Monday, November 15, 2010

WARD 14 POLICY DIALOGUE PAVES WAY FORWARD

By Information Department

‘All is well that ends well.’ This statement could be seen written all over the hopeful faces of Gwanda Ward 14 Advocacy Action Teams as they filed out of the venue of the policy dialogue meeting organised by Habakkuk Trust to address three pertinent issues in the ward.

N.G.O commits some borehole pipes
After the presentation of the community Position Paper and the deliberations that ensured thereafter, the Bethel Action Team was left breathing a sigh of relief after Lutheran Development Services committed to assist the communities with some second hand usable borehole pipes that have been extracted from their other programme areas.
This arrangement will be the villages’ short term stop gap measure as they may now try to resuscitate their broken down boreholes.
However, it was also resolved that more water points need to be establish so as to balance water usage and population growth. This was after villagers had indicated that the available boreholes were sunk to cater for 10 homesteads but now they are catering up to about 100 homesteads.
The community was also urged to resuscitate its water committees and ensure that they are helped to advocate for the repairs and construction of additional points in their Ward plans.

Shortage of water has been an advocacy issue in many areas where Habakkuk Trust is working including Bulawayo, Mangwe and Tsholotsho. Advocacy need to be directed to equip local and national governments to establish water banks and water budgets that will ensure that people enjoy their rights to clean and accessible water.

A new Village Development Committee to be elected
Ward 14 villagers are now set to elect a new Village Development Committees after the Policy Dialogue meeting resolved that the current committees for Sengezane and other villages in the ward were unduly and illegally constituted.
Though the issue of the VIDCO Structure had initially been a Sengezane issue only, after Mr Nkosilathi Ncube from Gwanda Rural District Council had explained the legal procedure of electing the committee under Statutory Instrument 15 of 2000, the villagers concurred with Mr Phineas Maphosa’s idea that ‘the problem is not at Sengezane only, therefore there must be fresh elections to pave way for proper structures in all the villages’.
Apparently it emerged that instead of having 6 members the current existing VIDCOs have only 3 and in some areas they are not being chaired by the Village Head as the law stipulates. This led to calls for all community members to be educated on how the committee is elected, its major duties and functions and terms of office.

Habakkuk Trust will be partnering the local authority in raising awareness on development structures and how they ought to function. The first training will be for Councillors on the 15th to the 16th of November 2010.

The problem of leadership crisis and subsequent imposition of leaders on partisan lines continues to be a major issue derailing development in most communities. Though the country has very high literacy levels, there is still little civic education targeted on civic rights and how people can participate and bring their leaders to account.

Villagers to form grazing committees
Villagers from Bhalula and Ward 14 at large have been urged to establish grazing committees that will manage and monitor their pastures so as to avert the aftermaths of droughts and corrupt land use practices.
The call was made by an Agritex Official during the Ward 14 Policy Dialogue meeting held in Gwanda. The call comes after Bhalula Villagers presented a Position Paper on the issue of shortage of grazing lands and how their grazing land was misappropriated by political heavyweights in the community.

The Agritex official said if grazing committees were in place they could have averted the unfortunate land wrangle that now occurs.

It was also resolved in the meeting that the Councillor, the Rural District Council, Habakkuk Trust and the villagers need to visit the Ministry of Land s and clarify on the ownership of the land adjacent to Dubani Ranch which is now a conflict between villagers and some Cold Storage Commission officers.
Some villagers narrated chilling experiences of how the CSC officers have threatened them with guns trying to evict them from the land being wrangled.

Land disputes continue to be an order of the day in Zimbabwe especially after the government’s land resettlement programme. The 2010 Government led Land Audit has revealed that people with either political power or connections have usurped the programme for self enrichment at the detriment of other land deserving citizens.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Zimbabwe Elections - Putting the Cart before the Horse

