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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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UN rights envoy visit rescues govt’s tired anti-sanctions mantra

President Mnangagwa with UN Special Rapporteur Alena Douhan

By Nkosana Dlamini

Government has taken full use of the high profile visit by UN Special Rapporteur on Negative Impact of Unilateral Coercive Measures on Human Rights Alena Douhan to piggyback its anti-sanctions mantra, long reduced to a dull chorus with each passing year under an unmoved West.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa Monday took time to officially receive the rights envoy who is on a 10-day working visit to the troubled country.

The UN rights chief is set to meet various stakeholders within government, civil society and other relevant quarters.

She is set to collate her finding after which she will hold a joint press conference with Zimbabwe where she will share her preliminary findings.

The final report will be tabled in September 2022 in Geneva.

However, government apologists have set Twitter abuzz, excitedly drawing free visit mileage brought by her visit to revive the call for sanctions imposed on the country by Europe and the US nearly two decades ago to be scrapped.

“…There is no question on the deleterious impact of Sanctions on this country. Let’s all speak with one voice on #ZimSanctionsMustGo,” government spokesperson Nick Mangwana Tweeted Sunday.

Presidential spokesperson George Charamba, writing under his handle, @Jamwanda2 has also been profusely tapping away over Douhan’s visit and the impact of sanctions on Zimbabwe.

“One has to be a very bald mind to brag last week’s pseudo-events were meant to deflect world attention on illegal sanctions. Or to dissuade us from going for by-elections!! #NoToIllegalSanctions!!!” he said while referring to the alleged attack on MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa’s convoy by Zanu PF supporters in Masvingo last week.

Zanu PF has been a lone voice in the wilderness, shouting for the scrapping of a travel embargo and asset freeze imposed on the country’s leaders, military top brass, associated firms and individuals accused of aiding the suppression of human rights and corruption under the current regime.

 

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Zim youth groups slam Chinamasa, Zanu PF for fanning violence

Patrick Chinamasa

Zimstar News

Several youth organisations under the umbrella group, Youth Coalition on Electoral Reform have slammed Zanu PF for alleged political violence on both opponents and allies, while further urging President Emmerson Mnangagwa to call Patrick Chinamasa and some of his lieutenants to order for fanning violence.

This follows the recent attack on MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa’s convoy in Masvingo by hordes of placard waving Zanu PF supporters and intra-party violence within the ruling party itself in Manicaland.

Following the attack on Chamisa, Zanu PF acting political commissar, Chinamasa appeared justifying the incident when he said the opposition chief invited the misfortune upon himself.

In a statement weekend, Youth Coalition was apprehensive political violence was back to haunt the country which is due to go for elections in just over a year’s time.

“We call upon political leaders to exercise restraint and caution on what they say in public and that includes Patrick Chinamasa.

“Political Violence is retrogressive and creates an environment not conducive for free participation in the electoral processes especially by our constituents, the Youth.

“Political leaders must understand that beyond political affiliations, we are all Zimbabweans and we need each other to build a Prosperous, Democratic and Progressive nation,” said the group.

Youth Coalition also called on SADC and AU to call “Harare to order and nip the scourge of political violence which is seemingly becoming systemic and a strategy employed by some political actors.”

READ FULL STATEMENT BELOW:

Youth Coalition Statement on Resurgent Political Violence

The Youth Coalition on Electoral Reform herein referred to as the Youth Coalition is deeply concerned by recent events which have seen political violence rear its ugly head again in Zimbabwe. It is clear that the election season is upon us and the worrying trend has seemingly emerged again, the ghost from the past is coming back to haunt our nation.

The Youth Coalition condemns in the strongest terms the inter party political violence witnessed in Masvingo where opposition leader Nelson Chamisa had his convoy attacked by alleged ruling party youths. Videos of ruling party supporters declaring Nelson Chamisa a persona non grata in the area are appalling in a free and democratic Zimbabwe.

In Manicaland and Mashonaland Central, intra party violence has also been reported within the ruling party ZANU PF.

It is sad that we have to see this kind of behaviour each election season. As the Youth Coalition we urge our leaders especially those from the ruling party to stop forthwith issuing inflammatory statement that seemingly encourage political violence.

