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Zimbabwe's Mugabe skirts raging succession battle
October 28, 2014 | 0 Comments

By Cris Chinaka* [caption id="attachment_13406" align="alignleft" width="450"]Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe (2nd R) and his wife Grace arrive to attend a mass for the beatification of former pope Paul VI in St. Peter's square at the Vatican October 19, 2014. REUTERS/Tony Gentile Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe (2nd R) and his wife Grace arrive to attend a mass for the beatification of former pope Paul VI in St. Peter’s square at the Vatican October 19, 2014. REUTERS/Tony Gentile[/caption]

HARARE (Reuters) – Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe opened parliament on Tuesday, steering clear of a succession struggle raging in his ZANU-PF party following his wife’s sensational attempt to force his deputy out of office.

As the 90-year-old addressed the new parliament, dozens of ZANU-PF members sang his praises outside the building, but also taunted each other over factional allegiances in the party that has run Zimbabwe since independence from Britain in 1980.

Mugabe, one of Africa’s longest-serving leaders, said he would invest in infrastructure, offer free fertilizer and seed to farmers and revise tax and labor laws to improve an investment climate clouded by his nationalist policies.

He made no direct reference to the succession battle in his party, which went into overdrive this month when his wife, Grace, attacked Vice-President Joice Mujuru and accused her of plotting to oust Mugabe at a party congress in December. Mujuru, Mugabe’s deputy both in the party and government for the last 10 years, has been a frontrunner to succeed Mugabe but faces a stiff challenge from Justice Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, an enduring politician known as “The Crocodile”. During more than three decades in power in the southern African country, analysts say Mugabe has neutralized challengers by playing off ZANU-PF factions, and may be doing the same with his wife’s sudden emergence into front-line politics. Mujuru, a battle-hardened veteran of the 1970s liberation war with a nom de guerre that means ‘Spill Blood’, won Mugabe’s support for the vice-president post in 2004 but now appears to be in a precarious position ahead of this year’s congress. Throughout the ceremony, Grace exchanged no words with Mujuru, who sat next to Mnangagwa, smiling and sharing jokes. She has made no formal response to Grace’s accusations. [caption id="attachment_13407" align="alignright" width="300"]Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe and Vice-President Joice Mujuru are seen at a meeting of the ruling ZANU-PF party at its headquarters in Harare on October 24, 2014 (AFP Photo/Jekesai Njikizana) Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe and Vice-President Joice Mujuru are seen at a meeting of the ruling ZANU-PF party at its headquarters in Harare on October 24, 2014 (AFP Photo/Jekesai Njikizana)[/caption] The political infighting comes against a backdrop of economic strife, with impoverished Zimbabwe starved of foreign investment and donor funding.

Ambitious election promises made by Mugabe a year ago to create millions of jobs by 2018 and promote the needs of blacks has backfired as a policy to force foreign firms to sell majority stakes to locals has hammered investment and output.

In his 25-minute speech, the veteran leader threatened action against blacks who derailed the empowerment drive – known locally as indigenisation – by acting as fronts for foreigners.

“It is depressing that some of our people have turned themselves into mere fronts for foreign investors, thus defeating the fundamental objective,” Mugabe said.

“Decisive action shall indeed be taken to address these negative developments.”

*Source Reuters/Yahoo]]>

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Investment: Key delegations set for Zimbabwe
October 28, 2014 | 0 Comments

Janet Shoko* [caption id="attachment_13380" align="alignleft" width="480"]Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa played a critical role in negotiating the Chinese deals and says Asia's economic giant would only fund bankable projects. Photo©Reuters Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa played a critical role in negotiating the Chinese deals and says Asia’s economic giant would only fund bankable projects. Photo©Reuters[/caption] Two key business delegations from China and the United Kingdom respectively, whose prime aim is to assess Zimbabwe’s economic status and help implement the economic blueprint, the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (Zim Asset), are due in the coming weeks. Zimbabwe recently inked several memorandums of understanding (MOUs) with the Chinese for the implementation of multi-sector infrastructural projects, including power generation, water, telecommunications and mining. The country has this year unsuccessfully sought a $27 billion funding to implement its ZimAsset economic blueprint. First of the two business delegations to jet in would be delegates from the United Kingdom, who will be followed by Chinese group. The British Embassy last week said the theme of the mission was, “applying UK expertise in project finance, infrastructure and development to support the implementation of ZimAsset”. During their stay, the delegates are expected to interact with senior members of the Zimbabwean government, state companies and captains of industry, international donors and British businesses already operating in the country. “Trade and investment is vital for Zimbabwe’s development. We want to strengthen business links and to show our commitment, we are sending a Trade Mission,” British Ambassador to Zimbabwe Catriona Laing said. “To translate interest into investment, the government of Zimbabwe will need to reassure investors that their assets will be secure — for example by clarifying its indigenisation policy.” Zimbabwe’s relations with its former colonial master soured at the turn of the millennium after the country embarked on a haphazard fast-track land reform programme that decimated the agriculture sector. A group of Chinese experts is expected in November for key feasibility studies that might determine whether deals agreed on by the two countries can go ahead. In August President Robert Mugabe’s embarked on a state visit to the Asian economic giant and sealed several deals, which will see the Zimbabwe receive assistance. Despite the hype, the need to first conduct feasibility studies is seen as an indication that it will be a while before the projects can be implemented. Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa, who played a critical role in negotiating the Chinese deals, told parliament in September that the Chinese would only fund bankable projects. “What we have been able to achieve was serious engagement with the Chinese authorities. We got a commitment from the highest authority to fund bankable and viable projects,” he said. “China does not give budgetary support to any country. It is interested in giving infrastructural support.” *theafricareport]]>

