Top stories for March 1-5


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Mugabe threatens to deal with gays -President Robert Mugabe today threatened to deal with the Gays and Lesbians Association of Zimbabwe saying he was not aware that there was such an organisation in the country. “I understand muno mune chigroup chehomesexuality. Handina kunge ndachiziva ndakaudzwa marimwezuro kuti kune chigroup ichocho saka tinoda kuchiwona kuti ndivanani varimo,” he said, meaning he understood that there was an association of homosexuals and he had only been informed about it two days before so he would like to know who is in that group. GALZ was reportedly formed in 1989 and won a court victory last week after a magistrate threw out a case in which the chair of GALZ Martha Tholanah had been taken to court for running an unregistered organisation. Speaking at his daughter Bona’s wedding, Mugabe backed Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni for passing an anti-gay law in his country arguing that marrying a man with a man could not be considered a human right. “They want to tell us for example that it’s a violation of human rights, ndozvirikuitwa Museveni iye zvinoizvi, for you, for us to refuse man to man interaction, kuti murume nemurume vachate. Mukaramba izvozvo you are breaching human rights. But which of these is a breach of human rights? Kubvuma kuti murume nemurume vachate kuchengeta human rights ikoko? Hakusi kutyora human rights? The human right you have as a man is to marry another woman not to get another man to marry. Ndozvatinoramba izvozvo. Zvonzi makarambirei izvozvo we won’t give you aid. Ndozvakaitwa Musevenika akaita law in Uganda just now to punish those who want to take other men as their what . . . I can’t say wives because a wife must a woman. In the Bible there is no wife who is described as a man. Husbands are husbands and wives are wives,” he said.

Tsvangirai says I will step down once my time is up
Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who has been under pressure to step down to save the party, today said he will give way and pass on the baton once his time is up. He told a rally at Budiriro: “I am not Mugabe. I am not ZANU- PF. I know what the party’s constitution says. Once my time is up, I will give way to another leader and pass on the button.” But he added: “What I refuse to do is to be told to step down outside of the party’s constitution. It is at congress that new candidates avail themselves to the electorate. We should lay the appropriate foundation so that the future generation will have a strong foundation upon which to build the party.” Tsvangirai has been under pressure to step down from his lieutenants mostly those who handle cash, but the 210 party districts backed him to continue to lead the party until the next congress in 2016. Critics say while Tsvangirai has every right to hang on until his term expires, there will be little time for his successor to campaign.

 

Platinum miners agree on refinery
Platinum mining companies have agreed to build a refinery and two companies are being considered to construct the plant, reports said today. The mining companies have been reluctant to build the refinery saying it is not viable but they were given up to January 18 to come up with proposals. Mines Minister Walter Chidhakwa said they had met the deadline. The industry says it needs US$5.3 billion to put up the plant and wants production to increase to more than 500 000 ounces a year. Zimbabwe says it is losing out by exporting raw platinum as it does not benefit from the full value and by-products and imposed a 15 percent levy at the beginning of this year. The three major mining companies Anglo American Platinum, Aquarius Platinum and Impala Platinum Holdings, are all based in South Africa where the platinum is currently refined. Zimbabwe has the second largest platinum reserves in the world after South Africa.

 

Government pre-empts parliament
Government today pre-empted parliament by announcing a new policy under which boards and chief executives for state enterprises will be appointed. It said it was establishing a Corporate Governance and Delivery Agency under the President’s Office to monitor the operations of all state enterprises, thus pre-emptying what the legislators were urging, a parliamentary committee to oversee the appointments. Parliamentarians from both the Movement for Democratic Change and the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front were united that corruption was now destroying the country and they wanted to nip it in the bud. They said some of the government ministers were benefitting from the corruption in state enterprises under their ministries so it was important that parliament provide the oversight. While on paper, the recommendations seem to be aimed at combating corruption, they will be implemented by the very people accused of being corrupt or allowing corruption in their ministries. Some of the recommendations were culled from a commission of inquiry 27 years ago but were never implemented.

 

No more unsubstantiated allegations in parliament
The Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda today ruled that no member shall be allowed to make unsubstantiated allegations against other members and officers of Parliament or members of the public except by way of a substantive and clearly formulated motion with immediate effect. Mudenda made the ruling after a spate of allegations against ministers and chief executives of state enterprises during the current debate on corruption. The allegations included ministers’ wives receiving salaries from state enterprises that they did not work for, salaries exceeding US$300 000 for some CEOs and gifts that included top of the range vehicles. “The Chair shall demand objective and verifiable evidence in support of such a motion. Any violation of this order will be met with appropriate remedial action, including initiating charges of contempt of parliament against the Member of Parliament suspected of abusing parliamentary privileges, particularly through uttering statements that are false, malicious and likely to unjustly injure other Members of Parliament as well as members of the public. The Chair also hereby rules that no member shall be allowed to use this House of Parliament to attack the integrity of the Administration of Parliament except by using appropriate channels as provided for in the Constitution of Zimbabwe, particularly section 135, 151 and 154 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe,” he said.

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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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