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NewsDay ZimbabweTown clerk: A ‘political’ hot seat in local authoritiesZanu PF MPs walk out on BitiArts financing remains thorny issueNo Warriors Joey2020 Budget: Into the realm of dartboard economicsSplinter war veterans in ED love-inHarare town clerk reads riot actJoin hands in fight for internet freedom: MisaSweswe targets Bosso runWife kills hubby in domestic disputeGold miners fined for torching employer’s shedEx-Zinara boss convictedAntipas in two pronged chaseHarare councillor Masunda diesGovt urged to implement democratic laws to address polarisation in media2020 Budget: Govt not committed to alleviating people’s sufferingBulilima school loses roof in violent stormByo vendors commemorate informal traders day‘Public officials should declare assets’Include PLWIs in electoral discourse: Deafs

https://www.newsday.co.zw Everyday News for Everyday People Sat, 16 Nov 2019 06:16:37 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.0.7 https://www.newsday.co.zw/2019/11/town-clerk-a-political-hot-seat-in-local-authorities/ https://www.newsday.co.zw/2019/11/town-clerk-a-political-hot-seat-in-local-authorities/#respond Sat, 16 Nov 2019 06:16:37 +0000

Town clerk: A ‘political’ hot seat in local authorities


FORMER top banker, James Mushore, struck gold when he landed the coveted Harare town clerk job in March 2016, but in just 24 hours, he had been booted out.

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by MOSES MATENGA

FORMER top banker, James Mushore, struck gold when he landed the coveted Harare town clerk job in March 2016, but in just 24 hours, he had been booted out.

Mushore, believed to be an ally of the late former MDC leader and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, received a hostile reception at Town House, where he was rejected by former Local Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere and immediately fired.

He had been hired by the MDC-dominated council to replace purged town clerk Tendai Mahachi, who had been a thorn in the flesh of the councillors for many years.

A protracted fight ensued, leading to then mayor, Bernard Manyenyeni, being suspended from office.

The political wars of Mushore represents the fights between the ruling Zanu PF party and the opposition MDC since the beginning of the new millennium.

MDC has won a majority of local urban seats since its inception and has taken control of major cities, including Harare, Bulawayo, Chitungwiza, Gweru, and Kwekwe, ending Zanu PF dominance since independence.

However, observers said the problem with the town clerk’s position, equivalent to a chief executive officer in a company, was more political as Zanu PF and the MDC fight for turf.

Local Government expert Precious Shumba said the conflicts were as a result of “structural conflict” between policymakers and technocrats.

“There has always been structural conflict between policymakers and technocrats in local authorities and there is a history to that,” Shumba said.

“Town clerks have for a long time been viewed as saboteurs, incompetent and corrupt such that they deliberately did not facilitate the implementation of the resolutions by councillors.

“There is a historical relationship between the senior council management and elected councillors. Councillors, especially from the opposition have always held the view that the bureaucrats they found in office served Zanu PF and central government interests.

“As a result of this long-held mistrust, a majority of the decisions and resolutions at local authorities’ level have not been implemented, and the bureaucrats have always cited lack of financial resources, yet in practice they are the ones who should provide the technical guidance to the elected policymakers.”

Shumba, however, said the situation may have changed now, thanks to Minister July Moyo’s more liberal approach.

“A lot of the town clerks and town secretaries used to enjoy the shield of the Local Government minister, but this is changing with July Moyo’s more liberal approach. Now the councillors are finding it easier to reprimand and even suspend errant officials,” he said.

He said due to political pressure in most cases, technocrats were not implementing council resolutions and most of them were used to the chief executive mentality of doing things as they please.

MDC shadow deputy minister for Local Government Clifford Hlatshwayo, said friction was rife but not in all local authorities and bemoaned the involvement of some of the town clerks in local government issues.

Hlatshwayo said some of the town clerks were conflicted and unable to serve the people.

“We have a problem with those who take political party jackets to work,” he said.

“MDC councils are clear in terms of delivering, but their efforts are sometimes frustrated by political interferences with town clerks brought in by Zanu PF to frustrate their efforts.”

He, however, said though rife, it was not happening in all local authorities.

“They shouldn’t involve themselves with politics. Residents want basics, including potable water, good roads among other things and we don’t need politics to have all that,” he said.

Former Harare mayor, Bernard Manyenyeni, who was thrown under the bus several times by former Local Government ministers Ignatius Chombo and Kasukuwere over the town clerk issue, said the problem at most town houses was always political.

“We don’t know who is ultimately responsible for the workers and the chief worker at Town House. From a political point of view, you have never seen a town clerk having problems with his councillors rushing to the MDC. They don’t lobby or seek protection from the MDC, who are their employers,” Manyenyeni said.

In 2016, Manyenyeni was at one time suspended and subsequently arrested over his actions against Mahachi and hiring of the town clerk.

Mushore was regarded as sympathetic to the MDC and Kasukuwere did not want him anywhere near the council headquarters.

The protracted fight saw Mahachi being retired and Mushore unemployed, not before he was paid an astronomical severance package.

Mahachi was perceived as Chombo’s blue-eyed boy and allegedly immersed in most scandalous deals involving the former Zanu PF secretary for administration.

The former town clerk was fingered in several reports by councillors as having been an accomplice to Chombo’s shoddy deals.

Mahachi was named in a report by councillors as having illegally dished out land to Chombo and businessman Philip Chiyangwa among others, but he survived attempts by the MDC councillors to push him out.

In Chitungwiza, council is locked up in a fierce clash with town clerk George Makunde, who was recently suspended on allegations of gross incompetence.

Ironically, Makunde is Zanu PF secretary for administration in Mashonaland Central, while the MDC is in charge of the council.

Chitungwiza mayor, Lovemore Maiko, in September suspended Makunde on the grounds of absentism from work, gross insubordination and disobeying instructions.

Makunde had allegedly refused to produce his personal profile to councillors as well as contracts of employment and conditions of service for all senior managers.

In Bulawayo, MDC councillors are also embroiled in nasty clashes with town clerk Christopher Dube, who at some point was almost involved in fisticuffs with deputy mayor Tinashe Kambarami.

Kambarami and another councillor, Silas Chigora, forcibly removed Dube from office, arguing he was suspended over various charges including abuse of office.