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Zimbabwe: Mugabe Faces Internal Revolt
October 26, 2014 | 0 Comments

Photo: Justin Mutenda/The Herald From left, Opah Muchinguri, Grace Mugabe and Absolom Sikhosana. Photo: Justin Mutenda/The Herald
From left, Opah Muchinguri, Grace Mugabe and Absolom Sikhosana.[/caption] PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe is facing an explosive Zanu PF internal revolt after his wife Grace yesterday escalated her insults and abuse of Vice-President Joice Mujuru to hysterical levels, amid indications the ruling party’s leader has lost control to his seemingly panic-stricken spouse as things dramatically fall apart. Insiders say if Mugabe does not restore order at today’s critical politburo meeting and “shuts up” his wife, Zanu PF would descend into chaos and precariously edge towards a split which could have far-reaching consequences for him, security of tenure and party, as well as the country witnessing a potential civil strife caused by warring factions. Taking over from where she left last week when she attacked Mujuru without naming her accusing of abuse of office, subversion, extortion, illicit underworld diamond dealings, blackmailing corporates to grab 10% equities and corruption. Grace yesterday launched frenzied assaults and savaged her like someone in a trance, saying “Mai Mujuru must resign!” Grace kept on warning Mujuru “stop it!” and insisting if Mugabe does not remove she will do so herself. She said “this woman” is a “liar”, “corrupt” and “incompetent” as she sought to ensure Mujuru falls from grace to grass. Addressing war veterans, party supporters and her high profile allies, including cabinet ministers, who were part of a dazed and bewildered crowd at her Mazowe farm which by different reactions, decibels of cheers and body language seemed divided as some were happy and other gloomy, Grace lambasted Mujuru saying she a corrupt, inept and a subversive element who wants to topple Mugabe through bribery, sabotage and other evil means in an address which lacked dignity and respect. Grace said Mujuru was greedy and had wanted to grab the country’s diamonds through African Consolidated Resources (ACR) plc, an AIM listed emerging mid-tier, multi-commodity, multi-jurisdictional development and mining company with a project portfolio covering gold, nickel, copper, phosphate and diamonds focusing on Zimbabwe. Its key focus is on the pickstone-peerless gold project in Zimbabwe. Grace suggested Grace had lied to United Arab Emirates Ras al Khaimah leader, Sheikh Saud Bin al Qasimi who visited Harare last year about diamonds and gold. “Instead of learning from the well of wisdom in Mugabe and instead of working with the president she decided she wanted power and wanted it immediately,” said Grace. “You are undermining the authority of the president. You are busy organising at night and lying during the day that you love him. She (Mujuru) must stop it. Stop it,” Grace thundered. She said she helped Grace in 2004 to become vice-president but she betrayed her. “Amai ava havana chavakazoita nekuti (This woman has done nothing because) she spent her time eying the president’s post. I don’t see kuti vakakodzera kutungamira nyika ino (she is fit to rule this country). “We know her capacity, where she starts and where she ends. Personally, I don’t think she has capacity to be president. We know that you are incompetent. Mai Mujuru must resign!” she said amid cheers from a section of the crowd while some seemed low-spirited and disgusted. Grace even joked to Zanu PF MP Joseph Chinotimba, saying Mujuru’s post has become vacant and he should move in. That was after she confronted him asking if he was happy. At the beginning of her long tirade, she warned Mujuru’s supporters to walk out as she was going to be spitting fire. But while Grace literally took the gloves off after departing from her thinly-veiled attacks on Mujuru during her provincial rallies which ended last week to mention her name, insiders say there would be blood on the floor if Mujuru is removed unconstitutionally and unlawfully. Zanu PF spokesman, Rugare Gumbo, said Mujuru would not resign as Grace demanded, warning that “no one” would push her out, before suggesting that there were some elements who wanted to destabilise and destroy the party from within. “She (Mujuru) is not going to resign. She remains Vice-President of the party until congress which will decide who it wants. She is the vice-president. No one can push her out,” said Gumbo, a Mujuru ally. “As a party we have to identify forces that are trying to destabilise us and if identified they have to be dealt with severely.” The Zimbabwe Independent yesterday called Zanu PF provincial chairpersons who gave different answers, with some saying “no comment” and others not answering their calls.

