MINISTER RANTS AT ENVOYS

Government has warned foreign envoys against trying to lecture Zimbabwe on human rights saying they needed to deal with the logs in their eyes first. Responding to statements issued last week by the United States and Canadian embassies to Zimbabwe on recent violent demonstrations by the opposition, Information, Media and Broadcasting Services Minister Dr Christopher Mushohwe yesterday said the ambassadors betrayed clear hostility towards the Government of Zimbabwe, and a sinister partiality for the opposition. 

He said both embassies were not in Zimbabwe to involve themselves in the domestic affairs of Zimbabwe, let alone to interfere with, or take sides in local politics or even to give themselves an imperious role of judging Zimbabwean politics.

“Zimbabwe is a sovereign state which, is equal to any other in the world, including the US and Canada, whatever illusions ambassadors of those two countries here may harbour in their minds. Beyond diplomatic relations as regulated by the Vienna Conventions, there is nothing else that gives governments of those two countries or their emissaries here any special claim to our politics, or a judgmental role on occurrences

“Their statements last week were not only unacceptably repugnant, but vainly suggested their governments play father figure to a sovereign state, as if Zimbabwe is under some kind of joint US-Canadian trusteeship. For the record, Zimbabwe gained its Independence in 1980 following a national liberation struggle which never enjoyed an iota of support from the West,” he said.

Dr Mushohwe said Zimbabwe, being a sovereign state, was equal to any other in the world, and was free to pursue its own national policies as supported by its democratically elected sitting Government.

He said Zimbabwe took no orders from any foreign state – big or small, far or near – in the pursuit of its politics, policies and decisions.

“The US government, with more than a decade of a raft of punitive measures it took to unilaterally sanction Zimbabwe, is the least qualified to lecture Zimbabwe on welfare issues relating to Zimbabwean citizens. Through those illegal sanctions, the US government has undermined the Zimbabwean economy, thereby bringing untold suffering to the People of Zimbabwe.

“The US thus should never be allowed to blame the Zimbabwe Government for effects of its spiteful policies here. The least the US Ambassador Harry Thomas here can do, is to keep his mouth shut, instead of compounding the crimes of his government against the people of Zimbabwe by parading false piety,” he said.

Dr Mushohwe said Western governments, including those of the US and Canada, did not support the constitution-making process when it was underway but were hostile to it.
“Today, they cannot remind us of provisions of the same law they opposed only yesterday or stand as watchdogs over its daily observance here. In any case, before both ambassadors issue out their condescendingly sick statements on local politics, and on the upholding of human rights here, let them pause a while to examine their home environments where rights of men and women of colour, and rights of indigenous populations, are daily wantonly trampled upon by their own governments, with absolutely no recourse to countless victims,” he said.

Dr Mushohwe said hardly a month ago, more and more African-Americans were shot and killed in cold blood by the US police but the ambassador who was himself an African-African American remained silent on the issue.

“Why did he not write home to remind his own government on the need to uphold the rights of fellow blacks back home? Or resign in protest to vindicate his claim to commitment to human rights? Such rank hypocrisy is not only sickening but, for the American Ambassador, amounts to complicity with his Government in a war against his own kind. Let not those with logs in their eyes seek to cure imaginary specks in African eyes,” he said.

Last week, the United States Embassy, Canada and Australia issued separate statements supporting the protests and condemning law enforcements agents for maintaining peace and order by arresting illegal protesters.

“The United States is troubled by the economic policies and financial strains that have prompted numerous recent protests in Zimbabwe and we join many Zimbabweans in their deep concern over reports of violence during some of the protests,” reads statement released by the US embassy in Harare yesterday.

The US embassy also said it was “monitoring recent threats to crackdown on activists using social media”.

On the other hand, the Canadian embassy said: “The Embassy of Canada to Zimbabwe is increasingly concerned with reports of violence and human rights violations in response to public protest.


“The Embassy of Canada calls for calm and stresses the importance of peaceful dialogue. The Embassy of Canada reiterates its call on all stakeholders to respect the Constitution of Zimbabwe, in particular, the freedom to peacefully demonstrate, the right to personal liberty, the right to personal security and the rights of arrested and detained persons,,” read the statement.

Information, Media and Broadcasting Services permanent secretary and Presidential spokesperson, Mr George Charamba warned opposition elements that Government would come hard on protesters who seek to destroy the country.

Speaking to ZBCTv, Mr Charamba said Government would not allow another demonstration that the opposition groups were planning for Friday.

“Let them test the authority of the State. Let them test the authority of the State and then they will realise that until and unless you keep within the lawful confines of the law, the full might of the State will visit you.

“Of course, they have crossed the line. This whole nonsense of trying to create a Zimbabwe which is a burning country will not be repeated. We needed what happened last Friday and Wednesday because if we had moved and moved decisively, ahead of such demonstration of hooliganism, then there would have been an outcry to say the Zimbabwean Government is trampling on human rights. So they got their first and last chance,” said Mr Charamba. Herald

ZINARA REJECTS PLASTIC MONEY

THE Zimbabwe National Roads Administration (Zinara) will not accept payments through point of sale machines at tollgates as this can cause congestion and delays at tolling points, a Cabinet Minister has said.

Instead, Transport and Infrastructure Development Minister Joram Gumbo encouraged motorists to embrace the prepaid tollgate fee system.

He was responding to a question in Parliament by Buhera South legislator Cde Joseph Chinotimba on Wednesday on why Zinara was not embracing the use of plastic money at tollgates.

“At tollgates, we may not be able to use the POS machines because we will spend a lot of time but I am advising motorists to use prepaid facilities. If we are to allow you to use the POS machines at the tollgates, it may take a long time and the queues can be so long that you will end up getting bored,” said Minister Gumbo.

He said as an alternative, Zinara had a new policy for a pre-paid system which is more efficient and convenient.

“We now have a policy which allows you to make a pre-payment where you get your ticket in advance. The pre-paid system is also used for Zinara payments at tollgates,” said Minister Gumbo.

He said the pre-paid system was mostly used by companies and institutions who bought tickets in advance.
“This system was introduced sometime back but it’s still unpopular with general motorists. Companies and institutions have embraced it. They purchase their toll tickets in advance for a period of a month or so,” said Minister Gumbo.
He said bond coins were also acceptable at the toll gates.

“We also use bond coins and it makes life easier for motorists to move around in their cars. When you pass through the tollgates, you are allowed to make your payments using bond coins because they have an equivalent value as the US dollar.

“We also ask you as people’s representatives to advise your constituents that they can use these bond coins at the tollgates,” he said.

Zimbabwe has been hit by cash shortages in recent months due to externalisation of foreign currency and a widening trade deficit.

As a result, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has come up with a raft of measures aimed at minimising the crisis. The measures include promotion of plastic money usage (use of bank cards and other electronic payments) by the transacting public, reduction in electronic transaction costs as well as imposition of daily cash withdrawal limits.

The use of plastic money in the retail sector has increased by 70 percent following calls by monetary authorities on the transacting public to increase electronic money usage. herald

ZEC OFFICER ARRESTED

A ZIMBABWE Electoral Commission (Zec) officer has been arrested for allegedly canvassing votes for an independent candidate during a council by-election held in Gweru last month.

Ephraim Hodzi (37) appeared before Midlands Provincial magistrate Mrs Phathekile Msipa facing one count of canvassing for votes.

Hodzi through his lawyer Mr Brian Dube pleaded not guilty to the charge. He is out free on bail. Hodzi applied for discharge at the close of the state’s case and the ruling would be made on Thursday.

Prosecutor, Mr Andrew Marimo said on July 23, Mrs Maria Dzamira was the presiding officer at Mambo Secondary School in Gweru during the Ward 7 poll.

“The accused was one of the polling officers who were vetting voters at the entrance before entering the room to cast their votes.

“On the same date there was Chemedzai Maburo in the queue waiting for her turn to cast her vote,” said the prosecutor.
He said Ms Maburo went to Hodzi for vetting when her time to vote came.
During that time, the court heard, Hodzi whispered to her saying, “Vote independent, vote independent.”

“The complainant didn’t respond at the time and went through the voting process. The accused them made gestures to her to check if she had done as per his instruction,” said Mr Marimo.

He said outside the polling station, Ms Maburo informed a Zanu-PF agent what had transpired.

The matter was reported to the police leading to Hodzi’s arrest.
Zanu-PF won the poll to claim a seat that had been in the hands of the MDC-T since 2008. The election was triggered by the death of Gweru deputy mayor councillor Artwell Matyorauta in April this year due to a heart problem.

