EASTERN NEWS

Provincial youth chair likens self to ED

MUTARE - Zanu PF Manicaland provincial youth chairperson Tawanda Mukodza was last week heckled after trying to respond to questions of his legitimacy by drawing
parallels with President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s leadership — suggesting that he too had not been voted into office.

The Makoni intra-district meeting was reduced to a shouting match with irate youths claiming the nation had voted him into power by packing Zimbabwe grounds and flooding the streets of Harare in the protests that led to former president Robert Mugabe’s resignation.

Youths had questioned where Mukodza, who was deposed years ago in the face of alleged mismanagement of donations for the 21st February Movement, had emerged from to
assume the post as fissures begin to emerge once more in the ruling party.

In an audio recording of the meeting, enraged youths can be heard shouting that he was not on an equal pedestal with the president.

“The president was voted into office! People voted with their feet! We went to Harare for that!” youths would shout back during Mukodza’s presentation.

The disgruntlement surrounds the supposed sidelining of youths who took great risk in frustrating attempts to push out then vice president Mnangagwa out of the party.

Mukodza was handed back the post at a special provincial coordination committee meeting held to recall Mugabe and reinstate Mnangagwa into the party and to assume
leadership of the party last November.

Both decisions were ratified by the central committee before being approved by the extra-ordinary Zanu PF congress in December.

This, however, comes as factions re-emerge to haunt Zanu PF with civilians and retired soldiers tussling for control of the party.

The retirement and placement of top military chiefs in strategic positions following the military intervention — Operation Restore Legacy that led to the retirement of former president Robert Mugabe, has the civilians who have been in charge of the party since independence concerned that they are being crowded out.

There is, however, no unanimity to the complaints as war veterans — who are part of the military wing of the party as they also represent most of the senior military
personnel is divided on the placement of retired soldiers into key posts.


Mutsvangwa: Manicaland’s new-found leader

MUTARE - Opposition political party leaders, corporates, captains of industry and individuals — some facing assault and contempt of court charges — have had Manicaland
Provincial Affairs minister Monica Mutsvangwa literally under siege.

Mutsvangwa has often been forced to work late into the evening to clear the long queues of people.

Former Mutare Mayor Brian James has also been to the new minister’s office. “I wanted to impress upon the minister some infrastructural projects that I feel the city
and Manicaland would benefit from, including the need for an airport for our tourism,” James said.

Chimanimani Tourist Association members — Jane High, who owns Frog and Fern Cottages and Collins Sibanda, a tour guide, also met the minister last Wednesday evening in
a show of commitment to listen that is inviting even longer queues of people.

This has become her daily routine as long as she has no out-of-office engagements.

But court officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said she risks being abused as some criminals are trying to push her hand in interfering with the justice delivery system.

“She should not be used like a kangaroo charge-office because there are people who are now coming to our offices claiming they are being referred from her office.

“This will soon make her look like the former minister of State (Mandi Chimene) and will make her unpopular. Please, tell her,” an official said.

Vendors who were interviewed claim that while she was open to their concerns her disposition was more professional than her predecessor.

“Mutsvangwa has an open-door policy but she is more professional in that she would not make declarations at the spur of the moment, making you feel that she respects
whatever offices that she would take your issues to giving a better chance of being implemented,” a vegetable vendor at Sakubva Market said.

Mutsvangwa has herself been on a charm offensive and openly declared that she will be engaging everyone including opposition political parties in the discharge of her duties.

At the weekend, she told a Zanu PF inter-district meeting that while she was going to help unify her party she was not going to marginalise any group in her ministerial functions.

“When I came to this province, there was so much disgruntlement and a lot of discord . . . I was assigned to create a peaceful province so that we go into an election
well prepared,” Mutsvangwa said before declaring her impartiality in developmental issues.

“We will rule together with yourselves, other political parties, churches, business and others because . . . Mnangagwa is everyone’s president,” she said.

Mutsvangwa even encouraged the coming in of other political players as a sign of the country’s mature democracy.

“We heard that there are little parties that are coming up and holding meetings in places like Sakubva and touts are attending those meetings for the free meals but
then that’s what we call democracy,” she said.

Mutsvangwa is continuing to engage different social groups and sectors of the economy amidst an excitement that the province may have finally found a person who would
bring harmony to its developmental agenda by dissolving political polarisation in government business.


‘Mining companies damaged environment’

MUTARE - Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) says it has inherited a heavily gullied and potholed diamond fields with uprooted trees, dangerous water-filled
pits, stone piles, cut-up hills and rolling barren land with scrapped off precious topsoil.

The damage was caused by the seven mining companies — Mbada Diamonds, Anjin Investments, Gay Nyame, Jinan, Diamond Mining Company, Kusena and Marange Resources — that were kicked off for lack of accountability.

The companies’ operations were initially protected from publicly accounting for their income with parliamentarians being barred from accessing their mining operations
under the belief that the secrecy would help bust sanctions.

Global Watch was at the time alleging that the country had lost over two billion dollars in murky diamond deals in the preceding two years.

Throughout their seven-year mining operations, the companies were accused by the local community of damaging the environment.

