BVTA condemns actions of BCC police in injuring a vending minor and victimisation of the mother in Bulawayo Issued by


Bulawayo Vendors and Traders Association (BVTA)

BVTA strongly condemns actions and the heavy handedness of the Bulawayo Municipal Police that led to a 15 year old minor suffering a broken arm during their violent raids on vendors whose only crime was selling eggs to raise funds for schools fees on Friday 19 August 2016 and subsequent seemingly counter accusation of the mother for assaulting a female municipal two weeks after.

We categorically state that this kind of behaviour is a violation of people rights and inhumane treatment that has no place in the modern society.

BVTA would like to unequivocally remind the Bulawayo City Council authorities of Section 53 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe that says; no person may be subjected to physical or psychological torture or to cruel inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment and the same vein to remind them of the rights of arrested persons.   BVTA further posits that the actions of the municipal police are in violation of Section 19 subsection (2c) of the Constitution that states that the child must be protected from maltreatment, neglect or any form of abuse.

BVTA also notes that BCC municipal police violated the United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child.  When adults make decisions, they should think about how their decisions will affect children. It also further violated Article 19 that says that children have a right to be protected from being hurt and mistreated, in body or mind.

BVTA calls upon the Bulawayo City Council to investigate the violent conduct of their municipal police officers and prosecute all those who have taken law unto themselves to injure and maim vendors who are involved in genuine means to earn a living.

We are also aggrieved by unwarranted seizure and confiscation of vendors and informal traders’ goods and generic brutalizing and harassment of informal traders and vendors especially defenseless women and girls.

We also abhor the subsequent arrest of the mother in spurious charges of assaulting a BCC female police detail two weeks after the injury meted on her daughter.

BVTA believes that dialogue between BCC and vendors and informal traders is a sure way to find alternative means to address the problems faced by vendors in the city.

Bulawayo Vendors and Traders Association (BVTA), is a membership organisation that represents the vendors and informal traders by engaging in policy research and advocacy to ensure that the rights and interests of vendors and informal traders are promoted and facilitated.

Bulawayo Vendors and Traders Association (BVTA) can be contacted on:

Office 406 Fidelity Life Building,

Fife Street & 11th Avenue


Mobile Phone : +2638644210108

Email: bulawayovendors



Young women demand spaces in local government in Northern Ghana

By Michael Mdladla Ndiweni

Women in general play a key role in development and imparting them with relevant knowledge, skills and positive attitude increases their participation in local governance. This is very crucial especially in the Northern region of Ghana where women still constitute low numbers in contesting for positions decision making bodies. For example only 4% were who filed to contest for local government elections in March 2015 and only 5,7%  women filed for Unit Committees from a total of 4156 seats.  Studies have also revealed that women are the largest part of the population but their voices are not yet heard in critical decision making bodies but are sidelined to focus on unpaid care work that is burdening them than their male counterparts.

The ActionAid Ghana Global Platform has introduced Women in Governance course that seeks to improve women participation at district, regional and national levels at the same time empower and inspire  especially young women to actively participate in local decision processes, demand accountability and more gender sensitive policies, and further campaign and challenge themselves to seek elective positions.

As part of efforts to help young women demand accountability and understand local governance a local government official was invited to talk about local government in Ghana. The most exciting part of the presentation was the fact that Ghana has a decentralized system of governance that created 216 districts under the Local Government Act of 1993. The presentation also pointed that this system encourages local participation and young women can utilize opportunities provided to push for policies that address their needs and other issues that affect them. The system also transfers functions, functionaries and funds for local governments to champion the development agenda. The course challenged young women to utilize the system since it is nonpartisan and also lobby to have their interests represented in 30% seats allocated for special interests groups. The presentation also pointed the importance of understanding local government as it gives people power to demand accountability, influence the allocation of resources and understand their roles and responsibilities as citizens.

Young women participants expressed dismay that they felt allocation of resources to district assemblies was often politicized and deserving districts were not given a priority due to vested political interests by political leaders. The young women demanded fairness in the allocation of resources so that district assemblies address the need for social amenities pertinent women and girls who walk distance to access services such as healthcare.  They also challenge the local government to create more spaces and engage with women as there are most affected by poor decisions. They also demanded concrete strategies that will increase the voice of women in decision making processes and make them safe cities for women and girls.

