Author Archives: Staff Reporter

Beitbridge-Chirundu highway dualisation set to start

Lloyd Gumbo Senior Reporter

President Mugabe is expected to officially launch the dualisation of the Beitbridge-Harare and Harare-Chirundu highways by mid-next month, while actual construction of the road must start before Independence Day celebrations, parliamentarians have heard.

Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister Dr Joram Gumbo told a parliamentary portfolio committee that an independent contractor would supervise the project to avoid the country being short-changed by poor workmanship, like what happened on the Plumtree-Harare-Mutare Road rehabilitation project.

The committee on Transport and Infrastructural Development chaired by Zanu-PF MP for Chegutu West, Cde Dexter Nduna, sought to know the criteria to be used in selecting sub-contractors for the Beitbridge-Harare-Mutare dualisation project.

But Dr Gumbo said the company that won the tender, Geiger International of Austria, would be responsible for sub-contracting local companies.

He said the company would advertise through the press calling for applications.

Cde Nduna asked if there were any time-frames that would guide Geiger International in advertising for applications.

“We are hoping that His Excellency is going to do the ground-breaking ceremony, which will trigger commencement of construction of this road during the end of this month, or during the first two weeks of March,” said Dr Gumbo.

“The spot where the ground-breaking ceremony is going to take place has already been identified. The engineers from Geiger International and their contracted company, some of them are already in the country. Things are moving. Before you go for Independence, work will have started. That is the timeline that I can give you.”

Dr Gumbo said he could not go into the nitty-gritties of the project without clearance from the President.

Details to follow….

School is out tomorrow and Friday as Matabeleland prepares for 21st February Movement celebrations

Zimbabwean President Rorbet Mugabe (L) h

Nqobile Tshili, Chronicle Correspondent

THE Government has directed pupils from Matabeleland region not to attend school tomorrow and Friday to pave way for the 21st February Movement preparations.

The Minister of Primary and Secondary Education Lazarus Dokora issued the directive today.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry Primary and Secondary Education Dr Sylvia Utete- Masango has confirmed.

More details to follow

Four women in Toyota Quantum kidnap, drug and ‘gang-rape’ teacher

kidnapped

Pamela Shumba, Senior Reporter
A TEACHER from Lupane was reportedly kidnapped, drugged and “gang-raped” by four women, suspected to be sperm harvesters before they left him naked in a bush with bruised private parts.

Police in Lupane are investigating the matter, which is being treated as aggravated indecent assault.

Matabeleland North provincial police spokesperson Inspector Eglon Nkala confirmed the incident, saying it occurred on Friday night.

Sources close to investigations said the man filed a complaint at Lupane police station.  He said he was sexually abused for hours by a group of four light skinned women who gave him a lift in a Toyota Quantum with South African number plates on Friday night.

He reportedly woke up naked in the bush, feeling extremely weak on Saturday morning.

A source told Chronicle that the man was given a lift in the Quantum with five people on board, four women and a man who was driving the vehicle.

“The teacher was intending to travel to Bulawayo on Friday night. He was given a lift by the group of women who were travelling in a Quantum with South African number plates. The man said the women were speaking IsiNdebele and another language that he could not understand.

“After some time, the driver diverted the route and one of the women told him that they wanted to pick up someone,” said the police source.

He said the driver suddenly stopped the car and one of the women quickly covered his eyes while the others held his feet and hands together.

“The man said they forced him to drink a substance from a bottle and he passed out. He suspects that they took turns to sexually assault him and took away his semen as he woke up at 5AM naked with a weak body and bruised private parts.

“He wore his clothes, which were left on the scene and walked to the main road where he boarded a lift to Lupane police station and filed a report,” said the source.

He added that the man was taken to St Luke’s Hospital for treatment.

Insp Nkala appealed to the public who have information that may lead to the arrest of the suspected sperm harvesters to report to their nearest police station.

