Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Zimbabwe News Update: Hectic Day For New Cabinet

Hectic day for Cabinet

Herald Reporters

THE inclusive Government took off yesterday with newly-appointed Cabinet ministers assuming their duties, with some of them holding meetings with Prime Minister Mr Morgan Tsvangirai and his deputies.

Incoming ministers met their predecessors and permanent secretaries for briefings before they attended an induction meeting on the operations of Government.

They also received their ministerial vehicles and other resources ahead of today’s inaugural sitting of the inclusive Cabinet comprising ministers drawn from Zanu-PF, MDC-T and MDC.

Mr Tsvangirai had a hectic day at his Munhumutapa Building office, meeting several ministers, representatives of teachers’ unions and the donor community.

The Prime Minister and his deputies — Professor Arthur Mutambara and Ms Thokozani Khupe — first met with the Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet, Dr Misheck Sibanda.

The Minister of Media, Information and Publicity Cde Webster Shamu and Information Communication Technology Minister Mr Nelson Chamisa were next in line.

The Prime Minister also held meetings with leaders of the Zimbabwe Teachers’ Association and the Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe.

Also calling on him were the Minister of Labour Ms Paurina Gwanyanya-Mpariwa, Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs Senator Patrick Chinamasa and Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Advocate Eric Matinenga.

The Prime Minister’s spokesperson, Mr James Maridadi, said the meetings with the ministers were meant for Mr Tsvangirai, Prof Mutambara and Ms Khupe to outline the objectives of the new Government.

"The leaders discussed such issues as the early deliverables from the ministers responsible for Media and Communication in the country, especially the issue of media freedom.

"They also reviewed the situation on the image of the inclusive Government while making sure that they deal with such issues as hate speech and the belligerent language that will militate against the new Government," he said.

Mr Maridadi said the ministers pledged to work hard for the good of the nation.

"Prime Minister Tsvangirai also made it clear that they were meeting as Zimbabwean leaders, not as Zanu-PF or MDC leaders, and the ministers should be seen putting forward issues that promote the image of Zimbabwe," he said.

In the meeting with Sen Chinamasa and Adv Matinenga, Mr Maridadi said, Mr Tsvangirai outlined the need for the judiciary to work without interference.

"He also expressed concern over the conditions of the country’s prisons and the general working conditions of staff at these institutions," he said.

Mr Maridadi said the Prime Minister outlined his expectations to the ministers, especially their role in national healing.

With teachers’ representatives, Mr Tsvangirai focused on the challenges in the education sector.

"In his inaugural speech last week, Prime Minister Tsvangirai said the opening of schools was a priority area and is trying to understand the constraints being faced by the sector.

"They discussed the immediate steps to be taken by Government to alleviate these challenges, among them a stimulus package for teachers to return to work," said Mr Maridadi.

Mr Tsvangirai also met members of the donor community and discussed basic areas of co-operation and challenges being faced by the country.

Meanwhile, the handover-takeover formalities between incoming and outgoing ministers went on smoothly with the newly-appointed incumbents getting down to work immediately.

Prof Mutambara also had an opportunity to inspect his new offices before he joined the Prime Minister in meetings.

Outgoing Acting Finance Minister Sen Chinamasa had briefed his successor Mr Tendai Biti by 9am.

When The Herald visited the New Government Office Complex along Samora Machel Avenue, Mr Biti was locked in a meeting with senior officials from his ministry.

Newly-appointed Minister of Energy and Power Development Engineer Elias Mudzuri met with the ministry’s permanent secretary, Mr Justin Mupamhanga, twice yesterday for briefings.

Eng Mudzuri takes over from Retired Lieutenant-General Mike Nyambuya.

At the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare, outgoing minister Dr David Parirenyatwa handed over to his successor Dr Henry Madzorera.

Cde Shamu also had an early morning briefing with the Secretary for Media, Information and Publicity Cde George Charamba.

Other ministers who visited their offices yesterday were Mr Chamisa and Minister of State Enterprises and Parastatals Mr Joel Gabbuza Gabuza.

The Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office, Mr Gordon Moyo, also took charge of operations at his office.

Later in the afternoon, the ministers attended a meeting addressed by Dr Sibanda, his deputy Dr Ray Ndlukula and Public Service Commission chairman Dr Mariyawanda Nzuwah.

In his opening address, Dr Ndlukula outlined the need for the ministers to understand working guidelines such as Government’s results-based management system, among other issues.

The ministers also received a comprehensive briefing on the general operations of Government, including the conduct of Cabinet business, the management of ministries, conditions of service for ministers and other related matters.

President signs No.19 Bill into law

New Ziana-HR.

PRESIDENT Mugabe has signed Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (Number 19) Bill, into law.

Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet Dr Misheck Sibanda announced the Presidential assent in an Extraordinary Government Gazette last Friday.

Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (No. 19) Act legalises the framework of the inclusive Government constituted by Zanu-PF, MDC-T and MDC.

Leaders of the MDC formations — Mr Morgan Tsvangirai and Professor Arthur Mutambara — have since assumed the positions of Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister respectively while an inclusive Cabinet made up of ministers from all three parties was sworn in last Friday.

President Mugabe, the Head of State and Govern-ment, swore in the Prime Minister, his deputies and ministers at ceremonies attended by regional leaders.

Amendment (No. 19) Act also establishes an independent Electoral Commission, Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission, a new Zimbabwe Media Commission and a Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission.

It also deals with issues of citizenship. — New Ziana-HR.

Cabinet in first session

By Sydney Kawadza and Michael Padera

THE spirit of co-operation and unity between ministers from the three main political parties characterised the inaugural Cabinet meeting of Zimbabwe’s inclusive Government, chaired by President Mugabe at Munhumutapa Building in Harare yesterday.

The mood in the Cabinet room before the start of the meeting was highly jovial with ministers drawn from both parties freely interacting.

The camaraderie spread even to the sitting arrangement with Minister of Finance Mr Tendai Biti (MDC-T) sitting between Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Senator Cde Patrick Chinamasa and Minister of State responsible for National Security Cde Sydney Sekeramayi.

Vice President Cde Joice Mujuru (Zanu-PF) and Prime Minister Mr Morgan Tsvangirai (MDC-T) sat side by side while the Minister of State for Presidential Affairs, Cde Didymus Mutasa (Zanu-PF), was flanked by Deputy Prime Minister Ms Thokozani Khupe (MDC-T) and the Minister of Industry and Commerce, Professor Welshman Ncube (MDC).

Deputy Prime Minister Professor Arthur Mutambara sat between Mr Tsvangirai and Ms Khupe.

A statement issued by the Prime Minister’s Office after the meeting said proceedings were conducted in a "very cordial, co-operative and business-like manner".

"Although no substantive issues were discussed as this was the first-ever meeting of the inclusive Government’s Cabinet, it was quite encouraging," the statement said.

President Mugabe later held a meeting with Mr Tsvangirai.

"The two met after the Cabinet meeting ahead of a meeting between the parties’ principals to discuss outstanding issues on the Global Political Agreement such as the issue of Ministers of State, deputy ministers and governors.

"President Mugabe and Prime Minister Tsvangirai discussed the issues of accountability, credibility, free and open debate without fear of reprisal and the free movement of information," the statement said.

Meanwhile, the Prime Minister and his deputies continued meeting with ministers, and yesterday held discussions with the Minister of Education, Sport, Arts and Culture, Mr David Coltart.

Mr Tsvangirai’s spokesperson, Mr James Maridadi, said the Prime Minister discussed issues raised by the Zimbabwe Teachers Association and Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe.

"Basically, the Prime Minister put through the teachers’ position and tried to get the minister’s position on their concerns so that schools can be opened soon," he said.

Mr Maridadi said Mr Tsvangirai also met Foreign Affairs Minister Cde Simbarashe Mumbengegwi and reiterated the need for Government to give Zimbabwe a positive image, an "image that portrays Zimbabwe as an internationally acceptable investment and tourism destination".

"He also emphasised the issue of re-engaging the international community as a matter of urgency," Mr Maridadi said.

He said the Prime Minister met the ministers responsible for the country’s security.

"He had a positive meeting with the Minister of Defence, Cde Emmerson Mnangagwa, Minister of State Security Cde Sydney Sekeramayi and Home Affairs Co-Minister Cde Kembo Mohadi, where he raised the issue of fresh land occupations.

"The ministers, who were later joined by the Minister of Lands and Rural Resettlement, Cde Herbert Murerwa, said they were unaware of the latest land occupations although they were unequivocal on the need to investigate the reports.

Mr Tsvangirai also took time to express his gratitude to his deputies Prof Mutambara and Ms Khupe including Cabinet ministers from all the parties.

"He has had quite a hectic two days in office and he is happy with the support he has received from Prof Mutambara and Ms Khupe, who have attended all the meetings held at his offices.

"The ministers have also been quite supportive and have shown serious commitment to the new Government leaving behind party lines to work for the development of the nation," Mr Maridadi said.

Education, Sport, Arts and Culture Minister Mr Coltart said he had already set his priorities for his ministry.

"My priority is to get the teachers back to the classrooms and secure a viable wage for them," he said.

He said he would work hard to get pending results from Zimsec and ensure that markers get outstanding motivational allowances.

Mr Coltart said he would also ensure that all schools get the required stationery and equipment.

Youths challenged to be proactive in developing nation

Herald Reporter

YOUTHS have been urged to be proactive and contribute to the development of their respective communities rather than wait for the Government to do so.

