April 30, 2017

Hundreds register for highway project jobs

Filed under: News,Travel — Nhaudzenyu @ 11:43 am
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KAROI — More than 700 people hoping to get employed in the dualisation of the US$3 billion Beitbridge-Harare-Chirundu highway have started registering for jobs in this farming town ahead of project’s commencement.
But sources claimed that officials from the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare in Karoi have suddenly started demanding US$1 per for every job seeker wishing to get recruited under the project, saying this was for recruitment forms and stationery.
Karoi residents hope to benefit from the Harare-Chirundu stretch of the dualisation project, which passes through their district.
The project has been on the cards for many past years with the latest promises of its commencement being the closest yet that it had nearly come to fruition.
Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister, Joram Gumbo told the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Transport in February that dualisation of the Harare-Chirundu road would commence soon after Independence day celebrations last week, following a ground-breaking ceremony that was scheduled for mid March.
None of that has happened yet.
Some 756 job seekers have, since last month, registered with the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare.
A 27-year-old unemployed job seeker, who cannot be named to protect him from victimisation, said: “I paid US$1 to get my waiting list number after I submitted the forms. I only got wind that registration is ongoing at the (Ministry of) Labour offices and am prepared for any job. Initially, they wanted at least 800 casual workers.”
Sources at the offices, who spoke on condition that they remained anonymous, however, dismissed the allegations that they were acting corruptly.
They said the office needed to buy stationary which it was not receiving from Harare.
“We do not have an official position on the recruitment of those who will be employed for the Chirundu road project and (about) when it will commence. Some politicians in the district are asking job seekers to register, but we do not have stationary at all… we do not even have a photocopying machine. We do not take donations without any receipt. These accusations are false because we give them forms to be photocopied,” said one source, who blamed the sudden spike in job seeker numbers on politicians who are hoping to gain political mileage ahead of the 2018 general elections by leveraging on the highway construction.
But the development has brought to the fore the potential danger of such a critical government office having no stationary or photocopying machines when it handled a lot of private and confidential documents whose printing is now being outsourced from private businesses in the town.
One source said: “We normally have labour judgments typed in some private offices but these must be private and confidential between two concerned companies or individuals without involving third parties. We hope government will provide stationery so that job seekers do not photocopy the forms.”
A Hurungwe district labour officer refused to comment on the issue, saying he had no authority to speak to the press.
Karoi residents’ interim chairperson, Freck Kuchekwa, said he had been on the Ministry of Labour’s job waiting list for the past seven years and had never been asked to pay.
The Ministry maintains a waiting list of potential recruits for various public and private sector projects that may need casual labour.
“Personally, I have not paid anything even when I renew to be on the waiting list annually. It is easier to be recruited by potential employers as they normally ask through labour offices to get casual workers,” said Kuchekwa.


April 24, 2017

Tonga arts centre abandoned

Filed under: Arts,Feature,Travel — Nhaudzenyu @ 10:14 am
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Bumi Hills Arts and Craft Centre was a ray of hope for mostly Tonga villagers, who had an opportunity to showcase their craftsmanship to the world.

By Nhau Mangirazi

The abandoned Bumi Hills Arts and Craft Centre

Established in 1995, the project was aimed at economically empowering the rural folk, while also promoting Tonga arts and crafts.

The centre, which was established by Nyaminyami Rural District Council, sold beads, dagga pots and grass crafts to mostly tourists, who used to visit the internationally-acclaimed Bumi Hills Hotel.

Situated about 300 meters from the hotel, the arts and craft centre was well-furnished with art for visitors from the community, who overworked themselves for classic products.

But the centre is now in ruins, 22 years down the line, with buildings collapsing with the hanging poles of the grass-thatched roof burnt by veld fires some few years ago.

There is no longer a caretaker for the premises now in thick forest.

The place is now an eyesore after the local council abandoned the project, claiming it was now a burden that they could not shoulder for too long.

“It was a council project aimed at empowering the communities in arts and craftsmanship. The council used to sell the products and remit the funds to the owners monthly,’’ a council worker, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said.

Villagers under Chiefs Mola, Nebiri and Negande relied on proceeds from the sale of their artefacts to pay for school fees for their children.

As fate had it, the political and economical crisis in late 1990s forced the centre to shut down after only four years in operation throwing hundreds of villagers back into destitution, as it had become a source of livelihood for them.

“We used to pay fees for our children through funds raised through the sales of artefacts from here. Although the sales were minimal, as there were many members, it was a promising outreach project for us.

“It was a form of employment, where our art was being recognized internationally by tourists, who would find markets for our products. It is sad that the council resolved to close it, saying it was no longer viable,’’ Petros Kasanga, a local villager under Chief Mola, said.

Former council chairman, Washington Moyo, admitted that the local authority had to wean off the project, as it was not its core business and was becoming costly to run.

“As council, we were being forced to assist communities get their profits, but it was not part of our core business. Our mandate was to see it off, but the communities had no resources to keep it running and this affected its operations. It’s unfortunate we could not train them how to run the project on their own,’’ Moyo, a businessman in the Mola area, said.

However, the closure has negatively affected many parents, who can no longer afford to send their children to school.

“Generally, some people blame the Tongas for not valuing education, but without a source of income, where do you expect them to get money to pay school fees? There are no income-generating projects or industries to talk about here, but we need cash to survive. It is pathetic as our source of hope was dashed by the council several years ago,’’ a local teacher, who refused to be named, said.

The teacher at Marembera Primary School, who cannot be named for professional reasons, said that the project was inspirational to many locals, who could appreciate how art and culture could be a beneficiary to the community.

Newly-appointed Nyaminyami Rural District Council chief executive officer, Tsana Chirau, said she was still to acclimatise herself with projects in the area.

“I am just new in office and I need time to be abreast on council projects, including pending issues and income generating that the community was benefiting from,” she said.

The art and craft centre was also a foreign currency generation project and helped boost tourism in the country. Newsday

Karoi shortlist eight for top post

Filed under: News — Nhaudzenyu @ 10:01 am
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KAROI — Eight candidates have been shortlisted for the position of town secretary out of the 59 applications received by the municipality last month.
The selection process is being done by a committee comprising four councillors, an official drawn from the public service and two executives from other councils.
Council chairman, Richard Ziki, said the majority of those who applied for the job did not meet the requirements, which included 10 years of working experience in the public sector of which five should have been at managerial level.
“Only eight met the requirements and will be interviewed soon,” said Ziki, without disclosing the names of those who made it for the interviews slated for Thursday next week.
“We hope to get the best candidate for the town after the best three names are submitted to the ministry (of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing) for approval. For now, as policymakers we have done our level best and hope the interviews will give us the best candidate for the town”.
Early this year, council invited suitably qualified candidates to submit their applications for the job.
The position fell vacant when the previous secretary, Maxwell Kaitano, left the municipality in August last year to join Chinhoyi council as town clerk.
Currently, finance director, Wellington Mutikani is the acting secretary.
He is believed to have also applied for the position, according to sources.

Zinwa descents on Karoi residents

Filed under: News — Nhaudzenyu @ 9:51 am
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KAROI — The Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA) has unleashed debt collectors on residents of this small farming town in a bid to recover about US$300 000.


ZINWA operates over 500 water supply stations around the country, feeding water mainly to growth points, small towns and rural service centres.
These include Karoi, Murehwa, Mutoko, Hwedza, Sadza, Guruve, Zimunya, Nyika, Nkayi, Lupane, Esigodini, Marula, West Nicholson and Shamva, among others.
While the parastatal has made every effort to ensure that water is available most of the time, it has been hamstrung by a number of factors, resulting in cases whereby some areas are going for days without the resource.
While she declined to be drawn into what is happening in specific areas such as Karoi, ZINWA’s corporate communications and marketing manager, Marjorie Munyonga, said the authority was battling an obsolete water reticulation system, inconsistent power supply and machine breakdowns.
She said they have instituted measures to make sure that water is made available to everyone especially in areas that do not have the resource.
“The rehabilitation and expansion of reticulation systems, which the organisation is undertaking, will improve water supply,” she said.
Countrywide, ZINWA is battling to recover US$146 million owed by debtors.- The Financial Gazette

April 5, 2017

MDR-TB reversing fight against TB

Filed under: health,News — Nhaudzenyu @ 11:00 am
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World Health Organization, WHO, is concerned about worrying cases of Multi Drug Resistant-Tuberculosis, MDT-TB as it is reversing gains made in fighting TB, an official has revealed.

