Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Zimbabwe News Bulletin: President Says Opposition on 'Evil Crusade'; ZANU-PF Starts Campaign Sunday; Official Appointed to COMESA; China Denies Arms Allegations

Mugabe: Zim opposition on 'evil crusade'

Harare, Zimbabwe
21 May 2008 01:01

President Robert Mugabe accused Zimbabwe's opposition of embarking on "an evil crusade" as he stepped up claims on Wednesday that the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) is to blame for mounting violence.

"The MDC opposition, formed at the behest of Britain, is on an evil crusade of dividing our people along political lines as they continue to fan and sponsor heinous acts of political violence targeting innocent citizens," Mugabe said at a graduation ceremony for police recruits.

"It is unfortunate that they have decided on violent means to instil fear into our peace-loving people."

Zimbabwe has seen mounting levels of violence since disputed elections in March when the MDC won control of Parliament and its leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, beat Mugabe into second place in a simultaneous presidential poll.

With Tsvangirai falling just short of winning an outright majority in the first round, according to official results, the pair are now due to square up in a run-off poll on June 27.

Although the United Nations chief representative in Zimbabwe has said Mugabe's supporters are to blame for the bulk of the violence, the president laid responsibility firmly at the feet of the MDC.

"MDC activists have furtively torched houses belonging to Zanu-PF supporters, destroying property worth trillions of dollars in the process," he said.

"Let me warn all perpetrators of violence that the police force is here to preserve life, protect property, maintain law and order and apprehend criminals.

"It is the duty of the Zimbabwe Republic Police to ensure that all forms of civil commotion are nipped in the bud."

In his speech, Mugabe also accused the opposition of rigging its way to victory in the election on March 29.

"Regrettably, underneath the peace that prevailed [before the election], there was a disturbing phenomena of massive electoral fraud that reared its ugly monstrous head," he said.

"As investigations and court cases have shown, this emanated largely from unashamed efforts of opposition supporters aided by their international partners to achieve long-sought after goal of regime change."

The MDC has claimed that Tsvangirai was only deprived of outright victory in the first round as a result of rigging by Mugabe, who is subject to Western sanctions after he allegedly fixed his re-election in 2002. -- AFP

Zanu-PF gears for run-off poll

Herald Reporter

PRESIDENT Mugabe will on Sunday officially kick off his presidential election run-off campaign at Zanu-PF’s national headquarters in Harare.

Cde Patrick Chinamasa, who chairs Zanu-PF’s sub-committee on information and publicity, said the main official launch would be at the party’s headquarters at 2pm.

"We are inviting around 2 000 people from all over the country to the launch.

"While the main launch will be at our headquarters, we are also going to be carrying out simultaneous launches across the country at ward level since as you know our campaign is ward-based," he said.

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission set June 27 for the run-off that pits President Mugabe and MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who both failed to get over 50 percent of the vote in the first round on March 29 as required by the Electoral Act to be declared winner.

ZEC has announced that voters will cast their ballots at ward level just as they did during the harmonised elections and Zanu-PF has since been campaigning at this level.

Tsvangirai, on the other hand, has largely conducted his campaign outside Zimbabwe having left the country shortly after the March 29 polls, thereby drawing criticism from some of his staunchest allies who have labelled his strategy as indicative of poor leadership qualities.

President Mugabe’s campaign launch will come a day after a solidarity and anti-imperialism march by party youths and students from the University of Zimbabwe from the National Heroes’ Acre to the Zanu-PF headquarters in the city.

In an interview yesterday, Zanu-PF secretary for youth Cde Absolom Sikhosana urged youths to cast their ballots wisely in the run-off and use their democratic right to secure the future of the country.

"This election is not about Cde Mugabe or Tsvangirai. It is about choosing between 100 percent sovereignty and total independence on the one hand, and a return to colonialism on the other. The choices are clear-cut and the youth should take this opportunity to secure their future and that of their country.

"What we have noticed is that on March 29 people voted with their stomachs. They were told that if they voted for Tsvangirai the country’s economic fortunes would turn around immediately, but this can never be the case.

