Top stories October 6-10


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Court refuses to free “Baba Jukwa” brothers- Harare magistrate Milton Serima yesterday turned down an application by Sunday Mail editor Edmund Kudzayi and his brother Philip for refusal further remand. The Kudzayi brothers are charged with plotting to overthrow the government through their facebook page but had applied that they should not be remanded further arguing that their trial should have started.  This was after the court was told that the investigations officer Crispen Makedenge had gone to the United States to meet Google and Facebook officials to help him with the case. Serima remanded the two to 14 November saying they should be patient- .  “It would not be in the interest of justice to grant the application. Considering the complex nature of the offence, State should be given enough time to finish their territorial investigations. The accused persons need to be patient and wait for Assistant Commissioner Makedenge’s investigations. Even without producing any proof to show that Assistant Comm Makedenge left for USA, I would not want to think that the State misrepresented facts. However, parties will be guided by the investigating officer’s findings.”

Zuma appeals against releasing the Zimbabwe 2002 election report

South African President Jacob Zuma has appealed against the release of the 2002 Zimbabwe presidential elections report meaning that the Mail and Guardian will have to wait a little longer. The weekly paper has been fighting a six-year battle to get access to the report compiled by Judges Dikgang Moseneke and Sisi Khampepe who were assigned by former South African President Thabo Mbeki. Though the Mail and Guardian has won the case several times including in the Supreme Court of Appeal last month, the Presidency said yesterday it was going to appeal to the Constitutional Court. President Robert Mugabe won the elections in 2002 but Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai and western observers claimed the elections were rigged. According to the Mail and Guardian the State argues that insufficient weight was given to affidavits supplied by both former President Thabo Mbeki and President Jacob Zuma. It is also asking the Constitutional Court to clarify the scope and ambit of powers given in terms of section 80 of the Promotion of Access to Information Act, within the context of the powers given to President in terms of the Constitution and “limitations or exemptions that may legitimately be applied to the right of access to information held by the state”. The Mail and Guardian has been given until 20 October to file its answering papers. It is not clear why the Mail and Guardian is interested in the 12-year old-report but equally baffling is the surging interest in a 50-minute documentary entitled: The shocking conspiracy to assassinate Robert Mugabe which is available on YouTube. The documentary was made prior to the 2002 elections and features a plot by Tsvangirai to “eliminate” Mugabe. Tsvangirai was charged with treason immediately after the elections but was later acquitted.

 

 

 

Opposition parties unite, leave Tsvangirai out

Four opposition parties have formed a coalition called the Coalition of Democrats but have excluded the biggest opposition party the Morgan Tsvangirai faction of the Movement for Democratic Change. Welshman Ncube’s MDC, Tendai Biti’s Renewal Team, Simba Makoni’s Mavambo/Dawn/Kusile and Dumiso Dabengwa’s Zimbabwe African People’s Union are reported to have formed Code to establish a “united, democratic, socially just and green Zimbabwe in which all are free, equal, and prosperous and enjoy happy and fulfilling lives”.  But in what looks like a still-birth of the new coalition, Code will have no leader. The parties agreed that each of the leaders of the four parties will automatically become chairman and there will be a rotating system for the chairmanship of the coalition. It is not clear therefore whether Biti will represent the Renewal Team or the party would be represented by Sekai Holland. Code will have its own symbols and logos and will sponsor candidates for elections.

 

 

 

What is 10 million to me, Grace asks?

