THE MILITARY

As Zanu PF factions destroy each other, the military will have a huge say as to who would take over from President Mugabe.

THE MILITARY

As Zanu PF factions destroy each other, the military will have a huge say as to who would take over from President Mugabe.

PROPHET WALTER MAGAYA

He is a controversial prophet who continues to draw large crowds with his promise of miracles. But as his popularity soars he faces all sorts of allegations. So far he has survived.

TSVANGIRAI THE SURVIVOR

Two secretary generals tried to topple him but failed. His wife walked out but returned home. Now MDC leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, is plotting his way to State House.

NEWSDZEZIMBABWE

Latest news, entertainment and sports.

Sunday, 26 January 2020

MY FATHER'S EMPLOYEE TRIED TO RAPE ME


A 24-YEAR-OLD barber from Gwabalanda appeared in court last week facing charges of indecently assaulting his employer’s 16-year-old daughter.

Emmanuel Sibanda was not asked to plead to aggravated indecent assault when he appeared before Bulawayo magistrate Lizwe Jamela on Thursday.

He was remanded in custody to February 3. The court was told that on January 19 at around 7pm, the girl left her father’s salon in the city centre and went to another salon owned by her father in the city where Sibanda works.


The rest of the people at the salon left to go home, leaving Sibanda alone with the girl. The girl and Sibanda started to chat whereupon Sibanda proposed love to her, but the girl spurned him.

Sibanda allegedly grabbed the girl and started fondling her before kissing her on the lips without her consent.

The girl told him to stop and tried to leave the salon, but Sibanda ran to the door and locked it before switching off the lights.

Sibanda allegedly grabbed the girl with both hands, lifted her up and laid her on the floor. The girl screamed, but no one heard her and Sibanda pleaded with her not to make noise as this would get him fired.

At the time, Sibanda had removed his pair of trousers to knee level while holding her, he allegedly fondled the girl’s private parts and the girl held his hand trying to free herself from his grip.

Sibanda then allegedly threatened to tear off her underwear if she kept on holding to it.The girl eventually managed to free herself from Sibanda and escaped from the salon and went home where she narrated the abuse to her father.

A report was made to the police, leading to Sibanda’s arrest. Standard

PEOPLE WILL OUST ED, SAYS MDC


The Nelson Chamisa-led MDC has declared that President Emmerson Mnangagwa will be pushed out of power by ordinary citizens this year because they can no longer bear the economic crisis facing the country. 

Speaking at a “Thank you” rally held in Mbizo to celebrate the victory of the constituency MP Settlement Chikwinya in the 2018 elections, MDC organising secretary Amos Chibaya said Mnangagwa should resign forthwith because he had failed the country.

“This year of 2020 is a year of the people’s power. It is a year that we will flood the streets in demonstrations because that is where our power lies,” Chibaya said.

“We cannot sit in homes when the situation is like this. The person who won the 2018 elections is president Chamisa and must be allowed to rule this country.
“We are going to defy all the plans by Zanu PF to deny us our constitutional rights of demonstrating against this failed regime. We will fight for better lives for our people.

“Hunger is everywhere and the nation is suffering. The honourable thing for Mnangagwa to do is to resign because he has failed this country.”

In his brief address, Chikwinya said the Zanu PF government was clueless on how to address the economic crisis in the country.

“The hunger and suffering we are experiencing is a signal to say Mnangagwa must go just like what was enunciated by president Chamisa recently,” he said.

“The government has given people Zupco buses which are cheap on the roads. However, there is no Zupco at hospitals. There is no Zupco at schools and in shops where things remain very expensive and unaffordable to people.

“Today what we are celebrating at this event is togetherness because the struggle continues until Chamisa reclaims his victory. He is the man that should be at State House.”

Social commentator and poet Nkosilathi Moyo told the gathering that the reason why Mnangagwa had not held victory celebrations was because he knew he lost the elections. Standard

100 KASUKUWERE FARM WORKERS TO LOSE JOBS

WORKERS at former Local Government minister and ex-Zanu PF national commissar Saviour Kasukuwere’s Concorpia Farm in Mazowe face a bleak future following government’s move to seize the property, one of the few remaining productive farms in the country.

Government last week wrote to Kasukuwere, through Lands minister Perrance Shiri, withdrawing its offer for the land, ostensibly for planning purposes.

lf government has its way, more than 100 permanent workers and over 300 contract workers will be affected.

“We have about 100 permanent workers and the figure fluctuates on seasonal workers, but sometimes we go to about 300,” farm manager Shepherd Siyanganga told The Standard yesterday.

On production, Siyanganga said: “We have seed maize which is on about 40 hectares. We also have 45 hectares of seed soya. There is also commercial maize which is on about 45 hectares as well.”

Siyanganga said there were also 25 hectares of commercial soya.

“We have 124 hectares for citrus, then we have outcrop, hills and streams covering 80 hectares and the rest is for cattle grazing,” he said.

Workers yesterday said most of them knew no other home as they were originally from Mozambique and their families remained worried over their future. There is also a school, Mazowe Citrus Secondary School.

Workers also spoke glowingly about their working relationship with Kasukuwere. Kasukuwere yesterday said he would present a strong case to Shiri on the developments at the farm. He said there was nothing to warrant the treatment he was getting.

“We will put our case to the minister in terms of what we are doing. We are doing cultivation on 120 hectares on land which we opened ourselves. It initially just had citrus only, but we invested on centre pivots, opened land for irrigation and brought in the water,” Kasukuwere said.

“We did a lot and borrowed from financial companies. There were only two houses for workers and we have now built more to cater for more than 100 workers. The farm was just a small part of the estate and no one was using it.”