"Besides, what should be realised is that the same foreign interests who are promising an overnight turnaround in the event of a Tsvangirai presidency are the same who have destroyed the economy.

"When the youths vote they should ask themselves this: how is it that Britain and the US, who are backing Tsvangirai, claim they have our interests at heart when they have imposed sanctions that are harming ordinary folk?

"The youth should vote for their empowerment as delivered by Cde Mugabe and not be hoodwinked," he said.

Cde Sikhosana said it was imperative for the youth to understand that true liberation lay in the control of national resources and only Zanu-PF could guarantee this at a time when Western attempts to stop the indigenisation of the economy are gathering momentum.

"Tsvangirai is promising them employment and maybe one or two of them will get jobs if by some accident he wins. But on the other hand, Cde Mugabe is not offering just employment; he is giving the youth the opportunity to own the means of production.

"It is virtually impossible the world over to be rich and successful through being an employee. Successful people are those who have full charge of their environment and control their resources and this is what Zanu-PF giving Zimbabweans," Cde Sikhosana said.

British support of MDC-T stifles democracy: ZPDP

THE Zimbabwe People’s Democratic Party president Ms Isabel Madangure says the British support of the opposition MDC-T in Zimbabwe is stifling democracy in the country.

In an interview with the ZBC in Harare, Ms Madangure said the imposition of sanctions which are negatively affecting all age groups in Zimbabwe including children has created an unfair playing field for the ruling party and the holding of democratic elections in Zimbabwe.

She explained that the current economic hardships in the country are a result of the sanctions that were called for by the MDC-T leader who is currently enjoying a luxurious life in Western capitals.

Ms Madangure called on all patriotic and peace-loving Zimbabweans to turnout in their thousands on June 27 and vote for Zanu-PF saying it is the party that has the interests of the people at heart.

She said the MDC-T which was created out of the Westminster foundation to effect regime change in Zimbabwe is a foreign driven organisation which seeks to restore white supremacy in Zimbabwe as evidenced by the huge support given to the opposition party by white farmers.

The post election period this year also saw a huge influx of former white farmers who had returned to newly settled areas saying they had come back to their farms following the self-proclaimed claimed MDC victory.

Ms Madangure said the June 27 run-off should serve to defend and protect the Zimbabwean revolution in which many sons and daughters of the country paid the supreme sacrifice. — Newsnet.

Zimbabwean gets top Comesa post

Bulawayo Bureau

A ZIMBABWEAN, Mr Sindiso Ndema Ngwenya, has been appointed interim secretary-general of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa.

He will hold the post until the next summit of the Comesa Authority sits.

Mr Ngwenya takes over from Mr Erastus Mwencha, who is now the deputy chairperson of the African Union Commission.

Before his appointment, Mr Ngwenya was one of the two assistant secretaries-general.

He was the assistant secretary-general responsible for programmes, a post he had held since 1998.

Cde Obert Mpofu, the vice-chairperson of the Comesa Council of Ministers, confirmed Mr Ngwenya’s appointment.

Cde Mpofu, who is also the Minister of Industry and International Trade, congratulated Mr Ngwenya on his elevation.

"In order to ensure continuity in the operations of Comesa, especially with regard to its programmes, such as the launch of the Customs Union and the EPA Negotiation, the council appointed Mr Sindiso Ngwenya as interim secretary-general until the next summit of the Comesa Authority when the substantive secretary-general will be appointed," said Cde Mpofu.

President promotes two soldiers to rank of colonel

Herald Reporter

COMMANDER-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces President Mugabe has promoted two Zimbabwe National Army Lieutenant Colonels to the rank of Colonel.

The two are Colonel Stanford Kufa, who was the Zimbabwe Armoured Car Regiment Commander at Inkomo, and Colonel Michael Chaminuka, who is the personal staff officer to Zimbabwe Defence Forces Commander General Constantine Chiwenga.

Col Kufa will, with immediate effect, be the Commandant of the Zimbabwe Military Academy in Gweru while Col Chaminuka will remain in his present post.

Conferring the two with their new ranks, ZNA Chief of Staff Major General Martin Chedondo said the promotions came with a price and the price was added responsibilities.

