Fri, Jan 21, 2022

Bulawayo youths squeal over public debt in Zimbabwe

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by Yollander Millin

The youth in Bulawayo have expressed concerns over the effects of increasing public debt on their social and economic welfare, and have called on both local and national authorities to put their views on this into consideration.

In an event organized by Youth Innovation Trust, in partnership with Action aid Zimbabwe, Activista and ZIMCODD Social and economic justice ambassadors, the youth submitted to representatives from the Bulawayo City council and the Ministry of youth, a position paper in which they had compiled economic concerns as a result of debt.

In the position paper, the youth outlined lived challenges in health, education, food security, rising unemployment and concerns over the findings of the Auditor Generals report, which outlined gross violations of public finances in public institutions. They gave recommendations and had “asks” that included the need for a public debt audit .

The event was running under the theme ” debt is slavery of the free”, and saw an impressive number of youth coming together in solidarity against debt, using art and music to raise awareness on debt and debt distress.

Zimbabwe was declared by International Monetary Fund to be in debt distress, meaning it has unsustainable debts, some of which dating as back as pre-independence and most likely some of the debts being odious.

There is need for the youth to position themselves in matters of debt contraction seeing they have the obligation, and carry the burden of servicing the debts, and the youths in Bulawayo have taken the initiative to talk about public debt.

In other related initiatives, Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development (ZIMCODD), under their #HowFar campaign that seeks to demand transparency and accountability from duty bearers, is pushing for a debt audit and has scheduled engagements with multiple stakeholders in efforts to bring meaning to Zimbabwe’s debt management.

Man jailed for 15yrs for raping own daughter

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by Hazel

A Harare man was today jailed for 15 years for raping his biological 12-year-old daughter in a maize field in Highfield, Harare. The man, whose name has been withheld to protect the identity of the teenager, was initially jailed for 18-years before Harare regional magistrate Mr Kudakwashe Mhene set aside three years of his jail term. The three years were set aside on condition that he will not commit a similar offence within the next five years. The man, was cleared of two other rape charges he had been accused of.

Matabelend CSOs launch #EkhayaVote2023 campaign

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By Descent Dube 

A coalition of Matabeleland region Civic Society Organizations (CSOs) on Friday launched EkhayaVote2023 campaign in a bid to promote citizens electoral participation.

The campaign seeks to embark on voter education campaigns, grassroots voter mobilisation, enhance civic participation and the creation of a favourable environment prior⁸, during and post the 2023 elections.

The coalition’s representative Samukeliso Khumalo said the campaign is motivated by a possible threat to reduce constituencies by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) due to low numbers of people who are registered to vote. 

“The absence of sustainable community based initiatives that mobilize citizens particularly youths, first time voters and women to participate in the electoral process has led to a widespread voter apathy and lack of confidence in the electoral system. (As a result) Matabeleland region is under threat of losing a number of constituencies,” said Khumalo. 

Khumalo who is the Women Institute Leadership Development (WILD) executive director said the campaign will contribute towards voter turnout through extensive voter education campaigns and ensure accessibility to registration centres.

“The EkhayaVote2023 has its uniqueness where its coalition member organisations directly work with communities and have become a voice, help in capacity building and play an intermediary role between citizens duty bearers,” she said. 

Previously voter registration patterns have translated into Matabeleland provinces particularly Bulawayo having fewer constituencies compared to other provinces and the continuation of this thread could lead to less constituencies in the provinces before 2023.

“We call upon various stakeholders to take charge & set a participatory narrative by ensuring that all citizens eligible to vote get the required information so that we can collectively rally for a record breaking electoral participation,” Khumalo said. 

Matebeleland youths set to learn new digital skills through Youth Innovation Trust

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By Jane Nkiwane

The Youth for Innovation Trust has set up an educative digital skills program to teach young rural girls in Matebeland new technology.

The project is targeting young women under the age of 24 who hail from Matebeland. The goal of the initiative is to enhance the online presence of rural girls and teach them to use technology to change their communities and lives.

The week long boot camp will be held in Lupane and Gwanda so as to make it proximate to the participants who come from different parts of the province. During the boot camp, the women will gain skills like digital productivity, online basics, digital security and coding. “

Managing director for YIT Thando Gwinji said the boot camp will help reduce the gender divide in ICT.” A lot of women are not well vexed in new technology due to lack of resources, this has been worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic as it has derailed the academic progression of most rural girls and forced them to early marriages and involuntary sex work.”

According to Gwinji, the project will give the participants a starting point in life as they will gain digital skills that are essenital in the contemporary job market.

The creative media officer for YIT Senelani Ndlovu mentioned that the knowledge that will be imparted to the participants during the boot camp, will not only develop them as individuals but will also develop their communities as a whole.

