Hopewell Chin’ono blasts Jah Prayzah for not supporting the opposition and not savaging Mnangagwa

As a journalist and documentary filmmaker, I was trained to […]
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As a journalist and documentary filmmaker, I was trained to [...]

The post Hopewell Chin’ono blasts Jah Prayzah for not supporting the opposition and not savaging Mnangagwa appeared first on The Zimbabwe Mail.

Nssa mulls forex pay outs 

Source: Nssa mulls forex pay outs – The Zimbabwe Independent KUDZAI KUWAZA THE National Social Security Authority (Nssa) says it is considering paying pensioners in both local and foreign currency to cushion them from the spiralling cost of living. Pensioners’ monthly pay outs have been ravaged by inflationary pressures stemming out of the rapid depreciation […]

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Source: Nssa mulls forex pay outs – The Zimbabwe Independent

KUDZAI KUWAZA

THE National Social Security Authority (Nssa) says it is considering paying pensioners in both local and foreign currency to cushion them from the spiralling cost of living.

Pensioners’ monthly pay outs have been ravaged by inflationary pressures stemming out of the rapid depreciation of the local currency against the greenback since its reintroduction last year.

Zimbabwe’s year-on-year inflation was estimated at 659% last month, the second highest rate in the world after hyperinflationary Venezuela.

In an interview with the Zimbabwe Independent, Nssa acting general manager Arthur Manase said the authority was seriously looking into the issue.

“With the recent implementation of reforms that saw the contribution rate increased from 7% to 9% split equally between employer and employee, as well as the increase in the maximum pensionable salary from ZW$700 (US$8,64) to ZW$5 000 (US$61,73) we are now able to effectively deal with the core issue of benefit payouts. We have already instructed our actuaries to conduct an actuarial valuation to determine the level of benefits that the scheme can afford to pay with implementation of the necessary reforms.

As usual, the reviews will be taken with consideration on the long-term sustainability of the schemes,” Manase said. “Nssa is also evaluating the feasibility of paying part of the pensions in US dollars, in line with what the government is doing for those on the Public Service Pension Scheme.”

He said Nssa had awarded several increments throughout the year in view of the spiralling cost of goods and services.

“Nssa’s mandate is to provide social security for its members and the generality of Zimbabweans. As such we are always mindful of the plight of our beneficiaries and will always strive to pay them decent benefits.

“Just in the last year alone, Nssa awarded the following: a discretionary bonus equivalent to a month’s pension to all pensioners in July 2019; reviewed the minimum pension from ZW$80 (US$0,99) to ZW$200 (US$2,47) for Pensions and Other Benefits Scheme and ZW$240 (US$2,96) for Accident Prevention and Workers’ Compensation Scheme in October 2019; a bonus equivalent to a 13th cheque in November 2019 and most recently another discretionary bonus equivalent to a month’s pension in April, May and June 2020.

“In July we awarded them another discretionary bonus equivalent to 150% of their monthly pension. All this was done to cushion the pensioners against the rising cost of living,” Manase said.

Nssa has investments in banking, insurance, hospitality and property sectors.

Its investments have surpassed US$1 billion. Nssa was created through the National Social Security Authority Act (Chapter 17:04) of 1989. The legislation empowers the Minister of Labour and Social Services to establish a social security fund.

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Zimbabweans turn to sex work amid COVID-19, economic crisis

Sex workers say hunger is driving women to sell their bodies Source: Zimbabweans turn to sex work amid COVID-19, economic crisis We report on how to ensure people globally have economic security and a decent standard of living. MUTARE, Zimbabwe, Oct 29 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Dressed in a miniskirt and blouse, Esther Kamupunga stood […]

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Sex workers say hunger is driving women to sell their bodies

Source: Zimbabweans turn to sex work amid COVID-19, economic crisis

We report on how to ensure people globally have economic security and a decent standard of living.

MUTARE, Zimbabwe, Oct 29 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Dressed in a miniskirt and blouse, Esther Kamupunga stood in semi-darkness waiting for men looking for sex – the latest Zimbabwean to lose her job in a deepening economic crisis, worsened by the new coronavirus.

When the first COVID-19 case was detected in March, Zimbabwe rapidly went into lockdown, and the 24-year-old single mother and waitress was laid off in the eastern city of Mutare.