In a recent interview, the secretary for information in the National Youth Service, Cde Tendai Chirawu said youths have an important role to play in developing their communities in particular and the nation in general.

"All youths should unite and stand up and do things for themselves and their communities and not to wait for the Government or councils to help them in cleaning the cities and community facilities," he said.

Last week, graduates from the National Youth Service launched a clean-up campaign in Harare and are cutting grass and cleaning the streets as part of their contribution towards restoring the capital’s Sunshine City status.

Cde Chirawu said there were many dirty places and tall grass, which were causing accidents in Harare, hence youths had dedicated their time to improving the situation.

The clean-up campaign was launched under the theme

"Youth take responsibility standing up for total cleanliness".

The campaign started in Harare’s Samora Machel Avenue with the youths cutting tall grass, which was obstructing visibility at intersections, causing road accidents.

Maxen Chimusora, who is taking part in the clean up campaign, said cleaning the city would reduce the spread of diseases such as cholera.

He also urged other youths from around Zimbabwe to help and contribute to restoring the cleanliness of their communities.

"The clean-up campaign is not targeted at Harare Province only but at all the different provinces around the country. We shall take this campaign to other parts of the country soon," he said.

He called on different stakeholders and individuals to donate items that would help in the clean-up campaign.

Zanu-PF must keep revolution alive

EDITOR — This is a follow-up to the letter I read in your newspaper titled, "Zanu-PF must re-organise". I agree with Cde General Bernard.

However, I have looked at the reaction and attitude by some in Zanu-PF from a scriptural point of view, and learnt a few lessons. The first one being that when the children of Israel left Egypt and crossed over into the desert, at one point they stayed at Mount Sinai. Bible readers know that it was at Mount Sinai that the Lord provided them with manna, revealed His glory and also gave them the law through Moses.

According to the Book of Deuteronomy, Chapter 1, when they were at Mount Sinai, the Lord said to them: "You have stayed at this mountain long enough. It’s time to break camp and move on." As you read on, they were told to go to many surrounding places. They were distressed because they believed that they had gotten the best. They wanted to limit the Lord’s power of provision.

For me there is a lesson for Zanu-PF in this, something drastic had to happen for the party to get out of its comfort zone, because with time some were forgetting that the revolution should never be stalled, but rather, it was supposed to be revitalised and rejuvenated.

This is an issue for self-introspection so that the party sees how best it moves on. If another revolutionary Hugo Chavez of Venezuela got the thumbs-up in last weekend’s referendum against all odds, why should Zanu-PF think that they cannot revitalise the party instead of continuing to sleep on the job, thereby compromising the tenets of our revolution?

The second biblical reference is the beginning of the early Church as recorded in the book of the Acts of the Apostles. When the Holy Spirit descended on the Apostles on Pentecost, Saint Peter, who had earlier denied the Lord Jesus, preached a sermon which saw 3 000 people converting to Christianity in one day.

That winning streak continued and we read that every day more converts were added to their number.

However, it seemed as though they forgot that the Lord Jesus had explicitly directed to preach the Word not just in Jerusalem, but throughout Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the earth.

As the Apostles enjoyed their newfound power through the Holy Spirit, preaching and performing miracles, persecution started.

One of the most powerful men, Stephen, was stoned to death, becoming the first Christian martyr. What followed was an unprecedented wave of persecution, which resulted in the dispersion of Apostles to different parts of the region. Painful though it was, this saw the spread of the Word beyond Jerusalem.

Although Zanu-PF acknowledged the formation of the MDC 10 years ago, this should have been the wake-up call.

But now that we have gotten this far, there is need to reorient and at the same time stick to the principles that guided the revolution.

As Ché Guevara said, "the revolution is not an apple that falls when it is ripe. You have to make it fall." And who ever said that revolutions are walkovers?

Iwe Neni Tine Basa.

No one is above the law in Zimbabwe

EDITOR — I am surprised by the outcry in the private media over the arrest of MDC-T treasurer-general Roy Bennett, who stood accused of treason.

Some say his arrest might strain relations between the parties in the inclusive Government.

To me, this kind of thinking is misguided. The inclusive Government does not mean members of the opposition or any of the three parties to the broad-based agreement cannot be arrested when they break the law. The law must take its course regardless of who has broken it.

There must be no sacred cows.

People must not take advantage of their positions in society to utter irresponsible words against the Government lest we promote lawlessness.

No one, even politicians, is above the law. Hatidi mentality yekuti unobvumirwa kupinda kunyangwe red robot as long as you are in opposition politics.

Let the courts decide Bennett’s case. The threats from some in the MDC-T who said they would take unspecified action over Bennett are retrogressive and empty.

If Bennett is above the law, then everyone languishing in prison, from rapists to murderers should be released as well.

Let’s empty the jails in the spirit of inclusiveness!

Isaac Bwoni,
Warren Park D, Harare.

No comments: