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Opposition Parties Admit They Wasted Time Fighting Each Other

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Tsvagirai MDC Alliance

Harare – Zimbabwe’s opposition parties have, for the first time, conceded that they wasted time fighting each other in the past and have nothing to show for it.

Speaking at a grand coalition signing ceremony at Zimbabwe Grounds in Highfield, Harare, on Saturday, the political parties’ leaders said they would only support main opposition party MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai in next year’s elections, as they seek another chance of removing President Robert Mugabe ‑ in power for 37 years since independence ‑ from the country’s top position.

The opposition parties ‑ seven which signed the coalition agreement on Saturday before a crowd of about 3000 supporters ‑ indicated they would go into the watershed election under the name MDC Alliance.

Their leaders include Multi-racial Christian Democrats leader Mathias Guchutu, Tendai Biti (People’s Democratic Party), Jacob Ngarivhume (Transform Zimbabwe), Aerial Sakuinje (Zanu Ndonga), Agrippa Mutambara (Zimbabwe People First), Welshman Ncube (MDC), and Tsvangirai.

Tsvangirai said for too long they had been in a “needless and unhealthy competition” as opposition political parties. Hence it was time to “come together again and complete the journey together”.

Respective supporters of the opposition parties should take a cue from their leaders and unite at grassroots level, he said.

“We are going in the hope that change is possible in our lifetime. We have embarked on a struggle to ensure democratisation is irreversible. Why have we wasted our efforts for the past 10 years fighting each other when we have achieved nothing to show for it?” Tsvangirai said, referring to a question he had asked Biti and Ncube when they met before the grand coalition signing ceremonies.

MDC leader Ncube admitted that they had “made mistakes along the way”. “We are sorry for those mistakes that we made. But now, let us finish what we have started. We have defeated Mugabe before and we are going to defeat him again next year,” he said to applause from the crowd.

Former MDC-T secretary general Biti, who now leads the PDP, said they had come back to “give the people another chance of removing Mugabe”. “We are here to give a fresh, new beginning, to reset factory settings to our struggle,” he said.

Biti and Ncube are former Tsvangirai lieutenants, but Tsvangirai and Ncube parted ways in October 2005 following differences over the Senate vote, where a faction aligned to Tsvangirai did not want to participate in senatorial polls that year, while another one sympathetic to Ncube wanted to take part. Tsvangirai expelled Biti in 2014 after the latter called for the MDC-T leader’s resignation.

Mutambara, former Zimbabwean ambassador to Mozambique, described his former master Zanu PF as “the enemy we are fighting”, adding the situation in Zimbabwe had been worsened by the 93-year-old president’s wife Grace, “who has no respect for everyone else”.

Grace Mugabe has become known for admonishing government and presidium officials in public, with her recent victim being Mugabe’s spokesman George Charamba, who is also information secretary. Last Saturday, she humiliated him in front of thousands of Zanu PF supporters at a youth rally in Chinhoyi. African News Agency

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POLITICS

60 MDC Alliance youths reoccupy Harvest House as Khupe faces rebellion

‘We have just recovered Harvest House. It was a nice and clean retake’

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harvest house

Up to 60 MDC Alliance youths entered the party’s Harvest House headquarters in central Harare on Sunday night, four months after the building was occupied by the rival MDC-T party with the help of security services.

The youths told said that they had “found each other” with a section of the youth leadership loyal to MDC-T leader Thokozani Khupe.

“We have just recovered Harvest House. It was a nice and clean retake,” an MDC Alliance youth leader said from inside the building, asking not to be named because he said all would be explained at a virtual news conference at 10h00 on Monday.

Paul Gorekore, the MDC-T’s current youth chairman for Harare province, is believed to have facilitated the latest occupation, accusing Khupe of “aiding the suffering of the masses” through working with Zanu PF.

MDC Alliance youth chairman for Harare Denford Ngadziore is understood to have also entered Harvest House and will address Monday’s news conference.

In a brief statement, Gorekore said: “MDC-T Harare province (2014 structures) has taken over control of the party HQ tonight. This has been necessitated by our realisation of the need to unite the people in the fight for a better Zimbabwe.

“We as the youths have decided to go beyond our differences and unite to resolve the current crisis. We have been concerned by recent developments where the party (MDC-T) has been infiltrated by some Zanu PF elements battling to destroy the people’s movement thereby aiding the suffering of the masses.”

The youths said they had taken contingency measures, including changing locks and using chains to fortify the entrances.

Previous attempts by the MDC Alliance leadership to take back the building saw the party’s deputy leaders Tendai Biti and Lynette Karenyi-Kore being arrested. The youths said they expected police and the military to try and reclaim the building for Khupe. The military has previously denied facilitating the initial occupation.

The leadership of the MDC Alliance party has been disputed since a March Supreme Court judgement which said the party’s leader Nelson Chamisa was illegitimate for failing to follow the party constitution when he succeeded founding leader Morgan Tsvangirai in February 2018.

The court said Khupe, having been elected as Tsvangirai’s sole deputy at a previous congress held in 2014, should have assumed interim charge pending an extraordinary congress.

