And the scandal goes on and on

So I was sitting in my office waiting for my boss to come and guess what I was seeing, some people talking on FB about the case of the Prime Minister’s marriage. Truth be, told I was very upset by the turn of events when this story started unfolding. I could not believe the level of ignorance nor should I say the total lack of eloquence in political culture that the PM showed in this whole saga.  What man makes a woman pregnant, decides to do things traditionally, in the wrong traditional month, and then lets a media circus rage, before he finally decides to give a media statement stating that  - I quote,  “The “marriage” has been hijacked and there is an apparent active political hand that is now driving the processes. State security agents have also weighed in to force and direct proceedings which has resulted in everything regarding this relationship now taking place in camera, with the public media journalists in tow”. Surely how indecisive can a man become? Needless to say this is the same nonsense a whole lot of women in this country and the world over go through. One minute a man is telling you that they are with you, the next minute, because his mother told him or his friends said this, you are no longer relevant.

I would like in this case , to take a look at the Prime Minister’s supposed marriage saga and try and get into the lives of the ordinary Zimbabwean women, or even the women from the world over, who have suffered the same kind of abuse. Ladies and gentleman, emotional abuse is real! There is nothing worse than suffering the psychological trauma of losing a loved one just before you look to spending the rest of your life with them, just like the trauma many have suffered in miscarriages, losing a child or through an abortion! It’s just really sad that Ms Locadia here has to go through this nonsense at the hands of our very own PM, I mean what example are we setting here for the young people? Are we saying it’s okay to make a woman pregnant and not do right by her just because you have been unable to make a decision whether you want to pursue the relationship or not? Is the PM saying that it is very okay for men all over the place, especially if they are in a position of power, to change women like their underwear, and while at it, marry for a few days and refuse responsibility and blame it on someone else, in this case the state media?

I am appalled at this level of thinking and especially reminded of my own circumstances when a man I truly loved blamed me for breaking our relationship up, needless to say he is the one who had moved on and started dating another woman. Do our words as humans matter anymore? Do we not care about the feelings of others and the images of the people we love? Whatever happened to our moral fabric that even the PM does something as stupid as marrying a woman, then changes his mind eventually blaming it all on the state security? I bet the state security was there holding the candle when he was busy fufting the woman, hell they probably even suggested that he start dating this particular woman!

 We should start taking responsibility for our own actions, and stop crying the victim every time.  This seems very typical of the men in this generation, they sleep around and they are not willing to be responsible for the consequences, in fact they end up dubbing women prostitutes, or blaming it on circumstances, alcohol or some other vice! As far as I am concerned, if you are a political figure, you need to understand that your life ceases to be your own. After all is said and done, we will look at the small things, the good the bad, and the ugly( Like this marriage scandal) and decide whether one is fit for political office and frankly speaking my doubts about the capability of this man have been confirmed. I am sorry to say that all those who support the Prime Minister’s actions must really have no respect for women, because I believe his actions show he never cared for Locadia to begin with. If he remotely cared what would happen to her, he would have let her down quietly. I am not in support of the fact that he could not even decide what he really wanted to do.According to his own statement; no one coerced him to go and pay damages or whatever he paid for, for a woman who is pregnant with his babies.  This sentiment then just disappears because of interference from the state, media and her family?  Surely if the man had any “balls” (excuse my French), then he would have been able to deal with this and make a decision based on what he thought was right and not because he felt under pressure to do what others thought was right. Despite his promise to run with the vision for change, I, like many people, doubt his capability as a leader for a country like ours that has diverse cultures. How about annoying the women of this country Mr Prime Minister with your actions? Yet we actually constitute more than 52% of the country’s population.
Anyway, I have said my bit, and it goes without saying that what goes around comes around, do not be deceived, Karma is when God deals with those people who have wronged you and you are very lucky He lets you watch! A good politician in the eyes of a layman like me is decisive, does not let the influence of those around him deter him from his planned course of action and above all he thinks of the needs of others, the Prime Minister and my ex boyfriend might have come from the same mother. Shame on you guys!

