Thursday, June 23, 2011

Parly probes ban on left hand cars

MUTARE - A special parliamentary committee yesterday launched a
countrywide fact-finding mission on the ban of left-hand vehicles to
vitriolic attacks from businessmen in Mutare at the inaugural public

Businesspeople in Mutare told the Parliamentary portfolio committee on
Transport and Infrastructural Development chaired by Blessing
Chebundo, MP for Kwekwe Central, that banning left-hand driven
vehicles and second hand cars more than five years old was irrational
and catastrophic to the economy.

The committee was in the eastern border city to launch a nationwide
mission to consult the public on the controversial move.

Businesspeople who attended the meeting, some who have heavily
invested in left-hand driven haulage trucks, said the government had
failed to show evidence that left-hand driven vehicles were to blame
for most of the carnage on the nation’s roads.

The government has given until end of June as the cut-off date for the
continued use of left-hand vehicles on the country’s roads blaming the
vehicles for a number of accidents experienced in recent years.

But haulage operators in the city advised the government to revamp the
road system in the country, which they said left a lot to be desired.

Hlanganiso Matangaidze, who runs a fleet of trucks plying the Sadc
region, noted that instead of banning the use of the left-hand
vehicles, the government should concentrate on dualising and improving
the road network throughout the country.

“The cause of accidents has nothing to do with these vehicles as
stated by the government. Banning the importation of such vehicles
would be catastrophic for the economy of Zimbabwe,” he said.

Matangaidze said the ban on vehicles that were five years old was
ill-conceived since these were the only vehicles affordable to many
Zimbabweans. He said the ban would reduce the rest of the population
to being public transport users making private vehicles a preserve of
the rich.

The businessman advised the committee to wait until the economy was
fully revived and when such companies as Quest Motor Corporation and
Willowvale Mazda Motor Industries began to function.

Another Mutare entrepreneur, Fungai Simango said he could not see the
rationale behind the proposed ban as Zimbabwe was yet to fully recover
from its decade-long economic collapse.

He said locally assembled vehicles were expensive and not readily available.

“Second-hand vehicles imported from Japan are creating employment for
the people as most of these vehicles are being used as taxis by the
people. Banning them is the same as condemning people to destitution
without offering them an alternative,” said Simango.

Misheck Chesa, who runs a transport business, implored the government
to consult people first before coming up with legislation which is
misplaced from the wishes and desires of the nation.

“The problem with these accidents being blamed on left-hand driven
trucks lies with the bad state of the roads that are potholed. One
does not require a rocket scientist to establish that. Work on the
roads and that’s all,” said Chesa.

Chebundo said his committee would take the consultations to Masvingo,
Bulawayo and Harare having kicked off in Mutare yesterday.

“We will present these finding to Parliament and eventually to Cabinet
so they can see for themselves what the people’s thoughts are on the
proposed ban,” said Chebundo, who was accompanied by other members of
the committee, Edward Raradza, Ordo Nyakudanga, Ailess Baloyi, Luke
Mushore, Gift Dzirutwe and Zvanyanya Dongo.

Villagers regret discovery of minerals

MUTARE - Polluted rivers, displaced villagers and violence against
locals are all that Chinese and Russian mining firms operating in
Manicaland province have given back to communities, a public meeting
has heard.

Community members and civil society campaigners speaking at a meeting
on the worth of Zimbabwe’s mineral worth held in Mutare spoke on how
villagers had become poorer with the discovery of minerals and
entrance of shadowy foreign investors in their areas.

In Penhalonga, about 12km north of Mutare, a Russian firm mining gold
along a river basin in conjunction with a Zapu-owned company has left
a trail of environmental damage, including polluting the Sakubva River
which is the community’s main water source, residents said.

The same firm, the Development Trust of Zimbabwe in partnership with
Russian company All Russian Foreign Economic Association on Geological
Prospecting, Ozego, faced a barrage of similar criticism from
Chimanimani residents where it has been prospecting for diamonds.

Villagers from Marange, where Chinese firms are mining alluvial
diamonds in conjunction with state agency, the Zimbabwe Mining
Development Corporation, told horrific tales of miners setting vicious
dogs on locals and their livestock.

Communities expressed concern that without proper evaluation of the
minerals, the foreign firms could as well be plundering the resources
into extinction while ill-treating locals at the same time.

Representatives of civil society organisations said the government
should not be allowed to get away with statements such as “the country
is very rich” without giving actual figures.

“If we rightly know the value of our mineral wealth we can judge our
capacity to develop in terms of how much we need to extract and how
much we are capable of extracting and how much utility we can drive
from the resources.

“Therefore how much our communities can benefit from the mineral
wealth available in terms of per capita resources we can share
depending on the size of our communities,” Solomon Mumbure of the
Institute for Peace Leadership and Governance with the Africa
University and research fellow with the State University of New York
in the USA told delegates.

The Centre for Research and Development, which vigorously fights
unjust exploitation of mineral resources, organised the meeting.

“We want to allow the community to be aware of their rights in terms
of sharing some of the proceeds from what is extracted from areas
where they live, could it timber proceeds, gold and diamonds and even
black granite,” said Farai Maguwu, CRD director.