By Dumisani O. Nkomo-Chief Executive Officer –Habakkuk Trust

The Zimbabwean political leadership, chiefly President Robert Mugabe has become obsessed on talks about elections in 2011. The opposition M.D.C led by Morgan Tsvangirai has disappointingly joined in this discordant choir calling for elections in 2011 in spite of the fact that the situation on the ground is hardly conducive for free and fair elections. Civil society and churches have been clear in calling for comprehensive policy and constitutional reform as a pre-requisite and priority not just for elections but also for the process of democratic transition.
I would like to argue that it is unrealistic and na├»ve to advocate for elections in Zimbabwe in 2011 hardly three years after the last elections in which Mugabe was beaten by Tsvangirai. The opposition, SADC, sections of the international community and a portion of civil society are now so infatuated with elections that they have ignored reason and like a starry eyed adolescent believe that an election will solve Zimbabwe’s problems in spite of the fact that the bulk of the institutional and structural factors that contributed to disputed elections in 2008 are still in place. Mugabe’s prime objective is to seek legitimacy and to consolidate political power at all costs and he seems to have found willing partners. His strategy is an election which will ensure that he no longer has to share power with the M.D.Cs.
Tsvangirai who has been at the forefront of the struggle for democratization has tragically miscalculated in calling for elections as his party is not ready for elections as evidenced by his party’s failure to mobilize it’s constituency in the constitution making process. More critically the M.D.C is naively delusional to the reality that it does not control the levers of power which are critical to the transfer of power. There is nothing to suggest that the M.D.C has a strategy to influence the effective transfer of power. To base an argument for elections to be held on the promises made by Mugabe to Tsvangirai that the next elections will not be disputed is like holding on to a promise made by a lion to a sheep that it [the lion] would not eat the sheep no matter how hungry the lion becomes.
Broadly and importantly elections in Zimbabwe should be predicated on the implementation of the Global Political Agreement which the three main political parties signed, and adherence to the SADC GUIDELINES ON THE CONDUCT OF DEMOCRATIC ELECTIONS. As things stand today only a tenth of the agreement has been implemented. The agreement was signed by the country’s political leadership with SADC as guarantors and the country’s political leadership has to own up to what it signed. Admittedly the Agreement is inherently faulty but it offers the only realistic solution to the country’s political, social and political crisis. Holding the elections may move the country back and not forward. The script is still the same so the result will obviously be the same.
In order to correct the imbalances in the country’s political and social architecture the following issues should be addressed [All these are contained in the Global Political Agreement]:
1. Amicable conclusion of the constitution making process in a conducive political environment
2. Implementation of the national healing process as outlined in article 7 of the Global Political Agreement. The organ which the government set to deal with issues of national healing has failed to develop a proper framework for healing and conflict transformation as well as effective public outreach in this context. This process is important if we are to move forward because elections and political processes are the context in which violence takes place in Zimbabwe. We are talking about elections when the wounds of victims of political violence are still fresh from the 2008 elections, the 2005 elections, the 2000 elections and the massacre of 30,000 Matabeles in the period prior to the 1985 elections.
3. Institutional reform – including security sector reforms
4. De-politicization of traditional leadership.
5. Granting of licenses to independent broadcasters.
6. Freedom of association, assembly and free political participation
7. Security of persons
8. Review of sanctions and measures - sanctions and measures have failed and have only given Mugabe and his cronies propaganda ammunition to use to woe African leaders and the electorate. Removal of these measures will provide leverage to engage Mugabe on other issues as well as to woe SADC leaders.
9. Setting up of the economic advisory council - the country needs to be given time to stabilize and grow. An early election may send the wrong signals and result in stalling of investment and growth as a result of waning investment.
10. Setting up a land audit. This is important but there is lack of political will to make this happen because it implicates hundreds of top ZANU PF big wigs who benefitted from land grab at the expense of ordinary Zimbabweans.
This may appear to be a wish list but we need to start making the wish list into a shopping list as there are things which are too expensive to ignore at the moment. Strategically it will be important to look at what is achievable and what is attainable, within which time frames and to prioritize the things that can be achieved. The Global Political Agreement has gives space to civil society and the Zimbabwean people to begin to engage. It has also given the M.D.Cs a little bit of strategic influence through their presence in government. They should not sacrifice this at the altar of political expedience. We need a pragmatic approach to Zimbabwean politics and the regional /international dynamics that accompany it.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

POSITION PAPER ON THE EDUCATIONAL INFRASTRUCTURE IN GWANDA WARD 2

PREPARED AND PRESENTED BY THE GWANDA WARD 2 COMMUNITY IN PARTNERSHIP WITH HABAKKUK TRUST

Habakkuk Trust under its Local Level Capacity Building Programme carried out extensive consultations with Local leadership in Gwanda Ward 2. These consultations were followed by training workshops in Dambashoko, Datata-Silikwe and Zhukwe areas and public meetings in these areas. It was during these two stages of the programme that issues pertaining to the ward were raised. The issue of educational infrastructure came out as a matter of concern which needed urgent attention.

Dambashoko

Dambashoko Primary School
The school was built in 1933 and has four (4) blocks
The community concerns were as follows:

• The school is old and the walls are falling
• Some classroom blocks do not have windows
• Grade zero pupils learn under a tree.
• The existing blocks are being shared between secondary school children and primary school children.
• Inadequate cottages for teachers, primary and secondary school teachers are sharing the same cottages.
• Furniture is not enough for pupils they learn sitting on the floor.
• The school office is too small and insecure; money, records and exam papers for both primary and secondary school are kept in the same office.
• Books are lost and furniture is broken as school children move furniture from classes.