Statements attributed to the ruling party acting Political Commissar Patrick Chinamasa, that Nelson Chamisa was attacked because he had provoked ruling party supporters are regrettable and unfortunate.

We call upon political leaders to exercise restraint and caution on what they say in public and that includes Patrick Chinamasa. Political Violence is retrogressive and creates an environment not conducive for free participation in the electoral processes especially by our constituents, the Youth.

Political leaders must understand that beyond political affiliations, we are all Zimbabweans and we need each other to build a Prosperous, Democratic and Progressive nation.

The Youth Coalition urges the President to act and call some of his officials to order for issuing inflammatory statements. We also urge SADC, the AU to call Harare to order and nip the scourge of political violence which is seemingly becoming systemic and a strategy employed by some political actors.

Electoral contestation is won on the basis of ideas not violence, the latter is not only retrogressive but primitive. We also call upon the law enforcement authorities to bring offenders to book so as to avoid a repeat of such.

ENDORSED BY THE YOUTH COALITION ON ELECTORAL REFORMS

  • African Regional Youth Initiative (ARYI)
  • African Youth Portal
  • Community Youth Development Trust (CYDT)
  • Community Talk Trust
  • Light Bearers Youth Initiative Trust
  • Lupane Youth For Development Trust
  • National Youth Development Trust (NYDT)
  • Victory Siyanqoba
  • Welead Trust
  • Women Trust Africa
  • Young Advocates for Inclusion
  • Youth Alliance for Democracy (YAD)
  • Youth Empowerment and Transformation Trust (YETT)
  • Youth Forum Zimbabwe (YFZ)
  • Youth Initiative for Community Development (YICD)
  • Zimbabwe National Students Union (ZINASU)
  • Zimbabwe Election and Advocacy Trust (ZEAT)
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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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Police bust sodomy syndicate targeting schoolboys

Zimbabwe Republic police

Zimstar News

Police say they have unearthed a sodomy syndicate preying on schoolboys who are often lured to Harare lodges by grown suspects to be treated to the vile act.

In a statement Thursday, police said the syndicate leaders stalk their sex targets on social media where some “discreet” communication is often exchange in sexual acts.

The discovery comes in the wake of the alleged kidnapping and disappearance of one Nyasha Jayaguru, a 16-year-old student at a Harare high school.

Police said their investigations into the teenager’s disappearance “revealed that there is a social media group or syndicate which is targeting schoolboys for sodomy and sexual abuse”.

Said the police, “The group comprises both the young and the old who communicate mostly through Facebook and WhatsApp. The communication is discreet and leads to dating where sexual activities are conducted at certain lodges and houses.

“One of the groups is linked to the late suspect, Richard Padzarondora (44) who passed on recently while police were conducting investigations.”

Police said they have since arrested one of the syndicate members known as Lemmy Gwaku whose real name has since been traced to an Emmanuel Chatikobo (48).

The suspect has appeared at a Harare court Thursday facing kidnapping.

Said the police, “The Zimbabwe Republic Police is now conducting comprehensive investigations in order to establish the extent of this threat of sexual perverts to school children especially considering the fact that some lessons are now being conducted through social media platforms.”

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Bid to block ‘illegally elected’ Mnangagwa UK trip

Emmerson Mnangagwa

By Nkosana Dlamini

A group of Zimbabweans based in the United Kingdom have launched a petition to try and block President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s planned visit to Europe end of this month.

The under-fire leader is set to lead a giant delegation to the Conference of Parties (COP 26) meeting in the UK, where he will present his government’s mitigation measures and adaption actions against Climate Change.

But a group of Zimbabweans have found everything wrong with an under-sanctions state leader setting foot in Europe for the first time in nearly two decades.

Read the petition, “We have formally sought permission to deliver a written petition to 10 Downing Street, On the 21st October at 14:00; This petition will cover;

“Regarding the wholly inappropriate invitation extended by the British Embassy in Harare, Zimbabwe [Presumably with an OK from the FCO, and possibly the UN – regarding COP26], to invite E D Mnangagwa, [illegally elected] President of Zimbabwe and an entourage of 70 – including 50 ‘Security Personnel’ to the COP26 Climate Conference being held in Glasgow 31st October to 12th November 2021.

