Zimbabwe court grants bail to trade unionists

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Peter Mutasa

Trade union leaders and scores of activists detained in Zimbabwe ahead of planned marches over the country’s worsening economic crisis, were released on bail Saturday, lawyers said.

Cossam Ncube of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights told AFP that Peter Mutasa, president of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU), the country’s largest and secretary general Moyo were among those released by a Harare magistrate’s court.

“The seven ZCTU leaders were granted $50 bail each and ordered by the court to reside at their official addresses,” Ncube said.

“At least 20 others were released Friday in Mutare after they were granted bail.” Mutare is in east of the country, near the border with Mozambique.

The activists were arrested in a nationwide police crackdown Thursday after Mutasa called for protests, despite a police ban on public gatherings in the capital due to a recent cholera outbreak.

The ZCTU planned a national strike to protest against sharp price hikes, a new tax on electronic transactions and daily shortages ranging from fuel to bread.

On Saturday, police patrolled the streets of the capital Harare armed with truncheons, guns and teargas canisters, as water cannon trucks parked on some streets.

Zimbabwe’s moribund economy has hit new lows in recent days with shops struggling to stock shelves, medicine running out and long queues forming outside petrol stations.

The local “bond note” currency, which in theory has the same value as the US dollar has been in free-fall in recent weeks. That has raised fears of a return to the hyper-inflation that wrecked national finances in 2009.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who took power last year after Robert Mugabe was ousted by the military has vowed to ensure essential daily goods are available.

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Zimbabwe Defence Force refutes allegations it will rig elections

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The Zimbabwe Defence Force (ZDF) has refuted allegations that it will rig the 30 July elections saying it supports President Emmerson Mnangagwa and ZANU-PF.

The opposition MDC Alliance alleged during its protest march last month that the army was deployed to Zimbabwe’s Electoral Commission and at opposition campaign rallies.

The army told the media in Harare that if serving members were participating in political campaigns they were doing so illegally, and will be disciplined. Staying in the barracks, the Zimbabwe Defence Force says no soldiers have been ordered to intimidate people in rural areas into voting for some political parties.

The reports are mischievous. “If some serving members are participating in the on-going political campaigns, they are doing so illegally and not as a result of an instruction from commanders.  Those with information on such misconduct must provide us with full details of such individuals for appropriate disciplinary action to be taken against them,” says ZDF’s Colonel Overson Mugwisi.

On a charm offensive, the army detailed its current deployments that include clearing of landmines, parks’ rangers and construction of schools and clinics. It says it has no direct role in the upcoming 30 July elections.

“ Our role in the elections is mainly to support the Zimbabwe Republic Police in their role of the maintenance of law and order in the country before, during and after the harmonised elections, we also remain ready to support the the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission with transport.”

The army says soldiers will only be seen at political events attended by VIP’s assumingly for security, and humanitarian work. While soldiers have the right to vote they have been reminded they cannot hold political positions unless they are retired.

The opposition has welcomed this. “They have been saluting not Nelson Chamisa but the authority I carry so I am not worried they are a patriotic army in fact I respect them, if there is one thing that tickles me it is the honour of our men and boys in uniform, they are my agenda number one they are not getting what is commensurate with the smart work they are doing,  I have no problem with soldiers,” says MDC Alliance’s Nelson Chamisa.

Southern African Development Community is confident the blast in Bulawayo was an isolated incident . “ I’ve had extensive discussions with President Mnangagwa soon after the hand grenade explosion as well as during the summit, I think those who sought to attack and kill were making an assault on democracy, we are pleased that he survived, it seems that it was a once off, otherwise  I am confident that they will have a peaceful election,” says President Cyril Ramaphosa.


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Zimbabwe’s first-time voters will decide election results

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Emmerson Mnangagwa

Zimbabwe’s youth and more specifically the first time voters aged between 18 and 25 are viewed by many analysts as the major deciding factors of who will claim victory on July the 30th.

That’s when the Southern African nation heads to the polls.

