SOUTHERN NEWS | Go now, nurse tells Mugabe

BULAWAYO - A fearless Bulawayo-based independent candidate, Vimbainashe Musvaburi, who is a nurse by profession, has challenged long ruling President Robert Mugabe to step down, arguing he is too old to continue running the country.

Musvaburi, who recently announced her candidature for the Bulawayo South seat, becomes the second woman to take up the challenge ahead of next year’s elections, after Harare-based Fadzai Mahere.

The 35-year-old mother of two strongly feels Mugabe, in power since Zimbabwe’s independence in 1980, has overstayed his welcome.

“Mugabe and his Zanu PF have to go,” said Musvaburi, who has been domiciled in the United Kingdom for almost 10 years.

“It’s not an emotional game but the truth, Zanu PF has got to go. That’s the only thing. Mugabe is 93. He needs to rest, we are not even talking about his capabilities of ruling but it’s not ideal for any 93-year-old to continue doing anything even standing up at home to go to the toilet, I mean ideally, he should be comfortably seated in a chair, like the one he got,” she said.

Musvaburi also took a swipe at Zanu PF hardliners whom she accused of benefiting from Mugabe’s lengthy rule.

“It’s unfortunate that people around him are allowing Mugabe to continue... It shows these people are benefiting from his presence but if you say you love him so much as they always want us to believe, why you don’t allow the man to rest?,” she questioned.

Asked how she gathered the courage to wade into the hotly contested political arena, Musvaburi said: “I am not scared of anyone and I will not be scared. I am doing this for the future of our children, being scared of dying is not an option because they are killing us already.”

Meanwhile, Musvaburi gave a thumps up to the MDC alliance, an initiative she said was a step ahead in bringing change in Zimbabwe.

“That was a great move because what we need as Zimbabweans is change regardless of political affiliation, we are coming together and we want one thing which is change.”

 

 

Mphoko’s externalisation case drags on

A CASE in which former operations manager at Bulk Cash and Carry Wholesalers implicated Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko in the externalisation of millions of dollars involving Pakistan businessman Imran Shahzad seems to be taking too long to be heard.

In an affidavit in possession of the Southern News signed on February 17, 2017 at Bulawayo Central District Police headquarters, the former manager Oga Chafausipo, 51, sought to expose the alleged shady deals that were taking place at the wholesale company situated along Basch Street and Khami Road in the city during his time at the company.

Chafausipo who worked for 16 years at the company claims that the company is involved in externalisation of funds, smuggling of goods, evading of tax and sale of substandard or expired goods. As a result he implicated Mphoko for allegedly taking a “protection fee”.

“Recently one of the politicians namely George Mlala, (member of the) Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association council of elders is also blindly assisting the company to perpetuate its illicit activities.

“I have it on good authority that Mlala was recently paid $35 000 for onward transmission to... Mphoko for the sole purpose of no interference or protection of the company,” Chafausipo claimed.

The former manager also added that he also witnessed first-hand on two separate occasions how over $8 million was separately externalised by his former boss.

Police have confirmed handling the matter which they feel is high profile, hence needs time to investigate.

However, it’s almost six months now and no action has been taken so far regarding bringing the matter to the courts of law.

In his own words, Chafausipo told the Southern News that while he has been to high offices that he thought were relevant in his case, nothing to date has materialised.

“I have been engaging the police and I have spoken even to the Propol, I engaged the CID, including Zimra and they are aware of my case but surprisingly I am still to hear from them,” Chafausipo said.

Legal experts who spoke to this paper yesterday seemed to highlight some intricacies surrounding the matter.

Veteran legal practitioner Brighton Ndove said the challenge was that the law does not prescribe a reasonable duration within which police investigations should be completed.

“This is the case especially in matters where no personal right to liberty is under threat. So ideally it is difficult to accuse the police of delaying investigations unless there are positive pointers that the police are deliberately frustrating the process of investigations in which event the complainant can, in my view, approach the Constitutional Court to enforce his or her rights to protection of the law as is enshrined in the Constitution of Zimbabwe,” Ndove said.

He added: “It must also be emphasised that the ZRP is an independent board that must not be operating under anyone’s directions although they normally respect lawful directives from the Prosecutor General and the courts in matters that would have been taken to such institutions of the State.”

Another legal expert Dumisani Dube said it was complex matter.

“I think since there is talk of externalisation of funds the investigation will involve RBZ exchange control in Zimbabwe and regulatory bodies in Botswana,” Dube said.

“However, police commercial crimes unit does not have expertise in these sorts of issues. Consider also names implicated, there is a lot of clearances needed from higher offices for junior officers,” he said.

Dube also noted the need for evidence gathering, need to obtain documentary evidence from all parties implicated through search warrants which he said might take a while.

“However, I don’t think evidence so far gathered warrants the matter to be taken to court; it’s mostly hearsay from a disgruntled former employee who is also an accomplice.

“In the absence of any independent credible third party evidence there is no case to talk about for now.”

However, Affirmative Action Group regional president Reginald Shoko challenged Chafausipo to appeal to the ministry of Home Affairs if he felt he was getting a raw deal from the law enforcers.