” I am positive that this project will create active alumni who are innovative thinkers, who will come up with innovative solutions to the problems faced by youths and their communities.” she added

Rate of early marriages worrying

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by Sasha N Mwenya and Kesmas C N

The problem of early marriages is a worrying one. The issue is specifically in rural areas like Northern Province in Kasama (Chiba), Zambia. It’s usually happening to young women because of lack knowledge, they drop out of school, unplanned teenage pregnancies, lack of support or sponsorship for their education and last but not the least peer pressure. Mostly girls are affected for instance if a girl falls pregnant she will drop out of school and get married whilst the person responsible for the pregnancy continues with school or some other things.

In Kasama, 65% of girls out of 100% are being married off which is not helping in the development of the country and we feel parents are responsible for marrying off their children at a tender age rather than encouraging their children to go to school or doing other constructive things that can help them develop. So we suggest children should be taught about the negative impacts of early marriages and teenage pregnancies so as to reduce the problem.

Drug abuse a cause for concern in Kasama

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by Albert and kalumbu

Young people in Kasama, Zambia, are using drugs almost on a daily basis as it is a result of high number of school drop outs who are involving themselves in harmful activities such as fighting and stealing. This is due to the availability of drugs in the community hence they are easily accessible. It can also be due to peer pressure or group influence. There is an urgent need of coming up with strategies such as creating recreational activities, sensitization and awareness raising programmes about the dangers of drug and substance abuse and also having dialogue meetings with DEC and the community can help reduce drug abuse.

The plight of young women and in Sakubva

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by Rutendo Makamure

In Sakubva most of the women and girls are being abused in one way or the other. They are either physically abused, neglected, financially abused, sexually exploited or raped and most of them are forced to engage in sexual activities because of poverty and hunger. Most of the high school girls are now into drugs and they end up dropping off from school and have unplanned pregnancies. Furthermore, in Sakubva, there are sexual activities hot spots and you will see very young girls there. All this is caused by hunger, poverty and some of the families are child headed and also some men have extra marital homes so it would be very difficult for women and young girls to support their families so they will prefer to do sexual activities for money or food for the family. And some men in Sakubva are taking advantage of young girls with disabilities and they will have sex with them for free for their own benefits and because of some false beliefs that if you have sex with a person with disability you will be healed from HIV and Aids.

Mpopoma residents can’t afford US$ for a neighborhood watch program

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Handcuffs on fingerprints

by Minenhle Moyo

Community leaders of Bulawayo’s Mpopoma suburb are up in arms with community members who are seemingly distancing themselves from the Neighborhood Watch Program following the introduction of $1 USD payments meant to remunerate volunteers who guard their residential place during the night.

Most community members have cited that they cannot afford the stipulated amount as they have other demanding costs.

This however has resulted in the community realizing more house break in cases. Community leaders have since urged community members to comply for their own safety.

Drug abuse in Kasama Chiba Village, Northern Province, Zambia

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BY Kesmas Chota Henry

Youths are entertaining themselves with abusing drugs specifically those in rural areas. Some have started stealing money just for them to buy weed and alcohol. In Chiba, youths have twisted drug abuse into a sporting activity. Drug abuse promotes anti-social behavior like violence and crime amongst teenagers. Citizens are appealing to their elected government to support them and stop drug abuse especially amongst youths.

Illegal hammer mills and cyanidation are a wicked problem in Penhalonga

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by Tinashe Muzama and Rutendo

The establishment of illegal gold hammer mills(HMS) and cyanidation sites along river streams flowing along residential areas of Penhalonga in Manicaland and surrounding farming communities is a cause for concern. Residents of Penhalonga and representatives of community based organizations (CBOs) in Mutasa, Zimbabwe raised concerns on the establishment of illegal gold hammer mills and cyanidation sites along river streams flowing along residential areas of Penhalonga and surrounding farming communities. It has been observed that fast distribution of toxic chemicals in Tsambe river is affecting the residents in this time of water rationing because the rivers are the only alternative source of water in the are. A total of 129 hammer mills and 6 cyanidation sites were illegally processing gold at 6 different locations in the communities thus violating S.I 258 of 2018 Environmental Management (Control of Alluvial Mining) (Ammendment) Regulations which denounces the processing plants, washing plants ,slime dams, settling ponds, stock piles that are to be constructed at least 500m from the river bank of any water course.

The grave implications of cyanidation has reached alarming levels to such an extent that, it is sold in 300ml bottles in the community. Cyanide is leaking yet the ferax chemical is scarce which is used to kill it. The danger of cyanide is that, the soil that is used is contaminated yet when it rains,the soil will be washed away into the river. Cyanide weakens any other mineral that surrounds the gold.

Furthermore there are no registered hammer mills in Penhalonga.The management has unregistered hammer mills to such an extent that they do not publicize because the strategic apex is supporting the illegal activities.

The moment one puts a mill, its evident cyanide/mercury andexplosives are there. Cyanide or mercury is therefore disposed in rivers or waters. Most importantly some companies operating in Penhalonga have cyanidation but the plants leak water. There are no licenses on this activity. This entails that no clean water, only mercury water is present.Some of the milling sites are unprotected, thus exposing livestock and people to toxic chemicals.

Meanwhile residents would like to thank the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) and the stakeholders for responding to the concerns of residents.