Tuesday, July 31, 2018

 ZANU-PF Extends Lead
31 JUL, 2018 - 22:07
Zimbabwe Herald

Voters await their turn to cast their ballots at different polling stations across the country yesterday

The ruling Zanu-PF has extended the lead in early returns. Zimbabweans went to the polls on July 30 in historic elections which take place nine months after the fall of Robert Mugabe. Below are the duly elected members of the National Assembly announced by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission so far.

Chiredzi South-Killion Gwanetsa-Zanu-PF
Chiredzi West-Augustine Musikavanhu-Zanu-PF
Chipinge West-Nyamudeza Sibongile-MDC Alliance
Chipinge East-Mlambo Mathias-MDC Alliance
Gutu South-Togarepi Pupurai-Zanu-PF
Kadoma Central-Muchineripi Chinyanganya-MDC Alliance
Mutare Central-Gonese Innocent-MDC Alliance
Chinhoyi-Mataruse Peter-MDC Alliance
Mutare North-Madiro Michael-Zanu-PF
Muzarabani South-Saizi Tapera-Zanu-PF
Murewa North-Garwe Daniel-Zanu-PF
Buhera West-Dzuma Soul-Zanu-PF
Chipinge Central-Machingura Raymore-Zanu-PF
Mhondoro-Mubaira-Kapuya Freddy-Zanu-PF
Umguza-Moyo Richard-Zanu-PF
Mberengwa South-Mpofu Alum-Zanu-PF
Uzumba-Mudarikwa Simbaneuta-Zanu-PF
Kwekwe Central-Matambanadzo Masango-NPF
Mberengwa West-Gumbo Joram-Zanu-PF
Shurugwi North-Nyathi Ronald-Zanu-PF
Mberengwa North-Zhou Tafanana-Zanu-PF
Zvishavane-Ngezi-Mawite Dumezweni-Zanu-PF
Zvishavane-Runde-Mpame Cuthbert-Zanu-PF
Marondera Central-Matewu Caston-MDC Alliance
Mutoko East-Musiyiwa Richard-Zanu-PF
Chikomba East-Kanhutu Nzenza-Zanu-PF
Mutoko North-Chinomona Mabel-Zanu-PF
Marondera East-Chidakwa Patrick-Zanu-PF
Mutoko South-Shumbamhini Hebert-Zanu-PF
Mudzi West-Mudyiwa Magna-Zanu-PF
Chikomba West-Mangwiro Johnsen-Zanu-PF
Murewa West-Sewera Jonah-Zanu-PF
Hwange East-Sansole Tose-MDC Alliance
Hwange West-Dube Godfrey-MDC Alliance
Insiza South-Sithole Spare-Zanu-PF
Lupane West-Khumalo Martin-Zanu-PF
Gwanda South-Ncube Abedinico-Zanu-PF
Nkayi South-Mathe Stars-Zanu-PF
Makokoba-Sithole James-MDC Alliance
Emakhandeni-Entumbane-Tshuma Dingilizwe-MDC Alliance
Chiredzi North-Baila Royi-Zanu-PF
Marondera West-Inviolata Makunyaidze-Zanu-PF
Mudzi North-Newton Kachepa-Zanu-PF
Masvingo South-Claudios Maronge-Zanu-PF
Gwanda Central-Dube Patrick-MDC Alliance
Masvingo West-Chadzira Ezra-Zanu-PF
Hwedza South-Machakarika Tinoda-Zanu-PF
Chiredzi East-Masiya Denford-Zanu-PF
Pumula-Mahlangu Sichelesile-MDC Alliance
Mt Darwin North-Muponora Noveti-Zanu-PF
Mberengwa East-Raidza Marko-Zanu-PF
Bindura North-Musanhi Kenneth-Zanu-PF
Bindura South-Matangira Toendepi-Zanu-PF
Gokwe Central-Matemadanda Victor-Zanu-PF
Mt Darwin East-Marikisi Norman-Zanu-PF
Mt Darwin South-Kabozo Stephen-Zanu-PF
Beitbridge East-Nguluvhe Albert-Zanu-PF
Mbizo-Chikwinya Settlement-MDC Alliance
Chikomba Central-Mhona Felix-Zanu-PF
Sanyati-Kambamura Polite-Zanu-PF
Buhera South-Chinotimba Joseph-Zanu-PF
Chimanimani East-Sacco Joshua-Zanu-PF
Mudzi South-Samukange Jonathan-Zanu-PF
Shurugwi South-Mkaratigwa Edmond-Zanu-PF
Zvimba West-Ziyambi Ziyambi-Zanu-PF
Chimanimani West-Matsikenyere Nokuthula-Zanu-PF
Mt Darwin West-Seremwe Bannwell-Zanu-PF
Guruve North-Dzepasi Girovah-Zanu-PF
Musikavanhu-Murire Joshua-Zanu-PF
Mazowe West-Kazembe Kazembe-Zanu-PF
Mazowe South-Chasi Fortune-Zanu-PF
Chipinge South-Porusingazi Enock-Zanu-PF
Hurungwe Central-Ndiweni Dought-Zanu-PF
Zvimba South-Chiyangwa Phillip-Zanu-PF
Mhangura-Masango Chinhamo-Zanu-PF
Muzarabani North-Zhemu Soda-Zanu-PF
Rushinga-Nyabani Tendai-Zanu-PF
Goromonzi North-Bvute Ozias-Zanu-PF
Wedza North-Musabayana David-Zanu-PF
Magunje-Kashiri Cecil-Zanu-PF
Nkayi North-Nyoni Sithembiso-Zanu-PF
Chegutu West-Nduna Dexter-Zanu-PF
Zvimba North-Chombo Marian-Zanu-PF
Zvimba East-Tungamirai Tawanda-Zanu-PF
Mazowe North-Mugweni Campion-Zanu-PF
Pelandaba-Mpopoma-Moyo Charles-MDC Alliance
Sunningdale-Kankuni Winnie-MDC Alliance
Bulawayo East-Nyoni Ilos-MDC Alliance
Mt Pleasant-Banda Samuel-MDC Alliance
Magwegwe-Ndebele Anele-MDC Alliance
Southerton-Moyo Peter-MDC Alliance
Glen View North-Dinar Kennedy-MDC Alliance
Kuwadzana West-Mushayi Mirriam-MDC Alliance
Bulawayo Central-Watson Nicola Jane-MDC Alliance
Lobengula-Banda Gift-MDC Alliance
Mabvuku-Tafara-Chidakwa James-MDC Aliance
Kuwadzana East-Hwende Chalton-MDC Alliance
Highfield East-Murai Erick-MDC Alliance
Highfield West-Chidziva Happymore-MDC Alliance
Dzivarasekwa-Mushoriwa Edwin-MDC Alliance
Seke-Kashambe Munyaradzi-Zanu-PF
Chakari-Nkani Andrew-Zanu-PF
Zanu-PF in Early Lead
 31 JUL, 2018
Zimbabwe Herald

Voters await their turn to cast their ballots at different polling stations across the country yesterday

The ruling Zanu-PF has taken an early lead in National Assembly results announced by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission so far today.

