Mugabe’s son ‘removed from Dubai under controversial circumstances’… now lives in SA

Both of President Robert Mugabe’s sons are living in South Africa, according to a privately owned Zimbabwean newspaper.
The Zimbabwe Independent said on Friday Robert Mugabe jr who had been living in his parents’ rented mansion in Dubai, and the youngest son, Bellarmine, 20, had moved to Joburg.
The Mugabe family and the Zimbabwean government have not confirmed this information, nor where their sons are studying, if they are studying.
Both young men failed to pass their school-leaving examinations in Harare as Robert jr, a top-class basketball player, did not succeed in his final A-level examinations at expensive private school St John’s College in Harare. He was believed to be studying in Dubai and it is not clear why he left the United Arab Emirates.

When he was 16, Bellarmine was expelled from St George’s, the prestigious Catholic boys’ school he attended in Harare. He allegedly finished his schooling at home.
Mugabe’s eldest child, Bona is now married with a baby. She qualified as an accountant at a college in Hong Kong but has never worked and lives in her father’s former home in Harare.

First lady Grace Mugabe’s oldest son, Russell Goreraza, 33, divorced with one child, lives in Harare and was involved in an allegedly troubled gold-mining venture and was found guilty two years ago of culpable homicide when he was speeding in Harare in his luxury car and killed a pedestrian.

He and Bona Mugabe’s husband, Simba Chikore, a one-time pilot who now heads bankrupt Air Zimbabwe, recently took over several houses in Harare on behalf of Grace, who claims in court she is trying to recover about R20 million from a Dubai diamond dealer.

The properties belong to Jamal Ahmed and according to what he told the Harare High Court, Goreraza and Chikore took possession of his homes and other buildings he claims he owns in Harare.
Ahmed’s employees claimed they were evicted from one of his properties by the pair.
 The police have since told the high court that they seized the homes as they are investigating Ahmed.
Ahmed says he sold Grace Mugabe a diamond last year and had it cut and set. 
He says she paid for the stone from her Harare bank account but refused to accept delivery of it and demanded the money be paid back to her account in Dubai. Chikore, according to the Zimbabwe Independent, is now taking over some of his father-in-law’s security, in addition to control of Air Zimbabwe.

This week police and soldiers continued to evict scores of people from mud-and-grass homes built on land near Harare, which Grace Mugabe claimed from a Zimbabwe company. The evictions continued even after the high court ordered them to stop last month.

Grace recently spent about R60m on a large piece of land in a top Harare suburb.
The Mugabes have taken over about 15 formerly white-owned or company-owned farms in Zimbabwe and are the largest private landowners in the country. The president bought his first farm in 2000.

Mugabe’s rivals hail appointment of new chief justice

Harare – Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe’s opponents together with the country’s legal fraternity have reportedly applauded the recent appointment of the southern African nation’s chief justice Luke Malaba.

According to New Zimbabwe.com, Malaba was set to replace chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausike who stepped down at the end of February.

The 66-year-old former deputy chief justice was appointed to the highly contested top judge post on March 27 after a bruising battle within the ruling Zanu-PF factions.

Both the ruling Zanu-PF party factions who were allegedly led by Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa and President Mugabe’s wife Grace respectively had their preferred candidates.

The Mnangagwa led faction was reportedly backing Judge President George Chiweshe while the rival faction allegedly led by Grace preferred Judicial Service Commission secretary Justice Rita Makarau.

But during the shortlisting process held by the country’s Judicial Service Commission last year, Chiweshe failed to pitch at the interviews and as a result, he was disqualified.

Following the interview process, Malaba who was regarded by the opposition parties as the right candidate emerged as the leading candidate with a 92% mark while his closest rival Makarau scored 90% and the third candidate Paddington Garwe obtained only 52%.

The Movement for Democratic Change led by Morgan Tsvangirai said that the incoming chief justice was “good man”.

“It is a legal and constitutional appointment. There was no need for the Zanu-PF apparatchiks to try to meddle with the constitution,” MDC general secretary Douglas Mwonzora was quoted as saying.

The state owned Herald newspaper said that the Law Society of Zimbabwe (LSZ), legal experts and legislators had also welcomed Mugabe’s appointment of the former deputy chief justice.

LSZ was quoted as saying that “Zimbabweans and the legal profession would benefit immensely from his vast experience spanning over 35 years”.

What happened to Mugabe’s suit jacket in Mauritius?

Mauritius: Hang on: what happened to President Robert Mugabe’s suit jacket?
Zimbabweans on social media have been looking at photos of their 93-year-old leader at a meeting in Mauritius with more than a bit of bewilderment. Because he seems to have “lost” his blazer.
A video clip of Mugabe arriving in Mauritius on Sunday night, where he is attending the inaugural African Economic Platform (AEP), shows him wearing a sober navy blue suit jacket and grey tie as he is welcomed by Mauritian Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth. 
But later photos show him walking (and reclining) inexplicably dressed in what looks very much like an untucked white shirt – while a sea of smart blazers surrounds him. 
And although the shirt appears to have a collar, it’s not buttoned up.

Was it a wardrobe malfunction, as @PovoZimbabwe suggested? 

Or a sign of something much more worrying?

“Mugabe has to quit, this is crazy,” tweeted one Zimbabwean.

Said @ali_naka: “The man should be resting or sitting under a mango or guava tree in the village.”
“True but he is being subjected to a gruelling schedule by avaricious aides who are on a plundering mission. Heartless natives,” said @GomoDubi.
The strange choice of clothing could have been nothing more than a desire to be different, as @hbanhire suggested. “Our fearless leader likes to stand out from the crowd,” he tweeted, next to a photo taken in 2015 of Mugabe at an India-Africa Forum in which he was the only one to stick to his suit.
But Mugabe’s taste for Savile Row suits (and others) makes this choice of attire in Mauritius even more puzzling.
He doesn’t just wear Savile Row: at his 93rd birthday party last month he wore a jacket made of fabric that had his face printed on it.

Mugabe’s nephew helps oust ‘dictator’ (so can he oust his uncle, Zimbabweans wonder?)

President Robert Mugabe’s flamboyant and very rich nephew Philip Chiyangwa played a large part in achieving the unthinkable: the unseating of a man who’s been in power for the last (nearly) three decades.
Admittedly, Chiyangwa’s victory was in the world of soccer where the longtime head of the Confederation of African Football Issa Hayatou has just been voted out of power.
But some Zimbabweans are asking: could “Fidza” perhaps do the same with his 93-year-old uncle Robert Mugabe, the man who’s ruled Zimbabwe with an iron grip since independence in 1980?
Rival birthday party
ZIFA and COSAFA boss Chiyangwa headed the campaign to block Cameroon’s Hayatou from getting re-elected as boss of CAF and get Madagascar’s Ahmad Ahmad elected in his place. Hayatou had been in place for 29 years. As a key part of his power-transfer strategy, property magnate Chiyangwa even went so far as to hold a birthday party in Harare a day before his uncle’s official party in February. “Fidza” got FIFA president Gianni Infantino to come to the bash as guest of honour.
The campaign paid off, because Ahmad Ahmad was finally elected at the CAF Congress in Ethiopia this week.
African strongman
So excited were some Zimbabweans that hundreds of them reportedly thronged Harare International Airport on Friday to greet Chiyangwa on his return from Addis Ababa.
But with headlines like “all change in Africa” and “one of Africa’s longest serving strongmen just got voted out of power”, some Zimbabweans and non-Zimbabweans are seeing a certain irony in what’s happened.
“Dear Mr Phillip Chiyangwa, that warm fuzzy feeling you just had sir is called regime change,” tweeted @cctsodzo.
“When shall we get a Fidza in our politics to do a Hayatou? Hayatou fall has excited many,” said @shadreck1971.
‘It took a politician from Zimbabwe to bring change
Phelisile Cengani from Cape Town said: “The irony in all of this, it took a politician from Zimbabwe to bring change at CAF.”
Not everyone saw the irony, it seems. Zimbabwe’s Higher Education Minister Jonathan Moyo congratulated the new CAF boss, saying that history had been made in African football “with our very own Philip Chiyangwa in the thick of it.”
Asked @povozim in a likely reference to Mugabe’s refusal to accept the what many think was the outright loss of the first round of presidential elections in 2008: “Someone must ask Zifa President @chiyangwa_phil how he would feel if #issahayatou refused to go after yesterday’s defeat! #ZimElections2018”.
‘Mugabe has Hayatousis
Supersports presenter Robert Marawa went as far as to pose the ‘could the same thing happen to your uncle’ question to Chiyangwa in an interview on Friday night, according to an online Zimbabwe media watchdog.
Tweeted @ZimMediaReview. “Robert Marawa asked Chiyangwa if he wouldn’t do the same to Bob. “Different type of politics; you will be throwing yourself under a train”
Chiyangwa does not often speak in public about his relative.
Zimbabwe’s next elections are in 2018 and Mugabe says he will stand.
Zimbabwe’s Independent weekly said Saturday that the longtime president is “suffering from Hayatousis”

Zimbabwe: ‘Unfit to rule’ case against Mugabe dismissed

Zimbabwe’s Constitutional Court has rejected a case filed by an activist that challenged President Robert Mugabe’s ability rule saying proper court procedures weren’t followed.
Promise Mkwananzi of a social movement calling itself Tajamuka wanted to prove the 92-year-old president was unfit to hold office given his advanced age.
The court threw out the application on Wednesday, saying Mkwananzi’s case was filed improperly and he has 30 days to address technicalities and refile.
Speaking to media outside the court in the capital, Harare, Mkwananzi said he will appeal the decision.
“This is just a convenient excuse for the constitutional court to bite the bullet, so we are saying that we are going to reapply within 30 days as prescribed by the rule of the constitutional law and relaunch this issue,” he said.
“We think that this is a very strong case to answer the overwhelming evidence against him. There are statements which the president made which are clearly not in the spirit of the constitution.”
In his case, Mkwananzi argued that Mugabe – who turns 93 this month – is to be blamed for the poor state of the economy, corruption, high unemployment, and alleged human rights abuses in Zimbabwe.
“Afraid of what? We can’t be afraid. This is our country and we are citizens of this country. We are entitled to the things that we do. We have done everything perfectly above board in terms of laws of the country. We are excercising our democratic right,” Mkwananzi told our correspondence
Opposition parties say they will form a coalition by June and choose one presidential candidate to challenge Mugabe in next year’s election.
Civil society groups and activists say there will be more anti-government protests this year.
Mugabe has been in power since the country’s independence from Britain in 1980. He is coming under growing pressure from his opponents and some former allies, who are calling for him to step down. But members of the ruling ZANU-PF party want him to run again in next year’s vote.
Anger over high unemployment and cash shortages has led to violent protests in last year.
Zimbabwe protesters call for President Mugabe to step down

Trump speaks on Zim, slams Mugabe’s govt over arrest of pastor Mawarire

President Donald Trump’s administration has raised alarm over the deterioration of Zimbabwe’s human rights situation, following the jailing of two prominent clerics critical of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe’s leadership.Trump has not minced his words on some of the world’s dictators, telling them to reform or leave office.

The US embassy in Harare issued a statement condemning the arrest of evangelical pastors Evan Mawarire and Phillip Patrick Mugadza, saying that freedom of expression was now under attack in Zimbabwe.

Mawarire was arrested last week at the Harare International Airport on his surprise return to the southern African country after spending six months in self-imposed exile, mostly in the United States. He was subsequently charged with attempting to subvert Mugabe’s constitutionally elected government.

On the other hand, Mugadza continues to be incarcerated following his prophecy that Mugabe would die on October 17 this year.

Spokesperson of the US embassy in Harare, David Mcguire, described the arrest of Mawarire and Mugadza as “unwarranted”.

“The US government unequivocally believes in the basic right of freedom of speech and calls on the government of Zimbabwe to respect the human rights of all Zimbabweans which are enshrined in the constitution. We believe that the basic right of Zimbabweans to freedom of speech – be it in public, through print media or social media – should be protected within and outside Zimbabwe’s borders,” said Mcguire.

For his part, Mugabe recently lambasted some citizens and top officials of his ruling Zanu-PF party for “abusing social media to further their selfish interests”.

The government is now planning to introduce a bill that would criminalise the abuse of the internet.

Information Minister Christopher Mushohwe was not immediately available for comment.

Mnangagwa faces fresh humiliation

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe is expected to fly back home today ending his month-long annual vacation, amid reports that rival Zanu PF factions were plotting to dress each other down when they converge at Harare International Airport to welcome him.
Zanu PF Harare provincial commissar, Shadreck Mashayamombe, yesterday confirmed plans for Mugabe’s “massive welcome rally” at the airport this afternoon, but denied reports that they were planning to use the occasion to embarrass Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa over his alleged growing ambitions to succeed Mugabe.

“We will, as usual, welcome the President. It is now our tradition, but this is just routine for us and nothing sinister about it,” he said.

“The President is coming tomorrow (today) and we are urging our members to come in their numbers. But our plans are dependent on his itinerary, which we do not have as of now.”

Mashayamombe denied claims they wanted to demonstrate against Mnangagwa, who is said to be in India, saying that was not how the party operates.

“We would never do that (seek to embarrass Mnangagwa) at the airport. It is not the way we do things,” he said.

“We are a peaceful people and are disciplined. If anyone wants to take advantage, we will see them.”

Some insiders claimed T-shirts and placards inscribed There is only one boss had been printed, in response to pictures that emerged of Mnangagwa carrying a mug written I’m the boss, which have caused ructions in Zanu PF.

A similar strategy was used in 2015, when T-shirts showing a picture of Mugabe and the late Vice-President Joshua Nkomo embracing with the words The unity that shall never collapse and Munhu wese kuna amai were distributed at the late Sikhanyiso Ndlovu’s burial, which were again targeted at Mnangagwa after he was accused of denigrating the former Zapu leader.

Zanu PF youth leader, Kudzai Chipanga, professed ignorance of the rally, although the ruling party’s Harare provincial youth leader, Edison Takataka, confirmed it.

“We know we will welcome our father, but I have not been advised as to when. As for the issue of T-shirts, it was just a suggestion, which I am not sure will be implemented,” Takataka said.

“But I can assure you, as chairperson, I will have mine. Of course, there is only one boss and that’s the President.”

Mashayamombe is linked to Zanu PF’s G40 faction, which is bitterly opposed to Mnangagwa’s bid to take over from the ailing Mugabe.

Mnangagwa is reportedly leading the other faction known as Team Lacoste.

Insiders said the plots to embarrass Mnangagwa would continue after today’s rally up to Mugabe’s 93rd birthday celebrations set for Matobo next month.

“They have printed different paraphernalia, which will carry messages taunting Mnangagwa’s recent pronouncements on Gukurahundi and their ‘mug declaration’. It is a plan to whip up emotions in the party against Mnangagwa,” one source said.

Other Zanu PF sources said today’s welcome rally could be moved to next Tuesday to allow Mugabe to travel to the African Union summit in Ethiopia, before “he is officially welcomed” back home to resume his duties.

In a bizarre twist, former Zanu PF provincial youth leader, Godfrey Tsenengamu, seen to be aligned to Mnangagwa, yesterday declared he would attend Mugabe’s welcome rally.

“Mugabe is the President of Zimbabwe and our understanding is that the function is not a party gathering,” he said.

“So we will also attend in our numbers as citizens. We hear they have made arrangements to embarrass Mnangagwa or picket against him. If anyone is to be allowed such mischief, they should expect similar doses from us. We will deal with anybody who is planning to be up to no good.”

This will not be the first time Mnangagwa would have been embarrassed at a public event.

In February last year, Hurungwe East lawmaker, Sarah Mahoka, launched a broadside at the Vice-President and was followed by Manicaland Provincial Affairs minister Mandiitawepi Chimene six months later.

