Thursday, November 25, 2010

Zimbabwe News Update: Elections to Take Place in 2011, Says ZANU-PF Politburo

Polls to go ahead: Politburo

By Farirai Machivenyika
Zimbabwe Herald

Zimbabwe will hold general elections next year, as pronounced by President Mugabe, with or without a new constitution, Zanu-PF’s Politburo has said.

The Politburo met at the party’s headquarters in Harare yesterday and heard that donors were withholding funding for the constitution-making process in an effort to delay elections.

Party secretary for information and publicity Cde Rugare Gumbo said: "We received a report on Copac from Cde Paul Mangwana and he expressed concern over funding.

"He said there are just not enough resources to move to the next stage (thematic committee discussions), but he said there was an effort to delay disbursing money by the UNDP as a way of delaying the referendum and subsequently the election.

"However, that is neither here nor there. As a party we will find ways around it, but we are very clear that elections will be held.

"If they cannot help us write a new constitution we will find ways, but elections will be held before June next year."

Zanu-PF secretary for administration Cde Didymus Mutasa presented the report because Cde Mangwana was not able to attend the Politburo meeting.

The inclusive Government’s lifespan expires in February next year and President Mugabe has expressed reluctance to extend it by anything more than six months.

Cde Gumbo said the party was happy with the outcome of the constitution-making outreach stage where their position on various talking points received overwhelming support from the citizenry.

Financial constraints have dogged the constitution-making process thereby delaying its completion.

Cde Gumbo said the Politburo deliberated on ways to fight illegal Western sanctions on Zimbabwe.

"We are still deliberating on ways to fight the illegal sanctions and various measures to counter them have been submitted but we will not reveal them," he said.

Cde Gumbo said party chairman Cde Simon Khaya Moyo submitted his report on preparations for Zanu-PF’s National People’s Conference to be held in Manicaland from December 15 to 19.

"He indicated that everything is in order . . . and there are only a few areas that are still to be done but everything is progressing well," he said.

The conference will be held at Marymount Teachers’ College.

The party’s secretary for the commissariat, Cde Webster Shamu, reported the progress in provincial meetings ahead of the conference.

"He said those that have been conducted so far have declared their support for President Mugabe in the coming elections," he said.

Cde Gumbo said the party would intensify mobilisation ahead of the elections and violence and intimidation would not be tolerated.

Chihuri applauds security forces

Herald Reporter

Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri has applauded Zimbabwe’s security services for being resolute and patriotic in defence of the country’s sovereignty.

He said attempts to incite disaffection among the forces to pave way for recolonisation would never succeed.

Comm-Gen Chihuri was addressing police and military officers at the burial of Deputy Comm-Gen Barbara Mandizha at Mandizha Village in Seke.

"The deliberate attempt to propagate disaffection among Zimbabweans and to blunt the vigilance of security organs, in order to open up the country to predators and wolves whose common denominator is ravenous appetite for the country’s resources, is bound to fail," said Comm-Gen Chihuri. "Zimbabwe prides itself for having a resilient security sector that has dependable, reliable and patriotic cadres like the late Deputy Commissioner General."

Comm Gen Chihuri noted that detractors were trying to use diversionary antics to play around with the emotions of uniformed personnel.

"For example, there was a recent much publicised announcement that police members would be benefit from a US$100 000 housing loan scheme from the Ministry of National Housing and Social Amenities," Comm Gen Chihuri said.

He said this careless announcement had since sparked a flood of applications from some of the ZRP’s 40 000 members and officers seeking to access the purported home loans. "It begs belief that a paltry US$100 000 was availed for this purpose for the entire Ministry of Home Affairs of which the police are part," he said.

Comm-Gen Chihuri thanked President Mugabe and First Lady Amai Grace Mugabe for their material support for Deputy Comm-Gen Mandizha’s burial.

