THE MILITARY

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

THE MILITARY

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

PROPHET WALTER MAGAYA

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.

TSVANGIRAI THE SURVIVOR

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.

NEWSDZEZIMBABWE

Latest news, entertainment and sports.

Thursday, 23 February 2017

KASUKUWERE FIRES KOMBAYI

THE Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Cde Saviour Kasukuwere has fired Gweru Mayor Councillor Hamutendi Kombayi and Clr Kenneth Sithole following recommendations made by an independent tribunal.


Clrs Kombayi and Sithole were among the 15 councillors who appeared before an independent tribunal headed by Mr Isaac Muzenda for alleged gross misconduct, incompetence and mismanagement of council funds and affairs following their suspension in August 2015.

Cde Kasukuwere and Local Government Ministry permanent secretary Engineer George Mlilo visited Gweru and told councillors at the town house yesterday that Clrs Kombayi and Sithole had been fired.

The minister also announced the end of the tenure of the three-member commission headed by Mr Tsunga Mhangami that was running the affairs of the city following the councillors’ suspension.

The commission will hand over the running of the city to councillors before the end of this month. “The independent tribunal completed its investigations and recommended that Mayor Hamutendi Kombayi and Councillor Kenneth Sithole be discharged.
They were found guilty of the charges they were facing. Other councillors, although they were found guilty have been reengaged,” he said. Cde Kasukuwere said according to the country’s laws, the two councillors were free to appeal to a higher court.

He said councillors who have been spared would have to start afresh.
The minister said the councillors would be re-inducted into council with a training programme.

“There will be an additional training on conflict management in an effort to bring harmony and progress to the chamber so that we can maintain the momentum started by the commission,” he said.

“Secondly, you need to receive a handover-takeover report from the commission so that any work started by the commission can be brought to its logical conclusion. Thirdly, you will be expected to elect a new mayor and deputy mayor at your first special council meeting, office bearers to lead you with integrity and dignity. Fourthly, the committee system will need to be re-established. Town clerk you are to rearrange the committees and put in place terms of reference so that all aspects of the council activities are covered.”

The minister said all resolutions passed by the outgoing commission should not be rescinded without his authority.

He said the councillors were still on travel embargo and any proposed trips will only be approved by his ministry.

On the contentious mayoral regalia which is allegedly still in the hands of Clr Kombayi, Cde Kasukuwere said from now onwards it would be kept by the town clerk and will only be used for official events. He said the mayoral vehicle will only be used for official duties. herald

MAD PEOPLE PUSHING FOR ME TO BE PRESIDENT, SAYS MNANGAGWA

VICE President Emmerson Mnangagwa yesterday said those pressing for him to be President while President Mugabe is still in office must be expelled from Zanu-PF.
VP Mnangagwa described such people “mad” and said some of them had since been expelled from the ruling party.

He said this in Mutare yesterday after touring Mutare Prison Farm, which grew maize under a Government food security scheme, Command Agriculture.
His comments were triggered by recent reports in the private media quoting officials who said he should take over from President Mugabe.

“There are these mad young people who move around saying they want Cde Mnangagwa to be President and I told them you are mad. We don’t want to hear that. We have our father (President Mugabe) who has led us for over 60 years. We have travelled with him that far and you hear young people, some of them born after independence, saying such bad things,” said VP Mnangagwa.
“We don’t want that. Yes, even in a family set-up you can have a bad apple among your children. We must all know that if you want to succeed in our country, you must be a member of the ruling party; the party that has a liberation struggle history; a party with leaders we can bank on because they sacrificed a lot for this country,” he said.

“Today we have President Mugabe as our leader. White people might fume and say all sorts of things but President Mugabe will soldier on with his people.

President Mugabe always tells them that he does what the people want, reminding them to mind their own business,” he said.

Cde Mnangagwa said the success of Command Agriculture was because of the fast track land reform programme ushered in by President Mugabe.

“President Mugabe said the principal cause of the liberation war was the land question. He has fought hard to ensure that the landless majority reclaim their land. President Mugabe did not stop there for he proceeded with indigenisation that economically empowered our people. So Command Agriculture is empowering the people,” the VP said. Herald

“Zanu-PF will rule forever and those ruled will forever be ruled and I don’t understand why you opt to move away from the rulers and stay with those being ruled. That’s pure madness. Zanu-PF is the party that brought independence under the leadership of President Mugabe.”
VP Mnangagwa said President Mugabe would be re-elected in 2018 to lead the country.

MAN ROMPS WITH TEEN STEP DAUGHTER IN A CAR

A 49-year-old man who allegedly proposed love to his 15-year-old stepdaughter on Valentine’s Day before having sexual intercourse with her yesterday appeared in court.


The man appeared before Harare magistrate Ms Victoria Mashamba facing charges of having sex with a minor. He was remanded to March 9.