War veteran leader, Jabulani Sibanda, who did not attend Grace’s meetings yesterday, also warned there were elements in Zanu PF trying to destroy the party while pretending to be support Mugabe and his wife. Senior Zanu PF officials say Mugabe must rein in his wife or face Armageddon. “We want to know whether he gave his wife permission at act she pleases and also if he is still in charge or whether Grace is now running the party,” one official said. “Like (former Midlands governor Cephas) Msipa has been saying, Mugabe must explain what is going on.” Msipa was yesterday quoted by our sister paper Southern Eye, saying: “The First Lady has been going around the country insulting people. People are angry, people are bitter, party members are not happy with what she did.
“People from Bulawayo are likely to raise the issue on Friday (at the party’s politburo meeting), after she accused them of dividing the party and being preoccupied with Zapu.” Asked yesterday about Grace’s continued attacks, Msipa said he could speak on the eve of the politburo meeting. However, Mujuru’s allies privately say they are prepared to fight to a bitter end. “In what capacity is she speaking? Who is she in Zanu PF. Mujuru is the vice- president and second secretary of the party and can only be removed by congress,” another official said. “This woman has gone too far.” Grace said if Mugabe did not “dump her” Mujuru “we will do it ourselves”, blackmailing her husband over the issue. She revealed relations between Mujuru and the First Family were so bad that she has since stopped visiting them. “Instead of learning from the well of wisdom in Mugabe and instead of working with the president she decided she wanted power and wanted it immediately,” said Grace. Grace also claimed there were plans to assassinate her, but said she was not afraid to die for telling the truth. “They are saying they will kill me. But I say tell (Army Commander General Constantine Chiwenga) to bring a firing squad to pump bullets into me. But I will die with a smile because people will know the truth. It shows that one of us has no principles,” she said. Grace insisted Mujuru must go. “Hanzi ini ndirikuda kuita president, why not, handisi mwana wemu Zimbabwe here? Hoiwe ndiwe wakakodzera nhai? Today we now say chizororai amai, vanogona vaenderere mberi. (She says I want to be president but why not, am I not a Zimbabwean? We say go and rest, and let those who are competent continue.” She blasted Mashonaland East province chairman Ray Kaukonde, saying he is a “Mujuru agent, manje ndakamumaka (I hate him) big time. Ikokaye ndikokane (that small man has a) demon. It will come out,” she said before alleging Kaukonde paid youths US$75 each to heckle her in Morondera last week. “Mai Mujuru’s combination with Kaukonde is pathetic, she surrounds herself with political prostitutes,” Grace said as she claimed the vice-president is an opposition-inclined traitor and saboteur who wants to usurp power from Mugabe, and must as a result go. *Source Allafrica]]>

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University of Zimbabwe condemned for kissing ban
October 25, 2014 | 0 Comments

_78453969_bc442973-549c-4059-a385-cbfa4758bdf3A student kissing ban imposed by the University of Zimbabwe is “nonsensical”, a student representative has told the BBC.

A circular from the university authorities said those “caught in an intimate position” on the Harare campus would be disciplined. “In this age to say I’m no longer allowed to kiss or hug someone… is unreasonable,” Tsitsi Mazikana said. The university has not commented on the students’ objections to the ruling. It was issued at the beginning of the new academic year as part of a list of “misconducts that attract immediate eviction from halls of residence”.
The University of Zimbabwe circular list 11 “misconducts” that will result in eviction
The list of 11 points also includes bans on squatters and cooking in bedrooms. Fourth on the list of behaviour that will result in eviction says: “Caught in intimate position (kissing or having sex in public places)”. Ms Mazikana, who is the students’ gender representative, said that the campus already had strict rules for those fraternising with the opposite sex. In single-sex hostels, for example, residents were only permitted visitors in the foyer and no visits were permitted after 22:00, she said. Ms Mazikana said the ban had less to do with morality and more to do with controlling students who were “not happy about the way they are running the university”. [caption id="attachment_13264" align="alignleft" width="624"]The University of Zimbabwe circular list 11 "misconducts" that will result in eviction The University of Zimbabwe circular list 11 “misconducts” that will result in eviction[/caption] “If they were talking about anything moral they wouldn’t be placing condoms in the hostels and in the clinic, but… kissing and hugging – there’s nothing immoral about that,” she told the BBC’s Newsday programme. The Zimbabwe National Students Union (Zinasu) said the university administration had a habit of instituting arbitrary rules without consulting student bodies. The union was organising a petition against the campus kissing ban, Zinasu’s Gift Maposa told the BBC’s Focus on Africa programme. There were already strict regulations infringing the students’ rights to demonstrate – introduced in 1997 – which instilled a fear of being expelled, he said. The BBC’s Brian Hungwe in the capital, Harare, says the students often accuse the university authorities of being out of touch with the young. Beer was banned on campus about seven years ago, which proved very unpopular, he says. *Source BBC]]>

