Monday, November 23, 2009

Zimbabwe News Update: Work For Prosperity, Says VP Mujuru; Women, Youth Prepare for ZANU-PF Conference

Work for Zimbabwe’s prosperity: Mujuru

Herald Reporter

Vice President Joice Mujuru has urged Zimbabweans to commit themselves to working for the prosperity of the nation.

Speaking at the start of a two-day national prayer initiative organised by Intercessors International in Harare last Friday, VP Mujuru said everyone must pray and work for a prosperous nation.

VP Mujuru said the desire for prosperity drove the liberation struggle and economic hardships were contrary to the essence of the Second Chimurenga.

"We fought for a Zimbabwe of plenty, joy and prosperity. We lost precious lives during the liberation struggle and Zimbabwe should be the Zimbabwe we want," said VP Mujuru.

She said it was disheartening that some people were disregarding the role played by freedom fighters by calling for a return of the colonial era.

"Just like Moses who was being asked by some Israelites to return them to Egypt, there are some people who are saying we should return to the colonial era.

"I want to tell the nation that if we lose this nation, we will again become slaves in our own country," said VP Mujuru.

She challenged women to participate in nation-building programmes.

"As women, we should not take back benches in the development of our nation and we should participate as equal partners with our male counterparts," she said.

Speaking at the same event, Reverend Faith Wutawunashe, said as church leaders, they would pray for a violence-free nation, where the people would be free to execute their business.

"Our nation is blessed with vast resources and we want to pray that those resources are put to good use for the benefit of the nation."

Women’s, youth leagues members nominated

Herald Reporter

ZANU-PF Harare province has finally nominated members that will fill positions reserved for them in the Women’s and Youth leagues after the two wings’ conferences held last month.

The province, however, deferred endorsing nominations for Central Committee members.

The Harare provincial co-ordinating committee meeting held at the party’s provincial headquarters on Saturday endorsed the nomination of Cde Nyasha Chikwinya for the post of national secretary for science and technology in the Women’s League.

Other cadres who were endorsed at the meeting included Cde Sabina Mangwende (deputy secretary for external relations) and Cde Joyce Choto (deputy secretary for economic affairs).

Cde Innocent Hamandishe was endorsed as the Youth League’s national secretary for indigenisation.

University of Zimbabwe political science student, Cde Varaidzo Mupunga, was endorsed as the province’s nominee for the post of deputy secretary for administration.

Cde Cecilia Chivhunga was endorsed as the youth league’s national deputy secretary for information and publicity. In an interview, Cde Chikwinya said the province was ready to work in unity following the disturbances that occurred over the past year.

"We are happy that party programmes are now going ahead after the challenges we faced during the restructuring exercise," she said. Cde Chikwinya pledged the women’s league’s endeavour to unite supporters in the province.

Cde Chivhunga said the youth league in the province would work hard to mobilise its supporters in Harare.

"We would want to work hard as the youths in the province to mobilise more supporters so that the party reclaims its dominance in Harare," she said.

War vets back Presidium nominees

Herald Reporter

War veterans and collaborators have thrown their weight behind the recently nominated Zanu-PF Presidium urging those who were vying for the same posts, but lost to support the new leadership.

In a statement yesterday, Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association national vice chairman, Cde Joseph Chinotimba, said the nominated presidium members were a true reflection of the people’s wishes.

"As war veterans, we are on the record of saying there is no vacancy on the post of the President and First Secretary of the party. We are happy that our able and God given leader Cde Robert Mugabe was overwhelmingly nominated by all the provinces and we will support him for ever and ever," said Cde Chinotimba.

He said that war veterans recognised President Mugabe as a "tried and tested, brave, hardworking and courageous leader."

A fortnight ago, Zanu-PF provinces nominated Cde Mugabe as President and First Secretary of the party, Cdes Joice Mujuru and John Landa Nkomo as Second Secretaries and Vice Presidents of the party. Zimbabwe’s Ambassador to South Africa, Cde Simon Khaya Moyo, landed the post of national chairman.

The war veterans association, Cde Chinotimba said, supported the nomination of Cdes Mujuru and Nkomo to the posts of Vice President and Second Secretaries of Zanu-PF.

"We consider the two as political icons as they have proved to be resolute and dedicated leaders to the development of the party and nation at large," he said.

Cde Chinotimba added that the ex-freedom fighters supported the nomination of Cde Moyo to the post of national chairman of the party.

He urged all party members to shun factionalism by rallying behind the new leaders in order to strengthen the party ahead of mounting challenges.

"Lets respect the people’s wishes and put the party first ahead of our personal goals. This is a race and we should bear in mind that we win some and lose some," he said.

He reiterated the need for members to work hard in remolding and strengthening the party ahead of the next general and presidential elections.

