SOUTHERN NEWS | Police block Khupe rally


POLICE on Saturday dispersed a rally that was being addressed by MDC vice president Thokozani Khupe at her rural home in Siganda, Bubi.

Khupe — who is at loggerheads with her principal Morgan Tsvangirai over an alliance deal inked by leaders of seven opposition parties, including the MDC on August 5 — was in the company of the party’s national chairperson Lovemore Moyo and suspended national organiser Abednico Bhebhe.

Khupe, along with Moyo and Bhebhe, are fiercely opposed to Tsvangirai’s move to form the MDC Alliance — a union of seven opposition parties that have joined forces to challenge long-ruling President Robert Mugabe in the 2018 election.

Sources who were present at the rally said Khupe was meeting villagers as part of feedback engagements on the on-going Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) exercise.

The Southern News understands that while she was addressing the gathering, police descended on the crowd and threatened to teargas the attendees.

The law enforcement agents accused Khupe and team of conducting a meeting without a police clearance.

Moyo confirmed the incident, describing the action by police as overzealous and unnecessary.

“When I arrived, I found that police had already dispersed the villagers, their argument was that we didn’t seek police clearance for the party meeting,” he told Southern News.

“This was an internal party meeting. This is the issue we have always been debating, because these overzealous State agents are now abusing this thing called Posa. I am sure they can even disperse family meetings,” he said.

“Unfortunately, we have to live with it until we remove this animal called Zanu PF. As long as they are ruling, we will continue having these problems.”

Posa is an acronym for the Public Order Security Act.

Efforts to get a comment from Khupe were fruitless but her personal assistant, Witness Dube, said: “The meeting was convened by the party structures as a BVR exercise feedback meeting but police dispersed us.”


Ndanga ‘has seen the light’

APOSTOLIC Christian Council of Zimbabwe (ACCZ) president Johannes Ndanga has broken ranks with Zanu PF, declaring he won’t dictate to his congregants to vote for the ruling party.

Ndanga, whose organisation was evicted recently from its rented premises after failing to pay rent and who has long been viewed as pro-Zanu PF, appears to have had his Damascene moment as he now embraces the democratic way of doing things.

Ahead of the previous 2013 harmonised elections, the outspoken cleric ordered his church members across the country to vote for Zanu PF.

But this time around, Ndanga said he didn’t want to be a dictator anymore and wanted “democracy to prevail”.

“We are also looking at the elections for 2018, which I feel are around the corner. We need to take a position as a church,”

Ndanga told Southern News during a preparation meeting for the church’s inaugural congress to be held here before month-end.

He added: “Unlike the way we did it in 2013 when I just decided on my own that we are going to support this party (Zanu PF), we are (not) going to be against this party but this time around it’s an issue to do with consultations. We need to consult the church so much so that the church can take part in that decision.”

He went on: “We need to decide whether we are going to support any party, or remain neutral or whether we are going to allow any Christian to vote for whoever they want.

“I am trying to be very democratic to allow bishops to decide our own destiny as a church.”

Zanu PF has in the past turned to churches to garner support for the elections.

President Robert Mugabe has on numerous occasions used the church as a platform for political campaign.

Ndanga’s declaration, however, follows another surprise move in which his church seeks to tackle the Gukurahundi issue, which he said was not a closed chapter.

“There is an issue of Gukurahundi; something which they say is a closed chapter, it is wrong for us to say it’s a closed chapter,” Ndanga said.

“It cannot be a closed chapter, as a church we have to lead the way because that falls under collective sin, a collective sin is a sin of the nation where everybody is a sinner where whoever committed the sin committed it on behalf of the nation,” he said.

ACCZ is an umbrella body of apostolic and zionist churches.



Council divided over ownership of flats

CRACKS have emerged within council over the transfer of ownership of flats in the Iminyela and Mabuthweni suburbs to sitting tenants who have been occupying the properties for more than 30 years.

Opinion is split right through the middle among city fathers over this emotive matter.

A section of the councillors is citing lack of resources for stalling the implementation of a council resolution compelling the municipality to transfer ownership to the sitting tenants, while another group blames the absence of political will.

In 2002, council resolved to sell the 3 000-plus houses in the two suburbs to sitting tenants and committed to transfer ownership to the occupants but to date, the tenants are yet to get the properties’ ownership transferred into their names, despite numerous promises.

Most of the tenants, who have been living in squalor, have been occupying the properties for more than three decades.

Ward 13 councillor Lot Siziba told the Southern News that council was playing delaying tactics on the implementation of the resolution.

“I don’t believe that there is no money because in 2010, the United Nations released money for the project but instead the money was diverted to Esidojiwe for the construction of Millennium houses and that pains me because this problem has gone for long enough,” fumed Siziba.

“In 2010, we went to see the equipment at the council stores, which was meant for the project but was diverted, so they should not tell us about resource scarcity.”

The Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC, which dominates council, has waded into the matter, with the party’s provincial spokesperson, Felix Mafa, accusing the local authority of “dillydallying” on the matter.

“Remember early this year, we summoned the mayor Martin Moyo and his councillors to our party offices over the issue . . . we quizzed them over why they were failing to implement a resolution passed by the previous council on the Iminyela and Mabuthweni suburbs,” he told Southern News.

“Instead of implementing the resolution, they are now trying to reinvent their own resolution and, as a party, we won’t allow that to happen,” Mafa said.

Moyo said resources were the biggest challenge faced in implementing the resolution.

“We allowed those people to go into home ownership provided the facilities are there,” he said.

“There are a lot of things that need to be done before the ownership is transferred because we can’t transfer ownership when there is no sewer system, water, toilets and roads,” he said, adding that a survey has already been conducted on the properties to ascertain the requirements and feasibility of the transfer process.

“The transfer could have been faster had it been possible that each of them (tenants) had the money to pay for such renovations as plumbing and toilet construction, among other necessities, but unfortunately, most of these people, from our survey, cannot afford these so we are trying to get that money.”

The mayor went on to slam Mafa, accusing him of politicking.

“We are not dillydallying. We are actually doing what we can. The challenge is the cost of implementing (the resolution), like I said before. The problem is people want to politic about some of these things, which is not good,” he said.



Minister’s murder case yet to kick off

THE case in which Home Affairs deputy minister Obedingwa Mguni is accused of shooting at a motorist he suspected to have been smuggling is yet to be taken court.

Mguni allegedly shot several bullets at Moses Mutsveru’s Nissan Sunny vehicle which he was driving, with three hitting his car.

He, however, escaped unhurt.

The incident reportedly took place in Marula, near Plumtree, about three weeks ago.

“My client is still to receive any communication from the police as to how the case has gone so far,” said lawyer, Prince Butshe of Mathonsi Ncube Legal Practitioners, who is representing the motorist, Moses Mutsveru, in the case.

Following the shootout, Mutsveru filed a complaint of attempted murder against Mguni at Plumtree Police Station.

On the other hand, Mguni reportedly filed a complainant on the same incident.

Mguni reportedly went to Figree Police Station where he made a report that he was chasing a smuggler.

Police sources told Southern News yesterday that the matter was still under investigation and was not yet ready for court.


Economic challenges weigh heavily on Intwasa

ORGANISERS of the Intwasa Arts Festival here have refused to take the blame for accusations that have been flying on social media that they have failed to run the festival and therefore should pave way for a new leadership.

Observers described this year’s just-ended festival as pathetic and a pale shadow of its former self.

Renowned arts administrator, playwright and festival director Raisedon Baya — who for years has successfully steered the festival to its success — has been in charge for almost a decade now.

However, for the past few years, the festival appeared to be losing its lustre presumably due to poor sponsorship. Last year, the festival lost its office furniture after it was auctioned following failure to settle a debt.

This year’s festival which happened to be the 13th edition was downsized to three days from the usual five days due to what organisers attributed to economic challenges.

Despite having four international acts, the festival suffered a setback when renowned South Africa Kwaito godfather Zola pulled out of the show on the eleventh hour while the Comedy Show had also to be cancelled.

The organisers this year were also forced to shed its draw cards such as the Intwasa Fashion Show and Jazz night. Most events were even made free, including the Bayethe Concert which is normally used to shut down the event.

As if that is not enough, they only managed to release the programme two days before the event unlike in the past where it would be released with a week to spare. The festival also failed to raise money to undertake an accreditation process for journalists, participants and dignitaries.

Not even the much-hyped festival’s partnership with the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority could breathe life into the festival.

