Praise must go to government and council schools that we assume perform dismally. By Godwin Phiri – Director at Intscha.com

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I wish to add my small voice to the issue of the best performing schools doing the rounds in our media. I feel that these lists are not a fair reflection of the realities in our education sector and with all due respect I am convinced that many of the top performing schools are unfairly benefiting from procedures that others can never dream of. For instance you get schools that will insist that only pupils with less than 6 units at Grade 7 can enroll for form one with them. Naturally the likelihood of producing a high pass rate from this cream is almost certain. Compare that with a school that is taking everyone who applies including those who will never pass even if the sun changes direction, and by the way these tend to be the majority in any environment.

These schools will always produce low pass rate because they did not get the right inputs in the first place. The same goes with A Levels. Some schools will only take a minimum of 5 As and of course they will produces these top 100 performances. Spare a thought for the government school which cannot shut away the other not so brilliant students because it is the duty of government to provide opportunities for everyone.

Basically what we are doing is to give some people oranges, others lemons and ask them to all produce orange juice and then we celebrate the juice from those with oranges. I think praise must go to the teachers and schools that get lemons and are still able under these circumstances to produce some kind of juice.

These schools are doing a massive job in allowing an opportunity for all our young people to access education. In any case surely the teacher who stands before a group of 45 form one students with an average of four units at grade 7 is not necessarily a better teacher than one who stands in another classroom with kids who have 18,20 even 36 units. All I am saying is that while we celebrate these so called high flyers lets spare a thought for schools that are doing so much with very little and whose efforts are barely recognized because our society is so competitive it ignores reality.

Ndatenga Hangu.
Siyajika!!!!!

Youths are key players in the ZimAsset, but…..

My last week installment looked at implications of corruption in the Zimbabwe economic transformation as espoused in the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio- Economic Transformation (Zim Asset). Now I would like to identify what it has in store for young people. I will do a quick reminder to those who are familiar with it and update to those who have not read it. The economic recovery framework has four Clusters: Food Security and Nutrition, Social Services and Poverty Eradication; Infrastructure and Utilities; and Value Addition and beneficiation. It is a plan, reflecting the strong need to fully exploit the internal relationships and linkages that exist between the various facets of the economy.

Locating young people in economic framework
The economic recovery blue print recognizes young people as key players if not drivers in the success of economic recovery efforts. The blue print asserts that availing and increasing economic opportunities for women, youths and the physically challenged in communities will stimulate its fulfillment. Expectedly it is premised on conformity with the Indigenization, Empowerment and Employment Creation.

It acknowledges that the country is richly endowed with resources i.e. diamond, gold, timber, hence youths can use that to benefit. The question is what mechanisms have been put in place to achieve the foregoing, because since the discovery on precious minerals like diamonds and very few youths have benefited save for those who have been illegally mining and illegally harvesting timber, what is generally known as panning and poaching. A few political connected or probable correct have obviously benefitted whilst the majority are still languishing in abject poverty.

Let me highlight what I found as opportunities for available young people in the economic blue print.
• Youths can benefit through the Community share ownership scheme if they lobby for it to be transparent, accountable and accessible, and it is outlined clearly how management and distribution of resources for an ordinary young person from the village.
• Youths can benefit from land redistribution if a land audit is carried out and the government deals with multi farm ownership. There are a number of young people who need have applied land and the waiting is increasing day by day but there leaders who own more than one farm at expense of landless young people.
• The can create jobs for youths through investment in infrastructure such as energy and power development, roads, rail, aviation, telecommunication, water and sanitation, however lack investment both foreign and local will make this a still birth.

• The commitment by the government to resuscitate distressed, closed companies and increasing capacity utilization will create more employment opportunities for young people. The past experiences casts doubt on effectiveness of such interventions, as there was a lot of debate on beneficiaries of Distressed and Marginalized Areas Fund (Dimaf) .

• Value addition and production of primary products will create jobs for young people in the line of production instead of shipping out raw materials.

• Government`s thrust on SMEs and youths co-operatives will grow opportunities for business and skills development for innovative youths.

• Thrust on vocational training and skills development will benefit marginalized youths especially those domiciled in rural areas and those that failed to access basic education.

Let me also point what I strongly argue may sink the economic recovery plan and therefore it remains just another economic blueprint like others that have been crafted before.
• Gross cases of corruption at governmental parastatals that are suppose to spearhead the economic recovery plan.
• Lack of finance and investment to fund rehabilitation of the infrastructure.
• Misplaced priorities i.e. bloated government wage bill due to increased expenditure in parliament and unnecessary international trips and assignments.
• Erratic power supply and obsolete machinery in the industries
• High cost of value addition and beneficiation.
• Partisan implementation of the economic recovery will undermine is good intentions and results in apathy of young people.

