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Card theft driving false vaccination stats – ZDI

Covid-19 vaccination

By Nkosana Dlamini

Local think-tank, Zimbabwe Democracy Institute (ZDI) says government’s forced Covid-19 vaccination drive was leading the country to a “dummy herd immunity” as some citizens opposed to the exercise resort to buying stolen cards from corrupt health officials to fake taking the jab.

Zimbabwe is keen to inoculate at least 60 percent of the national population by end of this year to achieve the much-desired herd immunity.

To reach the target, government has intensified the procurement of the dose from abroad, coupled with continued threats of job and wage losses as well as a ban from accessing public services among citizens reluctant to take life-saving jab.

“Theft of Covid-19 vaccination cards at vaccination centres as reported in mainstream media is an indicator of a bad state of affairs in the health sector in as far remuneration of healthcare workers is concerned,” reads the report in part.

“These unfortunate incidences distort the county’s Covid-19 vaccination data and information and give a wrong impression on vaccination progress.”

ZDI, formed to generate and disseminate innovative ideas, cutting-edge research and policy analysis to advance democracy, also warned that government’s failure to address incapacitation of the country’s healthcare staff was turning out a “catalyst of corrupt activities across many health centres in Zimbabwe”.

Added ZDI, “The requirement of Covid-19 vaccination evidence in form of vaccination cards in some employment and leisure spheres has seen members of the public scrambling for vaccination cards without necessarily going through the normal and accepted vaccination process.

“Cases of Covid-19 vaccination cards’ theft and disappearance from vaccination centres have found their way into mainstream media in Zimbabwe.”

The public policy based think-tank said it has done enquiries into the administration of the dose where it noted that details of people buying Covid-19 vaccination cards are entered into the official vaccination database.

“There’s a risk of chasing a dummy Covid-19 herd immunity if the rot in the public health sector is not urgently addressed,” said the think-tank.

According to authorities, as of 4 October, 2021, a total of 3 117 895 people had received their first dose and 2 322 862 their second across the country.

This translates to a national coverage of 36.6% for the first dose and 27.2% for the second.

This comes amid a significant decline in the rate past few weeks.

The drop, said ZDI, was partly due to ack of a strategy by government “to break the existing rural-urban divide in terms of information and awareness on Covid-19 vaccination and the need to reach a target of herd immunity”.

The think-tank also called for the setting up of adequate vaccination centres in all parts of the country for ease of accessibility among communities.

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LATEST: Govt okays reopening of bars to vaccinated clients only

Beerhall

Zimstar News

Government has given licenced bars the greenlight to reopen but only to fully vaccinated patrons.

This was announced at a post-cabinet media briefing in Harare Tuesday by Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa.

Bar owners are also required to ensure that Covid-19 protocols and guidelines are enforced, failure of which, licences will be withdrawn.

Said minister Mutsvangwa, “Cabinet notes, with concern that the continued closure of licensed bars and nightclubs has resulted in not only in loss of income and unemployment but also resulted in the mushrooming of illegal outlets.

“Cabinet, therefore, directed that all licensed bars be opened to fully vaccinated clients. Bar owners are also required to ensure that the World Health Organisation and national protocols and guidelines are enforced, failure of which their licenses will be withdrawn and will have to adhere to curfew hours.”

This will come as a relief to bar owners whose businesses have been closed since government introduced its lockdown measures to try and limit the spread of Covid-19.

The relaxation of lockdown regulations by government follows the continued decline in new infections with the country recording zero deaths past 24 hours.

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Rights lawyers confront police boss over gassing of passengers

Police Commissioner general Godwin Matanga

Zimstar News

Rights lawyers have demanded written guarantees by Police Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga his operatives will now stop endangering lives of innocent passengers by throwing teargas into loaded buses.

This they did in a petition this past week by Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR)’s Tinashe Chinopfukutwa and Paidamoyo Saurombe.

The action by the lawyers follows shocking scenes in which passengers of a Beitbridge bound Mulaudzi bus were forced to scramble out of the coach when some police details fired a teargas cannister into the bus.

The incident was captured on video and circulated via social media.

Police were trying to force the bus driver to stop amid indications he had ignored their orders to do so.

The ZRP has indicated it is investigating the incident.

But lawyers have gone on to demand written assurances from Matanga the condemned practice shall not happen again as this is now becoming a policing trend with a similar incident happening in Harare in October last year.

According to a ZLHR statement, the lawyers who have confronted the police chief insist, “the indiscriminate throwing of teargas canisters into loaded public transport vehicles amounts to excessive and unjustifiable use of force by ZRP members and amounts to a violation of the passengers right to human dignity and the right to personal security as provided for in Section 51 and Section 52 of the Constitution.”

