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.

Thursday, 2 July 2020

DEADBEAT FATHERS TO LOSE PROPERTIES IN DIVORCE : HIGH COURT


The High Court has ruled that men who do not take care of their children while on separation stand to lose all their property to the estranged wife.

High Court judge Justice Alphas Chitakunye made the landmark ruling in a matter pitting Timothy Simba, who was married for 17 years (1983-2000) to Funganai Simba (nee Jonga).

Timothy moved out of the family home in 2000. According to Funganai’s lawyer, Tatenda Pfigu of Pfigu Attorneys, Timothy left the matrimonial home in 2001 and moved in with his mistress while the family almost lost the house which the couple had acquired jointly.

“Accordingly, it is hereby ordered that a decree of divorce be and is hereby granted, the defendant (Funganai) is hereby awarded stand number 271 Mandara Township lot 3A Mandara held under deed of transfer number 7963/87 dated November 12 1987, also known as number 58 Shaneregh Road, Harare as her sole and exclusive property. The plaintiff (Simba) shall sign all necessary documents to enable transfer of his 50% share as joint owner to the defendant within 30 days from the date of request,” the judgment read.
“In making the order that I have come to, I have been influenced in great measure by the plaintiffs (ex-husband)’s failure to make full and frank disclosures, the concerted programme that he undertook in asset stripping the matrimonial estate to his benefit and the impoverishment of the defendant,” part of the ruling read.

“Since separation, he has not maintained the family as would have been expected. I am of the view that upon careful consideration of all the case, this is a case where in terms of 7(1)(a) of the Act, the plaintiff (ex-husband)’s share must be transferred to the defendant (ex-wife). The only reasonable and practicable manner of distribution that would leave the parties in a position they would have had a normal marriage relationship continued is for the defendant (ex-wife) to be awarded plaintiff’s 50% share,” Justice Chitakunye ruled.
The ex-wife, according to court papers, took care of the family and made improvements to the house from which now Simba wants to get a 50% share.

The court ruled that “the defendant’s (ex-wife) claim for 100% share of the matrimonial home was also premised on the fact that after desertion, the ex-husband never looked back. She remained saddled with heavy responsibilities of taking care of their two minor children; the property and the bond repayments”.
Justice Chitakunye ruled that the ex-husband was not truthful to the court with his earnings and the fact that he neglected the family in the last years of the marriage. Newsday

NRZ MANAGEMENT MUST GO, MINISTER FUMES OVER TENDER


UNDER-FIRE management at the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) has been accused of impropriety and corruption after allegedly diverting a tender for the procurement of scrap steel to a Chinese national without following due process.

Transport and Infrastructural Development minister Joel Biggie Matiza at the weekend said Cabinet had passed a vote of no-confidence in the current NRZ management led by general manager Lewis Mukwada.

Matiza said there was need for the NRZ board to install a new management for the parastatal by September.
  
In 2018, the NRZ flighted a tender for the procurement of scrap steel in the media, and 71 bidders submitted bids.

Out of the 71, the top 10 were selected and allocated 500 tonnes of scrap steel each, with information suggesting that the 5 000 tonnes that were on offer would see the NRZ realising about US$2,5 million.

One of the bidders, Bulawayo-based businessman Daniel Chikaka, told NewsDay Business yesterday that the NRZ management decided to “steal” his financier in the deal, a Chinese national, whom they smuggled into the procurement deal in return, allegedly, for kickbacks.

“The NRZ management stole my partner in the scrap steel deal and they made money through corruption. They were paid handsomely by the Chinese national. Some of them even boasted about the rich pickings they realised from diverting my client and smuggling him into the procurement arrangement which he had not even tendered for,” Chikaka said 

“I brought Youngwei Guo into the scrap steel deal as my partner because he was to finance my bid to procure scrap steel from the NRZ and the managers at the company sweet-talked him to renege on his earlier undertaking to partner me in the deal,” an aggrieved Chikaka said.

An agreement signed by the two parties, Bentttad Metal Scrap Merchants and Polypackaging (Pvt) Ltd, shows they entered into a partnership for the procurement of the scrap steel. 

“We hereby by agreeing to work together, Benttad Agencies (Pvt) Ltd (referred to as Benttad) being subcontracted by Polypackaging (Pvt) Ltd. Benttad won the tender from NRZ for cutting and collecting scrap wagons which amount to US$225 000 for 500 tonnes, which will be delivered to Panellink in Kelvin South, directions by Polypackaging after payment (has been) made to NRZ by Polypackaging. All rights and risks going to pass to (sic) Polypackaging,” the agreement reads in part.

Chikaka added that his partner, as a result of the agreement, deposited money into the NRZ account, whose aim was to finance the procurement of the steel.

“On December 8, 2018, Guo deposited US$225 000 into the NRZ account which was for the steel that I, under the banner of Benttad Scrap Metal Merchants, had acquired from the NRZ. 

NRZ public relations manager Nyasha Maravanyika, in a response, said the parastatal had followed due process in awarding the tender to Polypackaging.

He added that from the records, the company, Polypackaging, had been part of the tendering process, something Chikaka disputed, arguing he single-handedly brought Guo into the picture.

“From what I have been told, Polypackaging was part of the 71 companies that bid for the scrap steel in the first place. They, however, did not make it into the top 10 owing to a number of reasons,” Maravanyika said.

He added: “With regard to their emergence later in the deal, we are informed that they did enter into a partnership arrangement with Benttad, but there were challenges with the compensation that would accrue to either party once the deal was finalised, hence the pull-out of Polypackaging from the deal.”

Maravanyika said NRZ took the deal to other companies that had placed bids after Benttad failed to pay what was due to the NRZ on three occasions.

“Benttad, I am told, was given three grace periods up to December 12, 2018 during which it failed to pay for the scrap. That is why the tender board decided to cancel the deal with them because they had failed to come good on their side of the bargain. The NRZ did not choose who was to be handed the deal because of other reasons but simply because they had the money to pay for the scrap steel,” he said. Newsday

NO FOREX PAY, NO WORK : HEALTH WORKERS TELL GOVT


This comes as the Health Apex Council met with the government in the Bipartite Negotiating Panel on Tuesday, where the government indicated that there would be no salary increase for the health workers for the next three months given that they were offered a 50 percent increase and US$75 coronavirus (Covid-19) allowance valid for the next three months.
  
“All health workers’ associations agreed that the government does not seem intent on addressing health workers’ incapacitation and the issue remains unresolved. For that reason, all health workers will continue withholding their labour until the government decides that health workers matter and approaches them with a genuine intention to improve the situation.

“For the avoidance of doubt, the economy has dollarised despite the government’s shallow denials. Health workers will not return to work until they are offered their salaries in United States dollars, as they were on the 1st of October 2018,” the council said in a notice to its members.

The council added that it had raised the issue of health workers’ incapacitation, to which the government responded saying it had taken steps to increase the basic salaries as well as housing and transport allowances by 50 percent and that all other allowances had not been increased.

“Crucially and disturbingly, the government insisted that through these payments, no more salary reviews should take place for the next three months and employees should be content with what they have been given until September when the government is willing to start reviews again.

“Furthermore, the government insisted   that it had cushioned employees by introducing a Covid-19 allowance of US$75 which will be used through special swipe cards rather than through actual disbursement of US dollar cash. 

“The government insisted that these two arrangements would be in place for the months of June, July and August and yet no clarification was given as to when the 50 percent increment will be made and also when cards will be issued,” the Council further said. 

Speaking during a post-Cabinet media briefing on Tuesday, Finance minister Mthuli Ncube said the government would not offer civil servants cash “so that they don’t play money changer in the streets with the foreign currency”.

The council added that the government had taken away the right of employees to collectively bargain for better conditions of employment for the next three months, thereby rendering useless the Bipartite Negotiating Panel. 

“Furthermore, the offer by the government was done unilaterally without consulting the health workers. As a result, the offer is woefully short of what health workers are demanding.

“To our shock the government did not bring a better offer and instead wants to maintain the downward allowance calculations of $1 500, $900 and $600 for high, middle, and low risk employees respectively,” the council said.

Last year, doctors engaged in a four-month long strike citing incapacitation, which further crippled the country’s ailing health delivery system. Daily News

OUR DIPLOMATS ARE LIVING IN SQUALOR, SAYS S B MOYO


 ZIMBABWEAN embassies are in dire straits with diplomats not being paid for several months, while living in squalid conditions as the government owes close to US$30 million for services rendered and rentals.

This was revealed yesterday by Foreign Affairs minister Sibusiso Moyo when he told the Kindness Paradza-chaired parliamentary portfolio committee on Foreign Affairs that when President Emmerson Mnangagwa came into power in November 2017, “what we found was that our diplomats were in salary arrears of over 15 months, and they had no vehicles”. 

“The cost of our embassies is about US$$4 million per month and as of now, we owe ambassadors US$16 million in salary arrears that are of a legacy nature.

“Government is making sure that the legacy issues are sorted. When we send in money for their salaries, it is being recorded as if they are eight months in arrears, but our thinking is that we will be paying the current. Legacy issues will be addressed gradually,” Moyo said. 

In terms of rentals, Moyo said the government owed US$7 million, while staffers from host nations are owed US$2 million in salary arrears, with school fees and other operational costs accounting for another US$$5 million. 

Asked by MPs to update on time frames the government was working on to address the challenges, Moyo said it depended on the availability of funds.

“You cannot concretely come up with a time frame as to when we will clear these issues because it depends on the financial support that we get. We are trying to make sure that we ameliorate the legacy issue gradually while at the same time we keep up to date with current salary payments.

“Furniture at our embassies has not been changed for many years. The renovations going on are like starting afresh. In terms of accommodation; the challenge has been that most of our embassies have not been maintained for many years. 

“In South Africa, if it is raining, they will have to cover up because roofs are leaking, while in New York, the accommodation situation is also not good. We are rationalising our foreign missions, but it is a process. We have a closed embassy in Hong Kong. But the challenge is that if you close embassies, you have to think of relations with those countries. And by closing an embassy, your influence in the world will be diminishing,” he added.

This also comes as director in the ministry of Finance Pfungwa Kunaka also told the committee that the situation had gotten to that stage because Treasury had been facing foreign currency challenges.

“We have been facing challenges in terms of generating forex to meet that obligation, but we have gathered some ground now because last week we disbursed US$6 million; we can be behind in terms of operational costs, but in terms of current salaries we have covered ground,” Kunaka said. 

Meanwhile, the committee heard that foreign governments were releasing Zimbabwean returnees without testing them for Covid-19 because “it is not their responsibility to test foreigners who are leaving their countries so they prioritise their populations”. Daily News

FOUR SUSPENDED AS NAKED MAN IS EVICTED IN SA


Cape Town authorities on Thursday morning said the four law-enforcement officials who were involved in the eviction of a naked man in Khayelitsha had been identified and suspended.

Executive director of safety and security Richard Bosman said he received a video of the incident just before 5pm on Wednesday. He said an investigation was launched into the matter and the officials were identified and suspended late on Wednesday evening.

In the video doing the rounds on social media, members of the city's anti-land invasion unit are seen removing the naked man, who had been washing himself, from his shack. There is a scuffle as the man tries to make his way back into his home,  with four or five officials blocking his path and some pushing him to the ground.

As he tries to get back,  other members of the team dismantle the front portion of the shack, which has a door and a window.

The members continue to dismantle the shack while the man sits on the bed.
In response to a query from GroundUp, Luthando Tyhalibongo, Spokesperson, City of Cape Town, said: “The incident of a nude man depicted on the video occurred during a City law enforcement operation. The actions of officers involved in this matter are being investigated with urgency, including other footage which the City has, and once the investigation has been completed the appropriate action will be taken.

“The land in question belongs to the City of Cape Town and the City has conducted various operations to prevent illegal land occupation.” Tyhalibongo said new attempts “to invade again” were being made “on a daily basis”.

“The land is earmarked for installation of services to serve the broader community in the area” he said. “There is an interdict in place as well as a recent court order which allows only 49 households to temporarily remain on the land until after the lockdown. The City must also maintain this recent court order.”

The Prevention of Illegal Eviction Act stipulates that no person may be evicted without a court order. Further, no evictions are permitted under Lockdown Level 3.

On 11 April, the City of Cape Town’s Law Enforcement officers demolished about 30 shacks in Empolweni, and more structures were destroyed in the days that followed. These actions were challenged in the Western Cape High Court by the Legal Resources Centre, acting on behalf of those whose shacks were destroyed. On 14 April, Judge Brian Hack ruled that 130 people in 49 households should be allowed back onto the land and should have their building materials restored to them.


NEW AIPPA NOW LAW


The new Freedom of Information Bill became law yesterday after being gazetted following the approval of the final amended version from Parliament by President Mnangagwa.

The new Act, a giant step forward in the reform agenda, repeals the long-criticised Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA)and brings Zimbabwe’s information-related laws into conformity with the Declaration of Rights in the Constitution.

The initial draft went through a long examination and multi-party amendment process by Parliament, and especially through the relevant portfolio committee, which is chaired by an opposition MP.

