MDC ASSURES PUBLIC THAT MORGAN TSVANGIRAI IS OUT OF DANGER

Following reports that its president was battling for his life, Zimbabwe’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) says Morgan Tsvangirai is out of danger and is resting.

Newspapers in Zimbabwe yesterday reported that the 65 year old presidential Thehopeful had been urgently flown to South Africa on Friday night after his health condition deteriorated.

Tsvangirai had been addressing a party meeting in Kodama when he allegedly started experiencing severe vomiting, prompting his doctor to have him transported to South Africa.

The MDC says its leader has brushed aside his health scare to encourage Zimbabweans to register to vote in the coming elections.

This after widespread media reports that he was on life support fighting for his life.

The MDC’s Austin Moyo says Tsvangirai has already spoken to party members assuring them of his wellness.

“He has called on Zimbabweans to honour the call to register to vote on issues that face them.”

While the party says its leader is in a hospital for a routine medical procedure it couldn’t say when he would be discharged.

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Zodwa Wabantu banned from Zimbabwe

Panties or not, it seems popular dancer Zodwa Wabantu will not be performing in Zimbabwe.

On Tuesday, the Zimbabwean acting minister of Tourism and Hospitality Patrick Zhuwao ruled that the Durbanite, famous for her sultry moves and revealing clothes, will not be allowed to perform at the Harare International Carnival.

This happened after actress Anne Nhira complained to the tourism board that Wabantu should not be invited because she was not a Zimbabwean, she dressed scantily and she was a lesbian.

In a letter to Nhira, Zhuwao stated: “The government position is that the artist concerned, Zodwa Wabantu, may not participate at the Harare International Carnival. In this regard, relevant authorities have been notified.”

Speaking to The Star yesterday, Nhira said: “This is an international event to promote the image of Zimbabwe. She is not Zimbabwean, and if we want dancers to perform at the event, there are local dancers who can do it.

“We don’t want a person who will tarnish our image as a country. She does her entertainment half-naked and she has publicly acknowledged that she is a lesbian.”

Dancers from Cuba and Brazil have been invited to perform at the week-long carnival, which starts on September 6. Other local acts that have been invited include Babes Wodumo, Busiswa and Uhuru.

Zodwa Wabantu at the Durban July earlier this year. Picture: Supplied

There were reports that Wabantu, whose real name is Zodwa Libram, is lesbian but she has dismissed them.

Same-sex relations are illegal in Zimbabwe, where gays and lesbians feel persecuted and their rights are undermined.

The Zimbabwean government does not approve of them.

Yesterday, Wabantu said she was unaware that she was not welcome in Zimbabwe anymore. “They contacted me today to organise the plane ticket bookings. I know nothing about this.”

She said she would confirm with the tourism authority today and give them a piece of her mind.

“I have performed in the country before, so what is the problem now?”

World leaders send Zim congratulatory messages

WORLD leaders yesterday congratulated Zimbabwe for attaining 37 years of independence with Russian President Mr Vladimir Putin saying the relations between Harare and Moscow should be strengthened in line with Russia’s thrust to strengthen security and stability in Africa.

The solidarity messages came ahead of today’s 37th independence annivesary celebrations being held under the theme, ‘’Zimbabwe@37: Embracing ease of doing business for socio-economic development.”

Zimbabwe became independent on April 18 1980 after a protracted 14-year liberation struggle against the minority Smith regime.

Mr Putin said the relations between Russia and Zimbabwe have traditionally been of a friendly nature and should expand to other spheres.

“Please accept my sincere congratulations on the occasion of the National Day of the Republic of Zimbabwe — Independence Day.

“Russian-Zimbabwean relations have traditionally been of a friendly nature.

“I am confident that the further expansion of constructive cooperation in the political, trade and economic, humanitarian and other spheres meet the key interests of the peoples of our countries, goes in line with strengthening security and stability on the African continent.”

Mr Putin wished President Mugabe good health and success as well as the well-being and prosperity to the people of Zimbabwe.

“I wish you good health and success, as well well being and prosperity to all citizens of Zimbabwe,’’ Mr Putin said.

British Ambassador Mrs Catriona Laing said the Queen of England Queen Elizabeth II wished Zimbabwe well on its day of independence.

“The message from Her Majesty the Queen is l send the people of Zimbabwe my congratulations on the celebration of their national day,” she said.

Dean of African diplomats and Democratic Republic of Congo Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Mwawapanga Mwawampanga said; “The people of Zimbabwe should remain steady and united in the challenges they face. The challenges are not peculiar as most countries are facing the same challenges.”

Turning to negative western media, Ambassador Mwawampanga said: “President Mugabe should not lose any sleep. He is a strong leader whom we all look up to.”

Switzerland Ambassador to Zimbabwe and Malawi Mrs Ruth Huber said; “I congratulate the people of Zimbabwe for their 37 anniversary. I give them my best wishes for the future. I hope that the economy and living conditions of all its citizens improve.”

Canada’s Ambassador Mr Kumar Gupta said: “Canada and its people are wishing Zimbabwe the best on its independence day today.”

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.

TB Joshua visit a ‘blessing’ for Zim’s religious tourism

Johannesburg – Nigeria’s massively wealthy religious leader TB Joshua arrived on a private jet in Harare on Friday for his first “crusade” in Zimbabwe.Joshua, whose real name is Temitope Baogun Joshua, was invited by Zimbabwe’s richest ‘‘pastor’’ Walter Magaya for a week-long visit before the Easter holiday.
In the midst of Zimbabwe’s worst economic crisis, Magaya and other new era religious leaders, have made fortunes in Zimbabwe.
TB Joshua is on an Easter ‘ crusade, in Zimbabwe.

Joshua will address Magaya’s followers and will also visit the poor during his Zimbabwe ‘‘crusade’’, according to a press briefing in Harare on Thursday.
Tourism minister Walter Mzembi said Joshua’s visit was welcome.
“Religious tourism is very important for the country. It will create jobs locally and bring in foreign currency as many people come for the crusade,” he said.
Several government leaders are understood to be planning to visit Joshua during his visit at a time when there is huge political uncertainty within the ruling Zanu PF over who will succeed Robert Mugabe when he dies.
The TB Joshua brand was not always popular with the Zimbabwe government as he made several prophecies about Mugabe’s health prior to the previous elections.
Three years ago more than 80 South Africans died when the building housing Joshua’s church ‘‘hostel’’ in Lagos collapsed.
Magaya is the wealthiest of Zimbabwe’s religious leaders and is building a flat-roofed mansion in a leafy, semi rural suburb east of Harare.
The building is using the only crane operating in Harare at present and several South African builders and engineers are involved the construction of the extraordinary hilltop home.

Man, 25, rapes, infects 12 year-old niece with HIV

Victoria Falls – A Zimbabwean man, 25, has reportedly been sentenced to 16 years in jail for raping his 12-year-old niece and infecting her with HIV.  

According to NewsDay, the convicted rapist also indecently assaulted the girl’s younger sister aged 9. 

The man, who could not be named in order to protect the identity of the children, was slapped with an 18-year jail time on the rape charge.

Three years were suspended for a period of four years on condition of good behaviour.

He was, however, found guilty of aggravated indecent assault and sentenced to 12 months.

The court prosecutor Bheki Tshabalala said that the convict committed the crimes sometime in January last year, according to a New Zimbabwe.com report.

Tshabalala said that the 12-year-old niece was cleaning her mother’s bedroom hut when the convict forced himself on her.

“On an unknown date in the month of January 2016, the accused approached his 12-year-old niece who was cleaning her mother’s bedroom hut and lifted her up before placing her on her mother’s bed where [he] forcible had sex with her once. Immediately after that, he went to the girl’s younger sister who was sweeping in another hut and mounted her but only lay on top of her,” Tshabalala was quoted as saying.

It emerged that the girl who was raped developed rash and sores on her private parts, prompting her grandmother to rush her to a nearby clinic where she was tested HIV positive.

Zimbabwe: Zim Central Bank Urges Public to Use SA Rand ‘More’

The Zimbabwean central bank has reportedly urged the public to replace the US dollar with the rand as the country’s main currency.

According to New Zimbabwe.com, Reserve bank of Zimbabwe deputy governor Kapukile Mlambo said that they were going to be content if the public used the South African rand more than the US dollar.

Mlambo’s remarks came as cash shortages in the southern African country continued to bite.

Zimbabwe introduced its own surrogacy currency dubbed the “bond notes” last year, but the move has failed to address the cash problem.

We will be happy in the central bank if people use the rand more than they would use the other currencies… We can benchmark pricing with the rand, which we can’t do with the [US] dollar because we trade almost nothing with the US,” Mlambo was quoted as saying.

Zimbabwean firms last year urged the government to adopt the South African rand as its “reference currency” instead of the US dollar.

The Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries reportedly argued at the time that while the country’s unique “multi-currency system” should be maintained, all financial reporting must be done in rand.

The group said that the rand was becoming more attractive, as the southern African country continued to face an “acute liquidity crisis of cash dollars”.

Zimbabwe abandoned its own currency in 2009 and now uses mainly the US dollar and the South African rand, although other currencies are also legal tender.

Mugabe under siege in Mauritius

President Robert Mugabe came under siege on Monday in Mauritius as scores of journalists stormed a closed session when it was his time to deliver his speech.
According to Zimbabwe state run Herald which does not hesitate to heap praises on the 93 year old, said journalists had been calm all along when other speakers took to the floor, while following proceedings from giant screens in the media centre.
 However, ” all of a sudden they stormed the entrance when the President’s turn to speak came” it said.
“The journalists had been barred from covering the plenary session because the conference venue was too small and were asked to watch proceedings on giant television screens in the media centre.

