Banning MDC Alliance rally tragic

The police’s decision to ban an MDC Alliance rally in Harare’s Glen View suburb is tragic under a new dispensation led by President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

This comes just after Mnangagwa told a meeting with business leaders on Thursday ahead of his maiden trip to the World Economic Forum in Davos next week that he usually thanks the opposition in Parliament for criticism because it helps him and his party to reform so that they stay in government longer.

So, proscribing the MDC Alliance rally only serves to starve ED of the counsel that can only be gained in the open as the opposition propagates itself.

While this ban could be the action of overzealous cops suffering some paradigm shift paralysis, we have no doubt that the police will be hard-pressed to justify a decision that seems mainly designed to block the gathering planned to welcome opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai on his return from a medical sabbatical. There is really no cogent reason to curtail legitimate political activity.

The rights of assembly, association, and expression are protected in our expansive Bill of Rights and must not be curtailed in a manner reminiscent of the dictatorial one-party mindset of fallen despot Robert Mugabe.

Unless there was a real and present security threat, the decision announced by the police to bar the MDC Alliance rally will be seen as a crass manoeuvre to halt a series of opposition gatherings set for the coming weeks and months.

Curiously, the same police force okayed the MDC Alliance rally on Sunday in Epworth.

In our democratic political dispensation, it cannot be the role of the Zimbabwe Republic Police to block political rallies at the behest of the ruling party.

After all, ED has openly pronounced that even United Nations (UN) and the European Union (EU) were both welcome to monitor the elections.

He has said he wants “fair, free and credible elections,” in an interview with the authoritative Financial Times this week.

The security chiefs who made the decision should be well aware that barring legitimate political expression could be counter-productive if those barred from meeting decide to defy the ban and exercise their rights, setting the stage for confrontation and conflict.

The police and other security agencies are bound by their oath of office, and by the Constitution, to discharge their duties independent of direction and control of anyone.

We need a departure from the Augustine Chihuri era gentlemen. The onus is on those who decided to ban political gatherings to show they were reacting to valid security concerns.


January 20, 2018 at 10:09 pm Leave a comment

Soldiers abuse worker at farm formerly owned by Roy Bennet

Some members of the Zimbabwe National Army reportedly abused a worker at a farm, which was formerly owned by former MDC legislator for Chimanimani Roy Bennet.

Zimbabwe Peace Project in its latest report reported that in Chimanimani East ward 12, a team of soldiers stationed at Charleswood summoned one Magocha who used to be a worker on the farm under ARDA and allegedly asked him a number of questions he failed to answer to their satisfaction.

“It is alleged that they then accused him of stealing some farm equipment which was left by Roy Bennett who used to own and run the farm before he was kicked out. They allegedly accused of Magocha of running down the farm. Thereafter it is alleged he was physically assaulted by the soldiers using sticks and clubs,” reported ZPP.

“After the alleged physical assault, it was then said he was forced to exhume human manure from a disused blair toilet on the farm compound. He is said to have suffered some injuries which forced him to seek medical attention at Mutambara Hospital.”

Source – Byo24News

January 15, 2018 at 10:17 pm Leave a comment

Mnangagwa accused of bribing chiefs

Zimbabwe’s main opposition party along with rights groups have accused President Emmerson Mnangagwa of bribing chiefs with cars in exchange for votes.

This comes after Mnangagwa splurged a fortune on 52 brand new double cab cars for traditional leaders, in a move that has been roundly condemned as “sickening vote-buying” by Zanu PF ahead of the watershed polls – and not withstanding other more urgent needs.

Mnangagwa and his deputy, Constantino Chiwenga, handed over the cars in Gweru on Saturday after meeting with 286 traditional chiefs.

He said the rest of the cars were on their way.

Rights groups and the opposition allege that in return of the privileges, the chiefs are expected to render unconditional support for Mnangagwa and his lieutenants in Zanu PF and act as agents of the electoral authoritarian ruling regime in the do-or-die 2018 general polls.

Mnangagwa, who ascended to power last November in a military coup that toppled veteran ruler Robert Mugabe, faces a tough challenge in the presidential vote being held alongside parliamentary and municipal ballots around mid this year.

The main opposition MDC said traditional leaders were obliged to be non-political actors by the supreme law of the land.