“I think the former manager has an option of taking the matter up with the minister if he feels there are unnecessary delays.”

 

ZANU PF supporters who turned out in their numbers as part of the on-going Zanu PF youth interface rallies had a nightmarish afternoon at Pelandaba Stadium, as venue of the rally, was turned into a ‘‘mini jail” by the police.

In comical events witnessed by the Southern News crew, firstly it was the delay to start that seemed to have agitated those who were in attendance and secondly it was the denial to leave the stadium during President Robert Mugabe’s speech.

As early as 9am, people mostly those who were bussed from different provinces as well as those from Gwanda town and its hinterland had thronged the venue.

But Mugabe took long to arrive at the venue for unclear reasons forcing the impatient ones who tried to find their way out — something which appeared a taboo as police ordered them to go back.

While that was not largely contested, it was when Mugabe finally came when he started making historical narrations in a typical story telling manner that some felt was boring and pointless.

Half way into his speech, the supporters who at one point were seated rose to their feet with many preferring to chat among themselves than to listen to the rumbling leader.

As result, some started heading towards the gate before the police were given orders that no one should be allowed to leave the stadium.

Realising that the matter was likely to get out of hand, a truck carrying riot police had to be called and parked right at the gate.

As Mugabe took long, the agitated supporters never gave up as they kept on pushing the police.

“I am on ART and I am diabetic so I should go and take my medication,” said one woman but the police would have none of it.

Some youths immediately warned the police that had it not been that they respected the president all hell was going to break loose since it was illogical to them, to be “jailed”.

A certain group of youths could be overhead saying, “there is nothing to listen, and it’s all history and history.”

For more than 45 minutes over hundreds of disillusioned supporters remained jerked by the gate in the stadium only to be allowed out after Mugabe had finished speaking.

 

 

 

Former deputy mayor in land wrangle

FORMER Bulawayo deputy mayor Gift Banda has been sued for allegedly attempting to repossess land that he had sold to one Nkululeko Ndlovu.

This came after Ndlovu reportedly failed to pay the agreed money on time.

According to the summons filed this week at the High Court by Ndlovu’s legal representatives, Phulu and Ncube Legal practitioners, Banda’s move is not only described as illegal but null and void.

“The plaintiff claim is for a declaratur that the agreement of sale of an immovable property known as Landshare 23 stand no 14300 Selborne Brook, Bulawayo entered between the plaintiff and defendant was illegal and therefore void ab initio it being contrary to the agreement of plaintiff and the Bulawayo City Council which barred the disposal of the property in issue as it was done without the council’s consent,” reads part of the claim.

Alternatively, the claim also sought a declaratur that the agreement of sale of the property was also contrary to council by laws which bar the disposal of property in issue without council consent.

Banda was expelled in March this year from his post as deputy mayor after he was found guilty on charges of corruption and maladministration, part of which included using his position to grab land at Ascot in the city.

This was after the government through the ministry of Local government had appointed a Tribunal to investigate the affairs of the city following a public outcry over corruption and other allegations.

Banda has since appealed against his dismissal at the High Court.

 

 

New drug hits Bulawayo streets

A DANGEROUS and addictive drug called diazepam — popularly known as ‘‘dypapa’’ or ‘‘amangemba’’ in street lingo — has hit the streets of Bulawayo, with anti-drugs campaigners raising the red flag.

Diazepam is used to treat anxiety disorders, alcohol withdrawal symptoms and muscle spasms.

A survey by the Daily News this week indicated that the drug is now common among the desperate unemployed youths.

The Daily News also unearthed that the drugs were being peddled by mental outpatients, mostly from Ingutsheni Hospital.

The drug can only be bought from pharmacies using a prescription. But surprisingly, the drug abusers have to part ways with a $1 for 10 tablets from the traffickers.

The investigation led the Daily News team to Makokoba high density suburb where a woman in her mid-40s, who refused to speak to the paper, is reportedly selling the drugs.

The youths who spoke to this paper confirmed buying from the woman, only identified as MaNyoni.

According to Active Youth Zimbabwe (AYZ) study, which was recently conducted during their awareness campaigns at schools here in partnership with CID Drugs and Narcotics, young people between the ages of 11 to 18 were the most affected.

AYZ director Romeo Matshazi said their study as an institution has also revealed a sharp increase in drug abuse by the youths.

“There is a new drug called ‘dypapa’ and it’s really a cause for concern considering the rate at which youths are taking it up. It’s quite shocking. We have been on the ground trying to access the damage and I think there is an urgent need for all stakeholders to come together and address this. Its school holidays and the levels of peer pressure are very high,” he said.

“They consume drugs for fun and at the end, they become drug addicts. As an organisation, we are therefore striving to ensure that we have a drug-free society.”

United Families Trust (Unifam), an organisation meant to help mental patients, recently founded by eight nurses employed at Ingutsheni, led by Nhlanhla Ntini, confirmed the increase on the demand of diazepam.

“We have it on good authority that mental outpatients are the ones who are selling this drug mostly to the youths in the high density suburbs,” Ntini said.

