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July 27, 2017

Solar energy comes to the rescue of jazz musician

Filed under: Arts,Feature,Renewable Energy — Nhaudzenyu @ 11:58 am
Tags: , , , ,

By Nhau Mangirazi

Twenty-two year  old Moses Munatsa is an upcoming jazz musician based in Caledonia Phase 10 about 20 kilometres east of Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare.

“It used to be a challenge as I had to travel into town or visit relatives in Mabvuku where there is electricity to do my recordings over the phone. To date, I have done over 50 songs (that are) yet to be recorded officially.  I normally use my smartphone for that and the battery does not last long,” he says.

As is the case with  several youths and women resettled in Ward 25 Caledonia in Harare East, Munatsa faced challenges in accessing better facilities including electricity.

However, he now smiles in the comfort of their three-roomed house where he is recording his songs with ease and without thinking of transport fares into the city centre or visiting relatives to access electricity.

Caledonia currently faces an identity crisis with Harare East Member of Parliament Terrence Mukupe claiming it is within his jurisdiction while the local councillor Dereck Malifundi, reports to Goromonzi Rural District Council within Goromonzi South Constituency represented by Member of Parliament Petronella Kagonye.

“We currently do not have electricity here but we are using small solar powered panels to access radio (signals) as well as charging our phones. With that, I am recording my music on my phone regularly without any challenges,” he says.

Those resettled in Caledonia since 2000, have not benefited from the electrification programme.

‘We have seen the poles and wires that were installed but nothing has been done to bring power into our homes. We are getting  … alternative (energy) through small solar panels that we use as clean energy for lights, radio and charging our phones,” said a local teacher.

Thirty-three year old Gladys Banda of Phase 3, admits that lack of electricity has been a challenge for many people here.

“The majority of us had no homes of our own in the city centre. We needed a roof over our heads and we hoped that electricity would soon be connected in our area,” says Banda, a mother of three.

Councilor Malifundi agrees the ward is still developing and faces many challenges in the form of roads, clinics and schools, among others.

‘We hope things will move according to our plans. We are aware of the electricity challenges, but better days are coming,” he said without shedding much light on future plans.

Meanwhile, Kagonye admits the ward faces numerous challenges since it emerged as an unplanned settlement. The ward started off with nearly 5,000 stands in 2000. The figure has since risen to 54,000 stands and an estimated population of 100 000.

‘There has never been infrastructure provision including that of water and electricity. We have a high concentration of people … including a co-operative of the physically challenged with more than 250 members.

“As a result, women suffer more as fuel wood is no longer readily accessible. Generally, use of solar powered small panels has been the solution in most homes for lighting and charging mobile phones,” she said.

Kagonye said the community should embrace renewable energy alternatives such as solar and biogas.  This would be a better solution than having to wait to be connected to the national grid which is already struggling to service connected areas.

Munyaradzi Kaundikiza, an environmentalist, said energy is the key input in the socio-economic growth of communities and the nation at large. He said there is a close link between availability of energy and the growth of a nation.

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Firewood smoke kills

By Nhau Mangirazi

HURUNGWE–  Without energy, small and medium enterprises cannot function at maximum capacity. Without energy, industry cannot survive. Without energy, women and girls will continue to spend long hours looking for fuel sources, and will not have jobs – United Nations Industrial Development Organisation, UNIDO, Director General, Kandeh K. Yumkella April 2013.

When Yumkella made these remarks he had many of the rural women worldwide in mind, but the Zimbabwean scenario also fits into this situation.

This is the reality gripping most women and girls in both rural and urban areas due to lack of alternative clean renewable energy such as solar, hydro or biogas which forces them to rely on firewood as a source of energy.

For  granny Chiedza Mapanga who is asthmatic, deep chesty coughs that keep her awake at night and wreck her chest even when laughing, shortness of breath among other related signs, life has been ‘normal’ as a woman living in a rural area and surviving on firewood for energy.

For the past 30 years, Mapanga, who has been battling this health problem without any signs of recovery, says she has a duty as a ”mother and grandmother” taking care of her family that includes a 22-year old daughter and five grandchildren left behind by her eldest son who died a few years ago.