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Mugabe's wife threatens vice president in power grab
October 18, 2014 | 0 Comments

Zimbabwe's first lady Grace Mugabe speaks during a campaign meeting in Harare on October 8, 2014 (AFP Photo/Jekesai Njikizana) Zimbabwe’s first lady Grace Mugabe speaks during a campaign meeting in Harare on October 8, 2014 (AFP Photo/Jekesai Njikizana)[/caption]

Harare (AFP) – President Robert Mugabe’s increasingly powerful wife Grace has threatened Zimbabwe’s vice president with expulsion from the ruling party, throwing a fierce succession battle into the open.

But the first lady said she is not angling for Vice-President and one-time Mugabe heir apparent Joice Mujuru’s post although she used the war “war” in a rally.

“I told the President that if you don’t dump that faction leader we will dump her ourselves,” Grace Mugabe said on the campaign trail, referring to Mujuru.

Mujuru and powerful Justice Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa — who in the past controlled the secret police and military — are seen as the leading contenders to replace 90-year-old Mugabe when he steps down or dies.

But Grace Mugabe’s recent entry into politics, swift rise to power within the ruling ZANU-PF and ferocious attacks on Mujuru, have raised the prospect that the vice president’s star is waning.

It has also raised speculation that Mugabe could be grooming his wife to take over when he dies.

“We campaigned for you (Mujuru) not only last year, but over the years, but now it is war because I have been nominated,” said Grace Mugabe, 49, who is set to become head of ZANU-PF’s influential women’s league.

“I never said I want anyone’s position” she told party supporters at her final rally in Marondera, east of the capital, on Friday.

Grace Mugabe accused Mujuru — the widow of the late liberation war army commander Solomon Mujuru — of leading a faction vying for power, and demanded she apologise.

– Diamond trade rumours –

“You cannot continue denying that you lead a faction every day. Wherever you are, go together with your cronies, go and apologise before it is too late because the President is also fed up,” Grace Mugabe said.

She also accused Mujuru of supporting the opposition.

[caption id="attachment_13046" align="alignright" width="300"]Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe (R) and Vice President Joice Mujuru attend a rally in Mutare on February 25, 2012 (AFP Photo/Jekesai Njikizana) Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe (R) and Vice President Joice Mujuru attend a rally in Mutare on February 25, 2012 (AFP Photo/Jekesai Njikizana)[/caption]

“The person who is leading a faction…the (opposition) MDC was formed at their home… We don’t want people who pretend to be good. Such people are political prostitutes.

“You undermine Mugabe who put you in that position you hold today.”

Grace Mugabe’s comments would appear to be an opening gambit in the end game to succeed her husband.

ZANU-PF will hold a crunch elective congress in December.

Robert Mugabe is expected to be confirmed as the party’s leader, but the fight for positions on the powerful politburo could be decisive. Mugabe has been in power since 1980 and has long avoided appointing a successor.

Grace Mugabe has also accused Mujuru of spreading rumours about her involvement in Zimbabwe’s lucrative diamond trade.

Although wracked by seemingly interminable economic crisis, Zimbabwe is home to one of the world’s largest diamond fields. Many of the proceeds are thought to bypass state coffers straight into the pockets of connected politicians and the military. [caption id="attachment_13047" align="alignleft" width="300"]Supporters of Zanu PF cheer during an election campaign rally held at Chibuku Stadium, in Chitungwiza on July 16, 2013 (AFP Photo/Jekesai Njikizana) Supporters of Zanu PF cheer during an election campaign rally held at Chibuku Stadium, in Chitungwiza on July 16, 2013 (AFP Photo/Jekesai Njikizana)[/caption]

The Mujuru family owns River Ranch diamond mine in southern Zimbabwe close to the border with South Africa.

“The person leading factions is the same person who accuses me of being involved in diamond deals, yet it is they who own a diamond mine,” Grace Mugabe said.

“That person also moves around saying I want to acquire money using unscrupulous means when it is known that I started my business from scratch,” she added.

Uncertainty over Mugabe’s succession and concern over his age and failing health have divided the government and stalled growth in the ailing economy, with investors adopting a wait and see attitude.