Human trafficking: Chipinge’s unsolved challenge

By Thomas Madhuku
Nomatter Machona (17) a student at Vheneka Secondary School in
Chipinge met a group of men recruiting workers for “an Indian-owned
supermarket in South Africa”. “The Indian tycoon also runs a chain of
fast foods outlets and each worker is paid R5000 (US$450) per month
plus accommodation and overtime allowances,” she was told.

She was also promised she could take up courses that her prospective
employer would pay for if she so wished. Machona could not wait for
her poor and struggling parents’ approval, this was ‘manna from
heaven’ and she grabbed it with both hands.

Together with 16 other girls of her age they left for Johannesburg,
South Africa. On arrival, the recruiters handed them over to a brothel
owner falsely introduced as the wife of the Indian tycoon before they
disappeared. For six months the girls were abused, raped and assaulted
by countless male patrons of the brothel. She was saved by one of the
men who smuggled her out of the brothel to his house and gave her
money to come back home.

Nomatter’s story is typical of numerous such cases in Chipinge.
Because of its proximity to South Africa and Mozambique, the district
has fallen prey to human trafficking as notorious syndicates rake in
thousands of dollars from uninformed and poverty stricken villagers
keen to follow up on promises of employment, education and marriage.

“It is all because of our limited knowledge and lack information on
such dangerous activities,” lamented headman Chisumbanje.

He said the problem has resulted in the loss of manpower as boys and
girls are blindly flocking to South Africa leaving parents without
anyone to help in the fields.

The conmen are unperturbed as they continue to employ new and creative
tactics to convince poor and desperate Zimbabweans that they can make
a fortune in South Africa and other neighboring countries.

Rosemary Sidhuna (22), also a victim of human trafficking, said she
was promised a R4 000 (US$350) per month job in Cape Town only to find
herself stuck on a farm in Musina. For six months she worked without
being paid. “I only escaped with the help of a farm security guard,”
Sidhuna said. She has since returned home and has ventured into cotton
farming in Chipinge.

Many people interviewed claimed to know people who left for South
Africa, Botswana and Mozambique in the company of strangers.

Sarudzai Mhlanga, a Chisumbanje villager said some of the victims had
since established themselves as full time commercial sex workers in
South Africa after undergoing what she termed a ‘mentoring’ process.

Another village head, Karakadzai Machona of Madhuku village said, he
was aware of the activities of human traffickers whom he said always
employed new tricks making it difficult to address the problem.

“I always stress on the need to deal with trusted people when going to
South Africa but frequently we come across different experiences,”
Machona said.

Many men and women currently working in South Africa said they
underwent nerve wracking experiences on their way to South Africa.
Tafadzwa Sarimana who came home for the Christmas holidays said he
managed to escape after the human trafficking syndicate that recruited
him was ambushed by South African police at Musina in South Africa.

“They took all my money leaving me stranded without food and bus fare
to complete my journey, I gave myself up to the South African Police
so I could get back home,” he said. Sarimana later applied for a
passport before returning to South Africa, where he is now working as
a security guard.

Other girls said traffickers assisting people to cross the Limpopo
River into South Africa often rape and rob their victims before
handing them over to South African employers who often abuse them.

A Vheneka Secondary School teacher, Idea Sithole said schools were
losing a considerable number of students who are heading to South
Africa as a result of dubious job promises.

Sithole added that their fathers and forefathers went to South Africa
where they worked mainly in mines and the trend continues. Sithole
appealed for combined efforts in fighting human trafficking.

International Organization for Migration (IOM) Media and Public
Information Assistant, Folen Murapa noted that Zimbabwe’s geographical
position lends itself to be used as a transit point for both human
trafficking and human smuggling for persons trafficked from Asia,
Europe and from other African countries.

“In Zimbabwe, young women, men and children are being lured to South
Africa, Botswana, Zambia, Mozambique, Angola, Egypt, Europe and Asia
with false promises of employment, education or marriage,” said

Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) said the absence of specific
provisions on human trafficking in Zimbabwean law made it difficult
for them to address the issue. “We only deal with breaches of the
Children’s Act, the Sexual Offences Act and the Criminal Law
Codification (Reform) Act when confronted with trafficking cases in
Zimbabwe,” says a statement released from ZRP.

