Thursday, January 31, 2019

Zimbabwe Herald Editorial Comment: Diamond Sector Enters New Era
01 FEB, 2019 - 00:02

President Mnangagwa’s tour of Eurasia recently, rekindled hopes that Zimbabwe still has massive potential to grab a substantial stake in the lucrative multi-trillion dollar world diamond market.

Yes, the country could have not benefited much from the previous diamond deals in Marange, but this time the leadership appears to have struck the right chords.

The Zimbabwe National Diamond Policy that was approved by Cabinet on December 4 last year, says the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC), Murowa Diamonds and two other companies, would be permitted to undertake diamond exploration and mining.

The intriguing news is Government has since identified Alrosa Diamond Company and Anjin Investments as the foreign companies that will participate in the country’s lucrative diamond sector.

And recently Presidential spokesperson Mr George Charamba said: “. . . the President has put the Zimbabwean interest at the heart of exploitation of those diamonds only accepting foreign participation by way of select companies from Russia (Alrosa) and China (Anjin).”

Anjin previously mined diamonds in the country until late in 2015 when Government did not renew operating licences of diamond miners such as DMC, Kusena, Mbada Diamonds, Gye Nyame and Marange Resources.

Some reports say alluvial diamonds have dried up in Marange and the coming of world’s giants such as Alrosa that specialises in exploration, mining, manufacture, and sale of diamonds heralds the dawn of a new era in diamond extraction for Zimbabwe.

The company, which was formed in 1992 and employs about 40 000 people across the globe, says it leads the world in diamond mining by volume. Alrosa generated revenue of $4,63 billion in 2017.

President Mnangagwa met Alrosa officials in Moscow recently and the deal was sealed.

Following all these developments, what becomes more fascinating and possibly rekindling hopes of a brighter future for Zimbabweans, is that more discoveries continue to be reported in areas such as Masvingo and in Chihota near Harare recently.

The ZCDC has since engaged a local research firm to conduct an Environmental Impact Assessment for it. But inasmuch as the country might be endowed with kimberlite pipes of gems spanning kilometres, that alone might not be good news enough if the precious mineral is exported in its raw state for processing in Western capitals.

The preparations that are being made for the grand entry of the giants such as Alrosa and Anjin should definitely be matched by corresponding infrastructure for value addition and beneficiation.

Diamonds are a finite resource and once extracted the only memories that might remain are of gullies and heavy disused mining equipment. This therefore means any deal to be crafted should be done with Zimbabweans in minds, especially the future generation that is also expected to benefit from the resources.

It is against this background and indeed as already been reported according to the new diamond policy, local businesses will also have a fair share of the diamonds to be exploited in different parts of the country.

From the wide range of uses of diamonds including making expensive jewellery for the world’s rich and famous, we need to see Zimbabweans taking up these opportunities.

Where locals lack technologies to process other products from diamonds, our sincere hope is that companies such as Alrosa and Anjin can facilitate technology transfers from their countries.

Therefore the coming in of Alrosa and Anjin indeed heralds an era in the mining of diamonds in Zimbabwe and definitely President Mnangagwa’s dream of seeing Zimbabwe being turned into a middle income economy by 2030 will be a reality.

The benefits might not be immediate, but leadership is steadfast that there is silver lining at the end of the tunnel and only time will tell.
South Africa's Vodacom Faces Protests Over Call-back Service Compensation
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - A settlement offered by South African mobile telecoms provider Vodacom to a former employee drew tens of protesters on Thursday calling for a better deal.

Vodacom was ordered in 2016 by the country’s top court to pay Nkosana Makate for his role in creating the company’s call-back messaging service.

The Constitutional Court did not set a specific compensation amount, however, leaving it to both parties to iron out.

The court ruled that should the two sides fail to agree an amount, Vodacom Chief Executive Shameel Joosub had the authority to set an amount to break the deadlock.

Vodacom spokesman Byron Kennedy said the settlement made earlier this month was “reasonable”. The firm has not made the amount public and neither has Makate who did not respond to requests for comment.

“We are willing to pay Mr Makate a substantial amount and we have fully complied with the Constitutional Court order on the matter,” Kennedy said.

About 200 protesters marched to Vodacom headquarters, however, demanding 70 billion rand ($5.28 billion)for the 42 year-old Makate.

Chris Schoeman, a local businessman who funded Makate’s litigation against Vodacom, told 702 Talk Radio that Vodacom has offered a settlement of 49 million rand ($4 million). This amount could not be independently verified.

Makate has said on Twitter that the settlement offered by the mobile firm was “shocking and insulting”. It was unclear what he would consider a reasonable amount.

Holding placards reading “Vodacom Stop Racism” and “Justice for Makate = R70 billion”, the protesters gathered at the main entrance of Vodacom’s head office in Johannesburg.

Armed police kept vigil at the gates, which were locked with chains.

Kennedy said Vodacom’s retail stores inside the headquarters, which has around 6,000 square metres of shopping space, were closed for the day.

($1 = 13.2957 rand)

($1 = 13.2469 rand)

Reporting by Tiisetso Motsoeneng and Siphiwe Sibeko; Editing by James Macharia and Emelia Sithole-Matarise
Migrants Disembark in Italy as Rome Vows to Continue Hard Line
CATANIA, Italy (Reuters) - Migrants forced to remain on board the ship that rescued them off the coast of Libya almost two weeks ago stepped onto dry land in Sicily on Thursday, with Italy’s government promising to continue to block charity ships from its ports.

The Sea-Watch 3, run by a German humanitarian group, docked in the port of Catania to disembark the 47 people, including 15 minors, that it picked up on Jan. 19.

After hugging crew members, the minors disembarked first. The migrants then boarded buses taking them to shelters where they would be able to make official asylum requests.

It was the second time in a month that the Sea Watch has been forced to spend several days at sea while European Union countries haggled over who would welcome migrants.

Italy had been taking in all boat migrants picked up from unsafe and overcrowded boats off the coast of Libya until a populist government took over last year and shut the ports.

This latest group will be redistributed among eight different member states, including Italy.

“We hope Europe can welcome them and allow them to live the lives they deserve,” Sea Watch said on Twitter.

After Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini on Wednesday called for the charity to be put under criminal investigation, Sea Watch also asked for help with potential legal costs.

“We hope for the best and prepare for the worst,” it said on Twitter.

Salvini, who heads the nationalist League party, warned that Italy’s ports would remain closed to humanitarian vessels.

“If another big boat comes illegally to the Italian coast, I’d do the same thing all over again,” he told reporters in parliament on Wednesday.

“If someone were interested in opening an investigation into possible irregularities committed by the non-governmental groups, I’d be happy,” Salvini added.

Sea Watch said it followed international law at all times, and the prosecutor from the nearby city of Syracuse, where the Sea Watch ship had moored to take shelter from bad weather for several days, said the charity had done nothing wrong.

Salvini was placed under investigation last August for alleged abuse of power and holding people against their will after he denied permission for the Italian coastguard ship Diciotti to let a group of mainly Eritrean migrants disembark. [nL8N1ZO5GI]

Reporting by Antontio Parrinello in Catania; Additional reporting by Angelo Amante in Rome; Writing by Steve Scherer; Editing by Catherine Evans
EAC Leaders Head for Arusha Talks Amid Growing Trade War

In Summary
Ministers from the region on Wednesday held a meeting in preparation for the event just a day after principal secretaries concluded theirs on Tuesday at the same venue.
The heads of states will be looking into reports on how previous decisions by the councils have been implemented with trade and regional politics expected to be heavy on the agenda.

Kenya Daily Nation

East African presidents are expected to meet Friday in Arusha for the 20th Summit of the EAC Heads of States, an event they cancelled twice last year.

