politics

Zanu PF fast-tracking constitutional amendments to avoid public scrutiny: MDC

BULAWAYO – The MDC Alliance accused the Zanu PF government of fast-tracking a constitutional amendment bill during the coronavirus lockdown in order to deny the public an opportunity to make submissions. The opposition party says the Constitutional Amendment No. 2 Bill “entrenches more power in the executive and removes necessary checks and balances that are integral for the independence of the judiciary and separation of powers.” Parliament’s Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee began public hearings on Monday, and they will run until June 19. They were originally slated for March 29 to April 4 but were postponed after the government announced a lockdown from March 30 to slow down the spread of the virus. “The lockdown remains at Level 2. It is yet to be lifted. This means t...

Police, troops shut down Bulawayo city centre without warning

BULAWAYO – Businesses including banks were forced to close shop after police and soldiers drove people of out Bulawayo’s central business district in an early morning operation on Tuesday. Police checkpoints on roads leading into the city centre blocked most vehicles, ordering drivers to turn back. Only health workers and security forces were being let through, witnesses said. Many workers were forced to return home. Zimbabwe has eased coronavirus lockdown regulations, and all businesses have been allowed to re-open, including informal markets. The operation caught many by surprise, and there was no immediate explanation from the government. A video emerged of police officers dragging a handcuffed man in the courtyard of a petrol station. Several people were also arrested, ostensibly becau...

Mwonzora claims MDC-T owns Harvest House as Khupe fills positions

HARARE – A faction of the Movement for Democratic Change led by Thokozani Khupe has denied that security forces assisted their occupation of the disputed Harvest House party HQ in Harare. A company which says it owns the building has spoken out publicly, insisting that the lawful occupants of the property is the MDC Alliance party led by Nelson Chamisa. The MDC Alliance says police and soldiers were involved in ejecting the party’s security guards from the building, in aide of a takeover by Khupe’s MDC-T party on June 5. Khupe convened the first meeting of the party’s national standing committee at Harvest House on Monday, at which several positions were filled through co-option. She said the meeting was part of preparations for a court-ordered extraordinary congress of the MDC-T party. Do...

Magistrate says MDC trio hurt economy with torture claims, denies bail

HARARE – Three MDC Alliance youth activists accused of staging their abduction were denied bail by a magistrate on Monday. Harare magistrate Bianca Makwande said their claims of torture and sexual assault by suspected state security agents had attracted negative international publicity, and harmed the country’s economy. Harare West MP Joana Mamombe, Netsai Marova and Cecilia Chimbiri had already been charged with coronavirus lockdown regulation violations after taking part in an anti-government protest on May 13, when prosecutors brought the new charges. The women appeared in distress when they shuffled into court, and cried when they locked eyes with their relatives and friends in the public gallery. Makwande after listening to arguments by the prosecution and their lawyers, said bai...

Mamombe, Marova and Chimbiri to spend weekend behind bars

HARARE – Harare West MP Joana Mamombe and two activists have denied charges they lied to police about being abducted and tortured last month, their lawyer said, as the women were remanded in custody on Friday. Movement for Democratic Change Alliance MP Mamombe and party youth assembly activists Cecilia Chimbiri and Netsai Marova were arrested at their lawyer’s offices. Harare magistrate Bianca Makwande remanded the trio in custody to Monday, after reserving judgment on their bail application. She said she could not deliver the ruling on Saturday because she had other commitments. They had visited the lawyer to discuss another case in which they were charged over their participation in a protest last month. The three women were admitted to hospital with various injuries after they were arre...

Police re-arrest MDC trio, accuse them of faking abduction, torture

HARARE – Police have charged three MDC Alliance youth activists including an MP with lying about being tortured by suspected state security agents after they were arrested last month. Harare West MP Joana Mamombe and activists Cecilia Chimbiri and Netsai Marova were detained at their lawyer’s offices on Wednesday, said MDC spokeswoman Fadzayi Mahere. The three women were last month admitted to hospital with various injuries and alleged unidentified men who abducted them from a police station had subjected at least one of them to serious sexual violence. The arrests came as a team of United Nations experts called on Zimbabwe to stop “abductions and torture”, which they said were aimed at stifling dissent. The three women were charged over their participation in a protest last month and were...