In a statement last night, the Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Senator Monica Mutsvangwa said the coming of the Act “marks a notable milestone in Government’s media legislative reform programme. The promulgation of the Act by President Mnangagwa has repealed the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA). Since assuming office in August 2018, he immediately prioritised the creation of a conducive national media environment through the repeal of AIPPA and the amendment of the Broadcasting Services Act. 

“The enactment of the Freedom of Information Act is indeed a momentous occasion, not only for Government ,but for the media fraternity and the citizens. AIPPA had aroused a lot of animosity over the years.”

The Minister noted that the Act provided citizens and media practitioners with the right to access information as espoused by the Constitution through providing the legal frameworks and mechanisms for accessing information from public and private bodies.

“One such mechanism is the mandatory designation of Information Officers in all public and private entities that shall be responsible for handling information requests and disclosure of information to the public.

“I am happy that the Second Republic Government has enacted a law that Zimbabweans will undoubtedly take pride in as it caters for all citizens regardless of their race, colour, creed, religion, cultural beliefs and political persuasions. 

“Once again, the enactment of the Freedom of Information Bill into law serves as a testimony of President ED Mnangagwa’s total commitment to instituting reforms in line with international best practices. By the same token, it shows what Zimbabweans can achieve when they commit to work together.”

She thanked the President, Parliament, the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, the public and in particular stakeholders in the media fraternity for all they had done.

The President has also approved the International Treaties Act, 2020 that seeks to provide a uniform procedure for the consideration, approval, ratification and publication of international treaties, and that too was gazetted into law yesterday.

The Act was a product of consensus after it was passed with full support of Zanu PF and opposition MPs after a lengthy drafting and amending process.

The basic concept behind the Bill is that all information held by public institutions, including State owned companies, can potentially be made public, with the exception of Cabinet discussions and certain information in victim friendly courts.

However, the new mandatory information officer in each entity, who is either the head of that entity or a person appointed by the head, has up to 21 days to consider each request for information and can refuse to make all or some of the requested information public, but under strictly set criteria, and all these decisions are subject to appeal. 

Generally what can be barred are some defence and national security information, plus certain financial matters like proposed taxes in the pipeline, secret industrial processes, diplomatic matters, and some personal details of individuals. Where third parties are involved in the requested information, they have the right to agree or to make representations on why the information should not be released.

Rules are more relaxed when information is wanted on an individual person dead for more than 20 years, or on diplomatic matters more than 20 ago.

But when an information request is refused, full reasons must be given, and there is an automatic appeal process, first to the Zimbabwe Media Commission and then to the High Court. Deadlines are tight, 21 days to consider the request and 30 days for the media commission to hear the appeal. Within two months of a request that the relevant entity backed by the commission does not want to grant, the matter can be in front of a judge.

The Bill sets out the procedure of access to information held by public institutions or information held by any person, which is necessary for the exercise or protection of a right.

It also sets out considerations for making available, on a voluntary basis by entities, certain categories of information thereby removing the need for formal requests for such information.

Private entities fall under the same rules, but only when the rights of an individual are involved.

Speaking on behalf of the Portfolio Committee on Information, Media and Broadcasting Services following the passage of the Bill in March, Mbizo legislator Mr Settlement Chikwinya (MDC Alliance) thanked Government for the inclusivity in coming up with the Bill.

“At the point of drafting these laws, that is the laws which are repealing AIPPA, from the point of drafting Parliament was included. We went to Nyanga with the drafters and we had our input,” he said. 

“At consultation stage and even at the point of cleaning up the areas where we did not find each other, we had a round-table meeting where the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Information and Parliament were involved. I believe that such a process will remove some of the political undertones which we may have in terms of suspicion. So I hope that the precedent can actually be sustained.”

Zanu PF representative for Makonde, Cde Kindness Paradza who is also a member of the committee, said he was happy that AIPPA would be repealed.

“I just want to say that I am so happy for this 9th Parliament that we have all agreed to make sure that we tear down AIPPA which was a bad law and that Bill is going to repeal this law. So, we are very happy. I am vindicated because in 2003, I stood up here and I said this was a bad law and I was hounded out of the party because of that. I just want to put it on record that I am so happy because I am vindicated,” Cde Paradza said.

Under the International Treaties Act, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade shall be the principal custodian and principal national depositary of all international treaties.

The ministry shall also open and maintain an official archive of all international treaties currently in force, access to which shall be afforded to any interested person subject to such conditions, including the payment of any fee for access to the archive or the provision of authenticated copies of any international treaty.