The country’s electoral commission says more than a million out of the five and half million registered voters fall in this bracket.

The main opposition MDC, led by 40-year-old Nelson Chamisa appears to be appealing more and more to this group and has been drawing huge crowds.

Incumbent leader and Zanu PF candidate Emmerson Mnangagwa was quick to target this key constituency as well.

The battle lines for the July 30th polls have been drawn. And it’s now down to serious business for the incumbent.

The President took his campaign to his home province and made it clear that unlike his predecessor he is not taking the country’s youth for granted.

“You are the future. Now, if you are the future, you must be empowered now. For you, to be good leaders of tomorrow you have to be empowered.”

Mnangagwa said his administration aims to be a middle-income country by 2030, prioritising business and economics as well.

It aims to create economic opportunities to empower the youths in all sectors reducing the unemployment rate.

Mnangagwa says, “Within the last five to six months, we have attracted in this country around 16 billion dollars in terms of projects alone and this must go towards the creation of employment, the bringing into the country of technology.”

He further called on the nation to remain patient as his administration rebuilds the country and charts the way forward for the country.

Mnangangwa has promised that his government will ensure free and fair elections.

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Proteas thrash Zimbabwe

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South Africa crushed Zimbabwe by an innings and 120 runs inside two days in their one-off day-night Test at St George’s Park on Wednesday.  Forced to follow on after being bowled out for 68 in their first innings, Zimbabwe were shot out for 121 runs in their second innings. The match ended before the scheduled dinner break on the second day.

Fast bowler Morne Morkel was the destroyer in the first innings, taking five for 21, but medium-pacer Andile Phehlukwayo and left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj engineered the second-innings collapse.

Phehlukwayo took three for 13 and Maharaj claimed five for 59, with stand-in captain AB de Villiers seemingly using his front-line fast bowlers sparingly so they could take advantage of the helpful conditions under floodlights.

Zimbabwe put up a fight at the start of their second innings, reaching 54 before they lost their first wicket, although opening batsman Hamilton Masakadza was forced to retire hurt after being struck on the right elbow by a ball from Morkel.

The total reached 75 for one before the innings imploded, with four wickets falling in 14 balls. The last nine wickets fell for 46 runs in 15.4 overs. South Africa needed just 68 minutes and 14.1 overs on Wednesday to take Zimbabwe’s remaining six first-innings wickets after they resumed on 30 for four.  Night watchman Kyle Jarvis was the top scorer for Zimbabwe, making 23.

Morkel, who took the first three wickets under floodlights on Tuesday, again made the first breakthroughs.  With his seventh ball of the morning, Morkel bowled left-hander Ryan Burl for 16, beating the batsman for pace with a ball angled in from around the wicket.

Four balls later he had Sikandar Raza caught behind after softening him up with a vicious bouncer, which Raza fended off the splice of his bat just short of gully.

Faced with almost an hour to bat before tea, Zimbabwe showed greater resistance in their second innings but Morkel remained a threat.

Masakadza, who was out first ball to the tall fast bowler in the first innings, was hit on the elbow when the ball lifted off a good length and beat his forward defensive stroke.  Chamu Chibhabha and Craig Ervine saw their team through to tea but the fight soon evaporated.

South Africa was again without wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock, who suffered a low grade hamstring strain while batting on Monday.  De Kock was ruled out of the rest of the match, with captain AB de Villiers keeping wicket.

De Villiers held three catches behind the stumps, taking his total of wicketkeeper dismissals to 101 in 26 of his 107 Test matches. He has also held 104 catches as a fielder in his other 81 appearances.

De Kock is expected to be fit for the first Test against India, starting in Cape Town on January 5.

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Parliament welcomes SADC intervention in Zimbabwe

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Parliament has welcomed swift action taken by the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to restore calm in Zimbabwe. In a statement issued on behalf of Parliament’s presiding officers, spokesperson Moloto Mothapo said Parliament hoped that the issues were addressed in a manner that would not undermine regional cooperation and economic development. Earlier this week, Zimbabwean
Source: The New Age

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