Sperm harvesters first made headlines in 2011 when they pounced on motorists along the Gweru-Harare highway. Three Gweru women were arrested after they were caught at a roadblock with 31 condoms that contained semen.

Rosemary Chakwizira, Sophie and Netsai Nhokwara all of Mkoba Village Four, faced 17 counts of aggravated indecent assault but were acquitted due to lack of evidence. In 2015, a Gweru commuter omnibus driver Edson Nkiwane allegedly offered an 18-year-old vagrant accommodation at his house before collecting his sperm that he stored in a bottle, after performing oral sex on the homeless man.

Last year three women allegedly abducted a man from Cowdray Park and forced him to have sex with them before taking away his semen.

The suspects allegedly offered a lift to the man along 6th Avenue in Bulawayo. The man was travelling to Cowdray Park at around 8PM.

Sperm harvesters are suspected to use semen for rituals. — @pamelashumba1

Original Timmy NaBhonzo cast returns

TWO former Timmy naBhonzo drama series actors, Charles Mbanje and Chipo Tsumba, affectionately known as Chandi and Amai Chocolate, respectively, have bounced back as the popular drama is set to return to the silver screen.

BY JAIROS SAUNYAMA

Timmy naBhonzo cast

Timmy naBhonzo cast

This follows the release of a DVD titled The Return of Timmy naBhonzo late last year that saw two celebrated local comic actors, Timothy Tapfumanei (Timmy) and Lawrence Simbarashe (Bhonzo) reuniting after a long time.

Timmy naBhonzo hogged the limelight in the 1990s, with a number of acts and a drama series that became popular with entertainment lovers.

Tapfumanei yesterday said after their DVD production last year, they intend to return to the screens following “talks” with ZBC TV, who screened their DVD. He said the drama series will see the return of some of the original Timmy naBhonzo cast.

“We intend to return to the screen soon with the drama series. And we are currently working towards that. We are still negotiating with ZBC,” he said.

“We completed our pilot project that we are going to deliver to ZBC this week. After assessing the pilot project, we will then sit down and map the way forward.”

Timmy said he is confident that the audience will like their latest offering despite the stiff competition provided by DStv.

He said when ZBC TV showed a clip of the new offering on New Year’s Day, some viewers thought they were already back on television.

“So, people were asking, ‘so you guys just appeared once and disappeared?’ The people had anticipated for more screenings and I am sure that when the programme returns to the screen it, is going to attract viewers,” he said.

Meanwhile, veteran actor Bhonzo, who had fallen on hard times is now generating income through selling his DVDs.

The return of Timmy naBhonzo was shot as a means to rescue Bhonzo from abject poverty.

Opposition parties mull nationwide demos over BVR kits

OPPOSITION parties under the National Electoral Reform Agenda (Nera) banner are planning to hold nationwide demonstrations against the government’s decision to “hijack” the procurement of the biometric voter registration (BVR) kits from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

BY Everson Mushava

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) last week said the government had taken over the process of procurement of BVR kits from UNDP.

But Nera, in conjunction with other opposition political parties, under the auspices of Coalition of Democrats (Code), said the government’s decision did not only prove that Zec is a captured institution, but showed President Robert Mugabe’s resolve to rig the 2018 general elections.

Zimbabweans United for Democracy (Zunde) president, Farai Mbira, said Nera and Code would be left with no option, but to take the Zanu PF government head-on if it insists on “hijacking” the process.

“We, therefore, demand that the current UNDP procurement process proceed undisturbed,” he said.

“We call upon all Zimbabweans from all walks of life to resist the rigging. To that extent, Nera and Code will close ranks in order to fight these attempts to manipulate the electoral process. A legal suit, as well as massive nationwide demonstrations, will be launched should the government persist with its evil agenda. To that end, the political parties will work together to ensure that the rights of the Zimbabwean people are not trampled under foot by this vile regime.”

