SOUTHERN NEWS | White City blast triggers fears

BULAWAYO - Opposition Zapu has claimed that last week’s assassination attempt on President Emmerson Mnangagwa was calculated to destabilise the Matabeleland region like what happened in the early 1980s when government launched a crackdown against alleged dissidents in the region which left more than 20 000 civilians dead.

This comes as security agencies have opened a full scale probe into last weekend’s blast at White City Stadium, have not yet disclosed who was behind the dastardly act.

No one has claimed responsibility for the explosion which claimed two lives and left many people injured including Mnangagwa’s deputy Kembo Mohadi and several senior Zanu PF officials.

“This is similar to what Zanu PF did in the early 1980s when Robert Mugabe’s regime unleashed the notorious Korea-trained Fifth Brigade in Matabeleland and parts of Midlands.

“They planted weapons in Zapu properties, but only in those situated in Matabeleland. This is despite the fact that Zapu had properties beyond the region, with some in Harare,” Zapu spokesperson Iphithule Maphosa told the Daily News.

In the early 1980s the then Mugabe’s government unleashed the Fifth Brigade and other arms of security on Matabeleland and Midlands provinces to fight insurrection which it blamed on disgruntled former Zipra forces, the military wing of Zapu, which fought side by side with Zanu PF’s own wing, Zanla, during the Rhodesian bush war.

Investigations into the conduct of the security forces revealed that the operation left more than 20 000 civilians slain in the atrocities commonly referred to as Gukurahundi.

The Zapu spokesperson claimed that hostile public pronouncements that triggered mass killings during Gukurahundi were made in Matabeleland, by Mugabe at St Columbus in Bulawayo, late Enos Nkala at White City and Mnangagwa on numerous occasions in Lupane and Nkayi.

“Again, Matabeleland became a launch pad for Zanu PF acts of terrorism against the civilian population of Matabeleland,” Maphosa told the Daily News.

Maphosa further backed his views with recent incidents which all centred on Zanu PF factional wars and reckless statements by its leaders.

He cited the alleged poisoning of Mnangagwa in Gwanda last year during the Zanu PF youth interface rally which resulted him being airlifted to South Africa where he went into emergency surgery.

The Zapu spokesperson also referred to the November 4 booing of Grace at White City Stadium after she had humiliated Mnangagwa who was sacked two days later — triggering a chain of events which started with the intervention of the military and ended with both the former first lady and her husband being put under house arrest.

Mugabe would go on to resign on November 21 to end 37 years of his infamous rule.

Maphosa said last weekend’s explosion was a well-timed event.

“All these Zanu PF terrorist activities happen in Matabeleland. We believe this is another of the party’s pretexts to portray the people of this region as violent and rebellious to the November 2017 military junta that wields political power today.

“The...incidences by Zanu PF are part of a broad covet plan to portray the region as unsafe for all aspects of life, be it social, civilian, political and economic.

The biggest casualty is the economic prospect of the region, with all downstream and related sectors being equally affected.

“Incidentally, all these acts of terror take place as the country inches towards the watershed plebiscite on 30 July 2018, making it difficult to suggest that elections will be free and fair as the Zanu PF terrorism escalates,” he said.


ED attracts arrows over devolution

BULAWAYO - Civic and political groups have accused President Emmerson Mnangagwa of playing to the gallery by promising to implement devolution if he wins next month’s elections.

The new Constitution written and passed in March 2013 enabled devolution of power but Mnangagwa’s government has not implemented it by delaying aligning laws.

Speaking in Matabeleland South and Bulawayo last week, Mnangagwa promised he would act on the highly contested devolution of power which the Constitution recognises as giving provinces powers to conduct most of their affairs without waiting for central government.

However, civic groups and political parties here accused Mnangagwa of  trying to lure votes ahead of the July 30 national elections by promising to act on devolution yet his own government has not implemented it.

“Chapter 14 of the Constitution operationalises Devolution of power as a result when Mnangagwa took over power he was supposed to implement it.

