Tsvangirai regrets MDC split.

Posted: August 30, 2010 in Uncategorized

Morgan Tsvangirai and Gibson Sibanda

Posted by Fidelis Ndimande

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai put up an emotional send-off for the late vice president of the Movement for Democratic Change Gibson Sibanda as he apologised for the split of the united MDC in 2005.

Tsvangirai told delegates Saturday at the memorial service of the late Sibanda held at Main Methodist Church in Bulawayo that the split of the party represented the saddest part of 25 year old relationship with Sibanda.

“The political development in this country will never be the same after the formation of the MDC,” Tsvangirai said, “But the thing which has left impact in my life and I think in Gibson’s life because  both of us did not have a character of division, is the split of the MDC.”

“I’ m sorry Gibson for whatever I said at that moment of weakness, it was not worth it,” regretted the grief stricken Tsvangirai.

Deputy prime minister who is also president of the MDC, Professor Arthur Mutambara said during the split, Sibanda stuck to principles.

“The prime minister spoke well about the split,” said Mutambara, “We are in the moment of mourning, we are not going to look at the merits and demerits of the split, all we can say is that Gibson stuck to principles and values.”

“When you are principled we are not necessarily saying you are going to win elections, when you are principled, you must also bear the price, you might lose friends, you also lose money.”

Sibanda who succumbed to cancer at the age of 66 last week was Sunday buried at his rural home in Silalatshani, Insiza.

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Gibson Sibanda dies

Posted: August 24, 2010 in Uncategorized

Gibson Sibanda

Posted by Clayton Moyo

Vice-president of the Movement for Democratic Change Gibson Sibanda has died. Officials of the MDC confirmed that Sibanda succumbed to cancer in the early hours of today. He was 66 years old.

An official of the party Stella Obrey told Zimbabwe Community Radio that Sibanda died at Mater Dei hospital in Bulawayo. She revealed that Sibanda had been battling with cancer and receiving treatment in South Africa.

Deputy foreign affairs minister Moses Mzila who is also a senior party official said the death of Sibanda is a major blow to the Party as he was one of the elders who remained after the death of Renson Gasela, Lyson Mlambo, Milford Gwetu and George Mlilo.

Mzila said the death of Sibanda should be a test for ZANU PF in granting the heroic status. He said Sibanda is a national hero as he participated in the liberation struggle as a member of ZAPU and he was involved in the moving the arms for the struggle into the country and he had fought for peace at the time of internal conflict between ZANU PF and the opposition parties.

Sibanda was a former president of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions and a founder member of the Movement for Democratic Change.

At the time of his death Sibanda was a minister in the organ for national healing, reconciliation and intergration.

Mutambara slams GNU parties.

Posted: August 24, 2010 in Uncategorized

Professor Mutambara

Posted by Clayton Moyo

Deputy Prime Minister Professor Arthur Mutambara is accusing political parties of creating chaos in the constitution making process.

Mutambara says the constitution making process has been marred and violence and conflict. He alleges that parties that are signalling the possibility of elections next year are causing the disarray in the outreach exercise.

“We are saying to the political parties, please can you stop this nonsensical discourse on elections,” Mutambara charged, “Once you start talking elections we then force people to the default mode , you force them to go the trenches.”

He dismissed the current situation where parties are parroting their constitutional positions in the outreach meetings.

Reports from members of the outreach teams reflect that in most meetings, party positions are dominating as people are stating what they have been indoctrinated by their respective political parties.

“Political parties do not write a constitution,” Mutambara said, “Political parties and government create an enabling environment where the people write their own constitution. Zimbabwe is bigger than the three political parties. There are parties that are not in the GPA, more importantly there are people who are not members of any political party.”

The deputy prime minister said political parties should give attention to making reforms that may lead to stability and subsequently elections.

“The concentration in Zimbabwe should be on reforms,” he added, “The concentration should be on processes, the concentration should be on co-operation not competition.”

Joshua Nkomo family sidelined.

Posted: August 19, 2010 in Uncategorized
Joshua

the late Joshua Nkomo

Posted by Clayton Moyo

The son of late Vice-president Joshua Nkomo has slammed the arrogance of government in steering the erection of the statue of his father in Bulawayo without consulting his family.

Sibangilizwe, the only surviving son of Joshua Nkomo yesterday said there has been no attempt to consult his family over the statue. The ministry of home affairs led by co-ministers Kembo Mohadi and Theresa Makone is responsible for setting up the statue with various partners who include the Bulawayo City Council.