Prosecutor Mr Sebastian Mutizirwa alleged that on Valentine’s Day this year, at around 8pm, the man was accompanied by his stepdaughter to OK supermarket in Mufakose, Harare. They intended to buy meat and vegetables for supper.

It is alleged that the man drove in the direction of Mufakose Polyclinic and parked his vehicle.
He allegedly proposed love to his teenage stepdaughter and she agreed. They had consensual sexual intercourse in the vehicle, it is alleged. The offence came to light when the teenager gave her friend a 50 cent coin.

The friend was questioned by her grandmother and she mentioned the complainant’s name.
When the complainant was called she denied the allegations.
Her friend later revealed that the money came from the complainant’s stepfather. On interrogation, she revealed that she had had sex with her stepfather. A report was made to the police leading to the man’s arrest.

In a similar case before the same magistrate, a police constable stationed at Morris Depot was charged with having sex with a minor. Const Ngonidzashe Paswavaviri (28) was remanded to March 9 on $100 bail.

It is alleged that on February 18 this year the complainant was walking alone on her way to buy freezits. She passed through Paswavaviri’s house. Paswavaviri, who was standing at his door, invited the teenager into his house.

He had sexual intercourse with her. She tried to resist but was over- powered. He later ordered the teenager to proceed with her journey. It is alleged that three days later the complainant broke down during a school lesson.

Her teacher quizzed her and she revealed that she was raped by Paswavaviri. A report was made to the police leading the arrest of the police constable. Herald

TEAM LACOSTE HEADING FOR VICTORY IN MASVINGO

Elections to choose the Zanu-PF Masvingo provincial chairman kicked off late at most voting centres yesterday as bad weather and logistical challenges marred polls aimed at restoring leadership certainty in the province.

Early indications are that Team Lacoste trounced G40. The elections were a two-horse race between former chair Cde Ezra Chadzamira and war veteran Retired Colonel Mutero Masanganise. In some districts, voting didn’t take place as polling officers failed to access certain areas due to flooded rivers following heavy rains.

Masvingo interim provincial chairman Cde Jorum Gumbo, who is superintending the polls, last night said he would consult the Politburo on the way forward in areas where voting failed to take place.

The polls were set to start at 8am ending at 1pm across all the seven administrative districts in Masvingo, according to Zanu-PF political commissar, Cde Saviour Kasukuwere. However, morning rains in most parts of the province yesterday delayed polling, with voters in some districts doing so around lunchtime.

There was also a problem of insufficient ballot papers and shortage of fuel to transport voting materials together with polling officers.

When The Herald visited some of the ward centres, voting had not begun by 1pm.
In Ward 12B at Nemamwa Growth Point under Masvingo district, voters complained that they waited for hours to cast their ballots. By 1pm, voting materials and polling officers had not arrived, with voters sheltering under shop verandahs from rains.
In ward centres such as Zishumbe and Farmers’ Hall in Masvingo East, only a few voters were present when polling started just before midday. By 3pm, the centres were deserted.
Cde Gumbo said voting failed to take place in 14 wards in Chiredzi district and at Chingwizi in Mwenezi East because of a submerged bridge on Runde River.

“Voting kicked off late because of bad weather and we even considered cancelling the vote altogether, but decided to go ahead after we received calls from people saying they were waiting at various centres to vote,’’ said Cde Gumbo.

“The other problem was that we got our ballot papers late and polling officers left to conduct the vote late. Bad weather was the main problem,’’ he added.

Cde Gumbo said while the voting process was delayed, he had directed voting to go ahead in areas where voters were still waiting.

“Besides Chiredzi district and Chingwizi area that were inaccessible, voting also failed to take place in Gutu North as polling officers were not ferried to their respective wards centres in time. I am yet to get information on whether things later changed.’’

Cde Gumbo said he was waiting to receive final results from those districts where voting had been completed.

“I was sent by the Politburo to conduct voting. If we get results from districts where voting was not disturbed and we find out the votes of the two candidates are almost 50-50 or the other candidate is leading by an unassailable margin, I will have to consult my superiors on the way forward.’’

Cde Gumbo visited some of the ward centres to assess progress.
There were 120 party members (40 main wing, 40 Women’s League and 40 Youth League) who were eligible to vote in every party district.

Cde Kasukuwere visited Masvingo earlier in the day to assess progress in polling.
The Zanu-PF Politburo recently ordered fresh elections to choose a new provincial executive in Masvingo as most of the posts had become vacant for various reasons. There were still no results last night.

MBARE FLATS TO BE DEMOLISHED

THE Harare City Council (HCC) has revealed plans to demolish 58 blocks of flats in Mbare, the oldest high density suburb in the capital and construct decent family units in the suburb.

The flats, which were once meant to accommodate a small number of black migrant workers during the colonial era, include Matapi, Shawasha, Magaba, Mbare, Matererina and Nenyere flats.

