June 17, 2018

Media, civil society caught offside ahead of elections

Vibrant media needed ahead of Zimbabwe 2018 elections

HARARE- Zimbabwe gears for general elections on 30 July 2018 but media and civil society have failed to scrutinize loopholes in the voters’ registration system.

The new Bio metric Voters Registration, (BVR) system estimated to have chewed over $20million from Government and international donors will not deliver free, credible and fair elections in Zimbabwe, Nhau Mangirazi explains why.

The civil society and the media ‘slept on duty’ to monitor the ten day voters inspection period marred by teething problems.

Media houses remain constrained financially, says Ernest Mudzengi, Zimbabwe Media Center, executive director.

‘‘Reporting on voter inspection is for investigative stories. Unfortunately, some media houses are politically captured for such investigations. They were reactive than being proactive, says Mudzengi.

Investigations reveal that Dambanzara primary school polling station 40 kilometers east of Karoi town under Ward 6, Hurungwe East constituency had some of 401 voters’ names missing.

In Hurungwe Central’s Karoi Ward 2 Youth Center polling station some of 153 voters’ names missing were forced to re-register.

Magunje constituency Ward 10 Charles Clark polling station with 1677 registered voters had some voters names mixed up under Gweru constituency, according to sources.

‘‘These are not isolated cases and we hope ZEC rectified,’’ says Karoi Resident Trust director Travor Chiwanga.

Emmerson-Mnangagwa Zanu PF presidential candidate

Mudzengi says the situation leads to uncritical and cosmetic election reporting.

Vibrant media is the cornerstone of democracy with energetic civil societies but the latest lay back approach, dents good governance electoral process, he observes.




The 10 day voters’ inspection took a backstage unlike BVR blitz in 2017 where an estimated 5.3million registered elections set for 30 July 2018.

‘‘People vote in uninformed ways but unfair electoral practices must be exposed,’’ Mudzengi says.

Aston Marukutira, an independent advocate agrees.

‘‘The fact that voters were not aware of key issues detracts credibility of electoral process. Media failed to inform electorate when it mattered most,’’ he says.

But United Kingdom-based Kent University Electronics Engineer, biometrics expert and researcher Samuel Chindaro blames ZEC.

‘‘It is an extremely fully driven process by ZEC than to cause apathy and confusion,’’ says Chindaro.

Following news

Precious Shumba, Harare Resident Trust, director, accuses media and the civil society of being heavily ‘embedded’.

‘‘Both lacked scrutiny of BVR processes and were determined by what the State or opposition political parties said. Our media was following news based on their preferences and political

MDC Alliance candidate Nelson Chamisa

campaigns,’’ says Shumba.

But Zimbabwe Election Support Network, (ZESN) chairperson Andrew Makoni explains that they deployed 2000 observers during BVR blitz but covered all 210 with long term observers for voters’ inspection whose reports were basis for updates.

‘‘ZESN received reports where inspection officers did not apply regulations uniformly,’’ says Makoni

He reveals that at some centers registrants would sign after checking their names on the voters’ roll while at some centers registrants were not signing.

Chindaro adds lack of knowledge on inspection as a major factor.

‘‘Zimbabwe’s polarized political environment needed more time for inspection to allow flexibility. Awareness campaigns for inspection are crucial,’ urges Chindaro.

Shumba blames citizens for not asking Government or opposition accountability.

‘That is how our politicians take voters for granted’ says Shumba.

BVR a success- Chindaro

However, Chindaro sees BVR as a success story.

‘‘The BVR process itself cannot guarantee missing of voters from database. Technical glitches will occur with or without BVR,’’ defends Chindaro.

Makoni adds that with over 5 million voters who inspected voters’ roll it is a huge improvement from previous electoral cycles.

He says ZESN projections indicated 7.2 million eligible voters though over 70% have registered so far.

‘‘There is need to conduct comprehensive voter education well ahead of electoral processes in future,’’ says Makoni.

But Shumba suggests that cost of elections is never a major issue.

‘‘If those who invested in electoral processes are satisfied, legitimacy is rarely a major problem.  Crisis emerges if key stakeholders raise legitimate concerns and rejection of election system,’ says Shumba.

No key reforms

‘‘Despite lack of key reforms, MDC Alliance and other political parties are convinced with Zanu PF loss. This will never be an indicator of legitimacy crisis,’’ adds Shumba.

But Chindaro differs calling on stakeholders to respect lawfully created institutions to execute their duties professionally.

‘‘Making new demands not covered in current laws reduces engagement and participation by the electorate,’ explains Chindaro.

Makoni concludes by saying, ‘Given that voter registration for the 2018 election closes 2 days after the nomination, it is imperative for ZEC to consider maintain the registration of voters at ward level countrywide to ensure that more voters are registered for the 2018 election.’’.

Elections Resource Centre, (ERC), one of the key organisations did not respond to questions sent to them by the time of writing.

Ward based voting-ZEC

However, ZEC Chairperson Justice Priscilla Chigumba says elections will be ‘unique’ under BVR.


There were 9360 polling stations for estimated 5,3million prospective voters that will be ward based.

She adds that more polling stations will be added.

Twenty three aspiring presidential candidates filed their nomination papers last week according to Justice Chigumba.

With few weeks to go for polls, both media and civil society have a tall order to rectify the on-going electoral process in the country for a justified free, fair and credible elections with every stakeholder taking a holistic approach.


