As Zanu PF factions destroy each other, the military will have a huge say as to who would take over from President Mugabe.


As Zanu PF factions destroy each other, the military will have a huge say as to who would take over from President Mugabe.


He is a controversial prophet who continues to draw large crowds with his promise of miracles. But as his popularity soars he faces all sorts of allegations. So far he has survived.


Two secretary generals tried to topple him but failed. His wife walked out but returned home. Now MDC leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, is plotting his way to State House.


Latest news, entertainment and sports.

Saturday, 6 February 2016


A COUPLE allegedly fleeing unrest in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has been arrested with its eight minor children, one of them aged one year.
The eldest child is aged 14 years old. Kasambule Ebondo, 40, and wife Mumba Kayeye, 32, of Lubumbashi, told Victoria Falls magistrate

Rangarai Gakanje that they escaped from their country last week and chose to come to Zimbabwe to seek refuge. Prosecutors charged the couple with illegally entering the country.

The minors could be seen playing outside the courtroom while their parents were being tried. Ebondo and Kayeye pleaded guilty to the charge and were sentenced to four months in prison which was wholly suspended for five years on condition they don’t commit a similar offence within that period.

The magistrate also ordered that they be deported. “You should have sought to have travel documents before thinking of travelling instead of entering the country illegally,” said Gakanje.

Ebondo burst into tears as he explained to the court why he and his family fled the DRC.
“There is unrest in our country where people are being killed on a daily basis. We fear for our lives and that of our children because some of our relatives were axed to death recently. We will be having elections soon and that is what is sparking political disputes. We didn’t get a chance to obtain any travelling documents because of the unrest,” he said.

Prosecuting, Listen Nare told the court that the couple illegally crossed into the country from Zambia on Tuesday.

“The accused proceeded to Chinotimba suburb to seek refuge. Police detectives received information that there were illegal immigrants in the country. At around 4AM police found the eight children sleeping outside a shop,” the prosecutor said.

The court heard that when they were questioned, it was discovered that they were Congolese citizens who illegally entered the country. Ebondo and Kayeye failed to produce their travelling documents leading to their immediate arrest.


Government is not obliged to consult anyone when taking measures on civil servants’ conditions of service and has discretion to withdraw vacation leave and reset it for another day.

Any civil servant aggrieved by lawful directives should follow the “grievance procedure” as provided for by the Public Service Commission regulations, the Government said.
This emerged in a case in which the Zimbabwe Teachers Association took Government to court challenging the deferment of vacation leave for all teachers.

The union, together with two of its members Samson Chinowoneka and Axilia Musekiwa, made an urgent chamber application at the Labour Court seeking to stop their recall from vacation leave this school term.

The educators argued that the move by Government was unfair labour practice and unlawful, as it violated labour rights enshrined in Section 65 of the Constitution.
They cited the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education, the Ministry’s permanent secretary, the Civil Service Commission and the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare as respondents.

Labour Court judge Justice Bridget Chivizhe this week declared the matter was not urgent and should be set on the ordinary roll.

In its response to the court papers filed by the union, Government, through the Public Service Commission, said the decision to scrap vacation leave for teachers was justified and it was guided by Section 58 of the PSC regulations which allowed for the heads of Ministry to suspend the operations of a working rule.

In any case, the PSC argued, there was no provision that made it mandatory for them to consult members before deferring the vacation leave.

The Commission said the teachers were not denied their leave, but had “simply” been recalled until a proper policy had been adopted.

“Section 20 (2) of the Public Service Act clearly states that conditions of service fixed shall not be invalid solely on the ground that there were no consultations done prior to the fixing of such,” read the PSC response.

“There is no provision that stipulates that the respondents must give the applicant an opportunity to be heard before the decision could be taken. There has not been any violation of labour rights. The applicants failed to realise that in as much as leave is a right, the employer reserves the right to call one from leave in times of a crisis in this case.”
In their application, the teachers said they would suffer “material economic harm” of reporting to work urgently against their plans and those of their families, including travelling expenses.

They argued that they would suffer irreparably as their vacation leave had a school term’s duration which could only be applied for after seven years’ service of accrual of such leave days.

Responded the PSC: “There is no reasonable economic harm that can be suffered by the applicant in the matter. In any event, most members have reported for duty and its business as usual without any prejudice suffered.

“Vacation days for the applicants have not been forfeited and could be then used after a sustainable policy has been passed. The vacation days have no limit on accrual, but only that there is a maximum cap on the number of days one takes for their vacation leave. In essence, the members’ days will continue to accrue beyond 132 days.”

The PSC said the decision to delay commencement of vacation leave was a measure adopted to address current fiscal constraints.

This school term, 2 000 teachers wanted to go on vacation leave and it meant Government engaging a similar number of relief educators at a cost of $2,5 million for the three months substantive teachers would be away.

The relief teachers draw full salaries and allowances, a habit which a Government audit carried out last year recommended should be stopped.

The rest of the civil service, outside the education sector, do not bring any financial burden to Government if they go on vacation leave because they are not replaced.


WAR veterans are demanding allowances above the poverty datum line (PDL), which currently stands at around $500.

Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association (ZNLWVA) secretary-general Victor Matemadanda told a local radio station this week that the ex-freedom fighters were, however, cognisant of the country’s precarious financial position.

“We were paid a gratuity already unless if you say an increment. The war veteran that was there in 1980 is not the war veteran you are talking to today,” he said.

 We know the country’s financial position and will not make unnecessary demands. We would want to have an allowance that is at least on the poverty datum line or above, because what we have is far below, but we understand that the current situation may not allow for an adjustment.”

He added: “But should the situation improve, yes, we would want to see that allowance increased to a reasonable level. We have war veterans who are disabled and cannot fend for themselves. However, we will not be blind to the prevailing economic conditions in as much as we might want these things”.

In Bulawayo, War Veterans ministry secretary Walter Tapfumaneyi told participants at a Centre for Applied Legal Resources-organised workshop on re-alignment of laws that the department’s “coffers are dry”.

Tapfumaneyi said lack of funding had resulted in programmes such as the on-going vetting process of war collaborators being hampered.

“The ministry’s coffers are dry and are absolutely not in relationship with our plan for the year ahead. We are expected to perform as a ministry and if we do not, then we can be sent to the village, but we can only perform when we have resources. At the moment, war veterans are suffering. If you go to the street and see a person who is suffering, it’s a war vet, but the State is unable to take care of us,” he said.