“We understand that, they mix ‘dypapa’ with other drugs like mbanje, bronclear and sometimes they mix it with alcohol. But our research has just shown that these youths are doing this mostly on experimental basis and they need something that can take them to new levels of drunkenness,” he said.

He said normally, such abuses have led to some being hospitalised as mental patients.

“This is why as an organisation we have been trying to engage the youths through various educational programmes and sporting activities to make them understand the dangers of drug abuse,” Ntini said.

AYZ, however, said there was need to increase awareness campaigns on the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse.

“The solution is to reach out to the children and educate them on the impact of drug abuse on their education, health and future,” he said.

According to research, factors that contribute to children abusing drugs include a family history of substance use, depression, low self-esteem, influence by peers and the need to blend with others.

These factors eventually push the child to become an addict.

The 2012-2013 National Institute of Mental Health Report indicate that 75 percent of youth who were admitted at Ingutsheni Hospital was due to substance abuse or economic related.

 

 

Mandiwanzira imposes infrastructure sharing

INFORMATION Communication Technology minister Supa Mandiwanzira has banned mobile network operators from individually constructing new base station towers, arguing the move has not only been outlawed, but primitive.

Since last year, government has been urging wireless network operators to eliminate “unnecessary duplication of telecommunication infrastructure”, and share instead.

Econet Wireless Zimbabwe, the country’s largest telecoms company, has since agreed to share its infrastructure, as long as other players are prepared to foot maintenance costs on an equal basis.

Mandiwanzira told journalists in Bulawayo recently that infrastructure sharing is the way to go in modern society.

“You can no longer build your individual tower in this country...by law you are supposed to build one which takes up multiple operators,” he said.

Mandiwanzira said a consultative process involving all the operators, together with Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz), agreed on the position regarding infrastructure sharing.

“Ultimately, they had a position and they submitted to me and we promulgated regulations in terms of infrastructure sharing, so by law, it is expected that there should be infrastructure sharing. Anyone building new towers in this country has to build a tower that can accommodate not less than three players,” he said.

Mandiwanzira said infrastructure sharing was not only limited to the three existing major mobile network operators — Econet, Telecel and government-run NetOne — but others telecoms players as well.

“When we talk about infrastructure sharing, we are not only talking about the three, because we don’t believe that they are the only ones who have the right to be doing business in telecoms.

“We feel that there are youngsters who have greater ideas who can use that infrastructure for a fee and set up their own networks that are known as mobile virtual operators and this is happening in South Africa,” he said.

Mandiwanzira added:  “So, the thinking around that argument is a little bit old in the sense that we have to move forward with new operators using the same infrastructure.”

The minister said infrastructure sharing was in line with global best practice and is cost effective.

“When I was appointed minister, I realised the way infrastructure in the telecoms sector was being employed was inefficient. There was a lot of duplication of infrastructure, which can actually be shared.

“In fact, the biggest networks have sold their infrastructure to infrastructure companies and then they sign what are called service level agreements that you will have to make sure that this infrastructure is working at this percentage availability,” Mandiwanzira said.

 

 

Society challenges govt on pro bono lawyers

THE Law Society of Zimbabwe (LSZ) has challenged government to review its policy on pro bono lawyers funding, as part of the efforts to ensure effective justice delivery system.

Government pulled away its funding about two decades ago.

A pro deo or pro bono lawyer is an attorney who undertakes voluntarily work without payment to those who are unable to afford.

Speaking in Bulawayo, LSZ executive secretary, Edward Mapara told the Daily News that some of their members who take pro bono cases were going through a hard time.

“While the system is there and is working, you will have to understand that initially the pro deo was funded by government, that is no longer happening because the minimum fee that was supposed to be paid to the lawyer is no longer coming,” he said.

“The lawyers are giving their services for free,” he bemoaned, adding that “over and above, the lawyers also incur expenses which are no longer being reimbursed”.

Pro bono lawyers are allocated cases by the High Court Registrar.

Mapara gave an example of the Hwange circuit, which he said the lawyers travel from Victoria Falls, about 100km away, to provide a service.

This, he said, did not also give adequate briefing time between the lawyer and the client, which eventually results in the lawyer failing to effectively represent his or her client.

Mapara said this did not only affect the effective delivery of justice, but also had a negative impact on the image of the legal practitioner.

“.…because of this distance, which no one is going to finance, we end up having to meet in limited time and certainly we cannot have adequate preparations. You then have a lawyer who is inadequately prepared and you think the fault is his or her yet it’s not.”

Due to that, Mapara challenged government to at least come up with a funding mechanism to save the situation.

“Therefore, my recommendation is, apart from coming up with a funding mechanism which at least will address the reimbursement for expenses, we also need a mechanism that allows lawyers to adequately have more time with their clients such that the lawyer can be able to build his defence and be able to contact on site inspection at the scenes of the crime and be able to build a credible defence outline.

“If you don’t have that, you certainly won’t give the best and this is a life and death issue, we still have the capital punishment. So if you are going to defend a person who will face capital punishment and should he/she be convicted, I think it’s only fair to give it your all,” he said.

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