The new Act also provides for the establishment of a committee, called the Public Agreements Advisory Committee, consisting of: a person nominated by the Attorney-General after consultation with the minister responsible for justice, who shall be the chairperson of PAAC; a senior official in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade appointed by the minister, who shall be the secretary of PAAC; a senior official in the ministry responsible for finance nominated by the minister responsible for finance and a person nominated by the Office of the President and Cabinet. 

The functions of PAAC shall be to scrutinise all international treaties and where appropriate, to recommend the approval or scrutiny of bilateral or multilateral agreements other than international treaties and to recommend or decline to recommend approval of any international treaty.

The Act also says international treaties shall be concluded under President’s authority except as otherwise provided by the Constitution or by or under an Act of Parliament. Herald

CABINET OKAYS CHIVAYO'S REVISED SOLAR PROJECT


CABINET on Tuesday approved the revised implementation plan for the 100 megawatt (MW) Gwanda solar project that commits to deliver the first 10MW within six months after signing of financial closure agreements and fulfilment of all outstanding conditions precedent.

Energy and Power Development Minister Advocate Fortune Chasi quickly pointed out that he will demand to see “the colour of the money”, being proof of project funding, before any of the parties in the multi-million dollar project puts pen to paper on the restated contract being drawn.

Minister Chasi confirmed in an interview, Cabinet’s approval of the new implementation plan that is tied to a new contract, involvement of renowned power project experts and a US$14 million “ready-made” loan funding commitment for delivery of the first 10MW under the new phased project plan.

The Energy Minister, while positive that the new pragmatic implementation plan he wants implemented without further delays will bear the desired results, stressed the requirement for the financier to prove funding capacity first. 

The project will be done in two phases, 10MW first and then 90MW by 2022.

The Gwanda solar project has courted controversy after the contractor, Intratrek Zimbabwe, failed to deliver within agreed time-lines citing failure by Zesa to fulfil certain of its obligations as well as funding hurdles arising from Zimbabwe’s historical debts to China, the source of funding.

“The parties are currently talking; they are negotiating to ensure compliance with an earlier High Court order on a standing contractual dispute. But yes, Cabinet gave approval for the project to go ahead after consideration of the circumstances and facts on the ground,” Minister Chasi said.

The project stalled following contractual dispute arising from delays in implementation of preliminary works of the project after the contracting part, State power utility Zesa Holdings had paid in advance for the initial works, but did not fulfil all its obligations for the project to move smoothly.  

“The contract was signed in 2015, but to date little has happened on the ground because of litigation, which is still ongoing yet the country is in a precarious power situation.

“Also, the fact that disengaging the current contractor will take an inordinate time will not be consistent with our current (dire power) situation,” the Energy Minister said.

Minister Chasi is also on record saying he was in agreement with High Court judge Justice Tawanda Chitapi’s ruling that the parties should not waste precious time “merry dancing in boardrooms and courts” while the whole country faced a crippling power crisis.

Justice Chitapi, while ruling on a contractual dispute between Zesa and Intratrek over delays to the project, which Zesa lost, pointed out that electricity was not generated in courts and board rooms, but at power stations and urged the feuding parties to dialogue and stop being “dilatory” in their approach.

Zimbabwe is facing a crippling power crisis that sees the country endure up to 18 hours of outages and spends millions of US dollars to ameliorate the impact of shortages. The country requires up to 2 200MW during peak demand, especially winter, while it is able to generate below 800MW.

The drought has resulted in water levels  at the country’s largest power plant, Kariba South hydro-power station, dropping to critically low levels that prompted the Zimbabwe River Authority (ZRA), which administers Kariba Dam, to cut water rations for power generation purposes. 

“We have taken a robust and pragmatic stance on the project, it needs to move in earnest upon financial closure to make sure that the first 10MW are delivered within six months of financial closure; that is in 2021 and the remainder by 2022. But I want to see the colour of money first; not mere promises,” Minister Chasi told The Herald Finance & Business.

Notably, the contractor has since reportedly completed more than 95 percent of the pre-commencement works for the Gwanda solar project, which sparked the contractual dispute between Zesa and Intratrek and saw the latter cancel the contract for the project. However, the High Court later ruled the contract was still valid and enforceable.

The contractor, Intratrek Zimbabwe, has committed to deliver 10MW within six months of signing of a power purchase agreement, security of payment has been established, project funding secured and all regulatory and Government undertakings being in place, envisaged by September 2020.

