Below is the statement by EU Election Observer Mission following allegations of harassment of their observers in Chiredzi recently.
In response to newspaper articles regarding EU long-term observers based in Chiredzi:
EU long-term observers have been present in all provinces of the country since Saturday 23 June. During this time they have met a broad range of stakeholders, including election administration, political parties, media, local government and police.
On Tuesday 26 June, the long-term team in Chiredzi met with the District Administrator and two members of the CIO requested a copy of their ID. The request was polite and was not harassment as portrayed by some media.
The European Union Election Observation Mission emphasises that any reports describing the encounter differently are inaccurate and statements attributed to the observers are incorrect.
EU EOM Zimbabwe
MPANDAWANA - Barbra Njondaya (42), a former female teacher at Muchekayaora Primary School under Chief Munyikwa, appeared in the Gutu Magistrates' Court facing charges of indecently assaulting a 12-year-old boy.
Njondaya appeared before magistrate Victor Mahadi this week being charged for contravening Section 67 (1) (b) (1) of the Criminal (Codification and Reform) Act Chapter 9:23.
She pleaded not guilty of the charges, saying the allegations were a smear campaign which has seen her losing her job.
Njondaya was remanded to July 10 for judgement.
States facts as presented by Samuel Magobeya are that on June 18, 2017 Njondaya called the boy, who is the son to a fellow teacher, into her house. She allegedly grabbed the boy's hand, dragged him into the house and locked the door while holding a knife.
She further dragged the boy into her bedroom and forcibly put him on the bed and started to caress his upper body and kissed him several times on the mouth.
Njondaya threatened to kill the child with a knife if he told anyone about the incident before opening the door to let him go.
The boy then reported the matter to her mother who accompanied him to the police to make a report leading to Njondaya's arrest.crime
CHIPINGE – The district on June 15 launched the 2018 Manicaland Provincial Fire Season at Mubvangazi Centre in Chipinge rural Ward 6.
The event ran under the theme 'Veld Fires Destroy the Environment, Life and Property - Prevent It.'
The launch was supported by government arms like Forestry Commission, Environment Management Agency (Ema) and Chipinge Rural District Council (RDC) as well as by private entities like Econet Wireless and The Wattle Company.
Chipinge RDC Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Blessing Mamvosha, in a speech read on his behalf by a representative, said he was pleased by the programme as it will contribute to the declining veld fire incident rate.
"Veld fires have declined in Chipinge. Total hectares destroyed by fire dropped from 20 756 in 2009 to 1 251 in 2017," he said.
The Wattle Company managing director, Victoria Jakazi urged commercial plantation owners to keep fireguards.
The Wattle Company provided firefighting equipment and teams that performed fire drills at the launch.
Guest of honour was Econet Manicaland provincial general manager, Parshon Muranganwa who revealed that in 2017, the province recorded a total of 158 fire incidences that resulted in approximately 21 188.73 hectares of land being burnt.
"This was a significant reduction in hectares destroyed by fire. Fires declined by 31 percent from 2016 when 30 850.52 ha were consumed by fire.
"Manicaland is the highest producer of timber in Zimbabwe. The industry contributes significantly to our economy so veld fires mean a loss of timber worthy thousands of dollars," said Muranganwa.local
BIKITA – A father and son relationship soured up recently after the former dragged the latter to court on allegations of stealing cellphones amounting to US$278.
The accused, Luckson Chikasha (19), was in a business of selling cellphones that belonged to his father, Affinos.
It is the State's case that on June 1 at around 08:00 hrs at Nyika growth point, the complainant left eight cellphones listed on the annexure in the shop.
The complainant came back on June 8, 2018 to take stock of the cellphones and he realised that eight cellphones valued at US$278 were missing.
It was further alleged that the accused sold all the eight cellphones and converted the money to his personal use.
A police report was made leading to Chikasha's arrest.
Asked why he committed the crime, Chikasha said he wanted money to drink beer and lure sex workers.
Japhet Mapakame prosecuted.crime
Gutu - A soldier Blessing Nyamaropa (25) who resides at house number 13306 Unit N. Chitungwiza appeared before Gutu magistrate Victor Muhamad last week facing unlawful entry charges into property belonging to Cuthbert Dope and Winston Penculo and stole clothes valued at US$1 051.
He was charged for contravening Section 131(1) as read with Section 131(2) of The Criminal Law Codification and Reform Act Chapter 9:23.
He however pleaded not guilty and denied all the allegations and was remanded to June18.
The state facts as presented by Samuel Magobeya are that on May 24 this year at around 1000 hours, Dope and Penculo left their home and proceeded to Kariba bakery where they had a night shift.
When they came back the following morning they discovered that someone had used a duplicate key to open their door and stole bags with clothes that amounted to US$1 051.
On June 3 at around 1500hours Nyamaropa was found by Dope in possession of a two compact disc bag in Hwiru location selling some discs and he made a report to the police.
Further investigations were made and Nyamaropa was found in possesion of one of the stolen bags locked in his room at Infantry Battalion leading to his arrest.
... as Gono quits in protest against Hwarare involvement
CHIREDZI - Farai Musikavanhu's Chiredzi West campaign has hit turbulent waters after Rtd Maj Faster Gono left in protest against the involvement of Addmore Hwarare whom he accuses of corruption
Gono, who is secretary general of the powerful Zimbabwe Sugar Milling Industry Workers Union (ZSMIWU), withdrew from the campaign team saying he could not work with a person who almost ruined the workers' union during his time at the helm.
He was annoyed after Hwarare, who joined Musikavanhu's campaign team last week, addressed a rally that was attended by the Zanu PF provincial leadership and war veterans in Ward 27, Mutirikwi, in Triangle.
Afterwards, Gono told TellZim News that involving Hwarare in the campaign was political suicide because thousands of sugarcane plantation workers, who form the bulk of Chiredzi West voters, do not want anything to do with him.
"I totally disassociated myself and the union from the campaign the very day our provincial chairperson Ezra Chadzamira invited Cde Hwarare to present his ill-gotten donations to the party during the rally.
"Remember, workers are still footing the costs of Hwarare's $300 000 Fidelity debacle. Here is a man who burnt the ZSMIWU offices to destroy evidence. It's a shame that such a person is allowed to join us. I cannot allow myself to be associated with such corruption," said Gono.
When contacted for comment, Hwarare justified his presence on Musikavanhu's campaign trail, saying the party leadership had asked him to do so.
"I was asked by the province to campaign for Musikavanhu because he is facing hard times in Hippo Valley and Triangle. I am a sniper of war and I was a successful commissar for more than 10 years. I know how to execute that duty," said Hwarare.
On his part, Musikavanhu referred all questions back to Gono, saying he did not want to be involved in a personal dispute between two people.
"It's better to ask Captain Gono because I think there are some misunderstanding between him and some party leaders. I personally am on good terms with Captain Gono," said Musikavanhu
Other members of Musikavanhu's campaign team include Jevas Masosota and Ronald Ndava.politics
MUTARE - MDC-T (Khupe) aspiring Dangamvura - Chikanga parliamentary candidate, Lynnette Mudewe told journalists last Friday that her name could not be found on the voters' roll on the day of the nomination court at the Mutare Magistrate's Court.
"My name did not appear on the voter's role and only after providing my registration slip, the official contacted the command centre for confirmation and then I filed my papers," said Mudewe.
She was speaking at a panel discussion organised by MISA Zimbabwe in Mutare on June 15, one day after the nomination court.
Mudehwe also revealed that after she registered to vote, she received an sms from the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) with her correct details.
She accused the electoral management body of doing a shoddy job, saying her experience pointed to a situation where many people who registered to vote could be missing from the voters' roll.
"Why did Zec waste millions of dollars to acquire a system they can't operate?" quipped Mudehwe, suggesting that many people could be turned away on voting day.
"As much as we appreciate the digital era we are in, Zec seems not able to efficiently use the BVR system and these elections could be the worst after Tobaiwa Mudede," charged Mudewe.
There have been conflicting reports on the release of the voters' roll, with opposition political parties piling pressure upon Zec to reveal the electronic version of the roll.
The electoral administration body itself, however, has been sending mixed signals saying the voters' roll will be released at an appropriate moment. It later said only the printed copies will be available to stakeholders once the printing work is done.
The MDC Alliance led by Nelson Chamisa has threatened to stop the elections if Zec does not play ball, accusing the body of working in cahoots with Zanu PF to rig the elections through the voters' roll.politics
CHIREDZI - In an act of unprofessionalism and overzealousness, a member of the dreaded Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) allegedly harassed accredited European Union (EU) election observers who are in Chiredzi district, Masvingo province for a pre-election ground scanning.
This week, a CIO operative identified as Innocent Ncube is alleged to have harassed two EU observers; Christophe Menou from France and Fridarike Santner from Austria who are in Chiredzi district on an observer mission ahead of elections slated for July 30.
It is alleged that Ncube interrogated Menou and Santner, forced them to surrender their passports and EU badges that he then photocopied before handing them back.
Though the matter was not reported to the police, Santner confirmed the development to TellZim News and said she had since communicated with the EU Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Philippe Van Damme over the matter.
"Yes, we got harassed and we have since lodged our complaint with our office. You can get in touch with the ambassador he will furnish you with more details," said Santner.
Efforts to get comment from Van Damme were, however, fruitless by the time of going to print.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa is on record encouraging international election observers to come and observe the upcoming elections, saying the new government had nothing to hide.
Although Ncube himself could not be reached for comment but the District Intelligence Officer for Chiredzi, Joseph Urimbo tried to water down the allegations saying that was not the way the organisation operated and hastened to say he was yet to receive that complaint.
"What I know is that our officer was invited to a Joint Operations Command (JOC) meeting and the meeting went on smoothly. If that incident happened after the meeting, I wouldn't know because we have not received any complaint at our offices. However, I still need to confirm but that is not the way we operate," said Urimbo.
Opposition political parties have in the past castigated the often arrogant and sometimes wayward behaviour of some CIO operatives, saying their record of intimidation was a bane for free, fair and credible elections.top news
The Zimbabwe Chamber of Informal Economy Association (ZCIEA) in partnership with the Centre for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) hosted a town hall meeting on 13 June 2018 where informal traders ,who included are large community of people with disabilities (PWD), interacted with aspiring candidates for the 2018 harmonised elections at Mucheke Hall in Masvingo.
The town hall meeting was attended by local vendors, cross border traders, aspiring candidates and other interested parties. The informal workers had the opportunity to ask questions after each aspiring candidate presented his/her manifesto, a blue print which outlines the party's policy and procedure in tackling certain issues.
During the Masvingo townhall one of the vendors asked People's Rainbow Coalition (PRC) aspiring councillor for Ward 2, Kamurai Mutendi:
"Why do elected councillors implement policies without the consulting residents and vendors?"
In response, Mutendi assured the audience that his party will involve vendors in implementing policies that affect their (vendors) livelihoods. Although Mutendi promised to give free education and free medical services to people with disabilities once elected, they still expressed their concerns and complaints in relation to the way they (PWDs) were being treated in the informal sector.
"Disabled people in the informal sector are always abused and stigmatised, hence their contribution to the economy is undermined,' stated one of the PWD participants.
The people with disabilities thanked ZCIEA for organising such a forum which gave them a voice to speak against stigmatisation and for their concerns to be heard by the aspiring councillors and parliamentarians as people contributing to the economy through informal trading.
ZCIEA and CIPE are centred on promoting better and sustainable livelihoods for less privileged people who economically strive to make a living. ZCIEA was established in 2002 and it seeks to lobby and advocate for issues affecting informal traders. CIPE is based in Washington DC, United States of America and it also works with partners to find locally driven solutions to problems that affect the lives of millions of people.ZCIEA hopes to hold these political candidates accountable to the promises they made during the townhall. Speaking during the event, ZCIEA President Lorraine Sibanda said,
"it is important that we meet with the candidates and know what they are willing to do for us. We need to know what measures they will put in place when they are in power and we, as an organization will be there to see that they fulfill the promises that they made today."
The Masvingo townhall was the first of the five townhalls to be held by ZCIEA across Zimbabwe this June.local
…as more allegations against school head emerge
BIKITA – Following the recent publication of a story by TellZim News titled 'Chirima High pupils up in arms against school head', some 'A' level children have been forced to write reports as they are suspected of leaking the story.
The story, which revealed allegations of mismanagement and abuse of school funds by Chirima High School head, Henry Mugwira, has opened floodgates of more complaints against him.
It has now been learnt that there is now a big witch hunt targeting teachers and pupils who are suspected to have leaked details to TellZim News.
Sources said dozens of form six pupils have been asked to write reports on the matter and there are teachers too who have also drawn Mugwira's ire.
"Acting on the headmaster's instructions, the deputy headmaster and the senior master asked most 'A' level pupils to write reports and name those who leaked the information to the media.
"There is widespread fear among pupils because they could be expelled from school for an offence they did not commit," said the source.
Meanwhile, another parent has since came forward claiming that he was forced to transfer US$60 to Mugwira's EcoCash wallet after his child lost an 'A' level accounts book in 2015.
"We contributed towards the purchase of the book which was quoted at King Jays bookshop at Nyika growth point but the book was never bought. For several times, I called the bookshop to find out if the book was indeed bought but was told it was never bought. I have always doubted that the book could cost that much," said the parent.
When contacted for comment, Mugwira played hard to get at first, but finally admitted the school had launched an investigation after bare facts were laid before him.
"People are trying to tarnish my name by falsehoods. There is a teacher I suspect is spreading these falsehoods so that he can take over the job perhaps. Investigations are underway to get to the bottom of the matter," said Mugwira.
Masvingo Provincial Education Director (PED) Zedius Chitiga was not available to comment as he was said to be out of town.education
…'school head uses personal EcoCash number to receive school fees'
BIKITA – Chirima High 'A' level pupils are up in arms against their school head, Henry Mugwira, whom they accuse of misusing school funds.
The pupils have since resolved not to attend morning assemblies as part of their protest against the alleged abuse.
Sources told TellZim News pupils are complaining that the school head uses his personal EcoCash number to receive school fees and there is no meaningful development taking place.
"Pupils complain that the school head does not immediately give receipts when one has paid his/her fees. There are suspicions that he takes the money for his own personal use first and then replaces it when it is convenient for him," said the source.
Others said Mugwira does not buy original textbooks, but employs his people to do photocopies that are then given to pupils.
"The photocopied textbooks are hardly readable. We pay money so that the school can buy original books but the head always takes the cheaper route and pockets the balance," said one parent.
Others complained that for a long time, the school has made no progress on completing its sciences laboratory project.
When contacted for comment, Mugwira denied knowledge of the allegations and said everything was going on smoothly at the school.
"There is nothing like that here and everything is fine. Those telling you that want to tarnish our good reputation. We were recently audited and we are in the process of electrifying our school.
"Of course, pupils do complain about other issues here and there but we talk and iron out their concerns and move on," said Mugwira.
Bikita acting District Schools Inspector (DSI), Chioneso Maradza said she was yet to get the report and will do investigations to establish what was going on.
"I have not received any report from Chirima. I was there today (Tuesday) monitoring examinations, but I will do investigations soon," said Maradza.local
MASVINGO - Three people with disabilities last week successfully filed their papers with the nomination court to contest in the upcoming elections, raising hopes that the disability community will have a greater voice in issues of governance.
Henry Chivhanga will contest for the Chivi Central parliamentary seat on the MDC Alliance ticket. He will have to beat five other competitors; Ephraim Gwanongodza of Zanu PF, Esau Menganai of NCA, Joseph Chijaka of MDC-T (Khupe), Brighton Sharara (PRC) and Cleopas Mbangure of ZIPP for him to make it to parliament.
Chivhanga has worked with the disability community for a long time and his commitment to a friendlier public space for people with disabilities can be seen in the work he has done as leader of the Disability Amalgamation Community Trust (Dact).
There is Mucharairwa Mugidho who is the alliance's women's quota proportional representation candidate for Masvingo.
Rasphine Gudo is representing the coalition as a senatorial candidate for Manicaland province while Dennis Mudzingwa is a candidate in the Midlands.
In Masvingo Urban Ward 5, Vengai Kurunzirwa will contest against such candidates as Daniel Mberikunashe of MDC Alliance, Wanzai of Zanu PF and Admire Mufamba of People's Rainbow Coalition (PRC).
Kurunzirwa has a remarkable record working to improve the conditions of people with disabilities, and has made a mark himself as an articulate speaker during the course of the Young Voices community project.
The community project was meant to improve awareness and understanding of disability issues especially among traditional leaders and other influential community leaders.
In Ward 7, sight-impaired Jori is contesting as an independent candidate against Richard Musekiwa of the MDC Alliance, Talent Majoni of Zanu PF and others.
Asked what he wanted to achieve by running for political office, Kurunzirwa said it was time for change, pledging to champion disability, youth and women's issues in council.
"People with disabilities need a fairer representation in council so that their issues can be articulated better. We need public places and buildings that are friendlier to us and that can only be achieved if we give it attention right from the planning phase. Corrective measures have to be made on all existing public buildings and other infrastructure so that their use is not discriminatory.
"I however do not intend to be a councillor for one particular group alone, but would work for the good of all the residents. The vendor policy needs to be revised so that we don't chase around our parents who are trying to make a living on the streets without providing a suitable alternative market place for them," said Kurunzirwa.
When asked about his own personal thoughts on the increased interest to seek political office by people with disabilities, Chivhanga said the new trend was encouraging.
"For the first time, there is a clear demonstration and evidence of the willingness to mainstream persons with disability into politics in the MDC Alliance. It was difficult to reach where we are so we congratulate our coalition for this feat and, as the disability fraternity, we are really encouraged by that gesture.
"I urge the people of Zimbabwe to support people with disabilities in the elections. They have the merit, skills and capacity to deliver," said Chivhanga.
Disability activist, Nasper Manyau said she hoped all candidates with disabilities will win so that they will be in a better position to drive change.
"We have a long way to go. The government must domesticate the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities if we are to have the kind of fair opportunity and representation that is desired. There is need to urgently meet the President so that we engage each other on the importance of these issues," said Manyau.top news
ZAKA – Manyiri Primary School deputy head, school clerk and the School Development Committee (SDC) chairperson were recently assaulted by an angry parent whose grade six pupil, Brian Mutasa, had been injured in a soccer training session.
The matter was not reported to the police because the victims are afraid of further victimisation by the feared parent.
Sources in the area said they were afraid of the pupil's father who happens to be the area's village head and a traditional healer.
Zaka acting District Schools Inspector (DSI) Beaula Shambambeva confirmed the incident, saying she had since visited the school.
"Sport is part of the new curriculum. If a pupil gets injured, parents and the school should work together so what the parent did is uncalled for because teachers will now be afraid to help the child and other pupils.
"We are happy, however, that the school played its part in shouldering the medical expenses of the injured pupil," said Shambambeva.
Sources said when the boy was injured, the school rushed him to Mashoko Mission Hospital where he was referred to Masvingo Provincial Hospital before being transferred to Harare.
"They were working together with Sabhuku Mutasa but the relationship turned sour when the school failed to send transport fees in time when the boy was discharged from hospital in Harare. His father is known to be very harsh," said a source.local
MASVINGO – The We Pay You Deliver (WPYD) Consortium on Tuesday, June 19, launched a local government election survey report titled 'The Uncertainty of 2018' whose findings point to low interest in local government elections.
Different political players, council officials and other stakeholders attended the launch at Urban Lifestyle Guest House in Rhodene.
The report is a result of a survey conducted in Bulawayo, Harare, Chitungwiza, Gweru, Mutare and Masvingo between August and October 2017.
The report highlights that the electorate and political parties do not attach as much priority on local government elections as they do on the parliamentary and presidential vote.
Some 53.1 percent of respondents felt the harmonisation of elections affected the importance of council elections.
It also shows that in the upcoming elections, the local government vote will be split between the Movement Democratic Change (MDC) and Zanu PF at 23.3 and 15.1 percent respectively. Some 50 percent of participants were afraid to answer questions.
In his presentation, Davison Muchadenyika, one of the researchers, touched on such areas as councillor performance ratings and voter preferences, prioritisation of local government elections and the role of civil society, mayor`s functions as well as the future and credibility of the electoral process.
"Political parties are urged to prioritise council elections by fielding candidates with a traceable record of public service commitment or excellence in other sectors," Muchadenyika said.
Speaking at the same event, Dr Takavafirei Zhou said the findings were critical in interpreting voters' attitude towards the country's electoral processes.
"The major problem is the politicisation of local council. We do not have political sanity in Zimbabwe though we appreciate the effort taken in coming up with this report. Our real challenge is on leadership; we need to have a paradigm shift from politics to potential, where the electorate chooses councillors with potential not along partisan lines," Dr Zhou said.
City of Masvingo mayor, Hubert Fidze said councillors appreciated the effort behind the research and its importance in providing scientific information to policy makers.
He also urged all councillors and aspiring councillors to familiarise themselves with the report.
The WPYD consortium partners include Masvingo United Residents and Ratepayers Alliance (MURRA), Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA), Habakkuk Trust and Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA).local
GWERU – The local chapter of Woman Coalition of Zimbabwe, (WCoZ) last week tabled a list of service delivery grievances that it said should be urgently attended to by Gweru City Council if imminent serious health problems are to be prevented.
Speaking at a meeting held with council officials at Town House, WCoZ director of finance, Edgar Mwedzi pointed out many service delivery shortcomings including erratic water supplies, saying urgent measures had to be taken to address the crisis.
"Erratic water provision is a big problem. Discussions we have held with residents revealed that most tapes are dry during the day, with water coming only around midnight every day. The quality is also deplorable as the water is rusty in colour and has flying objects.
