[Image Source: Nick Mangwana via Twitter]
Harare Institute of Technology has made a ventilator according to the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Information and Publicity Nick Mangwana.
With a number of reports painting a dire picture regarding the number of ventilators nationwide, HITs efforts are commendable and will help alleviate pressure at local health institutions if the outbreak has a nationwide impact.
Nick Mangwana also claimed that the education institute also has the potential to produce 40 ventilators on a daily basis, which will be helpful given the current circumstances. Covid-19 prevention efforts by other institutions
Outside of HITs hardware efforts the Ministry of Health also mentioned that they had partnered with the University of Zimbabwe and Zimbabwe Field Epidemiology Training Program to conduct awareness campaigns on COVID-19 in Budiriro 5, roadshow in Mbare and Glen view 1,3, 8.
Kufema Zimbabwe is also a private campaign to build and distributed ventilators and other components during the crisis.
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It’s not news anymore, but COVID-19 is here and unless we take drastic measures to try prevent and contain the spread of this virus we will be in big trouble for the foreseeable future.
Kufema Zimbabwe is one such initiative started by Juliet Le Breton to help alleviate COIVD-19 pressure locally. Their mandate is to build and distribute ventilators and “associated components” to help Zimbos during this crisis.
We all know the time for “someone must do something” is over. It’s time for all of us to say “we must do something, together!”
The team quickly reached and exceeded their gofundme target of £5000, and within a day and a half of launching they had attracted 300 volunteer engineers, 3D printers, medics, logistic experts and coders.
Here’s our vision: all over Zimbabwe, engineers will come together in teams to develop, test and build open source ventilators, so that we can double or triple the national supply and save lives.
Tim Masson – Kufema Zimbabwe Team Member
If you want to be a part of the Kufema Zimbabwe movement you can do so by registering as a volunteer here. You can also donate to Kufema Zimbabwe on EcoCash (0773 853 390 – Sarah Todd)
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President Cyril Ramaphosa was due to bid farewell on Sunday to more than 100 people who stayed under quarantine at The Ranch resort near Polokwane.
“We had assured all South Africans that these citizens were all negative, they did not present any symptoms and therefore did not pose any risk of infection. However, we took extra precautions and quarantined them for a 14-day period,” health minister Zweli Mkhize said on Saturday.
“On arrival medical screening and Covid-19 tests were conducted. They all came out negative. We are very pleased to report to South Africans that these citizens conducted their second test in preparation for their exit.
“These have all come out negative. They are therefore being prepared for vacating the Ranch Hotel.”
Mkhize thanked The Ranch and its workers who were prepared to accommodate those in quarantine “despite this pandemic being taboo in our country at the time. They have done a sterling job in making our people feel welcome back at home.”
The post SA Evacuated From Wuhan End 14-Day Quarantine In The Clear appeared first on NewZimbabwe.com.
Over the past few days, we’ve bombarded you (our readers) with announcements from a number of local companies announcing that they would be shutting their doors and would, in turn, be available via their phones and on social media platforms.
Most of these companies have distributed these emails to a number of media houses have made one grave mistake – Giving out company emails to every Tom, Dick and Harry.
Whilst I understand the intention behind sharing these emails is to ensure that customers/clients can get in touch with you seamlessly during the lockdown there are unintended consequences you may have to deal with. Ever heard of hackers?
Cybersecurity isn’t held in the highest regard locally but sharing emails belonging to company staffers publicly is a sure-fire way of being the victim of a phishing attack down the line.
If hackers get access to a company email they can pose as one of the company’s staffers and get access to confidential documentation and sensitive company and client information.
They could do this by outrightly asking for the details but more often than not the hacker who has infiltrated an organisation will just share a malicious link using the email people in your organisation trust and know and once your staff clicks on that link, malware is installed on their computer and hackers have access to a heap of information they shouldn’t have. So what’s the alternative?
For many companies, the intention is to continue serving clients as efficiently as possible and if the reason why an organisation has to share employee details is to ensure that work goes on, then this is as clear as any opportunity you have to make sure your social media and online channels become best in class. That way you embrace new media and bolster your communications without endangering your organisation
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By Thandekile Moyo, Daily Maverick
BECAUSE the government is guilty of neglecting their mandate to provide public goods, they are going out of their way to hide information about the extent of infections in Zimbabwe. In their 40 years of power, Zimbabwe has … let the health systems completely crumble and if Covid-19 hits Zimbabwe as badly as we fear, it will be entirely their fault.
We have a mealie-meal crisis in Zimbabwe.
There has been a shortage of the staple food and thus the price of mealie-meal shot up from $40 to anywhere between $150 and $200 by December 2019. Whenever a shop receives a delivery of mealie-meal, a queue immediately forms and people jostle to buy. In these queues, there is absolutely no respect for personal space as people touch, rub against, lean on, push and shove each other for hours.
We have a transport crisis in Zimbabwe.
The majority of Zimbabweans use public transport and most use ZUPCO buses, which charge a fraction of what minibus taxis charge. For these bus rides, people queue for hours and they carry more than 50 passengers per trip.
