Saturday, January 24, 2009

Zimbabwe News Update: President to Form Government With, Without MDC-T

President to form Govt with, without MDC-T

Herald Reporter

PRESIDENT Mugabe will proceed to form a Government with or without MDC-T if the Sadc Extraordinary Summit, set for Pretoria, South Africa, on Monday, upholds the Sandton resolution that called for the immediate formation of the envisaged Government, a senior Zanu-PF official has said.

Addressing journalists yesterday, Zanu-PF negotiator Cde Patrick Chinamasa said the ruling party remains committed to the Sadc resolution and hopes the regional bloc would stick to its earlier resolution.

"A resolution was passed at the extraordinary summit held in Sandton, South Africa, last year calling for the immediate formation of an inclusive Government.

"We hope the meeting on Monday will bring the implementation of the September 15 agreement to finality," he said.

Cde Chinamasa said the agreement was a Sadc initiative and chances were very slim that it would be referred to the African Union.

"This is a Sadc issue and we hope the meeting would stick to the November 6 resolution. We hope to constitute the new Government and whatever happens with the MDC is not our problem as Zanu-PF," he said.

Cde Chinamasa dismissed efforts by MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai to reopen dialogue in his counter proposal to Sadc proposals.

"President Mugabe is not going to dismiss the appointed governors who were appointed last year as it is his prerogative to appoint them on a two-year contract.

"The parties would, however, consult each other if there are any vacancies during this period," Cde Chinamasa said.

MDC-T demanded the reallocation of governors with five provinces going to the opposition party, Zanu-PF getting four and the MDC formation getting one.

The opposition party also demanded the re-allocation of ministerial portfolios, but Cde Chinamasa dismissed the move.

"The MDC-T took upon themselves, arrogantly, to re-allocate the ministries. They have no mandate to allocate ministerial portfolios.

"The President has the power to do so after consultations with the other principals and he has already done that, and through the co-operation of the other principals agreed on the allocated ministries leaving out the contentious Finance and Home Affairs ministries.

"The Finance Ministry was allocated to MDC-T while the issue of the Home Affairs Ministry was referred to Sadc, which recommended the co-ministering of the ministry."

He said Zanu-PF would abide by the Sadc resolution and would not agree to reopen the allocation.

Cde Chinamasa said President Mugabe had the sole mandate to appoint senior civil servants, including permanent secretaries.

"These are career people who are employed by the Public Service Commission and the MDC demand will not be discussed," he said.

Cde Chinamasa said ambassadors representing Zimbabwe abroad would not be recalled before their contracts have expired or vacancies arise.

"It is only then that consultations will be made in Government and parties would submit suitable persons to be appointed ambassadors," he said.

Cde Chinamasa said Zanu-PF was surprised that the opposition had brought up the enactment of a law to establish the National Security Council.

"At no time was this considered to be an important issue and the only part that is in the agreement is that President Mugabe would chair the NSC while Tsvangirai would be a member.

"It was also agreed that the NSC would be under an administrative structure and the idea of bringing it to Parliament is new.

"However, Zanu-PF remains open to negotiations and would want to have sight of the Draft Bill before it is presented to Parliament because we do not know what they want," he said.

Cde Chinamasa, however, said the matter can be discussed under the inclusive Government.

He said Government would not reverse the appointment of the Attorney General, Mr Johannes Tomana, and Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Dr Gideon Gono.

"Under our Constitution, President Mugabe was not required to make consultations outside Government. The appointments of Mr Tomana and Dr Gono would not be reversed," he said.

MDC-T is also demanding the immediate release of persons arrested on allegations of recruiting people for military training for the purposes of banditry.

"There is no way Government would allow people to break the law with impunity.

"Those involved in breaking the law would be arrested," Cde Chinamasa said.

A meeting to push for the formation of an inclusive Government earlier this week ended without a solution after MDC-T made more demands.

Harare cholera cases decline

Herald Reporter

While cholera is still a threat in Harare, both the World Health Organisation and Harare City Council say the disease is finally on a slow decline in the capital.

On Wednesday, another milestone was reached with no one dying in Harare of cholera, although 95 people were admitted to Beatrice Road Infectious Diseases Hospitals and Budiriro Polyclinic that day — one of the highest daily totals, WHO reports.

But while the all-out effort of the last few weeks is now paying dividends in Harare, there has been a rise in cholera cases in Chegutu and Kadoma where 10 people died this week, forcing health officials to go back to the drawing board.

The Harare milestone of a day without a death came a few days after the WHO Global Cholera Task Force commended the Government for its sterling efforts in the fight against the disease, culminating in a steady decline.

Speaking from Geneva, WHO head of the Global Cholera Task Force Dr Claire-Lise Chaignat is quoted as saying: "We are seeing that the epidemic is now starting to decline, especially when we break down the occurrence of cases by week," Dr Chaignat said.

Other daily updates have indicated that although Harare still recorded a high number of cases compared to other districts owing to its large population, this week, suspected cases ranged between 39 and 60.

