.2 The criteria in use to assess eligibility for granting of tax exemption to corporate entities for the period 2019 to date.

2.3 If there is a register of tax-exempt corporate entities or individuals (resident shareholder’s tax payable on dividends);

2.3.1 If yes, to kindly avail an updated copy of the register of exempt persons.

ZimRights believes this information is important for the pursuit of transparency and accountability as envisioned by the Constitution of Zimbabwe.

On July 1, 2021, a United States-based group, the Sentry published a report titled Shadows and Shell Games: Uncovering an Offshore Business Empire, which exposed potentially corrupt practices by government officials.

A follow up family dialogue was convened by ZimRights, Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development and the Constitutional Law Centre in which citizens and experts recommended pursuit of accountability.

Section 194 of the Constitution obliges government to foster transparency by providing the public with timely, accessible and accurate information.

Government and all its agencies are duty bound to keep the public informed. ZimRights information department

Stability at City of Harare commendable

THE stability prevailing at Town House is an indicator that probably some people who were involved in the governance and administration of the City of Harare in the last three years were not supposed to be there in the first place.

The officials and the councillors seem to have found each other and are making quick interventions on issues brought to their attention.

There was a time when conflicts among the councillors and Town House bureaucrats was so evident that it became an open war zone.

You would not engage one councillor without offending the other, and similarly officials feared each other to the extent that they would do anything to hurt the other.

Central government interference is now minimal.

What is evident, however, is that there is need for serious review of the criteria for selecting councillors.

The role of central government in the running of local authorities needs to be reviewed.

The council needs to be fully devolved to enable citizens involvement in local decision-making, resource allocation and setting development priorities.

The council can, indeed, become a model if there is consensus on service delivery priorities.

Corruption cannot be totally eradicated without a radical mindset shift, and that is a long process.

Therefore, we need to keep corrupt practices at a very minimal until we eventually rid ourselves of that scourge.

Why do councillors and officials fight yet they pretend to be fighting to give citizens the best service? The ratepayer has lost due to fighting among councillors and officials.

My prayer is that they choose to serve the people, not their political party interests. Precious Shumba

Let’s not listen to these prophets of doom

POVERTY and the demonic world has caused Africans to be victims of tricksters in the form of church leaders, some existing among us.

For a long time, they have been studying the Bible and incorporating their own definitions, in the process manipulating churchgoers.

They make true believers see salvation in them. They are a group of con-artists who do not fear God and are out to make money.

I am afraid this dangerous group will never rest in its pursuit of self-aggrandisement.

It is fearless and portrays itself as close to God when in reality it represents the dark world.

These self-acclaimed prophets issue contradictory statements on important national issues.

Recently, they were discouraging citizens from being vaccinated against the deadly COVID-19
pandemic.

They say so without giving an alternative.

These prophets are hiding in their posh houses built from monies looted in God’s name while telling those who believe in them to shun COVID-19 vaccination.

They are putting on masks, sanitising, practising social distancing, but have not done anything to assist in the fight against COVID-19.

Their holy waters and anointed oils have proved useless.

I was angered by one of the church leaders who made a somersault after initially calling on his followers not to get vaccinated, but later disputed what he had
said.

Today’s prophets and bishops are opportunists. They say things that only help to line their pockets.

It is time for citizens being influenced by the above-mentioned to stand and rebuke them.

These prophets of doom must never be listened to on all fronts.

They don’t speak for God, but their pockets. Please stop listening to them as they are causing misery in our midst. Isaac Mupinyuri

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