The meeting was attended by MDC-T secretary-general, Douglas Mwonzora, Renewal Democrats leader, Elton Mangoma, MDC-T deputy national chairman, Morgen Komichi, and Kudakwashe Bhasikiti from a ZimPF faction led by Rugare Gumbo and Didymus Mutasa, among many others.

Nera, last year, held a series of demonstrations demanding electoral reforms ahead of the 2018 general elections. Some of the demonstrations culminated in violence that left many opposition supporters hospitalised, as police responded with brute force.

Mbira said opposition parties were shocked by the government’s decision to elbow out UNDP, saying: “Even more flabbergasting was the decision by Zec to endorse this illegal move by the government.

“This is now government rigging the next elections and we cannot allow that to happen with our complicity or agreement.”

Mbira said Zimbabwe was part of the United Nations and any programme involving UNDP and Zec could not be said to be violating the country’s sovereignty.

Nera called for an independent Zec that does not operate on the whims of the ruling party.

“We, therefore, demand that Zec be disbanded and reconstituted by agreement of all political parties. If that cannot be done, then we resort to the 1980 vote system, where voters needed to produce an identity card on voting day only,” Mbira said.

On Monday, Mwonzora, who is the Nera head of legal affairs, wrote to Zec chairperson, Justice Rita Makarau, demanding an explanation on the government’s decision to take over the procurement of the BMV kits.

“We, therefore, demand that the current procurement process must proceed undisturbed. We would appreciate your response as soon as possible. We should make it clear that we will resist (through lawful means, of course) any move by the government and Zec to change goal posts at this stage,” part of Mwonzora’s letter to Makarau, dated February, 20 read.

Masvingo Music awards call for entries

PREPARATIONS for the fourth edition of the Masvingo Music Awards (MMA) have begun with organisers calling for entries from musicians that originate from Masvingo province for the event pencilled for April 1.

BY TAFADZWA KACHIKO

mma

One of the event organisers, Pride Musekesa, said submission of music and music videos produced between 2016 and 2017 will start this Friday and will close on March 10.

“We are inviting all artistes based in Masvingo or that originate from the province to submit their work on CDs at Charles Austin Theatre with their names and number of tracks printed on the surface. Make sure that it plays before submission and no material is to be submitted via WhatsApp,” he said.

Musekesa said plans to introduce more categories are in the pipeline, but he emphasised that this will be determined by submissions.

“We hope to increase categories, but this decision will be effected after submissions and discussions with sponsors,” he said.

Hevoi FM will live streaming the event.

Musekesa said MMA has transformed the music fraternity in Masvingo by creating avenues for exposure.

“Since we started artistes’ creativity in their productions improved. People in this province have also started to appreciate local talent to the extent that companies have invited these musicians to perform at their various functions, thereby, giving them more exposure,” he said.

Other partners are Miles Transport, Fusion Wear, Makurira Clinic and Land Mark Bar proprietor, Kudakwashe Mudekunye.

Mugabe ploughs into warring factions

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe yesterday ploughed into the Zanu PF warring factions fighting to succeed him, saying such practices were unheard of during the liberation war where positions were not acquired through canvassing.

BY OBEY MANAYITI

President Robert Mugabe

President Robert Mugabe

Mugabe, who turned 93 yesterday, was addressing his staff and service chiefs, who organised a birthday party for him at his Munhumutapa offices.

“During that time, people would vet you. There was no canvassing for positions. People would have to assess you before making their decision. We didn’t talk of G40 or Lacoste,” he said.

“If you are a leader of the people, be a true leader.”

The veteran leader has increasingly denied that age is getting the better of him, but the greater part of his speech yesterday was inaudible.

He chronicled his life history to the time he was in Ghana and his return to join the struggle for independence.

Mugabe said during that time, it was unusual to canvass for support to assume leadership positions.

Already Zanu PF is sharply divided between supporters of Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa and First Lady Grace Mugabe’s loyalists.

The two Zanu PF factions have been engaged in nasty fights both publicly and privately all in a bid to take over from Mugabe. The factional wars have also threatened to paralyse government business.

