HARARE – Morgan Tsvangirai’s long absence due to ill-health has thrown the MDC into disarray amid rising concerns that with polls only less than five months away, the country’s largest opposition party could be missing an opportunity to deal with the former trade unionist’s succession, the Daily News can report.
Tsvangirai left for South Africa on January 5 for his routine check-up.
His party has not indicated when the MDC leader is expected back in the country.
It has been his longest absence ever since he was diagnosed with cancer of the colon in 2016.
Since 2016, Tsvangirai has been in-and-out of neighbouring South Africa to receive treatment.
His visits are becoming more frequent and prolonged, causing prickly debates in the MDC Alliance which is fielding Tsvangirai as its presidential candidate in the forthcoming harmonised polls.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa of Zanu PF has already indicated that the country would go to polls before July 31.
His resurgent Zanu PF is aiming to capitalise on Tsvangirai’s ill-health, the absence of key reforms to level the uneven political playing field and the fact that the opposition in its entirety is in disarray.
While there is no doubt that Mnangagwa will be the face of Zanu PF at the polls — having been confirmed the party’s presidential candidate at a special congress held last month — the MDC is struggling to sell Tsvangirai to the public as his health crisis continues mounting.
MDC secretary-general, Douglas Mwonzora, confirmed to the Daily News yesterday that Tsvangirai’s sickness has indeed left the party weaker and almost desperate.
He said: “The MDC of today is greatly affected by the health of president Tsvangirai. The MDC has not recovered from that; we hope that he recovers soon”.
This week, Tsvangirai took the unprecedented step of taking to social media to dispel reports that he has been given only three months to live by his doctors in order to manage anxieties in his party where his three deputies — Thokozani Khupe, Nelson Chamisa and Elias Mudzuri — are already at each other’s throats over his succession.
“It is all speculation. No deadline has been given to me and my family. I am getting routine attention like any other cancer patient and I will be back in Zimbabwe shortly. Meanwhile, let’s all register to vote and those who can attend the Alliance rallies do not mind the madness,” read his post.
The MDC leader also indicated that there has been progress not only in terms of his health but also the party’s preparations for the synchronised polls.
“While we are not progressing at a preferred speed, we are neither stationary nor marching backwards. We are staggering ahead for complete . . . and in unity for the next generation,” he said.
His family also weighed in last week, announcing on Friday that his health was improving.
While Tsvangirai’s past medical trips were brief, this time around he has stayed longer in South Africa.
Although MDC Alliance, which he heads, is doing all it can to canvass for support ahead of the polls, it is apparent that it lacks the pulling power of the ailing former prime minister.
The bickering in the Alliance and the MDC party is also getting out of hand amid indications that the ructions have left party structures in turmoil.
Serious divisions have emerged in the Alliance over the allocation of seats to parties that are signatories to its agreement of August 5, 2017.
Khupe, Tsvangirai’s longest serving deputy, is going against the agreement by encouraging members of her faction to stand in constituencies reserved for smaller parties that are part of the MDC Alliance.
She is also boycotting meetings convened by Mudzuri, the acting party president, raising fears that the MDC could split for the third time in 13 years.
It is also quite apparent that the party is poorly funded, with its traditional sponsors in the west preferring to assess the situation in Zimbabwe from the sidelines in the wake of former president Robert Mugabe’s ouster engineered by the Zimbabwe Defence Forces.
This is at a time when its major rival Zanu PF is oiling its machinery ahead of the keenly-anticipated elections.
Next month, Zanu PF will be reorganising its structures to make sure that there are no contradictions in its rank and file ahead of the polls.
Soon, the party will be going to primary elections to select those who will stand on the party’s ticket in both National Assembly and local government polls.
The ruling party’s national political commissar, Engelbert Rugeje, announced that the party would have district and provincial elections next month which will be followed by primary elections.
“Next month on the 28th, we are going to have our district elections. These will be followed by the provincial elections. As the president has mentioned that the elections will be held soon this year, we are also going to hold our primary elections,” said Rugeje.
Party leader, Mnangagwa has been on a charm offensive since taking power from Mugabe in November last year.
He is bristling with confidence and has since declared that his party will win the forthcoming elections.
“So, we will make sure that in a few months’ time, we proclaim a general election. The country is very peaceful and is expecting these elections and I have no doubt I will sweep the elections,” said Mnangagwa.
Political analyst, Maxwell Saungweme, told the Daily News yesterday that the cash-strapped MDC is already behind in terms of planning and Tsvangirai’s health only worsens the situation.