The structures, built for bachelors, have now become an eyesore and are home to over 70 000 people.

HCC’s acting town clerk, Josephine Ncube, confirmed the development while addressing delegates at the handover ceremony of New Marimba Park housing stands, which were serviced by the Infrastructure Development Bank of Zimbabwe (IDBZ). She said that the city council would also undertake urban regeneration in other older suburbs.

Ncube said: “The 58 hostels in Mbare urgently require redevelopment into decent family units. With a population of over 70 000 there is need to upgrade the flats in line with modern trends.

“The renewal project is a good investment opportunity and is in line with the City of Harare’s efforts to ensure that residents have access to proper housing and infrastructure. Council is currently looking for partners to fund this project.”

She added: “Council implores government through the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development and other ministries to support housing development by stimulating the availability of affordable capital funding.

“Harare is in dire need of funding for the upgrading of infrastructure such as water, roads and public transport and waste management. More land is also required to expand Harare as it continues to grow because of the rapid rural to urban migration and urban to urban migration.”

The total project cost could, however, not be immediately established. This project is part of HCC’s efforts to avail decent accommodation to residents, especially low-income earners.

Harare has a critical housing backlog of at least 500 000 units, meaning that the demand currently far outstrips supply.

The HCC provided over 200 stands to the IDBZ’s Marimba project and the units, handed over to the beneficiaries a fortnight ago, will go a long way in contributing towards housing for Harare residents.

Under government’s economic blue print, the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation launched in 2013 and running up to 2018, the HCC is expected to  provide 105 000 housing units.

Ncube called for co-operation with the private players to ease the housing problem.

She said: “The provision of decent and affordable housing is a key priority for council. The demand for housing as demonstrated by official waiting list in excess of 500 000 creates a market for housing projects and a huge impact along the value chain. There is therefore greater scope for co-operation with private players like the IDBZ.

“We have flat sites which have not been taken up and this has good return on investment because developing vertically enables maximum utilisation of small pieces of land to accommodate more families. More focus should now be put on densification to save on land and infrastructure costs.” Financial gazette

 

RANIERI SACKED

Manager Claudio Ranieri has been sacked by Leicester City, nine months after leading them to the Premier League title.

The Foxes are one point above the relegation zone with 13 matches left. "The board reluctantly feels that a change of leadership, while admittedly painful, is necessary in the club's greatest interest," read a statement.

Ranieri, 65, guided the Foxes to the title despite them being rated 5,000-1 shots at the start of the campaign.

His departure comes less than 24 hours after a 2-1 defeat at Spanish side Sevilla in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie.

The Foxes took the Premier League title by 10 points but have won just five top-flight games this season, and could become the first defending champions to be relegated since 1938.

They have lost their past five league matches and are the only side in the top four English divisions without a league goal in 2017.

"His status as the most successful Leicester City manager of all time is without question," added the Foxes statement.

"However, domestic results in the current campaign have placed the club's Premier League status under threat."

Earlier this month, Leicester gave their "unwavering support" to the Italian, who was appointed manager in July 2015 and signed a new four-year deal in August 2016.

"After all that Claudio Ranieri has done for Leicester City, to sack him now is inexplicable, unforgivable and gut-wrenchingly sad," said former Foxes striker Gary Lineker.

 

 

MNANGAGWA ALLY REMANDED IN CUSTODY

Former Zanu-PF Mashonalanad Central youth chairperson Godfrey Tsenengamu has been remanded in custody to March 9 following the dismissal of his application challenging his placement on remand on charges of subverting a constitutionally-elected Government or alternatively undermining the authority of the President.
Through his lawyer Mr Zivanai Macharaga, Tsenengamu challenged his placement on remand, arguing that there was no authorisation letter from the Prosecutor General to prosecute on that charge.

The magistatre Ms Vicky Mashamba ruled that there was no need to set aside the court proceedings, saying the State could always seek the Prosecutor General’s permission to prosecute during trial.

Tsenengamu was advised to apply for bail at the High Court. herald

ZHUWAO, LUMUMBA SIPHONED $18K

The Zimbabwe Youth Council today accused Youth Development, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Minister Patrick Zhuwao and former board member Mr Acie Lumumba of using them as a conduit to withdraw $18 000 meant for youth funds.
 
ZYC assistant director for operation, Mr Sungano Chisina, who was the then acting executive director in April last year, told legislators that Minister Zhuwao directed them to engage Mr Lumumba’s company, Cornerstone Pvt Ltd, to conduct a workshop aimed at brain storming a blue-print for youth empowerment strategy without going to tender.
He said Cornerstone Pvt Ltd initially indicated that they would provide the work for free, only to bill them $17 600, ostensibly to cover the people Mr Lumumba’s company had hired to facilitate.

