Police loyal to President Robert Mugabe raided a house used by the prime minister’s supporters Saturday and accused them of hoarding weapons in a move that is likely to push Zimbabwe’s fragile coalition government closer to collapse.
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change said Saturday the police raid on a house where the party’s executives stay was provocation by Mugabe’s party which wants the coalition to fail.
Mugabe was forced into a power-sharing government with Tsvangirai, the country’s longtime opposition leader, in February after disputed elections last year. Tsvangirai withdrew temporarily from the coalition government on Oct. 16.
Mugabe, 85, has ruled Zimbabwe since independence from Britain in 1980 and many fear he will hang on to power at all costs.
Finance Minister and MDC Secretary-General Tendai Biti said about 50 armed police “ransacked” a house used by party executives in Harare on Friday night.
He said a guard, Moffat Nyandure, and his wife were assaulted. Police told Nyandure to dig in the yard around the house in search of weapons, he said. Nyandure was made to dig with his bare hands for five hours.
A room occupied by a party official, who was at the house at the time of the raid, was searched and “valuable party documents” were taken, Biti said. Police “claimed” they had a search warrant, he said.
The house is used by MDC executives who visit from outside of the capital.
Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena had no immediate comment.
“They are behind this attack,” Biti said, referring to Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party. “Our decision of pulling out of the inclusive government infuriated ZANU-PF and this is the price we now pay for that decision.”
Tsvangirai’s boycott has been a setback for the country’s struggle to emerge from political gridlock, economic collapse, and international isolation and sanctions.
Both parties have said they are committed to the coalition but it has been strained by disagreements that have paralyzed the country.
Tsvangirai has condemned unilateral moves by Mugabe to fill government posts, continuing human rights violations and attacks on activists by ZANU-PF militants and security forces.
The only positive sign for unity and democratic reform in Zimbabwe came weeks ago when the Supreme Court released nine activists and dropped terror charges against them because they had been tortured and beaten in jail.
But the catalyst for Tsvangirai’s withdrawal was the prosecution of Roy Bennett, a popular party member nominated as deputy agriculture minister.
Prosecutors unsuccessfully tried to send Bennett back to jail to await trial on charges linked to discredited allegations that he had plotted the violent overthrow of Mugabe.
Biti said the MDC was adamant it would not return to the coalition until there was movement from Mugabe’s party.
“These acts of harassment are an attempt to intimidate us but we will not be intimidated and our disengagement will not be reversed until outstanding issues are resolved,” Biti told reporters Saturday.
Tsvangirai is looking to regional leaders to help resolve the stalemate. This week he met with the leaders of neighbouring countries and a team of southern African ministers will also visit the country Thursday.
However, Mugabe and his party have treated Tsvangirai’s boycott with contemptuous indifference.
In his first comments on the issue Friday, Mugabe called the split a “non-event” and said his party would not change its course.
“No amount of pressure will make ZANU-PF yield to any one of their demands,” he told state television on his return from a summit of African leaders in Uganda.
“What the MDC wants is to have complete executive authority and that we cannot allow,” Mugabe said.
Mugabe has demanded that Tsvangirai do more to get international sanctions lifted and foreign aid and investment restored. He claims the sanctions have been illegally imposed by Western nations and have contributed to the country’s economic decline.
However, sanctions such as those imposed by the European Union are largely targeted against Mugabe and his cronies whose assets have been frozen and travel restricted.
Critics blame Mugabe for Zimbabwe’s economic meltdown which began after he ordered the seizures of thousands of white-owned commercial farms in 2000, disrupting the agriculture-based economy in the former regional breadbasket.
Mexicans Set Up Labs In Nigeria To Produce Meth, Reps Confirm
House of Representatives, yesterday, explained that since 1990 the production of crystal meth had been hijacked by Mexican drug dealers, who set up laboratories in Nigeria for the production of Mkpuru Mmiri in 2016.
The lawmakers then mandated the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), to go after peddlers of Methampheramine nicknamed Mkpuru-Mmiri and other hard drugs in the country with a view to stamping them out.
The House also asked the agency to reintegrate and strategize further on its enforcement and enlightenment capacity to cover the mode and cure for meth addiction which, it said, has no medical treatment at the moment.
The resolution followed a motion titled “Urgent Need to Sensitize Nigerians on the Danger of Widespread Meth Epidemic and Effect of Crystal Meth on the Nigerian Youths”, moved by Henry Nwawuba at the plenary.
Presenting the motion, Nwawuba noted the widespread meth epidemic and the effect of crystal Meth on Nigerians, especially the youths.
He also noted the highly addictive street form of the pharma grade amphetamine and the ill-equipped handling or stopping of the spread.
“Many homes in the south east are currently facing the dangerous effect of Methampheramine nick-named Mkpuru-Mmiri which translates to seed of water.
“Crystal meth is a crystal narcotic hallucinogen that is capable of destroying a person mentally.
“An estimated 75percent of the users in our society are adversely affected and they have become a burden to their families and communities.
“Since 1990 the production of Crystal Meth has been hijacked by Mexican drug dealers who set up laboratories in Nigeria for the production of Mkpuru Mmiri in 2016.
“Methamphetamine also known as Crystal Meth or Mkpuru mmniri was developed in Japan in 1919 and grossly abused during World War II when it was issued to pilots on suicidal mission then called KamKaze.
“After the world war, it was used briefly as a medication for depression and for controlling obesity, but it was quickly abandoned and banned thereafter, especially in the 1970s.
“As a stimulant, it has a powerful euphoric effect similar to those of cocaine.
