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Nelson Chamisa rejects ‘sham’ Zec ballot

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Nelson Chamisa

MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa yesterday rejected the “sham” ballot papers produced for the July 30 elections and immediately dispatched his emissaries on a regional diplomatic offensive to pile pressure on the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) to produce a new set of ballot papers in the presence of all key stakeholders.

Addressing journalists and diplomats at the party headquarters, Nelson Chamisa declared that elections would not proceed before opposition demands had been addressed.

“It is clear that we have an election process stalemate arising out of the ballot paper scandal, the sham ballot and the voters’ roll inadequacies and omissions,” he said.

“This has culminated in an election crisis. For the avoidance of doubt, we do not and will not accept the current ballot paper that has been printed without our participation.”

Nelson Chamisa said the MDC Alliance was now engaging in a diplomatic offensive over the issue.“We will be dispatching special envoys in the mould of our alliance principals and senior MDC-T party members with messages to Sadc, African Union and the international community,” he said.

“We are also briefing all the international observers and diplomats on the current electoral logjam. In fact, I have already briefed some of them.”

Nelson Chamisa said the current logjam which allegedly favoured Zanu PF and President Emmerson Mnangagwa, in the political playing field, needed the intervention of external forces.

“We, therefore, call upon Sadc, the AU and the international community to intervene and save a collapsing process and abate an imminent legitimacy crisis,” he said.

“We want to make it clear that we will not stand in the way of the people should they seek to exercise their constitutional rights to withdraw that authority from those who fail to exercise it in accordance with the law,” the youthful presidential aspirant added.

But, Zanu PF legal affairs secretary, Paul Mangwana said if Chamisa and the MDC Alliance had problems with the electoral system, they should approach the Electoral Court for recourse.

“They can’t come and talk to another player. We are also players in this election and we are playing well,” Mangwana said.
“We have no challenges and we are waiting to score on July 30. We don’t run the elections, the elections are being run by Zec.”

On allegations that Zanu PF was conniving with Zec to give the ruling party an unfair advantage over other parties, Mangwana challenged the opposition to prove the allegations.

“They should prove it, he who alleges should prove, but they should know that we are ready for them,” he said.

Zec chairperson Justice Priscilla Chigumba early this week accused Nelson Chamisa of trying to tamper with the electoral management body’s independence and usurping its administrative roles by demanding consensus on the ballot paper designs and printing.

Chigumba on Monday declared that she would not bow down to Chamisa’s demands.

With the US having already issued a travel alert on Zimbabwe citing possible civil unrest ahead of elections to be held on July 30, Chamisa upped the ante, warning of civil unrest.

“It is for Mnangagwa’s advantage to have a stable society. There will not be any stability and legitimacy if we do not have a free and fair election. We are in circumstances of instability already because there is no agreement on the process. We are saying it will continue if we hold a sham election,” Chamisa said.

He, however, ruled out boycotting the polls or inciting violence, saying “We will never be tempted to go the route of violence. Those who have instruments of violence can go ahead and use them. We don’t want violence.”

Zec deputy chairperson Emmanuel Magade said there was no turning back on their decision to print ballot papers at government institutions. Fidelity Printers will be printing ballot papers for legislative and presidential candidates while Printflow will print for local government candidates.

”Section 239 of the Constitution makes it clear that it is the prerogative of Zec to run elections, including registering voters, preparation of the voters’ roll and printing of ballot papers,” Magade said.

“This is our constitutional mandate. Secondly, a few weeks ago all the nine commissioners of Zec spent almost a day touring the facilities, Fidelity Printers and Printflow where the ballot papers are going to be printed.”

The Zec deputy chair expressed confidence that the government printing institutions will be able to do a “sensible and solid job.”

He said fears that Zec might connive with Zanu PF to rig elections were far-fetched and untrue.
“I refute it, that is completely untrue. Its trillion per cent false,” Magade said.

“The question of rigging is clearly out of question. Of course, our society is full of doubting Thomases, but people should judge us on what we do and speaking for myself I have absolutely no doubt that Zec will deliver a free, fair and verifiable election.”

NewsDay

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NEWS

Mugabe buried in a tamper-proof casket

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Robert Mugabe Burial

Robert Mugabe was buried in a tamper-proof casket because he feared that people would “use my body”, according to his family.

He was buried at Kutama village, his rural home village, on Saturday, near his mother, instead of the National Heroes Acre in Harare.

Mugabe’s nephew and family spokesperson, Leo Mugabe, told Zimpapers Television Network that “he wanted to be buried next to his mother but there is no space there” so the family elected to bury him, at a private ceremony, in the same village as his mother.

Asked about the speculation around the family changing his casket, Leo said: “Originally, why we changed is because we wanted a tamper-proof casket because you know, with rituals and things like that, people are really after his body, body parts, so we wanted something that was tamper-proof. That is why the casket was changed in the first place.”

He said it was Mugabe’s idea in the first place.

He explained that Mugabe had previously expressed concern about what would happen to his body after death.

“He said to his wife … ‘If and when I’m gone, don’t leave my body. Be careful, people want to use my body.’ It was him who said it to the former first lady.

“We knew that spiritually he probably knows something,” said Leo.

The family kept the body at home the night before he was buried in keeping with his wishes.

AFP reported that family members threw white roses into the grave as the coffin, draped in navy blue velvet, was lowered to its final resting place in the courtyard of his rural home, about 90 kilometres from Harare.