Research and Advocacy Unit (RAU) a human rights non-governmental
organization views the absence of such provisions on human trafficking
as a legal deficit that makes it difficult to prosecute those

“Despite the fact that the Zimbabwean Criminal Code criminalizes
sexual exploitation, the absence of specific provision on human
trafficking creates a huge deficit in the legal framework,” a RAU
report says.

The United States Trafficking in Person report for 2011 notes that
Zimbabwe is a source, transit and destination country for women and
children trafficked for the purposes of forced labor and sexual
exploitation in South Africa, Botswana, Asia, Europe and many other

No specific data has been availed on the number of people trafficked
because of the clandestine nature of the business.
Since the inception of Counter Trafficking programme in September
2006, IOM has assisted 43 victims (25 female and 18 male) who had been
duped into leaving Zimbabwe on promises which proved to be false.

IOM’s Murapa said the organization is conducting mass public awareness
campaigns, disseminating Information Education and Communication (IEC)
material, training and holding workshops to raise awareness about
human trafficking.

Zimbabwe’s economy burdens the elderly.

Rising poverty levels owing to the poor performance of the economy has seen the breakdown of the extended family system in Zimbabwe with families resorting to old people’s homes to care for the elderly, a development which is not only alien, but unfortunately wreaking havoc and turning the society into something unfamiliar and emotionally unhealthy to its most senior members.
Traditionally, the well-being and welfare of the elderly was the responsibility of their children. But this is slowly dyingdue to changing lifestyles, pride, illness and downright nonchalance. There are now homes, something which was an anathema and a preserve of the white community.
The economic factors, coupled with the HIV/AIDS pandemic that is wiping out the younger generation, has meant that children are no longer able to take care of the elderly.
Since the introduction of multi-currency system in 2009, things have gone worse compared to the 80s when children could afford to take up the responsibility of their elders’ welfare, or at least the elderly depending on their pensions.
The struggling economy has brought about a valueless pension scheme that is seriously failing to sustain its intended beneficiaries.
Pensioners, have, according to a survey, been seen earning a paltry USD70 monthly, against a highly inflationary environment with the Poverty Datum Line, ranging from USD300- USD600.
One well known sign of a bad economy is “donor dependency syndrome” which is shown by the increase in donor-funded organisations that have emerged to help the elderly in this country.
This Reporter visited Melfort Old People’s home in Marondera and discovered that most of the people were at the homes not out of their own volition but because of a cocktail of issues and the most dominant being economic factors.
Martin Tambudzai (82) from Chivu is one of the many residents at the home who was brought in by his son who said he could not afford to take care of him.
“I feel neglected and this is against the African culture. Our children are supposed to take care of us but my son cannot,” Tambudzai said.
“This is because of the current economic hardships, my pension could not sustain me and my son could not afford me also. It is sad to see this tradition falling away and witness the suffering and neglect of the elderly and to see some of them being reduced to destitute.
“When we were growing up the elders were there to lead with all their wisdom they would have gained but this has all been washed away since the elderly are now kept in homes away from the society they should lead, this is because our little incomes cannot afford us to stay in the society,” said Tambudzai, adding that there was nothing he could do as his son was also struggling to make a living.
 The 82-year old was devastated by his situation of failing to lead a normal life with his children taking care of him.
Most of these elderly revealed that the biggest problem they are facing is the shortage of food, the lack of clothing and general up keep which landed them in homes.
Anna Muchena who settled in Zimbabwe in the 80s, from Mozambique said she came to the old people’s home following the death of her son and husband in 2007.
“My husband, who used to take care of me passed away in 2000 and two years later my son who had taken over the responsibility of looking after me died in a car accident. After that I had no one to look after me until some well wishers brought me here so I must say I am grateful for the support we receive here,” she said.
Garikai Francis, the administrator at Melfort Home said there was a critical food shortage at the home forcing residents to forego some meals.
We lack consistent support from the government through the Social Welfare Act of which under this Act, the government is supposed to provide administration grants and grants for individual older persons for their up keep. However due to economic challenges, the government is not able to meet this as often as it is supposed to,” said Francis.
“Apart from food, older persons need proper housing facilities, comfortable beds, support in income generating projects, clothing, blankets and adequate health cover but in most cases we can not afford to give them that, “he added.
Melfort Old People’s home has 22 residents. Nineteen of them are immigrants from the neighbouring countries like Zambia, Malawi, Swaziland and Mozambique..
“These people came into the country looking for employment but they never managed to have stable jobs and families, thus they did not have children who can take care of them, “said Priscilla Gavi, the executive director of Help Age, one of the organisations that supports Melfort Old People’s home.
Gavi also revealed that huge amounts of money are required for them to be able to cater for these elderly.
Zimbabwe has over 50 old people’s homes and each home caters for about 30 people. However, with the prevailing economic situation, it has been increasingly difficult to adequately meet their needs.
Gavi added that without public support it would be an uphill battle to take care of the elderly.
“We are therefore appealing for donations on behalf of these elderly people’s homes. We are appealing to the well wishers for donations so that we can be able to continue supporting these people, “she said.
The Organisation works hand in hand with both local and international donors by initiating income-generation projects meant to sustain old people’s homes.
Help Age Zimbababwe supports a number of Old People’s homes in the country, which include Mazowe, Bridge Old People’s Home in Rushinga and Mutikizizi in Bikita.
The Minister of Labour and Social Services Hon Paurina Mpariwa revealed that the Bill, to make the government responsible for the well being of the elderly, is now with Parliament.
 “It is my wish for the parliament to take into consideration the sailing through of the bill into legislation because older people are assets in the community hence they deserve honour,” said Mpariwa.
Popular traditionalist Prof Gordon Chavhunduka also said: “Although the economy is not allowing it is taboo to send your elders to a “home” where they can’t impart knowledge to the young ones.
These elderly should not lead a difficult life like this because they are the leaders of this nation, but this economy is depriving them.
Tradition does not allow people to take their parents to these homes but due to the economic hardships and changes in the living conditions in the country, older people are now left to leave alone in homes or left with the grandchildren because of many challenges including poverty and HIV and Aids pandemic that has affected the young generation