Added the rights group, “The lawyers also advised Matanga that they are in the process of preparing a court application for the ZRP members’ conduct in question to be declared a violation of passengers’ fundamental rights guaranteed in the Constitution and for an order prohibiting such conduct.”

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Death strikes as George Charamba loses baby mama…she is second wife to die 4 years

George Charamba, Mumbengegwi

Zimstar News

Presidential spokesperson George Charamba has lost his former wife with whom he birthed three of his children.

Charamba, who is Deputy Chief Secretary-Presidential Communications in the Office of the President of Zimbabwe, announced the sad news through his Twitter handle this Sunday morning.

The incident happened within hours after the top public official had buried his brother.

“WHEN IT POURS: Barely 12 hours after burying my brother Tinashe “Zvichemo” Charamba, the mother of my first three kids in my first marriage, Dr Rudo Grace-Gwata Charamba is late. She passed on in the early hours of this morning at Westend Hospital where she had been admitted for…kidney-related complications. May her soul rest in eternal peace,” he said.

It is the second time in a space of four years for the long serving public official to lose a partner.

In May 2017, Charamba lost his wife, Idaishe Olivia Charamba, who succumbed to liver complications.

Idaishe, who was a lawyer, died aged 45.

Just like his just deceased former wife, Idaishe died at West End Hospital in Harare.

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China ambassador says rivals jealous of friendship with Zim

Chinese ambassador to Zimbabwe Guo Shaochun

China and Zimbabwe will continue to work together to advance bilateral cooperation despite criticism from Western detractors, Chinese ambassador to Zimbabwe Guo Shaochun said Thursday.

In a speech ahead of the 72nd anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China on Oct. 1, the ambassador said the upward momentum in China-Zimbabwe cooperation is unstoppable.

“Our long-standing friendship and fruitful cooperation have made some political elements jealous. They keep saying something is not right, fabricating fake news to attack Chinese investments in Zimbabwe and soil the image of China and Chinese companies.

“We are confident facts speak louder than words. We are confident the wise Zimbabwean people will not be fooled by a bunch of clowns. We are confident our deep-rooted friendship will not be shaken by a couple of lies.

“In fact, their smearing only vindicates our success and enhances our confidence and strength. China and Zimbabwe will keep running hand in hand so fast that their lies can never catch up,” Guo said.

He said China-Zimbabwe cooperation in political, economic and social areas had just begun to release its huge potential.

“Let us continue to demonstrate a commitment to act and deliver. The steps we take and the impact we produce is the best way to improve life for our peoples to repel provocations and to fulfill the historical responsibilities placed on us by our times,” the ambassador said.

The Chinese envoy said China was inspired by the impressive growth in China-Zimbabwe relations over the past 41 years since the two countries established diplomatic relations.

China-Zimbabwe relations had grown from strength to strength, culminating in the two countries elevating their bilateral ties to a comprehensive strategic and long-term partnership of cooperation in 2018.

Guo said over the years, China has implemented various flagship cooperation projects in Zimbabwe which are nearing completion. These include the modernization of the Harare International Airport and the construction of the new parliament building.

“This month, phase three of the NetOne project was also launched, taking our cooperation further down the road of high-quality development,” he said.

The ambassador said unlike other countries, China does not interfere in the domestic affairs of other countries and its help does not come with political or economic strings attached.

“China works in the areas most important to Zimbabwe’s development and produces impact on the ground,” he said.

Guo said the COVID-19 pandemic had brought China and Zimbabwe closer, as the two countries boost cooperation in fighting the pandemic.

“Zimbabwe, out of respect for science and common sense, spoke clearly against politicization of the virus origins tracing, making its voice for justice heard across the international community.

“On its part, China has donated multiple batches of medical supplies, sent an expert team, and donated vaccines several times to Zimbabwe. The Chinese government has also helped Zimbabwe procure more than 11 million doses of vaccines from China,” Guo said. – Xinhua

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ZEC issues half-hearted denial of MDC Alliance blocking claims

ZEC chairperson Priscilla Chigumba

Zimstar News

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has issued a tepid rebuttal of claims it has barred MDC Alliance officials from attending its provincial interface meeting with political party representatives and other stakeholders.

The controversial electoral management authority, long accused of bias towards President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s Zanu PF, is mired in a fresh partisanship storm following claims that MDC some Alliance officials were barred from a provincial stakeholders meeting in Harare.

