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BY JAMES MUONWA

There is a high prevalence of rape cases perpetrated on children under
the age of 16, amid revelations that reported cases shot up by 11%
this year compared to 2018.
Statistics availed by the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) reveal that
rape cases of juveniles increased from 2 148 recorded countrywide last
year while the figure rose to 2 382 this year, thereby representing an
11% hike.
Police Commissioner-General, Godwin Matanga said children were worst
affected by Gender-Based Violence (GBV) committed, in most instances,
by close relative or persons known to the victims.
Matanga also highlighted that there were hordes of cases amounting to
1 177 of accused persons found foul of Section 70 of the Criminal Law
(Codification and Reform) Act which pertains to "having sexual
intercourse with a minor."
A minor is a child below 16 years of age and is, according to
legislation, unable to consent to sex.
The commissioner-general decried the snail's pace at which the
judiciary handles GBV cases, particularly those involving vulnerable
populations, who include children, women and the elderly.
"We, as police, are deeply worried by the slow pace of movement of
dockets at the courts as some complainants, including children, women
and the elderly, end up losing hope and confidence in the justice
system.
"Some of the complainants default court as finances are hard to come
by as they need busfare to travel long distances to attend court. In
some instances, accused persons end up going scot-free," said Matanga.
He, however, warned GBV perpetrators that their days were numbered as
the long arm of the law will soon catch up with them.
Adult rape cases recorded last year were 1 015 nationally and the
figure rose to 1 052 in 2019.
Indecent assault 981; aggravated indecent assault 273 to 274 while
domestic violence cases dropped from 14 191 to 11 367 in 2018 and this
year, respectively.
Matanga said total reported cases of GBV this year stood at 18 123, a
figure which he said was heightened by rape, crimes of passion,
indecent assault, psychological and economic abuse.
In light of the escalation of GBV in the country, the Ministry of
Women's Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development,
in its bid to eradicate the scourge and ameliorate the suffering of
survivors, has partnered multi-lateral agencies, civil society and
private players and has so far etablished five One-Stop Centres to
provide health, psycho-social, legal and police services under one
roof.
There are centres in Harare, Gweru, Rusape, Gwanda while the latest
was officially commissioned in Chinhoyi last Friday.
The Chinhoyi One-Stop Centre is housed at Chinhoyi Provincial Hospital
and will provide services to survivors from Mashonaland West
province's seven districts.
Minister of State for Mashonaland West Provincial Affairs, Mary
Mliswa-Chikoka said the Zimbabwe Demographic Health Survey of 2015 had
raised a red flag on the province as a hot-spot for GBV.
"The 2015 ZDHS showed that the province had the highest GBV prevalence
at 45% which is a totally unacceptable statistic. This is militating
against all developments in the province," said Mliswa-Chikoka.
She said there was need for all stakeholders to amplify voices
denouncing GBV and raise awareness on its negative impact,
particularly the breakdown of the social fabric.
The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), on the occasion of the 16
Days of Activism Against GBV, said the government had made significant
strides in providing safety nets for survivors of GBV but emphasised
on the need to scale-up prevention programmes.
The Anti-Domestic Violence Council representative, Emily Chifamba
urged survivors to report cases of rape and other forms of GBV early
to ensure they get timely interventions at the various One-Stop
Centres.
Minister of Women's Affairs, Sithembiso Nyoni also added her voice
saying Zimbabwe was moving towards a domestic violence-free society as
it puts measures to eradicate the vice, which she described as
barbaric.
The 16 Days of Activism Against GBV was this year commemorated under
the theme; "Prevention, Protection, Participation and Services: End
GBV."
It is marked from 25 November to 10 December yearly.

BY JAMES MUONWA
Chinhoyi University of Technology (CUT) is set to host the 20th edition of the Southern Africa Universities Sports Association (SAUSA) games next month.
The sporting extravaganza will run from 1 to 8 December.
Nineteen universities drawn from the region will compete in six displines namely; soccer, netball, volleyball, athletics, tug of war and indoor games.
Chairman of the local organising committee (Loc), Lee Maidza said preparations for the successful hosting of the event were progressing according to schedule. "Preparations are on-going and we are satisfied so far. We are greatly honoured to host the games of such a magnitude not just as CUT, but Chinhoyi, Mashonaland West province and Zimbabwe at large.
"Hosting universities from the region brings a great feeling and will allow us to interface and benchmark with these institutions of higher learning," said Maidza.
The Loc chair said it is hoped the gathering will bring business to local companies while visitors will have an opportunity to tour the famous Chinhoyi Caves.
Maidza said that the games would also bring entertainment to residents and showcase traditions and ways of life through cultural exchange.
CUT will use the varsity grounds and those of local institutions to host the various sporting disciplines.-SPORTS.

