THE announcement by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) that all new voters who registered this year will not be captured on the national voters’ roll and might not vote in the March 26 by-elections and 2023 general polls could cause first-time voters to lose confidence in the system.
Zec chairperson Priscilla Chigumba told journalists in Victoria Falls on Thursday that possession of a registration slip did not mean one would be automatically added onto the voters’ roll.
Does it mean that Zec’s data capturing system is so archaic that the electoral management body, whose core business is dealing in figures, is still doing its work manually?
This is a key question Zec must answer as first-time registrants are eager to exercise their right to vote in the March by-elections and other plebiscites.
For too long, Zec has failed to hold the by-elections, claiming it was waiting for a directive from the Health minister that the environment was now conducive to go ahead with the by-elections following the outbreak of COVID-19 in the country in March 2020.
Having come under immense pressure from civic society organisations and the citizenry to hold the by-elections, Zec capitulated, but has now come up with other excuses, which will advertently disenfranchise new voters.
In essence, the “powers-that-be” are using Zec to frustrate new voters so that they lose hope even in participating in the 2023 general elections.
Chigumba says Zec has two verification systems to check the national identity document and the fingerprint verification, which is run through a system called automated fingerprint verification system.
If those two processes take more than a month to capture 2 971 new voters registered in 2021, as Zec claimed, how long will it take to register Zanu PF and MDC Alliance targeted millions of first-time voters?
How long will it take them to conduct the so-called “meticulous verification of ballots” after the polls?
With Zec’s slow pace, all these millions that political parties are mobilising to participate in the elections, might still not be able to cast their ballots in the 2023 harmonised elections.
Government must channel more resources towards upgrading Zec’s data capturing system to enable an efficient and timely registration and verification process.
On the other hand, Zec should be prepared to bend the rules and allow these first-time registrants to vote given that they were denied the opportunity to register on time due to COVID-19 restrictions and Zec’s own failure to provide adequate registration centres.
The fact that Zec spokesperson Joyce Kazembe publicly apologised for disenfranchising thousands of potential first-time registrants to register due to failure to provide adequate and accessible registration centres should compel the electoral management body to consider allowing first-time registrants to vote upon production of their registration slips.
'Tuku's unreleased music stolen' – Daisy Mtukudzi – The Zimbabwe Mail
TODAY marks exactly three years to the day legendary music icon and national hero Dr Oliver “Tuku” Mtukudzi breathed his last. The revered and highly decorated musician died at the age of 66, and had the same number of albums under his belt. Many knew him as a gifted international music star, whose compositions were both soulful and poignant. However, a lot of things that happened off-stage such as his supposed “secret” love affairs were usually the staple of the country’s rumour mill. Always the conservative type, Tuku was careful, rather too obsessive, about the information of his personal life that was fed to the public. For instance, he never responded to reports that he sired children out of wedlock. Raising the issue during interviews often meant a premature end to the engagement. Last week, our Society Reporter VERONICA GWAZE (VG) sat down with the late popular musician’s widow Daisy Mtukudzi (DM) at Pakare Paye Arts Centre for an insight into a wide range of issues.
VG: Can you take us through your memories of Dr Tuku’s last moments?
DM: Our last days were as if he knew he was going. However, it was apparent that Sam’s (Mtukudzi) death continued to affect him years after, even on his deathbed. But, it is events of his last day in hospital that keep playing in my mind. The hospital staff called asking me to come, because he kept calling my name all day. I swiftly responded and went there. Upon arrival, the first thing he said was ‘‘Dee, take my ring with you’.’ We used to call each other Dee, which for others is short for Daisy and Dairai, but, to us, it was for darling.
He asked the nurse who had put the ring in storage to give it to me. I took it and told him I was putting it on. Since then, I have never removed it; it makes me feel close to him. His last words were ‘‘Dee, I love you!’’ and just after that, the machines started buzzing as he breathed his last.
VG: How is life without him and what do you miss most?
DM: What I miss most about Samanyanga is the soulmate that he was. Barely an hour would pass by without us communicating, even if he was away. I miss those calls; we always checked up on each other often. I feel lonely. I have no one to discuss issues with.
We discussed before making any decision, regardless of how small it was. Sometimes I get carried away, looking at my phone hoping that he is going to call. It is tough to find anyone to fill the gap he left in my life. Life has been empty without him; a part of me is gone. I am still grieving.
VG: We understand he left behind some unfinished work. What are your plans for the project?
