EASTERN NEWS | Govt to displace more for diamond mining

PENHALONGA – Government – through its Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) – could relocate more people in Manicaland province to pave way for diamond mining, if it secures claims to the Tsvingwe area.

Tsvingwe villagers do not have title deeds to the land.

Diamonds were reportedly discovered in Penhalonga – just outside Mutare – in April this year.

This comes as several diamond miners, before they were force-merged to form ZCDC, relocated scores of people from the gem-rich Chiadzwa area to Arda Transau.

The Daily News understands that exploration for diamond deposits in the area is complete, with ZCDC already working on an environmental impact assessment.

Mining activist, Farai Maguwu, said the biggest concern was fair compensation of the villagers.

“Our biggest fear is displacement without compensation. This community does not even have tittle deeds for their stands. The problem is with Mutasa Rural District Council,” Maguwu said.

He said without tittle deeds, the community would negotiate from a “very weak position”.

“They are very vulnerable,” Maguwu said.

The villagers who were relocated to Arda Transau have been complaining about poor inhabitable houses, lack of schools and access to health facilities – amenities they enjoyed in Chiadzwa.

A local resident, however, said Minister of State for Provincial Affairs, Mandiitawepi Chimene, promised to follow up on their property ownership documents, after the issue had been raised at a public meeting.

“The minister said we should leave everything to her and we are waiting for her feedback on the issue,” John Muchena said.

Meanwhile, Manicaland authorities are currently battling to secure land to relocate families from Chiadzwa.

Arda Transau can only accommodate 1 800 out of the 4 300 displaced families, with government failing, 10 years down the line, to secure alternative land.

Former Manicaland Provincial Administrator, Tapuwa Mbetsa, confessed during his tenure that government was battling to find land to relocate the affected families.

The Mutare District Administrator’s office had previously confirmed that the desperate families had made requests to be relocated somewhere else.

If the Tsvingwe community resists relocation, they may be forcefully moved, but it is, however, prohibited under Article 47 of the Fourth Geneva Convention.



Mixed feelings over SDGs implementation

MUTARE – Civic groups have expressed mixed feelings over the pace at which government is implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with most arguing it’s too slow.

The goals, 17 of them – part of a universal approach targeted at ending poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for global citizens – replaced the Millennium Development Goals in 2015.

The target is to attain them by 2030.

The non-governmental organisations argue that the goals can only be achieved if government and intergovernmental drive their implementation at a faster rate.

Speaking during the commemoration of the second anniversary of the adoption of the SDGs, National Council of Disabled Persons of Zimbabwe secretary, Chamunorwa Ringisai-Dube, feels the country has not made any progress in the past two years.

“As citizens with disability we have not realized any meaningful development. We hope and prayer that these SDG will reach every person with disability sustainably,” he said.

Youths also expressed disappointment over the snail’s pace of progress, with National Association of Youth Organisations (Nayo) member, Lloyd Munguma, saying to quicken the pace in implementing the goals aligned to governance, health, education and job creation.

“As a young person, I’m not happy with the implementation of SDGs since their inception two years ago. Why? Because of the slow pace of government around issues of governance, health, education and high unemployment among the youths, so I’m not happy,” Munguma said.

On the other hand, Women’s Action and Support Centre’s, Leah Wandera, weighed in, arguing the pace is good and that the SDGs were an ideal guide on what young people are expected to achieve for their countries and the world.

“...they are giving us young people a vision into how we can contribute towards the development of the country,” she said.

“In terms of education, as young people we are happy,” Wandera said, adding that “as a young lady, I am also happy at the progress being made in gender equality”.

Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe member, Edmore Chigwida, said the church was also happy with the progress with regards to food security at the back of the health harvest.

“Although we have programmes in many areas there has been areas we have made good progress like food security where the Command Agriculture Programme has helped quite a number of people to have enough food security.

“We still have a challenge in employment creation but there is empowerment of youths where we are however still lagging and health is still a challenge because drug accessibility is still a problem to many people but we hope we will continue to make progress,” Chigwida said.


Witchcraft hounds Mutare communities

MUTARE - While witchcraft has become a topical subject in President Robert Mugabe’s ruling Zanu PF following the alleged poisoning incident involving one of the party’s senior officials, few would have imagined that what is happening in the ruling party is just a microcosm of a much bigger problem confronting communities.

In a shocking revelation, a programmes officer with one of the children’s homes based in this eastern border city cited witchcraft as one of the contributing factors driving children from their homes onto the streets.