Chiredzi South-Killion Gwanetsa-Zanu-PF
Chiredzi West-Augustine Musikavanhu-Zanu-PF
Chipinge West-Nyamudeza Sibongile-MDC Alliance
Chipinge East-Mlambo Mathias-MDC Alliance
Gutu South-Togarepi Pupurai-Zanu-PF
Kadoma Central-Muchineripi Chinyanganya-MDC Alliance
Mutare Central-Gonese Innocent-MDC Alliance
Chinhoyi-Mataruse Peter-MDC Alliance
Mutare North-Madiro Michael-Zanu-PF
Muzarabani South-Saizi Tapera-Zanu-PF
Murewa North-Garwe Daniel-Zanu-PF
Buhera West-Dzuma Soul-Zanu-PF
Chipinge Central-Machingura Raymore-Zanu-PF
Mhondoro-Mubaira-Kapuya Freddy-Zanu-PF
Umguza-Moyo Richard-Zanu-PF
Mberengwa South-Mpofu Alum-Zanu-PF
Uzumba-Mudarikwa Simbaneuta-Zanu-PF
Kwekwe Central-Matambanadzo Masango-NPF
Mberengwa West-Gumbo Joram-Zanu-PF
Shurugwi North-Nyathi Ronald-Zanu-PF
Mberengwa North-Zhou Tafanana-Zanu-PF
Zvishavane-Ngezi-Mawite Dumezweni-Zanu-PF
Zvishavane-Runde-Mpame Cuthbert-Zanu-PF
Marondera Central-Matewu Caston-MDC Alliance
Mutoko East-Musiyiwa Richard-Zanu-PF
Chikomba East-Kanhutu Nzenza-Zanu-PF
Mutoko North-Chinomona Mabel-Zanu-PF
Marondera East-Chidakwa Patrick-Zanu-PF
Mutoko South-Shumbamhini Hebert-Zanu-PF
Mudzi West-Mudyiwa Magna-Zanu-PF
Chikomba West-Mangwiro Johnsen-Zanu-PF
Murewa West-Sewera Jonah-Zanu-PF
Hwange East-Sansole Tose-MDC Alliance
Hwange West-Dube Godfrey-MDC Alliance
Insiza South-Sithole Spare-Zanu-PF
Lupane West-Khumalo Martin-Zanu-PF
Gwanda South-Ncube Abedinico-Zanu-PF
Nkayi South-Mathe Stars-Zanu-PF
Makokoba-Sithole James-MDC Alliance
Emakhandeni-Entumbane-Tshuma Dingilizwe-MDC Alliance
Chiredzi North-Baila Royi-Zanu-PF
Marondera West-Inviolata Makunyaidze-Zanu-PF
Mudzi North-Newton Kachepa-Zanu-PF
Masvingo South-Claudios Maronge-Zanu-PF
Gwanda Central-Dube Patrick-MDC Alliance
Masvingo West-Chadzira Ezra-Zanu-PF
Hwedza South-Machakarika Tinoda-Zanu-PF
Chiredzi East-Masiya Denford-Zanu-PF
Government Warns Parties Over False Claims Surrounding Election Results
Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Minister Obert Mpofu addresses the media flanked by ZRP Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga at Mukwati Building in Harare today. Picture by Nyasha Chawatama

Herald Reporter

GOVERNMENT has warned political parties and individuals to desist from the unlawful announcement of results of yesterday’s 2018 harmonised election results as this is a serious offence and they risks arrest.

This was said by Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Dr Obert Mpofu this evening. Dr Mpofu’s pronouncement comes after MDC Alliance principals Nelson Chamisa and Tendai Biti turned to social media and press conferences to announce that they have won the elections.

Section 66A of the Electoral Act (Chapter 2:13) outlaws the unofficial or false announcement of poll results. Announcements of official results are a prerogative of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission.
Announcing Results on Social Media Illegal, ZEC
31 JUL, 2018 - 13:07

Justice Chigumba addresses the media. Picture by Shelton Muchena

Farirai Machivenyika and Fidelis Munyoro
Zimbabwe Herald

THE Zimbabwe Electoral Commission has warned the public to be wary of alleged results being circulated on social media saying it’s unlawful for undesignated persons to announce fictitious, unverified results.

This was said by ZEC chairperson Justice Priscilla Chigumba in a media briefing this morning while giving an update on yesterday’s harmonised elections adding that the official results are expected to start trickling in this afternoon.

“The Commission will announce results as they come in,” she said.

“All stakeholders are reminded that it is unlawful to announce results because it is a direct contravention of Section 66A (a) (a) of the Electoral Act. The announcement of official results by undesignated persons have the potential of misleading the public and raise unnecessary political emotions.”

She added that announcement of results on social media was an offence.

“It is an offence in terms of the Electoral Act to announce results unless you are a duly designated ZEC official. If you announce results that are not official to your friend on WhatsApp that is an offence.”

She added that vote counting and collation was almost complete at all polling stations across the country.

Justice Chigumba said by 6.30 this morning vote counting in Mashonaland East was complete while collating at wards was 70 percent complete, in Matebeleland North vote counting was almost complete, Masvingo 100 percent complete while Mashonaland West had also completed vote counting.

In Mashonaland Central, vote counting was 98 percent complete while Harare was 75 percent, Midlands 48 percent while Bulawayo vote counting is complete with Manicaland at 56 percent as at 9 this morning.

Justice Chigumba also said they had not received any complaints from any political party or candidate on the manner the voting process was conducted.

“As of now we can safely advise that we have not received any official complaints from any political party about the voting process. What we have seen is all sorts of speculation on social media but with regards to official complaints none of that has happened,” she said.

The ZEC chairperson also assured Zimbabweans that the voting process was done above board,

“We are absolutely confident that there was no cheating and we are absolutely confident that there was no rigging,” Justice Chigumba said.

“We would like to assure the Zimbabwe people that we will not steal their choice of leaders. ZEC will not subvert their will. Whatever it is that comes out in our results is exactly what they have decided.”
Historic Turnout •Provinces Average 75 Percent Voters •Vote Counting Currently Underway
31 JUL, 2018 - 00:07 

Zimbabwe Electoral Commission chairperson, Priscilla Chigumba addresses media at the 2018 Harmonised Elections National Command Centre, in Harare yesterday.-(Picture by Shelton Muchena)

Felex Share and Farirai Machivenyika
Zimbabwe Herald

Zimbabweans took to the polls in their millions yesterday, with most polling stations recording an average voter turnout of 75 percent. The polls were conducted in a peaceful manner, while most polling stations opened on time. Vote counting had started in some areas last night as stipulated by the law.

Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) chairperson Justice Priscilla Chigumba last night told journalists that voting went on well countrywide.

“The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission is pleased to announce that it managed to clear queues at most of our polling stations by 7pm which is the official closing time.

“However, all those people who were queuing were still being attended to because the law says everybody who was queued up by 7pm must be attended to.

“At 6pm most polling stations had recorded a voter turnout averaging 75 percent. It is our view that the high voter turnout is indicative of sound voter education and publicity conducted on a receptive electorate. The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission has ensured that the electorate has been afforded the opportunity to exercise its constitutional right to elect its leaders.”

She said the voting atmosphere was peaceful throughout the country.

“It is largely attributed to the presence of the Zimbabwe Republic Police who maintained order at polling stations and it is a good deportment of our Zimbabwean citizens,” Justice Chigumba said.

“Even in the face of long queues in some instances at some polling stations, the Zimbabwean citizens still exhibited tolerance and patience.”

In terms of polling overview, she said, voting went on well and there was generally a high voter turnout at most polling stations.

“By 6pm, the Commission had received reports of voter turnout from four out of our 10 provinces namely Masvingo, Bulawayo, Midlands and Harare,” she said.

In Masvingo at about 6pm, the voter turnout was at 60.6 percent with less than one percent turned away for reasons such as not having valid identity cards, defaced identity cards and not appearing on the voters’ roll.

In Bulawayo, voting progressed well with an average turnout of 70 percent with slightly over one percent being turned away.

Besides being turned away for not being on the voters’ roll, some aspiring voters brought expired passports, drivers’ licences and birth certificates which are not permissible to enable one to exercise their right to vote. In Midlands, voting proceeded well and turnout was 75 percent while those turned away constituted about one percent for the same reasons as mentioned before.”

Justice Chigumba said polling stations in Harare recorded an average voter turnout of 70 percent.
“At some polling stations, queues had disappeared by late afternoon while at other centres queues were still visible,” she said.

“This was due to high turnout at some composite polling stations which resulted in some voters taking time to identify their correct polling station.”

She said the electoral body expected to receive statistics from the other six provinces late yesterday.

On a sad note, Justice Chigumba said a female voter had died at a polling station in Matabeleland South.

“The Commission is saddened to learn of an unfortunate incident that occurred in Bulilima where a female voter collapsed and died at a polling station,” she said.

“Our deepest condolences to the family of the deceased.”

On vote counting, she said: “Vote counting has commenced in some areas in terms of provisions of the law. The counting is conducted in the presence of agents, observers and members of the press at polling station level. The stakeholders are respectfully reminded that once the processes of counting has commenced they are not allowed to leave the counting centre until the process has been finalised.”

“The Commission would like to thank the Zimbabwean public for exercising their right to vote in peace and would like to urge Zimbabweans to be patient as they wait for the results. All stakeholders are reminded to desist from announcing results as this is the prerogative of the Commission only,” she said.
UN Security Council Renews Mandate of AU Mission in Somalia
01 AUG, 2018 - 00:08

UNITED NATIONS. –– The UN Security Council on Monday adopted a resolution to re-authorise the deployment of the African Union (AU) peacekeeping mission in Somalia till May 31, 2019.