But Dube could have none of that as he blasted the duo using unprintable words, describing his employers as nonentities.

Bulawayo mayor Solomon Mguni later lifted the town clerk’s suspension.

In Gweru, town clerk Elizabeth Gwatipedza is on suspension over several allegations, another indication of frosty relations between elected officials and technocrats.

In former Harare mayor Muchadeyi Masunda’s book, an ideal town clerk should be: “…an individual of unquestionable integrity and should not pander to the whims of either the mayor, councillors, government ministers or political parties.”

Under the circumstances, such a town clerk remains elusive.

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Zanu PF MPs walk out on Biti


ZANU PF legislators yesterday walked out of a Tendai Biti-chaired Public Accounts Committee sitting, where Sakunda Holdings was expected to give oral evidence regarding about US$3 billion advanced to the company for Command Agriculture without parliamentary approval.

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BY RUTENDO MATANHIKE / MOSES MATENGA

ZANU PF legislators yesterday walked out of a Tendai Biti-chaired Public Accounts Committee sitting, where Sakunda Holdings was expected to give oral evidence regarding about US$3 billion advanced to the company for Command Agriculture without parliamentary approval.

The boycott was in retaliation to the refusal by the MDC MPs to recognise President Emmerson Mnangagwa and occasionally walking out of Parliament each time the Zanu PF leader attends Parliament.

After the boycott, the meeting, which was supposed to clear the air on the abuse of money under the government’s ambitious Command Agriculture programme, was aborted for lack of a quorum.

The MDC has refused to recognise Mnangagwa as the legitimate leader, accusing the Zanu PF leader of stealing last year’s elections.

MDC MPs walked out on Mnangagwa’s State of the Nation Address (Sona) last month, following a similar incident in September last year.

Earlier this year, they snubbed Mnangagwa again when he graced Parliament for the mid-term budget presentation by Finance minister, Mthuli Ncube.

The boycotts forced Mudenda to withdraw their allowances for five months and ban them from asking questions during the question-and-answer sessions.

But on Thursday, the opposition MPs were at it again, snubbing Ncube’s budget presentation which was graced by Mnangagwa, insisting that they would continue to snub Mnangagwa because he was an illegitimate leader.

But Zanu PF yesterday hit back, walking out on Biti and forcing the abandonment of the much-awaited questioning of Sakunda executives, claiming there was no justification to attend a meeting addressed by someone who does not recognise Mnangagwa.

Sakunda Holdings chief executive Chitambo Mberikwazvo said he only found out the meeting had been cancelled soon after arriving.

“I arrived here at Parliament at precisely 11:29am and was told to wait in the sitting lounge.
About 10 minutes later, I was told that the meeting had been cancelled. I was told that I will be notified on when I should come back. I was told I should expect to come back on November 25,” Mberikwazvo told journalists.

Speaking to journalists after the snub, Norton legislator Temba Mliswa (independent) said Zanu PF MPs were justified to walk out of the meeting as long as the opposition MPs refused to recognise Mnangagwa.

“They asked why they were supposed to be compelled to sit for the meeting when their counterparts could not recognise the President of the country. They concluded to wait for the resolution to be made by the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders,” he said.

Mliswa said Parliament should not be used for political agendas, but ought to be used as a space where discussions on development of the country were topical.

“My position on this issue is very clear: Parliament should not be used as a war zone between politicians. Even Americans and the European Union recognised President Emmerson Mnangagwa and, therefore, this continued rift should stop,” he said.

“Even the much-needed dialogue in the country cannot happen under these circumstances. Legitimately, Zanu PF has got a strong reason for what they did today, but the strategy being used by MDC is not working.”

Meanwhile, the MDC has come under immense criticism for boycotting the budget presentation by
Ncube after participating in the pre-budget seminar in Victoria Falls, earning huge amounts in allowances.

Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda said due process would be followed on the matter, but refused to shed more light on the kind of action he was going to take.

“There is a process that has to be followed and we are following that process and that is all I can say for now,” he said.

Zanu PF said the action by the MDC was self-defeating and an embarrassment to those who voted them into Parliament.

“Such action is immaturity of the highest political order. One wishes to advice MDC-A that Zimbabwe is not a charity nation. We must all focus on productivity, growth and job creation. The time for political Lilliputians is over. Zimbabwe is, indeed, not for sale,” Zanu PF spokesperson Simon Khaya-Moyo said.

Political analyst Alexander Rusero said the MDC parliamentarians would regret their antics at some stage, describing their action as shameful.

But analyst Ibbo Mandaza said the boycott by the MDC was successful in irritating Mnangagwa as well as hyping the legitimacy issue.

He said it was best to highlight the legitimacy issue because Mnangagwa “lost” in last year’s polls.

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Arts financing remains thorny issue


THE arts and culture industry’s potential to contribute to the economy and foster national development is often over-looked in Zimbabwe.

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BY TAFADZWA KACHIKO

THE arts and culture industry’s potential to contribute to the economy and foster national development is often over-looked in Zimbabwe.

If the industry’s potential is fully realised, it is capable of contributing immensely to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). With the support of all stakeholders including government, business and consumers, the sky is the limit.

It was not surprising that the national budget presented on Thursday by Finance and Economic
Development minister Mthuli Ncube did not pay particular attention to the arts industry although youths received financial support.

Ncube committed $500 million through the newly-created National Venture Capital Fund to finance start-up projects for youths.

Last year, in the 2019 budget, the ministry was allocated $53 million, which stakeholders felt was not going to make a difference.

There have always been complaints that a significant chunk of the funds would be shared between the sports and youth sectors, with the arts sector — housing film, music and art — coming as an afterthought, demonstrating government’s little commitment to the sector.

This shows that the arts and culture industry’s potential to contribute to economic development is not recognised by government.

Centres such as Chitungwiza Arts Centre and Murehwa Arts Centre can be used to contribute to economic activity if given support in form of funding by both government and the corporate world.

The country boasts film hubs such as the Zimbabwe Film and Television School in Southern Africa, production companies that include Mirazvo Productions and hosts several music festivals.