Other challenges of the decentralized system of governance is that sometimes there is delay in disbursement of developmental funds from the central government level, poor or weak district structures to demand accountability and also influence budget allocation.

Vibrant youths are doing it in Bulawayo

During the end of month of August 2015, I visited my country of birth Zimbabwe and uMthwakazi capital ko Bulawayo. I was left believing that Bulawayo youths can still change their situation. My visit coincided with a massive residents campaign to send a big NO to the Bulawayo City Council towards their unilateral decision to install prepaid water meters to already disadvantaged communities at the same time violating their fundamental rights.
The campaign was led by Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association a vibrant resident’s movement that empowers grassroots communities to take a political stand and claim their basic rights. The campaign came after a series of other lobbying and advocacy activities that came as a result of the Bulawayo City Council resolution to install prepaid water in Bulawayo.
I was humbled by the commitment shown by scores of young people who volunteered their time and energy to carry out door to door campaign sensitizing residents on the importance of refusing to accept the unilateral council decision by the city council. The youths braved chilly weather for a worthy cause.
This demonstrated the power within youths that can be explored and bringing about meaningful change within communities. This proved that youths can move mountains if they build alliances with grassroots organizations and begin to speak in one voice.
I was also inspired by youths who participated in the demonstration against the Bulawayo City Council to stop its ill-advised decision that brought over 2000 residents from townships of Bulawayo. I saw the power of mass mobilization. I saw the duty bearers trembling and locking their offices because the people had had spoken. The message was very loud and clear that Bulawayo is saying NO TO PREPAID WATER METERS #antiprepaidwater
I do not have words to express my satisfaction and gratitude to amazing work done by Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association. I was left with hope that youths are still the vanguard. I urge for more such initiatives to be carried out. Slowly but surely the youths in Bulawayo are claiming their space. The momentum built on these campaigns must cascade to the economic sector.
I believe youths can still change the face of Bulawayo. There is need for the youths to continue putting their heads together and organizations such as these creating spaces for youths to meet and shape their own destiny. The struggle is continuing.

Young Female Parliament – Unique to ActionAid, Beneficial to Every Young Woman

After observing the nature of humanity and the evil that pervades our world, Mahatma Gandhi left this in the sands of time: “Of all the evils for which man has made himself responsible, none is so degrading, so shocking or so brutal as his abuse of the better half of humanity; the female sex.” Jostein Gaarder, a renowned intellectual and author also affirms that “A state that does not educate and train women is like a man who only trains his right arm.” The scholar had resolved that development cannot be achieved if women are discriminated in socio-economic and political activities.

These two philosophies epitomize the work of Northern Sector on Awareness and Action Center (NORSAAC), a Local Non-Governmental Organization based in the Northern region of Ghana and supported by ActionAid Ghana. The two organisations have programmes to groom and inspire young women to be part of the political and development discourse within their schools and beyond. Advocacy on issues affecting women and girls resulted in the creation of the Young Female Parliament (YFP), a unique innovation that is turning around the lives of young women in the Northern region.

The making of YFP
The initiative was propounded in 2009 by NORSAAC and ActionAid Ghana (AAG), having discovered the glaring disparities between young women and young men in their participation in local decision making processes, which are caused by the profound patriarchal cultural practices, beliefs and systems in the Region. The two partners have a mandate to build the capacity of the marginalised to access their needs on a sustainable basis and enjoy equal rights.

Over 700 girls are part of the leadership development initiative. NORSAAC and ActionAid Northern Region Programme have successfully developed and rolled out YFP in Nineteen (19) Senior High and Tertiary schools in fifteen (15) Districts in the region. This is a stimulant for girls in schools to challenge power structures that have historically oppressed females and violated their rights. The model has already achieved milestones by recording its first Senior Prefect at Chereponi Senior High School. The Zabzugu Senior High school has its first female assistant senior prefect in the school’s history.