*Source AFP/Yahoo]]>

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Zimbabwe: 'Sex Coffee' Hits the Streets of Harare
October 14, 2014 | 0 Comments

00240492-95dc411a71636e0ee6e19fd55b3b0c7a-arc614x376-w290-us1VENDORS selling a new ‘sex coffee’ that allegedly enhances sexual performance are making brisk business on the streets of Harare. The coffee is being sold for between $3 and $5 a sachet, depending on your negotiating skills. Vendors who spoke to said the coffee helps men maintain an erection for long periods. It also helps them avoid premature ejaculation, they claimed. They said the coffee is taken 15 minutes before the act and gives an individual the stamina to perform for the next 72 hours. The claims could not be independently verified. The vendors are targeting customers at popular joints such as KwaMereki in Warren Park suburb, Zindoga in Waterfalls and KuHuku in Hillside. Vendors who trade at Five Avenues Shopping centre were all in agreement that the coffee works wonders after their husbands took the drinks and they reached orgasms because of the improved performances.

“Mukoma munosiyiwa kumba uku naMaiguru tengai coffe iyi munozouya muchinditenda pano, Amai vanokupai sando dzenyu mukatendwa nemutupo kana muchinge mabata basa,” said Angeline, a vendor. The women who declined to tell NewZimbabwe.Com where they buy the coffee said the demand for the coffee is very high. “During the week I sell from here (Five Avenue Shopping Centre) but at weekends I am based at Mereki and the major advantage is that you can take the coffee either with cold water and any kind of beverage,” said another woman who identified herself as Anna. “My clients include both men and women but women do not usually buy openly as they are shy to do so.” One man who bought the sachets said he was only doing it for a friend who requested that he brings him the product. “No I don’t use these things I am doing a favour for someone,” he said. According to one medical doctor who spoke to NewZimbabwe.Com but declined to be named the problem of erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation is quite widespread in Zimbabwe. *Source]]>

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Zimbabwe's indigenisation gets $3bn
October 14, 2014 | 0 Comments

zimbabwexxZimbabwe claims its prickly indigenisation, partly blamed for driving off foreign investors, has seen a transfer of over $3 billion worth of shares from 1,000 foreign-owned firms to locals. The transfer is over a four year period. President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF party is championing the policy, using a 2008 law that requires all foreign firms, including mines and banks, to be majority-controlled by local blacks. Although Zanu PF campaigned on the platform of indigenisation, critics say it is becoming increasingly clear the party is unable to proceed after the polls with a programme continuously damaging the economy, fuelling capital flight and keeping investors at bay. However, according to the National Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Board compliance report, 1,089 applications have been processed since 2010 with mining accounting for 398. The report indicates that 600 companies in various sectors transferred $535 million worth of shares to local hands. Under the energy sector a total of $6 million shares swapped hands, transport ($40 million), services ($3 million), real estate ($4 million), financial services ($16 million), and construction ($57 million). “The Ministry of Youth Development, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment and the National Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Board, in implementing the indigenisation and economic empowerment policy, have processed 1,089 applications since the year 2010. “This figure includes 218 applications in the sectors of finance and tourism that are held by the ministry. “The distribution of applications was tilted towards the manufacturing and mining sectors of the economy” reads part of the report. The figures are viewed by the ruling party as empowering of locals and this is despite there being strong feelings that that indigenisation is benefitting only those who are politically connected. This is confirmed by reports of Zanu PF bigwigs grabbing shares in companies, mines and conservancies under the guise of indigenisation. However, recently, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) told Zimbabwe to review its indigenisation policy to help the country boost mutually beneficial domestic and foreign investment. It is however, unlikely that Mugabe’s government would agree to a wholesale rethink of the indigenisation law and run the risk of being seen as bending over backwards to the IMF. Although Zimbabwe is desperate for international support to lift itself out of the economic quagmire, party politics and populism always seem to triumph over national good. *Source theafricareport]]>

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Birth of a Mugabe dynasty in Zimbabwe?
September 30, 2014 | 0 Comments

_77854794_3652e16d-2dd5-4ece-8b21-1d161d3061edThe birth of a dynasty is not an easy thing to predict. But many Zimbabweans now seem preoccupied by the tantalising possibility that the Mugabes are seeking to join the list – admittedly a shrinking list – of families who have managed to pass the reins of power across the dinner table.