Shiri last week wrote to Kasukuwere saying: “Notice of intention to withdraw land offer under the land reform and resettlement programme (model A2, Phase 2).

Notice is hereby given that the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement intends to withdraw the offer of land made to you in respect of subdivision whole measuring 556.617ha of R/E of Concorpia Farm in the District of Mazowe in Mashonaland Central province. 

“The reasons for the withdrawal are for downsizing for planning purposes. You are invited to make any representations you may have in this matter in writing within seven days of receipt of this notification. All correspondence in this regard should be directed to the Minister,” the letter read in part.

The former G40 faction kingpin breathed fire accusing President Emmerson Mnangagwa of being petty and targeting perceived political rivals. Standard


SOME ARE MOURNING,OTHERS CELEBRATING : WIWA ON MDC SUPPORT AHEAD OF TRIAL


Job Sikhala, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) national vice-chairperson who is also Member of Parliament for Zengeza West, is set to appear before the High Court in Masvingo next week to face charges of treason. The outspoken Sikhala was arrested in July last year following utterances he made at a rally in Bikita, where he said his party would roll out demonstrations that would remove President Emmerson Mnangagwa from power before the 2023 elections. He was charged with subverting a constitutional government as defined in section 22(2)(a)(iii) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act. Sikhala becomes the 21st person to have been charged with treason since Mnangagwa came to power through a coup in November 2017.

Sikhala said on that day: “We are a committed leadership that will give Zanu PF headaches and [Amos] Chibaya was not lying or joking about the war and fight we are going to take to the doorsteps of Emmerson Mnangagwa. We are going to overthrow him before 2023, that is not a joke.”

Next week Sikhala (JS) will stand trial for uttering those words and The Standard (TS) had an opportunity to speak to him yesterday about this and other issues. Below are excerpts from the interview.

TS: Your treason trial opens next week in Masvingo. How do you feel? Are you not afraid?

JS: When you live your life for the common good of the people you don’t put personal fears as the determinant factor to influence your true beliefs. Personal fears can only be put on the table when facing persecution by the oppressor, by the conscience of dishonesty. I am not in pursuit of public good in pretence. I mean every word I say and mean every action I take in life. I strongly believe in a dream of leadership genuity and honest to conscience. Strong character is the hallmark of honesty and our country needs men and women who are prepared for any consequences for their beliefs. Oppression has been nurtured and bred in our country through the use and application of fear as the foundation of our political jurisprudence and oppressors enjoyed it to the hilt when they harvested the proceeds of fear. The destination of our country should not be arrived on the basis of fear, but reality of the state of affairs. Let those who allow fear to reign in their decisions enjoy in their comfort zones and leave those who believe in truthfulness pursue their dreams without distraction.

TS: How is your family taking it?

JS: My family has witnessed all the hell on earth since time immemorial. I don’t talk to my wife about political issues. She is a spectator in shock and sometimes does not understand me. What I like is her non-interference with my beliefs. What shocked me is a question I got from one of my sons when I went to collect him from school. He asked me if Fred (a young lawyer at Sikhala’s law firm) would give them money for school fees if I was sent to prison. I just laughed because I did not have an answer for him. He said he had been told at his school that I was going to be sent to jail. Deep down my heart, my family is as good as any other suffering Zimbabwean. Selfishness is not part of my portion. Every Zimbabwean should be happy for my family to be able to also enjoy life.
In the circumstances obtaining, we are all equal in suffering.

TS: Are you happy, confident of receiving a fair trial?

JS: The right to a fair trial is the expectation of us all. I don’t want to appropriate the divinity of prophets as to whether I will get a fair trial or not. We leave it and be witnesses to the process. I am a legal practitioner and well acquainted with the dictums of a fair trial as provided for in terms of Section 69 of the Constitution. It is one of those unlimited rights. I will observe it by myself whether the trial will be in conformity with the dictates of a fair trial or not. I don’t need an interpreter. I will give my verdict after the whole trial. Let’s leave it to those ordained with the spirit of prophecy to  know in advance whether I will face a fair trial or not. At present I have no opinion.

TS: Are you happy with the support you’re receiving from your party, the MDC, what kind of support are you getting?

JS: The situation I am in is the same as that of someone one in mourning and bereavement. It is unheard of anywhere in the world to hear the bereaved going door-to-door begging for and calling for people to mourn with: “kuti ndafirwawo huyai mucheme neni.” Those who want to mourn with you will come uninvited. However, like at every funeral some will rejoice at the misfortunes that would have befallen you while others mourn genuinely with you. Let those who are with me do it without fear, coercion or intimidation. Let those who do not want to do so go ahead and celebrate and rejoice. It’s a democratic society that we all seek to create in our country. You can only be a fool of astonishing magnitude to expect everyone to mourn with you during your difficult times.

TS: There are reports that you have been mobilising people to attend your court case tomorrow and to demonstrate in your support. How true is this?

JS: When ridiculousness is celebrated you must expect such claims from detractors. When I was arrested for this very case last year, thousands of Zimbabweans of goodwill stood with me, including those far off in the land of the aliens. Did I mobilise them? The political consciousness does not need to mobilise anyone. The people of Zimbabwe always stand for the truth. The truth is so embedded in our people that they know what they want. It is naivety that possesses those in authority to take Zimbabweans for granted. Respect them and you will understand them better. They don’t need to be mobilised by anyone. 