She coughs deeply as she blows into the fire to lighten the rather dark grass thatched hut in Mayamba outpost village under headman Chawora and Chief Chundu, 85 kilometres north of Karoi town in Zimbabwe’s Mashonaland West Province.

As granny Mapanga looks up to welcome her visitors, her watery eyes tells a story of how she has suffered in the three decades she has been holed here as a communal farmer using firewood as a source of energy for both cooking and lighting during the night.

According to the Ministry of Health and Child Care, asthma is ranked at 21 among the top 50 causes of death in Zimbabwe where HIV and Aids leads.

The World Health Organisation says air pollution, second-hand tobacco smoke and indoor mould and dampness make asthma more severe in children, elderly persons and people with compromised immune systems.

”In households without access to basic services, such as safe water and sanitation, or that are smoky due to the use of unclean fuels, such as coal or dung, children are at an increased risk of diarrhoea and pneumonia,” says the report released in March this year.

It further states: ‘‘Harmful exposures can start in the mother’s womb and increase the risk of premature birth. Additionally, when infants and pre-schoolers are exposed to indoor and outdoor air pollution and second-hand smoke they have an increased risk of pneumonia in childhood, and a lifelong increased risk of chronic respiratory diseases, such as asthma. Exposure to air pollution may also increase their lifelong risk of heart disease, stroke and cancer.”

WHO adds that every year, environmental risks – such as indoor and outdoor air pollution, second-hand smoke, unsafe water, lack of sanitation, and inadequate hygiene – take the lives of 1.7 million children under five years globally.

She is among several thousands of rural Zimbabwean women who have seen clean renewable energy eluding them since independence. Instead they carry the burden of health complications.

Her homestead situated about 10 kilometres from Mayamba business centre in Hurungwe, together with the majority of villagers in that area, relies on firewood as the only source of energy.  Only a few use small solar panels to charge batteries for radios and lights.

This is one business centre that was not on the cards of the government sponsored Rural Electrification Agency programme that was initiated at Chitindiva business centre about 25 kilometres away.

Mapanga says although she cannot afford medication for her condition, she still has to fend for her grandchildren.

‘‘I have endured these hard times with this asthmatic condition. Women must be strong against all odds,’’ she says her face contorting with the pain she has endured.

She is a silent victim of indoor pollution, killing millions of women and girls globally.

According to the International Institute of Sustainable Development, IISD, report in 2013, illnesses from indoor pollution result in deaths of more women and children annually than HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis and malnutrition combined.

The World Health Organisation, WHO says 4.3 million people die every year from exposure to household air pollution.

‘‘Of the estimated two million annual deaths attributed to indoor air pollution generated by fuels such as coal, wood, charcoal and dung, 85% are women and children who die from cancer, acute respiratory infections and lung disease,’’ says the report.

Wellington Madumira of Zero Regional office says there is need to capacitate the rural populace in renewable energy use. ‘‘It is sensible that we must have sustainable energy as it props our livelihoods at family and the community at large. It further boosts businesses to grow and create jobs thereby securing a viable economy,’’ says Madumira.

According to the Ministry of Energy, the main sources of energy used in Zimbabwe are coal, fuel wood, electricity, petroleum fuels and renewable energy.

Blessing Jonga, the Principal Energy Development Officer in the Ministry of Energy says Government is promoting clean and sustainable energy that does not pollute the environment and is not a health threat.

He added that the Ministry is advocating for use of domestic biogas digester systems to provide energy for cooking, lighting and refrigeration, among other uses.

”There are institutional biogas programmes targeting institutions like boarding schools and hospitals for cooking energy as well as efficient wood stoves to construct this technology that uses less wood and directs smoke outside, leaving the kitchen clean’’ says Jonga.

He says that they are also promoting portable tsotso (twigs) stoves, a technology that uses less firewood, produces less smoke and enables communities to preserve trees.

However, the real challenge still remains that of  providing clean and modern energy to the remaining 67 percent of the country’s 13 million lives in the rural areas, according to the 2012 national Census.

