SOUTHERN NEWS | Zacc turns Byo unit into 'charge office'

BULAWAYO - The Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) offices in Bulawayo are currently being manned by police officers as lack of resources continue to hamper the operations of the anti-graft body.

This, however according to observers, is likely to erode the confidence of the anti-graft body as they felt the move was tantamount to turning the Zacc offices into a charge office.

This is regardless of the fact that Zacc has previously indicated that its investigations department has 36 officers and out of that, 21 are seconded officers from the police and other stakeholders.

Zacc opened a sub-office in the second largest city last month during the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) as it sought to decentralise its operations as well as reaching out to its clients in the Matabeleland region.

The offices are situated at the ZITF pavilion.

Zacc commissioner Farai Chinyani confirmed to Southern News that they were having financial challenges which have seen them failing to deploy human resources to the second largest city.

“Police are manning our Bulawayo office which I think is a challenge also because sometimes people do not trust the police when it comes to reporting such matters,” she said.

“We have a shortage of staff and we have since recommended that one person goes the offices.”

“The reason why we had to decentralise was because there seemed to be a focus on Harare alone as if corruption only happens in Harare.

“It was also difficult for our clients to report their cases considering the distance,” she said.

As part of the decentralisation initiative, Chinyani said, they were in the process of opening offices in Gweru, Masvingo and Mutare where she said they have already been allocated offices by the Public Works ministry.

She, however, said lack of finance allocation by the ministry of Finance has also made it difficult for them to fully execute their duties, including the deployment of personnel on the ground.

“Lack of finance has been hampering our operations and that is why we are at the moment having police manning our Bulawayo offices and that’s unfortunate because we have received reports from the clients saying sometimes when they visit our offices they find there will be no one.

“They have also told us that sometimes they just insert the documents under the door if they find no one in attendance.

“We are not really sure how many police officers are manning the offices but I think it should be two although I don’t know how they are doing it,” Chinyani said.

She said under normal circumstances, seven Zacc officers should be deployed to man the Bulawayo office due to the various demands involved in the quest to end corruption in the country.

The commissioner, however, said since they opened the offices here, there has been an overwhelming response from clients who urgently want their cases attended to.

Contacted for comment, police provincial spokesperson Precious Simango said she was tied up in a meeting.

Zacc last year told the Parliamentary portfolio committee on Defence, Home Affairs and Security services that its operations were hamstrung due to inadequate staff spawned by the limited budget from Treasury.

Zacc is one of the five independent Commissions that are critical in various activities aimed at combating corruption, promoting transparency and accountability in public institutions as well as entrenching human rights and democracy.


Business, residents join hands against crime

BULAWAYO - A new community policing initiative, which covers Bulawayo’s eastern suburbs under the Zimbabwe Republic Police(ZRP)’s  Hillside policing area, was launched over the weekend.

This comes as the ZRP recently launched police patrol units country-wide while this particular one involves Bulawayo police in partnership with residents and the business community.

Police provincial spokesperson Precious Simango said the combined effort under the Hillside policing area was a response to the spike of crime in the area.

“In pursuance of the ZRP community policing thrust which aims to bring the police closer to the people, members of the Business Against Crime Forum of Zimbabwe (Bacfoz) of Hillside, through their appreciation of the rise in robberies and unlawful entry into premises and theft cases have seconded high-powered vehicles to carry out night patrols in a bid to curb crime,” Simango said.

“The vehicles will be marked on both front doors and on the bonnet with an insignia “Hillside ZRP Bacfoz Police” with blue flashing lights.”

Bacfoz is a community policing initiative tailor-made for the business community to work hand in glove with the police to prevent crimes affecting business.

“Every vehicle will consist of regular police members and one Neighbourhood Watch Committee (NWC) member who will either be in police riot gear or navy blue shirt or T-shirt with reflective insignia on the sleeves, front and back written “NWC Police Hillside”.

Simango further noted that the initiative was in support of the recently launched police patrol units which are meant to intensify the fight against crime as new police boss Godwin Matanga continues to mend policing standards and image that were tattered during Augustine Chihuri’s reign at the helm of the ZRP.