Trigger happy cop gets seven years

A policeman deployed to Chiadzwa diamond fields, who used his
service AK47 rifle to shoot a reveller who failed a snooker challenge,
will spend the next seven years in jail.

Dominic Nyani, a 29-year-old sergeant with the crack Support Unit, was
convicted on attempted murder charges on his own plea.

The court heard that Nyani fired three shots on Weston Makarango’s
left arm and abdomen after Makarango failed to sink the black ball as
demanded by the policeman in December last year.

Regional magistrate Livingstone Chipadza said Nyani’s case was
aggravated by the fact that he was in police uniform, on duty and
drinking when he committed the offence.

Chipadza said Nyani used a lethal weapon on Makarango with no
provocation and premeditation hence deserved a lengthy jail term.

“The issue of intoxication of the accused was not reasonable as before
the shooting the accused had spoken to the complainant about the
threat to shoot him and went on to shoot after the black ball was not
sunk. Thus he knew what he was doing,” ruled Chipadza.

The court heard that Nyani was part of patrons drinking and dancing
the night away at Tripple K nightclub at Chakohwa business centre when
he suddenly threatened Makarango with death if he failed to sink the
black ball.

Nyani incredibly went on to shoot Makarango after the ball failed to
hit the spot, the court heard.

The policeman was based at Mike Troop base in Buchwa but was in
Marange as part of corps guarding the controversial diamond fields
where state security agents have been repeatedly accused of gross
human rights violations. Mutare lawyer Cosmas Chibaya of Chibaya and
Associates, represented Nyani.

Case deferred for lack of court space

The trial of two Nyazura farmers Janse and Martinus Grobler (father and son), accused of negligent discharge of a firearm, failed to continue on Tuesday because of lack of space at Mutare Magistrates’ Courts.

The magistrates’ court doubles as a High Court circuit.

Regional magistrate Billiart Musakwa apologised to witnesses and said they would have to return on July 5 for resumption of the trial.

“Gentlemen, we are very sorry the trial can’t continue today because we have a High Court circuit and so the lower court has to give preference to the upper court,” said Musakwa.

Defence lawyer Victor Chinzamba is also attending to cases at the High Court circuit.

Janse and Martinus were initially charged with attempted murder after they allegedly fired shots in the air at suspected land invaders at their farm.

They own Geluk Farm in Chipembere area near Nyazura.

It is alleged on January 31 this year the two fired three shots at Onismus Makwengura, Ephraim Zibunge and Collins Mugayi who had come to settle a land dispute at the farm.

The farm had reportedly been designated for resettlement by the government.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Mutare residents want ZESA monopoly to end

MUTARE: - Residents here told the Parliamentry Portifolio Committee on State Enterprises and Parastatals Management that they are not happy with the way the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority, ZESA was billing its consumers.
The parliamentary portfolio committee was in Mutare conducting a public hearing on ZESA service.
Denford Vambe the vice chairperson of Mutare Residents and Ratepayers Association, MRRA, said ZESA is sending huge bills yet they spend 16 hours without electricity.
“At the end of every month we get very high bills from ZESA yet we spend long hours without electricity every day,” said Vambe.
Simon Mapuyire complained to the committee that a lot of people were losing their electrical gadgets because of the incessant power cuts from ZESA.
“People are losing their electrical appliances because of these nonstop power cuts from ZESA,” said Mapuyire.
Councillor for ward nine in Dangamvura Chrispen Dube said ZESA should have consultative meetings with members of the public whenever they want to increase tariffs. Dube also the load shedding has also contributed to deforestation.
Huggins Kashiri complained that workers from ZESA are now deliberately disconnecting defaulters from the pole because they want to make more money.
“If one is disconnected from the pole they pay a reconnection fee of US$90 where as if one is switched off from the house you just pay US$10,” said Kashiri.
Sydney Sithole a Mutare resident present at the meeting also made submissions that ZESA should also look into other forms of energy sources rather than just relying on hydro-electrical power.
Sithole also said ZESA should stop exporting electricity to Namibia because they are failing to service its local consumers.
Chairperson of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on State Enterprises and Parastatals Management Lawrence Mavhima said they have been going around the country getting people’s views on the service that is being provided by ZESA.
“We will table these views in parliament and make recommendations based on the views that we have been getting from the people of Zimbabwe,” said Mavhima
Other portfolio committee members that attended the meeting are Edward Musumbu member of parliament for Norton, Chirumanzu members of parliament Phares Maramba, Prince Matibe who represents Chegutu in parliament and Patrick Sibanda of Binga.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Tekere is no more

MUTARE: - veteran nationalist Edgar Twoboy Tekere is no more. Tekere passed away at 1330hrs at Murambi Garden Clinic in Mutare. Tekere was born on 1 April 1938.
Dr Ibbo Mandaza the family spokesperson said Tekere succumbed prostate cancer.
“He had been ill for some time , he had prostrate cancer which had now gone into the spine, he was put into the intensive care unit at Murambi Garden Clinic,” said Mandaza.
Dr Mandaza said they are waiting for the rest of the family to make funeral arrangements.
Tekere is survived by his wife Pamela Tekere and a daughter.
Mourners are gathered at 9 Alexander Road in Bordevale, Mutare.