Pray for Tsvangirai: Khupe

BULAWAYO - MDC deputy president Thokozani Khupe has appealed to ordinary Zimbabweans to pray for her boss Morgan Tsvangirai who is currently sidelined by illness.

Tsvangirai last year stunned the public when he revealed he had been diagnosed with cancer of the colony and that he was receiving treatment in neighbouring South Africa.

The former prime minister in the inclusive government was rushed to Johannesburg in September after he fell ill during a meeting of the MDC Alliance principles.

“I am appealing to all of you here to put president Morgan Tsvangirai in your prayers because he is one of those who is suffering from cancer,” Khupe told a gathering here commemorating the cancer month.

“I am sure you have heard that in the past few weeks he was not well but I met him last week and I also spoke to him yesterday. So I am saying please let’s remember him in our prayers because I know that through prayer nothing is impossible.”

The health of Tsvangirai has become a major concern not only to his supporters who see him as the only politician capable of knocking President Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF off their perch, but also his party officials.

Recently, MDC lawmaker Eddie Cross said in a post that the former trade unionist was suffering from an aggressive form of colon cancer which could spread.

“He has been struggling with his treatment and the family is concerned that he might not handle the election and subsequently the responsibility of being president of a country in a deep crisis,” said Cross.

“After a lifetime of principled struggle, to have it all threatened by a disease in your body, is not fair . . . Life can be a bastard at times.”

But Khupe, who was diagnosed with cancer in 2011 and lost one of her breasts, said although she went through medical treatment, she also received miraculous healing through “praying violently”.

“Miracles are there, I gave myself time to pray to God and I always tell people that I used to pray violently,” she said.

Khupe also highlighted the need for government to devise favourable policies that would allow cancer treatment to be affordable and accessible in all clinics countrywide.

The MDC deputy president  said had she not been privileged to be the deputy prime minster during the government of national unity era, it was very possible she could have died.

“I survived because I had an opportunity of becoming the deputy prime minister, so I can imagine if I was not in that position in government, I could have died of cancer.

“So I can imagine also the suffering Zimbabweans throughout the country. They are perishing because medication is expensive, they cannot afford. This is why we are saying it is government’s mandate to ensure that medication is cheap,” said Khupe.

“Every clinic in the country should have a cancer screening facility, such that if the cancer is detected early, one can be treated early to save many cancer related deaths. Cancer is the fast rising epidemic which is now more fatal than HIV and Aids.

“Zimbabwe is rich in natural resources so it’s the duty of the government to sell those resources and invest in the country’s health system.”

Khupe launched the Thokozani Khupe Cancer Foundation in 2012 after she was diagnosed with cancer.

Her foundation seeks to alleviate the plight of cancer patients by offering advocacy campaigns, early detection programmes and assisting in policy formulation in relation to cancer issues.

According to Cancer Association of Zimbabwe, early detection of abnormalities gives the doctors better chances of offering effective treatment.

The United States Centres for Disease Control and Prevention says globally 12, 7 million are diagnosed with cancer every year while 7, 6 million people die from the disease annually.



Dabengwa opens up on Gukurahundi

ZAPU president Dumiso Dabengwa who also served as the chief of Zimbabwe People’s Revolutionary Army (Zipra) intelligence - has poured his heart out on the highly emotive issue – reminding the authorities that the atrocities will not be forgotten.

Dabengwa, now 78, said the Gukurahundi atrocities should be remembered as the country’s darkest period in post-independence.

The veteran politician, who alongside radical pressure group Ibhesthu Likazulu,  was last weekend barred  by riot police from visiting Bhalagwe, one of the Gukurahundi flash points in Kezi, Matabeleland South Province, said any efforts by the Zanu PF government to obliterate that chapter in history will be starkly resisted.

“We are witnesses to mass killings on a scale that future generations (will find difficult) to comprehend, yet even we ourselves at times wish it was just a bad dream.

“In Bhalagwe, we remember what should not have happened to the people of Matabeleland and Midlands and indeed what should not have happened to anyone in newly-independent Zimbabwe.

“We recall and recount these gruesome facts of the Gukurahundi massacres so that those who died unnecessary and painful deaths may not be forgotten for the great price they did not have to pay but which they paid so soon after the children, siblings, parents and friends died in the struggle for the liberation of Zimbabwe,” the soft-spoken Dabengwa told the Southern News.

