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82 Idai victims buried in Mozambique



Cyclone Idai Victims

The Zimbabwean government has paid tribute to the government and people of Mozambique for their assistance to Zimbabwe in the wake of the Cyclone Idai disaster, amid revelations that about 82 locals killed during the tropical cyclone have since been buried in the neighbouring country.

Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister July Moyo thanked Mozambican communities near Chimanimani, which recorded the highest death toll during the Cyclone Idai disaster, for interring the remains of 82 unknown Zimbabweans believed to have been swept by floods.

Minister Moyo, who also chairs the Inter-ministerial Committee on Civil Protection, said Government was intensifying efforts to retrieve bodies that were buried under huge rocks and earth in the Ngangu area of Chimanimani.

Speaking during a tour of cyclone-hit areas in Bikita on Sunday, Minister Moyo said excavators would soon be moved to Ngangu to move the big rocks believed to be covering some bodies.

“The President has sent his condolences to bereaved families who lost their relatives during the just-ended cyclone disaster and as Government we will give each of the families $1 000 cash that will be sent from the Provincial Administrator’s office and we are continuing the search for bodies in Chimanimani where quite a number of people remain missing,” he said.

“We, however, want to thank communities in Mozambique who are close to Chimanimani for the help they offered to bury the remains of our people. There is a place where 60 bodies were found and another 15 and also another seven and they buried them as they could not keep them anymore.”

Minister Moyo said Government would facilitate that locals who lost their loved ones visit some of these burial places in Mozambique.

“Right now we are not in a hurry for the interred bodies in Mozambique to be exhumed though that might be done later on when the situation normalises,” he said.

“We also have a team of pathologists that will help in the identification of some of the deceased through DNA tests on the remains of recovered unidentified bodies.”

Minister Moyo said a Chinese firm was in the process of clearing a link to Ngangu in Chimanimani where sniffer dogs from South Africa had identified 16 places where human bodies are believed to be buried.

“In actual fact, I would encourage the Ministers of State or Governors in neighbouring Mozambique to work with their counterparts in Manicaland and Masvingo here in Zimbabwe. Very close links must be maintained between them,” said Minister Moyo.

Hundreds of people remain unaccounted for after Cyclone Idai swept through Manicaland and parts of Masvingo.

The government has since announced plans to conduct a census in cyclone-hit areas to ascertain the number of people who have been living communities affected by Idai.

This will help to establish the exact number of missing people since the actual number remain unknown with some parts of Chimanimani having attracted people from other parts of the country who engage in things like banana trading or artisanal mining. The Herald

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Kembo Mohadi resigns amid sex scandal



Kembo Mohadi sex scandal

Zimbabwe Vice President Kembo Mohadi resigned on Monday following local media reports he had engaged in improper conduct.

Kembo Mohadi, along with Constantino Chiwenga, was a deputy to President Emmerson Mnangagwa since 2018, but without a political power base, he was not seen as a potential successor to the president.

In a rare move by a public official in Zimbabwe, Kembo Mohadi said he had taken the decision to step down “not as a matter of cowardice but as a sign of demonstrating great respect to the office of the President”.

I have been going through a soul-searching pilgrimage and realised that I need the space to deal with my problem outside the governance chair,” he said in a statement released by the Ministry of Information.

Local online media service ZimLive has in the past two weeks carried reports that Kembo Mohadi had improper sexual liaisons with married women, including one of his subordinates.

Mohadi, 70, denied the accusations last week saying this was part of a political plot against him. On Monday he continued to deny the accusations saying he would seek legal recourse.

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Zimbabwe agrees to pay $3.5 billion compensation to white farmers



Zimbabwe White Farmers

Zimbabwe agreed on Wednesday to pay $3.5 billion in compensation to Zimbabwe white farmers whose land was expropriated by the government to resettle black families, moving a step closer to resolving one the most divisive policies of the Robert Mugabe era.

But the southern African nation does not have the money and will issue long term bonds and jointly approach international donors with the farmers to raise funding, according to the compensation agreement.

Two decades ago Mugabe’s government carried out at times violent evictions of 4,500 Zimbabwe white farmers and redistributed the land to around 300,000 Black families, arguing it was redressing colonial land imbalances.

The agreement signed at President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s State House offices in Harare showed white farmers would be compensated for infrastructure on the farms and not the land itself, as per the national constitution.

Details of how much money each farmer, or their descendants, given the time elapsed since the farms were seized, was likely to get were not yet clear, but the government has said it would prioritise the elderly when making the settlements.

Farmers would receive 50% of the compensation after a year and the balance within five years. Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube and acting Agriculture Minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri signed on behalf of the government, while farmers unions and a foreign consortium that undertook valuations also penned the agreement.

“As Zimbabweans, we have chosen to resolve this long-outstanding issue,” said Andrew Pascoe, head of the Commercial Farmers Union representing  Zimbabwe white farmers.

The land seizures were one of Mugabe’s signature policies that soured ties with the West. Mugabe, who was ousted in a coup in 2017 and died last year, accused the West of imposing sanctions on his government as punishment.

The programme still divides public opinion in Zimbabwe as opponents see it as a partisan process that left the country struggling to feed itself. But its supporters say it has empowered landless Black people. Mnangagwa said the land reform could not be reversed but paying of compensation was key to mending ties with the West. Reuters

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Chinamasa calls U.S. ambassador ‘thug’ as anti-government protests loom




Zimbabwe’s ruling ZANU-PF party on Monday called the United States ambassador a “thug” and accused him of funding the opposition ahead of this week’s planned anti-government protests that authorities say are meant to overthrow the government.

Without providing evidence, ZANU-PF spokesman Patrick Chinamasa told reporters that U.S. ambassador to Harare, Brian Nichols, was involved in subversive activities to topple President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government.

Chinamasa’s comments echo the Robert Mugabe era, where the ZANU-PF government regularly accused the United States and Britain of seeking to dislodge it from power.

“He (Nichols) continues to engage in acts of undermining this republic and if he does so, if he continues engaging in acts of mobilising and funding disturbances, coordinating violence and training insurgents, our leadership will not hesitate to give him marching orders,” Chinamasa said.
“Diplomats should not behave like thugs, and Brian Nichols is a thug.”

The U.S. embassy in Harare did not immediately respond to Chinamasa’s comments. Political tensions are rising fast in the southern African nation after activists called for demonstrations on July 31 against government corruption, which they blame for deepening the worst economic crisis in more than a decade.

Last month, the government summoned Nichols after a senior White House official said Zimbabwe was among “foreign adversaries” using the civil unrest in the United States following the death of George Floyd to interfere in U.S. affairs.

The U.S., Britain, E.U. embassies and the United Nations have all criticised Zimbabwe for the arrest of journalists and political challengers.
Relations between Zimbabwe and the West were promising when Mnangagwa replaced Mugabe after a coup in 2017, but have soured over the government’s human rights record.

Patrick Chinamasa urged party supporters to defend themselves from protesters and avoid a repeat of the deadly violence that followed post-election demonstrations in August 2018 and the January 2019 protests over a steep fuel price hike.“No, this time no. Use any means at your disposal to defend yourselves,” Chinamasa said. Organisers say this week’s protests will be peaceful. Reuters

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