“But security officers failed to control them when they disregarded protocol and stormed the entrance just not to miss that once-in-a-lifetime experience of covering the African icon’s speech” it added.

Mugabe made a rare public appearance wearing a casual safari shirt surrounded by several aides as he was struggling to walk.

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.

Zimbabwe to US critics: ‘Go and hang on a banana tree’

Harare – US critics of Zimbabwe’s human rights record “can go and hang on a banana tree,” a Zimbabwean official said in comments published Tuesday, while he also indicated that the southern African country is waiting for an overture from the administration of President Donald Trump.”We are waiting for a cue from a new government,” Zimbabwe’s state-run Herald newspaper quoted presidential spokesperson George Charamba as saying. Charamba also denounced US Ambassador Harry K Thomas Jr as “a leftover from a terrible era”, an apparent reference to past US administrations that have had testy relations with Zimbabwe’s longtime leader, Robert Mugabe.

On Monday, the US Embassy expressed deep concern about what it called the “continuing deterioration” of human rights in Zimbabwe. The American statement followed the arrest last week of Evan Mawarire, a Zimbabwean pastor who launched a popular protest movement on social media dubbed #ThisFlag.

Mawarire was arrested on his return to Zimbabwe after going to the United States last year. He is being charged with subverting a constitutionally elected government and inciting public violence, and Charamba speculated that he is a US agent. A bail hearing will be held Wednesday.

Another Zimbabwean pastor, Patrick Mugadza, has been in detention since January 19 for claiming that Mugabe will die in October this year.

“The US Government unequivocally believes in the basic right to freedom of speech and calls on the Government of Zimbabwe to respect the human rights of all Zimbabwean citizens which are enshrined in the constitution,” the US Embassy said in a statement.

“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,” it said.

Charamba said Thomas, who was nominated to the ambassador’s post during the Obama administration, faces an uncertain future under the Trump administration.

“He thinks he can boss over us,” Charamba said of Thomas. “They can go hang on a banana tree.”

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.

Thuli Madonsela takes Nkandla report to Zimbabwe

South African Public Protector Thuli Madonsela is due in Zimbabwe on June 27 for a public lecture on her controversial report on the alleged abuse of public funds by President Jacob Zuma when he erected a security upgrade at his rural home in Nkandla.

The outspoken Madonsela is expected to present the findings of her Nkandla report with Zimbabwean business persons and the civil society during a public lecture organised by Alpha Media Holdings (AMH), owners of popular newspaper titles such as NewsDay, Zimbabwe Independent, The Standard and South Africa’s Mail & Guardian.

AMH said Madonsela will share her findings with Zimbabweans during the popular monthly AMH Conversations lecture set for Harare next week Friday.

Madonsela found in March that Zuma got “undue benefit” from the upgrade of his Nkandla home and gave the president 14 days to respond before parliament but the president only gave a brief response and requested that he sees the Special Investigating Unit’s report first before his final response.

The public protector recommended that Zuma should repay the state for some of the improvements.
The Nkandla project, which was bankrolled by the state, has been valued at estimated R246-million.

DISCLAIMER: Gaza-Tshisa Encourages Freedom Of Speech And The Expression Of Diverse Views.

Botswana soldiers invades Zimbabwe, harass villagers

THE Joint Operation Command (JOC) team from Matabeleland South is investigating claims that a group of Botswana soldiers entered Zimbabwe and harassed a group of smugglers in Nswazi area, Bulilima District.

Godzanani Maphosa recently made a report at Madlambuzi Police Station that a group of Botswana soldiers confiscated his truck and attempted to shoot him while in Zimbabwe.

A senior police source, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter confirmed that a report had been made and investigations were underway.

In his report, Maphosa a local businessman alleged that he was driving his truck when he met soldiers from the neighbouring country who threatened him.

He said the soldiers demanded to know why he was travelling alone in the bushes, but when he told them he was looking for his missing cattle, they accused him of smuggling.

In the report, Maphosa said as he was driving off, the soldiers fired warning shots in the air and threatened to shoot him if he did not stop and when he complied they confiscated his truck leaving him in the bush.

He then proceeded to Madlambuzi Police Station to make a report.

Following the filing of the report, the security services under the banner of the Joint Operations Command (Joc) launched an investigation into the issue.

The senior police source said investigations by the Joc team revealed that Maphosa was part of a smuggling syndicate that was illegally transporting goods from Botswana into Zimbabwe.

The investigations are to establish whether Maphosa was apprehended while on the Zimbabwean side or on the Botswana side.

“Joc members engaged Botswana officials who revealed that the soldiers arrested Maphosa while he was trying to smuggle goods from the neighbouring country.

They arrested him and his counterpart who is in the custody of Botswana police and the truck he was travelling in was confiscated,” the senior police officer said.

“They denied threatening or harassing Maphosa and indicated that he was arrested while on the Botswana side.”

The National House of Assembly Member for Bulilima West, Lungisani Nleya said he had received a report on the issue and added that the issue was being investigated by the authorities.

“I heard that there is a businessman from the area who had an encounter with a group of soldiers from Botswana and the issue is under investigation. It appears that the man who is involved was caught by Botswana soldiers while trying to smuggle goods,” he said. .

DISCLAIMER: Gaza-Tshisa Encourages Freedom Of Speech And The Expression Of Diverse Views.

Pope: Many in Zim have reached human limit

Pope Francis has reportedly said he is aware that many Zimbabweans “have reached their human limit, and do not know where to turn” as the country continues to reel under economic hardships.

According to New Zimbabwe.com, addressing Zimbabwean bishops who are in Rome for their third ad limina, the pope said Zimbabwe’s crisis was both “spiritual and moral”.

The ad limina is a pilgrimage that Catholic bishops are required to make every five years to the tombs of Saints Peter and Paul and to present to the pope a report on the status of their diocese.

Peace and unity

The pope urged the Zimbabwean bishops to help promote peace and unity in the southern African country and also praised them for giving “dramatic voice to all the struggling people of [the] country, especially to the downtrodden and the refugees” as the economic and political crisis peaked in 2007.

The pope made particular reference to the hard hitting 2007 pastoral letter in which local bishops lamented the suffering in the country. In the letter, the bishops blamed the suffering on, among other things, “bad governance and corruption”, the report said.

President Robert Mugabe, a devout Catholic who never misses the major events at the Vatican, accepts no responsibility, insisting the country’s problems are due to sanctions imposed by the West.

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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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Zimbabwe @ 34, a sad introspection

FORMAL sector unemployment is very high, companies are closing down, the economy is teetering on the brink, we don’t have a national currency and corruption is running riot in high offices. That is the state of Zimbabwe on Independence Day.

Are we independent? From what? To do what? What is there to celebrate on Independence Day? Thirty-four years on, are we in any way different from the rest of Africa or are we the worst of the lot?

In short, is there hope for ordinary Zimbabweans? What mark would those who paid the ultimate price to liberate this country give us for what we have become?

Let me state plainly that corruption and general mismanagement in Government-linked enterprises and local authorities have done a lot to discredit the image of our liberation war heroes. This is quite separate from deliberate distortions and misinformation about the motives for the land reform and economic empowerment programmes which seek to directly benefit the poor.

Beyond the short-term, I should proudly say we have tried to be different and more inclusive economically.

The general narrative about Africa is that the continent has regressed since the advent of independence. It is not unusual to hear some disillusioned Zimbabweans shouting that we were better off under Smith. GDP figures are always readily available to buttress these often misleading claims.

Sadly, a majority of those who revel in this researched nostalgia have no clue of whose welfare is covered under those glowing GDP figures. They can’t explain why it would then have been necessary for someone with a university degree to opt to go to war than simply get a job, buy a house in the suburbs, buy a car and marry.

All said, these protest messages reflect our current lived reality: the impatience to enjoy, the self-indulgence about what we don’t own or produce, the love for the transient, lack of appreciation for the spirit of sacrifice for the greater good and our search for the elusive glamour of Hollywood as gleaned through the flat screen.

It reflects the life of greedy and ostentatious opulence we see around us, much of it unaccounted for.

Yet it is arguable that as Africans we have generally been like apologetic about their independence, often treating it as if it were a gift, more an accident of history than a call of destiny. We have refused to make a clean break with colonialism, imperialism and its capitalist tentacles which make it nearly impossible for an independent African state to act as such: standards, norms and best practice are established for us, so that anything different is sinful deviance. We have to tow the line.

The result has been predictable since Ghana’s independence in 1957. We all repeat the same development formula and expect a different result. We remain forever beholden to the mother country on how things should be done, even where it’s clear it’s not working.

We are a rich continent with the poorest people on earth. Our resources are not ours, our economic policies are not ours, what we produce in our mines and fields is not ours; we are only good as employees of companies owned by sons and daughters of the former colonial power. We can’t manage ourselves, hence the need always for “international best practice”, international protocols and conventions to be adhered to; instruments drafted by Europeans to address specific, immediate, practical circumstances but are being hawked as universal truths for adoption. We have to be told who and how to define our own heroes even.

To a certain degree, Zimbabwe has dared to be different – being able to assert its independence against mighty odds, although still unsure and not curious enough to know what we are worth. We have bucked the trend, the given, the accepted – development models which measure national progress and prosperity only in terms of GDP growth rather than the overall income distribution and the wellbeing of people.

