Saturday, May 8, 2010

Politicians not sincere says Matutu

Masvingo-The Masvingo Central Member of parliament Hon Tongai Matutu has said politicians are not sincere in dealing with media freedom issues. He was addressing journalists at a belated Press Freedom Day commemoration held at the Charles Austin Theatre.

Matutu urged journalist to fight for their rights and not wait for politicians to do it on their behalf. Matutu said the political parties have other interests to do with their retention of power and discussing media freedom is a “luxury” for them. “Politicians are not sincere, including my self, when it comes to media freedom”, Matutu said.

Matutu also said there should be no question on whether or not media freedom should be guaranteed in the constitution. “That is an obviousity. It is a yes” he stated.

Matutu said because issues have to be negotiated, progress is slow in coming up with decisions and implementation thereof.

“We are setting the structures and those structures are doing nothing about media freedom” Matutu lamented. “Everyone is frustrated to an extent that journalists end up writing whatever they want under a pseudonym”, he continued.

Addressing the same gathering ZANU PF House of Assembly member for Chakari Hon Zacharia Ziyambi blamed “media house sponsors” who wrote negatively about the land reform resulting in the then ZANU PF government enacting laws to try and deal with the “bad publicity”. Hon Ziyambi said “people do not remain in power and bad laws will affect them when others come into power.” He accused foreign media of pouring money into the media in Zimbabwe in order to get their ideologies and agendas into Zimbabwe.

Matutu disagreed with Hon Ziyambi and urged investors to invest in the media instead. He urged politicians to “change their attitude in order to have a free media environment.” He described our situation as pathetic to an extent that civil servants are no different from politicians, journalists or activists. “Chokwadi chaicho ndechekuti chekufarira hapana”, he said. (There is nothing to be joyous or celebrate about)

MISA Zimbabwe chairperson Loughty Dube said as MISA they were advocating for media freedom to be guaranteed in the constitution, a self regulatory mechanism for journalists as a way to get redress not and a three tier broadcasting system that has commercial, community and public broadcasting. Dube said they wanted to see the transformation of the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation to be a truly public broadcaster not what it is at the moment.

Dube gave examples of countries in the region that guarantee media freedom and access to information in their constitutions. He singled out Malawi, South Africa and Mozambique as having the best examples. Sadly Zimbabwe and Botswana are the only countries in the region that are lagging behind.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Family Receives Wheelchairs

Masvingo- A Masvingo family has received two wheelchairs for two of its three disabled family members. The donation was made possible by Family Aids Caring Trust (FACT)Masvingo under the National Action Plan for Orphaned and Vulnerable Children programme of support funded by the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund.

The programme is implemented by a consortium of five organizations in Masvingo province with Fact Masvingo implementing in Masvingo urban.

The recipients of the two wheelchairs acquired at the value of US$350 each are physically challenged members of the Nezandonyi family. Mr Gibson Nezandonyi said Grace (17) and Canajas (11) have the same physical challenges. Grace however cannot speak in addition to her physical challenges. Mercy (4) is also physically challenged but the Rehabilitation Department at the Masvingo General Hospital says she has a potential to be able to walk. The department therefore recommended a walker for her instead of a wheel chair. Fact Masvingo coordinator Mrs Saliwe Chibwana says the walker has already been ordered and will soon be handed over. She thanked local support groups who identified the children and their need for wheelchairs.

Mr Nezandonyi, an army officer, said his daughter Grace and his son Canajas have never been to school because he could not carry them to and fro. He expressed hope that he could soon take his children to nearby Ratidzo School. Ratidzo School was originally meant for mentally challenged children, a few of them with other physical challenges but able to walk by themselves. Ratidzo School Headmaster, Ishmael Chigumo who attended the handover, said his class of four physically challenged children which started this year will now have seven children. He took the opportunity to appeal to the donor community for a school bus in order to help these children to go to school everyday. “Most of the time those that help the children to school will skip a few days when they are tired and the children miss out” said Mr Chigumo

Ms Faith Muregi an Occupational Therapist and Acting Provincial Therapist at the Masvingo Provincial Hospital took time to show the family how to use the wheelchairs. She went on to urge the guardians not to neglect the children now that they have wheelchairs.

Ward 6 Councillor David Vasivenyu thanked Fact Masvingo and appealed for more assistance in helping the physically challenged in Masvingo.