Ministers from the region on Wednesday held a meeting in preparation for the event just a day after principal secretaries concluded theirs on Tuesday at the same venue.

The heads of states will be looking into reports on how previous decisions by the councils have been implemented with trade and regional politics expected to be heavy on the agenda.

“Among the items on the agenda of the 38th council are reports on the: Implementation of previous decisions of the council; Office of the Secretary-General; report on planning and infrastructure; productive and social sectors; political matters; customs and trade; finance and administration matters; other EAC organs,” reads a statement from the EAC secretariat.

The region has been recording a decline in intra-regional trade due to the existence of various non-tariff barriers (NTBs) created by member states to discourage imports from neighbours.

The scenario has allowed for the influx of cheap Chinese imports into the region in what the East African Business Council decried in the last Sectoral Council on Trade, Industry, Finance and Investment meeting in November 2018.

Total trade in the EAC registered a decline of 19.5 per cent to $44.6 billion in 2016 from $55.4 billion in 2015, according to the EAC Trade and Investment Report 2016 partly due to persistent NTBs in the region.

Kenyan traders have been complaining bitterly over such barriers placed on goods entering the Tanzanian market, a subject that is likely to come up in the EAC meeting this week.
Kenya Improves in Fight Against Aids, Malaria, TB

Children mark a past World Malaria Day. Kenya is recording success stories in the war against malaria. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

In Summary
Aids-related deaths declined by 38 percent between 2013 and 2015 with a 52 percent increase in the number of people enrolled in antiretroviral treatment.

Kenya Daily Nation

Kenya has made significant gains in the fight against malaria, tuberculosis and HIV/Aids but it still needs to do more to ensure delivery of quality health services, reveals an audit report by the Global Fund.

According to a report released in November last year, the country — one of the Global Fund’s ‘high impact’ countries with active signed grants of $384 million (Ksh38 billion) for the period January 2018 to June 2021 — deployed about 14.9 million mosquito nets in its anti-malarial efforts, enrolled more people in antiretroviral treatment, recorded a decline in Aids-related deaths and registered more success in TB treatment.

The audit — conducted between January 2016 and December 2017 — sought to establish whether Global Fund grants are adequate and effective.

The report notes that approximately 14.9 million mosquito nets were distributed between 2017 and 2018, supporting the country’s fight against malaria in endemic areas.

The country achieved a 47 percent reduction in malaria incidence between 2015 and 2017.


Aids-related deaths declined by 38 percent between 2013 and 2015 with a 52 percent increase in the number of people enrolled in antiretroviral treatment.

The TB treatment success rate was 87 percent for new and relapse cases registered in 2015.

The auditors praised the government for increasing financial commitment to the three diseases and for meeting its counterpart funding in line with Global Fund requirements.

The government provided up to US$84 million to the national programmes between 2015 and 2017 and donated US$5 million to the Global Fund.

As for procurement and distribution of medicines under the grant, Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (Kemsa) was found to be effective in procuring quality medicines through international tender at cheaper rates than international reference prices.


Kemsa has been able to distribute medicines directly and efficiently to health facilities.

The audit covered grants implemented by the three principal recipients — The National Treasury, AMREF Health in Kenya and the Kenya Red Cross, and Kemsa.

The auditors visited 21 health facilities, 10 bed net distribution points, five Kemsa warehouses and five key population groups in 10 counties.

According to the findings, while the country has improved, certain components require improvements to sustain the gains made and provide better quality services to beneficiaries.


For instance, the Global Fund has supported the procurement and rollout of GeneXpert machines to increase diagnosis of regular TB and multi-drug resistant variety.

However, there is low utilisation of the machines (average of 49 percent in 2016 and 2017).

This, according to report, was due to their limited functionality and inconsistent availability of cartridges.

Forty-seven percent of the modules on installed machines were not functional at the time of the audit because maintenance had not been adequately planned for in previous grants.
Rastafarian Student Resumes Studies as Case Continues

Members of the Rastafarian Society of Kenya follow the proceedings at Milimani Law Courts on Tuesday, January 29, 2019 during the hearing of a case before Justice Chacha Mwita. PHOTO | DENNIS ONSONGO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

In Summary
Justice Chacha Mwita directs girl to keep her hair net and covered by a black turban at all times.

Kenya Daily Nation

Nairobi's Olympic High has complied with orders requiring the school to allow a Form One student who was suspended over dreadlocks back to class.

High Court judge Enoch Chacha Mwita on Tuesday ordered the school to immediately allow the girl to resume her studies pending determination of the case.

“Yes, she attended class,” said Mr Shadrack Wambui, the lawyer who is representing the minor’s father.

Justice Mwita also directed the girl to keep her hair neat and covered by a black turban at all times.

Her father protested against the school’s decision to send home his daughter with instructions to cut off her dreadlocks.

According to her parents, they had indicated in her admission documents that she belongs to the Rastafarian Society of Kenya (RSK).

Her father unsuccessfully tried to persuade the school principal and deputy but the two rejected his pleas.

Frustrated, the father went to seek assistance from the education office based in Nairobi’s Kibera estate. But this did not bear any fruit as his complaint was summarily dismissed.

As a result, the father of five filed the court case arguing the suspension of his was discriminatory.


But the school has told the court that the RSK has nothing to do with the right to education of students.

The school also claimed the girl wore a hijab on the day of her admission and verbally indicated that she was a Muslim and was admitted to a class that teaches Islamic religion.

The school principal Michael Waichinga disclosed that in the course of that day, her hijab fell off and exposed her dreadlocks.

It is then that she was told that she would only be allowed in class until she cut off her hair.


Mr Waichinga alleged that the sub county director of education based in Kibra ordered for a quality assurance assessment report from the school based on the incident.

He also told court that the minor is not a member of the RSK according to their file at the Registrar of Society.

He alleged that the school does not practice religious intolerance against any person or student while insisting that the minor was rightfully sent away for violating a school regulation.

“My school does not discriminate against any student on any ground and admission is based on merit subject to the student’s compliance with applicable rules and regulations,” said Mr Waichinga.

The court will rule on case on May 3.​
Uganda Seeks Return of 'Extremist' Suspects from Mozambique
2019-01-31 21:16

Ugandan authorities on Thursday said they were planning to seek the extradition of six suspected Islamist extremists being held in Mozambique.

The announcement came two days after Mozambican police said they had arrested three Ugandans, claiming they were senior figures in a radical Islamist organisation behind attacks in the country's gas-rich northern Cabo Delgado province.

Another three were already in custody, Uganda police spokesperson Fred Enanga said.

"We've been working together with the Mozambique government and we understand they have arrested a number of suspects," Enanga said.

Through the foreign ministry, Kampala had expressed "an interest in six of them" who would be brought back to face charges at home, he said.

Uganda does not have an extradition treaty with Mozambique.

One of the suspects was Abdul Rahman Faisal, who said he had nothing to do with the Cabo Delgado attacks, but claimed he belonged to "Al-Shabaab in Uganda" - in an apparent reference to the Somali Islamist militant group which has no known links to the ongoing insurgency in Mozambique.

But he claimed he had nothing to do with the Cabo Delgado attacks.

Enanga said Al Shabaab did not have any cells in Uganda but explained that Faisal and several others were wanted by Ugandan police in connection with an extremist mosque in central Kampala that was raided by police in April 2018.

During the raid, police found weapons and more than 100 women being held against their will along with children who were being "recruited and radicalised into acts of extremism".

"Some people managed to escape the raid and some of them are among the suspects arrested in Mozambique," Enanga told AFP.

"Abdul Rahman was one of those suspects."