TS: There have been reports that there are widening fissures within the MDC and that these are around the growing exasperation and impatience that the MDC membership are having with the party. The generality of the membership is said to be fed up with the leadership’s alleged softly, softly approach to the crisis gripping the country. The reports go further to claim that there is agitation for Chamisa’s replacement with more combative characters. Tendai Biti’s name and yours feature prominently in the alternative proposals. Would you like to comment?

JS: Let those who live in the world of make-believe believe their fantasies and illusions. This party witnessed several splits generated by such rumour mongering. And once bitten-twice shy. We will never ever be divided by such cheap talk again. There is unquestionable loyalty to the leadership and presidency of Advocate Nelson Chamisa. Let the alternative speakers continue drafting their illusionary alternatives. We are one and no one will break us. Standard

ED GOES AFTER G40 BIGWIGS


President Emmerson Mnangagwa is reportedly targeting farms belonging to former Foreign Affairs minister Walter Mzembi, former Manicaland provincial minister Mandi Chimene and other top allies of the late president Robert Mugabe as he goes for broke in his move to swat the G40 apparatchiks, The Standard has learnt.

Government recently dispossessed Robert Zhuwao, Mugabe’s nephew, of his Zvimba farm and also seized former Higher Education minister Jonathan Moyo’s farm in Mazowe measuring 622,9 hectares.

On Wednesday, government again repossessed Concorpia Farm in Mazowe from G40 kingpin, former Local Government minister and Zanu PF national commissar Saviour Kasukuwere in what it described as a downsizing and re-planning exercise, according to a letter by Lands minister Perrance Shiri.

But The Standard is informed government is also targeting Mzembi and Chimene’s farms for seizure. The seizure letters have already been drafted and await delivery, according to sources. 

Also on the radar is Moyo’s former deputy, Godfrey Gandawa, whose 160-hectare Dundazi Farm is being targeted.

“Mzembi is going to lose his Banquest Extension Farm in Masvingo,” a well-placed source revealed.

“Also to be seized will be Chimene and Gandawa’s farms. Kudzai Chipanga [former Zanu PF youth league leader]’s farm will be turned into yet to be established Manicaland State University.”

Shiri was not reachable for comment while his deputy, Douglas Karoro, said he was unwell and receiving medical attention. Questions sent to Shiri had not been responded to by the time of going to print.

But Information deputy minister Energy Mutodi defended the seizures saying government was simply repossessing land that was being underutilised when the owners went into exile. He said the seizures were not retributive at all.

“Government is taking back all underutilised and in some cases, abandoned agricultural land as we move forward to ensure food security in the country,” Mutodi said.

“The names you have mentioned are former ministers who are in self-imposed exile and have neglected their farms.

“We are facing critical shortages of maize, soya beans, oranges and other raw materials because a number of farms that used to be productive are now lying idle.”

He added: “It is a clear government policy that such underutilised farms are repossessed by the government and subdivided to create smaller highly productive farm units.” 

Mutodi’s claim was despite the fact that there is high production at some of the farms, especially Kasukuwere’s Concorpia Farm. Furthermore, Shiri’s letter was silent on underutilisation, but cited “downsizing and re-planning” as the motives for the cancellation of the land offer.

The Mugabe-backed G40 faction enjoyed the upper hand against Mnangagwa’s Team Lacoste faction in the Zanu PF succession battles.

The faction allegedly influenced Mnangagwa’s dismissal as vice-president in November 2017 before he came back to lead on the back of a military coup.

Since Mnangagwa took over, he has led an onslaught on the G40 members who include former Finance minister Ignatius Chombo and Chipanga.

The land seizures become his latest show of revenge on his political foes whom he constantly blames for his poor show in the 2018 presidential elections as well as poor attendance at his rallies and national events.

Mugabe’s widow Grace’s farms haves not been spared, with her farms invaded by suspected Zanu PF youths panning for gold while a land commission into the sale of state land has also recommended a probe on her land deals as well as several G40 members who include Chombo and former Harare provincial commissar Shadreck Mashayamombe.

Mzembi now leads an opposition party, Zimbabwe People’s Party, and is deputised by Gandawa in the fight to dislodge Mnangagwa. Kasukuwere leads the Tyson Wabantu Movement also in opposition to Mnangagwa.

Moyo has been launching diatribes on Mnangagwa using his Twitter handle and recently published a book, Excelgate, in which he chronicles how Mugabe former deputy allegedly stole the 2018 general elections.

Most of the farms were obtained through the Mugabe-championed controversial land reform programme except Moyo’s farm that he claims he bought in 2002 for Z$6 million.

Mzembi took over the remaining 367 hectares of Banquest Extension Farm after part of it was already resettled by indigenous black farmers from chicken breeder Helen Mitchell in 2015.

At that time, the Mitchells ran Masvingo Chicks Company which was the only chicken breeder that supplied the whole of the province, producing 100 000 day-old chicks and 50 000 eggs per week.

Political analyst Alexander Rusero said the land seizures of perceived political enemies were a sign of lack of thought leadership in Mnangagwa’s so-called new dispensation.

“It’s at best pathetic and at worst devoid of thought leadership from a Zanu PF leadership that wants to be seen as a New Dispensation,” Rusero said.

“For all intents and purposes, it confirms that the land reform was largely political than economic. Land in Zimbabwe shall remain an instrument of those in power to punish their enemies, perceived and real.”

Another political analyst, Ibbo Mandaza, said by repossessing the farms, Mnangagwa was setting a dangerous precedent that everyone who lost political power should lose properties.

“One day, they [Mnangagwa’s government] will also be out of power, and what will happen to their farms?” Mandaza said.

“On the other hand, politicians should also learn to set laws that benefit everyone, including themselves when they go out of power. The A2 offer letters have a clause which says the offer can be withdrawn in seven days.

“Kasukuwere, Moyo, Zhuwao and others knew it and they were part of it. There is no security of tenure in Zimbabwe. Yes, there is a question of vendetta on the evictions, but the offer letters themselves are a problem too.” Standard


Saturday, 25 January 2020

I'M UPSET : MP ON DISBURSEMENT OF $200M SANITARY WEAR BUDGET


Government has provided a $200 million facility in the 2020 National Budget towards the provision of free sanitarywear for primary and secondary schoolgirls from less privileged backgrounds. Sunday Mail Gender and Community Editor, Fatima Bulla (FB), interviewed chairperson of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Primary and Secondary Education, Ms Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga (PM), who has been lobbying for girls and women health rights.

F.B: For years, you have been advocating for a National Budget to cater for girls and women rights. In presenting the national revenue and expenditure document for 2020, Finance and Economic Development Minister, Professor Mthuli Ncube provided $200 million towards that cause. Do you feel your advocacy bid has finally yielded results?

P.M: Yes, it has been years of struggle around sanitarywear. I came into Parliament in 2000, so it is almost two decades of a conversation around issues of sanitarywear.

I had hoped that, this time around, we would have removed duty, get some subsidy of some sort, but I was pleasantly surprised that we actually had a budgetary allocation for sanitary wear for primary and secondary schools learners. It was a good surprise. I think in the SADC region, we are probably the first country to do that at a national level. In Africa, the one other country that has gone to the level of setting aside resources for sanitarywear at national level, is Kenya. 

F.B: Are you satisfied with the processes of rolling out the sanitarywear project?

P.M: I am upset. The first problem is that the disbursement of the $200 million has not been done, which is a disappointment. Secondly, when the money came in, one of the things I said was that this (sanitarywear) is not perishable. Sanitarywear is not like tomatoes or vegetables which, if not consumed, will go bad.

I had hoped that we get the $200 million and immediately get sanitarywear. There was a lot of conversation about how this project would create employment, but my main concern was to immediately get the wear to the intended beneficiaries. 

I would have expected the ministry to release, say, $100 million and task suppliers to find the most sustainable and reusable sanitarywear.

One of the revolutionary products that we now have is a sanitary panty. It is both a panty and a sanitary product. We should have started distributing the funds this month.

We are going to hold a strategic meeting in the first week of February with officials from the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education.

I am hoping that is where I am going to get answers. But, generally, I am quite disappointed because the minister and the Secretary for Finance and Economic Development have gone way beyond our expectations and the funds remain unused. I understand they cannot disburse the money where there is no plan.

F.B: What sustainable mechanism do you think can be used to solve the challenge of sanitarywear?

P.M: If one gets a sanitary panty, we know it goes for two to three years. There are panties and what they call butterfly cups, some of them can last up to 10 years. I understand that for the younger girls, the butterfly cups may not be the best because people have issues with insertion and things like that. 

F.B: Do you think there is national appreciation on the need to provide sanitarywear as a basic for girls and women?

P.M: I do not think so. It is not just at Government level, but at all levels of the society.

One thing that I found fascinating when I asked Finance and Economic Development permanent secretary (George) Guvamatanga how we moved from where Government was not taking us seriously to where Government set aside money, he said: “You were pushing and also my daughter was pushing.”

I thought that was really fascinating because he said: “My daughter kept asking why we were not supporting issues of sanitarywear.”

Sometimes I follow social media debates where people tell each other off.

If somebody says: “Our MP (Member of Parliament) pushed for sanitarywear.” Someone will reply saying: “Seriously, sanitarywear in all these economic problems we have? What is sanitarywear?”

So there is no appreciation of just how big the issue of sanitarywear is. Our girls and even adults are using newspapers and cowdung during their cycles. It is sad to think that as a nation with a 54 percent female population we are failing to prioritise provision of affordable sanitarywear.

F.B: You once brought to the National Assembly, some sanitarywear, underwear and an infant in a bid to express the importance of women issues, has your push produced the intended results? 

P.M: At some level yes. I was not in the House when the Budget Statement was presented. I actually cried because this is an issue that I have been pushing for many years.

Literally, when I came into the House — as a young person in 2000 — that has always been my fight. So learning that Government had actually acknowledged that this sanitary wear issue is important and setting aside resources raised my emotions. Yes, it has been long, but we have got to a point where it has happened.

Sideways, the issue of the infant has seen the creation of space in the new Parliament Building where nursing mothers will use.

Even in the current building, the Speaker set asise a room for nursing mothers to take their children.

I can walk away and gladly say I did my part. I can look at the Education Amendment Bill which will offer free education. We are waiting for it to be signed. If you go back to The Hansard, you can see the proposals that I made. 

Of course, they were on behalf of my committee, but also because of the passion that I have in ensuring girls go to school.

It will be free education for everybody, but I know that the majority of the beneficiaries will be girls. I think I have done what I can. There have been positive responses, but the question is implementation.

Sometimes I sit back and say to myself: “You know what Priscilla, perhaps the good thing is you have pushed this to a certain level some people should now take it and push for its implementation.”

F.B: Do you feel your fellow female legislators have lobbied enough for women issues?

PM: I have a different view. When you say there are people in a place who are supposed to push for things, I think the question should be for both.

If we are going to evaluate what good women have done, surely let’s evaluate what good men have done. 

It should be a general question about whether the legislative arm has done what is required of it or not? Has the executive done what is required of it?

From there we can then evaluate. Butm unfortunately, people always find it easier to ask that question in relation to women.

My second answer is that, over time, I think we are unfairly judging women and the media is to blame for that.

