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2014: Events that shaped a turbulent year

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THE year 2014 was full of dramatic twists and turns socially, politically and on the religious stage among other areas.

Staff Reporters

It is a year in which many would want to quickly forget. Below are some highlights of the leading newsmakers who kept the nation talking.

Jehovah’s Witnesses
On the religious front, Jehovah’s Witnesses are the biggest newsmaker of the year after hosting the biggest ever religious gathering, which brought about 5000 foreign delegates from the United States, Germany, Brazil, Zambia and Britain among others.

More than 80 000 people gathered at the National Sports Stadium for their three day International Convention. Tourism minister Walter Mzembi was so impressed so much that immediately after the event held from August 22-24, he travelled to the organisation’s Brooklyn headquarters in the US. The gathering brought a fine witness to Zimbabwe where millions of people had misconceptions about their beliefs. The event boosted the country’s tourism industry and portrayed the country as a safe tourism destination.

Speaking in Parliament, Mzembi urged all religious outfits in the country to emulate Jehovah’s Witnesses’ orderliness when hosting big gatherings to avoid deaths and for purposes of boosting what he termed religious tourism.

Emmanuel Makandiwa, Eubert Angel, Water Magaya
The three religious leaders combined, also held their religious conferences, which drew sizeable crowds from across the country. There was however reports of deaths at some of the religious conferences such as when 11 people died at Mbizo Stadium while attending Magaya’s sermon.

President Robert Mugabe
Turning 91 next month, Mugabe is probably a cocktail of all what Zimbabwe is facing today, him, according to analysts, being a disciple of the Italian philosopher Niccolo Machiavelli’s book The Prince. Machiavelli believed that in order for a politician to keep power longest, they must have many sides and know the art of when and how to show the appropriate side. Mugabe has mastered this art.

He kept Zimbabweans in awe after he unleashed his wife against Mujuru and her alleged allies faction, and took sides with Justice minister Emmerson Mnangagwa (now Vice President).

He also surprised Mnangagwa backers by not appointing the G4 — Oppah Muchinguri, Jonathan Moyo, Saviour Kasukuwere and Patrick Zhuwao (Mugabes nephew) to key party and government positions putting the group at odds with the VP. He always employs this tactic to keep his followers busy and keep his position safe.

Grace Mugabe
First Lady Grace Mugabe’s dramatic entrance onto the political arena as the secretary of the ruling Zanu PF party Women’s League and the central role that she played in the sensational fall of former Vice President Joice Mujuru was probably the leading news of the year.

Mujuru’s fall also claimed several casualties along the way allegedly aligned to her faction among them 15 government ministers and senior party officials such as axed Mashonaland West chair Temba Mliswa, Minister of State for Presidential Affairs Flora Bhuka, Minister of State in the Vice President’s Office Sylvester Nguni, Deputy Minister of Health and Child Care Paul Chimedza, Deputy Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Tongai Muzenda and Deputy Minister of Lands and Rural Resettlement, Tendai Savanhu.
Deputy Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development, Petronella Kagonye; Deputy Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Fortune Chasi; ICT minister Webster Shamu, Labour minister Nicholas Goche, Presidential Affairs minister Didymus Mutasa, Energy minister Dzikamai Mavhaire, his deputy Munacho Mutezo; Mashonaland East minister Simbaneuta Mudarikwa, Youth minister Francis Nhema and Higher Education minister Olivia Muchena.

Grace controversially acquired a Doctorate degree from the University of Zimbabwe after a record two months, also earned her the noisemakers of the year award. She had completed her first degree in Chinese language in 2011. Muchinguri also made a gaffe saying her husband President Robert Mugabe had marked his wife’s assignments prior to her conferment with a PhD.

Joice Mujuru

Dominated the news for allegedly plotting to wrest power from Mugabe by overthrowing him. Although she refuted the allegations, she was unceremoniously fired from both her party and government positions.

Didymus Mutasa
The former Zanu PF secretary for administration and Presidential Affairs minister was fired while he was away tending to his sick wife in India.

Rugare Gumbo
Dismissed Zanu PF spokesperson, Gumbo was fired during the heat of the moment as opposing factions allegedly led by Mujuru and Mnangagwa, tussled to succeed Mugabe.

Jabulani Sibanda
The tough–talking ousted war veteran’s leader was fired from Zanu PF and is currently under prosecution for allegedly undermining Mugabe’s authority after accusing him of seeking to eject Mujuru through “a boardroom or bedroom coup” with First Lady Grace, claiming power was not transferrable through sexual relations.

Baba Jukwa
Suspended Sunday Mail editor Edmund Kudzai and his brother Philip, were arrested and are currently under trial for allegedly running the controversial Baba Jukwa Facebook page that kept the nation on tenterhooks with rare, behind–the–scenes insights of events in the country’s political corridors. They were charged with subversion, banditry and insurgency and their trial is still in progress.

Vice Presidents Emmerson Mnangagwa and Phelekezela Mphoko
Justice minister Emmerson Mnangagwa and former diplomat Phekelezela Mphoko were appointed Zanu PF second secretaries and vice presidents. The two politicians replaced Mujuru and the late John Landa Nkomo.

Augustine Chihuri
The police chief collapsed before President Robert Mugabe causing panic among several Cabinet ministers, aides and thousands of people present at a police graduation parade at Morris Deport in Harare.
Mapostori

There was mayhem in Harare’s Budiriro high-density suburb when marauding members of the Johane Masowe weChishanu sect ran riot, beating up anti-riot police officers, a ZBC journalist and officials from the Apostolic Christian Council of Zimbabwe (ACCZ) on May 30. Nine police officers were seriously injured and taken to hospital. Thirty seven of them underwent trial and eleven were convicted of public violence and jailed for five years each.

Nelson Chamisa

The youthful MDC–T official was ousted from his influential post of political commissar, and pipped to the position of secretary general by Douglas Mwonzora in a move believed to be an attempt by party leader Morgan Tsvangirai to clip Chamisa’s wings as he was touted as his possible successor.

Elton Mangoma

Had the guts to challenge MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s dictatorial tendencies. He asked Tsvangirai to step down and blamed him for the party’s loss in the 2013 harmonised elections. He was brutalised for his guts by MDC-T part youths.

Gideon Gono
Former Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono was disqualified by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission from standing as Manicaland senator. Zec chairperson Justice Rita Makarau on September 15 this year wrote to axed Zanu PF national chairman Simon Khaya Moyo advising him that Gono did not qualify to assume the Senate seat as the ex-central bank governor was not a registered voter in Manicaland province.

Robert Martin Gumbura
Polygamous RMG End Time Message church leader Robert Martin Gumbura, who was convicted on four counts of rape and one count of possession of pornographic material, was sentenced to 50 years in prison. Of these, 10 years were suspended on condition of good behaviour. He is currently serving an effective 40 year jail term.
*the list is not exhaustive

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