“Yes, time is running out for the MDC. What is true is that currently with confusion in MDC, Mnangagwa’s main opposition is from the economy. I think there are people in the MDC who are occupying key positions and are working undercover for Mnangagwa,” opined Saungweme.
“They want Mnangagwa to win; which he will given the confusion and divisions in opposition, military fear factor in Zanu PF and an uneven playfield. Whatever the case, the opposition went or died with Mugabe’s demise. Now it’s time for opposition to reorganise — do away with patronage politics and prepare for 2023. 2018 is taken by Mnangagwa and he may co-opt other opposition members after the elections to help resuscitate economy,” he added.
Pedzisai Ruhanya, a political analyst, said the MDC has to rope in the party’s founding members such as Tendai Biti and Welshman Ncube to re-energise its 2018 poll campaign.
Biti now leads People’s Democratic Party (PDP) while Ncube is president of the smaller formation of the MDC.
“If the criminal elements in the power struggles in the MDC are allowed to have their way, there is a huge possibility that the party after Morgan may be history.
“In order to stop this, the party — guided by Morgan — should bring back solid founding members of the party like Ncube, Tendai Biti and others to bring rigour and solidity in how the party confronts the military-led regime of Mnangagwa.
“Tsvangirai’s undoubted leadership and legacy will be cemented if he leaves behind a united party with its founding leaders not the crooks and tomfoolery infighting characterised by his current lieutenants,” said Ruhanya.
Ruhanya said as it stands today, there is no evident thought leadership in the party as evidenced by the glaring policy shortcomings in the MDC.
He said the quarrels taking place in the party were not policy-based but content-free and bankrupt of any ideological contestation.
“There is no contestation of ideas but power. It looks like the Grace Mugabe-driven group; very content-free but hugely power hungry. That is disastrous,” said Ruhanya.
Legendary Footballer George Shaya Dies At Age 77
George ‘Mastermind’ Shaya, a five time Soccer Star of the Year and one of the most celebrated soccer legends has died.
He was 77.
Shaya died early on Tuesday morning at his home in Glen Norah A, Harare.
Shaya is among some of the most celebrated yesteryear footballers to have played for Dynamos FC and the Zimbabwe national team.
Popularly known as Mastermind, Shaya turned out for Dynamos during his playing days.
In his illustrious career, Shaya won the Soccer Star of the Year five times; 1969, 1972, 1975, 1976, and 1977, a record which is still to be replicated by any player in history.
The Mastermind passed on barely two weeks after it was announced that a documentary of his legendary career, as one of the most celebrated yesteryear footballers, would be premiered.
At the time of his death, Shaya was walking with the aid of crutches after his left leg was amputated last year.
Chinese firm unveils US$20m Mining, Agric Loan Facility in Zimbabwe
Chinese firm, Lovol International Construction Machinery Group, has unveiled a US$20 million equipment loan facility to benefit youths and women in the mining and agricultural sectors.
Lovol, represented by its regional director for East and Southern Africa Mr Terry Song, signed a memorandum of Understanding with the Affirmative Action Group (AAG) represented by its president Mr Mike Chimombe to provide mining and farming equipment, including tractors, electric tricycles, combine harvesters, planters, irrigation equipment, solar systems and electric cars.
The company showcased some of the machinery during the signing ceremony in Harare yesterday.
Mr Song said the company will be supporting the Government of Zimbabwe in growing the country’s economy in line with Vision 2030.
“We have the appetite to change the complexion of the economy and we realise that Zimbabweans have got a lot of potential and a missing link was the equipment. Hence we brought in the solution in terms of the equipment. The equipment that we have will certainly be able to give the solution. We have brought equipment that works for agriculture, mining and even road construction. These MoUs we have signed will go a long way in achieving vision 2030.
“Lovol is one of the biggest group in China. We have all kinds of equipment be it mining, agriculture, energy and green power as well. We intend to invest in Zimbabwe to complement Government’s efforts to achieve vision 2030 through capacitating the productive sectors of the country’s economy. Zimbabwe has abundant resources which are untapped, hence the need to bring the equipment to harness the vast mineral resources.”
Mr Terry said China was committed to make Zimbabwe an economic hub. “Together we can make Zimbabwe great.”
He also said that his company will also bring experts to Zimbabwe to service the machinery.
AAG sourced the equipment on behalf of the youths and women in mining and agriculture and will identify the particular individuals and groups who qualify for the equipment.
AAG vice president in charge of operations Mr Munyaradzi Kashambe said: “The signing of the MoU is in line with Vision 2030 .
“As the AAG we are of the strong conviction that the dream of an upper middle income economy by 2030 is indeed achievable earlier than that if we as Zimbabwe remain united and put all hands on deck and support our President. The AAG also believes in the potential of mining and agriculture as the backbone of our economy,” said Mr Kashambe.