Zimbabwe denies ‘imminent coup’, warns ‘merchants of discord’

HARARE – The Zimbabwe government on Wednesday denied rumours of an “imminent military coup” at a surprise news conference attended by military chiefs and state security ministers. Home Affairs Minister Kazembe Kazembe denied the alleged plot, which many outside the boardroom at President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s Munhumutapa offices were hearing for the first time. “The government has noted with grave concern these rumours suggesting an imminent military coup d’état in the country. The government would like to unequivocally debunk and dismiss these rumours with the contempt they deserve,” Kazembe said following a meeting of the Working Committee of the National Security Council. “The purveyors of this false coup narrative claim former Zanu PF members who fell by the wayside and largely went int...

Mnangagwa says rivals want to ‘render the country ungovernable’

HARARE – President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Wednesday launched an extraordinary attack on political rivals, accusing them of plots to “render the country ungovernable” through what he described as “confrontational actions” and economic sabotage. Mnangagwa, speaking to members of his Zanu PF party’s Politburo, accused three female MDC Alliance activists including an MP of staging an abduction on May 13 in order to tarnish his government internationally. The three women, who have been receiving hospital treatment since May 15, were arrested after Mnangagwa’s address and charged with filing a false police report, the MDC Alliance said. “These confrontational actions which played out in the political, economic and media arena were not isolated incidents but were orchestrated, coordinated and plan...

Zanu PF expels Chivi South MP Killer Zivhu over Chamisa talks plea

HARARE – Zanu PF expelled Chivi South MP Killer Zivhu on Wednesday following a process which began last August, when he was accused of violating party rules through social media posts which were deemed inconsistent with party policy. Zivhu said he would “remain a Zanu PF member by heart” and support party leader, President Emmerson Mnangagwa. “I will not stand as independent whatever comes. I love Zanu PF, the people in my constituency will forever cherish my work,” Zivhu said. The businessman blames his political misfortunes on an unnamed member of the Zanu PF Politburo, which took the decision to expel him during its meeting in Harare. “My effort to recover US$1.5 million from the most powerful Politburo member got me expelled,” he wrote on Twitter. “I reported him to ZACC (Zimbabwe Anti...

Kirsty Coventry and husband grab farm from Mugabe nephew

HARARE – Sports minister Kirsty Coventry and her husband, Tyrone Seward, have been named in a plot to grab a farm from former President Robert Mugabe’s nephew. Robert Zhuwao has approached the High Court to stop the takeover of his 232ha Cockington Farm in Darwendale, 62km west of Harare in Mashonaland West province. In the court papers, Zhuwao says he was given 30 days to wind up operations by the minister, a former Olympic champion swimmer. Zhuwao, through his lawyers Machekano Law Practice, said he is currently recovering from brain surgery in Zambia, where he has been living since 2018, months after his uncle was ousted in a military coup. Robert, named after his uncle Robert Mugabe, is the second Zhuwao to be dispossessed of a farm after his brother Patrick’s mechanised farm was also ...

High Court bars MDC-T from replacing 4 MDC Alliance lawmakers

HARARE – The MDC-T party was on Monday interdicted from replacing four MDC Alliance MPs and Senators who were recently recalled from Parliament. Justice Joseph Mafusire granted an interim order which will hold until the High Court gives a final determination on an application brought by the quartet in which they seek to have their recall invalidated. Lawyer Charles Kwaramba, speaking outside the High Court, said: “This matter was heard last week. It was a matter in which Senator Lilian Timveos and Thabitha Khumalo, a member of the National Assembly, were recalled by the Douglas Mwonzora and Thokozani Khupe group (MDC-T). “They filed an application to stop their replacement pending the determination of an application they have filed challenging their recall.” In the main application, still ...

Biti, Kore freed on bail as lawyers sue police over Covid-19 exposure

HARARE – MDC Alliance vice presidents Tendai Biti and Lynette Karenyi-Kore were released on bail Saturday, a day after they were arrested outside the party’s disputed headquarters in central Harare. Biti, 53, and Kore, 45, were arrested with four others on Friday after they turned up at Harvest House, which had been occupied by a rival faction overnight Thursday. The six faced charges of “criminal nuisance” for allegedly singing and blocking a road outside Harvest House, and also had a second charge added for contravening coronavirus lockdown regulations prohibiting large gatherings of more than 50 people. Prosecutors allege the MDC officials were in the company of more than 50 others when they attempted to re-take their HQ, which was taken over by loyalists of MDC-T leader Thokozani Khupe...