President Robert Mugabe is 90. His second wife, Grace, is 49. Succession speculation has been a constant theme for years in Zimbabwe, but Grace Mugabe has only recently emerged as a possible contender. Outsiders are likely to have heard of the president’s former secretary in exclusively dubious terms – for her allegedly extravagant shopping habits; for the incident when she punched a British journalist in Hong Kong; and other alleged excesses. Zimbabwe’s state media, by contrast, have sought to highlight her devotion to charity work. The notion of a “President Grace” first gained currency in August when Mrs Mugabe – a political novice – was unexpectedly endorsed as the next leader of the governing Zanu-PF’s Women’s League – a powerful role – to be confirmed at the party’s congress in December. Fuel was added to the fire this month when the first lady became Dr Mugabe – awarded a PhD in sociology just two months after enrolling at the University of Zimbabwe, and with her thesis curiously absent from the institution’s online archives. When I rang up Zanu-PF’s spokesman Rugare Gumbo for his analysis of Mrs Mugabe’s embryonic political career, it quickly became clear that the topic was an uncomfortable one. “Please no… I’m not answering anything related to that… Come on, you can’t ask me why not,” said Mr Gumbo rather briskly. So what is going on? There are – appropriately enough for such a tale of palace intrigue – multiple theories. ‘Major miscalculation’ The most down-to-earth analysis holds that Mrs Mugabe has no chance of being president, and is being used by one faction within Zanu-PF. “It’s very easy to explain. She’s been brought in as a means to stop Joyce Mujuru by any means,” said the veteran political commentator Ibbo Mandaza. Vice-President Mujuru is seen as a leading contender to succeed President Mugabe. [caption id="attachment_12451" align="alignright" width="300"] Vice-President Joyce Mujuru is seen as a leading contender to succeed President Mugabe
Vice-President Joyce Mujuru is seen as a leading contender to succeed President Mugabe[/caption] The theory goes that her long-standing rival, Emmerson Mnangagwa, is promoting Mrs Mugabe as a short-term ploy to sideline Mrs Mujuru. “When her husband goes, that’s the end of her political career if there’s such a career at all,” said Mr Mandaza, blithely dismissing the notion of a Mugabe dynasty. The next theory is that President Mugabe is promoting his wife primarily in order to keep all the Zanu-PF factions off-balance, and to strengthen his own position.   The rise of Grace Mugabe
  • Began affair with Robert Mugabe, 41 years her senior, while his first wife Sally was terminally ill. Mr Mugabe later claimed Sally knew and approved of the relationship
  • Married Mr Mugabe, her second husband, in 1996 in an extravagant ceremony
  • Mr Mugabe’s critics call her “Gucci Grace” and accuse her of lavish spending
  • Along with her husband, Mrs Mugabe is subject to EU and US sanctions, including travel bans
  • Celebrated by Mr Mugabe’s supporters for her charitable work, Grace Mugabe founded an orphanage in Mazowe, central Zimbabwe
Grey line
Dewa Mavhinga, from Human Rights Watch, believes the president has made a serious mistake by bringing in someone with no political pedigree whatsoever. “It shows that President Mugabe doesn’t trust anyone around him. I think he was under pressure to control the factions and extend his own stay in office, but it was a major miscalculation and exposed him for the first time if you see how the factions are now fighting openly in the media,” said Mr Mavhinga. But there is another, less intrigue-driven analysis of Mrs Mugabe’s abrupt arrival on the political stage. Simba Makoni, a former Zanu-PF minister who ran for the presidency as an independent against Mr Mugabe in 2008, believes people are too quick to reject the possibility of a dynasty. [caption id="attachment_12454" align="alignleft" width="300"] Mrs Mugabe’s political rise may be proof that her husband still has authority over the ruling party Mrs Mugabe’s political rise may be proof that her husband still has authority over the ruling party[/caption] “Grace is poised to lead the Women’s League… in December. That is a given. And my hunch is she is not going to end there, realising how easy it has been for her to get to there in such a short time,” said Mr Makoni. “So I would say watch this space – there will be more happening.” It is tempting to argue that a dynasty is an expression of political power – proof that President Mugabe still has the authority to impose his will on Zanu-PF and Zimbabwe. But you could argue the exact opposite – that here is a man who, after three decades in power, can trust no-one outside his immediate family. *Source BBC]]>

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Breaking News: Oil, Gas Reserves found in Zimbabwe
September 29, 2014 | 0 Comments

