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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

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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