Resolution 2431, which won unanimous approval of the 15 members of the Security Council, also decides to reduce the level of uniformed personnel for the AU mission, known as AMISOM, to 20,626 by February 28, 2019 and to include a minimum of 1,040 police personnel.

Resolution 2431 followed a May 15 resolution that extended the mandate of AMISOM till July 31, 2018, in a “technical rollover” in order to allow for the consideration of an AU/UN joint comprehensive assessment of the mission.

The May 15 resolution envisaged a reduction of AMISOM’s uniformed personnel to 20,626 by October 30, 2018.

Swedish ambassador to the United Nations Olof Skoog, whose country holds the Security Council presidency for July, said before the vote on the draft resolution on Monday that the drawdown of troops was delayed, but the new timeline was in line with recommendations of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

British ambassador to the United Nations Karen Pierce, whose country sponsored the resolution, said: “The resolution allows for a delay in the transition of AMISOM precisely so that there is enough time and space for the Somalis to get their house in order on the security side. It will also allow AMISOM to prepare properly for transition.”

“AMISOM is providing a critical space while Somalia gets its own security forces up to capacity, and we hope that that will continue,” she told reporters before the vote.

Resolution 2431 specifically stresses that there should be no further delay in the reduction of the level of uniformed AMISOM personnel beyond February 28, 2019.

The resolution expresses the Security Council’s intention to consider further uniformed personnel reductions as security conditions and Somali capabilities and capacities allow, in line with the aim of Somali security institutions leading security responsibility by December 2021.

Resolution 2431 emphasises that the long-term objective is that Somali security institutions and forces assume full responsibility for Somalia’s security, and recognises that AMISOM remains critical to security during this transition.

Apart from the gradual handover of security responsibilities to the Somali security forces, AMISOM’s strategic objectives also include the fight against al-Shabaab and other armed opposition groups, and the provision of security for the political process in the country, according to the resolution.

AMISOM was created by the AU in January 2007. Its mandate won the approval of the UN Security Council.

– Xinhua
Kenyan Banks Ward Off Competition from Digital Lending Apps
31 JUL, 2018 - 00:07

NAIROBI. — An increase in independent digital lending apps in Kenya has seen commercial banks in the East African nation launch similar online platforms to protect their market. There are up to 25 independent mobile lending apps in Kenya, some unlicensed, which disburse between $0.50  and $1,000 loans to applicants. Popular apps in Kenya include Branch and Tala.

Some 6.5 million Kenyans are hooked to the mobile loans and half of them are repeat borrowers, according to latest data from a joint survey by the Central Bank of Kenya, Kenya National Bureau of Statistics and FSD-Kenya.

The mobile apps charge one-off interest rate of between 7 percent and 10 percent, with the loans payable per month. The lucrative loan app business has lured banks into the platforms as they also seek to protect their lending business, which is facing stiff competition.

Some of the commercial banks which have been offering loans through apps in the last two years include Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB-Mpesa), Equity Bank (Eazzyloan) and Commercial Bank of Africa (CBA) (Mshwari).

More, however, are joining the fray with the latest entrant being Housing Finance Group, which last week unveiled its platform.

The mortgage lender unveiled the app dubbed HF Whizz that will enable their customers to borrow between 10 dollars and 500 at a monthly interest rate of 1.1 percent.

The loan will attract a facilitation fee of 6.6 percent, bringing to total cost of the borrowing to 7.7 percent, which is same as what the independent loans apps charge.

Other commercial banks charge between 1.5 percent and 3 percent facilitation fee on top of the 1.1 to 2 percent per month interest.

“Our customers will also be able to transfer up to 2,000 dollars a day, in addition to making deposits directly to their bank accounts,” said the bank in a statement.

Similarly, CBA last week launched a second digital banking platform that allows the customers to borrow up to 30,000 dollars, the highest among all digital platforms.

While Mshwari focuses on small borrowers, the new platform targets big borrowers who will also be able to get overdraft of $1,000.

Barclays Bank launched its app in March dubbed Timiza that enables both customers and non-customers to access quick mobile loans.

Henry Wandera, an economics lecturer noted that banks are joining the mobile lending fray because the sector is not subject to stringent Central Bank lending rules.

“Currently, banks can only charge customers 13.5 percent per annum on loans, but through apps, this percentage rises to up to 84 percent per year if the same individual borrowers cash every month through the platforms. They have no choice but to ward off the intense competition from the digital loan service providers,” he said.

– Xinhua
Somalia, Eritrea Mend Ties As Change Sweeps Horn of Africa
31 JUL, 2018 - 00:07

MOGADISHU. – The presidents of Somalia and Eritrea on Monday signed an agreement to establish diplomatic ties after over a decade of animosity, in the latest lightning rapprochement between Horn of Africa rivals.

Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed’s three-day visit to Asmara coincides with an extraordinary peace process between Eritrea and Ethiopia — part of dizzying change in a region burdened by war, proxy conflicts, isolation and iron-fisted rule.

“The two countries will establish diplomatic relations and exchange ambassadors,” read a “joint declaration on brotherly relations” signed in Asmara by Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki and Mohamed.

The declaration came just three weeks after Ethiopia and Eritrea declared an end to two decades of conflict, rapidly restoring diplomatic ties and flights between their capitals.

The history of the three nations, and their fallouts, have been intertwined.

Somalia and Eritrea were once close. Under Somali dictator Siad Barre, the military regime in Mogagishu backed Eritrea’s long fight for independence from Ethiopia, which was attained in 1993.

In 1998 Ethiopia and Eritrea began a bloody two-year war over their shared border which left 80,000 dead before settling into a bitter cold war.

After the fall of Barre in 1991, Somalia fell into chaos.

By around 2006, it became the site of what observers called a proxy war between Eritrea and Ethiopia.

Ethiopia backed backing a weak interim government in Mogadishu while Eritrea was accused of backing the Islamic militants fighting to overthrow it, a charge it denied.

The United Nations Security Council in 2009 imposed an arms embargo and targeted sanctions on Eritrea for its alleged support of the Al-Qaeda linked Al-Shabaab militants, which continue to launch regular deadly attacks despite losing territory in recent years.

The declaration placed special emphasis on its support for the Somali government.

“Eritrea strongly supports the political independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Somalia as well as the efforts of the people and government of Somalia to restore the country’s rightful stature and achieve the lofty aspirations of its people,” it said.The document, posted on Eritrea’s information ministry website, also said the two nations “will endeavor to forge intimate political, economic, social, cultural as well as defense and security cooperation.”

They will in addition “work in unison to foster regional peace, stability and economic integration.”

At a state banquet on Sunday, Afwerki bemoaned the gloomy post-Cold War history of the Horn of Africa.

He said the region had been destroyed by “ethnic and clan cleavages” and “external pillage and internal thievery” in the speech which also lashed out at the “micromanagement of anarchy” by the United Nations and NGOs.

“Under these bleak realities, interventionist and expansionist regional agendas in the name of religion, cultural intoxication under various extremist ideologies, terrorism, piracy, human trafficking, as well as trade in weapons and narcotics became the new normal,” he said, according to a speech posted on the information ministry’s website.

“But this epoch of crises, conflict and instability is not inherently sustainable. As such, it is nearing its end. We are indeed entering a new, transitional, phase.”

Ethiopia, which is undergoing lightning reforms under new Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, has already formally requested that sanctions be lifted against Eritrea.

And in the wake of Ethiopia’s peace with Eritrea, its other neighbour and rival Djibouti asked the UN Security Council for help mediating a long-standing border dispute that has soured relations with Asmara.

Violence Disrupts Voting in Mali
 31 JUL, 2018 - 00:07 

BAMAKO. – Attacks by gunmen or other violence disrupted around a fifth of Mali’s polling stations during Sunday’s presidential election, with about three percent unable to function at all, the Ministry of Territorial Administration said yesterday.

Of the roughly 23 000 polling stations open, 4 632 were disrupted by “armed attacks or other violence”, of which 644 were unable to operate, ministry figures showed.

Spiraling jihadist violence has become a key issue in the campaign of several opposition candidates competing with President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, as attacks multiply and the death toll mounts across north and central Mali.

Al Qaeda’s franchise in the Sahara claimed a mortar attack on village of Aguelhok in the northern region of Kidal during the election.

