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Chamisa’s CCC says NO to Zimbabwe’s Commonwealth return bid – Bulawayo24 News

“For Zimbabwe to rejoin the community of nations, it is very important for us to stop abusing citizens. You know that there are political prisoners who have been in pretrial detention for more than 140 days.

It’s crunch time for the government as a delegation from the Commonwealth landed in Zimbabwe this past weekend to assess the human rights situation, more than three years after President Emmerson Mnangagwa asked to be readmitted to the body.

The visit by the delegation, led by assistant secretary-general Prof Luis Franceschi, comes as election violence is on the rise ahead of next year’s presidential polls.

It also comes as two main opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) MPs, Job Sikhala and Godfrey Sithole, have been in Chikurubi prison for five months alongside 14 party members on allegations of political violence after organising a wake for slain party member Moreblessing Ali. Sithole was released on Friday night ahead of the delegation’s arrive yesterday.

In addition, 34 Apostolic Church members have been held in remand prison for four months. They were arrested for marching on Harare’s CBD to pray for the country’s economic revival.

Two weeks ago, political violence also hit Matebeleland during municipal by-elections. CCC MP Jasmine Toffa and a number of party supporters were injured and hospitalised after being attacked, allegedly by Zanu-PF supporters.

In a statement ahead of their arrival, the secretariat said it would be in until Thursday on a visit that is part of an “informal process of assessment”.

Commonwealth Assistant secretary-general Prof Luis Franceschi

The delegation said it would meet the president,  members of the government and senior officials, as well as members of opposition political parties, heads of diplomatic missions in Harare, and civil society organisations such as the Zimbabwe Electoral Support Network (ZESN) and the Zimbabwe Women Lawyers’ Association (ZWLA), alongside media and business associations.

“The process of readmission entails several rigorous steps that all countries wishing to join the Commonwealth must undertake and includes countries’ adherence to the values enshrined in the Commonwealth Charter,” it said. These include peace, freedom and democracy.

Zimbabwe was suspended from the 56-nation organisation in 2002 for breaching the Harare declaration and withdrew the following year after the body refused to lift the suspension.

Zanu-PF information director Tafadzwa Mugwadi said: “We welcome the Commonwealth delegation which is coming to do its assessment.”

He said the assessment would focus on conditions that had been put in place so  Zimbabwe can return to the Commonwealth.

“We welcome them and hope their stay in Zimbabwe will expose them to the reality of our democracy, the reality of our peaceful existence as a country and as a people.

“Most importantly, to the tailoring efforts that tell the story of the second republic under the leadership of President Emmerson Mnangagwa,” Mugwadi said.

CCC spokesperson Fadzai Mahere said her party believed Zimbabwe should not be readmitted because of continuing human rights violations.

“For Zimbabwe to rejoin the community of nations, it is very important for us to stop abusing citizens. You know that there are political prisoners who have been in pretrial detention for more than 140 days.

“Violations of the constitution, violations of property rights, corruption, the escalation of violence by Zanu-PF against citizens, journalists and members of political opposition and civic society, the shrinking democratic space and the continued promulgation of repressive unconstitutional legislation — that does not bode well for Zimbabwe to be received back into the community of nations,” she said.

While the Commonwealth delegation is in the country, a court battle looms between the Election Resource Centre (ERC) and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZRC) which has been accused of misconduct and manipulation as the country heads towards the presidential election.

This after the gazetting, in August, of hefty nomination fees for aspiring presidential and parliamentary candidates. Presidential candidates have to pay US$20,000 to qualify to run for office next year, and would-be MPs are required to cough up US$1,000.

The ZEC said a hard copy of the 187,000-page national voters’ roll will cost $1 a page. An electronic copy costs a comparatively cheap $200 but the elections authority won’t provide one, for “security” reasons.

Last week, the ZEC demanded that the ERC pay it US$187,238 for a printed copy of the voters’ roll.

