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Zimbabwe ruling party to hold solidarity rally for Grace Mugabe

HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) -- The ruling Zanu-PF party of Zimbabwe will on Wednesday hold a solidarity rally for First Lady Grace Mugabe, who two weeks ago had to invoke diplomatic immunity cover to evade a court appearance after she allegedly assaulted a South African model in Johannesburg.

With the South African police wanting to interview her and human rights group AfriForum pushing for her prosecution, the South African government said it recognized her diplomatic immunity status and allowed her to leave with President Robert Mugabe who had been attending a SADC summit there.

One of the organizers of the solidarity rally and commissar for Harare Province, Shadreck Mashayamombe, confirmed to Xinhua Tuesday that the rally would take place but denied that the solidarity had anything to do with what transpired in South Africa.

"We don’t have anything to do with what happened in South Africa.

"We are just holding the rally to show our support to her as our leader," Mashayamombe said.

However, a message on social media posted by Abicia Ushewokunze, provincial secretary for information and publicity, said the day should be remembered as the one on which they "defied sinister driven forces bent on undermining our integrity, self dignity, self rule" and the use of modern day warfare against the party and Zimbabweans.

"The spirit of togetherness shall bind us in both the mental and physical; we will stand and fight as one people for the good and betterment of our mother Dr. Grace Mugabe," the statement said.

The First Lady has been under the spotlight after she allegedly assaulted Gabriella Engels in a hotel room when she found her in the company of her two sons—Robert Junior and Chatunga.

AfriForum and South African opposition party Democratic Alliance have since launched court appeals to have her diplomatic immunity status revoked so that she faces trial in South Africa.


Zimbabwean opposition protests against identity card voting requirement

HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) -- One of the two opposition parties in Zimbabwean Parliament, the MDC, has raised a red flag over the announcement by Registrar-General Tobaiwa Mudede that people who do not have plastic national identity cards will not be able to register as voters for the 2018 elections.

Mudede on Tuesday announced that the machine readable plastic identity cards must be used for the bio-metric voter registration (BVR), which is due to begin in October.

Many people still possess metal national identity cards which they obtained prior to the introduction of plastic cards in 2010.

Mudede said his office would roll out a three-month mobile registration program for national identity cards and birth and death certificates starting Sept. 4.

MDC’s director of planning, strategy and implementation Ellen Shiriyedenga said in a statement Wednesday that Mudede’s move was illegal and meant to prop up President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party by denying some people the chance to vote after failing to acquired the new identity cards.

Shiriyedenga accused Mudede of trying to usurp the responsibility of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC).

Her party, which is led by Welshman Ncube, is the smaller of the two MDCs in Parliament in terms of representation.

Shiriyedenga also questioned whether it was feasible for the registrar-general to issue at least 3 million new identity cards in time to allow BVR to take place ahead of the elections.

"The irony is that, the main national registry offices including Makombe and Market Square (in Harare) currently do not issue more than 70 identity cards a day. It will therefore require serious prophetic powers of extensive multiplication to issue identity cards to all affected people," she said.


Zimbabwe President Mugabe criticizes corruption in police force

HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) -- Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe on Saturday slammed corruption in the police force and implored the force to serve the people and shun greed.

He said the police should stop extorting money from motorists at roadblocks and those interested in running businesses should do so in a legitimate way.

Mugabe’s remarks followed public outcry over perceived police corruption, especially at roadblocks on the country’s roads and highways.

The tourism sector has also raised concern over the numerous police roadblocks, saying they were inconveniencing tourists and hurting the industry.

Mugabe said members of the police force operating commuter omnibuses should organize themselves and start a proper bus company, noting that some of the omnibuses get involved in fatal accidents.

Road accidents are common in Zimbabwe and some of the accidents involve commuter omnibuses, one of the major forms of public transport in the country.

"Be a police force of the people and stop that evil (of extorting money from motorists at roadblocks)," Mugabe said while addressing mourners at the burial of Mbuya Maud Muzenda, widow of late Zimbabwean Vice President Simon Muzenda, and veteran freedom fighter George Rutanhire, at the National Heroes Acre.

Mugabe exhorted members of the police force to engage in dignified business activities.

Zimbabwe’s VP Mnangagwa not yet fully recovered: Mugabe

HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) -- Zimbabwean Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa is not yet fully recovered from illness caused by suspected food poisoning, President Robert Mugabe said Saturday.

In an address at the National Heroes Acre for the joint burial of Mbuya Maud Muzenda, widow of former Zimbabwe Vice President Simon Muzenda, and George Rutanhire, a veteran freedom fighter, Mugabe said the vice president attended part of the burial ceremony in Mbare before excusing himself.

"The vice president said he has not yet fully recovered and is no longer going to the National Heroes Acre as per the instructions of his doctors who have advised that he must not strain himself at this juncture," Mugabe said.

Mnangagwa suffered a severe bout of vomiting and diarrhea while Mugabe was addressing a rally in Gwanda, Matabeleland South Province, on Aug. 12.

After receiving initial treatment in the country, Mnangagwa was airlifted to South Africa the following day for further treatment. He returned to Zimbabwe on Aug. 19.

He made his first public appearance since falling ill on Aug. 25 when he visited the homesteads of the Muzenda and Rutanhire families in Harare to pay his condolences.

While some speculate that the VP fell sick after eating poisoned food, the government has rebuffed the claim, saying he fell sick after taking stale food.

"What the doctors think happened is that perhaps he ate some stale food, which then means it is not really poison in the sense that the people are trying to allege," Information Minister Chris Mushohwe was quoted as saying by the state media last week.


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