Britain, US are liars: President
Zimbabwe Presidium after being sworn in during 2004. The ruling ZANU-PF party contested national elections on March 29, 2008.
Originally uploaded by Pan-African News Wire File Photos
Zimbabwe Presidium after being sworn in during 2004. The ruling ZANU-PF party contested national elections on March 29, 2008.
Originally uploaded by Pan-African News Wire File Photos
By Cletus Mushanawani, Sydney Kawadza and Takunda
BRITAIN, America and their allies are lying to the world about Zimbabwe to try and build an atmosphere to justify their intervention, President Mugabe has said.
Addressing more than 15 000 people at Gaza Stadium in Chipinge yesterday, President Mugabe said: "Britain and her allies are telling a lot of lies about Zimbabwe, saying a lot of people are dying. These are all lies because they want to build a situation to justify their intervention in Zimbabwe.
"Zvose zvavari kutaura manyepo chetechete. Zvekunyepa izvi vari kuzviudzwa naTsvangirai. Isu tagara tisina bopoto nemunhu kunze kweiri raunzwa naTsvangirai."
He urged Zimbabweans to safeguard the country’s sovereignty by voting for him in Friday’s presidential run-off since MDC-T was a creation of the West.
"Ko nhaka yedu ndeipi isu takavhotera vanhu vanoda kudzosera ivhu kuvarungu? Ndinofunga kuti makaona varungu vachidzoka mushure memaelections aMarch 29, paiti MDC tahwina tahwina! VanaBennett vakanga vatomirira kudzoka," said President Mugabe.
On grain shortages, the President said the Government had contracted haulage trucks to help the National Railways of Zimbabwe to transport maize from South Africa to Zimbabwe.
"Taona kuti kudya kushoma, takatenga mathousands of tonnes of maize. We realised that we could not bring all the maize using wagons since the same wagons are also used to transport other goods to Zimbabwe and other neighbouring countries. Since South Africa is not that far, we contracted haulage trucks to help in bringing the maize home. Very soon, you will see improved deliveries of maize in all the areas," he said.
President Mugabe urged farmers to take advantage of the ongoing mechanisation programme to acquire all the necessary implements for them to improve their productivity.
Turning to the ever-increasing prices of basic commodities, President Mugabe said as Government, they had decided to supply businesspeople with basic commodities that would be sold to consumers at gazetted prices.
"This is not an election gimmick. We are now buying goods to stock in People’s Shops. We started with the provision of buses to address the transport shortages and now we are moving to stocking of shops. We will increase the buses if they are not enough. Beneficiaries of these basic commodities should charge gazetted prices. We want to see where those businesses hiking prices will sell their commodities. Most of the businesses are foreign-owned, especially by the British. They are continuously hiking prices because they are pushing for regime change.
"Izvi vari kuzviitira kuti zvinhu zvikakurwadzai, mopandukira Hurumende yenyu movhotera MDC. Asi imi sevanhu vanoziva zvinangwa negwara reZanu-PF zvisinei nekurwadziwa kwamunenge maitwa, kunyangwe nzara yakurumai sei moramba makabatirira pamusangano venyu.
"Vatungamiriri venyu vanofanira kusupervisor maPeople’s Shops nekuti hatidi kunzwa kuti zvinhu zvavakutengeswa nemukoto. Tinokusungai tokuisai mumajeri mosiya madzimai enyu achichema voti VaMugabe vakashata," he said.
He said the Government would provide generators to small towns like Chipinge, Kadoma and Chegutu to help in supplying power to households and factories in the event of Zesa load- shedding.
He reminded those present that Chipinge provided most of the cadres who fought in the liberation struggle like the late national hero, Cde William Ndangana.
"Pasarudzo dzakapfuura vanhu vakawanda havana kuenda kunovhota. Vhoti yenyu yakadzikira ndosaka takakundwa munzvimbo zhinji dzeManicaland. Imi voye honai nhamo yamakatipa, honai zvamanga maita nyika. Yakanga yatsvedza, ndinoda kutenda midzimu yedu yakazotinunura."
The First Lady, Amai Grace Mugabe, also addressed the same gathering and urged beneficiaries of the basic commodities to use the profits from the sale of these commodities wisely.