Journalists forced to delete pictures of Mugabe’s fall

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe, 90, fell down steps from a podium after speaking to supporters upon his return from Ethiopia, say witnesses.

Mugabe appeared to miss a step and toppled when he left the raised lectern at the airport on Wednesday afternoon, according to several witnesses, who insisted on anonymity because of security concerns.

His aides quickly helped him up and escorted him to his limousine which sped away, they said.

“He addressed supporters who welcomed him … He missed a step as he walked down from the podium and immediately fell down,” said a witness.

Some press photographers who captured the fall said they were forced to delete their pictures by security personnel.

Mugabe’s spokesperson was not immediately available for comment.

Mugabe was elected chair of the 54-nation African Union at a summit of African leaders on 30 January in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The role of rotating AU chairperson is largely ceremonial.

He celebrates his 91st birthday on 21 February. Mugabe takes annual vacations every January to Asia, including Singapore where he has visited specialists for check-ups on his eyes, according to Zimbabwean officials. The Zimbabwean leader has repeatedly insisted that he is “fit as two fiddles”.

Zimbabwe, a once-prosperous nation of 13 million people in southern Africa, has struggled since Mugabe’s government began seizing white-owned farms in 2000. Mugabe is accused of using widespread violence to win several disputed elections, according to human rights groups. The country suffered hyperinflation until it abandoned its currency for the US dollar in 2009.

The EU imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe in 2002 over abuses linked to national elections, banning travel in Europe and freezing the assets of dozens of officials and business representatives. The measures have been gradually lifted in recent years to encourage reform, but Mugabe and his wife Grace remain on the EU blacklist.

Now that Mugabe is the head of the African Union, the European Union has decided to ease its travel ban on him while he is chairman for the next year.

Mugabe falls down stairs in front of 100s of supporters

Zimbabwe’s 90-year-old President Robert Mugabe fell down a staircase on Wednesday as he walked off a podium after addressing supporters at Harare International Airport, our corrrespondent said.

He had just returned from Ethiopia where he took over the rotating chairmanship of the African Union.

Africa’s oldest leader, who turns 91 later this month, had concluded his homecoming speech when he tumbled to his knees on a short flight of stairs in an incident witnessed by journalists and hundreds of supporters.

He was quickly helped up by aides and walked to a waiting car.

Mugabe took over the post of African Union chair on Friday, replacing Mauritania’s President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz.

The former liberation war hero is Africa’s third-longest serving leader.

Is Mugabe’s new VP in danger?

Harare – Police in the Zimbabwean capital Harare confirmed late on Wednesday that a “poisonous substance” had been sprinkled in vice-president-elect Emmerson Mnangagwa’s office at the ruling party’s headquarters.

This was reported by ZBC radio earlier in the day as an attempt on his life.

President Robert Mugabe earlier said the poison was cyanide, but this was not confirmed by police.

Mnangagwa’s secretary, who was the first to enter the office, had been taken to hospital, ZBC reported.

Mnangagwa was named vice-president on Wednesday afternoon, along with the former ambassador to South Africa, Phelekezela Mphoko.

The appointments came a day after vice-president Joice Mujuru was announced sacked for allegedly plotting to oust the 90-year-old president.

Zanu-PF has been torn by increasingly bitter infighting in the last few months as factions led by Mnangagwa and Mujuru fought to manoeuvre themselves into direct line to succeed Mugabe.

Mugabe fires Vice President Mujuru and 8 ministers

Harare – Beleaguered Vice President Joice Mujuru’s last-minute appeal to Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe has been ignored and she has been sacked, it was confirmed on Tuesday.

The 59-year-old army commander’s widow “has been relieved of her duties” along with eight ministers loyal to her in what was a widely anticipated though unprecedented move, according to the country’s Herald online.

Mugabe hinted at the congress of the ruling Zanu-PF party on Saturday that he would fire Mujuru, saying those who boycotted the event had already “said goodbye”.

It was not yet clear if Mujuru had been expelled from Zanu-PF.

Earlier, Mujuru said in a statement she had been the victim of a smear campaign. She denied accusations that she had masterminded a plot to oust or kill Mugabe, as had been alleged by media.

Mugabe reshuffles cabinet

Harare – President Robert Mugabe began a widely-anticipated reshuffle of his cabinet on Tuesday, sacking a minister and his deputy, state media said.

The state-run Chronicle newspaper said Energy Minister Dzikamai Mavhaire and his deputy Munacho Mutezo had already received dismissal letters.

“It’s true that the two of us have been sacked. The letter was sent to me last night [Monday] and I signed for it,” Mavhaire told the paper’s online version.

The Chronicle is in the hands of a faction of Zanu-PF led by Justice Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, who is Vice President Joice Mujuru’s main rival in the tussle to succeed the 90-year-old president.

It said Mugabe would later on Tuesday announce a “new look” cabinet after a reshuffle that would likely see the dismissal of ministers aligned to Mujuru.

In the past two months Mujuru has been accused of plotting to unseat and even assassinate Mugabe, charges she says are “ridiculous”.

Ministers that could face dismissal include Presidential Affairs Minister Didymus Mutasa, Information Communication Technology Minister Webster Shamu, and Labour Minister Nicholas Goche.

Mujuru hits back at Mugabe ‘simple village girl’ comment

Harare – Zimbabwe’s beleaguered Vice President Joice Mujuru said on Tuesday she accepted she was “a simple village girl” in a direct answer to President Robert Mugabe’s claim she was too simplistic to be president.

But the phrasing of her retort – avoiding the word “simplistic” – could be a dig at first lady Grace Mugabe, who has also referred to herself as a “village girl”.

“Fellow Zimbabweans, I regret that I must accept one of the allegations – I am a simple village girl from Dotito [northern Zimbabwe],” Mujuru, 59, said in a measured statement, her first words in public since the Zanu-PF national party congress, which she chose to boycott.

She denied claims she had plotted to assassinate the 90-year-old president and said she had never “been motivated by self-interest when discharging my duties”.

Women’s league

“Allegations that I alone or together with various distinguished comrades have sought to or attempted to remove his excellency RG Mugabe from office are ridiculous,” Mujuru said in a statement to the private press.

Analysts say Mujuru is being cut down to size by Mugabe and his wife who feared Mujuru was so popular within the party that she was on the brink of replacing him. She may be replaced as vice president later this week.

Grace Mugabe, who was elected head of Zanu-PF’s powerful women’s league on Saturday, often describes herself as “a village girl”.

In September, she told traditional chiefs: “I am a village girl but we are the queens of this country.”

Mugabe is due to hold a cabinet meeting on Tuesday. It was not clear whether Mujuru will attend.

Mugabe alleges US plot against him

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has accused his vice president of plotting with the United States Embassy in the country to remove him.

Speaking at the ruling party Zanu-PF’s annual conference on Saturday, Mugabe said Joice Mujuru has attended secret meetings at the embassy in Harare.

Mujuru was removed as the party’s vice president during the three-day conference, but she remains the country’s vice president.

The party conference re-elected the 90-year-old Mugabe to another five-year term as leader of the party.

Mugabe was also authorised to personally choose his vice president and other top party posts.

Mugabe tightens grip on power

Crowds went wild with support when Justice Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa took to the podium at the Zanu-PF congress to announce changes to the party’s constitution. The changes mean Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe will appoint two vice-presidents and the chairman of the party.

Mnangagwa, Zanu-PF legal secretary, said one of the vice-presidents would be from the former Zapu opposition.

But the ululating and applause made it clear that the most important vice-president would be Mnangagwa himself if the delegates have their way.

Mugabe was the only candidate for the party’s position of president and as a result Zanu-PF resolved therefore he would stand as the presidential candidate in elections in 2018, when he would be 94.

Grace Mugabe, tipped by some to succeed her husband, was the only candidate to be secretary of the women’s league and therefore earns a place in the politburo. But insiders at the congress said she was never on the list to inherit the top post from her husband.

“She will only be the women’s boss, not a VP,” said a senior member of Zanu-PF from inside the congress tent.

Mugabe paid tribute to his wife and thanked her for her work. He said some in Zanu-PF, presumed to be former vice-president Joice Mujuru, had strayed from the party’s rules and therefore had to go.

But he was moderate in his criticism. “They have to follow the rules,” he said. “They must not act in an irregular way, and some of them are here today,” and delegates fell about laughing.

Mugabe previously accused Mujuru of plotting to assassinate him. He was given this information by his wife, who embarked on a series of provincial rallies to support her own political rise, which insiders say was to support Mnangagwa against Mujuru

Mujuru, still national vice-president, is reportedly watching the congress at home in Harare on television.

During the Zanu-PF congress this week, Zimbabwe’s privately owned Independent newspaper recalled the party’s extremely violent history, particularly during the 1970s when hundreds of party loyalists were killed in internal fights in Mozambique.

The fear of violence has been on many minds in Harare during the event as insults and threats against the faction loyal to Mujuru escalate.

Recalling the congress that brought Mugabe to power in the party, The Independent said on Friday: “Just before the Chimoio congress in August 1977, there were mass denunciations, torture and beatings leading to more than 300 junior members of the liberation struggle being purged or executed in what is known as the Vashandi Rebellion…”

Rugare Gumbo, former Zanu-PF spokesman, who was expelled from the party this week, was part of that 1970s internal rebellion when he and others tried to stop the violence, including the abuse of women.

He said this week he didn’t know whether the rumours that Mujuru and some of her supporters had fled to South Africa this week were true.

“I am out of touch with them, and I don’t know where they are. I am watching the congress on television which is very interesting,” he said.

But one senior delegate to the congress said on Friday: “Don’t listen to this rubbish. There is not going to be any violence. This is just talk. We needed to get rid of her. She was so corrupt. Wait and see. Zimbabwe will improve now.”

Inside the well-organised and vast congress tent it has been unusually hot as the sun is beating down on the vast plastic roof and the air conditioners cannot cope. There is also no rain, and people and crops are wilting.

But the delegates are resilient and well-behaved. For many, especially from the deep rural areas, travelling to the capital is a rare moment.

Among the 12 000 attending (according to Zanu-PF statistics) are some “new” farmers, beneficiaries of the post-2000 Zanu-PF-led land grab which devastated the economy but delivered land to more than a million people.

One of them, Douglas Vambe, 68, who says he farms near a crumbling town about 80km south-east of Harare, was determined to play drums at the congress and so had created a feathered headdress for the event. He said he formerly worked for a catering company in Harare.

“I worked for Mr Bedford for many years, and we made many cakes. Now I am a new farmer with 105 ha near Marondera. This is land I share with Mr Stockhill, as it was his farm. I have been there for two years but it is very difficult. I’ve no money for seeds and fertiliser and this year there is no rain, and I was going to plant tobacco for the first time. I don’t want to think of that because I am at congress now.”

 

Zanu-PF, like most of the rest of the country, admits it is broke, and owes creditors about $11 million (about R125m), but despite that it managed to deliver an expensive congress.

Each province had to raise money and the major South African company, Tongaat Hulett, which grows sugarcane in south-eastern Zimbabwe, contributed more than $20 000 to the congress.

It didn’t comment when it learned this week that the government has confiscated about 20 000ha of its land.

One of the largest beneficiaries of white-owned land is the first lady.

She and her husband are Zimbabwe’s largest farm “owners”, with about a dozen farms which they have taken since 2000, of which they only paid for two.

Publicly at least, Grace led the charge for Mujuru to be ousted, denouncing her at a series of rallies in all 10 provinces recently.

“It doesn’t matter any more what Grace Mugabe says about anything. She was just a device,” said a prominent Harare businessman.

“Emmerson Mnangagwa has returned from the cold. He will be promoted to second secretary in Zanu-PF, which will make him one of two vice-presidents. He is going to be Mugabe’s successor. He will be good for business.”

But others shake their heads in dismay at what is happening. Mnangagwa was minister of state responsible for the Central Intelligence Organisation in 1983 as violence was launched against Zapu in Matabeleland. About 20 000 people died.

Mnangagwa was also Mugabe’s election agent in the post-election violence in 2008 when the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) narrowly won the elections.

Mugabe endorsed as Zanu-PF leader

Harare – Ninety-year-old Robert Mugabe Saturday was endorsed as president of his ruling Zanu-PF party by a party congress in the Zimbabwean capital Harare.

Thousands of supporters chanted “Gushungo”, the president’s clan name, a Sapa correspondent reported.

Others sang “VaMugabe”.

Mugabe, who looked grim-faced earlier in the proceedings, responded by rising to his feet inside a massive tent in central Harare and waving his black cap.

There were no challenges to the president’s position.

“Thank you so much for showing that massive…” shouted Zanu-PF national chairman Simon Khaya Moyo before the shouting crowds drowned him out.

There has been widespread speculation that vice president Joice Mujuru will be pushed out of her post at this congress.

Analysts said that Mugabe feared she had become so popular that she could replace him at the congress.

Jonathan Moyo Performs U-Turn on Grace Mugabe’s PhD Being Marked by Mugabe

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe did not mark his wife’s PhD and any suggestions he did are “childish and inherently preposterous”, information minister Jonathan Moyo has said.

Moyo accused the media of misrepresenting outgoing Zanu PF Women’s League secretary Oppah Muchinguri when she was quoted saying the veteran leader “marked” Grace Mugabe’s Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) dissertation.

Grace was conferred with a PhD by the University of Zimbabwe in September, torching a media storm following allegations she graduated barely two months after registering with the institution.

And, according to reports, the First Lady’s thesis, said to be titled, ‘The Changing Social Structure, the Functions of the Family: The Case of Children’s Homes in Zimbabwe’ is not available at the UZ which has also ignored calls to reveal Grace’s supervisor, the local examiners and the external examiner who validated her work.

Muchinguri inadvertently added fire to the controversy when she told a rally at the First Lady’s Mazowe compound that the president, who is chancellor of all State universities, marked his wife’s work.

“Amai Mugabe spent sleepless nights studying for her PhD while President Mugabe marked for her,” Muchinguri was quoted as saying.

But Moyo defended his cabinet colleague, accusing the media of taking Muchinguri’s remarks out of context “in the hope of not just smearing the First Lady but making money and taking people for a ride in the process”.

What Muchinguri meant, Moyo, an academic and former UZ professor explained, is that the president was “reading (Grace’s) drafts and commenting on them”.

He added: “It is common practice for any writer, including in the media, to ask colleagues, siblings, spouses or friends to comment on their drafts.

“Those comments are always intended to improve the work and not to pass or fail it. This kind of ‘marking’ is so common as not to deserve the status of breaking news. It involves giving comments and not marks or points or grades.

“Actually even supervisors of PhD students, which I have been on occasions too many to count, give comments and not marks.

“Only internal and external examiners of PhD students give marks which are not comments but are points or grades to determine whether one has passed or failed.

‘’Any suggestion that President Mugabe was a UZ internal or external examiner of the First Lady’s dissertation is inherently preposterously and the claim that the President marked the dissertation in the technical sense can only make news on Mars.”

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Details of how President Mugabe was to be killed revealed

HARARE – The on-going infighting within Zanu PF has this afternoon took a dramatic shift as details of the alleged plot to assassinate President Mugabe have been revealed by Businessman-cum-musician Energy Mutodi.

Mutodi is a Zanu PF loyalist linked to Justice Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Mr Mutodi took to Facebook and went on to reveal details of the alleged plot saying the lofty Melrose Arch hotel in Sandton was the venue at which both the Military Intelligence 5th Brigade and the CIA agents converged with Mujuru allies to plan Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe assassination it has emerged. He said; “according to our latest findings, Ray Kaukonde, Tendai Savanhu and Labour Minister Nicholas Goche met with Sandline International (formerly known as Executive Outcomes) agents namely Mark Thatcher and Piet Van Mervew who run a mercenaries organisation to consider at least three ways in which they could assassinate the President.”