“We are saying that we want mining claims or land as our benefits, but what we see in practice is different. We talk to the ministers daily on this,” he said, adding the War Vets ministry required no less than $300 million for its programmes.

Tapfumaneyi said Zimbabwe has at least 34 053 former fighters, who have 33 441 children requiring school fees as well as about 9 558 widows “bringing the total number of beneficiaries under the allocation of War Veterans Fund to 77 052”.

He added that an estimated 200 000 war collaborators were set to be vetted with 47 000 widows and 400 000 children.

Treasury, according to Tapfumaneyi, recently released $6 million towards war veterans’ children school fees, but said this was “only 7% of the budget”.

President Robert Mugabe’s government doled out unbudgeted millions at the turn of the century as gratuities to the former fighters, that critics argue led to the current economic mess. newsday


MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai has revealed that many diplomats were of the view that Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa is a pragmatist and reformist who can take the country forward if he succeeds President Robert Mugabe.

But Tsvangirai told journalists in Harare yesterday that Mnangagwa’s statements supporting the barring of the United Nations from monitoring elections could be confirmation he was a hardliner.

“I was with one of the ambassadors who was talking about Mnangagwa being a pragmatist, but I said he is a pragmatist on other issues, but a hardliner on issues of governance and democracy,” he said.

“Mnangagwa’s statement confirms that he is a hardliner, he has always been and not the reformist and pragmatist that some in the diplomatic community have begun to think he is.”

Although the former Premier did not divulge the names of the diplomats who now have confidence in Mnangagwa, sources said the Chinese and Western countries were now preparing for a possible Mnangagwa-led Zimbabwe government.

Tsvangirai also said Mugabe was serious when he told last week’s African Union (AU) Summit in Ethiopia that he would die in office.

“We in the MDC have no intention to join in their debate as the man declared at the recent AU summit that he will die in office. So we all know that instead of fighting for succession, let’s wait until he dies,” Tsvangirai said.

“That’s what he said. He said I am going to die in office, it’s no longer a secret, it’s no longer speculation, he has made a declaration.”

Asked why his party would participate in elections after Mugabe’s declaration, Tsvangirai said: “Our issue is not whether he is dead or alive, but having conditions for free and fair elections. That’s our yardstick. I don’t believe it’s fair to wish someone to die.

“People think things will be well if Mugabe dies, but it is a system and that is what we need to transform or we have more of the same whether it’s Mnangagwa or (former Vice-President Joice) Mujuru.”

Tsvangirai said currently there were no talks of a coalition with Mujuru as she was yet to form a party. newsday


PROSECUTORS have charged a 19-year-old domestic worker with aggravated indecent assault after she allegedly forced her boss’ 14-year-old son to have sex with her.

The boy’s elder sister allegedly caught the two having sex in their parents’ bedroom hut.
Lindiwe Kahila, from Chief Mvuthu area outside Victoria Falls town, was not asked to plead to the charge when she appeared before Victoria Falls magistrate Rangarirai Gakanje yesterday.

Kahila was remanded in custody to February 15 when her case is set to be transferred to Hwange Regional Court.

Prosecuting, Takunda Ndovorwi said the alleged crime was committed on January 13 at the boy’s parents’ homestead where Kahila was employed.

“The accused invited the 14-year-old boy to sleep on the same blankets with her and covered him with a blanket.

“Kahila removed her clothes and became completely naked before she went on to unzip the complainant’s trousers,” the prosecutor said.

The court heard that Kahila ordered the Form One boy to lie on top of her and then had sex with him. Kahila grabbed the complainant’s privates and inserted his manhood into her privates.

“She ordered the boy to make some movements while on top of her and as a result she had sexual intercourse with the minor without his consent,” Ndovorwi said.

The two were busted by the boy’s sister who responded to sounds emanating from the bedroom hut and found the two having sexual intercourse. Upon questioning, the juvenile told his sister that Kahila forced herself on him leading to her arrest.

The boy was taken to hospital where he was examined.

Friday, 5 February 2016


Premier Service Medical Investments (PSMI) has disbanded its 13 subsidiaries, which will now operate under the parent company in four divisions, in a move meant to prevent the ballooning of debts and save at least $2 million per month.

The four new divisions for the firm are hospitals division, healthcare division, retail division and diagnostics division. Premier Service Clinical Laboratories and Premier Service Radiology will now be under the diagnostics division, Premier Service Dentals Clinics, Premier Service Medical Healthcare and Premier Rehabilitation Service under the healthcare division, while Premier Optometry Services and Premier Service Pharmaceuticals will be under the retail division

Premier Service West End Hospitals, Premier Service Shashi Hospital, Premier Service Hillside Hospital, Premier Service Chiredzi Hospital, Parkview Haemodialysis which is part of Parkview Hospital and EMRAS Ambulances will be under the hospitals division.

“Premier Service Medical Investments (PSMI) was previously operating with 13 companies, which resulted in operational and service inefficiencies manifesting as high cost structures and failure to optimise on internal synergies,” said PSMI director corporate services Mr Victor Chaipa in a statement yesterday.

“These inefficiencies impacted negatively on the organisation’s operations. PSMI wishes to inform its stakeholders and members of the public that it is undergoing organisational and processes redesign, which resulted in the merging of its 13 companies into one company with divisions under it.”
Mr Chaipa revealed that the processes would also result in a reduction of operational costs and save the company millions.

“It is anticipated that the realigning and re-organisation of PSMI will save the company more than $2 million monthly and these resources will be channelled towards improving service to the patients,” he said.

Mr Chaipa said the restructuring exercise would ensure that exorbitant salaries were cut across the board to reduce the organisation’s wage bill.

“During the re-organisation process and to achieve maximum benefit, PSMI decided to restructure salaries for all employees, including management and all legal processes were followed,” he said.

“The works council, which represents both management and general staff, agreed to the exercise and fully endorsed the salary restructuring process as a way to preserve jobs and improve our cash flows.”

Mr Chaipa bemoaned failure by its medical funders to pay providers in time.
“It should be noted that medical funders are failing to pay providers on time, so, cash flows have gone down by more than 50 percent, resulting in the company streamlining all cost structures to align with the obtaining cash flow trends,” he said.

“In the same vein, PSMI has instituted other measures to improve cash flows, including introducing a marginal co-payment to members of medical funders defaulting on payments to PSMI.”

“This will result in improvement in service by way of making sure drugs and consumables are available at all times. These measures and the restructuring exercise have been put in place to make sure PSMI does not retrench workers, like what most companies in the country have and continue to do.”