But by the time that judgement was delivered, Chamisa had led the MDC Alliance into an election in which he narrowly lost to Zanu PF leader Emmerson Mnangagwa. Khupe took part in the elections in July 2018 as leader of the MDC-T.

Khupe has used the judgement, which the MDC Alliance says was engineered by Zanu PF, to assert herself as leader of the MDC-T party, and also the Alliance, while moving to claim the party’s properties as well as funding due to it from the government.

Despite winning just two seats in parliament through proportional representation, she is now claiming leadership of over 100 MDC Alliance lawmakers and hundreds of councillors across the country. Those who reject her leadership have been recalled, including 24 MPs and Senators and dozens of councillors.

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POLITICS

Thokozani Khupe’s MDC-T takes over the MDC Alliance name

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Thokozani Khupe’s MDC-T says it has adopted the MDC Alliance brand with immediate effect and will use the name when nominating candidates for by-elections on October 9.

This was revealed by the MDC-T acting chairman Morgen Komichi on Saturday. He was speaking at the Morgan Richard Tsvangirai House, formerly Harvest House to mark the 21st anniversary of the original MDC.

However, in a statement posted on Twitter, the MDC Alliance led by Nelson Chamisa insisted on its identity and vowed to settle the “battle” politically. The statement read:

We are the MDC Alliance. We contested the 2018 election as the MDC Alliance under the Presidency of Nelson Chamisa.

Our members were unlawfully recalled on account of being members of the MDC Alliance. This battle will be settled politically.

Political power lies in the people.

The development did not come as a surprise as George Charamba, who is the Deputy Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet (Presidential Communications), in July hinted that the Khupe-led party will take over the MDC Alliance name.

Charamba made the stunning revelations on July 20th this year during an exchange with MDC Alliance secretary for elections Jacob Mafume.

Mafume had mocked ZANU PF and its leaders for allegedly trying to create a coalition government with Khupe’s MDC-T.

But Charamba, in typically abrasive fashion, hit back at Mafume, telling him that Khupe has taken over the opposition party and very soon, Chamisa will lose even the name of the party. Charamba retorted:

Except you have no party while pretending to be in organized opposition!!! Khupe amhanya nechinhu!! (she is now in the driving seat). Very soon you will be interdicted from using MDC-Anything!!! Watch the space!!!

United Kingdom-based Zimbabwean academic, Alex Magaisa, who has been urging the MDC Alliance to drop the “toxic” MDC brand and adopt a new name, said:

What has just happened should not shock anyone who has been following the MDC saga. It was foreseeable and it was written. The most important question is the response, which should be ready. There has never been a better time to demonstrate that people do not vote for party names.

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CRIME AND COURTS

War vets sue Mnangagwa over US$3,5 billion land compensation deal

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A WAR veterans group has taken President Emmerson Mnangagwa to court seeking the nullification of the recently signed US$3,5 billion deal by government and commercial white farmers who lost their land during the country’s violent land reform process in the past two decades.

They are seeking to interdict Mnangagwa from implementing the agreement touted as the legendary deal that will bring finality to the country’s longstanding land question.

Mnangagwa on July 29 this year approved the billion-dollar compensation deal arguing it would bring to finality the emotive land issue as envisaged by the country’s constitution.

In an application now before the High Court, the War Veterans Pressure Group have sued the government over the deal.

The litigants are group national chair Amos Sigauke, Kossam Mutsinze, Shoorai Nyamangondo, Daphine Kanoti, Dadirai Njitimana, Rueben Zulu, Joseph Chinguwa, Hazvinei Machingura, Cairo Mhandu, Digmore Ndiya and Godfrey Gurira.

Agriculture Minister Anxious Masuka, Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube and representatives of the Commercial Farmers Union are also cited as respondents.

Sigauke and his co-applicants argue that Mnangagwa’s administration rushed to address the grievances of “white settlers” at a time the former fighters were yet to receive full compensation for the contributions and losses incurred during the liberation struggle.

“Since independence in 1980, the indigenous black race of Zimbabwe has been making futile representations to the government demanding necessary arrangements for subsequent payment of compensations for the various sufferance occasioned upon them by and during direct rule of the occupying force, the white race, including the return of their land to them,” Sigauke submitted.

The applicants added: “In short, the government as both led by the late Robert Mugabe and (now) Emmerson Mnangagwa has not seemed bothered to address positively the issue of indigenous black race’s compensation for the ills they suffered as a direct consequence of government or its agents’ actions.”

He said they were shocked to learn that the government had reached the decision to compensate white former farmers.

“It was therefore with shock and dismay that the genuine progressive war veterans, in particular those newly resettled on former settler occupied farms, on July 29 received news that the government, through Masuka and Ncube had entered into an exclusive compensation deed.”

It is the applicants’ contention that the global compensation deed would negatively impact the development of Zimbabwe because it left out key stakeholders in the form of the majority. This, the veterans argue, is tantamount to discrimination which effectively contravenes the rule of law.

Sigauke added that the government’s actions were void and unlawful because the Constitution provided that compensation can only proceed through an Act of Parliament.

The case is yet to be heard.

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