The other option for public transport users is tiny cars (second-hand Honda Fits imported from Japan), that operate as pirate taxis and ferry at least six passengers per trip instead of the 3-4 passengers they were designed for. Daring operators add two more passengers in the car boot to increase their load per trip to eight or nine passengers. In these little taxis, people sit on each other, cough on each other, sneeze into each other’s faces, touch each other and sweat on each other.
We have a water crisis in Zimbabwe.
The majority of Zimbabweans in both rural and urban areas have no access to running water. We fetch water from rivers, boreholes and wherever else we can. In cities, people can go for days without water. The excuses by the government for failure to provide adequate water and sanitation services vary from shortage of chemicals, to lack of damning infrastructure, to drought. Lack of access to clean water cost thousands of Zimbabweans their lives during the cholera outbreak of 2018.
We have an unemployment crisis in Zimbabwe.
Independent statisticians have put it at above 90%. Many Zimbabweans have resorted to vending and various forms of self-employment in the informal sector. We have markets that house in the same vicinity: hardware hubs, carpentry workshops, car washes and vegetable markets … our towns and cities seem to have long abandoned town planning as wherever you go, there is someone selling something on the pavements, in street corners and in flea markets.
These areas are overcrowded and have no “real” infrastructure, so many have no toilets and no running water. Food, clothes, car parts and whatever you can think of, are sold wherever, whenever by whoever.
We have a Covid-19 crisis looming in Zimbabwe.
At a personal level, Zimbabweans cannot do much to prevent contracting or spreading Covid-19. There is no chance that people will social distance while jostling for mealie-meal or in overcrowded buses. There is no chance that we can correctly, constantly and consistently wash our hands under running water. There is no chance, unless literally at gunpoint, that Zimbabweans living from hand to mouth, will stay at home.
What will we eat?
At a national level, the situation is just as hopeless.
We have a production crisis in Zimbabwe.
As a country, we produce very little. Most of our groceries and clothes are imported. The closing of borders to Malayitshas and cross border traders will plunge the country into a serious shortage of basic commodities, from toiletries to food.
A lockdown will also be difficult to enforce as very few Zimbabweans have the capacity to buy food supplies for 21 days. Unless households are given food, it will be impractical to have a lockdown. People have to be able to leave the house every morning to hustle for money to buy food. Whatever most vendors make per day is for that night’s and the next day’s meals.
The Zimbabwean government knows and fears this, hence their failure to close our borders, as evidenced by the people that were still going in and out of the country even after announcement on 23 March 2020 that Zimbabwean borders have been closed; and to lockdown the country as South Africa has done. They also know that it would be political suicide to force a population on the brink of starvation to stay at home.
We have a health crisis in Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwean doctors have been complaining about the incapacitation of hospitals for years now. In 2019, they went on strike for months explaining that because they were not earning decent salaries, they could not even afford to transport themselves to and from work, and to feed themselves and their families.
Central to their grievances, was the state of the hospitals and lack of equipment. The doctors explained that our hospitals are dilapidated and unequipped for the core business of treating patients. They said there were no surgical gloves in hospitals, no disinfectants, no drugs – nothing basically to help them do their jobs of treating the sick. They said they were frustrated and tired of going to work to preside over senseless, and preventable deaths due to hospitals’ incapacitation.
In response to their grievances, the government fired doctors en masse.
Using the Zimbabwe ‘health system’: Real life experiences
In January 2020r, I took my cousin to our local hospital and they refused to treat her because she did not have the $140 consultation fee. Her mother is a teacher and at the time earned $1,000, an amount that could only buy her a combination of 30 loaves of bread at $15 each ($450), 10kg of mealie-meal at $150 and 5kg of meat. There was no chance she would have $140 lying around for emergencies such as this one. We sourced the money and paid, only to be told there was no doctor available and she would have to return the next day, despite her case being an emergency.
The nurses, who had no idea what was wrong with her, even after consulting google and a textbook they had, told us it could be mumps and prescribed medication, but advised us that the hospital pharmacy was closed and we would have to find a private pharmacy. All this after paying an amount equivalent to 14% of her mother’s salary. They did not even have paracetamol.
This was how dire the situation was for hospitals, health personnel and patients prior to Covid-19 landing in Zimbabwe. Now that we are faced with the possibility of an outbreak, what chance does Zimbabwe have?
We have already heard that doctors and nurses have gone on strike until they are given adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) to deal with the virus. Wilkins Infectious Diseases hospital, Harare’s isolation centre was shut down, reportedly for renovations, on 27 March 2020. It is clear that our health sector is at present unable to handle the looming Covid-19 outbreak.
On 20 March 2020, I posted this thread on twitter :
#Sigh. So Gwanda hospital has people exhibiting #Covid_19 symptoms,
Spoke to some,
Who said they’ve been investigated & cleared,
They aren’t quarantined.
I’m like wow!
Turns out no tests done,
There are no test kits at the hospital,
Investigation was verbal
“They have no hand sanitizers at the wards,
They don’t even at the very least,
Have soaps for hand washing in the bathrooms.
They have face masks thou,
But that’s hardly enough.
There are kids with pneumonia,
Nurses says there’s a pneumonia “outbreak”.
An hour after I posted the tweets about the suspicious cases, the Minister of Health was on national TV announcing Zimbabwe’s first (official) Covid-19 positive patient.
We have a propaganda crisis in Zimbabwe.
This has led to trust issues between the people and the state. We have no idea what part of the news reported by state media is factual and what part is misinformation? Up to that point, the government had been insisting that we had no positive cases yet in the country. A declaration many found to be suspicious considering the fact that by 20 March 2020, nearly 100 people had already tested positive in neighbouring South Africa.
Also, a Chinese woman exhibiting Covid-19 symptoms died on her way to Wilkins Hospital, but authorities insisted she had not died of Covid-19. A British tourist to the Victoria Falls, who had fallen ill while still in Zimbabwe, had tested positive once he got back to England. Namibia had also announced that someone who had tested positive in Namibia had come from Zimbabwe two days before. Add the fact that we were still letting people from all over the world come in and out of the country at will, and it was puzzling how we had got to be so lucky. Many thought the government of Zimbabwe was not being honest.
The next morning, Nelson Chamisa, leader of the opposition MDC, announced on his Twitter page that two more people had tested positive for the virus. Government was then forced to make a statement, but they claimed only one more person had tested positive and the other patient’s results were inconclusive.
It became apparent to many that the government was withholding information.
The death of Zororo Makamba
On 23 March 2020, we were shocked to hear of the death of Zororo Makamba, a 30-year-old pro-government journalist and son of James Makamba, a businessman and a former Zanu-PF member of parliament. He had succumbed to Covid-19. One wonders at what point the government discovered he was positive and why they had not informed the nation. Had Nelson Chamisa not spilled the beans, would they have told us?
How many more people have died or recovered from the virus that the government is hiding?
Zororo is said to have landed at the Robert Mugabe International airport from New York on 10 March. He is alleged to have recorded a high fever upon entry. Airport staff wanted to detain him, but Zororo allegedly called someone who apparently then instructed airport officials not to quarantine him and he was allowed to leave the airport, unleashing Covid-19 on an unsuspecting public.
He had several meetings over the next few days, including with someone from the office of the president and cabinet as well as someone from the ministry of finance. Speculation is high that he was chasing payment for his propaganda videos. He was also seen at Pablos nightclub, a high-end club in Borrowdale where the country’s rich kids (read Zanu-PF kids) party.
I posted this on Twitter after Zororo’s death:
“So govt of Zimbabwe,
Expects us to believe,
That from the 10th of March when Zororo landed in Harare,
Going through customs,
On the drive home,
Reunions with loved ones,
Before he fell sick,
During his illness,
Until his death,
He didn’t infect anyone?
Even after interacting with many people from the day he landed, the government is mum on who else was infected by Zororo, or at least suspected to have been infected. Since his death, three more people have tested positive, but the nation is yet to be given details on the new infections.
It is said Covid-19 is more infectious than the flu. In other countries, it is spreading like a wildfire. We have heard of South Korea’s “patient 31”, whose case explains just how infectious this virus is, but the government of Zimbabwe expects the nation to believe that Zororo, who was allowed to roam around freely despite exhibiting symptoms, did not infect other people.
Zororo’s brother told the nation that staff at Wilkins Hospital were afraid of being around Zororo. He alleges that they would leave him unattended for hours and Zororo would call home telling them he was not being attended to. They were helpless because they were not allowed into the hospital. He says the doctor in charge switched off his phone.
According to Zororo’s brother, Wilkins Hospital has no ventilators and even after they sourced one privately, the hospital failed to use it as there were no compatible electrical sockets in the hospital. The family apparently called the president to intervene, but even that could not save Zororo.
One wonders if one so monied and well connected could not get treatment, do ordinary Zimbabweans have a chance?
We have a corruption crisis in Zimbabwe.
The story of Zororo Makamba is a sad, but illuminating tale. It is appalling that we are led by people who, as a “favour” can allow someone exhibiting one of the most telling symptoms of Covid-19 to avoid quarantine. It illuminates the dangerous privilege, corruption, negligence, abuse of power, elite capture of institutions, failure and collapse of health institutions, the gap between the rich and the poor, and the absolute lack of readiness by Zimbabwe to deal with Covid-19 or any other crisis for that matter – much the same way the government failed to deal with Cyclone Idai, drought, cholera and typhoid before. It exposes the extent to which the government of the day is unsuitable to rule.
We have a leadership crisis in Zimbabwe.
Covid-19 is exposing the failure of Zimbabwe as a state and the disaster that is Emmerson Mnangagwa. The current leaders are insensitive and completely detached from the suffering of the masses. In a clear display of cluelessness, instead of coming up with a context specific message, the president copied and pasted the general “how to prevent coronavirus” message on his Twitter feed.
He advised us to practice social distancing. Does he know, or care about the mealie-meal shortage and transport situations?
He advised washing of hand. Does he know we have no water?
He says people must stay at home, but he then immediately got on a flight to Namibia.
How does he expect this to work when we survive on odd jobs and vending? The president must first address these pertinent issues and tailor a strategy to curb Covid-19 that takes those issues into consideration.
Wilkins Hospital reportedly asked the government for $6.7-million to get the hospital ready for Covid-19, but they were apparently only allocated a mere $100,000.
During that time, Mnangagwa flew to Namibia (for the presidential inauguration), on a hired private jet that flew from Dubai to Harare to take him on the hour-long trip to Namibia. How does one explain such gross extravagance at a time when the nation is facing an outbreak our hospitals cannot handle? Around that time, Mthuli Ncube, Mnangagwa’s Minister of Finance, was also gallivanting in Europe where pictures of him shaking people’s hands were taken. Was he quarantined upon return?
A day after the shipment of donations from Jack Ma landed in Zimbabwe, pictures of Mnangagwa holding a meeting of people wearing Zanu-PF regalia and face masks circulated on social media? Where did they get the masks? At a time when doctors and nurses have no personal protective equipment, they saw it fit to waste the scarce masks on themselves.
What a shame.
We have a marginalisation crisis in Zimbabwe.
Covid-19 is also exposing the extent to which the Zanu-PF government has been marginalising many parts of the country – most rural areas and all of Matebeleland since 1980. As it is, the government is in a panic and trying to refurbish Wilkins Hospital, and accused of getting an elitist Covid-19 centre ready for the ruling political elite.
What about the rest of the country?
The whole of Matebeleland province only has Thorngrove Hospital, a rundown infectious diseases hospital that has no capacity to handle any illness. So where is the rest of Zimbabwe going to go if the virus spreads? We cannot all go to Harare.
We have a political crisis in Zimbabwe.
Because the government is guilty of neglecting their mandate to provide public goods, they are going out of their way to hide information about the extent of infections in Zimbabwe. In their 40 years of power, Zimbabwe has failed to build hospitals and clinics, or to maintain the hospitals built by the Rhodesians. They let the health systems completely crumble and if Covid-19 hits Zimbabwe as badly as we fear, it will be entirely their fault. Millions of people are going to suffer and thousands risk dying unnecessarily because of the state of our health sector.
Because of all these crises, Zimbabwe is an unfolding disaster. The government, which has misgoverned the country for decades, has neither capacity nor desire to deliver on matters of national and public interest. They just do not care.
My only prayer is that geographical and environmental factors like our weather, the age of people concentrated in the cities and sheer luck will protect us. This is a terrible, frightening and also infuriating situation. We have no reason to be experiencing this uncertainty. Covid-19 may be a natural disaster, but if it spreads in Zimbabwe, its effects will be entirely man-made.
God save Zimbabwe. MC
Thandekile Moyo is a writer and human rights defender from Zimbabwe. For the past four years, she has been using print, digital and social media (Twitter: @mamoxn) to expose human rights abuses, bad governance and corruption. Moyo holds an Honours degree in Geography and Environmental Studies from the Midlands State University in Zimbabwe.
The post A COVID-19 Outbreak Will Devastate Zimbabwe Which Has Several Crises To Deal With appeared first on NewZimbabwe.com.
By Anna Chibamu/Alois Vinga
VICE President Constantino Chiwenga who on Friday quietly slipped back into the country from Covid-19 hit China, was Saturday seen freely mingling with other government officials seemingly with no plans to self isolate in the wake of the highly infectious disease.
Zimbabwe has put stringent measures for prevent the further spread of coronavirus following an outbreak that has seen seven confirmed cases and one death in a space of a week.
Citizens who would have returned from countries worst hit by Covid-19 are required to go through the mandatory seven day period of isolation as a precautionary measure to prevent the spread of a disease that has been brought into the country by travelling Zimbabweans.
VP Chiwenga travelled to China early this month for his regular medical check-up.
However, upon his return, the VP Chiwenga was seen Saturday afternoon at State House in Harare in the company of President Emmerson Mnangagwa receiving disinfectants donated to five city councils and public transporter, ZUPCO.
The material was donated by businessman, Kuda Tagwirei for use in the fight against the coronavirus.
Chiwenga was seen standing between Mnangagwa and Information Minister Mutsvangwa, wearing a face mask.
However, NewZimbabwe.com had earlier on contacted Mutsvangwa on whether Chiwenga would be in self-isolation and she insisted the former military commander was already in self-isolation.
“Yes. The VP is in self-isolation after returning from his routine medical treatment in China,” she said.
China is the first country to record the deadly coronavirus in December last year, which had by Saturday evening spread across the globe affecting 622 548 people and with 28 812 deaths.
On Friday, Mnangagwa had told journalists he had appointed Chiwenga as the chairperson of the national coronavirus taskforce, replacing Health Minister Obadiah Moyo, who is reported to have been criticised by Cabinet colleagues for failing to handle the coronavirus crisis in Zimbabwe effectively.
The virus recorded its first death last Monday in journalist, Zororo Makamba and on Friday, the cases rose to seven.
As the national COVID-19 taskforce chairperson, Chiwenga would be deputised by Defence Minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri. Ironically, the Defence Minister, was also quoted early this month claiming the COVID-19 was a European disease that was punishing the West and the US for imposing sanctions against Zimbabwe.
Mnangagwa and his lieutenants have been heavily criticised for not seeking self-isolation after travelling outside the country when the coronavirus menace was already being experienced by many world countries.
Two weeks ago, the president travelled to Namibia for the inauguration of President Hage Geingob. He did not seek the mandatory self-isolation while his Botswana colleague, President Mokgweetsi Masisi, who also travelled to Namibia for the same event, is currently in self-isolation.
Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube also travelled to Europe recently on government business, but on his return, did not go into self-isolation.