Separately, Hassan Kiberu, a local council official in Kampala, described Faisal as head of the Usafi mosque, a rundown collection of ramshackle buildings in the middle of the city.

Described as a "radicalisation centre", the mosque was home to "extremists", police told AFP.

Uganda has taken a hard line against suspected Islamist extremists since a series of deadly suicide bombings in 2010 targeted football fans watching the World Cup final in Kampala.

Somalia's Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for those attacks.

According to the International Crisis Group, Shabaab has struggled to establish itself in Uganda - unlike in neighbouring countries.

However, the group warned in a report last year that disaffected youth could turn to militancy if Ugandan security forces continue to "mistreat Muslims".
Mozambique Police Arrest Ugandans Over Alleged Terrorism Links
30 JANUARY 2019, 11:52AM

JOHANNESBURG –Three Ugandans are being held by Mozambican police over suspicions of being involved in terror attacks in the country’s gas-rich Cabo Delgado province which has been hit by an Islamist insurgency.

The East African reported that the suspects, two men and a woman, were picked up in a forested area on Friday, with police saying their arrest had enabled them to shut down several "training camps".

"These are the leaders of the group of criminals who have carried out attacks in Cabo Delgado," said Zacarias Nacute, police spokesman for neighbouring Nampula province.

Police claim that the suspects have admitted to belonging to Al-Shabaab in Uganda but deny being involved in any attacks in Mozambique.

Since late 2017 Maputo has been battling what is suspected to be an Islamist insurgency involving repeated attacks which have killed more than 100 people and dozens more police.

This is threatening government plans to develop its newly discovered oil and gas reserves in Cabo Delgado province, a boon for the country’s battling economy. Furthermore, thousands of civilians have been forced to flee their homes in fear of more attacks.

In December Maputo charged five people, whom they accuse of leading the deadly attacks, with a range of charges. The group included two Ugandans, two Tanzanians and a South African who died in custody last week under mysterious circumstances.

African News Agency (ANA)
Mozambique Capital to Shut Off Water Supply on Alternating Days
By Matthew Hill
January 31, 2019, 8:43 AM EST

Mozambican authorities will tighten water restrictions in the capital, Maputo, and the neighboring city of Matola because dams that supply the locations have fallen to one-fifth of their capacity, the Water Ministry said.

The two cities, home to more than 2.7 million people, will cut water supplies on alternating days, the Maputo-based O Pais newspaper reported, citing Public Works, Housing and Water Resources Minister João Machatine. Levels at the Pequenos Libombos dam, the main water source, fell to 20.4 percent, from 21 percent on Jan. 23.

Reservoir levels normally rise at this time of year, after the rainy season starts in November, but precipitation has been scarce. Most parts of southern Mozambique have received less than 75 percent of the rainfall typically expected from October to early this month, according to a Jan. 23 report by the Southern African Development Community.

Last year, Cape Town in neighboring South Africa introduced severe water restrictions that helped the city narrowly avoid running out completely.
As Rival Factions Jostle for Power in Libya, the Fate of One Gaddafi Son Hangs Delicately in the Balance
Hannibal Gaddafi has been held in Lebanon since 2015 in connection with the disappearance of three men in 1978 – when he was just two

Kim Sengupta
Independent UK

Syria and Russia have called for the release of Colonel Gaddafi’s fifth son ( AFP/Getty )

As the ninth (actually eight, 2011) anniversary of the [counter-revolution backed by imperialism] that overthrew Muammar Gaddafi approaches, Libya remains in a state of turmoil. Bloody clashes took place last week in the suburbs of Tripoli between rival militias while General Khalifa Haftar, the strongman saviour-in-waiting to his supporters, has launched a new offensive in the southwest. The largest oilfield of the oil-rich land remains shut, after an armed group took it over.

France and the UK instigated the Nato bombing campaign that led to the fall of the Gaddafi government during the uprising. Foreign powers are back in what is now a dismembered state. The Italians, the French, the Americans, the Russians, the Egyptians and the Emiratis are all at present backing rival blocs competing for power. The UN-backed interim government has little reach outside the capital.

The Italians and the French are the main European power brokers. David Cameron may have led the chorus of “Gaddafi must go”, but Brexit Britain, wrapped in its own internal political turbulence, has little presence or influence in Libya except for some special forces.

Slowly emerging into this changing milieu – albeit still in the background – are the Gaddafis. Seven years and 10 months ago I saw the bodies of Muammar Gaddafi and his son Mutassim laid out on the floors of a meat warehouse in the city of Misrata for the public, queues of people, some families with children, who had waited for hours to see the grim display. The rebels and their international sponsors declared that the dynasty which had ruled the country for more than four decades was gone forever.

Colonel Gaddafi had been lynched after being captured and tortured as he tried to escape from his home town of Sirte, his last hiding place, as the tide of civil war turned against him. Mutassim was shot dead after being caught with his father. Another son, Khamis, who led a brigade named after himself in the conflict, was killed by a Nato airstrike at the end of August 2011, while another, Saif al-Arab, was reportedly killed after returning to Libya from Germany in April 2011.

Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, the leader’s heir apparent, was also captured as he tried to flee Libya. He was sentenced to death by a court in Tripoli and the International Criminal Court announced that it would try him in The Hague. But the militia in the city of Zintan which had kept him in custody – after cutting off the two fingers with which he used to signal victory on TV – refused to hand him over.

As post-liberation Libya fell apart into feuding fiefdoms, I found on successive visits that many were comparing the state of insecurity with the Gaddafi years, wondering whether authoritarian rule was a price worth paying for stability. This may have been rose-tinted nostalgia: many of the same people had celebrated the downfall of the man they called a cruel despot. But the time may come in the not too distant future when Libyans can show if they really want a future linked to the past.

Saif al-Islam was quietly freed 18 months ago and his supporters announced that he intended to run in last year’s presidential election. They were postponed but are due to be held, supposedly, in the next few months, although no date has been set yet. There is nothing constitutional to stop Saif al-Isla from standing. A law passed in 2013 banning officials in Colonel Gaddafi’s administration from standing for public office was revoked two years later.

It is, however, another of the late Libyan leader’s sons whose fate is in the news. Hannibal Gaddafi has been held in a Lebanese prison for four years after being kidnapped in Syria where he had ended up from Libya. He is in bad health, say his friends, and there is inadequate medical care for his deteriorating condition.

Hannibal was abducted by a Lebanese Shia militia who released him after a day. He was then immediately arrested by Lebanese security forces in connection, it was announced, with the disappearance of the Shia Imam Musa al-Sadr and two of his companions, Sheikh Muhammad Yaacoub and Abbas Badreddine, in Libya in 1978. There are grounds for suspecting collusion in what took place: the militia that carried out the kidnap has links with the imam and his missing companions. Imam Musa is one of the founders of Libya’s powerful Amal movement, with its leader Nabih Berri, the parliamentary speaker.

Imam Musa, it is claimed, went to Tripoli at the invitation of Colonel Gaddafi. Various theories have since surfaced over what happened to him and his companions: they were killed on the orders of the Libyan leader after a doctrinal dispute, or at the behest of PLO leader Yasser Arafat, or they were incarcerated in a Libyan prison or, according to the Libyan authorities, left for Italy. No evidence has emerged, however, to prove any of the allegations.

The imam’s family are opposed to Hannibal being freed. They said in a recent statement: “To say that Hannibal Gaddafi was just a child in 1978 is just a smokescreen: nobody is accusing him of a role in the kidnapping at the time, but the crime continued and Hannibal Gaddafi became a security official in his father’s regime. The fact that he was a political refugee in a fellow Arab country does not give any immunity or have any judicial effect.” Some followers of the imam believe that he is still alive now in a Libyan jail, but that seems highly unlikely with the detention centres long in the hands of anti-Gaddafi rebels.