In Parliament, we all debate issues, but coverage is given to males ahead of females.

It is not as if women don’t speak. They just don’t make news as far as the media is concerned. I have survived the media bias, maybe because I am just radical and do things that draw media attention. But there are women who have stood up and made a point without necessarily being radical.

I have been in that Parliament and listened to women speak about women issues, maternal issues, school fees, uniforms, water, economy and hunger, but they are not newsmakers. 

FB: It’s now almost 20 years for you in Parliament, what are your milestones?

PM: I think one of it is just general. Outside Margaret Dongo, the system had made it difficult for females in Parliament to stand up and be known. If there is anything, it is to debunk the myth that women can’t survive in Parliament or in a political system.

I walk in the streets, I get into places and if I introduce myself, people give recognition and acknowledge my presence. It may not be because they love me, but it is an acknowledgement to say; we know you have been in this place.

I don’t think anybody can sit back and say Priscilla came into a political field and went quietly. Just like no one can say Margaret Dongo came into a political field and went quietly.

There was a time issues of Matabeleland were not debated or discussed in Parliament.

Even just the word “Gukurahundi”, there was a time one could not speak about it, it was scary. Now Gukurahundi is a general conversation, people can talk about it, people can say how they feel. The issue may not have been resolved, I may not see it in my lifetime being resolved, but I can sit back and say we went over that metal block where there were no conversations about it.

Then of course women issues; sanitary wear and issues around free education, which I have added a voice to. There are, however, areas that I feel bad I have not done much.

Conditions of service for teachers will always remain something that I feel I did not deliver on, but bringing those issues to the fore has been one of the things that I would say is a milestone. All put together, I think as a feminist, I have done well. This will show the world that I am a good woman and leader.

If I were to walk out of Parliament today, and I am seriously thinking about it, it would be because of circumstances that have pushed me.

I have done my best and one day people should wake up to see a story with a headline: “Priscilla hangs up boots”. Sunday Mail

MAN WRESTLES, KILLS LEOPARD, ARRESTED


AN expedition to harvest the much sought after mopani worms (amacimbi) almost turned tragic for a security guard employed at Whitewater High School in Matobo District, Matabeleland South, as he found himself wrestling with a leopard which he miraculously fended off by choking it.

Mr Abednigo Moyo of Halale Village, situated near the famous Njelele Shrine, used bare hands to wrestle and choke the big cat after it attacked him while he was harvesting amacimbi. His brother who had also accompanied him to the amacimbi expedition emerged from the bushes and finished off the vicious predator by axing it. So daring was Mr Moyo that his final technique to outfox the predator saw him shoving his hand into its mouth in an attempt to block its windpipe.

For all his efforts to save his life, he was, however, later arrested for poaching. He appeared before a Plumtree magistrate on Thursday last week facing charges of killing an endangered animal. He was remanded out of custody to 3 February on $300 bail.

Sunday News tracked Mr Moyo last week who narrated his near brush with death and how he fought the animal to its death. Mr Moyo said the incident happened on 13 January at Gumela Farm situated along the Bulawayo-Maphisa Growth Point Road.

“The day started well,” he recalled. “My brother Isaac, his wife and I went to Gumela Farm owned by Mr William Ncube and we sought permission to harvest amacimbi at his property, which we were granted.”

He said while they were harvesting the delicacy he heard his dogs barking and decided to go and investigate. At that point his brother and his wife were harvesting amacimbi on the other side of the farm. When I reached the area, it was a thicket and I could not see anything, my brother and his wife continued to harvest amacimbi,” said Mr Moyo.

He said he then decided to continue with harvesting but all of a sudden, he heard an unusual sound of something approaching from the thicket. 

“Before I could even see or react, a leopard emerged charging towards me. I tried to run but it was too late, the predator attacked me and I don’t know how I gathered the strength and managed to grab it by the neck before it could savage me,” he said. Mr Moyo said, however, the grip was not strong and the leopard freed itself but it slipped and lost balance.

“I realised that if I don’t do something the animal would kill me. It was either I die fighting or I get mauled.”

He said when it opened its mouth ready to sink its teeth on him, he shoved his hand into its mouth and grabbed its windpipe. “It was painful because at the same time, the leopard was biting my hand but I was choking it from inside while the other hand was fending off its claws. I was also screaming at the same time. The struggle went on for a minute or two and I could see the animal was also losing power from the choke,” he said. Mr Moyo said his brother heard him screaming and rushed to investigate. “When Isaac arrived, the leopard was already losing strength. He then axed it and that is how I managed to eventually free myself. It died and we left it there,” he said.  Mr Moyo was rushed to Natisa Clinic for treatment.

“I called at my workplace and told them what had happened and after that I went to Natisa Clinic where I was given some injections and the wounds were stitched. It was not serious because that same night I managed to report for work,” he said.

But his woes were not yet over despite the heroics to save his life. “In the morning rangers came to my homestead and arrested me and my brother for poaching. The rangers were carrying the skin of the leopard and told us that we had killed an animal classified as an endangered specie and we were taken to the police. It is the law but I wonder what else I could have done under such circumstances. The issue was either I get killed to save the endangered leopard or fight for my life.”

His brother is also out on $300 bail. Sunday News

MAN SODOMISES BOY (3)


IN a tear-jerking incident, a three-year-old boy from Bulawayo’s Nkulumane suburb, who was left in the care of a nursery school teacher, was allegedly on several times sodomised by a male suspect believed to be linked to the teacher.

The matter was reported to the police, who said they are still conducting investigations.  “We did receive a report of such nature and have questioned people that were in contact with the child during that period,” said deputy police spokesperson for Bulawayo province, Assistant Inspector Nomalanga Msebele.