Information released by the Health Ministry show that from the seven coronavirus recorded in Zimbabwe so far, five of the cases were from patients who had recently travelled outside the country.
Most countries are now forcing every foreign traveller to be quarantined for at least 14 days as a measure to safeguard against the global virus.
The post COVID-19: VP Chiwenga Dodges Self-Isolation On Return From China appeared first on NewZimbabwe.com.
The Daily Nation
THE COVID-19 outbreak is expected to worsen Zimbabwe’s problems as the southern African country grapples with a tanking economy, the worst food shortages in decades and a collapsing health system, observers warn.
Zimbabwe, which has been battling a long running economic crisis, has recorded three cases of the deadly disease with one fatality so far.
Manufacturing and other sectors have projected a calamitous year ahead since the country is heavily dependent on China for raw materials.
A mini survey by the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) revealed that the country’s manufacturing has suffered a 46 per cent disruption in supply chains following the outbreak of the Covid-19 in China at the end of last year.
The disease has since spread to almost all parts of the globe, with South Africa – Zimbabwe’s largest trading partner – now the worst hit on the continent.
“Local factories will obviously suffer the effects of the pandemic since China is the largest source of raw materials and equipment,” CZI said.
“Zimbabwe will experience major dislocations in exports and imports as the virus spreads and countries adopt restrictive responses that curb manufacturing.”
Last month, the International Monetary Fund revised downwards Zimbabwe’s economic growth forecast for the second time inside three months, slashing its own projection from 2.7 to a mere 0.8 per cent.
IMF cited a devastating drought, a sharp rise in inflation and policy missteps by President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government as some of the reasons for the projected slump.
Economists said the country – already facing a staggering HIV/Aids burden, mass starvation and economic stagnation – is too fragile to handle a pandemic.
Eddie Cross, an economist and former opposition lawmaker, said Zimbabwe faces a “perfect storm” because as the country is already in the middle of a multifaceted humanitarian crisis.
“I hate to say it but we are in for a rough time. Our wet season is almost over and we are sitting on about 450 millimeters – half our normal rainfall – here in Harare,” Cross said.
“We have had enough for our trees and grass but the rivers have not run as normal and our dams are about 60 per cent. It means livestock will struggle and our towns and cities are at risk of water shortages.”
He added that the country faces a shortage of water for the next planting seasons.
Cross said Zimbabwe’s economic frailties have left it at the mercy of the deadly virus that has already grounded tourism, the main source of revenue.
Most companies have scaled down operations.
He said health care is already in a crisis and that the government has no money to turn the situation around.
“We have no defences. Our hospitals are moribund. We have very few ventilators, probably less than 200 intensive care unit beds in the country and our health workers have limited protective clothing,” Cross said.
“The extent of our problem was well illustrated by the death of a young journalist just days after being diagnosed with the virus.”
Zororo Makamba, a 30-year-old popular broadcaster, became Zimbabwe’s first recorded case of Covid-19 death early this week.
His family said the main centre designated to handle coronavirus cases had no oxygen and ventilators.
Zimbabwe has one of the highest HIV/Aids prevalence rates in the world, with an estimated 1.3 million people having the virus in 2017.
Aid agencies say more than eight million people – over half the country’s population – will need food aid this year after poor harvests due to droughts and collapsing agriculture.
Hilal Elver, the UN’s special rapporteur on the right to food, late last year said Zimbabwe was on the brink of a man-made starvation.
UN High Commission for Human Rights head Michelle Bachelet said Zimbabwe – alongside other countries facing Western sanctions like Venezuela, Iran and Cuba – need a reprieve to deal with coronavirus.
“These states have frail or weak health systems,” Bachelet said in a statement this week.
“Progress in upholding human rights is essential to improve those systems – but obstacles to the import of vital medical supplies, including over-compliance with sanctions by banks – will create long-lasting harm to vulnerable communities.”
Zimbabwe says its economy has been destroyed due to sanctions imposed on the country by the European Union, the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand since 2002.
Information minister Monica Mutsvangwa said the country welcomes the call by the UN to lift sanctions on Zimbabwe.
“These powerful countries want to strangle Zimbabwe,” the minister said.
The post From Starvation To Coronavirus, Zimbabwe’s Problems Keep Piling appeared first on NewZimbabwe.com.
By Kudzai Chingwe
THE Zimbabwean United Methodist Church is flourishing in countries far from home.
The Zimbabwe Episcopal Area has planted churches in Australia, Scotland, Canada, New Zealand, United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland and the United Arab Emirates in support of church members displaced over the past two decades by political instability and economic turmoil.
With the passage of time, church members developed the hunger to worship in their Zimbabwean tradition, using Shona language, hymnal songs, instruments (shakers and drums), ululating and dancing, said Zimbabwe Area Bishop Eben K. Nhiwatiwa.
“For me, all this concern with diaspora was to follow our people who themselves wanted to keep a spiritual connection with (The United Methodist Church of Zimbabwe and their) home country’s style of worship,” Nhiwatiwa said.
“I am happy to say that the future will pass on, reside in their children and more for generations,” he said.
The idea started in Hackney near central London in August of 2000. United Methodist Daniel Mapfeka, the Rev. John Sakutombo and their families — all from Zimbabwe and now living in London — decided to pray for a church to flourish. There were six people at the first gathering.