Hannibal’s lawyers want to stress that the Lebanese government has not offered any evidence showing his culpability in the Musa al-Sadr case. Fresh information may yet surface, of course, but there does not appear to be any sign of that occurring. Those of us journalists who found voluminous amounts of confidential documents in government buildings in Tripoli in the aftermath of the Gaddafi’s regime’s fall – including the involvement of the British government in rendition – did not come across anything relating to Imam al-Sadr.

Hannibal has also been given an 18-month sentence for “insulting” the Lebanese judiciary over the Musa case. It is reported that last July he was also banned by a Lebanese judge from leaving the country for a year after a complaint by a Lebanese national that a militia associated with Gaddafi had once kidnapped him in Libya. The legal scope of the order remains unclear.

Family and friends of the prisoner say they are deeply worried about him. Reem El Debri, who has known Hannibal since childhood and recently visited him in prison, said: “He is suffering from back and knee problems and he can’t walk well. There are also the after-effects of his nose fracturing and the head injuries when he was beaten up after his kidnapping. There have been years spent in prison, without sunlight, and this has also caused a skin problem. What Hannibal Gaddafi would like is for a doctor from a humanitarian agency to visit him in hospital.”

She continued: “All this is happening because he was kidnapped by an armed group and tortured. And then the state put him in prison. He wants to point out that he is being accused of something [the disappearance of Imam Sadr] which took place when he was just two years old. How can he be held responsible? He was in the naval forces of Libya, not in its security services. We would really like international organisations to investigate what is going on.”

One of the latest messages from Hannibal Gaddafi’s Twitter account struck a note of despondency: “Hannibal Gaddafi completed four years in detention. The arrest of the son of the Libyan leader did not bring any new information about the fate of Musa al-Sadr and his two companions and there seems to be no hope in the horizon.”

But there may well be. Syria has increased pressure for his return and now Vladimir Putin, whose backing had ensured Bashar al-Assad’s survival in his country’s conflict, is reported to be prepared to give him refuge. Moscow is now a major player in the Middle East with far more influence in both Sunni and Shia states than it has had for decades. “Hannibal is aware of the kind offer from Russia,” said Reem El Debri, “and we are very grateful.” Tehran, another Syrian ally, has not publicly expressed its views on his guilt or otherwise.

Saif al-Islam Gaddafi is also said to be working to secure his brother’s release through intermediaries. With the future of Libya uncertain, and new alliances being formed, the house of Gaddafi may yet play a part in shaping the country’s future. 

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Deputy Finance Minister Denies Graft Allegations
31 JAN, 2019 - 00:01

Photo: South Africa’s deputy minister of finance and chairman of the state-owned Public Investment Corporation (PIC), Mondli Gungubele.

JOHANNESBURG.— South Africa’s deputy minister of finance and chairman of the state-owned Public Investment Corporation (PIC), Mondli Gungubele, said yesterday he had done nothing wrong after a whistleblower made new graft allegations at the pension fund.

The PIC, which has nearly 2 trillion rand ($147 billion) of civil servants’ pensions under its custody and is Africa’s biggest pension fund, said it would conduct an investigation after a whistleblower made the accusations in an email to the PIC’s board.

The state-owned pension fund did not disclose the new allegations, which come as a judicial inquiry into the firm continued to hear evidence from its staff members.

It said the PIC’s acting CEO, Matshepo More, and two board members were implicated, but did not name them. Reuters has not seen the email.

Gungubele later issued a statement saying he was one of those facing allegations, and welcoming the opportunity to clear his name.

“I am confident that I have done nothing wrong,” he said.

Matshepo More, the acting CEO, could not be reached for comment.

The third board member named in the anonymous whistle-blower’s e-mail is Sibusisiwe Zulu, the PIC’s deputy chairman Xolani Mkhwanazi told Reuters.

Zulu could not be reached for comment.

The on-going inquiry at the PIC was set up after a small opposition party alleged the PIC’s former chief executive Dan Matjila had misused funds and made careless investment decisions.

Matjila, who stepped down in November last year, has denied any wrongdoing.

Last week, the PIC said in a statement it had suspended its executive head of listed investments and an assistant portfolio manager over a 2017 investment in local firm Ayo Technology Solutions, which is listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE).

The fund said the two were suspended for flouting governance rules in relation to the investment. The suspensions were followed by three resignations from Ayo Technology Solutions’ board.

— Reuters.
38 Dead, 100 Missing After Boats Capsize
31 JAN, 2019 - 00:01

NAIROBI. —  More than 100 migrants are believed missing and 38 confirmed dead off the coast of Djibouti after two boats capsized, the UN migration agency said yesterday.

The overcrowded boats, had set sail on rough seas when they capsized shortly after departing Djibouti, said Lalini Veerassamy, chief of mission in Djibouti for the International Organisation for Migration.

Djibouti’s coastguard is continuing its search for survivors, she said, adding that beyond the IMO’s rough estimate it was not clear how many more migrants might be missing.— Reuters.
Nigeria Court Rules Suspended Chief Judge Can Be Tried 
ABUJA. — A court cleared the way yesterday for the trial of Nigeria’s top judge, whose suspension by President Muhammadu Buhari, just weeks before an election in which he would have helped resolve any disputes, has led to accusations of electoral interference.

The appeals court ruled that chief judge Walter Onnoghen can be tried by a code of conduct tribunal over allegations that he broke the law by failing to disclose the full extent of his financial assets.

Onnoghen was suspended last week pending the tribunal’s verdict on his alleged violation of wealth declaration rules, weeks before a February 16 presidential election.

Onnoghen has not responded publicly to the allegations. The appeals court had originally put the tribunal proceedings on hold indefinitely. Because Nigeria’s chief judge has a key say in resolving electoral disputes, Onnoghen’s suspension has led opponents of President Buhari to accuse him of interfering in the electoral process and of showing regional and religious favouritism. The European Union and the United States have also voiced concerns.

The judge’s roots are in Nigeria’s largely Christian south, where the opposition People’s Democratic Party has its base. His temporary replacement is from the predominantly Muslim north, where Buhari’s ruling All Progressives Congress is strong.

The Code of Conduct Tribunal said on January 12 that Onnoghen would face six counts of alleged non-declaration of assets. The allegations were initially made by Dennis Aghanya, who served as Buhari’s media aide between 2009 and 2011.

— Reuters.
Three DRC Rebel Leaders Surrender
30 JAN, 2019 - 00:01 
KINSHASA. — Three militia leaders, including a man accused of murdering 39 police officers, surrendered yesterday in a show of support for DRC’s new President Felix Tshisekedi, local officials said yesterday.

All three, who belong to the Kamwina Nsapu (Black Ant) militia, which has been accused of a host of bloody atrocities, laid down their weapons along with more than 100 men in the restive central Kasai region, a stronghold of President Tshisekedi.

The apparently coordinated display of surrender was a boost for President Tshisekedi who was sworn in last Thursday and faces numerous challenges at the helm of this vast unstable nation following bitterly disputed elections.

The move came just days after 600 other Kasai rebels also laid down their weapons, saying they were ending their uprising as they turned themselves in — also as a sign of support for Tshisekedi.

Lokondo Luakatebua, one of the three who turned themselves in yesterday, is accused of leading a 2017 operation that trapped and killed 39 policemen, according to ODL, a local development organisation based in the central Kasai town of Luebo.