Cde Stanford Mukotami of Zanu-PF polled 571 votes against an independent candidate, Mr Artwell Matyorauta, the late deputy mayor’s son who secured 317 votes.
Another independent candidate, Mr Josh Katazo garnered 143 vote. chronicle

THREATENED MDC ACTIVIST FLEES

MDC-T activist Mr Partson Murimoga, who recently took opposition party leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai to the High Court for unilaterally appointing party vice presidents, has gone into hiding after being threatened by party youths for humiliating their leader.

Mr Murimoga dragged Mr Tsvangirai to the High Court last month accusing him of handpicking Kuwadzana East MP Advocate Nelson Chamisa and Warren Park MP Engineer Elias Mudzuri as vice presidents against the provisions of the party’s constitution that stipulate that such appointments be done by congress.

Following the court challenge, Mr Murimoga has fled his Chitungwiza residence after failing to get protection from the party leadership whom he accused of being behind the attempt on his life.

He has also taken the MDC-T to the High Court demanding his salary after going for more than four months without being paid.

In an interview yesterday from his hiding base, Mr Murimoga said he had received several threats from party activists and he has since left his residence together with his family.

“I first started receiving threatening messages on our group Whatsapp platform of party members. It all started when I took Mr Tsvangirai to court. People have been coming to my house threatening me and I have since left my residence and sought refuge from well wishers some of whom are embassies that have traditionally supported the party.
“They now realise that Mr Tsvangirai does not rein in his supporters on violence given what happened to our former deputy national treasurer Mr Elton Mangoma who was assaulted right at party head-office,” said Mr Murimoga.
He said it was strange that the party that allowed Harare mayor Mr Bernard Manyenyeni to seek recourse at the courts after he was suspended now sought to discredit him when he tried to assert his rights by approaching the same courts the same way Mr Manyenyeni had done.

“These are the very courts that Mr Manyenyeni approached for recourse. Why am I being victimised for doing the same thing? Are these not double standards by my party?” said Mr Murimoga.

“I have fled my residence and stay with some well wishers. It pains me greatly that I am being persecuted by my party. It would have been understandable had it been any other party. Not the very party that I assisted in conceiving,” he said.

Mr Murimoga has also taken his party to the High Court demanding his outstanding salaries that had not been honoured.
When contacted for comment, MDC-T spokesperson Mr Obert Gutu said he had not received reports of threats against Mr Murimoga.

“The MDC is a peace-loving political party that strongly abhors and condemns any form of violence against anyone. To the best of my knowledge, the party has not received any complaints to the effect that Partson Murimoga is being threatened by MDC supporters,” said Mr Gutu.

“On the issue of salaries for party employees, that is an internal party issue. All our party employees are very much aware of the procedure to be followed when they are demanding payment of their wages and salaries.”

Mr Murimoga said he still believed that Mr Tsvangirai was wrong in unilaterally appointing Adv Chamisa and Eng Mudzuri as vice presidents outside the confines of party congress as required by the constitution of the opposition party.Herald

FALSE START TO TOMANA TRIAL

The trial of suspended Prosecutor-General Johannes Tomana has been postponed to October 4 after the State notified the court that it had not furnished the defence with the relevant papers on time to prepare its defence outline. Through his lawyer Mr Tazorora Musarurwa, Tomana told the court that he will apply for refusal of further remand if trial fails take place on the next remand date.The suspended PG appeared before Mr Vakayi Chikwekwe.

“Your Worship we did not serve the defence with relevant papers on time after consolidating all the charges.

“Therefore we seek for a further postponement to October 4 for purposes of trial,” said the prosecutor, Mr Jonathan Chingwinyiso.
Mr Chingwinyiso is being assisted by Messrs Malvern Musarurwa, Gwinyai Shumba and Timothy Makoni.

Mr Chikwekwe recused himself from the case.
He, however, presided over the matter yesterday for the purposes of remand.
Tomana is facing trial for criminal abuse of office after he allegedly dropped charges against suspects accused of attempting to bomb Gushungo Dairy.
Allegations in the new cases are that in 2004, Bright Matonga, then chief executive of Zimbabwe United Passengers Company (Zupco), was charged with culpable homicide.
It is alleged that the charge arose from a road traffic accident that claimed the life of Chipo Chikowore.

Tomana allegedly called for the docket and instructed that the charges be dropped.
In 2006, Matonga was charged with contravening sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

In December 2008, Tomana allegedly instructed Morgan Dube to drop charges after plea against Matonga. The court heard that in 2006, Zupco board chairman Charles Nherera was charged with corruption.

Tomana testified as a defence witness and Nherera was sentenced to three years in prison.
After sentence, Nherera unsuccessfully applied for bail pending appeal at the High Court.
Nherera served his sentence and was released from prison in December 2008.
When Tomana was appointed AG, he declared that Nherera was innocent and wrongfully convicted.

The court heard that former Bindura Hospital acting medical superintendent Beauty Basile was charged with criminal abuse of duty. She appeared before Harare Regional Magistrates Court.

Tomana ordered the withdrawal of charges after plea on November 24, 2009.
The court heard that in October 2009, Patrick Mavros, a gold dealer, was charged with possession of gold without a licence.

Mavros admitted to the charges but Tomana directed that prosecution be declined, it is alleged. Herald

ROADBLOCK RULES LAID DOWN

THE Government has said roadblocks must not be mounted less than 10 kilometres apart as it violates United Nations (UN) guidelines on road patrols.
 
Home Affairs Deputy Minister Cde Obedingwa Mguni said it was not only illegal but also bizarre to have roadblocks within a 10 kilometre radius.

Cde Mguni said this in Parliament last week while responding to a question posed by Chitungwiza North MP Godfrey Sithole (MDC-T) on the criteria used to mount roadblocks.
Deputy Minister Mguni also said too many roadblocks do not promote tourism.

“The policy is driven from the United Nations. In a written document, it says roadblocks can be mounted 10 kilometres apart.

“However, here in Zimbabwe we don’t have numbers of police who can manage to do every roadblock and it is not tourism friendly to mount roadblocks after every 10 kilometres. It’s bizarre for the country,” said Cde Mguni.

He said sometimes police use their discretion to mount roadblocks when they deem it necessary as part of their operational duties.
“We choose the correct spots which we think are hot spots where the roadblock should be and the other thing is that there are secrets which even I as a Minister they (police) cannot tell me because they’re are doing operational duties where they can mount a roadblock there and change it as they get information because they have got intelligence information within them.

So they have to mount (roadblocks) since the people is being organised to revolt. Some people may destroy properties, it may be dangerous to other people’s lives so police have the right to make decisions to keep the country in a peaceful state,” said Cde Mguni.
The Deputy Minister also clarified the difference between roadblocks, spot checks and patrols.

“These are three different things. Usually, the motor bikes people are doing what we call patrols and spot checks. They can patrol whether they are two and if they see suspicious vehicles, they have the right to stop them because they do not patrol just to go. They have to identify something which is wrong and they have got the right to stop and make inquiries whether they are two or one,” he said.

Cde Mguni said roadblocks must have three or more police officers.
“In a patrol as well, besides the motor bike — it could be a BMW or any other car, two officers can be there in that car. They drive it along the road patrolling and identifying unusual activities. They can stop vehicles and search if they have to,” he said. chronicle

CHARAMBA FUMES OVER SOLDIERS JOINING PROTESTS STORY

SOUTH Africa’s Gupta-family owned news channel Africa News Network 7 (ANN7) was yesterday taken to task for carrying a story that Zimbabwe’s security forces had joined the opposition-led demonstrations.

Information, Media and Broadcasting Services permanent secretary and Presidential spokesperson, Mr George Charamba, wrote to ANN7 after the television station broadcast a story published by CAJ News quoting unnamed security personnel claiming that they were joining the protests because they had not been paid.

“Editor, the Zimbabwe Government takes very great exception to claims on your screen suggesting the involvement of the country’s security forces in opposition demonstrations,” said Mr Charamba.

“You very well know — or should know — the rules around handling news, including picking up suggestive reports from dubious sources. What is “a flight air commando”? Have you checked the Zimbabwe Defence Forces have not been paid? What is “umpteenth” time?
“Is it beyond your channel to raise the Zimbabwean Government for a check before you publish such sensational claims? Or are you protecting your sinister efforts towards an endgame you dream and desire? Simply, it won’t happen.

“What is sure to happen is a rejection of this type of sinister “journalism”. I’m sure you can do better next time. In the meantime, the Zimbabwean Government urges you to do the honourable thing, namely to drop that falsehood forthwith. Not as a favour, but as a requirement of rules of your craft.”

ANN7 dropped the story in the wake of Mr Charamba’s censure.
The ANN7 report came amid reports that the MDC-T and its affiliate political allies were sourcing police and military uniforms from their western handlers with the intention of giving them to their activists to destablise the country and paint a picture that the country’s security forces were part of the opposition-led demonstrations.

