SOUTHERN NEWS: Axe hangs over Sandi-Moyo

BULAWAYO - Provincial Affairs minister Eunice Sandi-Moyo’s future in President Robert Mugabe’s government hangs in the balance after pressure was brought to bear on her to resign from her position in the powerful Zanu PF women’s league.

Zanu PF insiders said Sandi-Moyo’s position in government became untenable because of the gravity of the allegations that were levelled against her and it was just a matter of time before she was shown the exits.

It has been three months since she was savagely dethroned from her post of deputy secretary for the women’s league and replaced by Thokozile Mathuthu, also the deputy minister of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services.

Before her removal, members of the women’s league had demonstrated against Sandi-Moyo, and the organ’s secretary for finance, Sarah Mahoka, accusing the duo of undermining the authority of the First Lady, Grace Mugabe, who chairs organ.

Both were also accused of abusing the First Lady’s name to source for donations without her permission.

Zanu PF spokesperson Simon Khaya-Moyo has been on record saying a report would be made to the police if Mahoka and Sandi-Moyo don’t make amends.

Sandi-Moyo and Mahoka have been adamant that their hands were clean and have no apologies to make.

While Sandi-Moyo was humbled to a card-carrying member of Zanu PF, she has kept her ministerial post, complete with its feather beddings, such as a government house and a ministerial vehicle.

Analysts this week said her future in government was now sorely in the hands of Mugabe, who seems to be waiting for an opportune moment to reshuffle his Cabinet and make some adjustments to his line-up.

Ever since her fallout with members of the women’s league, Sandi-Moyo, has been flying under the radar, with the public media shying away from reporting on her activities.

Analysts this week said this was a sure sign that she was now serving at the mercy of her appointing authority who might pull the plug on her at any given time.

Anglistone Sibanda, an analyst, cast aspersions on Sandi-Moyo’s survival, arguing the chances were very slim.

“It was always coming that she was going to lose, since she was against the first lady. I honestly do not see her surviving,” Sibanda said.

“If she does, it will be at the benevolence of Mugabe himself playing tribal sympathy to former Zapu and Ndebele leaders and even that will create a legitimacy crisis for her,” he said.

Sibanda said what complicated Sandi-Moyo’s case is that she has lost support from the presidium.

“She is already facing a worst scenario because she has lost a constituency that is influential and it is a given that she is likely to lose her Cabinet post however, that is decided by Mugabe himself as the president, who has the prerogative to appoint and dismiss.”

Church leader, Ray Motsi, also concurred that Sandi-Moyo’s survival is hinged on Mugabe’s benevolence.

“The survival of anybody in politics normally depends on the capacity or resolve as an individual, but if Sandi-Moyo collapses it means that she was a nobody except that she was propped up by certain people who are also now behind her downfall.

“What this means is that she is minister on the whims of the president hence he has the last say. But what I am saying is her stay or departure speaks a lot about her political stature as an individual,” Motsi said.

Analyst Samukele Hadebe, added that considering the fact that almost all positions in government have been traditionally backed by party positions, it was unlikely that Sandi-Moyo would survive.

“It is unlikely that she is going to survive. It’s unfortunate that she has been removed from her party position and considering that all ministers serve at the pleasure of Mugabe, it’s going to be difficult for her to keep the position,” Hadebe said.

“As a result, I don’t foresee her being in that position for long.”

Political analyst Dumisani Nkomo, pointed out that Sandi-Moyo’s fate will be decided along factional lines playing out in Zanu PF, which is split between the Generation 40 (G40) and Team Lacoste camps.

At the time of the demonstrations against her and Mahoka, Team Lacoste drew out knives against Sandi-Moyo, who enjoyed pockets of support in G40. But when it became clear that the first family had turned its back against her, even the few in G40 who were behind her, buckled to pressure.

“It really depends on how she positions herself and which of the two or three Zanu PF factions emerge victorious,” he said.

“She can play the right card by keeping quiet and appearing mature and politically astute,” Nkomo said, adding that, “it’s difficult to figure because anything is possible in politics and all things are possible in Zimbabwean politics, especially in Zanu PF where a day is like a thousand years and a thousand years like a day as the Bible puts it”.

“The problem is that she may be perceived as a threat within the ambit of the presidency or at least the vice presidency because she is one of the most senior former PF Zapu officials in Zanu PF and she is a woman who can position her for the vice presidency possibly to counter vice president Phelekezela Mphoko,” Nkomo said.



San community takes up education

TSHOLOTSHO - Members of the marginalised San community in Tsholotsho are slowly coming out of their shell and embracing modern lifestyles, as they are now enrolling their children in schools.

According to latest statistics collected by Tsoro-o-tso San Development Trust (SDT) on San school going children, a total 96 San children have been attending class in Tsholotsho since 2013.

“90 percent of these children were between Grades 0 and 3, while about 10 percent proceeded to grade 5,” Tsoro-o-tso SDT director Davy Ndlovu noted in a report.

“There was no child in Grade 7 as all dropped out between Grades 3 and 5.”

Ndlovu further noted that the San have previously failed to take their children to school due to poverty and deep seated traditional beliefs.

“The reasons were numerous, including failure to pay by parents, lack of food at home (which meant that the children (girls) joined their parents in the hunt for food), and lack of proper clothing (some went semi-naked). It is inhuman for a girl to go to school semi-naked and these forces the girls to drop out of school from as early as Grade 2 or 3,” he said.