The moon-shaped face musician said: “Mercenaries help with military strategies and execution of such strategy and they have helped accomplish coup plots in West Africa with almost 100% success. Under this operation, Joice Mujuru would sponsor the mission taking the funds from her late husband’s vast business empire worth at least 9 billion US dollars.

The mission was scheduled to take place before Congress so that the impending ZANU PF Congress would first be postponed to allow Mujuru to take over as Acting President and then substantive President when it eventually convenes.”

He gave the following as the alternatives that the meeting deliberated on to execute the coup plot:

  1. Thornhill Airforce Passout Parade: President Mugabe was to be invited as guest to officiate at the Parade where Airforce officer cadets will be graduating in a similar fashion he has capped thousands of University students in the recent weeks. Security at the Airforce base would be relaxed and mercenaries planted in the gathering. With all the comfort of being at such a secure place, the President’s own security would be told to relax as the Airforce take centre stage. The mercenaries would then pounce to everybody’s surprise and get assistance to escape to South Africa.
  2. Alternatively, this would happen at Morris Depot again at a Passout Parade where graduand police officers have usually been granted a Presidential send off.
  3. The Blue House Conspiracy would be organised as follows: Joice Mujuru would request for a meeting with her boss at his residence in Borrowdale and as she normally does during such meetings she would bring her own personal security along with the mercenaries who would masquerade as investors and perhaps sponsors to the upcoming Congress.

During or after the meeting, the President would be shot bringing surprise and panic at the residence. The mercenaries would then abduct Joice and use her as a host to escape. Joice would then be dumped after which she would come out as President anyway to quell chaos that could arise as a result.

He said the politicians that worked together to set up the assassination plot include Joice Mujuru and her daughters, Rugare Gumbo, Didymus Mutasa, Webester Shamu, Flora Buka and Ray Kaukonde. Sydney Sekeramayi does not appear in the forefront although he could have worked through Ray Kaukonde.

“The most worrisome and common factor of all the three alternative plots is that the Security Services mainly the CIO, the Police and the Army would play a key role in facilitating the slackening of security around the President and the escape of the mercenaries. Morgan Tsvangirai once talked of a Security Sector Reform in Zimbabwe and did not get support for that but in the wake of this new development, the issue might need serious consideration,” he said.

“Efficient governments work tirelessly to demilitarise traditionally civilian posts such as uniformed Police and its Intelligence arm as well as the Support Units and Prisons. These are posts which usually should be occupied by civilians loyal to the President of the day.

He said; “there is also need to professionalise the Security forces and turn them from forces to service providers who are apolitical and do not commend or participate in politics. Just like in politics, a long stay in one Security Service job will make one too powerful to believe that they can be king makers if not the Kings themselves.”

Mr Mutodi said: “In the wake of these highly sensitive issues, there is need for Vice President Mujuru to be immediately arrested and brought before justice. She has a burden to prove her innocence. As we speak, Flora Buka is preparing to escape and Joice’s daughters have already run away. The VP must be answerable to her actions which are threatening to cause a civil war in the country and open up an opportunity for the Americans and the British to sanction a NATO invasion as they did with Libya.

“All the politicians linked to this plot must quickly be bundled and brought before the courts. Tsvangirai tried all this nonsense and he knows the consequences.

There is nothing special about Joice Mujuru, a power hungry, brainless and corrupt widow who wants us to believe that she can do better than Mr Mugabe when she took an opportunity to squander public resources during the past 10 years as VP. Herself and all of her allies have been eating from President Mugabe’s hands since time immemorial but are courageous enough to want to part with their all-time master in a violent and bloody way,” he said.

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Mugabe’s wife launches fresh, bitter attack on VP Mujuru

Harare – Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe’s wife Grace on Monday launched a fresh and bitter attack on Vice President Joice Mujuru, calling on her to resign immediately and accusing her of “inappropriate” dressing.

In a speech to thousands of students gathered at the Zimbabwean first family’s farm in central Mazowe district, Grace Mugabe boasted that she had “trapped” the vice president.

She said she had a videotape of Mujuru accusing her of persuading the long-time president to stay on in power just so that the family could enrich themselves.

Just four months ago, Grace Mugabe, 49, played no part in Zimbabwean politics apart from appearing at her husband’s side during rallies and political functions.

“A waste of time”

But in July she was nominated to lead Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party’s powerful women’s league – and since then she has spearheaded an increasingly vitriolic campaign against Mujuru in an apparent bid to force her out of the party ahead of or during a congress next month.

Said Grace Mugabe on Monday in a speech shown on state ZBC TV: “You will be shocked to find that this is a person we called vice president for 10 years. You will be shocked. She must resign forthwith.”

Mujuru’s 10 years as vice president were “a waste of time”, the First Lady said as she paced up and down in front of cheering crowds.

“And you know what? I trapped her. Let me tell you I trapped her. There is more to come,” Grace Mugabe said in an apparent reference to the secret recordings she allegedly has of Mujuru.

Plot to assassinate Mugabe

The battle between Grace – who is apparently part of a faction of the ruling party led by top official Emmerson Mnangagwa, Mujuru’s arch-rival – and Mujuru has dominated Zimbabwe’s news for the last two months.

At the weekend state media accused Mujuru of being part of a plot to assassinate president Mugabe, accusations the vice president has angrily refuted.

Grace has not denied harbouring presidential ambitions herself, though it still appears unlikely she would take over immediately after her husband leaves power.

The president’s wife accused Mujuru on Monday of wearing a mini-skirt, adding: “Let me tell you, she was inappropriately dressed.”

Former education minister David Coltart said in a tweet: “Quite remarkable things said this evening on ZBC by Grace Mugabe regarding Vice President Joice Mujuru.- this really has got nasty now.”

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VP Mujuru denies Mugabe assassination plot

Harare – Zimbabwe’s beleaguered Vice President Joice Mujuru defended herself on Monday against allegations that she masterminded a plot to assassinate President Robert Mugabe.

Dismissing the claims as “entirely untrue”, Mujuru said in a statement she was ready to defend herself against accusations of treason in a court of law.

The allegations were contained in a report in the Sunday Mail, seen to be controlled by loyalists of Emmerson Mnangagwa, a top official in the ruling Zanu-PF.

He and Mujuru lead rival factions battling to seize control of the party – and the Zimbabwean government – as Mugabe edges towards possible retirement.

Mugabe’s wife Grace has led a campaign against Mujuru in the past two months, with the apparent backing of Mnangagwa.

Mujuru has remained silent until now, but allegations that she plotted to assassinate Mugabe had forced her to respond, she said.

“While I personally believe silence is golden… I have been obliged to make this statement for and on behalf of all current and future national leaders who may face the same problems,” Mujuru, 59, said.

“I regret that certain persons have elected to make false, unsubstantiated, malicious, defamatory and irresponsible statements about me… I stand ready to defend myself before the party and in any court of law on any of the allegations made against me.”

Mujuru’s husband, former army general Solomon Mujuru, was killed in a house fire in 2011 that many Zimbabweans believe was part of a power struggle within Zanu-PF.

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Zimbabwe President Mugabe’s nephew found dead in a wardrobe

A 20-year-old Zimbabwean man found dead in a wardrobe at Monash University in Johannesburg was the nephew of President Robert Mugabe, it emerged on Sunday.

Information technology student Takudzwa Wesley Goronga was reported missing around two weeks ago.

He was later found dead inside his wardrobe at the campus.

The Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation said Mugabe had addressed mourners at Goronga’s funeral on Saturday and called the student’s death “a mystery,” a Sapa correspondent reported.

The Zimbabwean president, who has two sons and a daughter, said: “Some children sent to study outside the country return home with some negative habits such as doing drugs.”

Police were still investigating the cause of Goronga’s death.

The student was reportedly raised by an aunt and an uncle in Marondera, central Zimbabwe, following the death of his mother 10 years ago.

Thoko Banda called Mugabe an idiot: New Malawi ambassador – full interview

Diplomatic ties between Lilongwe and
Harare are likely to face a blow after
President Peter Mutharika appointed a man who once described President Robert Mugabe as an “idiot” to be the new ambassador to Zimbabwe. Thoko Banda made the comments in 2006 during his stay as a political asylum seeker in Germany.

How long have you been in Berlin now?

Well I came to Berlin at the end of November 2000, having been in Bonn for two years prior to that. So I’ve been in Germany for six years now, the first four as diplomat and the last two as a artist and consultant.
Before coming to Germany I was in the embassy in Japan and had the option of going to Canada or coming to Germany . Since I had already lived in North America for almost ten years and had never lived in Europe, I decided to come to Germany . I know America well, I know the Far East well, and I also know Africa well. So there were only two continents left to conquer. So I came to Germany above all to see if the reality of being in Germany is the same of what we heard about.

Is Germany an important partner to Malawi in economic terms?

Germany and Japan are Malawi ’s biggest economic supporters depending of the foreign exchange rates. The Malawi economy depends mostly on tobacco exports and Germany is a major buyer of Tobacco. And of course we have also tea and sugar. So Germany was an important station to come to. And it’s the third largest economy in the world – you can’t ignore that. But for various reasons working in the embassy reached a point where I decided that I need a change. It is comfortable and secure but for me not effective enough. You see, I’ve always been an activist, as we used to have a dictatorship in my country when I was growing u – until I left it actually.

When did you leave the country?

I left the country in 1986 as a refugee to America and I was in America as a political asylee.
I was allowed to have a residency there. This dictatorship was supported by the West because it was a pro-West dictatorship. This is actually a reality in Africa until today.
If a government is good to the West then the powerful countries keep quiet. Then what it does to its own people is not important. Only when they start creating problems for the West, then human rights become an issue In Malawi we had an underground movement in which I was very heavily involved.
Even from the United States I participated in getting rid of this dictatorship. It wasn’t a yellow or an orange revolution but it still was a revolution without violence. And in 1994 we changed to a multiparty democracy and created a new political system. That was when I decided to go back and see how to help the country. Then I spend two years there and upon deciding to return to the States (where I had build up a life) I was offered the post in Japan at the Embassy. When I lived in exile – which was actually for nine years – I was the foreign representative of this underground movement. I had many contacts with people in Malawi nearly every day and that was definitely the most exciting time of my life.
The underground movement was fantastic. And eventually our political movement became a political party and the party contested in the elections and they won. So they became the party in government. I agreed to go to Japan as a representative for the people of my country. They are very poor and have nothing. They have freedom now but you can’t eat freedom. I felt very strongly that even though my interest is more in human rights advocacy they still need economic empowerment. And I have a lot abilities in that area as well. Japan was one of Malawi ’s biggest donor of this time I was assigned there. And Germany is another very important donor and partner of Malawi so I was assigned here, too. You know, when you are growing up, you always say “if it was up to me I would do this or that”. And suddenly I found myself in a position to actually make these decisions. I was the Deputy Ambassador and in Japan I was the acting ambassador. But I still felt that something was missing in accomplishing my dreams.

But how did you manage your education under the circumstances of dictatorship?

My formal education is as a political scientist. I went to University in Ohio where I studied political sciences with an interest in international relationships and with focus on leadership and issues of leadership. It wasn’t easy. I had to work. I worked in security, as a football coach in soccer while I was studying. You study and you work twenty hours every day. It was a private college   a very expensive college.

You’ve got no support by your family?

My father was a political detainee. In 1980, while I was still in high school, the head of state sent him to a detention camp. My father was very involved in politics. The head of state had been taking public money for private use. One day my father decided to speak against it and the very next day he disappeared. Six month later we found out that they put him in a detention camp. In the first six month we didn’t know where they’d put him until a friend found out. I was 15 at that time and suddenly my self, my brother and my sister had to survive by ourselves. And when a member of the family was put into detention the whole family was no part of society anymore. Because when somebody else came to talk with the family this person had to got into detention too. And you were lucky when some people visited under cover of darkness. But today I know that it was a blessing in disguise from God that my father was in prison.

Why? How could that be a blessing?

Because other friends who disappeared were killed. In one incident. fathers of my friends were in parliament. They stood up in parliament and said we cannot continue oppressing the people. Because of that they were mutilated by the government the same day – openly. The government did not even hide their brutality. They cut off their hands, legs and private parts. They put out their eyes and cut off their tongues. They did very horrible things. The head of state would say openly, that if you go against me, I will feed you to the crocodiles. And he used to. He used to take people and have them thrown into the crocodile filled rivers. This was the reality under this dictatorship. But the world didn’t care.

Other governments knew about this?

Of course they knew about it and did nothing. That’s real politics. It was a really interesting education for me. When I was seven years old a foreign newspaper of Zambia wrote an article about my father in which they said he was a brilliant man and maybe some day he could be a leader in the country. The next day he disappeared. This was the first time. For one year he was in internal exile. My parents were told to go to their village and to stay at their house. They were not allowed to talk to outsiders. Policemen were watching the house 24 hours a day. Nobody could come to talk and nobody could leave the house. I was lucky to be able to go into boarding school, with support from some foreign friends.
But I remember one day when I had dinner at this school a person gave me an extra plate for myself – a special dinner he said. The next day I woke up with a breakout everywhere. They tried to poison me. When the government can’t do it through the father they do it through the children. But I had luck. A friend of mine was not. His father also was politically active and against this dictatorship and was killed in that same period. When my father was put in detention camp later when I was 15, I said to myself that something had to change and the normal way was not going to change it.

You mean you need to have a revolution?

You need to have a revolution. But you have to be very creative in the way you do it. Because this kind of dictatorship was one which made parents betray their children and children betrayed their parents. It was brutal.
Almost like here in wartime Germany . They had the brown shirts, we had the green shirts.
The closest friends of this dictator were Romania ’s Nicolae Ceausescu and Kim in North Korea .
We were outside of society. We were young and I was angry. First it took me six years to get out of the country because I was not allowed to go. If you are a dissident you have zero rights.
I was not allowed to apply to the university. I was even not allowed to apply for a job.
So we had nothing. My sister for example finished high school and decided to get married to her boy friend. He had a successful business at the time, but, the moment he announced his engagement they closed his company. And from one day to the next they lost their means of survival.
It was brutal. But we were lucky. When I say this I mean this. I had a friend; his name was George, young guy, very energetic and athletic. He had a beautiful girlfriend who was working for an airline. Some day a prominent politician saw this girl and he liked it. They called George and said to him that he had to leave her because this politician wanted her for a mistress. But George said no. The next day he was found, dead, with a bullet hole in his forehead..
It was public. They did not even pretend that this did not happen. They were so bold because they knew nobody was going to stop them. No one in the world would care. But there were some people for instance some in the embassies. Some individuals who really cared and they were very helpful – but quietly.

They gave you money?

Never money, but ideological support, ideas. I remember I used to meet with some people from other countries almost like James Bond Style. Not from the German embassy no. These guys were extremely helpful in those days. We used to talk and I used to give them information about what was happening and they would get it out. But the important thing is that I eventually managed to get out.
I got my passport creatively and then wrong-footed the security services. I told everyone I would be leaving on the following Saturday So, the security people were planing to intercept me on that day at the airport but I left two days earlier.
They were not prepared and on Saturday they went to the airport, then they went to my mother’s house and asked where is your son. Then I was in Harare for about 8 days and suddenly one day the telephone rang at the place where I was staying and there was just a voice saying “we have you, get out!” And I knew I had to get out. I put the phone down, put my things in my bag and ran down the street, took a taxi to the airport and there was an angel behind the ticket counter. I said I just need to go somewhere and asked for her help. “I have to get out of here.” And she put me on a flight, she checked me in. And I ended up in Lusaka . I stayed there for about three months and then the same thing happened.

They were after you?