Mr Chisina said this while giving oral evidence before a Parliamentary portfolio committee on Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment chaired by Gokwe-Nembudziya MP Cde Justice Mayor Wadyajena (Zanu-PF). Herald

DOCTORS STRIKE CONTINUES

Hospital doctors, who have been on strike for the second week running, have insisted they will not report for duty until they get an audience with the Finance ministry and their concerns addressed.

Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association president Edgar Munatsi told the Daily News that they no longer want to negotiate with the Health ministry, but the Treasury.

This comes as the industrial action triggered fierce debate in Parliament yesterday, with Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa acknowledging that the situation was dire.
Munatsi argued “the Health ministry is the one that is saying there is no money, but we know they do not handle money.

“We want to talk to the Finance ministry instead”. “We will not go to work until our issues are addressed,” he said, adding that their “demands are not something new. “It’s something that was agreed on since 2014”.

“We know they say the health sector provides essential services and so we must not strike, but they should also prioritise the sector.”

He said “government is also trying to stretch us for long by calling in uniformed forces, but we are not going to budge and we are determined”. The doctors are demanding the opening up of post internship positions after government 
imposed a recruitment freeze.

They also want the authorities to release the junior doctors’ practicing certificates and the increase of on-call allowances from $1 per hour to $10. Also, they want a duty-free facility for the importation of cars.

“We have made headway concerning the post internship posts as government said they had opened up 250 posts, we are, however, waiting for a list of those posts. We also want duty-free facilities on the importation of cars, because as it is 80 percent of doctors cannot afford to buy cars here, and imagine when we are called in to attend to emergencies in the middle of the night and they have to get cabs,” Munatsi said.

In Parliament, Mkoba (MDC) legislator Amos Chibaya and other opposition MPs asked Mnangagwa during question and answer session what government was doing to avert the situation as people where dying due to lack of health care services in public hospitals.
Mnangagwa said in addition to the deployment of doctors from the uniformed forces, government was negotiating and pleading with doctors to return to work.

“Yes, the situation is dire; we are trying to work out how the issues can be resolved,” Mnangagwa said. Daily News

GRANDPA : I KEEP MY CASH AT HOME

(Daily News) President Robert Mugabe unwittingly confirmed Zimbabwe’s worsening rot — which is widely blamed on him and his misfiring government — when he revealed during his annual birthday interview with the ZBC last week that even he kept money at home fearing bank failures.

Mugabe also hinted in that televised interview that Zimbabwe should adopt the South African Rand to mitigate the country’s severe liquidity and cash challenges.

But it was the nonagenarian’s rare, frank and ready admission that he too, along with many other Zimbabweans, kept his money at home rather than with banks that surprised observers.

“They (ordinary Zimbabweans) carry those earnings into their pillows and briefcases back home and hold funds back home and become reluctant to release them. Then the banks will not have any resource and will continue to talk of illiquid banks in the system.

“That is what has happened. Dzimba idzi dzizere nemari (Many homes are full of cash). Tikati kumapurisa nemasoja (If we instruct the police and soldiers to) go house by house and dig for the funds that are being hidden there . . . You will be guilty and I will be guilty.

“I don’t know who will not be guilty here … Dzimwe nguva ukaona tumari twako wotya kuti aah ndikanoisa uko kuti ndizonoitora mangwana hapana (If you have savings you will be afraid of depositing them in the bank because tomorrow you may not get that money).

“So you tend to keep it. It’s not your fault . . . It’s the fault of a system that has not yielded enough cash. Mind you, the (American) dollar is not our currency,” Mugabe said.
He spoke as long-suffering Zimbabweans continue to experiences pain and chaos at banks as they desperately seek to withdraw their money.

This is despite the government’s recent introduction of bond notes in its desperate bid to improve the availability of money.
On its part, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has blamed the shortages of cash on rampant externalisation and high imports.

Last month one of the government’s advisors, Ashok Chakravarti,  revealed that the country only had $304 million in hard cash in circulation, including $73 million in bond notes.

“If you look at comparative studies from other economies cash to deposit ratio should be between 10 (percent) to 12 percent. If an economy has got less than 12 percent, it faces a liquidity crisis … We need $900 million in cash to have adequate liquidity,” he said.

And as Zimbabwe’s economy continues to die, the World Bank last year downgraded the country from its list of improved economies to the unflattering tier of struggling countries, as Harare’s political and economic turmoil continues to escalate.

In its publication titled Africa’s Pulse, the Bretton Woods institution said the country had failed to register significant economic growth over the past few years.

“Zimbabwe’s fiscal deficit has deteriorated as remedial actions have been limited and this has resulted in the country registering a negative correlation between the cyclical components of government consumption and GDP,” it said.

Meanwhile, economists also say average incomes in Zimbabwe are now at their lowest levels in 60 years, with more than 76 percent of families having to make do with less than $200 a month.
This, they add, means that poverty levels have reached “numbing levels”, amid indications that the situation will worsen in 2017, as the government continues to demonstrate its inability to fix the Zimbabwe rot.

