Zimbabwe News Online (6) - 9/12/97

Zimbabwe News Online (6) - 9/12/97


Edition #6 12 September 1997

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A fortnightly update of news from Zimbabwe!


In this edition:

1. Women plan to challenge police in court
2. Job seekers being ripped
3. Veterinary Department prepares to fight cattle disease
4. Deputy mayor assaulted at funeral
5. Critical shortage of ambulances hit city
6. Tax defaulters netted
7. Zimbabwe approves credit facility to DRC
8. University loses Z$10m
9. Government's borrowing checked
10. Army should develop infrastructure - minister
11. Zimbabweans unhappy about status of soccer


1.Women plan to challenge police in court

Scores of women arrested in their flats in Harare during a violent police raid against prostitutes in July plan to challenge the police in court.

More than 40 women, some of them married were heavily assaulted during the raid and then taken to a police station where they were made to sign admission of guilty forms and to pay Z$100 each for allegedly soliciting for the purposes of prostitution.

Harare South Member of Parliament, Mrs Margaret Dongo, whose constituency covers the Kopje area where the raid took place has condemned the arbitrary arrests and the violence against the women. According to Brian Kagoro of Kantor and Immerman, the law firm representing the women, they are seeking to have the charges and the fines quashed. He said the women were not in a public place but in their rooms, so they could not have been "loitering for the purposes of prostitution".

The charges were brought under Section 4 of the Miscellaneous Offences Act, under which loitering in a public place for the purposes of soliciting for prostitution is an offence.

2.Job seekers being ripped off

Some private employment agencies are reported to be asking job seekers for a fee of between Z$100 and $200 so that they can be registered for employment, a move the National Employment Services Department has described as illegal.

A job seeker, who declined to be named, said securing a job has become a nightmare and he wondered where the job seekers were supposed to get the money when they were unemployed. He said those who could raise the money were just paying in the desperate hope of getting a job. An official of the NESD, Mr Jonathan Mafa, said his department was going to investigate this illegal practice and deal accordingly with the offenders whom he said were taking advantage of the desperation of job seekers. Unemployment stands at more than 50 percent in Zimbabwe.

3.Veterinary Department prepares to fight cattle disease

Zimbabwe's Veterinary Services Department is frantically training personnel on how to fight a deadly lung disease which has hit the herds of neighbouring Zambia and Botswana.

In an interview, the Director of Veterinary Services, Dr Stuart Hargreaves said although Zimbabwe was not yet affected by the Bovine Pluro Pneumonia, a lung disease currently afflicting Zambia, there was an urgent need to take preventive and combative measures. The disease was first reported in Botswana where it has killed more than 360 000 cattle, and has spread to Zambia and Angola.

Dr Hargreaves said his department was also liaising with the Food and Agriculture Organisation on how best to combat the disease. All countries of the Southern Africa Development Community have already started working together in efforts to curb the spread of the disease.

4.Deputy mayor assaulted at funeral

The deputy mayor of Chitungwiza, Zimbabwe's third largest city, Mr Newsten Chimedza, was severely assaulted recently when he went to pay condolences at the home of the ruling party's mayoral candidate for the city, Mr Andrew Jiri.

Mr Chimedza who was assaulted at the wake was admitted to Chitungwiza Hospital with whip lacerations to the left eye and ear. He was beaten after being accused of having caused the death of Mr Jiri who died in road accident involving a commuter omnibus and three other cars. Although Mr Chimedza had nothing to do with the accident, his assailants accused him of having aspirations of becoming mayor during elections to be held within the next few weeks.

5.Critical ambulance shortage hits city

Zimbabwe's capital, Harare, with a population of about 1,5 million, has been hit by a critical shortage of ambulances, with the entire city currently being served by only eight ambulances.

So serious is the shortage that the sick or injured have to find their own means of getting to hospital, otherwise they risk dying at home. When an ambulance is summoned, it takes about four hours to arrive, that is if it comes at all. Also, because of the shortage, when an ambulance picks up a patient it rarely drives straight to hospital, but has to pick several other patients in different areas before proceeding to hospital.

The mayor of Harare, Solomon Tavengwa, has attributed this state of affairs to the breakdown of most of the city's ambulances and the fact that the city has no money to buy more ambulances since the majority of patients ferried do not pay their bills. He said the city was currently owed millions of dollars in unpaid ambulance as well as hospital bills.

6.Tax defaulters netted

The Income Tax Department has swooped on Zimbabwe's second city, Bulawayo, netting more than Z$22 million within the first week of its blitz on tax defaulters.

Commissioner of Taxes, Gershem Pasi, in an interview with the Financial Gazette, said his department expects to have netted about Z$100 million by today, September 12, when the exercise is due to end.

In Harare, more than Z$300 million was collected within four weeks from defaulting companies and individuals. Pasi said the blitz would have covered all parts of the country by the end of the current financial year as his department was determined to stamp out tax cheating.

7.Zimbabwe approves credit facility to the DRC

The Zimbabwe Government has approved a Z$161 million credit facility to the Democratic Republic of Congo, aimed at helping the former Zaire buy food for its starving population.

The Minister of Industry and Commerce, Nathan Shamuyarira said the facility comes into effect forthwith and would be increased to Z$500 million by the end of the year. Zimbabwe is one of the African countries which supported Laurent Kabila, the guerrilla leader turned president, during his seven-month blitz which ousted dictator Mobutu Sese Seko.

8.University loses Z$10m

The University of Zimbabwe lost Z$10 million through theft of cash and food between July 1994 and June last year, its Vice Chancellor, Professor Graham Hill, has announced.

Prof. Hill said as a result the university was now working towards commercialising the Department of Accommodation and Catering Services, which provides accommodation and food to students and other non-teaching staff.

9.Government's borrowing checked

Parliament has passed a bill which limits the amount of money the Government can borrow within the country within a financial year.

The State Loans and Guarantees Amendment Bill limits net borrowings by the Minister of Finance to 30 percent of the previous year's general revenue. The bill comes as a great relief to the private sector which has in the past complained that the government was squeezing it out of the money market through too much borrowing. This was also fuelling inflation and raising interests rates.

10.Army should develop infrastructure - minister

The Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Olivia Muchena has suggested that the army should be deployed in the rural areas to work on the development of infrastructure rather have the soldiers paid for just sitting when the country was not at war.

During debate in Parliament, Muchena said the high economic potential in some of Zimbabwe's rural areas would never be realised unless infrastructural development takes place in these areas.

"Some people in the rural areas feel that the army should, during these peaceful times, be involved in programmes that ensure infrastructural development," she said, citing such projects as construction of roads and bridges

11.Zimbabweans unhappy about status of soccer

Soccer loving Zimbabweans are unhappy that at a time local football is taking a plunge as evidenced by the national team's early elimination from both the World Cup and Africa Cup of Nations tournaments, the country has become the hunting ground for soccer talent for South African clubs.

Scores of some of the country's finest players are now playing for South African teams and there seems no end in sight to this great trek down south. Among the latest to leave the country is the reigning Soccer Star of the Year, Stewart Murisa who has signed for Durban based Amazulu.

What surprises many soccer fans is why Zimbabwe is failing to make headway in international competitions when it seems so much endowed with talent. Zimbabwean Wilfred Mugeyi who plays for Umtata Bush Bucks was this year crowned South Africa's best player as well as its top goal scorer.


From: (Africa_news Network) Date: Mon, 25 May 1998 10:33:33 +0200 Subject: ZIMBABWE NEWS ONLINE #6 Message-ID: <3017342877.30053989@inform-bbs.d

Editor: Ali B. Ali-Dinar

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