“We advise that for the time being the voters’ roll can only be furnished in printed form as the commission is working on enhancing the security of the electronic voters’ roll and same would be availed on a platform at a date to be advised,” the ZEC said in response.

On Wednesday, the ERC gave the ZEC an ultimatum to provide it with an electronic copy within 10 days or it will take it to court. The ERC has engaged Zimbabwe Human Rights Lawyers to fight the case on their behalf.

Late last month, the ZEC told opposition MP Rusty Markham it was only able to provide him with a hard copy of the roll “upon payment of the prescribed fee”, and that it would be sent to him within 30 working days from the date of payment.

Markham has also challenged the ZEC to withdraw the exorbitant nomination fees and told the Sunday Times the electoral body was using delaying tactics to avoid a voters’ roll audit.

“It is clear that ZEC are delaying for as long as possible to supply a clean voters’ roll that can be audited and assessed. Under no circumstances can anyone believe or trust ZEC with their voters’ roll if they are not prepared to have it audited. What ZEC is doing is exactly what they did in 2008 when there was a very strong possibility of the opposition winning the elections, so they are doing exactly the same thing of going back to their default setting of trying to cheat their way out of it. I have no confidence in ZEC at all,” Markham said.

The Herald quoted ZEC spokesperson Jasper Mangwana saying the high price of a hard copy of the voters’ roll was intended to guard against its manipulation and abuse.

“It is US$1 per page as it will have security features to avoid tampering and duplication. Some people have been abusing the voters’ roll by taking critical personal information of voters, including their national identity numbers and addresses,” he said.

National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) party leader Prof Lovemore Madhuku told the Sunday Times the nomination fees were unfair.

“The exorbitant nomination fees are both undemocratic and unlawful. They will unlawfully interfere with our political party’s participation in the 2023 elections,” said Madhuku.

“I do not think the fees will be allowed … It would mean the ZEC is now governing the country instead of merely conducting free, fair and credible elections. If we raise such monies for being nominated, how much more is required for political campaigns? I think that the ZEC, on its own, ought to revise the fees substantially downwards.”

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S Africa’s Ramaphosa faces impeachment threat over farm scandal – Zimbabwe Independent

An independent panel appointed by the speaker of South Africa’s parliament has found preliminary evidence that President Cyril Ramaphosa violated his oath of office, findings that could lead to his eventual impeachment.

Parliament will examine the report, which was submitted on Wednesday, and decide whether to push ahead with impeachment proceedings next week.

This comes just weeks before an elective conference that will decide if Ramaphosa gets to run for a second term on the governing African National Congress’s (ANC) ticket at 2024 polls.

The president immediately denied any wrongdoing and has not been charged with any crimes.

“I categorically deny that I have violated this oath in any way, and I similarly deny that I am guilty of any of the allegations made against me,” Ramaphosa said in a statement issued by the South African presidency on Wednesday.

On Thursday, he delayed an appearance in parliament to answer questions, requesting time to consider the report, noting that the panel’s recommendations had “implications for the stability of the country,” parliament said in a statement.

In June, it emerged that an estimated $4m in cash was stolen from Ramaphosa’s game farm in 2020, raising questions about how the billionaire president, who took to power on the promise of fighting corruption, acquired the money and whether he declared it.

The three-person panel was set up in September and tasked with ascertaining whether there was sufficient evidence to show that Ramaphosa committed a serious violation of the constitution or the law or grave misconduct, National Assembly speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula said when she was handed the report earlier on Wednesday.

The panel said Ramaphosa should face further scrutiny on his ability to stay in office.

“In all the circumstances, we think that the evidence presented to the Panel, prima facie, establishes that the president may be guilty of a serious violation of certain sections of the constitution,” the report found.

These include not reporting the theft directly to police, acting in a way inconsistent with holding office and exposing himself to a clash between his official responsibilities and his private business.

