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Archive for the 'Zimbabwe News' Category

Ask the MP: Corruption – Tonight

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Tuesday, October 15th, 2013 by Amanda Atwood
Tonight: 7:30pm on ZiFM Stereo
In partnership with ZiFM Stereo, SAPST runs a live radio programme, “Ask the MP”. The programme discusses topical policy issues before parliament and other related parliamentary developments. The purpose of the programme is to create a platform where members of the public can interact with their parliamentary representatives and discuss topical policy issues.

The programme broadcasts every Tuesdays between 1930 – 2030 Hours on ZiFM Stereo.

This evening’s programme is part 2 of last week’s discussion on corruption in the country. Hon. Makhosini Hlongwane (ZANU PF Mberengwa East), Hon. Willias Madzimure (MDC-T Kambuzuma & APNAC Chairperson) and Ms. Mary Jane Ncube from Transparency International Zimbabwe (TIZ) will be our guest panellists.The programme has a phone-in segment to enable listeners to participate by way of comments and questions on the topic under discussion. The number to use is: 0772 168 045. You can also file your comments and questions via the WhatsApp and SMS platforms on 0772 168 045. Your comments and questions will be read out live during the course of the programme.

Should you require further information, please contact Farai Mwakutuya (ZiFM) on 0734 044 494, at farai.mwakutuya@yahoo.com or Henry Ndlovu (SAPST) on 0712 729 247 or at henrynd@sapst.org

Zimbabwe improves on the Visa Restriction Index

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Wednesday, October 9th, 2013 by Elizabeth Nyamuda

The Visa Restriction Index reveals that Zimbabweans can visit 60 nations with just a passport. Zimbabwe has improved by two countries from its 2012 position. The compilers of the list, Henley and Partners state that there are 219 countries in the world. UK, Finland and Sweden have 173 nations allowing their citizens passport only access while Afghanistan citizens can only visit 28 countries with just a passport.

Analytical reports on the Visa Restriction Index have revealed that this list shows that membership of the European Union is a key determinant of ease of movement across frontiers as evidenced by countries who are at bottom of the list – Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Also they have pointed out the imbalance between ease of access for citizens of rich nations and poor nations – no African country made it to the top ten.

Harare City calls its own water unsafe

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Tuesday, October 8th, 2013 by Amanda Atwood

willowbean_water_131008Having struggled to open my eyes this morning, I went to Willowbean Café for a highly recommended Red Ambulance: Beetroot, ginger, carrot and who knows what other vegetable juice guaranteed to help you stand up straight again.

Whilst there, I overheard a customer asking why she was being refused a glass of water. She had ordered her breakfast and coffee, and preferred a glass of water to paying a dollar for a bottle of mineral water. Fair enough. The manager explained that they had been advised by the City of Harare that their water was contaminated, and that they should not serve it to customers.

Notices up in the café confirmed this, reading:

To our valued customers, please note Willowbean Café will no longer be offering tap / borehole water on our premises due to the fact that we cannot guarantee the quality of the water from this source.

In the interests of health and hygiene, please understand that only 100% treated water will be sold within these premises, i.e. bottled mineral water which guarantees it has been through a purifying system which is approved by the Ministry of Health and in accordance with their standards and regulations.

Please understand this practice has been put in place not to hinder you but to protect your health.

The manager also told the customer that they were on municipal water (not borehole). Whilst they’re lucky to even get municipal water in a city where so many are drilling boreholes or buying water deliveries, it doesn’t seem like much of the blessing if the very providers of the water are the ones telling you it’s not safe to drink.

Recent publications from Combined Harare Residents’ Association (CHRA) and Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition are just some of those questioning the ability of the Local Government and Water ministries to deliver basic services such as clean drinking water.

All of this brought up some questions for me:

  1. Did the City of Harare also go to the nearby houses, gym, service station and primary and secondary school and advise them that their municipal water is unsafe to drink?
  2. If the city knows its municipal water is unsafe, what is it doing about it? If the water being supplied to Willowbean is unsafe, surely this means municipal water in other parts of the city is also unsafe?
  3. If you do run a café using an unsafe municipal water supply, what about the water you use to wash your vegetables, which you add to soup, and with which you make your coffee?

