SOUTHERN NEWS | Byo youths sold bottled smoke

HARARE - Zanu PF youths in the second largest city and its hinterland are seething with anger after President Robert Mugabe’s government claimed last year to have made available swathes of land for housing development, which is turning out to be a ruse.

The Southern News can report that ever since the land was made available, no development has taken place at the site measuring about 318 hectares amid revelations that part of the land falls under a restricted zone.

Youths here now suspect that the project was meant to hoodwink them ahead of crucial polls next year.

Following his fallout with war veterans in 2015, Mugabe and his Zanu PF party have turned to the restive youths and women for support.

The Zanu PF leader is currently going around the country to engage the youths through what has been called “youth interface rallies”, which have been attracting huge crowds.

His wife, Grace, will also be embarking on a whirlwind tour of the provinces soon in her capacity as head of the Zanu PF women’s league.

Last year, Local Government, Public Works and National Housing minister Saviour Kasukuwere, who doubles up as Zanu PF’s national political commissar, unveiled 318 hectares of land for the construction of between 10 000 and 20 000 high density residential stands for youths at Umvutshwa Farm on the outskirts of the city.

This housing project was meant to be a high density residential suburb where plus or minus 7 000 households in the form of stands ranging from 200 square metres to 400 square metres and high rise flats were to be accommodated.

Upon the project’s launch last year, it attracted scorn from various stakeholders who accused the minister of abusing his role as Local Government overseer to parcel out land on political basis.

The project is being supervised by the Urban Development Corporation (Udcorp), which is a parastatal that falls under the Local Government ministry.

Government later said over 5 000 youths from Matabeleland region had registered for residential stands in Umvutshwa.

While the initiative was positive, Zanu PF youths still feel betrayed by the minister whom they accuse of taking them for a ride.

Several youths who spoke to this paper refused to be named but expressed their displeasure at the politicking by their boss as they have failed to get their promised residential stands.

“This is bad politicking, why would people waste our time like that giving us hope where there is nothing. Kasukuwere must be ashamed...,” said one angry youth.

“That was a waste of resources, imagine trucks were hired and even the VP (Phelekezela) Mphoko and other top government officials attended the ground-breaking ceremony and yet all that went for nothing.

“Some of our colleagues were involved in a tragic accident as we were coming from there which left others wheelchair bound, honestly that’s taking us for granted,” said another angry youth.

The youths also said they were made to pay $5 each as registration fee and $50 monthly instalments paid into a Udcorp account.

Southern News also understands that there were disagreements over the piece of land which was selected as it belonged to a white farmer.

Bulawayo Zanu PF central youth district chair Magura Charumbira said: “We are just waiting; we don’t even know what’s the actual position of the government on our residential stands. They had promised us that by now the youth suburb would be taking shape but there is nothing.”

“It is such lies by Kasukuwere that made nine out of 10 provinces deny him but some people had other ideas,” he said.

Speaking during the ground-breaking ceremony last year Kasukuwere pledged that the whole servicing was going to be done by end of last year.

“I promise you that this land will be serviced by end of this year. This will be a first in Zimbabwe as it will be the first ever youth township.

“All these stands will be given to youths, no one else,” said Kasukuwere then.

However, more than a year now, nothing seems to be taking place at the land.

Contacted for comment Zanu PF youth secretary Kudzanayi Chipanga said he was out of the country referring questions to Urdcop planning officer Constance Muchoni.

“The project is still on-going. We are still in the process of designing the land.

“What delayed us is that we wanted it to be a high density suburb but then we realised part of the land fell on the restricted zone but it’s something that we are working on,” Muchoni told Southern News.

She, however, dismissed claims that there have been monies that have been paid to Udcorp.

“We haven’t started taking anyone’s money except that we asked people to open accounts with IDBZ where they will be depositing their monies maybe on a monthly basis, the money which they will use when the stands are out,” she said.

Muchoni said stands were likely to be distributed next year after the plans have been approved and servicing done among other necessities.



AAG boss fights to save property

AFFIRMATIVE Action Group (AAG) vice president, Samuel Ncube, is in trouble after he was arrested for insulting and threatening a messenger of court who intended to evict him from his house, which fell under the hammer over a debt owed to a local bank.

