Zimbabwe Women Lawyers Association and Amnesty International Public Lecture

Topic: Death on the death row: When will Zimbabwe honour the right to life

Background: Rosemary Margaret Khumalo died on death row on the 15th of July at Chikurubi Maximum Prison before the Constitutional application to set aside her death sentence could be heard by the Constitutional Court.

Venue: Book Cafe, Harare
Date: Tuesday 5 August 2014
Time: 17:30 to 19:30 hours
Speakers Include Professor Lovemore Madhuku
Mr. Charles Kwaramba
Mrs Sara Moyo

Moderator: Hon. Jessie Majome

Admission: Free, All Are Welcome!

For further details please contact: Merit Rumema, ZWLA Information Officer: 708491/706676 Cell: 0774 138 924

Refreshments will be served

Election Resource Centre (ERC) and Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CiZC) to host a Quill Talk

Theme: July 31 2013: One Year on-Reflections
Date: Wednesday 30 July 2014
Time: 5:30 pm -7:30 pm
Venue: Ambassador Hotel-Quill Club (Press Club)

Speakers:

  • Dr Phillan Zamchiya – Lecturer International Development, University of Oxford
  • Honourable Fortune Chasi – Deputy Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs
  • Stephen Ndoma – Principal Researcher – Mass Public Opinion Institute
  • Mfundo Mlilo – Spokesperson CiZC

Moderator: Gladys Hlatshwayo CiZC)
Discussant: Tawanda Chimhini Director Election Resource Centre

We got this comment from a WhatsApp subscriber:

The Zimbabwe Open University (ZOU) has recently slashed tuition fees particularly for undergraduate programmes saying it is in support of ZIM_ASSET. Tution fees have been slashed from  by $100 thus from  $520 to $420. No doubt its Good News to both students and their sponsors. However, I have since observed that most students are failing to pay for minimum required modules per Semester. This has been caused by some recent payment plan changes. Before the reduction of tuition fees, students were required to pay deposit of $250 for them to be given all modules. Now, students need to pay full tuition fees (learn as you pay). The stop order facility which some students (civil servants) were used to enjoy has since been cancelled citing irregular pay dates. As a result, most students are registering for two modules only whilst some have deferred. So can we conclude that Students are now benefiting from ZIM-ASSET? Food for thought! In support of the above, you can visit ZOU Facebook page

Mass Public Opinion Institute (MPOI) Public Seminar

Topic: A Year after the GNU: A Balance Sheet and A Prognosis Going Forward
Venue: New Ambassador Hotel, Harare
Date: Thursday, 31 July 2014
Time: 17:30 to 20:00 Hours

Speakers:

  • Mr. Psychology Maziwisa: ZANU-PF Deputy Director for Information and Publicity
  • Mr. Douglas Mwonzora: MDC-T Spokesperson
  • Mr. Edwin Mushoriwa: MDC Vice-President

Chairperson: MPOI Staff

Admission: FREE. ALL ARE WELCOME!

For further enquiries please contact: Mass Public Opinion Institute: 771358/758700/ Cell: 0772 100 409. Police clearance has been granted.

‘Could it be that public opinion is “the missing link” in the democracy debate in Zimbabwe, and indeed, in Africa today?’

The Media Centre has pleasure in inviting you to a public debate.

Topic: Creating a path for economic recovery what is happening and what needs to be done?
Date: Friday  1 August 2014
Time: 18:30 – 20:30
Venue: Harare Club

Speakers:

  • Honorable Supa Mandiwanzira
  • Dr. Simba Makoni
  • Hon. Tendai Biti
  • Hopwel Gumbo
  • Japhet Moyo

The $144 million loan between the City of Harare and China Exim Bank to rehabilitate Harare’s water and sewage infrastructure has been in the news a lot lately. First it was the fact of the loan – and the hopes that the deal would restore water to our taps. Then there were reports of fund mismanagement, including the purchasing of luxury vehicles for city managers with project funds. Most recently, project equipment was being held at the border (despite being duty free) allegedly in exchange for the city settling some of its outstanding debt with ZIMRA.

A special committee to review the spending and management of the water rehabilitation loan was established, and their report came out 18 July.

Regarding the luxury motor vehicle purchases, the report notes that while the cost of the luxury cars in question is nominal in comparison with the total loan, there was no explanation or justification on why project team vehicles were prioritised over service vehicles for the project, why expensive, luxury vehicles were purchased, and why these vehicles have been allocated for team members who do more meeting in their work days than they do service visits or field work. The report also raises questions about the costing, procurement procedure and oversight of the vehicle purchase.

