Tag Archives: National

Mugabe the bishop of dictators: Biti

Former Finance minister and People’s Democratic Party leader (PDP), Tendai Biti has said most youth in the country now think it is now normal to be vendors on the streets and to see dilapidated infrastructure at companies such as National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ).

BY SILAS NKALA

Tendai Biti

Tendai Biti

Addressing PDP supporters during Africa Day celebrations in Bulawayo on Thursday, Biti accused President Robert Mugabe of destroying a once-vibrant economy.

He accused Mugabe of plotting to have his wife, Grace, succeed him as President.

“There is a headmaster of dictators. Bishop, papa, Pope of dictators, and he is this old man called Robert Mugabe. He inherited the country when it was the jewel of Africa, the country has turned into a torn pair of trousers,” Biti said.

“People have no jobs, companies are closing, there is no money. This is a country with the largest constituency of lodgers 37 years after independence, they are still called mukomana wekuseri (lodgers).”

He said 37 years after independence, many homes still had no electricity, while 63% of the population use the bush as toilets.

“There is a third generation, which has never been employed and do not know what a payslip is. They think this is normal to sell cigarettes, to sell tomatoes. No, it’s not normal,” Biti said.

He said companies such as NRZ, which used to be engines of economic growth in the country, now had overgrown grass with no meaningful activity taking place there.

“They (youth) think it’s normal that when you go to company premises, you find churches holding services there,” Biti said.

“This is normal to Mugabe and his Zanu PF. What we want to tell you is that another Zimbabwe is possible. All Zimbabweans have the right to enjoy the benefits of independence. What is wrong for one to go to work and get paid? Most of us now think dealing, violence and crime are the only ways to survive.”

He said Zanu PF had taught people to survive on deals, most of them illegal.

Biti said economic revival could not be addressed through clandestine deals.

“The country’s economy must be brought to life through foreign direct investment. We cannot solve the economic problems through the so-called command this command that. Foreign direct investment cannot be achieved when there is a wrong team. PDP will build this economy at the rate of 7% per annum. In our manifesto we will emphasise on that,” he said.

Speaking at the same event, Zapu leader, Dumiso Dabengwa said people were suffering more than they were under the colonial regime.

Dabengwa challenged people, who feel the pain and suffering under this government to come out in numbers to register to vote in 2018, saying staying at home would mean Zanu PF ruling the country forever.

Parly urges students to use condoms

PARLIAMENT has urged students at tertiary institutions to use condoms, provided by the National Aids Council (NAC) to reduce HIV prevalence, even if they disliked them.

By VENERANDA LANGA

condoms

The recommendations were made in the Senate by the Parliamentary Thematic Committee on HIV and Aids led by Lillian Timveos in a recent report on HIV/Aids at institutions of higher learning.

Senators visited different universities to discuss HIV and Aids issues, only to find out that students were shunning condoms distributed by NAC, describing them as “ugly, smelly condoms”.

“Students were unhappy with a particular brand of condom distributed at all institutions visited, these were dubbed ‘panther condoms’, and the condom is given by NAC and other partners, and students reported that they did not like the look or smell of it and, therefore, do not use it,” the committee report read.

“The committee recommends that students should use the condoms until they get the desired ones in order to avoid HIV infection, while institutions of higher learning should spread awareness of the female condom.”

Senators also found out that most tertiary institutions had no capacity to initiate anti-retroviral therapy because they were not registered with NAC, while most were understaffed and under-resourced.

“Information gathered pointed to the fact that most parents do not share any information relating to HIV and Aids with their children,” the report reads.

“There were reports of students who only discovered at college that they were HIV positive, but had been taking ARVs all their lives without knowing what they were being treated for. This exposed the students to re-infection and then infecting others without knowing.”

Hunger, lack of accommodation at colleges, peer pressure and lack of information about HIV/Aids was reportedly fuelling affairs with truck drivers and lecturers at institutions of higher learning resulting in HIV infections.

“At Mkoba Teachers’ College, the officials’ biggest concern was that most students cannot afford food and the college cannot afford to give them free meals,” the report revealed.