Mr Chaipa said patients should expect a huge and sustainable improvement in service provision, which would compare favourably with other private sector healthcare service providers in the country.

PSMI is a subsidiary of Premier Service Medical Aid Society, which is putting its house in order after alleged mismanagement by previous managers. herald


Zimbabwe People’s Front political party leader Owen Kuchata, who was arrested while trying to petrol-bomb the First Family’s Alpha Omega Dairy farm in Mazowe, yesterday admitted that he indeed wanted to bomb the dairy, and that it was his idea to commit the offence.

Kuchata (34), who does not have legal representation, is jointly charged with Borman Ngwenya (30) on charges of insurgency, sabotage banditry or terrorism.

Their other accomplices Solomon Makumbe (29) and Silas Pfupa (37) were discharged on the charges at the behest of Prosecutor General Johannes Tomana, but are jointly charged with treason emanating from their actions.

Tomana has since been arrested for acting unlawfully by releasing the duo and is on $1 000 bail with stringent conditions. Kuchata is facing an additional charge of money laundering for terrorism purposes.

He appeared before regional magistrate Mr Hoseah Mujaya for plea recording yesterday and pleaded guilty to trying to petrol-bomb the First Family’s dairy.

Mr Mujaya asked if he had the right to do so and Kuchata in response said, “Since I am representing the rights of other Zimbabweans, I had the right to bomb his private property because Robert Mugabe is causing disorder and problems in this country.”
He said he is the one who gave Ngwenya $36 to purchase the materials for making the petrol bombs.

Kuchata later excepted to the charge of terrorism, arguing that Alpha Omega Dairy was not a Government property, but President Mugabe’s private property, hence the terrorism charge did not stick.
“Your Worship, I have a question, ‘Is Gushungo Dairy the property of the Government of Zimbabwe or the property of Robert Mugabe as an individual?’” he asked.
Prosecutor Mr Michael Reza maintained that terrorism charges were appropriate, saying the attack was not targeted at the dairy as an outfit, but at the office of the Presidency of Zimbabwe.

Kuchata said if that was the case then he was denying the charges and this prompted Mr Mujaya to change the plea to not guilty. His trial date has been set for February 24. Kuchata and his alleged accomplices Ngwenya, Makumbe and Pfupa are facing another serious charge of treason after further investigations revealed that they sought to overthrow the Government through unconstitutional means.

Treason charges emerged after it was discovered that the quartet established a militia training base in Mapinga, Mashonaland West, where they planned to commit terror acts, sabotage and banditry.

It is alleged that they proceeded to President Mugabe’s rural home in Zvimba where they carried investigations identifying suitable vulnerable points to sabotage.

On the terrorism charge, Makumbe and Pfupa were released before plea under the instructions of Tomana who is said to have unilaterally suggested that the two be treated as witnesses.
It is alleged that last week police received a tip-off that Kuchata, Ngwenya, Makumbe and Pfupa were planning to bomb Alpha Omega Dairy’s processing plant and tuck shop during the night.

The dairy’s processing plant and tuck shop are located at Gushungo Dairy Estate, Jumbo Road in Mazowe. Acting on the tip-off, the police proceeded to the farm and laid an ambush about 100 metres from the quartet’s target.

Around 10pm, the detectives saw the men approaching the dairy’s processing plant and immediately arrested them. They searched them and recovered four Molotov cocktails (bombs) made of petrol, ammonium nitrate, nails and sand in 750 millilitres Chateau brand empty bottles. herald


Zimbabwe has stepped up the fight against corruption, with stakeholders in the justice delivery system launching an anti-corruption green card that will be distributed to the public to promote the culture of whistle-blowing.

 The card was launched at the anti-corruption campaign dubbed “Against Corruption Together” in Harare yesterday.

Officiating at the event, Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa — who oversees the Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Ministry — castigated corrupt legal officials, saying not a single day passes without him receiving complaints against them.

“This difficulty stems from the numerous complaints that are lodged at my office against your offices regarding allegations of corruption.

“Not even a day passes without receiving one or two complaints against members of the legal profession, the bench particularly at the lower courts, the sheriffs and even the Messengers of Court.”

VP Mnangagwa urged the legal profession to stand up and share the responsibility of combating corruption.
“Corruption will be hard to beat and could even become more widespread if the legal profession maintains a business as usual mindset towards it. Corruption is not just a character problem or wrong behaviour, but it is both an economic crime and crime against humanity,” he said.

He said the launch was a turning point and also urged the media to play a key role in creating a culture of hatred against corruption in the society.

“Corruption can be fought off when all of the players and stakeholders share the same commitment. Without such concerted efforts, we will not be able to eradicate the contagious disease of corruption,” the VP said.

The card is inscribed “O % NO CORRUPTION” and has contact numbers of eight stakeholders namely, Attorney General’s Office, Judicial Service Commission, Law Society of Zimbabwe and Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs.

Also involved is the National Prosecuting Authority, Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission, Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services and the Zimbabwe Republic Police.
Judicial Service Commission acting secretary, Justice Rita Makarau said the public can access the cards from the stakeholders’ offices or at courts of law country wide.

If asked for a bribe, a member of the public will flash the card on the perpetrator’s face before calling the numbers provided.

Justice Makarau said it was everyone’s responsibility to fight corruption adding that justice was for free and no one should pay for it.

Speaking at the same occasion, Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku urged members of the public to shun corruption.

He said the public should report all incidents of corruption and avoid participating in bribery issues.

“In my view, certainty of detection and arrest for corruption will go a long way in curbing corruption. If every person who wishes to commit the crime of corruption were convinced that the chances of detection and arrest are nine out 10, the probabilities are that he or she will step back or think twice before going ahead in committing the offence. In this regard we are looking up to the police and members of the public generally to provide leadership in assuring that this is achieved,” he said. herald


ZANU-PF national political commissar Cde Saviour Kasukuwere yesterday said Zanu-PF had no time discussing social media issues in its Politburo meetings, accusing the media of trying to craft the agenda for the ruling party.

 Speaking to journalists after meeting the party’s provincial chairpersons and some members of its affiliate organisations in Harare yesterday, Cde Kasukuwere said Zanu-PF had serious issues to discuss.

His remarks differ from party spokesperson Cde Simon Khaya Moyo’s assertion that the abuse of social media by some party members was cause for concern and might be up for discussion at the Politburo meeting set for next Wednesday.