The statue was put up last Thursday night at the intersection of Main Street and 8th Avenue and it has since remained covered with a black cloth waiting for its official unveiling, the date of which has not been announced.

Sibangilizwe charged the act as private.

“This issue has been secretive, from the picture used for the statue to the covering of the statue, it’s all secretive,” he said, “The government has never said anything to us. We have been reading it from the papers.”

He was not keen on speaking about reports of his efforts to exhume the remains of his father from the National Heroes Acre in Harare for “proper” re-burial in his rural home, Kezi.

However, he claimed that Joshua Nkomo did not want to be buried at the national heroes’ acre in Harare.

“He wanted to be buried in his rural home,” he revealed,” This is an issue that has to be looked at later because in our culture an elder’s wishes have to be fulfilled.”

“Matebeleland industrialists lack enthusiasm”

Posted: August 4, 2010 in Uncategorized

Posted by Fidelis Ndimande

Industrialists in Matebeleland have been accused of lacking enthusiasm in the issues associated with their trade.

President of the Matebeleland Chamber of Industries, Dr Ruth Labode took a swipe at industrialists in the region for failing to attend the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries conference held in Victoria Falls.

Labode alleges that there were not more than 10 delegates from the region compared to over 200 delegates from Harare and elsewhere. She lashed at her counterparts from the region saying they lack seriousness.

The president of the regional body says business people from the region denied themselves an opportunity to interact with industrialists from the country and discuss economic issues like liquidity.

Manufacturers in Bulawayo often complain about the unreliable supply of water in the city.

Another major national concern for business people is the erratic supply of electricity. Delegates at the conference demand an 18 hour supply of power per day.

Power cuts to persist.

Posted: July 30, 2010 in Uncategorized

Posted by Fidelis Ndimande

Electricity production has increased at Hwange but the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) warns that this does not mark

Fullard

ZESA spokesperson, Fullard Gwasira

the end of power cuts.

Reports from the power utility indicate that Hwange is now generating 570megawatts after the refurbishment of four of its six generators by Nampower of Namibia.

Spokesperson of the utility, Fullard Gwasira early this week said the power blackouts have as a result of increased production, lessened to normal load shedding.

Improved production at Hwange leaves the overall supply at 1300 megawatts against the national demand of 2000 megawatts.

All the six power units at Kariba are functional. However, optimum power production is not at balance with demand.

ZESA imports electricity from neighbouring countries into its grid making it an energy client for Mozambique, DRC and South Africa.

The utility has an alternative of reviving smaller thermal power stations but the ministry of energy and power development has revealed that this can be done at a higher cost. Out of its $160 million budget, ZESA has been granted $10million by government.

Feature: Young upcoming musician makes it through the web

Posted: July 28, 2010 in Uncategorized
Maskal

Maskal Dominic

The music industry in Zimbabwe has been dominated by traditional artists, some of whom have made it to the international scene. There hasn’t been a chance for the young upcoming artists who are exploring other genres to get the international attention as their traditional established counterparts.

It has not come up to the consideration of the artists that using the new technologies can be a new marketing strategy that can realise the full potential of the impact of their music.

A young upcoming Zimbabwean artist based in Australia, Maskal Dominic is one of the emerging committed artists who have in line with internationally tested strategies tried out using the internet for exposure.

But who is Maskal?

Born Dominic Nkomo in Zimbabwe, Maskal Dominic realised his talent while he was at high school. From the freestyle competitions they carried out with friends, Maskal nurtured his love and skill for ragga dancehall music.

In 2007, Maskal released the single titled “No water gonna cool up jah fire.” The single made it to the airplay on a popular state owned radio station Power Fm.

Power Fm , a station that mainly target the youth has built many musical careers for young people but it is not enough for exposure to the potential fans outside Zimbabwe. The online alternative has struck the minds of the few brilliant artists in the country.

Moving to Melbourne, Australia with his family has provided him with an opportunity to meet another Zimbabwean ragga dancehall artist Dizzy Dee.

Maskal has already accomplished success in Melbourne as one of his hit singles, “Move your body” made it to the top 10 in the city.

Australia now proves to be one of the countries where the Zimbabwean diaspora not only seek a better living as the country still struggles with economic woes but where Zimbabweans nurture their talent and use its technological advancement to make it to the music industry that is largely dominated by the Americans.  Audius Mtawarira can then be mentioned as one of the kind of Dominic.

