Zimboundary slideshow 30 October

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Go Inside/Out with Zimboundary cyclist Linda Davidson here

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Hard living

Credit: BBC

On Friday, a woman from the Kya Sands informal settlement near South African city of Johannesburg fetches water from a pump. A fire, apparently caused by illegal electrical wiring, destroyed much of the settlement. Most of its residents are from rural South Africa and neighbouring Zimbabwe and Mozambique.
Credit: BBC

Finally the murder trial of the century has come to an end with the amputee sprinter and Paralympic gold medalist Oscar Pistorius getting a five-year prison sentence for killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. It was not an easy decision for Judge Masipa because not everyone was going to like whatever sentence she handed down. During the trial prosecutors argued that Pistorius deliberately killed his girlfriend in an act of domestic violence. With at least 60,000 women and children victims of domestic violence every month, the World Health Organization reports that South Africa has the highest incidence of domestic violence in the world. Every 8 hours, in an act of ‘intimate femicide’, an ordinary South African woman is killed by her partner – in 17.4% of these cases the death is gun-related. This translates to 3 women dying every day from domestic violence. Whether justice has been served in Oscar’s case or not, South Africa needs to address the unacceptably high rate of domestic violence in that country.

The Chitungwiza Municipality through the Urban Development Corporation (Udcorp) is now demanding a US$1500 fine from residents as a penalty for illegally settling in the town. Questions have been raised on how the municipality came up with the fine as no consultations have been done with relevant stakeholders in the town. Media reports indicate that even if one pays the fine there is no proof which guarantees residents that their property will be spared demolition, or retain the same piece of land. In order to force compliance residents were given a five-day payment period, with threats of losing the right to be considered for lawful allocation if one fails to pay the penalty. Recent predawn house demolitions conducted by Chitungwiza Municipality left many families homeless and property destroyed.

Doctors to strike in Zimbabwe

Here is the latest press statement from the Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association

To: All ZHDA members
Date: 20 October 2014
Re: Latest doctors’ position on their conditions of service

Following the long standing dispute between doctors working in government hospitals and the employer (health services board ministry of health and child welfare), the Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association has been involved in a series of negotiations, consultations and deliberations on how to resolve the impasse. The Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association wishes to notify all its members, the public, and the relevant government ministries and boards that:

1. Doctors through the Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association have lost confidence that the government has any concrete, verifiable and practical plans to review our working conditions as highlighted in the ultimatum sent to them.

2. According to section 65 subsection 2 and subsection 3 of the New Zimbabwean constitution, Doctors like any other Zimbabweans are allowed to participate in industrial action. The Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association has been directed by its members to call for a peaceful nationwide strike by doctors beginning Monday 27 October 2014 as a response to the laxity shown by government to address our concerns. This strike shall only be called off if our demands are met through a written formal communication by the employer.

3. In the period up to 27 October 2014, the Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association will urge all its members to mobilize their peers, media partners, allied health workers and the affected public for solidarity, publicity and network building, so as to ensure the strike will reach its intended goal.

Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association Executive

Describe yourself in five words?
Family first. Driven. Passionate. FOMO … FOMO is an affliction I’ve had since childhood but only learnt what it was in my twenties. Took another 10 years to learn how to live with it. Basically FOMO is Fear. Of. Missing. Out. So I do a lot of things because I’m so scared that if I don’t I will regret not doing them … like Zimboundary for example.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
“What other people think of me is none of my business.” This advice was given to me by one of my counsellors after I left my husband. She was amazing and had so many gems of wisdom but this one really stuck. I love it.

What’s the most ridiculous thing you’ve ever done?
In 1994 my best friend and I canoed the entire length of Lake Kariba because we needed to get to a party in Victoria Falls and no one would lend us a car. It was 300km and took us 10 days and we had all sorts of issues, like lions around our tent, crocodiles and hippos. We capsized and lost ALL our kit, but we made it and we looked really hot when we got there (10 days of paddling when you’re in your twenties gives a girl a nice torso!). It was a crazy thing to do but it was a great party and they hung our canoe in Explorers Bar for years after that.

What is your most treasured possession?
A book my Mum gave me for my 6th birthday. It’s called “Little Black, a Pony” by Walter Farley. We didn’t have much money back then and I can remember coveting the library books and really desperate for my own. The inscription is “Dear Linda, a story all of your own now you can read!  All my love Mum xx.” It was also both of my girls’ favourite bedtime story; I must have read it a hundred times to them.

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
Being trapped in my marriage and thinking there was no way out. The last few years were quite literally, soul destroying. Big pieces of me died, I was a shell. Luckily there was still a tiny spark left and I am humbled and grateful to that brave woman (what was left of me) who had the courage to stand up and say “Enough”. But it was a really bad time for me (and my ex husband I’m sure).