Zimbabwe decided to throw away the whiteman’s independence “jewel” which shorn in Harare and Bulawayo’s CBDs and lush commercial farmers, and has opted to have a majority of its people as direct creators and owners of an envisioned new jewel.

Thousands of our people didn’t go to war to return to be mere labourers in a free Zimbabwe!

Zimbabwe’s historic break came with the land reform programme. That on its own should be a source of immense pride, having been the motive force for the liberation war. And that decision courted swift retribution. It was unprecedented and likely to set a bad example. It had to be punished as a warning, never mind that the bitterness came cloaked in the garb of human rights, rule of law and property rights and the penalty as “targeted sanctions”. Indigenization just rubs it in.

We would be supremely naive to lower our guard yet. The masters of this colour-coded universe don’t forgive and never forget. Never mind that our sins are of their own invention: that we can’t own even that which is God-given within the geographical boundaries which colonialism demarcated for us.

Beyond the idea of taking back land, Zimbabwe’s other break was the madness of the methodology. Many attempts at land reform in most countries have foundered on this. Zimbabwe decided the best methodology was one which won the war, after losing patience with the willing seller, willing buyer approach which made it almost impossible for our people to ever get the best arable land.

What is needed now is to raise productivity so that we are food self-sufficient. It might take time; our farmers still require “massive handholding” by government. Rome was not build in a day.

Reports indicate that we are backward by way of mechanization. About 30 000 tractors are needed and we currently have less than half of that. People are always short on seed, fertilizer, irrigation and chemicals. Those who abuse government assistance must be severely punished, including losing the farms. It’s part of the war.

The main source of bitterness among our people is lack of employment opportunities, poor service delivery in water and electricity. Resources have been a key limiting factor in the implementation of Zim Asset although it is downright malicious for anybody to expect a Government policy which requires resource mobilization to start manifesting results just eight months after adoption. But then people lose faith when they see rampant corruption going unpunished while they are told their plight has to do with sanctions. Why should sanctions affect only the poorest in society?

Government’s community share ownership schemes are an initiative which is beginning to be appreciated where the policy is being implemented like the Zimplats’ Mondoro-Ngezi-Chegutu-Zvimba. There will always be sceptics, cynics and political naysayers as was the case with the land reform. The cynicism is justified when the share ownership schemes are launched with fanfare by the president only to be followed by endless controversy such as the Zimunya-Marange share ownership project.

People have reason to suspect that somebody is eating on their behalf without their authority. Communities must benefit directly from their natural resources.

In the urban areas, capitalism’s “lost decade” has yielded a lot of opportunities for enterprising and resourceful retrenchees, most of whom have set up shop in most high density suburbs producing a variety of furniture items, some of which is sold in major shops in town. They are the core of SMEs where reputedly about $7,4 billion is in circulation. Reports indicate that there are 2,8 million small businesses in the informal sector employing about 5,7 million people.

I think it is however premature for Government to start thinking about taxation. These little industries are the future and need to be nurtured, given support and appropriate infrastructure to grow. Their owners need to be organized and trained in marketing and managerial skills to leapfrog them into the formal sector. They need time to grow, improve their products. Government should help them find markets.

I don’t believe individually there is more tax to be made there than what is siphoned from the formal sector through corruption.

While our bookish economists are full of admiration for the size of the South African and Nigerian economies, just like they were of Rhodesia’s enclave economy, what is obfuscated are the staggering levels of poverty. Whose economy are we admiring when black South Africans don’t own the resources which fuel that economy and don’t benefit from it? Can we read anything from the rolling strikes which have crippled the gold and platinum mines?

What’s the import of Nigeria’s economy overtaking South Africa’s if 112 million Nigerians out of a population of 168 million live in squalor? Are we not better with a broader economy where rural and A1 farmers make more money per tobacco selling season than some urban employees earn in a year?

The economic models which post-colonial Africa has pursued have the hallmark of structural adjustment programmes without the IMF and have all failed to alleviate poverty.

No doubt we have huge blotches in the quality of education, health, housing delivery and there is massive urban decay in infrastructure consistent with unplanned post-independence migration and increased traffic. However, for me the biggest failure is our inability to forge a shared vision, to end unnecessary political polarization which has served to create a negative sentiment of political instability and a high country risk for would-be investors. The opposition has been totally anti-people on this, opposing every pro-poor policy just to get western financial backing.

As Zimbabwe celebrates 34 years of Independence, we need to ask ourselves whether the current wave of corruption cases spurred on by a spirit of heartless gluttony are consistent and consonant with the selfless sacrifices for which so many lost their youthful lives. While government has embarked on a number of policies to improve the welfare of ordinary Zimbabweans, is this the best we could have done? Do our actions, individually and as a collective, do honour or discredit the virtues which inspired the liberation struggle for this country?

Can we justify to our departed heroes why we can’t enjoy the pride of having a national currency?

This is a time for reflection, soul-searching and personal introspection. There is a Shona saying; nyadzi dzino kunda rufu, but it looks like Zimbabwe is the only country where that saying doesn’t apply. Thieves, murderers, rapists, crooks and the corrupt can be exposed and still refuse to die. Politicians can sell off their birthright for political power and still relevant.

We dared to be different about our independence; we need virtues which go with that trajectory.

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Zims see nothing to celebrate at 34yrs of Independence

ZIMBABWEANS from all walks of life yesterday painted a gloomy picture of their future as the country today marks 34 years of independence.

The country celebrates its independence anniversary with the head of the British monarchy, Queen Elizabeth II and United States President Barack Obama joining the rest of the world in congratulating Zimbabwe.

But for most Zimbabweans, there was nothing to celebrate as economic problems were taking a toll on their lives.

Only a few were enjoying the fruits of independence.

People interviewed yesterday said the only good thing to celebrate in Zimbabwe was the prevailing peace.

However, they were worried that the majority of the people in the country still lived in abject poverty and their rights were being trampled upon by the government.

Kariba Incorporated Residents and Rate Payers Association executive chairman Sam Mawowo said nothing was worth celebrating as only 2% of residents in the town were allocated land.

“The only independence we can talk of is a peaceful environment, but if we were to talk of economic emancipation, a few people from Kariba have benefited,” Mawowo said.

“Only 2% of the Kariba population benefited from the land reform programme and we have noticed that independence is being enjoyed by a few top politicians who are in turn trampling on people’s rights through enactment of bad laws.”

Mawowo said an example were demolitions of houses for poor people without offering them alternative accommodation which was a human rights violation.

He said the people of Kariba had over the years watched deterioration of infrastructure such as roads, water systems, and poor service delivery.

“There is a lot of corruption at local authorities, and the majority of people who voted government into power are jobless and there is no meaningful empowerment at all,” he said.

Zimbabwe National Students Union (Zinasu) spokesperson, Avoid Masiraha said the only independence to talk of was political independence because civil rights were being compromised.

“The education system has gone down with exorbitant fees being charged at schools and higher learning institutions. We do not see the fruits of freedom that was fought for because students are denied rights to demonstrate peacefully and many youths are unemployed,” Masiraha said.

“We are not really free because there is no freedom of expression and people are victimised for supporting certain political parties. Some provinces such as Matabeleland are still marginalised and we cannot talk of real freedom.”

Coalition Against Corruption director Terry Mutsvangwa said the only freedom was from colonial rule, otherwise the true gains of independence were still not realised.

“True independence means access to basic human necessities such as housing, health and education. The youth are still marginalised and corruption has negatively impacted on the economy. Independence without the majority of people benefiting from the country’s mineral wealth is meaningless,” Mutsvangwa said.

National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) spokesperson, Madock Chivasa said 34 years after attaining independence from British rule, there was still inequality and oppression where the interests of the minority were the ones being safeguarded.

“The very basic freedoms such as the right to vote which essentially form the basis for legitimate democratic rule will be continuously undermined by the new Constitution that entrenches Zanu PF dictatorship in Zimbabwe,” Chivasa said.

“The majority of Zimbabweans are poor and unemployed as a direct result of incompetence and corruption of the Zanu PF government since independence.”

He said 34 years after independence blacks were poorer with national programmes such as the land reform and indigenisation having benefited Zanu PF cronies.

A Zimbabwean living in the United States, Tichaona Wandaza said independence ushered in a good education system for black people who previously had difficulties accessing higher education.

“I admit there has been economic decline, but what we now need to do is work together to fix it and we will get there. It does not mean all of us have to play political parts to ensure change, but in our different roles we can help improve things,” Wandaza said.

Meanwhile, Independence Day wishes continued to pour in from different countries in the world.

President Obama in his congratulatory message said: “The United States remains committed to the people of Zimbabwe and will continue to support them as they work to build a society that responds to their needs and honours their democratic choices,” said Obama. “May the coming year bring progress toward a healthy and prosperous Zimbabwe.”

Queen Elizabeth II added: “It gives me great pleasure to send the people of Zimbabwe my congratulations on the celebration of your National Day, together with my best wishes for your happiness and prosperity in the coming year.”

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South Africa/Zimbabwe: Banyana Banyana, Zimbabwe Share Spoils

A never-say-die attitude by Sasol-sponsored Banyana Banyana saw them come from behind to draw 2-2 with rivals Zimbabwe in an entertaining friendly international at Dobsonville Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

The lunch-time kick off match saw new coach Vera Pauw’s charges overhaul a 2-0 deficit to grab a deserved draw before a boisterous crowd that cheered them throughout.

It was the hosts that started with lots of running but were somehow undone by the long balls which the Zimbabwe backline easily dealt with.