He also thanked the Vice Presidents Joice Mujuru and John Nkomo for their support, in addition to the Chinese Embassy in Harare, Cabinet ministers, Parliamentarians, the uniformed services, senior Government officials, the traditional leadership, various churches, the media and ordinary Zimbabweans.

Ex-soldier Mpala buried

Bulawayo Bureau

Former soldier and freedom fighter, Cde Fatofrytone Mpala, who died at his home in Pumula North last Wednesday was yesterday buried at the Provincial Heroes’ Acre in Nkulumane.

Hundreds of people converged at the shrine to pay their last respects to Cde Mpala, who died after a short illness.

Zanu-PF political commissar for Bulawayo Province, Cde Mazwi Gumbo, said: "The late freedom fighter was described as a disciplined cadre." Party provincial secretary for transport, Cde Langelihle Mathe, encouraged the nation to honour its heroes.

"The liberation struggle will not be over until people are economically empowered."

Cde Mathe urged Finance Minister Tendai Biti to consider the widows and orphans of liberation war heroes in his 2011 National Budget.

Retired army sergeant and war veteran, Cde Alfred Siwela, said Cde Mpala was born on July 2, 1958 — attended Manqe Primary School in Tsholotsho, before going to Zambia to join the liberation struggle.

On March 29, 1976 he went to Botswana where he stayed at Memwe in Francistown.

At independence in 1980, he was attested into the Zimbabwe National Army and served in its ranks for 26 years.

He is a holder of the Mozambique Campai-gn, Angola Campaign and Long and Exemplary Service medals.

A member of the family, Mr Lot Mpala, thanked Government and the war veterans’ association for their assistance with the hero’s burial. He is survived by his wife and three children.

Come back home, President tells exiled doctors

By Takunda Maodza and Paidamoyo Chipunza

PRESIDENT Mugabe has urged Zimbabwean doctors in the Diaspora to return home instead of wasting their expertise on menial jobs like taking care of the old in Britain.

Launching the Brightness Journey Camp, a free cataract eye operation programme by Chinese doctors at Chitungwiza Central Hospital yesterday, the President said despite the doctors having disparaged him and Government to gain entry into the United Kingdom, they remained Zimbabweans.

"Kunyika kwavakatizira ikoko kunana Britain havasisina basa navo.

"Vangangopihwawo twuwelfare pano nepapo asi mabasa anowanikwa ndiwo ekukwenya tumisana twechembere.

"Zvino ungayambuka makungwa nemaku-ngwa kunokwenya itwo twumisana itwotwo?

"Kovanambuya vedu kuno kumusha vanokwenywa nani?" he asked to mirth among delegates.

The Head of State and Government and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces added: "Aiwa ngavadzoke zvavo, ngavadzoke kumusha. Hapana anemhosva ikoko."

He said only those individuals who fled the country after committing criminal offences should be scared of returning home.

"MaBritish vanoda vanhu vavanotonga. Tino-vaziva zvekuvazivurura.

"Zvino isu, aiwa, takadzidziswa kusada kutongwa. Tingada kutongwa isu tichida kuzvitonga?"

He hailed the resilience shown by local health workers who remained in Zimbabwe over the last 10 economically turbulent years.

President Mugabe saluted the cordial relations between Zimbabwe and the People’s Republic of China as shown by the free eye operations.

These, he said, were some of the fruits of the Government’s Look East Policy.

"Hameno kuti ivo vamwe vedzimwe nyika havaone here hushamwari hwatiinahwo?

"Asi zvatisingade izvondo rinoramba riripo nohuny’any’a hwatinonzwa hwekutigarira musangano masikati nehusiku vachiti Hurumende yaVaMugabe hatiide.

"Hamuide muneyi nayo? Aiwa siyanai nesu panyaya idzodzo."

He said the United Nations Charter was clear that no country should interfere in the domestic affairs of another.

President Mugabe said Zimbabwe wanted to co-exist peacefully with other countries.

He thanked China and Russia for vetoing efforts by Britain and the US to impose UN Security Council sanctions on Zimbabwe in 2008.