MNANGAGWA MUST BE ARRESTED : CHIMENE

(Daily News) In a stunning call that is set to tear the warring ruling Zanu PF further apart, Manicaland Provincial Affairs minister Mandi Chimene says Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa should be arrested for allegedly inciting his Zanu PF supporters to engage in acts of treason.

At the same time, the Zanu PF women’s league renewed its calls yesterday for President Robert Mugabe to implement their resolution of having one of his current two deputies dropped to make way for a woman — in a move which ruling party insiders say is targeted at Mnangagwa.

Chimene’s call came notwithstanding the fact that many of those who are toyi-toying for Mnangagwa to succeed Mugabe — including former Zanu PF youth leader for Mashonaland Central Godfrey Tsenengamu — have said that they are doing so without the Midlands godfather’s blessings.

The forthright Manicaland regional minister told the Daily News in an unsolicited interview yesterday that she firmly believed that Tsenengamu’s announcement in Harare on Tuesday, that he and others in Zanu PF would immediately start to campaign openly for Mnangagwa to take over from Mugabe, could only have come from the Midlands godfather himself.

“Both Tsenengamu and those who are sending him are guilty of seeking to subvert a constitutionally-elected government and should therefore be arrested in line with the dictates of the country’s laws.
“The boy (Tsenengamu) is too young to have said what he said, and I am convinced that there is a powerful force behind him,” Chimene thundered.

“Alternatively, I would suggest that since he (Tsenengamu) mentioned that he wants the VP to become president, but Mnangagwa himself has not said so, the VP should make a police report to say so and so is abusing my name and to say he (Tsenengamu) has committed a serious crime of treason in my name and so he should be arrested.

“That way we can be convinced that he (Mnangagwa) is not involved because as a former minister of State security, he knows very well what subversion means, and I know what it means having been a CIO myself when Mnangagwa was my minister.

“He cannot continue to allow people to use his name as a mop, and as war veterans we are saying that small boy Tsenengamu alone has no guts to say what he said, and we will not tolerate that,” she added without mincing her words.

Ominously for Mnangagwa, the women’s league renewed its calls yesterday for Mugabe to drop one of his two current deputies to make way for a woman — a move which is seen as targeting the VP, who also doubles up as Justice minister.

Zanu PF’s other vice president is Phelekezela Mphoko who comes from the Zapu wing of the ruling party, and who is said to belong to the faction of young Turks who are known as the Generation 40 (G40) group, and who are rabidly opposed to Mnangagwa succeeding Mugabe.

Speaking at his Monday media conference, Tsenengamu called for “a mega fightback” from Mnangagwa and his allies, following Mugabe’s birthday interview with the ZBC in which the nonagenarian appeared to crush the VP’s mooted presidential ambitions by saying no one in Zanu PF 
was worthy of succeeding him.

“It is time we go open about this succession thing because some of us have since identified our candidate and it’s none other than Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa. If Mugabe doesn’t like him, that is up to him, but we are saying we now want him to lead now.

“To . . . Mnangagwa, Chikara, I am sorry you may say we have exposed you, but that is the game now Shumba (VP’s totem).

“We want you to take over from Gushungo and make sure that you take care of his family. So, we are going to hit the campaign trail for you as our presidential candidate next year,” Tsenengamu said.
Tsenengamu was subsequently nabbed by detectives, a day after he held his controversial press conference — and has since been slapped with three charges: violating provisions of the draconian Public Order and Security Act (Posa) for holding his press conference without clearance, 
undermining the authority of the president and subverting a constitutionally-elected government.
Chimene’s latest blast while stunning, is not surprising as she has previously called for Mnangagwa’s expulsion from Zanu PF for allegedly plotting to oust Mugabe from power.

Speaking in August last year, in another no-holds-barred blitzkrieg, Chimene said to Mnangagwa’s face that he and his allies should be expelled from the warring ruling party.

“Forward with expelling rebels. Down with keeping them in the party!” she shouted, to wild cheers — and going on to liken the VP to an animal, while adding ominously that all problem animals were culled at the country’s national parks.

“Crocodiles must remain in the water. They must stay in the river. They must not stay with the people. Zanu PF is not a dam for crocodiles,” she said coldly. Mnangagwa is nicknamed Ngwena (crocodile).

This assault had followed a similar earlier attack by Zanu PF women’s league secretary for finance, Sarah Mahoka, who publicly humiliated the Midlands godfather, going to the extent of claiming that he would never ascend to a higher office because he allegedly lacked a social base.

Yesterday the women’s league continued with its relentless pursuit of Mnangagwa’s demise, reviving its divisive resolution which could see the VP being axed from the presidium.
This followed the league’s provincial meeting in Mazowe on Monday, where they resolved to press the politburo to implement their resolution at its next sitting.