He said true leaders put people’s desires first.

Mugabe, who always claims he will not give up power as long as people still want him to lead, said he draws courage and support from the people and without them would never had made his achievements.

He said without people’s support, political office will be a nightmare. Mugabe said leadership required honesty and contentment.

The President said foreign investors must behave and not act as if the resources they were pursuing were theirs.
“What are we as a country if we cannot say the forests, the animals, the gold, diamonds, copper and other minerals underground are ours? If we cannot say that, then whose are they?” he said.

Mugabe said he was not a loner, as he had some friends, and that it was through God’s grace and not of his making that he was turning 93. Mugabe said his memory was still as sharp and he could retell stories that happened about 80 years ago.

Both Vice-Presidents Mnangagwa and Phelekezela Mphoko were in attendance.

The Office of the President and Cabinet as well as service chiefs donated an undisclosed amount of money towards Mugabe’s birthday and he is expected to donate that money to the disadvantaged.

Meanwhile, hundreds of Zanu PF youths toyi-toyed in Harare yesterday, claiming they were carrying out a clean-up campaign to celebrate Mugabe’s birthday.

The youths marched from the Harare provincial office up to Zanu PF headquarters, singing and celebrating Mugabe’s birthday, but at intervals they swept the streets.

Zanu PF secretary for youth affairs, Kudzi Chipanga urged youths to take up leadership positions at any level, though warning against unbridled ambition to gun for Mugabe’s post.

“It is clear that the MDC people that were voted into different councils don’t know what they are doing. In 2018, we are taking over. There is nowhere written that you (youths) cannot be councillors or MPs,” he said.

“One position, which is not for contestation, is that of President Mugabe. This is agreed in heaven and on earth that this position is for President Mugabe. Other posts you can contest, but not this one.”

Chipanga said the “clean-up” campaign was meant to show the way to the MDC-T-led councils who are allegedly failing to deliver services in the cities they preside over.

Mugabe ‘anoints’ Grace

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe appears to have anointed his wife, Grace, as his possible successor after describing her as “fireworks” and “well-seasoned now” to withstand the political heat within and outside the ruling Zanu PF party circles.

BY XOLISANI NCUBE

President Robert Mugabe flanked by his son in law cuts a cake to celebrate his 93 years during a suprise birtday party organised by his staff at Munhumutapa building yesterday. Picture by Aaron Ufumeli

President Robert Mugabe flanked by his son in law cuts a cake to celebrate his 93 years during a suprise birtday party organised by his staff at Munhumutapa building yesterday. Picture by Aaron Ufumeli

In a wide-ranging pre-recorded interview with State television ahead of his 93rd birthday yesterday, Mugabe said Grace, who is the Zanu PF women’s league boss, had now mastered the art of absorbing political pressure and criticism, adding she was “very much accepted by the people”.

“The criticism I get is from the opposition. From the party (Zanu PF), well, there have been a few criticisms from (people like war veterans’ leader Christopher) Mutsvangwa and so on and so forth that you know. I saw something quite different in her,” he said.

“They thought she was an ambitious woman, who would want to work herself into a position of power.”

Mugabe said in the past party members implored leaders not to disallow their wives from seeking political positions in the party, saying “we want their wives to lead us”.

“But what we get nowadays, from some quarters, is that leaders’ wives must not participate in politics, why not?”

The President, who in the same interview all but ruled out his deputies from succeeding him, saying there was no one acceptable to take over from him, changed tack, insisting Grace was suitable and had been accepted.

“She is very acceptable, very much accepted by the people. I thought you saw her on television today (Friday) … it’s fireworks, isn’t it?” he said, before breaking into mirth.

“She’s well-seasoned now, she’s a very strong character.”

Grace, who last week resumed her rallies, has declared that none among the current crop of Zanu PF bigwigs is qualified to succeed her husband, which Mugabe seemed to endorse in the interview.