"Hatidi kuti mawana mari iyoyo mohire maluxury coaches. Maluxury coaches, ndivo madzimai aya anofamba famba," she said.
In Buhera, Cde Mugabe said Government was investigating some non-governmental organisations for the political role they played in the run-up to the March 29 harmonised elections.
Addressing thousands of Zanu-PF supporters at Muzombokomba Business Centre in Buhera South, President Mugabe said NGOs should desist from politics.
"MaNGOs aifamba achipa vanhu mari nekudya achiti zvirikubva kuMDC. Zvinotakazvidzivisa kuti hazviende kuvanhu vedu. Kana vachida kupa rubatsiro ngavape nenzira yekubatsira. Tave kuvaongorora ndivo vakakonzera kuti imi mupidigudze pfungwa," he said.
Cde Mugabe blasted some businesses for pushing the regime change agenda by deliberately increasing prices despite all the support they were getting from Government.
"Mabusinesses ndeemaBritish, havadi kuti zvinhu zvinake. Tichaatora after maelections," he said.
He later officially opened one such shop funded by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe under the Basic Commodities Supply Side Intervention facility at Muzokomba Business Centre.
In the shop a 2kg packet of sugar was selling for $625 million, 2kg packet of rice at $680 million
and a kilogramme of fine salt $90 million.
Cde Mugabe gave ploughs, harrows, scotchcarts, grinding mills and two buses to the people of Buhera.
President Mugabe condemned violence and urged the party to campaign peacefully.
"Hatidi isu kuti tinzi hanzi tirikurova vanhu, ngatiitei nekunzwisisa kwedu, zvaanaTsvangirai kwete," he said.
He urged the people of Buhera to vote for him on Friday and condemn Tsvangirai, an agent of the imperialists bent of reversing the gains of the liberation struggle.
Addressing thousands of Zanu-PF supporters at Masvosva Business Centre in Makoni West later during the day, Cde Mugabe said people should ensure an emphatic victory for the ruling party in memory of those who perished during the liberation struggle.
He said many sons and daughters from Manicaland died during the struggle and people in the province should not allow the country to be recolonised.
"Tinevamwe vedu vakaita saVanaChitepo vakasiya mabasa avo kuti vatungamirire chimurenga chakaunza rusununguko muno munyika toshaya kuyeuka kuti tine vana ava vakatisiyira nyika. Mavhotero edu orega kuyeuka magamba akafira nyika nehondo yakakosha yakarwiwa munyika muno?
"Hatimbofa takatengesa nyika ino hatiisiye ichitorwa nemaBritish nemaAmericans vakamirirwa neMDC ndokusaka takasadharara, tonzi tadududza tabuda muZanu-PF tichinyengerwa netumaNGO. Pamwe vana vechidiki hatina kuvadzidzisa zvakakwana pamusoro pehondo yakaunza rusununguko."
Cde Mugabe said many people did not vote for Zanu-PF because of various reasons including challenges being experienced while some were fooled by NGOs working in cahoots with the MDC-T.
He urged Zanu-PF supporters to mobilise each other for an emphatic victory on June 27 to safeguard the country’s heritage.
"We know some of you did not vote on March 29 but if you do not vote this time the MDC would win this election even in their small numbers. Tinoziva vamwe vedu vakanyengerwa nemaNGO, vamwe nekurwadziwa nezvinotinetsa, nekushaya tushuga, tusauti, mari yeschool fees nezvakadaro vakati tomboyedzawo chibato ichi cheMDC. Hazviedzwe izvi! Nhaka haiedzwe iyi!"
He, however, said Government was aware of such challenges but people should know that this is being caused by illegal sanctions imposed by the British, Americans and their Western allies.
President Mugabe urged people in Makoni West to put aside their differences and work for the party’s victory.
"Tinoziva zvose zvamakasangana nazvo tisati tapinda mumaelections emunaMarch, kusawirirana pakati penyu asi izvi zvese zvaikonzerwa namakwikwi ataiita, saka ngatichibatanayi tishande pamwechete nekuti hondo ikauya muchitukana munopera mose.