“HIV positive students from underprivileged families cannot take medication on empty stomachs. It was heartrending for Senators to listen to tales of how some students survive on maputi (popcorn) while others only managed one meal per day.”

NAC reportedly informed Senators that $500 000 had this year been earmarked for HIV programmes at tertiary institutions for peer education training, awareness campaigns, condom distribution and various activities like sending bulk messages on HIV and sexually transmitted diseases.

Other recommendations by the committee were that truck drivers and artisanal miners should be exposed to HIV and Aids awareness campaigns, as this population was part of the key populations interacting with students.

“Starting from 2018, every tertiary institution should have a clinic. Government should only register institutions of higher learning that have adequate health facilities to cater for the health of students,” the committee said.

Dokora scoffs at critics

PRIMARY and Secondary Education minister Lazurus Dokora has scoffed at critics of his new education curriculum and vowed to soldier on with the programme.

BY Stephen Chadenga

Primary and Secondary Education minister Lazarus Dokora

Primary and Secondary Education minister Lazarus Dokora

Dokora made the remarks during the commissioning of a classroom block at Sarah Bata Senior School in Gweru on Wednesday.

“Some people have been attacking us on social media, asking why (the new curriculum) has been introduced,” he said.

“Even some of our students, who are always on social media, were saying we don’t want the curriculum. But we stay in a country and not on social media platforms and so we are not perturbed, but would carry on with the task.”

Dokora said the curriculum was a product of countrywide consultations with a view to align the education system with international trends, particularly the need to link theory and practical skills.

“Our emphasis should on the acquisition of lifelong and work-related competencies with the learner taking centre stage of the teaching and learning processes. We must offer learning outcomes that are performance-oriented that reflect competencies required for improved prospects for life, work and leisure in a changing environment.”

The minister has been under fire from stakeholders, who argue that the updated curriculum would cause damage to the education sector.

Dokora is no stranger to controversy. In his first year as Education minister in 2013, he caused an uproar countrywide when he banned teachers’ incentives before he introduced the contentious national pledge, followed by the new curriculum and the goats-for-school fees mantra.

‘Mugabe creating family dynasty’

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe has been accused of clandestinely setting up a Mugabe dynasty following the appointment of his daughter, Bona Mugabe-Chikore, to the Censorship Board, with opposition activists saying yesterday the veteran ruler was trying to protect his interests by okaying such an assignment.

by XOLISANI NCUBE

President Robert Mugabe

President Robert Mugabe

The activists argued Bona’s appointment was the first step towards preparing her for a bigger political office and it raised a stink, as it came after the equally contentious appointment of her husband to head Air Zimbabwe.

“This is State capture by the Mugabe dynasty. Bona is slowly being manoeuvred for a State position and office,” MDC-T spokesman, Obert Gutu said.

“If you look at roles, she has lately been playing during government functions and events, she is positioning herself to be a top civil servant in Mugabe’s office. This is illegal.”

Eyebrows were raised when Mugabe, two years ago, included his daughter on a government trip to Japan, where she was allowed to sit by his side during an official meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

“Mugabe does not trust anyone other than his family and he is slowly grooming them for leadership posts,” Gutu continued.

“Basically, he is copying from his role model, the North Korean dynasty, and this ought to be rejected by all right-thinking Zimbabweans.”

More recently, during a State banquet for Lesotho King Letsie III, Bona occupied a top table seat close to Mugabe — a feature Gutu said was undiplomatic and improper for such events.

Although Grace does not occupy any government post, she is reportedly a key figure in making certain government decisions.

Grace has in the past used State machinery to campaign for Zanu PF through rallies, where she has been talking about government policies.

Jacob Ngarivhume of Transform Zimbabwe said Mugabe had personalised Zimbabwe and created jobs for his close relatives, leaving multitudes to suffer.

“This is the most unfortunate thing that has happened to Zimbabwe. A few years ago Mugabe promised the nation 2,2 million jobs, but what we know since then is that people have been losing jobs,” Ngarivhume said.