According to the boy’s mother (name supplied), he was sodomised by a suspect the boy referred to as “khulu”.

“He goes to a pre-school in Nkulumane. When schools closed during the festive season, I made arrangements with his teacher to care for him during the day as I was at work and had no maid. We live in the same neighbourhood and I thought since he was used to her he would be comfortable being left in her care,” said the mother.

She said, however, after a few days her son’s attitude began to change, as he would use vulgar language and was aggressive to the point of beating other children or adults.

“He started using abusive language and was aggressive physically. Days went by and I thought of enquiring with the teacher but I let it slide as I just assumed he had picked up those characteristics from other children. Before Christmas my son started saying things like ukhulu ung’bhalile which is a saying he uses when he says he has been injected. And the term khulu is referenced to men.
  
“I then asked him where exactly he had been injected but he never said,” she said.

She said she took a day off a few days after her son had told her that but did not tell the teacher that she would not be dropping her son off.

“Ironically she never called to check if I would be dropping my son off. In the morning when I was bathing my son he was so aggressive and screamed when I tried to wash his private parts,” said the boy’s mother.

She said she became worried about her son, as he went for three days without defecating.

“On those days in question I took him with me to town and went to the bank, while there he said he wanted to use the toilet but screamed when he sat on the toilet seat. I was worried and just thought he was constipated. After my day off I left him with the teacher and hinted that he may be constipated. When I collected him after work and on our way home I noticed he kept rubbing and scratching his backside,” she said.

She said that is when her son revealed her worst fears. 

“He was in tears and when I checked on him it was evident that he had been violated. That evening I called a friend of mine to ferry me to Luveve Clinic, where the doctor confirmed that he had been sodomised. We were then referred to Mpilo Central Hospital for a second opinion and likewise it was the same outcome,” she said.

She said she then reported the matter to the police and the boy was taken for counselling, where he narrated the same story.

“What bothers me is the fact that police are dragging their feet in all this,” the boy’s mother said.

The teacher could not be reached for comment. However, her sister accused the boy’s mother of trying to tarnish their family’s image.

“The child was abused elsewhere and not at my sister’s place. On some days she wouldn’t bring the child. She stays with some males and is just trying to frame us. There is also another male child there. She knows who abused the child and maybe she is just ashamed of revealing it. She has been on the war path and has been accusing my family of protecting my sister. At one time she even went to confront my mother demanding that she reveals what happened to her son. The case is under investigation and we really can’t say a lot.” Sunday News

FIRST LADY : LETS GO BACK TO OUR ROOTS


SITUATED in a small corner a few kilometres from the Beitbridge-Bulawayo highway in Mawabeni, Umzingwane District in Matabeleland South is Gogo Violet Ncube (82)’s homestead where she has been living alone for more than 20 years after her husband and only son passed away.

Old and infirm, Gogo MaNcube can no longer perform any household chores, struggles to walk and relies on the benevolence of her neighbour who cares for her.

Ordinarily, one would expect the octogenarian to be under the care of her children or grandchildren but she lives a lonely life.

However, yesterday, she got a surprise visit from First Lady, Amai Auxillia Mnangagwa who showed her the love she last experienced years ago by assisting with household chores before emphasising to the community the importance of caring for the elderly and reviving the concept of the extended family.

When Amai Mnangagwa arrived at the homestead she wasted no time and cleaned the small bedroom hut that Gogo MaNcube sleeps in, swept the floor and smeared it with fresh cow dung (ukusinda), a long tradition practised in most parts of the rural areas in the country. After that, the First Lady helped in thatching another hut at the homestead.

She was assisted by women from the community and left many in awe as she exhibited great skills in thatching.  After thatching she went on to serve a meal she had assisted in preparing.

She served the local Chief Gwebu, the Minister of State for Matabeleland South Provincial Affairs Cde Abednego Ncube and Gogo MaNcube too. 

The First Lady said she showed the gesture as a way of exemplifying what young people must do as a way of taking care of the elderly who are fountains of knowledge. She said the younger generation needs to take note of how to live a fruitful and fulfilling life from the elderly and that is only possible through day-to-day interaction.

Addressing the elderly that had gathered at Mawabeni Primary School after cleaning Gogo MaNcube’s homestead, the First Lady said she would keep on assisting people from all walks of life and to help uphold traditional values.


“I am non-partisan. I do not select who to help in my programmes. I like living with the community. I am here for the elderly women, not for political reasons. We need to ensure that we maintain our cultural norms of caring for the elderly. In some families it is sad that others do not speak to each other, they get each other arrested and the roles of aunts are no longer known. The extended family is no more and that needs to change,” she said.

She bemoaned that Gogo MaNcube lives alone at her advanced age.

“Young ladies must care for the elderly. When we speak of caring for them, no politics or religion is involved. I went to Gogo Violet Ncube’s home who is 82, she stays alone but what impressed me was that she is being cared for by a neighbour.

“Her husband died 20 years ago, her only son died too a long time ago. I’m asking you to think deep about Gogo Ncube. I thank the neighbours and ask God to bless them for the good job they are doing,” she said. 

“If we look at it, her relatives are no longer near but neighbours who uphold ubuntu are there and taking care of her and that is what we should do. I saw her happiness when we arrived that she had seen her family.

“It is sad that we cannot control the young ones anymore, vazukuru no longer visit ana gogo because they are said to bewitch them which is not fair.”

The First Lady applauded young women in Mawabeni for being good examples of well-groomed women.

She also spoke on the need for the institution of marriage to be respected by young people. Gogo MaNcube did not hide her joy and said the visit by the First Lady meant everything to her.