The outspoken Mahoka confirmed to the Daily News that women were “champing at the bit” to see one of their own become vice president again.

“We are hoping that by the time the politburo meets again next month  the party’s legal affairs department will have completed the process to include the women’s quota provision in line with the resolutions we made — hence we agreed in the meeting we had with the First Lady that if that does not happen we will have to follow up to demand action this year,” she said.

However, Mahoka would not be drawn into saying who the league preferred as its candidate to become VP, saying they would be guided on this by the processes of the party’s legal department.
“We are not in a position to suggest a candidate yet because like I said, we are awaiting the announcement by the politburo to give legal legs to the resolution.

“A woman conceives and becomes pregnant first before rushing to doctors for a scan to see whether the baby is a boy or girl. In our case, it is the legal process first and then we will talk about candidates from there,” she said.

Mnangagwa has been under the cosh in the party for allegedly working fervently to stampede Mugabe out of power before the nonagenarian’s current term ends in 2018.

Things became worse when he hosted sacked Zanu PF officials at his rural home during the festive season, with his party foes alleging that this was in fact a meeting organised to plot the ouster of Mugabe from power.

Last Friday Grace took a veiled dig at Mnangagwa during her rally in Buhera when she attacked Zanu PF bigwigs angling for her husband’s job, and mocked them on their alleged lack of “leadership qualities”.

She went on to tell the gathered crowd that if Mugabe were to die, Zimbabweans would vote for his corpse.

And on the same day that Grace was lynching party bigwigs, Mugabe was being recorded for his annual birthday interview in which he said there was no one worthy of succeeding him in Zanu PF.
His statement was seen as slamming the door shut in the face of Mnangagwa, who until recently had been touted as a front-runner to succeed the nonagenarian.

Stung by this damning statement, Mnangagwa’s angry allies have come out guns blazing, warning the increasingly frail nonagenarian that he faced a big fight if he continued to thwart the Midlands godfather’s mooted presidential aspirations.

PEOPLE FIRST FACTION WOOS MLISWA

(Financial Gazette) Temba Mliswa faces major headaches in the event that he is accepted to lead a faction of the Zimbabwe People First (ZPF) party.

 
The country’s laws do not accept floor-crossing, which means that the moment Mliswa takes up the opposition party’s leadership, he would cease to be an independent Member of Parliament for Norton — a constituency he gave his all to win last October.
 
He might not want to let go, which would put him at loggerheads with the constituency that voted him into Parliament as an independent lawmaker.
 
But assuming the Norton constituency does not raise dust about it, his presence in the legislature might not sit well with his rivals in ZANU-PF and the Speaker of the National Assembly, Jacob Mudenda, who might invoke relevant processes to declare his seat vacant.
 
In terms of Section 129(1) of the Constitution, an MP’s seat becomes vacant, “if the member, not having been a member of a political party when he or she was elected to Parliament, becomes a member of a political party”.
 
While the Constitution is clear on this, there is already a precedence where this has not been the case, which could work in Mliswa’s favour.
 
For example, the re-admission of independent MP for Mudzi South constituency Jonathan Samkange into ZANU-PF after the 2013 polls should have seen him automatically losing his parliamentary seat in line with the new Constitution.
 
At the time of polls in 2013, Samkange had been dismissed from ZANU-PF and contested as an independent candidate. Although the matter was raised in Parliament by Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) chief whip, Innocent Gonese, Mudenda did not act, saying he was waiting for the ruling party to notify him in writing.
 
That did not happen and Samkange is still an MP to this day.
In Mliswa’s case though, he might not get away with it in view of his fallout with ZANU-PF and that he has become one of President Robert Mugabe’s fiercest critics ever since his dismissal from the ruling party in 2014.
 
ZANU-PF has previously been accused of only applying the Constitution when it suits its agenda.
“It is not a secret that we are dealing with a party that has no respect of the Constitution. They will duck and dive when it comes to provisions which do not serve their interests. We cannot have a leadership which respects the law only when it is in its favour,” MDC- T spokesperson, Obert Gutu, was once quoted saying.
 
This week, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) washed its hands saying the legislature, through its standing rules, should know how to deal with an independent parliamentarian who decides to join a political party.
 
“That is for Parliament to answer on whether to treat that person as an independent or a member of a party  because once we have an election result, we are done – whatever happens after that is now for Parliament to interpret their own rules,” said ZEC chairperson, Rita Makarau.
 
Mudenda passed the buck when contacted for comment on Tuesday saying; “We need to consult ZEC on that one because they are the ones that register candidates”.
 
Chairperson of the Legal and Procedural Affairs Committee of the Standing Rules and Orders Committee, Nelson Chamisa said if an independent MP joins a political party they automatically lose their seat according to section 129(1) of the supreme law.
 
“The Constitution says they lose their seat because they are no longer a member of the House of Assembly under which they won the seat. The door that brought you to Parliament should keep you,” said Chamisa.