In that attack, militants fired 10 mortar rounds, one of which exploded about 100 meters from a polling station, causing voting to be temporarily suspended.

In most of Mali, the vote was peaceful, but the number of disenfranchised voters could become a flash point if the result is very close.

“My family just told me they couldn’t go and vote because of insecurity in (central) Motpi region. Things didn’t go well,” said Issamadou Sagra, who is from Koro, in the Mopti region, but who lives and voted in the capital Bamako.

“We are now worried about the final results . . . they might not be reliable.”

Counting is under way but results may not come out for another day or even longer. Candidates are forbidden from making announcements before the official tally is collated centrally in Bamako.

The party of Keita’s main challenger Soumaila Cisse has already complained about voting being disrupted because of insecurity and had pressed the government to release a list of the places that had problems.

– Reuters.
Malians Vote for Peace in Presidential Polls
30 JUL, 2018 - 00:07
 Malians vote for peace in presidential polls

President Keta casts his vote yesterday. - Reuters

BAMAKO. – Malians cast ballots in a presidential vote in the largely desert nation fractured by armed groups across its north and central zones since the last poll in 2013.

Eight million voters were registered for yesterday’s election. After a campaign marred by violent incidents, 23,000 polling stations opened at 8:00am and were scheduled to close at 6:00pm.

More than 30,000 personnel were drafted to ensure security.

“I have my voting card, I am going to vote for my country and for my favourite president,” said Moriba Camara, a 35-year-old teacher, in the Sebenicoro district of the capital Bamako.

In a message on UN radio, Mahamat Saleh Anadif, head of the UN mission in Mali, urged Malians to use their right to vote.

“Dear Malians, do not add another crisis into the current crisis. Use this day to vote peacefully and respect the outcome,” Anadif said.

Mali’s national broadcaster ORTM reported a large turnout of voters in the capital.

The first poll results are expected within 48 hours, with official results following on Friday at the latest. If no candidate gains more than 50 percent of the vote, a second round will take place on August 12.

More than 300 civilians have died in ethnic clashes this year, according to UN figures.

Al Jazeera’s Mohamed Vall, reporting from Bamako, said voters told him they were casting their ballots “for peace”.

“It is a keyword now, here in Mali. People are fed up. This is what they have been telling us. The incumbent President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita has miserably failed in stabilising the country,” he said.

President Keita’s main rival Soumaila Cisse (68), is seen as having the strongest chance of ousting him, he said.

“However, no sitting president in the history of Mali has been dislodged from power by an opposition leader in any election.”

President Keita (73), suggested during his campaign that peace had already been restored, saying he toured all over Mali and “nowhere did I feel afraid”.

But insecurity was, in fact, such that in some parts of the country voting simply did not happen.

The European Union observer mission urged the government on Saturday to publish a list of places that would be unable to vote so as to quell suspicions by candidates of “fictitious polling stations”.

“These are polling stations in which we know insecurity … won’t make the vote possible there,” EU mission head Cecile Kyenge told journalists.

In the past three years, attacks have tripled and violent deaths have doubled, according to civil society website Malilink.

Mali has been fractured by armed groups across its north and central zones [Luc Gnago/Reuters]

Rebels have spread from the north to the centre and even targeted Bamako. In 2015, gunmen killed 20 people in a raid on the Radisson Blu hotel.

Last month, a suicide bomber drove a vehicle laden with explosives into the headquarters of the regional G5 Sahel anti-terrorism force in Severe, central Mali, killing three people.

The United Nations peacekeeping mission to Mali has suffered more fatalities than any throughout history, with about 170 peacekeepers killed, and human rights groups have raised the alarm over alleged executions by security forces.

The defence ministry promised to investigate evidence linking them to mass graves.

Insecurity has taken the shine off Keita’s achievements in the economy: average growth of around five percent during his leadership, and Mali’s important exports, gold and cotton, have flourished – as have agricultural staples, such as rice.

– Al Jazeera
Ron Dellums, U.S. Lawmaker Who Led Push for Sanctions Against South Africa, Dead at 82
Steve Gorman

(Reuters) - Former California congressman Ron Dellums, who first won election to Capitol Hill as an anti-Vietnam War candidate and later led a 15-year effort to enact U.S. sanctions against South Africa’s apartheid government, died on Monday at age 82.

Dellums’ death, at his home in Washington following a battle with cancer, was confirmed in statements from his family and his successor in the U.S. House of Representatives, fellow Democrat Barbara Lee, who got her start in Congress as an intern in his office.

Dellums, a co-founder of the Congressional Black Caucus and one of Capitol Hill’s most unabashed and tenacious liberal voices, retired from the U.S. House of Representatives in early 1998 after 27 years.

He re-entered elective politics a decade later to serve four years as mayor of his native Oakland, California, starting in 2007. Dellums began his political career on the Berkeley City Council in 1967.

A former U.S. Marine, he was recruited by peace activists in 1970 to challenge incumbent U.S. Representative Jeffery Cohelan, a liberal Democrat seen by critics on the left as having failed to take a strong enough stance against the Vietnam War.

Dellums defeated Cohelan in the primary and went on to become the first African-American elected from a white-majority congressional district, California’s 7th, then 71 percent white. He won 12 more consecutive elections to the Oakland-based House seat.


Branded “an out and out radical” during his first congressional campaign by Republican U.S. Vice President Spiro Agnew, Dellums accepted the label as a badge of honor, as recounted by the San Francisco Chronicle.

“If it’s radical to oppose the insanity and cruelty of the Vietnam War, if it’s radical to oppose racism and sexism and all other forms of oppression, if it’s radical to want to alleviate poverty, hunger, disease, homelessness and other forms of human misery, then I’m proud to be called a radical,” Dellums told reporters at the time.

One of Dellums’ greatest political triumphs was congressional enactment in 1986, over the veto of Republican President Ronald Reagan, of U.S. economic sanctions against the apartheid policy of racial separation by South Africa’s white minority government.

Lee, according to the Chronicle, recalled Dellums telling his staffers that “the only question we should ask when we made decisions about anything is, ‘Is this the right thing to do?’”

Despite his reputation for being one of the Pentagon’s harshest critics, Dellums became chairman of the House Armed Services Committee in January 1993 when Les Aspin resigned to become President Bill Clinton’s defense secretary. Dellums was forced to relinquish the post two years later, after Republicans regained control of the House.

Reporting by Steve Gorman in Los Angeles; Editing by Bill Tarrant and Peter Cooney
Iran Says Impossible to Engage With Current US Govt.
Mon Jul 30, 2018 10:48AM

Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi talks to reporters during a news conference in Tehran, July 30, 2018. (Photo by IRNA)

Iran says it is impossible to engage in talks with the US under the current administration which has adopted a fiercely hostile policy toward the Islamic Republic.

"With current America and these policies, there will definitely not be the possibility of dialogue and engagement, and the United States has shown that it is totally unreliable," Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi said on Monday.

President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of an international nuclear deal known as the JCPOA with Tehran in May and announced his intention to impose the strictest regime of sanctions on the country.

Qassemi, speaking to reporters in Tehran during his weekly news briefing, dismissed calls for negotiations by US leaders, including by Trump who said recently that he was ready "to make a real deal" with Iran. 

"Given the current circumstances and hostile actions of the United States, the country's withdrawal from the JCPOA and continuation of hostile policies, its efforts to put economic pressure on the Iranian people and its sanctions, I think there are no conditions for such a discussion at all."

Qassemi further brushed aside reports about a policy of regime change or collapse having been instituted by the Trump administration toward Iran, calling them "irrelevant" and a "raw dream which will never come true." 

The spokesman also said a military confrontation between Iran and the United States was out of the question, but that Tehran had prepared itself for any eventuality.

"America's hostile policies against Iran continue, and Iran has prepared itself for this behavior, doing what it takes to thwart these conspiracies and hostile policies," he said, adding that "Iran and its brave people will be victorious in this battle."

Qassemi further shrugged off reports that the Trump administration was quietly pushing ahead with a bid to create an "Arab NATO" with the participation of six Persian Gulf Arab states, Egypt and Jordan to counter Iran.

"What we have seen from the overall inter-Arab relations, and the current situation and the lack of coherence and consensus and the gap that exists among these countries, this issue should be viewed as no more than a slogan," he said.

The spokesman, however, acknowledged that Trump was taking advantage of the weakness of Muslim and Arab states to use their oil revenues to his own benefit through various machinations. 