This new initiative covers almost the entire suburbs in the eastern area such as Hillside, Hillcrest, Malindela, Ilanda, Selbourne Park, Riverside, Matsheumhlope, Fortune’s gate, Mqabuko Heights, Burnside, Waterford, Douglasdale, Hope Fountain, Manningdale, Willsgrove, Lockview, Buenavista, Sunninghill, Kensington, Claremont, Warrenharm, Morningside, Fourwinds, Eleona and Greenhill.

The San’s untold story exposed in new book

BULAWAYO - Tsoro-o-tso San Development Trust director Davy Ndlovu has taken his advocacy for the recognition of the marginalised San community in Tsholotsho District to another level by releasing his debut book.

The book, titled A New Age for the San in Zimbabwe was co-edited by veteran author Ignatius Mabasa and American Prof Will. The 84-page book was published by Harare based Bhabhu Books.

According to Ndlovu, the book was inspired by the long interactions he had with the late Motshwa Moyo who passed on in 2013 aged 100 years.

“Apparently, Motshwa had stories to tell and people were not interested in listening to her and when I first met her in 2011, she told me that the stories of the San have not been told and she wanted me to tell their story,” Ndlovu told Southern News.

“So, in 2013, I started writing her story and it came out that the San had many challenges. Some of the challenges had to do with the loss of cultural identity, which was a major concern for Motshwa,” he said.

Ndlovu said the book is about the San “as we know them today, the San who have lost their language and cultural value system”.

He added: “My idea was to tell their story from that point where, all of a sudden, they just discovered that they were a people without a name and or identity.”

Ndlovu said as much as the San said they were originally San, people did not believe that and it was this that angered Mlotshwa.

“She wanted to tell her story of how they came to lose their identity (Maybe to defend their position) but for me, it was like setting the record straight.”

At first, Ndlovu said he had named his book “In their Own Words: A Contemporary History of the San in Zimbabwe” and later he decided that he didn’t want to write the history of the San but just to tell their story, hence the change of title to the current one.

A New Age of the San in Zimbabwe i talks about opportunities for the San now, in terms of language revitalisation, curriculum development, education and leadership.

“I am saying the past life of hunting and gathering is no more and how can the San survive in the absence of hunting and gathering,” he said.

The book comprises stories from a number of San elders and the middle-aged and the stories vary.

“The elders spoke about their lives of hunting and gathering and how the movement of people into their territory affected their livelihoods. They spoke also about how the establishment of the national park (Hwange National Park) confused their lives and the hardships they endured during that time.”

Ndlovu said he was motivated by the fact that after he attempted to research on the San people, he could not find the information anywhere.

“This made me realise that the San in Zimbabwe were the least researched and people knew very little about them. I thought that if I can write, I will be adding to the body of knowledge about the San and I also wanted to create a reference point where people can now start writing going forward,” he said.

“It took me about six years, that’s from 2011-2017 to write the book and it was tough at the beginning, as I this was my first book.

“But it should be noted that my mission is to tell the true story of the San so that we can manage the misconceptions that have been created about the San in general.

“People know the San as lazy people who like meat more than anyone and that the San do not want modernisation,” said Ndlovu.

Low women participation in elections bemoaned

BULAWAYO - Women Institute Leaders for Development (WILD) executive director Samukeliso Khumalo has bemoaned low number of female candidates across all political parties in this year’s elections.

Speaking during the unveiling of MDC Alliance Luveve constituency parliamentary candidate, Stella Ndlovu to the female electorate on Saturday, Khumalo said her organisation was ready to capacitate female candidates in a bid to increase their representation in leadership.

“WILD is nonpartisan organisation which supports the elevation of women to leadership positions.

“However, we are concerned with low number of female candidates participating in the forthcoming elections,” said Khumalo, echoing a view also highlighted by MDC proportional representation legislator Ruth Labode.

Khumalo urged the candidate that once elected, she should be assertive in Parliament and contribute meaningfully to the community saying WILD “is available to capacitate female candidates”.

Close to 200 women graced the event held under the theme “African Women in Leadership”.

Addressing the same meeting, MDC legislator for Bulawayo Metropolitan Jasmine Toffa said upon being elected into Parliament, Ndlovu should guard against detaching herself from the constituency but should be visible and seek learning opportunities presented by civic organisations.

The legislators appealed to women in the constituency to rally behind Ndlovu in the coming elections.


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