The industry generates over US$100 billion every year globally. In fiscal year 2019, the total revenue earned by India’s film industry (dominated by Bollywood) amounted to over 183 billion Indian rupees. United States’ Hollywood generates over US$140 billion annually with Nigeria’s Nollywood making over 200 billion Nairas per year.

Chinese cinema’s Lost in Thailand (2012) was the first to reach 1 billion yuan at the Chinese box office, Monster Hunt (2015) was the first to reach 2 billion yuan, The Mermaid (2016) was the first to clinch 3 billion yuan and Wolf Warrior 2 is currently the highest-grossing film in China.

Several artistes have complained that being enveloped in the same ministry that houses sports and youths has seen them being neglected by government.

It’s high time that government starts to recognise the industry’s potential to share in the turnaround of the economy.

In June this year the Zanu-PF youth leadership expressed interest to support artistes when they visited Chitungwiza Arts Centre and promised to address issues affecting the sector such as lack funding.

“We are now in the new dispensation, so things should change for artistes especially the emerging ones. Government realises that it is critical to provide sound policies, a functional infrastructure and necessary equipment for cultural and creative industries to become fully monetised. There should also be systems to report to in cases of all forms of abuse in the industry that include sexual and non-payment,” Zanu PF youth league secretary Pupurai Togarepi said.

“The president requested us to go around these ministries so we have started with the arts. I am excited that you were free to air your concerns but I was pained that despite all your efforts to promote Zimbabwe’s image you are still facing challenges that can be dealt with overnight. In two weeks’ time we will be back with feedback. We are not going to fail because we have a leader who is pragmatic.”

It’s also sad that many locals do not even know the recently produced local films and this is because there are few platforms which filmmakers can use to take them to the people, one of which should be television channels. The sole television channel is struggling to pay producers, with ZBC owing producers $400 000.

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No Warriors Joey


AS the clock reached the 75th minute mark, the fans broke into song. The song was to the tune of the popular Nyama Yekugocha, but the lyrics were ones that coach Joey Antipas will not want to hear, ever again. The lyrics are not printable on this family friendly platform and they were not in praise of Antipas.

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BY HENRY MHARA

ZIMBABWE. . . . 0
BOTSWANA . . . . 0

AS the clock reached the 75th minute mark, the fans broke into song. The song was to the tune of the popular Nyama Yekugocha, but the lyrics were ones that coach Joey Antipas will not want to hear, ever again. The lyrics are not printable on this family friendly platform and they were not in praise of Antipas.

This was a match which Zimbabwe was expected to cruise to a routine victory in their opening 2021 Africa Cup of Nations Group H qualifier, yet they produced a flat show which ranks as one of the most disappointing performances ever witnessed at the National Sports Stadium.

In the end, they came out with a single point that felt like defeat.

The fans thronged the stadium expecting to watch the Warriors fly out of the blocks but they were playing at pedestrian pace in the first half, often trying to pick out long passes from the back to centre forwards without any success.

Not long into the match, the fans had been quietened as a well drilled Botswana side showed that they were no pushovers.

The Warriors hu ed and pu ed throughout, looking clueless.

The home side were uncharacteristically sloppy in possession, void of imagination and movement upfront, and very slow in their build ups, giving the opponent time to recover every time.

That the hosts had just one shot on target in the first half, a free kick by captain Knowledge Musona tipped over by Botswana goalkeeper Gade Gaugangwe, gives a clear picture of how poor the team were.

They started brightly with Knox Mutizwa dragging his shot wide. Soon their rhythm was lost in a performance short of being pathetic.

Ovidy Karuru was deployed in a rather unfamiliar wing position, and he looked lost.

He was not the only one who appeared confused by the unusual positional placings by Antipas.

The team’s poster boy Khama Billiat was anonymous by his high standards, and Musona’s lack of match fitness was apparent.

Only Marvellous Nakamba showed why he is playing at Aston Villa in the English Premier League with some clever movements on and off the ball.

Zimbabwe were actually lucky to go to the break with the scores goalless.

The Zebras should have scored when Stephen Mpo beat an offside trap to run clear, and his cut back to find a teammate, was cleared by a retreating Teenage Hadebe.

In the second half, the Warriors tried to up the ante, but still the pace of the game was not right. The team looked static in attack.

But Ronald Pfumbidzai should have scored in the 54th minute when he got behind the defence, but his pocked shot was blocked by the goalkeeper. It was the Warriors’ second shot of the game.

An occasional break into song from the impressive crowd failed to produce the wow moment.

Muffled whispers soon turned into boos as the crowd turned their frustrations on coach Joey Antipas.

His reaction was to pull out Ovidy Karuru for Kuda Mahachi.

The winger, to his credit, tried his best to provide the spark with some penetrative runs from the wings, but still the creativity was not enough to break down the increasingly confident opposition.

High balls continued to be pumped to the strikers, and the visitors were happy to defend.

Prince Dube was also introduced with 10 minutes remaining in the match, and he duly produced the third shot on target.

Frustration began to creep into the Warriors who accused their opponents of interrupting play with time wasting antics.

In the end, a draw was probably a fair ending, a result that leaves Zimbabwe tied on second position with Botswana with a point each.

Algeria lead the group after their 5-0 demolition job on Zambia on Thursday night.

Antipas was disappointed with the draw.

“It’s a disappointing result at home. I thought we should have won it. The guys did everything they could to try and win the game, but unfortunately, we could not,” he said.

“We created a number of chances but we failed to put the ball behind the net. We lacked a cutting edge in attack but overall I thought we played well. We dominated the majority of the game but it’s about putting the ball behind the net which didn’t happen. All we need to do is to keep our heads up and try to rectify our game for Zambia on Tuesday.”

Next up for the Warriors is a trip to Zambia on Tuesday, while Bostwana host the Algerians on Monday.

Two top teams from the group will qualify for the Afcon finals to be staged in Cameroon in 2021.

