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Youths: Potential Game Changers In Zimbabwe’s 2018 Polls
Youths: Potential Game Changers In Zimbabwe’s 2018 Polls
Plumtree Caught Napping: Fire! But Where Is The Fire Engine? 
Plumtree Caught Napping: Fire! But Where Is The Fire Engine? 
Villagers Cry Foul Over Lupane Gas Project In Limbo
Villagers Cry Foul Over Lupane Gas Project In Limbo
Villagers Lose Hundreds Of Livestock To Witch Hunters 
Villagers Lose Hundreds Of Livestock To Witch Hunters 

IN a political crisis like this, it is clearer that the youths are the ones affected largely but at the same time, the same youths can and have solutions to apprehend the crises which have hard hit our country—Zimbabwe, writes youth activist Tererai Obey Sithole.

File image: Zimbabwe's out-of-university youths protest against unemployment in Harare last year

AS the political temperatures are heating up with each day ahead of the 2018 plebiscite, ordinarily thoughts and actions should be brought together to work out a superior plan of victory.

This coming election, just like any other election is important to every concerned citizen who envisions a great Zimbabwe full of prosperity and equal opportunities for all. We all envision the Zimbabwe that we want and certainly that Zimbabwe is a Zimbabwe without Mugabe and his ZANU-PF anywhere close to the leadership of this country.

For over three decades, we have seen Robert Mugabe and his party clinging to power through unscrupulous means. Regrettably, instead of ruling the country they have been ruining the country and while this has been happening, the consequences hit hard on the youths. If this poor governance is given another chance for whatever reason in the next election, the youth will be placed on the brink of inheriting a destructed future.

It is against the comprehension of this sad reality that the youth of today have every reason to unite and fearlessly fight for the prevalence of democracy to defend the future which is threatened by hopelessness if Mugabe and ZANU-PF are to get another five-year term.

The sad reality is that Zimbabwean youths have not been spared by the scourge of poverty which has been exacerbated by the alarming levels of unemployment. While the unemployment rate continues to sky rocket, the same ZANU-PF which promised 2,2 million jobs, unashamedly claim to have created more than 3 million jobs when it's unconcealed that what has been created is just nothing but job losses.

On the other hand, political violence has begun to roll its ugly head and again the youth fall victim either by being used as perpetrators of violence due to desperation or as victims of the violence. This is just a snippet of a plethora of challenges immensely bedevilling our country under the watch of the incumbent government which has proven beyond any doubt to be clueless in arresting the widespread crisis.

In a crisis manifestation like this, it is clearer that the youths are the ones affected largely but at the same time, the same youths can and have solutions to apprehend the crises which are abundant. The solution to the problems faced today, calls for a united youth voice to take charge in defining, delivering and defending a future that favours the youth. It is only in the best ability of a bee to bring the sweetness of honey and undoubtedly folly to expect a wasp to produce the same.

In this regard, it is a superlative thing for the young people to have a convergence of issues to map a way forward which is in the best interest of serving the nation from plunging into further crisis. Demographically the youth constitute the greater chunk of the population and this position them as major stakeholders of the national discourse hence all progressive youths should be ready to carry the burden of fighting for a new Zimbabwe.

The most thought-provoking reality is that when the ZANU-PF engineered poverty mercilessly assault us, it knows no political affiliation, every one of us receives an equal share of the same. Thus, the youths should be more united than divided because they are all commonly united by the suffering first before they are divided by political affiliation.

If the Zimbabwean youths of today ever dream of a better Zimbabwe, they should all rise above the political party differences and come together, work together and realise their wishes.

The time is ripe and now is the time for the youth to find each other regardless of colour, creed, height, tribe, political party affiliation among other factors that historically could divide the youths. Fundamentally, every progressive young person should realise that s/he is a Zimbabwean before becoming a political party affiliated hence the task of nation building should be collective and never should it be slaughtered at the altars of petty differences and selfish interests.

It is much easier for the youths to be united than to be divided at this point because the youths today are closely knitted together by the untold anguish orchestrated by current government which is ought to be leading the nation but has since failed and has always been failing to deliver. The coming together of the youths should be an inevitable piece to complete the electoral victory conundrum, therefore a broad-based convergence of the youths should be realised ahead of the next election.

The youths’ convergence should be conducted to deal with all the key issues to do with the youths and their full participation in political processes for the youths are the game changers of the political terrain. Every youth across the political divide, civil society organisations and the churches should be religiously bound by the understanding of the fact that there is absolutely nothing for the youths without the youths themselves.