"Some households have dug unprotected wells that pose serious health challenges as the water is not treated and the wells are also a breeding ground for mosquitoes. There have been reported cases of young children losing their lives after falling into the unprotected wells," said Mwedzi.
The organisation also called for a more regular collection of refuse to stop the sprouting of undesignated dumpsites.
"Council has been failing to collect refuse as often as it should. This has led to a sprouting of undesignated dumpsites in the city's high density areas of Mkoba, Ascot, Mambo, Mutapa and Senga.
"Besides being an eyesore, the dumpsites are also a potential source of such diseases as malaria as well as other water and airborne diseases caused by mosquitoes and houseflies. The undesignated dumpsites also contribute to the blockage of drainage systems in the city," said Mwedzi.
City of Gweru director of health services, Wilson Chivasa said council was well-aware that most households had no bins and that most residents were failing to separate waste from source.
"We are aware that most residents have no bins and they are failing to properly manage waste disposal. On fears of a malarial outbreak – Gweru is a non-malaria zone. We, however, have a rapid response team which is always ready to investigate any cases of possible disease outbreaks," Chivasa said.
He appealed for the coalition to help educate people on waste management and water conservation.local
CHIREDZI - Incumbent Chiredzi West legislator, Darlington Chiwa, who automatically expelled himself from Zanu PF by registering to contest as an independent after losing to Farai Musikavanhu in the primaries, is giving the ruling party sleepless nights in the constituency.
Sources in the ruling party told TellZim News that many bigwigs will soon visit the town to try persuade Chiwa to withdraw from the race.
Local party leaders are also going out of their way to discredit Chiwa, with Musikavanhu last weekend addressing a rally in Ward 27, Triangle, where the anti-Chiwa diatribe reigned supreme.
The meeting was attended by the provincial leadership of the party and several war veterans.
Chiredzi war veterans' chairperson, Killer Makuni branded Chiwa a sell-out, saying the MP had proved beyond doubt that he was not loyal to the party.
"We should only be following Zanu PF not independent candidates. Chiwa should come to apologise to us war veterans in order for us to accept him. Pasi naChiwa," said Makuni.
Chiwa and Makuni clashed last year, with the former opposing wholesale invasion of Tongaat Hulett's sugarcane plantation for resettlement purposes.
Speaking at the same meeting, the party's provincial vice chairperson, Ailes Baloyi said Chiwa had no vote in Chiredzi West as all people were going to vote for Zanu PF only.
"This (Ward 27) is where Chiwa has a strong base and we want to assure you that he won't get anything. People will be voting for Zanu PF not independent candidates," said Baloyi.
Provincial chairperson, Ezra Chadzamira also threw his weight behind Musikavanhu, describing Chiwa as an untrustworthy individual who faked love for Zanu PF.
"We watched him for a long time as he pretended to be one of one of us. On nomination day, we saw him coming to register as a candidate. So if you are Zanu PF, disassociate yourself with Chiwa and work with Musikavanhu," said Chadzamira.politics
MWENEZI - Rutenga Housing Cooperative (RHC) secretary, Lackson Nezira has reportedly disappeared with US$24 000 contributed by about 500 Rutenga home seekers, TellZim News has learnt.
Believed to be now hiding in South Africa, Nezira is said to have accessed the money by forging the signatures of two other signatories to the cooperative's Steward Bank Account.
The money is said to have been transferred to several other accounts, with some reportedly moved out of the account via RTGS on different occasions.
Masvingo police spokesperson Insp Kudakwashe Dhewa confirmed that the case was reported in August last year but could not give further details.
Sources privy to the matter, however, said a docket had already been opened against all the signatories.
Repeated efforts by TellZim News to contact Nezira failed as his mobile phone was not reachable.
"There is Nezira, the treasurer and the chairperson but it is Nezira who forged his colleagues' signatures," said a source.
Other sources said one of the other two signatories has also fled after learning that the police were now looking into the matter.
Several victims of the alleged loot expressed despair, saying they were not likely to recover their money.
"The cooperative was legally registered and we put our hope in it because we believed in the competency and trustworthiness of Nezira, our own son from Mwenezi. Since the end of 2016, I contributed a total of US$450 hoping that by the end of December this year, I would have finish all the payment and have a stand of my own," said one victim.crime
…ED shifts focus to 'cashless' economy
President Emmerson Mnangagwa's call for people to embrace a more cashless economy while delivering his speech at Mucheke Stadium disappointed many people who are putting up with bank queues every day to get as little as US$30, TellZim News has found.