— AFP.
President Sets Up Advisory Council
 31 JAN, 2019 - 00:01
Felex Share Senior Reporter
Zimbabwe Herald

President Mnangagwa has established a 26-member Presidential Advisory Council (PAC) to advise and assist him in formulating key economic policies and strategies that advance Vision 2030. Vision 2030 entails making Zimbabwe an upper middle-income country with gross national income (GNI) per capita of between $3,896 and $12,055, according to the World Bank’s technical calculations, implying high standards of living for citizens. (Click here to view full list)

The advisory council comprises experts and leaders drawn from diverse sectors like business, health and social protection, agriculture, governance and human rights, faith-based organisations, tourism, education, minorities, ICT, civic society, communication and media management.

Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet Dr Misheck Sibanda yesterday said the council will act as the President’s “sounding board” on key economic reforms, issues and initiatives.

This, he said, was in line with the “Zimbabwe is open for business” mantra and the Transitional Stabilisation Programme (STP).

“It will be recalled that Vision 2030 is predicated on attracting domestic and foreign direct investment and on transforming Zimbabwe into a business-friendly investment destination with a stable and supportive macro-economic environment,” said Dr Sibanda.

“His Excellency the President and his Government will need well-canvassed ideas, proposals and strategies to realise the vision.”

Dr Sibanda said the PAC, which is voluntary and serves at the pleasure of the President, has 17 terms of reference.

He said from time-to-time, the advisory council should help with a comprehensive situational analysis on the state of the economy and investment climate in the country.

“(It is supposed) to proffer ideas and suggestions on key reforms and measures needed to improve the investment and business climate in the country for economic recovery and growth,” he said.

“It must contribute towards policies and measures, short medium and long term, for the growth of the economy. On the strength of the country’s resources, to suggest best strategies for leveraging them to best national advantage; to advise and develop strategies for making Zimbabwe a modern, industrialised and food-secure, higher middle income by 2030; to input into policies and strategies for inclusive and balanced growth in line with the policy on decentralisation and devolution and to advise on the integration of science, technology, research and innovation in the economy.”

Dr Sibanda said the advisory council should provide infrastructural strategies and investments meant to transform the country into a land-linked regional logistical and trading hub.

“The PAC should also advise on developing sector by sector strategic value-chains for the economy which are linked to international markets,” he said.

“It is supposed to advise on national energy development strategy which makes Zimbabwe competitive; to suggest blue prints for regulatory frameworks and institutions for a modern, market-driven, business-friendly economy; to advise on strategies for building strong and gainful global partnerships as well as maximising on Zimbabwe’s bilateral and multilateral relations and to proffer ideas of building a Sovereign Wealth Fund and to ensure that national growth and development strategies are built on environmental safeguards for future generations.”

Dr Sibanda said the advisory council was mandated with organising interactions between the President, local and international businesses.

On rules of engagement, Dr Sibanda said the PAC should have quarterly brainstorming or feedback meetings with the President and ad hoc meetings as and when necessary.

He said the advisory council, which should be non-partisan, must proffer honest and sincere advise, declaring own interests whenever necessary.

“The Presidential Advisory Council should respect rules of confidentiality and trust and refrain from abusing proximity for unlawful and unethical ends. Members should ensure that all advisory content generated and produced by PAC are a property of His Excellency the President who assumes automatic copy right,” said Dr Sibanda.

He said PAC members will hold office for the duration of the President’s term in office.

“The President will chair PAC meetings which are also attended by his Vice Presidents and by any other invitees, including ministers and officials,” he said.

“PAC may, with the concurrence of the President, invite experts for presentations. PAC will be serviced by a Secretariat which is based in the Office of the President and Cabinet.”

He said Government will fund operations of the advisory council with members drawing some honorarium although the expectation is that their services are voluntary.

PAC members include Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries immediate past president Mr Busisa Moyo, former Delta chief executive Mr Joe Mutizwa, Sakunda Holdings chief executive owner Mr Kudakwashe Tagwirei and Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) president Divine Ndhlukula (business); economist and banker Zondo Sakala, Agribank chief executive Mr Somkhosi Malaba and Africa Next chief executive Mr Lewis Musasike (financial services); Dr Norbert Mugwagwa and physician Dr Godfrey Sikipa (health and social protection); Remigius Makumbe, Simbarashe Mangwende (infrastructure).

Other members are Dr Lindiwe Sibanda (agriculture); Natalie Jabangwe (ICT); Mr Aenias Chuma, Ms Elisa Ravengai, seasoned lawyer Mr Edwin Manikai (governance and human rights); Professors Kuzvinetsa Dzvimbo and Robson Mafoti (education).

The tourism sector will be represented by renowned businessman Mr Herbert Nkala while the communication and media management will be represented by AMH owner Trevor Ncube.

The civic society will be represented by Janah Ncube while Dr Shingi Munyeza and Zimbabwe Council of Churches secretary general Dr Kenneth Mtata will stand for faith based organisations.

The minorities will be represented by CABS managing director Mr Simon Hammond and CBZ Holdings chairman Mr Richard Wilde.

PAC coordination will be done Mr Mfaro Moyo, who brings experience from Government and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
Civil Servants Housing Deal Done
31 JAN, 2019 - 00:01

Public Service Commission Secretary Ambassador Jonathan Wutawunashe (right) and National Building Society managing director Lameck Danga sign the implementation and coordination MOU of a housing scheme while Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Sekai Nzenza and PSC chairman Vincent Hungwe look on in Harare yesterday. — Picture by Justin Mutenda

Elita Chikwati Senior Reporter
Zimbabwe Herald

GOVERNMENT’S focus is on availing non-monetary benefits to its workers to enhance their livelihoods, a Cabinet Minister has said. This was said by Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister, Dr Sekai Nzenza yesterday during the signing ceremony of a Memorandum of Agreement to roll out $60 million housing facility for civil servants.

The agreement was signed between secretary to the Service Commission Ambassador Jonathan Wutaunashe and National Building Society managing director, Mr Lameck Danga.

Officiating at the ceremony, Minister Nzenza said the signing ceremony conformed to the international remuneration trends where attraction and retention of the best brains was no longer hinged on salaries only.

“In accordance with His Excellency the President’s vision, Government has hit the ground running in improving the conditions of service for its workers by shifting away from the traditional focus on salaries only.

“In this regard, efforts are being channelled towards the all-round improvement of standards of living with particular focus on decent housing, quality health, productive education and a sustainable transport system among many other demands.

“Today’s signing ceremony is a demonstration of Government’s commitment to meeting these needs of public servants and of a desire to uphold human dignity by aiming for global standards in the crafting of conditions of service,” she said.

Minister Nzenza said housing was an investment which not only addressed immediate needs for shelter, but had the potential for the future creation of wealth.

She said the $60 million housing facility was a demonstration of Government’s new commitment to public partnership that harness the competences and comparative advantage of private sector players in delivering public sector policy objectives.

“Government will increasingly affirm private sector competencies in delivering services that support its effort to improve the standards of living for public servants.

“Government has opened itself to willing partners to invest towards this noble cause in a win-win arrangement that guarantees a return on investment,” she said.

Minister Nzenza said there were hopes that Government and its employees would continue engaging on the crafting of sustainable remuneration and benefit packages in the context of the broader national interest.

Public Service Commission chairman, Dr Vincent Hungwe said the signing ceremony indicated a significant turning point in policy direction with respect to the management of human resources particularly in the public sector.

“Civil servants generally underpin the capacity of Government to effectively manage its work in pursuit of national development.

“President Mnangagwa has been clear with respect to public sector to create a civil service with the capacity to transform the country to move progressively towards the coming middle class income and middle class economy by 2030,” he said.

Apex Council president, Mrs Cecilia Alexander thanked Government for the housing facility. Mr Danga said a number of civil servants had submitted their applications with the bank.