The First Lady has made some bizarre suggestions, saying Mugabe would rule from a wheelchair or from the grave, upping the ante last week, when she said even the President’s corpse would win elections, as there was no one as popular as him.

Some within Zanu PF have accused Mugabe of being behind Grace’s rants.

In the interview, Mugabe also said holding a senior party position or having worked with him for many years in government did not translate to being a potential successor, in remarks widely believed to be aimed at Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who for long had been regarded as his heir apparent after serving as the veteran politician’s confidant for over 52 years.

Mugabe said his successor would only come from the people at an appropriate time.

“Silently, in the majority of the cases, the people must see and be convinced that, yes, so-and-so can be a good successor,” he said.

“Others think because they have been this long in the party or are this in the party, they are capable of succeeding the President. It’s not easy.”

The Zanu PF leader’s remarks are seen as shutting the door on Mnangagwa and could precipitate his removal in the same way his predecessor, Joice Mujuru, was jettisoned.

Mnangagwa is reportedly linked to a faction called Team Lacoste, which wants him to succeed Mugabe, but is facing resistance from the G40 camp, which is said to have Grace’s backing.

Both Mnangagwa and Grace have repeatedly denied leading any factions in Zanu PF or harbouring ambitions to succeed Mugabe.

Mliswa urges opposition parties to contest elections without coalition

NORTON MP, Temba Mliswa yesterday said opposition parties should campaign and contest next year’s general elections without a coalition and use the results to form a broad alliance to defeat President Robert Mugabe in a run-off.

BY PAIDAMOYO MUZULU

“We should form a coalition based on the result of the first round of elections, which will prove the strengths of each party, then have a coalition to win the run-off. The challenge, for now, is to penetrate Zanu PF areas, which Zimbabwe People First has failed to do,” he said.

Mliswa was of the view that the opposition had to win in the Mashonaland provinces, which have remained Zanu PF strongholds.

The independent MP said there was need to woo war veterans and traditional leaders to the side of the opposition to win in politically volatile areas.

“The greatest reform we need is to convince the war veterans to stop the use of violence during elections and traditional leaders to stop coercing people to vote for Zanu PF,” he said.

Mliswa’s remarks come as the opposition is frantically trying to build a coalition ahead of the elections. The talks are reportedly being stalled by personality clashes and differences over who will lead the coalition and the formula of fielding parliamentary candidates.

Mliswa said the formation of the Third Force would not split votes among the opposition parties. The Third Force is a loose organisation of youthful political activists, who are seeking public office as transformation agents.

“The Third Force has always been there. The majority of voters do not belong to any political party. So we need people, who can make them vote and naturally we assume youths will vote for other youths,” he said.

Mliswa also bemoaned the over-reliance on social media by opposition political parties instead of getting on the ground to convince voters.

“Social media is now dictating the politics in this country,” the MP said.

Grace Mugabe’s obnoxious attention-seeking behaviour

I DON’T normally do it. I tend to keep to myself. Nonetheless, I do imbibe the world around me and I understand that there is absolutely nothing wrong with having thoughts about other people, to realise their shortcomings. What I have always avoided, however, is the objectivisation of the other person, which destroys single-minded love. I have always given room for the opportunity for forgiveness and unconditional love. You should know though that I speak out in the anguish of my spirit and in the bitterness of my soul, I complain.

guest column: MUTSA MURENJE

As I am writing this, President Robert Mugabe has turned 93. It’s a pleasant happy 93rd birthday to him. It is rare to see people living to that age. My own mother died aged 40 in 1990. Without any doubt, my mother would have loved to live longer and see her children grow. She would have loved to play with her grandchildren and tell them stories that grandmothers often tell their children’s children. It’s a pity that she never had that opportunity. I don’t blame anyone for this. I believe her purpose had been fulfilled and God saw it fit to have her rest from whatever ailment she was battling. And, I understand that Mugabe believes he can reach 100 years, as if he gives himself long life. There are millions of Zimbabweans who dream to live long. It’s sad that they can only dream and witness the likes of Mugabe living till they are drowsy and inattentive. Such is the cost of dictatorship, the price we are paying for leaving the Mugabes to do as they please with our country and our lives.