"Over the past four decades, the Islamic Republic has shown how it has been able to stand alongside the people and with the support and resistance of the great people of Iran resist foreign conspiracies and pressures," he said.

"We will certainly pass through this stage as well, and these reports and allegations are not worthy of attention," Qassemi added.

The official also pointed to ongoing talks between the Islamic Republic and European countries, saying Tehran has asked the European signatories to the nuclear deal to give it assurances about the deal’s continued existence.

“Constant communication with the European parties continues and this is a reason for optimism,” Qassemi said, stressing that the overall situation is positive. 
Contradiction in Washington: Trump, Pompeo at Odds Over Iran Preconditions
Mon Jul 30, 2018 07:07PM

US President Donald Trump speaks during a joint press conference with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC, July 30, 2018.

US President Donald Trump speaks during a joint press conference with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC, July 30, 2018.

US President Donald Trump says he is ready to meet his Iranian counterpart, Hassan Rouhani, “any time they want to.”

Speaking at a joint press conference alongside Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte on Monday, Trump asserted that he would “certainly meet” with Iranians with “no preconditions.”

“It’s good for the country, good for them, good for us and good for the world. No preconditions. If they want to meet, I’ll meet,” said the US president.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo appeared on CNBC hours later to set some conditions.

"We've said this before," said the former CIA chief. “If the Iranians demonstrate a commitment to make fundamental changes in how they treat their own people, reduce their malign behavior, can agree that it's worthwhile to enter into a nuclear agreement that actually prevents proliferation, then the president said he's prepared to sit down and have the conversation with them.”

Back in May, Pompeo had set 12 conditions for talks with Iran, which were dismissed by Tehran.

Trump’s latest stance towards Tehran runs counter to his recent threats against the nation as well as pulling Washington out of the Iran nuclear deal despite having the support of almost all US allies.

“I do believe that they will probably end up wanting to meet,” he claimed. “And I’m ready to meet any time they want to. And I don’t do that from strength or from weakness. I think it’s an appropriate thing to do.”

President Rouhani has not yet responded to Trump's latest comments but his adviser said on Twitter that the US should return to the nuclear deal.

"Respecting the Iranian nation's rights, reducing hostilities and returning to the nuclear deal are steps that can be taken to pave the bumpy road of talks between Iran and America," said Hamid Aboutalebi‏ (pictured above).

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi suggested earlier in the day that engaging in negotiations with the "current  America" is next to impossible.

He further asserted that a military confrontation between Iran and the United States is out of the question, yet the Islamic Republic is ready for such scenario.

Known for his anti-Iran sentiments from the campaign days, Trump ultimately pulled the US out of the Iran nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, in May.

According to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, Trump “should learn well that peace with Iran is the mother of all peace and war with Iran is the mother of all wars.”
Trump Says Ready to Talk Directly with Iran’s President
July 31, 2018 6:17 AM
Steve Herman

U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday made his most explicit statement yet that he is open to direct talks with Iran.

Trump, in the White House East Room during a joint news conference with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, was asked by a reporter if he would be willing to meet with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

“I believe in meeting,” Trump responded. “Speaking to other people, especially when you’re talking about potentials of war and death and famine and lots of other things, you meet. There’s nothing wrong in meeting.”

Trump noted his recent one-on-one discussions with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and Russian President Vladimir Putin as examples of his direct diplomacy with leaders deemed hostile to U.S. interests.

“So, I would certainly meet with Iran if they wanted to meet. I don’t know that they’re ready yet. They’re having a hard time right now,” Trump added. “I’m ready to meet anytime they want to.”

'No preconditions'

Asked if he had any preconditions for such a meeting, Trump replied: “No preconditions. If they want to meet, I’ll meet.”

Later, in an interview with the cable television network CNBC, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Trump is prepared to sit down with the Iranians if they "make fundamental changes in how they treat their own people, reduce their malign behavior," and agree it is worthwhile to put in place a nuclear agreement "that actually prevents proliferation."

Iran's reaction

Iran responded by saying the path to direct discussions with Washington would have to include the United States returning to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), as the nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers was formally called.

"Respecting the Iranian nation's rights, reducing hostilities and returning to the nuclear deal are steps that can be taken to pave the bumpy road of talks between Iran and America," Hamid Aboutalebi, an adviser to Rouhani, tweeted.

Analysts do not expect a Trump-Rouhani meeting anytime soon, pointing out that Trump has, for some time, been seeking to meet Rouhani directly without success.

“I don’t think it will happen in the immediate future,” said Jarrett Blanc, senior fellow of the Geoeconomics and Strategy Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

Iran, with a more complicated domestic political structure than the totalitarian model of North Korea, has been cool to the idea of diplomacy with Washington, more so since Trump pulled the United States out of the multinational deal known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, which imposed restrictions on Iran's ability to build nuclear weapons in exchange for sanctions relief.

Other signatories are working with Iran to try to save the agreement while Washington begins reimposing sanctions on Tehran that are to start taking effect in August.

"Iranian leadership has presented Trump as a bully and has presented the U.S. withdrawal from the nuclear deal as a betrayal of trust. So it’s really hard for the Iranian leadership to now turn around and start negotiation from scratch," said Shahram Akbarzedeh, a research professor in Middle East and Central Asian Politics at Australia's Deakin University.

Trump, just eight days ago, issued a direct counterthreat to Tehran in an all-capital-letters tweet in which he sharply warned Rouhani to "never threaten the United States" or the Islamic Republic would suffer historical consequences.

Just hours before that tweet, Rouhani had warned Trump’s policies could lead to "the mother of all wars."

“No Iranian leader is likely in the near future to meet with a president who has repeatedly threatened Iran, insulted its leadership and violated the nuclear deal,” said Ali Vaez, Iran project director at the International Crisis Group.

“It’s tricky for them” Blanc told VOA. “Anybody at this point in Tehran who attempted to reach out to Trump would be slammed by another part of the establishment in Iran.”

Ruled out any talks

Officials in Tehran, earlier in the day prior to the Trump-Conte joint news conference, explicitly ruled out any talks with Washington.

"With current America and these policies, there will definitely not be the possibility of dialog and engagement, and the United States has shown that it is totally unreliable," Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi told reporters.

Blanc said he views Trump’s offer as very much in line with Trump’s desired approach to solving global issues.

“He wants to put himself in the room,” he said. “So, I don’t think it’s hugely surprising.”

Unlike Trump’s quickie summit in Singapore with Kim, after which he declared he had solved the nuclear issue with North Korea, any such pronouncements by the U.S. president following a meeting with an Iranian leader would be heavily scrutinized, and any accommodations likely intensely criticized by Tehran’s foes.

“Even if Donald Trump, with the laws of pol gravity suspended, goes to Lausanne or wherever and meets Rouhani and claims to have solved the nuclear issue, he would get hammered by the Saudis, Israelis and Washington’s war hawks,” Blanc predicted.

For some analysts, Trump’s approach is more moderate than that of some of his top advisers, such as National Security Advisor John Bolton.

“President Trump might be interested in a bigger, better and broader deal with Tehran, but almost no one in his entourage seems to share that interest,” Vaez told VOA. “The president's war cabinet seems more inclined to bring the Iranian regime to its knees.”

“I do not have the impression that he is actually seeking a war with Iran,” Blanc said of Trump. “But I do worry very much belligerent rhetoric doesn’t exist in a vacuum,” and there is a risk of “an accidental conflagration” with Iran.

Steve Herman is VOA's White House Bureau Chief.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Mozambique: Chinese Loans Funding U.S.$2.7 Billion Moatize-Macuse Railway
By Joseph Hanlon

The Moatize-Macuse Logistics Corridor, the largest infrastructure project in Mozambique, has reached its final stage, with the launch scheduled for 2019 and completion in 2022, according to a new newsletter, China-Lusophone Brief (CLBrief). The 639 km-railway will transport coal from the mines of Moatize and Chitima in Tete to a new floating coal terminal off the coast at Macuse, Zambezia, just north of Quelimane.

Coal prices have doubled since their low two years ago, reaching $100/tonne for thermal coal and $175/t for coking coal. Most coal is now exported via Nacala along a railway that is almost twice as long as the proposed Macuse line, and it costs more than $50/t to ship the coal by railway. The shorter Macuse line would cut that substantially, making thermal coal profitable again.

