Top stories for June 6-10

What is the crash chopper pilot trying to hide?- Pleading guilty to a crime is mainly for two reasons: to save the criminal from a lengthy trial when he or she knows that he or she is going to lose, or, for hard core criminals, to avoid gruelling cross examination that might lead to more incrimination. Usually when one pleads guilty the law enforcement agents and the courts are lenient. The guilty plea by South African businessman Fredrick Wilhelm August Lutzkie who entered into Zimbabwe illegally with his helicopter on several occasions therefore raises a lot of questions especially when one considers that after he crashed in Gwanda, Lutzkie used an excavator to dig a pit big enough to bury the wreckage. What was he trying to hide? Why did he cross into Zimbabwe illegally so many times? These are the questions that the public will never get an answer to because he pleaded guilty. Maybe the law enforcement agents got more information before accepting his plea, but the nation needs to know what he was doing. Lutzkie might be a shady businessman who has been siphoning things out of the country over a period.

Are Jonathan Moyo’s days numbered?
President Robert Mugabe has described Information Minister Jonathan Moyo, the man who masterminded his 2013 election victory, as a “devil incarnate”. Addressing mourners at the residence of the country’s first black Information Minister, Nathan Shamuyarira, Mugabe said Moyo had replaced editors at state media with Movement for Democratic Change sympathisers. “Intellectuals, don’t try to use your intellectual knowledge to deceive people. We are simply people, we want bread and butter. We are simple, we want honest leadership, the truth. Are you our leader, they will ask you the individual and all of you kana muchiita izvi? Ndiri kutaura izvi nekuti vese vakomana vakanga vakatungamirira mumaper vakatandwa kuchinotorwa veMDC vachiiswa kuti imi makati tonho muchifunga kuti tine munhu arikutiitira zvakanaka, the devil incarnate.” In what appeared to a warning shot at Moyo, Mugade said: “We must know who our enemies are, even amidst us, kick them out and fish them out.” Mugabe singled out Moyo for praise at the party national conference in December saying he had engineered the Zimbabwe African national Union-Patriotic Front victory at last year’s elections. Moyo is reported to be supporting Justice Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa in the battle for succession and is purging vice-President Joice Mujuru’s supporters. It is not clear if Mugabe’s outburst will see Moyo being fired or not, but that too could have serious implications. Could it see a repeat of the same scenario 10 years ago?


Mugabe says let’s get rid of weevils in ZANU-PF
President Robert Mugabe today said the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front has been infested by weevils so it must get rid of them before they destroy the party. Speaking at the burial of former Information Minister Nathan Shamuyarira, who later moved to Foreign Affairs, Mugabe said: “Pakati pedu tine zvipfukuto. Ini handizivi chinozvarwa nani ndinongoona kuti ah ah chibage changu chaane zvipfukuto. Ehe ZANU-PF ine zvipfukuto. Let’s get rid of these weevils. Kana chipfukuto chapinda mutsanga manje togara nacho muZANU- PF? Kwete.” Mugabe seemed to be taking off from where he left yesterday when he attacked current Information Minister Jonathan Moyo for using the media to divide the party, calling him a “devil incarnate”. At today, ceremony Mugabe said: “I talked yesterday about his (Shamuyarira) own direction which was people oriented. It is not your own little ideas about how you can beat so and so… kunzvengesa musangano sebhora. Izvo ndezve bhora. Why don’t you go either kuDynamos or Highlanders? “We are telling the people we must be one. We must be united in agriculture, in mining. We must organise our people to take advantage of these resources. Your publicity must go in that direction. Let the people know what they must do for themselves. Encourage the people to be organised. Don’t plant seeds to divide the people. Don’t make anyone in the party a political enemy. You may differ with the person and you attack him the paper, that’s no ideology, it is a destructive ideology. Progress has to be made. We are fighting the British, outsiders” In what appeared to be a reference to Jonathan Moyo, Mugabe said: “Education did not make Nathan an Egoist. An egoist is one who says what I think and only what I think is right…so you must always think as I think. If you are educated that way, I say damn you. You are not educated. You are ignorant. Education must make you humble. Education must make you feel uneducated always. It is a damned fool who says I know all that needs to be known.”