In the 1980s, an estimated 20 000 innocent civilians were killed by a North Korea-trained Zimbabwe army unit — the Fifth Brigade, which was deployed in the Matabeleland and the Midlands provinces — in an operation which government said was meant to fight insurrection in these regions.

President Robert Mugabe has since said the killings were ‘‘a moment of madness”.

Dabengwa described Bhalagwe, where thousands are believed to have been ruthlessly thrown into a disused mine, as a memorial site which deserves great respect and honour.

“In Matabeleland South, Bhalagwe became a notorious place of sadistic beatings and torture. We recall with sadness and outrage that this place experienced daily deaths as a result of these cruel acts of armed men. Many families can attest to the constant digging of graves by survivors. At the same time, some of the bodies of victims were taken away in truckloads and dumped in Antelope Mine shafts.

“When Zanu PF gained control of Zimbabwe in April 1980 following our independence from Britain, it did not take long to show its intent to destroy Zapu.

“In October 1980, . . . Mugabe, who was prime minister at the time, came to an agreement with the government of North Korea for the training of the Fifth Brigade,” recalled Dabengwa.

“The next step was the arrival in 1981 of 106 military instructors to train the Fifth Brigade which according to the late Vice President Joshua Nkomo was recruited from the Zezuru ethnic group, Zvimba.

“As it turned out, the purpose of the Fifth Brigade was to carry out ethnic cleansing dubbed Gukurahundi as well as crushing Zapu to pave way for a one-party state controlled by Zanu PF,” Dabengwa claimed.

He said as a result “false” allegations were made against Zipra cadres which saw him and many others being targeted, arrested and subsequently detained without trial.

“At the end of January 1983, Mugabe unleashed his Fifth Brigade on a genocide expedition in Matabeleland and Ndebele-speaking parts of the Midlands.

“Over 20 000 civilians were killed yet the excuse of the operation was that it was to fight so-called dissidents who were threatening the security of the State.”

Early this year, the Americans released damaging claims of who among Zimbabwe’s ruling class allegedly directed the Gukurahundi massacres.

According to declassified Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) reports that were released in January,  very senior government and military officials — whose names the Daily News  opted to withhold — allegedly plotted at the time to annihilate Zapu and the Ndebeles, as Zanu PF sought to create a one-party State.

The reports further claimed that a rattled Zanu PF leadership also feared at the time that the then in power apartheid South Africa government, working with unrepentant Rhodesians, would join forces with the late revered Zapu leader Joshua Nkomo, to destabilise the new Zimbabwe government.

The released CIA documents also revealed how the USA viewed Mugabe’s new government in the early 1980s as a key player in regional peace-building efforts, as well as, bizarrely, in Washington’s fight against the Soviet Union during the Cold War era.

The Americans also feared then that Mugabe would be assassinated, and overtly and covertly worked to keep the nonagenarian in power to protect their interests.



. . . as Mzila declares genocide is a justice issue

FORMER National Healing minister Moses Mzila Ndlovu has accused Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko of failing to effectively discharge his role to promote national healing following last week’s actions by police which barred prominent politicians and civic groups from visiting one of the Gukurahundi sites in Matabeleland South, last week.

Apart from being President Robert Mugabe’s deputy, Mphoko is also in charge of National Healing and Reconciliation.

Mzila Ndlovu was among those that were barred by police from visiting Bhalagwe site in Kezi for the commemoration of Gukurahundi victims last weekend.

“Mphoko is just singing for his supper. What he is doing is far from being congruent to the demands of the people of Matabeleland and Midlands for justice.

“What Mphoko is doing and saying at the same time is so divorced from the reality on the ground in terms of what we are demanding,” claimed the voluble former minister.

Mzila Ndlovu said experience has taught him that Zanu PF was never sincere in addressing the post-independence atrocities issue. This he said was a clear sign that the reconciliation subject that Zanu PF always clamours about was hollow.

“Zanu PF has never been sincere in terms of reconciliation. We failed during my time because they have never been sincere, so how can someone in Zanu PF start speaking about Gukurahundi yet we know their true colours,” he said.

He, however, said no matter how much the Zanu PF government reacted against their move to have the Gukurahundi issue addressed, they were not going to remove the foot off the pedal.

“The guilty are afraid; it’s a question of the state or Zanu PF being afraid of the implications in terms of mobilising around issues of justice. Gukurahundi is a justice issue, as a result we want justice, we can’t stop wanting justice because it is a primary demand in our struggle,” added Mzila Ndlovu.