And from the first counter-attack, Zimbabwe’s Rutendo Makore got the better of Letago Madiba on a one-on-one situation. The robust Madiba had no choice but bring down Makore leaving referee Maria Kolokotoane with little choice but award a penalty which Makore dispatched with ease in the 7th minute.

Sensing Banyana Banyana had problems in dealing with long balls, Zimbabwe pumped high balls in the penalty area.

From one of those attacks, Marjory Nyaumwe outpaced the static Banyana Banyana defence and her pile driver gave Roxanne Barker no chance to make it 2-0.

It could have been 3-0 but Makore’s audacious effort moments later hit the crossbar.

Banyana Banyana then came out of their shell and a combination of Refiloe Jane and Silindile Ngubane saw the latter’s effort hitting the bar as they started to threaten the visitors.

And after incessant pressure thereafter, a goal had to come.

And it did arrive at the stroke of half time when Ngubane’s shot gave Dzingirai no chance to make it 2-1 going into the second half.

In the second half, Zimbabwe were pinned in their own half but their back four, well marshalled by Melody Musasa stood firm.

Robyn Moodaly could have equalised for Banyana Banyana but her long range effort was brilliantly parried for a corner by Chido Dzingirai as Zimbabwe hang on for dear life.

However, the resultant corner kick went wide.

Banyana Banyana then literally camped into the visitors’ area but brave goalkeeping by Dzingirai frustrated the home side. Refiloe Jane saw her efforts skim the crossbar as Banyana Banyana upped the antic.

Former captain Amanda Dlamini who was introduced as a late substitute had a point blank header saved by Dzingirai as the war of attrition developed into a ding dong affair.

The vibrant crowd then raised the tempo cheering the girls as Banyana Banyana chased what appeared like an elusive equaliser.

But the hard-running Dlamini made it 2-2 as Zimbabwe finally cracked under pressure.

It was a deserved outcome as Pauw’s girls played with more purpose and were by far a better side in the second half.

Zimbabwe could have stolen an undeserved win later in the match but Barker produced a one-handed save from Felistas Muzongondi after the goalkeeper had been left exposed by her defence.

Starting line-ups:

South Africa: Roxanne Barker, Letago Madiba, Nelisiwe Mchunu, Amanda Sister, Nothando Vilakazi, Ode Fulutudilu, Robyn Moodaly, Silindile Ngubane, Refiloe Jane, Portia Modise, Sanah Molo.

Zimbabwe: Chido Dzingirai, Nobuhle Majika, Emmaculate Msipa, Felistas Muzongondi, Rudo Neshamba, Patience Mujuru, Ruvimbo Mutyavaviri, Marjory Nyaumwe, Melody Musasa, Rutendo Makore, Mavis Chirandu.

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Zimbabwe: Chiredzi Woman Infects Stepson (16) With STI

A 40 year-old Chiredzi woman is in trouble with the law after she allegedly infected her 16 year-old mentally ill stepson with a sexually transmitted disease.

Respina Mukanduri has since been arrested and charged with the crime of aggravated indecent assault stemming from the allegations.

Mukanduri denied the charge when she appeared before Masvingo magistrate Judith Zuyu last Wednesday.

Appearing for the State, Moreblessing Rusere told the court that sometime in November last year, and in the absence of the minor’s father, Mukanduri called the teenager into her bedroom where she told him she was too afraid to sleep alone.

After that, she allowed the boy to return to his bedroom but after some moments, she stripped off her clothes and followed the boy into his bedroom.

The court further heard that the accused, who found the boy already asleep, ordered him to remove his clothes and forced him into a sexual encounter.

It was further alleged the accused repeated the abuse on several occasions after the initial crime.

During the encounters, it is said, the accused would tell the boy not to reveal the relationship to his father adding that he should be happy to assume the father’s “duties” as he was always away on business.

The matter came to light when the minor told his father, one Hanyani Matsilele that he was ill.

He was taken to the hospital where it was discovered he had an STI.

The boy was forced to reveal the source of the infection and the circumstances that led to it.

The matter was reported to the police leading to the woman’s arrest.

The accused was remanded out of custody to April 21 for continuation of trial.

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Zim Govt Seeks New Diamond Markets

ZIMBABWE is hunting for alternative markets for its diamonds amid indications government may dump Antwerp World Diamond Centre in Belgium in favour of the Dubai Diamond Exchange in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), or the Shanghai Diamond Exchange in China.

President Robert Mugabe — whose wife Grace was recently barred by the European Union from travelling to the EU-African summit in Belgium — has taken a personal interest in the matter.

Mugabe has been in Dubai since last week where he is touring the Dubai Diamond Exchange Centre as well as setting up an embassy in the UAE. Insiders say the embassy will have no major diplomatic task other than overseeing the sale of the country’s diamonds.

Mugabe’s trip has raised eyebrows, particularly because he left the country without reporters although he normally travels with state media journalists when on official government business. This fuelled speculation Mugabe — accompanied by his wife, his daughter Bona and her husband Simba, Mbada Diamonds chairman Dr Robert Mhlanga, Abu-Ali Imad of Diamond Mining Company and Foreign Affairs secretary Joey Bimha — was also conducting personal deals, hence the decision to leave behind scribes.

However, Mugabe’s spokesman, George Charamba, told Zimbabwe Independent yesterday that the president had visited the Arab country to seek a “personal understanding” of the dynamics of the diamond industry. He said the visit followed a cabinet decision to try different diamond markets to establish where the country’s gems would fetch greater value.

“We are gaining experience in respect of an area which is very murky and complex,” he said.

Charamba said the president had gone through an educational process of the diamond industry from production, processing and the marketing.

He justified the exclusion of journalists, saying the trip was essentially a learning visit.

“We wanted an environment to optimise on learning,” he said. “We met with the owners of the Diamond Exchange Centre, we met the administrators of the auction system and thirdly we met buyers. The idea was to meet all the players and get a complete understanding.”

Charamba said it was important for the president to get first hand information of the industry so that he is capacitated with knowledge to help him when he gets briefings from officials. He said the background would also assist in interactions with producers and the market.

Charamba said Mugabe’s visit to Dubai had nothing to do with the disagreements with the EU. He said the visit was arranged before the First Lady was denied a visa adding the president would have passed through Dubai on his way to Belgium, if he had attended the EU-Africa summit last week.

He however said the president did talk about his row with the EU officials in a light-hearted manner, suggesting that the Europeans were just after Zimbabwe’s diamonds but did not care about the relationship they had with the country’s leaders.

“The president asked, ‘You who fought so successfully for our diamonds to come to Belgium, why didn’t you fight for Mugabe to go there too’,” said Charamba.

Mugabe’s visited is however being viewed with suspicion both at home and abroad, particularly in Antwerp. There has always been speculation that most of the revenue from diamonds mined at Chiadzwa has not been finding its way to Treasury but instead to the pockets of few top officials who have benefitted the most.

Diamond industry players believe Harare could have been attracted to Dubai because it is possible to market diamonds there in the murky underworld. EU’s head of delegation in Zimbabwe, Ambassador Aldo Dell’Ariccia also suggested that Dubai would allow Zimbabwean officials “opacity in the transactions” which will not be obtained from Antwerp, although he expressed hope that the country would still continue selling its diamonds in Europe.

“In the two auction sales of diamonds that took place in Antwerp, there was full information about the quality and quantity of the stones, the price fetched and therefore the amount of funds that will go to Zimbabwean coffers,” Dell’Ariccia said.

“The auction in Dubai took place last week and at this stage I still do not know how much was sold and how much will go to the Zimbabwean fiscus. Dubai is a fiscal paradise; there is certain opacity in the transactions. It is possible the auction can be transparent but it is also possible that it may not be.”

Charamba said the average prices fetched in Dubai were higher than those at Antwerp.

He said Mugabe would use his visit to explore the possibility of increasing interaction between Zimbabwe and UAE. A visa regime exists between the two countries, but Mugabe wants travel requirements eased to allow for easier movement of people between the two countries given that Emirates Airways is making six trips between Harare and Dubai per week.

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Pedestrians who cross red robots in Zimbabwe to spend 6 months in prison

Pedestrians who do not use designated crossing points or pass through red traffic lights will be jailed for up to six months or made to pay a US$20 fine starting next year as part of the provisions of a new Highway Code.

Pedestrians should not cross the road whenever they are facing red traffic lights. Crossing at undesignated points, also know as jaywalking, is prohibited in most parts of the world.

The new code, to be launched by the Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe under the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure Development, would deal with all road users, unlike in the past when it emphasised on rules for motorists and cyclists.

TSCZ managing director Mr Obio Chinyere said they were finalising consultations on the new book which would be in line with Southern African Development Community road regulations. He said they would work with the police and local authorities to enforce the new rules.

“The highway code will cover new areas that were not in the old one such as the road traffic system, which has provisions to fine and prosecute road users, including drivers and non-motorised vehicle users as well as cyclists and pedestrians,” Mr Chinyere said.

He said the new book sought to promote safety on roads and factor in all aspects that were lacking in the current book which was formulated in 1972.

“The new Highway Code will introduce new sections such as the road traffic system, which will require all road users to pay closer attention to the road and the information given by markings, signs and the signals on and along the road,” said Mr Chinyere.

He said those who use the roads would be required to observe and take into consideration the behaviour of other road users.

