Saturday, June 21, 2008

Zimbabwe News Bulletin: President Mugabe Rejects MDC-T Claims of Violence; Namibia to Strengthen Ties; ZEC Issues New Regulations

‘MDC-T lies to discredit polls’

Bulawayo Bureau

PRESIDENT Mugabe yesterday chided MDC-T for compiling a list of alleged victims of political violence claiming they were its supporters so as to justify claims that the polls will not be free and fair.

Earlier, the President told captains of industry in Bulawayo that Zimbabwe was negotiating with Equatorial Guinea to secure more fuel at regular intervals from the oil-rich West African country.

He then addressed thousands of people at White City Stadium in Bulawayo as his campaign for the June 27 run-off reaches fever pitch.

President Mugabe’s sentiments on MDC-T came as some wire reports suggested that the opposition party was developing jelly feet and contemplating pulling out of the race claiming the "electoral playing field is uneven’’, the usual cry that the opposition makes each time it stares defeat in the face or actually loses an electoral contest.

"The MDC people have been busy at their Harvest House compiling names of what they say are victims of political violence. They have been saying their supporters are being beaten up by our soldiers. They say this so that they can later say the elections were not free and fair. Which is a damn lie!

"Ndafamba maprovinces akawanda and where there have been incidents of violence, arson or destruction yemusha hapana yakaitwa nemaforces edu,’’ Cde Mugabe said.

"I was in Matabeleland North yesterday, it’s all very peaceful. I was in Matabeleland South, a day before yesterday and it’s also peaceful except for a (recent) incident in the northern part of Gwanda where the MDC destroyed an office, a sub-office yedu. Here in Bulawayo. Khonapha ko Bulawayo, there is absolute peace. People are campaigning, yes but we are campaigning in peace. So on 27 June let us go in peace tinoita cast vote, a historic vote. We dare not make a mistake. Don’t vote against yourself. Siyekele ukuzibulala,’’ the President said.

At the business meeting held at a local hotel, President Mugabe said the Minister of Energy and Power Development, Retired Lieutenant-General Mike Nyambuya was in Equatorial Guinea, leading a team from Zimbabwe to negotiate the fuel deal.

Cde Mugabe was responding to a question from businesspersons who wanted to find out if the Government could provide more fuel for public transporters.

"Let us wait and see if we get more fuel," said President Mugabe.

"The Minister (of Energy and Power Development) is there (Equatorial Guinea) to negotiate for more fuel and also for us to get it more regularly. Then we could be able to do that."

A few days ago, the Government launched a fuel subsidy scheme in Bulawayo.

The facility has enabled passenger transporters to reduce their fares from $2 billion a trip to $500 million.

The President said the Government was committed to ensuring that the transport sector got more reliable fuel supplies.

However, he said public transport operators have disappointed the Government in the past after they failed to reduce fares despite accessing cheap fuel from Noczim.

"If fuel becomes available and all (passenger transporters) get cheaper fuel, can we rely on them to make fares cheaper? The commuter transporters have disappointed us," he said.

President Mugabe said once more fuel supplies were secured, the Government could find ways of ensuring that private importers, who were selling fuel in foreign currency were made to operate like Noczim was doing by charging affordable prices.

Turning to MDC-T leader Tsvangirai, President Mugabe said voting for Tsvangirai, who is a front for British neo-colonial interests, was tantamount to going back to colonialism so that another war could be fought to liberate the country from the shackles of colonisation for the second time.

He said lives were lost for the liberation of this country and therefore Zimbabwe’s independence and sovereignty should be held dearly by all its inhabitants.

"Nezuro kuNkayi North, ndakaratidzwa nzvimbo pakamira Baba weZimbabwe, Umdala Wethu, achitambira magamba adzoka tapedza hondo kuZambia,’’ said Cde Mugabe.

"Saka tavakuenda musi wa27 next week tinosungirwa kuenda tichifunga nhoroondo iyoyo. Kufunga vakafa, vakava zvirema kuhondo. Kufunga anaLobengula, hatizivi kwaakazofira, anaMashayamombe. Hondo yavakatanga ivavo yakatipa moyo wokubvisa mabhunu. Hatidi kuti tidzokorodze imwe hondo yokubvisa mabhunu zvakare nokuti matadza kuvhota. Mawar veterans arikuti kwete. Silabo lapha. Lo uchairman weprovince (Cde Macleod Tshawe) ngomunye wabo.’’

He reiterated that the war veterans had vowed to put up a fight against recolonisation embodied in the existence of MDC on Zimbabwe’s political landscape.

"Mawar veterans arikuti vanhu ngavayeuke kuti isu takarwa nepfuti imi muri kupiwa ballpoint pen chete.

"The ballpoint pen must not defeat the gun. Zvanzi hatidi kuona ballpoint pen ichinzi yakunda,’’ said the President drawing applause from the crowd.

"Vari kuti ivo ballpoint ngaitevere nzira yomubhobho. Ukada kuita nharo mubhobho versus ballpoint, hazvife zvakaitika.’’

He said Government had programmes such as people’s shops where affordable basic commodities could be bought as well as people’s buses among others, meant to mitigate the effects of the sanctions that were imposed on Zimbabwe over the land reform programme — which was the source of the standoff between Harare and London.

Cde Mugabe implored the people of Bulawayo to join the rest of the country in defending Zimbabwe’s independence and emphasise the City of Kings’s place as the second largest in the country by voting resoundingly for Zanu-PF.

"Tibude tose. Vote yomuno muBulawayo iri vote of the capital city.’’

He appealed for voters in the Mpopoma-Pelandaba House of Assembly constituency by-election to vote overwhelmingly for the ruling party candidate, Dr Sikhanyiso Ndlovu, whose works, he said, were there for all to see.

Dr Ndlovu, who is the Minister of Information and Publicity, said the constituency which he was contesting in had a pride of place as it had been once held by some of the nation’s founding fathers — the late Vice President Dr Joshua Nkomo and Vice President Joseph Msika.

"Mhlaka 27 uPresident Mugabe ewofisini, uDr Ndlovu Ephalamende,’’ said Dr Ndlovu to thunderous applause.

Zim, Namibia urged to enhance cordial relations

Herald Reporter

ZIMBABWE and Namibia should continue to foster and strengthen the cordial relations shared between the two countries, visiting Namibian Defence Forces chief Lieutenant-General Martin Shalli has said.

Speaking after touring the Zimbabwe Staff College yesterday, Lt-Gen Shalli said the two countries share a common history and should strive to enhance their cordial relations.

"The relationship between Namibia and Zimbabwe is growing from strength to strength.

"We share so many things. We have so many things in common. We would want to build on that relationship," Lt-Gen Shalli said.

He also toured the Zimbabwe Staff College and described it as a prestigious training institution.

At least 52 Namibia Defence Forces senior officers were trained at the institution.

Earlier, Lt-Gen Shalli was briefed on security issues and roles and operations of the ZDF.

He was also honoured with a 15-gun salute and he inspected a guard of honour mounted by the ZDF.

Lt-Gen Shalli who is being accompanied by his wife, Mrs Fenny Etuttole Shalli, is here on a four-day visit.

ZEC gazettes new election regulations

Herald Reporter

THE Zimbabwe Electoral Commission has gazetted new regulations governing the collation of polling station returns and aggregation of ordinary postal ballots by ward election officers and constituency election officers ahead of next week’s presidential run-off.

Under the regulations that were published in an extraordinary Government Gazette yesterday, there shall be ward election officers whose role shall be to collate the polling station returns and to count the postal ballots, if any.

The ward election officer shall give reasonable notice in writing to each candidate or election agent of the time and place where the verification and collation of polling station returns took place. They shall verify the postal ballot by completing part A of the V24 forms, unseal the postal ballot box and having counted the postal ballot papers record the result by completing part B of the V24 forms.

The forms contain the number of votes garnered by candidates, serial numbers of ballot papers and the number of ballot papers.

Furthermore, the ward election officer shall verify receipt of polling station returns by filling the appropriate spaces provided in the V23A forms before adding the number of votes received by each candidate as shown in each polling station return.

Under the regulations, constituency elections officers shall verify the receipt of polling station returns per ward by filling in the appropriate spaces provided at the top of V23B forms.

They will indicate the number of postal ballots received by each candidate in each ward by filling in V23B forms before adding the number of votes received by each candidate.

Zimbabweans go to the polls next Friday to vote in a presidential run-off pitting President Mugabe of Zanu-PF and MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

The run-off will be held concurrently with House of Assembly by-elections in Gwanda South, Pelandaba-Mpopoma and Redcliff.

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