Until then, for granny  Mapanga, renewable energy remains pie in the sky. As the case with many women and children among the country’s rural populace, she is being slowly smoked to death.

Windmill boreholes change lives for Hurungwe community

By Nhau Mangirazi

Forty-six year old Reverend Agnes Chida does not regret being transferred from Harare to the rural outskirts of Hurungwe in Zimbabwe’s Mashonaland West province in 2014.

Rev Chida is married to Rev Shepard Chida and both serve under the Methodist Church in Zimbabwe. They have twin sets of children aged 13 and 19. They live at Chivakanenyama about 60 kilometres West of Karoi.

‘We are enjoying a good life as we are assured of clean water anytime of the day as long as there is wind. Water is readily available and life is simple for us. We have an all-year irrigation facility for our garden, maize field and chicken run,’’ she said beaming with pride.

About 100 meters from their homestead, is a windmill borehole that was installed in 1996 by the Methodist Church in Zimbabwe.  Nearly 200 households are benefitting from the windmill borehole.

Livestock is also benefitting from the available water trench.

As an alternative source of clean energy, the windmill borehole has proved that it can sustain the livelihoods of communities through access to clean water for domestic use and irrigation among other needs.

The windmill borehole which is situated a few meters from the main tarred road linking Magunje and Zvipani under Headman Matawu is a source of inspiration for communities benefiting from renewable energy here.

It captures the visitor’s eye as it is visible from a distance. “Even tourists going to either Nyaminyami or Gokwe, pass through here and get water. No one is charged for the water as water is a God-given natural resource,” added Rev Agnes.

The borehole is used by children from the local primary and secondary schools, the local church and the community at large.

Chivakanenyama Primary School is one of the oldest schools in Hurungwe built by missionaries in 1952 while a secondary school was built in 1966. Currently, there are more than 700 pupils at the primary school and more than 300 attending the secondary school.

Rev Chida explained that the windmill borehole pumps water into two 5,000- litre tanks and another 10,000-litre tank.

‘We are mostly likely to have green maize in August as we are preparing the fields,’ said Rev Agnes Chida. They have an orchard of mangoes, bananas and guava trees.

“The water table is good for us as a community as it is 40 meters deep … so we are assured of water even during drought years,” her husband said.

Joyce Zata, 53, of Ruzende village about three kilometres away, is happy they have access to clean water.

“Unlike in some areas where the water is contaminated as people share it with animals, this windmill borehole has been a good solution to us,” said Zata.

Another villager, Theresa Mapara of Murimbika village agreed that it is good for them as women as they do their laundry chores at the borehole without any challenges.

Headman Chigango said although he is happy with windmill borehole, he is, however, worried by cases of vandalism committed by some members of the community.

‘Our main challenge is that some members of the community have vandalised the windmill of late and … this affects everyone,’’ said Chigango.

Rev Agnes Chida admitted that this was the biggest challenge they are facing.

‘Not everyone understands community ownership in its true sense and we have to endure such challenges. At one time, someone stripped it of some bolts and we had to seek donations to have it repaired,” she said.

Hurungwe Rural District Ward 25 councillor, under whom the area falls, Lovemore Mushawashi, said the availability of water to the communities proves that the some of the rural folk may achieve the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal Number 6.

The Goal calls for policymakers to ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all by 2030.

“We may be facing challenges about water and sanitation in our communities but the windmill borehole has proven that it can be easily achieved through natural resources and clean energy,” said Mushawashi in an interview.

 

Zambezi biodiversity project may assist rural women

Filed under: Feature,health — Nhaudzenyu @ 11:49 am
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By Nhau Mangirazi

HURUNGWE- Twenty two year old Ratidzo Hungwe of Muchini village in Hurungwe ward 25, Chief Dandawa looks depressed.

She is eight months pregnant and has not registered yet at at Zvipani clinic about 25 kilometers away.

Her story is the reality gripping many pregnant women villagers here some travelling for over 50 kilometers to access a health facility.

For pregnant women it is worse as the country battles to control maternal health rate currently pegged at 614 per 100 000 births reduced from 960 in 2015.

