Sunday, February 21, 2010

Zimbabwe News Update: Vice-President Mujuru Hands Over Tractors, Urges Farmers to Be Productive

VP Mujuru hands over tractors, urges farmers to be productive

From George Maponga in CHIREDZI
Zimbabwe Herald

Zimbabwe has the capacity to neutralise the effects of the illegal sanctions imposed by the West if the citizenry unites and contributes positively towards resuscitating the agricultural sector, Vice President Mujuru said yesterday.

She said sanctions could be rendered useless if Zimbabweans worked together to consolidate the gains of the land reforms that saw Government acquiring formerly white-owned commercial farms to resettle 300 000 landless black families.

VP Mujuru was speaking at Gibbo Stadium in Chiredzi where she handed over 36 tractors to resettled sugarcane farmers.

The farmers are from the lowveld Hippo Valley, Triangle and Mkwasine sugar estates.

The VP said, "It is imperative for every Zimbabwean to make a positive contribution towards the revival of the agricultural sector since it is the backbone and mainstay of our economy.

"If we optimally utilise our land and vast agricultural potential the illegal sanctions imposed by the West will become negligible.

"Zimbabweans should put their differences aside and work together in unison to shame the West, who up to this day maintained the illegal economic sanctions against our country," she said.

She said Government was cognisant of the challenges facing the cane industry.

VP Mujuru challenged Zimbabweans to take advantage of Government’s indigenisation drive and take controlling stakes in various industries.

The chairperson of the Commercial Sugarcane Farmers’ Association of Zimbabwe Mr Edmore Hwarare appealed to the Government to establish a cane mill to circumvent acts of sabotage by elitist millers.

‘New sanctions will motivate nation’

Herald Reporter

Zimbabweans should remain dedicated and united against the onslaught by the West after the renewal of sanctions by the European Union.

Addressing troops at a command handover ceremony of 2.3 Infantry Batallion in Magunje yesterday, incoming commander Lieutenant-Colonel Don Chidavanyika said the extension of the illegal sanctions should motivate rather than demoralise the nation.

"Being someone who fears God, I am reminded of Jesus’ words when he said ‘Upon this rock I will build my church and the gates of hell cannot prevail against it’.

"Similarly, against Zimbabwe — the house of stone through unity of purpose — the gates of sanctions and neo-colonialism cannot prevail. This country needs committed and dedicated people who jealously guard the country’s abundant resources and wealth. We have stood the test of the times in the past decade, so what can stop us now.

"We will overcome the adversaries we are facing and the injustice that the Western countries continue to impose on us," he said.

On his plans for the battalion, Lt-Col Chidavanyika said: "What I will simply do is to further tighten the screws and cut the loose ends.

"I do not demand much from you. All I ask for is simple; a high standard of discipline, teamwork, loyalty, dedication and professionalism, which are the core values of the Zimbabwe National Army.

"The courage and confidence you displayed over the past decade should continue to inspire us into the future," he said.

Lt-Col Chidavanyika is the unit’s 18th commanding officer since its formation at Independence.

Outgoing commander Lt-Col Clifford Muchono said his tenure had moulded him and the troops into a hard-working and hard-hitting force.

The commander of 2 Brigade Brigadier-General Douglas Nyikayaramba was the witnessing officer and guest of honour.

Sanctions no threat to GPA, says President

By Sydney Kawadza
Zimbabwe Herald

President Mugabe says the illegal Western sanctions will not achieve their intended objective of dividing the inclusive Government.

He said the European Union’s decision this week to extend the embargo was designed to offset unity between Zimbabwe’s political parties.

In an interview with ZTV ahead of his 86th birthday tomorrow, President Mugabe said the inclusive Government had achieved more and it would be "foolish" for the parties to break it over issues outside of the Global Political Agreement.

"Why should they impose sanctions, take a negative step where we have taken a very positive step? They want to negate and obviously undermine the GPA.

"They want to undermine the unity of the people of Zimbabwe. They would want to see us fight each other much more."

President Mugabe said the people of Zimbabwe decided that quarrelling would hinder development.

He said only a handful of the 27 members of the EU were maintaining the sanctions.

"It’s Britain and perhaps France, Germa-ny, Italy and a few others . . . together with the United States.

