Top stories November 1-5


MDC congress gives Tsvangirai more powers- The Movement for Democratic Change congress which met yesterday and today gave more powers to its president Morgan Tsvangirai by stripping away the powers of the secretary-general and vesting them with the president.  According to one of the resolutions passed by the congress, the party said it will amend its constitution to make Tsvangirai “the custodian of the party name, custodian of all party assets, to supervise all in the leadership, to be the party’s chief fundraiser and to suspend National Standing Committee members through the National Council for breach of the party constitution”.  It said that the secretary-general shall no longer be responsible for all party affairs in the national secretariat and shall report to the party president.  The two previous secretary-generals of the party have been responsible for party splits, Welshman Ncube masterminding the 2005 split and Tendai Biti, the 2014 split.  The expulsion of Biti, Elton Mangoma and Solomon Madzore was ratified by congress today.  Party elections were still on at the time of writing, but Obert Gutu had been elected party spokesman after Douglas Mwonzora decided to contest the post of secretary-general.

Mugabe asks for update on Baba Jukwa

President Robert Mugabe is reported to have asked for an update on the Baba Jukwa case at last week’s politburo meeting, according to the Sunday Mail. The President is also reported to have grilled party spokesman Rugare Gumbo why he had not been interrogated by the police in connection with the Baba Jukwa case. Two brothers, Edmund and Philip Kudzayi, are being charged in connection with the case. Baba Jukwa bamboozled the nation in the run-up to last year’s elections through his facebook page clocking nearly 400 000 likes within four months. The Sunday Mail now says Edmund Kudzayi was recruited by Gumbo together with the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front Deputy Director of Information Psychology Maziwisa.  “I only know of his (Kudzayi’s) involvement in adverts which were designed for the July 31 elections. He was just part of people who were working in the adverts but I did not work with him. He was never recruited by ZANU-PF. I think I only met the guy once or twice. I have absolutely nothing to do with Kudzayi,” Gumbo reportedly told the Sunday Mail. The Kudzayi brothers were remanded to 14 November where they are expected to be given a provisional trial date. They have been pressing for refusal of further remand but it is most likely that their trial will not be held this year as they could reveal explosive information ahead of the ZANU-PF congress in December. Edmund Kudzayi was editor of the Sunday Mail at the time of his arrest.


Chamisa out

Former Movement for Democratic Change spokesman Douglas Mwonzora, who was considered a rank outsider after only being nominated by one province,  yesterday beat party favourite Nelson Chamisa to clinch the secretary-general’s post. Once the second most powerful post within the party, the powers of the secretary-general were watered down at the congress and are now vested with the party leader. Mwonzora polled 2 464 votes against Chamisa’s 1 756.  Chamisa has now been reduced to an ordinary member. His previous post of organising secretary was taken over by Abednico Bhebhe. There was wide speculation before the polls that Chamisa wanted to use the secretary-general’s post to rise to the top and was planning to contest the Presidential elections in 201 when he qualifies. Mwonzora is the third lawyer to become the MDC-T’s secretary general. Chamisa too qualified as a lawyer this year.


Mnangagwa does not lead faction-MP

Gokwe-Nembudziya Member of Parliament Justice Mayor Wadyajena says Justice Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa does not lead a faction in the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front. He is being persecuted for  his resolute defence of President Mugabe and the liberation ethos.  “Now in ZANU-PF whenever you express your allegiance to President Mugabe, you hear people saying no you don’t belong to President Mugabe, but Cde Mnangagwa. You hear people even saying you are lying that you belong to Dr Mugabe (First Lady), you belong to Mnangagwa.  Should we be afraid to walk with our President? Should we be afraid to walk with Dr Mugabe? (for fear of being labelled Cde Mnangagwa’s followers). That will not happen,” he said.  “And when people like Cde Mnangagwa speak out they are said to be hardliners who are not liked by white people. And these people who call themselves moderates and Tsvangirai’s people say they are in good books with white people so they would want to form a Government on their own and fire everyone who expresses allegiance to President Mugabe.”


Mugabe describes faction fighting in ZANU-PF as “little fights”

President Robert Mugabe has described factional fighting within his Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front which some have said is threatening to split the party as “little fights”.  Addressing African diplomats, students and Zimbabweans in Vienna, Mugabe said: “Of course, you’ve got the little fights in the parties and so on, especially if you’re going to congress, you react so much, people want positions and they begin to work for positions. But it doesn’t worry us very much. We’ll get to congress in the first week of December and this will stop.” ZAU-PF is holding its congress in the first week of December. The two hotly contested seats will be those of vice-president and national chairman. But most of the squabbles have been centred around the post of vice-president currently held by Joice Mujuru. The other vice-president’s post is vacant following the death of John Nkomo last year. People will be voting for the candidates by secret ballot, a departure from the past when they voted by province. Similar voting was used at the just ended Movement for Democratic Change-Tsvangirai congress which saw Nelson Chamisa who had been endorsed by 11 provinces losing to Douglas Mwonzora who had been backed by one.


Mugabe’s days numbered says top US envoy

A top United States official says President Robert Mugabe’s days are now numbered and the Obama administration must now start engaging with civil society, the press and government officials to prepare for the post Mugabe era.  United States Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Linda Thomas-Greenfield said at George Washington University:  “There will be a post-Mugabe Zimbabwe and we need to start preparing for that eventuality.”  According to Roll Call she went on:“We need to engage more extensively with civil society, with the press and we need to start engaging with some government officials … to press them to bring about changes in their government so that we can be prepared for that period.” Thomas-Greenfield warned Mugabe to look at what had happened in Burkina Faso where President Blaise Compaore was forced out of power by the people after 27 years in office.  “I think if they look at what is happening in Burkina Faso right now, I think it should give them some pause,” she said. Mugabe has been in power for 34 years and his current term ends in 2018.  The United States has always eyed business opportunities for its multi-national corporations in Zimbabwe as soon as Mugabe goes. Way back in 2003, United States ambassador to Zimbabwe, Joseph Sullivan, predicted that Mugabe’s rule would be over and suggested that Washington prepare for business opportunities that were going to open up. He envisaged US companies like General Electric providing locomotives to rejuvenate the National Railways of Zimbabwe, Caterpillar supplying machines to coal miner Wankie Colliery and Boeing selling jets to Air Zimbabwe. The United States also dedicated a radio station, Studio 7, to take on the surrogate role of the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation the same year, broadcasting in all three of the country’s major languages.


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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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