DM: Sadly, the notepad that contained the project he was working on was stolen. Someone broke into the office where we kept it, thus there no longer is any pending project to talk about. However, he was also working on something with Mbeu (Ashton Nyahora) and it will be released soon. We are also planning to establish a Dr Tuku museum, where his regalia, equipment, etcetera, will be displayed.
VG: What are your sentiments about allegations that he neglected a part of his family?
DM: Tuku was a family man. He always made time for his family despite his busy schedule. Also, he made sure his children were provided for. All his children were in boarding schools. Sometimes we would go for visits together, but oftentimes Tuku would go alone as I had a demanding office. However, during school holidays we made sure that the maid took a break as we wanted our kids to learn to do general chores.
I understood that Tuku had other kids besides mine, and my hands were open to all. I loved them equally; likewise, now as a mother, and my door is open to all of them. I do not understand where issues of neglect emanated from. Up to now, I do not have a problem with any one of the children. They are all free to approach me. We were partners (with Tuku) in everything. We discussed all our moves, budgeted towards our projects and always stuck to the plan.
VG: How did you relate in private?
DM: As a couple, we grew to become best friends and we were together most of the time. Tuku wanted us to spend as much time as we could together, which is why we sometimes travelled together. When the trips were long, I would let them travel then join them later. We barely had conflicts because we had learnt to respect each other in our respective work spaces. I understood the nature of his job.
Sometimes female fans would even throw themselves at him, a lot would also be written about him, but because we were best friends, I understood him beyond that. At home, we would talk about some of the incidents and laugh it off. Tuku taught me to act as if nothing happened around us and that lesson brought us far. On special occasions like Valentines’ (Day) or on my birthday, he always made sure to spoil me. I always got a card and a bunch of flowers. I have more than 37 cards (birthday) in my archive. He also took me to countless lunch and dinner dates. I also discovered after his death (2019) that he had set in motion plans to take me to Kariba for a houseboat treat for my 60th birthday.
VG: Can you share with us some of the things he did at home?
DM: Tuku valued spending time at home such that even after his out-of-town shows, he would drive back home. I was against it. I knew he would be tired, but after returning he would say; ‘‘I had missed home and your cooking, Dee’’. He loved watching movies and never mixed his private life with business.
Probably that is why he would avoid answering calls when he was home. Sometimes we would watch soccer, making a lot of noise and laughing. He also had some ‘‘special’’ home decorating skills and often corrected me. Spending time in the garden was also one of his hobbies or playing with his grandchildren whenever they were around.
VG: When and how did you meet Dr Mtukudzi?
DM: It was back in 1980, in Kwekwe. He was friends with my late uncle Samuel Matiza. At that time, I was staying with my uncle, so one day they came to my workplace, although I did not recognise him even after introducing himself. Since then, he would frequent my workplace and months later, he made his intentions known both to me and my uncle. However, being a village girl, it took me almost a year to agree to date him.
He would call me daily on our landline. One day in 1981, Oliver’s then manager, Jack Sadza, called, asking me to travel to Harare and meet the Mtukudzi family, but I refused, which prompted Oliver to then call my uncle and plead with him for permission. The following day we met in Harare only to discover that Oliver had in fact planned to take me to Malawi, where he had a gig.
I was reluctant at first, but he was a charmer; he had his way around me. However, landing in Lilongwe, Malawi, one of my worst fears was confirmed — we met my uncle’s neighbour who worked at the airport, and when he saw me, he asked why I was in Malawi with some unknown men. It was Oliver, Sadza, another man and myself.
Despite giving him several explanations and trying to silence him, he went on to inform my uncle. What was supposed to be our first trip together and be fun turned out to be horror. I was now stressed and yearned to go back home. I had my own room and I recall the sleepless nights as fear of what would happen if they got the news at home wiped away all the excitement.
Just as Oliver had promised my uncle, in two days, we were back in Harare before driving me straight home, where, upon arrival, I could tell something was wrong. My father had just come from our rural home. Without much negotiation, together with Oliver we were asked to go back from wherever we had come from.
Without any change of clothes, we left for Harare and that was the beginning of my life with Oliver.
Later that year, he paid dowry and in 1982 we had our firstborn. Considering the time I got married and the time Selmor was to be born, 1983, it is clear there was some mischief, but I decided not to be harsh or hold grudges over the issue.
VG: Are you still pursuing music?
DM: I am neither a good vocalist nor a good dancer like Tuku was. It is actually him who kept talking me into singing.
VG: Any words of comfort to the Manatsa family following the demise of veteran musician Zexie Manatsa?