“We have different bouquets of houses in Harare, Masvingo, Mutare, Gweru and the projects are ongoing. Our target is to reach civil servants and they have different loan requirements,” he said.
Plans for Strike Shelved
31 JAN, 2019 - 00:01
Felex Share Senior Reporter
Zimbabwe Herald

Civil servants yesterday put their strike intentions on hold as it emerged that the $300 million offered by Government will see the workers getting an increment of between $107 and $122. The offer is to be shared by civil servants between April and December.

Government yesterday engaged civil servants representatives under the National Joint Negotiating Council (NJNC) and told workers that for the meantime it could not go beyond $300 million.

This will see the lowest paid worker in Grade B1 (office orderlies) getting an increment of $107. Speaking after yesterday’s meeting, Apex Council chairperson Mrs Cecelia Alexander said negotiations were ongoing.

“There were disagreements on whether or not to go on strike, but most unions felt it is not yet ripe to go on strike and we should pursue the route of negotiation,” she said.

“They feel that for now the situation is polarised and any action that we take might be linked to issues which have nothing to do with labour.

“We have decided to give ourselves about two to three weeks to monitor the situation and while we see what Government will be doing on the ground.” She said they had not yet agreed on the $300 million offer.

“We have not yet settled for this,” Mrs Alexander said.

“We will assess the situation and hopefully by end of February and early March there would have been a lot of developments and we anticipate revenue collections to improve such that Government reconsiders its position.”

She added: “Negotiations are still going on because our members are still incapacitated and we have registered that to Government.

“Government has also promised to make some interventions and they have already started doing that on the issue of transport and they said they will also do that on prices.”

President Mnangagwa last week offered civil servants a 22,7 percent cushioning allowance to cover the period January to March.
DA, MDC-Alliance, G40 in Axis of Destabilization
31 JAN, 2019 - 00:01
Herald Reporters

SOUTH Africa yesterday distanced itself from threats by Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Mr Mmusi Maimane to compile a human rights abuse dossier against President Mnangagwa’s administration following MDC-Alliance-instigated violent demonstrations that saw lives lost and property worth millions of dollars destroyed.

The DA, a white-dominated South African opposition party, is a long-time opponent of Zimbabwe.

At home, DA is the biggest rival to the governing ANC, a liberation movement with strong ties to Zanu-PF. It also emerged yesterday that DA had forged an alliance with a clique of former members of Zanu-PF known as G40.

The reactionary G40 faction comprised of young, corrupt and power-hungry politicians that rallied around former First Lady, Mrs Grace Mugabe.

Self-exiled former Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Minister Professor Jonathan Moyo was widely seen as the mastermind of the faction.

Yesterday, pictures of a meeting of DA and former legislators, Shadreck Mashayamombe and Jappy Jaboon, former chairman of the Children of War Veterans Association Munyaradzi Shoko, among others, circulated on social media.

In a Facebook post, Mr Shoko said his delegation had discussed bilateral relations with the DA president.

“Today as the founding chairman of COZWA, I had the privilege to meet the DA president as we discussed bilateral relations and African youths in leadership,” he said.

The DA, MDC-Alliance and G40 combination points to the formation of a triad of reactionary forces that could pose a threat to the stability of Zimbabwe, South Africa and beyond.

In an interview with The Herald after paying a courtesy call on Vice President Constantino Chiwenga yesterday in Harare, South Africa’s ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Mphakama Mbete said they were shocked by Mr Maimane’s ICC remarks.

Instead, he said, South African Government was focusing on butressing relations with Zimbabwe.

“We do not agree with what Honourable Maimane has been saying. We are very focused and we are clear about where we want to take the relationship between South Africa and Zimbabwe,” he said.

Ambassador Mbete said Mr Maimane must stay out of Zimbabwe’s politics.

“He does not have the authority to interfere with the politics in other country. We are clear about that, as the ruling party, they do not have. We are actually surprised with such articulations,” said Ambassador Mbete.

He said South Africa and Zimbabwe were working on further cementing their relations.

“Our relationship with Zimbabwe is straightforward. It is handled bilaterally between Zimbabwe and South Africa. It is also handled at SADC level. There is a very long standing framework of cooperation between the two countries and nobody can change that overnight,” added Ambassador Mbete.

Analysts blasted the new axis of opposition.

Political analysts Goodwine Mureriwa said the DA represented white colonial interests and was bent on stalling land reform in South Africa.

“The DA is a remnant of apartheid. They represent white colonial interests. In their naivety they think they can undermine Zimbabwe’s land reform to stall inevitable land reform in SA,” he said.

“Unfortunately some of our opposition parties are buying into this thinking. However, liberation movements in government in Southern Africa are awake to this.”

He also slammed the DA for thinking they can subject Zimbabwe to the International Criminal Court.

“Zim is not part of ICC. We do not subject ourselves to imperialism, neither do accept Western sponsored international law and its dictates.

“Our land reform is irreversible. Zimbabwe’s sovereignty is sacrosanct and non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries, regionally and internationally, is the basis of our foreign policy,” Mr Mureriwa said.

Another analyst, Mr Gabriel Chaibva echoed similar sentiments saying it was ironic that they were now celebrating fugitives as champions of the fight for democracy.

“We should just forget about the DA and Mmusi Maimane. Who doesn’t know that they represent white interests and are remnants of Apartheid?

“To them criminals on the wanted list like Munyaradzi, Shoko and Shadreck Mashayamombe are fighters for democracy. That is the absurdity of it all so as Zimbabweans we should not concentrate on them. We can just say they are a nuisance to our democracy,” said Mr Chaibva.
Zimbabwe Under Coordinated Media Attack
 29 JAN, 2019 - 00:01
Tichaona Zindoga Deputy Editor

A coordinated media attack on Zimbabwe is underway, as Western and local private media have ratcheted negative stories about the country to frustrate President Mnangagwa’s re-engagement and investment prospects by painting Zimbabwe as having gone back to “default” of the lack of rule of law.

The Herald has learnt that two local dailies, traditionally sponsored by Western countries, are getting their editorial direction, including content such as photographs, from a Western embassy in Harare.

The media outlets have been in an overdrive to portray Zimbabwe as being in a state of lawless and repression since the opposition-sponsored “shutdown”.

And, over the past week, Western media have upped the ante, with teams being sent to Harare to ramp up the negative stories with some deliberately cooking up stories.

A total of 37 new accreditations were processed for foreign media crews.

Sky News, a British broadcaster, stands accused of “manufacturing” the latest story about alleged beatings and lawlessness.

This, on the back of another British outlet ITV which had footage of brutalised women at a “safe house”.

Interestingly, Sky News is not one of those accredited to work in Zimbabwe.

Sky News’ John Sparks, Africa correspondent, claims that there are “Daylight beatings instil public fear in ‘lawless’ country”.

“Frightened civilians question what is happening to their nation, as members of the security services are given free rein,” he narrates of an alleged incident in which a man is being beaten by men clad in police and army uniforms.

A third assailant is in civilian clothing.

The reporter says: “Every time the man tried to get up, the policemen hit him on the head. There were two other people in attendance, assisting the policeman with the beating. A soldier in camouflage with a machine gun and a plain clothes security agent pitched in, slapping, punching and kicking the victim.”

The police have since spoken on the matter, indicating investigations are underway.

But authorities are worried by the surreptitious news gathering by Sky News and company.

“We have checked our records and we have not cleared anyone from Sky for accreditation,” Secretary for Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Mr Nick Mangwana said yesterday.

“Normally that should happen before they are even allowed to come into the country. During the disturbances we cleared dozens of journalists but Sky News did not apply. It’s strange why they chose not to obey the law because everyone else from British Media such as ITN, BBC, Financial Times did things the correct way and they never faced any problems. We even granted them interviews when they asked for same.”