However, it remains to be proven that Maskal could be the “African dancehall ambassador” as he has already claimed the title.

For more about Dominic you can visit him on:

www.maskaldominic.blogspot.com

www.myspace.com/maskaldominic

“Slow genocide on albinos”

Posted: July 12, 2010 in Uncategorized

Posted by Clayton Moyo

An albino activist has accused the Zimbabwean government of neglecting people with the condition of albinism leading to their death in large numbers.

In an exclusive interview with a journalist, Zimbabwe Albino Association (ZIMAS) founder member and vice-president Richard Nyathi described the death of albinos as catastrophic as they succumb to skin cancer which is a direct result of exposure to the sun without adequate protection like sun screen lotion and proper clothing.

“We have met people in hospitals who are dying of skin cancer almost on a daily basis,” he said, “It’s a serious challenge, catastrophic, in fact sometimes I even call it a genocide happening quietly and I really hold the government responsible for that.”

Albinism is a condition of lack of melanin in the skin and statistics in the country reflect that over 15000 black Zimbabweans are born with the condition. Albinos are vulnerable to skin cancer and short sightedness.

Nyathi narrated the challenges encountered by albinos as emanating from stigmatisation by families, communities and government.

He said the problem of stigmatisation causes disregard for specific skin care and sight needs of albinos.

The birth of an albino baby has strained relationships in most families. A survey done by ZIMAS showed that up to 63% of albinos come from disintegrated families. The father often divorces the mother laying the blame on her with various accusations.

For Nyathi the stark differences between an albino child and the other siblings create misunderstanding and discomfort and then all sorts of beliefs come into play in the creation of anxiety.

Women often carry the burden of an albino child. They are charged with infidelity and extra marital affairs which would have brought in a child that is different from others.

Albino children are associated with cursing as beliefs of witchcraft are brought into the picture with the birth of a “different” child. Bad spirits are also considered as some misdeed in the family could have happened a long time ago and the gods or ancestors would be coming to revenge by cursing the child.

He says people are afraid of people with albinism. The poor child is thrown into rural areas to be “cared for or not cared for” by the grandmother. This creates more problems for the kid as there would not be proper clothing provided in the rural areas the school would be too far and there is maximum unprotected exposure to the sun.

albino children

... childhood is often the worst

The child goes through difficulties in attaining formal education. Some of them are not given a chance to go to school, Nyathi says.

“Teachers do not understand children with the condition of albinism. Other children do not understand because the teacher is not helping the situation.” Nyathi charged at the educators. He said the experience at primary school level is not too different at secondary and university levels.

The few qualified albinos usually find work in the public sector. Finding jobs is another difficulty that albinos despite their qualifications have to face.

“The public sector has been shrinking and the private sector is the way to go and they would rather employ what they call a normal person because of the stark difference.”

The Zimbabwe Albino Association, a brainchild of Richard Nyathi was formed in 1996 as a response to the need for people born with albinism to have a collective voice in lobbying for their interests.

Nyathi said he lost his brother in July 1996; he did not have an idea of what had taken his younger sibling’s life. When he moved to the UK for studies, he found out that his brother had been killed by skin cancer and it was also the major cause of fatalities among people with his condition in Southern Africa. The wound that had spread around his brother’s whole body was a result of skin cancer.

“When I came back to Zimbabwe, I only thought of the person who is in the public eye and that was Dr John Makumbe then and I decided that there is a need for an advocacy group, an association of some kind where we would sensitise our people, that is, people with albinism, the government and interested people to show that skin cancer can be avoided if certain precautions can be taken into account and again if society understood our problem.”

ZIMAS has a membership of over up to 13600 across the country. Nyathi says since its formation, it has been involved in an education campaign, informing families about the needs of albinos. Nurses have also been informed to introduce albino babies to their mothers so as to accept children with the “difference.”

The association is currently assisting the members in its “little ways” as it provides sun screen cream to those who afford to move to the offices in Harare and Bulawayo.

In 2002, Nyathi said the association managed to convince government that the sunscreens should be provided as an essential drug as it does for ARVs and malaria drugs.  He says government has also accepted that albinism is also a disability as he represents albinos in government as a member of the National Disability Board. He holds the position until 2012.