Gaps that may undermine benefits to young people
– Lack of mention of a Youth Fund in the economic blue print but women have deliberate Women Development Fund.
– Lack capacity to popularize the framework so that it has a buy in from young people.
– The timeframe is too short to implement everything in the economic plan.
– No concrete strategies to depolarize and change perceptions about certain institutions that are still labeled partisan by some sections of young people.
Lastly but more importantly, youths have a very critical role to monitor and evaluate progress made towards expected outcomes and benchmarks highlighted in the document.

By Michael Mdladla Ndiweni

Young People Castigate Move To Arrest Youth Fund Defaulters- posted by NYDT

Young people have described as unfair the threats by CABS and CBZ to take legal action against youths who have failed to pay back loans received under the youth development fund. Some of them argue that merely allocating the youths money based on their project proposals without assessing their capacity to run a viable business was a trap for young people.       
“The young people were not capacitated, making the implementation of these projects very difficult. They ended up misusing the funds,” said Jacqueline Ndlovu a young woman residing in Mpopoma.
She added that the Zimbabwean education system was teaching people to be employees and not employers and that indigenisation and empowerment was being treated as an event not a process, a point that the Government is missing.
Adding to that, Ndaba Mloyi, a corporate banker and National Youth Development Trust (NYDT) board treasurer said; “Unless and until we recognise that the problem facing SMEs and start-ups is not just money, and then we will always throw money at them and throw them in jail when they fail to pay back.
He added that the starting point was to realise that not all young Zimbabweans are entrepreneurs, and that people without business skills require a lot of capacitation and hand holding for them to develop the capacity to run businesses profitably and sustainably.
“Therefore any program that seeks to empower youths through enterprise development must start with identifying real entrepreneurs not just unemployed youths with some project. Once they have been identified, a holistic approach to arm them with technical and business management skills, in addition to giving them seed capital, has to be adopted, “ said Mloyi.
He proposed business incubation as the ideal model for such youth empowerment projects in Zimbabwe.
Other young people argued that the amounts given to young people as loans were barely enough to set up a viable income generation project.
“Honestly how did you expect youths to start and run a project with $2000? The economy itself was not conducive for new businesses. It was an unfair political gimmick to lure the youth to a certain political party so as to use them,” said Lindiwe Maphosa from Gwanda.  However other youths argued that vendors were making a living from capital which is far less than $2 000 and other viable businesses were probably started with less than that.
Some young people also felt that the failure to pay back the loans had nothing to do with failed income generation projects but was a reflection of the culture of impunity that has been embraced in Zimbabwe.
“The cancer of impunity is now raising its ugly head. The practise has been that individuals take loans from banks and they never repay. So some youths thought the practice was still the same. I do not think it’s all about capacity, maybe to a lesser extent but mostly its patronage and impunity, “said Michael Mdladla Ndiweni from Bulawayo.    
“I feel sorry for the poor youths who are now victims of a system that nurtured them. But I doubt anything will happen to them. The government will probably encourage them to pay then the issue will die a natural death,” he added.

 