May 17, 2018

Tongas’ neglected Siakobvu hospital

Filed under: Feature,health,News — Nhaudzenyu @ 4:20 pm
Tags: , , ,

Siakobvu Hospital Photo By Nhau Mangirazi

By Nhau Mangirazi

SIAKOBVU– Forty three year old Julius Mandipa struggles in pain as he nurses a broken arm wrapped in a worn out old blanket.

There is no joy at sight when he visits Siakobvu Hospital where nurses cannot help either because there is no X-ray machine.

Like many villagers here frustration grips him as he has to endure a 210 kilometre journey to Karoi district but there is no ambulance at the hospital.

Like many facing cash crunch, he endures the next day long trip.

After that he connected another 80 kilometre journey west of Karoi to Chidamoyo mission hospital where services are much better than any other public hospitals throughout the country facing health delivery crisis.

This is the sad reality that villagers here are enduring for decades without reprieve in Kariba rural aptly called Nyaminyami.

It has nine health centres, four council clinics and five government clinics all referring to Siakobvu hospital but ironically remains in the same category as any other rural clinic.

As a member of villagers under Chief Mola, Mandipa believes they have been neglected by the Government.

‘We have never been recognised as equal members of a free and liberated Zimbabwe. Some of our forefathers bore the brunt of armed struggle when liberators crossed into Zambia through some parts of this area,’ he says, his dejected face selling out his frustration.

Mandipa is not alone paying the price of irresponsible authorities as some expecting mothers are not spared either.

Part of Siakobvu Hospiital…Photos By Nhau Mangirazi

‘At times we referred them early to Karoi as we feared of child deaths. It was a challenge,’ said one of our sources who once worked at the hospital.

Historically, some of villagers’ forefathers were forcibly driven out of Zambezi basement in late 1950s to pave way for Kariba dam construction as the power base for hydroelectricity benefiting Zimbabwe and Zambia.

These nations share benefits of the project initially funded by the World Bank.

Human-animal conflict

Traditional leaders including Chiefs Mola, Msampakaruma, Negande and Nebiri with thousands of their subjects were left in the animal infested Zambezi valley where animal and human conflicts have been order of the day since then.

For villagers here, it was a blessing when donors complimented Government efforts to build few primary schools dotted around the vast remote areas.

It seemed to be in order for recognising education as a basic human right.

The idea of building Siakobvu clinic in 1981 was a dream of fulfilling health as another human right by Government here.

In 1997, the clinic was upgraded to be fully fledged district hospital covering the rural wards.

Ghost hospital

But this dream is falling villagers as it remains a ghost hospital operating as a clinic ever since then.

It has never had a medical doctor since inception affecting its operations due unreliable electricity and bad road network among other challenges.

“We suffer from blackouts and takes time to be restored within this area,’ said a source declining to be named.

Further investigations revealed that Siakobvu is connected to Gokwe within Midlands and it makes another administrative challenge for reconnection.

‘It is true that Siakobvu is connected to Gokwe and Kwekwe main lines besides drawing electricity from the other side of the valley in Kariba urban,’ said a source within the sector declining to be named for professional reasons.

“Generally, some people will go to either Karoi or Chidamoyo which is over 300 kilometres. Even in Kariba town transport is expensive,’ added our sources.

Part of Siakobvu Hospital that remains neglected in Kariba rural

Outgoing Kariba Member of Parliament Isaac Mackenzie has lobbied for deployment of doctors in the rural outskirts without success.

‘As much as I have tried to lobby for doctors here, the challenge is that many prefer to work near towns. This has put off prospective doctors. Without basic equipment for the health facility my efforts have failed to change the status quo’ said Mackenzie.

For many villagers here, the recent strike by doctors never meant anything but the subsequent firing and re-engagement of nurses will have physiological effects having been in company for over three decades

November 23, 2017

Of Sadc quiet diplomacy and Zim crisis

Filed under: Feature,Uncategorized — Nhaudzenyu @ 12:41 pm

By Nhau Mangirazi
HARARE- It is nearly nine years after majority of Zimbabweans were denied their democratic space after opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai had defeated former president Robert Mugabe in watershed elections in 2002.

The controversial elections left many within Southern Africa disappointed and the international world could not do anything.

By then Zanu PF ruling party was caught in sixes and sevens.

Tsvangirai had to turn to Southern Africa Development Community, Sadc to help pacify challenges faced then.

A rerun was effected after results took over three months to come through.

Mugabe was declared winner and he got support regionally and internationally.

For peace loving Zimbabweans, democracy eluded them and no one seemed to care. Former South African President Thabo Mbeki embarked on quiet diplomacy that resulted in Government of National Unity IN 2009.

All hope was not lost as top army officials had belief that Mugabe would hand over power to a potential successor but all was not to be.

His wife Grace was ‘drunk with power’ that she elbowed out former Vice President Joice Mujuru in 2014 through deceit lies and deception among party supporters then.

Early this year she continued her somersaults against potential Mugabe successor Emmerson Mngagwagwa.

All hope was never to be lost after Zimbabwe Defence Forces seized power, putting Mugabe under house arrest.

The suspected coup was a game plan that even international community could not term it that way.

Business went on as usual and there was spirited efforts by majority that Mugabe must leave office.