"Tinotenda kuti hatina kuzoyerera ngatichibatana pasina ruvengo tivhotere Zanu-PF. Vanhu vakavhotera ini vanenge vavhotera musangano sezvo ndakamirira musangano. Ini ndikaruza maelections Zanu-PF inenge yaruza, kudonhedzwa nechamatama zvichireva kuti haichakwanisa kuvaka Hurumende."
He said preparations for the forthcoming agricultural season were at an advanced stage and Government would continue to empower the farmers through the agricultural mechanisation programme.
He distributed 12 buses and two hammer mills to the community, 50 ploughs and 50 harrows to traditional leaders.
A People’s Shop with a variety of basic commodities was also opened at the business centre.
MDC-T still to write pullout letter, says ZEC
TWO days after announcing his intention to withdraw from the June 27 presidential run-off, MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai is yet to write to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to make his position official.
ZEC yesterday said it was ready for Friday’s presidential run-off and the three House of Assembly by-elections with deployment of polling officers having started while election material is being moved to the districts.
ZEC chairman Justice George Chiweshe yesterday said he had not received any communication from Tsvangirai.
"We have not received any correspondence from MDC-T,’’ said Justice Chiweshe.
In a briefing to observers and other stakeholders earlier, Justice Chiweshe said none of the candidates had withdrawn from the race.
He said according to the law, if one wishes to withdraw from an election, this had to be communicated officially.
"None of the candidates has withdrawn from the race. Politicians will say anything anytime, but there are certain things, which must be done officially.
"We have not been officially approached by any of our candidates on the withdrawal," Justice Chiweshe said.
He said it was premature to disclose what the law says in the event that one of the candidates withdraws from an election.
"It is premature for me to say what would happen because people will start to speculate," he said.
MDC secretary-general Professor Welshman Ncube said his party would contest the three by-elections in Pelandaba-Mpopoma, Redcliff and Gwanda South set for Friday.
"As far as the MDC is concerned, the elections for the three by-elections will go on as scheduled. The pullout has to be done by individual candidates and as we are aware, none of our candidates has withdrawn from the by-elections," Prof Ncube said.
He said in the event of a withdrawal by any of the candidates, the party would respect the individual’s position.
Justice Chiweshe said the deployment of polling officers had commenced.
He said election material such as indelible visible ink, ballot boxes, ballot papers and booths were being transported to the respective wards through the district structures.
"The commission is in every sense of the word prepared for this election. We are ready and we look forward to a credible election come Friday," Justice Chiweshe said.
The electoral commission, he said, had established 1 958 ward collation centres and 210 constituency collation centres.
A national command centre was set up at the Harare International Conference Centre.
Justice Chiweshe said since the polls were ward based, results would be displayed at the polling stations, ward and constituency centres.
The Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Cde Patrick Chinamasa, told ZBC-News that Tsvangirai was late in pulling out because the electoral process was already underway with the sealing of postal ballots in progress.
Results of the presidential run-off will be announced at the national command centre while those of the by-elections will be announced in the respective constituencies.
Justice Chiweshe said the contesting parties had signed a blueprint — through the multi-party liaison committee — committing themselves to stamp out politically motivated violence.
"However, sight must not be lost of the fact that politicians will tell you one thing and do quite another. They are not necessarily always honest when they speak.
"The same people who will come to this agreement are probably the same people who will commit violence today. In short, I am saying we have not found a panacea for solving this problem but we are doing our best," he said.
Justice Chiweshe said concern had been raised by some stakeholders on the postal ballot with others alleging that armed forces had been forced to vote for a particular candidate.
"No names have been mentioned. What we have are general allegations that this has happened. We have referred these concerns to the commanding officers concerned and they have assured us that nothing of that sort had happened," he said.
Responding to questions by the observers that some of them had been "barred" from witnessing the postal ballot voting process, Justice Chiweshe said the law did not provide for the presence of observers but only a competent witness.
Some of the observers from the Pan African Parliament wanted the commission to explain why there had been an increase in the number of postal ballots.
They said they had been informed that there were about 64 000 postal ballot applications compared to around 8 000 during the March 29 harmonised polls.
In response, ZEC chief elections officer Mr Lovemore Sekeramayi said the increase in postal ballot applications arose from the fact that members of the army had also submitted returns unlike in March when only police officers applied for this facility.