Delivering his speech before a massive crowd drawn from all corners of Masvingo province last week, Mnangagwa said developed countries have found a way of doing away with cash transactions and adopted a cashless society where plastic money takes centre stage.
"Developed countries have become cashless where there is little use for cash but swiping. We are currently engaging the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to introduce Point of Sale (POS) machines across the country so that all people will be able to swipe.
"We are working on that so that all the people even those in rural areas would be able to swipe. Only 10 percent of transactions would require cash. As the economy improves, the availability of cash will improve as well but at the moment, we must go where developing countries are going and not where they are coming from," said Mnangagwa.
He, however, failed to acknowledge the fact that though developed countries might be using electronic payment methods a lot, there is no cash shortages in the banks for those who want it.
Earlier this year, Mnangagwa reportedly turned down his salary brought to his offices in a money bag, saying he would rather join the queue like everybody else than be given special treatment.
Surprisingly, Mnangagwa used a crispy US$20 bill when he performed a public stunt by joining a queue at a Chicken Inn outlet in Chegutu, bought some food and tipped the cashier.
Banks no longer dispense US dollar bills but only bond notes and coins.local
…despite President's calls for 'cashless' economy
MASVINGO – While President Emmerson Mnangagwa has urged the public to emulate developed countries and adopt electronic payment systems, Masvingo fuel businessman, Phillip Mapfumo has continued with his demands for cash payments at his fuel service station.
Popularly known as 'Phidza', Mapfumo runs the DocZine service station that is situated in the industrial areas. He is also believed to be the owner of a chain of other businesses in town under the DocZine stable.
TellZim News reported recently that his fuel business was turning away customers who did not have cash, with Masvingo Provincial Affairs minister, Josaya Hungwe promising to institute an investigation against the business.
There are rumours that DocZine is demanding cash payments for externalisation purposes, with the business having been named as one of the culprits in the President's list of externalisers which was released in March.
According to the list, the company externalised US$36 778 in the category of funds externalised through payment of goods not received in Zimbabwe.
During his rally at Mucheke Stadium last Friday, Mnangagwa and Vice President Constantino Chiwenga took time to encourage the use of plastic money even for minor transactions, saying conditions in the economy demanded that there be a change of approach.local
A granary hut at the cultural centre
CHIPINGE – There is an agreement among scholars and all people that culture is a very important component of every society, and that a people's values, customs and language should be preserved, relayed and documented so that posterior generations will know who they are and where they originated.
Cultural preservation is also critical in nurturing fully conscious future generations without an identity crisis. Culture means a whole way of life of any particular nation, organisation, tribe or group of people.
This includes way of dress, art, beliefs, social life, symbols, food and several common aspects that unify a group of people with common characteristics.
Manicaland has several tourist attractions that include the famous Nyanga Mountains, The Devuli Range, the Ngungunyani Forest, Hot Springs and Musirizwi Falls.
Last month, government launched its National Tourism Master Plan as well as a Community Based Tourism Enterprise (CBTE) Manual and Handbook help of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica) to help develop tourism at local level.
For a special feel of Ndau culture, however, one should visit the Paiyapo Arts and Heritage Training Centre in the Bangira area under Chief Musikavanhu in Ward 17.
Founded by Phillip Kusasa Bangira, the place celebrates and explores Ndau culture while offering a platform for the exhibition of different other cultures.
The centre hosts the annual Ndau Festival of the Arts, an event which pulls hundreds of people and many institutions every September.
It is located in a woody thicket to depict a typical African village homestead setup, with different types of thatched huts and grain storage structures.
In the huts are different types of Ndau artistic and cultural artefacts superbly crafted for different purposes.
These include clay pots for traditional beer brewing and storage, other clay pots for cooking and decorative purposes as well as special crafts and home utensils traditionally used by the Ndau people.
There are also different kinds of traditional home property and tools that would form a Ndau home of a traditional make-up.
There is also a setting for a court of elders (dare) as well as a meandering stream of flowing water and traditional Ndau fishing nets.
Water to drink can be fetched at a weir close by while a spacious gallery awaits those who wish to get an appreciation of a wide collection of Ndau artefacts that depict a rich cultural background of local people. These include drawings, sculptures and rock art.
If anything, the gallery can be seen as a collection of tangible evidence of local sophistication which helps to debunk stereotypes about Ndau people and their way of life.
There is also the Women's Museum which is another interesting feature at Paiyapo Arts and Training Centre. The museum honours the importance which Ndau culture attaches to the role of women in society.