It was a people’s power against him and a click of his followers

Sadc heads of State met to discuss Zimbabwe crisis that they had neglected to solve earlier on.

Below we publish comments made on Botswana newspaper about Sadc and Zimbabwe crisis.

PeshyWashe Nyangove
I am a Zimbabwean who witnessed first hand how Sadc is always ready to sacrifice ordinary citizens to protect the political elite in power. Countless times Sadc endorsed rigged elections in Zimbabwe as free and fair to protect Mugabe. Sadc through Thabo Mbeki said they was no crisis in Zimbabwe to protect Mugabe. The only President I have respect for in the region is Ian Khama he has been consistent with his views on Mugabe, he has stuck to his principles even if that meant he would be a lone voice among his counterparts. We Zimbabweans we are happy Sadc acted slowly this time and Mugabe resigned before Zuma and Co landed in Harare. Thousands of Sadc citizens are being butchered in DRC yet this Sadc is just there doing nothing. In my opinion Sadc is useless I pity whoever funds it.

Lebohang Tes Ngwako
SADC is toothless dog. Only Botswana is an active member on preserving stability in the region. I long gave up on SADC 2008 when Morgan Tsvangirai was beaten and shamboked day and night while Sadc stood shut regarding the whole political instability there. Only Khama that time questioned the whole Zim Mess. Even prior to their 2008 and the last elections Khama has been critical of Mugabe’s rule up until he resigned.

Telmore Muzanenhamo
In Sadc only president Khama is and Botswana best other members are thiefs happy when people struggling Zimbabwe does not need any organisation to solve our problems for how long? Sadc failed us

Jack Jay-Dee Kgarathi In Zimbabwe situation nope.toothless dog.zimbabwe has been in this disheartening situation,an eyesore to many but SADC never asked him to constitutionally stepdown.SKI was the one who was brave enough to tell RGM to step down but it wasnt enough.he couldnt do it singlehandedly.he needed other SADC heads of states to make that happen.

Tee Mafokate While we could speak of how SADC has failed, let what was actually done by the people of Zimbabwe not be dulled. In fact, all played out so well without a shed of blood. The bigger question would be for international and regional bodies like SADC to know when to intervene and when to let the people of a country handle their business. There was no need for alarms in my view. Well done Zimbos.

Munkondya Thomson Musango The problem is that most heads of nations around SADC are not democratic at all. We all know this but we just keep quiet probably for fear of victimization. I would like to thank our president here in Botswana for voicing out on Zimbabwe mismanagement from a long time up to now. SADC will remain a white elephant until we have presidents who respect the rule of law.

Oscar Ncube SADC is not ours ordinary people but for presidents to protect themselves see how long they protected our former president Mr Mugabe

Coss Chimombe Zuma had to cancel his intended trip to Zimbabwe where he was supposed to ‘mediate’ (whatever that means at SADC) because everything was resolved before he could be of any value .That alone speaks volumes about SADC.

Ike Mants Zuma is just like Mugabe and since the Zimbabwean military has read his mind or tactics, they(zims) were not going to allow the intervention of SADC. That’s why some members of SADC were reluctant on the issue as they expected them (Zims) to solve everything themselves. Only Zuma was for the intervention and not only to save his friend but to prepare for his safety if what happened to Mugabe can befall him (Zuma)

What is Robert Mugabe’s legacy?

Reporting from Zimbabwe, Nhau Mangirazi examines the legacy of nearly four decades of Mugabe rule 21 November 2017

Robert Mugabe has stepped down as President of Zimbabwe today after 37 years in power.

The announcement came during a parliamentary session to impeach him, after he had initially refused to step down – notwithstanding being detained the army.

‘This is a second independence from our own oppressor. The man with iron fist is gone,’ said kombi driver Rodwell Mangava.

In Karoi, a town 204 kilometers northwest of Harare and within Mugabe’s home province, people said they welcomed his resignation. ‘It was long overdue. He must go and rest,’ said 45 year old vegetable vendor Charity Danga.

Fear and loyalty kept him in power

His own party, Zanu-PF, resolved to fire him at the weekend and impeachment proceedings had started.

His wife Grace has been banned from party politics for life, along with others linked to the Generation 40 faction behind the expulsion of ex-vice president Emerson Mngagwagwa.

After winning independence from the British in 1980, liberation leader Robert Mugabe ruled the country for seven years as Executive Prime Minister. For the next three decades he held the post of Executive President – but these years became increasingly tainted by failure and corruption.

Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda, a human rights lawyer and African Union Goodwill Ambassador, says now it’s critical to ensure that the political negotiations go beyond discourse on power and party interests, and maintain a clear focus on the social and economic wellbeing of ordinary Zimbabweans.

Fear and violence

According to the many thousands of Zimbabwean citizens who have taken to the streets in the past few days, Mugabe made elections a ‘ritual meant to legitimize him and his Zanu-PF party’.

George Makoni, vice chair of Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, says Mugabe used various violent and patronage tactics to ensure he maintained his position as head of state. Fear and loyalty kept him in power.

Major hospitals lack adequate medicines, while Mugabe and his family travel to Singapore for treatment

He manipulated critical institutions constitutionally supposed to be independent, including ‘courts, security forces and traditional leaders among others’, says Makoni.