First Lady Grace Mugabe today said she turned down a $10 million bribe to persuade her husband President Robert Mugabe to abandon the land reform programme, according to The Herald. But it was not clear whether this was 10 million Zimbabwe dollars or 10 million United States dollars. Zimbabwe currently uses United States dollars but it was using its own local currency when the land reform started. “Munoziva zvatiri pano takaenda through zvakawanda zvatakaona. Baba kwaiuya vanhu vachioffer kuti toda kukuvakirai imba. Pane vakauya tikati let us look at the plan zvikanzi thank you very much kana une mari endesa kuZANU-PF. Handifunge kuti yakaenda kuZANU-PF, vaida kutenga Baba, kutitenga. Vamwe vaona kuti zvaramba kunaBaba and thought kuti mukadzi waBaba zvaari wechidiki anotengeka. I cannot be bought also, handitengwe nemari nekuti zvandinopihwa zvakahwanda imimi mukasazviona mukomana arikudenga anozviona. Pane vakauya kwandiri vakati Amai heyo 10 million varungu zvese zveminda dai zvapera ndikati ‘stupid do not ever come here again, do not ever call my office again!  Ndikati you are insulting me, what is 10 million kwandiri? Unofunga kuti ndinotadza kushandira 10 million ini? What about Zimbabwe yese? Tanga wapa mumwe nemumwe 10 million, Ndakamutuka, I almost spat on his face. Ndikati handidi kunzwa nezvako, don’t ever come here nekuti iwe unoda ndiudze baba kuti tiite huori, corruption pachirungu,” she said.

 

 

 

Zimbabwe requires $5billion for roads

Zimbabwe requires $5 billion to rehabilitate its road network, ideally through public private partnership deals as funds generated through toll fees are not enough to rebuild the strategic infrastructure, a senior government official said today. Transport secretary Munesu Munodawafa told delegates attending the Utho Capital Mining and Infrastructure conference that toll fees will reach $102 million this year, up from $36 million when tolling was introduced five years ago, after a fee increase effected a few months ago. Zimbabwe’s nearly 90 000 km of road infrastructure has deteriorated over the last decade due to lack of maintenance. Mudodawafa said government requires between $800 000 and $1.2 million per kilometre to construct major roads. “With the revised toll fees, we are anticipating that Zinara will be able to mobilize about $102 million for this year. But even then, when you look at $102 million compared to about $5 billion that you need for total intervention, it still leaves scope for PPPs,” Mudodawafa said. “We believe that for significant progress to be registered, there is scope for PPPs in the road transport sector. There is work in progress to put a legal framework for the PPPs.” With treasury allocating 76 percent of collected revenue to the government payroll, funding for social spending and capital projects remains limited. He said government will soon engage a consultancy to craft a new transport policy which he said would be anchored on the agriculture sector, now the second largest contributor to the economy after mining. “Most of the roads are not viable on their own, except the Beitbridge-Chirundu road. That is the road that can only pay for itself. All the other roads in Zimbabwe, it does not matter how you toll, you will not be able to finance them,” Mudodawafa said. Work on the $207 million rehabilitation and dualisation of parts of the Plumtree to Mutare highway, funded by the Development Bank of Southern Africa under a joint venture between Zinara (70 percent) and South Africa’s Group Five International has reached at an advanced stage. Munodawafa added that at least $460 million is needed to resuscitate rail infrastructure and acquire new wagons for the state-owned locomotive operator NRZ.

 

 

 

Mugabe US sanctions buster convicted

A Chicago man who illegally lobbied for the lifting of sanctions against President Robert Mugabe was yesterday convicted but will be sentenced at a date as yet unannounced. C. Gregory Turner tried to use Chicago legislators to lobby President Barack Obama, a former Illinois Senator, to lift sanctions against Zimbabwe and top officials of the Zimbabwean government without success. Turner and his colleague Prince Asiel Ben Israel wanted to lobby against the lifting of sanctions for a sum of US$3.4 million. The two-week trial was billed to have some fireworks but turned out to be a damp squib with one State Senator from Illinois, Donne Trotter, saying Turner had forged his signature on letters of support sent to Mugabe.  The jury took three days to convict Turner on one of the three counts he was facing. Reports say Turner could be sentenced to as many as 20 years in jail. His colleague Ben Israel pleaded guilty and was sentenced to seven months. Obama who has been in power since 2009 has renewed sanctions against Zimbabwe every year and is reported to have warned Zimbabwe not to go into business with Russia following the signing of a US$3 billion platinum deal.

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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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