However, although there has been acceptance through the ministry of labour and social welfare, Nyathi expressed disgruntlement with the government saying there is not much happening on the ground.

“Sunscreen lotion comes and goes in small quantities, we cannot cover the country, this is a national problem, a national challenge which we think the government should take on board.”

He said most negotiations with government have not been fruitful.

“We have sat around the table before, from Dr Timothy Stamps, Dr Parirenyatwa, we have around the table but nothing has come out,” he said, “ Albinism is there, its visible, we don’t need to keep on banging on the door when everyone is paying tax. We are paying tax like everybody else and we need that service now.”

“People are dying and these people need a few thousand dollars, far, far much less than the money they spend on malaria drugs and ARVs.”

More hurdles for COPAC.

Posted: July 4, 2010 in Uncategorized

constitutionPosted by Clayton Moyo

Most Zimbabweans are concerned rather than hopeful of the new constitutional making process that is under way led by the politicians who have been loggerheads to the extent of loss lives just recently.

At the planning levels, the politicians have not made much public grandstanding over the issue as they have done with the Global Political Agreement. The bankruptcy of the treasury has probably forced the rivals to speak with one voice and portray harmony in front of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and its funding partners. This has been particularly commendable as some government partners are known for their arrogance.

However, the constitutional parliamentary committee (COPAC) seems not to have anticipated the logistical challenges associated with large national projects. Most of the consultation meetings of the outreach are behind schedule when the committee had already advertised the dates in the press. It is very unlikely that new dates will be published when considering the tight budget that already needs to be topped up.

People are no longer sure of the dates of the meetings. Many are likely to miss the consultation process due to the logistical mess created by COPAC. These are some of the issues that may indirectly make the process exclusive as some non-governmental organisations have already charged at COPAC with such accusations citing the management of the whole program.

Financial constraints

One of the co-chairpersons of the committee, Edward Mkhosi has made his dissatisfaction with the ministry of finance saying the funds are released at relatively slow pace with the costs being incurred by the teams as they are out. The outreach teams have spent more time accumulating the bill for COPAC as they have stayed idle at hotels waiting for the mist of confusion blanketing COPAC to clear.

The other funders are said to be more strict and careful with the usage of funds by the committee which Mkhosi says, is creating more problems for COPAC. Whereas UNDP is comfortable with making payment upon receipt for the services rendered to the teams, Mkhosi says service providers particularly hotels demand cash up front.

COPAC can no longer pester UNDP for its costly poor time management.

Meanwhile, in districts where the outreach has commenced, there have been mixed reports of what is taking place. In Matebeleland regions, the meetings are reportedly going on without any disturbances. Outreach teams participants say the attendance is fair and impressive in other areas.

COPAC co-coordinator for the Matebeleland North teams Believe Gaule says rural people have put up remarkable response to the outreach. He says an issue that could have been deemed as scary to discuss like the terms of office of the president have taken centre stage at the consultation meetings. Matebeleland provinces have generally maintained undisturbed peace since the tragic Gukurahundi massacres that left thousands dead. The region is arguably united by these sad past experiences with the Robert Mugabe led government. Although healing has not been initiated by the government, people are freer than elsewhere in the country.

Intimidation

However, in other provinces, there are reports of intimidation that have spread fear among people. Some people no longer want to be part of the process because of the fresh memories of the 2008 pre-presidential rerun election that left a considerable number dead. The war veterans who were at the forefront of the past episodes violence are allegedly heading the constitutional disturbances prescribing what people in their communities should say.

The alleged constitutional commotion is likely to expose the ministerial organ for national healing, reconciliation and integration. The governmental structure meant to address the past skirmishes among people from different political fronts. However, the organ represented by John Nkomo from ZANU PF, Gibson Sibanda of MDC and Sekai Holland from MDC-T is idle and financial constraints have been cited as the cause for the inactivity.

An international human rights watch organisation, Amnesty International has already blown the whistle alerting the world of a possibility of an outbreak of fresh violence. However, it should be noted that the statement and concern of Amnesty International could be a little bit out of proportion.

Interviews on outreach commencement.

Posted: June 20, 2010 in Uncategorized

The local scribe followed the launch of the outreach program as there seems to some activity on the constitution making process that has been stalled since the inception of the negotiated all-inclusive government. Before the launch Clayton Moyo (CM) caught up with constitutional and parliamentary affairs minister Eric Matinenga.CM-Why is there a launch of the outreach program?