"This is also the trust that has been shown by the Commander-in-Chief (President Mugabe) and I would like to urge you to discharge your duties in a loyal and professional manner," he said.

Maj-Gen Chedondo said officers should also understand the political environment in Zimbabwe and the world at large.

"We expect you to understand the Government, the party and you also need to understand that the country is at a crossroads. We are under an onslaught of the Western countries, imperialists with the help of their puppets, the MDC," he said.

He said the country’s independence was brought about by Zanu-PF through the formation of Zanu and Zapu. He said that legacy must be protected at all costs.

"Ensure that the legacy of Chimurenga lives on. Some of us might retire in the near future and you (all army officers) should ensure that Zimbabwe would never be a colony again.

"It is you senior officers who should ensure that the legacy is protected," he said.

Maj-Gen Chedondo said to all those who were not promoted, their time would come as the system recognised their value.

Col Chaminuka applauded President Mugabe, Gen Chiwenga and all senior army officials.

He said they would carry out their duties diligently and would remain loyal.

"We also understand the challenges facing the nation of which we are the custodians of its security.

"We will, however, carry out our duties diligently," he said.

China denies weapons shipped to Zimbabwe

May 21, 2008, 15:30

China today denied that a Chinese ship carrying arms to Zimbabwe had managed to get its cargo to the landlocked African nation, saying the ship and the weapons were on their way back to China.

Zimbabwe's Deputy Information Minister Bright Matonga would not comment at the weekend on reports that his government had finally taken delivery of a consignment of arms at the centre of controversy since April.

South African port workers refused to offload the Chinese-owned ship carrying them, the An Yue Jiang, saying the weapons could deepen Zimbabwe's political crisis.

"It's a defence issue that I would not want to comment on, except to say that we are not under any arms embargo. We will continue to source our arms requirements in a regular and official manner," Matonga said.

But China's Foreign Ministry said the An Yue Jiang was on its way back to China, and denied reports the weapons had arrived in Zimbabwe. "These reports are baseless and purely fictitious," spokesperson Qin Gang said in a statement on the ministry's website.

"The Chinese side has already said many times that the weapons sold to Zimbabwe will return on the An Yue Jiang. The ship is currently on its way back to China," Qin said.

Zimbabwe has been locked in a political crisis after the government initially refused to release results of presidential elections on March 29. A run-off between President Robert Mugabe and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change's Morgan Tsvangirai is scheduled for June 27. - Reuters

Mbeki rejects claims of refuelling Chinese ship

May 19, 2008, 06:00

President Thabo Mbeki has rejected media reports suggesting that he gave an order through deputy defence minister, Mluleki George, for the refuelling of a Chinese ship loaded with armaments en route to Zimbabwe.

A Mozambican online newspaper reported on Saturday that Mbeki had ordered the SAS Drakensberg out to sea to refuel the ship. According to the report, the arms were then offloaded in the DRC and taken to Zimbabwe.

Mbeki says there is a deliberate campaign to spread lies about the presidency and government.

South Africa denies aiding Chinese arms ship

May 17, 2008, 15:45

The defence department has denied reports that President Thabo Mbeki ordered the SAS Drakensberg to refuel a Chinese ship bearing arms for Zimbabwe.

Deputy Defence minister Mluleki George says the allegations have no substance whatsoever. This followed reports in Mozambican online newspaper, Canal de Mozambique, which reported that the ship had been refuelled by the Drakensberg off the coast of South Africa before sailing north to offload its deadly cargo. The Zimbabwe government has confirmed that the weapons have arrived in Harare. George says he had no instruction from Mbeki to dispatch the Drakensberg.

Reports says the weapons - meant for the Zimbabwe army - have arrived in Harare after being offloaded in the DRC and then flown to Zimbabwe with a charter flight. The report quotes a Mozambican online newspaper. It says the Chinese ship - which was earlier turned away from several Southern African ports - was refuelled en route to the DRC by the South African Navy ship Drakensberg. Presidential spokesperson Mukoni Ratshitanga has dismissed the reports, saying it seems that 'the season of propaganda is upon us'.

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