A tool for practical coaching
The inventiveness ensures that young girls are acquainted with leadership skills and coached to contest for school and district level decision-making and leadership positions. The concept affords girls the knowledge to develop convincing and implementable school election manifestos and equips them with public speaking skills. It inspires girls to aspire to lead and change negative attitudes, beliefs, norms and perceptions towards women and girls. It motivates girls to be game changers within communities. It is a safe platform for girls to support, open up, share and support each other, to play active roles in decision making.

The YFP innovation is anchored mainly on four core pillars: leadership, human rights, social activism and women’s’ health. These tools empower girls to confront the society with a positive attitude and prove that they are not objects, but subjects.

Barriers to participation of women and girl

An assessment on women`s participation in local governance by Abubakar and Ayuune (2014) revealed that women lack confidence and have inferiority complex compared to men, and this undermines their status. The survey revealed that this is due to the patriarchal nature of the society.To overcome these barriers, a proven model like the YFP has been found to be effective. It restores confidence and promotes respect of human rights while giving women and girls a voice to speak out. It responds to such beliefs and battles allegations that the people of the Northern region have for a long time been subjecting their girls and women to harmful cultural practices.

An analysis by the Foundation for Security and Development in Africa (FOSDA) asserts that the Northern region has the highest number of under representation of women at all levels of decision making processes. It argues that this is exacerbated by low literacy levels, food insecurity and poverty that increase the vulnerability of women and girls.

Statistics have also given credibility to NORSAAC`s work and proven that women in the Northern region still play second fiddle to their male counterparts due to deeply entrenched cultural practices that malign women and girls. A glimpse on participation in elections illustrates that out of a total of 137 females who contested in the District Assembly Elections in 2010, only 19 of them were elected. In that same year, while only one was elected to the Tamale Metro Assembly compared to 64 males, no woman was elected in nine other Districts in the region. Overall, only 6 women in the entire region won the elections to become Assembly Members out of a total of 43 women who contested. These disturbing disparities demonstrate the negative views, perceptions and status of women and girls in the society.

The Human Rights-Based Approach (HRBA)
This work fits into ActionAid’s Human Rights Based Approach (HRBA) that advances women’s rights, promotes rights-based and sustainable alternatives, partnership and alliance building and working with young people. It analyses obligations, inequalities and vulnerabilities in order to address discriminatory practices and unjust distribution of power that impedes progress and diminishes human rights. The HRBA was the motivation of the partnership between the ActionAid and NORSAAC.

Extolling the virtues of the YFP, NORSAAC Project Officer, Wasila Abdul Rahaman, explains that the initiative depicts parliament and serves as a lobby group and launch pad for young girls with low self-esteem to build their confidence, gather skills, competencies and knowledge on human rights. This would enable them to effectively participate in decision making in their schools, communities and in the society.

The project officer said the innovation has challenged the conventional thinking of some head teachers who still believe that females cannot lead. She noted that some girls are still trapped in cultural beliefs and predispositions that they are weaker and cannot be heard by boys in schools to campaign and win positions.

An innovation worthy of emulation
The YFP innovative provides a practical approach to mobilize and promote the empowerment of girls to claim their space and voices in decision making and leadership. It involves, recognizes, and nurtures the strengths, interests, and abilities of young women through the provision of real opportunities to become change makers and impact their generation.

YFP resonates with theories of participation proffered by Hart (1997) that argues that youth participation is at different levels. It starts from the lowest stage of participation to the highest stage of active involvement of young people, where decision making is shared and initiated by both young people and adults. The YFP is a model that is worthy to be emulated in other regions in the country.

By Michael Ndiweni and Alia Mumuni
Northern Region Programme
ActionAid Ghana
Twitter: @mdladlaspeaks

Mad Mutodi a sponsored merchant of evil and tribalism

Merchants of bigotry, tribalism, malice like Energy Mudhodi cannot go unchallenged especially when he drags our people to their internal fights in their political party and want to foment a serious tribal war and scratches on the wounds of the Gukurahundi genocide. This moron thinks that any person who is Ndebele thinks like him who is high on hate of Ndebele and anyone from Matabeleland. I do not mind him to go on with a smear campaign to fight his internal factional fights targeting Ndebele speakers or persons of Ndebele origin in his party but I get miffed when he drags every Ndebele speaker to their internal fights.   This mad man must be monitored before he incites tribal violence in the country and sowing the seeds of division. He must be warned that never again we will fold hands when he pokes fun to our people who are still seeking closure, nursing wounds, scars and mourning their loved ones who never received descent burial after being butchered during the genocide.

