Tuesday, May 4, 2010

By Khumbulani Maphosa – Media and Publications Officer

BULAWAYO – Latest media reports suggest that Zimbabwe’s ZESA Holdings has clinched an agreement with Botswana’s power company, Botswana Power Corporation, which will result in the refurbishment of the derelict and unused Bulawayo Power Station.

Presenting the latest developments to the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines and Energy, the Zimbabwe Power Company managing director Mr Noah Gwariro, is quoted in the Chronicle revealing that the Intergovernmental agreement will be officially signed on the 15th of May 2010. He further revealed that ‘ a loan agreement will also be signed with Zesa Holdings while BPC and Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company will sign a power purchase agreement.’
After the refurbishment, the power company is expected to produce around 90MW, of which 40MW would be exported to Botswana.

Habakkuk Trust has been advocating on the issue of power and energy and on 29 September 2008 the organisation held an Indaba on Energy, which was attended by residents, ZESA Regional managers, CSOs, the academia, media personnel and Bulawayo Councillors and Council staff. At this Indaba it was suggested that the power utility (ZETDC) should explore other sources of energy such as wind and solar. Calls were further made for the maximization and refurbishment of all existing electricity generation plants.
The Bulawayo City Council, with support from the residents, challenged ZETDC to hand back the Bulawayo Thermal Power station to the local authority as it had previously run it well.
Bulawayo residents will also be hoping that the refurbishment of the power station will increase the power supply in the city thus boost the industrial and commercial operational capacity which has been adversely affected by long hours of load-shedding.
By Media and Publications Officer

Bulawayo residents have expressed concern that the making of Zimbabwe’s new constitution is taking too long than previously suggested and expected.

According to the Habakkuk Trust results of the Opinion Poll conducted during the recently ended Zimbabwe International Trade Fair, residents who participated in the poll expressed concerns on the tortoise pace with which the process is moving.

‘We need the constitution before elections’ suggested a resident from Killarney. Another resident from Luveve had this to say, ‘The process of writing the new constitution should be speeded up.’ This was concurred by a resident from Richmond who said, ‘the constitution making process must be done at a faster speed. As of the moment the process is non-existent.’ Other residents from Luveve accused the civic society saying, ‘You have been talking about this constitution issue for a long time, its not coming up, you should know why because you talk to these people.’ There are some residents who felt that the problem is that ‘the process is polarised along political lines (ZANU PF vs MDC a resident from Ward 6.

Habakkuk Trust called the COPAC offices today seeking clarity on the delays in the constitution making process and a female COPAC official who refused to identify herself, revealed that there would be a press statement on Friday pertaining to the progress of the constitution making process. This statement, she said, will appear in the Herald and the Chronicle.
COPAC has been issuing numerous conflicting press statements, which have not culminated to practical action. On signing the Global Political Agreement (GPA) the Principals in the agreement had initially agreed to make the constitution making process a top priority.

Habakkuk Trust will continue monitoring and creating awareness around the constitution making process. This is inline with the organisation’s vision of ‘enhancing citizen participation in decision-making processes.’

Monday, May 3, 2010

Khumbulani Maphosa (Media and Publications Officer)

BULAWAYO - There seems to be an upsurge in the illegal sell of houses in Bulawayo’s high-density suburbs as evidenced by an incident reported in the local IsiNdebele newspaper, UMthunywa, where a house has been sold five times without the owner’s knowledge.

According to media reports carried in the latest edition of UMthunywa (30 April to 6 May), this house which is Tshabalala, house number 7559/10 has been sold five times to five different people without the owner’s knowledge. The media reports claim that the house, which belongs to Sophia Mpofu, who is now based in Harare, is under the custody of her niece Siphiwe Ndlovu who is now blind. The paper further reports that Siphiwe Ndlovu was last week on Wednesday evicted by the people who claimed to have bought the house.
It is also reported that the house was recently advertised in another local paper as being sold for $10 000.
The paper further reports that when the residents’ association representatives visited the housing office they discovered that the ownership of the house has not been changed from Sophia Mpofu.

COMMENT: Habakkuk Trust can confidently report that the issue of the illegal sell of houses is not peculiar to Tshabalala only. The organisation has, since 2007 been advocating on the same issue in Mpopoma, a suburb adjacent to Tshabalala. Apart from gathering empirical evidence on the houses sold in Mpopoma, the organisation has gone to the extent of holding two public sensitization meetings where a total of 220 members of the public have been educated on the procedures to be followed in the sell of houses as well as other related concerns by representatives from the High Court, the Zimbabwe Republic Police, the Bulawayo Legal Projects Centre and the Bulawayo City Council. Another meeting is set for the 23rd of May 2010 at Mpopoma Community hall for the same reasons of creating awareness on the issue. Through the advocacy actions of the Habakkuk Trust Action Team in Mpopoma one case is now being handled by the courts.