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Four feared dead after overloaded boat capsizes on Lake Kariba

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By James Muonwa l Mashonaland West Correspondent

AT least four people are feared dead after an overloaded make-shift boat capsized on Lake Kariba while en route from Nyaodza fishing camp heading towards Wafa-Wafa army base.

Rescuers have managed to retrieve one unidentified body of the four people who went missing over the weekend.

One survivor swam to safety amid strong fears the remaining three could have drowned or fallen prey to marine predators such as hippos and crocodiles.

Sources told the dingy boat with a carrying capacity of two had five occupants on board when it sank Friday afternoon.

According to lake captain, Adan Nyekete, preliminary investigations into the tragedy showed that the vessel was overloaded and motorised against its design specifications.

“The boat capsized because it was overloaded and that it was motorised which must not be the case. A dingy boat uses an oar as opposed to fitting a motor which makes it heavy and unsafe,” said Nyekete.

An oar is a pole with a flat blade, used to row or steer a boat through water.

The police sub-aqua unit is conducting a search mission for the missing persons.

Meanwhile, in an unrelated incident, the body of an unidentified man was found with its head and other body parts missing on Lake Kariba, last week.

Police are appealing to those missing relatives to come help identify the remains.

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‘Badly drafted’ PVO Amendment Bill has lapsed says legal think tank, urges govt to scrap it

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By Anna Chibamu

THE Private Voluntary Organizations (PVO) Amendment Bill has lapsed and will need to be reconsidered, Veritas has said.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa referred the bill back to Parliament during the 9th Parliament for reconsideration.

According to Veritas, the Bill lapsed long before the President had referred it back to Parliament and those Bills that had passed through the National Assembly and the Senate, but had not been signed by the President and published in the Gazette, lapsed when Parliament was dissolved just before polling day in the general election.

“Our reasoning was that, in terms of section 147 of the constitution, ‘On the dissolution of Parliament, all proceedings pending at the time are terminated, and every Bill, motion, petition and other business lapses’.

“A Bill that has passed through the National Assembly and the Senate, but has not been assented to by the President, is still a Bill and seems to be covered by the clear wording of section 147,’’ Veritas said in its publication last week.

It added that there was a general rule or convention applicable in countries with a parliamentary system such as Zimbabwe which stipulates that no Parliament should bind its successor, and hence all Bills, including those that are awaiting assent by the Head of State lapse when Parliament is dissolved.

“The PVO Amendment Bill lapsed when Parliament was dissolved on the 22nd August, immediately before polling day in the general election.  As a result, there was no longer a Bill for the President to refer back to Parliament.

“The only course for the government to take, if it wants to proceed with the Bill, is for the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare to start all over again. The Bill cannot be revived,” said Veritas.

The think tank explained further that although Standing Order 171 of the National Assembly and Standing Order 162 of the Senate allow Bills lapsed at the end of a session to be revived in a subsequent session if the National Assembly or the Senate passes resolutions to that effect but those Standing Orders do not apply to Bills which have lapsed as a result of a dissolution of Parliament.

“The Standing Orders themselves say that the Parliament dissolved before elections was the Ninth Parliament of Zimbabwe.  The one that has just been sworn in is the Tenth Parliament of Zimbabwe.  It is a different Parliament and, by virtue of section 147 of the Constitution, it cannot be bound by the unfinished business of its predecessor.

“It is a fitting end to the Bill.  It was a most unsatisfactory one:  vague, badly drafted, and in many respects unconstitutional.  The President himself had such serious reservations about it that he referred it back to Parliament.  The new Minister should take the opportunity to reconsider it completely, perhaps even to scrap it,” added Veritas.

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EU’s withdrawal of Zimbabwe Electoral Commission’s funding is a non-event – says Zanu PF

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By Staff Reporter

Zanu PF has scoffed at the European Union’s decision to withdraw a US$5 million funding for the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) following the contested August general election describing the move as a non-event.

The ruling party further said the government is capable of funding ZEC without any help.

ZEC was set up as an independent election monitor by the constitution.

Last week, the EU announced that it was withdrawing funds following the conclusion of the polls which were denounced by the EU, Carter Center, SADC, AU Electoral Observer Missions (EOM) in their preliminary reports.

In response, Zanu PF Acting Director of Information Farai Marapira said, “Responding to questions on the intention of ZEC funding withdrawal by the European Union, Zanu PF wishes to make it abundantly clear that it respects the decisions of the EU as an independent body.

“On the same note, Zanu PF is cognizant of the fact that ZEC is a constitutional body funded by the government through the treasury. Withdrawals of any and all additional funding remains a non-event.

“The EU commission is an independent entity which has got its rights to make its own decisions and if they chose to do a rescission of their funding that’s their own decision it is not a serious matter for us to consider or to look at.

“ZEC is a constitutionally mandated organization and the government has an obligation to fund all the activities of ZEC and we are capable of doing that by ourselves so whether the EU chooses to fund or not to fund is neither here nor there with us it’s a non-event,” Marapira said.

The decision by the EU follows demands for a rerun by the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) which has described the elections as a gigantic fraud.

Zanu PF’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa won the election with 52.6 percent ahead of opposition leader Nelson Chamisa who got 44 percent.

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Decoding intellectual disability and mental illness – NewsDay

In Zimbabwe the ignorance wave seems to be everywhere like a spirit, especially when it comes to the characterisation of people who are assumed to be mentally ill as being ZIMCARE.

IT is, indeed, true that wisdom begins with the realisation that one does not know. Failure to acknowledge that one does not know is the beginning of arrogance and arrogance is deleterious to growth and development.