The consortium is led by Thai Mozambique Logistica (TML), a subsidiary of the Ital-Thai Development (ITD) of Thailand, which won the project in 2013, and holds 60% of the capital. The TML is to be financed exclusively by Chinese capital through public banks targeting Africa, and China Export & Credit Insurance Corporation (Sinosure) based in Beijing, according to CLBrief. The World Bank, through the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) covers the political risk of such an investment. Mota Engil Mozambique and China National Complete Engineering Corporation, a subsidiary of the China Machinery Engineering Corporation, signed the construction contact in June 2017.

Local owners with 20% each are Mozambique railways (Caminhos de Ferro de Mocambique, CFM) and the Corredor de Desenvolvimento Integrado do Zambeze (Codiza). Local owners of Codiza are said to include Graca Machel; Olivia Machel, a daughter of Samora Machel; and Salimo Abdula, who often represented former President Armando Guebuza’s business interests.
SP Not Anti-religion, Says M’membe
By Speedwell Mupuchi
The Mast Online
July 29, 2018

SOCIALIST Party presidential candidate Dr Fred M’membe says Zambia is ready for a Socialist government. And Dr M’membe has told Pan African News that the Socialist Party cannot be anti-religion because it cannot oppose the working class, which is largely religious.

He said every country where there was a ruling class was ready for a socialist government because the only answer to the challenges that the working class were facing today lies in socialism.
“Capitalism cannot resolve those problems,” Dr M’membe said.

Asked whether Zambians were ready to embrace Socialism, Dr M’membe said the working class was ready because the capitalist class, together with the petty and comprador bourgeoisies that work for the capitalist class, would never be ready to embrace socialism.

Asked whether Zambians would be able to stand firm under a socialist government given threats from capitalist western powers, Dr M’membe said such would depend on how “we organize ourselves”.

“What is needed is building a strong working class organisation, a strong working class movement, entrenching the revolution in the working class and the masses of our people to support it and also working out a strong internationalist position. We need to mobilise the world,” Dr M’membe said.

He said the whole world was ripe for socialism or to support a socialist revolution in certain parts of the world.

“But of course we don’t expect the defeated capitalist class just to take it like that. Capitalism, if it’s hit hard, it fights back like a wounded buffalo and we are seeing that in Venezuela, we have seen that in the last 60 years in Cuba; we’ll not be an exception,” Dr M’membe said.

Asked whether he felt the Zambian government felt the Socialist Party was a threat to it, given it’s action to expel from the country international delegates that had travelled to witness the launch of the party, Dr M’membe said if they did not feel they were a threat, they would not have done what they did.

“They did what they did because they feel we are a threat and indeed we are a threat because we are not just talking in the media, we are anchored on the working class. We are organising the working class from where the working class is located within the poor neighbourhoods, we are situated where the working class is and they know it and they don’t have the means of stopping that other than humiliating our guests who came here to pay solidarity to our cause, which is also their cause. They sent away Ghanaians; they sent away people from Burkina Faso, Cape Verde and others. They know those comrades came to pay solidarity and they don’t want that solidarity but they can’t stop it,” Dr M’membe said.

On measures his party had put in place to protect their rights from being curtailed, Dr M’membe said the enemy never creates or gives freedom to opponents.

He said his formation would have to win that freedom for themselves.

“We have to win the space under which we operate inch by inch. We have to liberate certain areas of our country where we can operate freely, liberate them in terms of mobilising our people to support us. The more our people support us, the more we become stronger and nobody can crush us. To crush us they have to crush the masses of our people,” he said.

Dr M’membe said the government operatives would not stop attempt to curtail the Socialist Party’s activities.

He said the only thing that would stop them was the defence of “our people for what they are doing”.

“If we liberate certain areas and our people support us in those areas, they will not be able to come and stop us from holding meetings in those areas because the people will rise against them,” Dr M’membe said.

On the question of Socialist Party being anti-religion, Dr M’membe said his party could not be anti-religion.

“We respect faith, we respect convictions, we respect all religions. We respect our people’s convictions. We are not a religious organisation; we are a political organisation but a political organisation comprising of people coming from various religions and we respect that. Our party spokesperson is an Anglican priest,” he said.

Dr M’membe said nobody in the Socialist Party was discriminated against on the basis of their religion or hindered from professing their religion. He said the Socialist Party had Moslems, Christians, Hindus in its formation.

“So we respect religious convictions, we are not anti-religion. If you are anti-religion, who are you going to be against? You are going to be anti-the working class, which is religious. Can we turn against our working class elements because they are religious? And what is the purpose of being anti-religion?” he asked.

Dr M’membe said Christ was a great revolutionary, “a revolutionary par excellence” whose whole doctrine was devoted to the downtrodden, the poor.

“How can you oppose that and still remain a revolutionary? Who can oppose the efforts of the early Christians? Who was Christ? Wasn’t Christ a working class element? Who was Jesus’ father? Joseph, isn’t he? Wasn’t Joseph a carpenter? Isn’t a carpenter a working class element? So how do you turn against Jesus? How do you turn against Christianity whose leader, whose founder, Christ, was a member of the working class? How do you oppose what Christ stood for, how?” asked Dr M’membe. “Christ stood for honesty, Christ stood for equity, Christ stood for humility, Christ stood for solidarity. How can you remain a socialist if you turn against Christ and his doctrine?”
Hey, Women of Zimbabwe, Defend One of Your Own!
Zimbabwe Sunday Mail
JULY 22, 2018

IT was refreshing to see white commercial farmers mixing and mingling with the President last week. The President told the farmers that “you are part of us” and reports say the farmers were charmed by this stance.

Former Commercial Farmers Union President, Mr Nick Swanepoel told the President that his colleagues were failing to use the 99 year lease as a tradable document which they can use to borrow money. Ohh, really?

He also requested to have the white farming community included in making Zimbabwe succeed, to which President Mnangagwa said he wants a Zimbabwe where everyone is free.

Mr Swanepoel ended his presentation by wishing the President good luck in the 30 July election. Well, good move Mr Swanepoel, but the truth is that the President doesn’t need luck on July 30. He needs votes. Standing with the President and posing for pictures with him is not enough. We hope the white commercial farmers will speak loud and clear on July 30.

Now to today’s sermon. It’s really sad that it took the first female President of Ireland and former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Mrs Mary Robinson to openly point out the sickening abuse of female commissioners in the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission by little Chamisa and his hoodlums. Very sad!

Is it the patriarchal society that has socialized Zimbabweans into viewing women as punch bags? Little Chamisa and his hoodlums have been abusing the female commissioners with reckless abandon and as Zimbabweans we saw nothing wrong with it all.

ZEC chairwoman, Justice Priscilla Chigumba and Commissioner Mrs Netsai Mushonga have been on the receiving end of this abuse for quite some time.

Little Chamisa has discovered that he can’t go into the political ring with President Mnangagwa and he thinks Justice Chigumba should be his punch bag.

With defeat imminent on July 30, little Chamisa thinks he has found a scapegoat in Justice Chigumba.

On the other hand, MDC Alliance hoodlums have been abusing Mrs Mushonga, sending her death threats and saying all manner of unprintable words.

When I read Mrs Mushonga’s post on twitter last Friday, I felt sorry for the good lady. She wrote: “Its sexism where when you don’t agree with a woman you throw unomutukirira with the h…word. Why can’t we talk and argue and agree to disagree.”

Clearly, this is a woman under duress calling out for help.

Thank God Mrs Robinson came at the right time. And thank God British Ambassador to Zimbabwe Ms Catriona Laing has added her voice.

“Good to see this abuse being called out. It needs to stop,” she posted on her twitter handle. Good going madam!

Little Chamisa and his hoodlums got away with this kind of abuse when they openly attacked Thokozani Khupe during the burial of Morgan Tsvangirai. In case you have forgotten dear congregants, this is what Khupe said after the attack:

“We have criminal sons who beat me and others. People must learn to respect the dead. As we arrived at the homestead we wanted to greet gogo but they called us names and said they will kill us.

“. . . they beat us with stones, umbrellas and any items they could lay their hands on. They called us dissidents saying we should go back to Matabeleland. It was me, Douglas Mwonzora, Abednico Bhebhe, Lwazi Sibanda, and several other people. One stone hit me on my back. I am in pain as I speak right now.