“I am very happy that she came to visit me today. She assisted me in getting my home cleaned and even cooked for me. As you can see, I am old and cannot help myself but the people around me are assisting in caring for me,” she said

The First Lady, through her Angel of Hope Foundation, also donated mealie-meal, sugar, washing and bathing soap, rice and cooking oil to the elderly and chiefs in the area. She also donated sets of clothes and accessories to expecting mothers. Sunday News

NRZ TO CHARGE IN FOREIGN CURRENCY


THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has granted the National Railways of Zimbabwe permission to charge in foreign currency for goods exported under the Cost, Insurance and Freight (CIF) conditions.

NRZ board chairman Advocate Martin Dinha said the approval by the Central Bank for the rail entity to charge in foreign currency for goods exported under CIF conditions would go a long way in enabling the parastatal to repair its equipment and infrastructure.

“The authority to charge exporting customers in foreign currency is a welcome and progressive development for the organisation. With this approval NRZ can now approach its various exporting customers to inform and familiarise them with this new development. While NRZ has traditionally been collecting foreign currency from customers who are into export business, the foreign currency generated from this source has not been enough to requirements, though it assisted the organisation in repairing its rolling stock and infrastructure,” he said. 

Adv Dinha said charging in foreign currency would also enable NRZ to improve its coffers to capacitate its business as well as procure essential spare parts.

“The intervention by the Central Bank is critical for NRZ considering that foreign currency has been essential in funding the organisation in hiring wagons and locomotives from the region to address resource and capacity gaps, hire inter-change, as well as procuring spares and accessories for wagons, locomotives and infrastructure maintenance. And at this juncture, the need for foreign currency for the organisation has become huge and urgent especially to hire locomotives and wagons for the movement of imported grains, to alleviate drought-induced shortfalls, among communities in Zimbabwe,” he said.

The approval for NRZ to charge in foreign currency came after the rail entity’s appeal to the Central Bank and the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development last year. NRZ submitted an appeal to RBZ seeking permission to be allowed to charge all exporters for railage in foreign currency. In its response to NRZ dated 31 December 2019, the Central Bank agreed in principle for the company to charge railage collection under the CIF basis.

“Please kindly note that in terms of the current Exchange Control administrative arrangements, where a transporter has shipped goods under the Cost, Insurance and Freight (CIF) basis; the respective transport or railage portion may be received by the transporter in foreign currency. Under the circumstances highlighted, National Railways of Zimbabwe may receive such portion of railage charges in foreign currency. Kindly, therefore, submit a specific application through your Authorised Dealers to have the necessary Exchange Control administrative structure for this arrangement to be operationalised”, read the RBZ response. 

However, the move to allow NRZ to charge in foreign currency has been viewed by captains of industry as likely to compromise players in various sectors of the economy. Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries vice-president Mr Joseph Gunda said allowing NRZ to charge in foreign currency was unfair since businesses are only allowed to trade in local currency on the local market.

“The challenge we have is that, if NRZ is allowed to charge in foreign currency, it means we have to get the foreign currency ourselves. It seems there is now a contradiction here, so are we now saying companies are trading in foreign currency?” he exclaimed.

Mr Gunda said it was important to note that the manufacturing sector imports most of its raw materials using foreign currency, which is scarce in the country and ought to be put in good use to enhance productivity.

“We are now being forced to compromise the amount of foreign currency we get. Instead of us buying raw material we are now forced to use that money to pay current expenditure like working capital. I don’t see that benefiting the economy. If you allow NRZ to charge in foreign currency we might as well allow everybody because it compromises others. It means industry is being squeezed because with the foreign currency we get through the interbank market to buy raw material, we are being forced to pay NRZ,” he said.

Mr Gunda said there was a need for wider consultation to be done before allowing NRZ to charge in foreign currency.

Association for Business in Zimbabwe (Abuz) chief executive officer Mr Victor Nyoni said industry has noted with concern the use of foreign currency in transacting by certain sections of the economy. 

“As the industry we have been complaining that some sections of our economy are dollarising and our attitude is that anything that comes from authorities particularly the Government, that gives a sort of an impression that foreign currency is the right currency to deal in, it gives the impetus to the whole economy that people should shun our local currency,” he said. Sunday News

HOW TEACHER PLOTTED PUPILS DEMO


IT has emerged that a Njube High School teacher Mr Brian Mutsiba, who led more than 150 pupils including Form Ones from the school onto the streets on Monday last week, gathered them without notice before instructing them to stage a march.

Mr Mutsiba, who is wanted by the police, disappeared after the demonstration. He is accused of participating in a public gathering with the intent to promote public violence, breach of peace or bigotry and insulting the flag.

The demonstration was purportedly organised as a protest by the pupils against recently increased tuition fees. Fees at Njube High School were raised from $92 to $440 per term. 

Investigations by Sunday News revealed that what appeared to be a spontaneous demonstration, in which Form One, Form Three and Form Six pupils reportedly participated, was actually choreographed by Mr Mutsiba with the assistance of some elements who are hostile to the Government.

“It was pre-planned. He first gathered the pupils in a laboratory at the school and addressed them. He then told them to follow him as they would be back in class within a short space of time.

“They then went down a path that goes around the school fence before they arrived to a destination where the demonstration was supposed to kick off,” said a source that spoke to Sunday News on condition of anonymity.

According to the source, when the pupils got to a Zesa station along Luveve Road near Emakhandeni, popularly known as Emagetsini, they found a journalist from the private media already waiting for them. 