“Of course, . . . Mnangagwa is smelling a humiliating defeat at the hands of the MDC in the forthcoming elections; thus, he is desperately trying to garner support from the country’s traditional leaders to enable them to virtually coerce their subjects to vote for Zanu PF,” MDC spokesperson Obert Gutu told the Daily News.

“However, this strategy will not work because the majority of the chiefs and other traditional leaders are very smart people. They don’t want to be used as Zanu PF’s political commissars.

“The time of the hand-over of the motor vehicles to chiefs is obviously meant to compromise them and make them willing tools of the Zanu PF regime. This will not work because the chiefs know that the Zanu PF regime, even under . . . Mugabe, was never genuinely interested in looking after their welfare.”

Stephen Chan, a professor of world politics at the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London in the United Kingdom, said as far as he can see, Mnangagwa has continued a practice borrowed from the Mugabe era.

“I disagree with it but it is, unfortunately, a common political phenomenon in many parts of Africa,” opined Chan.

Gladys Hlatywayo, a political analyst and civil rights campaigner, said it was sad that the Mnangagwa administration was demonstrating each day that it is not different from the previous regime.

“They continue to use the same tactics and strategies and, personally, I struggle to see the so-called ‘new dispensation’. It is a case of misplaced priorities given the state of the economy,” she said.

Zimbabwe’s economy is deep in the throes of a debilitating economic crisis, which has led to horrendous company closures and the consequent loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs.

Life has therefore become more and more unbearable for millions of long-suffering Zimbabweans, as the local economy continues to die amid a severe shortage of cash.

Hlatywayo said the timing of Mnangagwa’s benevolence points to the motive.

“Like the previous administration, this administration seeks to use traditional leaders to mobilise on its behalf ahead of upcoming elections,” she said.

The Mugabe regime was known for valorising the traditional leadership institution, showering them with gifts such as vehicles, farms, farm machinery, generators, houses, mobile phones, fuel and electricity, and effectively making them agents of coercion, contrary to their much-vaunted role as custodians of national culture and traditional values.

Dewa Mavhinga, head of the Human Rights Watch Southern Africa, said there was no difference between Mnangagwa and Mugabe when it comes to Zanu PF’s relationship with chiefs.

“The timing of the car gifts to chiefs ahead of elections could point to inducements for chiefs to support and campaign for Zanu PF in violation of the Constitution which requires chiefs to be strictly non-partisan. It points to misplaced priorities when hospitals lack basic medicines and equipment,” he said.

Analyst Tamuka Charles Chirimambowa said each car can buy four tractors and with 230 cars, you have close to a 1 000 tractors that could have boosted farmers.

“The buying of cars is consumption economics and if he would have bought something like tractors, that’s production economics,” he said.

Analyst Xwayani Hope Msipha said the dishing out of cars to chiefs was a clear political move done by a party conscious of the need to seal the rural areas from the opposition.

Mugabe built a massive wall of fear for the rural people — who constitute 75 percent of the Zimbabwean voter bloc — maintaining control over the rural vote by directing ordinary voters to give their ballot-paper serial numbers to their village headmen, who would have marshalled the voters to the polling station and made them queue in a predetermined order, blatantly violating the sanctity of the vote.

Intimidated villagers willingly voted for Zanu PF, and those who disobeyed this instruction were ruthlessly punished — commanded to sprawl on the ground, sometimes naked, then clobbered on the back, buttocks, the head, while some had their homes burnt or knocked down or told never to return to their villagers by Zanu PF youths — pumped up with beer or marijuana.

Other defiant opposition villagers were taken to re-education camps and castigated for their treachery and perfidy while suffering long nights of physical abuse and indoctrination.

Under his electoral regime, rural voters faced a world where silence was the only option and chose to live in obedience, in silence, well aware any dissent would be crushed.

Msipha said chiefs have over the years been very pivotal in the political economy of rural areas as they act as instruments of both coercion and party organisation.

“You cannot separate chiefs from Zanu PF in most of the Mashonaland areas where they are also key elements of the party structure. With their loyalty bought by the token cars, Zanu PF is guaranteed of the next rural vote unless the opposition employs some sophisticated programmes to outflank Zanu PF on the rural economy front.