Teams

Zimbabwe: E Chipezeze, I Nekati, R Pfumbidzai, T Hadebe, A Mudimu, M Nakamba, M Munetsi, O Karuru (K Mahachi, 78’), K Billiat, K Musona, K Mutizwa (P Dube, 80’)

Botswana: G Gaugangwe, D Kabelo, S Kabelo, T Kaelo, K Kobe (T Ramalapeni, 69’), G Mosha, S Mpo (L Tshikeletso, 50’), O Ratanang, S Maturo, T Dithokwe, M Tihalero (T
Moano, 62’)

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2020 Budget: Into the realm of dartboard economics


ZIMBABWE’S 2020 budget presented on Thursday moves the economy even more deeply into the realm of dartboard economics. Forecasts made in the pre-budget “strategy” document, and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Staff Monitored Programme in April, not to mention the 2019 budget a year ago, have been junked.

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Opinion: Anthony Hawkins

ZIMBABWE’S 2020 budget presented on Thursday moves the economy even more deeply into the realm of dartboard economics. Forecasts made in the pre-budget “strategy” document, and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Staff Monitored Programme in April, not to mention the 2019 budget a year ago, have been junked.

Not just junked but overshot by massive three-digit percentage increases. They are replaced by some numbers — not the full range as published a year ago — plucked out of air, or perhaps from the dartboard.

A year ago, inflation was projected, with impressive exactitude, at 22,6%, while the IMF SMP — also exact to one decimal point — forecast 80,8% with a year-end number of just under 50%. Within hours of his budget presentation, ZimStats published a monthly inflation number for October of 38,8% which came as a shock in the wake of official claims that inflation “spiked” in June at 39%, which it obviously did not.

Year-on-year inflation, which Minister Ncube apparently thinks we are too intellectually challenged to be able to work out for ourselves, jumped almost 100 points to 440% from 353% in September. Food prices were up almost 50% in a month, while electricity prices rose 117%, which was no surprise.

These numbers suggest inflation in 2019 will average around 250%, which is significantly higher than the 215% imputed from the budget numbers. In the 2019 budget, inflation was forecast with great precision at 22,6%.

With nominal GDP jumping 195% to $130,8 billion (still more exactitude) and real GDP falling 6,5%, the implication is that inflation in 2019 would average around 215%, which now looks far too low.
Indeed, revised inflation estimates imply that the real GDP fell much more than officially estimated, perhaps reaching, minus 10%.

For the record, the SMP put 2019 GDP at $70 billion, while just two months ago the pre-budget document estimated $113,5 billion. In just eight weeks, it has been increased 15%. Treasury forecasters really need to try harder.

For 2020, the acclaimed year of “prosperity”, nominal GDP grows 160% — less than in 2019 — but with slower inflation (150%) real GDP grows about 3%, which looks optimistic, especially in the light of Ncube’s justifications for this return to positive growth.

Investment by the private sector will increase he says. Really. Better rainfall, tax incentives — including subsidising employment for “youths” (age unspecified) — marginal tax reductions, far exceeded by inflation, and, of course, improved macro-economic stability and financial discipline.

The minister managed to admit that despite repeated claims of a budget surplus, the actual deficit of $5,2 billion is 230% higher than projected in his 2019 budget, while in a return to quasi-fiscal activities, the government has been “spending outside the budget.” No surprise there of course, but an outright contradiction of his many “reform” promises that have not been honoured.

Government spending estimated at $8,2 billion a year ago will come in at over $26 billion — an overshoot of 218%. Fortunately, revenue driven by hyperinflation (353% in September), fuel duty and the IMTT 2% tax is 220% ahead of budget.

In the light of these massive forecasting errors — that extend to the SMP and pre-budget strategy as well as the 2019 budget — it has to be asked why the Finance ministry bothers. Parliament will be asked to approve a budget based on numbers that in 2019 bore no relation to reality. Why will it be any different this year? Have the Treasury’s forecasting skills improved miraculously in the last two to three months? It seems unlikely.

Ncube’s budget should, at the very least, have included — an annexure showing the real levels of tax, revenue and spending. After all corporates listed on the ZSE are required to use inflation-accounting techniques, so why not government?

Take the case of the pernicious 2% transactions tax. When it was introduced in October 2018, there was a threshold of $10 or $13,4 in 2019 prices. In mid-year this was doubled to $20, but in real terms, adjusted for inflation, it is now worth $5.

In the 2020 budget the threshold is raised to $100 or $25 as of October 2019 and by year-end an estimated $19. So in purchasing power, a ten-fold increase in the threshold since last October will be an equivalent to a 40% increase. By mid-2020, the threshold will be lower than when it was first introduced in 2018.

Apply the same logic to the marginal reduction in VAT from 15% to 14,5% and in corporate tax to 24% from 25%, and it is obvious that effective tax rates will rise.

Inflation-adjusted numbers make a mockery also of Ncube’s claims to have ended austerity. In 2020, real government spending will fall another 5% and will be 40% lower than in 2018. His claimed increase in capital spending turns out to be a 15% increase, but still leaves the capital budget one-third lower than in 2018.

As for the employment budget, it will rise 130% in 2020, but in real terms it will fall 10% and next year the real employment budget will be 70% below its 2018 level. So no one will be surprised to see public servants, doctors, assuming they have not all been fired, nurses and teachers on strike.

The ravages of inflation are only fully evident after the event. Even today, some in the financial sector and, of course, the RBZ, have yet to get their heads around what is happening. How else could “investors” — for which read losers of other people’s money — agree to lend government $300 million for six months at 14%.

Wimpish investment managers will say they are forced to subscribe for worthless paper by the government’s prescribed assets regulations. Minister Ncube bemoaning the fact that the pension and insurance industry is not compliant urges “industry players to ensure adherence to their compliance plans”

Obviously, no responsible investment manager can throw away one-third of his client’s funds in just six months to win ministerial approval. One wonders whether Ncube or governor Mangudya deliberately invests their own money at a massive loss. Savers and pensioners are there to be punished by cynical and unprincipled politicians and central bankers.

The sober reality, strengthened in this budget, is that Zimbabwe is deep in the throes of an inflation psychosis. By massively increasing government revenues and spending, albeit in nominal terms, Ncube, having abandoned what surely was one of the world’s shortest-ever austerity programme, is embedding inflationary expectations more deeply into the Zimbabwe psyche.

Even the fast-diminishing gaggle of new dispensation apologists will have enormous difficult in portraying this budget in positive terms, the more so after factoring in the October inflation number.

If inflation is really as high as 150%, then real aggregate demand will continue to fall and the minister’s 3% growth target — like every one of his 2019 targets will be missed.