"But we belong to the Third World and we say, in spite of their sanctions, we will continue to look East where there is greater friendship," he said.

On the issue of national unity, he said: "The getting together of political parties that yesterday were fighting each other and that today they are working together is worth celebrating over.

"Just that phenomenon of unity and under that unity or using that phenomenon of unity comes the fact of the arrangement that is within the global agreement; the leaders must work together in accordance with the apportionment of functions and which meant, of course, that each party was given a number of posts, ministerial posts.

"This Government comes from the various parties which were quarrelling yesterday and have ceased to quarrel now and are pursuing the various functions as per the global agreement.

"I think just that arrangement, the fact of that arrangement is worth celebrating. But, of course, we would want to celebrate more when we look at the functions, the performance now of the Government as a whole."

The Head of State and Government and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces said the inclusive Government should acknowledge its inadequacies.

He said the Government, given enough resources, would perform much better this year.

On negotiations on the full implementation of the GPA, President Mugabe said everything had been fulfilled as per the agreement.

"We are negotiating about nothing. It is the nothings that are holding us back. All that was important is enshrined in the global agreement and there is hardly anything we are now discussing which falls within the global agreement.

"All the matters that have to do with Tomana and so on and so forth don’t come into the global agreement. There is no mention of Tomana, there is no mention of the Governor of the Reserve Bank, there is no mention of Bennett.

"There is a need for a post of deputy minister of agriculture, which needs to be filled by a candidate from the MDC-T not necessarily by Bennett, by anyone else."

He said the only pending issue was for the parties to call for the lifting of sanctions.

"And that one, naturally, needs greater attention, much greater attention and one wonders whether we all are at one in regards to it.

However, President Mugabe said even a deadlock on the issue of sanctions would not break the inclusive Government.

"We won’t breach the agreement because of that. I mean, from our point of view, it would be stupid for us to do so.

"I mean, we have gained much more by way of working together than what we might lose by way of our failure to perform in respect of what we are expected to perform at the moment," he said.

President Mugabe defended the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act.

"This issue of indigenisation is an on-going process. We indeginised land, it was in the hands of outsiders — European farmers, some British, some South African, some German — and we decided, we had agreed with Britain that there would be a land redistribution programme and we proceeded accordingly.

"We are still proceeding in respect with the land acquisition programme. But we are now, after the land, dealing with our ownership of resources in other areas with regard to mining, with regards to raw materials that we want to turn into finished goods, the manufacturing sector . . ."

Touching on the land audit, he said: "I think it’s necessary for us to have the audit.

"Varimi chaivo ngavaregere kuvhunduka, vasiri varimi ngavavhunduke. Vasiri varimi, ndiri kuzvitaura, nekuti pane vamwe vasiri varimi iye zvino kune mirwi yevanhu, perhaps it’s an exaggeration, asi kune vazhinji vasina kurima vakandoshevedza mabhunhu zvakare kuti huyai murime. Mabhunhu achiti tokupayi 10 percent or 15 percent of value of the harvest.

"Vamwe vachitokoka, inviting them. Vakadaro ndivo vatisingade. Tinovatorera. Hatimbomira! And I happen to know quite several kunana Mash West and Mash Central," he said.

ZBC will broadcast the full interview tonight at 8.30

Strike temporarily shelved

Herald Reporter

Unions representing civil servants yesterday said they will temporarily abandon their strike and instead embark on a sit-in for the next two weeks so as to avoid salary cuts.

The Public Service Commission last week declared the strike illegal, ordering the state employees to return to work.

The Public Service Act stipulates that any State employee who absents him/herself from work for 14 days will not get paid.

Unionists yesterday urged civil servants to report for duty on Monday but said they should not do any work until they get an increment from their employer.

Public Service Minister Eliphas Mukonoweshuro did not pick his phone when contacted to comment on this development and its legal implications.

Addressing civil servants at a rally in Harare yesterday, Zimbabwe Teachers Association president Mrs Tendai Chikowore said: "After a careful scan of the current action and forecasting the future we have decided to change the course and tactics and thus we have adopted the form of a sit in."

The unionists said the sit–in would end on March 5 and another rally would be convened to map the way forward.

Hundreds of civil servants marched through the City Centre to Parliament Building and the Public Service and Finance Ministries with petitions.

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