I am responding to remarks (identified above as obnoxious attention-seeking behaviour) made by Zimbabwe’s First Lady, Grace Mugabe. She has suggested that her husband is irreplaceable and that in the event that he died, Zimbabweans would enthusiastically and heartily vote for his dead body. I demur that Zimbabweans, in their wisdom or lack of it, will vote for Mugabe’s corpse, or anyone else’s corpse at all. There are nationalists in the mould of Herbert Wiltshire Chitepo, Jason Ziyaphapha Moyo, Alfred Nikita Mangena, Ndabaningi Sithole and Joshua Mqabuko Nyongolo Nkomo, whose contributions to our polity could have seen us towering the continent, both politically and economically. No one has ever suggested that these departed nationalists should appear on our voters’ roll as ghost candidates and voters. This is despite their immense contribution to our well-being as a people. They fought for our independence from colonial rule and they had noble intentions for us. Their contributions to the social, economic, and political development of our country were stalled by Mugabe’s strong desire for wealth, possessions, power, etc than he needed. It is this cupidity that has seen our country’s economic and political affairs becoming the world’s laughing stock.

Many commentators have since pointed out that corpses belong to the graveyard and not State House. Not only does Mugabe’s corpse belong to the graveyard, it also belongs to the dustbins of political history. His role, as Prime Minister (1980-1987) and President (1987-to date) of the Republic of Zimbabwe, has largely been destructive and disastrous. Some cowards in our midst have started preaching that Grace will succeed her husband. I am no expert on the art of government and diplomacy (statecraft), but I can tell you that I don’t foresee a Grace presidency in Zimbabwe, not in a thousand years!

We are not obliged, faute de mieux, to be ruled by the Mugabes forever. Zimbabwe is not a monarchy and there is nothing that suggests that we have reached a point where political power could be transferred from one spouse to the other. The United States might have voted overwhelmingly for Donald Trump, much to our amazement and disappointment. But, that’s in the US. Most African countries keep reminding us that there is no night so long that it doesn’t end with dawn. Democratic elections continue to be held and we are witnessing the consolidation of democratic and good governance practices. Dictators have fallen in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria, Zambia, Ghana, Gambia and Senegal. Dictators are yet to fall in Zimbabwe, Sudan, Angola, etc. Botswana, South Africa, Mozambique, to mention just a few, are some of the countries that have made huge strides in consolidating democratic practices and promoting good governance in Africa. The absence of open conflict in Zimbabwe doesn’t suggest that we are happy with the state of affairs in our country.

Don’t be mistaken, I haven’t been known to be a whiffler. I don’t vacillate when it comes to matters of national importance. Grace is a disgrace to our people, the worst thing to have ever happened to our country. As I see it, those of high birth, powerful social position, etc, have the moral obligation to act with honour, kindliness, generosity, etc. It’s sad, really sad that Grace delights in our suffering. The sorrow of the many has become the joy of the few in Zimbabwe. Thanks to the Mugabes for running down the economy for their own benefit. Mugabe’s procrustean system of governance in Zimbabwe produces conformity by violent or arbitrary means. As a result, exploitation and oppression are the order of the day. Mugabe is answerable to no one, maybe he is answering to his wife because her loquacity and garrulous behaviour indicates she is yearning to take over from him. This is a move that we should all resist. We defeated the colonialists and now the heat should be turned on the Mugabes. We can’t continue as we are doing. Doctors are on strike because they lack the basic needs to make them effectual medical practitioners. They need our support just like every other hardworking Zimbabwean, whose hopes, dreams, and desires have been frustrated by the evil serpent in the form of Mugabe and his wife.

May God help Zimbabwe! The struggle continues unabated!

Mutsa Murenje is a social activist

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