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The coming in of Lovol is one of the fruits of President Mnangagwa’s engagement and re-engagement thrust and the policy of ensuring Zimbabwe is open for business.
“Let us all support the President’s Vision 2030 and make Zimbabwe great as per his dream. We urge all entrepreneurs to take advantage of the unending opportunities which the Second Republic has unveiled across all sectors.
“Through this partnership the US$12 billion mining economy by 2023 is indeed achievable. This deal benefits all women, youths and every Zimbabwe who are serious about the country’s economic development and Vision 2030 in general.
“As the AAG we are thankful to the visionary leadership of President Mnangagwa and will not leave any stone unturned in supporting the great vision he has for our country,” he said.
Speaking at the same occasion, AAG vice president for women and minorities Ms Anastancia Ndhlovu said the MOU was a game-changer so far as the empowerment of women, and girls and students was concerned.
“They can now access equipment and be active participants in the lucrative male dominated mining and agriculture sectors and so contribute to the country’s economic revival agenda in line with Vision 2030 and the NDS1. I urge all women and students to take advantage of this facility to set up or grow their businesses,” said Ms Ndhlovu.
Read the original article on The Herald.
Marange teen mother’s parents face arrest
POLICE yesterday said they had arrested Hatirarami Momberume, also known as Evans Momberume (26), following the alleged death of a 14-year-old minor on July 15 while giving birth at the Johane Marange Apostolic sect shrine in Mafararikwa, Manicaland.
Momberume is facing charges of rape or alternatively contravening section 70 of the code.
The police also said the minor’s parents were facing arrest for faking identity documents of their deceased daughter in a bid to conceal the crime.
The minor died after developing complications while giving birth at the shrine and the matter was concealed until early this month. According to police investigations, the deceased’s first name was Anna Machaya (15) although, she had been previously identified as Memory Machaya.
Police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi yesterday said that the deceased’s first name was Anna and not Memory as indicated in documents submitted by her parents.
Nyathi said girl’s parents sought to defeat the course of justice by submitting the birth certificate of deceased’s 22-year-old cousin, Memory in a vain attempt to protect the minor’s “rapist” husband Momberume.
Momberume was supposed to appear at Mutare Magistrates Court yesterday, but the matter was postponed to today.
Nyathi said police were pressing criminal charges against the deceased’s mother, Shy Mabika (36) and father Edmore Machaya (45) for obstructing the course of justice.
“Memory Machaya (22) is alive and is actually married to a man called Lameck Makonye alias Sigodhla (54) in Mhondoro. We want to tell Zimbabweans that the person who died is not Memory Machaya. The person who died is Anna Machaya. Memory is alive,” Nyathi said.
“It is clear they were hiding information and it is clear that they also produced fake documents in a bid to hide the death of Anna Machaya. Information that was being presented was now indicating as if Anna was born in 1999, meaning to say that the person by now is an adult, yet in actual fact, she was born in 2006 meaning to say by now she is 15 years old and was married off when she was a minor.
“The parents lied to the police that Anna Machaya was born on January 2, 1999. The mother went on to give police investigators a national identity card in a bid to prove that she was born on January 2, 1999. This was false. Investigations have revealed that the identity card produced to the police belonged to a namesake of the late minor, who is a daughter to Ernest Machaya. This is an uncle to the late Anna Machaya. It is through school records in Mhondoro that the police proved that the late Anna Machaya was born on July 5, 2006 to Edmore Machaya and Shy Mabika. The police have obtained the correct birth certificate copies in respect of Memory Machaya (22) and the late Anna Machaya (15). These are two different people.”
Nyathi appealed for more information on Johane Marange sect members marrying off minor children.
Machaya’s death triggered a global outcry from child rights defenders with the United Nations and several other non-governmental organisations calling on government to end child marriages. Yesterday, different girls from Johane Marange and Johane Masowe Apostolic sects pleaded with stakeholders during a virtual discussion by the Female Students Network to intervene and end early child marriages.
Apostolic sect member Moline Mukomawasha, a University of Zimbabwe student, opened up, saying she had witnessed several girls in the sect being married off.
“Sexual exploitation and the practice of cultural processes happen at apostolic sects, especially the Johane Marange sect,” Mukomawasha said.
“There is also the issue of the virginity tests which is done using unhygienic methods where fingers are inserted into a girl’s reproductive parts. Those that have lost their virginity are forced into marriage with the people that would have impregnated them.”
She said some young girls fell prey to older men during prayer sessions held at the shrines.