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Anti-Mugabe former US State Secretary dies from Covid-19

Colin Powell

Zimstar News

Former US Secretary of State Colin Powell, who superintended over Zimbabwe’s controversial sanctions law back in 2001, has died aged 84 from Covid-19.

His death was announced Monday by his family via Facebook.

“General Colin L. Powell, former U.S. Secretary of State and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, passed away this morning due to complications from Covid 19,” read the message.

Powell held the position from 2001 to 2005.

He is best known to Zimbabweans for presiding over bitter relations with the then Robert Mugabe led administration and had a strong hand in the enactment of the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act passed 2001 by the United States Congress.

The sanctions law, which barred American firms from any trade with Zimbabwe, was passed ostensibly to provide for a transition to democracy and to promote economic recovery.

ZDERA remains in place.

Presidential spokesperson George Charamba Monday posted a somewhat gloating message over Powell’s death.

“Gen Colin Powell has died of COVID-19-related complications. Conscious Zimbabweans remember him as US’s black Secretary of State who afflicted us with punitive sanctions!!!!!” Charamba said.

The once controversial top diplomat once condemned Mugabe and his “violent misrule” and envisioned another round of elections and a transitional government with the “president gone.”

This followed a violent presidential election controversially won by the now late former leader 2002.

In an op-ed column published in The New York Times, Powell urged Zanu PF and MDC MPs to “legislate the constitutional changes to allow for a transition” that would bring a new leader to the country.

“With the president gone, with a transitional government in place and with a date fixed for new elections, Zimbabweans of all descriptions would, I believe, come together to begin the process of rebuilding their country.

“If this happened, the United States would be quick to pledge generous assistance to the restoration of Zimbabwe’s political and economic institutions even before the election. Other donors, I am sure, would be close behind.”

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Chamisa smashes ED rally block, ignites poll charge

Nelson Chamisa

By Nkosana Dlamini

MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa has taken full advantage of the current international glare on country’s human rights situation to dismantle President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s drag out ban on gatherings, forcing through spontaneous rallies to ignite his 2023 presidential election charge.

But this has come at a cost to own safety with his convoy running into hurdles, some violent, as he traverses parts of the country under the ostensible objective of meeting stakeholders.

The Zanu PF led government has banned rallies, street demonstrations and elections citing the continued Covid-19 threat on the country.

Despite the ban, Mnangagwa and allies seem to have been allowed to congregate easily without let or hindrance.

The incumbent’s commitment to human rights comes under the microscope this month with the much-anticipated visit to the country by Special Rapporteur Alena Douhan 18 to 28 this month.

Dohan is also set to meet stakeholders within both government and non-governmental.

Mnangagwa, whose human rights record is not too impeccable, is also keen not to mess up ahead of his visit to Europe end of the month.

It would be the first time in over a decade that a Zimbabwean incumbent will set foot on European soil since the rich bloc imposed a travel ban on then President Robert Mugabe and his inner circle for alleged rights abuses, poll fraud and high-level corruption.

Government spokesperson Nick Mangwana has inadvertently admitted his boss felt the pressure to behave when he accused the main opposition leader of playing to the gallery through claims his (Chamisa) convoy was attacked by Zanu PF supporters in Masvingo a week ago.

“We are in the even of #COP26 and the Special Rapporteur’s engagement is about to happen. Do you know what else has started? The Dramas,” said Mangwana, who is also Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services.

Also commenting on the same situation via Twitter, Presidential spokesperson George Charamba said Chamisa’s impromptu rallies were meant to provoke attention to alleged rights abuses.

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