 Anthony Hawkins is a retired professor of economics. He writes in his personal capacity

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Splinter war veterans in ED love-in


ZIMBABWE Liberation Platform, a splinter group from the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA), has chickened out from confronting shortcomings of President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government, and now exonerates him from any wrongdoing.

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BY BLESSED MHLANGA

ZIMBABWE Liberation Platform, a splinter group from the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA), has chickened out from confronting shortcomings of President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government, and now exonerates him from any wrongdoing.

Addressing a Press conference, yesterday Wilbert Sadomba, former ZNLWA secretary for education, said Mnangagwa was the only good man in his government.

“He is doing his best and he is upholding the Constitution, but as the President, he can’t be everywhere. In the military, finance or education, he appoints people and these people are letting the nation down. There is high corruption in the country and it is causing our people much suffering,” he said.

ZLP was launched end of October, at a Press conference, where the war veterans came out guns blazing alleging that Zanu PF had been hijacked and had lost its moral compass that fuelled the liberation war.

The war veterans accused Mnangagwa of running down the economy.

“We did not fight the war so that we can have political violence or corruption. We fought for democracy and to get out of oppression at the hands of (Ian) Smith, but not to continue under a Zanu PF government. The Zanu PF we knew during the war is not the same we know now,” Sadomba said at the time.

He was later to claim that he had been summoned by Central Intelligence Organisation operatives
for a two-hour meeting, although he refused to divulge the details.

ZLP yesterday said they were coming in with a view to contribute solutions to the crisis, which has seen the economy tumbling, disposable incomes evaporating and social services collapsing.

“We have a serious problem of polarisation. National issues have failed to get attention owing to political differences and, as war veterans, we need to take a stand and find a solution that changes the course of our country,” Sadomba said.

“We are clear that this cannot be done by war veterans who are servants of a particular political party.”

Political parties have been battling for the support of war veterans, who have been the force behind Zanu PF’s stay in power.

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Harare town clerk reads riot act


HARARE town clerk Hosea Chisango has questioned the competence of directors at Town House, accusing them of failing to deliver to the expectation of the local authority.

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BY MOSES MATENGA

HARARE town clerk Hosea Chisango has questioned the competence of directors at Town House, accusing them of failing to deliver to the expectation of the local authority.

Chisango, a former director of water, was appointed town clerk in 2018, replacing former banker James Mushore, whose appointment was mired in controversy.

It emerged that Chisango told councillors during a recent meeting of his displeasure at the performance of some bosses at Town House and has got full backing of councillors to push for competence.

“The town clerk drew the attention of the Environmental Management Committee to its inquiry regarding whether he was happy with the performance of some managers,” the committee heard.

“The town clerk reiterated that, just like council, he was not impressed with the performance of some managers. He had accordingly met with all the heads of department at Town House, where he had expressed concern at the performance of some heads of department and the managers as well as warning them of dire consequences of dereliction of duty.”

The committee is said to have applauded Chisango’s stance, with several councillors saying they were impressed with his approach to work and his push for competence.

“The committee applauded the town clerk for the action he had taken and urged him to strongly stamp his authority,” parts of the minutes of the meeting read.

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Join hands in fight for internet freedom: Misa


MEDIA Institute of Southern Africa-Zimbabwe Chapter director Thabani Moyo has called on internet governance stakeholders to move their focus from geographical to continental approaches when fighting the clampdown of online platforms by the State and its apparatus.

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BY FARAI MATIASHE

MEDIA Institute of Southern Africa-Zimbabwe Chapter director Thabani Moyo has called on internet governance stakeholders to move their focus from geographical to continental approaches when fighting the clampdown of online platforms by the State and its apparatus.

In January this year, during protests over a 150% fuel price increase, the government responded by shutting down the internet to restrict access to information.

Addressing a regional multi-stakeholder workshop in Harare yesterday, Moyo said there was need for stakeholders to strengthen their voices in fighting internet freedom rights violations as a collective rather than in isolation.

“Sadc has set out parameters through its cyber security model laws and the African Union model laws on data protection, among others, which our respective member States are utilising or adopting to strengthen their stranglehold on the internet. Therefore, the countries of southern Africa are speaking to and advising each other on how to shrink online space,” he said.

“This requires that our focus as stakeholders moves from geographical centric interventions by taking a bird’s eye view towards regional or continental approaches of galvanising voices that stand in solidarity when attacks of online platforms are emerging. That movement needs to be strengthened because when democracy is on retreat that is the only solidarity that is the first line of defence.”

Moyo said there had been a shift by African governments from shutting down of the internet to use of high costs to minimise the number of people who access the internet on the continent.

“Going forward, we believe that the three As are critical. The issue of availability of the platforms, we need to be galvanised to be a defence line against wanton shutdown or threatening of the internet, issues of affordability. From the reports that are emerging, it shows that there is a strategic shift from wanton shut downs to high costs to inhibit usage of online platforms,” he
said.

Moyo said to ensure that people remained online, there was need for multi-stakeholders including those from the academia, government, civil society groups, regulators and the media to come up with effective strategies that recognise the significance of the internet to democracy in the country.

According to the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe, there has been a decline in the use of the internet in the country. In December 2018, there was 62,9% of the country’s population that had access to the internet and that had dropped to 57,2% by June this year.

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Sweswe targets Bosso run


FC PLATINUM gaffer Lizwe Sweswe has vowed to stop Highlanders’ unbeaten streak when the two teams meet at Mandava Stadium tomorrow as he targets top spot on the Castle Lager Premier League log.

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BY TERRY MADYAUTA

FC PLATINUM gaffer Lizwe Sweswe has vowed to stop Highlanders’ unbeaten streak when the two teams meet at Mandava Stadium tomorrow as he targets top spot on the Castle Lager Premier League log.

The champions are aiming for their third straight league title and face a tough hurdle when they take on a Bosso side that has not lost in its last 10 league matches.

Highlanders last lost a league match in August against Triangle but they drew six other matches.

Bosso have been a different side since Dutchman Pieter de Jongh took over in September.

But Sweswe sees an opportunity for his side to continue exerting pressure on their title rivals Caps United and Chicken Inn and he is not reading much into Highlanders’ impressive numbers.