Mr Sekeramayi said under the postal ballot system it was possible to find out which candidate one had voted for but this did not apply to voting at polling stations.
Commenting on whether the pre-poll environment was conducive for holding free and fair elections, Justice Chiweshe said the commission would conduct a credible election.
"I do not believe that the level of violence in the country is such that a credible election cannot be held.
"This is not a war and we do not have a war in the country. You will always not be able to hold an election that is 100 percent perfect," he said.
Justice Chiweshe reiterated that the commission had not received any correspondence from MDC-T regarding its pullout from the presidential run-off and was continuing with preparations for the election.
Some of the observers also wanted clarification on the on going registration of voters in some parts of the country.
In response, Registrar-General of Voters Cde Tobaiwa Mudede said voter registration was a continuous exercise and those who were currently being registered would vote in future elections.
He said the 5,9 million people who had registered by February 14 this year were the only ones eligible to vote in the run-off and three by-elections.
"The voters’ roll was closed on February 14. No additions have been made and will be made on the voters’ roll," Cde Mudede said.
He said his office was also replacing lost, defaced or stolen national identity documents to enable registered voters to cast their ballots.
Observers from the African Union and Sadc also attended the briefing.
Turning to media coverage, ZEC said it had not received any formal complaint from MDC-T on equal access to public media coverage in relation to the presidential run-off and the three House of Assembly by-elections.
ZEC vice-chairperson Ms Joyce Kazembe said the opposition was yet to lodge complaints on alleged unfair media coverage.
She was responding to questions by observers during a briefing on the commission’s preparedness for the polls.
Ms Kazembe said she had gathered that MDC-T had not submitted its campaign advertisements until last week when the opposition was advised by the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings that some of the adverts contained inaccurate information.
"The MDC-T submitted a revised schedule of the material yesterday (Sunday) before they phoned later, saying they had withdrawn from the race," she said.
The ZBH has said it was not airing the opposition’s campaign advertisements because they contained inappropriate language and information.
Some of the advertisements were said to be claiming that MDC-T leader Tsvangirai won the first round of the March election, rendering this Friday’s run-off unnecessary.
Abstain from violence: Mujuru
VICE President Joice Mujuru yesterday said true cadres were supposed to espouse discipline and non-violence to appease the spirit of fallen freedom fighters and would never drag the name of the ruling party into disrepute by engaging in violence.
Addressing scores of Zanu-PF supporters at Gurajena Business Centre in Zimuto, Masvingo, the Vice President expressed dismay at the tendency of some supporters who engaged in violence in the name of the party to settle even old scores.
She said Zanu-PF supporters and Zimbabweans at large were supposed to promote and nurture a culture of non-violence if they were to appease the spirits of thousands of sons and daughters who lost their lives for Zimbabwe to be free and prosperous.
"Right now kune dzimwe nzvimbo dzine vanhu vari kurohwa nekuurayiwa in the name of Zanu-PF. Dzimwe nyaya dzacho takanyatsodziongorora tikaona kuti hadzinei kana neZanu-PF.
"Inyaya dzepadoro dzisinei kana nezvemusangano wedu. Ngatisashandisei kuvengana kwedu mukati memhuri kusvibisa zita reZanu-PF.
"Kana tikaita zvakadaro zvekushandisa zita reZanu-PF kukuvadza vamwe tingati ndizvo here zvakafira vana vedu mumasango umu vachirwira independence.
"Aiwa handizvo. Hatidi vanhu vanoshandisa zita reZanu-PF to settle long standing scores," said Cde Mujuru.
She pointed out that instead of engaging in acts of violence Zimbabweans were supposed to spend their time building this great country in order to meet developmental challenges evident on the ground.
The Vice President said the country’s erstwhile colonisers wanted perpetual confusion and conflict amongst Zimbabweans so that little or no time is devoted to engendering development.
"VeMDC and their white backers are against self-reliance, havadi kuti tizvishandire tigozvimiririra sevanhu vatema," she said.
Cde Mujuru hailed President Mugabe and Zanu-PF for steering the economic empowerment of Zimbabweans in an apparent bid to make sure indigenous people were self-reliant and were masters of their own destiny.