Can the Russians break the South African monopoly in platinum mining in Zimbabwe?
A Russian consortium, comprising Vi Holding, Rostec and Vneshekonombank, is planning to invest up to US$3 billion in a Darwendale platinum project in Zimbabwe breaking the monopoly enjoyed by three South African companies at the moment. The consortium has invested in Ruschrome Mining and plans to produce 600 000 ounces a year. Currently, the major platinum miners in Zimbabwe are South African companies: Anglo-Platinum, Impala Platinum and Aquarius which is in a joint venture with Implats. The government has given the mining companies an ultimatum to establish a refinery but the companies have been arguing that production is too low to justify the setting up of a refinery. They said production should be at least 500 000 ounces a year. The Russian consortium, which comprises a private company and two state-owned companies, plans to complete its assessment of the field’s resources by the end of this year with construction of the $500 million mining and processing complex slated to start next year. It says the complex should be completed by 2018. Its planned production alone will make a refinery viable.


PSMAS future to be decided Friday
The future of the troubled Premier Services Medical Aid Society will be decided this Friday. Permanent Secretary for Health Gerald Gwinji said yesterday a special general meeting of PSMAS will be held on 13 June to vote on the appointment of “an interim manager who will be vested with all the powers of the board and the principal officer or independent administrator” to manage the affairs of the society for a period not exceeding 12 months. The government appointed a six-member interim management team chaired by Gibson Mhlanga after dissolving the board at the beginning of the year. PSMAS was rocked by a scandal following revelations that its chief executive Cuthbert Dube earned more than US$500 000 a month including allowances while its members were being turned away by doctors because it was not paying its bills . Legislator Ruth Labode said last month PSMAS members were being turned away by doctors because it had no money. Government had not paid its subscriptions for three months. Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa said treasury was not paying until a team appointed by the government had cleaned up PSMAS finances.


Mangoma case thrown out-MDC says assault was stage-managed
The Movement for Democratic Change today said the assault on former deputy treasurer Elton Mangoma on 15 February this year, after he called on party president Morgan Tsvangirai to step down, was stage-managed to “de-brand” the party and its president as disciples of violence and to settle differences. In a statement after the acquittal of the nine youths charged with the assault, the party said the propaganda plot to project Tsvangirai and the MDC as intolerant and violent had simply fallen apart. “The MDC categorically states that it has never been violent and that its members who were falsely accused reserve the right to seek redress for the needless harassment and defamation arising out of the concocted allegations. “That Mangoma and others tried to drag the name of the party into disrepute is only an indication of their failure to understand the principles of this social democratic party,” the party said. The MDC youths were acquitted after the close of the state case.


Tsvangirai to be charged or is it just another crude joke?
The Tendai Biti faction of the Movement for Democratic Change says it is going to charge the leader of the main faction Morgan Tsvangirai with 17 counts of violating the party’s constitution, according to The Herald. The spokesman for the Tsvangirai faction Douglas Mwonzora brushed off the move as a joke saying: “They have no jurisdiction to try the president. It is not different from ZANU-PF inviting Morgan Tsvangirai for a disciplinary hearing. They should just concentrate on themselves not to be obsessed with Mr Tsvangirai.” Reports say the Biti faction, also known as the Renewal Team, has set the date for Tsvangirai’s hearing on 18 June. The battle between the two factions could be messy as the Renewal Team claims Tsvangirai bulldozed the party into the inclusive government yet Biti and Elton Mangoma, both now expelled from the party and at the forefront of the Renewal Team, were the chief negotiators for the Tsvangirai faction. The team also claims favouritism in the appointment of MDC-T ambassadors including that of Hebson Makuvire described as Tsvangirai’s nephew. The Team also claims that Tsvangirai used state funds to pay for the lobola for Locardia Karimatsenga who prevented Tsvangirai from marrying Elizabeth Macheka in church because Tsvangirai was already married to her by customary law. Tsvangirai reportedly paid her about US$200 000 in an out of court settlement raising eyebrows about where he got the money.


MDC-T says it is not talking with rebels
The Movement for Democratic Change led by Morgan Tsvangirai today said there were no talks at all between the party and the rebels led by former secretary-general Tendai Biti. It said in a statement that reports that the Biti group had formally charged Tsvangirai and would be bringing him up for a disciplinary hearing were not consistent with parties that were mediating. “We see no reason to re-engage with people who have openly confessed to be working ZANU- PF and state security agents,” the statement said. It also said Guardians Council member Sekai Holland was not mandated to play any mediation role.



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