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George Charamba deplores NewsDay Zimbabwe posturing

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NewsDay Zimbabwe

GOVERNMENT has described as “regrettable” a decision by NewsDay Zimbabwe to push an MDC Alliance agenda to attack the person of President Mnangagwa after the paper on Wednesday used a routine travel warning by the United States (US) to cast doubt on the sustainability of the peaceful environment in the country.

On Wednesday, the privately-owned newspaper led with a story headlined; “Polls: US issues travel alert”. It followed up yesterday with a leader screaming; “The US travel warnings an indictment on Mnangagwa”, suggesting the situation was volatile in the country.

In a statement to The Herald yesterday, Secretary for Information, Media and Broadcasting Services Mr George Charamba said: “Today’s NewsDay leader, ‘US Travel Warnings an Indictment on Mnangagwa’ is as illogical as it is unfair.

By NewsDay Zimbabwe’s own admission, the last such travel warning by the US Government was issued in November 2017 before Cde Mnangagwa’s Presidency.

“Significantly, fears projected by that travel warning were confounded by the remarkably peaceful outturn of Operation Restore Legacy, and of course by the largely peaceful environment Zimbabwe has continued to enjoy since, even after the recent heinous, but isolated terrorist attack at White City Stadium in Bulawayo, which the world has roundly and unreservedly condemned.

In spite of all this, still, NewsDay Zimbabwe finds President Mnangagwa blameworthy.”

Mr Charamba said the peace prevailing in the country was not accidental.

“Needless to say, the peace which prevails in our country is not accidental or fortuitous but has been deliberately cultivated in our people who shun violence and firmly confirms Zimbabwe as a stable country where law and order are observed and enforced respectively, yet strictly within the confines of democratic governance.

“Against such an enviable record, the latest travel advisory by the US Government which NewsDay Zimbabwe tries to make much of is, quite frankly, nothing to write home about, beyond being a standard, routine precaution which any foreign government issues ahead of elections in any country.”

Mr Charamba said the NewsDay report was regrettable.

“What is regrettable is that NewsDay, which surely knows better, uses this routine communication by a foreign Government to both cast doubt on the durable peace obtaining in the country and to attack President Mnangagwa personally by pooh-poohing his government’s highly successful engagement and re-engagement efforts,” he said.

“To date, this vigorous, multi-pronged engagement and re-engagement programme has successfully ended Zimbabwe’s isolation which had gone on for nearly two decades.

Much more and laudable, it has attracted more than US$16 billion in investments, a significant part of which is beginning to translate into concrete projects set to create thousands of jobs, while laying a strong foundation for sustained economic recovery and growth.”

Mr Charamba noted that foreign direct investment continued to surge courtesy of efforts by the new administration under President Mnangagwa.

“Zimbabwe’s ratings as a safe destination for foreign direct investments continue to soar on the back of this highly successful engagement and re-engagement effort launched barely seven months ago,” he said. “By any count, this is a remarkable turnaround.

“As NewsDay Zimbabwe will readily testify, key among the many Western companies which have shown interest in investing in Zimbabwe are Americans conglomerates led by General Electric, a good many of which are set to invest in many sectors of the economy, most notably in infrastructure, energy and health.

“Before long, the President will commission another high-value mining project which is set to create thousands of much-needed jobs. This level of interest and FDI activity in the country is unprecedented since our independence in 1980.”

Mr Charamba said the growing interest in the country was evident for all to see.

“Here at home, the business mood is palpably upbeat in spite of the foreign exchange challenges which, in any case, have arisen from expanded industrial activity in the country,” he said.

“Needless to say, all this speaks of growing interest and confidence in the country and its leadership, largely enabled by far-reaching policy steps taken under the new dispensation, and which continue to be reviewed as appropriate.”

Mr Charamba said abuse of the US travel advisory by the NewsDay Zimbabwe to further opposition interests was surprising.

“Even more surprising is NewsDay’s abuse of the US travel advisory to push the agenda of an opposition party whose panicky demands on the constitutionally independent electoral body, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), is both unlawful and absurd, to say the least,” he said.

“In terms of the Constitution, ZEC is required to take independent decisions for as long as they are consistent with the law, and of course to operate without undue influence from any quarter.

In a poignant, hard-to-miss irony, the idea of independent commissions, of which ZEC is a part, came from the same opposition which now seeks to undermine and/or overrun them.

“Not only that, under our Parliamentary system, the opposition directly participated in processes of staffing these independent commissions whose operations they now daily challenge and besiege.

In the case of ZEC, the opposition figure who cries the loudest today – surprisingly with undisguised sympathies from NewsDay – actually played a leading role as a co-chair of a subcommittee of Parliament’s Committee on Standing Rules and Orders which made recommendations on would-be ZEC commissioners he now attacks.

“All this does not seem to matter to the opposition and, quite surprisingly, to NewsDay. For NewsDay, the President’s ‘crime’, alongside many other quiet opposition leaders and parties, is that he has not joined this irrational shrill against ZEC! Nothing could be more unlawful and politically absurd.”

Mr Charamba said as Head of State and Government, President Mnangagwa reaffirmed his commitment and determination to ensure that all registered Zimbabweans do vote on July 30 and that “they do so in an environment of peace and tranquillity, to secure an electoral outcome which is free, fair and credible by national and international standards”.

He said ZEC should be allowed to carry out its mandate without interference from anyone.

“To that end, ZEC should and will be allowed, and has been capacitated, to discharge its constitutional responsibilities without fear or favour,” said Mr Charamba. “Equally, international observers will be allowed and facilitated to watch over our entire harmonised electoral processes without let or hindrance,” he said.

The Herald

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NEWS

Kembo Mohadi resigns amid sex scandal

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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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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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