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Do you have any strange hobbies?
I collect animal skulls. I like to try and get an animal skull from each trip I make to the bush, often with one of my kids, so each skull has a special memory. I have a giraffe, sable, civet, zebra, baboon and two crocodile skulls. I haven’t yet worked out how to carry a hippo or elephant skull home – it’s like a bit obvious if you get caught leaving a National Park with an elephant skull in your boot! They are in a kind of shrine in my garden, so yeah, a bit of a strange hobby. I have a fascination with bones – they last so long. I’ve told my kids I definitely want to be buried not cremated; I want my bones around for a long time.

What do you dislike most about your appearance?
I am really happy with my appearance but I hate the relationship between my breasts and the rest of my body. It goes like this: When I put on weight I have gorgeous, big breasts (ably assisted by a wonder bra) but then my thighs are huge and like most women, I carry my weight around my hips which I hate. But when I am in hectic training and get a tight butt and a six-pack, my breasts disappear which I also hate. So I spend half the year overweight with great boobs, and the other half with tight abs and thighs and no breasts!

What is your greatest extravagance?
Buying myself a new bike. It’s like falling in love; it really rocks my boat. When I’m broke (most of the time) I get a similar kick out of buying a bottle of perfume I haven’t tried before.

What have you got in your fridge?
Loads of organic vegetables; more than I could ever eat. Milk. Yoghurt. Steak. Chilli sauce.

What is your greatest fear?
The obvious one is losing a child. The more pragmatic daily one is a fear of being too scared to try something. So it’s like a fear of fear and the limitations of that. I don’t mind failing, or not succeeding in something, I can chalk that up to life lessons, but I hate being too scared to try something. It can get me into some bad situations, for example, trying to follow my daughter down a really technical, rocky section on a mountain bike. I know if I get off and walk I will regret it, so I don’t and then I fall off. I think we’re all a bit afraid of the unknown but when that fear becomes a limitation, I don’t like it.

What have you got in your pockets right now?
$3 and my cell phone.

What is your favourite journey?
This is tough because there are so many. Zimboundary is one of the favourites. The canoe trip with my best friend is right up among the top because we were just so naive and so gutsy. We had no expectations and the daily disasters were met with an enthusiasm to overcome them and a curiosity as to what was coming next. I have done lots of trips with that friend, all absolutely brilliant. Last year I took my 10-year-old son to Gonarezhou for 5 days and that was quite terrifying but also absolutely magical. We were the only people in camp and the closest Parks ranger was 10km away, no cell phone signal and we were charged by buffalo and elephant, trapped up a tree by lion and had 18 wild dog trot past our afternoon hideout – the wilderness was so raw and the excitement and fear of living right on the edge of safety made us really value life and each other. I loved that trip (that was the giraffe skull!).

Who are your heroes in real life?
Ernest Shackleton, the explorer, he’s famous for getting his entire crew home from an 18 month “lost at sea” disaster when their ship sank in the Antarctic. I love his “never quit” ethos and his ability to always see the best of every situation. My sporting hero is Fabian Cancellara, he’s a Swiss time trial specialist (cycling) with Olympic medals, many World Championships and other famous races under his belt. Again someone who doesn’t understand when to quit! Closer to home my Mum and my Dad, separately. They are so different but always 100% behind me (and all their children and grandchildren) and have both overcome huge obstacles in their lives and yet keep the family unit as a complete and unassailable priority. We are a big family and this can be hard. Last but no means least my 17-year-old daughter, Skye. I know we are not supposed to hero worship our own children but she is probably the highest achieving person (for her number of years) that I’ve ever met. In the year her parents separated (trauma for us all) she won the Africa Champs Gold medal in triathlon and then went on to represent Zimbabwe at the International Junior Science Olympiad (IJSO) in Tehran – this is A level Physics, Chemistry and Biology but the kids are just 15 years old (Form 3). Out of 6 children selected country wide she was the only girl. The following year (parents still fighting) she represented Zimbabwe in her third sport (mountain biking) and then achieved the highest IGCSE (O level) results in her school. In 2014 while doing 5 subjects for A level she qualified to race for Zimbabwe at the Junior World Champs triathlon but then broke her hand in a World Cup Series. This excluded her from the coveted Youth Olympics in August but instead of wallowing in self pity she kept fit and as soon as the pin was taken out of her hand, started training for the World Champs.

When and where were you happiest?
In my twenties I was a commercial pilot and had a job bush flying in the Zambezi Valley. I lived at Chikwenya camp and this period of my life was an absolute privilege. Somehow I was also wise enough to know what a gift it was. I had no responsibilities and was doing the job I loved in a place of incredible spiritual beauty. However I also have to mention that being in love has got to rank up there with the happiest times. That real mind blowing falling in love when you don’t need to eat or sleep and anything is possible and everything is perfect. I fell in love with my husband like that and it was awesome. And it took me 15 years to fall out of love with him so I guess I was luckier than many!