Of course its mandatory to register at clinics on time  but we do not have the $10 to spare for that. This the the third child am expecting and it is just normal to go there when I am ready to give birth,’ she said with confidence.

Hurungwe Rural District Council, HRDC, gender mainstream officer, Alice Paraziwa-Maponga has passion to see things changing for the better for women like Ratidzo.

She believes a biodiversity project currently on consultation must benefit women and girl child in particular.

The initiative Strengthening biodiversity and ecosystem management and climate smart partnership landscapes in the mid to lower Zambezi region of Zimbabwe, will start next year and will run until 2024.

The project is aimed at maintaining sustainable biodiversity.

‘This is a positive development for women as they are the major victims of human-wildlife conflict here. It will empower women and the girl child in general as they are victims of human and animal conflict. Women must be involved at planning stages as they are also likely to suffer due to lack of water.

“We call upon implementers to consider sinking of boreholes and rigs for better water and sanitation among other commitments. This will empower women and girl child in the long run,’’ said Paraziwa-Maponga.

Global Environment Facility

Hurungwe is among three local authorities including Mbire and Muzarabani set to benefit from a $10 million injection from Global Environment Facility, GEF, with United Nations Development Program (UNDP) monitoring the implementation process.

There will be a core financing of $52 million from local partners including from Ministry of Water, Environment and Climate Change including department of National Parks among other stakeholders.

Paraziwa-Maponga said money accrued from the projects would economically empower the girl child through entrepreneurship trainings and nutrition gardens since the district’s livelihoods are agro-based.

‘Women and the girl child are greatly disadvantaged due to lack of quality education. On social services and amenities, we look forward to seeing renovation of dilapidated clinics in outlying rural communities and building of more clinics that will assist pregnant women who normally walk for more than 70 kilometers to access a health facility. That has a negative impact on the maternal health of our communities,’’ she said.   

According to the 2012 National Census, the district had a population of 329 197 and with a 3 percent annual growth projection, the population could now be around 390 000.

Participants during a recent stakeholders meeting held in Magunje about 35 kilometers west of Karoi town agreed that there is critical need to curb animal and human conflict.

Some highlighted that there is need for the communities to be ‘empowered and such projects where issues of environment, animals and human are discussed’  

Traditional leaders including Chiefs, headmen, heads of Government departments were among participants.

Hurungwe district administrator, Friend Ngirazi, said all stakeholders should come on board and share ideas about the project.

‘We are gathered here to discuss issues that affect communities but we must be frank to each other and map the way forward truthfully,” said Ngirazi.

Engage communities

Council chairman Tichaona Matthew said for Strengthening biodiversity and ecosystem management and climate smart partnership landscapes in the mid to lower Zambezi region of Zimbabwe project to be a success, communities must own it from inception.

‘As policymakers we are not against any developmental projects, but we feel short-changed when communities do not own these projects. Although the Communal Areas Management Program for Indigenous Resources, Campfire, was a success story as it left tangible evidence including clinics, schools and better roads maintenance through proceeds accrued, it was later rejected when communities felt they were being side-lined.

“That is the challenges we must address before we engage the communities and they must own (Strengthening biodiversity and ecosystem management and climate smart partnership landscapes in the mid to lower Zambezi region of Zimbabwe) project. We must not impose it on them,’ said Matthew.

Council chief executive officer Joram Moyo said there is need for political will from policy makers.

The project will cover at least 40,000 square kilometers in Hurungwe that still boasts of elephants, cheetahs, hyenas and lions among other animals.

It will cover six of the 26 wards and is likely to revive some conservancies that had been vandalised while animals were driven out due to rampant poaching soon after the land reform in 2000.

For women like Ratidzo who are suffering in silence to access health facility, the biodiversity project may soon revive hope and reduce the country maternal health challenges.

HIV gala revives dreams of late Madzibaba Jazzman Magunje

Filed under: Feature,health,Uncategorized — Nhaudzenyu @ 11:47 am

By Nhau Mangirazi
MAGUNJE- Sir Philip Sidney once said: ‘They are never alone that are accompanied with noble thoughts’

When National Aids Council, Nac official Rumbidzai Manatsa mooted the idea of Ministry of Health spearheading Magunje Aids gala, some took it as a daydream.