‘Furthermore, the Zimbabwe Election Commission (ZEC) played to his tune – he is the one who appointed all its officials,’ he adds. ‘ZEC ensured that elections were rigged in his favour. The 2008 elections denied opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai ascendency to power, despite his having overwhelmingly won the election.’


Gumbonzvanda, a human rights lawyer and African Union Goodwill Ambassador, says Mugabe advanced women’s and children’s rights in Zimbabwe.

She says: ‘No one will deny the achievements the country made in the first 10 years of his rule. A raft of laws addressed the personal rights of women, including the Legal Age of Majority Act and the maintenance and inheritance laws.

‘The major focus on health and education brought major benefits to girls’ school enrolment, reduction of maternal deaths and treatment of HIV/Aids. On the policy front, President Mugabe can pride himself that the country signed almost every law.’

And gains lost

However, she says, most gains were lost or eroded in the last 10 years, as a deep political, economic and financial crisis gripped the Southern African nation.

Mugabe has presided over a nation in which 90 per cent of the population is now unemployed.

‘The impact of loss of jobs and income affected women and girls most,’ says Gumbonzvanda. ‘The evidence is clear from just the scale of domestic and gender based violence, rates of teenage pregnancy and child marriage.’

Another contentious issue has been the massive land grabs Mugabe ordered in in the 1980s, and then in 2000.

With the help of liberation war veterans, Mugabe made aggressive land grabs from former white farmers, as part of a land reform programme that he said would rectify colonial imbalances.

Instead, several thousands of farmers were evicted from farms in the Mazowe area within Mashonaland Central province, east of Harare.

Muzzling the media

Njabulo Ncube, national coordinator of Zimbabwe National Editors Forum, accuses Mugabe of muzzling the media by passing harsh and repressive media laws which have seen the harassment, arrest and assault of journalists.

‘Under his watch, newspapers were closed and have yet to recover; journalists remain jobless and some have died in poverty,’ he says.

‘He is going down in the history of Zimbabwe as a media hangman.’

Ailing health sector

Although Zimbabwe has one of the highest levels of education in Africa, Mugabe stands accused of failing to deliver decent health services: major hospitals lack adequate medicines.

Meanwhile, Mugabe and his family travel to Singapore for treatment.

While most rural women have to walk 30 miles to access local health facilities, Mugabe’s daughter Bona gave birth in Singapore.

Itai Rusike, executive director of the Community Working Group on Health, says that Zimbabwe had made tremendous gains in reducing HIV/AIDS related deaths over the years through multi-sectoral efforts.

‘[But] if the current situation is not addressed urgently, the country will end up losing gains recorded over the past years,’ he adds.

What is most disturbing is that the shortages of anti-retroviral drugs (ARVs) come at a time when the World Health Organisation (WHO) is warning of a drug resistant HIV strain emerging in developing countries. Interruption of drug treatment has been blamed for increases in this new strain.

‘There is evidence of failing access to drugs in recent years, most sharply in clinics that form the frontline of the healthcare system with the community,’ Rusike says.

As the international media focus on the world’s oldest leader, Mugabe may be more.remembered as the man who won much for his country – and lost more.

Zimbabwe’s coup that isn’t a coup

With tanks on the streets and rumours in the newspapers, the world’s oldest leader might be coming to the end of his 37-year rule. Nhau Mangirazi reports from Zimbabwe. 17 November 2017

President Robert Mugabe’s rule in Zimbabwe appears to be coming to an end, five days after the country’s military, the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF), staged what many are calling a coup.

On Monday, armed soldiers took up positions in key points in the capital city, Harare, and reportedly confined Mugabe to his home.

However, Mugabe made a public appearance today at a university graduation ceremony outside Harare.

A senior official from Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party told the Financial Times that the army – which still refers to him as the President – might allow him to finish his term, which ends next year, provided his wife, Grace Mugabe, ‘[leaves] politics for good’.

The 93-year-old head of state – the world’s oldest leader – has been in power for 37 years, since Zimbabwe gained independence from Britain in 1980. Before the army’s intervention, Grace Mugabe and vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa were locked in an increasingly bitter contest to succeed him.

The army intervened after Emmerson Mnangagwa was fired on 6 November.

ZDF Commander General Constantino Chiwenga has denied claims of a coup, calling it a ‘bloodless correction’.

‘The ZDF is trying to pacify a degenerating political, social and economic situation in our country, which if not addressed may result in violent conflict,’ said Sibusiso Moyo, speaking on behalf of the Zimbabwe National Army.

‘Mugabe and his family are safe and sound and their security is guaranteed. We are only targeting criminals around him who are committing crimes that are causing social and economic suffering in the country, in order to bring them to justice,’ he continued.

The army has been arresting senior government ministers around Mugabe and his wife. An unverified claim circulating major national and international media is that finance minister Ignatius Chombo was found with over $10 million in cash upon his arrest.

A welcome coup?

Many Zimbabweans have cautiously welcomed the army’s intervention and the end of Mugabe’s rule – during which economic and political circumstances had gradually deteriorated.

Mugabe’s legacy includes a 90 per cent unemployment rate and staggering human rights abuses, such as the 2008 post-election violence when hundreds were killed and which was described by Human Rights Watch as ‘state-sponsored violence’.

‘Any ordinary Zimbabwean welcomes any outcome where they are free to enjoy their social and economic rights, as guaranteed by constitution,’ says Virginia Muwanigwa, Director at the Humanitarian Information and Facilitation Centre.