As a result, municipalities throughout the country are grappling with the menace of children living on the streets, which has been compounded by several other factors, among them the rise in cases of delinquency involving children, and the upsurge in the number of children orphaned by the HIV/Aids pandemic.

Chikondi Nsama, a senior programmes officer at Simukai Child Protection said he has observed that some of the children end up on the streets in search of peace because their homes have been turned up-side-down owing to witchcraft.

“There is a diverse range of factors that either push or pull children onto the streets ranging from abuse and poverty to the outright bizarre,” he said.

Witchcraft is defined as the art or practices of a witch; sorcery; magic; magical influence or witchery.

In the popular sense of the word, no mention is made either of witches or of witchcraft in Scripture although the “witch of En-dor” referred in the book of Samuel was a necromancer, referring to one who feigned converse with the dead.

The damsel with “a spirit of divination” in the book of Acts was possessed by an evil spirit, or, as the words are literally rendered, “having a spirit, a python.”

Despite being a largely Christian community, many Zimbabweans blame their personal troubles on supernatural influences such as witchcraft.

Hardly a week passes without a local report or newspaper story on the practice.

Just recently, Mugabe hit the roof, threatening to take stern action against people accusing him of allegedly bewitching Vice President Emerson Mnangagwa, who fell sick at a Zanu PF rally in Gwanda and had to be airlifted to a hospital in the Gweru.

He told thousands of people at his party’s youth league interface rally in Gweru that people accusing him of witchcraft should be taken to court to answer charges of violating some sections of the Witchcraft Suppression Act.

However, Zanu PF dumped former vice president Joice Mujuru in 2014 accusing her of visiting n’angas in an attempt to unseat Mugabe.

She was also accused of being incompetent and corrupt, an accusation she dismissed as misleading.

However, not many would have imagined that this emotive subject is contributing to the increase in the number of children flocking to children’s homes or teeming the streets.

Said Nsama: “We have a case of a child who claims that he would have sensations of something creeping up his leg whenever he was at home and whenever he went to a close relative”.

Nsama said the sensation would stop the moment he would have left home.

Simukai director Babra Matsanga said in most cases children endure unimaginable abuse for them to then consider the streets a safer space than home.

“It is so sad that they get traumatised to an extent that they consider the streets a safer haven. Some of the abuses these children are subjected to leave you wondering what kind of a people we are,” Matsanga said.

She said her organisation was battling to take these children either back into their homes and into foster homes where they are unable to go back home.

“We continue to give them hope that no matter what situation they are in they can have hope,” Matsanga said.

The organisation which works with children on the streets, in protective custody and in homes is struggling to feed children under their care.

While the Presbyterian Church has been one of their biggest benefactors with constituent cereal donations, a lot more need to be done to assist them.

“We rarely get donations of meat so this luncheon is an early Christmas.

“We hope that corporates will learn from this gesture and also come through to support the children,” Matsanga said.

Central to the organisation’s efforts to empower children is ensuring that they get both academic and technical training.

“We believe that if a child is sent to school and is supported they can be whatever that want to be in life,” she said.

Nsama said some of the children the organisation has been working with are in university and some are now professionals in diverse fields.

The organisation also runs a vocational college currently offering carpentry, catering and cosmetology while they also support some children and some child-headed families with income generating projects.

Manicaland agric show opens

THIS year’s edition of the Manicaland Agricultural Show Society will open today with event organisers expecting the number of exhibitors taking part in the showcase to surpass that of last year.

The show, which begins today and ends on Sunday, is being held under the theme “Sustainable Industrial and Agricultural Innovations through Renewable Energy”.

Last year, about 160 exhibitors showcased their products. Indications are that this year’s edition will be much bigger than the previous one.

“Exhibitors are still coming through and we hope by the end of the day (yesterday) we would have established the exact number of exhibitors participating,” said Dumisani Mapungwana, the society’s publicity secretary.

Mapungwana said the exhibition was set to unlock business avenues for players in various sectors of the economy.

It will also offer an opportunity for exhibitors to learn from each other and go the extra mile to enhance agricultural production across the province.

Mapungwana said people attending the show should expect arena displays from the Zimbabwe National Army, Mutare City Council’s dog displays, drum majorettes as well as gymnasts.

He said dancehall sensation Winky D will headline a strong cast of musicians who include Killer T, Freeman, Blessing Shumba, Diamond Kid, Fabulous, Juicer Mpostori and Hungwe Stars among others to perform on Saturday evening.

“We have a lot of fun, educative and informative displays from our exhibitors,” he said.

The show begins with a Traders’ Day, which is also open to the public.

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