BY JAMES MUONWA
Cash-strapped Chinhoyi Municipality reportedly splashed over $500 000 during a one-day sports tournament held in Marondera a fortnight ago.
The local authority, which is gunning for city status, splurged the money amid deteriorating municipal services in the wake of uncollected garbage, malfunctioning street lights, erratic water supply and non-payment of employees' salaries.
Investigations by NewsDay revealed that each participant was paid $800 spending money on November 8, while middle and senior managers who used their own vehicles were paid much more in travel and subsistence allowances.
Council hired three 75-seater buses to ferry participants, who were also given new branded tracksuits.
Controversy still surrounds the tracksuits tender reportedly dubiously awarded to a company linked to a certain councillor.
When contacted for comment, town clerk Maxwell Kaitano said he had tasked public relations manager Tichaona Mlauzi to respond to inquiries by this journalist but Mlauzi was not cooperative and had not responded at the time of writing.
"Mlauzi will respond to you. I forwarded your request to him as our public relations manager and head of the local organising committee for the Inter-City Sports Festival held in Marondera," said Kaitano.
Part of the money was used to pay for accommodation for the estimated 250 participants who spent the night merry-making, before returning the following day.
Chinhoyi Residents Association chairman, Clifford Hlupeko, described the expenditure as "ridiculous."
"The expenditure of half a million on a sporting tournament is ridiculous and naive for a council that is struggling to offer good service delivery.
"It is disheartening to think that people that we entrust with our monies lose focus and become myopic and shallow-minded by prioritising wrong things at the expense of basic things such as water and roads," said Hlupeko.
He noted that the quantum of money spent on the one-day jaunt could have been used to improve the water supply situation in the perennially dry town.
Councils which participated at the sports fiesta were Harare, Bulawayo, Mutare, Kadoma, Kariba, Karoi, Gweru, Chegutu, among others-TOP NEWS.


BY JAMES MUONWA
KADOMA: Factionalism reared its ugly head during last Friday's main
Presidential Clean Up campaign held here and billed to be officiated
by Acting President Kembo Mohadi.
Scores of prominent Zanu PF figures, including Mashonaland West
provincial commissar Solomon Solomon, were conspicuous by their
absence at the event that was later officiated by Paul Damasane,
permanent secretary in VP Mohadi's office.
The only notable figures at the event were former parliamentarian Fani
Phiri, party apologists and businessmen Francis Kondanani, Langton
Mabhanga and Major Meja.
Controversial businessman-cum-politician Jimayi Muduvuri reportedly
attempted to capitalise on Mohadi's visit and convince him to
commission 10 housing units at his Pixie Combe Housing Project.
Ironically, the clean-up exercise was held at the "illegal" Kadoma bus
terminus which has, for years, been at the centre of a tussle between
Muduvuri and Kadoma City Council. Muduvuri claims ownership of the
land and has refused to cede title to council.
Sources told this reporter that the Zanu PF Kadoma district leadership
was not consulted over the VP's impending visit, hence the snub.
The event was bereft of the hype and bussing of party supporters
familiar with visits by high profile Zanu PF figures, an indictment
that all is not well in the party structures in Kadoma.
Solomon said he was not going to attend the clean-up exercise as he
had not been personally notified as is the norm.
"l will not go there. Why should l dignify an event organised by a
divisive individual like Jimayi?" charged Solomon, popularly known as
'Mambo Solo'.
Solomon accused Muduvuri of misinforming Zanu PF supporters that the
VP was visiting the town specifically to commission the houses at his
100-hectare housing project rolled out under his investment vehicle
Macsherp Holdings.
When this reporter visited the housing project on the day, a group of
clergymen and women, under the auspices of the Zimbabwe Amalgamated
Churches Council (ZACC) of which Muduvuri is patron, were convening a
meeting in a marquee tent erected to host the envisaged gathering
which would also include VP Mohadi.
However, Muduvuri's plot failed dismally, resulting in the red-faced
politician snubbing the clean-up in his own backyard, while his
hangers-on were forced to disperse at the Pixie Combe project situated
about 10 km from town centre where they waited in vain.
Said Muduvuri of his no-show at the clean-up, "All l was anticipating
was to meet my uncle (President Emmerson Mnangagwa) or the VP and
convince them to grace the commissioning of the core-houses that we
built for our clergy.
"l belong to the Zanu PF central committee and have been a party
member for over 30 years and nobody can dictate to me what to do. The
clean-up event, in the absence of the president, is too small and
not-worthy function for me to attend."
He added, "Besides, I am disabled and walk with the aid of a crutch
and you expect me to hold a broom and sweep?"
Muduvuri went on to draw a line in the sand and challenged his
adversaries to a bruising fight.-POLITICS