GOVT GRINDS TO A HALT FOR MUGABE BASH

MDC leader, Welshman Ncube, has blasted Zanu PF’s “egocentric patronage system” for causing the suspension of government business as the ruling party’s bigwigs channel State resources towards preparations for President Robert Mugabe’s 93rd birthday celebrations.

Mugabe turned 93 on Tuesday and his main birthday celebrations will be held at Rhodes Preparatory School in Matobo district on Saturday. 

Ncube yesterday told Southern Eye that government business was now literally at a standstill because of the event, adding this had been the trend since independence in 1980.

“Just contrast this misappropriation of resources to what Tanzania’s President John Magufuli did, even cancelling an important event as independence celebrations, and allocating the money to issues such as ensuring access to health for the people,” he said.

Ncube added: “It appears as if it is more important to ministers, parastatals and parastatal heads to prove to Mugabe that ‘I am the most loyal, I have done a lot towards your birthday’, than serving the country.
“As long as one understands that to remain at the table of looting, one has to stroke the ego of the leader through raising the status of his (leader) birthday to a State function. We created the monster, which thrives on egocentric praise and this is what we get.”

MUGABE GETS PAY RISE

(Financial Gazette) Treasury has budgeted for an increase in salaries and allowances for President Robert Mugabe and his two deputies — Emmerson Mnangagwa and Phelekezela Mphoko — despite calls for belt-tightening measures in government due to worsening fiscal pressures.
 

The country’s top three civil servants are likely to gross a combined US$672 000 this year, up from US$624 000 last year, according to the revised edition of the 2017 National Budget estimates of expenditure, otherwise known as the Blue Book. This would represent a 7,69 percent increase.
 
In a United States dollar environment, such an increase is quite significant. It is way above annual headline inflation, which has remained in the negative territory, averaging –1,56 percent in 2016. Officials at the Finance Ministry have been reluctant to take questions from the Financial Gazette on the issue for the past three weeks.
 
For instance, Patrick Chinamasa,  who superintends over the country’s financial levers, has neither been responding to text messages sent to his mobile phone nor returning calls.
 
Willard Manungo, the permanent secretary in the ministry, has also been evasive, referring this reporter to his subordinate in the ministry, who could not give responses to questions sent to him by the time of going to print.
 
In 2015, President Mugabe indicated that he was earning US$12 000 per month, including an allowance of US$2 000. He is obviously now earning much more in terms of both his salary and allowances.
 
Former finance minister, Tendai Biti, described the revised salary and allowance budget for members of the presidium as unsustainable.
 
“How can the President of Zimbabwe earn more than the Prime Minister of Britain? It’s ridiculous. The British Prime Minister presides over an economy worth US$3 trillion; our Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is a paltry US$10 billion. This economy cannot sustain those obscene salaries. I used to pay him US$4 000,” said Biti, who was finance minister during the inclusive government (2009 to 2013).
 
Currently, British Prime Minister, Theresa May, earns an annual salary of US$273 330,72 at the ruling exchange rate. This includes her salary as a Member of Parliament.
Chinese President Xi Jinping, who oversees an economy whose GDP is in excess of US$11 trillion, gets just US$1 734 per month.
 
On average, a civil servant earns around US$300 per month, a figure which is way below the poverty datum line, currently pegged at US$660 for a family of six.
 
Of late, government has been under pressure from civil servants who are pressing for improved working conditions and better pay. At the moment, it faces a crippling strike by doctors, with teachers from public schools also putting their employer on notice.
These demands are seen worsening fiscal pressures.
 
At the moment, government has huge carry-over expenditure demands from 2016, including US$180 million in outstanding bonuses for civil servants.
 
The costs inherited from last year’s budget constitute what Chinamasa described as “pressure points” for the 2017 National Budget, already understrain from a huge public sector wage bill accounting for over 97 percent of government expenditure. The expenditure demands pushed back into this year include employment cost arrears for the December 2016 wage bill, employer contributions to service providers such as the National Social Security Authority, the Premier Service Medical Aid Society and employee contributions.    The total expenditure demands from last year amount to US$942,5 million.
 
In fact, some of the outstanding commitments relate to payments due from as far back as 2013.

MNANGAGWA ALLY CHARGED

Former Zanu PF Mashonaland West provincial youth chairperson, Godfrey Tsenengamu, who was early this week arrested following a Press conference at which he called on President Robert Mugabe to step down, is expected to appear in court today.

Tsenengamu’s lawyer, Zivanai Macharaga of Mugiya and Macharaga Legal Practitioners, confirmed his client had since been charged for undermining Mugabe’s authority.

“We have been advised by the police that he will appear in court tomorrow (today). He has been charged with subverting a constitutionally-elected government, undermining the authority of the President and conducting a Press conference without notifying the police under the Public Order and Security Act,” Macharaga said.

