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Zimbabwe to compensate victims of Gukurahundi



President Emmerson Mnangagwa

President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government plans to compensate victims of the Gukurahundi genocide which claimed about 20,000 lives in the Matabeleland and Midlands provinces in the mid-1980s.

Virginia Mabiza, the permanent secretary in the justice ministry, on Wednesday said that the compensation would take various forms.

Among these would be the exhumation and reburial of victims, the provision of counselling and medical services and the issuance of national identity documents to displaced survivors.

It is not immediately clear if there would be any financial compensation for survivors and their families.

“The ministry of home affairs and cultural heritage will facilitate the issuance of birth certificates and death certificates for victims affected by Gukurahundi. It will also facilitate the exhumation and reburial of Gukurahundi victims.

“We’re also implementing protection mechanisms for those affected by Gukurahundi to be free to discuss their experiences,” Mabiza was quoted in the state-owned Herald newspaper.

The term Gukurahundi is derived from the Shona language and is loosely translated to mean the “early rain which washes away the chaff before the spring rains”.

Under the watch of former president Robert Mugabe, his North Korean-trained Fifth Brigade led the brutal crackdown against civilians, mostly Ndebele speaking, in the southern part of the country under the pretext of looking for “dissidents”.

Until his fall in November 2017 from a military coup, Mugabe never apologised for the genocide which he described “a moment of madness”.

Mnangagwa was state security minister at the time. His rule has come under criticism for the failure to acknowledge the genocide and the various roles played by different people in the execution of Gukurahundi, with some of them currently serving in his government.

Perence Shiri, now the agriculture minister, was the commander of the Fifth Brigade during Gukurahundi.

Last month, Mnangagwa held a meeting with the Matabeleland Collective, an advocacy organisation that seeks to promote the development of the Matabeleland region.

Mnangagwa said the meeting was meant to show that his administration was not paying lip service to the demand for the development of the Matabeleland provinces.

Dumisani Nkomo, the head of the secretariat in the Matabeleland Collective, told TimesLIVE in an interview on Wednesday that when it came to the Gukurahundi, his organisation had both short-term and long-term views on the matter.

“The issues of access to birth and death certificates as well as the exhumation are the first steps in addressing the issue. There are other critical steps such as acknowledgement, but it’s a good start to hold the government to account according to the implementation matrix which they have provided,” Nkomo said.

But lobbyists on Gukurahundi said the “lack of acknowledgement” of the genocide was a missing factor in the plans by Mnangagwa’s government and it should have started from there.

“Why is the permanent secretary announcing these plans on Gukurahundi? It must be a minister and there is a need to gazette the plans to make it legally binding.

“The compensation plans are also suspicious and happen at a time that finance minister Mthuli Ncube plans to compensate white farmers too. It looks like a box-ticking exercise by the government which must meet some conditions in order for the US sanctions to be lifted,” a lobbyist said.

Last weekend, vice-president Constantino Chiwenga attended the 25th commemorations of the Rwanda genocide in Kigali. Calls have increased from civic society groups that Harare should learn from Kigali how it has dealt with its genocide that claimed the lives of more than 800,000 people in 1994.TimesLive


Mnangagwa appoints army General Sibanda into the Zanu PF politburo



Philip Valerio Sibanda ZaNU PF

President Emerson Mnangagwa has appointed General Philip Valerie Sibanda, the Commander of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, to the Zanu PF politburo, in violation of the national constitution.

During a Zanu PF conference in Gweru on Saturday, Mnangagwa announced that the country’s top-ranking soldier would become an ex officio member of the party’s highest decision-making body in between congresses. Mnangagwa, who benefited from a 2017 military coup, made this announcement during his closing remarks.

“During the course of the year, we lost one of our party stalwarts, Cde Joshua Teke Malinga who was the Secretary for People with Disabilities.

Philip Sibanda’s appointment is a violation of the national constitution which says “The Defence Forces must respect the fundamental rights and freedoms of all persons and be non-partisan, national in character, patriotic, professional and subordinate to the civilian authority as established by this constitution.”

While Zimbabwe’s military is known for being embedded with ruling party politics, Sibanda’s appointment is an unprecedented case of a serving soldier taking a leadership position within a political party.

The Zanu PF-led authority has ironically hounded out of service, a lot of officers within the country’s unformed forces for associating themselves with the opposition, which protests continued military involvement in Zanu PF campaigns.

The appointment of Philip Sibanda could come as an attempt by the under-fire leader to hedge himself against a possible coup with the military ever interested in who should be in the country.

The controversial appointment could also fall within the willy politician’s paraphernalia of self-serving schemes amid subtle signals of an ambition to go for a third term.