“No sooner, the number increased … to 18, and on the third Sunday, we were 25. I became the first lay leader for six months,” Mapfeka said. “Indeed, time flies. We are now celebrating 20 years of God’s ministry” in the United Kingdom.
“Now, there are thousands of members. The church is growing. We are witnessing the glory of the Lord,” he said.
Tapiwa Muchenje, 53, former lay leader for the United Kingdom Mission Area, said United Methodists who left Zimbabwe “had to be innovative to get the spiritual satisfaction” they needed. The U.K. Mission Area includes the United Kingdom (Midlands, South, North and Central), Scotland and the Republic of Ireland.
“At the same time,” Muchenje said, “we had to harmonize The United Methodist Church system with the laws of the land, which was not easy. We registered as a charities commission in November 2002 and our first conference was in July 2003.”
As the number of congregants increased, the Zimbabwe Episcopal Area started to appoint pastors to provide guidance and help in addressing administrative issues, especially those dealing with law.
Since the first pastor was appointed in 2019, the church in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland has grown to 2,000 members, said the Rev. Stephen Mukata, district superintendent of diaspora and pastor in charge for Australia and New Zealand.
While the United Kingdom church was the first congregation of Zimbabwean United Methodists in diaspora, elsewhere there were other members seeking to plant their own United Methodist churches in different regions.
Mukata said in 2006, his wife, Perpetua Mukata — now the district worker for the Zimbabwe church’s women’s organization — was settled in Auckland, New Zealand. She organized worship services in Auckland and Christchurch.
“The few members in New Zealand wrote to the bishop’s office in Zimbabwe, requesting for a pastor from Zimbabwe in 2007. I was then appointed to lead this congregation in January 2008.”
He said some members from the United Kingdom who were stationed in Australia helped start the church there in 2009.
“Our first congregation gathering was in Adelaide, where Mbuya Chioniso Sanganza organized a mini-revival in May 2009,” Mukata said.
The first gathering had no more than 30 members, but the church has grown. And the wave to plant churches has cut across all ages, Mukata said.
Privilege Paganga, a young adult from Zimbabwe who lived in Adelaide, led the launch of a United Methodist church in Perth, Australia, in 2010. She became the new church’s first United Methodist Youth Fellowship president.
“The courage to start the church was irresistible,” Paganga said. “The church is still vibrant. I thank God for that.”
Mukata said that today there are United Methodist churches spread across Australia, in Adelaide, Melbourne (two congregations), Sydney, Perth, Canberra, Darwin and Brisbane, with membership at more than 600.
“This was a humble beginning of great things on this continent,” Mukata said.
He said many members from Christchurch and Auckland have migrated to Australia, but one congregation remains in Auckland.
The Rev. Susan Manyange is pastor in charge for Perth, Darwin, Adelaide and Kalgoorlie, while Mukata shepherds Melbourne North, Melbourne Central, Canberra, Sydney, Brisbane and Auckland.
“The distances are so vast that much of the traveling is by airplane,” Manyange said. “I am happy to say the church is vibrant.”
In Canada, United Methodists have planted churches in Toronto, Ontario, Edmonton, Hamilton and Calgary, said the Rev. Tazvionepi Nyarota, the pastor in charge for Canada.
“At its inception, worship services were held in people’s homes and then we moved to rental places as numbers increased. I was appointed as pastor in charge in 2014. As of the end of 2019, the total membership for the Canada Mission Area had increased to 314,” Nyarota said.
The first service was held in 2009 in a home in Niagara Falls with seven families in attendance, including Wilson Muzorewa and Martin Chawanda, Zimbabwean United Methodists. The pair said the church was registered as a legal entity in 2010 and they began working to attain charity status as defined by the Canada Revenue Agency.
“With this status, we were now able to issue tax receipts for members’ tithes and offerings,” Muzorewa said.
In 2013, Bishop Nhiwatiwa and his wife, Greater Nhiwatiwa, visited Canada during the Easter Revival. It was their first visit to the country, said Ernest Maforo, who helped plant the church in Edmonton in 2009.
“All the Canada Mission Area churches came to the revival and it marked the first time that members were officially baptized, confirmed and badged (as full members of organizations),” he said.
“This also marked the first time that a pastor was assigned to Canada,” Maforo said. “We are now happy to be receiving Holy Communion on a regular basis.”
Mukata said similar evangelism is happening elsewhere.
“We have the same scenario in Dubai and Abu Dhabi where our members are gathering to meet and worship in the United Arab Emirates and possibly elsewhere in the world like Malaysia, Singapore, Russia and China, which needs to be looked after. Currently in Dubai, membership is at 60,” he said.
Simon Mafunda, Zimbabwe East Conference lay leader, said membership for the diaspora remains in Zimbabwe.
“It is just like a district of Zimbabwe. … We were the pioneers of The United Methodist Church in these countries and we were granted only a charity license so that we can worship in our native language.
“All the appointments are done in Zimbabwe. Whatever they do is credited to the work of ministry by Zimbabwe. That is why they have their reports in the annual conference and the financial statement reports to the area cabinet.”
Mukata said the circuits continue to pull their resources together to support projects back home.