‘There is anger over the loss of thousands of dollars during the 2007-2008 hyper-inflation, and the people that died at the hands of the Zanu PF militias in 2008.’

Harare-based journalist and civil rights advocate Rashweat Mukundu re-iterates that citizens will want to be able to choose a leader in a fair and peaceful process.

‘There is need for a corrective action as stated by the military, and the sustainability of the corrective action will depend on the degree citizen participation and ownership’, he says.

What Happens Next

Five days after the coup, the army has yet to resolve the question of what happens next.

Precious Shumba, director of Harare Resident Trust, says he was expecting the army to have forced Robert Mugabe to hand over power by now.

‘Now that the army has claimed to have taken control of the country, they [should] pronounce a new cabinet, make key appointments to strategic institutions so that Zimbabwe moves forward with certainty,’ he says.


August 15, 2017

MZ among unsung Zimbabwe heroes

Filed under: Feature,News,News — Nhaudzenyu @ 12:30 pm
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By Chenai Maramba

KAROI– Zimbabweans celebrated 37 years of independence and remembering many political heroes who fought for the country liberation before independence on 11 and 12 August 2017.

As the nation took time to reflect how those who fought before and after independence, too many of the unsung heroes of our time will forever be remembered.

Although the heroes’ status has been politicized with the thrust of Zanu PF and Government officials being given the highest accord, it is disheartening that there are some who fought for equality to all after independence but whose voices have been silenced.

For some when Movement for Democratic Change, MDC led by former Prime Minister of Government of National Unity Morgan Tsvangirai , was formed in 1999 as the only strongest opposition party to challenge Zanu PF misrule, it was a tough decision and it needed those with focus to take it to the fore forefront and challenge the status quo.

Several thousands have suffered in silence over challenging Zanu PF misrule and some have passed on and are unsung heroes of Zimbabwe post-independence era.

One of these is the late Luckson Kanyurira whose abduction and death in the resort town of Kariba remain vivid to many peace loving Zimbabweans.

Others are Tonderai Ndira who was murdered during to run up to 2008 elections.

Learnmore Jongwe passed on prison following a suspected set up by Zanu PF spies in 2002.

But Karoi farming town situated about 204 kilometer north-west of Harare has been the hot bed of political victimization by mainly Zanu PF youths against opposition members.

But behold, another young soul among hundreds of MDC supporters is Malvern Muzivoreva well known as MZ who was born and bred in Karoi farming town on 18 January 1983.

Late Malverne Muzoworeva MZ an MDC activist who fled from Zimbabwe in 2008 and died in South Africa. One of unsung opposition members from Karoi

Late Malvern Muzivoreva MZ an MDC activist who fled from Zimbabwe in 2008 and died in South Africa. One of unsung opposition members from Karoi in Mashonaland West province,

He attended Karoi Junior primary school and later went to Karoi High School for his O level.

MZ was politically conscious on need for democratic change as well as total independence of every citizen.

It was not by coincidence that he was actively involved with MDC.

One of the founding MDC members Frack Kuchekwa recalled how MZ was in the forefront of organizing youths in the party.

‘Malvern was among few MDC youths around Karoi town who used to go around the farms selling party cards with the need to have workers know their rights so that they cannot be looked down upon. He was an active youth MDC member and we looked forward to him for greater ideas as a party,’ said Kuchekwa.

While MZ was being active in opposition politics, at family level life was becoming hard for their eldest sister Mary, born in 1974 who had to toil for the four member family following the death of their mother, Evelyn in 1993, when MZ was only ten years old.

Hardly a year years after joining politics MZ’s father, Campion passed on. Two years later he was arrested in September 2004 and stayed in Karoi prison until 2008.

This became the hardest time for his sister, Mary as she had to fend for the other brother and another sister, without formal employment.

‘Unfortunately he contracted Tuberculosis, TB while in Karoi prison due to squalid conditions. We knew that his arrest and incarnation was politically motivated,’ recalled another MDC supporter James Kadara who worked with MZ.

Malvern was later released on bail 2008.

MDC activist Malverne Muzoworeva in all white who fled from Zimbabwe in 2008 and passed on in South Africa. In this file photo he was with brother Marevlous. Both are now late.

MDC activist Malvern Muzivoreva in all white who fled from Zimbabwe in 2008 and passed on in South Africa. In this file photo he was with brother Marvelous. Both are now late.

This forced him to flee Zimbabwe that year to join his sister Mary who was battling to make ends meet during the country economic, social and political crisis before Government of National Unity in 2009.

‘Malvern had no choice than to flee the country as there was no medication in public hospitals and TB is curable so he had no option but to follow her sister in South Africa,’ added his close friend, Kadara.

He was later to get better medication at Kempton Civic Centre clinic until the time of his death on 2 April 2016.

‘Her sister was by his side for these years when he battled TB in South Africa and she has been man enough to shoulder the burden of political mismanagement by the ruling party,’ added Kuchekwa.

Former MDC Mashonaland West provincial spokesperson Big Haurobi added his voice that many unsung heroes are not recognized due to the Zanu PF barbaric attitude.

‘We have too many unsung heroes of this struggle and we hope one day people like MZ will be remembered by peace loving Zimbabweans. He was among youth cadres who gave up their life in the face of abduction, threats,. brutality in the province that has been the hot-spots of opposition politics,’ added Haurobi.