Diana Ngondonga              


The land reform process was borne out of legitimate historical injustices, but the chaotic manner of its enactment has no place in the quest to re-establish Zimbabwe’s vaunted place as a breadbasket of Africa.  Agricultural paedophiles and land speculative perverts need to be separated away from the real women and men committed to the full time engagement in farming. Land is indeed an extension of our very souls, a measure of our social and cultural rubric, and a denominator of our political and economic values. It’s far too valuable and precious to be used as a political Valentine gift to the inept and clueless denizens scarring our great landscape and feeding on the contemptible falsehood of calling themselves “ farmers”!   

True land reform involves the legal transfer of land from the powerful to the less powerful. If it ends up creating more pockets of inequity and land hoarding by new elite then for all purposes it becomes land replacement...the virtual transfer of ownership from old powerful minorities to new corrupt powerful minorities. My administration will seek to support true single farm holders, and swiftly move to infuse and unlock new capital, certainty, experience, and talent from the old farmers who are still interested in farming. This would be done by reducing farm sizes in many instances, taking away farms from unproductive farmers, introducing a tax regime that encourages production and penalizes multi-farm ownership and land hoarding. Production will spike when many choose between dodgy civil service work commitment and full-time farming. Those who can’t choose will have the choice made for them through swift repossession. There is enough land to accommodate serious, committed, well capitalized and experienced new and old farmers in Zimbabwe. 