This also coincided with a leaked memo by a ZEC official TM Sunduza who is enquiring from ZEC Acting CEO Ms Chigidyi on whether MDC Alliance should be invited for stakeholders meetings.

Following the alleged barring of MDC Alliance officials, Nelson Chamisa’s party Wednesday issued a statement rebuking ZEC for attempts “to prejudice the lawful interests of the MDC Alliance by excluding us from the engagement process”.

Feeling the heat Thursday, ZEC posted a lukewarm denial of the claims on its Twitter handle.

ZEC accompanied its denials with an image of one Dalumuzi Khumalo, who was identified as an MDC Alliance official attending a provincial meeting in Lupane, Matabeleland North province.

“Contrary to press reports, ZEC has not barred any political party from stakeholder engagements.

“Mr Dalumuzi Khumalo (in white shirt) of MDC Alliance attended the Mat North meeting held in Lupane today. ZEC continues to engage its stakeholders countrywide,” ZEC said.

Nelson Chamisa’s MDC Alliance poses the most realistic threat to dislodge Zanu PF from power in an election.

The beleaguered opposition continues to accuse government of attempts to throw spanners in the wake of its bid to become the next governing authority in a country that has seen four decades of Zanu PF control.

Party spokesperson Fadzayi Mahere said Thursday that ZEC’s actions were signs of panic by Zanu PF.

“The regime is in panic mode. They know they cannot win a free & fair election because they lack popular support. Their answer is to try & bar the people’s President & the people’s party from stakeholder meetings with @ZECzim.

“This capture of state institutions is unacceptable,” she said via her Twitter handle.

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ED envoy Prophet Uebert Angel to launch newspaper business

Uebert-Angel

By Nkosana Dlamini

United Kingdom based Zimbabwe business tycoon and preacher Prophet Uebert Angel has been granted a licence to operate a daily paper and monthly magazine back home.

The publication shall operate under the title, Daily Mail Zimbabwe while the magazine, set to focus on young Influencers in fashion and business, will run under the title Africa Influencers Magazine.

The 43-year-old Spirit Embassy: Good News Church founder, who was in March appointed as the Special Presidential Envoy and Ambassador at Large to the Americas and Europe, will run the titles under his parent company.

In a statement Thursday, Zimbabwe Media Commission revealed it had granted newspaper licences to eight companies, among them, The Billion Group in which Prophet Uebert Angel Senior and his wife Beverly Uebert Angel are co-directors.

Said ZMC, “The Billion Group: The directors of the media house are Uebert Angel Senior (who is the Presidential Envoy and Ambassador at large to the Americas and Europe) and Beverly Uebert Angel.

“The media house intends to publish a daily newspaper titled The Daily Mail Zimbabwe whose editorial focus is general news and information. The mass media service will also be publishing a monthly magazine titled Africa Influencers Magazine which will focus on young Influencers in fashion and business.”

It is not the first time the preacher got a media licence in the country.

In 2012, he got a licence to publish “The Sentinel”.

Despite attempts at staff recruitment, interviewing several journalists for jobs, the paper did not see the light of day.

Among the media proprietors granted licences is former Zimbabwe Independent editor Dumisani Muleya’s News Hawks, which has centred on investigative journalism.

Added ZMC, “The News Hawks: The directors of the media house include Dumisani Muleya, Beatrice Mtetwa, Douglas Coltart and Raphael Khumalo. The media house, whose registration was initially approved early this year, mainly focuses on investigative journalism and publishes news that focuses on the government, non-governmental organizations, academia, business and the diplomatic community.”

Other publishers who have been granted licences are, Next Level Media Group Pvt Ltd, which shall publish a regional newspaper titled Mashonaland Post.

The regional paper will cover community news, sports, religious and traditional matters within the Mashonaland Provinces.

Ataraxia Communications (Pvt) Ltd, another new licence holder intends to publish two monthly magazines titled Security Insight and Farming Guide. The media house will also run an online publication titled Student Times.

Gemlands Enterprises Pvt Ltd will publish an online platform focusing on daily news, monthly documentaries, short films and music entertainment, while Rawsoot Studios, another new licence holder intends to venture into video production, photography and online media.

Fig Multimedia Tech Pvt Ltd intends to provide electronic news gatherings for China Global Television Network (CGTN) as well as producing documentaries, corporate videos and content that will feed into some television stations.

Jewel Multimedia will publish a monthly magazine titled EDevolution focusing on the devolution thrust being espoused by President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

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Journalists seized by cops while covering ZEC, political parties meeting

riot police

Zimstar News

Ten journalists from the private media have been arrested by police while covering a Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) stakeholders meeting in which Nelson Chamisa’s MDC Alliance was banned.