Well, I suppose yes. Then again somebody, actually it was my sister, called and said “Thoko be careful, we have information they know where you are.” It was two o’clock in the morning. At four o’clock I was at the airport. I went to British Airways and I said to a lady there: “Look here is my situation, can you help me?” And she put me on a plain. No, in fact they didn’t have a place. She talked to her friend from “Air France “. And I went to Paris , and then found myself in London , then America . So, that is the background.

But you came back in victory?

This time we changed democracy. And I was in the embassy, helping them. But then I found, a few years ago when I was in Berlin that the leadership was going back to the old ways. The new democratic leadership was doing the old things. Theoretically it is democracy. But they can hide unpleasant things, they are cleverer, they know how to do it, but the situation is far from democracy.
Two things happened. Well, many things happened, but two important things in the end. One is that the leadership decided about four years ago to change the constitution so that the President could stand for elections endlessly. He told the senior officials, senior diplomats, that we must support this position. And I said no. You can’t change the constitution to support one person. I had been involved; – in fact my hand had drafted the first draft that became what was the constitution while I was in America . And there is no way to change it just to support dictatorial purposes. So that was my first mistake with the new government. Then they said that I am a dissident.  The second thing that happened was a thing that cut the cord. It was in January 2003. You have to understand that in a country like Malawi the people are very poor. The families live on less than one dollar a day, 80 percent of them. They try to send one child to school, because they want at least one child to go to a university. This child is the hope of the whole family. So these kids, they go to the university, they go to the town and they live on campus. They completely depend on the campus food, everything. They have no money to buy candy, snacks, anything. They have nothing. In January and February 2003 the students demonstrated in the streets, peacefully. They just went through the streets chanting, that they don’t want the constitution to be changed.
So the president said, OK, they demonstrate against me, so close the cafeteria and let’s see where they will find the energy to demonstrate against me. So the university closed the cafeteria. These kids couldn’t go back to their village, they had no money. They had to live on this campus and nobody would help them. They had to live on this campus with no food for two weeks. And that is why I said no, I’m out, that is why I resigned, I left the embassy.
I had tried to change things from inside. It doesn’t work and so I turn to the power of the pen. I started to write. That is why I am a writer.

Weren’t you afraid of the security service of your country? Could something happen to you after such a decision?

In Berlin , no. If I went back to Malawi , yes. But I can’t go back. Since then they didn’t manage to change the constitution, but they picked somebody and put this person to be the next president basically. So, through the back door they kept themselves in power. There is no respect for the rule of law.

Weren’t these people who are now in the government dissidents before, fighting for democracy and a new constitution?

The last government, that I served and the people now were dissidents before 1994. Then they were against the government. But now they are part of the same system.
You won’t hear about it in the West. You will hear about Zimbabwe , because Zimbabwe has an Idiot. I am sorry, I know you are recording, but they have an Idiot for president. This guy Robert Mugabe. I hope that he lives a very long time, so that one day he can go before an international tribunal. He is a horrible man. The only difference between Mugabe and some of the other leaders is that Mugabe hurts not only his own people but also foreigners. That is why they hate him so much in the West. Leaders like mine, they are cleverer. And I know how it works. They know, as long they are nice to foreigners they can stay.
To say it simply, people who are in power now are interested only in their own business. They are not bothered about the poverty of people in their own country.
Definitely not. And the West is quiet about this. Because it is not that important to them, right now. They have other problems to worry about. But I hope, that through my writing some of these issues can be brought out into the open, for public discussion. I think, it is not only in Malawi . Also in other countries.
And not only in Africa . Right here in East Europe you have still countries where people don’t have basic rights. For example the biggest business today is the smuggling of people, of: women and children.

They are modern day slaves.

Exactly. Statistics are crazy and nobody seems to care. If you take a Mercedes, if somebody goes on the street and takes a Mercedes and tries to cross two countries, two borders to sell it illegally, he has a higher chance of being caught than somebody, who steals a child. Governments are more effective in preventing or protecting material things than in protecting people. And somehow this has to change. In Africa it happens. In Asia, South- East Asia it is terrible. If you are born as a female, as a girl child your chances of reaching adult age as a normal human being are very, very low. And this has been the case for so many years and it is not changing. There are maybe 12 Millions slaves today in the world. Four times of the population of Berlin live as slaves. While we are sitting here and drinking this nice cup of coffee, 12 Million people are slaves.

In West European countries as well.

Absolutely. These people also in the West European countries. I am sure, also in Berlin . These people come from Czech Republic and from Rumania and other poorer countries. They are taken sometimes because of their poverty. Their families give them up.

They hope for a better life.

Or they are promised something, they come over here and they have no rights. They have no protection and so they slip between the cracks.

Working as prostitutes.

Or they work in houses, cleaning houses, working 20 hours a day, not being paid. They are not given any papers, they have no way to go. These are not my numbers. These are real numbers. It is a $32 billion  a year industry.

How do you know the statistic?

The United Nation or UNICEF keeps a track. There are agency for protection of children, women and children you can go there and see the statistics for yourself. The ILO, International Labour Organisation realises figures periodically on this issue. Take a look at IOM, run by the International Office for Migration. It is there yet it is hidden because people prefer or politicians prefer to talk about other things. My daughter is eight. If she was living in Africa today as a typical African child, there is a high chance, that she would be forced to work as a domestic servant, at eight, today. Pick a country, let’s go there, and you will see, that there are six or eight years old children doing labour that even an adult would not want to do. There is a real chance, that she would be forced into marriage or solved in some sort of bonded marriage by the time she is twelve. Today, 2005. In some countries there is a real chance, that she would be forced to go and fight in a war. A few weeks ago I was very upset. I watched a live news item and saw activist Bob Geldof. He sang “We are the world” and all this stuff. He is now advertising for more debts to be forgiven for poor countries and for more aid for poor countries. And he was there with the Prime Minister Tony Blair launching a new initiative for Africa . And in this panel of people, who were advising policy there were, I think five African leaders. I won’t name them. Every single one from them is a dictator, every single one. No, I will name some of them. Meles Zenawi, he is the President of Ethiopia. And today the West say, oh he is such a great leader. He was taking young kids and sending them fight against Eritrea just four years ago, not twenty years ago, four years ago. He was taking kids and putting them on the front line. And now they say h I a good leer for Africa !

And leaders of the European countries are in knowledge of this fact.

Of course they know this. United Nations speaks about this al the time. And who is going to speak for these kids? Who is going to give a voice for these women? We just see them on the 17th Juni street, wearing the reflecting cloths and we judge them. We drive pass them, we look out of window and we judge them: “Prostitute”. This is somebody’s daughter and she is not allowed to speak for herself. Who is going to speak for them?

You mean they are slaves? They are forced to do this job?

Yes, absolutely. Statistics are there. There are some, who chose it. I heard this so many time from people in discussions. And I say to them: put yourself into their shoes, choose to be humiliated and then taken such a job at such a young age, they are fifteen. They don’t know anything else, which means something else, is very wrong. Because, if they had the basic opportunity to go to school, to gain an education, if they had a good chance of getting a job – do you thing they would choose to go this way? So if they choose this, there was something else behind that that was fundamentally wrong. These are the things I write about.

When you start as a writer, you don’t have a name. You have to find someone, who will read it and invest money in you publishing this. How was it for you?

It was very difficult, extremely difficult. It was difficult, because first I write in English and Germany doesn’t support people who write in English. I have been to all the organisations here, “Literatur Haus” and all these places, there are supposed to promote literature. And they all refused. They won’t even look at the material. On the phone, when you call them, because of my English, they probably think he is from America , he is a diplomat. If I was an American diplomat or a Swiss diplomat, I would have no problems probably.

But you are an African writer.

And then you go there and suddenly this person, who was on the phone saying “yes, please, come, good idea”. You go there and suddenly, no, English, sorry, I can’t help you. Fine, thank you very much. This is one thing that is a little bit sad; because I think good writing should be supported no matter what language it is. The world is changing and every country, especially a country like Germany has a very important role to play in the world I think. It has an extremely reach literature tradition, maybe one of the richest in the world, one of the richest arts traditions in the world.  I think it is important for them to support the literature in whatever language it is, as long as it is quality. And this support is missing. So, what I did with this first book is I published it by myself. Then I sent it to some people, I have some friends from my previous life. I know a very good author in America , who has written many books. And they were many times on the bestseller list. Her name is Debora Benton. I sent to her and asked for her comment. And her comments were 100 percent positive. She said, she hasn’t read the poetry like that from this generation. That gave me the power to ignore the reality here and to write a second book. So I have a second book, that I wrote and I asked a very famous Brazilian writer Paulo Coelho. He was very supportive, he said fantastic, keep writing and keep publishing. I haven’t published it yet because I am still looking for somebody to publish it.

Is this second book poetry as well?

The second book is also poetry. It is a book called “Miss Forever”. It is a story about a woman – it looks at life through the eyes of a woman. She sees what it is going on the world. First as a young girl she is pushed to the edge of these things we were talking about. She faces the exploitation, faces having no voice of her own. Of course she is very weak but then she looks within, she finds inside of herself a certain strength. She used to think that the people exploit her because she is weak and because they are strong. But at some point she comes to a wise realisation, that they exploit her because they are weak and they are afraid of her strength. When she makes this important switch in her mind, she becomes strong. And then she stands up and defines herself and she realises that they are really weak. Because the moment she confronts them they back off. Because they don’t have the strength to stand up against her strength. By this strength she begins to have a normal life, starts to raise a family and begins to feel the romantic, the passion, participation in life and society. She becomes Miss Forever.
Then I wrote a third book, which is a narrative. The narrative book is called “Seven Wisdoms”. It is based on what I learned while growing up in this dictatorship. Although the people were very poor and very oppressed they are very warm. They are extremely friendly people. Then I spent many years in America , living as an ordinary person and activist. I spent many years advising people. I advised people from the White House to the Malawi house, whatever. I saw qualities that made for bad leadership and good leadership, qualities, that make people succeed and make some people more equal than the others. What are these things, what are these qualities? And the same thing in Asia. I served in Japan and now I live here, at the top of society and now I live very simple. So I have seen life from the top and from the street. Many levels and many different cultures. I found that there are certain things that are universal, certain principals that are universal. When one understand these principals, not as a trick, not as a gimmick. There is a chance that individual lifes can be transformed and there is a chance that society can be transformed. So “Seven Wisdoms” is ready for publication and now I am starting my fourth book, which is called “Moments”.

Couldn’t you find someone, who would translate your books into German? It would maybe be easier to find a publisher in Germany in this way.

Yes. But. I left that behind, compromising just for the sake of making money.. I chose to live this new life. I could have stayed within the comfortable life. I am good at writing. I have been writing for leaders. I’ve been writing speeches since I was 23. Others speak my words. I see them on the TV and I know “I wrote that”. For the narrative “Seven Wisdoms” I have somebody who has looking at it with the view to translate it into German. I also sent it to someone in Poland to possibly translate it into Polish. And I am looking for somebody to translate it into Spanish. But the poetry is different because the poetry is not so easy to translate. So you have to have the resources or somebody to sponsor it.

Have you read the book of Senait Mehari where she wrote about her being a soldier as a child? She was from Ethiopia and managed to escape to Europe. What do you think about it?

I think it is brilliant. It is brilliant because it is real.The fortune in it is, that she was able to translate it into German, for the German audience.

In fact she was telling someone her story and he was transcribing this. A year ago you could see this book in every single bookshop on the prominent place. Through the advertising everybody knew about her. It is an example how marketing works. Publishers discovered in this story a good opportunity to achieve a profit. Today nobody talks about this.

I am told that a few years ago Steven King wrote a book. He sent it to people, who had published his prior works and to other publishers. But he sent it under a different name, not his name and everyone rejected it. He kept it up for about a year, kept submitting it and resubmitting and they just said no, no, no. And then he submitted it, but with his name and everybody wanted to publish it. True story. And this is in America . I think it is dangerous for the literature world and I think it is for most arts. You know, this book “The Storyteller”, if you put here the name of a famous writer, it would sell like hotcakes, without changing anything in the inside. It is all about making money. The publishers have lost touch with the real purpose of literature or arts. An art is supposed to open the minds of people to new ideas. And if it is well done and if it is given a chance somebody is going to like it.
Can you imagine a world without art, with no books to read? Let put it into Berlin , let’s take a typical Berliner. Can you imagine, that the only thing, that one can read is the newspaper, on the way to work in the morning? Or when they sit on the park? Can you imagine a world without music? Of course some people say, only a few artists are good many are commercial. That is the reality of life. Can you imagine these artists were rejected and told they can not sing? We all know the story about Mozart and Beethoven. Somebody believed in these people and gave them a chance. Now we have music and everybody believe it is timeless. This is what I say to everybody, who wants to listen, if they have an idea, follow it, if they have a dream, follow it. If anyone tells them, no we don’t publish English or we don’t like Russian or we don’t like poetry, OK there are six billion people on this world. This is one opinion. Move on to the next person and next person, and next person. It will take years. At some point the time will change. You will find somebody, who appreciates what you do. Look at the person, Dan Brown, who wrote “The Da Vinci Code”. His first two books, he had to pay more for the books, than the books made for him. He wrote “The Da Vinci Code”. It became a bestseller. Now his first books are also bestsellers. You keep on writing. You keep on putting your message at there. However there is a lot to be said for having enough funding for artist. Especially for new artists. I think more attention should be given to new artists. Then they are doing something for society. And this is another fight, which I will win.

You make photos as well.

It is only a hobby. I love taking pictures, portraits, people. I cannot take a picture of a building or a flower. It looks horrible, but people…I believe so much in people. I have seen so much in my own life. There are always incredible stories that people have to share. When you take a picture, especially a portrait, or scenery including people, there are so many stories you can read into that. When you walk on the street or you go on the metro and you look at people, you wonder where that person is coming from, why are they so happy, why are they so said? And I love capturing these moments. But this is just a hobby.

DISCLAIMER: Gaza-Tshisa News Room [G.N.R] Encourages Freedom Of Speech And The Expression Of Diverse Views.

Mugabe tackles party factionalism

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe will set up a commission to probe allegations of factionalism threatening to divide his Zanu-PF party ahead of an elective congress in December, the party spokesperson said on Friday.

“The president was candid enough and frank enough to tell us the factions he has been advised are existing… Accordingly he will set up a commission to look at the allegations of these factions,” said Rugare Gumbo, the Zanu-PF spokesperson.

Gumbo said Zanu-PF’s supreme decision making body, the politburo had a “robust, frank and open” discussion on factionalism on Thursday with Mugabe naming alleged faction leaders as Vice-President Joice Mujuru and Justice Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Mujuru and powerful former spymaster Mnangagwa are seen as the leading contenders to replace Mugabe, who has been in power since independence from Britain in 1980.

Infighting has escalated following Grace Mugabe’s surprise nomination to lead Zanu-PF’s women’s league, amid speculation she could be aiming to take over from her husband when he steps down or dies.

Mugabe is expected to be confirmed as the party’s leader at the congress, but the fight for positions on the powerful politburo could be decisive for the campaign to succeed him.

DISCLAIMER: Gaza-Tshisa News Room [G.N.R] Encourages Freedom Of Speech And The Expression Of Diverse Views.

Mugabe defends wife’s nomination to Zanu-PF leadership

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe on Thursday defended his wife’s nomination to lead the powerful women’s wing of the ruling Zanu-PF, as the campaign to succeed him intensifies ahead of a crucial party congress.

“Why are some people so much opposed to it?” said Mugabe to hundreds of supporters who had gathered at the party’s headquarters to back him and his wife.

Grace Mugabe, 49, has shaken up the race to succeed her husband, who has ruled Zimbabwe for close to 34 years since independence, by hinting she could run for higher office and lashing out at possible rivals.