Organs of the party such as the Youth League have also expressed grave concern over the abuse of social media, while the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association, which is an affiliate organisation, also registered displeasure on the same issue with the police weighing saying social .

The concerns came in the wake of frenzied tweeting by Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Minister Professor Jonathan Moyo, who has been attacking fellow Zanu-PF members on social media.

Said Cde Kasukuwere: “I am actually surprised that you make social media an issue. It’s not an issue and we hear you telling us about the Zanu-PF Politburo agenda. You think we meet here to talk about WhatsApp?

“We meet here to discuss serious business, so stop dragging us into your small issues of the social media. We have much more serious work to do. We have much more serious things to worry about. That kind of directionlessness will not be part of what Zanu-PF stands for.

“We are surprised that you have already crafted an agenda for the Politburo when it meets. That agenda is approved by His Excellency and the secretary for administration. They are the ones who work on what the party will discuss and I want to say please no to agenda setting.
“We don’t discuss what you want us to discuss. We discuss issues that affect the generality of our party membership and how to assist the people of Zimbabwe.”
Cde Kasukuwere said social media was not an issue to the party.

“I want to say to the Press please, please don’t misquote us and don’t turn around and make social media an issue,” he said. “It’s not an issue for us here. If it is an issue to you, let it be to you, but for Zanu-PF we are clear on what we stand for.”

When asked that President Mugabe in his official capacity as the First Secretary of Zanu-PF once implored party members from abusing social media, Cde Kasukuwere interjected and said: “Don’t create problems to say Kasukuwere has gone against ah, ah no, no, please I have said don’t agenda set for the party.

“Please let the party do its work. If we are to discuss anything of that nature, can’t you allow us to discuss it quietly in our confines as a party?

“Why does it have to be the President said this, the President said this. Aah, aah, please when the President speaks we all listen to him, but don’t then go overboard and try and blow things out of proportion. The party is intact.”

Without elaborating, Cde Kasukuwere said in a few days there would be some action to show support and loyalty to President Mugabe.

Cde Kasukuwere said the party was ready for the 2018 elections and next week the commissariat department would be meeting provincial structures, starting with Matabeleland South.

He said he was not happy with the kind of reportage coming from the public media.
“We want to call upon our State-owned newspapers to help build the party,” he said. ‘’Like I said, let us not allow individual desires to become national desires. We have a country, we have a party, we have a leadership.

“I am appealing to the Press, please tone down the volume. We are not excited at all with the amount of noise that continues to occupy the front pages of this country. We deserve better news. We deserve better stories that unite, develop and move our nation forward. We are making a genuine appeal to all the leadership in the media that let us build our nation.”

Cde Kasukuwere said the party leadership should disseminate developmental information on Zim-Asset and how the party and Government were dealing with challenges confronting the country. herald


Pyschomotor Activities in Education and Vocational Training Minister Josaya Hungwe yesterday challenged schools and other learning institutions to seriously shift towards the development of practical skills.

He said such a shift would produce graduates capable of helping the nation to achieve its Zim-Asset goals. Minister Hungwe was speaking at Maringire Primary School in Chivi during the commissioning of an administration block that was refurbished by the district’s council chairman Councillor Killer Zivhu.

He said excellence in theoretical education only would not take the country forward and Government wanted to promote the teaching of practical skills in schools.

“At this moment in time, in the history of our country, we want people that we call “doers’’ who make things happen through their active participation to achieve the desired results,” said Minister Hungwe.

“We need a new breed of graduates who are equipped with practical skills and are able to do something on their own using their hands, feet or minds. We do not need people who are only good at theory, but cannot do anything that will take our country forward.”
Minister Hungwe paid tribute to Clr Zivhu for his spirited commitment to transforming the socio-economic face of Chivi District and beyond, through massive investments in the development of education and upgrading the living standards of ordinary people.

‘’He is a true hero and champion of development not only for the people of Chivi and Masvingo, but Zimbabwe at large,” he said.

“Clr Zivhu exemplifies practical individuals who are always ready to provide solutions in the quest to improve the way people live.

“We want to applaud him for his sterling contribution to engender development, especially in Chivi district.”

In his address, Clr Zivhu, who is also the Zanu-PF Provincial secretary for Finance said every Zimbabwean was supposed to play a role in making sure Zim-Asset goals were achieved.

He said President Mugabe needed the support and active participation of every Zimbabwean for socio-economic transformation that will extricate the majority of people out of poverty.

“President Mugabe and his contemporaries fought the war and they managed to bring political independence and went a step further to begin the struggle for economic independence,” said Clr Zivhu.

“Today’s struggle to create a prosperous Zimbabwe needs a new breed of soldiers who are able to build on what President Mugabe and other founding fathers of our nation did for us.”
Clr Zivhu pledged to continue assisting in the development of schools and other infrastructure.
He announced his donation of $10 000 towards the 21st February Movement celebrations to be held in Masvingo on February 27.

He also donated a further 50 bags of cement to continue the refurbishment works at Maringire Primary School. herald


As ZANU PF’s mindless bloodletting reaches fever pitch, amid ping-pong claims among its warring factions that their party foes are working with former Vice President Joice Mujuru, former Presidential Affairs minister Didymus Mutasa says People First prefers to work with the MDC than any of the “childish” ruling party factions.

Commenting on the on-going ruling party counter-claims, including recent assertions by under-fire presidential spokesperson George Charamba that the G40 faction was working with the still-to-be launched People First, Mutasa said all Zanu PF factions were the same and “beyond reform”.

“Charamba always talks rubbish and that is shocking coming from an official who should speak for the president. We are not working with any Zanu PF faction. In fact, we are not working with the entirety of Zanu PF,” he said.

Asked about the possibility of People First ever joining hands with Zanu PF, he said only “reformed people from the ruling party” would be accommodated in the Mujuru-led outfit.

“For me ... mwana wenyoka inyoka (all Zanu PF factions can’t be trusted). If you are expelled from Zanu PF, you are expelled from the entirety of that organisation and not from a faction.

“So, from that point I don’t see the possibility of us working with either of the two main factions. We would rather work with the MDC, who we are in fact working with,” Mutasa said.

Regarding reports that People First was “poaching” supporters from all of the country’s established parties, including the MDC, he disputed the claim.

“There have been complaints because we are working with them (MDC) ...

I do not see why they should complain because in the end we are going to form a grand coalition,” Mutasa said.

And in a jab aimed at embattled Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his supporters, Mutasa bemoaned the fact that his erstwhile comrades in Zanu PF “appear to enjoy childish nicknames that take them on self-fulfilling ego trips”.