Mthwakazi accused of plagiarising

Malema’s manifestoSECESSIONIST outfit Mthwakazi Republic Party (MRP) was yesterday caught in a plagiarism storm after they allegedly took Julius Malema’s Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party’s manifesto word for word in creating their own.

The Mqondisi Moyo-led party last week launched its 67-page manifesto for next year’s elections where it expects to field candidates in Matabeleland in both council and parliamentary polls.

South Africa-based journalist Mxolisi Ncube sparked the storm when he posted on Facebook hinting that the party’s manifesto lacked originality.

“I have just finished reading the MRP manifesto.

“Besides it being laden with a plethora of illogical, childish and unattainable goals, I also found it to be lacking in originality, as it is a concoction of several lines stolen from the EFF, African Union, Biafra, Catalonia, Southern Cameroon and Scotland — either taken as raw as they are or tweaked here and there to replace certain words with Mthwakazi.

Such kind of intellectual theft and plagiarism would get certain people sued and embarrassed. The 67-page memo can certainly not pass for serious political pursuit,” Ncube said in a post that attracted mixed feelings.

MRP party spokesperson Mbonisi Gumbo dismissed the plagiarism claims.

“Let’s agree that Martin Luther is American and none between EFF and MRP is American. Let’s also agree that Martin’s statements have been taught even in schools across the globe.

“So I didn’t know that Mthwakazi problems only affect us and not other countries, because if our problems were not isolated you wouldn’t ask why EFF is fighting the same issues like us,’ said Gumbo.

“My understanding is that the Zimbabwean opposition parties as well as the ruling party are busy studying our manifesto because they know that it carries the aspirations of the people of Matabeleland and will try to copy and that is normal.

“We did not even see the EFF manifesto. What we know is that our problems as people of Matabeleland are similar to many other countries so it’s normal that you see us raising similar issues with other progressive political parties in the world,” added Gumbo



Fallout over Bhalagwe meeting continues

RADICAL pressure group — Ibhetshu Likazulu still smarting from its failure to commemorate Gukurahundi victims — has written a letter of complaint to the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission deploring police action at last weekend’s event in Matabeleland South province.

Heavily-armed police prevented the group, civic society organisations and high-ranking politicians from holding commemorative meetings in Kezi on Saturday.

Among those who turned for the event to remember Gukurahundi victims at Bhalagwe were former Cabinet ministers Dumiso Dabengwa and Moses Mzila Ndlovu.

“It is quickly emerging beyond reasonable doubt that some aspects of government are in pursuit of self-aggrandisement than Constitutional enshrinement.

“People, even animal rights, are an inviolable matter. Previously we have had to go to court to have our right to associate enforced. Courts are not to be inundated by induced trivia from supposedly knowledgeable State officers.

“I wish to lodge an official complaint that on October 21, we were denied access to Bhalagwe to pray and appease our departed and heal ourselves. We were a population of soul-tortured people with relatives who disappeared without closure,” said Ibhetshu LikaZulu secretary-general, Mbuso Fuzwayo.

The visit to Bhalagwe was meant to honour victims of Gukurahundi in Matabeleland and Midlands regions under the programme themed Dispossessed in Life and Dishonoured in Death: Bhalagwe Victims Remembered.

Ibhesthu have had several run-ins with the authorities over their stance on Gukurahundi.

Meanwhile, the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CiZC) said it was deeply concerned with the disruption of the Bhalagwe prayer meeting by the police.

In a statement, CiZC chairperson, Dumisani Nkomo said the police have been notorious for cancelling similar events since 2011 and their actions served to confirm that they are a captured institution.

“As CiZC we contend that the practice of memorialisation is one of the many avenues that seek to bring closure to victims and survivors of gross human rights abuses and survivors of genocide. The practice of memorialisation is a global concept, with countries such as Rwanda annually holding memorials for victims of genocide while in Germany Holocaust denialism is a criminal offence.

“In our view the foiled prayer meeting was not only legal but is in line with national principles of good governance enshrined in the Constitution that seek to foster national unity, peace and stability.  In the same vein we view actions of those that seek to deny justice for victims and survivors of the Gukurahundi genocide as criminal and infringing on individual and group rights to assemble and express themselves,” said Nkomo.