The MDC-T is reported to have sent members of its youth wing to some African countries (names supplied) for paramilitary training and urban violence.

“Let me, however, highlight that according to security intelligence, MDC-T and their surrogate political parties have engaged their donors in neighbouring countries who have been contracted to sew both police and military uniforms,” said acting Senior Staff Officer (Press and Public Relations), Chief Superintendent Paul Nyathi, in a statement yesterday.

“The security institutions are seized with investigations of this matter and are on high alert.
“There is a possibility that these uniforms will be clandestinely used to destabilise the country. Anyone found responsible will face the full wrath of the law.”

MDC-T spokesperson, Mr Obert Gutu, denied his party was ordering the uniforms.
“There is absolutely nothing like that. The MDC is a civilian, lawful and peace-loving social democratic political party. We have no business acquiring army uniforms.”

Chief Supt Nyathi also dismissed a story on an online publication that alleged that Assistant Commissioner Crispen Makedenge had ordered officers to shoot and kill ring leaders from MDC-T who were involved in the demonstrations on Friday and are still at large.

“We want to dismiss the story with the contempt it deserves as the ZRP, unlike other law enforcement agencies in other countries who use firearms to shoot people during demonstrations, does not use firearms to deal with unruly elements.

“This mischievous story is meant to divide security forces who, for your information, closely work together to protect the internal and external territorial integrity of Zimbabwe.
“No amount of propaganda will make police officers turn away from their constitutional obligations.

“Whoever feels otherwise is free to leave the ZRP especially those who are alleged to have been interviewed by CAJ news,” said Chief Supt Nyathi.

PROTESTS HAUL ZIM BACK INTO SPOTLIGHT

The spate of protests that have rocked Zimbabwe are set to bring the country back into the regional and international spotlight, political commentators said.

They said organisations like Sadc and the United Nations (UN) are increasingly getting compelled to intervene in the deepening Zimbabwe crisis.
This comes as the United Nations — expected to hold a summit in September — on Friday said it is closely monitoring the situation in Zimbabwe.

Also, last week a group of respected Elders — including former United Nations secretary-general Kofi Anan, Nelson Mandela’s widow Graca Machel and Desmond Tutu — wrote to Sadc petitioning the regional block to intervene in the deepening Zimbabwe crisis and more importantly facilitate a smooth transition of power.

Sadc heads of State are set to meet tomorrow in Swaziland to discuss issues affecting the region, among other issues.

Social commentator Elliot Pfebve said the Sadc region is worried and so is the AU and UN, adding that is the reason why “The Elders have urged the Sadc meeting in Swaziland to find a transitional solution to the Zimbabwean political crisis”.

“In view of such momentum and the success of the petition to the UK Prime Minister, we Zimbabweans are now petitioning Sadc heads of State to engage with stakeholders and pave way for a National Transitional Authority,” Pfebve said, adding that “we are the people!”
He further stated that “such a united voice calling for an end to the (President Robert) Mugabe era can only be ignored at their peril. We are entering a seismic optimum point of people power, unstoppable and unyielding.”

Political commentator Mcdonald Lewanika said Sadc and the UN need to read the signs and take the escalating protests as an early warning sign of the heightening crisis in Zimbabwe.

“As such, these international bodies must increase the costs of repression on Mugabe’s regime and demand that it finds civil ways of engaging with and dealing with the discontent of its citizens,” he said.

He said “based on history we know that the regime, as it has already shown, will continue to take heavy-handed action, but with some activists and citizens beginning to fight back, there is no telling where the country eventually ends up”.

Lewanika said the on-going demonstrations that the police are unsuccessfully trying to quash are an important indicator of the dire state of affairs in the country.

“Although they are still relatively small, they count as an indication of the disaffection that people have with the State and the government must not only be concerned but take action to address the challenges that citizens and political parties are highlighting.”

“It is only an uncaring leader who remains unfazed in the face of such loss of trust by those he presides over,” said Lewanika.

Political commentator Blessing Vava said the protestors’ strategy could be to put Zimbabwe on the world agenda, noting the upcoming Sadc meeting.

“It is to be seen if the momentum is going to be maintained because my worry though is the demos, though good, are failing to attract a critical mass to shake off the regime,” he said.
However, activist Farai Maguwu said “in the end, the solution shall not come from Sadc or the UN but by Zimbabweans themselves”.

“A poor government is weak and vulnerable and what we are seeing is a testing of the waters by pro-democracy activists,” he said. daily news

NERA PARTIES RETURN TO COURT

A grouping of political parties coalescing under the banner National Electoral Reform Agenda (Nera) have approached the High Court to formally advise that their sanctioned demonstration last week failed to take off owing to police interference.

This comes after law enforcement agents brutally crashed a demonstration organised by the grouping to press for comprehensive electoral reforms ahead of the much-anticipated 2018 elections.

But Nera spokesperson Didymus Mutasa said in a statement yesterday the political parties had rescheduled the demonstration that they are tipping to be of colossal proportions to this Friday.

Mutasa added that the Nera will also be staging demonstrations countrywide on the same day.

“To this end, Nera will tomorrow formally advise the court that the sanctioned demonstration never took place as the police, in a brazen act of contempt of court, violently stopped citizens from marching on the sanctioned route,” Mutasa said on Sunday.

The former State Security minister, now a member of the Joice Mujuru-led opposition Zimbabwe People First party said it will be up to the judiciary to determine the fate of Home Affairs minister and the ZRP over their contempt case.

The court order that Nera obtained after police refused to clear them for the demonstration specifically barred them from obstructing or interfering with the march.
He emphasised that political parties under Nera were organisations of peace-loving Zimbabweans, saying “we mean no harm to anyone”.

“We demand nothing more than being allowed our constitutional right to march and to hand over a petition to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) so that they begin to put in place mechanisms for a truly free, fair and credible electoral process ahead of the next election.

“We also further advise that apart from the protest march in Harare, Nera structures in all provinces, cities and towns will be informing the place of similar marches in their areas on the same day.

“Zimbabweans are under no illusion that we are where we are because of the crisis of legitimacy. On Friday, the whole nation wishes to speak with one voice by peacefully demanding that the next election be truly free, fair and credible,” the statement reads further.

Describing the behaviour of the police in crashing their demonstration as callous, the Nera parties argued that Zimbabweans have previously protested without incidents of violence.

“As Nera, we are heartened that the world is watching and that the United Nations has come out to say it is disturbed by the brutality of the Zimbabwe police on innocent citizens.
“The onus is on the State to exercise restraint and allow Zimbabweans to exercise their constitutional rights,” the parties said.

In the aftermath of last week’s crashed demonstration, police launched a crackdown during the night, firing teargas at people walking in town with unconfirmed reports that they went around beating people in bars in the city centre.

The genesis of the socio-economic and political crises the country is grappling with, the Nera parties say, was the disputed 2013 elections “that bred a government with no local and international confidence”.

They argued that disputed elections remained the pressing national concern hence their demand for Zec to listen to them “so that we cure this recurring disease of illegitimacy arising out of contentious elections that breed disputed outcomes”. daily news

TEAM LACOSTE STOKING UNREST : G40

As President Robert Mugabe’s panicking government cranks up its propaganda assault on critics, including making embarrassing claims that the MDC is training its youths outside the country to use stones and catapults to fight for change, stunning intra-Zanu PF allegations have emerged that Team Lacoste is at the heart of the ongoing civil unrest.

Well-placed Zanu PF sources linked to the ruling party faction which is opposed to Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa succeeding Mugabe told the Daily News yesterday that it was allegedly “widely known” that the embattled VP’s supporters were playing a prominent role in the worsening anti-government protests.

The Generation 40 (G40) sources said Team Lacoste, as the Mnangagwa faction is known, had allegedly become so desperate to push Mugabe out of power before the country’s eagerly-anticipated 2018 national elections, that it was now not only “advising” the opposition, but also “working hard to foment anarchy in Zimbabwe” to achieve their goal.

“It is widely-known within the party that rogue Lacoste members are unleashing their own thugs and militia during protests as a way of putting pressure on Gushungo (Mugabe). Even you can see that there is a professional hand behind some of the current chaos.

“Do you think that it is by chance that Choppies (supermarket chain in which Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko is invested) is always attacked in these demos?,” one of the sources said — alluding to the fact that the attacks on the grocer chain were due to Mphoko’s alleged links to the G40.

The Zanu PF youth league, which is now also heavily linked to the G40, appeared to confirm the conspiracy yesterday, threatening to attack protesting Zimbabweans to help overwhelmed police to maintain order.

Addressing party youths and provincial officials who included MPs, who gathered in Harare, youth league boss Kudzai Chipanga claimed it was legal for the Zanu PF youths to assume the role of the police.

“When they demonstrate next time we must come in our numbers to help the police to protect the people. It is called citizenship arrests and it is provided for by the country’s laws. So, we must be able to capture the protestors and take them to the police,” he said.

Meanwhile, lapdog State media ratcheted up their assault on Zanu PF critics yesterday in what even senior ruling party officials admitted was “embarrassing propaganda” after government newspapers claimed the MDC had allegedly sent its youths outside the country for “training in paramilitary tactics and urban violence”.

“It is believed MDC-T hawks, faced with irrelevance and donor fatigue, started planning civil disobedience and sent youths for training in certain African countries (the countries were not named). These groups were deployed last week to unleash unprecedented violence in Harare’s central business district.

“The Sunday Mail witnessed how some of them hid bricks and stones in lunch boxes, milled around intersections ‘innocently’ and then attacked unsuspecting police officers. The ‘protestors’ also used catapults,” the government’s unashamedly pro-Zanu PF newspapers reported.

But a senior Zanu PF official described the claims as “embarrassing propaganda”, adding that it was “ridiculous to suggest that anyone could send would-be saboteurs to foreign lands to learn to use stones and catapults”.

The panicking government’s propaganda blitzkrieg comes as the wave of uprising continues to grow that is threatening to knock Mugabe and Zanu PF off their perch, with fed-up Zimbabweans planning to mount two more massive demonstrations this week — beginning with a nationwide shutdown on Wednesday.

The announcement on Saturday by radical pressure group Tajamuka/Sesijikile that it would organise another debilitating nationwide shutdown, followed hard on the heels of the vow at the weekend by the group of 18 opposition parties who operate under the banner of the National Electoral Reform Agenda (Nera) that they would not be cowed by worsening police brutality, and would mount another mega demo in Harare on Friday.

Both opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC and former Vice President Joice Mujuru’s Zimbabwe People First (ZPF) are part of Nera and say they will support the Tajamuka/Sesijikile nationwide shutdown which will in the main call for Mugabe’s resignation from power.

Last month, Tajamuka also played a prominent role in a massive stay-away which not only shut the country down, but was widely seen as the biggest general strike to have been mounted in the history of post-independent Zimbabwe. That mass action gave Mugabe an August 31 ultimatum to either relinquish power or face an uprising.

MDC secretary-general, Douglas Mwonzora, called on all MDC supporters and other “right-thinking” Zimbabweans to come out in full force in solidarity with Tajamuka/Sesijikile on Wednesday.

“We will support efforts by Tajamuka/Sesijikile on Wednesday and all other progressive forces that want to remove Mugabe from power. We are unfazed by Mugabe’s hollow threats that are meant to intimidate us because his end is nigh,” Mwonzora said.

Afghanistan-based political commentator, Maxwell Saungweme, said the shutdown and other protests could usher in a new political dispensation in the country, notwithstanding the government’s iron-fisted response to the growing dissent by the populace.

“It is common for dictatorial regimes to oppose change by any means. But the history in Libya, Egypt and even our own liberation struggle tells us that nothing can stop an idea whose time has come.

“The courts are doing well by following the law and the constitution and the regime is in denial. Change is here and the earlier they wake up and smell the coffee the better. Otherwise they will go the way many such regimes have gone,” Saungweme said.

Nera convener Didymus Mutasa also threw his weight behind the Tajamuka/Sesijikile shutdown, saying he was not averse to working with them.

“As Nera, we welcome them in the fight against Mugabe even though I have not personally met them. We also support their own initiative in that regard because that is what we are all yearning for,” he said.

This week’s two planned protests actions come in the wake of a worrying tendency by the government to ignore court rulings, as was witnessed on Friday when police stopped a Nera march despite the High Court having barred Home Affairs minister Ignatius Chombo and all law enforcement agents from interfering, obstructing or stopping the demo to press for much-needed electoral reforms ahead of the eagerly-anticipated 2018 national elections. daily news

ANOTHER SHUTDOWN LOOMS

Members protest group Tajamuka-Sesijikile Campaign have urged Zimbabweans to boycott work Wednesday by staying at home to press President Robert Mugabe to step down for allegedly failing to properly run the country.


This comes at a time when police in Harare on Monday arrested protesters outside a court demanding the immediate release of Tajamuka-Sesijikile leader Promise Mkwananzi and several other political activists accused of allegedly inciting violence.

One of the Tajamuka-Sesijikile members, Hardlife Mudzingwa, told reporters in Harare that Zimbabweans should stage the peaceful stay away Wednesday dubbed “the mother of all protests”.

Mudzingwa said indications are that President Mugabe won’t last up to end of next month as the country’s economy is fast declining, leaving millions of stranded people helpless as most industries in the country have shut down due to lack of lines of credit to sustain the production of various goods.

Members of the protest group said they are not afraid of threats by some Zanu PF youth who have vowed to crush protestst in Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe’s ruling Zanu PF party indicated on Sunday that it will deploy its youth in the country’s streets to assist the police to crush any future anti-government protest.

Deputy secretary of the Zanu PF Youth League, Kudzai Chipanga, told hundreds of youths at the party’s headquarters that they would not allow the Movment for Democratic Change formation led by Morgan Tsvangirai and other pro-democracy groups to stage any protests, saying only Zanu PF should be allowed to do what it wants at any time.

“Now they are beating up the police, they are looting in shops and destroying valuable property. We are the ruling party and we can’t allow them to continue to do that nonsense. As the youth, be ready to deal with them when they call for protests, next time they call for any demonstration we will also be in the streets to help the police to arrest them.

“You must therefore sleep with your cellphones under your pillows so that when you are called by the commissar you are in town quickly. The law provides for citizen arrests so don’t be afraid to deal with these malcontents. While they will be complaining about the situation in the country, we will taking all white-owned farms and distributing them among ourselves so that we can grow our crops and get some residential stands,” said Chipanga.

In recent days, the opposition has escalated protests demanding President Robert Mugabe’s immediate resignation for failing to run the southern African nation.

Meanwhile, several groups have urged the Southern African Development Community should intervene in Zimbabwe. voa

SEX PEST TEACHERS FACE EXPULSION

TEACHERS at Matopo High School in Matabeleland South face expulsion following allegations that they are demanding sex from pupils.

Officials at the school who spoke on condition of anonymity last week, said girls now lived in fear as male teachers constantly pestered them for sex.

“Recently one teacher was taken to court for bedding a pupil. The teacher was charged for sexually harassing pupils and fired,” said an official.

Matabeleland South Provincial Education Director, Mrs Tumisang Thabela confirmed receiving reports about teachers asking for sex from school children.

She said investigations were underway but could only be completed when pupils returned from the holiday.

“We have received that information and have visited the school to find out what is going on. Unfortunately, the fact that schools are closed has crippled our investigations.

“We would have wanted a scenario where we find pupils in the school and we talk to them directly. In the meantime, I must say we have assigned a team from the district to immediately start investigations,” said Mrs Thabela.
Umthunywa lifted the lid on the sex scam last week.

It was reported in the paper that Matopo High School headmaster, Mr Gardson Sibanda, exposed the issue of teachers abusing pupils in a staff meeting.

Mr Sibanda demanded that the matter should be immediately investigated.
Sources have revealed that three pupils who were abused last term reported the matter but school officials swept it under the carpet.

“A librarian is reported to have asked for sex from a Form Three pupil during that period of a strike claiming that no one would see them. In another incident, it is also said that before the end of last term, an Advanced Level teacher also asked for a sexual encounter with a student.

“The student reported the matter to the headmaster’s office and the teacher was given a warning but it ended there.”
Sources said a lot has been happening in the school but it was being concealed with no action being taken. Chronicle

MDC RUBBISHES TERROR SQUADS REPORT

 The opposition MDC-T in Zimbabwe has rubbished claims that it is training terror squads to destabilise the country, saying it was a lawful and peace-loving social democratic party.

In a statement issued on Monday, the party, led by former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, said reports in the government-controlled Sunday Mail were not only untrue but extremely offensive and disturbing and should be dismissed with contempt and disdain.
“The MDC would like to call upon the Zanu PF-controlled media to immediately desist from peddling lies and falsehoods that are wickedly meant to portray the MDC as a violent, terrorist organisation.
As the fourth estate, the media should, at all times, report facts and desist from fabricating malicious, false and defamatory stories against President Morgan Tsvangirai in particular, and other opposition political leaders in general,” the party said in a statement.
The party said it had been the victim of sustained state-sponsored violence, thuggery and banditry over the last few years, with its leader, Tsvangirai, and other opposition political parties being brutally assaulted by rogue intelligence officers and the police.

The party said it had no intention to remove the current government through unconstitutional means, adding that the MDC-T was in agreement with President Robert Mugabe that there would not be an Arab spring in Zimbabwe.
“It is not the intention of the MDC and its leader, President Morgan Tsvangirai, to violently and unconstitutionally overthrow the Zanu PF regime. Of late, it is the Zanu PF regime itself that has been unleashing wanton violence and brutal physical force on peaceful demonstrators.
On Wednesday, August 25, 2016, the Zimbabwe Republic Police embarked on an orgy of violence in downtown Harare, beating up and vandalising innocent and peaceful demonstrators who had been embarking on a lawful march led by the MDC Youth Assembly,” it said.
The MDC-T blamed Zanu PF for burning two vehicles, belonging to the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation and the Zimbabwe Republic Police, during demonstrations by the party’s youths last Wednesday.

“In the process, some Zanu PF thugs and CIO agents set alight two motor vehicles belonging to the ZRP and the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation. These Zanu PF thugs also looted several city shops, including Choppies supermarket that is partly owned by Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko,” the party claimed.

KASUKUWERE HENCHMAN CONVICTED OF ASSSULT

 Gweru City Council commissioner, Mark Choga was on Monday convicted by a local magistrate’s court for assaulting a resident during a meeting which had been called this year for residents by the caretaker administration.
This is after Choga, who is Commissioner in charge of finance, had assaulted Frank Muzorera all over the body resulting in the latter sustaining injuries on theneck and shoulder.
The assault emanated from a disagreement between the two over the implementation of a government audit report and allowances paid to commissioners who were imposed on residents at the expense of the MDC-T led elected council by Local Government Minister Saviour Kasukuwere.
The court heard that on February 18 this year, Muzorera and Choga attended a meeting between residents and commissioners at the mayor's parlour.
"During the course of the meeting the complainant asked the accused person how much they (commissioners) earn as their allowances and whythey were not implementing the outcome of the audit report," according to state papers.
 "The accused person refused to answer the questions posed by the complainant and a misunderstanding arose and the accused proceeded to where the complainant was and hit him from behind once on the shoulder and neck."
The court further heard that Muzorera fell down and Choga kicked him all over the body with booted foot.
 Residents and municipal police however restrained Choga from further assaulting Muzorera.
A report was made to the police leading to Choga's arrest.
For the offence, Gweru magistrate Florence Nago fined Choga $150 or a three month in jail term if he defaulted on paying the amount.
Nago said Choga was a first offender and needed to be given a chance to reform without necessarily getting a custodial sentence.
As Choga heard his fate, a group of residents demonstrated outside the courts after Choga was convicted.
They said they did not want boxers for city fathers. Radio Vop

TAJAMUKA LEADER DENIED BAIL


Tajamuka Sesijikile leader Promise Mkwananzi, freelance journalist James Jemwa and 68 other activists were arraigned before a Harare magistrate today.
Mkwananzi and Bruce Usvisvo were charged in connection with the torching of a police vehicle and another one belonging to the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation during protests held last Thursday that were organised by the youth wing of the MDC led by former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.
Mkwananzi has been denied bail while hearing for the others was postponed to tomorrow.
Mkwananzi will return to court on September 12.
Defense teams complained that their clients were not treated properly by the police.
They claimed that Mkwananzi's mobile phone was perused without his consent in violation of the constitution.
Jeremiah Bhamu, who represented Jemwa and others, complained that the journalist's phone, press card and video camera were confiscated from him by suspected Zanu PF activists who seized him during the protests while he was on duty, forcibly took him to the ruling party's headquarters where they allegedly severely assaulted him before handing him over to the police.
Jemwa's face was swollen and his hand was completely dysfunctional, Bhamu told the magistrate.
Bhamu said most of the arrests were tantamount to kidnapping. Other activists were allegedly arrested in the same way while some were picked up from their various work stations in what the defense team described as dragnet arrests.
The court also heard that some elderly suspects were ordered by the police to have sex in the full glare of other accused and were severely assaulted when they refused. 

MKWANANZI BAIL APPLICATION DELAYED

The bail application for Promise Mkwananzi and 74 other protestors is now set to be heard this afternoon. Three people protesting outside Rotten Row have been arrested by riot cops who have blocked entry into the courtroom.

MMM IS A FRAUD : RBZ

Social financial network MMM Global Zimbabwe is a fraudulent investment scheme and people have no legal recourse if they lose their money, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has warned.

The online investment pyramid scheme, effectively a Ponzi scheme relying on an accelerating number of new members to pay off the old, is simply referred to as Triple M and has in the past months seen thousands of Zimbabweans joining in a bid “to get rich quickly”.

There are now reports that thousands of Zimbabweans who joined the scheme have been put on hold until September 15 and cannot do any transactions. In any case, the affected members have nowhere to claim back their investments.

Ponzi schemes benefit their creators, as there is a seemingly endless pipeline of potential new members, but very soon the number of new members at each step has to exceed the population of the Earth, so most who join never see any money.

The scheme advertises itself as a mutual aid fund under which recruited members contribute money to assist others and are promised investment returns of 30 percent per month.

MMM stands for Mavrodi Mondial Moneybox and takes its name from its founder, Sergei Panteleevich Mavrodi of Russia.

He founded MMM in 1989 and the scheme was declared bankrupt three years later leading to the disappearance of Mavrodi until his arrest in 2003.
The RBZ on Thursday urged the public against investing in Ponzi and pyramid schemes.
“It has come to the attention of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe that MMM Global, whose founder was once convicted and jailed in Russia for defrauding thousands of investors in a Ponzi scheme, has established a local chapter calling itself MMM Global Zimbabwe,” the central bank said.

“MMM Global Zimbabwe is not a registered or regulated entity in the country. It advertises its operations through a website and through recruiting agents operating in various centres of the country. It has no official offices or office bearers.”

The RBZ added: “Testimonies by the privileged early members who would have benefited from the scheme, are often used to lure new recruits. Ponzi and pyramid schemes are not sustainable because, eventually and inevitably, they run out of new recruits leading to their collapse, with most contributors losing their funds. This has already happened in a number of countries where MMM Global has chapters.

“Since it is not registered under any law and its activities are not regulated or supervised by any authority in Zimbabwe, members of the public are advised against putting their hard-earned money in this or similarly structured schemes. Those who invest in such schemes do so at their own risk and may find themselves without legal recourse when they lose their funds.”

The RBZ said such schemes were fraudulent in every aspect.
“They are fraudulent investment schemes under which existing investors are paid returns, not from genuine market investment of their funds, but from contributions made by new investors, until a point when the scheme can no longer attract new investors,” RBZ said.

“The participants are made aware that they make their money by recruiting new members who in turn must recruit more members.”

In 2013, business people and civil servants were left stranded when their payments worth millions of dollars disappeared after the collapse of Geozing Pawnbrokers, Perfect Shot Investments and McDowells. herald

MAGISTRATES REDEPLOYED

THE Judicial Service Commission (JSC) has embarked on a massive redeployment of magistrates across the country, with eight regional magistrates having been transferred so far.


A substantial reshuffle for provincial and senior magistrates is also looming.

Chief Magistrate Mr Mishrod Guvamombe said the exercise was routine to enhance operations. “We have redeployed regional magistrates to various stations across the country and all the transfers are with effect from September 1. This is a routine exercise to enhance our operations and we are considering redeploying the rest of other magistrates in about a month’s time,” he said.

Bulawayo regional magistrate Mr Mark Dzira has swapped with Mr Joseph Mabeza from Gwanda while Mrs Fadzai Mthombeni has been moved from Harare to Chivhu.

Mrs Mthombeni was at the Bulawayo Regional Court prior to her transfer to Harare.
Mr Amos Mbobo has been transferred from Gokwe to Chinhoyi and he will be replaced by Mr Solomon Jenya who was stationed at Chivhu Regional Court.

Ms Sandra Mpindu has been redeployed from Harare to Bindura. Mutare Provincial Magistrate Ms Lucy Mungwari and Mr Elijah Makomo, formerly a Harare magistrate, have been elevated to regional magistrates to replace Ms Mthombeni and Ms Mpindu

MINISTER : PRAY FOR MUGABE

ZIMBABWEANS should respect and pray for President Robert Mugabe (pictured) amid the rolling protests in the country meant to force him to step down over the country’s socio-economic crisis, a Cabinet minister said.

 Development, Preservation of Culture and Heritage minister Abednico Ncube, said Zimbabweans should pray “for our leaders” hard pressed for solutions to the country’s economic problems.