He said relations between Zimbabwe and China dated back to the 16th Century when an envoy of the Ming Dynasty, General Zheng Zhe, visited Great Zimbabwe.

President Mugabe said the relations developed further during the liberation struggle when China provided technical, material and moral support to dislodge British colonial rule.

"Relations between our two countries have continued to grow even after our attainment of independence, with greater emphasis now being laid on benefiting from Chinese expertise in the economic sector," he said.

President Mugabe said such sectors as defe-nce, transport, energy, communication and agriculture continued to benefit from his Government’s Look East Policy.

Turning to the "Brightness Journey Camp", President Mugabe said the Chinese assistance would go a long way in strengthening Zimba-bwe’s health delivery system.

Eradicating all treatable causes of blindness is one of the country’s Vision 2020 objectives.

Doctors deal with 15 000 cases of treatable blindness yearly.

The 20 eye specialists in Zimbabwe have capacity to operate on only 5 000 patients a year due to lack of specialised equipment.

"It is with this situation in mind that we greatly welcome efforts by the March of Brightness Camp as they will tie in well with our Vision 2020 health development objectives," President Mugabe said.

He said the Chinese programme complemented significant work done by local practitioners and initiatives such as Eyes for Africa.

President Mugabe thanked Anhui Foreign and Economic Construction Group of China for sponsoring the programme.

"Such a gesture is a clear indication of the sound and cordial relations that exist between the People’s Republic of China and Zimbabwe."

On arrival, the President toured the hospital’s eye renal units.

He also had an opportunity to mingle with patients whose sight was restored after successful operations.

Chinese Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Xin Shunkang said the eye operations were clear testimony of the cordial relations between Harare and Beijing.

He said Zimbabwe was the first African country that the doctors had visited.

Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, whose ministry invited the Chinese doctors, said the military did so as part of its social responsibility programme.

He said the Chinese doctors are looking forward to assisting nearly 400 patients after surpassing the initial target of 300.

Acting Health Minister Sydney Sekeramayi thanked the Chinese for their help and called for even stronger bilateral ties.

Chitungwiza Central Hospital chief executive Dr Obadiah Moyo said the hospital was looking forward to establishing deeper professional relations with the Chinese and suggested a twinning arrangement.

Several Government officials attended the colourful event that also saw artistes like renowned Jamaican reggae icon King Sounds and local musician Alick Macheso attending.

King Sounds described Zimbabwe as a beautiful country.

"Coming to Zimbabwe was very uplifting to me. Zimbabwe is beautiful. I love it. Keep strong."

New power deal for farmers

Agriculture Reporter

The Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company has put in place a mechanism for farmers to access electricity on a sequential basis.

This is to ensure that the scarce resource is adequately distributed across the farming community and other categories of consumers.

In an interview in Harare yesterday, the power utility’s spokesperson Mr Fullard Gwasira said: "ZETDC has been facing power supply challenges due to the statutory annual power station maintenance programme at Kariba Power Station that is anticipated to be completed in December 2010.

"That, coupled with the cases of theft and vandalism that resulted in 35 electricity pylons going down between Zimre Park and Dema substation, which also resulted in the loss of 135MW of electricity, compounded the electricity supply challenges."

Non-payment of electricity bills by customers — farmers included — also resulted in ZETDC failing to foot the power import bill, which is currently above US$100 million.

"Farmers in Manicaland for instance owe ZETDC $6,1 million in unpaid electricity bills, with that category of customers constituting 22 percent of the debtors of the electricity utility in that region.

"Harare region alone has 400 farmers and ZETDC encourages them to make good their bills so that the electricity utility is in a position to also fulfill its mandate of generating adequate electricity and paying for electricity imports to narrow the gap between supply and demand for power," he said.

ZETDC is owed more than $400 million by customers countrywide.

During the rainy season, there is an upsurge in electrical faults due to lightning strikes and water seeping into underground cables, among other factors.

Those challenges make it difficult for the load-shedding schedule to be followed.

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