Top stories for June 26-30


Tsvangirai to visit Chaona massacre survivors in Chiweshe today– Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai and the entire leadership of his party are expected to visit Chaona in Chiweshe today to interface with survivors of a massacre in which 14 villagers were killed in one night, three days after the delayed release of the 2008 harmonised elections. The massacre followed the defeat of a senior Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front leaders Chen Chimutengwende who was beaten by an MDC candidate in the parliamentary elections. Mashonaland East was a ZANU-PF stronghold but the party lost two of the 18 seats in the province. It retained all the seats in last year’s elections. According to Wikileaks, Cairo Mhandu, the ZANU-PF Member of Parliament for Mazowe North after the 2008 elections, went “mad” as a result of his involvement in the massacre. MDC MP for Mazowe Central Shepherd Mushonga and MDC local councillor Martin Musemwa told United States embassy officials that Mhandu had gone mad because of the ngozi that was haunting him. Mushonga said Mhandu wanted to give a cow to the family of one of the victims through one a traditional leader Chief Makope but the chief refused to serve as an intermediary, telling Mhandu to do it himself.

Tsvangirai beats Biti but…..
The drama in the Movement for Democratic Change continued today with Judge Happias Zhou granting an interim order to stop the Renewal Team from hauling Morgan Tsvangirai for a hearing on at least 17 counts including violating the party constitution. The Tsvangirai faction hailed this is a major victory with organising secretary Nelson Chamisa saying: “It’s a blow to Biti because they had wanted to proceed with their muppet show and portray as if they have some form of political muscle and legitimacy but the court has clearly said they have no legs to stand on. And our hope is that they don’t lose their mind as we go forward.” Judge Zhou said he had blocked the hearing pending the finalisation of the case brought to the High Court by Tsvangirai in which the MDC leader is seeking to have the resolutions passed by the Biti faction at Mandel Training Centre nullified. He also wants to be declared the legal custodian of all party assets including the party headquarters at Harvest House and 120 vehicles.


10 more linked to Baba Jukwa facebook account
Police are now reported to be investigating 10 people in connection with the facebook character Baba Jukwa. Sunday Mail editor Edmund Kudzayi and his brother Phillip have already been arrested and have appeared in court on remand and bail application. Police are now looking for: Wilf Mbanga and his wife Trish, publishers of the Zimbabwean; their South African-based reporter, Mxolisi Ncube; Walter Shoko, a software and systems engineer; Simon Chifamba, a computer programmer; George Chirakasha, Anomie Drew, Piniel Nhokodzo, Romeo Musemburi and Sarudzai Florence. Most of the people are said to be in the United Kingdom. Police say all these people are administrator of the [email protected] and Baba Jukwa facebook page.


Another twist in the Tsvangirai, Biti saga
Tendai Biti’s faction of the Movement for Democratic Change yesterday went ahead with its disciplinary hearing against suspended party leader Morgan Tsvangirai despite a High Court ruling blocking the hearing until the case brought by Tsvangirai seeking to stop the hearing and control of the party and its assets had been finalised. Biti’s faction said the hearing went ahead at Mandel Training Centre but Tsvangirai and party chairman Lovemore Moyo did not turn up. MDC Renewal Team spokesman Jacob Mafume said a default judgment was issued against Tsvangirai. Mafume said his party did not recognise the High Court ruling because they had not been served with the relevant papers. “We have been told that they went to court seeking interim relief so that they remain on suspension pending the hearing of the matter before the High Court. However, the tribunal and the other parties have not been served with the papers. We proceeded as if nothing happened until a time we are served with the papers…We have not seen the application or the judgment. We believe that before a judgment was passed we should have been served such that we file our papers. But if they have been granted an interim relief we shall proceed by putting our papers if that application applies to us.” It is not clear whether the Biti faction’s action will be considered contempt of court or not but it means that the court battle is still on and the joy from the Tsvangirai faction could be short-lived. The Biti faction is staffed with lawyers. Mafume and Biti are both lawyers. With the matter now being handled by the courts, popularity stakes have been swept aside.