“There will be rules for pedestrians that were not in the old Highway Code such as making jaywalking an offence,” said Mr Chinyere.
Other rules, he said, were the requirements for pedestrians to walk on pavements or suitable verge and if there was no pavement or suitable verge, pedestrians should walk on the right side of the road facing oncoming traffic.

Mr Chinyere said those who allowed their young children onto the road on their own, would also be prosecuted.
“Children should always be accompanied and have their hands held firmly and ensure that you keep a distance between them and traffic,” he said.

The new code also emphasises on pedestrians avoiding unnecessary distraction, including use of mobile phones whenever crossing or walking along the road.

Mr Chinyere said the Highway Code factored in road regulations from South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zambia and Britain in its efforts to be proactive in educating the public and motorists about road safety and to curb traffic accidents.

The Highway Code will also cover rules on stray animals, whose owners will face prosecution.
It also makes it mandatory for both pedal and motorcyclists to wear a crash helmet and appropriate reflective clothing.
Under the provisions, it would be an offence for cyclists to carry a load of more than 40kgs and loads projecting more than 60 centimetres in front and more than 90 centimetres at the rear of the wheel.

Those who hang onto moving vehicles will also face the heavy fines or be jailed.
The new Highway Code says passengers should not throw litter through the window, but instead wait until disembarkation to dispose it appropriately.

Pedestrian and cycle accidents have been increasing of late and at least 58 pedestrians and cyclists were hit and killed by vehicles in separate incidents countrywide between January and February this year. Of the 58, 37 were pedestrians, while 21 were cyclists.

In the Sadc region, at least one-third of road accident victims are pedestrians.
In November last year, United Nations secretary-general Ban Ki-moon said roads claim 1,2 million lives and injure more than 50 million people every year.

He said around 90 percent of road traffic deaths and injuries occurred in low and middle income countries and most of the victims were pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists.

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Shocking 2018 Vote Rigging Claims: Nikuv Ships Election Material From Israel to Zimbabwe

There are shocking claims that seven large containers, allegedly carrying materials which the opposition says it meant to manipulate and rig the crucial 2018 national elections are on their way to Zimbabwe from Israel.

A confidential shipping memo indicates that the seven containers are already at the South African Port of Durban having been dispatched from Herzlia, Israel in January.

The shipments apparently stem from an alleged surreptitious agreement signed last year by the Zimbabwe Registrar General’s office and Nikuv International amid fresh fears that the materials are meant to be used to fix the crucial 2018 vote which President Robert Mugabe is unlikely to take part in due advanced age.

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Zimbabwe: Urban decay grips capital Harare

Harare – On Harare’s hardscrabble streets, college graduates compete with peasants scratching out a living selling anything from mobile phone cards to herbal sex tonics, a measure of the decline of Zimbabwe’s “Sunshine City” under President Robert Mugabe.

Those among Harare’s 1.5 million residents who remember independence in 1980 will have known a city that was swept regularly at dawn, public buildings gleaming with fresh paint, and shop windows so spotless that pedestrians would walk into them, according to urban legend.

Now the streets are dirty and dusty, the roads littered with pot-holes, and water gushes from leaking pipes. The park opposite Harare’s only five-star hotel is full of vagrants asleep under the trees. The grass is strewn with paper and, occasionally, human waste.

Nearby is First Street, famous during colonial days for its boutiques, barbers and the aroma of coffee. Now it is peopled by hawkers, and the air is heavy with the stench of urine.

Less than 20% of Zimbabwe’s people are in formal employment, according to independent economists, and economic growth is flatlining due to shortages of electricity and capital. For many, the only options for survival are petty trading or chancing it as an illegal worker in neighbouring South Africa, the continent’s biggest economy.

Tabeth Chireya, a single mother of two with a human resources diploma, sits on the pavement all day selling rat and cockroach poison laid out on a grimy sisal sack.

To her left is an old woman selling potatoes, to her right a man peddling bootleg DVDs, all looking out for customers and for plainclothes police enforcing “clean streets” municipal by-laws.

Chireya, who looks much older than her 22 years, leaves her home in the rundown Harare township of Epworth three times a week to join a long queue at a Chinese shop to buy wares for re-sale, returning to her pavement spot before lunch time.

“I spent $30 buying all this,” she said, pointing to needles, nail cutters and rat poison spread on the pavement. “It is the only way we can make an honest living.”

“New economic order”

Zimbabwe’s economy shrank 45% in the decade to 2009 due to plummeting farming output and hyperinflation. It bounced back for three years after Zimbabwe dropped its own currency and adopted the dollar, but it has since stagnated as companies have failed to find the cash to grow.

Outside the mining sector, nearly all of Zimbabwe’s large and medium-sized companies have gone to the wall since 2000, and High Court records show another 400 firms in Harare, Bulawayo and Gweru, Zimbabwe’s three largest cities, are being wound up after going bust last year.

Although Mugabe and his Zanu-PF party, which have ruled since independence from Britain in 1980, speak of plans for sovereign wealth funds and multi-billion-dollar platinum smelters, the realities are on a much smaller scale.

A World Bank report released in February says 46% of Zimbabwe’s 13 million people run individual, small or medium-sized enterprises, a figure that contrasts with 17% in South Africa, and 13% in nearby and impoverished Malawi.

In a conference speech last month, Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa said the government had to embrace the commerce of the street as a new economic order.

“This is an economic revolution, and we need to learn how to deal with the small man. The old economy is dead,” he said.

The effects of the ‘new order’ can be seen everywhere.

Large chainstores are closing, replaced by little kiosks that can sell anything from imported electronics and clothes to lipstick and car parts. When a major car dealership closed its showroom last year, a mini-mall with dozens of tiny cubicles emerged in its place.

“The competition is tough in our business, but we are hanging in there,” said Never Mapara, who sells mobile phones and accessories from a two square-metre cubicle he rents for $600 a month.

At another mall, street currency traders accost passers-by, waving wads of rand. The black market is thriving, fed by high demand for the currency of South Africa, which supplies 65 percent of Zimbabwe’s imports.

Cash squeeze

For Chinamasa, the main downside to the new economy is that informal traders do not pay tax, depriving Mugabe’s administration of cash it desperately needs.

The government collected $267m in January, missing its $279m target, and practically all its income goes on recurrent spending such as salaries, leaving next to nothing for capital projects or to repair roads or the decrepit power grid.

In another sign of the cash squeeze facing the authorities, local media reports said the government had deducted union fees from state teachers’ salaries in February but had failed to pass the money on to the unions. Chinamasa declined to comment when questioned by journalists on this last week.

The central bank also estimates that as much as $2bn- half of official bank deposits – is sloshing around the informal economy, again starving the financial system of capital that could be invested.

The shortage of cash has an insidious effect on the country’s social infrastructure.

Police patrol the streets, but law enforcement often plays second fiddle to personal enrichment.

The force annexed a car park outside Harare’s main police station in 2011, in which officers run a flea market where clothes traders pay $10 a day for space.

The city council says it is “trying to resolve this issue amicably”, while a police spokesperson declined to comment.

On the roads, cavalcades of kombis, as minibus taxis are known, are constantly trying to dodge the long arm of the law, even if it means driving at full speed in reverse against oncoming traffic.

“We are being squeezed everyday by the police, my brother, but if you don’t pay, you don’t survive in this business,” said taxi driver Allen Chigova, weaving through morning rush-hour traffic.

His smashed windscreen bears testimony to ugly encounters with authority, and he is dismissive of official promises to prosecute officers who demand bribes.

“They may as well fire the lot, because every police stop is a toll gate,” he said.

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The Kidnapped Baby FOUND ALIVE . . . Parents tell of their joy – Bulawayo Zimbabwe

The map details a possible route travelled by little Wethembekile after being stolen from Pumula South to Pelandaba and the inset (bottom) shows the parents reunited with their child

A ONE-YEAR-OLD baby said kidnapped from her home during a midnight raid by a burglar in Bulawayo’s Pumula suburb has been found alive.
Little Wethembekile Dube was found wandering in nearby Pelandaba suburb, some seven kilometres from her home, on Monday night after vanishing on Friday night.

She had a note with a written message stuck to her chest, police said.
Wethembekile’s mother, Finnishgale Mpofu, said her baby was unharmed save for a few mosquito bites. “I’m happy my baby is alive and I thank God for his mercies,” she told Chronicle as she left Bulawayo Central Police Station last night. It’s like a dream. The baby is fine, but has a few mosquito bites. I’m grateful she’s alive and that police will eventually get to the bottom of this.”

Police last night said they were pursuing several leads, including the note which they found on the baby. Sources say it was addressed to a male individual and contained information which investigators have asked this newspaper not to reveal for fear of jeopardising their investigation.

Inspector Abednico Ncube, the acting spokesman for Bulawayo police, said: “The lost baby was found by a soldier at around 9PM on Monday.

“According to her, the baby looked lost and stood at her gate. She was later identified by our officers who handed her over to her parents by 11PM. We’re glad the baby was found alive but I can’t say much on what was written on that piece of paper as that may interfere with police investigations.”

Wethembekile underwent medical examinations at a local hospital and was passed fit to return to her family.
She smiled for our cameras as her dad, Maphendla Dube, stroked her fingers.

The relieved Dube said: “We’re just happy that our daughter is alive. The police have asked us to leave the investigation to them and say little.”

Wethembekile’s disappearance on Friday night had puzzled even seasoned detectives.
Her parents – who live in a two-roomed house comprising a kitchen and bedroom – told investigators a brick was thrown at the bedroom window, shattering a glass pane.

Both parents went out to investigate, leaving Wethembikile sleeping in the bedroom. They returned to find her gone, they said.