It was a tall order and few understood it well.

Unknown to her and other partners was that the late Mhosva Marasha aka Biggie Tembo and Prince Tendai Mupfurutsa kept their fingers closed and smiling in their graves.

For the late Hurungwe music icon it was time for their kith and kin to enjoy music near their rural homes. It is here where they were raised before venturing to the modern world but came back to be buried here.

Prince Tendai the ‘Character’ hit maker body lies under Mupfurutsa  village a few kilometers from the venue- Magunje stadium.

Likewise, Tembo who led the Bhundu Boys is buried in Hurungwe.

Both made music lovers happy during their lifetime as Tembo’s band was the first to tour United Kingdom while Prince Tendai’ Barbed wire music, the first genre before Zimdancehall came up nearly two decades later made international impact  musically.

These two musicians are smiling in their graves following the successful musical gala recently.

It was a revival when the crowd sang along Fred Manjalina aka Kapfupi,  Freeman’s real name Energy Sylvester Chizanga and Blessing Shumba who drove all the way from Mutate to entertain the crowd.

But hold on, another late legendary artist is smiling broader as his dream was fulfilled.

This is none other than the late actor, poet and Aids activist Eliot Magunje known as Madzibaba Jazzman in Paraffin drama series who passed on April 2003.

His body lies near Kemureza dam near Magunje growth point.

He is among few of Zimbabweans to openly come out about his HIV-positive status and was influential in promoting better health for people living with HIV/Aids in the country.

Magunje had a dream when access to testing was limited besides stigma associated by disclosure then.

He was angry that drugs to prolong life on HIV patients were too expensive.

By then, late Magunje’s dream was never understood but it was literally accomplished at the weekend when at least 800 people were tested and counselled about HIV and Aids for free.

This is besides over 150 women who underwent Visual Inspection with Acetic Acid and Camera, or VIAC- an effective way to prevent cervical cancer in women age 30-50 years old.

About 60 people were tested on Sexually Transmitted Infections, STI while over 100 women got family planning services that came close to their villages.

Even pensioners had a chance to inquire on services provided by National Social Security Authority among other services.

Sixty seven Rogers Matanha of Mupingashato village said the gala could have been good to honor local talented musicians on such events.

‘We hope the organizers will get to understand historical background of the area and associate it with current events.  It was going to be good to mention Magunje as pioneer on advocacy for free testing here in Hurungwe.  While Tembo and Prince Tendai Mupfurutsa are gone, they remain our musical heroes’

Nac communication manager Madeline Dube said music galas are making an impact on the society as they offer HIV and AIDS services to the community in a more relaxed manner.

‘We are now offering better services to males who are often left out by other health programmes. As Nac, we are providing HIV and AIDS services in a comprehensive manner under one roof ‘one stop shop” approach’, said Dube.

Worth mentioning

Hurungwe district medical officer Doctor Annamore Mutisi said there no one on Antiretroviral Therapy, ART with 28 558 people accessing it for free.

‘Zimbabwe has identified sex workers, youths, long distance truck drivers, artisanal miners and prisoners as key populations that need more and targeting prevention interventions. It is worth mentioning  that these groups are predominant in Hurungwe. More efforts need to be done so that we close the gap in new infections. Its no longer going to be business as usual,’ said Mutisi.

The gala held under the theme Closing the tap on new HIV infection, indeed made dreams of the late Magunje become a reality.

Pool night final in Karoi

Filed under: Uncategorized — Nhaudzenyu @ 11:44 am

By Nhau Mangirazi
KAROI- There was an all night pool final in the small farming town of Karoi recently as the game is making inroads in resettled farms and communal areas.
Sternage Daka popularly known as Sir Dhaka organized the grand final that saw Mako Bakani walking away with cash prize of $70.00, a T-shirt
and a cue stick.

The second prize was won by Norest Chiyangwa who also pocketed cash prize.

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Daka said pool was now popular in small town like Karoi among others.