“In the constitution of the party there is no where where it is written that the president’s wife cannot be a leader in the party,” Mugabe said.

The 90-year-old president said he was puzzled that some party supporters were opposed to Grace’s nomination when his late first wife Sally once held the same position in the 1980s.

Factionalism and vote buying

Grace Mugabe is set to be confirmed secretary of the women’s league at the December elective congress of Zanu-PF.

Mugabe denounced factionalism and vote buying ahead of the key congress of the former liberation party.

“If you need a post you don’t fight for it, you don’t buy people to vote for you,” he said.

His remarks came after his wife Grace accused Vice President Joice Mujuru of fomenting divisions in the party and plotting to topple Mugabe.

The state media on Thursday joined the fray, accusing Mujuru of “illicit business dealings” and abuse of “office and political status” linked to a Mujuru family-owned duty free shop at the Harare International Airport.

Mujuru and powerful Justice Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa are seen as the leading contenders to replace Mugabe, who has been in power since independence from Britain in 1980.

The battle escalated following Grace Mugabe’s surprise nomination a few months ago to lead the women in the party amid speculation she could be aiming to take over from her husband when he steps down or dies.

Mugabe is expected to be confirmed as the party’s leader at the congress, but the fight for positions on the powerful politburo could be decisive for the campaign to succeed him.

DISCLAIMER: Gaza-Tshisa News Room [G.N.R] Encourages Freedom Of Speech And The Expression Of Diverse Views.

Latest on Harare Journalist who hand-delivered a letter asking Mugabe to step down

Prominent Zimbabwean journalist Itai Dzamara has continued leading the “Occupy Africa Unity Square” protest in the capital Harare.

Dzamara who is the editor of The News Leader newspaper was arrested Friday after he called on President Robert Mugabe To Step Down in a petition that was delivered to the presidential Munhumutapa Offices in Harare.

Africa Unity Square is a few blocks away from Mugabe’s offices.

On Tuesday Dzamara wrote “we occupied Africa Unity Square today, yet again forced the state to respond, and, yet again, demonstrated our goodwill by agreeing to negotiate. We are the people! We are the numbers!”

Dzamara said up to 50 people made themselves available and openly grouped with them as they occupied the square, starting from around 9am in the morning. Police deployed almost 70 members in heavy riot gear.

Those gathering at the square say they want a response from President Mugabe, to the demands for him to admit failure, step down and pave way for a process towards finding a new national plan for governance and leadership.

“It was amazing, heart-rending and humbling. One man, Roleen Gandiwa, travelled from Kwekwe early in the morning to be with us. I met and knew him today for the very first time. Another one, Chicco Siziba, travelled from Luis Tritchard in South Africa yesterday, and joined the historic moment. I also met and got to know him for the first time,” Dzamara said.

“Indeed, these are true testimonies and the people shall tell their own stories. These and others, genuinely and with enough commitment, embraced the idea and plan. They went the step further to making a representation at the square. Unbelievable, how dreams really become true.

“I no longer call it ‘my demands’, because, officially, over 100 other Zimbabweans turned up to express their agreement and solidarity with ‘our demands’. The police had fears that we would embark on a demonstration or march from the square. Then police decided to clear the square, and, indeed, they chased everyone out. We had a group of about 35 of us who were gathered together at a particular spot and were resolved to resist being chased away,” Dzamara added.

The petition to Mugabe encourages him to step down immediately and pave way for a process of engagement involving all national stakeholders, towards the establishment of a new administration that takes over, to manage the country and prepare for fresh elections.

The petition also advised Mr. Mugabe that the protests, dubbed Occupy Africa Unity Square, would start on Monday until the president left office and met other demands such as responding to the petition.

DISCLAIMER: Gaza-Tshisa News Room [G.N.R] Encourages Freedom Of Speech And The Expression Of Diverse Views.

Mugabe backs Catholics’ ‘no gay’ stance

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe yesterday said he applauded the decision by Catholics to snub gay rights in the church despite pressure to recognize them.

President Mugabe, a Catholic, has in the past criticized gay rights and has said homosexuals are worse than pigs and dogs.

Zimbabwe does not recognize homosexual unions and those who engage in them are punishable by law.

“It was a subject to be discussed by the Synod and the bishops overwhelmingly rejected it (gay rights). We applaud their stance,” Mugabe said yesterday as he returned from Vatican City where he and the First Lady witnessed the beatification of Blessed Paul VI.

DISCLAIMER: Gaza-Tshisa News Room [G.N.R] Encourages Freedom Of Speech And The Expression Of Diverse Views.

Harare journalist hand-delivers a letter asking President Mugabe to resign

A defiant and ‘fearless’ Journalist, Itai Dzamara, who this week pulled a shocker by hand delivering a  step down petition to President Mugabe’s offices has been released after being briefly detained by the authorities.

Mr Dzamara who was in the company of two other gentlemen who had volunteered to aid him in his endeavours says he is raring to go and that the fight is tillon.

Below is  his own narration of the events that took place when he delivered the daring petition to President Mugabe’s Munhumutapa offices..

OH YES, MUGABE MUST COME DOWN

By Itai Dzamara

After we successfully submitted our petition to President Robert Mugabe yesterday, we got an immediate response, and also the perfect opportunity to get a vivid reflection of his regime’s mindset and attitudes. These are very crucial and urgent times for the nation of Zimbabwe, and, the truth shall set us free.

I shall always uphold and walk on truth and objectivity, as l continue to make my modest contribution towards searching for a way out of our national crisis.

We, yes we, ended up spending the whole day at work. I was not alone. Two other Zimbabweans, whom l still don’t even know whether they sleep in mansions or shacks, committedly joined and walked with me every inch of the long journey we ended up traversing.

I have been saying it, and shall continue doing so, that the initiative l have come up with is about us, the people and we are the numbers. The two men, Philosophy Nyapfumbi and Tichaona Danho, came forth on their own, to spend the entire day together as we set the ball rolling for what l seriously believe can make a noble contribution to making our country work again.

I do not even know whether Nyapfumbi and Danho had a dollar each to go back home after the long day of drama.

But, l have no doubt that they are the people, and they are the numbers, who are ready to go – they proved that yesterday.

Just about after 30 minutes since l had personally handed in the petition to Mugabe’s office, and getting an official sign in my notebook to confirm receipt, l received a phone call.

It was from the president office, and a gentleman said, ‘Can you immediately return here? The officials want to meet you about your petition and appointment.’

I promised to do so after a couple of minutes because we were just arriving at Harare Central Police Station to submit our notification for civil, peaceful and resolute plans to wait for Mugabe’s response, starting Monday, at Africa Unity Square.

We had passed through parliament, and the Speaker’s executive secretary had signed in my notebook to confirm receipt of the copy of petition.

Various suggestions came from many angles when we consulted about going back to Mugabe’s office, but mainly that it was not advisable.

I was clear in my heart that, we had nothing to fear and could face Mugabe or any of his officials, for that was the real purpose of stepping up with the initiative.

Back at Munhumutapa building, and l presented myself at the entrance to Mugabe’s office, where l had submitted the petition just an hour before.

A host of officials there, and some looked petrified, others highly suspicious. I am sure it had been unimaginable to some of them that the author of the petition, whose contents they now knew, would be standing before them, bare hands and with a straight face.

A couple of minutes were spent as consultations were made about where to take me, with officials going up and down the stairs to get some orders.

Despite their palpable shock and surprise, all of them, men and women, very respectfully addressed me, mainly as ‘Mr. Dzamara’. There was no decision about where to take me, so l was ordered to go back to the main entrance reception to join my two colleagues in waiting there – l found also in the waiting lounge, popular comedian Lawrence Simbarashe (Bhonzo), not that he had joined us, but must have been on his own mission.

A few moments later, an official showed up and summoned me, now together with my colleagues. Still there was still confusion about where to take us.

When a plan was agreed, we were led outside of the main entrance, and then through another, towards the back of Munhumutapa building. Then, it started becoming apparent that we were now being treated with a lot of caution and security. Several officials in suits accompanied us and made sure to move in a manner that kept us well encircled. I consulted my heart, it was at peace and very calm.

Straight to a very small room at the back, we were led. Fierce looking police officers were crammed in the little room, about seven of them, with a couple of AK47 rifles at a few’s backs and on tables.

They were watching a tape of Emmanuel Makandiwa on a laptop.

One of the officials in suit who had brought us there, said, ‘May you keep these men for us, they are high profile suspects! But don’t beat them.’

That certainly would cause an ambivalent feeling in the three of us. Still, my heart was calm and at peace. The processes started, which we would go through at every stage for the next seven hours. Of being asked to hand in our IDs, details recorded, address, name of wife, father, rural home, chief, employment history and so forth. It was just unbelievable to the police officers, when l revealed the issue of my petition. ‘Unodhunya nhaika (You are insane, isn’t it)?

Do you find that to make sense and to be possible?’ retorted the one who appeared to be their leader, with menacing pensive look at me. A few of discussions and debates and it was clear we were two camps not fashioned for that. Our police colleagues blatantly never believed my idea or attempt was normal or practical. The did not think anyone can do that to Robert Mugabe.

We agreed to strike a peace deal and end the discussions.

After an hour, we were summoned, got into a truck and towards Harare Central Police Station. Two officials, relaxedly sat in front and left us alone in the back seat. They must have not comprehended the description of ‘high profile suspects’.

We went straight to underground at central police station, to the secluded department of CIO presidential office’s liason section. Five hours loomed, of very tense, yet at times friendly engagements and discussions with various officials.

Again, it was unbelievable to them that l would write and submit the petition the way l had done.

I was fully ready for them, and defended my case through and through. I continuously asserted my position on the rights to do everything l had done. They consented and admitted, but still searched for routes and angles to sort my mind – that was the mission.
 
I had my mind in the right place and kept it at its best. I got into the mode of what l usually practise at home, before my wife and when acting like a lawyer defending a case in court. Our host were agitated, anxious but very cautious. They repeatedly went and spoke on phone, clearly getting some instructions. I repelled and trashed their attempts at disarming me through labelling me a ‘failed journalist’ or ‘agent of the enemy’.

They were deeply apprehensive and agitated about my idea of gathering at Africa Unity Square to wait for Mugabe’s response. I was inciting people, they alleged. I repelled their antics and stood my ground. They alleged l was trying to imitate what happened in Arab countries. I took out of my satchel, a document outlining the ’10 Golden rules’ for my idea and mission and gave them. They were disarmed.

One of them became exasparated when l challenged and rebuked him for repeatedly parroting crude Zanu PF’s propaganda and agitating for its politics.

He ordered me off the bench and to sit on the floor as well as remove my shoes.

‘Une nharo ende unoda kuzviita unoziva sitereki (You are hard headed and you think you know a lot)’ he said.

They reminded me that they could brutally beat me with an assortment of sjamboks, iron bars and wood planks that were in abundance in the room. I said l could take it.

I stood my ground about both my petition and plan to wait for Mugabe’s response at Africa Unity Square.

One young and overzealous official who was clearly drunk came in and splashed water he was drinking from a bottle into my face. This one seriously desired to beat me up, but was advised by his colleagues not to.

My two colleagues were also being tormented with a series of questions and accusations.

Gradually their tone changed and they became more friendly as well as drifted towards negotiating with me about my plans to wait for Mugabe’s response at Africa Unity Square. They came to points of openly pleading.

‘Look Itai, you are a learned person and you must agree that it is not proper to do what you are planning, please,’ one of them said.

I stuck to my strategy of arguing my case, that, Mugabe really had to seriously take the national situation, and respond to my and other demands as a matter of urgency.

I added and emphasized that my heart was aching at what appears to be Mugabe’s choice to just watching and wait for the situation to get out of hand.

We had seniors in the department coming in and discussing with me, so l knew l was directly communicating with the Mugabe regime.

I did exactly the same way l want Mugabe to hear the issues.

Eventually, and after four hours, one of the top seniors came in and immediately asked me to put on my shoes and sit on a bench. He launched his series.

Same story, of clear attempts to deal with my mind, brainwash me. He didn’t persist and carefully guarded against my counter strategy, of playing at, and rebuking them for, their open parroting of Zanu PF propaganda or crude politics during our discussions. He pleaded about the Africa Unity Square plan. I won his expressed admiration by arguing and proving that l have no bad or sinister intentions whatsoever. l asked him, ‘have you ever encountered someone who openly takes a position, writes the petition, hand deliver it, have his details taken, and goes through all these discussions openly?’

I have nothing to hide nor to fear, l reiterated yet again. He stared at me stone faced, when l said to him, very clearly, ‘If you had the means, you would help our nation now by convincing Mugabe to take us seriously and urgently engage on the national crisis’.

That was it, and he was done. He calmly and nicely said, ‘So you see Dzamara, we never beat you, we didn’t arrest you. Did we? We have no problem with your petition and it is your right to do that. But we request you to seriously think again about your plans to gather at Africa Unity Square.’

I concluded my part by making it clear that l stood by my initiative and would continue pursuing it, until or unless Mugabe responds to my demands.

Around 17:30, we were taken to the Police Internal Security department, for another hour of going through submission of details, and questions and answers about the petition as well as the Africa Unity Square plan.

None of the five officials in the room even attempted to play the mind games, or brainwashing antics. It was akin to my moments in the lecture room, where l articulate theories, practices and concepts of media and journalism to carefully listening and friendly faces.

We were done around 18:45, and thought it was time to go, but we were advised that had to go to the Law and Order section for a brief meeting.

There, 45 minutes were for just sitting and waiting as officials kept consulting and engaging about what to do with us. Eventually, one of them said, ‘gentlemen, you may go but should come back tomorrow at 08:30.’

I quickly retorted, ‘We have been made to understand that we have not been arrested, and have no case to answer. I am afraid, l am tied up tomorrow and can’t come’.

There was no objection from the officials who admitted we were free men.

One of them requested that we would then go back on Monday, which l said was possible, and would have to be communicated upon.

He gave us his number, and the series ended. We made it. Gave Mugabe our position and demand, presented ourselves for whatever his system would do to us. We went through every letter and word they wanted explanation and clarification on.

We heard their story, which is largely a joke, and unacceptable, such as that l, a ‘mere’ citizen cannot take up that measure to Mugabe. I totally denounced that argument and told them to leave me alone.

We had enough time to deal with their presumptive and deductive theories and arguments for justifying why Zimbabweans should continue keeping quiet and watch the further sinking of the ship under Mugabe government’s totally directionless watch.

That is it, Mugabe has to take heed and urgently come out of wherever he is to attend to the urgent national crisis and hear our demands. I am continuing and pursuing further processes and avenues towards achieving that.

Those agreeing with me, l reiterate, we are maintaining civil, peaceful and resolute means.

Important plans and announcements to continue coming.

We are the people!
We are the numbers!
Let’s go!

Matabele men only good at making babies – Dr Mugabe

First Lady Dr Grace Mugabe says that man from Matabeleland are only good at marrying and making babies instead of developing their areas.

Mugabe who recently graduated with a doctrate in Sociology from the University of Zimbabwe said this amidst cheers from a crowd of about 4000 predominately Ndebele people in Gwanda on Monday. Dr Mugabe took swipe at the Ndebele men accusing them of marrying a lot of wives and making too many children they end up failing to take care of.

“It is very common here to find a man with 5, 6 or 10 wives what kind of a bull is that?” she said.

Mugabe’s lashing of the Ndebele men was surprisingly met with a huge cheer and clapping of hands from the crowd. Amongst those who cheered were Minister of Sports and Culture Andrew Langa so did ZANU PF national chairman Simon Khaya Moyo and Gwanda Resident Minister Abednico Ncube.