In view of the above concerns the community needs are as follows;

• 2 additional classroom blocks be built
• Administration block with shelves
• 3 cottages with five rooms each are shared by both secondary and primary school teachers.
• Furniture for Grades (zero-seven) chairs, tables benches desks.
• Cabinets to secure confidential information and exam papers







Assistance needed for building

• Cement, brick force, Damp Coarse
• Roofing material, trusses, asbestos and the nails.
• Window frames, window panes and air vents putty
• Door frames, doors and lock sets.
• black and white paint


Community contributions

• Brick making,
• Pit sand, river sand,
• Quarry
• Water
• Manpower



Datata Silikwe

Datata Primary School

Datata Primary school was built in 1951 and has 2 classroom blocks. The school has 190 children and 5 teachers. An additional block is at foundation level. Teachers have 2 cottages.

Community concerns were as follows:

• Grade one to seven share four classes.
• Children traveling long distances to better schools
• Teachers’ cottages are far from the school and are shared between male and female teachers this limits their freedoms and is morally improper.

Assistance needed

The community has built a block to foundation level and need assistance to complete the block.





Materials needed

• Cement
• Window frames and panes
• Doors and locks
• Damp coarse and brick force
• Air vents and wire
• Paint
• Roofing, trusses, asbestos, nails,

Community contributions

• Manpower
• Bricks
• Pit sand
• River sand
• Water


Zhukwe East and West

Wilikisa Primary School

The school was established in 2002 during the fast track land reform programme. The school comprises of one incomplete block. The school has an enrolment of 133 pupils with 4 teachers.

The community concerns were as follows:

• Enrolment has declined as a result of pupils learning in the open
• Teachers have left the school for better areas as they complained of eye complications due to exposure to the sun.
• Some pupils complain of similar eye complications as well.
• Grade zero, one and two learn at a nearby church, whilst grades four to seven share this incomplete structure.
• Learning and teaching becomes difficult as this confuses pupils.
• The teachers have no cottages they are housed at the local business centre.
• The structure that was built has no floor, windows, and roofing.







In view of the above concerns the community proposed that:

The school’s one block be completed

• The above block needs: cement for the floor, 2 door frames. 20 window frames, putty and window panes.
• 18 trusses,15 by 9 rafters, 22 air vents, 84 by 3.3 meters asbestos sheets, 28 ridges and asbestos nails
• The school also needs 3 additional blocks including administration block
• 2 teacher’s cottages of F.14 Plan.

Assistance needed:

• Damp coarse
• Brick force
• Door frames and doors four per block and lock sets
• Window frames putty and panes
• Cement
• Air vents
• Roofing material
• Funds for the builders
• School furniture
• White wash paint
• Perimeter fence and gates

Community Contributions:

• Labour
• Bricks, pit sand and river sand
• 40 by 3.3m asbestos sheets
• 4 interior doors
• 22 benches
• 25 double desks
• 20 single desks

Thursday, November 4, 2010

RESIDENTS COMPLAIN OF CORRUPTION BY ZESA OFFICIALS
By Linda Moyo

Bulawayo residents have questioned the criteria that the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority uses to disconnect power supply in residential areas and complain of rampant corrupt tendencies by the Authority’s officials.

Speaking during a Public Dialogue Meeting organized by Habakkuk Trust at the Bulawayo Small City Hall recently, residents complained that instead of targeting those consumers who do not pay their bills ZESA officials deliberately disconnect those that have little balances and then have the potential to pay bribes.

‘We want to know as residents the criteria that you use to disconnect your services as we have seen you disconnect for those that pay regularly, and the very people will obviously be talked into paying something else for reconnection?’ asked one Linda Ncube.

In response however the ZESA Regional Manager Mr Chinaka insisted that the authority targets those that have never paid since multi-currencing and then those that have paid little. ‘There is no way we can do that, what we do is look at who has never paid, then next on target is those that have paid once, twice up until everyone is disconnected,’ said Chinaka.

Furthermore the Minister of State Enterprises and Parastatals, Gorden Moyo, informed residents that his Ministry had passed a Corporate Governance Framework that aims at curbing corruption in the parastatals.

According to Hon. Moyo the framework will mandate parastatals to be audited and flight their audited financial reports on newspapers. Moreover the framework is based on Ubuntu philosophy, values and principles where the use of parastatals for personal and political gains is prohibited.

‘This framework is based on Ubuntu philosophy and those parastatals that charge high bills for personal and political gains will be dealt with-in the framework because we won’t have people charging outrageous bills for purposes of paying salaries, ’ said Hon. Moyo.