The ability by the youths to find each other is a great and a much-needed step to arrest the challenge of voter apathy among the young adults. Growing the youth vote ahead of the next election will do the magic to ensure the prevalence of democracy and ushering in a new people centred government of the people, by the people and for the people. Youths should rise above all form of differences, perceived or real and take up responsibility and ownership of the future because failure to do so will lead to the inheritance of a bleak future.

There is a general consensus that five more years under ZANU-PF rulership should not be an imaginable thing hence now is the time to get rid of such a possibility. Getting rid of ZANU-PF is achievable through the realisation by the youth that they possess the power and potential to unlock opportunities for a brighter future.

All progressive youths concerned about the future of this country should take the responsibility upon themselves to decisively deal with the aged and ageing leadership of ZANU-PF which no longer has any future to think of let alone to protect. The unity of the youths holds the aptitude to change the status quo of this country, therefore, it is my humble opinion and plea that the youths of today converge and resolve on the best way to deal with the mess that we see ourselves in as a nation.


Tererai Obey Sithole – Concerned Citizen, Youth Leader & Development Scholar. He writes in his own capacity and can be contacted via email:

An acute shortage of fire engines in the developing border town of Plumtree, in Matabeleland South province, is increasingly putting residents' lives in danger.

(PLUMTREE)—An acute shortage of fire engines in the developing border town of Plumtree, in Matabeleland South province, is increasingly putting residents' lives in danger.

People helplessly watched as their shops, businesses, and life savings turned to ashes yesterday (Sunday) when an inferno—whose source could not be established razed into several buildings located at Zinini Complex at the town’s business centre. 

When “unarmed” firefighters came to douse the ravaging fires that had spread to several shops, using fire hydrants installed at the town offices—opposite the burning complex, most shops were already in ashes as residents watched with hands akimbo while some, instead of extinguishing the fire, casually took images of the incident and shared them on social media. 

Instead of dousing the fire, some residents just folded their hands while others took images/Image by Citizen Reporters


Plumtree town boss Davies Dumezweni Luthe also came to witness the incident and told bemused onlookers that the local authority’s single fire engine had gone for service in Bulawayo. 

Ironically, last month the local authority posted images of a brand-new looking firefighter on its web pages and made residents believe that it was disaster-ready. 

File image: Plumtree Town Council owns a single fire engine/Image by Facebook/Plumtree Town Council


 “It is regrettable and unfortunate, to say the least, that a local authority like Plumtree Town Council has no disaster management or mitigation plan,” Thomas Sithole, the director of Plumtree Development Trust, a local community organisation pushing for the development of Plumtree, charged. 

Sithole said the local authority should guard against dicing with people’s lives and prioritise citizen safety and security. 

“Disasters like the one in question have been prevalent of late and any local authority found wanting in the event disaster strikes ought to ask itself serious questions regards prioritising citizen security and property safety ” he advised. 

“Any modern and progressive local authority or municipality should have a disaster management or mitigation in place and failure to have one is the abdication of responsibility and dereliction of duty,” Sithole added. 

The town’s two residents’ associations, Plumtree Residents and Development Association (PRADA) and Plumtree Combined Residents Association (PCRADA) also separately condemned the failure of the local authority to effectively deal with yesterday’s fire incident. 

The resident's group said it was regrettable that the local authority was failing to address important issues such as disasters when residents were, in fact, paying for those services. 

“It is regrettable that residents are paying for fire and ambulance services yet these are not being delivered,”  of PRADA chairperson Jefias Ncube charged. 

“We would like to categorically urge our Council to improve these services as a matter of urgency to avoid unnecessary loss of property by residents,” Ncube added. 

PCRADA chairperson Richard Khumalo took a swipe at the local authority and accused it of not sufficiently informing residents about the decision to take the fire engine for service out of Plumtree town when the fault could have been attended to by local garages. 

“…what made things worse yesterday is the unavailability of a fire engine which the town clerk (Luthe) claimed was being serviced in Bulawayo.” 

“Before taking the fire engine for service, the Council should have informed residents so that they are ready with alternative measures should a fire like this one break out,” Khumalo fumed. 

“We feel that the local authority erred by taking the fire engine out of (Plumtree) town when it could have been fixed here,” argued Khumalo who expressed sorrow for businesses which lost property in the inferno. 