Chaos reigns supreme at Renkini Bus Terminus

A stroll at Renkini bus terminus leaves one wondering whether city fathers are willing to make travelers have a dignified welcome to the city and a good send off to their respective destinations or a forgettable visit to Bulawayo. The parking at the Renkini bus terminus lots are dilapidated, the waiting shades roofs have fallen off. The perimeter fence is now nonexistent, lights are not working, and near the toilets one is welcomed by stench and disgusting odor and a drench of human liquid waste and sometimes solid waste especially in the mornings. Sadly vendors are pushing and shoving trading consumables near these toilets. Chaos reigns supreme, traders are not separated, there is a concoction of those trading food stuffs and while others are selling wares that could be hazardous to human health if mixed with goods meant for human consumption. Sadly again travelers get squashed in some surviving shades when it is raining and their goods get soaked in the process.
What is striking is that there are city council security officers or revenue collectors who frequent buses demanding money for the use of the terminus, now the question is, where is that money going to if it is not used to repair or spruce the infrastructure. I do not think that the city council needs a lot of money to maintain a good sight of the bus terminus. I am convinced it is negligence and sleeping on the wheel by the city fathers that has left the bus terminus an eyesore. The state of affairs at the bus terminus needs urgent attention if the tag “City Kings “is to be retained if not maintained.
Whilst it is popular knowledge that the council has other pressing priorities, I think the funds collected at the terminus must be used to maintain and improve it. I am not proposing a state of the art refurbishment like the Egodini proposed project. In the short- term whilst waiting for the start and completion of the proposed Egodini international terminus and shopping mall, the city council can purchase a few liters of paint, few roofing sheets and refill some potholes at the terminus. A perimeter fence is not very expensive that council cannot afford if attention is given to the terminus. I am also aware that the major problem at the terminus is vandalism.
• Efforts should be made to engage the neighborhood watch, the police and council also has a security department, strategies can be found to deal vandalism at the terminus.
• The council can also engage some private transport operators to donate materials for use to refurbish the bus terminus; I do not think they will not be willing to assist since they will benefit from a properly functioning and secure terminus.
• Incentives such as advertising on billboards, bins could be awarded to transport operators and other players who will assist in the sprucing up of the terminus.
• The city council can also create linkages with private advertising companies who conduct public awareness road shows, community radio stations, civil society organizations to sensitize communities on the impact of vandalism as communities are the ones that are affected.
• Councils should enforce or introduce trading zones for those selling non foodstuffs to be on the other side and separated from the ones selling foodstuffs.
By Michael Mdladla Ndiweni

Thumbs up for Elton Mangoma’s letter of FAME

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The letter allegedly written by Elton Mangoma MDC T Deputy Treasurer General to MDC T leader Morgan Tsvangirai is a letter of FAME to some people in the society rather belittling it to a letter SHAME as some sections of the society want people to believe. Thumbs up to Elton Mangoma for saying the truth that if it is him who allegedly penned the letter, you are a true selfless and fearless democrat, you said the truth without fear and favor no matter how spin doctors try to scream, jump and kick but you nailed it.

 It is disgusting that whenever one dares to challenge the MDC T leadership  is labeled a ZANU PF project sent to derail the “people`s project”. Let them label you an agent of the certain individuals and some Western organizations but the future will exonerate you.  It is true that your party also needs leadership renewal. It is not criminal and it is your democratic right to express yourself freely  as espoused in the new charter section 61 subsection (1) a,  You are a brave leader. You have done an alien thing that has surprised most boot lickers, hero worshippers  and democratic pretenders, you brought the issue of leadership  renewal to public domain  for debate so that ordinary  people and party members make informed decision when they go to the congress to chose the next party leader.

 Zimbabweans must develop a culture that  acknowledges  that every person has right to express their opinion and if they have ambitions to lead they must not ask or beg for permission from anyone in order to do so. The gentlemen is right Tsvangirai has also overstayed 14 years is too much, a new trajectory is required now if MDC T is serious about winning the 2018 elections.  Mangoma you have refused to be part of hypocrites who creates semi gods from political leaders. If there were awards you deserve one for your push for a true democratic change where people are not persecuted or killed for expressing their views and even letting the public know through writing their opinions. Some sections of the society salute you for your bravery. People can insult you but the truth is out there now they cannot do anything about it. They may threaten to remove you from office for uttering the truth but your legacy of saying the truth will live on, actually what you said is the truth you just narrated it on paper so that people meditate on it.

  

People’s lives threatened by shameful state of roads

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Recently I visited Emaphaneni communal lands in Kezi in Matopo district. The road network in the area is in dire bad state. I witnessed narrow bridges that are falling off, the roads have been turned into gulleys and in some areas roads are now small streams due to rains that have eroded the roads. It was terrifying to watch water overflowing over the bridges and people attempting to cross. The question that came to me is where is the rural district council as they are mandated to construct and maintain drains and bridges, I hope revenue collected is not all used to pay hefty salaries for top management at the expense of service delivery as has been revealed the past weeks and the trend over last four years in some parastatals and local authorities. Is the ministry of local government, rural and urban development, department of Civil Protection Unit are seem to be oblivious and waiting for communities to be cut off or befallen with a catastrophe before they act on this dangerous development. One community member intimated that sometimes people are made to sleep on river banks waiting for the rivers to cease the overflow to cross the bridges.

Authorities must be reminded that in the event that there is total cut off of communities there will no alternative ways to transport the sick to clinic and hospitals, no accessibility for people in urban areas to send food to their loves ones. Children suffer the most as they not able to go school and worse with recent results that showed some schools in Matabeleland South fairing badly in grade seven final examinations. This could be one of the reasons that teachers do not make it to the schools on time due to inaccessible roads as water will be overflowing over the narrow bridges and obviously they will not risk their lives.   