The miners approach this blockbuster clash in high spirits, having triumphed in their previous encounter against Manica Diamonds on Wednesday while also riding on the fact that Mandava stadium has not been a favourable hunting ground for Highlanders in recent times.

Bosso will hope to bounce back to winning ways after settling for a share of spoils with Ngezi Platinum during a mid-week fixture played at Barbourfields stadium.

“The mid-week result goes a long way in motivating us for this very important match against Highlanders,” said Sweswe.

“They (Highlanders) have been doing good and their statistics for the last matches are impressive but we are not going to read much into that.

“Our main goal is to collect three points at the end of the day because dropping points at this stage of the season would put all our objectives in jeopardy.”

Former Highlanders skipper Rahman Kutsanzira will be looking to inflict pain on his former paymasters, and from the other end former FC Platinum midfielder Nqobizitha Masuku returns to Zvishavane for the first time since he left the club.

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Wife kills hubby in domestic dispute


A 39-YEAR-OLD Guruve woman was arrested on Friday after she allegedly fatally struck her husband several times with a club on the head in a domestic dispute.

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By SIMBARASHE SITHOLE

A 39-YEAR-OLD Guruve woman was arrested on Friday after she allegedly fatally struck her husband several times with a club on the head in a domestic dispute.

Yvette Dirau (39), of Katsiru village, is assisting police with investigations following the murder of her husband Victor Zirore (34), from the same village.

Mashonaland Central police spokesperson Inspector Milton Mundembe confirmed the incident.

“I can confirm a murder incident in Guruve, where a woman allegedly murdered her husband in a domestic dispute and investigations are underway,” he said.

Allegations are that the now-deceased had a misunderstanding with his wife over an undisclosed dispute and he picked a club, which he used to strike his wife.

Dirau is said to have wrested the club from Zirore and fatally struck him on the head. He allegedly lost a lot of blood, resulting in his death on the way to the hospital.

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Gold miners fined for torching employer’s shed


FOUR Shamva gold miners were yesterday fined $300 each by Bindura provincial magistrate Tinashe Ndokera for setting their employer’s shed ablaze in a dispute over gold.

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By SIMBARASHE SITHOLE

FOUR Shamva gold miners were yesterday fined $300 each by Bindura provincial magistrate Tinashe Ndokera for setting their employer’s shed ablaze in a dispute over gold.

Ranganai Bvumbu (58), Tobias Masiya (36), Tinashe Mavhu and Dzikamai Kagonda, all from Annandale
Farm, Shamva — were fined for malicious damage to property after trial.

Failure to pay the $300 fine would attract a 20-day jail term for each.

Prosecutor Vincent Marunya told the court that on October 25, the quartet stormed Kadisi Mining Syndicate offices in Shamva looking for their employer, Fore Joana (47), whom they accused of duping them of huge sums of money realised from the sale of gold.

They shouted at Joana before uprooting a pole and grass shed on the mine.

In a fit of rage, Kagonda set the shed on fire and went away.

Joana subsequently filed a police report, leading to their arrest.

In their defence, the quartet said the fire was caused by juju, which they said they had sought from a sangoma in Nyamapanda to boost their business.

The magistrate did not take their defence and convicted them.

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Ex-Zinara boss convicted


FORMER Zimbabwe National Road Administration (Zinara) finance director Simon Mudzingwa Taranhike has been jailed for 15 months after being found guilty of criminal abuse of office.

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BY HARRIET CHIKANDIWA

FORMER Zimbabwe National Road Administration (Zinara) finance director Simon Mudzingwa Taranhike has been jailed for 15 months after being found guilty of criminal abuse of office.

Harare regional magistrate Hosea Mujaya initially sentenced Taranhike to 30 months in prison before suspending six months on condition of good behaviour and nine months on condition that he restitutes 1 800 litres of fuel to Zinara before December 31, 2019.

In passing sentence, Mujaya said he took into consideration that Taranhike was a first offender and a family man.

Mujaya said it is true that Taranhike did not directly benefit from the commission of the offence. He further stated that Taranhike lost his job as a result of the offence.

The court, Mujaya said, could not turn a blind eye on corruption and should pass an exemplary sentence.

Before Mujaya passed sentence, Taranhike’s lawyer Purity Chikangaise, in mitigation, submitted that he should consider that Taranhike is a first offender therefore he is supposed to be treated with lenience.

Chikangaise pleaded with the court to fine Taranhike and make him restitute Zinara.

The State argued that a custodial sentence would be appropriate.

It also proved that Taranhike abused the Zinara fuel facility when he authorised the issuance of 1 800 litres of petrol (Puma) coupons to a State media journalist.

The convict did not follow Zinara procedures, thereby causing his employer to be prejudiced of fuel worth RTGS$6 354, the State argued.

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Antipas in two pronged chase


COACH Joey Antipas is caught up in one of the busiest schedules of his career as he juggles between his duties with the Warriors in the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifiers and his club Chicken Inn, who are eyeing the 2019 league title.

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BY FORTUNE MBELE

COACH Joey Antipas is caught up in one of the busiest schedules of his career as he juggles between his duties with the Warriors in the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifiers and his club Chicken Inn, who are eyeing the 2019 league title.

Soon after the Warriors’ Group H Afcon qualifier against Botswana’s Zebras at the National Sports
Stadium yesterday evening, Antipas is expected to be in Bulawayo today to preside over the GameCocks as they take on relegation-threatened Hwange at Luveve Stadium.

After the Chicken Inn game, he returns to Harare to rejoin the Warriors before they leave for Zambia where they clash with the hosts in another Group H Afcon qualifier at the National Heroes Stadium in Lusaka on Tuesday.

Chicken Inn secretary Tavengwa Hara yesterday confirmed Antipas will be at Luveve this afternoon.

The GameCocks cannot afford not to have their coach as the race for the league title gathers momentum with four games to go, continuing their tussle with Caps United and FC Platinum.

Chicken Inn beat Mushowani Stars at Trojan Mine on Wednesday to take the top spot before Caps
United reclaimed pole position on Thursday after beating ZPC Kariba who are out of the title race on 45 points, nine points behind the Green Machine who rule the roost on 54 points ahead of their match against Yadah tomorrow.

