News Briefs 14/4/06

Z$152 billion for more propaganda
HARARE - The Mugabe regime plans to spend Z$152 billion to broadcast its propaganda to Zimbabweans in the diaspora, parliament was told this week.
In a report to the parliamentary portfolio on Transport and Communications, New Ziana Chief executive o

fficer Munyaradzi Matanyaire said government would set up a new radio and satellite television station on orders from George Charamba, Mugabe’s press secretary. All the equipment was already in place, he said.
Stationed in Gweru, the radio programmes will be broadcast on Shortwave (SW) and the satellite television will target people in the diaspora. The aim was “to counter the negative publicity from those countries,” said Matanyaire’s report.

ZNA on massive recruiting drive
HARARE – The Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) will this month recruit 5,000 more soldiers to beef up its numbers, slashed in the past few years by a significant 25 percent to between 30,000 and 35,000 fighting men and women.
The recruitment exercise, that comes as the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) prepares for mass anti-government protests in the winter, is scheduled to take place on April 26 at centres in Mashonaland West province, Bulawayo, Mutare and Inkomo Barracks, near Harare.
Minister of Defence Sydney Sekeramayi refused to discuss the matter, referring questions to ZNA director of public relations, Lieutenant Colonel Simon Tsatsi. The colonel was on Monday unable to immediately respond to written questions sent to him at his request. – ZimOnline

10 MDC candidates for by-election
BUDIRIRO – Battle lines have been drawn in Budiriro with more than 10 MDC candidates having submitted their CVs for the primary election to be held in May following the death of Gilbert Shoko.
Notable among the contestants are Peter Chikwati, former councillor for ward 43, Chiwondekwa a vibrant young turkey and a member of the Masvingo provincial structure, Piano Mubaiwa former information and publicity for Budiriro District, Emmanuel Chisvuure, another former information and publicity secretary for the youth wing, Athur Mhiza, the current treasurer for the district and Munyarari, a flamboyant businessman.
So far all the candidates have vowed to work for the benefit of the people and to enhance and implement party policies to the bone.
The winner of the primary will wrestle against the Zanu (PF) candidate who is a former soldier.
Meanwhile, the MP for Kwekwe Blessing Chebundo has resigned from the Mutambara faction of the MDC. – Blessing Duma

Chinese tourists shun Zim
HARARE – The state-controlled press has admitted that even the Chinese now shun Zimbabwe as a tourist destination. Mugabe’s Look East policy saw Zimbabweans being encouraged to welcome the Chinese with open arms but the 70% decline in arrivals announced by the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA), has dashed hopes of a tourism revival in Harare.
Despite approved destination status and Zimbabwe’s fantastic tourist attractions, the Chinese prefer to go to South Africa and Zambia, the report said.
The head of the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA), Karikoga Kaseke blamed the decline on poor marketing. Political tensions and shortages of essentials like fuel no doubt played a role too. – Own correspondent

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