It is embarrassing that there still areas inaccessible 34 years after independence and self determination, children still have to be escorted to schools to cross rivers; powers that be must be ashamed of this archaic ways. The country is richly endowed with resources and must not rely on development aid from foreign missions but find home grown solutions to revamp our road networks. The solution does not lie only in reviving the notion of District Development Fund (DDF) and engaging international organizations but harness local available resources from local investors and refurbish the roads and other related infrastructure. Over the years a number of reports have been recorded citing communities that have been cut off, people losing lives whilst attempting to cross flooded rivers, every year during the rainy seasons but nothing is being done in order to deal with these perennial problems. The government must implement sustainable strategies to curtail the problem of poor roads in rural communities. I think we can do better as country.

  

Corruption will sink ZimAsset

Sunday Southern Eye Newspaper 09 February 2014
By Michael Mdadla Ndiweni

The recent weeks have seen massive media blitz in publicizing the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (ZimASSET) economic framework as a panacea to the declining economic growth. It gives hindsight of what has occurred in the country leading to the economic quagmire that the country is slowly sliding back to. The economic blue print gives a synopsis of various challenges that has marred economic sectors and as result slowed or stunted growth. It fails to acknowledge corruption as an ‘asset’ in the hearts and minds of many Zimbabweans employed in these sectors. Corruption as an ‘asset’ in many hearts of Zimbabwean in my view will scuttle good intentions of ZimASSET because the whole society is deeply entrenched in corruption. More painfully it has come to the public domain that mostly is organized and structured corruption, hence need for meaningful strategies to deal with it. I think that what will make ZimAsset work is for ZANU PF led government to have short term, medium and long-term not just a wish list as outlined in the blue print.
The economic recovery plan asserts that source documents recognize the continued existence of the illegal economic sanctions, subversive activities and internal interferences may undermine the economic recovery plan. On the contrary I think local imposed sanctions by top earners will continue to prejudice the government millions if not billions of dollars, under what I will it call financial terrorists and economic saboteurs, who appear to have been authorized to embezzle funds to suit their personal aggrandizement.
Corruption is only acknowledged in the transport sector but it is rampant in agriculture, local government, energy, environment and natural resources and others. The “Quick win” would be to arrest and bring to trial all corrupt government officials if this is not done the whole plan is doomed to fail. Let me point out the dangers of corruption. Corruption inhibits social, political economic transformation as sought by ZimASSET. Corruption depletes national wealth and also undermines economic development by generating considerable distortions and inefficiency and as it funnels scarce public resources to uneconomic high profile projects at the expense of the much needed projects such as schools, hospitals and roads, or the supply of potable water and impoverishing the entire population. In the private sector, corruption increases the cost of business through the price of illicit payments themselves. In political sphere, corruption impedes democracy and the rule of law as public institutions and offices lose their legitimacy when they misuse their power for private interest. Corruption reduces interest of political participation, lead to political instability, reducing the transparency of political decision making and sustaining political patronage.
The secret service`s arm of white collar criminal activities seem to be complicit and some sections of the society must be forgiven for calling for its disbandment because it failed to dictate or expose these illegal local imposed sanctions by senior government employees who are enriching and growing their pot bellies at the demise of the state overtime. The public media is commended for the expose` of obscene salaries and ZANU PF`s intentions to revive the economy by coming up with this robust document. However it is very saddening to observe that listed blitz interventions do not have rapid strategies to deal with corruption, inferences are made to strengthen government institutions and combat corruption but it is not convincing the way it is outlined in the economic framework.
I think the point of departure in the short-term to medium term is that for the coming two years ZANU PF must build people`s confidence to the government in light of salary gate revelations in reviving the economy.
• They must arrest and put on trial all authors, sponsors and beneficiaries of scandals in various government departments.
• They must not leave a stone unturned. There are allegations of corruption that are still pending of the embezzlement of $6 million by the former chairperson of the minerals board but update no action has been taken.
• They must empower the Anti Corruption Commission to carry out its constitutional mandate without fear or favor. If this is done it will build confidence from the general populace that the government is sincere and serious about leading a sustainable economic recovery plan.
• The last two years before 2018 the ZANU PF led government must be to rally the general populace behind the economic recovery plan. Otherwise with the current shocking levels of corruption the ZimASSET will just be a pipe dream and a remain a wish to many Zimbabweans, as more economic plans will follow it as has been the norm over past years, Esap to ZimPREST, to NERP to MERP, to STERP now ZimASSET.