The conditions precedent, African Transmission Corporation said should be signed as a single suite of documents and conditions that must be in place and be met by September 2020 to allow construction to commence and be completed within the targeted six months.

The new transaction advisor, ATC has been roped into the project and has mobilised US$14 million for the first 10MW phase of the 100MW Gwanda solar project.

ATC has a solid track record after it successfully commissioned a 5MW centragrid photovoltaic solar plant in Nyabira, which is already feeding the Zesa power grid.

Further, ATC mobilised US$6 million for its Nyabira solar plant, which holds a licence for 25MW and has firm funding commitments for this power initiative to complete the licensed capacity soon, once all outstanding arrangements are secured.

Inclusion of ATC’s follows its successful record on similar work for Zesa regarding the power utility’s US$550 million 300MW Kariba South extension and the ongoing US$1,4 billion Hwange Power Station 7 and 8 expansion programme. 

Mr Victor Utedzi, founder of ATC, the new project consultant for Gwanda, also carried out work in Mozambique, managing the restructuring of the US$3 billion debt owed by power utility HCB to the Government of Mozambique.

Additionally, he was at the centre of negotiations in discussions for the 1 500MW cross-border power agreement between Mozambique and South Africa, being only a fraction of several other multi-billion power deals he brokered in Southern African where ATC has unmistakable footprint.

“The bridge funding for the 10MW is in place and would be available for draw down in a short period of time. The construction period is only six months; a very short period compared to other sources of power,” said Mr Utedzi.

The engineering, design and technical execution of the project will be steered by CHiNT Electric Co. Limited, a US$12 billion revenue Shanghai Stock Exchange-listed blue-chip company founded by Chinese billionaire, Nan Cunhui, a member of the central committee of the Chinese Communist Party.

The contract for the Gwanda project was signed in 2012 after an award of the tender by then State Procurement Board, renamed Procurement Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (PRAZ). The tender was awarded to the lowest bidder to specification with a total of six firms submitting bids.

Along with winning bid for Intratrek, awarded by PRAZ on the basis of compliance with all specifications, were two other tenders for 100MW projects won by ZTE Corporation and Number 17 Metallurgical China for solar power plants in Bulawayo and Munyati, respectively, but have since been cancelled over lack of progress. Herald

I DID NOTHING WRONG, SAYS MUPFUMIRA AS TRIAL BEGINS


Former Cabinet minister Prisca Mupfumira and ex-Ministry of Public Service permanent secretary Ngoni Masoka yesterday denied the criminal charges they are facing when they appeared at the Harare Magistrates’ Court.

Mupfumira and Masoka are being charged with two counts of criminal abuse of office and another count of concealing a transaction from a principal. The case involves a US$90 000 debt they allegedly got from National Social Security Authority (NSSA) and reportedly purchased a Land Cruiser VX-L 200 series instead of a Mercedes Benz and instructed the purchase of air tickets worth US$10 215 to attend a wedding in South Africa and paying accommodation of R113 559 without approval.

In denying the charges, Mupfumira told Chief Magistrate Munamato Mutevedzi that there was no law that prevented Government ministries from purchasing their own cars and that also bars CMED (Pvt) Ltd from buying cars on behalf of the Government.

Masoka, on the other hand, told the court that he would not go all the way to abuse his office to please Mupfumira or any other person, saying he abided by his standard operating procedures as was expected of him by the employer.

The prosecution, led by Mr Jonathan Chingwinyiso called deputy chief secretary responsible for administration and finance Mr Martin Rushwaya to testify against Mupfumira and Masoka.

Mr Rushwaya spelt out the duties and responsibilities expected of a permanent secretary and ministers during their tenure of office.

He told the court that secretaries are accounting officers and are responsible of resourcing ministers.

CMED (Pvt) Ltd managing director Mr Davison Mhaka also gave his testimony, saying Mupfumira received a Range Rover and a Toyota Land Cruiser VX8 in 2015, as part of her personal service cars.

He told the court that Mupfumira also received a Jaguar in 2017.

“In March 2015, she received a Range Rover and later got a Toyota Land Cruiser VX8,” said Mr Mhaka. “Our records indicate that the Land Cruiser was purchased by the Ministry of Public Service and came to CMED for registration, meaning it was a personal service vehicle.

“We later received instructions through a letter written by Memory Mukondomi that the car be registered in CMED as a condition service vehicle.”