“One man asked us to go into his hut. Those thugs threatened to burn the hut but we were lucky that it was raining and so the thatch could not catch the fire. They threw a burning log into the hamlet. If it was not raining, we were going to die. But I went back to attend the funeral to make sure that he (Tsvangirai) was laid to rest.”

When Khupe made this statement, as Zimbabweans we quickly looked the other side. Kwanzi ndezvavo muMDC. Well, indeed ndezvavo in MDC but then the person behind those hoodlums is actually thinking of being this country’s president.

If little Chamisa can allow those hoodlums to attack a defenceless woman now when he doesn’t have the State machinery, what will he do when he gets into power?

The little boy wants to create a country in which rowdy youths beat up women?

Beating up women in their late 70s?

If you don’t agree with little Chamisa then you are called all sorts of unprintable words.

Jessie Majoma was also a victim of this abuse and she left the MDC Alliance. This abuse has to stop.

But as a Bishop I want to know — where is the Women Action Group?

Where is the Zimbabwe Women Lawyers Association? Where is Musasa Project?

Where is the Campaign for Female Education?

Where is the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights? Where is the Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe?

Where is Women and Land Rights in Zimbabwe and where is the Federation of African Women in the Media in Zimbabwe?

Where is my good sister the vocal Priscilla Misihairabwi?

Where is sister Fadzai Mahere? Hey good people, where are you mwanasikana achishungurudzwa?

Just a few days ago, little Chamisa was at it again inciting his hoodlums to go after Khupe.

Speaking at a rally in Karoi last Thursday, little Chamisa said: “I have heard they are people calling themselves MDC-T here.

There is no longer MDC-T. It has expired because it has outlived its usefulness…

“We told Khupe that you are wrong. She said she was to be president even of a burial society. We said to her you have demons. Beware of her, she has tried to rig the election, helping ZANU-PF. Don’t vote for that party, her party is called MDC-Tokoloshe. If you vote for her, tokoloshes will terrorise you at your homes.”

Why this politics of calling each other names?

Does little Chamisa know what it means to say someone has demons?

Who is he to say that?

Just because Khupe sees things differently, she is now being said to have demons? Tokoloshe?

What tokoloshe?

So what should those hoodlums do when they meet Khupe?

A Khupe who is said to have demons. A Khupe who is said to have a tokoloshe party.

Can’t little Chamisa see he is inciting his supporters to attack Khupe?

While little Chamisa is inciting the abuse of women, ZANU-PF is preaching peace and love as we heard for the July 30 elections.

Following the blast at White City Stadium about a month ago, tempers were high but President Mnangagwa shocked many when he gave the following statement:

“This afternoon (Saturday) as we were leaving a wonderful rally in Bulawayo, there was an explosion on the stage. Several people were affected by the blast, and I have already been to visit them in the hospital. While we await further information, my thoughts and prayers are with all those affected by this senseless act of violence.

“The campaign so far has been conducted in a free and peaceful environment, and we will not allow this cowardly act to get in our way as we move towards elections. Let us continue to be united and address our differences peacefully. The strongest response to violence is peace. The strongest response to hate is love.”

The President could have chosen to use that incident to unleash violence on his enemies.

Actually some people whispered that he had stage-managed that incident to justify violence that he was about to unleash on the opposition supporters, but the President has since that time being preaching unity and non-violence.

Little Chamisa has to take a few notes from the President.

It’s clear that the tide is against him in this election, but that is no justification to abuse women and that is no justification to unleash violence on those with opposition views.

Khupe has no demons and she has no tokoloshe. All she has are different views.

Thank God July 30 is fast approaching. This silly season is really getting out of hand.

Bishop is out!
Putting Our Revolution in Context
Zimbabwe Sunday Mail
Tau Tawengwa

On July 4, the United States celebrated its independence day.

In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on July 4, 1776, US politicians and military officers made a declaration announcing that the 13 colonies – which were then at war with Great Britain – would regard themselves as 13 sovereigns no longer under British rule.

This makes the United States 242-years-old.

Interestingly, at the time that the American founding fathers made the declaration of independence, the American economy was only beginning to industrialise, and this was the process of expanding cottage industries – what we call “home-based industries” in Zimbabwe – to large-scale industries.

Historians say at the time the American declaration of independence was made, agriculture was the major activity in the 13 colonies and at least 90 percent of Americans made their living off the land.

It must be considered that black slaves had been working on American plantations since 1619.

Slaves undoubtedly helped America to become an economic powerhouse through the production of lucrative crops such as tobacco and cotton.

The import of the foregoing is that at the time of the American declaration of independence in 1776, America had three key economic assets – land, minerals and labour.

Sounds similar?

Zimbabwe is also very rich in those three key resources.

Yet it was the deliberate and focused policies of American leaders at the time of the of the Industrial Revolution that transformed that country into the giant it is today.

The Industrial Revolution was largely characterised by automation, which in the American context at that time was the steam engine.

In our context, this is what President Emmerson Mnangagwa has repeatedly referred to as the mechanisation of agriculture and mining.

Also, the Industrial Revolution saw the urbanisation of America’s rural communities and, consequently, the expansion of markets for goods and services.

Ultimately, this improved the standard of living for the American people.

Furthermore, the proliferation of free-market capitalism, despite its flaws, incentivised scientific innovation and rewarded hard work.

Overall, 200 years after its independence, America has become a global force.

In fact, by 1900 the United States had half of the world’s manufacturing capacity and had overtaken Great Britain both in iron, steel and coal production.

I have often heard people speaking negatively about vendors, and how the informal economy in Zimbabwe is nothing more than a nuisance.

I do understand the logic behind those arguments, especially when they come from rate-paying shop-owners and businesspeople that have to accommodate vegetable vendors who sometimes relieve themselves within the environs of the same shops.

However, I have argued before that our informal economy is a constant reminder of our slide from an industrialised, advanced, middle-income economy to the informal economy we are today.

Yet if we reflect on America’s experiences from 1776, it becomes clear that the future is filled with possibilities.

Just like America then, Zimbabwe abounds in land and mineral resources and has an expansive informal sector that is ready to be transformed from “cottage industries”.

But more than anything else, we now have the political will to industrialise, which is largely credited to President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s “Zimbabwe is Open for Business” project.

In this light, I give credit to President Mnangagwa drive’s for investment-led growth.

Zimbabwe is now back on the international radar, and this time for the right reasons.

Since November last year, Zimbabwe has been hosting delegation after delegation from different parts of the globe that are willing to explore investment opportunities in Zimbabwe.

Clearly, what we need now is to allow President Mnangagwa to see through the process of re-industrialisation.

What is certain is that judging from America’s history, Zimbabwe’s reindustrialisation is a real possibility if we focus our energies after July 30.

At the end of the day, President Mnangagwa’s business-oriented administration presents a real opportunity for Zimbabwe to undergo an economic revolution and consequently an economic boom going forward.

For that reason, I believe he deserves a full term in office.
Chamisa Confirms Mugabe Alliance
Ranga Mataire and Norman Muchemwa

MDC-Alliance Presidential candidate Mr Nelson Chamisa yesterday confirmed he was working with former President Robert Mugabe in his bid to win the July 30, 2018 harmonised elections.

At a rally in Harare, Mr Chamisa also acknowledged the support of Ms Eunice Sandi-Moyo, interim president of a faction of Mr Mugabe’s pet project, the National Patriotic Front, and the small group’s spokesperson, Mr Jealousy Mawarire.

Mr Chamisa said no one should question whoever lends him support.

“Let me welcome NPF here represented by Mai Sandi-Moyo. Some don’t know what NPF is, when we welcome them here we are welcoming the genuine Zanu-PF. It means we have the original Zanu-PF here, authentic and undiluted,” said Mr Chamisa.

“Robert Mugabe is a citizen of Zimbabwe; a former president of the Republic of Zimbabwe who is going to hand over to the president of the Second Republic, myself here present,” he said.

His announcement drew grumbling from the crowd, which appeared displeased with the alliance.

NPF has since its formation a few months ago already splintered.

Mr Chamisa also said he had international donors who would pour bucket-loads of cash into Zimbabwe after the elections.

However, he said his campaign had struggled to raise funds for logistics and regalia.

At the same rally, MDC-Alliance principal Mr Tendai Biti claimed his officials met Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan at last week’s Brics Summit in South Africa, and were also promised cash.

Mr Chamisa told a rally in Mutare in February that he met United States President Donald Trump, who promised to release $15 billion to the MDC-Alliance.