He added that besides challenges faced many of Malvern’s relatives remain targets of Zanu PF regime.

‘We know for a fact that the regime is targeting MZ relatives and we wish they could stay safe wherever they are because MZ played a pivotal role although we are fighting a regime with diabolic intentions,’ said Haurobi.

He added, ‘We must remember Tapiwa Mubwanda who was killed in cold blood murder in Hurungwe. These are many and women who paid price for this,’

Jawet Kazangarare and former soldier Peter Madamombe terrorized MDC supporters in Hurungwe.

As the nation remembered fallen heroes, Malvern Muzivoreva MZ is among unsung heroes’ of our time, concluded Kuchekwa.


August 14, 2017

Call for measures to curb TB, Art defaults

Filed under: Feature,health,Uncategorized — Nhaudzenyu @ 1:42 pm
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GLORIA Mudhingo (45) looks happy as she goes about her work in the tuberculosis (TB) and HIV and Aids consultation rooms at Zvimba Rural Clinic, a few kilometres away from Murombedzi business centre.


Clad in a yellow dress and a red jersey, the heavily-built mother of two looks like any other villager as health officials at the clinic are all clad in their uniforms.

She looks like the odd one out when other village women are scattered around the nearby business centre selling vegetables, fruit and second-hand clothes.

As a group of health journalists on a provincial media tour arrive, Mudhingo is about to dash off to Masiyarwa village located 10km away.

Although the media tour is focusing on TB issues, Mudhingo believes her side of the story must be heard.

“TB cases are now surpassing those of HIV but in reality when someone is diagnosed of HIV, he or she remains a suspect in contracting TB. We must work as a community in addressing these issues, but we are facing the challenge of defaulters around here,” Mudhingo, who is the Community Linkages facilitator, says.

Her roles include making follow-ups on patients on anti-retroviral therapy (Art), who are supposed to adhere to their treatment regime to suppress their viral loads.

But for Mudhingo, too many defaulters in the communal areas of Zvimba district are breaking her heart.

“We have had 70 defaulters since January and this figure is alarming, as we have targets, as a nation on HIV matters,” she said.

Mudhingo, who has been living with HIV since 2006, says she wants to lead by example.

“Being HIV positive is a condition that we cannot wish away. Once you are positive, it is part of your life. We must train many of our members of the community to understand it better. The main challenges we face in making follow-ups are that some HIV patients did not disclose their status to close relatives and family members,” she said.

Mudhingo suggests that it is imperative that HIV+ people should be part of support groups, as this will ease the burden of thinking that they are family outcasts.

“I am a member of the Positive Women Support group here in Zvimba. As a family, we are supportive of each other’s needs and challenges on both social and health matters. No one can live as an island, so we must talk to each other,” Mudhingo said.

Zvimba Rural Clinic, established in 1957, has a catchment area for 107 981 people and has 370 TB patients, according to the senior nurse-in-charge, Elias Nyama.

HIV and Aids consultant, Mucha Cynthia Mukamuri attributes defaulting to several factors, including when patients begin to feel better and discontinue treatment.

“This is a reflection of lack of information when patients commence Art. Stigma continues to exist in our communities. Some people are not comfortable with being seen taking medication or they just become too busy,” she said.

“In some cases, the distances travelled to collect medicines can be prohibitive. The waiting period at the facility also compounds the problem. Some people are not patient to wait or their jobs are too demanding to make it easy for them to take their medication.”

Mukamuri, however, said realisation that one was HIV positive could be overwhelming, triggering fear and worry.

“This comes as a shock. It can bring feelings of anger, fear, regret and even panic that are often hard to contain. It is normal to feel this way, but there is need to seriously reflect and accept the situation and take the necessary steps with support from both family and service providers,” she said.

Mukamuri said committing to take treatment was the first big step, which included getting the requisite information about the condition.

Community Working Group on Health (CWGH) executive director, Itai Rusike said defaulters had to live with the stress of an untreated disease that put them at risk of further illness or death.

“People living with HIV are expected to remain adherent to treatment and are labelled ‘defaulters’ when they don’t,” he explained.

“The basic pillar of any public health system is the supply of medicine to clinics and hospitals, and stock-outs are indicative of a bigger problem related to management and accountability.”

Rusike said there was need for eating healthy, exercising, getting adequate rest and early treatment for any opportunistic infections if a person was to successfully manage HIV.

“Most facility level stock-outs are not a result of supply shortages, but of poor management of the distribution of medicines. The government should fully fund strong, accountable, community-based treatment literacy and adherence support along with strong social protection programmes,” he said.

Rusike concurred with Mukamuri that stigma and discrimination undermined HIV prevention efforts by making people afraid to reveal their status, seek HIV information, services and modalities to reduce their risk of infection.

“Fear of stigma and discrimination, which can also be linked to fear of violence, discourages people living with HIV from disclosing their status even to family members and sexual partners and undermines their ability and willingness to access and adhere to treatment,” he said.

“Thus, stigma and discrimination weaken the ability of individuals and communities to protect themselves from HIV and to stay healthy if they are living with HIV.”

Rusike said patients were relatively dependent on public services for Art and faced difficulties in affording prices in private pharmacies.

