I used to think The City of Bulawayo was a city of excellence until I joined Uhlelo LweZakhamizi, Inkundla KaZulu, and other civil society organizations in an Anti Prepaid Water Meter Door to Door campaign on Saturday 21 June 2014. It was very surprised to see a Blair toilet in one of the townships. Attached are pictures that show Blair toilets in Cowdry park popularly known as Emastendini. This is 34 years after black majority rule and independence.
” Is the City Council to blame or the developer? There are parts of the city were serving of stands is done by developers who instead of having the capital to do so they rely on deposits from buyers. So be sure its council which I doubt”
“up until zanurised ple took over Byo kwakungekho lokhu…right nw zanu linked land developers doin sh***t ol over eg kubombudane etc…cn bet thts a land developer area leyo”
“in Mahatshula i bought stand from developer in a medium residential place over five years ago.stil dusty roads n no sewer line only water…”
“You are over analysing this its the Political and economic regime we are under that allows such things and establishes the enviroment for it to happen there are the source of this madness in 2014”
“ey shouldnt sell undeveloped stand. wt pisses me off with the city council is that pple actually bot those stands from em. $3500 is serious money and ey need to start focusin on real issues bayekelane lamabhawa. i propose we go to a council meetin and protest in ere. mnxxxmm such things make me feel lyk taking it to the street”
What I deduce from these bloggers is that
(1) Council is to blame for the mess at Cowdry Park, because they sold unserviced stands (2)
(2) Misplaced priorities and awarding of tenders to developers has also contributed to the mess at the eye sore township.
(3) The current regime is equally responsible for this mess.
(4) There is an invisible hand that has covert strategies to destroy the city of Bulawayo.
– Door to door campaign to enlighten on the infringements of their rights.
– Massive residents protest march against the council and government to act on the mess.
– The council must not stop selling not serviced stands forthwith.
– Dialogue between council and residents
Leonard Ncube Senior Reporter
MATABELELAND youth groups have implored government to audit the National Youth Fund introduced two years ago, in the wake of reports that only $5,7 million out of $20 million has been disbursed. National Youth Development Trust (NYDT) director Liberman Bhebhe said they were not happy about lack of accountability in the fund which was meant to be disbursed through local banks.
NYDT, Youth Network for Alternative Development, Instcha.com, Bulawayo Agenda, Women’s Institute for Leadership Development, Bulawayo Progressive Residents’ Association, Ibhetshu Likazulu, Rural Communities Empowerment Trust and Christian Youth Forum of Zimbabwe met in Bulawayo yesterday and came up with some recommendations.
“Our meeting was inspired by recent reports from Parliament when a Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Parliamentary Portfolio Committee revealed that only $5, 7 million of the youth fund administered by Stanbic Bank was disbursed to a few provinces while some did not get anything,” said Bhebhe.
He said there was need for authorities to investigate the disbursement criteria which saw the bulk of the funds going to youths in Harare while a portion was disbursed in Bulawayo.
There were no immediate exact figures on the Harare and Bulawayo beneficiaries.
There were only three beneficiaries from Masvingo while in Matabeleland South none benefited, according to the portfolio committee findings.
It was also alleged that some legislators and businesspeople also benefited despite them not being youths.
Bhebhe said they had written to the relevant authorities seeking answers.
He said they made some recommendations that government carries out an audit to establish who the beneficiaries are and from which province.
“Our recommendations are that there should be commitment by the government towards capacity building for youths so that they can be able to come up with convincing business proposals. We also urge the authorities to consider rural youths because it seems only those from urban areas were considered while there should also be a decentralisation of the process to be accessible to anyone from any part of the country,” Bhebhe said.
The NYDT director said they were also engaging MPs in different constituencies over the issue, as corrupt tendencies in the fund could defeat the whole purpose of empowering Zimbabweans.
Government came up with youth empowerment programmes, working jointly with financial institutions such as Cabs, CBZ Bank and Stanbic Bank which were extending loans to youths between the ages of 18 and 35 with viable business plans.
The maximum amount each beneficiary could access was $5,000 for small projects while for bigger projects it was $10,000 at an interest of 10 percent per annum.
Civil Society Concerned about Youth Fund Irregularities
For Immediate Release: Wednesday 4 June 2014
We, civil society organizations in Matabeleland hereby acknowledge the steps that have been taken in the disbursement of youth fund loans in an effort to economically empower young people in Zimbabwe. We are, however, grossly aggrieved by recent media revelations suggesting massive looting and irregularities in the disbursement of the fund.
It has been reported that some individuals who are over the 35 years, accessed the youth fund disregarding the definition of a youth as enshrined in the Constitution of Zimbabwe and the National Youth Policy. Of note, well known corrupt legislators, have clandestinely benefited from the fund at the expense of youths. This is evidently a breach of the fund primary objective.
According to media reports, oral evidence given before the Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Parliamentary Portfolio Committee, reveals that a legislator received $32, 380 in June 2012 for a bakery project at the age of 38. The committee also heard that an unknown individual, with a questionable physical address, received $420, 000. This occurred despite the maximum amount an individual can access being pegged at $10, 000. The committee also heard that another individual accessed a loan of $150, 000 and again, there is inadequate information about the identity or residential address of the person. These hefty loan allocations supersede the normal loan application that was made available to youths.
The committee also learned that one of the banks used a ZANU PF youth leader to follow up on the repayment of loans, which, in our view, confirms fears that the fund is disbursed in a partisan manner.
We would therefore like to express concerns about;
The lack of accountability in the fund. It is mind boggling that it took two years to pick up some glaring discrepancies. As it is, the identity of the some of the recipients who got more than the maximum amount remains unknown.
The credibility of the structures managing the fund at a community level remains questionable.