Tsenengamu earlier in the day also said he was to spend another night in police custody.
“I will sleep in police cells again. The paperwork has been done, they (police) are just politicking now, I will likely appear in court tomorrow at 9am,” he said in a message to NewsDay.

In the aftermath of First Lady Grace Mugabe’s rant at a rally in Buhera last week, Tsenengamu called on Mugabe to step down and allow for Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa to take over. He urged the Zanu PF leader to “stop your wife before we stop her”.

Mnangagwa is locked in a bitter struggle for power with Grace to take over from Mugabe, as the 93-year-old leader’s political career faces its sunset. Newsday

GRACE BOOTS OUT MAHOKA

(Newsday) First Lady Grace Mugabe has reportedly sanctioned the removal of two of her women’s league allies from their senior positions after allegations of abuse of funds.

Grace allegedly gave the nod to a resolution by the women’s league to fire her deputy, Eunice Sandi Moyo, and finance secretary, Sarah Mahoka, after allegations against the Hurungwe East legislator during two meetings held at the First Family’s farm in Mazowe early this week.

Zanu PF’s Goromonzi West MP, Beatrice Nyamupinga, reportedly moved a motion that led to the drastic resolution. “Nyamupinga moved a motion to have Sandi Moyo and Mahoka removed from their positions for alleged abuse of party funds,” a women’s league source said yesterday.
“It could also be some sort of factional re-alignment by Grace in the succession battle.

“Mahoka is accused of abusing party funds for factional programmes, while Sandi Moyo is accused of protecting Mahoka, among others.

“Some people want the two out after claims surfaced that Sandi Moyo was overheard arguing she would not attend Grace’s rallies because they are meant to destroy the party.”Nyamupinga could neither deny nor confirm that she moved a motion that led to action against the two.

“I do not speak on behalf of the party because I am only a provincial chairperson,” she said.
Mahoka confirmed an executive meeting of the women’s league was held, but said the Grace-led organ had no powers to discipline Sandi Moyo.

“I have no idea about anyone being expelled or removed from a position,” she said. “We did not hold a meeting at night, but I know we held a meeting of the women’s league’s top 10 to discuss national issues.

“Sandi Moyo is an appointee of the politburo and has a great relationship with the First Lady. She cannot be removed by anyone.”

The legislator, who ruffled feathers in Zanu PF last year, when she publicly accused Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa of promoting factionalism, said she did not abuse party funds.

“I am as clean as Bob (President Robert Mugabe) and no amount of mudslinging will stick,” she said. “I am not moved.” Sandi Moyo was not reachable for comment over the past two days. Sources said Mugabe was against the decision to fire Sandi Moyo and Mahoka.

“The President was and is still against the idea and the politburo will likely reverse it, but the mere fact that Grace has attempted it points to something brewing,” a source said.

The two have been Grace’s most outspoken backers since she entered politics in 2014 before she was elevated to lead the women’s league.

ECHOES OF THE MUGABES


Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev has appointed his wife as first vice president.

On Tuesday, Aliyev announced that Mehriban Aliyeva, 52, would step into a role created last year by constitutional referendum. In that position, she will succeed her husband if he steps down. She will also likely oversee the country's cabinet. (The constitutional amendments approved in the referendum also stretched the presidential term from five to seven years, after a 2009 referendum abolished term-limits in the former Soviet republic. And they ditched the age requirement for president, paving the way for the Aliyevs' 19-year-old son to run.)

Aliyeva graduated from medical school, but she has always had an interest in politics. She serves in the country's parliament and chairs her husband's political party, Yeni Azerbaijan. She has run several big projects, including Azerbaijan's Olympic bid and the Heydar Aliyev charity. Aliyeva was born into one of the country's wealthiest families, the Pashayevs, who have donated generously to the arts. They can afford to — the clan controls several banks, insurance companies, construction, travel, and Azerbaijan's only Bentley dealership. Several relatives hold top government posts.

She is famous (or infamous) for her love of luxury, her meticulous appearance and her stylish dress. In leaked American diplomatic cables, diplomats suggested that Aliyeva had problems showing a "full range of facial expression" because of "substantial cosmetic surgery." They also wrote that she was poorly informed about political issues.

In a statement laying out her qualifications, President Aliyev wrote, "it is no coincidence that the organization of the Fourth Islamic Solidarity Games due to be held this year has also been entrusted to Mehriban Aliyeva."

Opposition leaders agree that it's no coincidence. But they don't think Aliyeva's talents got her the job. The Aliyevs, they say, run their country like a fiefdom, getting rich off Azerbaijan's energy reserves. Now they're trying to consolidate dynastic rule, critics say. "This appointment shows disrespect to the people," Ali Kerimli, leader of one of Azerbaijan's opposition parties, told Reuters. "It's the first step to the establishment of an absolute monarchy in the country."

Others took to social media to air their dissent. washington post