“Life was better until the advent of this coronavirus. Our business came to a standstill due to lockdown … unfortunately I was one of the people who were retrenched,” she said, shielding her face from passing car headlights.

“I have two children. I could not watch them going to bed without eating anything. I had no option but to follow some friends to this shopping centre,” she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation, declining to publish her real name.

The southern African nation is experiencing its worst economic crisis in a decade, with crippling hyperinflation, unemployment, strikes by public workers and shortages of food, medicine and foreign currency.

Sex workers and charities providing them with health care services said the number of women selling sex has increased, particularly young girls facing hunger at home.

“We have a lot of cases coming to us of girls who were now engaged in transactional sex because of the increase in the household poverty,” said Beatrice Savadye, director of Roots Africa, a local charity supporting young people.

Savadye said she received 350 reports of children having sex in exchange for money or gifts from March to June – double the previous year – in Mazowe, a mining town 40 km north of Harare.

Her charity has been giving food parcels to hungry families.

Ordinary Zimbabweans say life is difficult, with inflation above 700%, rocketing prices for basic goods, electricity and petrol, and lagging salaries – prompting teachers to refuse to return to work without a pay rise last month.

“Hunger drives us into sex trade,” said Hazel Zemura, who has sold sex for a decade and works for Women Against All Forms of Discrimination, which runs health programmes for sex workers.

“As our incomes, like the cross border trading – the importation of weaves and makeup kits from China for resale – got eroded during the lockdown, we had to turn to men for survival.”

The latest government data shows 16% of Zimbabweans were unemployed in 2019, but many regard this as an underestimate.

The lockdown, followed by a curfew in July, forced traders off the streets, while the closure of Zimbabwe’s borders for all non-essential travel cut off a lifeline for 1 million informal cross-border traders, said economist Victor Bhoroma.

“COVID-19 has exacerbated an already dire situation in terms of employment,” the independent analyst said from the capital Harare, adding that about 6 million Zimbabweans who work in small businesses and informal trade were severely affected.

“The lockdowns in the tourism and hospitality sector, transport, aviation and leisure services, manufacturing, fast food and retailing and sports have resulted in massive retrenchments and layoffs in the last seven months,” he added.

Zimbabwe has recorded some 8,300 coronavirus cases and about 250 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.

UNPROTECTED SEX

Coronavirus restrictions have made sex work riskier as women have been unable to get free condoms from their usual clinics and illegal brothels in residential areas and downtown nightclubs have closed.

“Some sex workers, because they do not have condoms, they would put a cloth up their vagina to prevent pregnancy and contracting HIV. After sex they would remove the cloth and wash it for reuse with another client,” said Savadye of Roots Africa.

But Zemura said some of her members chose not to use condoms because they can charge more.

“Unprotected sex pays more. So at times we have it despite the risks,” she said.

The closure of brothels has pushed sex workers into riskier places, like secluded fields and deserted buildings, said Charmaine Dube, programme coordinator for the sex worker rights group Pow Wow in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe’s second largest city.

Many brothels remain closed, although the easing of the curfew – with people told to stay home from 8pm to 6am – has allowed sex workers back on to the streets, she said.

Kamupunga, the ex-waitress, takes clients who pay for a “short time” to an open field, for which she charges about $2, although she is often pushed to accept half that.

“We lie on a cloth spread on top of the grass. It provides comfort suitable for a short time,” she said, adding that taking clients to her home – known as “night” – costs them about $10.

Although coronavirus infection rates are falling and most children have returned to school this month, many women fear they will not be able to return to their old jobs.

International borders have yet to reopen, forcing one former trader, who used to buy kitchen utensils and clothes in South Africa for resale locally, to keep selling her body to provide for herself and her child.

“Some goods are being illegally imported into the country but the bribes that traders pay to the police makes the business unprofitable,” the 26-year-old said one night while waiting for men in the backyard of a closed nightclub.

“My daughter stays with my mother … I send money to them every month.”

She hopes to return to her old job when borders reopen in December. But Bhoroma, the economist, was sceptical.

“The economy still has challenges in terms of high inflation, foreign currency shortages, high costs of production and depressed local demand,” he said.