It also struck me as frustratingly unfair to the café. With unemployment being what it is in Zimbabwe, small local businesses need to be encouraged to grow and thrive, so that they can create jobs, support the families of their employees, and also create opportunities for local suppliers and merchants to provide their good and services. But if something as basic as providing clean, potable water in Zimbabwe’s capital is outside the reach of government, what hope is there to implement the broader objectives of “Indiginise, Develop, Empower, Employ?”

Labia elongation and the pleasure myths

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Tuesday, October 1st, 2013 by Lenard Kamwendo

Human rights activist, Betty Makoni last week brought out a hidden practice that has been going on in some sections our society which some would consider a normal way of life. The myth behind this secret culture is that women who had their labia pulled out are well prepared to please men in bed. Betty says she was forced into this practice when she was as young as 8 years old. To equate labia elongation to genital mutilation some may say is a bit too far since the process or practice doesn’t involve the physical cutting and stuff but on the other it raises questions of child abuse since the process involves touching of a child’s private parts. Just like the circumcision debate as a parent would you voluntarily allow your daughter to go through the process so that she can increase her chances in bed?

Prospects and hopes for freedom of expression in all media in Zimbabwe

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Wednesday, September 25th, 2013 by Lenard Kamwendo

Prospects of seeing a better Zimbabwe where people can freely express themselves as guaranteed in the new Constitution are not yet certain as the new government gets down to business. Before we set high expectations we just have to go down memory lane and dwell a lot on the legacy of the government, which has just regained power. The love-hate relationship between the ZANU-PF lead government and the media dates back to the time when a litany of bad laws were crafted to criminalize freedom of expression and the return of the chief architect of some these laws to head the Media and Information ministry has sent a strong signal of what to expect in the next five years especially his recent comments in the media. During the tenure of the re-appointed Minister of Information we saw a plethora of bad laws, which curtailed and inhibited freedom of expression at same time also criminalizing the journalism profession.

Laws such as POSA, AIPPA, BAZ, Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act and Official Secrets Act have been used in the past to criminalize the profession of journalism and most of these laws where crafted during the time when ZANU-PF felt threatened by the rising popularity of the opposition parties. A record increase in the use of insult targeting opposition supporters was recorded during the recently held 2013 harmonized election campaigns. Excessive monitoring has also spread to cover areas such the cyber-space.
Meanwhile Zimbabweans have come up with various and alternative ways of expressing themselves; the sprouting up of graffiti on walls, blogs, radio and television stations broadcasting from outside the country.

Media experts weighed in on the “Prospects for freedom of expression in all media” under the new government at a discussion hosted by Zimbabwe Democracy Institute. One of the panelists from the Voluntary Media Council of Zimbabwe asked, “since recent the election saw ZANU-PF sweeping to a two-thirds majority in Parliament but is the threat gone that warrants the removal of bad laws, which makes it easy to charge someone with defamation or insult?” To a large extent the existence of a biased state broadcaster ensures that not every one is heard but only a selected few voices. Prospects could be high to see the licensing of community radio stations, television and the transformation of Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) from being a state broadcaster to a public broadcaster and the lack of it will just result in an increase in the number of people getting arrested for seeking alternatives to freely express themselves.
But since this is a party on the road to mend relations maybe some media reforms could be on the cards as the ZANU-PF lead government embarks on a rebranding exercise.

What’s next after elections: The way forward for young women

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Friday, September 20th, 2013 by Amanda Atwood

A recent report from the Student Christian Movement of Zimbabwe (SCMZ) discusses some of the challenges facing young women in Zimbabwe today, including their vulnerabilities in the present economic environment.

In their recommendations, they say:

There is a need for civil society to push for the recognition of the informal sector as a source of livelihood for young women and these should therefore set up mechanisms of advocacy both at policy level and economically. For example this can be done by setting up markets like Mupedzanhamo for young women to sell their goods without fear of harassment and intimidation. Secondly, by creating platforms to encourage young women to desist and resist entering risky relationships of exchange through introducing various mentorship programs by either the relevant ministries or non-governmental organizations. Thirdly, by including policies that take into consideration historical gender imbalances for example the current indigenization policy, these policies should also consider gender protocol and enforce gender budgeting to ensure young women claim their space in empowerment. Lastly, the media has an important role to play in helping to address these issues young women face daily because of the current economic environment. It should act as an education tool rather than objectify women; it should be gender sensitive and create platforms for young women to air their views as well as inform them of the various opportunities open to them from various organizations.

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