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Chamisa rules out election boycott despite credibility concerns

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Nelson Chamisa Zimbabwe
Chamisa Press Conference 25 July 2018

MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa has ruled out a boycott of the seven-member alliance in next Monday’s Zimbabwe election‚ even though he expressed strong reservations around the credibility and transparency of the polls.

Supporters gathered outside the party headquarters cheered Chamisa for his decision to participate in the election.

“We can’t boycott our victory. Winners don’t quit. Winners don’t boycott‚” Chamisa told journalists at the MDC’s headquarters.

At the heart of the tiff is the clash between the MDC Alliance and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC).

The alliance accuses the ZEC of refusing to give it access to the voters roll and refusing to let it see the ballot paper — which‚ among other things‚ it believes will mysteriously see an X cast for Chamisa disappear and move to the box allocated to the incumbent‚ President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Chamisa is the strongest contender to Mnangagwa and was tipped by a recent poll by Afrobarometer to be trailing by only 3%‚ at 37% of votes compared to Mnangagwa’s 40%. The ZEC said that 5.6-million people are registered to take part in the election.

Chamisa urged citizens to turn out in large numbers next week in order to break the rigging mechanism that the ruling Zanu-PF had set up.

“This is the only way to ensure democratic change and to put an end to Zanu-PF’s stolen victories of the past,” he said.

The growing tensions ahead of the poll were apparent‚ with water cannon trucks and riot police dotted across parts of the Harare city centre.

The increased police presence was in anticipation of the MDC Alliance defying a police ban against its plans to picket at the electoral commission’s offices until voting day.

At the sidelines of commissioning a mine in Mhondoro-Ngezi yesterday, Mnangagwa said Chamisa was a “little boy” and his government would not hesitate to act should the MDC Alliance resort using violence to get into power.

“If he chooses chaos‚ then law and order will prevail. If you are peaceful‚ we will not touch you‚” Mnangagwa said.

John Dramani Mahama‚ the head of the Commonwealth Observer Mission to Zimbabwe‚ appeared to express sympathy with the demands made by the MDC Alliance.

He said no electoral demand was unreasonable and it was up to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission “to listen and address demands if they are within the ambit of the law”.

The spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights‚ Liz Throssell‚ meanwhile welcomed the widening of the democratic space in Zimbabwe.

“The presence of some international human rights organisations‚ in addition to the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission and the Zimbabwe Gender Commission‚ to monitor the human rights environment around the upcoming national elections is also a welcome sign,” she said.

“There has also been the worrying use of disparaging language against female political candidates.

We call on the authorities – and political parties and their supporters – to ensure that the elections are not marred by such acts so that all Zimbabweans can participate free from fear in a credible election process.”
Timeslive

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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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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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