He later apologised after the US flagged the claims as false.

Mr Chamisa yesterday claimed Zanu-PF had bussed people into Harare for its well-subscribed rally at the National Sports Stadium. But as the MDC-Alliance rally wound down, a party official announced through the public address system that they were looking for the parents/guardians of a child from Mvuri who had been lost in the crowd.
July 30 Declared Public Holiday in Zimbabwe
28 JUL, 2018 - 00:07
Herald Reporters

President Mnangagwa has declared Monday July 30 a public holiday to allow people to go and vote in harmonised elections slated for that day.

The declaration was made in terms of Section 2 (2) of the Public Holidays and Prohibition of Business Act (Chapter 10:21), as read together with Section 38 (2) of the Electoral Act (Chapter 2:13).

This comes as observer missions and embassies observing Monday’s harmonised elections have expressed confidence in the country’s preparedness to hold the polls and urged all political parties to respect the rule of law on voting day.

President Mnangagwa, in his capacity as the Head of State and Government and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces had already pledged his commitment to a peaceful and credible election.

In line with his pledge, the President opened the political space in the country and allowed all parties to conduct their activities without hindrance.

In an Extraordinary Government Gazette published yesterday, President Mnangagwa said: “It is hereby declared that the 30th of July, 2018, shall be a public holiday for the purposes of polling for the 2018 harmonised elections.”

In separate media briefings yesterday, the African Union, Comesa, Sadc and the United States said they expected the elections to be conducted in accordance with the country’s laws.

They said the prevailing situation in the country was conducive for free and fair elections.

In a statement, the African Union Election Observer Mission, which is being led by former Ethiopian Prime Minister Mr Haile Mariam Desalegn said: “The overall objective of AUEOM is to promote democratic governance by building public confidence in electoral processes in member-states of the AU. This objective is in line with aspirations outlined in the AU’s Agenda 2063, particularly Aspiration III, which aims to ensure good governance, democracy, and respect for human rights, justice and the rule of law on the continent. The conduct of peaceful, democratic and credible elections is deemed critical to the realisation of Agenda 2063 and the attainment of the AU’s vision of an integrated, peaceful and prosperous Africa.”

US Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Brian Nichols told journalists after meeting Acting President Constantino Chiwenga at his Munhumutapa Offices yesterday that said: “This is a very exciting time for Zimbabwe. We are at the door step of elections and I want to know the Vice President in that context.

“This is a crucial time. There has been a great deal of progress. Candidates have been able to campaign openly. There has been a very comprehensive technical platform to prepare for the elections. However, there has been some issues, challenges with intimidation and some issues to do with differences with electoral commission (ZEC).”

“I hope this is a positive situation I encourage all Zimbabweans to go out and vote and exercise their will at the ballot box.”

Ambassador Nichols said a free fair and transparent electoral process will be the first major step in the warming of relations between the two countries.

“I am very impressed with many of the changes taking place so far and we hope this next step will allow us to deepen our relationship and cooperation even further,” he said.

Addressing journalists at a press conference in Harare yesterday, the Electoral Support Network of Southern Africa (ESN-Southern Africa) ESNA-SA mission head Dr Tomaz Salomao advised political parties to respect democracy and the rule of law.

“In democracy, there are winners and losers. That is how democracy is all over the world,” he said.

“If anyone made statements at this stage we just take note of the statement and at the appropriate time will engage him to advise him that in democracy there are rules and you must be prepared to accept the rules of the game.

“We are an observer mission, this country belongs to Zimbabweans and we are to help, assist and advise Zimbabweans that please do your best to take your country forward political and economically speaking. That’s what you have to do and encourage all Zimbabweans to go and vote on their candidates of their preference.

“The meeting we had with the political parties they raised concerns but we are yet to meet all other political and in a position to comment.”

Addressing journalists in Harare, Comesa head of election observer mission Ambassador Ashraf Gamal Rashed said: “Our mission endeavours to observe the various phases of the electoral cycle including campaigns, voting, vote counting and declaration or election results. Furthermore, as is our practice, the delegation will consult electoral stakeholders including political parties, security agencies, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, civil society organisations, academia and the media.

“As an observer mission, we will be primarily guided by the Constitution and legal framework of the republic of Zimbabwe, and relevant international and regional instruments including the Comesa guidelines on election observation. In that regard, ladies and gentlemen, and also to ensure that we do a good thorough job, all members of Comesa.”

Meanwhile the United States has deployed 20 teams from its embassy in Harare to observe elections in the all constituencies as preparations for the harmonised elections set for next Monday intensify.

In a statement yesterday, the US government said the observation was at the invitation of the Zimbabwe Government.

Besides regional and international regional bodies, the Government has invited over 46 countries to observe the polls as part of the new dispensation led by President Mnangagwa to open up a democratic space to enhance the holding of credible elections.

“The United States supports the Zimbabwean people’s desire to determine their future through a free, fair, and credible election on July 30th. At the Zimbabwean government’s invitation, twenty teams from the Embassy will be in the field observing polling throughout Zimbabwe. They have been accredited by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC).

“The United States Embassy remains committed to supporting the people of Zimbabwe and their efforts to build a more just, prosperous, and healthy society, regardless of the outcome of the election. We do not support any candidate or political party; we support the democratic process. Observation of elections is a long-standing international best practice, and we welcome the opportunity to observe this important part of Zimbabwe’s democracy,” said the Embassy.
All Set for Zanu-PF ‘Victory Rally’
28 JUL, 2018 - 00:07
Felex Share
Senior Reporter
Zimbabwe Herald

Zanu-PF winds up its highly-subscribed campaign ahead of Monday’s harmonised elections with a mega rally dubbed the “victory rally” at the 60 000-seater National Sports Stadium in Harare today.

President Mnangagwa — who is the revolutionary party’s First Secretary and President — will address the rally which will bring together youths, women and war veterans.

The Electoral Act compels political parties to wind up their campaigns 48 hours before Election Day.

Throughout their rallies, President Mnangagwa and his deputies, have attracted thousands of people and victory looks certain for Zanu-PF.

Vice President Constantino Chiwenga on the other hand, has travelled the length and breadth of the country addressing huge crowds that dwarfed those pulled by opposition parties, principally MDC Alliance which is an amalgamation of seven fringe political parties.

Zanu-PF spokesperson Cde Simon Khaya Moyo yesterday said all was set for the mega rally.

“All roads lead to the National Sports Stadium tomorrow (today) and no one should be left behind for it is a day for the whole world to know that Zimbabwe is not only open for business, but for peace and prosperity,” he said.

“The rally will be a mother of all rallies because it will represent the entire nerve and artery of our nation both as a party and as Government. We are the ruling party and therefore this is an opportunity for the nation to hear our illustrious President urging everyone not to forget the past and squander the future. We are a party with liberation war credentials, visionary leadership, unchallenged policies, a party of unity, peace and development.”

Zanu-PF Legal Affairs secretary Cde Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana weighed in: “The revolutionary party will put the final nail in the opposition’s coffin with the final victory rally.

“We are expecting an overflow and have mobilised enough particularly from Harare itself as the host province, Mashonaland East, Mashonaland Central and part of Mashonaland West areas like Norton. We expect to fill the giant stadium and all is in place for that.”

He urged party members to guard against complacency.

“We must continue mobilising, victory is only after voting,” said Cde Mangwana.

“We must not relax to achieve a resounding victory. We are expecting the Youth Wing, Women’s League and war veterans to be part of the final rally.”

He said urged Zanu-PF to exercise maximum discipline considering that MDC Alliance would also be having their final rally in Harare today.

“We want our youths to show that when you are ruling party, you are mature and cannot be provoked and retaliate easily.

“Our members should show the character of our leader Cde Mnangagwa when provoked, that is exercising restraint. The Zanu-PF we have now is a tolerant party which accepts the existence of other parties. Our youths must be vigilant but exercising restraint at the same time.”

MDC Alliance spokesperson Professor Welshman Ncube said: “We are also going to have our final rally at Freedom Square in Harare. So far everybody has been disciplined in terms of keeping peace. We have had situations where we have held rallies about 500 meters apart from each other and everyone went about their business without any problem. That same spirit of respect should be with us given that we have had a violent free campaign. Though we have a contest, we remain Zimbabweans and we all want a better life. We just differ on how to get there.”

Police said they were ready to deal with any political mischief associated with the smooth running of the polls.