“Cars are only cementing what ED has done through command inputs and other programmes. Only an independent economic organisation in the rural areas can liberate the people from Zanu PF structures,” said Msipha.

Analyst Maxwell Saungweme said the development demonstrates that Mnangagwa’s presidency was a false dawn.

“Giving those cars is so insensitive at a juncture we have crisis in social services with sewage gushing out of taps in Harare and hospitals lacking essential drugs. This shows us that the military regime in Harare is interested not in public service delivery and democracy but strengthening its foothold on power,” opined Saungweme.

“Buying chiefs cars and making them de-facto Zanu PF campaign agents is a major efficacious, tried and tested rigging strategy in Zanu PF’s tool box of poll manipulation,” he added.

Mnangagwa’s spokesperson George Charamba has rejected charges that the handover of cars was “sickening vote buying”, saying what was sickening was a chief who goes about in scorch-cart or on a bicycle.

“Traditional leaders have conditions of service, and those conditions must be commensurate with the dignity we attach to their office as traditional leaders,” he told the Daily News.

“As a matter of fact, that condition went unmet for almost six or so years because of problems of finance in government. If you remember, it was the last act done by the former president, which the current president has implemented. It’s not the first time chiefs are getting vehicles,” Charamba said, warning the “unelectable” MDC against picking a fight over that issue and alienating chiefs by questioning why they should be driving.


Source – dailynews

January 15, 2018 at 10:13 pm Leave a comment


January 15, 2018 at 10:03 pm Leave a comment

‘I fled Zimbabwe for Nottingham after being tortured’

Many Zimbabweans who fled their country have settled in Nottingham, which is twinned with Zimbabwe’s capital Harare.

Regis Manyanya, chairman of the Nottingham Zimbabwean Community Network, gives his view on the future of the country following President Robert Mugabe’s resignation.

January 15, 2018 at 10:02 pm Leave a comment

Zimbabwean pair appear in court over Cecil the lion killing

Two men are appearing in court in Zimbabwe on charges linked to the killing of Cecil, the country’s most famous lion.
Professional hunter Theo Bronkhorst and farm owner Honest Ndlovu, are charged with poaching offences for not having the required hunting permit.
US dentist Walter Palmer shot the animal with a bow and rifle.
Mr Palmer, who says he was unaware of the lion’s identity, paid for the hunt and could also face poaching charges.
BBC Africa Live: News updates
The two Zimbabwean men, who accompanied him on the hunt, could face up to 15 years in prison if found guilty.
Mr Palmer says he regrets shooting the well-known animal and believed he was on a legal hunt. He relied on professional guides to find a lion and obtain the necessary permits, he said.
Separately, court records have shown that the dentist has a felony record in the US after killing a black bear in the state of Wisconsin in 2006.
Cecil the lion (left) and Walter Palmer, the US dentist who killed the animal
Walter Palmer, who killed Cecil, said he had no idea the lion was a “local favourite”
He was given a one-year probation and fined $3,000 (£1,900), having shot the animal outside an authorised zone and then tried to pass it off as having been killed elsewhere.
Records from the Minnesota Board of Dentistry also show that Mr Palmer was the subject of a sexual harassment complaint which was settled in 2006.
A receptionist alleged that he had made indecent comments to her. Mr Palmer admitted no wrongdoing and agreed to pay out more than $127,000 (£81,000).
‘An activity I love’
The American tourist is believed to have paid about $50,000 (£32,000) to go on the hunt in Zimbabwe.
Cecil the lion was skinned and beheaded, according to the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force (ZCTF), a local charity.
More than 265,000 people have signed an online “Justice for Cecil” petition, calling on Zimbabwe’s government to stop issuing hunting permits for endangered animals.
As news of the killing and details about the perpetrator spread online, there has been a slew of comments on social media condemning Walter Palmer, with some people calling for him to face justice.
How the internet descended on the man who killed Cecil the lion
The killing has provoked outrage on social media
Mr Palmer insists that he believed his guides had secured “all proper permits” for the hunt.
“I relied on the expertise of my local professional guides to ensure a legal hunt,” he said in a statement on Tuesday.
He said he had not been contacted by authorities in Zimbabwe or the US but would “assist them in any inquiries they may have”.
The dental offices of Walter Palmer in Bloomington, Minnesota – 28 July 2015
The dental practice run by Mr Palmer in Bloomington, Minnesota, was closed on Tuesday
The dentist is believed to be back in the US, although his exact whereabouts are unknown.
“Again, I deeply regret that my pursuit of an activity I love and practise responsibly and legally resulted in the taking of this lion,” he said.
The dental practice run by Mr Palmer was closed on Tuesday and a note was placed on the door referring visitors to a public relations firm.
The practice’s Facebook page was removed from the site after being besieged by angry comments and the company website was also taken down.
Cecil the iconic lion
Cecil the lion, Paula French via AP, 2012
A major tourist attraction in Hwange National Park – Zimbabwe’s largest game reserve
The 13-year-old animal was renowned for being friendly towards visitors
Recognisable because of his large size and distinctive black mane
Led two prides containing six lionesses and 12 cubs along with another lion, Jericho
Was being monitored as part of an Oxford University study into lion conservation
Night-time pursuit
Cecil was believed to have been killed on 1 July but the carcass was not discovered until a few days later.
The ZCTF said the hunters had used bait to lure him outside Hwange National Park during a night-time pursuit.
Mr Palmer is said to have shot Cecil with a bow, injuring the animal. The group did not find the wounded lion until 40 hours later, when he was shot dead with a gun.
The animal had a GPS collar fitted for a research project by UK-based Oxford University that allowed authorities to track its movements. The hunters tried to destroy it, but failed, according to the ZCTF.
On Monday, the head of the ZCTF told the BBC that Cecil “never bothered anybody” and was “one of the most beautiful animals to look at”.
The six cubs of Cecil will now be killed by the new male lion in the pride, Johnny Rodrigues added, in order to encourage the lionesses to mate with him.
“That’s how it works… it’s in the wild. It’s nature taking its course,” he added.