"We will not support those who engage themselves in factionalism, favouritism and tribalism as this will tarnish the image of the party instead of building it," he said.

However, in another development, Manicaland Zanu-PF provincial chairman Cde Basil Nyabadza said yesterday that the province was standing by its choice of candidates to be endorsed by the Congress in December.

The province concurred with other provinces with the line up of the presidium that included President Mugabe, followed by Cdes Mujuru and Cde Nkomo. However, in the post of national chairman of the party, Cde Nyabadza yesterday argued that the province opted for Cde Dydimus Mutasa instead on Cde Moyo.

He defended the province’s action, adding that the party had become of age and there was need for leaders to be chosen on merit, not based on their regions of origins.

"After 22 years of unity in the party, surely the unity has been consolidated and there is a need to chose leaders on merit. We saw nothing wrong in coming up with our choice of four candidates. We made the judgement in the spirit of balance of politics in the party. For a long time Manicaland has never provided a candidate in the presidium," he said.

War veterans press ahead with conference

Herald Reporter

MEMBERS of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association are pressing ahead with the national conference to elect new executive members this weekend despite pleas from the current executive to defer the conference to next year.

The last national conference was held in 2002.

According to the organisation’s constitution, a new executive was supposed to be elected in 2005.

The leader of the organising committee which is co-ordinating the elections Retired Colonel Basten Beta said the conference would, among other issues, correct constitutional anomalies, which had resulted in the current executive serving more terms than stipulated in the constitution.

He said the major task awaiting the new executive was to revamp the organisation to ensure that it catered for the welfare of war veterans.

"There were a lot of constitutional violations and we hope to correct those anomalies at this conference. The constitution is clear that a leader should serve for not more than two terms, but some leaders have already exceeded their terms. We want to elect leaders who look into the welfare of war veterans," said Rtd Col Beta.

He said it was expected that the new chairperson would come from the former Zanla side because the last two chairpersons were from the Zipra camp.

"The last two chairpersons Cde Chenjerai Hunzvi and Cde Jabulani Sibanda were from the former Zipra and we hope that the new chairman should come from the Zanla side," said Rtd Col Beta.

Deputy chairperson of the current executive Cde Joseph Chinotimba confirmed the elections but said they had pleaded with the war veterans to put the elections on hold until early next year.

"We heard that there is an election on Saturday, but we have asked the war veterans to postpone the elections to January next year.

"A lot of preparations need to be done before the elections but of course some members are complaining that we are overdue. The best person you can talk to on that issue is Cde Jabulani Sibanda," said Cde Chinotimba.

Cholera cases resurface in Harare

Herald Reporters

SIX suspected cholera cases have been recorded in Mabvuku, Harare, as the municipality battles to provide sufficient water to residents in the eastern and western parts of the city.

Speaking at a Press conference in Harare yesterday, Health and Child Welfare Minister Dr Henry Madzorera said no deaths had been recorded.

Countrywide, authorities had recorded 143 suspected cholera cases by yesterday afternoon of which 21 were confirmed after laboratory tests.

Five people have died from cholera since the first cases were reported in September.

Dr Madzorera said the case-fatality rate stood at 4,3 percent.

According to international norms, a controlled cholera outbreak usually leads to a fatality rate of not more than 1 percent.

Dr Madzorera called on the private sector to assist with transport and communications infrastructure to enable better access to healthcare institutions.

"Our people are aware of the implications of not seeking medical attention but sometimes resources let them down. Current statistics indicate that four people died within their communities and one within a health institution.

"Those who died could have died because they failed to get to the hospital on time," Dr Madzo-rera said.

The five deaths were recorded in Chegutu (two), Gokwe North (two) and Makonde (one).

"We are in control of the situation and hope that there will be no further deaths and cases to be recorded," he said.

Water-borne diseases like cholera are likely to increase during the rainy season as sewage and waste wash into water sources.

Many Harare suburbs are facing serious water shortages, forcing residents to resort to unprotected sources.

Yesterday, city officials acknowledged the water crisis and attributed it to countrywide power outages.

Harare Mayor Mr Muchadeyi Masunda said council was working flat out to meet ratepayers’ expectations.

A survey by The Herald showed that western suburbs like Glen View, Budiriro, Kuwadzana, Mufakose and Warren Park were going for more than two days at a time without water.

Residents close to Warren Park Control have been without water for more than a year despite repeated promises by council to reconnect them.

Other areas facing water crises include Mabvuku and Tafara.

The situation in the eastern suburbs has been particularly dire as residents have gone for up to two years without reliable water supplies.

Both Government and the United Nations Children’s Fund have previously warned that the conditions that led to last year’s outbreak, which claimed some 4 000 lives, had not materially changed.