For instance, Tuesday’s update indicated that Harare recorded 39 suspected cases with the highest figures coming from Budiriro Polyclinic, where eight cases were attended to.

Mabvuku, Mbare and Glen View had four cases each while Dzivaresekwa, Mufakose, Tafara, Whitecliff, Hatcliffe, Hopley, Kuwadzana, The Grange, Greencroft, Westgate, Warren Park, Eastlea, Marlborough and Borrowdale recorded one case each.

City Director of Health Services Dr Prosper Chonzi said he was now able to start transferring staff back to their bases to resume other critical duties such as immunisation of children.

"The cholera outbreak resulted in most of our staff being re-stationed from their clinics to designated treatment centres, affecting normal service delivery at most clinics.

"However, things seem to have improved and we have since ordered our staff to return to their clinics and resume usual services," Dr Chonzi said.

Govt to pay health personnel allowances

Herald Reporter

GOVERNMENT will pay allowances to health personnel involved in cholera treatment and management while it is also working on a framework that would allow health institutions to charge reasonable fees to patients, a Cabinet Minister has said.

Minister of Health and Child Welfare, Cde David Parirenyatwa said the money that is being paid out to health personal involved in anti-cholera drive were not salaries but mere top-up allowances. The Minister said this yesterday during a Press conference where he sought to clarify Government’s position regarding the payment of health personnel allowances.

As part of deepening and expanding the human capacities in the ongoing anti-cholera drive, Government, in consultation with the Humanitarian International Community, put in place tailor-made special allowances to recognise the strenuous nature of the programme. "With the support from the donor community, some of these special allowances did and are coming in the form of foreign exchange top-ups, which in essence do not represent salary policy in the ministry," said Cde Parirenyatwa.

"For avoidance of doubt, the ministry wishes to firmly clarify that being a Government ministry among many, the salary policy and general conditions of service for health and medical professions have been and will continue to be determined in line with the universal civil service policies of Government."

He said the State recognised the current difficulties confronting labour constituencies within and outside Government and was working to implement the necessary policy reform that would address their collective setbacks in a holistic manner.

Turning to charging of health institutions in foreign currency, Cde Parirenyatwa said internal consultations were going on and a final position would be made soon once a robust framework that protects the interest of the vulnerable members of society had been put in place.

The minister said hospitals and clinics were allowed to accept hard currency from patients as an option but should not refuse to accept local currency. "It is not permissible for them to refuse to accept local currency. We are insisting on that. If you have your local currency you should use that option," he said.

Cde Parirenyatwa’s remarks come in the wake of some hospitals and council clinics that are demanding foreign currency and were turning away patients with local currency.

Most of the council clinics have schedules of payments in hard currency alone on their notice boards and are turning away patients who want to pay using the Zimbabwean dollar.

The Herald witnessed an incident at Highfield Polyclinic where patients were turned away because they did not have the US$5 wanted as consultation fees.

Strike paralyses service

Bulawayo Bureau

THE strike by National Railways of Zimbabwe employees is still underway, causing disruptions to passenger and freight train movement.

In an interview, a member of one of the unions representing workers at the parastatal said workers were pressing on with their industrial action until their demands are met.

NRZ public relations manager Mr Fanuel Masikati also confirmed that the strike was still on, saying negotiations were in progress.

The workers’ representative said they were demanding a cushion allowance of US$200 per month, payable fortnightly and a US$40 transport allowance.

"We are aware that our salaries need parliamentary approval so we are concentrating on the allowances for the time being.

"Our employer is charging in foreign currency, so we also want the forex because you can hardly find anything being sold in local currency these days," he said.

"To prove that most things are now sold in forex, we challenged our management to accompany us into town so that we could shop together and see what we could get in Zimbabwean dollars.

"We went with our acting Area Manager, Mr Ntini and we struggled to get anything in local currency, which was proof that our demands were realistic."

He said since August last year, workers had been struggling to get their money from banks resulting in their families going without basics.

"Of course, we appreciate that they have got buses to transport us to and from work, but we feel that the free transport is meant to enslave us by ensuring that we provide our labour for free."

Apply fertilizer, farmers told

Herald Reporter

FARMERS should take advantage of the receding wet weather to weed and apply fertilizer with little hindrance, the Zimbabwe Farmers’ Union has said.

ZFU vice president Mr Edward Raradza said although most crops were in good condition and were not affected by the incessant rains they needed top dressing.

"Most crops are in good condition and farmers should topdress maize with ammonium nitrate or other nitrogen based fertilizer. If farmers had already applied fertilizer they should reapply so that the crops can develop new roots.

"The soils can remain moist for at least the next three weeks and contain enough moisture to supply to the crops for adequate growth, especially on heavy soils. In light textured soils, there will be a need for irrigation if the dry spell extends for more than 10 days," he said.

He, however, said that weeding should be the main activity on crops that were properly managed and were not damaged by excessive droughts.

According to the Met Department, no rains are forecast over the weekend in all Matabeleland North and North of Midlands, Masvingo, South of Midlands, Matabeleland South and Bulawayo.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

any changes coming ?