Chicken Inn and reigning champions FC Platinum are both two points behind Caps United with the GameCocks on the second spot by a superior goal difference as the Zvishvane-based side host on-the-roll Highlanders at Mandava tomorrow.

After beating Triangle at Luveve Stadium last Saturday, Antipas was on the road to Harare on Monday to prepare the Warriors for the Zebras’ tie and on Wednesday he was at Trojan Mine for Mushowani Stars game.

Meanwhile, Hwange, hard-pressed for an outright win against Chicken Inn as they seek to remain in the top league, return to Luveve where they played a goalless draw with Bulawayo Chiefs on Sunday.

They are on position 16 with 32 points, at par with Herentals who lead them by a goal difference and host Mushowani Stars at the National Sports Stadium today.

Mushowani anchor the log-standings with 30 points.

Fixtures

Today: TelOne v Triangle (Ascot), Chicken Inn v Hwange (Luveve), Herentals v Mushowani (NSS), Ngezi Platinum Stars v Chapungu (Baobab), FC Platinum v Highlanders (Mandava)

Tomorrow: Manica Diamonds v Bulawayo Chiefs (Vengere), Dynamos v Black Rhinos (Rufaro), Yadah v Caps United (NSS), ZPC Kariba v Harare City (Nyamhunga)

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Harare councillor Masunda dies


HARARE ward 44 councillor Renias Masunda has died.

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By Staff Reporter

HARARE ward 44 councillor Renias Masunda has died.

Masunda died at a local hospital in the capital yesterday after a long illness.

Confirming the death, Harare MDC provincial chairman Wellington Chikombo said the party had lost one of its dedicated cadres who has been in the struggle since the formation of the opposition party in 1999.

“We have lost as Harare province and the MDC family. We have lost a vanguard of the struggle. He was a member of the party since its formation in 1999. He was councillor from 2008 to date,” Chikombo said.

“He came up with various programmes in his ward. He ran the Masunda Foundation, where he was doing philanthropic work. He had a burial society and as you can see, he was a hard worker and not a spectator.”

Other councillors described Masunda as a dedicated city father who had endeared himself to his ward, which he represented since 2008.

Masunda’s ward covered Kuwadzana and Kuwadzana Extension, where he was known for his philanthropic work.

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Govt urged to implement democratic laws to address polarisation in media


INFORMATION, Media and Broadcasting Services parliamentary portfolio committee chairperson Prince Dubeko Sibanda has implored government to implement democratic media laws to address the polarisation in the industry.

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BY PRECIOUS CHIDA

INFORMATION, Media and Broadcasting Services parliamentary portfolio committee chairperson Prince Dubeko Sibanda has implored government to implement democratic media laws to address the polarisation in the industry.

Sibanda was speaking at the Media Alliance of Zimbabwe (MAZ), stakeholders’ conference in Harare on Thursday.

“There is mistrust between the ministry and the stakeholders in the media industry with regards to the manner the reforms have to be handled,” Sibanda said.

He said part of the mistrust emanated from the fact that despite the coming in of a new Constitution in 2013 and a promise of a new dispensation in 2017, all State-owned media remains entrenched in partisan and biased reporting.

Sibanda said the ministry had been shifting goal posts on the reform agenda, raising questions about its sincerity. He commended some of the initiatives that the government through the Information ministry has taken to align some media laws to the Constitution.

Secretary for Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, Nick Mangwana said the government was working on a policy framework that would re-energise the media sector.

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2020 Budget: Govt not committed to alleviating people’s suffering


FINANCE minister Mthuli Ncube, in presenting his 2020 National Budget on Thursday, which he said marked the end of “austerity measures”, missed an opportunity to indeed pave the way for real relief for a burdened population battling to make ends meet as the economy continues on its downward spiral.

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Editorial Comment

FINANCE minister Mthuli Ncube, in presenting his 2020 National Budget on Thursday, which he said marked the end of “austerity measures”, missed an opportunity to indeed pave the way for real relief for a burdened population battling to make ends meet as the economy continues on its downward spiral.

Many people were already battling to afford basic foodstuffs such as mealie-meal and bread, and yet their prices are set to skyrocket once more following the removal of subsidies for grain imports.

The majority of people were hoping that this budget would demonstrate government’s commitment to alleviate ordinary people’s suffering, but it is likely to deepen the hardship as the “festive” season fast approaches against a grim backdrop of high prices of basic goods.

Ncube’s proposal for the government-owned Grain Marketing Board and grain millers in the country to source their own foreign currency to import grain for resale at market prices will only serve to push the prices of staple foods out of control. Grain millers, who will import grain and wheat, will likely purchase foreign currency on the parallel market and that will have a huge impact on their pricing mechanism.

While Ncube opted to use the moderate phrase that “prices of basic commodities such as bread and mealie-meal may adjust” we are quite aware they can only adjust upwards, exerting more pressure on an already heavily-burdened population that was hoping for some good news from the budget, especially as government had been preaching the gospel of the end of the austerity measures that have been used to justify the increase in prices of basic commodities before.

Although the minister indicated that the subsidies had become prone to abuse, there was need to think through the change of tact without creating a situation that would punish the innocent.

It raises more questions why government would continue supporting the Command Agriculture programme, which is under probe by Parliament after failing to account for US$3 billion in public money, yet the financial authorities are alleging abuse of food aid for its citizens.

Funny enough, it’s the ruling Zanu PF party which has always been caught in the crosswires of food aid abuse.

Government should stop beating about the bush and, instead, go after the bush.

A nation with hungry people is not stable. Already, people are failing to put decent meals on the table, and worse is coming next year when some of Ncube’s warped reforms kick in.

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Bulilima school loses roof in violent storm


A VIOLENT storm blew off classroom rooftops at Ntambala Primary School in Bulilima soon after a parents’ meeting at the school on Tuesday afternoon, although no one was injured.

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BY Patricia Sibanda

A VIOLENT storm blew off classroom rooftops at Ntambala Primary School in Bulilima soon after a parents’ meeting at the school on Tuesday afternoon, although no one was injured.

Bulilima Rural District Council chairperson John Brown Ncube confirmed the incident, which destroyed stationery at the school.