As much as his theories and allegations are similar to someone who has wet dreams,  they become very serious and alarming when he makes a narrative that was used to propagate Gukurahundi which exterminated  over 20000 people that dissidents killed white people whether that true or false those who were involved know better. He is now using the same absurd and nonsensical narrative to accuse our people that they hijack busses to South Africa targeting people of Shona group of tribes. His script and narrative clearly reads from the 1979 Grand Plan of undermining Ndebele people and pulling all the stops to demean them.  He conveniently forgets that the busses attacked some were from Bulawayo, unless if he is saying that only people of Shona origin board such busses. He went on to accuse our people for burning busses whilst investigations revealed that the two explosions were a result of an electrical fault of one of the busses.

The conclusion is that merchants of evil are scared of their shadows every time and a reflection of a siege mentality scurrying for cover based on non-existent threats. His hallucinations confirm the fear a public debate on restoration Mthwakazi state/kingdom that has been hitting headlines in the state media which is healthy in a democracy for people to debate on governance systems of their choice as espoused in the constitution so as to address underlying factors that make people opt of such ideals. It however confirms lack of conscience and uneasiness to merchants of evil like Mutodi to allow for a healthy debate made by those who are advocating for it.  One also is made to believe that he is speaking on behalf of big people with small minds in his party who are handling him to spew raw sewer and rant like dog infected with rabies. Perhaps that is the mentality of his party that wants to nurture hatred and tribalism to the young generation of the country. This will be confirmed by the failure by his party to reign on him before he escalates sowing the seeds of a tribal civil unrest.

My small research revealed this man has outstanding cases of fraud and racketeering.  Mutodi is currently on trial accused of swindling $588 787 after luring over 16 000 civil servants to join and contribute to his National Housing Delivery Trust. I also discovered that a few back his property was attached. One wonders how such a party tolerates such thuggery and thievery; he is the very person who is supposed to be shown the door.  Perhaps he has gone mad

Despite the dire situation of young people, hope is still not lost

Overtime young people have been ostracized and their voices not heard in decision making bodies and in socio- economic and political spheres centrally to their personal development and that of communities.

Statistics indicate that the majority of the Zimbabwean youths are not partaking in development initiatives in their communities.  For example COPAC (2012) declares that 22, 58% young people participated in the constitutional making outreach meetings. Youth Forum (2011) adds that from the previous general election held in 2008 statistics indicate that a paltry 18 % of the youths aged between 18-30 years turned out for the elections.  This is incredibly low in view of the fact that youths make up about 66% of Zimbabwe’s total population. In essence statistics show that less than 10% of youths managed to participate in each province, a massive indicator of apathy. This gives a hind sight that perhaps there is correlation between participation and having the economic muscle. It suggests that young people will be occupied by other activities that are inclined to survival and bringing food on the table and participation becomes a luxury than a right.

Literature available cite the causes and synopsis of this situation as the payment of gratuities to war veteran which raised inflationary pressures, the government’s involvement in the conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the implementation of the necessary but chaotic land reform programme, economic distortions caused by price controls and the misalignments of the foreign exchange rate and the collapse of respect for property rights and entrepreneurial freedom. Researchers have proved that the situation of the youths is dire and needs urgent attention. According to the Labour Force Survey of 2011 in Zimbabwe, unemployment rates were highest for the youths, those with secondary education and higher education.

After the advent of the economic down turn as alluded above, the wealth turned into the hands of a few political correct individuals, usually owners use proxies such as the political elite to manage their wealth and as a result they become the core of decision making using power associated with controlling wealth and means of production. This then alienates young people who do not own the means of production to take part and participate in mainstream decision making and economic activity.  This explains the predicament of many youths in Zimbabwe.

