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(From BBC Monitoring International Reports)
President Robert Mugabe has ordered Thokozile Mathuthu, the Matabeleland North Governor and resident minister, to move out of the plush Bulawayo hotel where she was living at the expense of hard-up taxpayers. The Standard can reveal that Mathuthu has already quietly moved to a house in one of the city's suburbs. Her departure comes two weeks after The Standard exposed how Mathuthu, who governs an impoverished but rich in untapped resources province, was living large at the Rainbow Hotel. Authoritative sources told said Mathuthu was two weeks ago instructed to look for alternative accommodation after The Standard's report embarrassed the ruling party and government. Reports say Mathuthu was summoned to Harare by Mugabe two weeks ago where she was lambasted for living in the lap of luxury instead of looking for decent accommodation in Bulawayo (headline: Nqobani Nyathi).
2. Government's decision to commandeer private properties next to President Robert Mugabe's opulent retirement villa near Borrowdale Brook is illegal. Nearly three weeks ago the government, in its continuing disregard for individual property rights, notified property owners adjacent to the villa that the State was after their houses as the area next to the magnificent oriental mansion had been declared a security zone. The Standard understands from legal opinion that the government is incapable of interpreting its own laws correctly and that its decision against the property owners is illegal and grossly misguided. The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) yesterday said that the "notice" to Borrowdale property owners "is as unlawful as it is unprocedural". ZLHR said: "The 'notice' is unprocedural in that any action taken in respect of such a protected area must be taken by the Minister of Home Affairs and not by the Minister of Local Government. "It is further unlawful in that the law does not provide for the acquisition of property in such a protected area by the government. At most, the law allows for special security measures to be taken to protect against "unlawful damage or sabotage" and to "control the movement and conduct" of persons in the area, and only during a time of war, or a state of emergency or where it is reasonably necessary in the interests of defence, public safety or public order" (front page: Walter Marwizi and Davison Maruziva).
3. A senior police officer heading a reconstituted equipment acquisition task force has ignored two high court orders and another by police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri to return equipment looted from commercial farmers in Chiredzi last year, The Standard has established. Police Assistant Commissioner Loveness Ndanga, who is cited as the first respondent in a case brought before the High Court by aggrieved farmers, was the head of a task force, which went on the rampage, seizing farming equipment worth trillions of dollars in the past three months. Government established the task force last year in a bid to seize everything from the remaining few white farmers who had kept their equipment in warehouses. The task force included members of the police, …