Mr Mhaka told the court that in 2017, Mupfumira was given a Jaguar after the Ministry of Public Service requested it as her personal service car.

He said he spoke to Mupfumira over the phone while she was requesting the release of the Jaguar.

“We refused, saying she had two cars already, but we later received a communication from the Ministry indicating that the Land Cruiser was a NSSA condition service vehicle,” said Mr Mhaka. “We then released the Jaguar.”

Mr Mhaka told the court that Mukondomi signed the correspondent on behalf of the permanent secretary.

He also told the court that Government policy required that a minister got two personal service cars only.

Mupfumira and Masoka are expected to return to court on July 27 for trial continuation. Herald

DIVISIONS ROCK MDC T OVER RECALLS


The MDC-T yesterday recalled eight more senators belonging to the MDC Alliance, but some members expressed disquiet over the move.

Acting secretary-general Douglas Mwonzora yesterday recalled senators Keresencia Chabuka (Manicaland), Spiwe Ncube (Bulawayo), Phyllis Ndlovu (Matabeleland North), Meliwe Phuti (Matabeleland South), Gideon Shoko (Bulawayo), Bhebhe Sinamupande (Matabeleland North), Tapfumaneyi Vunganayi (Mashonaland East) and Hellen Zivira (Bulawayo).

Acting party spokesperson Khalipani Phugeni said the MDC-T national council had passed a resolution to recall all senators and proportional representation (PR) legislators still supporting MDC Alliance president Nelson Chamisa, but were sponsored by the MDC-T.

“The national council of May 9 2020 resolved to recall all the PR and senators because those are low-hanging fruits, that is what I understand to mean strategically, you recall those quickly and you deploy party cadres who are able to carry out the values, principles and objectives of the MDC-T as I have alluded to, that’s what it said.
To the extent that it’s not done I can’t defend that. I think the members of the MDC-T will have to judge us as leadership and say what do we have to do with such leadership, but the resolution is clear,” he said.

The Thokozani Khupe-led MDC-T has been methodically plucking out its perceived enemies from Parliament starting with MDC Alliance secretary-general Chalton Hwende, chairperson Tabitha Khumalo and Lilian Timveos, accusing them of representing a different political party.

Phugeni said he was not aware why legislators, including Lynette Karenyi-Kore, Job Sikhala and others who declared allegiance to Chamisa were being left out.

“I must be honest with you, I think the issue of recalls has the potential to undermine our platform. You have already accused us of being biased; you have already asked me about certain people who are holding higher positions than people who we have already recalled. So it offends one’s sense of fairness and consistency and in this case I can bow my head in shame, I have no defence for this,” he said.

Insiders have accused Mwonzora of using recalls to his favour ahead of party’s July 31 extraordinary congress.
At a recent standing committee meeting, Mwonzora said the recalls had become a divisive issue among the party leadership. Newsday

AIRZIM IN EMERGENCY LANDING IN BANGKOK



COVID-19 PATIENTS START RECEIVING DEXAMETHASONE IN ZIM


PATIENTS suffering from severe cases of Covid-19 in the country have started receiving dexamethasone, a drug which United Kingdom scientists found to be effective in reducing deaths of patients on ventilators and those receiving oxygen.

The drug which is available in Zimbabwe has been used to treat inflammation, asthma, certain forms of arthritis; skin, blood, kidney, eye, thyroid, and intestinal disorders since the 1960s.

Researchers at Oxford University announced on June 16 that dexamethasone reduces deaths in one-third of patients on ventilators and one-fifth of those who require oxygen, a major breakthrough in the fight against the virus.

The UK government then directed that it should be administered immediately on patients. 

The drug can be taken either orally or through an injection and it is readily locally available in pharmacies around the country.

Local pharmacies charge a minimum of US$2 for the drug up to US$20 depending on the dosage. Health and Child Care Deputy Minister Dr John Mangwiro yesterday said the drug has always been in stock and medical practitioners know how to administer it.

He said it was now being given to Covid-19 patients but could not readily say when exactly it started to be used in the fight against the virus or the number of patients treated so far.

“We do have stocks of dexamethasone as we have always used it as an anti-inflammatory drug. Coronavirus or Covid-19 is a metabolic disease which needs anti-inflammatory drugs so Dexamethasone is appropriate and we have it here,” said Dr Mangwiro. 

He said the drug is not be given to everyone who tests Covid-19 positive as most of those do not need medication.