“What has been happening in Zanu PF is very childish. You give yourself names like Lacoste and garwe (crocodile)? Why don’t you just keep quiet if you have nothing useful to say to the nation,” Mutasa said mockingly.

In their quest to have their Midlands godfather succeed Mugabe, the VP’s allies are identifying themselves as Team Lacoste, going to the extent of wearing T-shirts emblazoned with a crocodile which depicts Mnangagwa’s nickname.


WITH the Zanu PF faction behind embattled Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa feeling the heat of the ruling party’s seemingly unstoppable factional and succession wars, the camp is now reaching out to followers of former Vice President Joice Mujuru.

Zanu PF insiders told the Daily News yesterday that so “squeezed” was the Mnangagwa faction feeling at the moment, that it was desperately trying to lure back into the ruling party some liberation struggle stalwarts who had been purged from President Robert Mugabe’s party on allegations of working with Mujuru.

“The wheel is turning. Who would have anticipated that Team Lacoste would one day wish that Gamatox was still within the family fold (Zanu PF). But that is precisely what is happening now as they are desperate to augment their forces,” a party bigwig said.

The Daily News was also separately told authoritatively that among the resolutions that were made at the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association’s (ZNLWVA’s) meeting that was controversially held at the Presidential Guard military barracks in Harare’s Dzivaresekwa high density suburb last week was a decision to approach all war veterans who are now working with other political movements such as People First.

ZNLWVA secretary-general, Victor Matemadanda later confirmed this.

“We resolved to follow up on war veterans who left Zanu PF to join other parties for various reasons, especially those who have gone to People First. We want to reorganise ourselves under the leadership of President Mugabe,” Matemadanda said.

Apart from resolving to bring back those who were expelled from Zanu PF on yet-to-be proven charges of plotting to overthrow and assassinate Mugabe, the war veterans apparently also reiterated their plans to block Higher Education minister Jonathan Moyo from attending forthcoming politburo meetings.

While Matemadanda was reluctant to give the names of the war veterans that the pro-Mnangagwa ZNLWVA were hoping to bring back within its fold, there is apparently a growing belief within both camps of the Zanu PF war that the former VP and her allies are “better devils” than their present party opponents.

But former ZNLWVA leader, Jabulani Sibanda, who was expelled from Zanu PF after he threatened to march to State House after rejecting what he called was a bedroom coup at State House, is sceptical about the overtures that are being made.

“What they say is not what they are doing. I think they should first do something before we respond to them,” Sibanda said.

All this is happening as insiders say Mugabe is in a pickle over how to handle and end the ruling party’s internal wars, pointing to his “tepid” statement when he returned from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia last weekend where he handed over the chairmanship of the African Union.

Well-placed ruling party sources told the Daily News that  Mugabe was caught “between a rock and a hard place” as both of the two main factions brawling for supremacy in the former liberation movement boasted of having some of his most trusted lieutenants within their ranks.

“I don’t envy his position at all as he is being asked to choose between a faction linked to Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, whom he has known for five decades, and the other which appears to enjoy the backing of Dr Amai (his wife Grace) and Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko.

“Clearly, therefore, Gushungo is caught between a rock and a hard place and hence his unusually tepid speech on the worsening fights in the party when he returned from Addis Ababa. I suspect that things will get worse before they get better,” a politburo member said resignedly.

Speaking at Harare International Airport on his return home, Mugabe appeared to tread a careful, middle road as he lashed the escalating factionalism that is devouring his party.

“We need unity in the country, province by province. Not to have a province which says we stand for this and our leaders are so and so.

“There are no other leaders other than the ones we were given by the central committee.

“Leaders are chosen at the congress, that is where we drop those we do not need,” the increasingly-frail nonagenarian said.

Analysts who spoke to the Daily News said Mugabe, who turns 92 in three weeks’ time, was in a quandary about the infighting and had chosen to “sit on the fence” as his strategy to save his party from imploding completely.

Respected University of Zimbabwe political science lecturer Eldred Masunungure said if the Zanu PF leader got tempted to take sides in the party’s brutal wars, this would expedite its implosion.

“If he has a preference, he is keeping it in his heart. The moment he pronounces a successor, as some are urging him to do, that would be the last nail in the party’s coffin as this will not unify the party but in fact deepen the succession wars,” he said.

But Afghanistan-based analyst Maxwell Saungweme said it would be difficult for Mugabe not to side with his wife’s faction given what had happened over the past 18 months.

“He obviously backs his wife’s faction but at the same time he can’t also fire all his key lieutenants such as (his spokesperson George) Charamba and Lacoste (Mnangagwa). He is in a big fix.

“But I think he deserves what he is facing as this is a direct result of him overstaying in power and not having a succession plan.

“It’s sad for Zimbabwe that we subject our elders to that torture by allowing them to overstay in power. Great grandpas like him should be resting and sharing ngano (folktales) with their grandchildren,” Saungweme added.

At the same time, analysts say it is clear that the centre can no longer hold in the ruling party as Zimbabwe teeters on the verge of total collapse, amid fears that the country could soon plunge into unprecedented chaos.


ZANU PF’s warring factions that are threatening to tear apart the former revolutionary party have revealed that First Lady Grace Mugabe is responsible for the ongoing bitter succession debacle amid reports she has been playing a double game by meeting and encouraging members from the two main factions battling for supremacy in the party.

Two factions, one backing Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa and Generation 40 (G40), a grouping of young Turks who have the support of Grace have been at loggerheads as they seek to control the party and eventually succeed President Robert Mugabe, who turns 92 on February 21.

Although Grace spoke glowingly of Mnangagwa in the run up to the party’s December 2014 congress, which swept aside former vice-president Joice Mujuru, then a favourite to succeed Mugabe, she now flip-flops whenever it suits her since he was appointed President Robert Mugabe’s deputy. At times she praises him in public and then belittles him on other occasions. While Mnangagwa’s backers insist Mugabe has privately indicated to his deputy that he would succeed him given his experience and long history in Zanu PF and also because of the long cordial relationship the pair enjoys, members of G40 insist the First Lady does not trust Mnangagwa, and is in fact, working flat out to ensure his presidential plans are derailed.

“This is why the likes of Jonathan Moyo, Saviour Kasukuwere and young boys like Makhosini Hlongwane and Tapiwa Matangaidze can dare to stand up to Mnangagwa, despite his reputation as an iron-fisted man. They are getting strength and encouragement from somewhere and indications are that they are getting support and assurance from Grace,” said a party official.

