Top stories for August 11-15


Oppah’s war continues – Oppah Muchinguri’s war of words over control of the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front Women’s League continues. The women’s leader, who last week said she was stepping down from her post to give way to First Lady Grace Mugabe because of the nasty things that are being done by some leaders, said some women were being kidnapped ahead of the league congress so that they could not contest.  “In some cases, the League has received reports which border on criminal conduct where its members have been kidnapped or sequestered against their will and without the knowledge of their families who do not know the whereabouts of their loved ones. These reports are very worrying and they must be condemned in the strongest possible terms. The League wants to make it very clear and put it on record that any of its members who are kidnapped or sequestered ahead of the conference will be deregistered and will thus not be allowed to participate in the conference without fear or favour to enforce discipline as well as to protect and ensure the integrity of the conference.  For the same reasons, the League calls on law enforcement authorities to take the kidnapping reports seriously and let the law take its course against the culprits regardless of their standing or station in the party or society.”

South Africa to extend permits for Zimbabweans by three years

South Africa’s Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba said special permits for Zimbabweans will be extended by another three years.  Permits that expire before 31 December will be extended to the end of the year while those that expire after 31 December will be brought forward to that date.  Some 245 000 Zimbabweans were issued with these special permits. There is no agreement about the number of Zimbabweans in South Africa with some figures going up as high as two million. Some Zimbabweans did not take up the special permits as they viewed them as a way by the government to identify who was in South Africa.  Thousands of Zimbabweans are in South Africa on regular work permits that are facilitated by their employers or universities if they are students.  Under the special dispensation, Zimbabweans can renew their permits for another three years up to December 2017. Applications open 1 October and close on 31 December. The applications will be managed by VFS and adjudicated by the Department of Home Affairs. VFS will open four new offices in provinces where the South African government anticipates large numbers of applicants, namely Gauteng, Western Cape, Limpopo and Mpumalanga.  These are in addition to the eleven offices already open, all of which will deal with ZSP applications. The applications will begin online, with appointments given for in-person finalisation at a visa facilitation centre. This is aimed at preventing long queues as experienced in the past.



Mujuru to the rescue

Vice-President Joice Mujuru, who seems to have been under attack from Women’s League leader Oppah Muchinguri, though she never mentioned her by name, has come to the rescue of the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front Women’s League conference by donating maize, T-shirts, bread and rice eggs for the delegates. Mujuru has been indirectly under attack from Muchinguri who is said to belong to her main rival’s faction, that of Emmerson Mnangagwa.  Muchinguri said she was stepping down to give way to President Robert Mugabe’s wife, Grace, because of the nasty things that were happening in the party.  She also claimed that some women were being kidnapped to prevent them from participating at the congress. Party chairman Simon Khaya Moyo refuted Muchinguri’s claims saying: ““I must hasten to say that yesterday’s  media reports that a number of kidnappings associated with the conference have taken place in Mashonaland Central, Manicaland and Masvingo provinces have proven false and alarmist. I appeal to the leadership of the Women’s League to refrain from making such unfounded statements. The nation is at peace.”



MDC says one dictator is enough

The Movement for Democratic Change has no intention of mimicking or replicating the structures of the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front because one dictator is enough. Party spokesman, Luke Tamborinyoka, who is also party leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s spokesman, said the current MDC constitutional review was about reviewing and strengthening the institution and was not about individuals. There has been speculation that the review is aimed at strengthening the powers of Tsvangirai by creating similar structures to those of ZANU-PF which have made succession ambiguous. “One dictator in a country is enough, in the name of a President, First secretary of his party, Commander-In-Chief of the armed forces and chancellor of all State Universities. Contrary to mischievous press reports, the MDC as a democratic party has no intention whatsoever to mimic and replicate such arrant nonsense,” Tamborinyoka said in a statement. “The MDC is currently gathering the views of its grassroots members in the provinces ahead of a review of the party constitution.  The process has nothing to do with entrenching anyone’s position but strengthening the party as an institution. For the avoidance of doubt, the MDC is a democratic party and the review exercise is only meant to remove vagueness, enhance clarity and to input any other objective voice of the people informed by our collective experience as a party that has been in existence for 15 years. Zimbabwe has had a bad experience of autocracy, dictatorship and the abuse of the constitutions .The MDC and President Morgan Tsvangirai pledge to the people of this country that the exercise will be a truly objective process; a process that will not be abused to constitutionally anoint a tin-pot dictator in the MDC leadership, as has been wrongly peddled by others.”




Grace selected but admits she is not well versed in politics

First Lady Grace Mugabe who was proposed as the candidate to take over leadership of the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front Women’s League confirmed that she was not well versed in politics but was willing to learn.  She said this in her remarks to thank the women for selecting her at the end of their conference. “Thank you for selecting me as the sole candidate for women. I want to express my most profound gratitude to you. Although it is yet to be confirmed, this is one step that the women have taken, being supported by the youths.  I have been watching with keen interest all the proceedings, I realised there is a lot of work to be done. But I know that the women of Zimbabwe are very capable, you work hard against all odds. I am not well versed in the field of politics, I am here to learn. Thank you for giving me an opportunity to learn what it means to lead the Women’s League,” she was quoted by The Herald as saying. Grace Mugabe’s appointment will be confirmed at the party congress in December.   Although the women’s conference was reported to have been much smoother than the youths’ conference, the women complained about factionalism, urging “the party to decisively deal with factionalism and expose and punish those who perpetrate electoral fraud.’’ They also urged the senior party officials to resolve their differences amicably by calling “upon the party to direct men to stop interfering in women’s affairs and allow women to mobilise new party members without hindrance”.


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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.


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