My administration will quickly move to harness committed old farmers of talent and experience and expeditiously move to offer just compensation for all their improvements through new commitments from the international community that equally wishes to turn a new leaf in its engagement with a Zimbabwe that protects private property rights. A new approach to farming and land ownership is needed in Zimbabwe and what’s currently lacking is leadership to think through this differently. There is need to create a new category of farm ownership beyond subsistence and commercial. This would be new specialized designated and specialized intensive industrial farming land. This would be a cadre of crack farmers drawn from the available pool of our experienced white and black farmers that would operate extensive magnet or model farms in all the major farming regions of the country. They will execute on the mandate that ARDA failed to live up to, through operation of national strategic and niche farming areas supported by generous tax incentives. This qualified tax exemption certification would also be a way to make good on some of the outstanding compensation claims from old farmers. Yes, I am saying compensate them for improvements through giving them new farms with special tax exemptions provided they meet set production quotas. These magnet farms would act as a training reservoir for the many new farmers and farms surrounding them. As full-fledged corporations the new extensive, intensive farming operations will accommodate groups of old farmers each. Zimbabwe as a nation wins through enhanced food security, and unlocking of new international investment capital. We can’t let old farming talent go to waste.

There should be an urgent stop to the agricultural nanny-state where mere land ownership is readily abused as a looting platform through access to cheap loans and agro-inputs. We need to move away from land-banditry to a new land-husbandry system that creates clear and tradable security of tenure. Farming is a capital intensive undertaking and capital loves the comfort of security. Without security of tenure we can forget national food security and the eradication of rural poverty. Land is a great denominator of wealth, and thus we need to bring dead rural assets into the economic mainstream by crafting new tradable security instruments for communal land. This will help break the cycle of poverty by valuing real assets in the hands of our common people. There is no economic value to the perpetuation of the cultural sentimental value of rural land as poor subsistence farming lots and favoured traditional burial grounds, after all the existing system perpetuates false totem-specific division between our common people!.

The successful inclusion of new black small farmers into the lucrative tobacco sector has been characterised by massive environmental degradation of catastrophic proportions. There should be a lot more support that should go towards their training in environmentally sustainable farming. It will take much massive bio-remediation investment to forestall degradation. There is no better training than can be responsibly harnessed from the readily available pools of farming talent and experience abundantly available in our valuable mostly white old farmers. Why kick them out and bring the Chinese and others who are plain less able will take many more years to understand our farming. Zeal will never be a substitute for competence and experience. It’s better to shorten the learning curve by bringing in those who have acquitted themselves well in this type of endeavour. My administration will be open to bringing into the fold white farmers because it will be built on the acute realization that the new Zimbabwe we deserve is not an idyllic island of happy black natives, but a natural home for all born in it and all those who choose to call it home. Black supremacy is not a freeway to prosperity; our farming like our national fabric needs to be fully cognisant of the multi-racial nature of our make-up. We are better for it and not weaker, and farming is no exception from this realism. 

My administration will usher in a new era of great harvests as many cell-phone farmers will certainly opt out of the new lean, mean and keen non-partisan civil service of all talents. Many are part-time farmers because they wish to utilize their various government positions to assure themselves slices and crumbs from different agro-support schemes. Many of the failed farmers are also failed politicians; they keep to their politics to guarantee them continued tenuous access to land. These failed farmers would also be offered a way out through open selling of their land on the land market, thereby unlocking value to themselves and the nation. It will also be in kind and just consideration to their many years of lost savings working in the civil service. With these pockets of inefficiency and failure plugged away local farming will be back in a big way.

Our farming has been a handy indicator of our type of politics. We have hobbled from one disaster season after another to the extent that we have become a nation of disaster creators and experts. However historically and economically justified, our series of policing mis-steps have created some disaster out of something so justified. The series of farming disasters we have experienced point to a third hand of disaster creation and management. We now have a system of government that understands that it will not last when people thrive. It’s no accident that agro-inputs are always availed late.       

In Zimbabwe immoral, amoral and mediocre people had the sense enough to organize themselves into powerful cartels, and clubs of plunder. The problem is that true people of excellence, people of faith, are quick to just organize themselves into prayer circles and pray for things to change day in and day out pining for divine happenstance. In 2012 I foresee an action orientation to usher in a period of the manifestation restorative justice for a people long abused.

We are the change we seek, and one of the first ports of call for change in my administration would certainly be land and agricultural reform policing and implementation.

Dr Raymond Chamba
Presidential Candidate