“Before the demonstration started at Emagetsini, Mutsiba went to meet and talk with a journalist. So some of us were wondering how journalists seemed to know about the demonstration before it even started. It gave the impression that this had been planned beforehand,” said the source.

Meanwhile, some shadowy organisations seem intent on using Monday’s demonstration as an opportunity to spark further chaos reminiscent of the violence and destruction witnessed in January last year. 

One message on social media, purportedly authored by Njube pupils in Bulawayo, called for a city wide demonstration against teachers’ low wages.

“On Monday 3 February all secondary schools in Bulawayo are marching on major roads that is Masiyephambili, Luveve Road, Khami Road, Plumtree Road, Nketa Drive and Selborne Street. All these streets will be closed by us. No student must enter into classrooms. We gather at the gates at 7am and at 7.30am all schools will be on the march. Do not be afraid because all schools have students who know this, we are all one and united,” read part of the message that has been circulating on social media. Sunday News

LOAD SHEDDING TO EASE : ZESA


Zimbabwe is set to clear its arrears with Mozambique and South Africa after securing a US$100 million facility from Afreximbank and revive a 30-year trilateral agreement with the two neighbouring countries as part of immediate-term solutions to stabilise local power supplies.

The trilateral agreement signed in 1990 allows Zimbabwe to negotiate for “firm and competitively priced” electricity from Cahora Bassa and Eskom, while paying off arrears is expected to unlock 550 megawatts (MW) from the regional utilities.

The Sunday Mail understands that President Emmerson Mnangagwa discussed the matter with his Mozambican counterpart, President Filipe Nyusi, during his visit to Maputo a fortnight ago.

Government has prioritised establishing stable power supplies to drive economic growth.

Separately, the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa) has already paid two European companies to restore two units at Hwange Thermal Power Station — units three and six — by March this year.

Zesa executive board chairperson, Dr Sydney Gata, was bullish that the country would experience relatively milder load-shedding than last year.

“Frankly speaking, we should not have had the severe load-shedding that we experienced last year. Zesa and the past ministry failed to renew a primary agreement that was due for renewal in 2012. This trilateral agreement provides Zimbabwe first right of refusal to import 500MW of firm power at a very competitive tariff from Cahora Bassa,” said Dr Gata. 

“This agreement was a result of the Mozambique government assisting us to access what was South Africa’s share of Cahora Bassa, at a time when SA also had a surplus. So with considerable support from Mozambique’s government, SA surrendered 500MW of its entitlement to Zimbabwe for which we were to build the Bindura-Cahora Bassa lines, also called the Bindura-Songo lines, which would reach to Dema substation.”

The agreement reportedly expired in 2012 but was not renewed. Government is presently renewing it.

Two units at Hwange, which have been down for a number of years, are expected to be up and running by March, adding 300MW to the grid.

Two foreign companies are currently working to revive the plants.

Dr Gata said: “We have been able to pay in advance to the French and Italian companies, who are the original suppliers, for the overhaul maintenance of the two units and it should be completed by mid-March. This means that we will add another 300MW or so.”
Dr Gata added that the country could secure more power from regional utilities once it cleared its arrears.

He, however, noted that although a US$100 million facility had been secured from Afreximbank, there were delays in processing the transaction owing to the December holidays.

“The second unfortunate thing is that while Zesa has raised through a bank US$100 million to pay for arrears to Eskom; Electricidade de Moçambique (EDM), which is the power utility for Mozambique; and Cahora Bassa, which is like the ZPC (Zimbabwe Power Company) of Mozambique, there has been an inordinate delay in procuring borrowing certificates and guarantees from Government. It took almost two months to get the certificate.

“By the time they were issued just before Christmas, everybody had gone on holiday and we were not able to process. As people come back from the holiday, we are pursuing with the bank to clear the arrears and activate support of up to 400MW from Eskom and 150MW from EDM.”

Overall, the country’s debt to the regional utilities initially stood at US$70 million. “In respect of Cahora Bassa, it is both to pay for the arrears and also renegotiate an extension of the old agreement.

“In respect of Eskom, the condition precedent is to pay for the arrears. With EDM it is also to pay for the arrears.”

As part of efforts to improve Zesa’s efficiency, the parastatal would be restructured by mid-March through a rebundling process.

“I have set up a board committee for the rebundling but it is a fairly easy exercise to undertake with respect to policy and structure because the Government has decided what it wants to do. We may appoint a consultant to help us with the structure.

“In my case, I was the person appointed to establish the old Zesa in 1986, in January, when I was given the assignment to amalgamate the six units that existed then,” said Dr Gata.

The subsequent structure that was assumed by the local power utility then, Dr Gata added, was similar to that of the Central Electricity Generating Board of the United Kingdom.

He said retrenchments were “unavoidable at the top” as a result of the ongoing exercise. The majority of middle managers and other staff will be spared.

In a separate interview, Energy and Power Development Minister, Fortune Chasi, confirmed a major shake-up was looming at Zesa.

Speaking after a meeting with leaders of the Energy Sector Workers Union of Zimbabwe in Harare, Minister Chasi said disciplinary action had commenced against those involved in shady dealings at the power utility.

“We have already started implementation of the contents and recommendations of the forensic audit, key of which is disciplinary hearings around individuals who may have been involved in any acts of misconduct that have caused loss to Zesa.

“I want to assure you that anyone who deprived Zesa in an illegal way, the law will catch up with them.” He said the forensic audit will be presented before Parliament soon.

Government would not tolerate a perfunctory approach to work by Zesa workers, he said.

“I was briefed of incidents where we had managers who had the arrogance to tell consumers that they would not switch on power or fix faults. We have these reports and we will take appropriate action.” Sunday Mail