In Mbare, residents of Shawasha and Nenyere hostels have been without water for the past two weeks.

Most of the toilets there are now closed and people have been relieving themselves in nearby bushes.

In an interview, city spokesperson Mr Leslie Gwindi said the water department had not been spared the power cuts.

"As a result of these power cuts, Morton Jaffray Waterworks has been seriously affected. We have improved significantly and this issue of power outages is not within our control," said Mr Gwindi.

Residents expressed concern over the situation and urged authorities to take corrective action.

Mr Godwin Maisiri of Mbare said: "We have been without running water for the past two weeks and this has exposed us to health risks.

"Our toilets are not working and this is a serious issue that those in authority should consider."

Mrs Juliet Kwenda of Mufakose said the water situation should be addressed quickly to avoid a repeat of the last year’s cholera outbreak.

Mayor Masunda said the city had covered a lot of ground in service delivery and they were looking at alternative sources of water as the two major dams that supplied Morton Jaffray were failing to meet demand.

"Morton Jaffray Waterworks is failing to meet water demand by 1 300 megalitres. We are looking at Kunzvi Dam, which has been on the cards for some time, and work on that project quickly.

"This is a huge task and we appeal to the corporate world and other stakeholders to chip in and assist in this noble cause," he said.

He urged residents to help protect city infrastructure from vandalism.

Negotiators in marathon talks

Herald Reporters

Negotiators to the Global Political Agreement met in Harare yesterday, ending a spat of finger-pointing over who was to blame for the failure to beat the 15-day deadline set by the Sadc Troika.

Last night the negotiators were still locked up in deliberations with none of them willing to shed light on how the discussions were progressing.

Zanu-PF’s Cde Patrick Chinamasa and MDC secretary-general Professor Welshman Ncube confirmed negotiations had started.

"We are meeting," was all Cde Chinamasa would say.

Prof Ncube added: "The meeting is still going on. It may end midnight," while MDC-T secretary-general Mr Tendai Biti’s phone was not reachable.

The Sadc Organ on Politics, Defence and Security met in Mozambique early this month and directed that the parties to the GPA start discussing outstanding issues within 15 days and end these not more than 30 days from November 5 when the Troika met.

The negotiators failed to meet the first deadline when they failed to hold substantive talks last week because some of them had pressing Government business to attend to outside the country.

Mr Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC-T last week accused the Prof Arthur Mutambara-led MDC of stalling the resumption of dialogue.

The party published a statement on its website saying: "The unelected negotiators from the Mutambara-led political formation, who by chance have found themselves in Government, are stalling the resolution of Zimbabwe’s political crisis.

"Professor Welshman Ncube and Hon Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga have chosen to prioritise flying to world capitals at the expense of resolving critical issues that will deliver real change to the people of Zimbabwe."

Prof Ncube is the Industry and Commerce Minister while Mrs Misihairabwi-Mushonga oversees the Regional Integration brief in Cabinet.

MDC yesterday hit back, accusing MDC-T of lacking respect and consequently derailing efforts to fully implement the GPA.

Party deputy spokesperson Mr Renson Gasela said: "Our party and Zanu-PF were ready to sit down and talk just a day after the Sadc Summit in Maputo, but MDC-T preferred to pass through and stay in South Africa on non-Government business when our negotiators were waiting here.

"There were already prior Government meetings in Egypt and Tunisia and these meetings could not be foregone because of some people who were relaxing in South Africa," he said, in reference to official business that MDC Cabinet ministers had attended to in North Africa over the past week.

"They (MDC-T) should also take us seriously when we give excuses because of Government business because we also waited when they had other engagements.

"We waited when they excused themselves from the negotiations when Hon (John) Nyamande died and we thought it made sense but now they are pointing accusing fingers at us."

Yesterday MDC-T spokesperson Mr Nelson Chamisa backtracked from their earlier position, saying: "We should just work together in resolving these challenges than pointing fingers at each other because this will not help us out of these challenges bedevilling our country."

Zanu-PF has said MDC-T has failed to fulfil its GPA obligations by refusing to campaign for the lifting of the illegal Western economic sanctions and an end to the broadcasting of hate messages into the country by pirate radio stations.

They have also said the alleged creation of parallel Government structures by the Prime Minister’s Office was a direct threat to the survival of the GPA.

MDC-T has demanded Roy Bennett’s swearing-in as Deputy Agriculture Minister and the dismissals of Reserve Bank Governor Dr Gideon Gono and Attorney-General Mr Johannes Tomana.

Zanu-PF has said Bennett will only be sworn-in when and if he is cleared of the terrorism charges he is facing in the High Court.

The party has also said Dr Gono and Mr Tomana were constitutionally appointed to office when MDC-T was still dithering on whether or not to join the inclusive Government.

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