Ncube was addressing thousands of people who attended the Gwanda Gospel Show on Friday.

“Let us pray for our leaders in the country in these economic difficulties because even the Bible says that we should respect and pray for our leaders,” Ncube told thousands attending the gospel gala at Pelandaba Stadium in Gwanda.

The gala was graced by award-winning South African artistes Rebecca Malope, Hlengiwe Mhlaba, Lusanda Mcinga who leads Lusanda Spiritual Group, Dumi Mkokstad, Bethuseli Mcinga and Andile Majola among others.

Local artistes who made the line-up included Judith Moyo, Charles and Olivia Charamba and ZimPraise, among others.
 

The country is witnessing rolling protests over the worsening economic crisis and government’s plans to introduce bond notes amid calls for Mugabe to step down.
Mugabe has declared he was not going anywhere, while State security organs have resorted to the use of brute force to crush the protests.

Meanwhile, Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri preached peace during his sermon at the Gwanda gospel gala on Friday.

Tourism minister Walter Mzembi, who also graced the occasion weighed in saying God “will hear our prayers and bless Zimbabwe.”

“We are thankful that Gwanda welcomed us for this gospel show, and our prayers have been heard and the economy of our country will be revived,” he said.

South African businessman Justice Maphosa co-sponsored the event together with the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority.

Maphosa is the chief executive officer of Big Time Strategies Consultants, a company with interests in the ICT world ranging from sales, retail, corporate and aviation in South Africa. Newsday

UNDENGE’S WIFE LOSES

FIRST LADY Grace Mugabe’s Manicaland ally, Letina Undenge’s bid to contest the Chimanimani parliamentary seat on a Zanu PF ticket went up in smoke at the weekend when she was walloped by Nokuthula Matsikenyere who entered the party primary elections as an underdog.

Matsikenyere romped to victory after garnering 2 881 votes, while Undenge got 1 204 votes. Other parliamentary aspirants Taisen Dube and John Gwatidzo got 553 and 87 votes respectively.

The seat fell vacant after ex-minister Munacho Mutezo was axed from Zanu PF and Parliament for reportedly supping with former Vice-President Joice Mujuru’s opposition Zimbabwe People First.

Although Manicaland provincial chairperson Samuel Undenge was not reachable for comment yesterday, sources said his wife Letina, who is Women’s League secretary for administration, was planning to travel to Harare to challenge the results. Sources said Letina lost because of her dictatorial tendencies.

“Under normal circumstances she was supposed to win the election considering that her husband is the chairman of the province. People voted against her because, of late, she has personalised First Lady Grace Mugabe (G40)’s Cashel Valley irrigation project,’’ the source said.
“She was acting like party chairman of the province. She wants to run everything from main wing and most G40 supporters just decided to vote against her because almost three quarters of the provincial women’s league are not happy with Letina’s conduct.’

OPPOSITION FEAR STATE OF EMERGENCY

Opposition political parties have raised concern that President Robert Mugabe could soon declare a state of emergency in a bid to thwart increasing violent protests, NewsDay has established.

A shadowy State media columnist Nathaniel Manheru — widely believed to be presidential spokesperson George Charamba — at the weekend insinuated that Mugabe’s government could throw out the Constitution and declare a state of emergency to deal with the persistent protests.
“The line has been crossed. From now onwards, it shall be another country. This caring world can go hang. We have a country to protect. And govern. After all, we have hit the bottom. We can’t fall,” Manheru wrote.

Manheru, in his column, urged Mugabe to ruthlessly and decisively crush protests in the same manner Syrian President Bashar Hafez al Assad moved to suppress dissent in his country.
“Assad moved in decisively to crush it . . . Assad may have lost peace, lost development, but saved a country . . . and don’t waste time to decide is to govern, unless you want to capitulate anarchy disguised as democracy,” he wrote.

But MDC-T spokesperson Obert Gutu said his party took the threats seriously and feared that they pointed to plans by government to trash the Constitution in an endeavour to suppress human rights.
“Of course, it is a public secret that Charamba writes the Manheru column in The Herald newspaper. Whatever Manheru writes, therefore, essentially discloses what Mugabe himself will be planning and thinking,” Gutu said.

He added: “The MDC-T is acutely aware of the fact that the Zanu PF regime is keen on declaring a state of emergency in Zimbabwe so that they can unleash a violent and brutal clampdown on the activities of opposition political parties. In this respect, therefore, we take Manheru’s threats very seriously.”

Political parties accused Mugabe, who left for Kenya while the country was burning, of fretting over a strong opposition which has ganged up against him over the past few weeks.

“He is a dictator. He is intolerant and when cornered, he becomes mean and dangerous. This is the main reason why the MDC-T is calling upon Sadc to urgently intervene in the Zimbabwean political crisis,” Gutu said.

Peoples’ Democratic Party spokesperson Jacob Mafume dismissed Charamba’s narrative, saying as a member of a Zanu PF faction, they had failed to deal with party officials — Sarah Mahoka and Manicaland minister of State, Mandiitawepi Chimene who have repeatedly embarrassed Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

He, however, was quick to say due to the pressure Mugabe was going through, from Zanu PF and the opposition, he could declare a state of emergency as a way to thwart dissenting voices.
“They are desperate and cornered, they can do anything, but it will not work. The people are united and determined and they will win,” he said

Zimbabwe People First spokesperson Jealousy Mawarire said although Charamba’s writings could not be representative of the entire Zanu PF party, for long he has been advocating for anarchy in Zimbabwe.

“There is no justification really for Mugabe and anarchists like Manheru to declare a state of emergency, but you must understand that for long, this man has been pushing for that. He wants to have the army to get involved in civilian affairs and as ZimPF, we believe he is setting a tone for that. Each time there is a misunderstanding with the State and Zanu PF, Manheru believes the army should be the last hope, something democracy abhors,” Mawarire said.

Home Affairs minister, who is also Zanu PF secretary for administration Ignatius Chombo refused to comment, saying he had not read Manheru’s piece.

“Let me first read what Manheru wrote and I will come back to you,” Chombo said.
Contacted for comment over the possibility of government declaring a state of emergency, Information minister Christopher Mushohwe said: “The Herald is not government, so don’t listen to them. When government deems it fit to declare a state of emergency, we will communicate accordingly. Currently, we don’t intend to because it is not necessary. But, we are worried about the violence being orchestrated by the opposition.”

Political analyst Ibbo Mandaza said he would not be surprised if Mugabe called for a state of emergency.

“I wouldn’t be surprised because it’s a state under siege. But, if they do call for the state of emergency, it will only exacerbate the situation and it will also be an admission of failure by the State,” he said.

Another analyst, Alexander Rusero said: “Manheru is more of an agenda setter and we have seen some of the things he writes about come to materialise. He reads Mugabe’s mind since he is his spokesperson, but in this case, it’s more than agenda setting. It exposes the panic in the corridors of power. They have been opposed for their lack of ability to deal with such protests, it’s more of shock than action. I, however, don’t see a state of emergency being called in Zimbabwe because it would expose the efficacy of the security and would bring to question the sovereign credentials of the country.”

PROTESTS HURTING BRAND ZIM, SAYS MZEMBI

Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister, Walter Mzembi has blasted opposition activists for staging violent demonstrations in Harare last week saying their activities are affecting local tourism.

Addressing gospel music lovers at the Gospel Music Festival in Gwanda on Saturday at Phelandaba Stadium, Minister Mzembi said his ministry’s efforts to market the country were being plunged into the drain because of the violent protests.

“After a good day’s work, month or years as has been the case with tourism, people have chosen to reverse our work by their actions. Recent events and protests have hurt tourism and Zimbabwe badly.

“Tourism cannot package and sell conflict. We’ve succeeded to date in repositioning Brand Zimbabwe, largely because despite national differences, they’ve not translated into public conflict to the extent where it constitutes a security threat warranting travel advisories, which we successfully negotiated away in 2009. Anyone who seeks to govern one day, or form alternative government must invest in peace. We should all roundly reject violence of any shade as a means of expression of our Zimbabweaness!

“We fought for democracy to make the ballot box the theatre of change, not street fighting. So anyone who aspires to govern must invest in peace, dialogue and superior ideas. So let’s get off the streets, exercise mutual tolerance for our diverse positions and meet in conference rooms like the educated and enlightened people we are and design the Zimbabwe we want.”

According to the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) 2014 tourism overview report, tourism receipts recorded a marginal three percent decline from US$856 million to US$827 million.
Tourist arrivals increased by about 2.6 percent after vigorous marketing and proof the country was a safe international destination.
There were about 1,61 million tourist arrivals from African countries, 137 465 from Europe and 66 826 from America that year.
The country also recorded 42 798 and 26 031 tourist arrivals from Asia and Oceania respectively. chronicle

SPINELESS COWARDS, MPHOKO ATTACKS MUJURU, TSVANGIRAI

Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko yesterday blasted “spineless” opposition party leaders for covertly abusing youths to commit criminal acts under the cover of street protests.