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UK likely to pile more sanctions 

Source: UK likely to pile more sanctions – The Zimbabwe Independent Kudzai Kuwaza THE failed attempt to smuggle 6kg of gold to Dubai by Zimbabwe Miners Federation president Henrietta Rushwaya was this week discussed in the British House of Lords, with indications the British government could impose more sanctions on Zimbabwe if corruption and human […]

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Source: UK likely to pile more sanctions – The Zimbabwe Independent

Kudzai Kuwaza

THE failed attempt to smuggle 6kg of gold to Dubai by Zimbabwe Miners Federation president Henrietta Rushwaya was this week discussed in the British House of Lords, with indications the British government could impose more sanctions on Zimbabwe if corruption and human rights abuses do not end.

On Monday Rushwaya was intercepted with gold bars in her handbag worth US$333 000 and failed to produce the paperwork authorising the export of the gold.

It has emerged the smuggling attempt involved a whole syndicate of individuals, including businesspeople, two officers in the Central Intelligence Organisation and two senior police officers. Six people have since been arrested and are assisting police with investigations.

British peer Anthony St John raised the issue of Rushwaya, asking how the British government would respond to the unbridled corruption as manifested by the former Zimbabwe Football Association of Zimbabwe chief executive officer escapade.

“Is the minister aware that President Mnangagwa’s niece was arrested in Harare yesterday (Monday) for attempting to smuggle 6kg of gold to Dubai?” he asked Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Overseas Territories and Sustainable Development Elizabeth Sugg.

He asked what measures the British government and the European Union could take to ensure the independence of the judiciary in Zimbabwe, and what measures could be taken to encourage the South African government to use their political and economic leverage with Zimbabwe to help resolve the crisis?

Sugg expressed ignorance over the smuggling issue, but pointed out that the British government was “working closely with our partners in the EU to try to avoid corruption” and would continue to do so with the African Union and South Africa to try to reduce corruption in Zimbabwe.

Other legislators, including Zimbabwean-born Labour Party politician Peter Hain, asked what specific steps the British government was taking to sanction those responsible for brutality on civilians in Zimbabwe.

Sugg said Number 10 Downing Street was seriously considering imposing more sanctions on Zimbabwe.

The British government, she said, would soon impose more punitive sanctions on Zimbabwe should gross human rights violations and corruption persist.

Despite having promised a clean break from the old regime of his late predecessor Robert Mugabe, Mnangagwa has continued on the same repressive path which saw London, along with other Western powers, imposing sanctions on Harare at the turn of the millennium.

Although the British government initially warmed up to Mnangagwa, promising to pour in millions of pounds in both aid and investment, it now appears to have been repulsed by Harare’s wanton disregard for human rights as evidenced by frequent brutal clampdown on opposition politicians and the civil society.

“My Lords, what specific steps have the Government taken to sanction those responsible, including government ministers, for massive human rights violations in Zimbabwe, such as the abduction and torture of Joana Mamombe and her colleagues in June? She continues to be viciously harassed through the criminal justice system, and police brutality is continuing with impunity: for example, throwing teargas into a crowded bus on 12 October,” Hain asked.

Sugg responded: “The UK remains aligned to the EU’s restrictive measures on Zimbabwe. Suspended targeted measures are in place against three current and former security sector chiefs, and (former first lady) Grace Mugabe.”

“The sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2018 now provides the legal basis for the UK to impose autonomous sanctions and we are in the process of considering our approach to the future sanctions regime in Zimbabwe.”

The House of Lords discussion interestingly comes just after the country, supported by the Sadc regional bloc, commemorated the first anniversary of the Anti-Sanctions Day on Sunday.

October 25 was set aside by Sadc countries in Tanzania last year as the day to lobby for the lifting of sanctions on Zimbabwe. The sanctions were placed by the United States in 2001 over human rights abuses. The European Union also placed the country under sanctions but these have been significantly relaxed.

Sugg said London would continue to work “alongside the international community to help support good governance, respect for human rights and genuine political and economic reform in Zimbabwe”.

She said the British government noted the signing of a recent US$3,5 billion compensation deal between the Zimbabwean government and farmers for improvements to land but remained concerned that the agreement was not underpinned by the finance necessary to deliver the agreement.

“Officials at the British embassy in Harare speak regularly with a full range of stakeholders, who are interested in reaching an agreement on compensation,” Sugg said.