“Of course, the only job he created is the position for his son-in-law at Air Zimbabwe and he is now appointing his daughter to be a board member of the Censorship Board. That is outrageous, that is disgraceful, that clearly is not what the people of Zimbabwe fought for.

“You don’t empower only one family, a family that is monopolising the nation. If you look at the mess Mrs Mugabe has created, even in their Zanu PF party, that is completely unacceptable and shows that his intentions for Zimbabwe are not good.”

Home Affairs minister Ignatius Chombo on Tuesday announced Bona’s appointment to the Censorship Board, a government arm that regulates the entertainment industry.

“She is a Zimbabwean like you and I and there is nothing wrong with her appointment,” Chombo said.

“Who do you want appointed? She has the same right of being a Zimbabwean like any other person you may think of, so this is nothing.”

Besides Bona, other notable Mugabe close relatives appointed to key government positions include his nephew, Indigenisation minister Patrick Zhuwao, Chikore (Air Zimbabwe chief operating officer), Zimbabwe National Roads Administration board chairperson, Albert Mugabe and Mines minister Walter Chidakwa, among others.

Zanu PF plants spies in MDC-T

ZANU PF has unwittingly exposed how it planted several spies within the top levels of MDC-T structures in an effort to destabilise and weaken the Morgan Tsvangirai-led opposition party.

by BLESSED MHLANGA

MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai

MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai

The ruling party’s Midlands provincial secretary for security, Owen Ncube, exposed the plot last Friday when he reportedly told provincial security leaders that his team had deployed Pearson Mbalekwa to the opposition.

This came up as party leaders were vetting Mbalekwa’s CV ahead of the Chiwundura by-elections, where he had won the right to represent Zanu PF to fill the vacancy left by the recent death of Kizito Chivamba.

Zanu PF national commissar, Saviour Kasukuwere has since blocked the former Zvishavane MP from representing the party arguing he contested the primary elections without the blessing of the ruling party.

Mbalekwa joined the MDC-T and served as Tsvangirai’s security adviser during the coalition government.

“There were attempts to have Mbalekwa disqualified because of his stint at MDC-T, but the meeting, which was chaired by (Daniel Mackenzie) Ncube, thwarted the attempts,” said a source, who attended the meeting.

“Ncube told the meeting Mbalekwa was a Zanu PF asset in the MDC-T and he had shared information with his team, leading to the overwhelming victory for the ruling party in 2013.”

Mbalekwa, a former Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) operative, quit the opposition in 2013 following the party’s third successive electoral loss to Zanu PF.

Mbalekwa denied being a Zanu PF spy, but could not explain why rejoined Zanu PF and was already being allowed to stand in elections.

“Let people say what they want to say. I was in the MDC for six years and stayed out of politics for two years. If they want to say I was a spy, it’s up to them,” he told NewsDay.

Zanu PF spokesperson, Simon Khaya Moyo also dismissed allegations that his party had planted spies in other political parties.

“They have their own problems and they want to blame those on us. They should stop being cry-babies and leave Zanu PF out of their internal squabbles,” he said.

Mbalekwa said he would be contesting the 2018 general elections on a Zanu PF ticket after he withdrew his candidacy for the Chiwundura by-election for “personal” reasons. Provincial spokesperson, Cornelius Mupereri said: “He was readmitted in the party two years ago and due process was followed. The matter was discussed at the PCC (provincial co-ordinating committee) and he has been in Zanu PF like anybody else. He won the primary elections resoundingly.”

MDC-T has claimed on several occasions that Zanu PF spies had infiltrated its rank and file and have been central in engineering splits within the party.

Party spokesperson, Obert Gutu, said the MDC-T was now cleverer after realising that Zanu PF was deploying State security agents to destroy the party.

“We know that there is a counter intelligence desk at the CIO working overtime to infiltrate and break the MDC from within, but that will not work, we are a people’s project and you can’t break the people. Once bitten, twice shy,” he said.

Opposition scoffs at Mnangagwa jobs claim

VICE-PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa’s claims that the government had created more than 2,2 million jobs are an insult to millions of unemployed people roaming the country’s streets, opposition parties have said.