The blood of the fallen heroes, she added was shed to make sure that blacks were also equal to whites in terms of socio-economic opportunities hence all progressive Zimbabweans were
supposed to maintain their loyalty in the ruling party by voting resoundingly for President Mugabe.
Non-Governmental Organisations, Cde Mujuru said, were trying to cultivate a dependence syndrome among locals by handing out assistance to communities instead of empowering them.
"We should not wait for NGOs to do things for us because they want us to be dependent on them so that we adopt a culture of laziness that hinders us from working for ourselves," she said.
Vice President Mujuru also appealed to older people to teach the youth the true history of the country so that they do not become the opposition politics’ nurseries bent on reversing the gains of independence.
Most black people had opportunities in various facets of life because of independence that was brought by Zanu-PF.
She later donated several tractors, scotch-carts and ox-drawn ploughs to the Gurajena community saying the tractors should mainly benefit irrigation schemes in the area.
Cde Mujuru praised the Gurajena community for initiating the construction of Gurajena Clinic that was now serving thousands of families in Zimuto communal lands.
She said Government would assist with additional funds to complete the health institution and donate a generator.
Later, the Vice President addressed Zanu-PF supporters Bhasera Business Centre in Gutu where she donated various farming equipment and foodstuffs for the old and vulnerable children.
Masvingo Governor Cde Willard Chiwewe, politburo member Cde Dzikamai Mavhaire among other top Government and Zanu-PF officials in the province, accompanied the Vice President.
Tsvangirai seeks ‘refuge’ at Dutch embassy
IN a desperate attempt to besmirch Friday’s presidential run-off, MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai yesterday "sought refuge" at the Dutch Embassy in Harare, a move police described as a dirty political antic to stir international anger and further damage the image of the country.
Addressing a Press conference last night, Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri said the move was also meant to further brutalise the image of Zimbabwe and in particular the Zimbabwe Republic Police on the international arena.
"We wonder whom Mr Tsvangirai is running away or hiding from. We do not have any complaints from him or his party of any threats of violence or attempts on his life that would cause him to fear for his safety and seek sanctuary in a foreign embassy.
"As far as we are concerned, we do not want Mr Tsvangirai for any crime and we have always been open about any arrest we make."
Comm-Gen Chihuri said if police wanted to arrest Tsvangirai, they would have made it public.
"If we wanted to arrest Mr Tsvangirai this would also have been in the public domain without hesitation, apology or misgivings from us as it is our constitutional duty to arrest offenders and bring them before the courts of law," he said.
Comm-Gen Chihuri said of late, Tsvangirai and his entourage has been freely moving around the country without any challenge whatsoever on his life in spite of his earlier claims that his life was under threat.
"We believe the latest development of seeking refuge at the Dutch Embassy is an exhibitionist antic intended to provoke international anger and mustering of sympathy from his handlers," he said.
Zimbabwe, Comm-Gen Chihuri said, was currently pursuing an electoral process in which Tsvangirai is a key stakeholder seeking to get the public mandate to rule the country and was puzzled by his fleeing.
"For him now to turn around at the eleventh hour running away from his own shadow is a development beyond comprehension. Aspersions of threats on his life decry the safety he has always enjoyed since he entered into the political arena and even when he was still with the trade unions. Who is he trying to please by these antics? Whose agenda is he pursuing with this dithering?" asked Comm-Gen Chihuri.
He said police were surprised why information on what is happening concerning MDC-T was coming from external sources.
"Is this a genuine Zimbabwean agenda? These are a lot of questions that plead for answers," he said.
Comm-Gen Chihuri also stated that ZRP would not condone any form of lawlessness and would investigate every crime reported without fear or favour.
"We therefore declare that Mr Morgan Tsvangirai is under no threat at all from Zimbabweans and he should cast away these delusions.
"We at the same time ask the Dutch Embassy if indeed he is there to tell him to go home and enjoy his sleep and nothing will happen to him. Zimbabwe is a peaceful country and
Comm-Gen Chihuri dismissed the opposition and its Western handlers’ claims of acts of violence against its supporters.