Giving solidarity message to mark World TB day commemorations held at Selukwe primary school in Shurugwi recently, WHO representative Doctor David Okello said there is need to scale up fight against MDR-TB.

”Importantly, TB is still a major public health challenge in Zimbabwe but statistics are worrying. TB is fuelled by HIV and Aids infection but the trend of MDR-TB is reversing the gains made in the fight against TB in the country.” said Doctor Okello.

He, called upon stakeholders including Non-Government Organizations, Civil Society Organizations and communities to step efforts in fighting TB.

”Let us all join hands in this fight to end TB by 2030 through our continued commitment and action. Let us also invest in care and support of all programs to end TB and leave no area unattended in our societies. TB is everywhere including mines, mobile populations and health care facilities. We therefore must renew our call to diagnose, care and treat those infected as TB is a curable disease,” he added.

He applauded political commitment shown by parliamentarians through health child care portfolio committee that had its members tested during the public event.

 ”The commitment by MPs, UN family, USaid among others will leave Zimbabwe as a success story in ending TB,” he added.

According to WHO, Zimbabwe is among few countries contributing 80-85 percent of global TB-HIV and drug resistant TB.

In 2015, the prevalence of TB in the country was 292 cases per 100 000 population.

TB is the leading cause of death among people living with HIV with estimates of 70 percent of Zimbabweans suffering from TB co infected with HIV.


Filed under: health,News,Uncategorized — Nhaudzenyu @ 10:42 am
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MPs waiting to be tested for TB in Shurugwi– Photo By Nhau Mangirazi

By Nhau Mangirazi in SHURUGWI

THE Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Health and Child Care has urged people to get tested for tuberculosis (TB) in order to get early treatment and avoid the further spread of the disease.

Speaking on the sidelines of World TB Day commemorations at Selukwe Primary School in Shurugwi yesterday, MabvukuTafara MP James Maridadi (MDC-T) said it was imperative that legislators lead by example.

“If we are saying we want to expose corruption, we must as well lead by example on infectious diseases like TB. It’s high time we are tested and know our status and be cured,” he said.Former Health deputy minister and chairman of TB caucus, Paul Chimedza said the committee was working closely with stakeholders in health sector in effort to curb the spread of TB.

“Community health workers must be equipped with skills to test TB in all outlying areas,” Chimedza said.

“Our thrust is to assist communities on health matters.”

Together As One directr Washington Masenda said there was need to have more nutritious food for TB patients as some default due to lack of food.

“We must improve food security as we move to eradicate TB,” he said.

Minister of State for Midlands province Jaison Machaya said the province had a high TB prevalence rate due to mining activities.

“It’s sad to note that TB though curable has relatively high prevalence rate in the province due to mining activities that ironically drive our economy,” Machaya said.

Deputy director of the TB unit, Charles Sandy bemoaned lack of drugs to treat multi-drug resistant (MDR) TB.

Health minister David Parirenyatwa said Shurugwi was targeted because it was a mining area.

“TB is a leading cause of deaths among HIV patients. We must be geared to end it. Poverty contributes to TB,” Parirenyatwa said.

He said health workers were at risk of TB infections and revealed that MDR cases rose in 2015 from 427 to 433-

A sorry tale to tell in the fight against TB

Filed under: Feature,health,Uncategorized — Nhaudzenyu @ 10:22 am
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By Nhau Mangirazi

KAROI — The long journey travelled by 42-year-old Shamiso Mudoka in the fight against tuberculosis is a typical case that calls for the scaling up of the fight against the disease.

Her sorry tale highlights the importance of awareness among TB patients and the community at large.

Soon after she was diagnosed, Mudoka discovered that she was about to travel a long journey to defeat the scourge.

She had nowhere to stay, after her brother evicted her from their family home.

Although her electrifying smile greets any visitor in Karoi’s oldest high-density suburb of Chikangwe, the battle she went through in the last seven years is still fresh in her mind.