Ncube had been issued with his first eviction order in 2013, but has been resisting eviction since then.

He lost the property after he became a guarantor to a $20 000 bank loan issued to his colleague.

Following his colleague’s failure to pay the loan, the bank turned on Ncube as it sought to recover the debt.

This resulted in his house in Selborne Park being auctioned with one Emmeliah Tendai Sigauke emerging as the buyer of the property.

According to the State papers, on August 10 at around 9am, Ncube was served with a notice of eviction from the High Court.

On August 23, the messenger of court Edson Nkawu who is now the complainant in the case proceeded in the company of the police to Ncube’s place of residence in order to evict him, using the High Court eviction order.

However, the accused refused to comply with the order and started insulting and threatening both the police and the complainant, ordering them to leave.

The accused was later arrested and charged with contempt of court.

In an urgent appeal to the High Court against his eviction, judge justice Kamocha turned down Ncube’s application on the basis that it was not urgent.

“The urgency of a matter as contemplated by law is when it cannot wait.

“A matter does not become urgent just because the day of reckoning is close. That does not make the mater urgent,” he said.

Justice Kamocha also cited that the accused had wrong advisors as the matter has been taken to different courts.

“This matter has been going on since 2015. It has been to the Constitutional Court, to the Appeal Court of the High Court and to the magistrate courts, therefore, the applicant has adopted wrong procedures... Those who gave him advice are to blame and that must affect him as he chose them himself,” Justice Kamocha said while dismissing the matter.



Expelled prosecutor fights for reinstatement

AN ex-prosecutor who was dismissed by former Prosecutor-General (PG) Johannes Tomana in November 2011 for being part of the key architects of an industrial action that crippled the justice delivery system back then, is still fighting for his reinstatement, six years on.

Petrobs Dube was fired along with other prosecutors — Leopold Mudisi, Dereck Charamba, Mehluli Tshuma                and Musekiwa Mbanje — for leading a strike over better working conditions.

Dube has obtained various court orders in favour of his reinstatement and yet none of them have ended his miseries.

In 2012, Tomana was ordered by the High Court to reinstate the dismissed prosecutors to their posts without loss of their rights and benefits under case number HH121-12.

Tomana appealed against the ruling under the Civil Appeal to the Supreme Court but he lost, which meant that the earlier ruling stood.

Dube later appealed to the Labour Court against his dismissal by the Civil Service Commission (CSC) and he won the case but was never reinstated.

As if that was not enough, in September last year Dube approached the High Court for an order declaring him a public prosecutor in terms of the newly-enacted National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) Act.

A default judgment was passed by justice Francis Bere.

“It be and is hereby declared that the applicant is a transferred member of the NPA as defined in terms of Section 32 (1) of the NPA Act chapter 7:20 and is in terms of Section 32 (4) entitled to all the rights and privileges due to such employees of the authority,” ruled Bere.

In reaction, the NPA quickly filed an application for rescission of judgment at the High Court here arguing that Dube was long dismissed.

But Dube represented by his lawyers Calderwood Bryce-Hendrie and Partners is not giving up the fight.

He has since filed an opposition arguing that he was not disqualified since the Labour Court had upheld his appeal against dismissal.

He has taken both the CSC and NPA to task for contempt of court arguing they were not     entitled at law to disregard the initial court ruling in 2009 which ordered their reinstatement.

“The applicant has ignored this court order and proceeded as if the order is not operational. It has not bothered to seek the suspension of the order pending the determination of judgement. The applicant is guilty of contempt of court,” Dube’s lawyers noted in the court papers.

“It is respectfully submitted that this honourable court should refuse the applicant audience until it has complied with the order granted under case number HC 2009/16.”

Interestingly, the dismissal of the former PG on allegations of incompetence and misconduct arose from findings by the ConCourt that he had disobeyed court orders in violation of the Constitution.

The dismissed ex-prosecutors are executive members of the Zimbabwe Law Officers Association (ZILOA), which fomented a successful industrial action in 2011.

This led to their dismissal.

After Tomana’s dismissal as PG, the NPA is now headed by Ray Goba.


Taxi operators, police headed for clash

TAXI owners are set to clash with traffic police, with the transport operators threatening to petition police over a alleged rampant corruption.