“Both text and exercise books were damaged and there is need to replace those because pupils will not be able to learn without proper essentials,” he said.

He said $34 000 was needed to repair destroyed infrastructure and $18 000 for the textbooks.

Ncube said as soon as reconstruction starts, they would make sure that the department of Forestry would facilitate the planting of trees.

“We will be working with the department of forestry to plant trees that will act as windbreakers because the school is situated on bare ground where there are no trees or vegetation. The planting of trees will indeed be of great difference,” he said.

Ncube appealed to well-wishers to assist because children deserved to learn in a safe environment.

“We would be really grateful and esteemed if there are people who want to help because we really need all the support that we can get. Children are learning from outside, which is not safe at all because it is the rainy season and they might get sick. Learning is taking place but it is impossible to work without all learning materials,” he said.

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Byo vendors commemorate informal traders day


BULAWAYO vendors on Thursday joined the world in commemorating the International Street Vendors Day, which ran under the theme “Unity is our Strength”.

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By Praisemore Sithole

BULAWAYO vendors on Thursday joined the world in commemorating the International Street Vendors Day, which ran under the theme “Unity is our Strength”.

Informal traders commemorate International Street Vendors Day on November 14 each year.

Bulawayo Vendors and Traders Association (BVTA) executive director Michael Ndiweni said the day was special because it showed the strength and unity of vendors.

“This day is very important and special because it demonstrates the strength and unity of vendors as they thrive for the growth of the economy,” he told Southern Eye.

“Vendors contribution to the economy has been constantly ignored, especially in Zimbabwe but they constitute about 60% of the economy and we are striving to reach about 80%.”

Ndiweni said they were constantly engaging the local authority to ensure the protection of vendors against harassment.

“We salute street vendors, who have endured harassment and confiscation of their wares, yet still continue to fend for families, while their contributions to the country’s Gross Domestic Product,” he said.

“In this vein, we are calling for due recognition of the contribution of street vendors to the national economy and government and its various agencies to deal with challenges faced by vendors.”

Ndiweni called for urgent decriminalisation of vending, reiterating his call for a strategy to transition from street vending to formal trading.

“Some of the problems of vendors such as being harassed have emanated from the legal framework; therefore some of the laws have to be changed to reduce harassment,” he said.

He urged the government to tailor-make social security schemes for street vendors, especially women.

“We have engaged with the council so that vendors can pay taxes. This will reduce the harassment of vendors as they will enjoy protection from council.”

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‘Public officials should declare assets’


A LOCAL governance expert, Vincent Chakunda, has called for legislative framework that ensures that public officials declare their assets to avoid looting and abuse of public resources.

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BY Stephen Chadenga

A LOCAL governance expert, Vincent Chakunda, has called for legislative framework that ensures that public officials declare their assets to avoid looting and abuse of public resources.

Speaking recently at a Public Finance Management workshop organised by the Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development (Zimcodd) in Gweru, Chakunda said it was ironic that despite their low salaries and allowances, civil servants and politicians became rich overnight with untraceable wealth.

“Government employees and other public officials should have wealth that is traceable,” Chakunda said.

“We can’t have public officials who become millionaires overnight. We should have a public management system that ensures that public officials do not generate wealth through corruption.”

Chakunda said the Public Management Act should be strengthened to deal with graft, which he said had destroyed the economy.

He said it was disheartening that public officials who got their wealth through corruption were being treated as enterprising people when they should be arrested.

Chakunda said there was need to deal with institutionalised corruption which he said had become a cancer in the country.

“We may have good laws but as long as we don’t transform government institutions in the way they operate, we will continue to face serious corruption,” he said.

Experts say some of the wealthiest people in Zimbabwe are senior civil servants and politicians.

In 2009, then Speaker of the House of Assembly, Lovemore Moyo, promised that he would fight to ensure that all legislators declared their assets and the assets register be kept at Parliament.

The pledge by Moyo, however, suffered a stillbirth with critics suggesting that it was resisted because most public officials had “skeletons in their cupboards”.

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Include PLWIs in electoral discourse: Deafs


People living with impairments (PLWIs), who constitute 15% of Zimbabwe’s population, are being excluded from the electoral discourse because of communication barriers, a Deaf Zimbabwe Trust (DZT) official has said.

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BY RUVIMBO MUCHENJE

People living with impairments (PLWIs), who constitute 15% of Zimbabwe’s population, are being excluded from the electoral discourse because of communication barriers, a Deaf Zimbabwe Trust (DZT) official has said.

Speaking at a National Youth Organisation (Nayo)-organised election accountability dialogue in Harare recently, DZT programmes manager Paidamoyo Chimhini said: “The communication channels used by duty bearers to communicate to the electorate deny people living with impairments a chance to be active participants in the national discourse.”

She added that inclusion is expensive and duty bearers tend to forgo it at the expense of PLWIs.

“Inclusion can be quite expensive and many times people forego it. There is need for an interpreter and even a venue that people in wheelchairs can access,” Chimhini said.

She lauded political parties that included sign language during the campaign period, but urged them to go beyond rallies in accommodating and implementing the views of PLWIs.

“There are some political parties that had interpreters during the campaign period, but now in office during engagements they do not accommodate people living with impairments,”
Chimhini noted, adding that appointment of only two senate representatives for people with disability was a sham because they cannot adequately represent 15% of the population.

“Two individuals who purport to represent this special group are not chosen by the disabled and they are too few to represent 15% of the population,” she said.

Nayo programmes manager MacDonald Munyoro said young people with impairments cannot actively participate in politics because they were being excluded.

“When most of these councillors or MPs conduct their consultations through the parliamentary portfolio committees, they are not disability inclusive. In their consultations, they do not have sign language, they do not have braille. Some of the venues where they hold their meetings are actually not even accessible. And this always keeps away persons with disabilities,” he said.

Munyoro said in the consultations they held in all the 10 provinces, young PLWIs bemoaned unequal opportunities as the major reason for their limited participation.

“One of the biggest issues that came from the young people with disability was the need for inclusion. And as part of inclusion one thing that they raised the most was the need for opportunities. Opportunities that are the same and similar to any child who is out there who is able-bodied,” he said.

The post Include PLWIs in electoral discourse: Deafs appeared first on NewsDay Zimbabwe.

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