Although efforts to obtain an official report of the actual damage caused by the fire were fruitless until the time of publication, unconfirmed reports indicate that the value of property lost—including cash which was burnt down to ashes in the inferno could amount to US$ 20 000. 

An undisclosed sum of money which was burnt to ashes during the Plumtreeinferno yesterday/Image by WhatsApp/Citizen Reporters


 While investigation to ascertain the cause of the blaze is still unknown, some residents who witnessed the incident claimed that the inferno could have been aggravated by fuel which is illegally sold in one of the motor spare shops which was reportedly the first to catch fire.

Plumtree is home to several black market fuel dealers who smuggle cheap gasoline from neighbouring Botswana to sell it for a cheaper price in Zimbabwe. Some of these black market fuel stalls are reportedly run by unscrupulous members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police who use their positions to evade the law.  

Since fire safety is an extremely important and life concerning matter, residents whose local authorities are not well-equipped with fire fighters are often advised to invest in conventional fire extinguishers which they can use as an alternative should a fire break out in their business premises or homes. 

A gas project in Lupane's Mangangana area has been in limbo for more than two decades and concerned villagers feel outdone by their leaders who seem to be doing nothing to have the projects resuscitated in order to contribute to the development of the local community. 

 

File image: Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko launches the methane gas project in Lupane recently


MATABELELAND NORTH — Villagers of Mangangana in Lupane, approximately 200 kilometres from Bulawayo, Zimbabwe’s second-largest city, have cried foul over the abandoned and forgotten methane gas project which villagers believe would significantly contribute to the development of their communities if resuscitated by government and external investors. 

The project which is part of the Lupane methane coal-bed is located at Mangangana village and has been in limbo since the first exploration of the gas in 1995—and locals fear they will eventually be shut out from the mega project. 

Although the Zimbabwean Government announced earlier this year that it had sourced $60 million for the coal-bed methane gas concessions in some parts of Lupane, the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation which is in charge of the project is mum about the Mangangana projects. 

A few months after the government pledge, both projects are still in limbo and concerned villagers’ hopes for improved economic opportunities in their communities ushered by the lucrative gas exploration business are quickly diminishing. 

“As Lupane villagers, we are not settled if we do not know the fate of our resources; our community schools are ill-equipped and our roads are in bad state yet we have resources that can help us at our disposal,” Sabelo Liberty Nyoni, a former Councillor of the area told The CB News and 41FM reporters during a recent engagement on the matter. 

Nyoni, who spoke emotionally about the abandonment of the project said Mangangana area which falls under Ngondo has three gas projects which have been stalled for more than two decades. 

“We are not happy at all with the abandonment of these projects because these natural resources belong to our community," Nyoni said in an interview in Lupane this week. 

"Our communities are underdeveloped yet we have resources lying idle. If these projects were operational, we could be one of the most developed communities in Zimbabwe," he said. 

It has also emerged that due to the negligence of the local authority governing the area, the gas wells are not fenced or secured with a wall making it easy for plunderers to sneak into the area at night and harvest the gas. 

Casuel Moyo, a community reporter working with 41FM, a community radio initiative operating in the area said he had been to the area where the abandoned projects are located and villagers residing there had expressed their anger over the covert exploitation of the gas by unknown people who visit the area at night. 

“I have been there—at the gas project area and I have had conversations with a number of villagers who say they have seen cars coming to the area at night to steal the gas,” Moyo who linked this publication to several community sources said. 

“Villagers believe that the alleged people who come at night are Chinese but we have not been able to verify this. However, I can confirm that the area where these projects are located is not secure at all as anyone can just go and do whatever they want,” Moyo who is privy to most developments concerning the project in limbo said. 

There are fears that if the illegal exploitation of the gas continues unabated the area around the gas wells might catch fire as those who come to plunder the mineral at night leave the gas taps open. 

Some community members who spoke to this publication on condition of anonymity feel hard done by the area’s traditional and elected leaders as they believe [the] duty bearers have the mandate of ensuring that villagers benefit from locally found natural resources. 

However, Chief Vusumuzi Mabhikwa who was engaged on the matter was non-committal and just said no one had come forward to exploit the gas without providing much detail about the matter which has become a curse to the community. 

But Nyoni who is privy to Council ongoings as a past official revealed that the issue has been raised during Council proceedings on several occasions with no positive outcome on the way forward, adding that villagers were still pre-occupied with engaging their local authority to ensure that the projects are resuscitated. 