In a petition gleaned by the Southern News yesterday, and yet to be submitted to officer commanding police district (Dispol) Byo Traffic chief superintendent Fungai Dengu the taxi operators said it was time they took the bull by its horns, claiming the police were demanding bribes from them on a daily basis.

“We are forced to pay spot fines by the police on daily basis, a development which is pushing us out of business,” reads part of the petition.

“It’s a well-known fact that there is no hard cash but the traffic cops insist on demanding cash of not less than $10 per day. Failure to pay that spot fine our vehicles are impounded and kept at Drill Hall where they will be attracting a charge of $20 storage per day.

“Sometimes if we fail to pay the spot fines we lose our licences which are taken by traffic officers,” reads part of the petition adding that their woes were different from those of Kombi drivers who are only required to pay a minimum of $3 per day to operate freely.

In the petition, the drivers also accused the police of double standards.

“We have unregistered pirate taxis operating freely without number plates or any legal document in the city, they operate freely because most of them are owned by the police,” they alleged.

The taxi drivers who spoke to Southern News singled out officers from Mpopoma’s Traffic West and Nkulumane Traffic as the major culprits.

The visibly-angry taxi drivers, however, refused to be named for fear of victimisation.

“At the moment, we cannot say out our names because we might be targeted by these officers. But we are working on forming our association, similar to the one by commuter omnibus operators, I think that’s when we will be able to choose faces who will represent us even in giving comments to the media,” said one taxi driver.

However, Dengu was not available by the time of going to press.



Zanu PF militia gets refresher courses ahead of elections

ZANU PF has started retraining its notorious youth militia — popularly known as Green Bombers — under the National Youth Service (NYS) programme, as the nation hurtles towards 2018 elections.

In the past, the dreaded Green Bombers have been a major tool used by the ruling President Robert Mugabe-led Zanu PF to intimidate and mobilise people to vote for the party.

This comes as 93-year-old Mugabe has called for the return of the NYS programme.

His calls, however, received fierce criticism from many Zimbabweans who view the programme as beneficial to Zanu PF and not the country.

The Southern News has it on good authority that at least 60 youths from Bulawayo have since commenced refresher training — involving drills and orientation — at the Jairos Jiri Centre in the city.

Former Zanu PF provincial youth chair, Khumbulani Mpofu, who is now one of the training officers yesterday admitted that the training were underway.

“As you know that NYS is always an on-going programme, it’s nothing new,” he told Southern News.

“What we have been doing at Jairos Jiri is that we have invited our ward officers in Bulawayo and they are the ones who are going through the training. In fact, they are officers within our Youth ministry, so basically they are completing some key lessons which they omitted during their intensive first NYS training,” Mpofu said.

Quizzed about the move being part of Zanu PF’s election strategy in which the youths are highly likely to be deployed as storm troopers, Mpofu said: “That’s not the case, the problem is the image of the programme has been tarnished but this is all about discipline. It’s not partisan at all. Even if you come and check the curriculum you will understand what I am talking about.”

He said the programme will run for nearly three weeks, with Youth minister, Patrick Zhuwawo, expected to officiate at the graduation.

Sources who spoke to this paper said the training was on the back of a circular issued recently by the Youth ministry ordering commencement of the programme.

The programme is reportedly going under the moniker ini newe tinebasa/mina lawe silomsebenzi.

This paper also understands that an order of uniforms for trainees has already been placed and was expected anytime this week.

The programme was introduced in 2000 by the late Zanu PF national commissar, Border Gezi, with the first camp established at Mt Darwin in 2001.

It has churned out thousands of graduates throughout the country.

According to the United States Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2010, the NYS — suspended in 2007 due to lack of funding — provided militia training to approximately 80 000 youths at more than 150 camps.

The youths took part and became integral members of Mugabe’s violent policies, including taking part in land invasions.

Mugabe has on numerous occasions defended NYS, saying the training programme is necessary to instil national pride, discipline and moral uprightness among the youths.

Analysts have said the reintroduction of NYS was going to eat into the fiscus of an already struggling government which is struggling to pay civil servants on time.




