Zimbabwe News Roundup

G-Tide not leaving

G-Tide, the cellphone manufacturing firm that specializes in cellular phones for low-income earners, has assured Zimbabweans it was not moving its operations to neighbouring South Africa.Amy Ma, the sales manager, quashed rumours that the company would move as operating conditions were more favourable down south. It cells an average 20 000 units per month.Dual sim card phones allow a user the concurrent use of two different lines belonging to the same or different mobile networks on the same phone.The company’s market share is currently between 20 percent and 30 percent. As part of the company’s drive to ensure accessibility of mobile phones, the company is now selling its phones on credit. – Chris Ncube

Maguwutalks diamonds

Farai Maguwu, the award winning human rights activist will lead a special session at the Rapaport Fair Trade Jewellery Conference in Las Vegas next month. Maguwu has risked his life and freedom to inform the world of the horrific human rights abuses taking place in the Marange diamond fields.“As an industry and as individuals we must stand up and proclaim that the sanctity of life and the human rights of diggers are more important to us than diamond profits. I encourage every member of our industry to meet Farai Maguwu and support his goals,” said Martin Rapaport, Chairman of the Rapaport Group that hosts the conference. – Staff Reporter

Low tobacco sales

This year’s tobacco selling season started in February on a slow note, arousing fears of lower sales volumes.But statistics released by the Tobacco Industry Marketing Board this week show a marginal increase in sales, compared to last year. 71 million kg of flue cured tobacco worthS$267 million has so far sold at an average price of $3.78 per kg, marking an 18,78 % increase from last year’s gross $168 million from 60 million kg during the same period.Farmers have also got a better value for their crop as last year’s average price was at $2.82 per kg. – Staff Reporter

Ncube preaches peace, tolerance

Youths must embrace peace and be the opposite of Zanu (PF) goons as the country prepares for the next polls says Welshman Ncube, leader of the smaller MDC.Speaking to over 300 party supporters at a peace rally at Crossroads Shopping centre Ncube said: “ if elections come even tomorrow, our message to youths is lets be peaceful. We should be the opposite of Zanu and Mugabe. Despite all the atrocities that were perpetrated against the people whose graves spread across this region during the 80s, I urge peace. The nation needs healing, the country needs to be rebuilt.” – Brenna Matendere

GMB’s Mafa resigns

Zanu (PF) Mashonaland West chairman, John Mafa, has resigned from the Grain Marketing Board following a shake-up to curb alleged corruption. “I will rather concentrate on farming and work for the party to win the forth-coming elections,” said Mafa. He admitted that there were divisions within the party and some members were fighting hard to dislodge him. Mafa, who is linked to Phillip Chiyangwa and EmmersonMnangagwa, won the provincial chairmanship post but some senior party members are fighting hard to remove him. – Criswell Chisango

Rights body pushes for rule of law

The African Commission on Human and People’s Rights has pledged to press the government to respect the rule of law. Effie Ncube, the director of the Matabeleland Constitutional Reform Agenda, who attended a recent ACPHR meeting in Gambia, said David Mangota, permanent secretary in the Ministry of Justice, had dismissed human rights violations submissions to the commission as “a complete lie, coming from the Western driven Agenda”. But the Commission committed itself to investigate the allegations from civil society and to press thegovernment for change in respect of the rule of law and the Global Political Agreement (GPA). The EU and the West imposed targeted sanctions on Mugabe and his top military, ruling and business associates in 2002 as punishment for perpetuating human rights violations and failure to uphold the rule of law. – Radio VOP

6 injured in violence

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC says Zanu (PF) and the security forces are intensifying a campaign of violence and intimidation against its members. Kambuzuma MP, WilliasMadzimure, said Zanu (PF) was in the process of creating a climate of intimidation and political violence that could prevent free and fair voting. A rally in his constituency was disrupted by armed police on Sunday.The militants also went on an orgy of violence in Highfields where they left six MDC-T members hospitalised -Thulani Ncube, ShadrickNgirazi, sisters Maud and Tsitsi Chinyerere, their two daughters, Rosie (14) and Nomatter (13).The MDC-T said three houses were damaged in the same attack.Madzimure said despite all this provocation, his party believes in peaceful transition. – Radio VOP

COPAC explains draft

COPAC met with civic groups in Bulawayo this week to clarify a number of issues it says have been grossly misrepresented by hardliners in President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu (PF).The parliamentary committee also unveiled its official draft charter, different from other documents previously leaked to the state media, supposedly by Zanu (PF) politicians trying to frustrate the constitutional effort.Committee co-chairman Douglas Mwonzora unpacked the draft amid lingering skepticism, especially over the issue of devolution of power.

“A lot of misinformation has being peddled by elements in Zanu (PF) about the draft,” Mwonzora said. Consensus on the new constitution remains a long shot as the main parties remain divided over a number of contentious issues, among them, dual citizenship. – VOA

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