The seemingly evident, deliberate, strategy to marginalise youths from the Matabeleland regions. Harare and Mashonaland Provinces received the biggest percentage of the fund whereas Matabeleland South virtually received nothing.
Lack of capacity building efforts prior to the disbursement of the funds, resulting in the failure of most of the projects applied for.
Lack of monitoring mechanisms of these projects which has resulted in failure to repay the loans.
All this flies in the face of the provisions of section 20(1c) and (3) of the new Zimbabwe constitution which clearly outline the need for youths to be afforded employment opportunities and other avenues for economic empowerment and that such opportunities should be inclusive, non-partisan and national in character. Article 2 of the African youth charter also speaks into the importance of non discrimination in the enjoyment of rights by all young people. Additionally article 11 (2d) also emphasizes the importance of empowering marginalized and disadvantaged youths, an element that clearly lacks in the current youth fund as it has been proven to benefit legislators as opposed to poor youths. Furthermore, article 15 (4f) seeks to promote youth entrepreneurship by providing training for youths in schools and promotion of business development skills.
Therefore the manner in which the youth fund has been administered seems to be in direct violation of the guiding principles of the National youth policy which emphasise equity and diversity in article 2.5 (2). Subsection 12 of the same article also clearly states that all institutions and organizations involved in youth development should operate in a transparent manner whilst ensuring that they are accessible to youths. It is thus our conclusion that an audit of the youth fund is crucial for unveiling all discrepancies concerning the fund as a way of improving its accessibility to disadvantaged young Zimbabweans in future.
This statement has been endorsed by the following organizations:
National Youth Development Trust
Youth Network for Alternative Development
Lupane Youth for Development
Women’s Institute for Leadership Development
Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association
Rural Communities Empowerment Trust
Christian Youth Forum of Zimbabwe
Lupane Youth for Development
“The poorest person on earth is not the person who has no job, no cars, no money and no house. The poorest person is the one who has no vision. Visionlessness is poverty in disguise.” Israelmore Ayivor. This is a very true reflection of the community of Singeni in one of the very remote areas in Nkayi. This community has defied all odds of being a forgotten and lost community and is making a name for themselves. The community through its youths has joined hands with our organization and introduced activities that empower communities to speak and take a stand to claim their basic rights. This area is located at a 60km peg when you turn right at Ken Maur (St Lukes hospital in Lupane) from Bulawayo and proceed farther into the rural communities, the area is just right at the border between Lupane district and Nkayi area in the Gwamba valley.
What inspires a visitor is that this community has a vision as they have put together locally available resources and constructed two school cottages in a newly established makeshift secondary school. They have constructed makeshift roads that do not have bridges. The youths have constructed an improvised dam that was sadly washed away due to poor materials that were used. When you interact with students, local youths` community members, you feel the zeal and energy to bring about change in this remote community after so many of neglect from the government 34 years after the political independence. The training has motivated a few who have been trained to unshackle themselves and shake poverty out of their shoulders.
The youths in this community have been trained on leadership, local governance and advocacy and have shared amazing stories of their dreams and aspirations; that they have been encouraging parents to contribute funds to build a secondary school. The secondary school currently existing there is made up of huts made of mud and grass, when one approaches the school at first is made to believe it’s a homestead but will be shocked to see pupils in uniforms emerging from the grass thatched makeshift huts. The nearest secondary school is about 40kilometres away from the area. Teachers use a tree as their administration block.
This community has no accessible roads, they do not travel during the rainy season, and no access to network for communication, no radio reception, the nearest clinic is over 40 kilometers away, the nearest is police post is also 40kilometres to report criminal activities and no shops to purchase necessities that makes people function.
The organization has experienced spin chilling stories of child sexual abuses, physical abuse and violent murder cases. One story that sits with the organization is one little girl who was handcuffed by the uncle and thoroughly bashed for a very flimsy and trivial allegation. The little girl had handcuff scars all over her arms. The organization took it upon itself and working with the local leadership to assist the little girl by reporting the matter to the police, prosecution took place and the man was charged for a criminal offence. The other sad story is a student who was sexual abused by a teacher and she opened after participating in the organization`s peer education and leadership programme.
The organization has helped to reduce school drops out due to pregnancy for the last term in 2013, the first term and part of second term in 2014 as confirmed by school authorities. Students were trained in peer education, that covered leadership, advocacy and counseling in 2013. The school had a prevalence rate of 5 students dropping out per term due to pregnancy but since the inception of the programme last year no pregnancy case has been recorded at the school.
Female students from the secondary are calling for more awareness programmes to reach out to the local leadership so that they are aware of the rights of children who are frequently sexual molested and physical abused and develop early warning mechanisms to report perpetrators.
Out of school youths lament lack of knowledge and information since the community is cut from entire country, no radio reception, no network, skills that can help to initiate activities that can bring meaningful development. Consequently most youths resort to alcohol abuse and young girls fall pregnant and drop out of school due to lack on information and confidence to make informed choices. The youths want to be heard, take part, act and argue that they are fed of languishing in the vestiges of underdevelopment, neglect, marginalization and well calculated ostracism.
The organization wishes to invite partners who are willing to have a firsthand experiences/ stories to join it when it conducts its youth and community sensitization meetings and/ or visit this community. The organizations seeks to reduce child sexual abuse in this community, build a sense of confidence to the youths to stand up and speak out and demand services that will transform the local community. Assist the local community to conduct advocacy meetings and demand a share from timber and other natural resources that are harvested within locality. Assist the community to engage authorities and complete the construction of the secondary school. Facilitate meetings with the ministry of health to establish a clinic in the community and engage the Zimbabwe Police Service to establish a police post in the community. The organization envisions empowered young people working with their communities towards their desired future.
Michael Mdladla Ndiweni