Mr Mangwana noted that Sky News had not sought comment  from Government before they broadcast their allegations.

“Their report was not balanced because they did not give the police or army a chance to respond – that is if they were in the country at all,” he said.

He said it was ironic that Sky News talked about the rule of law in a report in which they are breaking Zimbabwe’s law.

“When then  we enforce our law against them some people will start crying foul claiming that we are being vindictive because of their reportage when in fact we are only asking for them to respect our law,” warned Mr Mangwana.
ED Gets 500 Buses for Mass Transport
30 JAN, 2019 - 00:01

Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube (right) briefs the media on his Davos trip following a Cabinet meeting at Munhumutapa Building in Harare yesterday. With him are (from left) Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa; Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement Minister Perrance Shiri; and Energy and Power Development Minister Dr Joram Gumbo. — (Picture by Kudakwashe Hunda)

Felex Share Senior Reporter
Zimbabwe Herald

Belarus has offered Zimbabwe a facility of 500 buses to modernise its mass public transport system, as the recent visit by President Mnangagwa to Eurasia begins to yield fruit.

The Head of State and Government visited Belarus, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan in a week-long tour of the subcontinent.

In their meeting, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko offered Zimbabwe 500 buses, a boost for the country which is moving towards mass public transportation in line with both the Transitional Stabilisation Programme and Vision 2030 blueprints.

Briefing journalists after yesterday’s Cabinet meeting, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said: “Belarus has offered to help develop Zimbabwe as a regional transport hub using its own experiences.

“Belarus also offered to provide Zimbabwe with an initial 500 buses with the possibility of increasing the number in future.”

“The TSP talks about modernising public transport and this is part of that. We know our people are suffering a lot and Government interventions have given a relief to our people in the urban areas but there is still a lot more work to be done to make sure we give that kind of relief to people in rural areas and inter-city.”

It is estimated that over one million people use the urban transport system countrywide.

Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube said the Government was looking at the latest offer.

“It is really an offer from Belarus that we have to evaluate and see how we can obviously take,” he said.

During their talks, Presidents Mnangagwa and Lukashenko advanced a grand infrastructure scheme in road and rail network that could make Zimbabwe a regional transport and logistics hub.

It is being formulated under a tripartite arrangement involving Zimbabwe, Belarus and China, to link the Indian and Atlantic oceans, across Southern Africa and through Zimbabwe.

A joint venture company will in the coming weeks be registered to advance the ambitious project, underlining Belarus’ importance as a mechanisation partner following recent successes in equipping Zimbabwe’s agriculture and mining sectors.
ANC Throws Weight Behind Zanu-PF
30 JAN, 2019 - 00:01

President Mnangagwa and his deputies — Cdes Constantino Chiwenga (right) and Kembo Mohadi (left)— meet South Africa’s African National Congress secretary-general (second from left) Cde Ace Magashule at State House in Harare yesterday

Freeman Razemba Senior Reporter

President Mnangagwa and his deputies — Cdes Constantino Chiwenga and Kembo Mohadi — last night met an African National Congress (ANC) delegation from South Africa and apprised it on the situation here following violent MDC-Alliance-sponsored demonstrations which left a trail of destruction.

Members of the ANC delegation arrived on Monday to meet with their Zimbabwean counterparts on a solidarity visit, which has the blessings of other regional liberation movements.

South Africa’s ruling party is throwing its weight behind Zanu-PF and is keen to assist the latter in light of economic challenges and attempts to isolate the country in the international community on the back of pressure by the local opposition and its allies abroad.

Zanu-PF secretary for Administration Cde Obert Mpofu last night confirmed the meeting.

“It was a courtesy call on the President. The President had to update the delegation right from the time the new dispensation came in; the road travelled until last week’s violent demonstration which saw MDC and its allies destroying infrastructure and blockading free movement of traffic and people under the guise that they were protesting the fuel price hikes,” Cde Mpofu said.

“It was a solidarity fraternal meeting by sister parties,” he said.

The South African team, led by ANC secretary-general Cde Ace Magashule, included senior ANC officials like Cdes Tony Yengeni, Thoko Didiza and Bongani Nongo, who are all ANC Central Committee members and Cde Justice Phitso, the chief-of-staff in the secretary-general’s office.

In an address earlier at Zanu-PF Headquarters, Cde Magashule applauded President Mnangagwa for giving them the opportunity to interact with their counterparts.

“This our solidarity visit to Zanu-PF, to Zimbabweans. We undertake this visit because of the present situation we have observed at a distance.

“And as former liberation movements, I think we have agreed that this is the time to consolidate and strengthen our relationship. In fact, before we left we set down with his Excellency our President, Cyril Ramaphosa, and our various committees to understand (our mandate),” he said.

“You (Cde Mpofu) have indicated that Zimbabwe is faced with this well calculated, well planned activities of insurrection, of ungovernability. We want to understand so that when we look as to what is the way forward we have comprehended.

“We clearly understand the situation on the ground which is affecting your country and we want to move forward as former liberation movements in addressing your situation. I am sure we are here to engage, listen, retreat, share, experience, learn and to move forward together.”

In a press briefing later in the evening, Zanu-PF spokesperson Cde Simon Khaya Moyo said the two parties agreed that there was no legitimacy issue surrounding the Presidency in Zimbabwe as the country had held peaceful and credible elections last July.

“The parties therefore resolved: that the parties acknowledge the peaceful and credible manner in which the July 30, 2018 harmonised elections were conducted and the subsequent deserving endorsement of the election results by the regional and international observer groups including the landmark ruling by the Constitutional Court of Zimbabwe hence there is no legitimacy issue surrounding the Presidency.

“That the parties continue working in common purpose towards strengthening their existing excellent relations. That the parties acknowledge that the major challenges confronting Zimbabwe are a result of the illegal sanctions imposed by Britain and her allies over the bilateral dispute between Zimbabwe and the former over the land reform programme. The parties further call upon Sadc and the African Union to advocate for the removal of the sanctions,” Cde Moyo said.

While receiving the ANC delegation in the morning, Cde Mpofu said they the two parties were joined by a very rich revolutionary background which culminated in their people being emancipated from the tentacles of oppression and subjugation over many years.

“Our long walk to freedom as stated by your founding father Cde Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela still continues. As Zimbabwe we have achieved one milestone in this journey of emancipation by ensuring that we take ownership of the land.

“This precious resource which is very dear and sentimental to all Africans should not be taken for granted,” he said.

Cde Magashule said former liberation movements in the region were aware that ANC and Zanu-PF were meeting yesterday since he had informed them.

“And later on as we move forward, we want to move forward as former liberation movements in addressing your situation. So we are here as friends, as brothers and sisters, as mothers and fathers, comrades, former liberation movements and revolutionaries of yesteryear. We still share and the struggle continues,” he said.

He said they were going to report back to their country and will return back to Zimbabwe at a later stage on the way forward.

“I am sure we are here to engage and try to understand the situation. Be as open as possible, be frank with us so that we diagnose the situation correctly.

“It’s better to hear from the horse’s mouth and that is why we are here,” Cde Magashule said.

Cde Mpofu said Zimbabwe was now in second revolution to achieve economic emancipation and they had deliberately set themselves on a new trajectory to achieve an upper middle income economy by the year 2030.

Zanu-PF Secretary for Administration Obert Mpofu (right) and African National Congress (ANC) secretary-general Cde Ace Magashule during a meeting of the two former liberation movements at the ZANU-PF Headquarters in Harare yesterday. — Picture by Justin Mutenda

“The journey for this economic thrust is also mired and punctuated by anti-establishment forces which are pervasive and will never rest till they achieve the continued suffering of all our people in Africa and all our marginalised friends who still suffer in perpetuity in Palestine, Venezuela, Cuba and Saharawi.