While Ramaphosa has confirmed that a robbery occurred at his farm, he said the cash was from proceeds from the sales of game. He has denied breaking the law or any regulations relating to his office.

John Steenhuisen, the leader of South Africa’s main opposition party, the Democratic Alliance (DA), said Ramaphosa was in a tight bind, Reuters news agency reported.

“The report itself leaves the president in a virtually untenable position, particularly as it relates to his own party’s step-aside rules and the strong line that he has taken against others within his party,” he said.

Ramaphosa came to power in 2018 on a promise to root out graft after the corruption-stained era of his former boss, Jacob Zuma, and has generally insisted that any party official accused of corruption leave office pending investigations.

The alleged cover-up has tarnished the president’s reputation and overshadowed his bid for re-election at the helm of the ANC.

Ramaphosa, 70, is the favourite to win at the ruling party’s December 16-20 conference, where he faces a challenge from Zweli Mkhize, 66, an ex-health minister who resigned from the government last year amid corruption allegations.

In November, the spokesperson to the president, Vincent Magwenya, told journalists that Ramaphosa would “gladly step aside” if he were to be criminally charged.

The chances of impeachment are slim given the ANC’s dominance of parliament, where it holds 230 seats, or nearly 60 percent of the total, and typically votes along party lines. Impeaching a president requires a two-thirds majority.

The inquiry is separate from a criminal investigation that police are conducting, and which Ramaphosa has welcomed.

The report will be debated in the national assembly on December 6, said the speaker, Mapisa-Nqakula.

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America, Europe easing their stance on Zimbabwe – Bulawayo24 News

The current economic stability prevailing in the country is indirectly forcing the West to mend its relations with Zimbabwe, economic analysts have said.

Economic analysts, Abednigo Matsika said that the recent developments that include the invitation to the US-Africa summit and proposals towards re-joining the Commonwealth were a manifestation of how President Mnangagwa’s Engagement and Re-engagement policy was bearing fruits.

“We are witnessing a change of stance by the West on Zimbabwe. Of late, the West has been warming up to the Government and has been pouring money to support various developmental projects in the country. Recently, the EU pledged over 100 million Euros to support women empowerment and agriculture programmes in the country. This shows that relations between the West and Zimbabwe are thawing,” said Matsika.

Matsika added that days of Zimbabwe’s isolation by the West were coming to an end. He said the sudden surge of traffic by the EU, US and the United Kingdom (UK) into Zimbabwe was positive and will lead to the removal of the illegal sanctions imposed on the country by the West.

In explaining how Zimbabwe-West relations were warming up, Matsika said that last week, the country and EU signed financial agreements totalling US46 million under the Zimbabwe-EU cooperative programme. Matsika added that the US46 million aid was an affirmation that the engagement and re-engagement drive with the international community was bearing fruits and that the EU was rapidly moving out of the sanctions orbit.

According to Matsika, the recent visit by the Commonwealth delegation led by Assistant Secretary General, Luis Franschesci shows that the bloc was willing to have Zimbabwe as member of that community. He added that the imminent readmission of Zimbabwe to Commonwealth would spur economic growth and open an avalanche of business opportunities for the country.

Meanwhile, a source within CCC said that the thawing of relations between Zimbabwe and the West had triggered uncertainty within that party which traditionally survives on Zimbabwe’s isolation from the rest of the World. The CCC feels that these developments would rob it of an advantage of boasting that they have the keys to the removal of sanctions and to good relations with the West.

The source said that CCC was plotting to stage violent demonstrations to tarnish the image of the Government.

“The CCC leadership has been shocked by the thawing of relations between Zimbabwe and the West. We are now planning to stage violent demonstrations in a bid to compel the state security to arrest participants. The idea is to portray Zimbabwe as a country that represses the opposition voice,” said the source.

The source further claimed that Chamisa recently held a caucus meeting with his few trusted lieutenants and expressed worry over the surveys that continue to signpost a ZANU PF victory in the forthcoming elections.

