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Suspended Levi Nyagura nails Mugabe



Levi Nyagura

Suspended University of Zimbabwe (UZ) vice-chancellor Levi Nyagura yesterday said he was being wrongly charged for illegally awarding former First Lady Grace Mugabe a PhD, insisting that the latter’s husband, former President Robert Mugabe who was the varsity’s Chancellor approved and conferred his wife with the PhD.

Citing Section 8 of the University of Zimbabwe Act, Nyagura, through his lawyer Advocate Sylvester Hashiti, said a vice-chancellor was not responsible for the issuance of degrees.

Adv Hashiti gave the notice to subpoena the former President, his wife Grace and President Mnangagwa so that they give evidence as chief officers.
The defence argued that the PhD was still in existence, adding that the current Chancellor, President Mnangagwa had the powers to revoke it.

Nyagura yesterday appeared before magistrate Mr Lazini Ncube for trial after the Constitutional Court threw out his challenge in which he was contesting a decision by the Prosecutor-General to delegate his prosecutorial powers to Messrs Tapuwa Godzi and Michael Chakandida of the Presidential Special Anti-Corruption Unit.

However, through his lawyer, Nyagura filed an application for exception and quashing of an indictment on the basis that the proper and responsible persons have not been brought to court.

“The accused was never the chancellor and has never been one at any given time particularly at the time when the PhD in issue was conferred on Grace Mugabe.

“The chancellor is the chief officer of the university. The accused was the vice chancellor and his powers are set out in terms of Section 8 of the University of Zimbabwe Act and this section provides no powers to confer or award degrees of any sort. In terms of this section, he is an officer of the university and does not act in his personal capacity.

“At the relevant period, it was Robert Gabriel Mugabe who was the chancellor…Robert Mugabe is the answerable person and must instead face the charges. Accused is the wrong person to charge,” read part of the application.

“The charges by the State fail to consider three important facts. Firstly, the PhD in question remains extant. Its validity cannot be put in question by the criminal process and lastly the former chancellor Robert Mugabe approved and conferred the degree and transcript,” he said in his written application.

He further questioned why none of the other persons involved in the enrolment, tutelage, supervision, recommendation and conferment of the PhD have been brought to court.

“The cited sections (of the University of Zimbabwe Act) clearly denote where the power to confer degrees lies.

“If any degree is not awarded pursuant to proper conduct, the awarding and conferring authorities are the ones liable at law for the conduct. In the first instance, it would be the university, in the second, the chancellor and in the third senate or council depending on the facts of the matter.
“Nowhere does accused (Nyagura) come into it, especially in his personal capacity. The State cannot impute personal liability where the same has been deliberately excluded by law.

“The State has not led any evidence from any member of any committee or council or senate who took objection to the conferment of the degree in issue.”

Nyagura pleaded for acquittal.

“For a criminal charge to suffice, it must not only allege the commission of a crime but in terms of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act, must set out the facts and evidence that give rise to the charge itself.

“The charges and facts do not disclose any criminal offence and ought to be quashed on this additional basis. The accused prays that the charge be and is hereby quashed, the exception upheld and the accused acquitted,” read the application.

The State will file its written response today while oral submissions will be conducted on April 4.The Chronicle

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Kembo Mohadi resigns amid sex scandal



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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Zimbabwe agrees to pay $3.5 billion compensation to white farmers



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




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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