“He can’t talk of devolution because he is in Gwanda and Bulawayo. Why does he have to talk of devolution because he is in Matabeleland? Why has he not been saying it all along?” asked civic leader Dumisani Nkomo.

Nkomo said Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa had suggested that implementation of devolution was not a priority by claiming it would be a drain on the fiscus.

Presenting the 2018 National Budget statement last year, Chinamasa suggested to MPs to scrap the provision from the supreme law.

“Funding of the provincial and metropolitan structures, as set out in Chapter 14, Section 264 of the Constitution, is not sustainable and Political Parties represented in Parliament should in the future give consideration to amending the Constitution to lessen the burden on the fiscus,” Chinamasa said.

Zapu spokesperson Iphithule Maphosa said Mnangagwa was merely politicking.

“We can’t take him seriously on that. Mnangagwa has been addressing rallies since the November coup, never at any point did he commit to implementing Devolution as provided for in the Constitution.”

Big cheer for residents ahead of crucial polls

BULAWAYO - Bulawayo mayor Martin Moyo has given residents a big cheer ahead of the impending national elections by stopping the city fathers from disconnecting water supplies to defaulting consumers.

Moyo came into office on the MDC ticket, the country’s largest opposition party which will lock horns with the ruling Zanu PF in the eagerly-awaited polls due at the end of next month.

The Bulawayo City Council (BCC) has been clamping down on defaulting residents by disconnecting water supplies as it bid to improve its revenues and reduce the residents and industry’s debts.

“Our position is that let’s not cut water, let’s find other means of demanding our payments like giving a final warning.

“I was talking to the town clerk and he assured me that they discussed that at management level.

“We have an operations team on the ground which might not have received the instructions to that effect.

“I think it’s an interdepartmental thing where there could have been communication breakdown,” Moyo told Southern News as he explained water disconnections in the city.

“My position is that we must stop cutting water supplies to residents. The economy hasn’t improved so many are still struggling to pay their bills let’s not be too harsh,” he added.

Curiously, the timing of BCC’s decision comes as the country hurtles towards the July 30 national polls.

In the run up to July 31, 2013 national elections, former Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo, with the approval of former president Robert Mugabe’s Cabinet, scrapped residents’ water bills running into millions of dollars, in a controversial move which was interpreted as vote buying.

Most municipalities have not recovered from the ill-advised decision from which the celebrating consumers profited at the expense of improved service delivery.

Meanwhile, the BCC has explained the dry taps and toilets at the White City Stadium which attracted severe criticism from President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Mnangagwa claimed the BCC had deliberately shut out water to sabotage his star rally.

“For the past week we have been cleaning Magwegwe reservoir, it then affected water pumping pressure resulting in low lying areas such as Mpopoma, Njube and Entumbane being affected.

“Unfortunately the situation was worsened by major pipe bursts that occurred.

“The cleaning of the reservoir will be over by end day today (Tuesday) and normal supply will resume.

“It was not deliberate as the president wanted people to believe, because in the first place Zanu PF had not indicated to us that they would be using the stadium on the very day they did, they had told us they were coming this weekend but they changed last minute.

“And also it was not fair for the president to say whatever he said about the Bulawayo council because we had to dispatch bowsers to mitigate the situation,” Ward 4 councillor Silas Chigora explained.

Comments (1)

An attempt on the President's life is not a light matter except in Zimbabwe where those tasting the freedom of a the dispensation are abusing it. The law will take its cause. You can not use mayhem on the innocent as a pretext to campaign for votes. ZANU PATRIOTIC FRONT9ZPAU AND ZANU) I is heading for victory the polls show this. This has scared those trying to kill ED and have commited murder of two loyal officers. This time those who protected inhuman tappering like Chihuri are out of the picture. When you play with fire expect to be bent. No stone will be left to find the culprits and their funders and supports. Victory for ZANUPF is certain!

Mufaro Sibanda - 28 June 2018

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