A single mother of two children, aged eight and 11, Mudoka has somehow managed to overcome the social outcast jacket she wore for several years and also the disease.

It all started in early October 2010 when I developed cold fever,” she recalled.

‘’I went to the hospital and was given amoxicillin drugs. The doctor recommended that I must have my sputum tested.”

It took some time before Mudoka could get results and the feedback that she was to undergo TB treatment.

All hell broke loose as she could no longer afford to fend for herself because of the burden brought by the disease.

“I had to move to our family house, but my brother, Stephen, could not accept me,” Mudoka says.

Her neighbour, Ambuya Jennifer Mapanga, says Mudoka was a social outcast after her brother evicted her.

“We were touched by Mudoka’s plight after eviction. She was a social outcast,” she said.

Without anyone to turn to for solace and shelter, Mudoka went to Karoi General Hospital, where officials understood her plight and accommodated her.

“For six months, my brother never visited me, but I used to get regular visits from other friends,” she says. “But eventually, I fought through and won the battle with the help of strangers.”

Mudoka’s plight aptly explains how TB should be treated as a cause of concern by both the government and co-operating partners.

HIV and Aids advocate Muchanyara Mukamuri notes that TB patients face more pronounced stigma, compared to other patients, making it a barrier to accessing treatment and adherence.

“Stigma must be fought from all angles, starting at family level, health care givers and the community at large. Awareness must be included with easy-to-read materials in vernacular,” Mukamuri says.

“Political commitment and will must be reflected in costing it through the health budgets allocation. As long as the health budget continues to be as it is, we may make as much noise as possible, but we may not achieve any tangible results.”

The Global TB Report 2016 lists Zimbabwe as among the 30 high burdened countries, with a triple burden of TB, TB-HIV and MDR-TB.

The other countries on the list are Angola, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Central African Republic, China, Congo, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Russian Federation, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Thailand, Tanzania, Vietnam and Zambia.

The 30 high TB burden countries accounted for 87% of all estimated incident cases worldwide,” the report reads in part.

“The six countries that stood out as having the largest number of incident cases in 2015 were (in descending order) India, Indonesia, China, Nigeria, Pakistan and South Africa (combined, 60% of the global total).

“Of these, China, India and Indonesia alone accounted for 45% of global cases in 2015. The annual number of incident TB cases relative to population size (the incidence rate) varied widely among countries in 2015, from under 10 per 100 000 population in most high-income countries to 150–300 in most of the 30 high TB burden countries.”

TB has attracted the attention of Parliament. The Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Health in February 2016 produced a report painting a gloomy situation with regards to the disease.

While TB treatment for six to nine months costs $31, it was discovered that MDR-TB treatment for 20 to 24 months goes for $2 571.

The situation is worse for another TB strain called Extensively Drug Resistant-TB costing $31 000 to treat for 24 to 36 months.

“In this regard, with the economic strains facing the country, prevention and control of the disease becomes key to TB management in the country,” the legislators noted in their report.

They recommended government moves swiftly and reduces the exorbitant costs of the second line TB treatment.

Aids/TB Programmes (National TB Control) in the Health and Child Care ministry, Charles Sandy, says TB eradication is now a success story through community involvement.

“The programme on TB has been very successfully because we have rapidly decentralised diagnosis, care and treatment to the district level and successfully adopted a community based approach,” he says.

The Union through Challenge TB, a USAid funding mechanism continues to provide highly qualified specialist TB staff, managerial and leadership support, materials including equipment such machines and financial support to the TB programme.

The Union director, Christopher Zishiri, says they are working with the National TB Control Programme to strengthen TB control in Zimbabwe in the last nine years.

“Current interventions include enhancing access to quality patient centred care for TB, TB/HIV and MDR-TB services; prevention of transmission and disease progression through active case finding; and strengthening TB platforms including political commitment to end TB,” he says, adding that although funding is always not enough, financial challenges always hinder the provision of adequate services, the Union has, however, helped in lessening the financial burden in the TB programme.

Mudoka, free from the disease, had to go through what she termed “hell”, especially after her rejection by relatives because she had contracted the disease-

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