Limited meaningful measures have been adopted to prepare youths to meet their challenges in life and to resist the temptation to be used. This situation has led to many youths to be indoctrinated with dangerous ideologies thus eliminating independent and critical thinking of youths on developmental issues and finding alternatives to make their lives better.  Whilst others become willing pawns in order to earn means of survival. Politically, youths have been abused as pawns to perpetrate politically motivated violence and few youths are groomed to assume leadership positions in communities.

Young people have resorted to illegal gold panning, forced to illegally migrate to neighboring countries to look for jobs, some become hard core criminals i.e. armed robbers, drug dealing, human traffickers, stock theft as means of economic survival.

Social values have been lost as relationships in families are strained due to disintegration, teen pregnancy increase, abuse alcohol and drugs, prostitution, HIV infection and early or arranged marriages. All these vices have affected youth development at individual, family and at community levels.

Despite all these challenges hope is still not lost for the youths; scores of young people still toil day and night to earn a living. I think to retain their lost dignity due to their situation, lost values and broken social fabric, robust initiatives must be adopted to facilitate active their participation and bring about positive change in the lives of the youths.

Academics have suggested that entrepreneurship and self-employment has been identified as a source of new jobs and “economic dynamism” that can improve youth livelihoods and economic independence in developing countries for young people with limited resources, life and work experience. This then calls for supporting policies to create an enabling environment for young people with ideas to thrive that contribute towards sustaining their livelihoods.

There is need to shift from modernization mainstream economic  theories  to People centered development theory as an alternative to increase the participation of young people in decision making processes and increase their economic participation that will improve their livelihoods. This paradigm shift must be not be done for political expediency but sincere empowerment of young people regardless of one`s racial origin, ethnic inclination, political orientation and preferences.

Youths should be made equipped with knowledge to understand the constitution that gives them power to demand their socio – economic rights from the duty bearers. Support must  be provided by the state and non-state actors for example entrepreneurial skill development, support with seed capital and more important the government and other arms.

By Michael Mdladla Ndiweni

Matabeleland region never enjoyed the fruits of independence

The Matabeleland region has been a victim of well-orchestrated strategy of alienation, subjugation, under development and economic strangulation. This can be traced back to the first 7 years after the independence, period 1980 – 1987. The Zimbabwe economic history began with the transition to majority rule in 1980 and Britain’s ceremonial granting of independence. The new government under Prime Minister Robert Mugabe promoted socialism, partially relying on international aid and sang equality for all. The new regime inherited one of the most structurally developed economies and effective state systems in Africa. The government propagated a whole range of new economic policies, introducing a minimum wage and virtually eliminating the right to fire workers, total spending on education nearly tripled (from Z$227.6 million to Z$628.0 million), as did government spending on healthcare (from Z$66.4 million to Z$188.6 million), between 1979 and 1990, The new government maintained much of this intervention such as restricting the use of foreign currencies, whilst increasing taxation and government spending to reduce poverty and inequality.