Walk the talk, Kasukuwere challenged

RESIDENTS have challenged Local Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere to fulfil his promise to reverse the appointment of non-Ndebele-speaking members as commissioners to the Lupane Local Board (LLB).

Recently, Kasukuwere appointed Lupane State University vice chancellor Pardon Kuipa and Lupane district administrator Enert Sithole as LLB caretakers after the dismissal of Leonard Moyo and Addie Mpofu on charges of maladministration.

After having been petitioned by the Lupane Rural Communities Empowerment Trust (Rucet) over the issue, Kasukuwere later admitted that the appointments were an oversight.

The Lupane residents argue that Ndebele-speaking locals must be appointed to the board as they would have a full appreciation of the community’s culture, tradition and values, as compared to “outsiders”.

Rucet coordinator, Vumani Ndlovu, said Kasukuwere must go beyond admitting his error and immediately take action.

“...we believe he must show that he is genuine by taking action to correct the error.  We feel an admission of error alone is not enough,” he said.

“I don’t think reversal of an appointment has to take forever, he is the master, he has those powers,” he said, further noting that while Kasukuwere had the powers, there was need for a wide consultation prior to new appointments.

“Lupane has strong, professional and experienced minds that can drive the development agenda of            the town and we are prepared to give the minister a list of such people.”

Kasukuwere was, however, unreachable for comment as his mobile went unanswered yesterday.

This comes as Bulawayo-based lobby group Mthwakazi Republic Party last year teamed up with Lupane residents and    chased away a non-Ndebele headmistress who had been appointed at Mlamuli Secondary School.

Before that, another school head in the Makuzeze Mangwe District had also been chased away for the same reason, as villagers felt it was one of the major reasons why the Matabeleland region was recording poor pass rates.



Intwasa Arts Festival is here!

FOR the first time in history, Intwasa Arts Festival will today begin its three-day arts extravaganza in style with a street carnival.

The carnival which for years has been a reserve for the capital is descending on the second largest city courtesy of the Intwasa partnership with the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) and the tourism industry.

As part of the partnership, Intwasa will run concurrently with the Sanganai/Hlanganani Tourism Expo which also kicks off today.

The carnival also coincides with the World Tourism Day which is celebrated on September 27.

Intwasa Arts Festival marketing officer Nkululeko Nkala said it was all systems go though he conceded that this year’s edition would match previous ones largely due to a shoestring budget coupled with the biting economic challenges.

“We are running the first ever carnival, it’s a memorable experience.

“For the first time we have international acts and we also partnered with ministry of Tourism and ZTA as new partners but basically we retained most of previous programming,” he said.

Nkala said the carnival will kick off from four different points which include Coghlan Primary School, OK Mart, Railways Station and Stanley Square.

All the four groups will converge at Inxwala grounds where a procession will then use JM Nkomo Street all the way to City Hall where Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko is expected officiate.     

Nkala was, however, quick to say the Bulawayo carnival could not be compared to the recent Harare one.

“The performances for the carnival will be done by acts from Harare as well as locals including churches, schools and universities but the Harare one was well marketed as there were budgets to that effect and besides Bulawayo is not Harare, here you need an extra push to make things happen,” Nkala said.                    

Intwasa which was reduced from its usual five days to three days due to financial challenges is running under the theme “Immortalise” from today till Friday.       

“The theme Immortalise means that we are simply keeping the old memories alive and creating new ones to last forever, despite the economic hardships.

“The plan is that Intwasa never dies,” he said.                   

Speaking of the financial challenges, Nkala said: “We only released the programme a day before because of financial challenges. And that’s what we could do, we have been dealt a heavy blow under the circumstances and this is not necessarily a reflection of the dream we had.”   

He also said the economic challenges have cast a negative toll on the programming.          

“Obviously, with a higher budget you get more but with the resources we got, we tried to get the best in the trade. The artists are perfect.

“The advertising was poor and we couldn’t advertise without the product,” said the Intwasa Arts Festival marketing officer.

Meanwhile, the City Hall car park is expected to be a beehive as usual with both music and traditional dance performances by Bulawayo’s top groups.

The events to look forward to include the classy “Women, Wine and Words” supported by the British Council, Urban Music Concert, Intwasa Poetry Slam, Comedy night, Bayethe Bulawayo Concert and various book launches.

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