DM: Losing Baba Manatsa comes as a great shock and loss to the family and the nation at large. He (Manatsa) and Tuku came a long way, with the bond later being cemented by our kids. It’s a huge blow to all of us. May the family be consoled by God.
Minister July Moyo In Fresh Land Scandal – New Zimbabwe.com
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By Clayton Shereni, Masvingo Correspondent
LOCAL Government minister July Moyo has been implicated in a massive land scandal in Masvingo after it emerged he is piling pressure on the ancient city’s local authority to cede vast tracts of land to an Indian investor in a murky deal.
The company, known as Simbi, retrenched some of its workers in 2019 due to financial challenges, yet is eyeing a multi-million-dollar project which requires huge tract of land.
Currently the company has almost 50 hectares, of which it land has managed to utilize just 15.
Even so, it is now demanding 200 hectares from the local authority.
Sources at the Masvingo Town House said some councilors and management staff are vouching for the deal trying to please July Moyo despite warnings the deal could spook other investors and residents.
“We have people who are supporting such kind of deal just to please the minister forgetting that the same company still has a lot of land which it hasn’t utilised. The situation is tricky because representation in council weighs in favour of Zanu PF and management which also plays a key role and are appointed by the minister,” a source said.
Sources also suspect the company could be inducing government officials to push for the deal.
With growing pressure from top government officials, the deal is said to be close to certain and soon the company will have their request approved.
Other sources also say the company has rejected a 50-hectare lease offer from council, maintaining the 200-hectare request which they demanded should come with title deeds to the land.
Recently some council officials were invited by the company where they were notified of how the company would want to utilise the land.
The proposal comes at a time where the city has a ballooning housing waiting list and a very mediocre Industry which they hope to revive by selling Industrial stands that fall within the land identified by the steelmaking company.
Masvingo mayor Collen Maboke confirmed that a request has been put forward by the company, but nothing has been cemented in relation to the proposal.
“We are yet to make a resolution pertaining to that issue. The company has requested that council investigates a possible extension of their workspace but as of now we haven’t reached any decision. Council does not make rushed decisions and we do what is best for the city,” Maboke said.
Contacted for comment, July Moyo denied any involvement in the deal, but said he would support businesses with the potential to grow.
“I’m not privy to that issue and have never interfered in issues of land allocation in Masvingo or anywhere else. What I am privy to is the promotion of business. Allocation of land is done by the local authority,” Moyo told NewZimbabwe.com.
SIMBI Steelmakers Group of Companies Logistics Officer, Tabonga Gwerena declined to comment on the matter referring all questions to the general manager.
“I am not the right person to answer on that issue but you can come to the plant and see the general manager,” Gwerena said.
When asked to avail the Manager’s number, he said: “You can come and book an appointment to see him.”
Many communities across the country have been involved in nasty fights with foreign investors over land grabs.
Foreign investors usually come with lucrative multi-million-dollar deals which government find hard to reject.
FINANCE MINISTER, Mthuli Ncube’s directive to impose import duty on vehicles imported by citizens returning from the diaspora retrospectively has triggered an outrage amid indications Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) officials are finding it difficult to put the policy into operation.
The treasury boss effectively banned the importation of second-hand cars that are over 10 years old last year by way of striking pre-owned cars off the Open General Import License on the basis that Zimbabweans had spent US$1,3 billion on the importation of buses, light commercial vehicles and passenger cars from 2015 to September 2020.
Despite the policy directive being operationalised through Statutory Instrument 10 of 2022 issued on the January 17, 2022, the implementation of the measures was backdated to January 1, 2022.
Some returning residents who spoke to NewZimbabwe.com Business on condition of anonymity expressed frustrations over the new directives.
“Applying the policy in retrospect has caused a nightmare for scores of returning residents who had bought their vehicles prior to the implementation of the policy directive. It would make sense to implement the directive later to avoid such hiccups for some of us who had imported the cars earlier. How can we surely be expected to pay up the duty at such a short notice,” one resident said.
A Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) insider who also preferred anonymity said staffers are confused on how to proceed on the matter amid calls for Ncube to resolve the matter urgently.
“Even as the ZIMRA officers we don’t know what to do with the cars imported prior to this SI but which got here on or after 1 January. Some people will be forced to forfeit their vehicles simply because they were imported over 10 years ago and they owned them for less than six months prior to being a returning resident,” the official said.
Efforts to get clarity on the matter from the Finance ministry’s spokesperson were fruitless.