“The actions of the police can only be interpreted as expressing their support for the State-sponsored inhumane killings of the 1980s.

“The recent actions of the police under instruction from the State which continues to pay lip-service to the Gukurahundi massacres are deplorable and a grave concern for the justice order in Zimbabwe. We note that 30 years later, the Executive has not acknowledged these inhumane killings neither has it made a public apology to the affected families.

“We are worried that the State and its agents have been consistent in intimidating already fragile and traumatised populations in the Matabeleland and Midlands regions by promising to unleash similar violence during electoral periods.

“We are equally concerned that numerous public programmes meant to bring closure to the massacres continue to be foiled by the State, cases being the foiled Organ on National Healing, Reconciliation and Integration and currently the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission, which has spent half of its 10-year tenure before being operationalised,” added Nkomo.


Silted dam leaves villagers in a lurch

VILLAGERS in Ntabazinduna under Umguza Rural District Council are facing serious water challenges following the siltation of their major supplier, Mfanyama dam.

So bad is the situation that livestock is now surviving on sewer water which a local councillor said was contributing to the decimation of their herd.

“We are seriously in deep trouble here. The situation is not that bad on us human beings as compared to our livestock.

“It’s sad that our livestock now resort to drinking water from sewage sources which has seen a lot of them either dying or falling sick,” Bekithemba Qongo, ward 5 councillor,  told Southern News.

“Mfanyama dam used to be our major source of water but since it silted it’s no longer holding water that can last throughout the year.

“We tried to mobilise resources as community to ensure that we desilt it. We laboured for months but our efforts were limited since we didn’t have equipment that is needed for a complete desilting process,” he added.

Meanwhile, the plea by Qongo comes at a time Ntabazinduna business centre recently went for almost a month without running water after pumps at Ngwenya dam which supplies the area were reportedly vandalised.

Institutions such as the Zimbabwe Prison and Correctional Services training school, Zimbabwe Republic Police training depot and the entire township were affected, in a development that locals have described as common in the area.



Youth a deciding factor in next election: Bajila

THE MDC has stepped up its campaign to have thousands of youths register for next year’s elections by reminding them that they hold keys to who becomes the country’s leader after the eagerly-anticipated plebiscite.

South Africa-based youth wing secretary-general of the Welshman Ncube-led MDC, Descent Collins Bajila, said next year’s elections would be decided by the youth vote — joining President Robert Mugabe and MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai who have both urged the youths to register  for the crucial polls.

“There is no doubt that the next elections will be dominated by fresh voters, people who might have registered before and never voted or people who are coming to vote for the very first time.

“The concentration by Zanu PF on young voters is not misplaced. They really know what they are doing because now the youth factor counts. However, it is a test on young people on whether they can sell their future to Zanu PF on account of short-term freebies,” Bajila told Southern News.

“We know that campaigns will be around the distribution of housing stands, land, mining pegs and at a later stage things like Chinese-made torches and flasks will be used but we are hopeful that young people are going to understand that these things won’t last at some point they might lose the land or they will not be able to make anything productive out of it because the economy will not allow them to buy implements on their own.

“We will make it clear to young people that the Zanu PF promise for more jobs will lead to less jobs. The promise for money will lead to cash shortages and that the future cannot be built on account of freebies,” added Bajila.

He said there was need for the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) to intensify its registration awareness campaigns.

Zec opened the three-month voter registration exercise where it is targeting to have seven million people registered for next year’s elections.

So far the national elections management body has registered one million voters.

For the first time, Zec is using the biometric voter registration (BVR) to determine who votes in the crucial polls.

Comments (1)

What boggles the mind is that Mboko blocked Dumiso and company from comemmorating the gukurahundi massacres despite the fact tha he was also at the receiving end during that dark period,in fact its something that affected every level headed person whether Ndebele or Shona.The funniest thing is that if the old dictator and his lunatic wife decides to kick him out of the party he will be the number one critic of Mugabe and all the gukurahundi massacres.Moyo is one person whose parent was a victim of gukurahundi but he pretends to be ok with what happened,in fact he potrays a false picture as someone who does not have a vendatta against the old dictaor who was the chief author of the genocide.In fact if i fail to see any reason why people in matabeleland associate themselves with a party that massacred their kith and kin when most shona speaking people who were not directly affected have ditched the cruel man and his party in their millions.

Janana Bikaz Madhogodhogo - 26 October 2017

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