Zimbabwe has a dirty history of military interference in the country’s political affairs.

During past election periods, partisan military commanders have vowed never to “salute” an opposition leader emerging from the country’s polls in an indirect threat to block the ascension into power of any winner of the presidential election who is not Zanu PF.

Mnangagwa could also be preparing Philip Sibanda for a post in the Zanu PF presidium.

Last year, exiled former cabinet minister and politburo member Jonathan Moyo revealed Mnangagwa was keen to name Sibanda as his second vice president.

Sibanda is among former liberation war fighters drafted into the country’s military upon independence after having waged the war as a ZIPRA combatant.

ZIPRA was the military wing of the former PF Zapu, a liberation war movement that fought side by side with Zanu PF for the attainment of independence.

The current co-vice president, also a former PF Zapu politician, is battling poor health.

Mohadi collapsed a week ago while addressing a Zanu PF rally called to drum up support for a Gutu party election candidate.

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Public Outcry Grows Over Mnangagwa’s Appointments of Family Members as Deputy Ministers




On Monday, President Emmerson Mnangagwa was accused of nepotism for appointing his son, David Kudakwashe Mnangagwa, as the deputy finance minister in his new cabinet, after a controversial re-election. David will be working under finance minister Mthuli Cube. Additionally, the president’s nephew, Tongai Mafidhi Mnangagwa, was named as the deputy minister of tourism and hospitality.

According to Fadzayi Mahere, a member of the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC), the cabinet of Mnangagwa is unacceptable. Mahere stated that it is a combination of illegitimacy, corruption, violence, nepotism, incompetence, and sex scandals. She added that it lacks the ethical leadership that Zimbabweans need and deserve. It is no surprise that the national mood is dismal.

Mnangagwa appointed Christopher and Monica Mutsvangwa as ministers. Christopher will lead the new ministry of Veterans of Liberation, while Monica will be the minister of Women’s Affairs and SMEs.

David Mnangagwa graduated from the University of Zimbabwe with a law degree. He was elected to parliament through the youth quota system, listed on a Zanu PF party roster from the Midlands province. Mnangagwa is believed to have almost two dozen children.

Tongai, meanwhile, is the Zanu PF MP for Hunyani constituency. His late father, David, was Mnangagwa’s young brother.

On Monday, sources reported that Mnangagwa is contemplating bestowing an official role on his son, Emmerson Junior, in his office. According to the source, Junior has already attended some of the president’s meetings with foreign investors, which has been an uncomfortable situation. Mnangagwa aims to regularise this arrangement by giving Junior an official position, such as an adviser or director.

On August 23rd, the 80-year-old Mnangagwa was declared the winner of the election amidst opposition allegations that the vote was fraudulent. He is now serving his second and final term as president, becoming another addition to the list of African leaders who have established political dynasties.

In Congo-Brazzaville, President Denis Sassou-Nguesso appointed his son Denis-Christel as a cabinet minister, a move that revived media speculation that he had a dynastic succession in mind.

Teodoro Obiang, President of Equatorial Guinea, appointed his son, Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, as Vice President. He has been in power since removing his uncle Francisco Macías Nguema in 1979.

The former President of Gabon, Ali Bongo Ondimba, is the son of Omar Bongo who held the position from 1967 to 2009. Similarly, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Joseph Kabila succeeded his father, Laurent-Désiré, after his assassination and remained as the head of state for 17 years.

Rwandan President Paul Kagame has appointed his daughter Ange Kagame as the deputy executive director of the Strategy and Policy Unit in the Office of the President.

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“CCC’s Ian Makone Takes the Helm as Harare’s New Mayor with Kudzai Kadzombe as Deputy




The Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) has a new mayor in Harare. Ian Makone, who represents Ward 18, won the vote of the council on Monday, replacing Jacob Mafume from Ward 17. Kudzai Kadzombe, representing Ward 41, will serve as his deputy.

The CCC won a large majority in the election, taking 42 of the 45 council seats. Makone received 46 votes from the council, while his opponent, Temany Utete of Zanu PF, received only 7. Kadzombe won with 47 votes, compared to Susan Chuma of Zanu PF, who received 7. Party leader Nelson Chamisa instructed CCC councillors to vote for Makone and Kadzombe, and issued similar instructions for the election in Bulawayo.

In his first speech as mayor, Ian Makone pledged to prioritize service delivery to all residents, regardless of political affiliation. He also promised to tackle corruption and ensure that council workers are fairly paid. Tafadzwa Muguti, Harare’s secretary for provincial affairs, offered government support to the new council in addressing issues such as water supply, garbage collection, and sewer maintenance.

Overall, the message from the council and government officials was one of unity and shared responsibility for the well-being of Harare and its residents.

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