What’s your biggest vice?
I drink too much beer. It’s not very ladylike. Luckily I don’t go out much in Harare but when I’m out of town and not at risk of being bust by my kids I can get pretty tatty.

What were you like at school?
Quiet. Studious. Non-rebellious.

What are you doing next?
There are 3 things on the cards and I’m just waiting date confirmations to decide which order I will do them in.

1. Going to find a baby black rhino called Chewore. She’s 20 now if she’s alive but I was involved in her life when she was a few months old and our canoe trip back then actually raised some money for her. So Tonya and I have been tasked with finding out where she is, or where she died. It’s a venture called “What is the life of one black rhino worth?”

2. I’m going to kayak around Mauritius with 3 women to raise awareness for restoring the rivers in Africa.

3. Tonya and I are going to take a trip of 6 women across the Namib Desert on camels. It’s a life journey thing designed to allow women to get back to their wildish nature. A dry and dusty trip across the desert sounds awful but in those kinds of situations you have to dig deep, and find out what’s really inside – we are facilitating that. Women need adventure; we don’t tend to break out on our own.

Here’s some important information from Veritas:

Court Watch 17/2014
[20th October 2014]

Public Interviews for New High Court Judges To Start on Tuesday 28th October

6 Vacancies on High Court: 46 Candidates to be Interviewed

The Judicial Service Commission [JSC] has announced that on Tuesday 28th October it will start conducting public interviews of 46 persons who have been nominated, either by the public or the President, for appointment to fill six vacancies on the High Court bench.

The nominations were received following the JSC’s invitations to the public and to the President to nominate suitably qualified persons for appointment.  These invitations were issued in March, when the first three vacancies were announced, and August, when three further posts became available [see Court Watch 5/2014 of 17th March and Court Watch 14/2014 of 18th August].

Interviews are Open to the Public

As required by section 180 of the Constitution, the JSC will conduct these interviews in public.  All members of the public have the right to attend and observe the proceedings.

Venue: Crowne Plaza Hotel in Harare
Date and time: The interviews will start at 9 am on Tuesday 28th October

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The Candidates
The 46 candidates are listed below, in alphabetical order.  They include three Labour Court judges [styled “Hon” in the list]; the recently-appointed Executive Secretary of the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission; magistrates; well-known senior legal practitioners in private practice; a former Parliamentary Counsel; Government law officers such as the current Director of Legal Drafting in the Attorney-General’s Office and current Director of Public Prosecutions; and lawyers from the NGO sector.

1. CHAREWA, Jester Helena
2. CHIVIZHE, Hon Justice Bridgette Tapiwa
3. CHIRAWU, Sylvia
4. CHITAPI,Tawanda
5. DAMISO, Choice
6. FOROMA, Davison Moses
7. GARABGA, Ticharwa
8. GIJIMA, Fredrick Garikayi
9. GUMBO, Raynos
10. KABASA, Hon Justice Evangelista
11. KACHAMBWA, Hon Justice Custom
12. KANYENZE, Olyn Rudo
13. KUMBAWA, Peter
14. MAKORE, Pauline
15. MAMBARA, Joel
16. MANYOWA, Benhilda
17. MANZUNZU, Jacob
18. MASAWI, Abigail
19. MASHINGAIDZE, Dumisani
20. MAWERE, Simba
21. MLAUDZI, Sampson Samuel
22. MORRIS, Erik William Wallace
23. MOYO, Elisha
24. MUCHINERIPI, Tapiwa
25. MUGADZA, Teresa Pearl
26. MUKARATIRWA, Jameson Mupariwa
27. MUNYARADZI, Lois
28. MUNANGATI, Nyaradzo P.
29. MUSHORE, Edith Kuda
30. MUTSAUKI, James
31. MUTSONZIWA, Nelson
32. MZAWAZI, Cathrine Kate Bachi
33. NCUBE, Sethulo
34. NDLOVU, Bongani
35. NDLOVU, Munashe
36. NYONI, Greyson
37. PHIRI, Clara
38. PHIRI, Clement
39. PHOSA-MABHENA, Janet
40. RUOMBWA, Victor
41. SIBANDA, Augustine
42. TAKUVA, Tariro Rosa
43. TIZIRAI-CHAPWANYA, George
44. TOTO, Amon Tendayi
45. ZISENGWE, Sunsley
46. ZVEDI, Olivia Tsitsi.