Further to that, Dr Mugabe also accused men from Matabeleland South for not developing themselves but just interested in going down south to Johannesburg to do menial jobs. This is the second time in under 2 years that the first family has attacked the people from Matabeleland for the great trek to South Africa.

President Mugabe attracted huge attacks from the people of Matabeleland when he made the same remarks at the same venue last year. Dr Grace Mugabe also accused the men in the region of being rapists and abusers saying the region provides the highest statistic in terms of rape and women abuse.

Tuesday the First Lady takes her rallies to another of Matabeleland Provinces in Lupane.

DISCLAIMER: Gaza-Tshisa News Room [G.N.R] Encourages Freedom Of Speech And The Expression Of Diverse Views.

Will Grace Mugabe become president?

HOW much influence and power must or does a president’s wife have?

This question must be on most Zimbabweans’ minds as President Robert Mugabe’s wife Grace is currently on a roll addressing rallies and castigating party members perceived to be eyeing her husband’s post.

Forget that Zimbabwe is currently experiencing its worst economic decline since dollarisation, the only thing Zimbabweans are talking about is Grace Mugabe. On Facebook, radio, television and in newspapers, it’s all about Grace.

In other countries, polls on first ladies have actually been held to find out their political influence and importance.

The first poll involving a first lady appears to have been performed by the Gallup organisation in 1939, when it asked the public’s opinion of Eleanor Roosevelt. When John F Kennedy took office in 1961, Gallup again polled the public’s view of the new first lady.
The polls were conducted to find ratings and public perceptions from the first ladies’ duties and activities to their perceived influence on the president.

The issue here, however, is not about polling and rating first ladies, it is about finding out how much influence and importance they must have.
Traditionally, first ladies have been expected to be outgoing, attractive, the president’s main “cheerleader” and, whenever possible, seen and not heard.

But critics say that role is outdated: in a time when women have made huge gains in equality at home and in the workplace, why should they continue to be mere ornaments in the state house? After all, Grace Mugabe is a PhD holder.

Influence and power

In her book Hidden Power Kati Marton explored how both the personal dynamics and public faces of White House marriages have shaped history.

In the book we see Edith Wilson literally running the government when her deeply beloved husband becomes ill, how the combination of Franklin Roosevelt’s reassuring spirit and his wife’s humility guided the country through the depression and war, how Bess Truman’s loyalty, bluntness and unpretentiousness were some of her husband’s greatest resources and the superb and necessary diplomacy of Jacqueline Kennedy.

We observe how the Fords reassured the US after the debacles of Vietnam and Watergate and how Hillary Clinton saved her husband’s presidency.  
According to Robert P Watson in his book The Presidents’ Wives: Reassessing the Office of First Lady, recent polls have highlighted the public concern over the first lady having too much influence and power.
In the US, Gallup polls reported that Hillary Clinton had too much influence in the Clinton administration.

When polled to find out whether first ladies must have influence on the president, 55.7% strongly agreed that the first lady is important to the success of the president and exactly one half felt she also fulfils an important role in political campaigns.

Behind the scenes

The popular opinion, however, is that first ladies must not give the appearance of influence and power, but must exercise such influence behind the scenes.

History shows many exerted a powerful influence behind the scenes.
In the US president Millard Fillmore checked with his wife, Abigail, before making major decisions. Rosalynn Carter sat in on cabinet meetings with her husband Jimmy and Nancy Reagan had so much power in President Ronald Reagan’s White House that she had his chief of staff fired.

One reason for the controversy is that the job itself is unclear. Unlike the presidency, the first lady’s job is not defined in the constitution. As a result, each presidential wife has had to shape the role herself.

In the US most of the women who have filled the position were known more for their social skills, charm and good looks than anything they ever said or did.

When a first lady did take on an issue, it was usually far from the line of political fire. For example, Barbara Bush, wife of President George Bush, championed the cause of literacy.  

Enter Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clnton was, however, one to stop the trend. Campaigning for her husband in 1992, she promised a co-presidency, saying: “If you vote for Bill, you get me too.”
Hillary Clinton spearheaded White House efforts on healthcare, breaking the tradition of first ladies staying out of policy making.

But many said she had no business making official policy.
“Citizens don’t want a first lady who gives the impression that she’s running things and making policies,” says Paul F Boller Jr, author of Presidential Wives.

“No one elects a first lady, so pushing the idea of a co-presidency is seen as a betrayal. The debate over the role of first ladies will continue to burn until there is a female president”, says Boller.
“Then the debate will turn to what role the first hubby should play.”

Will Grace become president?

If Grace chooses to replace her husband, she won’t be a first in the world as the precedents are there.
Cristina Fernández de Kirchner was elected president of Argentina in 2007. Her candidacy was boosted by the fact that her husband, Néstor Kirchner, was at the time Argentina’s sitting president.

This was also not the first time that an Argentinian president was replaced by his wife. Juan Domingo Perón’s third wife, María Estela Martínez, known as Isabel Perón, was elected as vice-president on his ticket and succeeded him as president upon his death in 1974.

They are currently trying the same in Panama, with Marta Linares being lined up to replace her husband. According to Associated Press, Linares is a political novice with a scant presence on the campaign trail, but she has one vote that matters more than most in her bid to become Panama’s next vice president: that of her husband, outgoing President Ricardo Martinelli.

Critics say it’s a thinly veiled attempt by Martinelli, a supermarket magnate known for bruising his opponents, to keep his grip on power after a five-year rule marked by mounting complaints of corruption and the steady erosion of checks and balances.

From Argentina to Honduras, Latin America of late is full of examples of wives taking over from their president-husbands.

Linares however, rejects any notion that she’s her husband’s stand-in.
“That’s a very sexist view,” Linares told The Associated Press after addressing a group of 3 000 mostly poor women who were bussed in for a pro-government rally at the recreation club for employees of her husband’s supermarket chain.

“We women are capable of making decisions ourselves,” she said.
In Zimbabwe, it seems Grace has been carried away by the bussed crowds attending her rallies that, instead of aiming for the post of women’s league boss she was nominated for, she is now aiming higher.

She told a recent rally that she was now targeting an even higher political post after being mentored by her husband President Robert Mugabe for years.

“So what is shocking you today? You made me what I am, I was copying from you. You are not supposed to be shocked, I am seeing a higher post. If you are not serious, women will take over the party,” she said.
Only time will tell, but Grace Mugabe is wading through charted waters.

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President’s wife awarded PhD 2 months after enrollment

President Robert Mugabe’s wife Grace has just been awarded a PhD. and her husband, who’s chancellor of the University of Zimbabwe has capped her.

News of the First Lady’s graduation has come as a surprise to Zimbabweans, since she was only reported to have registered for the degree in July.

The state ZBC broadcaster said Grace Mugabe’s doctorate from the flagship University of Zimbabwe was in sociology and she says she had to work hard.

She’s understood to have studied the case of children’s homes in Zimbabwe a subject that comes as no surprise, since the First Lady runs an orphanage in Mazowe, north of Harare.

Her start date was never confirmed by the presidency and since her first degree in Chinese language from the People’s University of China was reportedly conferred in 2011, it is technically possible that she began her doctoral studies then.

But that’s not what the majority of Zimbabweans believe and there’s been a degree of outrage on social media.

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U.S Man Jailed for Lobbying Against Sanctions Imposed on Mugabe

The United States imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe and his inner circle saying they violated human rights and failed to hold free and fair elections in the country.

A Chicago lobbyist, Prince Aisle Ben Israel, has been sentenced to 7 months in prison for allegedly violating U.S. sanctions in late 2008 and 2009 by agreeing to assist President Robert Mugabe and his inner circle in efforts to push America lift economic sanctions against them in exchange for $3.4 million.

Ben Israel will report to prison in November.

His alleged accomplice, C. Gregory Turner, allegedly met multiple times in the United States and in Africa with Zimbabwean government officials, including Mr. Mugabe and then central bank chief, Gideon Gono, and others who were individually subject to U.S. sanctions.

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), during these meetings, Ben Israel and Turner allegedly agreed to engage in public relations, political consulting, and lobbying to have sanctions removed by meeting with and attempting to persuade U.S. federal and state government officials, including Illinois members of congress and state legislators, to oppose the sanctions.

The targeted sanctions against Mr. Mugabe and other specially designated individuals in Zimbabwe were initially imposed in 2003 by President George W. Bush and have been continued annually by President Barack Obama, starting in March 2009 through the most recent extension this year.

Ben Israel’s lawyers had asked U.S. district judge Elaine Bucklo for probation, but the judge said the seriousness of the offense warranted some prison time. Federal guidelines had called for up to 16 months behind bars.

PAYMENT

According to the FBI statement, the two men were paid an initial payment of $90,000 and three subsequent equal instalments of over a million dollars.

Efforts to get a comment from Mr. Mugabe’s spokesman George Charamba, Gono or Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi were futile as they were not answering their mobile phones.

But international relations expert Clifford Mashiri said the whole incident is embarrassing for Harare.

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Mugabe’s wife to lead Zanu-PF women’s wing

Harare – The wife of Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe was on Friday chosen to lead the ruling party’s powerful women’s wing, catapulting her into active politics and adding new intrigue to the battle to succeed the 90-year-old strongman.

The nomination of 49-year-old Grace Mugabe as the “sole” candidate for the position of the national secretary of the Zanu-PF women’s league was endorsed by a conference in Harare.

The position is sure to be confirmed at the party’s elective congress in December.

“I feel very much overwhelmed” by the nomination, she told at least 3 000 delegates who backed her.

Her new position will propel her into the Zanu-PF party’s supreme decision-making body, the politburo.

Mugabe dynasty

As the national secretary of the party’s women wing, the former presidential typist will sit in the Zanu-PF inner cabinet and play an active role in the faction-riven battle to succeed her husband, who took power in 1980 on Zimbabwe’s independence from Britain.

But the women’s meeting also decided that the veteran ruler should stand as the party’s presidential candidate in 2018 elections, by which time Mugabe will be 94.

The move to back Africa’s oldest leader, as the “sole” candidate for the next national vote will set the tone for the December crucial party congress and it comes amid speculation by analysts that a Mugabe dynasty could be in the making.

During his 34-year rule Mugabe has studiously avoided naming a successor, yet he has expressed his personal worries over the absence of a suitable successor.

Future without Mugabe

Factions led by Vice President Joice Mujuru and Justice Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa have in recent years been jockeying for the presidential post, dividing the party and raising concern over its future without Mugabe.

Haggling between the two factions cost the party dearly in the 2008 elections when Morgan Tsvangirai’s opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) won the majority of parliamentary seats.

Mugabe loyalists said the move to endorse Grace Mugabe as head of the women’s wing was aimed at bridging the divisions threatening to tear Zanu-PF apart.

She expressed hope that “factionalism will come to an end”.

Grace Mugabe has previously taken a back seat in the Zanu-PF drama, keeping herself busy with charity work and lately with running businesses, including a dairy farm.

Uncertainty over Mugabe’s succession and concerns about his age and deteriorating health have divided the government and stalled growth in the ailing economy, with investors adopting a wait and see attitude.

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“I am Resigning in December 2014″ – Robert Mugabe

President Robert Mugabe has announced that he is resigning in December 2014.

President Mugabe said all members of the Politburo and Central Committee, including himself, will resign ahead of the December elective congress.

Mugabe will, however, not be challenged by anyone as he seeks to maintain his grip on the party. He told the Women’s League conference that:”At the December Congress, all of us must resign so that new people are elected. The Politburo and the Central Committee – we must all resign.”

He castigated leaders who are engaged in vote-buying to influence the outcome of the congress.

“Some are already campaigning vigorously, dishing out loads of money and so they would want to see the Youth League, the Women’s League, producing people whom they think support them and will at Congress then combine in electing them.

“So it’s up to you – be vigilant. If you want to be used go ahead and accept their bribes. We want people to be free to elect whoever they want to represent them,” he said.

He said people have grouped themselves alongside faction lines, but those who aspire to be elected should be servants of the people whose focus is on implementing government policies on the ground.

“At the end of the day, good leadership is disciplined leadership. Do you respect the freedom of others and refrain from interfering with them? Are you yourself sufficiently disciplined in terms of how you conduct yourself? Or are you morally weak, sexually weak? You take this woman as your wife, you that that one…” –

He acknowledged the support women continue to give to him and to Zanu PF. “The women are the backbone. They have always been the backbone of the party. Without your support I am nobody. It is only when I have your support that I can say Zimbabwe will never be a colony again,” he said.

He said the black government, after independence, introduced deliberate measures to uplift the lives of women who had been down-trodden for many years.

“That is why some of us when independence came we decided we must respect women in terms of their status and regard them as equal to men. We passed laws; we changed the system we found in that it discriminated against women and we amended the laws in regard to the salaries of women.

“And because we saw how tough women were during the war, in the new government we changed the status quo – in respect to work
positions, remuneration etc, that is why we changed the laws.

He said today fathers are sending boys and girls to school on equal terms ecause there is no difference between the boy child and the girl child.

He added, “And I am glad that our system has now produced so many educated women. We still have to do more of course. And we are glad there are so many holding senior positions, not only in the public service, but also in the private sector.

“And we would want to see our women being given the necessary freedom to play their part in the community – whether in the public sector or the private sector – and we are sure that once the women are given something to do, in the majority of cases they are likely to perform better than men.”

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‘Mugabe was once involved in a polygamous relationship’

FIRST Lady Grace Mugabe on Thursday said President Robert Mugabe was once involved in a polygamous relationship.

Grace defended having an affair with the Zanu-PF leader when his first wife Sally was still alive, saying she was customarily married to him.

Addressing party youths gathered at her orphanage in Mazowe to show their solidarity following her nomination to become the Women’s League boss, Grace lambasted the media for castigating her marriage to Mugabe.

In a no-holds-barred speech, a tough-talking Grace said she would never feel bad even if the media continued to vilify her marriage to Mugabe.

“It did not start today that a man marries two wives,” Grace said.

“I will not feel bad about it. Let them write whatever they want.”

Grace, previously married to Stanley Goreraza, an Air Force pilot, officially married Mugabe in 1996.

Mugabe and Grace have three children – Bona, named after Mugabe’s mother, Robert Junior and Chatunga Bellarmine.

Bona was born when the late First Lady Sally was still alive but battling with a kidney problem.

Mugabe claimed in an interview with South African journalist Dali Tambo that Sally was aware of his relationship with his former secretary before she succumbed to kidney failure in 1992.

Grace said she had no regrets over her relationship with Mugabe, saying the Zanu-PF leader was not unlike any other men, let alone a President, who has entered into a polygamous marriage.

“South African President Jacob Zuma has many wives. I admire him because he stands for what he wants,” Grace said.

The First Lady also said she had no regrets over acquiring vast tracts of land to produce and generate revenue to support orphans.

Grace said she had the right to own land where she wanted.

“People might say what they want about land.

Yes, I took the land and I don’t have regrets at all for acquiring the land. I am a Zimbabwean. We are taking what is rightfully ours,” Grace said.

Grace owns vast tracts of land in Mazowe, where she has vast business interests. She seized about 870 hectares of land belonging to Mazowe Citrus Estates, owned by Zimbabwe Stock Exchange-listed Interfresh Holdings.

Recently, she was involved in a land row with close to 1 000 families at Manzou Game Park along Mazowe Dam, which she wanted to take over for her family.

Grace on Thursday hit out at Mazowe South MP Fortune Chasi (Zanu-PF) for frustrating her efforts to acquire more land in Mashonaland Central province.

The youths, who endorsed Grace for her nomination to lead the powerful Women’s League, promised the First Lady their unwavering support.

Provincial youth chairpersons warned faction leaders that they would deal ruthlessly with those calling for Mugabe’s ouster.

Calling themselves “Talibans”, they assured Grace they would always be behind her.

