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Former President Mugabe warns Mnangagwa

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Robert Mugabe

Former president Robert Mugabe yesterday warned his successor, Emmerson Mnangagwa, that power does not last forever as he strongly condemned the deployment of soldiers to quell the January 14 protests.

Mnangagwa on February 16 boasted that he deployed the army to deal with violent protesters despite complaints by human rights groups that soldiers had allegedly killed at least 17 people and raped several women.

Mugabe, who was toppled by the army in 2017, took advantage of his 95th birthday celebrations held at his Harare mansion to launch a renewed attack on Mnangagwa, telling him that he was not God.

According to accounts by some of the invited guests, Mugabe’s speech was emotionally charged, which could be an indication that his relations with his protégé are strained once again.

Jealousy Mawarire, the spokesperson of the Mugabe-linked National Patriot Front, first posted about Mugabe’s outbursts on Twitter.

He quoted the former Zanu PF leader saying: “You are at the top, you want to glorify yourself.

“You are not God. Today you are at the top, tomorrow you will be at the bottom, know that.

“God has His own way of punishing rogues and cruel people.”

Mugabe then thundered: “I am telling you in your face. I don’t care what will happen to me.”

He said the army must stop killing people and return to the barracks.

“People should love their army, they should not fear the army,” he said.

Several people confirmed that Mugabe made the remarks, but were unable to give more details as the celebrations were still on by the time of going to print.

Mugabe fired Mnangagwa as his deputy in November 2017 before the army, led by then commander and now Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga, moved in to topple him a few days later.

Last year, Mugabe also used his private birthday celebrations to attack Mnangagwa and on the eve of the July 30 presidential elections told his supporters not to vote for the Zanu PF leader.

However, the two appeared to have mended their relations after the elections and Mugabe said he now accepted that Mnangagwa was the new leader.

Meanwhile, Mnangagwa yesterday condemned Zanu PF supporters that were terrorising people in Harare South and threatened to descend on them.

Officiating at the burial of former Cabinet minister Callistus Ndlovu at the National Heroes Acre in Harare, Mnangagwa said action should be taken against the culprits.
He cited Harare South where his nephew Tongai Mnangagwa is the MP.

“Let us desist from divisive politics. Such kind of politics has no place in the new Zimbabwe,” he said.

“We condemn in strongest terms actions by some hooligans with a hidden agenda who went about attacking people in Harare South while in Zanu PF regalia and destroyed people’s stores and merchandise, destabilisations of peace”.

“This is criminal, this will not be tolerated.”

Ndlovu’s burial resembled a military parade as it had more soldiers than the usual Zanu PF supporters.

Ndlovu (83), also a member of the Zanu PF central committee, collapsed and died a week ago in South Africa where he was being treated for pancreatic cancer. Ndlovu is survived by his wife Angeline, five children and seven grandchildren.
The Standard

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BUSINESS

Zimbabwe agrees to pay $3.5 billion compensation to white farmers

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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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NEWS

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

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Chinamasa

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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HEALTH

Perence Shiri, Zimbabwe Agriculture Minister Dies

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Perrence-Shiri-Dead

Zimbabwe’s agriculture minister Perence Shiri, a retired general who helped plot the ouster of Robert Mugabe in a 2017 coup, has died, President Emmerson Mnangagwa said on Wednesday.

Perence Shiri, who commanded the air force for 25 years until he joined the government in 2017, was admitted to hospital on Tuesday, two government sources said. He died in the early hours of Wednesday.

“Shiri was a true patriot, who devoted his life to the liberation, independence and service of his country,” Mnangagwa said in a statement. He did not say how Shiri died.

But domestic media said Shiri, 65, succumbed to complications from the respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus, which has infected 2,817 and killed 40 in Zimbabwe.

A liberation war veteran,Perrence Shiri had a chequered past. He commanded the army’s Fifth Brigade unit that carried out the 1980s massacres of thousands of civilians in western Zimbabwe as the government sought to quell an insurgency.

The army massacres, known as ‘Gukurahundi’, a Shona term meaning the ‘early rain that washes away the chaff’, remain a sore point for the people of the Matabeleland region, many of whom demand justice and reparations.

The main opposition Movement for Democratic Change accused Perence Shiri of being among the security chiefs who organised violence against its members after Mugabe lost the first round of the presidential vote in 2008.Reuters

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