BY STAFF REPORTER

Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa

Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa

MDC-T youth leader, Happymore Chidziva said unless the government had reduced itself to counting vending as formal jobs, then Mnangagwa could be right.

“Just walk the streets of Harare, in First Street, the levels of unemployment will look you straight in the eye,” he said.

“Vending is not employment, it is the height of unemployment.”

Chidziva said Mnangagwa’s statements showed why the party should be booted out of office in the 2018 general elections.

People’s Democratic Party (PDP) said Mnangagwa’s statement could have been a slip of the tongue.

“He must have wanted to say we lost more than 2,2 million jobs because, knowing him as a sober lawyer, he would not intentionally lie to the people of Zimbabwe,” PDP spokesperson, Jacob Mafume said.

Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions secretary-general, Japhet Moyo dismissed the claims, saying only 6% of Zimbabweans had jobs.

“We have seen people losing jobs and most companies have now resorted to putting workers on fixed contracts. The VP cannot be right by any stretch of imagination, unless he thinks vending is a job,” he said.

ZCTU said industry has been slowly dying, as the economy continued to contract and jobs were being lost daily.

Mnangagwa said the government had surpassed the 2,2 million job creation target, which was the main campaign promise by Zanu PF as it won the 2013 elections.

Stage set for violent 2018 campaign

OPPOSITION parties yesterday predicted a bloody run-up to the 2018 election judging by the high levels of violence and intolerance already exhibited by rival Zanu PF camps since the beginning of this year, with the latest incident recorded in Bulawayo at the weekend.

BY OBEY MANAYITI/XOLISANI NCUBE/NQOBANI NDLOVU

Zanu PF commissar Saviour Kasukuwere

Zanu PF commissar Saviour Kasukuwere

Similar bloody clashes occurred at the ruling party’s provincial headquarters in Harare last month, leaving several activists injured in the melee.

In separate interviews with NewsDay following Sunday’s skirmishes — which saw two Zanu PF youths seriously injured in
intra-party clashes in Bulawayo — opposition officials accused the ruling party of setting the stage for a bloody campaign and in the process poisoning the electoral environment ahead of next year’s general elections.

“Zanu PF is and has always been a violent political party. We are not at all surprised by the intra-party violence that took place amongst Zanu PF supporters in Bulawayo at the weekend. Violence is part and parcel of the Zanu PF political DNA,” MDC-T spokesperson Obert Gutu said.

“If they are this savagely violent amongst themselves, then you can just imagine how violent they are towards members of other competing political parties.

“Already, these Zanu PF political thugs and hoodlums are setting the stage for an extremely violent election campaign in 2018. There will be blood on the floor. This is one of the major reasons why, as the MDC, we have always been advocating for a non-violent and peaceful political discourse in this country.”

MDC spokesperson Kurauone Chihwayi said: “(President Robert) Mugabe is now being mauled by the violence that he brewed many years ago.

Violence is now a permanent feature in Zanu PF. Violence is usually found in political institutions that are in a high state of decomposition like Zanu PF. The hungry crocodiles are now eating each other.”

Transform Zimbabwe leader Jacob Ngarivhume said: “Mugabe and Zanu PF have always been violent. The latest developments show that they are setting the tone for violence in the upcoming watershed elections.

“Zimbabweans need to rise up now and resist this kind of behaviour. It’s unacceptable and we must stand up to this.”

Activist Farai Maguwu said the country was now in a transitional phase starting in Zanu PF.

“Since formation, Zanu PF has always settled its internal squabbles through violence or expulsion. The Bulawayo skirmishes are only the beginning and a season of long knives is fast approaching as it becomes clear a new leader has to be found given Mugabe’s ripe old age,” he said.

“Next year is likely going to be marred by both intra-party and inter-party violence.”

The Bulawayo violence was allegedly triggered by a faction campaigning for the ouster of Zanu PF political commissar Saviour Kasukuwere.

Violence broke out when the anti-Kasukuwere activists attempted to disrupt a provincial co-ordinating committee meeting, claiming the gathering was illegal.