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‘Mugabe was once involved in a polygamous relationship’

FIRST Lady Grace Mugabe on Thursday said President Robert Mugabe was once involved in a polygamous relationship.

Grace defended having an affair with the Zanu-PF leader when his first wife Sally was still alive, saying she was customarily married to him.

Addressing party youths gathered at her orphanage in Mazowe to show their solidarity following her nomination to become the Women’s League boss, Grace lambasted the media for castigating her marriage to Mugabe.

In a no-holds-barred speech, a tough-talking Grace said she would never feel bad even if the media continued to vilify her marriage to Mugabe.

“It did not start today that a man marries two wives,” Grace said.

“I will not feel bad about it. Let them write whatever they want.”

Grace, previously married to Stanley Goreraza, an Air Force pilot, officially married Mugabe in 1996.

Mugabe and Grace have three children – Bona, named after Mugabe’s mother, Robert Junior and Chatunga Bellarmine.

Bona was born when the late First Lady Sally was still alive but battling with a kidney problem.

Mugabe claimed in an interview with South African journalist Dali Tambo that Sally was aware of his relationship with his former secretary before she succumbed to kidney failure in 1992.

Grace said she had no regrets over her relationship with Mugabe, saying the Zanu-PF leader was not unlike any other men, let alone a President, who has entered into a polygamous marriage.

“South African President Jacob Zuma has many wives. I admire him because he stands for what he wants,” Grace said.

The First Lady also said she had no regrets over acquiring vast tracts of land to produce and generate revenue to support orphans.

Grace said she had the right to own land where she wanted.

“People might say what they want about land.

Yes, I took the land and I don’t have regrets at all for acquiring the land. I am a Zimbabwean. We are taking what is rightfully ours,” Grace said.

Grace owns vast tracts of land in Mazowe, where she has vast business interests. She seized about 870 hectares of land belonging to Mazowe Citrus Estates, owned by Zimbabwe Stock Exchange-listed Interfresh Holdings.

Recently, she was involved in a land row with close to 1 000 families at Manzou Game Park along Mazowe Dam, which she wanted to take over for her family.

Grace on Thursday hit out at Mazowe South MP Fortune Chasi (Zanu-PF) for frustrating her efforts to acquire more land in Mashonaland Central province.

The youths, who endorsed Grace for her nomination to lead the powerful Women’s League, promised the First Lady their unwavering support.

Provincial youth chairpersons warned faction leaders that they would deal ruthlessly with those calling for Mugabe’s ouster.

Calling themselves “Talibans”, they assured Grace they would always be behind her.

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Mugabe must be allowed to go home and rest Mugabe must be allowed to go home and rest

As Zanu PF goes to congress in December, many Zimbabweans will expect that President Robert Gabriel Mugabe, now 90, will accept he has had his time and should be allowed to rest.

The Oracle by Tangai Chipangura

I am one of the millions that share the view that President Mugabe has built a rare legacy. Zimbabweans cherish this legacy so much they would be saddened to see all of it discarded into the sewer, simply because certain people within Zanu PF are too afraid to lose, not him, but their selfish interests.

There is empirical evidence the world over that those who overstay their welcome will of necessity put their host in a state of perpetual discomfort.

The name of President Mugabe features strongly among prominent men in history, Napoleon Bonaparte, Tshaka Zulu, Benito Mussolini, Nelson Mandela, Adolf Hitler, Winston Churchill, Kwame Nkrumah, George Washington, Mao Tse Tung, Julius Nyerere, Kenneth Kaunda, Samora Machel, Kamuzu Banda — men whose fortunes blossomed but had doors of those fortunes necessarily closed when the time came.

Some, like the legendary Mandela, left the arena even when millions all over the world wanted them to stay. Others, like Hitler, took their lives because they feared they would be killed by their own people.

Others too, like Banda, old tearful Kaunda of Zambia and lately Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak had their political careers obliterated by winds of democratic change. Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi even died still clinging on to power when all was lost.

President Mugabe appears stuck in the league of a tiny minority of leaders, almost miniscule to the point of invisibility, who by reason of either misinformation or deliberate mischief, fail to acknowledge the principle of political diseconomies of scale.

There is no doubt that President Mugabe has individually contributed invaluably towards the independence and well-being of Zimbabwe. But then, it remains a fact his contribution towards the collective pain and suffering that the people of this country have endured in the time of his reign, especially in the past decade, outweighs the President’s erstwhile achievements.

Many Zimbabweans still remember Gukurahundi, the DRC intervention, Murambatsvina, a ruined economy along with the collapse in education, health, road and electricity infrastructure, extensive poverty and election violence, among other things.

While this is a strong case for the President’s immediate retirement, there is even a stronger case for his departure. The laws of this country, and indeed many other places, do not permit civil or public servants to be employed beyond the age of 65.

This universally acceptable position is justified by both intellectual and biological reason — that all human beings, even those that claim to be in their positions on an election ticket — are subject to deteriorating mental and physical capacity with age.

It is very difficult to convince anyone, Your Excellency, that at such an advanced age, your capacity for good judgment can still satisfy the demands of millions of young Zimbabweans.

Yet, it is an undeniable fact that the person of President Mugabe has been so present in the Zimbabwean political landscape that it has engendered a strong belief, especially in Zanu PF, that should he step down, the party, the State, and the nation will crumble — the “no Zimbabwe without Mugabe” mentality.

It is an undeniable fact that President Mugabe and the struggle for Zimbabwe are one in popular memory. And in the minds of the old men and women at Shake-Shake building, the name Mugabe and Zanu PF are one.

All this gives him unchallengeable liberation credentials that come indispensable in every Zanu PF election campaign. That is the reason why each year the President says he would have long called it a day but he stays on because he is being “asked” to soldier on.

WikiLeaks claimed the head of the United Nations once offered the President a lucrative retirement package if he stood down, but his administration has vehemently denied this.

Such a prospect would certainly come as God-given to many Zimbabweans who believe the President is now over the hill and is no longer capable of comprehending issues affecting the country.

There are, however, still many that believe President Mugabe may be old but is still in a good state of health. Some four years ago, Political analyst Ernest Mudzengi said: “The only fear is that Zanu PF is hanging by him and his exit might mean the end of the party. It will, however, be in his best interest and that of the country for him to retire before his health starts failing him. Whatever will happen after that might be catastrophic for the country because there is no guarantee that there will be a peaceful transition of power and that anarchy will not occur.”

It is for this reason that President Mugabe should, at the coming congress of his party, consider appointing a successor — that being the only way a smooth and bloodless transition from the Mugabe era could be guaranteed.

While the emergence of his wife Grace in the politburo is certain to protect and further the Gu-shung-oh dynasty, prospects of her landing the presidency are for many reasons, very remote.

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US-Africa summit: Mugabe ‘still not invited’

The US-Africa summit to be convened by President Barack Obama in August is set to proceed without Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe as planned, US ambassador to Zimbabwe Bruce Wharton has reportedly said.

According to The Herald, Wharton said although the US sought to normalise relations with Zimbabwe, Mugabe was not invited to the high-profile summit.

Obama Invited At least 47 leaders to the landmark summit which seeks to widen US trade development and security ties with the African continent.

The invited African countries are only those that are currently in good standing with the United States or are not suspended from the African Union.

US sanctions

The Us indicated in January that Mugabe won’t be attending because he is currently a “Specially Designated National” (SDN).

A Specially Designated Nationals List is a publication of Office of Foreign Assets Control (Ofac) which lists individuals and organisations with whom US citizens and permanent residents are prohibited from doing business.  

Mugabe is also subject to US sanctions for undermining democratic processes and institutions in Zimbabwe.

Mugabe’s administration has, however, indicated it is not bothered by the veteran leader’s exclusion.

Mugabe’s spokesperson George Charamba, was early this year quoted as saying Obama’s decision to snub Mugabe was an indication that the summit was not about the US and Africa, but about the US and certain African countries.

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Mugabe’s neighbour dog trial postponed

THE trial of President Robert Mugabe’s 55-year-old neighbour accused of setting his dogs to hunt bucks at the Head of State’s private residence in Borrowdale, Harare, failed to take off yesterday as the State continued to change goalposts.

Michael Pazarangu, who is facing charges of letting his unmuzzled dogs roam freely, appeared before magistrate Vongai Muchuchuti charged with contravening Section 46 (2)(r) of the Third Schedule of the Criminal Law and Codification Act.

The case was remanded to Thursday this week for trial.

Pazarangu, who is represented by Harare lawyer Don Moyo, made an application for postponement of the matter to prepare his defence after the State insisted on the trial after it had earlier indicated plans to withdraw the matter before plea.

It was not clear what prompted the State to change its decision at the eleventh hour.

Last week, Pazarangu denied the charge and was remanded out of custody for trial on free bail.

The complainant in the matter is the State being represented by Police Sergeant Tarirai Mhere.

Allegations against Pazarangu are that on May 22 this year, Sergeant Mike Dheremete was on night duty at Mugabe’s house along Borrowdale Brooke Road.

After carrying out his routine perimetre checks, it is alleged Dheremete concluded that everything was well, but the following day at around 5am, he heard monkeys chattering and went to investigate only to find a buck lying dead on the ground.

The State alleges that the buck, which had wounds on its neck and its genitals, had been mauled by Pazarangu’s dogs.

Dheremete allegedly informed his superiors before handing over duty to Mhere who on the same day allegedly saw Pazarangu’s two dogs near the carcass ready to feed on it.

The dogs later fled into Pazarangu’s yard through an opening in the fence separating the two properties, but were later identified by officials from Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority.

The State is represented by Desire Chidanire.

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‘Mugabe is worse than Satan’: Overzealous Job Sikhala claims

Controversial MDC-T politician Job Sikhala says even Satan is better than President Robert Mugabe in all facets of being evil as the ageing leader has presided over the killings and impoverishing of many Zimbabweans.

Sikhala was responding to weekend claims by MDC Renewal Team leader Tendai Biti that Mugabe was better that MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

“I don’t think a statement attributed to Tendai Biti is correct that he said that Robert Mugabe is better than Morgan Tsvangirai,” Sikhala said.

“I say so because there is no person in his normal senses who can even suggest that because we all know that every other Zimbabwean amongst the 13 million is better than Mugabe. Even Satan is better than Mugabe in all facets of evilness.  

“Thousands had their lives terminated by Mugabe and tens of thousands have been tortured, millions reduced to beggars and unaccountable number disappeared without trace.”

Sikhala said Mugabe was, “true epitome of the devil incarnate and he cannot be better than Satan himself. I hope Biti was misquoted because if it is true that he said it, I don’t have words to describe it but just to say it’s surprising. Even my kid is better than Mugabe.”

Despite being overzealous over his claims, Sikhala is likely to face charges of violating Section 33 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act (undermining the authority of or insulting the President) which relates to publicly undermining the authority of the presidency.

Several Zimbabweans have been arrested and arraigned before the courts for uttering words deemed to insult the president and that undermine the authority of Mugabe who has been in power since the country attained independence in 1980.

Last year Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), said it was worried by the rate at which State security agents were arresting citizens on charges of insulting Mugabe.

However, the Constitutional Court recently made a landmark ruling saying some sections of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform Act) were unconstitutional.

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Iran praises Mugabe

SANTA CRUZ – Iran has made great achievements under the United States engineered sanctions and Iranians have learned to make use of pressures and attain self-sufficiency in various sectors, says a senior Iranian official.

Iran’s first Vice-President Es’haq Jahangiri said on Saturday that the Iranians have learned to use Western pressures to attain self-sufficiency, and that explains why the country managed to make considerable achievements under sanctions.

The Iranian official made the remarks in a meeting with Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe on the sidelines of the 50th summit of the Group of 77 developing countries plus China in Bolivia’s eastern city of Santa Cruz.
Jahangiri praised Zimbabwe’s “positive and constructive” stance in international organisations.

The Iranian official said Iran’s foreign policy is based on the establishment of friendly ties with African countries, adding that Tehran was ready to expand relations with Harare in political, economic and cultural fields.

Mugabe, for his part, condemned the US-led sanctions against Iran, stating that arrogant powers believed the “entire world belongs to them and other countries are their servants”.

He also called for unity among countries slapped by sanctions, stressing that the Group of 77 developing countries plus China could contribute to the realisation of such an objective.

The Zanu PF government always blames sanctions for the downward spiral of the Zimbabwean economy.

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Mugabe to take over as Sadc chair

President Mugabe – who is also African Union First Deputy Chair – is expected to take over the SADC chair from Malawi at the bloc’s Ordinary Summit in Victoria Falls.

President Mugabe is likely to pursue politics of self-determination and black empowerment when Zimbabwe assumes the Sadc Chair in August this year, commentators have said.

They said the region could expect resolute leadership, given President Mugabe’s uncompromising views on Africa’s Renaissance.
Zanu-PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo said economic empowerment and unity were close to the President’s heart.

“The main issue is that he will obviously try and promote our model of development that is through indigenisation and empowerment,” said Gumbo.
“He will also pursue the issue of agriculture reform with respect to creation of food security in Sadc, improvement of infrastructure and links and unity among countries in the region.

“Value addition and beneficiation is another aspect of empowerment that he is likely to pursue because he wants to see locals benefiting from their resources and creating employment. Those are the things that are on President Mugabe’s heart.”
Midlands State University Dean of International Relations Mr Christopher Gwatidzo said he expected to see more emphasis on self-determination.

“The President has been consistent in terms of speaking strongly about the need to respect sovereignty of Independent nations and that is the position he will definitely maintain when he takes over as Sadc chairperson.

“He will obviously make sure there is consolidated position on regional integration to ensure economic independence and the ability of Sadc to own its endowed resources.
“Definitely the empowerment of people in the Sadc region will be accelerated especially around land reform, education and indigenisation policies.

There may be differences on the implementation mechanisms but the principle will be the same,” said Mr Gwatidzo.
He said President Mugabe would also pursue stability, peace and security in Sadc.

“Food security through sustainable development initiatives is another area that he is likely to push to ensure that we engage the world from a position of strength,” said Mr Gwatidzo.

Political analyst Mr Godwine Mureriwa added: “What is important to note is that President Mugabe has always been consistent about the need to promote the values of Pan-Africanism.

“As he takes over Sadc – a region that is strategically positioned in terms of its wealth that has created competition for our resources from all over – President Mugabe will spearhead total reclamation of the Sadc heritage.

“He will make it clear to our erstwhile colonisers that there is an irresistible drive toward economic empowerment of indigenous Africans which therefore means that there should be dialogue between the European Union, the United States and Sadc from a perspective of mutual respect.”

He said peace and security would also pre-occupy the President in the wake of rising terrorism threats in Africa.
“Zimbabwe’s achievements with our security forces speak volumes about our capacity to lead in that direction,” Mr Mureriwa said.

University of Zimbabwe-based international relations expert Mr Farai Sasa said President Mugabe should see to the operationalisation of the Sadc Brigade so that it can be deployed.

“This will help take care of the security threats in the continent. Terrorism is coming closer than we thought so there is need to counter that.
“He should also pursue issues around funding of Sadc so that member countries commit to paying their dues on time to ensure that it is self-funded in its operations instead of relying on donors.

“What is clear is that President Mugabe will re-enforce the spirit of unity and Pan-Africanism while at the same time promoting regional integration.”

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Mugabe chides ‘divisive’ information minister

Harare – Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe on Saturday accused his on-again, off-again information minister of fomenting divisions within the ruling party.

“Don’t plant seeds of division,” Mugabe said at a funeral for a stalwart of the ruling Zanu-PF party, apparently addressing Jonathan Moyo, whom he reappointed last year.

The new broadside came after Mugabe late Friday labelled Moyo “The Devil Incarnate“, accusing him of firing editors at state-owned newspapers who were loyal to Zanu-PF and replacing them with opposition sympathisers.