July 29, 2015 at 3:23 pm Leave a comment

Cecil hunters in court tomorrow

The killing of world famous Zimbabwean lion, Cecil, may represent just the tip of the iceberg, the president of the Safari Operators Association of Zimbabwe, Emmanuel Fundira has said.

Fundira told The Zimbabwean shortly after a press conference in Harare today that the killing of Cecil was a sophisticated operation conducted by a highly organised syndicate which may involve more people than those identified.

“It’s possible that some of the cases may go unnoticed and there could be collusion involving a number of individuals. The $55,000 could have found its way around a number of people,” Fundira said.

During the press conference Fundira revealed that the lion was shot at 10 pm at the beginning of this month by American Walter James Palmer from Minnesota.

“Cecil was killed using a bow hunt, a silent weapon revealing the intent to conceal what happened,” he said.

A joint press statement by SOAZ and the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority issued earlier said that the professional hunter involved, Theo Bronkhurst and the owner of Antoinette Farm, Honest Trymore Ndlovu are being charged for illegally hunting the lion.

Fundira said the killing of Cecil represented a loss for the country both in heritage and financial terms.

“The proper market value for a lion like Cecil would be around $100,000”.

“Since this was not a legal hunt it means this money is not directly accruing to the people and government of Zimbabwe. The area where the lion was killed did not have a hunting quota for lions for 2015”.

The SOAZ president refuted what he called allegations in the international media that Cecil’s death illustrated poor wildlife conservation.

“We are very conscious of conservation and we use hunting as a conservation tool and we use quotas. The hunting methods we use involves the use of a fair chase which still provides the required experience for the tourist even when the animal might not get killed,” he said.

Cecil was part of an Oxford University research project and wore a GPS collar.

“We lost an icon. Cecil was very well known in the international community. The absence of Cecil is a disaster in terms of the disappointment it has caused,” Fundira said.

Ndlovu and Bronkhurst will appear in court tomorrow, Wednesday July 29. Bronkhorst’s licence has also been suspended with immediate effect. The lion trophy has been confiscated and will be used as an exhibit in court.

Bonkhorst has also been suspended from The Zimbabwe Professional Hunters and Guides Association.

Accrding to Fundira Bronkhorst’s son, Zane who was being sought by the police has been caught.
By The Zimbabwean

July 29, 2015 at 3:16 pm Leave a comment

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