Preparation of the List of Candidates
The scheduling of the 46 interviews has been preceded by a careful sifting/vetting process by the JSC to ensure that all the candidates to be interviewed possess the objective criteria laid down as qualifications in section 179 of the Constitution [minimum age 40, sufficient legal experience, being “a fit and proper person to hold office as a judge”].

Those nominees found to be qualified were then asked to complete a questionnaire to elicit additional personal information that does not ordinarily appear on a CV, for example: health issues; previous convictions, if any; contributions made to the furtherance of the law; and, in the case of serving judges, number of partly-heard cases and reserved judgments.

After the Interviews
JSC selected list to go to President
After the interviews, the JSC must:
- Prepare lists of three qualified candidates for each of the six positions [the JSC’s deliberations for this purpose will take place in private], and
- Submit the lists to the President

President to appoint new judges from list
The President must then make the appointments from these lists, unless he considers that none of the persons on a list is “suitable for appointment”.  If that happens, the President must communicate his opinion to the JSC and require it to submit a further list of qualified persons, from which he must then make his appointments.

The President cannot appoint someone whose name has not been submitted to him by the JSC.

Gender Balance on the High Court Bench
Both the JSC, in compiling its lists, and the President, in appointing judges from those lists, must be guided by and have regard to the national objective of full gender balance as stated in the Constitution.  One of the elements of full gender balance is equal representation of both genders in all institutions and agencies of government at every level, including judicial institutions such as the High Court [Constitution, Chapter 2, sections 8 and 17].

Of the 30 present High Court judges, only 11 are women.  The new appointments will take the total number of judges to 36.

There are at least 14 women on the list of candidates to be interviewed for the 6 positions.  Other things being equal, therefore, the gender balance objective may result in most of the six new judges being women.

[Reminder: In the last batch of High Court appointments five of the six judges appointed were women.  That was in July 2013, just before the present Constitution came fully into operation on 22nd August that year.]

A media briefing to commemorate the World Day Against The Death Penalty was held at the Media Centre in Harare with calls for the total abolition of the death penalty in Zimbabwe.

The media briefing, which brought together civic organizations such as Padare/Enkundleni/Men’s Forum on Gender, Amnesty International, Zimbabwe Women Lawyers Association (ZWLA) and Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum, reiterated calls to do away with state sanctioned killings in Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe marks this year’s event under a new constitution adopted in 2013, which partially abolished the death penalty but still retains capital punishment against men aged between 21 and 70 years old. The Zimbabwe Women Lawyers Association (ZWLA) believes that there is no rational justification for the harsher treatment that the constitution makes for men who are convicted of murder between the ages of 21 and 70.  Retention of the death penalty for men is incompatible with state obligations under article 2, 3 and 26 of the United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to which Zimbabwe is a party.

Zimbabwe’s last execution was conducted in 2005.

Vongai Chikwanda, Amnesty International campaigns coordinator, called on the government to ensure equality through abolishing of the death penalty for all persons.  Women, who are currently on death row, no longer face the death penalty under the new constitution in Zimbabwe. A total 97 inmates are currently on death row. Recently the Minister of Justice Legal and Parliamentary Affairs was reported as sharing government’s commitment and vision for the abolition of capital punishment through reviewing sentences imposed on death row inmates.

Last week I was at the Harare Ward 8 budget consultation where, among other things, we were informed that our taps are dry across the city because 3 million people consume Harare water and current demand is 1,250 mega litres / day, and the city’s current pumping capacity is only 450 ML / day.

Then I saw an article in The Sunday Mail this weekend which said demand was 900 ML / day.

Meanwhile, this weekend’s planned shut down of water across Harare was required as one step to help pumping capacity get back up to its 600+ ML / day potential.

The thing is, according to last year’s census, Harare Water consumers are closer to 2.2 million than 3 million. And according to an experienced water Engineer, the exiting 450 ML / day would be enough to supply this population with 205 L of water per day. Bulawayo’s water production is 130 million litre per day, or 192 litre per person per day. Bulawayo is producing less water per person than Harare but provides continuous supply to all of its population.

So, what’s happening in Harare? Amongst other things, the city is losing 60% of treated, pumped water back out of the system through leaking pipes and unmetered water consumption. Never mind ZINWA’s efforts to both ban (in the city) and tax (outside the city) bulk abstraction – If Harare Water could supply the city as it should do, bulk abstraction wouldn’t even be a concern.

In other words, in the short term (think next ten years), Harare doesn’t need to build new dams or find new water sources to get water back into all of our taps 24/7. And it doesn’t need to be supplying 900+ ML / day! Instead, it needs to focus on fixing the existing pumping and piping infrastructure and getting the treated water Morton Jaffray (and to a lesser extent Prince Edward) supplies successfully into our taps.