Privately though, like she has done in public, Grace has indicated to Mnangagwa that she has no presidential ambitions and was not involved with the G40 Group.

“While the G40 group is confident, on the other hand, the Mnangagwa faction believes they are in control and this is because they have received assurance from the First Family,” said a senior party official. “It is therefore not a surprise that (Presidential spokesman George) Charamba, who is clearly fighting in Mnangagwa’s corner brutally attacked G40 members in his radio interview last week. He was speaking with the authority of a person who knows the president’s thinking.”

But G40 members, who have indicated they will relentlessly attack and weaken Mnangagwa, believe Grace’s wish will prevail as long as Mugabe remains in power, and have not relented despite Charamba’s warning.

In public, Grace has been vacillating between supporting Mnangagwa and the G40, confusing many people in the process.

For example, in a high-risk and adventurous power-seeking manoeuvre, Grace in October last year threatened a political tsunami against Mnangagwa at a politically-charged rally in Chimanimani.

“Only yesterday, just last year when we witnessed some people being expelled, I had said I’m a referee. I will blow the whistle whenever it gets ugly. I’m not scared to blow the whistle. So don’t push me to the point where I have to blow the whistle,” she warned, in remarks largely seen as being pointed at the vice-president.

While she took a swipe at Mnangagwa, Grace introduced to the gatherings the G40 proponents who include Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko, Zanu PF national commissar Saviour Kasukuwere, who is also Local Government minister, Indigenisation minister Patrick Zhuwao and Higher Education minister Jonathan Moyo.

However, a few weeks later Grace somersaulted in the Midlands province and accused “some elements” within and outside Zanu PF of desperately seeking to pit her against Mnangagwa, saying she had great respect for the vice-president and had a lot to learn from him.
In a private briefing before the rally, she told officials her family exchanges milk with VP Mnangagwa adding “you know milk is such a sensitive product and that shows the faith and trust that exists between us”.

The Mnangagwa faction dubbed the rally “The Mberengwa Massacre” after Grace publicly showed her support for Mnangagwa.
The VP’s joy was, however, short-lived.

Barely 24 hours later she backtracked while addressing hundreds of Zanu PF supporters in Murehwa, Mashonaland East province in the company of Defence minister Sydney Sekeramayi, Grace said no one in the party, besides Mugabe, was senior to her by virtue of her being the First Lady.

“The Herald lied that I said I am junior to Vice-President Mnangagwa. I never said he is my senior. I just said I respect him as the VP and that he is more experienced than me. I might be new in Zanu PF, but I am not junior to anyone. I am the wife of the President,” she said.

Grace warned leaders not to impose themselves on the people.

“If you get excited, people are vetting (you). Many people are fanning factionalism, but people in the grassroots are not fools. Even if there is factionalism, mugoti unopiwa anyerere (Rewards are given to those that are humble),” Grace said, insinuating a humble person like Sekeramayi, who is being mentioned as a presidential candidate for G40 could prevail in the succession race.

Last week Charamba dismissed reports that Grace was part of the G40 faction labelling those who believed so, fools.

“How does the First Lady talk about succession of her husband, does it make sense to you? These are people who think by sheer proximity, they can build messages around the First Family. They are fools, get it from me, they are big fools and I hope some day they will come back to their senses,” Charamba said.

Despite Charamba’s warning, a seemingly confident Moyo dismissed him as a factionalist who is fighting in Mnangagwa’s corner.
“For the record, I wish to state that it is false and insulting to His Excellency, the President, to claim that he sent George Charamba to savage his cabinet ministers and politburo members on public radio with all sorts of primitive insults such as ‘uneducated fools’, ‘little men’, among other unprintable epithets,” he said adding, “Cabinet members and politburo members are not civil servants, but are presidential appointees.”

War Veterans minister Christopher Mutsvangwa also accused G40 of trying to coalesce and influence Grace.

Political analyst Maxwell Saungweme said it was not surprising that Grace could be giving an ear to both factions: “Grace faces the same quandary Mugabe is confronting of close lieutenants tearing each other apart in the pursuit of proximity to the First Family.

“So it’s not surprising that she has been sipping from both factions. She is the biggest game in town and all factions find it expedient to entice her. But at the end one of the factions will lose. Moyo gets the bravado to continue his onslaught on Charamba and Mutsvangwa because of Grace’s backing. But also Charamba seems to know more about the First Family’s plans given that he is a key arsenal of the family,” Saungweme said.




A 36-year-old man was on Sunday brutally killed and his body was discovered with some deep cuts on his neck and privates. The deceased, Simon Chamupaningi, who was a security guard in Mutare’s low-density suburb of Murambi, had his privates pierced and separated into pieces. He also had huge wounds around his neck. Manicaland provincial police spokesman Inspector Tavhiringwa Kakohwa said the murderer was still at large and investigations were in progress.

“We have since launched a manhunt to bring to book the culprit who killed Chamupaningi,” he said. He appealed to members of the public with information leading to the arrest of the perpetrator to contact the nearest police station.

“Chamupaningi, who resided at 40 Manica Avenue in Murambi, was employed as a security guard in Morningside. “On January 31, in the evening, he told his wife that he was going for a beer binge.

“Later that evening, a man who had visited an Ivorian who was Chamupaningi’s employer saw his body lying lifeless a few metres from the gate. “He alerted police who attended the scene. He had multiple injuries on his neck and privates,” said Insp Kakohwa.

Chamupaningi was on Wednesday morning laid to rest at his rural home in Odzi. He is survived by his wife and three children. The family of the deceased, in an interview on Wednesday, suspect that the way Chamupaningi’s body was butchered could have something to do with ritual practices.

“It’s sad Simon had to go this way. I last saw him on Saturday and he was in a jovial mood. “All was well and we talked at length. I never thought something like this could happen to him the day that followed.

“We knew him as a peace-loving person who was friendly and responsible. “When police notified us that he was no more, we initially could not believe it. “We strongly suspect that some daring people could have done this for ritual purposes.

“His death is a sad loss to the Chamupaningi family. “We leave everything to police to do their job and we strongly hope the perpetrator will be apprehended in due course,” said Simon’s elder brother, Sam.



South African rugby side, Blue Bulls are in Vic Falls. See what they did after the cut.


MDC leader, Morgan Tsvangirai says he will do everything to fight for a credible election in 2018.