But more important, the report raises a number of concerns about the spending and management of the water project as a whole, among them:

  • The agreement between the City of Harare and the China National Machinery and Equipment Import and Export Corporation (CMEC) to rehabilitate the water and sewage works was signed in 2009.  The loan to finance this contract was signed between the Government of Zimbabwe and the Export and Import Bank of China (Exim Bank) in 2011. And the loan facility was ratified and approved in 2013. So it’s taken four years just to get the ball rolling. In the mean time, Harare’s water provision has worsened, and increasingly residents do not receive water in their taps. This reality doesn’t seem to have given much sense of urgency to the city, however.
  • The team implementing the water rehabilitation project are existing, full time, City of Harare employees. Their duties, responsibilities and deliverables in connection with the water rehabilitation project have not been specifically outlined.
  • Some project team members lack the required competencies and experience to delivery on the project, in particular the legal adviser and logistics management.
  • There is inadequate legal, commercial, contract management, logistics, procurement and project finance skills.
  • There is not a strong system to motivate employees to deliver on this project specifically.
  • About six months into the project, it is at least 25 days behind schedule.
  • Time, price and quality issues stand in the way of successful implementation of the project.
  • The contract was not negotiated very well, and has a number of unclear clauses, overstated prices, and terms which are in favour of the contractor and open to abusive interpretation.
  • Of the $144m loan, $84m has been disbursed, and $5.5m worth of goods and services have been delivered and/or rendered to date. So, about 58% of the loan has been disbursed to CMEC, but no substantive works on water rehabilitation has begun.
  • It would appear there is no project accounting report or internal audit reports for the project. This makes it hard to track and identify both errors and mistakes and willful misstatements of accounting. It would also help the project team hold the contractor to account.
  • An estimated $8 million in savings is possible now that the project has been granted National Project Status, but the project team members don’t seem to be aware of this possible savings. The savings needs to be reported to reduce the risk it is misused.
  • The labour charge for the project is $28 million, being 38% of the value of fitted equipment. This is three times the industry norm for a refurbishment contract. In the absence of any explanation for these figures, there is an implication of overcharging for labour around $20 million.
  • A number of existing pumps were removed or decommissioned before their replacements were to hand. This has resulted in a significant loss of water production capacity, and a related loss of would-be water revenue to the city. This is effectively a cost of the project which should be accounted for in the project implementation.

Download the full report here

Harare street signs

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True Jack-of-all-trades. Note the bottle tops to help keep the sign up.

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Zimbabwean residents get active!

Here’s some feedback from a Kubatana member:

Pamberi neKubatana for accountability and service delivery!

Just got my Resident business card. Was sweating because I thought it was a court order given the size of the envelope.

Will put this to good use tomorrow.

Many thanks for the initiative.

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Playwright Eve Ensler is in Zimbabwe together with Monique Wilson, the Director of V-Day. Ensler’s play, the Vagina Monologues has been produced in over 140 countries and in various languages. She attributes her desire to fighting sexual violence against women to the many women who lined up to talk to her after performing the Vagina Monologues who shared stories of how they have been abuse, raped or beaten. She expected these women to share with her their wonderful sexual experiences, pleasure, desire but the opposite was what she heard.

The idea of One Billion Rising came at a time when Ensler was recovering from cancer and when she visited the DRC where women danced at the opening official opening of a centre, “City of Joy’. “Women in Congo danced, while they were dancing and I was dancing, I suddenly had this idea. I had been obsessed with this notion that if one billion women and men rose one day and danced on the planet, what kind of vibrational, energetic transformation could we have.” According to UN figures, one in three women on the planet will be beaten or sexually assaulted and that works out at one billion women.

Zimbabwe has in the past two years celebrated One Billion Rising (OBR).

The campaign which uses dance as activism has become a global movement as many men and women across the globe rise on February 14.

Speaking at a press conference in Harare, she said, “Dancing allows us to be in our bodies, to reclaim our bodies. It allows us to be free in public space and to connect with one another. It really allows the vibrational and spiritual energy of the planet to be released rather than contained. So much happens when we are traumatized, violated. All the energy gets stopped, it’s caught, it gets muted, and it gets destroyed.”

Monique Wilson added, “In Philippines, when we began dancing, people began to wake up and take notice and gave us another lens to the very same issues we have been fighting for 30 years. Dance is an important tool to awaken people and incite action.”

Speaking at the same conference, Nyasha Sengayi, the coordinator for One Billion Rising in Zimbabwe let people know about their next campaign, ‘Stop the Bus’ in collaboration with The Girl’s Legacy. A bus with a lawyer, police officer, a nurse, a counselor and women activists will be moving around communities in Bikita, Mutoko, Gokwe, Seke and Chitungwiza.

The campaign will be launched in August against a backdrop of the high number of unreported cases of sexual violence in Zimbabwe.

We got this today from a WhatsApp subscriber:

“Chegutu Municipality has contaminated Mupfure River with sewage which they are pumping into the river. At Chinhoyi Road Bridge you can see just how dangerous it is. The water is now green.”