The group targeted provincial chairperson Dennis Ndlovu, whom they labelled as Kasukuwere’s proxy, saying he had blocked attempts to join other provinces in passing a vote of no-confidence against the under-fire party commissar.

But Ndlovu remained defiant yesterday, saying he would not be pushed out of the party by “drunk mafias”.

“It’s politics. It will soon pass, I mean these power struggles,” he said.

“Sometimes people kill each other over such power struggles, but we are glad it has not come to that. We will talk to the aggrieved and hear their concerns.

“What we have noticed though is that these are the very same people who are given money and beer to come and cause chaos. It’s terrible.”

Zanu PF spokesperson Simon Khaya Moyo condemned the clashes and said a detailed report of the skirmishes would be tabled at the politburo’s next meeting to ensure the perpetrators were brought to book.

“We will come hard on those people responsible for that (violence). We don’t care who is involved in that,” he said.

“We have asked for a report, which will be tabled in the politburo. People should not use party processes to settle their own scores.

“The President does not support anyone who is violent, surely we will deal with that. Even if the person involved is from up there, the party has mechanisms to deal with violence.

“It tarnishes the image of the party. People should learn to discuss issues and not resort to violence. Yes, we can disagree, but not use violence. They will face the full wrath of the law.”

But, war veterans’ leader Chris Mutsvangwa claimed the clashes were the dirty works of the G40 faction.

“G40 is the problem. Putchist G40 has been nefariously seeking a Nazi-type power grab and the rank and file membership isn’t buying that,” he said.

Mugabe blocks rand adoption

FORMER Finance minister Tendai Biti has disclosed that President Robert Mugabe in 2010 blocked the use of the South African rand as the official currency, possibly for fear of being politically subservient to his South African counterpart, Jacob Zuma.

BY TATIRA ZWINOIRA

President Robert Mugabe

President Robert Mugabe

Addressing a financial markets conference in Harare yesterday, Biti said Mugabe rejected proposals to adopt the rand way back in July 2010, arguing: “Why should we use another person’s currency?”

Ironically, this was at a time Zimbabwe was already using the United States dollar and a basket of other currencies, including the South African rand.

“So I went to my principal on July 10, 2010, Mugabe, and said (I used to call him sekuru) ‘Sekuru (grandpa), I think this (rand adoption) is a good idea’, (we used to be good friends) but nationalism came in the way,” Biti revealed.

“The simple question from him was: ‘Why should we use another person’s currency?’ And I said but the United States dollar is another person’s currency and nationalism just came in the way.

“Part of our problem is that we have to understand the importance of transitioning from certain values. Nationalism liberated us, but it was never designed to run economies.”

Biti, who now leads the opposition People’s Democratic Party, was responding to comments by economist and scholar Ashok Chakravarti, who had questioned why the rand was not being adopted as the main currency to solve the country’s current cash shortages, amid reports that less than $250 million was currently in circulation.

Zimbabwe has been using a basket of nine currencies since 2009 to stem hyperinflation, with the US dollar being the main currency.

Biti’s disclosures somehow vindicate Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa and Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor John Mangudya, who both have been accused by analysts and currency watchers of frustrating the use of the rand.

In an interview with State broadcaster ZBC on the eve of his 93rd birthday in February, Mugabe claimed he had no idea why Zimbabweans were not using the rand.

“I don’t know why the Ministry of Finance, together with the RBZ, have not wanted to use other currencies. I have asked actually again and again kuti (that) why not euros, why not have yuan … why not have the rand alongside the dollar?

“At least, if we had the euro, I don’t think we have sanctions on the euro, but the euro is slightly more expensive than the dollar, but the difference is minimal,” he mused then.

Zimbabwe has been battling a cash crisis with analysts and business advocating the use of the rand to ease the shortages.

But Mangudya has been adamant that the rand will not be adopted as the main currency.

Mujuru dates Chitungwiza

National People’s Party (NPP) leader Joice Mujuru will tomorrow address her maiden rally in Chitungwiza, where she is expected to touch on a wide range of issues that include coalition with other opposition parties.

