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Zimbabwe stun Democratic Republic of Congo in Kinshasa

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Knowledge Musona

Ronald Pfumbidzai and Knowledge Musona scored either side of the break to fire Zimbabwe to an improbable 2-1 win over the Democratic Republic of Congo in Africa Cup of Nations qualification.

Substitute Yannick Bolasie netted an injury-time consolation for the hosts, whose cast of European-based stars largely struggled to break a defiant Warriors rearguard.

Bloemfontein Celtic left-back Pfumbidzai, standing in for the injured Devine Lunga, rifled the ball home from inside the box after the DRC defence failed to clear Khama Billiat’s 21st-minute free-kick.

Captain Knowledge Musona doubled the advantage 20 minutes from time, moments before he was red-carded for a second bookable offence.

The victory left Zimbabwe three points clear of the DRC atop Group G, with Congo-Brazzaville now also back in contention after their 3-1 win over Liberia on Friday brought their points tally to four.

The DRC were threatening to overrun Zimbabwe early on as they thoroughly dominated possession, but it must have been a good omen for Sunday Chidzambwa’s men that the hosts were struggling to consistently create some clear-cut chances.

They did threaten, with China-based forward Cedric Bakambu’s powerful close-range header being parried over for a corner by goalkeeper George Chigova.

Despite being forced to play on the back foot though, Zimbabwe had their own bright moment inside the opening quarter-hour as Knox Mutizwa volleyed over from a promising position.

The lively DRC crowd were then stunned as Pfumbidzai opened the scoring against the run of play.

Bakambu had a great chance to bring his side level but shot wide of Chigova’s far post after a great through ball from Gael Kakuta on 35 minutes.

Chidzambwa had started with a central-midfield partnership of Danny Phiri alongside the returning Marvelous Nakamba, and the duo did a sterling job protecting the defence.

The centre-back partnership of Teenage Hadebe and Alec Mudimu also looked resolute for much of the contest, and right-back Tendai Darikwa, who was making his competitive debut for Zimbabwe, was equally impressive.

Victory has put Zimbabwe in a great position to finish in the top two and qualify for the Cameroon finals regardless of the result in the return leg at the National Sports Stadium in Harare on Tuesday evening.

Liberia host Congo-Brazzaville on Sunday looking for their first win of the campaign.

KweseESPN

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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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