His remarks follow last week’s orgy of violence in Harare unleashed by opposition parties under the banner, National Electoral Reform Agenda (Nera). The opposition parties’ thugs also stoned police officers and deflated a police vehicle.

Vice President Mphoko said the youths who are being used by craven opposition parties to commit acts of criminality were mainly targeting the ordinary citizenry.

“At times people do unimaginable things under the cover of so-called peaceful demonstrations. People who are mostly being attacked by these rowdy youths during these violent protests are ordinary men and women selling tomatoes in the streets,” he said.

The Vice President questioned the rationale behind shop lootings and acts of violence, yet the organisers of the demonstrations claimed the protests were peaceful.
“They are saying these are peaceful demonstrations, but they are busy barricading roads using stones and burning tyres. So how peaceful is that when you go on to loot shops and steal alcoholic beverages?” he asked.

Political leaders behind the violent protests, he said, were cowards who had clearly run out of political survival ideas.

“What is that? Is it politics? In fact, that is daylight robbery and theft and whoever is leading these protests should re-examine himself or herself because this is laughable. You cannot call that politics, and I believe a politician should be a politician. A real politician deals with real political issues not criminal issues to survive in politics,” the Vice President said.

According to weekend media reports, the opposition MDC-T began plotting to destabilise the country last month and had members of its youth wing trained in paramilitary tactics and urban violence outside the country.

Information gathered suggests senior MDC-T figures began plotting when shadowy elements, going by the hashtags “tajamuka and thisflag” sparked civil disturbances in Harare, Bulawayo and Beitbridge, threatening to make the opposition party a sideshow.

President Mugabe, on Friday last week, blasted the country’s detractors sponsoring opposition parties to unleash violence on peace-loving Zimbabweans, and warned that the Government will not tolerate the “stupidly” organised protests.

The President called on Zimbabweans to remain calm and united against anti-democratic forces bent on reversing the economic fortunes of the country.

President Mugabe also warned the embattled MDC-T leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai against trying to unseat a constitutionally elected Government through violence. chronicle

ZIMASCO FUNDS VANISH, CHINESE FACE AUDIT

The judicial manager for Zimbabwe’s largest ferrochrome producer, Zimasco has ordered a forensic audit of the company to trace the whereabouts of funds generated by the company since its takeover by Chinese shareholders amid unconfirmed allegations of externalisation.

Zimasco, a unit of China’s Sinosteel Corporation was put under provisional judicial management in June this year after the company’s indebtedness to banks and creditors had gradually increased to about $65 million in 2015 from $38 million in 2009.

Mr Reggie Saruchera was appointed the provisional judicial manager for the ferochrome miner.

“Since the company was placed under judicial management, we have now opened bank accounts to separate pre and post judicial management transactions. We want to carry out a forensic investigation on all the funds that were generated by the company.

“Obviously the funds must have gone somewhere and we want to ascertain that because money has a tendency of leaving a trail wherever it goes. Our aim is to have a fresh start on the company because we believe that there is potential in reviving it,” said Mr Saruchera.

The company has been struggling since its takeover by the Chinese shareholder due to depressed ferrochrome prices and increasing high operational costs.

The situation saw Sinosteel Corporation converting outstanding loans of $99 million into redeemable preference shares at the option of the company and out of profits.

This resulted in Zimasco saving approximately $6 million per annum in interest charges. The loans had been provided partly to finance working capital with $22 million funding the rebuilding of furnace 2.
Mr Saruchera said there is staff from Grant Thornton on site at the moment overseeing the operations of the company while an officer from the Environmental Management Agency is also stationed at the plant.

“We have made sure that some of our staff are on site to oversee the operations of the company and make sure that everything is being done in a transparent manner. The aim is to get rid of any bottlenecks that may arise,” said Mr Saruchera.

On financial performance, the company’s revenue declined by 38 percent to $120 million by the end of 2015 from $194 million recorded in 2011.

He said the depressed ferrochrome prices negatively affected contributions from the company’s furnaces due to the fixed nature of costs of production.
Due to persistent losses, the company suffered from an acute shortage of working capital. The working capital gap deteriorated from a positive $71,3 million to a negative of $2,9 million in 2015.

Mr Saruchera said ever since he inherited the company’s operations, operational costs have significantly gone down to match the current status of the company.

The judicial management implemented measures which saw the company negotiating reduction in contract prices for production of concentrates by approximately 37 percent.

“We also negotiated reduction in contract prices for metal recovery by approximately 29 percent and reduced salaries of staff (excluding NEC workers) by 50 percent,” said Mr Saruchera.

He said the Government ban on the export of chrome ores limited the company’s options for source of revenue. Zimasco has, however, secured an export licence that will see the company exporting 240 000 metric tonnes per annum.  herald

ZANU PF FUMES OVER HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION STATEMENT

The Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission should stop being an “armchair critic” and have an appreciation of the situation on the ground before rushing to make conclusions, political analysts and legal experts said yesterday.

This comes after the human rights body yesterday issued a statement — via the private media — condemning the police for thwarting violent protests being propelled by the MDC-T and its cronies.
Observers said by issuing a partisan statement, the Commission was acting in a partial manner and pushing the interests of opposition political parties.

This, analysts said, was in violation of Section 236 of the Constitution which demands that independent commissions should not “act in a partisan manner, further the interests of any political party or cause/violate the fundamental rights or freedoms of any person.”

The violent demonstrations have seen property worth hundreds of thousands of dollars being destroyed and burnt, shops looted, cars stoned and innocent people attacked.
The police have not been spared with officers on duty being attacked and having their cars deflated and burnt.

Despite being provoked, the law enforcement agents managed to maintain law and order.
Scores of hooligans, mostly from the MDC-T and Dr Joice Mujuru’s Zimbabwe People First, were arrested.

Most of them were arrested last Friday after opposition parties’ goons under the banner National Electoral Reform Agenda (NERA) unleashed an orgy of violence under the guise of a peaceful demonstration for “electoral reforms”.

Surprisingly, in its statement, ZHRC shifted the blame on the police.
“It is noted with great concern that police did violate the fundamental rights of the people as evidenced by facts gathered on the ground,” the constitutional body said.

“The ZHRC is, therefore, extremely concerned about the recent violent conduct of the ZRP. The ZHRC has received complaints on allegations of police brutality and our on-going investigations have revealed unbecoming and violent conduct on the part of the police.”

Analysts said the statement showed that the Commission was “off the mark” and completely divorced from the situation on the ground.

“The Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission should conduct its business in an open and transparent manner, inviting submissions and collecting evidence in a translucent manner,” said Harare lawyer Mr Terrence Hussein.

“It should not use the short-cuts of reading newspaper reports and then issue statements.
“What people want is thorough investigations so that the outcomes and reports are credible and assist in the upholding of human rights.”

A legal expert who preferred anonymity said it was clear investigations were not done.
“We are talking about events on Wednesday and Friday,” said the lawyer.
“Saturday was not a working day and then on Sunday a statement is released by a commission which purports to have gathered facts, which, in its statement also uses the term ‘ongoing’ investigations and more importantly, ends up inviting injured parties to approach it and make submissions. Essentially, there were no investigations done by virtue of time and wording of the statement. If you look at Section 59 of the Constitution, it stipulates that one has a right to demonstrate peacefully, on section 219, the same Constitution gives certain duties to the police to protect lives and property and after looking at the general objectives of the Commissions and their specific provisions all that tells you how important it is to investigate thoroughly. You can not investigate thoroughly only for two working days, one of which was affected by further demonstrations.”

Added the legal expert: “They are not supposed to act in a partisan manner that rushes to conclude favoured parties involved in the demonstrations. They have called into question their non-partisan approach. Whether knowingly or unknowingly, they have furthered the interests of political parties.”
The expert said freedoms and rights of citizens should be protected at all levels.

“Has the Commission sought to ensure respect for human rights at all levels of society or they are being selective?

“How does a commission, which is required to investigate, proceed to invite submissions after a judgement? It amounts to putting the cart before the horse.”

ZHRC said: “The ZHRC is also concerned by the indiscriminate teargasing of centres occupied by people some of whom may not be involved in the demonstration. This should stop and we call for due diligence and care to ensure that the rights and freedoms of innocent citizens are respected and protected.”

Mr Elasto Mugwadi chairs the human rights body. Political analyst Mr Goodwine Mureriwa defended the police saying they were responding to the obtaining situation.