Elizabeth Tsvangirai blasts warring MDC leaders
Elizabeth Tsvangirai, wife of Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai, yesterday spoke more sense than her husband when the couple visited survivors of the Chaona massacre in Chweshe. At least 14 villagers were killed in one night in May 2008 after a senior Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front leader Chen Chimutengwende lost to an MDC candidate in the March elections of that year. Elizabeth told the people that leaders of the MDC should stop squabbling. They should think of the people that died for the party before they thought about their own political ambitions. According to, Elizabeth said: “Munoona ZANU-PF, chinoita kuti varambe vakabatana inyaya yekuti vanoti takaenda kuhondo. Handiti! Vanoziva kuti tinehama dzedu dzakasara kuhondo. Saka leadership yeMDC chirikukupayi kuti murwidzane musiri kutanga mafunga kufa kwakaita vana ava chii?..Vanhu vakafa pamusaka pekuti vaive netarisiro yechange saka tisati tazvifunga ngatitangei tafunga vanhu nemakuva evanhu vakafa ava tozotanga kuzvifunga isusu. Kubatana ndokuchaita kuti kupodze maronda evanhu vakashaikirwa nehama dzavo”. Elizabeth is the daughter of a senior ZANU-PF member Joseph Macheka.


Ibbo Mandaza says the battle for succession in ZANU-PF is a media invention
Academic, publisher and politician, Ibbo Mandaza, has brushed off reports about the battle for succession in the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front said to be pitting Vice-President Joice Mujuru against Justice Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa as “an invention of the media than the reality”. Mandaza said Zimbabwe was already in a post-Mugabe era with his ZANU-PF facing no challenge at all from the opposition which he said had been “washed up”. Mandaza said any change between now and 2018 would have to come from ZANU-PF so Zimbabweans should rally behind the party. “We should not despair. We are already in the post-Mugabe era. We need to prepare arduously for that post-Mugabe era. If the transition is constitutional, it will therefore be peaceful. That point needs to be emphasised,” Mandaza said.


Biti out at last
Movement for Democratic Change-Renewal Team leader Tendai Biti has finally come out. His party, which still does not have a name, has ditched the red colour used by the Morgan Tsvangirai faction and has adopted orange. Party spokesman Jacob Mafume said orange was the colour used by social democrats around the world. “The orange colour shows that the country is ripe for change,” Mafume said according to The Standard. Biti is currently involved in a legal battle with Tsvangirai with his faction summoning Tsvangirai for a disciplinary hearing. The High Court blocked the hearing pending the finalisation of a case in which Tsvangirai wants the hearing nullified. Tsvangirai also wants to be declared the legitimate owner of MDC assets including the party headquarters, Harvest House, and 120 vehicles. Mafume says the hearing went ahead on Friday because Tsvangirai cited the wrong people in his application. He cited Biti, Elton Mangoma and Sekai Holland instead of the tribunal. It is, therefore, not clear whether the tribunal ruling, if any, has any standing at all.


Tsvangirai says Mujuru or Mnangagwa is better than Mugabe
Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai says Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front leader Robert Mugabe should step down now and give way to a younger leader like Joice Mujuru or Emmerson Mnangagwa for the country to move forward. “We must set a clear direction where this country is going, an economic plan that will make industry and farms work. The issue in Zimbabwe is not economic but political; we need a political plan. No one is going to invest in a country with a 90-year-old leader. Mujuru or Mnangagwa are far much better than him. He must graciously retire now and leave this to others. Zvinotovanani,” he was quoted as saying. If quoted rightly, this is the first time that Tsvangirai has accepted that the current administration will run its full term. All along he has been calling for fresh elections arguing that the country can only get out of its economic quagmire through elections and a new mandate. ZANU-PF is holding its elective congress this year but some within the party are already saying Mugabe will stand unopposed. If Mugabe remains leader of the party, this means that a new leader will only be elected after the 2018 elections as the next ordinary congress will be in 2019.


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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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