They include Thomas Madhuku, Nyashadzashe Ndoro, Robert Tapfumaneyi, Marshal Bwanya, Gaddaffi Wells, Adrian Maratu, Tongai Mwenje and Tinashe Muringai.

Speaking to Zimstar News from Harare Central police where they are currently being held, Madhuku narrated the journalists’ nightmare.

“We wanted to cover a ZEC stakeholders meeting at Harare provincial offices at Cecil House, corner Third and Jason Moyo.

“When we got there and while waiting on the Old Mutual Centre side, a police Toyota D4D came and bundled us into the truck and took us to Harare Central Police station.

“So when we got there waiting on the side re Old Mutual Centre, a police vehicle Toyota D4D came and bundled us into the truck and took us to Central police,” he said.

Media lawyer Chris Mhike has been assigned to follow up the incident to secure their release.

The country’s political situation is increasingly becoming tense as political parties gear up for the 2023 harmonised elections.

MDC Alliance accuses the government of attempts to throw spanners into the wake of its bid to compete for political authority in a country that has seen Zanu PF maintain its stranglehold through strong arm tactics since independence.

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Judge who ‘fired’ her boss Luke Malaba stops coming to work

Justice Edith Mushore

By Nkosana Dlamini

Justice Edith Mushore, one of the three Harare High Court judges who boldly passed a May ruling that almost rendered their boss, Chief Justice Luke Malaba jobless, has stopped reporting for work under mysterious circumstances.

State media reports that Mushore has gone “AWOL” for the past three months, amid signs of a tense atmosphere within the workplace.

Mushore is said to be claiming she is sick but has not produced any documental evidence from a medical doctor to support the claim.

Repeated efforts to enquire into the reasons of her truancy have drawn blanks as she has allegedly broken all her contact channels.

Judicial Services Commission secretary Walter Chikwana confirmed the judge is nowhere to be found.

“I can confirm that Justice Mushore has not been reporting for work since June and we are trying to find out from her what is really happening.

“We are failing to contact her. She is not picking calls and we are making every effort to get in touch with her,” he said.

The judge passed the ruling together with Justices Happias Zhou and Jester Charewa.

This followed a court challenge that had been filed by a Harare lawyer against President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s controversial decision to extend Malaba’s term of office beyond his retirement age of 70.

Mnangagwa derived his powers from a Constitutional amendment which his government had invested time and resources to see through.

Malaba did not stop reporting for work even after the High Court had declared his new tenure was illegal.

Zimbabwe has a murky history of victimisation against judges seen as reluctant to pander to the whims of the State.

In an interview with Zimstar News recently, Justice Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi, who has accused the three judges of being influenced by enemy interests to pass a ruling against Malaba, denied government harboured any intentions to victimise the judges.

RELATED: ZIYAMBI SPEAKS ON JUDGES WHO ‘FIRED’ THEIR BOSS

Ziyambi took a rather discreet approach, saying the judges have nothing to fear if they knew they did nothing wrong.

“I am not aware of any judge whose security has been threatened,” said Ziyambi.

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July Moyo imposes Mwonzora ally as Acting Harare Mayor

Minister July Moyo

Zimstar News

Local Government Minister July Moyo has pulled rank and imposed Greendale councillor Stewart Musarurwa Mutizwa as acting Harare mayor.

This follows the failure by sitting councillors in a heavily depleted Harare chamber to constitute a quorum to elect a mayor of their choice.

Moyo took it upon himself to appoint Mutizwa to the helm of the country’s largest local authority.

In a letter dated 29 September, Moyo said, “I have taken note of the contents of the letter dated 24 September 2021 in which a certificate of the declaration of a vacancy in the office of the Mayor City of Harare was issued by the Acting Town Clerk.

“The post has been vacant since 14 September 2021 and the Council has failed or neglected to appoint an Acting mayor in terms of section 104 of the Urban Council Act (Chapter 29:15).

“In terms of section 104 (2) of the Urban Councils Act (Chapter 29:15), I hereby appoint SM Mutizwa Ward 9 Greendale Councillor as the acting mayor for City of Harare with immediate effect.”

Mutizwa’s appointment follows the suspension of Jacob Mafume, an ally to Nelson Chamisa of MDC Alliance, who is being accused of abuse of office.

Mutizwa is aligned to Douglas Mwonzora’s MDC-T, the opposition faction that is seen as enjoying State favours at the expense of the rival MDC Alliance.

July Moyo letter

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