‘The game is becoming popular in small towns as it is in big ones like Harare, Bulawayo among others. Playing pool- even competitively- can be a great way to unwind after a stressful day. Playing pool will give you an appreciation for a sport that involves skill and creativity; it is also a sport that can be played professionally and profitably. Many people are opting  to  play pool since it does not require any great athleticism; rather it is about having a sharp mind and thinking ahead’ said Daka in an interview.
He added that teams within Karoi will soon compete in other towns.
‘We are gearing to go places! as we will soon have a Karoi top select team competing with Chinhoyi top cream and go further to other cities to compete for the  nationals’ he added.
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Many people are opting  to  play pool since it does not require any great athleticism; rather it is about having a sharp mind and thinking ahead, concluded Daka.

July 4, 2017

Hurungwe headman facilitates marriage of 14 year minor as police dither on arresting hubby

Filed under: News — Nhaudzenyu @ 9:40 am
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By Nhau Mangirazi
KAROI-A 14 year old Hurungwe girl bolted out of a Karoi Children’s home where she was surrendered to for medical examination and safety on Wednesday last week, investigations reveal.
The girl at the center of controversy was married off to a 27 year old man who is headman Emmanuel Mavhunga’s late brother’s, son.
Police in Magunje launched a manhunt to arrest the underage girl while the husband who was picked up for sleeping with a minor was released out of police custody after 48 hours had lapsed without going to court.
A source at Magunje charge office confirmed that the suspect did not appear in court as scheduled when he was picked up soon after the girl was rescued.
‘We had a suspect who came here on Tuesday but due to pressure as we were hosting senior District officers for inspection, the suspect did not go to court and was released. He will be summoned to appear in court,’ said a junior officer at Magunje police camp.
In a move likely to complicate the underage marriage, the girl skipped out of children’s home in Karoi hardly two days after she was surrendered by child welfare officials.
According to villagers, headman Muchini facilitated payment of a beast and money. The girl was rescued from her child marriage by district welfare officer Blessing Simango on Tuesday last week and left her at the children’s home for care and safety.
However, sources revealed that when Simango visited the home on Wednesday, the girl was nowhere to be seen.
Sources at Karoi Children’s home revealed that she absconded from the premises hardly two days she was at the center.
‘We got a 14 year old girl late on Tuesday whose case was of child marriage. We took care of her just like any other children we have here from different backgrounds. However, we were surprised that she was nowhere to be seen early on Wednesday morning. We never suspected that she could abscond,’ said a source at the center who declined to be named.
Investigations made on Tuesday revealed that the girl was married off after headman Muchini facilitated the marriage.
The area situated about 105 kilometers west of Karoi is in ward 25, Chief Dandawa within Hurungwe rural district.
Headman Muchini paid off the money and a beast since the 27 year old husband is headman’s late brother’s son.
Villagers told theweeklymirror that the headman was the prime suspect of early child marriage that has set tongues wagging in the remote village.
‘Headman Muchini released the beast for damages and $50 cash as token to the girl’s parents late in January and he did this to silence both the parents not to report the case to the police. He is the custodian of the husband after his parents passed on few years ago,’ said a villager Moses Chapara.
The girl’s’ mother aged 39 confirmed that the case went before headman Muchini who heard it and facilitated payment of cash and the beast.
The mother said they are still yet to collect the beast from their in laws.
‘Soon after Diana* eloped we got a word from our son in law that there were ready to pay some money and they said they will release a beast as part of damages to our daughter. They paid $50 as token of appreciation. We are still yet to get the beast. We tried to get the headman assist us but he was elusive to get the case reported to the police. Our child was problematic and we just thought it was good riddance on our part,’’ said the mother whom we can not name to protect the victim.
The father of the girl is aged 43 year old was silent during visit and interviews. He is a fisherman who is always in Gache-Kache fishing camp.
According to villagers the victim whom we can not name to protect her was married off to a 27 year Grade 6 dropout who is a neighbor to the girl’s parents.
It is believed the husband who was living with the minor as wife since January is an orphan but has been living with his uncle headman Muchini.
Muchini was not around during our visit.
Some villagers confirmed that headman Muchini facilitated payment of the beast as a cover -up to the child marriage act.
Hurungwe child welfare officer Blessing Simango refused to talk to the press over the case saying he had no authority to talk to the press but sources revealed that the girl has been rescued and surrendered to Hurungwe children’s home in Karoi for probation and better welfare.
Recently, Hurungwe East Member of Parliament Sarah Mahoka bemoaned high cases of child marriages where traditional leaders are accomplices by demanding fees from suspects and once paid they never act to have suspects arrested.
Mahoka told Primary and Secondary minister Lazarus Dokora that the district has high cases of child marriages.
‘We wonder why Chiefs and headman are paid fees as this has resulted in high numbers of child marriages in the district. Our girls are dropping out of school early and married since traditional leaders are not stamping authority. They demand money called chigaramaratanda and will never protect the girl child,’ said Mahoka recently at Karoi Enterprise school.