His full statement to the Press today.
We meet amid a serious national crisis, now worse than what it was a month ago when I issued my end of year statement. Since then, things have gotten worse as exemplified by the promised bonus for civil servants still to be paid out, with the chances of it ever being paid out getting slimmer and slimmer by the day. In the countryside, poverty levels have worsened and people have no money in their pockets, a situation exacerbated by the food shortages that are set to worsen following yet another bleak farming season.

As a region and as a country, we are bearing the brunt of climate change, a serious issue that needs attention at policy level especially now as the entire SADC region faces a burgeoning food crisis. Millions of our citizens are staring starvation in the face unless we get urgent assistance to import about 1, 8 million tonnes of grain for both people and livestock. At the moment, we are told the country only has a paltry 250 000 tonnes of maize but surprisingly, but it took this government six months until only yesterday to declare this catastrophe a national emergency!

A debilitating crisis
In Matabeleland South, Masvingo and other parts of the country, Zimbabweans face imminent hunger. But amid all this looming starvation coupled with an economy on the ropes, no one is paying attention to this national crisis. There is no government response as Zanu PF is busy with what has become the grand preoccupation of everyone in this government----the fight to succeed Mugabe.

We in the MDC have no intention to join their debate as the man declared at the recent AU summit that he will die in office. Our only concern is that whoever is in charge of the country at any given time must commit themselves to ensuring a stable, democratic country characterized by tolerance and prosperity. But while Rome is burning, the President and his two deputies could not afford to miss the luxury of their annual vacations outside the country, at the taxpayer’s expense, of course. In the case of one of the Vice Presidents, he came back from his annual vacation to continue with his occupancy of a five star-hotel in Harare, with his whole family including his grandchildren, again courtesy of the taxpayer!

Indeed, the current state of the nation resembles a national funeral; we are currently battling to meet our pledge to multilateral financiers to service billions of our external debt by April, there is 95 percent unemployment in the country, internal power generation capacity has drastically gone down; civil servants are on the edge because of unpredictable pay dates and their outstanding bonus while our public hospitals have run out of basic essential drugs. I have been meeting Zimbabweans across the country in the past few weeks and they have been telling me that the current crisis and the collapse of basic services are in sharp contrast to the good old days of the MDC in government! They were forthright and honest with me as to their trust and faith in the capacity of this party and this leadership.

It is now a matter of public record that the country’s economy is in turmoil. There is a serious liquidity crunch while revenue collections have drastically dwindled, typified by government’s failure to meet its wage bill. At a time when our economy needs a massive capital injection, no one is prepared to invest in the country and FDI has dried up. There is minimum trust and confidence in this government. As ordinary people, all we hear of are mega deals with China, amid this mega poverty in the country. These mega deals have not had any meaning and significance outside the government pronouncements in the State media. These billion dollar deals remain mere newspaper content that has not changed the lives of the people. From where the people stand, all they see around them is only poverty, suffering and looming starvation!

Just over a year ago, I published a treatise on my personal reflections, in which I described the country as having been turned into a huge mall of vendors; indeed a highly informal economy in which everyone is trying to sell something to someone. The situation is now even worse and the high unemployment level in the country and the economic collapse have become the most portent threat to national stability.

It is pertinent to note that the national crisis largely stems from the crisis of legitimacy, spawned by yet another stolen election in 2013. Since that monumental fraud, there has been a serious deficit of confidence in the regime in Harare. Unless and until we return to legitimacy through a truly free, fair and credible election, the national crisis will not relent. The collapse of the economy and its attendant problems are a mere window through which the political crisis of legitimacy is manifesting itself. The region, Africa and the rest of the world have to assist Zimbabweans in their call for far-reaching electoral reforms that will ensure a return to legitimacy.

We as political parties have joined hands in this national demand. In an unprecedented move, more than 10 political parties have signed up to the National Election Reform Agenda (NERA). Indeed, a truly credible election is now a precondition for the return to legitimacy, which must become an issue of national priority.

The demand for a credible election
As a party our decision not to participate in elections until the implementation of far-reaching reforms has resulted in a fruitful debate in the country and important steps being taken in the correct direction. That ZEC itself has acceded to a biometric voters roll and the debate around the involvement of the United Nations in running our elections are all issues on the front seat of the national debate because of the decision we in the MDC have taken against participation in mere rituals disguised elections.

We note the disturbing statements from Emmerson Mnangagwa that the UN and other countries except only those in Africa will be invited to observe our elections. He also disputed the ZEC position that it was seriously considering using a biometric voter’s roll, raising suspicion as to whether the electoral management body is really independent at all. The law is very clear that it is ZEC, an independent body, which must run elections and invite observers. For the executive to interfere and usurp this role by making premature statements on the biometric roll and observer missions; issues that fall under the purview of the election management body, vindicates what we in the MDC have always said that Zanu PF rigs elections and meddles with the work of independent conditions. Mnangagwa's statements confirm that he is the hardliner that he has always been and not the reformist that some in the diplomatic community had begun to think he was.

We in the MDC welcome new, positive developments around elections and urge ZEC to reassert its independence. The electoral management body must adhere to SADC and AU standards governing the conduct of elections. They must proceed with the biometric voters roll in line with regional standards and, with the involvement of all stakeholders, come up with a comprehensive and cogent framework to facilitate voter education, a fresh voter registration exercise and other election logistics. The UN must not observe the elections, they must run them. Given our unique situation, the UN remains the only credible international body that should be involved in the actual management of the election to the satisfaction of all the parties.

Implementing the Constitution
Our government is not only struggling to meet its basic obligations but has abandoned all pretence at democratic governance. Chief among its many crimes is the failure to align the country’s laws to the new Constitution, crafted and overwhelmingly endorsed by the people of Zimbabwe in May 2013.

In that Constitution, among many other progressive provisions, Zimbabweans said they wanted devolution but more than two years after the election, that revolutionary provision has not in any way been implemented as the governance system remains highly centralized. What the Zanu PF government has done instead is to appoint Ministers of Provincial Affairs even in the two metropolitan provinces of Harare and Bulawayo where they lost dismally.

That new Constitution is one of our major success stories as the democratic movement in Zimbabwe but the government is developing frozen feet in living true to the wishes and aspirations of the citizens as expressed in that charter. Ours is a government that remains contemptuous of any agreement with anyone, including with its own people.