By Everson Mushava

National People’s Party leader Joice Mujuru

National People’s Party leader Joice Mujuru

Mujuru will be dating Chitungwiza for the first time since she entered into opposition politics, first as leader of the Zimbabwe People First, before she rebranded to NPP after a fallout with party founding elders Rugare Gumbo and Didymus Mutasa.

Mujuru addressed her first rally as NPP leader in Gutu recently and will be at Chitungwiza’s Macheka Grounds in St Mary’s tomorrow as she rolls out a series of rallies across the country in the coming weeks.

Her spokesperson Gift Nyandoro yesterday said she would take the opportunity to tell Zimbabweans how NPP would work with them in solving a range of socio-economic and political problems facing the country once the party was elected in power.

“She will also touch on a number of issues regarding the signing of the MoU [memorandum of understanding] with MDC-T so that our membership is kept apprised of the direction of the revolution and state of the coalition process given that our president is the head of Nera’s [National Electoral Reform Agenda] political committee,” he said.

Mujuru’s party touched off a storm at the Gutu rally when party vice-president-designate Samuel Sipepa Nkomo rubbished coalition talks with the Morgan Tsvangirai led-MDC-T in the event Mujuru was not made leader of the alliance.

The former VP signed the MoU with MDC-T at Tsvangirai’s Highlands mansion last month, which analysts claimed signified her endorsement of the former labour unionist as the face of the coalition.

Nyandoro added Mujuru would also urge the youth to register to vote for the 2018 elections.

“As a party, we have also made invitations to a number of progressive opposition parties for Saturday’s rally in Chitungwiza,” he said.

“We have done that in line with the spirit of seeking to make the spirit of grand coalition practical and having regard to the fact that Dr Mujuru is the head of Nera’s political committee. She wants to lead by example and not mere talking.”

NPP Harare provincial spokesperson Clive Mandizha said the Chitungwiza rally would give potential voters an opportunity to meet Mujuru.

“It is going to be our first rally in Chitungwiza and I urge all the people suffering years of frustration under the Zanu PF regime to come in their numbers. She will touch on several policy issues and development,” he said.

ZCTU threatens legal action against Mupfumira

THE Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) has threatened to take legal action against Public Service, Labour, and Social Welfare minister Priscah Mupfumira following her removal of its president Peter Mutasa from the National Social Security Authority (NSSA) board.

by XOLISANI NCUBE

Prisca Mupfumira

Prisca Mupfumira

The labour body gave Mupfumira seven days to reverse the firing of Mutasa. Mupfumira fired Mutasa from the board last week accusing him of leaking confidential information to the media.

“If we fail to hear from you, kindly note that we will petition the High Court to nullify your decision. Furthermore, we will be filing a complaint to the International Labour Organisation against the government of Zimbabwe for violating its Constitution and the principles of freedom of association to which Zimbabwe is party,” ZCTU secretary-general Japhet Moyo in a letter to Mupfumira on Monday.

Moyo yesterday said the minister had no right to remove Mutasa from the social fund board as he did not represent the interests of government, but of the workers who contribute towards the scheme.

“Let us assume there are allegations against Cde Mutasa, the law and natural justice provides that he must be given an opportunity to defend himself, but the minister did all this without consulting the workers who are the owners of the fund,” Moyo said.

“The NSSA board and government must appreciate that it is there because of workers and pensioners who contribute or contributed something, hence, all their dealings must be open to the stakeholders. As workers, we are happy with the work Cde Mutasa has been doing.”

NSSA is a statutory body established in 1989 with a mandate to administer social security public funds on behalf of about 1,3 million contributors.

NSSA administers two schemes: Pension and Other Benefits Scheme and Accident Prevention and Workers’ Compensation Scheme.

The NSSA board is currently chaired by Robin Vela, and has representatives from business and workers as contributing partners.

Although the official reason being given for Mutasa’s ouster is that of leaking information to the media, he is said to be at loggerheads with the NSSA board over some of the authority’s investment decisions, particularly the acquisition of mobile operator Telecel Zimbabwe.

NSSA provided $30 million towards the purchase of a 60% stake in Telecel Zimbabwe from Dutch-based VimpelCom.

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