“On E D Mnangagwa’s Human Rights record, his political repression record and his non-existent Environmental record we wish to protest in writing this visitation of a despotic tyrant, guilty of Genocide, Murder, Rape and Torture, let alone the institutionalised corruption and looting of all resources to his name.

“We also object to E D Mnangagwa and Zanu PF [Zimbabwe and UK] appalling record for the 17 Sustainable Development Goals as promoted by the United Nations [UNSDGs]. Such as, Failed Drinking Water Supplies, Failed Sewage Systems, Failed Electricity supply, Failed Road, Rail and Transport infrastructure and ongoing maintenance, Biased Judiciary, Failed voting system and administration, etc etc.”

Signatories and hand-over team: John C Burke, Tryness Ncube, Olive Ruzvidzo and Kingstone Jambawo – ZHRO; Edgar Makuni, Model Pamire and Shamiso Moyo – MDCA; Malvern Dengu, Nicolate Gwati and Panyika Anselm Karimanzira – ROHR Zimbabwe; Leo Ndlovu and Zakhele Maphosa – ZAPU and other free-thinking Zimbabweans and Non-Zimbabweans.

Mnangagwa is under-fire for alleged poll fraud, presiding over a corrupt government and rights abuses, among other accusations.

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CZI flags govt over clampdown on business leaders

RBZ governor John Mangudya

By Nkosana Dlamini

Top business group, Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) says government’s planned clampdown on business leaders accused of fuelling economic instability through abusing Zimbabwe’s shaky currency exchange system could plunge the country’s fragile economy deeper into the abyss and further undermine public confidence on government’s economic reform measures.

In a statement Wednesday, president Kurai Matsheza urged government to abandon its heavy-handed policing of the country’s volatile exchange rate mess.

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe’s forex auction system has turned a mockery after businesses have sourced the scarce currency at the official rate to procure products and services while proceeding to peg prices using the black-market rate, seen as a more business friendly rating.

The apparent double-dealing practices by corporates has incensed government which has accused businesses of attempts to torpedo its delicately balanced currency reforms.

Matsheza said business leaders under the umbrella group have engaged authorities over the dangers of a drastic approach to dealing with business related infractions.

“As we had stated in our submission, a heavy-handed approach to a problem that has its cause squarely in a sub-optimal policy implementation creating arbitrage opportunities would be unsettling to the markets.

“It is our considered view that the measures agreed at the consultative dialogue should be given time to take effect as they are going to most likely cause an adjustment of behaviours in accordance with their efficacy on the challenges being addressed.

“Essentially at the centre of this is a policy correction, when policies fail we should not arrest people, we should correct the policies for efficacy.”

Added the group, “The arrest of business leaders will only serve to destabilise the relationship between business and authorities as the two need to work together to reindustrialise the economy in pursuit of Vision 2030.

“Fear will drive business decision making as has happened with the 2007 arrests with resultant shortages, as companies could not find any other ways of funding their forex requirements legitimately.

“The arrests will also cause unnecessary panic in the market and erode consumer confidence on government policies.”

CZI urged continuous dialogue among business leaders, RBZ and government to find an amicable way out of the current foreign exchange challenge focusing on averting the imminent crisis while creating sustainable solutions to solve the long-standing currency issue as a way to boost economic growth.

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Crisis urges SADC support to stop Zim slide to chaos

Emmerson Mnangagwa

By Nkosana Dlamini

Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CiZC) has called on SADC and AU to exercise their brotherly influence on Zimbabwe amid concerns Monday’s attack on MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa and his convoy in Masvingo by Zanu PF supporters signalled an emerging conflict in the troubled country.

In a statement, CiZC also condemned the country’s police force for failure to stop the attack on the opposition leader and his entourage while blatantly proceeding to use teargas on the opposition chief and party officials at their private meeting later.

The pro-democracy group accused the current Zanu PF led administration of visiting brutalities on opponents in attempts to impose a one-party state in the country.

“We note with concern the fact that Zanu PF continues to use violence and coercion as means to cling to power.