“There are logistics and supply chain management challenges, stock-outs of HIV test kits and medicines, inadequately decentralised paediatric Art services and Art initiation for children, unpredictable external funding and inadequate private sector reporting,” he said.

Rusike said Zimbabwe had made great progress from being among countries with the highest HIV prevalences in the region, but expressed concern that gender dynamics still played a big role in infection patterns.

“High gender differentials in HIV suggest that social norms and behaviours continue to put young females at risk. There have been significant improvements in service availability, although with shortfalls in continuity of medicine supplies. These shortfalls need to be addressed together with access to food and gender inequality so that Aids does not become a disease of poverty,” the CWGH boss said.

“While the policies, institutions and programmes are in place to respond to prevention, treatment and care needs, resources are still lacking for the scale-up required.
Additional measures are needed to promote uptake among vulnerable groups.”

Rusike said supply, cost and access barriers to paediatric treatment and prevention of mother-to-child transmission services in rural, low-income populations needed to be addressed.

Mukamuri also noted that nutrition played a critical role in HIV management.

“There is need for eating healthy, exercise, adequate rest, early treatment for any opportunistic infections and a stress-free life if a person is to get better from HIV-related illness,” he said.

United Nations targets by 2020 are that at least 90% of all people living with HIV will know their HIV status.

By the same year, 90% of all people with diagnosed HIV infection will receive sustained anti-retroviral therapy and 90% of all people receiving anti-retroviral therapy will have viral suppression.

Should this happen, then Mudhingo will keep on smiling, as the number of defaulters goes down.

Spirited efforts underway to lighten TB burden

Filed under: Feature,health — Nhaudzenyu @ 1:36 pm
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DEREK Banda’s wasted body shakes as he coughs. For a moment, he struggles to speak before a very faint voice echoes from him, his face registering desperation.



He used to be a robust man as confirmed by a picture framed against the wall in this dimly lit room of his house in Alaska Mine compound, which has been nicknamed the Dark City because of lack of electricity.

Banda, a widower, is looking after five grandchildren whose parents succumbed to HIV-related illnesses.

To compound his misery, Banda was diagnosed with tuberculosis (TB), following three weeks of persistent dry cough and sweating during the night.

“I started sweating during the night and had a persistent cough that made it difficult for me to sleep. In fact, my 14-year-old grandson thought I was about to die. I could not walk for a long distance because of breathing challenges. It was really tough for me,” explained Banda.

He said that besides his suspicion that he was suffering from another incurable disease, a former workmate encouraged him to be tested for TB.

“Although I am a renal patient, one of my friends asked me to get tested for TB. He assured me that TB can be treated,” Banda said.

Banda, like many former mine workers, is living in abject poverty after losing his job as an underground miner at Mhangura Mine.

Three months into the treatment regime, he is showing signs of recovery and has become a living testimony that TB can be cured.

Banda recalls how his life took a downturn when he was transferred from Mhangura copper mine 20 years ago and settled at Alaska Mine, 15km west of Chinhoyi in 2000.

Soon after he was diagnosed of TB, Banda confessed that taking medication was deterred by lack of food, since he is unemployed.

“I am in dire need of food supplies since the tablets that I am taking demand a balanced diet,” Banda said.

For him and many others, Alaska mine smelting plant was the major source of employment, along with its sister mine – Shackleton – but the two have been idle following the shutdown in 2001.

TB thrives in poor socio-economic conditions, where people live in overcrowded homes, have poor nutrition, high rates of smoking and where other health conditions such as HIV and Aids are commonplace.

The risk factors for tuberculosis read like a summary of the living conditions of Alaska.

A former worker Joseph Phiri recalled that Mhangura Copper Mine had strong links for them.

“The mine closures brought a lot of unhappiness here, and at Shackleton mines. Nearly 100 men out of the 254 former mine workers retrenched in 2001 have already died at Alaska alone. The majority are terminally,” said Phiri, adding that the situation continues to deteriorate.

Former motor electrician and Alaska workers’ representative, Roger Mlotshwa, said many former miners are now destitute after being exposed to highly toxic chemicals in mines.
“Some workers suffer from lung diseases such as pneumoconiosis,” he said.

Pneumococcus is an occupational lung and a restrictive lung disease caused by inhaling organic and inorganic dusts retained in the lungs.

Jobs associated with the disease include asbestos mining, fabric manufacturing, quarry mining, sandblasting and stone cutting.

According to SafAids media manual on TB and HIV TB transmission occurs indoors.

“An individual risk of exposure is determined by the concentration in contaminated air and length of time a person breathes that air. The risk is high when one has had close and prolonged indoor exposure with the affected person suffering from TB as it will affect approximately 10 and 15 people per year,” the manual in part read.

The Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Health and Child Care has called on urgent need to put TB on the political agenda.

Presenting its findings to Parliament recently, the committee noted that TB among artisanal miners should be a top priority issue that needs to be addressed with the urgency it deserves. State must move in to fund treatment, the committee recommended.

The MPs described the 7% budget allocation towards TB as a mockery saying the disease was a public health threat.

In light of the increased TB risk in mining communities among other at risk population, the ministry supported by USaid’s Challenge TB and Global Fund, embarked on a TB targeted screening initiative by getting into communities at risk of infections as they sought to find all missing TB cases.

Funded to the tune of over $1 million, the programme has seen the ministry setting up mobile clinics in high risk communities.