BY JAMES MUONWA
Chinhoyi University of Technology (CUT) will soon roll out degree
programmes in medicine and biotechnology following consummation of a
tripartite partnership with Chinhoyi Provincial Hospital and the
African Institute for Biomedical Sciences and Technology (AiBST).
The envisaged medical school will become the third in the country
after those at the University of Zimbabwe and National University of
Technology that train doctors, pharmacists and laboratory scientists,
among other disciplines.
Speaking after the signing ceremony of the memorandum of understanding
held at CUT on Tuesday, Vice Chancellor Professor David Simbi said the
penning of the tripartite agreement lay the rudimentary architecture
for the setting up of a fully-fledged School of Health Sciences and
Technology.
"Those who started the hospital yearned to make it a training hospital
and this was rekindled when the university was opened.
"There were sceptics who said there were enough doctors but we felt
otherwise. Our niche, steeped in medicine and health sciences, will be
to have educational architecture that develops a doctor who does not
only prescribe medicines but makes medicines supported by technology,"
said Simbi.
He said there was frenzied anxiety to see the project to fruition.
Chinhoyi hospital medical superintendent, Collet Mawire said his
institution's vision is to be the centre of excellence in health care
and technology that produces unique health professionals.
"Technology is the in-thing, therefore, we want to produce unique
cadres with unique features who will make a difference in terms of
health services," said Mawire.
He lamented the huge skills gap for bio-technologists and laboratory
scientists in local health centres.
AiBST chief scientific officer, Collen Masimirembwa said the field of
medicine had become stagnant and required a transformative paradigm to
churn out a new breed of medical professionals.
Masimirembwa underscored the need for teamwork among the tripartite
partners in the long and arduous journey towards the successful launch
of the envisaged medical school.
The event also saw the first cohort of eleven graduands receiving
post-graduate certificates in biomedical laboratory
technologies.-EDUCATION.

BY JAMES MUONWA
Cancer has overtaken HIV and Aids and other killer ailments to become
the deadliest disease in Zimbabwe, where 30 percent of deaths are
recorded annually.
Over 250 000 children and adolescents below 20 years old are diagnosed
with cancer every year, while 90 000 do not survive.
Health and Child Care minister, Obadiah Moyo, in a speech read on his
behalf by the director for non-communicable diseases in the Health
ministry Dr Justin Mudavanhu during belated World Hospice and
Palliative Care commemorations hosted recently at Chinhoyi Provincial
Hospital, raised concern over the urgent need to scale up integration
of palliative care in the health sector inorder to enhance equitable
access to holistic quality care for people suffering from
life-threatening illnesses.
"Cancer accounts for 30 percent of mortality in Zimbabwe and up to 7
000 new cases are recorded annually.
"The commemoration is coming at a time when Zimbabwe's epidemiological
profile reflects a dual burden of communicable and non-communicable
diseases (NCDs) that have led to high morbidity and mortality and an
observed increase in the number of NCDs such as hypertension and
cancer," said Moyo.
The Health minister said 95 percent of adults and children with NCDs
and patients afflicted by HIV/ Aids and TB require palliative care but
a paltry 5 percent was receiving it.
"With the growing demand for palliative care in the country, the
development of improved capacity to delivery of palliative care is a
high priority."
Moyo said the capacity building will be through knowledge, skills and
tools that enhance the early identification of patients who require
the service, screening and referral of patients to the next level of
care.
Speaking at the same event, a breast cancer survivor, Mwaoneni Mupungi
(49) who got help at Island Hospice, emphasised the need for
specialised care for patients and called on the government to heavily
subsidise cancer drugs which are very expensive.
Hospice and palliative care day is marked globally during the second
Saturday of October to raise local, regional and international
awareness on the subject.
This year's commemorations were held under the theme, 'Palliative
Care: My Care, My Right'.-TOP NEWS.
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