Friday, September 12, 2008

MDC Supporters Celebrate

Masvingo- Hundreds of MDC supporters including children of school going age, took to the streets this morning in celebration. The celebration was prompted by news that their Morgan Tsvangirai and ZANU PF leader Robert Mugabe reached a power sharing agreement last night. The agreement will see the formation of a Government of National Unity.
Zimbabwe has been embroiled in a political crisis which dates back to 2000 when Tsvangirai’s MDC first contested in a general election against ZANU PF. The crisis deepened earlier this year when Tsvangirai won the most votes against Mugabe in the harmonized elections of March 29. However, Tsvangirai did not win the constitutional 50% plus one vote to avoid a run off. Tsvangirai pulled out of the run off a few days before the poll citing widespread state sponsored violence against MDC supporters. The violent campaign left more than 100 opposition supporters dead. Mugabe went into the run off election unchallenged and claimed victory. The election was dismissed by the international community which vowed not to recognize the outcome.
President Mbeki who was appointed by Sadc to mediate long before the March election, managed to get the political parties on the negotiating table. A political settlement was reportedly reached last night.
The deal will see President Mugabe retain his post while Tsvangirai will become the Prime minister.
MDC supporters started celebrating in the high density suburbs of Runyararo and Chesvingo as early as 0630hrs today. The celebrations started spontaneously as soon as the news of the agreement filtered through. The celebration later proceeded into the City Centre this time with a few MDC councilors in the lead. The supporters blew whistles, sang, chanted their party slogan and threw flyers around. Most of them were clad in their party regalia. Police later rounded them up and took them to Masvingo Police Central. They were told by police that they should have sought clearance first. They were told that they were free to go in and out of the police station but they were not to disappear.Police were not immediately available for comment.

Friday, August 8, 2008


MASVINGO- Ward 8 Councillor Misheck Gapare was last week booed out of a workshop by participants who were irked by his sentiments.
The two day workshop which was on promoting transparency and accountability in public service delivery was organized by the Masvingo United Residents and Rate Payers Association (MURRA) in collaboration with Transparency International –Zimbabwe.

Councillor Gapare had arrived at the workshop at lunch and immediately demanded to be served food. Going on into the workshop, Councillor Gapare disagreed with the other participants on the idea that councilors should not wait to be asked for feedback. Addressing the workshop the Town Clerk Mr Adolf Gusha agreed with other workshop participants on the need for councilors to get back to their wards and give people feedback. Gapare seemed unhappy with this and he raised his hand quickly to voice is disapproval. Councillor Gapare drew the ire of other participants when he suggested that he was too busy for feedback meetings. ”You have to know that I have my own priorities and I cannot go door to door reporting back on council deliberations. Do not forget that I am not a full time employee of the council on salary. I also have my own business and I maybe running around to buy coffins for some of you”, said Gapare.
This did not go down with the other participants and they interjected him in protest. Gapare tried to shout over their voices but gave up and marched out shouting “I did not come here to be abused”. On his marching out the other participants clapped in victory. He did not show up on the second day of the workshop.

The workshop then proceeded with other participants using the councillor as an example of bad leadership skills. Later, people discussed whether councilors should be elected on party lines or based on individuals’ leadership qualities and on merit. The workshop touched on issues of enhancing municipal service delivery through improved accountability and transparency, the role of residents associations in interfacing local Authorities for transparency and accountability. The workshop was also attended by Councilors Muchuchuti, Josia, and Maridza who was elected the deputy Mayor. MURRA has been organizing a lot of workshops to enhance residents’ participation in decision making when it comes to local governance. MURRA was applauded by participants for being pro-active and vibrant in trying to empower residents of Masvingo as well as bringing all stakeholders together.

Thursday, June 19, 2008


Pastoral Statement on the Current Situation in Zimbabwe
10th June 2008

“You must love your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbour as yourself” [Luke 10:27]

1. We, the Catholic Bishops of Zambia, have been closely watching the situation in Zimbabwe since the year 2000. We have followed the events in this neighbouring country as they took a downward and shocking turn after the 29 March 2008 general and presidential elections. Zimbabwe is on the brink of total economic collapse and political destruction and we consider it our duty to raise our voice in solidarity with the suffering people of this sister country and our region.

2. The suffering of God’s people anywhere does not go unnoticed by Him and He surely has seen the suffering of the people of Zimbabwe as it is said in Exodus, “I have seen the suffering of my people and have heard their cry of complaint so I know what they are suffering” [Exodus 3: 7].