According to the ministry, high risk communities include people living in mining areas, prisons, people living with HIV, diabetic, health care workers and the elderly; hence the approach has seen them getting into such communities.

International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (The Union) country director, Christopher Zishiri, said his organisation is carrying out targeted screening for active TB in communities that are at high risk including former mine workers and those in the mining sector through the targeted screening for active TB among high risk groups project.
“These people are receiving free chest X-rays and consultations by a medical doctor. In addition, they are also being tested for HIV and diabetes mellitus which also increase their risk of developing TB,” he said.

He added that this year 18 prioritised districts from all the 10 provinces will be screened.

“To date former mine workers and those in the mining sector (both formal and informal) and other high risk communities from 13 districts namely Mazowe, Bindura, Gwanda, Umzingwane, Makonde, Chegutu, Mutasa, Shurugwi, Kwekwe, Bulawayo, Bubi, Nkayi and Matopos have been screened for TB and those diagnosed initiated on appropriate treatment at their nearest health facilities,” Zishiri said.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), Zimbabwe is among the few countries battling 80 to 85% of the global TB, TB-HIV and drug-resistant TB (DR-TB). The global body says TB is one of the world’s most deadly diseases, killing three people every minute.

In 2015, the prevalence of TB in the country was 292 cases per 100 000 populations. Every year, 9 million people develop TB, and 1,5 million die from the disease as it is one of the top 10 causes of death worldwide. WHO report in March 2017 say 10,4 million people fell ill with TB and 1,8 million died from the disease in 2015. Over 95% of TB deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries, according to WHO.

With the Health ministry and other stakeholders’ commitment to end TB by 2030, better strides have been made to eradicate TB with former mine workers like Banda being beneficiaries of the success story.

Chikangwe maternity wing in limbo

Filed under: Feature,health — Nhaudzenyu @ 1:31 pm
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DONATED goods, such as refrigerators, scanning machines and delivery bedding for expecting mothers, are gathering dust at the Chikangwe proposed 24-hour maternity wing since 2015 due to financial and water crises.


Chikangwe 24-Hour Clinic

Zim-Health, a non-governmental organisation from Netherlands, donated the goods to ease maternal health challenges in Karoi town, covering Chikangwe and Claudia suburbs, as well as the Nyama resettlement area and was expected to benefit 15 000 women.

A maternity wing was established to assist expecting mothers before referring them to Karoi District Hospital, catering for 32 outlying clinics in a district with a 329 197-strong population, according to the 2012 national census.

The official opening of the wing has been staggered due to lack of coordination from senior officials and financial resources coupled by the worsening water crisis affecting the farming town situated about 204 km north-west of Harare.

The problems have been blamed on lack of coordination within the municipality’s management, with one councillor claiming that the council approved the employment of midwives, who have “a dark past”.

The ministry of Health and Child Care reportedly demanded that the community hall be fenced before it could authorise the use of the maternity wing, but nothing was done.

Two full council meetings were postponed in May, as policy makers wanted a briefing on the progress from the housing department.

According to the June full council minutes, Ward 1 councillor, Travolta Matekenya raised concern that the facility was yet to become functional long after the set deadline and this was prejudicing residents.

Sha Mujuruki responded that there had been no progress made.

“She (Mujuruki) said nothing had changed and everything was at a standstill and work was still pending since management had not discussed anything pertaining to financing for the maternity wing,” read the minutes in part.

Matekenya further asked about the challenges being faced since most goods were donated and council input was minimal, but the director argued that financial challenges were the hindrance.

Matekenya, however, argued that the real problem was “lack of commitment and incompetence on management’s part”.

Health officials at Karoi district and Chinhoyi provincial hospitals were evasive on the matter.

“We are only witnessing pregnant women registering here for antenatal and postnatal care. We do not know how they would have delivered, as the clinic is still to offer the service here,” a source close to the development said.

The maternity wing is currently being used by breastfeeding mothers, who are on antiretroviral therapy and a recent visit revealed that it has not been working as a maternity wing, with three beds in the other room gathering dust, while scores of other donated materials are locked in another room.

“We had a challenge of a sink. It was installed, but nothing has been done to show commitment on when the maternity wing will be opened,” another source said.

A seven-member commission appointed by Environment Water and Climate ministry to see if council had the capacity to take over water from the Zimbabwe National Water Authority recently was informed that the maternity wing could not be officially opened because of water challenges.

Karoi Residents and Ratepayers Association chairman Freck Kuchekwa expressed concern over lack of progress on the facility.

“We are concerned that expecting mothers have to use a district referral hospital, when donated goods are gathering dust because there is no water to make it function,” he said.

Karoi Town Council town clerk, Wellington Mutikani said the council would soon use the public health and amenities cross-cutting team to investigate the matter.

“Public health is council’s priority and issues of maternal health cannot be overlooked,” he said.

The Zimbabwe Demographic Health Survey says at least 20% of Zimbabwean births for the last five years were home deliveries, which have a negative impact on maternal mortality.

Maternal mortality occurs when a woman dies while pregnant or within 42 days of termination of pregnancy, irrespective of the duration and site of the pregnancy.

The causes maybe related to or aggravated by the pregnancy or its management, but not from accidental or incidental causes and the Karoi scenario aptly points to one such potential case.-

July 27, 2017

Solar energy comes to the rescue of jazz musician

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