“In our region we are confronted by forces of regime change being peddled by the United States of America and its allies,” Cde Mpofu said.

He said as former liberation movements there were under the onslaught from neo-colonialists forces that were financing opposition parties and civil society to foster regime change.

“This is being manifested through different forms and shapes like through social media, non-governmental organisations, labour movements to the extent of arming our citizens.

“In the same vain some of these establishment forces are starting to sprout in South Africa namely formations like Tajamuka, Africa Democrats and the Communist Party of Zimbabwe all of which are not legally registered political organisations in Zimbabwe and are bent on fermenting violence and acts of terrorism.

“We therefore urge comrades, that you cast your cautionary eye on this malcontents bent on the destabilisation of the region,” Cde Mpofu said.

He said as Zanu-PF, they were bombarded by a plethora of subversive strategies which include illegal sanctions, insurrection and instigation of citizens to conduct violent protests, wanton destruction of property and ensuring that the country becomes ungovernable.

“We have had loss of lives in the recently ended national elections and the MDC-Alliance sponsored mass stay away which took place in the past weeks. We are assured and still have confidence in you the ANC as our former liberation movement sister party in your continued solidarity and moral support to make the international community realize that the illegal sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe are not sustainable and only lead to the suffering of the poorest to the poor,” he said.

Cde Mpofu said the ruling party appreciates the efforts of ANC in ensuring that all former liberation movements stay on the path to economic freedom.

The meeting was also attended by Zanu-PF Politburo members and directors at the party headquarters.
Editorial Comment: Western-funded ‘One-way Flow of Information’ Must End
30 JAN, 2019 - 00:01
Zimbabwe Herald

In their Unesco-funded research paper aptly titled: “Television traffic: a one-way street? A survey and analysis of the international flow of television programme material,” Kaarle Nordenstreng and Tapio Varis attempted to answer a fundamental question, whether the “free flow of information” was not, in fact, a “one-way flow of information”.

This was in 1974, but the same question still begs for an answer.

Wrote Nordenstreng and Varis in part: “It is the sentiment of this Symposium that information between nations should be based on the principle of peaceful co-existence.

“The peoples of all nations will want to learn from each other while deciding for themselves how they will learn and live. Information flows should serve the mutual understanding of peoples and the cause of peace. This pre-supposes non-interference in the internal affairs of countries, non-discrimination against peoples and races and the exclusion of war propaganda.”

While the media have a critical role to play in the upholding of democracy, the obtaining “one way flow of information” has ensured that this only applies to certain countries.

Western media which is better resourced and has a wider reach, is often used to portray certain countries as retrogressive tyrannies. Zimbabwe can be a useful case study in this regard. As we reported yesterday, in a bid to frustrate President Mnangagwa’s re-engagement and investment prospects, a coordinated media attack on Zimbabwe led by Western and local private media is currently underway.

In only about a week, a total of 37 new accreditations have been processed for foreign media crews whose mission is to paint a picture of military repression. This is despite the fact that political rights and civil liberties are being enjoyed now more in Zimbabwe than under any political leadership since 1890.

In any case, democracy can never be upheld in a state of lawlessness. The rule of law is an essential ingredient of democracy. The State has a duty to maintain law, order and peace so that citizens can enjoy their democracy. The world over, America included, the State, through its law enforcement arms, protects civilians and property in line with constitutional rights espoused in any democratic constitution.

Speaking after the US House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a Bill that would toughen federal penalties against people who intentionally target law enforcement officers in attacks, including ambushes, last year, President Donald Trump said: “We must end the attacks on our police and we must end them right now. We believe criminals who kill our police should get the death penalty.”

Now imagine if President Mnangagwa had said the same after a police officer was killed and about 30 others were injured following attacks, including ambushes, during the MDC-Alliance-sponsored “shutdown”.

The narrative always favours the West. The death penalty is a proportionate sentence for cop attacks in America, but is disproportionate in Zimbabwe.

In fact, in Zimbabwe, according to the all-powerful Western media, attacking a police officer is a democratic right of sorts, part and parcel of “peaceful” demonstrations.

The Zimbabwean story has been hijacked and is now being scripted in “Hollywood”.

Is this the “free flow of information” the so-called democratic forces are always making noise about? Or is it a one way street to media imperialism?

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Maduro Denounces Citgo Takeover as 'Robbery'
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro called the U.S. decision to sanction US$7 billion in assets from the country's oil sector a "robbery." | Photo: Presidencia

Published 28 January 2019

Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro says he plans to take legal action against the United States to defy the sanctions.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is accusing U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton of pressuring for the country’s coup.

Washington’s new round of sanctions against Venezuela’s state-owned oil company, PDVSA announced in a press briefing Monday triggered a response from Maduro later that evening during a televised speech aired from Caracas.

The Bolivarian president said, “I can say that Washington's response in the first place was always the same (...) financial diplomatic persecutions and rejection.

“Last Saturday we reached an agreement with the Government of Donald Trump, in an exchange of official and diplomatic documents, establishing a negotiation to leave open our offices of interests,” he said.

However, during a meeting with the press in Washington, U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton announced a new set of sanctions which will block US$7 billion in assets from the Venezuelan oil sector.

General licenses authorizing select transactions and activities with the Venezuelan oil company will also be permitted to continue for a limited time. European and Caribbean companies will also receive licenses to discourage business with the Bolivarian oil industry.

The Donald Trump administration is also targeting Venezuelan state employees working in the country’s oil sector, pressuring the country to accept the U.S.-backed, self-imposed President Juan Guaido, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said.

During the televised address, President Maduro said, "The US today decided to go the illegal way by stealing the company Citgo from Venezuela.

"Since I assumed to this day the message to the United States has always been one: dialogue, respect, non-interventionism towards Venezuela and the response from Washington was always the same: contempt, underestimation and aggression," Maduro said, denouncing the sanctions as a "robbery" and revealing his plans to take legal action against the U.S.

Since last week’s unexpected attempted coup, world politics have become divided with countries aligning themselves behind U.S. President Trump and his destructive sanctions or the legitimately elected President Nicolas Maduro.

However, the president told the crowds that he was willing to reinitiate negotiations with the opposition leaders to resolve the issues and bring about peace in the nation.

"I am ready once more to start a round of talks, dialogue, negotiations with all the Venezuelan opposition, with only one objective: peace, understanding, mutual recognition," he said.
Venezuela's TSJ Approves Precautionary Measures Against Guaidó
29 January 2019

Tarek William Saab says that Guaido's actions have caused detrimental harm to the nation qualifying him for certain measures including a ban from traveling outside the country. 

The Supreme Court of Justice of Venezuela agreed on Tuesday the application of precautionary measures for the duration of the investigation to the opposition lawmaker in contempt Juan Guaidó, who last week proclaimed himself "interim president" of the country. The court decreed as precautionary measures against Guaidó the prohibition of leaving the country without authorization until the end of the investigation; prohibition of transferring of assets, and the blocking of bank accounts in Venezuela.

The Attorney General of Venezuela Tareck William Saab reported Tuesday afternoon that a preliminary investigation by the Public Ministry against lawmaker and president of the in-contempt National Assembly, Juan Guaido based on his responsibility in  various events that have occurred since January 22, which "have damaged the peace of the Republic, the economy and national pride" he added.

The facts against Guaido being investigated range from violent protests with deadly results to the implication of coercive measures carried out by the United States against Venezuela. All, occurred during January of this year.

Also, the prosecutor, who was at the Supreme Court of Justice (TSJ), announced that there are precautionary measures for the duration of the investigation, which prohibits Guaido from traveling outside of the country.