Their mining waste was choking streams and rivers that ran through the fields.

Unsecured sludge ponds claimed lives of both livestock and human beings causing uproar among communities.

Due to the protection of mining areas, environmentalists were not given access to the area to interrogate the extent of the environmental impact to indigenous forests.

ZCDC chief executive officer Morris Mpofu recently assured that his company, although having started mining last year, will address some of the problems facing communities.

“The companies left large tracts of land with gullies, uprooted trees and potholes as they focused on alluvial mining and we have set aside $20 million for the exercise,” said Mpofu.

He said they have already planted around 900 trees with priority being land around schools and other strategic human settlements.

“We are expecting to plant close to 2 000 trees by March this year. We are working with the Forestry Commission of Zimbabwe in this exercise,” said Mpofu.

Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda told parliamentarians at a mining policies and legislation earlier that all mining operations that harmed the environment were in
violation of the Constitution.

Mudenda said locals’ environmental rights were enshrined in Section 73(1)(a)(b) of the Constitution which provides that:

“Every person has the right — (a) To an environment that is not harmful to their health or well-being; and (b) To have the environment protected for the benefit of
present and future generations, through reasonable legislative and other measures that — (i) prevent pollution and ecological degradation; (ii) Promote conservation; and (iii) Secure ecologically sustainable development and use of natural resources while promoting economic and social development”.

He said this was in line with government’s ZimAsset objectives of judicious exploitation of the country’s resources.

“As you mine, you must reclaim the environment immediately.

“Our emphasis should, therefore, be on environmentally sustainable exploitation and maximisation of national revenues which is in line with the new economic order
espoused in the 2018 budget,” Mudenda said.


Council director resigns after arrest

MUTARE - Rusape Town Council Housing director Lawrence Mushayabasa, who is on trial for criminal abuse of office, has resigned from his post after being suspended  following his arrest.

In a resignation letter tendered to the town secretary Solomon Gabaza, Mushayabasa said he was leaving his post with a “heavy heart”.

“It is with a very heavy heart that I have made this decision to give a three (3) months notice to resign from Rusape Town Council, with effect from today 22 January 2018," he wrote.

Mushayabasa is out on bail in a case he is jointly charged with former Rusape secretary and current Mutare City Town Clerk Joshua Maligwa.

The duo are alleged to have abused office by demarcating and selling stands on land that did not belong to Rusape Town Council.

Sources claim that Mushayabasa resigned because of the tense working relationship with his current boss Gabaza.

Gabaza assumed the post in October 2017 after leading the local authority in an acting capacity from the time Maligwa left in April, 2017.

Gabaza has been with Rusape council for the past seven years during which he held key positions such as administration officer, treasurer and acting town secretary.

He is believed to have been behind the arrest of the duo by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission.

Mushayabasa was bitter over the decision to suspend him before the case is finalised at the courts.

He was handed a letter of suspension on January 15 with a litany of allegations backdating from 2013 including those for which he is under trial for.

“I was working under constant intimidation and it’s not ideal anymore,” Mushayabasa said.

He said he was on several occasions made to sign warnings that he was leaking council information something he deeply disputes.

“All advice from my office was no longer being taken into consideration and this compromised my duties as the housing director,” he said.


Fraudster faces 4-month jail term over EcoCash transfer

MUTARE - A Sakubva woman who transferred $85 from her friend’s EcoCash account to her own account under the guise of transferring a video faces a four-month jail stint
for fraud.

Angeline Gaya, 31, of Sakubva was ordered to restitute the money or face prison after she was convicted on her own plea of guilt by magistrate Perseverance Makala.

Gaya is being charged with fraud as defined in section 136 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act chapter 9:23.

Prosecuting, Brighton Shamuyarira told the court how Gaya defrauded her friend Nyarai Chimbetete on November 2, 2017 at 1715 hours at Engineering Camp, Sakubva.

She asked for Chimbetete’s cellphone on the guise that she wanted to transfer a video and made the Ecocash transfer of $85 to her phone and deleted the transaction report.

Chimbetete was later left wondering what had happened to her money for almost two months.

Police investigations later revealed that the money had been moved to Gaya’s EcoCash account on the day in question.

Gaya was given a month to return the money or serve the alternative four-month jail stint.


Woman bashed for pestering hubby

MUTARE - A Sakubva man who bashed his wife accusing her of pestering him for money to buy utilities has been slapped with a $90 fine.

Pfungwa Jekwa, 36, of  Sakubva was convicted on his own plea of guilty by magistrate Perseverance Makala.

He was being charged with physical abuse as defined by Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act section 3 (1) (a) as read with the Domestic Violence Act chapter 5.16.

It was the State’s case that Jekwa was asked for money to pay bills for which he said he had no money.

His wife allegedly kept asking him for the money.

Jekwa then got angry at the pestering and turned on his wife pummelling her with clenched fists on the face and chest.

The wife reported the assault at Sakubva Police Station leading to his arrest.

She, however, did not sustain any visible injuries and was not examined to ascertain the full extent of her injuries.

Brighton Shamuyarira was prosecuting.

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