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Zim Warriors to open 2019 AFCON finals with June 21 date against Egypt



Zim Warriors

ZIMBABWE’S Warriors will open the 2019 AFCON finals with a showdown against Mohamed Salah and his Pharaohs of Egypt at the Cairo Stadium on June 21 in a repeat of the national team’s first match at the continent’s premier football showcase in Tunisia 15 years ago.

The Warriors were the first team to be picked at the draw, held against a spectacular background of the Pyramids, and were immediately thrust into Group A which is headlined by the hosts who will be staging the tournament for the first time in 13 years.

Sunday Chidzambwa and his troops will also have another duel against the DRC, who were in their qualifying group, and Uganda, in a tough Group A.

The Warriors took four points from the Congolese, beating them 2-1 in Kinshasa before the two teams battled to a 1-1 draw at the National Sports Stadium where Knox Mutizwa’s goal, which could have given the hosts a two-goal lead, was controversially disallowed by Egyptian match officials.

And, at the end of the qualifiers, the Warriors found themselves enjoying a two-point cushion, at the top of their group, having the luxury of knowing that even if they had donated the three points they won in Kinshasa to the DRC, they would still have made it to the AFCON finals.

The Warriors have played the Pharaohs at the Nations Cup before – the Egyptians were the first opponents Chidzambwa and his men faced in their first game at the AFCON finals in Tunisia in 2004 in a match the Pharaohs won 2-1.

That game will always be remembered for the glaring last-gasp miss by Wilfred Mugeyi, which would have handed the Warriors the draw their performance deserved, while the then skipper Peter Ndlovu scored Zimbabwe’s goal.

The Warriors have never played the DRC and Uganda at the Nations Cup finals.

Mustapha Hadji, one of the best players to come out of the continent who starred for Coventry City and Aston Villa in his career, was the star who picked the Warriors from the hat.

That meant Zimbabwe would have to play Egypt in the first game in Cairo, the first competitive duel between the two nations in that city since that ill-fated World Cup qualifier in 1993 which the Pharaohs won 2-1 only for FIFA to nullify the result and order a replay.

The two teams also met in the 2014 World Cup qualifiers in Alexandria and Egypt needed a controversial last-minute penalty, converted by Mohamed Aboutrika, for them to steal a 2-1 win after Knowledge Musona had scored for the Warriors.

Salah then scored a hattrick at the National Sports Stadium as Egypt raced to a 4-2 victory.

With the top two teams guaranteed of a place in the knockout rounds, and the four best third-placed sides also going through, the Warriors can fancy their chances because they can compete against the Pharaohs while they should do fine against the Congolese and Uganda.

The format could mean that one win, in the group games, might be enough for a team to go through to the knockout stages depending on results elsewhere.

‘’There is a country that we never mention and I think their potential is massive,’’ retired former South African footballer Stanton Fredericks, who was a pundit on SuperSport last night, said in reference to the Warriors.

‘’We have so many of their players playing in our local league and that’s Zimbabwe, very exciting brand of football, going forward.

‘’Zimbabwe cannot be discounted in this competition.’’

The Warriors have been impressive in recent years and were the only Southern African nation at the 2017 AFCON finals in Gabon.The Herald


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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