A boys choir from Mugabe’s old high school sang in the background.TimesLive

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Robert Mugabe’s family rejects government burial plans

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Mugabe

The family of Robert Mugabe has said he will be buried in his home town in private, in an apparent snub to the government, which wants to inter him at a national monument.

Leo Mugabe, a nephew of Zimbabwe’s late ruler, said the ceremony would probably be held early next week in Zvimba district, about 60 miles (95km) north-west of the capital, Harare. “That is the decision of the family since last night unless something changes,” he told the Guardian.

Many of Mugabe’s relatives oppose government plans for the funeral and burial of the man who ruled the country for nearly 40 years before he was ousted in a military takeover in 2017.

The ruling Zanu-PF party announced that Mugabe’s remains would be interred at a hilltop monument outside Harare on Sunday, after a ceremony at the nearby national stadium on Saturday, where dozens of prominent African leaders would be present.

However, friends and allies of Mugabe’s wife, Grace, have said he made clear he would prefer to be buried in Zvimba with only close relatives in attendance. They said Mugabe did not want his death to be exploited by his successors for political gain.

A meeting on Thursday between Mugabe’s family and officials at his home in Harare ended without agreement. Walter Chidhakwa, a spokesman for the family, said the funeral would go ahead but not the planned burial.

Earlier, Emmerson Mnangagwa, who succeeded Mugabe as president, said he had appealed to the family to set aside any bitterness. They are reportedly unhappy about his treatment of the former leader.

“Let bygones be bygones. The family is going to lead the programme, that’s why we haven’t released anything. We haven’t agreed how he will be buried,” Mnangagwa said.

The president, a veteran of the ruling Zanu-PF party and a decades-long close associate of Mugabe, said: “We will have to sit down first with Grace. As the government, there’s nothing we will do to go against your wishes. Let’s unite, he was our father.”

Mugabe died in a clinic in Singapore last week, aged 95. His body arrived on Wednesday, on a government-chartered private jet, at Zimbabwe’s main airport, where thousands of supporters had gathered.

On Thursday his casket was taken to a sports stadium in Harare, where thousands of onlookers packed the stands to see Mugabe lie in state for public viewing.

Several people were injured in a crush as they surged forward to try to view the casket. Some people were carried away on stretchers. The severity of their injuries wasn’t immediately clear.

Riot police later restored order, at times using batons to strike those waiting in a line.

Grace Mugabe sat on the podium to the side of the sports field while Mugabe’s casket was under a tent at the centre of the field. A military helicopter later landed on the field and took off after the coffin was placed inside.

Though much of his 37 years in power were marked by violence, economic mismanagement and corruption, the former guerrilla fighter is still revered as a liberation leader. Many in Zimbabwe see him as a national hero, remembering his role in the war against white rule. The Guardian

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Stampede at Mugabe’s memorial at Rufaro Stadium

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Stampede at Robert Mugabe’s memorial

Several people have reportedly been injured in a stampede at the viewing event for founding Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe, as those in attendance jostled in an attempt to see the late leader’s body.

Prior to this, it was reported that Mugabe’s body had arrived at Rufaro Stadium in Harare where the ceremony is taking place on Thursday afternoon.

Earlier, the body was taken to Mugabe’s Harare villa, known as the Blue Roof for its blue pagoda-style structure, where family and supporters gathered to mourn.

His body has since been laid out for the public at the stadium and will later be transported to his homestead Zvimba for a wake.

Thousands are in attendance to pay tribute to the former leader.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa declared Mugabe a national hero after his death, indicating he should be buried at the National Heroes’ Acre monument.
These plans were rejected by the late former president’s family, who say the body will be displayed in his home village of Kutama on Sunday night, adding that he will then be buried in a private ceremony.

“His body will lie in state at Kutama on Sunday night followed by a private burial – either Monday or Tuesday – no National Heroes’ Acre. That’s the decision of the whole family,” Mugabe’s nephew Leo told the AFP news agency.

In a statement, the family said: “We note with extreme concern the manner with which the government of Zimbabwe has developed the programme for the funeral of the late Robert Gabriel Mugabe without consulting his immediate family, who were tasked with communicating his last wishes in regard to his funeral and burial.

“As his immediate family, we have also observed with a shock that the government of Zimbabwe is attempting to coerce us to accept a programme for the funeral and burial of the late Robert Gabriel Mugabe, which is contrary to his wishes on how he wished to have his mortal remains interred.

“As the immediate family of the late Mugabe, we are ready and willing to work with the government of Zimbabwe to develop a programme for the funeral and burial of the late Mugabe which is in conformance to his wishes on how his mortal remains will be interred.

“One of the wishes that Mugabe indicated was that his wife, Dr Grace Mugabe, must never leave the casket bearing his remains for the duration of the funeral proceedings while in Zimbabwe up until his mortal remains have been interred.

“To that end, we confirm that honourable Walter Chidakwa may communicate our position with relevant authorities to ensure that we develop a programme that conforms to the wishes of the late Mugabe. We have also tasked honourable Patrick Zhuwao to disseminate this statement.”

Mugabe died on a medical trip to Singapore, where he had been travelling regularly for treatment. A delegation including a vice president flew to Singapore to bring him home.

Chinese President Xi Jinping, former Cuban leader Raul Castro, and a dozen African presidents, including South Africa’s Cyril Ramaphosa, are among those expected to attend Mugabe’s state funeral on Saturday in Harare, said Zimbabwe’s presidency.The Citizen

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