In Zimbabwe the ignorance wave seems to be everywhere like a spirit, especially when it comes to the characterisation of people who are assumed to be mentally ill as being ZIMCARE.

People who seem to have lost touch with reality in Zimbabwe are, unfortunately, labelled as ZIMCARE, but the question is: Does ZIMCARE mean mental illness or psychosis?

The panacea to the ignorance about the disease is education and it is the purpose of this opinion piece to tell apart the concepts of intellectual disability and mental illness and in the process walk through my Zimbabwean counterparts the ABC of ZIMCARE.

ZIMCARE is an abbreviation for Zimbabwe Cares. It is an organisation that educates and cares for children and adults with intellectual disabilities or challenges in Zimbabwe which in terms of institutional representation at national and subnational levels has 14 centres across Zimbabwe.

Of those 14 centres, 11 are for learners with intellectual disabilities and three are adult workshops for persons with intellectual disabilities who are taught daily life skills, practical and vocational skills like gardening, carpentry (e.g coffin making), pottery and weaving.

The 11 centres for learners with intellectual disabilities focus on imparting basic literary and numerary skills, social skills and skills in different areas of gifting in the sporting arena.

Both children and adults in ZIMCARE centres are not presented for any formal examinations because they will never be book-smart because of their condition of intellectual disability that will be unpacked anon.

The children and adults at ZIMCARE are taught to be street-smart, their street-smartness should stand out in their communities when they can embark on livelihood projects.

The history of ZIMCARE is identified with the merging of four organisations in 1981 and these organisations were SASCAM [Salisbury Association for the Care of African Mentally Handicapped], MAMSAC [Midlands Association for the Mentally Sub-Normal Children], Hopelands Trust and Sibantubanye Day Care.

These four organisations’ common denominator was that of educating and caring for the most vulnerable children and adults with intellectual disabilities in different geographical locations. However, what may need fleshing out is that the Hopelands Trust solely dealt with whites with intellectual disabilities.

SASCAM again is another erroneous classification for people who are assumed to be mentally ill in Zimbabwe, which is again wrong if we take into account the historisation of ZIMCARE and its constituent parts.

The focus now will be on distinguishing intellectual disability from mental illness. Intellectual disability by definition is what was traditionally referred to as mental retardation. Intellectual disability describes a person whose intellectual and adaptive skills are significantly below the average for a typical person of his or her chronological age.

People with intellectual disabilities are not homogeneous, but heterogeneous in outlook because the condition of intellectual disability exists in a continuum, that is from mild to profound. This type of disability may be due to pre-natal, peri-natal or post-natal factors.

Maternal and paternal factors are also said to have a hand in causing intellectual disability as scientific inquiry claims that women below the age of 20 and those ones above the age of 35 are at risk of giving birth to children with intellectual disabilities. Males whose ages are upward of age 55 are also at risk of contributing to the birth of children with intellectual disabilities.

Children and adults with intellectual disabilities may show some of the following physical and behavioural traits; sluggish physical and cognitive growth, difficulty in retaining information, inability to follow simple routines, changes in routine and coping with novel situations are usually confusing and upsetting, short attention span, inability to stay focused on an activity, limited communication skills, delayed development of vocabulary and syntax, lack of age-appropriate self-help skills, unawareness of surroundings or failing to tell a public space from a private space leading to engaging in activities that may be inappropriate for the public space like masturbation and rubbing their genitalia.

Developmental progress may be up one day and down the next and showing delayed social-emotional behaviours.

Intellectual disability usually comes with co-diagnosis, which is one primary condition co-existing with another condition.

For example, a person with an intellectual disability may also have cerebral palsy or a health-related condition like epilepsy.

The case for comorbidity (co-diagnosis) is also supported by wide scale research which reveals that 35% of persons with intellectual disabilities also have mental illness.

From the foregoing, it is necessary to split hairs now between intellectual disability and mental illness. Both intellectual disability and mental illness are neither ZIMCARE nor SASCAM.

Mental illness is not the same as intellectual disability, because the former is a disease of the brain which disrupts the emotional, psychological and social domains of a person and in the process disrupts how a person feels, thinks and acts.

The words mental and illness are often misunderstood. Sometimes people misuse the word mental to describe someone they think is stupid, bad or evil.

For the record, mentally ill people are neither bad, evil nor stupid; they have a disease and are in pain.

Essentially, mental illness speaks to mental health challenges which are often caused by personality disorders, stress, use and abuse of substances, anxiety, depression leading to visual, auditory and olfactory hallucinations.

Mental illness can be episodic, that is irregular in terms of its occurrence and its prognosis is favourable when a combination of intervention measures such medication, counselling and social support are considered.

While mental illness disrupts the way a person feels, thinks, behaves and acts, it has nothing to do with diminished intellectual functioning that is constant as is evidenced in people with intellectual disabilities.

Despite the fact that people with intellectual disabilities may have attention deficit hyperactive disorder, that may require medication to tone down their super-charged personalities, they have no disease of the brain.

The fact that people with intellectual disabilities may not understand private and public spaces and activities attendant to such spaces lead people to stigmatising and labelling them as being mentally ill.

The most important thing about people with mental illness which sets them apart from people with intellectual disability is that they are not mentally challenged (retarded); many of them are very intelligent.

In summation, this opinion piece has indicated that putting people with intellectual disabilities and mental illness in the same basket is like comparing apples with computers.

It is hoped that this article will help to change the attitudes of the so called typical (normal) Zimbabweans towards people with intellectual disabilities and mental illness, as both these categories of people are human beings who are equal to every Zimbabwean in terms of human dignity and rights.


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