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Zanu-PF calls for Tsvangirai’s arrest – report

Zimbabwe’s ruling Zanu-PF party has reportedly called for the arrest of opposition Movement for Democratic Change party leader Morgan Tsvangirai over remarks he made at a rally on Saturday about President Robert Mugabe.

According to the
Daily News
, Tsvangirai told his supporters who gathered in Zhombe that Zimbabwe, whose economy was on a downward spiral, could not continue to be held captive by one man (Mugabe).

Tsvangirai said Mugabe and his Zanu-PF party were allowing the country to slide back to the economic crisis of 2008, a report by
The Standard
said.

“Dangerous” action

Tsvangirai said his party would soon mobilise Zimbabweans to take action.

In reaction to this, Zanu-PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo called for the former prime minister’s arrest, saying he was inciting rebellion against Mugabe.

“He [Tsvangirai] made subversive statements and the law must take its course,” Gumbo was quoted as saying, adding that the opposition leader’s call for mass action was “dangerous”.

Mugabe, who has been leader of Zimbabwe since 1980, was declared winner of the July elections last year amid allegations of vote fraud by the MDC

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Satanism scare hits Harare, Grade 4 pupil in snake colour changing horror

In a weird incident that took place at Kuwadzana 3 Primary School in Harare, lessons were disrupted as parents were calling for the removal of the school head and one of the school pupils claiming the are involved in satanism.

The parents claim the body of a pupil from Grade Four Green was changing into colours of a snake. They also claim four other pupils from the same class had tattoos which literally caused hysteria.

They claim the school headmistress was once dismissed from another school in the same suburb due to similar claims of being involved in Satanism.

“We are transferring our children to other schools because of what is happening here. We do not understand it. Our children are turning into vampires. Even the police have a report on this. One child claimed that his father’s dead friend was ‘coming to him’,” they said.

Parents of the alleged pupil dismissed the claims and challenged those who were claiming that there pupils were affected to come out.

“I was told that my child was sick and I came straight from work, but nothing strange happened. There is no issue here,” the father of the accused child said.

When the ZBC News arrived at the school, the councillor and school officials were addressing parents in an effort to calm them.

The parents also showed the news crew the car of the parent whose child is being fingered in satanism. The vehicle has picture of a vampire.

The Deputy Minister of Primary and Secondary Education, Professor Paul Mavhima, said they are looking into the matter, but however dismissed such incidents which he said usually turn into a hoax.

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Zuma skips EU-Africa summit after Zimbabwe calls for boycott

South African President Jacob Zuma will miss a controversy-tinged EU-Africa summit in Brussels this week because of “other commitments”, the country’s foreign ministry said.
Pretoria would not say if Zuma’s decision was taken in solidarity with long-time Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, whose government called for a boycott of the meeting after his wife, Grace, was refused a visa to attend.

The couple have been banned from visiting the European Union because of their role in rights abuses, but as head of state Mugabe is still allowed to attend international forums.

Clayson Monyela, spokesman for South Africa’s Department of International Relations and Cooperation, said on Monday that “the president has other commitments”.

Zuma has battles to fight at home, where he has come under withering criticism for using $23 million (17 million euros) of taxpayers’ money to upgrade his private family residence.

A damning report last week found that he unlawfully benefited from the improvements.

Elections are due to take place on May 7 and although Zuma’s ANC is forecast to win, the vote is expected to be the most competitive since South Africa became a democracy in 1994.

At the two-day EU-Africa summit, which starts on Wednesday, South Africa will instead be represented by Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Maite Nkoana-Mashabane.

South Africa’s foreign ministry said the summit will “afford Africa and Europe the opportunity to further strengthen political and socio-economic cooperation between the two continents”.

Mugabe, who is now aged 90 and has ruled Zimbabwe since independence in 1980, will chair the African Union next year, a one-year rotating post

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Zimbabwean man smuggle 4 children into Botswana, turns girl into a sex slave

GABORONE – In a twisted tale of deceit, abuse and child trafficking, Botswana police have arrested a 39-year-old Zimbabwean man for smuggling children into the country and sexually abusing one of them.

Tlokweng Station Commander Superintendent Lebalang Maniki has said that the Zimbabwean man whose name he couldn’t release to the media, was arrested for uttering threats to kill and was possibly being investigated for abduction.

Early last month police received information that the man was keeping four children whose origins were unknown. 

When police started investigating the matter it was discovered that the man had threatened to kill one of the children – a 17-year-old girl.

Maniki added: “The four children aged 17, 11, eight and two have been moved to a safe place while police, with the assistance of Interpol, are tracking the children’s legal guardians. 

“We have a suspicion that the mother of the three youngest children is in Zimbabwe.”

When contacted for comment, International Organisation for Migration (IOM) Botswana head Mukondi Mpeiwa said there was a need to establish the children’s true identities.

“Once their identities have been established, a family tracing exercise should be conducted successfully with a view to facilitate a reunion with their mother,” he said.

“It is unfortunate that there are currently no laws in Botswana to directly address human trafficking which may lead to a situation where the man can only be charged for minor immigration offences.”

Mepiwa expressed worry over the fact that the man successfully evaded two sets of immigration checkpoints with four children when he was bringing them into the country illegally.

“It could be a sign of either corruption or relaxed monitoring on the part of officials both on the Botswana and Zimbabwe sides,” he said.

Information reaching The Voice, however, has indicated that the man lured the older child, 17, to travel with him to Botswana from Zimbabwe with a promise to help her find her parents in South Africa.

He smuggled the other children (one boy and two girls) aged 11, eight and two through the border by hiding them under the bus seats it has transpired.

Instead of assisting the teenager to find her parents in South Africa as he had promised the man allegedly kept the young girl as a sex slave and threatened to kill her if she told anyone her story.

After two months of physical and sexual abuse the teenager escaped and sought refuge at a Zimbabwean pastor’s house.

However, the pastor too began to sexually abuse the girl and encouraged her to report the kidnapper to the police for abduction and rape.

But as fate would have it on the day she decided to follow the pastor’s advice her luck ran out as she ran into the same man she was going to report.

He allegedly recaptured her and took her back to his house in Tlokweng where he continued to abuse her.

But as she attempted to lodge a rape case against the pastor police discovered that she was an illegal immigrant. 

On further probing the girl revealed that the man had threatened to kill her hence the charge. 

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Ndebele language dying because of Shona teachers in Matabeleland: Educationalists told

DEBATE has emerged over the appointment of Shona-speaking speaking teachers to teach the Ndebele language in primary schools in the Matabeleland region with education officials saying they were now moving towards engaging specialist teachers to address this handicap.

Last week Minister of State for Provincial Affairs in the Metropolitan Province of Bulawayo, Nomthandazo Eunice Moyo, shot down a proposal in the National Assembly that locals should be given preference in employment and education opportunities. The minister argued that she was not a tribalist hence she would not support such calls.

Moyo is quoted as saying: “First of all, I am not a tribalist. Secondly, I serve Zimbabwe. Thirdly, I will support anyone who has the right documents to occupy a vacancy.”

However, various educationists and analysts in the region have criticised Government for letting down the education sector by creating a handicap that could easily be avoided, which goes on to affect the overall pass rate within the schools.

Commenting on the matter, Matabeleland North provincial education director Mrs Boithatelo Mnguni acknowledged that this was a handicap that was affecting the teaching process in the region but said to curb it they were coming up with a facility where schools would be required to engage specialist teachers who then assisted those teachers who did not have Ndebele as their first language.

“I believe this is a broad matter because the teacher factor also has a say in the teaching of the subject. In primary schools the set-up is that one teacher has to teach all these subjects hence you find us having a handicap when a teacher who doesn’t have Ndebele is now expected to teach this subject.

“What we are now doing is that we are encouraging these schools to engage specialist teachers who will then come in to assist these handicapped teachers by taking their Ndebele classes. This is a strategy we successfully implemented in Binga where we are now teaching Tonga from Early Childhood Development level. We hope schools will take this cue and also chip in to assist in resolving this clear handicap,” said Mrs Mnguni.

She, however, also laid the blame on parents who were now neglecting socialising in vernacular within their homes.

“We can argue that language is dynamic but you find that children are no longer being socialised in an entirely Ndebele manner. That is how you find the infiltration of more of these slang words in our vocabulary.

“It is unfortunate that we do not have an exclusive teacher training institution for the region but it is something that would go a long way in addressing this problem that we have in the region,” said the PED.

Dr Samukele Hadebe, who compiled the Ndebele dictionary, said with the manner in which things were going there was a possibility that the language was dying a slow death because the personnel entrusted to administer the language by the Ministry of Primary and

Secondary Education were not proficient in the language.

“When looking at this matter one fact that cannot be ignored is that those who teach Ndebele do not have a basic or even a deeper comprehension of the language mainly because it is not their first language.

“We need more people from the region or who have Ndebele as their first language to come in and teach this subject so that we can preserve it,” said Dr Hadebe.

A few months ago, Gwanda Rural District councillors, in examining the low pass rate especially in Grade 7 results, laid the blame on the recruitment of teachers who could not speak local languages. Debating during a full council meeting the councillors argued that effective teaching required teachers to appreciate local languages first.

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Zimbabwean man kills 4 children in South Africa, flees back to Zim

A South African-based road grader driver who is on the run after running over four children in Ndwedwe, north of Durban, is believed to have skipped the country, and fled into Zimbabwe, South African police have reported.

“He is a Zimbabwean and we believe he is either on his way or already in that country,” a police source close to the investigation said.