She said the British government has been clear that a lack of meaningful economic and political reform, as well as the ongoing human rights violations, mean that the Government of Zimbabwe is far from achieving the level of reform the British need to see.

“We will work closely with like-minded partners to continue to raise concerns, press for respect of the constitution and see the sustained implementation of the reforms that have been committed to,” Sugg said.

Sugg said Number 10 Downing Street was seriously considering imposing more sanctions on Zimbabwe. The British government, she said, would soon impose more punitive sanctions on Zimbabwe should gross human rights violations and corruption persist.

Despite having promised a clean break from the old regime of his late predecessor Robert Mugabe, Mnangagwa has continued on the same repressive path which saw London, along with other Western powers, imposing sanctions on Harare at the turn of the millennium.

Although the British government initially warmed up to Mnangagwa, promising to pour in millions of pounds in both aid and investment, it now appears to have been repulsed by Harare’s wanton disregard for human rights as evidenced by frequent brutal clampdown on opposition politicians and the civil society.

“My Lords, what specific steps have the Government taken to sanction those responsible, including government ministers, for massive human rights violations in Zimbabwe, such as the abduction and torture of Joana Mamombe and her colleagues in June? She continues to be viciously harassed through the criminal justice system, and police brutality is continuing with impunity: for example, throwing teargas into a crowded bus on 12 October,” Hain asked.

Sugg responded: “The UK remains aligned to the EU’s restrictive measures on Zimbabwe. Suspended targeted measures are in place against three current and former security sector chiefs, and (former first lady) Grace Mugabe.”

“The sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2018 now provides the legal basis for the UK to impose autonomous sanctions and we are in the process of considering our approach to the future sanctions regime in Zimbabwe.”

The House of Lords discussion interestingly comes just after the country, supported by the Sadc regional bloc, commemorated the first anniversary of the Anti-Sanctions Day on Sunday.

October 25 was set aside by Sadc countries in Tanzania last year as the day to lobby for the lifting of sanctions on Zimbabwe. The sanctions were placed by the United States in 2001 over human rights abuses. The European Union also placed the country under sanctions but these have been significantly relaxed.

Sugg said London would continue to work “alongside the international community to help support good governance, respect for human rights and genuine political and economic reform in Zimbabwe”.

She said the British government noted the signing of a recent US$3,5 billion compensation deal between the Zimbabwean government and farmers for improvements to land but remained concerned that the agreement was not underpinned by the finance necessary to deliver the agreement.

“Officials at the British embassy in Harare speak regularly with a full range of stakeholders, who are interested in reaching an agreement on compensation,” Sugg said.

She said the British government has been clear that a lack of meaningful economic and political reform, as well as the ongoing human rights violations, mean that the Government of Zimbabwe is far from achieving the level of reform the British need to see.

“We will work closely with like-minded partners to continue to raise concerns, press for respect of the constitution and see the sustained implementation of the reforms that have been committed to,” Sugg said.

In response, Foreign Affairs minister Sibusiso Moyo said the Zimbabwe government was rather surprised at the level of “invasive interest” in Zimbabwe’s internal affairs by the British.

“It is more than 40 years ago that the Union Flag was lowered, and, yet, it seems, our friends in London still regard Zimbabwe as part of their extended family — requiring constant supervision, correction and even punishment when, in their own assessment, we stray from the path they and others have chosen for us.

“Naturally, we are disappointed at the overall negative tone and tenor of the debate and by the uninformed quality of much of the commentary or observation made by those who spoke.
“The deliberate attempt to besmirch His Excellency the President, by way of innuendo, with the corruption and smuggling case involving Henrietta Rushwaya, is a new low, even for the noble Lords.

“The Government representative in the House echoed London’s now well-known refrain simply dismissing our progress on reform as “inadequate” and dredging-up the usual, invariably unsubstantiated allegations of human-rights abuses and a failure to act on corruption,” he added.

Moyo said the implied threats of more sanctions from the UK were unfortunate.

“Equally unfortunate is the clear acknowledgement by the British Government that it is actively engaging others — including the African Union, the European Union, the Commonwealth, the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) and South Africa — with a view to further intensifying pressure upon Zimbabwe.