Before the late Vice President John Nkomo passed on, he built a secondary school that was named after him, in a bid to promote the acceptance of education in the previously hunting and gathering dominated culture.

The school was officially opened by President Robert Mugabe in 2012.

While at one point the school appeared to be neglected, it has however, provided an opportunity for the San children to progress beyond primary level.

“Things are slowly but surely changing for the better. For the past four years, there has been an increase in the enrolment of San children in primary school.

“Unlike in previous years where many San children dropped out of school at Grade 3, this time, the San children are progressing well and there is a significant improvement. More than 15 pupils finished their Grade 7 (Primary education) and progressed to secondary level in 2016,” Ndlovu said.

“At secondary level, five San school children wrote their Ordinary Level examinations, a first among the San in Zimbabwe. This again has motivated many San school children to work hard and aim at attending secondary education. An enrolment of at least 22 children was attained in 2017.”

Ndlovu however, cited marginalization and poor economic environment as the factors derailing the vision to have the San community appreciate education.

“The schools are far and the San have large families and cannot afford to support their children with their educational needs and prefer to send boys to school than girls. The current education systems do not respect indigenous people’s diverse cultures.

“An unspecified percentage of the active San population from wards 1, 2, 7, 8 and 10 in Tsholotsho and Plumtree districts, live and works in neighboring countries like Botswana and South Africa and when they come back, they encourage their younger siblings to leave school and go seek work in neighboring countries,” he said.



Zapu berates Mugabe

BULAWAYO - A SENIOR Zapu official has sensationally remarked that President Robert Mugabe does not deserve to be buried at the National Heroes Acre because of his role in activities that contributed to Zimbabwe’s poor human rights record.

John Dlamini, Zapu’s deputy national organising secretary, said there was sufficient evidence to deny the Zanu PF leader a place at the national shrine.

He spoke as emotions are still high over Zanu PF’s refusal to grant renowned musician Dick Chingaira national hero status despite his immense contribution to the liberation struggle.

Otherwise known as Cde Chinx, Chingaira was buried recently at the Glen Forest Memorial Park, on the outskirts of Harare, after succumbing to cancer.

Zanu PF had demeaned him to a lesser status of liberation war hero and was supposed to be buried at the Harare Provincial Heroes Acre but his family opted to inter his remains at a private cemetery.

“Because of his record of human rights abuses, Mugabe does not even deserve to be buried at the National Heroes Acre should he die for he has insulted the very essence of humanity,” said Dlamini.

“Places such as the Heroes Acre were originally created for well-meaning sons and daughters…a qualification Mugabe does not have”.

He was addressing a gathering at a public meeting at Mtshazo Business Centre in Gwanda North constituency last week.

Dlamini narrated how Mugabe, using the North Korean trained Fifth Brigade, descended on civilians in Matabeleland and Midlands provinces.

He also spoke about Operation Murambatsvina, which resulted in the demolition of illegal structures and the displacement of families.

He also gave reference to a recent incident where Zanu PF thugs went on a rampage and beat up a headman and his family in Insiza District over a land dispute.

“For these and many other violations against Zimbabweans, Mugabe does not deserve to be buried at the national shrine, let alone to even be considered for burial at all,” he said.



Ibhetshu Likazulu hails govt

HARARE - Pressure group Ibhetshu Likazulu has hailed government’s move to finally issue birth certificates and identity cards to people who were affected by Gukurahundi.

The organisation’s spokesperson, Mbuzo Fuzwayo, however, said the development must not overshadow the reconciliation and healing aspect as it was the most paramount issue in the whole debacle.

In April this year, Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko announced that government had resolved to bring the issue of Gukurahundi to finality once and for all.

He said the government was already working on a programme to issue birth certificates to families of the victims of post-independence disturbances in the Midlands and Matabeleland region.

“We are the leaders of this country and it’s our responsibility to address those matters.

“What we have to do is to issue birth and death certificates to those who were affected by Gukurahundi and rebury their loved ones properly in terms of the laws of our country as well as economically empower them,” Mphoko said then.

Fuzwayo said while the move was long overdue following years of outcry, “it was a welcome development because the national document makes someone to be a citizen of the country”.

“They will now be able to get government assistance, right to vote to be voted for, get documents for their off-spring, get land and apply for loans,” he said.

“But unfortunately, it’s after a lot of damage because there is nothing said about the past loss for example those who didn’t go to school, social losses, because someone couldn’t write Grade 7 exams because of lack of documents.”

He emphasised that there was need to bring closure to the atrocities that rights groups have described as the worst in Zimbabwe’s history.

“Do the documents specify the cause of death, especially for those killed? What about those who disappeared?” he queried.

“It is not enough to give people documents they must push for truth telling, talk about compensation, promote reconciliation and build memorial sites.”

He said issuing documents is just a part of what could have been done long back.

“Giving documents is a part of reconciliation, though late, but honestly it’s not enough.

“The people still need answers on their relatives, what happened, where are they, when are they going to be told what is it that they did to be taken away from their families, get decent burials,” Fuzwayo said.

“If truth be told, a certain generation has lost out completely, even those who have been given documents.

“It doesn’t address the cycle of poverty, loss of education, among other misfortunes on the people from this region as a result of Gukurahundi.”


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