“Zimbabwe is a constitutional democracy and no constitution will give an individual or an individual group rights that overrides the collective interests of the people,” he said.

“If the opposition want rule of law, it has to be rule of law for the people.
“Police cannot watch violation of human rights and people hiding under a finger yet they have nefarious intentions to overthrow a constitutionally-elected Government.”

The ZHRC, established in terms of 242 of the Constitution, has the mandate to promote, protect and enforce human rights, including the right to administrative justice.
Being an independent commission, ZHRC should as provided for by Section 233 of the Constitution protect the sovereignty and interests of the people, promote constitutionalism and ensure that injustices are remedied. herald

HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION CONDEMNS POLICE BRUTALITY

The Zimbabwe human rights commission has issued a strong statement saying police violated peoples' rights during recent protests.


There has been condemnation after pictures emerged of police teargasing protesters and in one case kicking an elderly woman.

The human rights commission is state-funded and has previously been accused of being ineffective.

“It is noted with great concern that police did violate the fundamental rights of the people as evidenced by facts gathered on the ground,” the constitutional body said.

“The ZHRC is, therefore, extremely concerned about the recent violent conduct of the ZRP. The ZHRC has received complaints on allegations of police brutality and our on-going investigations have revealed unbecoming and violent conduct on the part of the police.”

“The ZHRC is also concerned by the indiscriminate teargasing of centres occupied by people some of whom may not be involved in the demonstration. This should stop and we call for due diligence and care to ensure that the rights and freedoms of innocent citizens are respected and protected.”

Mr Elasto Mugwadi chairs the human rights body.So this strong statement will be seen as a positive move by many in the rights sector.

The commission does not single out any protest in particular but it says police have at times indiscriminately used teargas on people who weren't involved in street protests.

The body says there is evidence that police violated the fundamental rights of Zimbabweans and it says reports should be made to the body by those who feel they were unjustly treated.

Police stopped top opposition leaders from leading a march on Friday but they say they'll try to march again this week.

CHIPANGA : THE COUNTRY YOU ARE DESTROYING IS OURS

The Zanu-PF Youth League leadership yesterday urged its membership to remain calm and vigilant in the wake of violent demonstrations by opposition parties last week that left a trail of destruction on property and looting in several shops in Harare.

Addressing thousands of Zanu-PF youth at party headquarters, deputy secretary for Youth Affairs, Cde Kudzai Chipanga urged youths to remain peaceful, but immediately warned rogue elements in the opposition that they should respect a constitutionally-elected Government.

“Opposition parties must stop what they are doing, this madness of destroying property and looting from shops must stop with immediate effect,” he said.

“You talk of building the country yet you are destroying it. Why are you looting from a fellow citizen who is selling his/her wares at their market stalls? This is uncalled for and must come to an end.”

“Zanu-PF is a peace loving party which abides by the law. That is the reason we are not 
fighting you. By not retaliating, it does not mean that we are fools. No! We are guided by the law and the principles of the party.”

Cde Chipanga added that the opposition parties should wait for the 2018 general elections instead of going on a rampage, destroying property, hoping that it would bring “change.”
“If you think you are a strong party and you have a following, why not wait for the 2018 general elections?
“What you are doing is a clear indication that you are just there to disturb peace in the country,” he said.

He urged citizens to be on high alert for hooligans saying they should effect citizens’ arrests whenever they come across opposition “thugs” breaking the law.
He further urged party supporters to maintain peace in their wards.

“As we go back to our homes, our duty is to preach the gospel of peace in our respective wards.

“We say no to violence. Tell them that the country they are destroying is ours. “You are calling yourselves ‘Tajamuka’ but haujamuke uchitorera vendor zvinhu zvake,” he said.
Speaking at the same occasion, the revolutionary party’s Harare provincial youth chairperson Cde Edson Takataka urged supporters to shun violence.

He denounced the violent protests that rocked the capital last week.
“We do not want violence in this country. The people who are fuelling hooliganism are doing this because they realise that 2018 is now around the corner and have not done anything for the people while Zanu-PF has done a lot on the ground,” he said.

“We held our One Million Men march recently but there was never any single incident of violence. We marched around the capital but we did not take anything from anyone. Not even a match stick!”

He added that the MDC-T should find a better way of sourcing funds from their donors without causing havoc in the country.

Harare South MP Cde Shadreck Mashayamombe said people should be allowed to do their day to day businesses peacefully without any disturbances.

He also urged the party supporters to unite and guard the ethos of the revolutionary party.
The Youth League convened yesterday’s gathering to do a clean-up exercise of the city but did not proceed for security reasons. herald

BITI : MUGABE DOES NOT GET IT

President Robert Mugabe has been slammed over his decision to fly to Kenya amid deadly protests that have rocked the country.


Mugabe left for Nairobi on Friday to attend the sixth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (Ticad).

Prior to his departure, there were running battles between police and protestors — who were participating in the National Electoral Reform Agenda (Nera) mega demonstration demanding that Mugabe and his government fix the ailing economy and effect electoral reforms before the 2018 elections. Nera is a grouping of 13 opposition parties.

People’s Democratic Party (PDP) president Tendai Biti said 92-year-old Mugabe was “divorced from reality” and probably the only president in the world who would have the audacity to leave the country under the present circumstances.

“Zimbabweans live in their own world different to Mugabe’s which only exists in his mind. He doesn’t quite comprehend the fact that Zimbabweans are protesting because they are angry,” Biti told the Daily News on Sunday yesterday.

“Those in the medical fraternity will tell you that the condition is called reality distorted field. It is a condition in which one is divorced from the reality around him and Mugabe is now in that condition where he does not even understand the seriousness of the protesters and that Zimbabweans are angry hence there is a need to subject him to medical examination,” the former Finance minister said.

Joice Mujuru-led Zimbabwe People First (ZPF) spokesperson, Jealous Mawarire, described Mugabe as a selfish leader.

“We have observed in the past two years or so that Mugabe uses foreign travel as some form of escapism . . . meant to give him a break from the harsh realities emanating from his evidently failed administration,” he said.

He added that Mugabe’s penchant for foreign travel at a time his presence is most needed in the country has led to conclusions that “the trips are now part of the looting routes that the regime has devised for its president and his acolytes”.

“Why is it that at a time civil servants’ salaries are erratically paid, the only consistently funded government expenditure relates to the president’s foreign travel, even when the travels have absolutely no benefit to our bilateral relations with the visited States or investment opportunities derived from the same?”

Before leaving the country, Mugabe insisted that his government had not done anything wrong, heaping the blame for the country’s economic situation at the door step of Western countries instead.

“Even if our economy is not doing well, do you have to go in the streets and even burn some of those very little shops that people are depending on? Burn their cars in the streets, burn their shops, do you have to do that? To gain what? To gain power?” Mugabe asked rhetorically during a press briefing before his departure.

Political analyst Maxwell Saungweme said Mugabe and his Zanu PF party seemingly contemptuous attitude towards the grievances of Zimbabweans was because “the regime is in denial”.

“Change is here and the earlier they smell the coffee the better. Otherwise they will go the way many such regimes have gone,” he said. daily news

MPHOKO SLAMS PROTESTING THUGS

Acting President Phelekezela Mphoko and Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa have condemned violence and looting that occurred in Harare last week and called on protestors to respect other people’s rights and property.

Speaking in separate interviews, the two leaders said the protests demonstrate political immaturity and abuse of the constitution which provides for peaceful demonstrations.


"What happened in Harare was not a political demonstration but a group of thugs who wanted to loot people’s shops and a shameless ploy to impoverish informal traders whose wares were also looted," Cde Mphoko said while in Bulawayo.

He added that Zimbabwe is a democratic nation that allows people to express themselves in a peaceful manner but will not allow the same political parties to impoverish people who are fending for their families as well as the destruction of public property.

Speaking to the ZBC News on the sidelines of a Methodist Church district convention for women in Gweru where he had gone to witness his wife, Cde Auxillia Mnangagwa receive confirmation into the church’s Ruwadzano group, Vice President Mnangagwa said although the new constitution allows people to demonstrate, the same constitution does not allow people to trample on other people’s rights.

"Protestors must refrain from violence, looting and destruction of property. Zimbabweans should not be associated with demonstrations and violence," he said.

He said the country can only move forward if people learn to listen and respect each other's divergent views.

Many people have condemned the recent violence, looting and destruction of property in Harare by MDC-T members working in cahoots with other opposition parties.

The protests left a trail of destruction in Harare and a police and ZBC vehicles were burnt, while Choppies Supermarket was one of the shops looted.

The two leaders called on all Zimbabweans to respect property and life and not to allow themselves to be used by political elements who prey on people’s emotions.