Police efficiency, Zimbabwe style

Here’s an experience from a Kubatana member:

I approached my local police station (Hatfield) with the intention of getting my certificates certified. I knew that the service was free.

At the gate, I told the police officer who was there that I wanted to get my certificates certified and she asked me why I didn’t go to a Commissioner of Oaths who charges R2 to certify a copy? I was really shocked. Why pay when you can get something done free of charge?

It took me more than 30 minutes, being referred from one office to another before I got to the commissioner’s office.

The officer in the office told me that the commissioner had gone to the canteen for breakfast. I waited for an hour and still the commissioner had not returned. An officer came to the office and told me that the commissioner was playing snooker and advised me to approach him at the snooker table.

I approached the commissioner and he told me to go and wait for him at his office.

He then came and certified the documents. That was a real experience for me. Spending so much time at a public place, which is supposed to be customer friendly.

I thought I could share my experience with the Kubatana team.

- TM

Something for Grace Mugabe to think about

“It is certain, in any case, that ignorance, allied with power, is the most ferocious enemy justice can have.”
- James Baldwin

Vast tracks of land under forests are under threat in Zimbabwe from deforestation and land degradation. It is estimated that Zimbabwe is losing more than 300 000 hectares of trees (forest) per year largely due to deforestation. Agricultural expansion, driven by population growth, has also contributed to the deforestation, as new farmers tend to rely heavily on trees for firewood to cure tobacco. Depletion and loss of forest has become a major issue for climate change the world over contributing 15% of global greenhouse gas emission. Effects of climate are starting to be felt in Zimbabwe with prolonged dry seasons and floods affecting some parts of our low lying regions.

Zimbabwe has engaged several forest management initiatives targeted at protecting and rehabilitating existing forests. Among such projects is the recently piloted REDD+ initiative, which aims to build the capacity of local indigenous people so that they can effectively participate in managing forests under the REDD+ processes. A few selected areas in the Matebeleland North region have been running several pilot forest conservation projects under the REDD+ initiative in an effort to promote conservation of biodiversity.

REDD+ aims to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, and foster conservation, sustainable management of forests, and enhancement of forest carbon. The initiative currently has 47 developing countries as selected participants and so far the project has been implemented in 18 African countries. Zimbabwe was recently selected to become a member of the REDD+ initiative under the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility.

If managed properly the project is earmarked for huge financial incentives making good governance and accountability in managing the resources a priority. Recently Transparency International Zimbabwe hosted a workshop on mapping strategies on the elimination of corruption in the management of forests. The discussion noted that the only way to ensure transparency in the REDD+ initiative was through the provision of information to the community particularly on the sharing of benefits accrued from the project. Through information sharing, communities will not only know of their entitlement, but also the benefits to motivate them into forest protection and other areas, which they can participate in. Since the project would demand vast tracks of land, participants raised the issue of conflict relating to the land tenure system during the implementation of the project, sharing of benefits and protection of land rights for the local people.

Benefits from the REDD+ will be used in community development efforts in selected communities. So far Kariba and Binga districts have received farms inputs and irrigation systems as incentives from the projects.

The difference between adults and children

Zimbabwe Republic Police

Our police force certainly has a PR problem. Here’s a text message we got from a Kubatana member:

“Police in shabane bissy patrolling day and night, is it not they want to steal from people?”

This time of year Harare’s majestic jacarandas start blooming signaling the onset of summer with rains expected to wash away all the dirt from the streets. Just like last year, nobody seems to care about how good the damn flowers look, or whether the streets are clean, because their focus is on the political party faction fighting. So tense is the battle, that labels have been given to rivals including likening them to a deadly pesticide, while at the same calling a once trusted ally, a clueless sex starved beast. Acres of media space have been dedicated to the hurling of insults.

The two main political parties are gearing up for elective congresses in a tense atmosphere. So far factional politics seems to be the order of the day, both in ZANU-PF and MDC-T. Even shared revolutionary bonds are being broken and only those who swear allegiance will be spared the sweeping winds of change. In politics there are no eternal allies or enemies, just permanent interests.

These are changing times indeed, and we are about to witness politics at its most ugly; issues of development have been put on hold. Whether this is renewal, recovery or payback, what is clearly still lacking in both parties is a consensus on the need to move Zimbabwe forward.

Global day of action for the right to health

Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (Zimrights) will be hosting a march on Saturday the 25th of October in commemoration of Global Day Of Action For The Right To Health. The procession will start from Zimrights office at corner Fourth Street and Baines Avenue in Harare at 9am.

You are all invited.  Demand your right to health!

Very Beautiful Humans

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Kubatana members who ordered Look Out! – our latest DVD compilation – also got a Very Beautiful Human form in their package. We’ve been getting lots of snaps of filled in forms but this one from Blessing, is a favourite!

Working for the Chinese in Zimbabwe

Over 300,000 teenage school leavers in Zimbabwe are currently working for Chinese shop-owners. One of them, Meagan Ngwenya, claims to be heavily exploited. Check out this article by Jeffrey Moyo writing for Radio Netherlands Africa.