3. The suffering of our poor sisters and brothers is intolerable and beyond any political excuses. The total collapse of the economy of Zimbabwe, which was known as the bread basket of the sub-region, especially affects the poor in Zimbabwe. The political collapse or failure of government is shown by the terrible violence and attacks on the citizenry after the elections. These are verified by impartial observers, and we condemn them in the strongest terms possible. An environment of peace is essential for elections, not an environment of fear such as has been fostered by brutal attacks on those who are alleged or judged to have voted “in the wrong way!” The Message from the Heads of Christian Denominations in Zimbabwe, jointly signed by the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops’ Conference, the Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwe Council of Churches, clearly speaks of “organised violence”. This is unacceptable.

4. We applaud the fact that our brothers and sisters in Zimbabwe have shown great resilience and restraint in the midst of an extremely volatile political situation, harsh economic conditions and untold misery as a result of physical abuse. This shows a great commitment to look for a just political process peacefully. We also acknowledge the courage of the civil society and many Church leaders in Zimbabwe who have prophetically endeavoured to speak out, as demonstrated in recent statements. The concern about the situation in Zimbabwe stems from our concern for all human beings. The situation in Zimbabwe since 2002 has affected us all in the Southern Region. For instance, the current tragic situation in South Africa is partly a result of what has been obtaining in Zimbabwe in the past eight years or so.

5. We raise our voice to add to that of the people of Zambia who love their brothers and sisters in Zimbabwe. This love was demonstrated over the years particularly from 11 November 1965 till democratic governance came to Zimbabwe in April 1980. Zambians paid a very high price in supporting their sister country’s liberation struggle. They sacrificed a promising economic future and rapid social development in order to walk with Zimbabweans on the road to freedom and democracy. The damage to Zambia’s economy that this sacrifice brought about is immeasurable. Needless to say that some Zambians paid the supreme price; by losing their lives!

6. We therefore call upon the relevant authorities to ensure that this circle of violence is brought to a halt. As the country begins its preparations for the re-run of the presidential elections it is important that peace should prevail. Free and fair elections cannot be held in an atmosphere of intimidation, torture, and abductions. The current electoral commission in Zimbabwe has lost all credibility going by the manner in which it conducted the March 2008 general election. Therefore, for the run-off elections to be credible it is imperative to have international observers not just from SADC, AU, and EU but also from the United Nations. The rule of law must be re-established and should be particularly evaluated in terms of respect for the poor and defenceless – when we hear of so many casualties from violence, especially in poor rural areas, from whoever is perpetrating it, then we know that the rule of law has broken down and the very first commitment of the President and all his government officials must be to restore the law and order that protects the poor and defenceless – right away.

7. We appeal to all countries in this Region through their political leaders to speak out much more firmly for a settlement of peace and justice in the current crisis in Zimbabwe. Whilst we appreciate and commend the efforts of SADC at solving the problem we call upon the same SADC leaders to take much stronger action. Our appeal is the most appropriate and, indeed, the only credible response to the sufferings of our neighbours. Scripture says, “…this is what Yahweh asks of you: only this, to act justly, to love tenderly, and to walk humbly with your God.” [Micah 6:8].

8. It is imperative for the international community, that is to say the AU and particularly SADC, to ensure that the Regime in Zimbabwe particularly the President, understand that the serious concern about democratic rule, respect for human rights, and the promotion of justice and peace is coming not so much from the international community, this concern and call is coming from our kith and kin, our brothers and sisters, namely the people of Zimbabwe first and foremost, the people of Zambia, the people in the SADC Region and indeed the whole of Africa. Whilst it may be true that some of the problems we face in Africa are a result of the colonial past, it is totally unacceptable to continually blame “colonialists and imperialists”, for problems and misery that mistakes made by our leaders in Africa, and in this case Zimbabwe, have caused.


9. We call upon governments in countries bordering Zimbabwe, including ours, to treat the Zimbabweans who are fleeing the violence and social dislocation at home, as genuine refugees who should be treated with the compassion and dignity they deserve. We deplore the abuse that some refugees, especially women, are being subjected to by people in some border areas who are taking advantage of their desperate situation. We ask our dioceses to receive any refugees with open arms of Christian and African hospitality, and to assist in any way those who are suffering so much.

10. It has to be brought to bear on the government of Zimbabwe to ensure that political violence is immediately brought to an end. The necessary processes and procedures for the re-run must be swiftly dealt with in a transparent manner.