Apparently this has heightened calls for the organisers to hand over the reins to new brains to resuscitate its waning fortunes.

But despite all the setbacks that dogged the just ended festival, spokesperson Nkululeko Nkala described this years’ edition as one of the best.

“In terms of figures, this was one of the best-attended festivals,” Nkala said.

“We have asked people to let us know where we went wrong and where the fault of the leadership is but we have got little luck in terms of answers,” he told Southern News.

Nkala, however, said their intention was not too remain glued to the festival but to give others a chance if people felt they have failed.

“One thing for sure is that we are not nailed to Intwasa. I am certain we will gladly make way for a better team. Though we were not elected into office, we are open to criticism and suggestions to leave,” he explained.

“This team has always opened its doors. No one has ever come up with a fresh idea and was turned away. I for one will kill to just be an audience at Intwasa. We are pushing passion.”

Nkala challenged those who felt they had the capacity to take over the reins at the festival to come forward and prove their mettle.

“I still strongly disagree that individuals are bringing it (the festival) down. The team makes sacrifices everyday but that’s the thing with being outside and peeping in.”

Nkala largely attributed the challenges facing Intwasa to the economic situation in the country.

“For us, the fact that the festival happened under these harsh economic conditions is a success story. Many festivals have folded. We also could have taken the easy way out.                       

“This festival had the potential to being the biggest to date with the coming in of ZTA and the ministry of Tourism. We are glad for the partnerships which if resources were released in time, would have meant for better organisation and vigorous marketing,” he said.  


Gwanda council unleashes debt collectors on residents

COUNCIL has unleashed debt collectors on residents as part of efforts to boost revenue collections in a move that has court the ire of residents in the Matabeleland South capital.

Disgruntled Gwanda residents, through Gwanda Residents Association (GRA), have moved to engage the town’s authorities over the matter.

They argue that council had agreed to suspend the use of debt collectors in a meeting held in June this year but barely three months into the agreement, Wellcash Debt Collectors was back haunting them.

“We refer to the commitments made by His Worship the Mayor and councillors in a series of public meetings held with residents that the use of debt collectors to recover council debts remains suspended until a thorough debt audit exercise is executed,” said GRA secretary-general, Bekezela Maduma Fuzwayo, in a September 26, letter.

The letter was addressed to town clerk Priscilla Nkala and Gwanda mayor Knowledge Ndlovu.

“We view the revival of the use of debt collectors on residents as yet again another unfair and uncivil deliberate denigration on commitments and undertakings made to residents by the council. As residents, we reiterate that council cannot execute debt collectors on residents on debts that we all agreed to be inflated, incoherent and unrealistic,” he said.

Fuzwayo said it was unfortunate that council had the temerity to engage debt collectors yet it conceded that it had been overcharging residents by using estimate water bills.

“The council acknowledged the erratic billing on residents’ accounts...we have continuously implored that these amounts be revisited before any actions to recover them are put in place,” he said.

“We therefore by means of this correspondence repeat and invite that the debt collectors be yet again immediately stopped from communicating with and harassing residents until the above is adhered to,” Fuzwayo said.

However, Ndlovu told the Southern News that the decision was meant to push residents to settle their outstanding bills, as council was now owed over $4 million.

“The situation is bad . . . our monthly revenue collection has gone down by 30 percent from our average monthly collection of $480 000 per month to $130 000. So, we really have to act, otherwise, service delivery will go down and we also fail to pay workers and that will mean more problems for us, “he said.

“We have never stopped. Debt collection has always been an on-going process. In fact, we have had the debt collection company for the past three years,” Ndlovu argued.

“We normally send reminders, which means we will be simply reminding you to pay what you owe the council but you get to a stage that you have to tighten up the screws because people sometimes see the reminders and just ignore and at the same time they don’t pay,” he said.

The mayor, however, agreed that there were incidents where residents were over-billed and the affected parties had the right to lodge complaints with the local authority.

This comes as Harare residents went up in arms with their council after the capital city hired the same company to improve its revenue collection.

Following the outcry, Harare City Council backed down and cancelled Wellcash’s contract, but later reengaged on its decision to residents’ disappointment.

    Comments (1)

    tinotenda nereport mukugona daily news ramba makadaro

    g40 - 4 October 2017

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