July 2, 2017

Commemorations for State sponsored violence victims held in Bulawayo  

By Our Correspondent

BULAWAYO– The Movement for Democratic Change led by former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai held commemorations for state sponsored violence victims at Sizinda Hall in Bulawayo at the weekend.

The meeting brought sad memories of state brutality since Gukurahundi era and renewed Zanu PF terror campaign tool after 2000 chaotic land reform.

Senior MDC-T members including Vice President Thokozile Khupe, national chairperson Lovemore Moyo, national deputy chair Morgan Komichi, secretary-general advocate Douglas Mwonzora , were among those who attended.

The event was touching as some could hardly hold back tears as they remembered horrors they went through Zanu PF terror machinery.

Victims recalled sad memories under Zanu PF in post independence era where at least 20 000 civilians were killed by the Government in 1983 Gukurahundi era where ‘liberator turned assailant’

Khupe observed a minute of silence for all victims but later called on Veterans Activists Association, VAA, to remain guided by the thrust to an independent nation that values human life and political freedom.

‘We have gone dark past and perpetrators must be ashamed of. We gather here to remember those who are victims of State sponsored victims. We must remain focused, fostered by unity to be a truly independent nation. No one must be maimed or killed because of different political ideologies neither should we leave in fear of a Government of the people. As MDC-T we must remain united and not break the spirit of living and departed victims’ said Khupe.

She called on Zimbabweans to be part of a better future.

They came from such areas like Hwedza where a victim was shot by a known state intelligence officer while others came from Matabeleland South, North, Harare, Manicaland, Mashonaland West, Central and other provinces.

Chairperson Moyo assured victims that MDC-T will never forget them.

‘As a party we recognise all victims including the Gukurahundi victims. This sad day however mark a definitive day where the party and VAA fought for the betterment and recognition of all political victims in post independent Zimbabwe. Let us preach unity , unity and more unity and shun violence. We must work together and admit lost souls into our party ahead of forthcoming elections’ said Moyo.

Senator Komichi thanked God for such an initiative and observed a moment of silence for late Joshua Nkomo who passed on 1 July in 1999.

Komichi called on party members to register to vote, fight corruption, anarchy and vices than inter-party fights each other.

Many speakers including Mwonzora and Bhebhe called on party supporters to remain united in fighting against Zanu PF as a common enemy fighting people freedoms.

Among well known victims is Themba Ndebele of Nkayi whose whereabouts still remain sketchy since 2002.

Bhebhe pledged assistance for other projects including the rehabilitation of alderman Zet Sibanda’s grave and unveiling of his tombstone.

Alderman Sibanda late political icon in Nkayi who never lost to Zanu PF until his unfortunate death in an accident.

The VAA chairperson Victor Zunza applauded the mainstream for joining hands with the victims.

‘We have suffered enough in silence but our voices are crying out that we want everyone to be part of us. Our departed friends’ pursuit of true freedom will never be in vain,’ said Zunza.

MDC-T VAA national deputy spokesperson Blessing Mandava said it is refreshing concerned Zimbabweans must shun any form of violence.

‘Violence is retrogressive and the nation must move forward. We are geared to remain united in the spirit of togetherness and fight our oppressors through democratic means,’’ said Mandava.

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