“During the Cyclone Idai disaster, we sent $5,000 (USD), which was used to purchase two motorcycles to enable the pastors in the affected areas to reach out to families that needed prayers and counselling.”
He said church members also donated clothes, blankets and kitchen utensils worth $16,000 after the cyclone in 2019.
The diaspora’s youth, men’s and women’s organizations also play a pivotal role in supporting the church in Zimbabwe, he said.
Chiedza Simango, community service chairperson for the United Kingdom Mission Area and a member of the United Methodist Youth Fellowship, said she is happy to have The United Methodist Church closer to home.
“It has given us young people an opportunity to worship together as a community of like-minded individuals of the same ethnic background,” she said.
“It also allowed children who grew up in the United Kingdom to learn the culture and provide an integration of third-generation children in the church, despite the language barrier.”
By Alois Vinga
THE government has set the national minimum wage at $2 549, 74 for all employees except those in the agricultural and domestic sectors.
Under Statutory Instrument 81 of 2020, Labour Minister Paul Mavima said the directive comes into effect immediately.
“The minimum wage of $2 549 applies to all workers other than domestic and agricultural employees, for which alternative provision will be made,” reads the instrument in part.
However, the minister said employers who are unable to pay the stipulated fees have been granted permission to apply for exemption with the relevant National Employment Councils.
Employers who do not belong to any National Employment Council have been given the green light to approach the Labour Minister’s office with applications for exemptions to pay the stipulated minimum wage.
“The exemption shall take immediate effect as granted by the NEC unless and until the Minister on grounds of public policy objects to it, in which event the minimum wage must be paid from the date of publication of this notice,” the Statutory Instrument reads.
The new gazetted prices of $2 500 translates to US$62.50.
The post Government Sets Private Sector Minimum Wage At $2 500 appeared first on NewZimbabwe.com.
By Staff Reporter
CHIPINGE: A Checheche-based teacher who swindled locals here out of their hard-earned cash promising to secure their relatives some nursing student places at Mashoko School of Nursing in Masvingo, was caged for 12 months by a local magistrate court.
Alex Mahanga, 52, appeared before Magistrate Joshua Nembawarare facing fraud charges.
He pleaded guilty to charges of swindling over $9 044 out of unsuspecting job seekers.
Asked by the magistrate why he committed the offence, Mahanga said he wanted the money to pay fees for his niece who had secured a place at a local tertiary institution.
However, Nembawarare suspended six months of the jail sentence on condition that he pays a $2 000 fine and another six months were suspended on condition he restitutes $ 9 044 to the complainants.
In passing sentence, the magistrate took into consideration that a custodial sentence would result in Mahanga losing his job and failure to raise the money required to restitute the complainants.
Prosecutors told the court that Mahanga connived with his two colleagues, Joshua Mbindi and Patricia Magazine, who are still at large, to fraud the job seekers who were identified as Caiphas Mtetwa, Daniel and David Mlambo, Bonwell Mahanya, Joice Munaiwa, and Mabhoko Osbert.
It is reported that Mahanga approached the victims on different dates and told them his accomplices were responsible for recruiting student nurses at Mashoko Mission School of Nursing.
He would then request the job seekers to give him application letters with all the necessary documents in order to process the required paperwork.
Mahanga on another date also in Chipinge met the complainants and told them that their relatives’ applications had been accepted and they were supposed to pay tuition, administration and accommodation fees to an Ecocash number which he supplied to them.
On different occasions, the job seekers would deposit money into Mahanga’s Ecocash number.
The total value prejudiced was $9 044 and nothing was recovered.
By Staff Reporter
TWO Chipinge brothers have gone into hiding after they recently allegedly killed a fellow villager they accused of stealing another villager’s four goats.
Manicaland provincial police spokesperson, Inspector Tavhiringwa Kakohwa confirmed the incident and identified the deceased as Richard Sithole, 26.
The deceased’s body was later found along the nearby Save River by his father.
Kakohwa said Sithole was allegedly assaulted to death by Simon and Joseph Tends, aged 32 and 38 respectively.
On the day in question, Sithole was confronted by the pair at Violet Mareva’s homestead at around 1300hrs during a traditional beer feast in Guvarekipi village under Chief Garahwa.
The deceased and his friend Edgar Tends, 34, were accused of stealing James Mukupe’s four goats.
“They untied their shoelaces and used them to tie Edgar and Sithole’s hands behind their backs. They force marched them towards Save River and started punching them with fists, booted feet and assaulted them using sticks,” said the police spokesperson.
However, Edgar was lucky as he managed to escape when they were walking along Save River at around 1400hrs and made a police report at Chisumbanje Police Station.
Sithole’s body was later discovered by his father, William Marewangepo Sithole, 80, at around 1900hrs and he made a police report.
His body had bruises and his hands were still tied at the back before it was taken to St Peters Hospital for post-mortem.
The post Chipinge Brothers On The Run For Killing Villager Over 4 Stolen Goats appeared first on NewZimbabwe.com.
By Robert Tapfumaneyi
FOR Zimbabwe to attain an upper-middle-income status by 2030, the private sector, and not government, should lead the investment and employment drive, the Ministry of Labour has said.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa has, since his controversial win in the 2018 presidential election, been pushing a grandiose plan for impoverished Zimbabwe to achieve an upper-middle-income status by 2030.