I also wish to advise that the current demolitions of people’s homes in Harare are diabolical and a gross violation of human rights. The people must know that it is government that is demolishing people’s houses. We have directed our councils not to destroy people’s homes but to ensure that those with destroyed homes are relocated to properly planned settlements under the direct authority of an elected local government. Most of these settlements now being demolished were unplanned dwellings encouraged by Zanu PF itself which the same government is now demolishing. On our part, we have instructed our local authorities to make sure that they do the humane thing, which is to relocate these stranded and homeless people to properly sanctioned areas.

The challenge for the region and the international community
For the region, Africa and the broader international community, the immediate challenge is the pending humanitarian crisis that needs to be addressed. This country alone will not be able to sufficiently mobilize adequate food stocks required, itself a sad indictment on the much-vaunted land reform programme that has not been underpinned by productivity. The country needs international assistance to mobilize humanitarian assistance to avert the imminent starvation and to ensure food security.

Related to this is the partisan distribution of food. We in the MDC have had our supporters being denied food handouts in most parts of the country because of their political affiliation. In parts of Manicaland, our people have stormed GMB depots and bravely demanded that food handouts be given in a non-partisan manner. There is indeed going to be a huge national demand for transparency and non-partisan distribution of food by our supporters in all parts of the country. Zanu PF should stand warned that we have told our supporters throughout the country to be vigilant and to boldly demand their share of what they should legitimately get from government.

Beyond the deceptive veneer of a stable country is a monumental crisis of multiple proportions that could implode any moment. Due to this government’s culture of repression and its unique capacity to successfully prevent people from expressing themselves, it would be folly for Africa and the world at large to mistake the people’s induced silence as a sign of stability in the country. What the world needs to appreciate is that when Zimbabweans eventually express themselves---as they certainly will in the not-so-distant future---the implosion will engulf the entire SADC region.

The current false peace is just calm before the storm. Given the worsening situation, it is only a matter of time before things come to a head; and the international community should take heed.

Until very recently, President Mugabe was the chairperson of the African Union and SADC. It appears some in Africa and the broader international community had allowed his occupation of those rotational positions to cloud them from making an objective and rational judgment regarding the situation in Zimbabwe. Only last week, he was breathing fire and brimstone on the need to reform the United Nations Security Council.

Yes Mr President. We agree that the UN must be democratised. But charity begins at home. There must also be reform in Zimbabwe in every aspect of our lives. This country must also be democratised so that no one lives in fear of being another Itai Dzamara.

I am aware that the EU has decided to re-engage Zimbabwe and I know that the people of Zimbabwe stand to benefit from any form of re-engagement. But I wish to restate our position that the international community must not just re-engage without a framework. They must insist on implementation of agreed electoral conditions and the embracing of universally acceptable standards by the authorities in Harare. The world must insist on the need to respect the rule of law and the conditions sanctioned by SADC to ensure that the next election is vaccinated from the periodic mischief that has blighted the credibility of all our elections.

Any re-engagement must be accompanied by a stubborn insistence on universally accepted standards that ensure the guarantee of full freedoms and the enfranchising of the ordinary citizen. Any re-engagement must be alive to the past and present acts of omission and commission and the crimes committed against the innocent citizens of the people of Zimbabwe.

The challenge to the democratic movement
However, I do not wish to only pose challenges to the world without giving the same challenges to us as opposition parties and the broad democratic movement. Petty squabbles and hatred of fellow opposition personalities must not cloud us from the patriotic responsibility to confront Zanu PF and to chart a new Zimbabwe together. Collectively, e must outgrow the selfish mindset of thinking that we can go it alone. We all need each other as a broad family of united, patriotic Zimbabweans if we are to bring a new democratic dispensation whose hour has come!

We definitely need each other and that is why the party I lead took a resolution at the last Congress that we will work with other like-minded institutions to confront the beast. In the same vein, I wish to commend other political parties with whom we crafted the National Electoral Reform Agenda. NERA is clear evidence that it is possible for us to come together and I appeal for the same spirit of patriotism to continue bringing us together on many other issues on which our togetherness will yield positive results for the sake of our beloved country.

I want to warn Zanu PF under the ambit of NERA, we will collectively do everything----and I mean ensure that we have credible election in 2018.

As the broad democratic movement, we have many points of convergence and it behoves upon us to harp on those areas we agree on so that we work together for the sake of our country. It is clear the only game changer ahead of the next election is for us in the democratic movement to work together and re-ignite the floundering confidence of the people of Zimbabwe that the change we seek will indeed be achieved in the very near future.. We owe it to history to seize this moment and work for our country. I remain encouraged by the spirit of togetherness that is gathering momentum amongst us. I want to boldly declare to the people of Zimbabwe that beneath the current facade, we are surely and definitely finding each other, the only condition being that any discussion must be a discussion of institutions and not individuals.

It is clear that that the country needs to open a new leaf. We cannot continue like this and it is inevitable that something has got to give! We in the democratic movement have no option but to come together and, as I have said, I am encouraged by the fact that we seem to be finding each other.

To our colleagues in Zanu PF, I reiterate the proposal I have always given them. It would be in their best interest if they agreed to a dialogue of a broad cross-section of stakeholders beyond just political parties. Our experience is that we need more than an elite conversation of political parties. We need a conversation of Zimbabweans; a conversation that must include business, labour, the informal sector and all the other stakeholders and interest groups keen on finding a lasting solution to the country's crisis.

Indeed, once bitten, twice shy. This national conversation should not be premised on the intention of forming another inclusive government but on hammering a way out of the crisis of legitimacy. We need to agree on a framework for a truly free, fair and credible election. Only then can we begin to resolve the country's crisis. Zanu PF may spurn this call for a national conversation but history will judge them harshly for having buried their heads in the sand in this crucial hour. If Zanu PF chooses not to talk with the broad section of stakeholders, then Zimbabweans in their broad sense will definitely speak to each other to the exclusion of Zanu PF.

In the past few weeks, I have been meeting with ordinary people in Harare, Chitungwiza and Bulawayo. I feel emboldened and encouraged by the unstinting faith that the ordinary person has with this people’s project called the MDC. They still remember with nostalgia the days of the MDC in government when we opened schools, hospitals and other basic services that had been shut down by Zanu PF incompetence.

They miss our competent hand on the wheel of government. The glorious past of national stability, national peace and national prosperity with the MDC in government has become a distant past........indeed a distant past that Zimbabweans can only remember with nostalgia. It was heartening during my interactions with the people in the past one month to note that apart from their poverty and suffering, they still retain unstinting faith in us; indeed they are certain that a new Zimbabwe beckons and is definitely on the horizon.

I thank you