“Meth typically keeps users awake depriving them of sleep, making them react violently and takes a toll on the physical look of its users,” he said.
Contributing to the motion, the Deputy Minority Leader, Hon. Toby Okechukwu asked NDLEA to trace the manufacturers and others in the chain.
“Who are the manufacturers? Where is the factory? Where is it manufactured? Who are the traders?
“When you beat young people, it is like double jeopardy. Somebody is a victim of the drug and you are still beating them.
“NDLEA should trace, and we should ensure rehabilitation of the victims and make sure we take meth out of the market.
“That is the quickest thing we can do; after taking meth out of the market, then we will know what to do with our citizens who are already victims,” he said.
Also speaking, Lynda Ikpeazu said that many youths of young ages were involved in the consumption of the drug.
“It does sound like a joke, but it is actually very serious and killing a lot of people.
“In the next 10 years, if we don’t stop it, we are going to have a zombie society.”
Join Campaign To End Violence Against Women, Girls, Banigo Tells Nigerians
Rivers State Deputy Governor, Dr. Ipalibo Harry Banigo has called on all well- meaning citizens, especially the male folk to join the campaign to end violence against women and girls.
Banigo made this call in her goodwill message in Government House, Port Harcourt, yesterday, to commemorate the 2021 International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and Girls.
The deputy governor, who urged the male folk to be strong advocates in the quest to eliminate violence against women and girls, noted that violence against women and girls increase in the society during crises.
She said it manifests in physical, sexual and psychological means and most times perpetrated by trusted family members, while the rest of society look the other way, adding that sometimes women are also culpable when it comes to violence against fellow women.
Banigo said the state government under the leadership of Governor Nyesom Wike takes the security and wellbeing of women as top priority with zero tolerance for violence against women.
It would be recalled that November25 each year is set aside to commemorate the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.
It also marks the launch of 16 days of activism that would end on December 10, 2021, which is the International Human Rights Day.
The theme for this year’s celebration is: “Orange the World: End Violence against Women Now!”.
Similarly, Rivers State Deputy Governor, Dr. Ipalibo Harry Banigo has said that every girl-child must be intentional and focused in order to achieve success in life.
Banigo stated this while speaking during the Girl Child Initiative, Just Girls Talk Programme at the Government Girls Secondary School, Rumuokwuta (UBE), last Wednesday, organised by the Youth Church of the Mountain of Fire & Miracles Ministries in Port Harcourt.
Speaking through the Coordinator, Protect the Girl Child Initiative of the Deputy Governor’s Office and Senior Special Assistant to the Deputy Governor, Barrister Inegogo Fubara, Banigo said women are leaders created by God to solve problems.
“We are problem solvers, do not ever think of yourselves as being little because you are wonderfully created for a purpose. We are here to tell you that you can be whatever you want to be, but you have to work it out, education is very important and you must take it very seriously and be diligent in what you are doing”, Banigo said.
The deputy governor, who described Wike as the most gender friendly governor in the country said apart from having a female deputy, he has continued to appoint women into positions of trust and has encouraged women to run for elective positions.
Banigo commended the school authorities and the Mountain of Fire & Miracles Ministries for the putting up the Just Girls Talk Programme.
In his remarks, the Regional Overseer of the youth church, Pastor Chinedu Udechukwu said the Just Girls Talk Programme, has been going on in the church for years, noting that after the pandemic they decided to re-strategize and take it off to schools to talk to young girls about their vision and expose them to our Lord Jesus Christ who is the author and finisher of our faith.
Also speaking, the Coordinator of the Just Girls Talk Programme, Mrs. Esther Udechukwu said the Just Girl Talk was organised to enlighten young girls on the consequences inherent in premarital sex, the physical and spiritual aspects, as well as to empower and sharpen them for the future.
Police Smash Four Deadly Kidnappers In Rivers
Operatives of the Force Intelligence Response Team (IRT) in collaboration with policemen from the Rivers State Police Command, have arrested a kidnap syndicate that specialised in using Facebook and WhatsApp to lure their victims, in Port Harcourt.
The suspects admitted during interrogation to have kidnapped, tortured, raped and robbed their victims.
They admitted that their targets were usually female and that they have successfully collected ransoms from at least ten 10 female since January, 2021, with N5million their highest ransom.
The nabbed suspects are: Izunna Fidelis, 21; Humble Unity Okeregwu, 24; Izuchukwu Nwaobiri, 22; and Chibeze Nwike,23.
They were arrested in Choba and Etche areas of Rivers State.
According to the police, for suspects to get the attention of their victims, they take to their respective Facebook pages posing as foreigners working in multinational oil companies in Rivers State and professing love as well as proposed marriage to their Facebook girlfriends, all in a bid to trap them.
The police said their arrest followed report of kidnapping for ransom and the gang-rape of a 27-year-old lady identified simply as Happiness, on August 28, 2021.
According to leader of the gang, Nwaobiri, “The first thing we do is to check Facebook profiles for beautiful girls. Then, we would add them to our friend lists. Each of us works on different persons. I would start up a conversation with my supposed girl, exchange pleasantries and tell her that I worked with an oil company. I also asked if she was married or single.
“It takes time to familiarize with them, say two to three months. Thereafter, we would progress to WhatsApp chats and then telephone calls and when friendship has been established, we will invite them over to the company’s base which is a bush where they would be blindfolded and calls put across to their families.”
Nwaobiri added: “I started earlier this year because of circumstances. My mum is late, my dad has a stroke and I have been the one catering for everything. I have been involved in seven cases but succeeded in four.
“We only rape our captives if they don’t cooperate. That is, if they don’t mount pressure on their relatives to pay ransom.”
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