150697_90751135Zimbabwe could become an oil and gas producer following strong indications of significant reserves of the resources in northern parts of the country. Government has already commissioned mining research experts to determine the extent of the potential reserves in the Zambezi Valley. Earlier exploration by hydrocarbons giant Mobil Oil in the 1990s concluded there was nearly “100 percent potential of gas” and a high possibility of oil occurrence in the region. However, authorities did not prioritise further exploratory work then due to various competing national issues such as the military intervention in the DRC and the fast-track land reform programme. But with several African countries recently announcing oil and gas finds, such as in Mozambique and Namibia, interest has been rekindled and authorities have revisited the matter. Mines and Mining Development Secretary Professor Francis Gudyanga told The Sunday Mail: “We are working on that, but I think it is too early to make it public.” This paper has gathered that Government mandated a team of experts to confirm the existence of the oil and gas reserves. Geo Associates and Invictus Energy Resources are assisting the Mines Ministry and the Geological Survey Department in the project. Research shows that hydrocarbon deposits occur in sedimentary geological features less than 300 million years old. Zimbabwe has three areas holding sedimentary geological features that fit the profile – Karoo (150-300 million years), Cretaceous (50-140 million years), and Kalahari (four-50 million years). Of these, the Zambezi Valley — which sits on Karoo sediments in the Cabora Bassa Basin — holds the most potential for gas and possibly oil. Between 1989 and 1993, Mobil Oil explored a part of the Zambezi Valley in the Cabora Bassa Basin spanning 30 120 square kilometres. The company concluded the area was likely to have gas, a finding corroborated by German Geological Survey BGR. BGR analysed the data and carried out extensive fieldwork and indicated the area potentially held high volumes of recoverable gas. However, no actual drilling took place. Sedimentologist and geological consultant Dr Dennis Shoko, who worked with Mobil on the initial exploration, said: “The work carried out by Mobil was very extensive and the results they produced were very positive. Their surveys included airborne geo-physical work. They worked on the structure of our basin in areas such as the Mana Pools, the Cabora Basin and Zambezi Basin. “Their conclusion was that there was an almost 100 percent potential of gas, which then makes having oil a possibility. They then proposed to have a joint venture with Government to begin work that included drilling and setting up a 4km-deep borehole. But at that time, Government said it was not a priority and turned down the joint venture.” He added: “In recent years, an oil leak was discovered in Lupane, meaning there is high chance that there is oil in the Cabora Basin, which covers the north part of the country and the area between the escarpment and the Zambezi River. Remember we also share this basin with Mozambique, which has also discovered oil.” Investec Energy Resources’ Mr Scott Macmillan said the oil reserves — if confirmed — could turn around Zimbabwe’s economy. He said the subject would feature prominently at the Mining Indaba scheduled for Harare next week. “The resources could potentially provide the country with a significant new revenue base and create thousands of direct and indirect jobs, be utilised as feedstock for gas-fired power turbines and bring about a solution to the perennial power shortages as well as provide energy security for the country. “The hydrocarbon symposium will focus on the exciting conventional and unconventional under-explored oil and gas opportunities in Zimbabwe and highlight the country’s potential as an exploration destination in the region. Zimbabwe is still a frontier country in terms of hydrocarbon exploration. – *Source]]>

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Mugabe nephew raises alarm
September 18, 2014 | 0 Comments

President Mugabe President Mugabe[/caption] President Robert Mugabe’s nephew, Patrick Zhuwao has raised alarm over a possible palace coup within Zanu PF if the party’s factional fights are not put in check. The 47-year-old Zhuwao claimed in an opinion piece that appeared in the State media last weekend that factional fights in Zanu PF had reached unprecedented levels and were now a destabilising factor Zanu PF is currently divided along factional lines, one believed to be led by Vice President Joice Mujuru and another by Justice minister Emmerson Mnangagwa. Both deny leading the factions angling to take over from 90-year-old Mugabe. “…I submit that factionalism has evolved within Zanu PF to a point where it can be viewed as a palace coup in the making,” Zhuwao said. A nephew to Mugabe who holds a degree in computer engineering and runs a highly successful and mechanised Norton-based tobacco farm, Zhuwao said Zanu PF factions were eager to position a particular person in power, adding that the main focus will be on securing sufficient support to influence the outcome of forthcoming elective processes that determine the representatives of members. Zanu PF is hurtling towards an elective congress in December that is due to re-organise the composition of the presidium. “Factions within Zanu PF have, therefore become a confluence of several individual personal ambitions and egos,” said Zhuwao, who also runs a policy think-tank dubbed “Zhuwao Institute” that develops strategic plans and actions aimed at empowering Zimbabwean society. “In the case of Zanu PF, factions strengthened soon after the 2005 elections when the party won a two thirds constitutional majority. Within 36 months, factions had effectively dismantled the Zanu PF government such that the country had to endure five years of a disastrous inclusive government. “Factional strife and conflict have a tendency of becoming so intense and public that the party tends to suffer from perceptions of disunity. Such perceptions of disunity eventually turn to be self-fulfilling where factional members seek to act and think differently from the rest of the party. This forms the origins and basis which affects business confidence and operations.” He warned that factional conflict and strife can escalate to levels that may cause fissures in the organisation that, in turn, may cause ruptures. He said this would lead to the party failing to operate effectively and putting it in danger of breaking up. “In 2008, factionalism within Zanu PF led to the emergence of Simba Makoni as one of the presidential contestants,” Zhuwao said. A former Zanu PF Politburo member, Simba Makoni garnered eight percent of the vote in the March 2008 presidential election after walking out on the party. [caption id="attachment_12092" align="alignright" width="100"]Patrick Zhuwao Patrick Zhuwao[/caption] He subsequently formed his Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn party which entered an electoral pact with Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC ahead of last year’s election. Said Zhuwao: “As could be seen from the emergence of the Mavambo group, factional operations are usually conducted in secret and within minimal public scrutiny. This cloak of secrecy unfortunately leads to widespread incidences of unethical behaviour.” In thinly veiled remarks targeted at Zanu PF secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa and political commissar Webster Shamu, Zhuwao claimed the glitches experienced at last month’s sixth Zanu PF youth conference could have been a planned move. Mutasa and Shamu, who are believed to be aligned to the Mujuru faction were accused of rigging the shambolic youth league elections. The chaos, which also caught the ire of Mugabe, came about after the party failed to raise money to fund party activities, including the youth conference. “Such behaviour includes the vote-buying that was widespread during the sixth Zanu PF youth conference,” Zhuwao said. “Some observers have suggested that the level of disorganisation experienced at the youth conference was engineered. “This view is supported by the fact that the national women’s conference that was held a few days later was run efficiently, by the same organisers,” he said. *Source dailynews]]>