“Events currently unfolding expose the determination by Zanu PF to decimate the opposition through unorthodox means while creating an uneven playing ground ahead of the 2023 elections.

Added CiZC, “The Coalition is deeply concerned over the partisan nature of the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP), which, according to witnesses and video evidence, stood by and watched as Zanu PF supporters blocked Chamisa’s motorcade. The teargasing and disruption of a private meeting by the police speaks volumes on the partisan conduct of the police force.”

In comments directed as SADC and AU, the organisation said Zimbabwe was at a real risk of degenerating into conflict if the situation on the ground was not taken seriously.

“We do hereby raise the flag, once again to the SADC and the AU, that present day Zimbabwe is in serious risk of conflict. This brutal closure of political space raises fears of violence and clampdown on the civic and opposition actors of the 2023 polls.

“The most worrying indicator is that President Mnangagwa internationally plays the “growth, and reform” narrative whilst domestically pursuing a one-party state agenda. Various recommendations on upholding peace and democracy from the SADC, including former South African President Kgalema Motlanthe have been ignored.

“Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition reiterates its call for genuine dialogue facilitated by the Southern African Development Community (SADC) as a means to unlock the country’s multi faceted crisis.”

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Police swoop on unvaccinated beerhall patrons

Zimbabwe Republic Police

The police in Zimbabwe are rounding up nightclub and pub patrons, owners and employees who fail to provide proof of their Covid-19 vaccination.

The prescribed fine for “consuming beer at a licensed premises without proof of vaccination” carries a ZW$2,000 (about R150) fine.

According to Statutory Instrument (SI) number 36 of Zimbabwe’s national lockdown regulations: “Any person in charge of licensed premises who, within or in the immediate vicinity of such premises, admits or serves any customer without proof of full vaccination exhibited by that customer shall be guilty of an offence.”

The law adds if found guilty, a person could, beyond the fine, be jailed for a period not exceeding a year.

The government allowed nightclubs and pubs to open their doors last week Tuesday, almost 19 months after the Covid-19 lockdown was enacted.

Speaking to journalists during a post-cabinet briefing on Tuesday, information minister Monica Mutsvangwa said the daily Covid-19 case average went down to 10 from 19.

A fortnight ago, Zimbabwe began receiving its 943,200 share of vaccines under global partnership Covax — comprised of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), Gavi the Vaccine Alliance, Unicef and the WHO — which was established to facilitate equitable access to Covid-19 vaccines for all countries.

The Covax-linked vaccines arrived in two batches within two weeks, complementing about 12-million double-dose Sinovac and Sinopharm jabs as Zimbabwe races to reach herd immunity through vaccinating 60% of the population.

At the end of September, at least 3.5-million people had received their first dose of the vaccine and 2.2-million their second. This accounts for a national coverage of 35.7% for the first dose and 25.8% for the second dose. – TimesLIVE

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WATCH: Chamisa hushes overzealous aides inviting school kids to Ngaapinde chant

Nelson Chamisa

Zimstar News

MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa was Tuesday quick to put on his leadership candour through a quick reprimand on some excited aides who were inviting a group of primary school kids to a chant of the opposition leader’s “Ngaainde hake mukomana” slogan.

Chamisa is touring stakeholders in Masvingo province as part of his national interface with community citizens and other stakeholders.

As he headed for Chiredzi, the opposition leader stopped his convoy to exchange few handshakes with a group of Dare Primary pupils who were walking to school.

In a video later shared on the MDC Alliance Twitter handle, some members of his entourage are heard inviting the pupils to chant Chamisa’s slogan.

“Ita ngaapinde hake mukomana,” his aides are heard repeatedly saying to the kids.

A peeved opposition leader not ready to allow his encounter with some young fanatics is quick to motion to the officials to stop the sloganeering.

The slogan, literally meaning ‘Let the chap be ushered into state house’ was coined by MDC Alliance recently to give impetus to Chamisa’s campaign for state president.

MDC Alliance has often blamed President Emmerson Mnangagwa for commandeering school children to his rallies apparently to boost numbers.

Critics say the involvement of children in partisan political activities was an abuse on young citizens.

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