Top stories for May 16-20


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Jonathan Moyo calls on media to end polarisation- Information Minister Jonathan Moyo today called on the media to take advantage of the new constitution which guarantees freedom of the media to make the government more accountable and end polarisation in the country because it was scaring away investors. “For the first time, we have a justiciable right. Freedom of the media for the first time is a justiciable right and this is in terms of Section 61 (2) of our Constitution and interestingly it says every person is entitled to freedom of the media,” he said. Moyo said the country had been polarised for a long time and this was costing the country. “We need to do something about it because it has kind of damaged us as a country, certainly we have heard from the Minister of Finance that this has increased the cost of offshore money, it has increased the cost of doing business in our country, raising our sovereign risk.”

 

We can beneficiate masawu says Mai Mujuru
Vice President Joice Mujuru today said Zimbabweans must appreciate the resources that they have in their areas because these can change their lives. Addressing members of the Women’s League in Mashonaland Central, her home province, Mai Mujuru said: “Here in Mashonaland Central, we have the masawu fruit which locals can learn to beneficiate, thereby change their lives.” Some people might take this lightly, or even as a joke, but masawu are very popular on the streets of Harare but in Mashonaland Central itself they are famous for making a special kachasu. Maybe if someone beneficiated this, they could come up with an exotic drink just like Amarula. People used to make mukumbi from the same fruit but they never beneficiated it until someone came up with a drink and commercialised it. This is what Mai Mujuru was talking about-that people must not allow outsiders to come and exploit their resources. They too should benefit. And this should apply to all natural resources.

 

Sikhala looking for trouble
Job Sikhala who recently returned to the Morgan Tsvangirai faction of the Movement for Democratic Change seems to be looking for trouble. In opposition politics, trouble means greater world attention. And this could mean some financial backing as well. Sikhala, who could be trying to upstage some of Tsvangirai’s loyalists who have stuck with the beleaguered leader since the founding of the party, today advocated for a coup claiming President Robert Mugabe is spending too much money on medication and overseas trips at the taxpayer’s expense. “Why must we keep a leader who is surviving on medication? We should just depose him while he is away. He wants to behave like Yasser Arafat to die in office. We will not allow that. By the time he comes back from his so-called medical check-up in Singapore, we would have taken power,” he said at a rally in the capital. Sikhala received wild cheers from the crowd because this was probably something that they wanted to hear. But the people probably did not think about how Sikhala or the MDC could stage a coup without any troops? But that was the kind of talk that could land Sikhala in trouble, and of course make him a hero. Zimbabwean author and Guardian columnist Blessing-Miles Tendi summed it all in his book, Making history in Mugabe’s Zimbabwe: “There is competition between activists in civil society over who gets more badly treated, beaten or imprisoned by the state. The greater the degree of one’s history of ill treatment at the hands of the state, the greater one’s legitimacy as an actor in civil society.” Maybe that is what Sikhala is looking for.

 

Muchechetere to go on trial in five weeks
The trial of former Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation boss Happison Muchechetere was today set for 24 June, five weeks from now. Although Muchechetere hit the headlines last November over his salary put at about US$40 000 a month, he won’t be answering for his hefty salary which has since been overshadowed by that of Premier Services Medical Aid Society boss Cuthbert Dube which was more than 10 times that of Muchechetere. He is, instead, facing trial for fraud. Muchechetere is alleged to have inflated the price of an Outside Broadcasting Van (OBV) which he bought for the ZBC last year, prejudicing the national broadcaster of US$800 000. Dube was the chairman of the ZBC board at the time of the alleged offences.

 

Mugabe video
A British television channel, Channel 4 News, today broadcast a 28-second video showing President Robert Mugabe and his wife Grace entering into what it said was Gleneagles Hospital in Singapore. Mugabe does not say anything. Only Grace pleads with the cameraman: “No no no, don’t. You shouldn’t take photo.” To which the cameraman responds: “Why, this is a public place”. The channel does not state when the video was taken. There has been a lot of speculation about Mugabe’s latest visit to Singapore, with some reports, including the Channel 4 one, asking if Mugabe was going into hospital for cancer treatment or not. One report even claimed that it was not Mugabe who was ill, but Grace. Mugabe is 90 years old.

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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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