According to the source, Chamisa informed his friends in the region and beyond that a political strategist had advised him to stage violent protests in the country and blame ZANU PF for the same. The move according to the source is meant to force the West to tighten up screws on sanctions.

“Without sanctions, we are gone. We must create conditions that help our supporters, including those in the UK and US to disrupt the reengagement process. We would disrupt the current economic stability .We need economic pain to win,” said the source.

The source added that Chamisa was assembling a team of ruffians who would stage the demonstrations and subsequently get arrested.

On the other side, a ZANU PF supporter Regai Chandiwana of Seke argued that the improvement of relations between Zimbabwe and the West and the possibility of the removal of sanctions would level the electoral playing field which had, hitherto been skewed in favour of the opposition.

“They had the advantage of holding the electorate hostage by threatening to ensure that sanctions would continue to bite if citizens do not vote for the CCC. If   sanctions are lifted, then for the first time in history elections would be fair,” said Chandiwana.

Meanwhile, efforts to get a comment from CCC interim national spokesperson, Fadzayi Mahere were futile as her phone was not reachable.

All articles and letters published on Bulawayo24 have been independently written by members of Bulawayo24’s community. The views of users published on Bulawayo24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Bulawayo24. Bulawayo24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.

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National Foods new mill to increase capacity by 2 000 tonnes per month – The Zimbabwe Mail

ZIMBABWE Stock Exchange (ZSE) listed food processing giant National Foods Holdings Limited’s new mill at their Bulawayo site is set to increase wheat milling capacity by 2 000 tonnes per month.

In an annual report for 2022, the company’s chairman Mr Todd Moyo said the new mill is set to start operating early next year.

“The installation of the new mill at our Bulawayo site has commenced and the mill remains on track for commissioning early in 2023.

The new mill will increase wheat milling capacity by around 2 000 tons per month,” he said.
The establishment of the new flour mill in Bulawayo comes at a time the Government is pushing its devolution agenda of industrialising production zones to boost local economies through employment creation.

In an annual report for 2022, the company’s chairman Mr Todd Moyo said the new mill is set to start operating early next year.

The food processing giant is also embarking on an exciting period of expansion with the entry into a number of new categories, as it seeks to value and add its portfolio of basic products.

Mr Moyo said the introduction of a new milling plant will see the localised manufacturing of products, which had previously been imported, reducing foreign currency requirements and increasing demand for locally processed products.

This is in line with the Buy Zimbabwe campaign, which has seen more people buying more Zimbabwean-made products and is fully supported by the Government as it is critical in attaining an upper-middle-class status by 2030 anchored by the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1).

“The prospects for the current winter wheat crop look encouraging which is a most welcome development as it will reduce import dependency. National Foods continues to play a major role in supporting the local contracted wheat crop,” he said.

The Buy Zimbabwe campaign has helped drive a robust private sector-led initiative resulting in increased local products and the creation of jobs consistent with NDS1.

The chairman added that National Foods continues to keenly support contract farming of maize, soya beans, wheat, sugar beans, sorghum and popcorn.

“During the current winter season around 12 000 hectares of wheat has been planted, representing a significant portion of the contracted crop.

that National Foods continues to keenly support contract farming of maize, soya beans, wheat, sugar beans, sorghum and popcorn.

“In addition to this, 40 000 tons of maize and soya beans were delivered during this year’s summer cropping programme.

“The various products grown under this programme now constitute a significant portion of the Group’s raw material requirements,” he said.

Meanwhile, the food giant’s revenue for the year increased by 33 percent to record $128,4 billion, driven by both volume growth and inflation-driven price increases.

The food giant’s revenue for the year increased by 33 percent to record $128,4 billion, driven by both volume growth and inflation-driven price increases.

The group’s volume for the period increased by eight percent to 569 000 tonnes from 523 480 tonnes compared to the prior year.

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