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Archive for June, 2013

Weed infestation choking Harare’s water fresh water sources

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Thursday, June 27th, 2013 by Lenard Kamwendo

Weed one

Weed two

Harare’s fresh water sources are slowly being eroded by a certain of weed. I remember hearing these two foreign guys sitting next to me on a plane asking each about the green patches on a dam as we were about to land at Harare International Airport. From an aerial view it looked like the river is totally gone and the green carpets forming on the riverbed are also slowly swallowing the dam. Some time back I remember reading an article on Harare’s fresh water sources being under threat from a certain type of a weed but I never realized the extent of the problem. A report published by UNEP Global Environment Alert Service in April 2013 says that the spread of water hyacinth declined from 42% in 1976 to 22% in 2000. But in 2005 a new invasive plant, called spaghetti weed (Hydrocotyle ranunculoide (UNEP 2008) surfaced. It seems the weed is now choking the life out of the few fresh water supply sources that feed into Lake Chivero.

If you contest now, how can you protest later

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Thursday, June 27th, 2013 by Amanda Atwood

Zimbabwe’s election is in legal shambles – But no one really seems to mind. Yesterday, Zimbabwe’s Constitutional Court postponed indefinitely Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa’s half-hearted application to have the Court’s 31 July election deadline extended. Chinamasa’s application came at the recommendation of SADC, which, understandably, was concerned that President Mugabe’s proclamation of a 31 July election date was done unconstitutionally, and set Zimbabwe up for an election which was illegal before it even started. Instead, the court will hear Morgan Tsvangirai and Welshman Ncube’s applications about the need for an election extension tomorrow.

Meanwhile, Nomination Court is also scheduled for tomorrow, in which parties wanting to contest in the illegal and unconstitutional 31 July election will put their candidates forward. Zimbabwe’s political parties have had their primaries, fair, rushed or otherwise. According to David Coltart, the Movement for Democratic Change led by Welshman Ncube will nominate candidates tomorrow because “although 31 July election is illegal, we must contest.”

Attempts to get an answer to the question “Given that 31 July date for #ZimElection is illegal, will yr party be nominating candidates tmrw?” from the MDC led by Morgan Tsvangirai have yet to be responded to, but it seems likely they will also be fielding candidates at nomination court tomorrow.

But, on 13 June, Morgan Tsvangirai himself said of the 31 July election date: “As Morgan Tsvangirai, the Prime Minister of Zimbabwe and the President of the MDC, I will not accept a situation where Zimbabweans will yet again be railroaded and frog-marched to another illegitimate and violent election.”

So – What does refusing to be railroaded mean, exactly, if it doesn’t include refusing to contest in an illegal and unconstitutional election? As Marko Phiri pointed out when the 31 July date was announced, “if Mugabe can unilaterally call for polls, what is to stop him from declaring himself the winner” (regardless of whether he actually won or not.

If you contest in an election which you know is illegal just based on the date for which it was scheduled and the way in which it was proclaimed, what leg do you have to stand on if you try and protest its legality later?

Where I am right, so my wrong begins

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Thursday, June 27th, 2013 by Bev Clark


Crushing stones for a living

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Thursday, June 27th, 2013 by Lenard Kamwendo

The economic crunch experienced in 2008 left many young people jobless as industries closed and relocated to other regional countries. The situation today isn’t much changed. One town reeling under the effects is Chitungwiza, where young people have not been spared. Some have resorted to vending to earn a living, but even vending is now so crowded. Chitungwiza is a dormitory town and almost 80% of people who live in this town commute to Harare for work. Trading is now the major source of income for those who can’t commute to Harare. Most young people found here are college graduates, bricklayers or traders.  A few who still have the energy have resorted to stone crushing to earn a living. This type of work is labor intensive. They use manual labor to crush big rocks to produce ¾ stones, which can be used as concrete for buildings. A ready market for these stones is already there because of new houses being constructed in Chitungwiza.

The stone crushers work on a small open space which council had abandoned because of the huge rocks, which made it difficult to put structures there.

A day starts with the burning of the rocks till they start showing signs of cracking. Some heavy pounding with big hammers follows resulting in the rocks peeling off into small chunks easy to crush using hammers. This type of work is very dangerous and one can lose a limb or an eye from the flying rock chips from the hammers.

Some of the stone crushers are skilled first class artisans in carpentry and some are builders. They got retrenched when the economy went up side down. Left without an alternative, stone crushing is now their only source of income. To make up a load these young men have to crush an average of 60 wheelbarrows worth of rock valued at US$150.

Working a normal day shift from 8am to around 4pm these young men feel at home when they are doing their work. Like one of them said, “I am earning an honest living and will only leave the quarry site when all the rocks have been cleared.” Most of them are married and they can afford to pay rents and buy food for their families.

I tried my hand on a few rocks but it was like hitting steel with steel, they even laughed at me saying I was weak. I was told with time they got used to the pain and they can crush stones every day.

Stone crushing one

Stone crushing

Stone crushing two

Stone crushing 3

Calling out to the Movement for Democratic Change

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Thursday, June 27th, 2013 by Bev Clark

Given that 31 July date for the Zimbabwe Election is illegal, will your party be nominating candidates tomorrow?

Skull and bones

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Thursday, June 27th, 2013 by Marko Phiri

About state media fiction writers:

“Masks beneath masks until suddenly the bare bloodless skull.”
Salman Rushdie, The Satanic Verses