“One would have thought that, by now, a lesson would have been learned. Zimbabwe is a sovereign state. We chart our own course based on our own national interests. We co-operate with our regional partners and indeed with all partners on the basis of mutual respect and understanding.

“The openness of the new dispensation, the sincere willingness to engage and re-engage with all who wish to engage with us is not an open invitation for interference or intrusion into our internal affairs. Genuine friends and partners do not prescribe or dictate: they guide, advise and assist,” he added.

Moyo said two weeks ago, the government submitted the formal Instrument of Ratification of the Economic Partnership Agreement between Zimbabwe and the United Kingdom — which will allow for the continuity of preferential Zimbabwe-UK trade even after Brexit.

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Reinstatement of ‘rogue’ council officials slammed

Source: Reinstatement of ‘rogue’ council officials slammed | The Herald Minister Moyo Blessings Chidakwa Municipal Reporter The Government has condemned the move by Harare City Council to reinstate senior and middle managers with pending corruption court cases, saying such moves are tantamount to undermining the courts. Local Government and Public Works Minister Cde July Moyo […]

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Source: Reinstatement of ‘rogue’ council officials slammed | The Herald

Reinstatement of ‘rogue’ council officials slammed
Minister Moyo

Blessings Chidakwa

Municipal Reporter

The Government has condemned the move by Harare City Council to reinstate senior and middle managers with pending corruption court cases, saying such moves are tantamount to undermining the courts.

Local Government and Public Works Minister Cde July Moyo on Wednesday said by reinstating the arrested and suspended employees, there was no guarantee that they will not interfere with evidence and or with witnesses since they were among their subordinates.

“If you start bringing people on the same job, will they not mess up with records?” he said.

“How can they not when they are facing jail?

“We are talking about people who have records, who are supervisors and all those under them, how can they not be intimidated?”

Minister Moyo said when there was prima facie evidence that they ought to answer in court, administratively the officials will have done something which the city must be worried about.

“To bring them back when investigations are still going on, what about the paperwork, the intimidation they can bring to the workers who are there,” he said.

Minister Moyo said he had told the city mayor Jacob Mafume that the courts were there to make sure that those who were accused were brought to book.

“So, l leave it to the council, but l am sure that the courts will look very unkind to the situation where there are ongoing investigations and that person is given access to documents,” he said.

Harare Residents Trust director Mr Precious Shumba said senior council officials implicated in corruption should be cleared by the courts and internal disciplinary hearings within the shortest possible time before they could be allowed back at work.

“The magnitude of corruption in the city of Harare needs urgent intervention,” he said.

“Any delay in concluding investigations will jeopardise service provision and take us back to the 2007-2008 levels where there was impunity and high levels of unaccountability in the whole system of council.”

Combined Harare Residents Association director Mrs Loreen Mupasiri-Sani said the reinstatement was not acceptable as it displayed the council’s lack of seriousness in addressing corruption.

Zimbabwe National Organisation of Associations and Residents Trust head Mr Shepherd Chikomba said the move was off-side.

“We will demonstrate against the council if they bring the suspects at Town House,” he said. “So, what it means is the whole council is corrupt, the Government needs to intervene.”

Zimbabwe Combined Residents Association (ZICORA) president Mr McSteven Nyabvure said the reinstatement was an attempt to perpetuate corruption.

According to the recent Human Resources and General Purposes committee minutes, the council resolved to recommend the reinstatement of those with flexible bail conditions.

Among those under suspension are town clerk Engineer Hosiah Chisango, director of housing and community services Mr Addmore Nhekairo, acting human capital director Mr Matthew Marara.

A number of other city employees have also appeared in court and are on bail.

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TEACHER PANNING FOR GOLD DIES IN MISHAP

A mining exercise by two Zvishavane teachers turned fatal
when one of them died after he accidentally fell headlong in a mine tunnel, as
he tried to use a manual hoist to lower a colleague underground, where they
were panning for gold.

Pesanai Chiresv…

A mining exercise by two Zvishavane teachers turned fatal when one of them died after he accidentally fell headlong in a mine tunnel, as he tried to use a manual hoist to lower a colleague underground, where they were panning for gold. Pesanai Chiresve had abandoned classes at the nearby Gorge Chipadze Secondary School in search of the precious mineral together with colleagues Tafadzwa Makasi,