"Besides the antics displayed by Mr Tsvangirai we are surprised at the lies peddled by some sections of the local and international media houses. These media houses speak of hangings. We believe the same media organisations work in cahoots with the MDC-T to distract international community from the real and substantive issues in Zimbabwe," he said.
The Western media has heightened the propaganda to the extent of shamelessly lying that opposition supporters are being hanged.
On Sunday the British Independent lied that so far two opposition members have been hanged.
However, the last hangings to be carried out in Zimbabwe were in 2003 when murderers Stephen Chidhumo and Elias Chauke were sent to the gallows for killing a prison officer during their escape from Chikurubi Maximum Prison.
The two were executed together with William Mukurungunye and John Nyamazana, who were also convicted of murder without extenuating circumstances.
Early yesterday the Harare City Council raided MDC-T headquarters and moved about 37 supporters and their children who were living at the city building under hazardous health conditions to Ruwa Rehabilitation Centre.
The local authority, together with the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, raided Harvest House at mid-morning following a tip-off by fellow tenants in the building along Nelson Mandela Avenue.
The tenants had complained that the building was no longer conducive for business owing to the unhygienic conditions.
Social Welfare Director Mr Sydney Mhishi said the conditions at the building were appalling hence the move to relocate the people to a better place.
"As the ministry responsible for the welfare of our people, we moved in together with the City of Harare to assist these people who are living in intolerable conditions. We have identified a place where we will take them and assist them," Mr Mhishi said.
He said his department, with the help of police, would screen the people.
Police spokesperson Superintendent Jessie Banda said police would take the opportunity to look for wanted persons.
"During the screening process we will be looking for those persons wanted for political violence who might have been using the MDC-T headquarters as their safe house," Supt Banda said.
When the Harare City Council raided the premises most of the alleged victims of political violence had fled leaving only a handful of women and children and their property.
The property included bags and blankets, which were in Tsvangirai’s boardroom on the fourth floor of Harvest House and on the first floor.
In an interview, one of the alleged victims, Mr Simon Kamoto from Mutimbanyoka under Chief Nyakusingwe in Rushinga, said he arrived at the offices on May 4.
"I came from Rushinga on May 4 and I have been living here since then," he said.
He also revealed that they were sleeping together with women and children in the offices.
Comm-Gen Chihuri dismissed rumours that about 2 000 MDC-T supporters were arrested at Harvest House, saying only 37 people were found during the raid.
"There were only 37 people found at Harvest House and not 2 000 as suggested by the rumour. They are now at Ruwa Rehabilitation Centre,’’ he said.
Mumbengegwi attends meetings in Angola, Egypt
FOREIGN Affairs Minister Cde Simbarashe Mumbengegwi left the country on Friday to attend the Southern African Development Community Interstate Politics and Diplomacy Committee meeting in Angola and the African Union meeting in Egypt.
The Angola meeting ran until yesterday.
From Luanda, Cde Mumbengegwi will attend the 11th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union that is scheduled to take place from June 30 to July 1 in Sham el-Sheikh, Egypt.
In a statement, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the Sadc meeting considered, among other issues, the Hashim Mbita project that covers the research and documentation of the history of the liberation struggles in the region, the political and security situation, disaster management and the implementation of the univisa system in Southern Africa.
"The Sadc meeting considered the committee’s previous observations which recommended that political and security challenges in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Malawi, South Africa and Zimbabwe be addressed.
"It also considered the Sadc executive secretary’s findings following floods that affected the region between December 2007 and March 2008," the ministry said.
The Sadc meeting also assessed progress achieved in the implementation of the proposed univisa in the region.
At the AU session, the statement said, the African ministers would consider progress made in the establishment of the AU government and activities of the AU Peace and Security Council and the state of peace and security on the continent.
"The AU Peace and Security Council will present its findings, following the dispatching of fact-finding missions to Somalia, the Comoros, Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Central African Republic and Cameroon," it said.
The AU meeting is expected to examine problems that have arisen in efforts to effect the operationalisation of the African Standby Force since the adoption of the roadmap on implementation programme and developments in economic partnership agreements and the World Trade Organisation and see to it that the negotiations should equally ensure that the agreements are not an obstacle to the establishment of African common markets.