“You have our minister of information wanting to put people one against another,” Mugabe told mourners at a wake for Nathan Shamuyarira, a key figure in Zimbabwe’s independence struggle who died on Wednesday aged 85.

Mugabe, 90, said Moyo was using his influence over the state media to attack enemies within Zanu-PF.

Moyo has fallen in and out of favour with Mugabe since first becoming information minister in 2002. He was sacked in 2005 after being linked to a clandestine meeting held to discuss Mugabe’s succession.

Since his re-appointment last year, Moyo has overseen the appointment of new editors at state newspapers and suspended the head of the state broadcaster.

“Don’t make anyone in the party a political enemy. You may differ with others in the party, but that should not make you want to attack them in the paper,” said Mugabe, who has been in power in Zimbabwe for 34 years. “It’s destructive ideology.”

“We now have weevils in our midst. Zanu-PF has weevils within its ranks,” Mugabe told thousands of mourners gathered at a shrine on the outskirts of the capital Harare for Shamuyarira’s burial.

Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party has been riven by divisions among factions jockeying behind potential successors.

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Mugabe: Info minister devil incarnate

Harare – Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe on Friday branded his information minister a “devil incarnate”, accusing him of appointing editors of state-owned newspapers who were sympathetic to the opposition.

Zimbabwe’s private media say an intense battle to succeed the 90-year-old Mugabe has sucked in the state-owned press.

Vice President Joice Mujuru and Justice Minister Emmerson Mnangangwa are seen as the frontrunners, while the veteran leader, who has ruled Zimbabwe since independence from Britain in 1980, has said the contest is open to other Zanu-PF leaders as well.

Mugabe said Jonathan Moyo, appointed information minister last year, was using the government-controlled newspapers to sow divisions.

“I am saying this in light of what is happening now. When you have our minister of information wanting to pit people one against another, you don’t do things like that,” Mugabe said in remarks broadcast on state-owned radio.

Moyo was a strong critic of Mugabe’s rule while lecturing at the University of Zimbabwe before his first appointment as information minister in 2002. He was fired from the post by Mugabe in 2005 for standing as an independent candidate in parliamentary elections that year.

Moyo was withering in his criticism of Mugabe, calling him a “national security threat” in 2008, before he rejoined Zanu-PF in 2009 and became one of the major architects of Mugabe’s landslide victory in last July’s elections.

On Friday, Mugabe told mourners at a funeral of a senior Zanu-PF official that Moyo, a professor of political science, was trying to use his “knowledge and intellectual ideas” to destroy Zanu-PF by appointing editors sympathetic to the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

“I am saying this because all the men that we had, who were leading the newspapers, were fired and replaced by those from the MDC,” Mugabe said.

“You were all thinking you had a trusted person,” he said, referring to Moyo, adding that the minister was in fact “a devil incarnate”.

Moyo has since his appointment last year changed editors at major state-controlled newspapers and also suspended the chief executive of state broadcaster ZBC.

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Britain has ‘gone to the dogs’ says Mugabe

President Robert Mugabe has laid into Britain describing it as ‘small in mind’ and a nation that had ‘gone to the dogs’.

Mugabe said people with ‘gay habits’ in Britain should be ashamed adding that he felt ‘pity’ for the Queen, who he admires. 

In a rare interview, Mugabe hit out at the Labour ‘ruffians’ of 1997 and branded then Prime Minister Tony Blair and US President George W Bush ‘liars’ over their dealings with his homeland.

He said: ‘That wisdom which the likes of Churchill had, where is it? 

‘You can’t see it in people now with gay habits – shame on them.

I pity the one lady I admire, the Queen, that she is in these circumstances, I’m sure down deep she must be groaning (at) the loss of values in Britain.

‘They’ve gone to the dogs.’
He went on to say that ‘countries don’t respect Britain any more’ and that Prime Minister David Cameron ‘doesn’t talk much, but he acts in the same way as (George W) Bush’.

The extraordinary outburst also involved an attack on current US President Barack Obama who he claimed had abandoned the black population in the US.

The interview came just weeks after Mugabe marked his 90th birthday by telling Britain: ‘We don’t hate you, we only love our country better’.

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Mugabe speaks on his successor

President Mugabe says he has assessed aspirants angling to succeed him and has no preferred candidate as the people will choose their next leader.

The President, who was speaking in an interview with Ghanaian-born British film-maker Roy Agyemang for a BBC documentary, “Robert Mugabe @ 90” that was aired on Saturday evening, said people will elect their leader.

Asked if he had any person he favoured to take over from him when he retires, President Mugabe said: “I have people in mind who would want to be. But I have looked at them.

I have not come to any conclusion as to which one, really, should be. I leave it to the choice of people. Perhaps when we get close to the election I will have some in mind.”

President Mugabe reiterated his long-held position that leaders should come from the people.

“It must be leadership that derives from the people, chosen by the people, goes back to the people, listens to the people and is guided by the demands of the people,” he said.

Vice President Joice Mujuru, and Justice Minister and Zanu-PF secretary for legal affairs Cde Emmerson Mnangagwa have been touted as front runners to succeed President Mugabe in various sections of the media.

Earlier this month President Mugabe said neither of the two had an automatic ticket to take over leadership of the ruling party and country, as the people were the ultimate arbiters of who would assume the reins.

Addressing the Gushungo clan at Murombedzi Growth Point, President Mugabe said Presidential aspirants would be elected through the Zanu-PF congress.

President Mugabe said VP Mujuru and Cde Mnangagwa were not the only people who could take over from him as the pool of potential leaders was wide.

In the BBC interview, President Mugabe said Britain – which funded the formation and launch of the MDC in 1999 through the Westminster Foundation in a bid to effect regime change in ZImbabwe – had degenerated over the years.

“What has happened to Britain? They have grown small in mind, small in intellect, that wisdom which the likes of Churchill had, where is it?” he asked.

“You can’t see it at all.

You can’t see it in people now with gay habits – shame on them. I pity the one lady I admire, the Queen, that she is in these circumstances. I’m sure down deep she must be groaning (at) the loss of values in Britain. They’ve gone to the dogs. No respect, gone.”

President Mugabe also castigated some indigenous farmers leasing land to white farmers. He said while the number of the culprits doing it was small, the practice still worried Government and it was being dealt with.

The fast-track land reform programme, which triggered the row with Britain that London subsequently internationalised to bring in the wider European Union, the United States and their allies – resulted in some 300 000 black families taking over farms previously owned by 6 000 whites.

However, some of the beneficiaries are leasing land to white former owners. .

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Mugabe, Mbeki meeting raises eyebrows

A meeting between Robert Mugabe and former South African President Thabo Mbeki in Harare this week has raised eyebrows, with questions being asked about the purpose of his visit.

Mbeki reportedly met Mugabe on Wednesday in Harare. According to the state run Herald newspaper, the two leaders exchanged views on “various matters affecting the African continent.”

The former South African leader is known to be a long standing fan and friend of Mugabe’s, to the point that he crafted the flawed unity government arrangement that allowed Mugabe to stay in power after the 2008 elections.

That unity arrangement has been widely deemed a failure, with no meaningful reforms being achieved in Zimbabwe since.

Mbeki, who passed his mediation role on to his successor Jacob Zuma, meanwhile has been repeatedly criticised for taking too soft an approach to various political crises in Africa.

Regardless of this, he has been called on by the African Union to mediate other conflicts, such as in South Sudan and the Ivory Coast.

Exiled Zimbabwean journalist Tanonoka Whande said on Thursday that it is insulting to Zimbabweans.

“It is unacceptable that Mbeki, the architect of the downfall in Zimbabwe, has now returned to the scene of the crime,” Whande told SW Radio Africa.

He said Mbeki’s failed role in mediating any meaningful solutions to African problems shows the failure of African policy.

“After he failed to do any successful mediation in Zimbabwe, the African Union appointed him to mediate elsewhere in Africa. What is it they look for in trying to solve problems? Is their mission to create problems for Africa?” Whande questioned.

He added: “It all has to do with rewarding failure. The good people in Africa are reviled, but the architects of the destruction of Africa are given standing ovations.”

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Zimbabwe: Mugabe Attacks ‘Homosexual Nonsense’

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe Friday threatened to expel foreign diplomats who try to promote gay rights in his country.

Mugabe, 90, said Europeans must keep their “inhuman” homosexual practices within their own territories and not try to impose them on Africans.

Zimbabwe’s sole leader since independence was leading thousands of Zimbabweans during celebrations to mark his country’s 34th independence anniversary at the giant National Sports Stadium, Harare.

A fierce critic of gays and lesbians, Mugabe also threatened unspecified action on local NGOs founded to lobby for gay rights in Zimbabwe.

“Kune organisations dzinouya dzinodzi ndedzema homosexuals, take care, warn them,” Mugabe said in his customarily lengthy addresses.

“Some years ago, l was warned that there was some secret organisation of that nature which was addressing young men varimumauniversity nemuzvikoro to join them as homosexuals. This nonsense from Europe, keep their homosexual nonsense there and not cross over with it.

“We did not fight for this Zimbabwe so it can be a homosexual territory. We will never have that here and if there are any diplomats who will talk of any homosexuality, just tell me. We will kick them out of the country without any excuse. We won’t even listen. Kungoti chete ava vari homosexual, risati radoka tinenge tavakanda kunze kwenyika ino.”

Mugabe said his country will not give in to Western demands for Africans to decriminalise “sodomy”.

Said Mugabe: “They even refuse today that if a man has sex with another man it’s wrong, its sodomy.

“If you pass a law that rejects homosexual marriages, ‘we will punish you’ like what they are doing to Uganda and us. And they say they want you to believe that if a man gets another man and they have a homosexual relationship, they have human rights to do so.

“But that act is inhuman. It’s not human and human rights cannot derive from acts which are inhuman. That does not exist in jurisprudence…”

Mugabe continued: “What is wrong is wrong and cannot be right but they say no, human beings are free to marry each other, and look at the absurdity of it all, when God created the world, we leant from the Bible, He created animals, forests, lastly He created man. Because man was lonely, He got from the side of man, a rib and created a woman…that’s the start of society as we know it from the bible.”

Mugabe threatened to lock gay and lesbian couples in rooms and order them to conceive offspring and if they did not, they were not going to be released.

The Zimbabwean leader has almost used every public forum to bash gays and lesbians, at one time describing them as “worse than pigs and dogs”.

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Mugabe, Mbeki meet at State House

Former South African President Thabo Mbeki met President Mugabe at State House in Harare yesterday.

Sources close to the meeting say the two leaders exchanged views on various matters affecting the African continent.

Mbeki was instrumental in resolving  the political crisis in Cote d’Ivoire and is currently seized with  the conflict in South Sudan.

He also assisted in finding a solution to the challenges facing Madagascar.

President Mugabe has often praised Mbeki for being a very patient man, following his mediation in inter-party dialogue that brought together Zanu-PF, MDC-T and the MDC in an inclusive Government between February 2009 and July 2013.

Zanu-PF scored a crushing victory in the harmonised elections held on July 31 last year.

The party garnered well over the two-thirds majority that makes the opposition virtually redundant  in Parliament with President Mugabe trouncing MDC-T leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai with 61,09 percent of the vote to 33,94 percent.

Mbeki is South Africa’s second President after the late Nelson Mandela who stepped down in 1999.

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MDC threatens ‘war’ against Mugabe

– Zimbabwean opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party has reportedly threatened to take to the streets to dislodge President Robert Mugabe’s regime.          

Addressing a rally in Harare, firebrand MDC politician Job Sikhala who recently returned to the party that gave him national political status, urged party supporters to brace for “war” against Mugabe’s regime

Sikhala accused Mugabe of running the country down and reducing the entire nation into “virtual paupers”.

Sikhala said Zimbabwe’s current slide to disaster was so fast that if left unchecked the MDC would lose its entire support base through hunger.

Zimbabwe’s economic environment continues to look dire with reports indicating that thousands are losing their jobs as companies continue to shut down citing viability problems.

Supermarket economy

Sikhala said people of Zimbabwe could not continue suffering under Mugabe’s leadership until 2018 when the country’s next elections would be held.

Speaking at the same rally, MDC national organising secretary Nelson Chamisa said Zimbabwe had been reduced to a supermarket economy.

Chamisa said Mugabe won state power in last year’s elections but was failing to translate that into economic prosperity.

Chamisa said the demonstrations would be peaceful as “no one will fire a gun”. He said people’s aspirations and their power would liberate Zimbabwe

Earlier this month, Zanu-PF’s spokesperson Rugare Gumbo accused MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai of inciting rebellion against Mugabe after the former prime minister said Zimbabwe could not continue to be held captive by one man (Mugabe).

Gumbo said the opposition leader’s call for mass action was “dangerous” and called for his arrest.

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Tsvangirai warns Zim on verge of collapse

Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai says Zimbabwe’s economy has deteriorated to such catastrophic levels that it is just a matter of time before President Robert Mugabe comes “running” to him for assistance.

Addressing a large gathering of villagers at the weekend who attended a memorial service for the late father of recent MDC returnee, Job Sikhala, a highly-charged Tsvangirai declared that he was the solution to the country’s crisis and that Mugabe would soon have no choice but to beg him for help.

“Mugabe knows very much that I am the solution to the crisis. I will not go to him to beg him to resolve the problems the country is facing. The country is now on its knees and Mugabe knows that he needs me to deal with this. He needs the MDC and Zanu PF is aware of that,” he said.

Tsvangirai said Zanu PF had fooled itself and the country when the party celebrated a “dubiously-won election” through its bhora mugedhi slogan as the country’s coffers were now “completely” dry.

“They were busy celebrating bhora mugedhi but there is now no dollar mubhegi (people have no money). People are struggling to survive because the economy is deteriorating. We need to solve this and Zanu PF cannot do that without me,” he added.

The MDC leader allayed fears among his supporters in the rural areas that his party was disintegrating following its recent leadership disharmony, which recently resulted in the summary expulsion of deputy treasurer-general Elton Mangoma, national executive member, Last Maengahama, as well as youth assembly secretary-general Promise Mkwananzi.

He described his party’s “cockpit” problems as “minor challenges” compared to the crises that were being faced by rivals Zanu PF.

“Our party might face some challenges but they are just minor and cannot be compared to what our rivals are facing. Zanu PF is far worse than us as we speak now and we will get out of this and bring change to the country,” Tsvangirai declared.

Tsvangirai also called on all MDC founders to “come back into the fold” to complete the change agenda that they had set when they formed the party in 1999.

“I am happy today we celebrate the life of the man who brought a vibrant young man to this earth to fight dictatorship and replace it with democracy. We had our differences with him but today we are here with Job Sikhala to complete what we started together in 1999, that is, to bring positive change to the suffering people of this country,” he said.

Economic analysts have observed that the country’s economy went into a steep nose-dive soon after Zanu PF’s disputed electoral victory last year.

To this end, the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange lost a whopping $1 billion in value just a mere week after the July 31 elections, with no end in sight to the grim bear market.

The analysts attribute this precipitous market decline to Zanu PF’s populist policies such as those on indigenisation, which they say should be either revised or scrapped altogether to bring back investor confidence in the country.

Hundreds of companies have closed shop since the beginning of this year alone, with thousands of desperate workers losing their means to a livelihood in the process.

This has led to current unemployment rates hovering above 80 percent, and worsening, after the government gazette recently announced the de-registration of 176 companies, while another 634 might be de de-registered in the next three months.

As a result of all this dire economic prognosis, a significant number of workers have gone for long periods without pay, while civil servants are up in arms with government over delayed pay increases.

Concomitant with all these difficulties, the delivery of essential social services is also almost on its knees as both national and local government fail to provide basic necessities like water, healthcare services and a functional education system.

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