“We cannot say we are dishing it out every day because drugs need to be used when relevant and when necessary if patients have correct symptoms, we don’t just dish to everyone. We know when to use it and how to use it appropriately so those who need it will be given,” said the deputy minister.

According to Dr Mangwiro, 80 to 85 percent of people who have tested positive recover on their own, hence there is no need for medication in such cases.

“Covid-19 causes inflammation in the body depending on where it goes; be it the lungs, kidneys or it can even cause heart attacks. So, dexamethasone slows down that inflammation that is how it helps people recover from the global pandemic,” said Dr Mangwiro.

As of Tuesday, seven people have died of Covid-19 in Zimbabwe and 591 cases have been reported since the first case was reported on March 20.

The use of dexamethasone which has long been on the market follows the recent decision to test Covid-19 using the GeneXpert device, a machine that was widely deployed about a decade ago to rapidly detect tuberculosis, including multi-drug resistant strains.

According to experts, there are some 23 000 GeneXpert devices worldwide, including an estimated 7 000-10 000 instruments scattered across Africa, Latin America and South-East Asia. The machine can process nose swab samples in 45 minutes and perform up to 96 tests in 24 hours. Chronicle

BINGA FINALLY GETS PORTABLE WATER


GOVERNMENT has brought smiles to Binga residents who have been struggling for years to access potable water due to incessant failure by the centre’s aging treatment plant to pump adequate water for domestic and commercial consumption.

Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement Deputy Minister Douglas Karoro yesterday commissioned a $2 million newly completed water treatment plant at Binga Centre on behalf of Minister Perrance Shiri.

Unlike the old plant, which pumped 60 cubic metres per hour, the new one has a capacity to pump 100 cubic metres of water hourly.

This will pave way for the connection of 300 new consumers in Binga Centre and Manjolo Business Centre. 

Minister Shiri said the upgrading of the water treatment works will usher in a new trajectory for the local community and help unlock a wide array of opportunities for residents.

He said the new project will help improve water storage and ensure uninterrupted supply to consumers in the event of power outages.

“Government treats water issues seriously. We firmly believe in centrality of water availability in the attainment of Vision 2030 and ultimate realisation of Sustainable Development Goal number six which compels and thrusts upon member States an obligation to at least reduce by half, the number of people lacking access to safe potable water,” said Minister Shiri.

He said the commissioning of the plant comes at a time Zimbabwe is battling the Covid-19 global pandemic, which has claimed thousands of lives across the globe. “The completion of the water treatment plant is therefore a welcome opportune development that dovetails critically well with the ongoing efforts by Government to contain the spread of Covid-19. Government continues to invest substantially in the construction of critical water infrastructure that help the country turn around it’s economic fortunes and productivity mainly in the area of agriculture,” he said. 

Minister Shiri said the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) is in the process of rehabilitating boreholes across the country to improve access to water by rural communities with priority being given to water-stressed, drought-prone areas.

Matabeleland North will soon be home to the country’s third largest inland water body, Gwayi-Shangani Dam with a capacity of 650 million cubic metres. The dam project, which is under construction, is also expected to address perennial water challenges in Bulawayo.

A pipeline is envisaged to connect Bulawayo and provide the basis for the establishment of a greenbelt along the way to the city. In addition, the dam is expected to produce hydroelectric energy to be fed into the national grid.

Zinwa chief executive officer Engineer Taurai Maurikira said the Binga water treatment plant will enhance water supply and boost water storage and reticulation system. He said the plant was wholly funded by Government under the Public Sector Investment Programme (PSIP).

Other places to benefit under the programme include Inyathi, Dete, Filabusi, Colleen Bawn and Nyamandlovu Aquifers where Zinwa recently completed the emergency borehole rehabilitation works to alleviate Bulawayo’s water crisis.

Binga RDC chief executive officer Mr Joshua Muzamba said the centre has been facing critical water shortages despite its proximity to the Zambezi River. 

“We are very excited about this development because our town is growing. We have challenges in terms of pumping capacity given that we have 3 000 units of constructed homes in Manjolo business centre, which is our next town after Binga Centre. Binga is part of the Victoria Falls Special Economic Zone and needs a lot of water,” he said.

Mr Muzamba said the local authority has been struggling to supply its rural service centres with enough water due to lack of pumping capacity. Binga Residents’ Association vice chairman Mr Samson Sibanda said the new plant will enhance water supply in some residential areas previously deprived of the commodity

He lauded Government for addressing their challenges. Chronicle