The driver is believed to have been under the influence of alcohol when the grader he was driving ran over the four kids, a police source said. The children – Hlengiwe, 11, Zanele and Langelihle, both four, and Busisani, two – are all from the Magwaza family in Ndwedwe.

An employee of Aqua Transport and Car Hire said the driver fled and left the grader’s engine running after realising he had run over the four, who were playing on the side of the road.

Deputy Minister of Transport Sindi Chikunga, who visited the bereaved family in Ndwedwe yesterday, demanded the driver must face the might of the law.

“We do not care whether he is hiding inside the country or in Zimbabwe. Police must find him so he can answer for what he did,” she said.

Chikunga, accompanied by a government delegation, said owners of Aqua Transport and Hire, which is carrying out construction work in the area, also have questions to answer.

“We want to know why they employed him. They should provide us with evidence that the driver had all the necessary documents that entitles him to work in this country,” she said.

Police should also explain why they chose to pursue charges of only culpable homicide against the driver.

“That the driver is alleged to have been drinking suggests people were still not heeding the call not to drink and drive. What this tells us is that we must be ready to put lots of people behind bars during the Easter holidays,” she said.

Mothers of the four children, Zandi, Buyi, Slindile and Zinhle – all sisters – were inconsolable yesterday. Covered in blankets, the four sisters leaned on each other as mourners entered the hut where the grieving family members were gathered.

“It is one thing to lose one family member, but quite another to lose four family members at one go. Since we are a poor family, it was our hope that one day these kids would lift up the family. This tragedy means we have lost our only hope,” the children’s aunt, Khanyisile Magwaza, said.

KZN police spokesperson Jay Naicker said the driver was still at large. The children will be buried on Sunday (today)

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Dread locked ghost terrorises Bulawayo residents, proposes love to women

A dreadlocked ghost calling itself Bongani is reportedly terrorising Magwegwe residents, proposing love to women then disappearing.

Residents said the ghost appears between 12 midnight and 3 am by the traffic light controlled intersection near Hyde Park Cemetery along Masiyephambili Drive around the Number 6 area.

They said it does not talk to men and often disappears when they get close.

“We started hearing about this ghost in 2011. At first I thought it was a joke until one night, my wife came home looking like she had seen a ghost. She was trembling and could not speak. When she had recovered, she said she met a dreadlocked man wearing a white T-shirt who started proposing to her and when she got angry and shouted at him, he disappeared right in front of her eyes,” said Mbongeni Msimanga.

He said about three days later, his neighbour said he had seen a man with shoulder length dreadlocks who disappeared when the neighbour greeted him.

Msimanga said he had since stopped his wife from working overtime so that she always came home before it got dark.

A woman who said she believed she had met the ghost, said it was charming.

“I think I met this ghost on New Year’s Eve around 2am when I was coming from church and it talked very nicely to me. Ordinarily, I would have been scared to meet a man at that time of the night but I did not feel threatened. When I was about to get home, a car appeared and blinded us with its headlights. When it had gone past, I couldn’t see the man,” said the woman.

Agnes Moyo, another resident said she had heard tales about the ghost and she believed them because the area bordered a cemetery.

“I have heard of this ghost, which has made many people afraid to move at night. I think it is true because we live near a cemetery. Remember, this is the same area where the famous Jane the Ghost terrorised men around 1989. She was a prostitute who would hook up with men and mysteriously disappear when they were about to have sex,” said Moyo.

The councillor for the area, Lot Siziba said there were ghosts in the area, but he was yet to meet them.

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Zimbabwe: Succession ‘War’ Intensifies in Ruling Party

ZANU PF’s internecine succession battle between factions belonging to Vice-President Joice Mujuru and Justice minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, fuelled by the disputed and chaotic provincial elections last year, is simmering over again as rival camps renew infighting ahead of the party’s elective congress in December.

The power struggle this week took centre stage in the politburo on Wednesday where it was resolved national commissar Webster Shamu should go and investigate the outbreak of clashes in the Midlands to restore order in the province. Sources said three weeks ago Shamu went to the Midlands in a bid to sort out the situation but instead left the conflict further intensifying.

“Shamu came to the Midlands province three weeks ago but out of a possible 171 members who should constitute the provincial executive only 15 attended, while the rest were war collaborators and general members of the party bused in from Shurugwi and Zvishavane by those aligned to the Mujuru faction,” said a Zanu PF politburo official.

“However, he went on to impose 25 other members into the executive, a move that was rejected by those present because it was an effort to remove those elected by the province to bolster the Mujuru camp.”

In an interview yesterday, Zanu PF national spokesperson Rugare Gumbo confirmed Shamu has been tasked to investigate issues bedevilling the Midlands provincial executive. “It is true that the politburo deliberated on the Midlands provincial issue where the problems of people trying to be smuggled into the executive have been going on for some time now,” Gumbo said.

“The politburo wants Shamu to bring a report of who should constitute the provincial executive and who should not be part of it, and that can only be done if a thorough investigation takes place.”

Mujuru and Mnangagwa are reportedly battling to control provinces in a cutthoat race to succeed the increasingly frail Mugabe who turned 90 last month. The provincial executives are crucial in the succession battle as the structures will play a pivotal role in choosing members of the presidium at congress.

Recently Zanu PF Midlands provincial members aligned to Mnangagwa’s faction told this newspaper the Midlands would remain unmanageable until irregularities that marred the disputed provincial elections held in November last year — which saw party bigwigs bitterly clashing in public — were resolved.

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Zimbabwe borrows $100 million

Zimbabwe has received a $100 million loan from the African Import-Export Bank (Afreximbank) which will be used to set up an inter-bank market as the country struggles to solve its entrenched economic problems.

The inter-bank facility is meant to ease the cash shortages that indigenous banks have been experiencing, by enabling them to borrow and trade with each other.

“By so doing, the liquidity which is lying idle will be used to stimulate the inter-bank market. This is expected to have a multiplier effect on the circulation of money in the system,” Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa said at the weekend.

A statement from Afreximbank said the “decision to introduce the facility was motivated by its recognition of the serious constraints limiting the access of Zimbabwe’s trade finance banks to funding as a result of the liquidity challenge confronting the financial sector.”

The loan will also enable the central bank to exercise some influence over market rates, a role it lost when hyperinflation forced Zimbabwe to adopt a multi-currency system in 2009.

Analysts have welcomed the cash injection but say the facility is a cosmetic intervention that does not address the structural deficiencies in the economy.

Financial economist and academic Bekithemba Mpofu said, in the short term the loan will help ease the liquidity crunch.

“An efficient inter-bank market allows banks to lend to their clients who include companies who need capital to operate at full capacity and produce enough for the export market.

“If companies can’t borrow they can’t produce or manufacture much and the country ends up importing more than it exports. Without export earnings, the country’s ability to service its debts is severely affected and this is more-so for a country like Zimbabwe that is dependent on a borrowed currency,” Mpofu said.

Mpofu said the government should instead create a stable investment climate that will also stimulate economic growth.

“We need an environment where companies can begin to operate at full capacity to sustain the economy because without this any financial aid the country gets will bring short-term results.

“More importantly Zimbabwe needs a government that’s willing to implement sound policies that will not deter foreign investors. Without political will, we will keep discussing remedies and this does not solve the problem,” Mpofu added.

Harare-based economist Prosper Chitambara said the loan will infuse some confidence into the financial market and give the central bank some relevance as “lender of last resort”.

“But this is money that’s being injected into the financial system and not into the economy and so this does not exactly stimulate economic growth.”

Chitambara said while it is necessary to stabilise the financial system it is also important to address the challenges that have led to the instability and seek to inject life into the economy as a whole.

“Right now confidence levels in the Zim economy are very low, and there is a strong indication that we are in deflation due to continued de-industrialisation of the economy.

“Unless the State deals with macro-economic issues these short-term measures will not lead to any sustainable economic growth or development,” said Chitambara.

Another commentator, Lee Moyo, said the inter-bank facility is a good idea “provided ZANUPF doesn’t do what it knows best – looting”. He added that Zimbabwe has the resources to stimulate economic growth, the problem is that these are misused.

The central bank – which will manage the inter-bank facility – is itself saddled with a debt of more than $1 billion which it incurred when ex-governor Gideon Gono looted foreign currency accounts belonging to charities and corporates. The money was used to fund the ZANU PF government.

At the moment it needs up to $200 million to capitalise,

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Mugabe to boycott summit if wife not invited

Zimbabwe’s government said on Wednesday it would boycott a summit between the European Union and African Union in Brussels next week, if President Robert Mugabe’s wife was not granted a visa to travel with him.

Mugabe and his wife Grace are under an EU travel ban imposed in 2002, after a government crackdown on the opposition and the eviction of white farmers from agricultural land.

The EU had waived the visa ban on Mugabe, who is the vice-chairperson of the AU, saying it was not bound by the ban when hosting large international conferences.

But his wife was denied a visa, Foreign Ministry permanent secretary Joey Bimha told dpa.

“We are expecting the Southern African Development Community and the AU to ensure that she gets a travel visa.

Otherwise, the summit has to be postponed,” he said.

In addition to vice-chairing the AU, Mugabe vice-chairs the SADC, making him “very crucial for issues of Africa,” Bimha said.

EU ambassador to Zimbabwe Aldo Dell’Ariccia said he would comment on the matter on Thursday.

The EU lifted most sanctions on Zimbabwe in February, but those against Mugabe remained in place.