He has termed his ambitious project; Upper-middle-income-status Agenda 2030 and has made repeated appeals to the international community for funds and investment to help the debt-ridden country emerge from extreme poverty, hunger and hyperinflation.
The international community has not been forthcoming and has instead told his regime to first implement the country’s political and economic reforms before they can bail out Zimbabwe.
However, technocrats in the Labour Ministry feel that to achieve an objective such as the Agenda 2030, the government should put in place policies that attract investment and create employment in a country with 95% of its population unemployed.
They said government’s dominance in the labour market was not healthy for Zimbabwe.
“The dominance of the government as a key player in the labour market is not healthy for a country positioned to achieve an upper-middle-income status by 2030,” the Ministry of Labour officials said in their Labour Market Perspectives 2019.
“Government should put in place policies that will attract investment in the labour intensive sectors of the economy such as the manufacturing sector so that more jobs are generated.”
The officials admitted government’s dominance on the employment market had put pressure on the national budget and expenditure.
“The dominance of government as a driver of employment has put pressure on the government budget and expenditure, not helped by the public sector wage bill that has been stubbornly high over the decades,” the report said.
“There is need to constantly monitor the long running trends between economic growth and employment growth to avoid the country being trapped in a jobless growth and worsening levels of poverty.
“This will call for robust labour market information system that will be providing labour market data on a quarterly basis.”
The post Private Sector, Not Govt Should Lead Investment Drive – Labour Ministry appeared first on NewZimbabwe.com.
By Robert Tapfumaneyi
A Harare resident on Saturday filed an urgent chamber application at the High Court seeking an order to stop businessman Kuda Tagwirei’s Sakunda Holdings from renovating and upgrading an abandoned hospital into a specialised coronavirus medical facility in Mt Pleasant.
The medical centre is reported to be targeted for senior government officials and top politicians suffering from the deadly virus. Covid-19 has to date seen the country confirm seven cases and one death.
In his application, Roger Stringer, a resident of Mt Pleasant, protested the renovation and upgrading of Rock Foundation Medical Facility, which according to media reports is being turned into an isolation centre for the admission and treatment of patients suffering from coronavirus.
The facility is owned by jailed former Zanu PF legislator and businessman Munyaradzi Kereke.
Stringer, who resides at a property adjacent to the medical facility, is apprehensive he is being exposed to the risk of contracting coronavirus should the hospital be used for treating patients with coronavirus.
He said his right to an environment that is not harmful to his health or well-being was about to be violated.
He further argued that Sakunda Holdings and Health Minister Obadiah Moyo were not authorised by law to violate his entitlement to the protection of the law.
He insists he has a right to be consulted as a resident in Mt Pleasant suburb.
Stringer, a film producer, argued that no measures had been or are being put in place to minimise the risk to himself, his family and other residents brought upon by the use of such a facility as a referral centre for an infectious disease.
He said the site for the medical facility is connected to a reticulated sewer main across Norfolk Road in Mt Pleasant suburb.
The system, he argued, is intertwined with water supply and with the same sewer reticulation mains which service his household.
This, he said, put him and his family at greater risk of contracting the highly infectious coronavirus.
Stringer said Sakunda Holdings and Moyo can make use of other established facilities for infectious diseases such as Wilkins Hospital and Beatrice Road Infectious Diseases Hospital, both run by City of Harare.
He argued the two facilities have not yet been proven to be inadequate for purposes of containing the deadly outbreak.
He is being represented by lawyers from the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR).
The post Resident Blocks Tagwirei From Turning Hospital Into Elite COVID-19 Centre appeared first on NewZimbabwe.com.
By Robert Tapfumaneyi
PROPERTY mogul Frank Buyanga has dismissed allegations circulating that he kidnapped his five year-old son at Park Town Shopping Centre in Harare last week.
This comes after the mother of the minor, Chantelle Muteswa, rushed to the High Court Friday with an urgent application claiming her son had been kidnapped in full view of police officers who did not take any action to stop the crime.
On Saturday, Muteswa told journalists that Buyanga was using his unnamed, but well-connected individuals in the corridors of power, to bulldoze his way to the child through kidnappings.
However, in response, the businessman said, Muteswa was aware that he had returned custody of his child following a landmark court ruling, early this month, granting him joint custody of the child.
“I filed a police report for contempt of court with you on 11 March 2020 after the mother of my son Ms Chantelle Muteswa failed to comply with the court order which states that my access was extended to allow me to give accommodation to the minor child and you ran away with the child,” Buyanga wrote to Chantelle in a letter in possession of this publication.
“I hereby write this letter to notify you I have recovered my son at Park Town shops in Harare.”
Addressing journalists in Harare Saturday, Muteswa claimed that the businessman was enjoying protection from some unnamed corrupt senior government officials.
However, she declined to respond to questions from the media whether it was fair to accuse Buyanga of kidnapping his son when he was granted the right to be with him by the courts.
Buyanga had been with the boy since mid-last year until the minor was allegedly abducted by the mother from his school on 11 March. He also allegedly abducted the minor last Thursday.
Muteswa and Buyanga have been engaged in a protracted legal battle over the custody of the five year old boy.