EM-The launch means that we are giving recognition to the next stage which we are embarking upon. We are particularly doing so because the outreach is the most critical stage of the constitution making process. This is what makes the public process truly inclusive and truly people driven. The views of the people are going to be sought at this stage. This is why we are launching this stage. It is the beginning of it.

Matinenga

Minister Eric Matinenga

CM-And what is the significance of having the three principals being the ones launching this program?

EM-The constitution making process as you are aware is derived from the GPA which was signed by the three principals. So this process is a process which the three parties are committed to, that’s number one, two, we also the three principals to take the opportunity to reassure the nation of Zimbabwe that they are committed to the process and that this particular is going to be peaceful and everybody is required to participate fully.

CM-The program has suffered delays and some people are seeing a constitution making process that will never take off. Does this mark a new in terms of drafting a new constitution for Zimbabwe?

EM-Indeed it does. Yes people were talking about a stalled process, a process that will never move and the presence of the principals at this critical stage is to allay those fears.

He also had an interview with co-chairperson of the parliamentary committee leading the constitution making process (COPAC), Edward Mkhosi after the launch of the outreach program.

CM-Firstly I would like to hear from you Mkhosi, how was the launch of the outreach?

MKHOSI-The launch was very successful, all the three principals from ZANU PF, MDC and MDC-T were unanimous in urging the country to maintain peace and tranquillity during the exercise of consultation and we are excited that the people for the first time will be engaged in the process of making their own constitution as opposed to the Lancaster constitution which was an independence political document so the leaders were very happy despite the fact that we delayed implementing the process because of financial constraints. All the three leaders were reading from the same textbook.

CM-You are talking about the three leaders opening the process, why was it necessary for them to open this process?

MKHOSI-You know we are a country that is emerging from conflict, we are not at peace with each other particularly leading to the last re-run and the election itself, we are really at each other’s throats to the extent that we had to have a negotiating settlement that so the formation of a unity government so this division among the people of Zimbabwe needs some form of healing that is why we have a healing program within the structure of government to make sure that people find each other and realise that there is a common destination and we have got only one Zimbabwe.

CM-We have heard reports from NGOs and other media institutions saying there are cases of intimidation in some parts of the country where is alleged that people are tools to keep quiet during the outreach meetings, as COPAC have you had of such reports?

MKHOSI-It’s a rumour as you are saying. I have heard of such rumours but it is because of these rumours that we urged the principals to come together and speak with one voice condemning such behaviour. If everything was just  going smoothly, there would be need to ask leaders to state their position with regards to the maintenance of peace and order during exercise. Yes its realisation that we have rumours that some people are trying to interfere with the progress of the process by scoring before the end of the exercise.

CM-How do you ensure the safety and security of the general public and outreach participants during this exercise?

MKHOSI-We have got the police throughout the country, which is permanently a police unit within communities those will maintain, peace at their level but we also have the police officers accompanying the 70 teams that would be moving into the districts and wards so there would be police presence throughout the country, 24 hours to make sure that anyone who behaves in a manner that is interfering with the process will be locked up.

CM-Can you also clarify on how the demand for increased allowances by some legislators has been handled since you are making it clear that the process is going on?

MKHOSI- We as COPAC, we have been begging for money so you cannot just increase the money. We have referred those people that are not happy with the allowances to their respective parties. Mind you, the politicians come from the parties. It is the duty of the parties of actually giving an answer to their demands. We have been to the ministry of finance and they have given up all they can and the donors are not prepared any allowance.

For an independent view on the constitutional developments, he sought an analysis from human rights activist Peter Muchengeti (PM).

CM-As the outreach program has been launched, do you see the communities being ready for this exercise?

PM-The communities are not quite ready because the government itself did not have the capacity to consciountise the communities on the program but however some NGOs have been going around telling people about the constitution. Some people are ready for it.

CM-At the launch of this exercise the principals urged people to maintain peace, do you think that it was enough?

PM-Whilst it is a positive step in the right direction, it is not enough because what is said by the principals on one hand is directly in contrast with what is happening on the ground because on the ground certain officials from the political parties will encourage people to indulge in violence as a way of forcing people to articulate the views which are of their political parties. People are not encourages to say what they want but rather propagate the views of their parties. The violence is still on and the threats still rampant, its actually on the increase, it remains to be seen then whether the process will be done in a peaceful manner.