Efforts to contact Lupane Rural District Council officials were not fruitful at the time of publication while Lupane West legislator, Martin Khumalo did not respond to questions sent to him on his mobile number and also rejected calls each time this publication made an effort to call him. 

Lupane villagers believe that if the gas projects are resuscitated, they will immensely benefit through employment creation and will have local infrastructure such as schools, clinics and roads rehabilitated via the community share ownership scheme. — by Divine Dube and Bhekimpi Sithole


This story was developed with the assistance of 41FM, a community radio initiative operating in the area. 41FM is a member of the Zimbabwe Association of Community Radio Stations, better known as ZACRAS

Umzingwane villagers, Matabeleland South continue to lose their livestock to witch hunters popularly known as Tsikamutandas. 

MATABELELAND SOUTH — Villagers from Umzingwane Constituency have lost hundreds of their livestock to witch hunters popularly known as “Tsikamutandas”, Habakkuk Trust, a leading community advocacy group reported Tuesday. 

According to the advocacy group, the witch hunters are currently temporarily camped at Ward 9 Village where they continue to trick unsuspecting villagers to pay for the 'cleansing' of their homes using livestock. 

“Over 70 cattle, 329 goats and unnumbered chickens have been paid to the witch hunters in three villages in just a month,” Habakkuk Trust said in its weekly report gleaned by The CB News

“This shows that people are willing to give up their valuables over mystic occult practices at the expense of development,” the Community Based Organisation (CBO) charged. 

Tsikamundas use a wide range of mysterious stunts—which they execute in public—to capture goblins and people believed to be witches. These are often touted before other villagers who are hoodwinked into believing the mysterious but often gory acts. 

Alleged witches and goblin owners are forced to acknowledge ownership before paying exorcism services through cash or livestock. 

“Although this may seem to be the end of troubles, it may signal the beginning of conflicts in the community," the advocacy group warned. 

"Without any restorative or reconciliatory efforts from the exorcists and community leaders, villagers are likely to be left at loggerheads with each other, claiming compensation or justice from the alleged perpetrators responsible for their misfortunes," the CBO added. 

Although the Witchcraft Suppression Act Chapter 9-19, Section 5 criminalises the act of naming any other person as a wizard or witch and the use of non-natural means to identify any person as the perpetrator of any alleged crime, many communities in Zimbabwe continue to suffer conflicts emanating from witchcraft and witch hunting. 

 

Plumtree Musicians Receive BAA Nominations

PLUMTREE-born musicians Martin Sibanda, Tish Malaba and Clement Magwaza Ncube have been nominated for the inaugural Bulawayo Arts Awards (BAA) which recognise artistes from Matabeleland—including Bulawayo, Matabeleland North and South.

The awards will be held on June 30 at the Bulawayo Large City Hall.

Sibanda and Ncube will both compete for the most outstanding Tshibilika/Rumba music. Their competition in this category includes Mothusi Bashimane Ndlovu better known as Madlela—and most famous for his hit song “SaMaMo”.

Malaba on the other hand will compete for the Song of the Year and Best Kwaito/House through his Kalanga Child hit. 

 File photo: Martin Sibanda

Ncube and Sibanda are both famous for Tshibilika music better known as Rumba or Afro-fusion which is most popular in Matabeleland South and North provinces while Malaba is famous for pioneering Kalanga Kwaito/House music in Zimbabwe. 

The nominees have begun canvassing for votes on social media—and fans can cast votes for their favourite acts/artistes through sending a message to the adjudicators via WhatsApp or SMS to +263 777934443 or via the Awards’ official Facebook page Bulawayo Arts Awards.

 File photo: Clement "Magwaza" Ncube

To vote for the artiste of your choice use the format below and send your vote using the contacts options provided above. 


#BAAZw

Genre/Category: Outstanding Tshibilika/Rumba Music

Artist/Act: Martin Sibanda/Clement Magwaza Ncube (NB: Pick your favourite)


To vote for Kalanga Child use the format below. 


#BAAZw

Genre/Category: Outstanding Kwaito/House/Song of the Year

Artist/Act: Sinazo/Kalanga Child


 

Tags: Tish Malaba,, Kalanga Child,, Sinazo,, Rumba Music,, Clement Magwaza Ncube,, BAA,, Martin Sibanda,, Plumtree,

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