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Russia's Lavrov lauds Africa as pillar of new world order
September 18, 2014 | 0 Comments

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (L) and Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe shake hands after a meeting in Zvimba, Zimbabwe, on September 16, 2014 (AFP Photo/Jekesai Njikizana) Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (L) and Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe shake hands after a meeting in Zvimba, Zimbabwe, on September 16, 2014 (AFP Photo/Jekesai Njikizana)[/caption]

Darwendale (Zimbabwe) (AFP) – Mired in a conflict in Ukraine and isolated by the West, Russia sought to woo African allies on Tuesday, with foreign minister Sergei Lavrov hailing the continent’s role in a new world order.

“Africa is one of the pillars of the evolving world system,” Lavrov said during a visit to Zimbabwe, where he signed co-operation deals and won diplomatic backing for the fight against Western sanctions.

Describing his sanction-hit host President Robert Mugabe as a “legend” and “historic figure”, Lavrov slammed the West’s increasingly tough response to Russia’s actions in Ukraine.

The most recent wave of Western measures targeted Russia’s banking, energy and defence sectors — sending the ruble crashing to record lows. “We are all convinced that these unilateral coercive policies have no future,” Lavrov said. “What is important these days is to recognise the pluralism in the international community.” During the Cold War the Soviet Union and the West scrambled for influence in Africa, installing puppet leaders and igniting proxy wars that killed millions from Angola to Mozambique. Russia hopes to once again enlist allies on the continent, where rapid economic growth is predicted in the coming years, as a counterweight to American influence. “There is no coming back to a unipolar world, to a bi-polar world. The future of the world would only be multiple, otherwise the whole system would not be sustainable.” Lavrov won support from his 90-year-old host, who has long been a thorn in the side of Africa’s former colonisers and who has suffered more than a decade of sanctions for a litany of rights abuses. Mugabe said the Western sanctions against Moscow were “illegal”. “If sanctions are to apply they must be approved by the UN and those that are being imposed on the Russian Federation have not,” Mugabe said after sealing a $3 billion (2.3 billion-euro) investment for Russian business to tap Zimbabwe’s platinum resources.

“They are illegal sanctions. So you have a lawless part of our international community seeking to dominate the rest of the world and we say no!”

“That must never be allowed to go on,” Mugabe said.

The Western sanctions on Russia were imposed in retaliation to Moscow’s annexation of Crimea and support for separatists in east Ukraine.

*Source Yahoo/AP]]>

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‘Zim losing $17bn in diamond revenue’
September 17, 2014 | 0 Comments

Grey-Qurryiene-Article-300x300Kurotwi told a delegation of international diamond experts touring the ZDTC yesterday that countries who sell processed diamonds generate over $70 billion in revenue. “My understanding is that those selling finished product share $71 billion annually, those selling cut and polished diamonds share $41 billion annually, while those selling rough diamonds share $14 billion. “If you do the mathematics considering Zimbabwe produces around 25-30 percent of the world market, you will see a lot of money is lost because we cannot process the diamonds ourselves,” he said. Zimbabwe currently sells its diamonds in their rough form as it has no capacity to process them. Once completed, the ZDTC which has been under construction in Mt Hampden outside Harare for more than two years, is expected to create about 40 000 new jobs. Kurotwi dismissed reports that diamond reserves in the country were fast running out saying studies had not been carried out to authenticate the claims. “The country still has a long way to go, these reports are not supported by appropriate studies to show the country is indeed running out of diamonds,” said Kurotwi. Kurotwi’s sentiments come in the wake of media reports released earlier this year, which revealed diamond mining firms operating in Zimbabwe’s Marange area were expected to cut around 400 jobs, as it had become unsustainable for them to dig any deeper for the gems. Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) chief executive Ari Epstein, recently told Parliamentarians at a ZimAsset Awareness Seminar that Zimbabwean diamonds have the capacity to fetch over $400 million annually, resulting in an increase of $60 million in royalties per year. *Source africlandpost]]>

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