11. We encourage the Church in Zimbabwe to remain vigilant and continue to raise a prophetic voice against all cases of social injustice. We urge them to speak candidly to the people to guide them on the way forward for the country.

12. We call upon the people of Zimbabwe to remain steadfast and refuse to be intimidated in their quest for better governance and greater democracy.

We, on our part, shall continue to pray for a peaceful end to the crisis in Zimbabwe. We encourage our sisters and brothers in Zimbabwe not to lose hope because God has never and will never abandon his own.

“I will betroth you to myself forever, betroth you with integrity and justice, with tenderness and love; I will betroth you to myself with faithfulness and you will come to know Yahweh” [Hosea 2:21-22]

10th June 2008


Rt. Rev. George Zumaire Lungu Bishop of Chipata, ZEC President
Rt. Rev. Noel O’Regan, SMA Bishop of Ndola, ZEC Vice-President
Most Rev. Telesphore-George Mpundu Archbishop of Lusaka
Most Rev. James Spaita Archbishop of Kasama
Most Rev Medardo J. Mazombwe Archbishop Emeritus of Lusaka
Rt. Rev Aaron A. Chisha Bishop of Mansa
Rt. Rev. Raymond Mpezele Bishop of Livingstone
Rt. Rev. Paul Duffy, OMI Bishop of Mongu
Rt. Rev. Emilio Patriarca Bishop of Monze
Rt. Rev. Alick Banda Bishop of Solwezi
Very Rev. Robert Lavertu, M.Afr. Apostolic Administrator of Mpika

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


MASVINGO- As the economic meltdown continues, landlords and property owners in Masvingo have resorted to charging rentals in foreign currency. Some tenants in the CBD and residential areas in Masvingo are now paying their monthly rentals in either the South African Rand or the United States Dollar. Office space and residential properties are said to be paid for in foreign currency.
A small business owner in the City who rents two offices revealed that the property owner had asked for rentals to be paid in Rand. He said they have to pay R80 for each office they occupy. He also said they have to pay their rates in forex although they know that the landlord pays the council in local currency. ‘We have been asked to pay R20 for our water and electricity’, said the businessman who refused to give his name for fear of eviction. ‘The situation is even worse in Runyararo where I have to pay R100 per room”, he added. The business man said he has to fork out R400 for the four rooms he is renting plus the R180 for his office rental and rates.
Wezhira spoke to Mr Mutambasere, City Treasurer for Masvingo, who said the City fathers had no knowledge of anyone paying rates in foreign currency. “All our charges are in local currency and all payments are in local Zimbabwe dollar”’ he added.
Another business man in Rujeko B says he also has to pay R100 per month as rental to the property owner who has told them that they can pay in local currency equivalent to the Rand at the prevailing market rate on the day of payment. He also said that their landlord had told them to vacate his premises if they cannot pay. “I cannot afford R10 on my daily takings sometimes. How then do I get R100 and still have to run this small video shop? You have to know that there is no power almost everyday and my line of business has been affected”, moaned the man who also refused to give his name for fear of eviction.
A property owner who is charging in forex said he had no option since the local currency “had become worthless.” He said that charging in forex was a way to cushion himself against the ever rising inflation rate. “This hyper-inflationary period means that our currency cannot be used. I have no other way but to charge forex which I can then save. You cannot have any savings in Zim dollar,” said the property owner who did not want to be named
Other tenants in Rujeko revealed a more shocking way of paying their monthly rentals. Some landlords are now asking for basic commodities as rental payment. A woman who preferred anonymity said she has to give her landlord 2 litres cooking oil, 2 bars of washing soap and 4 kilograms of sugar for every room I rent. “I have been forced to use one room with my two sons. I have nowhere else to go”, said the single parent of two. Her sons are aged 18 and 21.
Another woman from Rujeko said her landlord asked her to pay R100 per room in May. “I cannot afford to buy a R100 on my salary. I am just a sales representative in a small business. I cannot go anywhere else because the issue of paying rentals in forex seems to be the norm nowadays”, she said.
Unconfirmed reports suggest that even pre-schools have joined the ‘forex club’,charging the fees in Rand.
Contacted for comment, police at Masvingo Central referred all queries to Harare. Police Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena said it was illegal to charge in forex. “It is a criminal offence to charge rentals in foreign currency. Anyone being charged in forex should report to the police and we will investigate and set traps to catch such people,” said Assistant commissioner Bvudzijena.
Assistant Commissioner said there was however no law prohibiting barter trade for those that are charging groceries and other basic commodities.