Matabeleland suffers vindictiveness and lags behind from the onset
Despite all this rapid growth experienced by the country, Matabeleland remained stagnated and plagued by indiscriminate violence against citizens, crimes reported during early 80s to mid-80s by some journalists, medical practitioners, missionaries were such as arbitrary searches, destruction of essential infrastructure, looting of shops, rape, torture and massacres and also denial of family members to bury or mourn their loved ones as the prize for defiance was death. A study by the Swedish government revealed that the period between 1980 – 1989 Zimbabwe had 4500 primary schools, a number of high schools and colleges all over the country and the majority of these were in Mashonaland regions, one will argue that it is a reflection of demographic figures in Zimbabwe but empirical evidence proves that there are no colleges in Matabeleland region in particular in the northern parts of the province. It further gives credence that Matabeleland did not benefit from the rapid growth experience a few years post-independence and even up to date.
Inherited debt, lack of foresight and its implications
Moreover at Zimbabwe’s birth in 1980, the country inherited a $700 million debt from the Rhodesian government of Ian Smith. The loans had been used to buy weapons in the 1970s, breaking UN sanctions. The new government came under international pressure to take on the debt, whilst being promised over $2 billion by western governments for reconstruction and development. This debt grew through the 1980s due to drought, questionable development loans, and ‘aid’ loans from western governments tied to buying exports, including military aircraft. By 1990, to keep paying the debt, Zimbabwe had to take out bailout loans from the IMF and World Bank. In return, the economy was liberalized and public spending cut. Growth slowed, a trade deficit was created and poverty and unemployment increased. The government could have focused on beneficiation and value addition to produce primary products and created jobs than to get loans to purchase military aircrafts and falling for economic structural adjustments programmes.
The lost plot and betrayal
Between 1981 – 1989 the Zimbabwean received 14 banks loans and four Infrastructure Development Aid credits, totaling to US$ 657 million, US$51million towards agriculture, what comes to mind is the drought of 1982 -84 what happened to the loan if people starved with such huge sums of aid meant food and agriculture. The other US$136 million was meant to support the rehabilitation and expansion of exports. US$ 141 million was channeled to the transport sector and again I wonder if the region benefited from the funding since many roads and transport infrastructure has not been developed since independence. In my view I think this where the government lost the plot to believe the British. This also speaks to complicit of the British in Gukurahundi massacres. One begins to suspect that parts of the loans were used to fund the militia announced by the then prime minister to combat malcontents in Matabeleland regardless of the claims made by the then minister of state who told parliament that North Korea had given Zimbabwe a grant of 12.5 million pounds towards purchase of military hardware. Perhaps these are loans that are still hanging on Zimbabweans people necks that came guised as grants and have ballooned into billions of dollars. My conclusion is that loans that were taken by the government did not benefit the region; instead it appears they were used to fund the war against defenseless citizens. Up to date the region still suffers from underdevelopment and it is feeling the pinch of the debt that never brought positive change to their lives. For example schools and other infrastructure were destroyed during the period under review when loans and development aid was flowing to the Zimbabwean government.
Display of dwarfism, wrong turn and foolishness
The government of Zimbabwe was also fooled by the UK which gave ‘aid’ loans and tied Zimbabwe to buy products from British companies such as General Electric and Westinghouse. I find this as absurdity at its highest level that the government was that drunk to accept such an offer and it even borrowed money to fund planting of tress from the World Bank, so that local people could use cheaper wood rather than expensive coal, what if the government had borrowed to increase coal production. And having planted the trees the government discovered that locals already had plenty of wood. What a sick joke is this. The UK backed further loans for the Zimbabwean government to buy British made Hawk aircraft and the government accepted, which were later used in the war in Congo in 1998 which also contributed in the destruction of the economy. This proves beyond reasonable doubt the cluelessness of our government since independence, some decisions did not need advice from a rocket scientist not be made. It is just exhibition of foolishness and lack of foresight albeit with such high literacy rate that Zimbabweans flaunts everywhere. Interestingly since 1980 Zimbabwe has been lent $8 billion but repaid $11 billion. Despite this it is still said today to have a debt in excess of $7 billion, from loans for structural adjustment to Land Rovers and planting trees. In addition, research by various organizations indicates that the Zimbabwean government has been in default on most of its debt owed to the rest of the world, currently estimated to be around US$7 billion. Like seriously, to be a country notoriously known for defaulting when it is richly endowed with natural resources and even alluvial diamond that were discovered lately, how embarrassing.
It is our time to be the beacons of hope
This is the moment for people in Matabeleland to converge and begin to find lasting solutions to socio- economic and political problems that are bedeviling the region. There is need to work together and create opportunities for the young generation to empower themselves and take the region forward since the old generation has failed. Skills development will be useful for the youths to create their own jobs and have their own wealth. Matabeleland business people both local and beyond the borders must find ways support with seed capital so that youths do not end up being used by selfish politicians and other soulless infidels whilst begging for capital to start their initiatives. There is also the need to identity ways that can support the education for those that have the potential to be game changers in the communities. And lastly civic education on socio- economic and political rights remains an integral tool for critical conscientization.
By Michael Mdladla Ndiweni
I write what I want – let’s get talking