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Woman gives birth, jumps to her death at hospital

A 20-YEAR-OLD new mum killed herself days after giving birth by leaping out of the second floor window of a hospital maternity ward.

Epifania Dube, believed to be from Ntabazinduna, left a suicide note accusing her in-laws of “hating [her]”, according to sources.

She also apologised to her husband for infecting him with HIV.

Police are investigating.

Nobuhle Ndlovu, the chief executive officer at the United Bulawayo Hospitals, said Dube’s body was discovered shortly after 11PM on Saturday.

She told Chronicle: “We’re not sure what transpired but her body was found outside the maternity building by our security personnel. Her body is still at the hospital awaiting post-mortem.”

Ndlovu said Dube delivered her baby on March 17 and remained in hospital because the baby could not feed.

“The mother was young, so we kept her at the hospital so that we monitor them,” she said.

Dube was alone in her room while the baby was at an intensive care unit.

Sources at the hospital said shortly after giving birth, Dube’s in-laws and her husband had visited.

“From their discussions, it appears their relations were strained,” said one witness.

“She was alone in her room and most people had gone to sleep. We only woke up to be told she had died.”

The source said Dube left a note in her room in which she was apologising to her husband for infecting him with HIV.

In the letter, said the witness, she also said her husband’s relatives hated her.

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South Africa Toughens Work Permit Application Process

The South African government has announced that foreigners living in that country will now have to go back home to apply for work permits.
According to Daniel Muzenda of the Zimbabwe Migrants Association, the South African government says instead of applying for work permits while in that country, Zimbabweans and other foreigners are now expected to go to their respective nations to file the necessary papers.
Millions of foreigners, including an estimated three million Zimbabweans, are studying and working in South Africa, one of Africa’s developed nations.
Muzenda said this is not workable. “We are talking about three million Zimbabweans who are here in South Africa and for them to go back to Harare and queue at the Home Affairs Department is logistically practically impossible.”
He said the Zimbabwe government should work with Pretoria to find better ways of handling this issue.
“We will be holding a meeting soon with the relevant authorities to find ways of handling this issue,” said Muzenda.
Most of the work permits expire in November this year.

90-year-old Bulawayo man still a kombi driver

AT 90, most people would probably have given up on the fast moving city life and what more if one spends most of his time behind the wheel of a commuter omnibus. But that is not the case with one dedicated commuter omnibus driver from Bulawayo’s Mzilikazi
suburb, who is still going strong at the grand old age of 90. He has no plans to give up on his more than half a century old passion – driving.
Standing firm, with his sight still as good as that of a teenager, pint-sized George Enias Marambakuyana, popularly known as Gada-edumayo celebrated his 90th birthday on 3 March with friends and family, where he spoke of the life journey he has travelled so far.
The great-grandfather, who is originally from Hurungwe in Mashonaland West Province and resides at Thokozani Flats in Mzilikazi, still drives commuter omnibuses – a job he has been into for the past 60 years.
Although the country’s laws state that the cut-off age for drivers operating public vehicles is 70, Marambakuyana, boldly boasted of how he had never had a brush with the law.
“I enjoy driving. It is my passion. I have been at it for as long as I can remember. I, however, now limit myself to Fridays and Sundays, as I have since hired a crew to drive the car for me. Ever since I started driving, I have never had a scuffle with the law and have never been involved in any road accident. The person who taught me how to drive made sure that I practised caution and maintained a stable mind while behind the wheel. I don’t need to do a re-test to assess my capability on the road, as I have confidence in myself and I have never once been involved in an accident,” he said.
Today he owns a commuter omnibus, a red Toyota Hiace, which he holds as his pride and joy, since it brings him food on the table.
Rewinding his story back to 1963, when he bought his first car, an Austin Cambridge, Marambakuyana said he feels he is living his dream.
“I bought my first car in 1963 and the feeling at the time was just sublime. Although it was deemed illegal to drive commuters around, I felt it as my duty to ferry people from home to work. I bought the car while I was working for a company called General Accident Assurance. Because it was my dream to drive I managed to save enough money from my earnings to buy a car,” he said.
Marambakuyana said as time went on different types of cars came onto the market and he felt the need to get what was trendy then.
“I used the Austin for a couple of years before I sold it and bought a Peugeot 404 station wagon, popularly known as o-asinabeni. At that time I had grown to be very experienced and felt it was my duty to impart my knowledge and skills to other people.
Because I had already been driving for a long time, I became known as the sage of most commuter transport operators at that time. I taught most of these whipper-snappers how to drive and the tricks of the trade,” he said.
When the Peugeot 404s era came to an end, being pushed off the market by trendier models, Marambakuyana said he sold his, opting to buy a Volkswagen, which saw him grow even more popular with commuters and others in the business.
“I then bought a Volkswagen, popularly known as ibhombo in 1997, which made me more popular with commuters who would scramble to get into the vehicle,” he said animatedly.
Marambakuyana grew up in Magunje area in Hurungwe, in a family of nine children.
“I was born on 3 March 1924; there are only two of us remaining in our family. I attended Charles Gray School, where I only went up to Standard Four before I ran away from home and came to Bulawayo in 1949 to look for employment. I was in the company of my friend when I ran away from home. I had no bus fare and actually snuck into a train and hid under the seats all the way from Harare to Bulawayo,” he reminisced of his naughty but yet adventurous childhood.
Once in the City of Kings, he found out he had nowhere to go after his friend abandoned him in Makokoba.
“My friend abandoned me on arrival and I had nowhere to go or anyone to turn to. So I made my way to Woodville, where I spent the night under a tree. The following morning I walked to town where by sheer luck I bumped into another friend from school, who was as surprised as I was to meet in Bulawayo. I then told him about my predicament and he gave me some temporary accommodation at his workplace in Kingsdale. I would go to the house where he worked at 11pm and sneak out at 4am so that I did not get him into trouble with his employers.
“After a couple of weeks of difficulties I was fortunate to find a job and was offered accommodation by a certain white man. I worked as a messenger at his home. I would also do the gardening,” he said.
He later got me a place of my own in Makokoba, where I met my first wife, who I then married in 1963, after moving to a bigger place, here at Thokozani Flats. Sadly my wife passed away in 2004 and I then remarried another wife, who sadly also passed away in 2009,” he said.
After the death of his second wife, Marambakuyana said he found love and solace with his present wife Nomathemba Gumede (39), whom he said has been a pillar of strength and a shoulder to lean on.
“My third wife has been there for me through thick and thin and I love her dearly. I have eight children with one following in my footsteps of having a passion for driving. He drives a haulage truck. The other is an engineer in South Africa,” he said.
Asked what his secret to longevity was, he said he made sure he stayed away from alcohol, cigarettes and women.
“I managed to get to this age because I made it a point to stay away from alcohol, cigarettes and women. A healthy lifestyle will definitely add more years to your life,” he said.

Armed Robber Shoots Self In Police Custody

Shurugwi’s most “notorious armed robber” Simba Muchengeti shot himself while handcuffed at Shurugwi Police Station according to police officers, an incident MDC-T National Executive member Chalton Hwende has however blasted saying it exhibits “Bhora Mugedhe Police Brutality.”

Muchengeti had been arrested after allegedly committing a series of armed robberies in Ngundu but was recently apprehended by the police and held in detention awaiting his court appearance. He was one of the people hunted down by police officers after a boxing day shooting by robbers left a foreign currency dealer dead and three others seriously injured when two armed robbers pounced on them near a local supermarket at Ngundu Business Centre.

After the shooting…Police conduct final inspection before sending “robber” Simba Muchengeti’s body

After the shooting…Police conduct final inspection before sending “robber” Simba Muchengeti’s body

Police at the Midlands sub-station have reported saying the robber asked to use the toilet where he reportedly shot himself.

While national police spokesperson Charity Charamba said she was yet to receive information pertaining to the incident, police officers have said the man killed himself after asking to go into the toilet. The police officers on duty said they heard a loud bang which they believed to be a gunshot and rushed to the toilet where they found Muchengeti lying dead.

The officers said he had smuggled a gun into the holding cells, and decided to take his own life. The reports could not be independently verified at the time of writing.

Harare woman enjoys sex with four men at once as son (16) watches

A Harare woman is allegedly in the habit of ordering her 16-year-old son to cover his head with blankets whenever she is having sex with her boyfriends whom she brings home.
Israel Chivese said her sister Mandikunda is always at night clubs and also neglects her two-year-old baby.
This was revealed at the Harare civil court on Wednesday where Mandikunda was seeking a protection order against her brother Israel whom she said was in the habit of psychologically and verbally abusing her.
“We are both staying at our parent’s house, but he is always harassing me and my children everyday just because he no longer wants us to stay there. My son now knows the colours and sizes of all my undergarments because I sleep with him in the same room because my brother doesn’t want to give me another room at our four-roomed house”, said Mandikunda.
He is an ex-policeman and he wants to enforce all the rules he learnt during his tenure in the police force on me and my children, thereby psychologically abusing us. He reports lies to the police each time and gets me arrested for nothing.
Israel refuted the allegations and labelled Mandikunda a prostitute and an alcoholic.
U”She is in the habit of bringing at least four boyfriends each night and have sexual intercourse with them. in front of his 16-year-old son whom she orders to cover his head with blankets. I am the one who makes sure that her two-year-old daughter is well fed while she will be busy enjoying herself at night clubs. She is very violent and does not want to take any advice from me as her elder brother,” he said.
Magistrate Ms Gamuchirai Siwardi yesterday deferred ruling on the matter.