Of interest too is a natural Africa map-shaped rock which amazes all visitors to the centre due to its almost accurate depiction of the shape of the continent.
There is also a collection of indigenous plants and herbs, including the rarest of plants that are being preserved from extinction.
In an interview, Bangira said the centre was established as a response to cultural erosion which threatens to leave Ndau people without knowledge of who they are and their place in society.
"We have done this for the sake of the many generations that will come. We want people to be proud of their heritage and their past. The Ndau language is a good language that defines our identity as a people. We invite people from all over the country to come and see the work we are doing here," said Bangira.
He said he was pleased that the centre had helped improve business activities in the Bangira area through a steady flow of tourists.
He also said he was working hard to increase the popularity of the Ndau Festival of the Arts so that more people can appreciate their identity.
The festival has so far proved to be the district's most innovative way of celebrating local culture through exhibitions, poetry, dance, exchanges and other activities.business
Chiundidzi works on his bale of cotton
RUSHINGA - Low international lint prices have affected cotton growers globally and even worse for Zimbabwe whose farmers' competitiveness in the field has been declining over the years.
Due to even lower cotton prices, most people in Rushinga have now resorted to growing groundnuts and some have tried tobacco.
Insing Company, which used to quote fairly reasonable rates, closed its ginnery in Rushinga owing to low cotton deliveries, dealing a devastating blow to the hundreds of people that the company used to employ.
The effects were also felt by such farmers as 52-year-old Givemore Chiundudzi.
Wearing a blue work suit jacket, with a cap sitting in a slanting position over his grizzled head and his hands clutching a log which he uses to ram his cotton bags, Chiundudzi is trying to imagine a 'cottonless' future now that conditions are deteriorating.
He sits on a curved wooden tree trunk, half the size of a drum, with several bags of packed cotton lined in front of him.
"All the cotton in these plastics must go into this bale. The more the bale weighs, the more it fetches. If it were long ago, I could be rich with this one bale," he says as he sticks more cotton from the plastics into the bale lying on the ground.
This is his only bale for the year, from which he hopes to get money to meet all his family needs until the next harvest, though he is not even sure how much the bale will fetch.
"I do not know. It depends on how much it will weigh. They are buying at 47 cents per kg and this bale weighs probably 200 kg. In the past, you could buy a cow, build a three-bedroomed house and do anything else after selling a bale like this. Now one bale cannot give you anything," Chiundudzi complaints.
He says even though most of the cotton farmers have entered into contract farming with Cottco, which provides them with inputs that is seeds, fertilisers and spray pumps for free, all of them were not happy with the 47 cents/kg buying prize.
"Upon delivery, we are given $20 cash and the rest is put into our EcoCash wallets. To get the money out the phone is very expensive; you pay $28 or $30 for every $100 you want in cash. They are ripping us off and leaving us poorer.
"Cotton is our cash crop here but many people have since diverted to tobacco farming due to the unfavourable conditions. It is also not easy to grow tobacco here because our soils are better suited for cotton," he says.business
RUSAPE – Lawrence Khupe, a Rusape youth who graduated from the Midlands State University (MSU) in Gweru last year, has launched a book titled What Went Wrong? Zimbabwe Since 2000.
The book, which explores the country's most tumultuous period which began with Hondo Yeminda in 2000, was launched on June 16 at Khupe Law Chambers in Rusape.
It revisits the formation of the Movement for Democratic Change in 1999, the 2005 Land Redistribution Act, the political horrors of 2008, Robert Mugabe's increasing authoritarianism, the Look East policy and the 'New Dispensation'.
In an interview, Khupe revealed it took him two years to complete the book, saying he was motivated by a strong passion for the documentation of the social, economic and political crisis that have plagued the country for so long.
"I am a historian and a holder of a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History and International Studies. This is really my passion and I would like to do my part in highlighting our past for the sake of future generations," said Khupe.
The guest of honour at the launch was Treasure Basopo, the Zimbabwe National Students Union (Zinasu) chairperson at the University of Zimbabwe (UZ) who last year led thousands of students in a demonstration against the awarding of a controversial PhD to Grace Mugabe.
"Few Zimbabwean experiences are documented by Zimbabweans and others are not documented at all. I take this opportunity to acknowledge Khupe's hard work in publishing a book as we stand closer to a new dawn than ever before. We have so much to deliver and much is expected from us the younger generation in the future of Zimbabwe," Basopo said.
The book was published by Pfumojena Printing and Stationary company.entertainment