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Zacc flags corruption in govt – NewsDay

According to the Zacc 2022 annual report received by the Parliament of Zimbabwe recently, of the 684 reports received by the commission, 332 (48,50%) were about criminal abuse of duty and 247 (36,10%) fraud.

The Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission says criminal abuse of duty and fraud are the most prevalent crimes reported last year, with central government and local authorities recording the highest number of cases.

According to the Zacc 2022 annual report received by the Parliament of Zimbabwe recently, of the 684 reports received by the commission, 332 (48,50%) were about criminal abuse of duty and 247 (36,10%) fraud.

Theft or theft of property, which amounts to 29, money laundering (21), bribery (11), forgery (nine), extortion (six), tax invasion (six), smuggling (four), and three externalisation cases, are some of the reported cases.

“A crime analysis shows that reports of criminal abuse of duty and fraud remain the most prevalent crimes reported in the year under review. These were mostly concentrated in local authorities and rural district councils where the compliance teams had not conducted any reviews,” Zacc said.

“Further categorising these complaints into sectors, from the 684, 335 were against public officials, representing 68,4% of the total reports received; 175 were against officials or entities in the private sector, representing 25,58% of the total; and 66 were against land barons, representing 9,64% of the total.

“Of the 335 complaints received against public officials, 255 were against public officials in various government ministries, and 80 were against public officials in local authorities and parastatals. The commission handled 16 complaints against elected officials, chiefs, headmen and village heads.”

The commission said that cases involving public officials in government were mostly against those in Lands, Agriculture, Water, and Rural Resettlement; Mines and Mining Development; and Local Government and Public Works ministries.

“Forty-six of the complaints were against officials from the Lands ministry, particularly the lands department. Most of the allegations against officials from the local authorities relate to the illegal sale of land or residential stands,” Zacc said.

“These corrupt tendencies were worsened by the emergence of land barons. For the year 2022, apart from arrests, the commission also focused on improving integrity, accountability and transparency in local authorities.”

In terms of sex offences, 338 offenders were males, 84 were females, and 262 were not specified.

“In essence, 65,5% of the total accused persons were male,” Zacc said.

Former Zacc chairperson Justice Loice Matanda-Moyo said the commission investigated a total of 157 (62%) and referred 134 (53%) dockets to the National Prosecuting Authority of Zimbabwe (NPAZ) from the 253 cases approved by the selection committee for investigations.

“Improved engagement with the NPAZ bore fruit as the year 2022 saw the commission recording a 72% conviction rate of the cases it had referred to the National Prosecuting Authority at the completion of trial,” she said.

“These included the conviction of the former permanent secretary for the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development, three senior officers from the Vehicle Inspectorate Department, and a provincial magistrate.”

From the cases submitted to NPAZ from the previous years, 23 convictions and nine acquittals were realised for the year 2022, amounting to a conviction rate of 72%.

Justice Matanda-Moyo said Cabinet approval of the Witness Protection Bill, which sought to establish legislation for the protection of witnesses, and the Public Interest Disclosure (Protection of Whistleblowers) Bill, protecting individuals that provide information regarding illicit activities within the organisations they are employed in, was a milestone.

“These two Bills are crucial to the fight against corruption, as they are expected to improve public confidence in the fight against corruption.

“For the past years, the commission has observed the victimisation of witnesses before, during, and after the commencement of trial,” she said. “This was derailing the fight as citizens were no longer confident enough to come forward to report or testify without adequate protection.

“For the prevention of corruption programme, the commission continued with the provincial awareness campaigns that had been thwarted by COVID-19. This strategy targeted the rural areas in the different provinces, as these areas are usually marginalised.”

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Breaking news – Chronicle

Delegates arrive for climate change Indaba (COP28) in Dubai

Leonard Ncube in the United Arab Emirates

 DELEGATES have started trickling into the Dubai Expo Centre for the 28th Conference of parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP28) that is starting today until 12 December 2023.

The Zimbabwe pavilion is set and ministers are expected to visit the venue. Zimbabwe is taking strides in climate action for a green future. This is in line with the country’s Vision 2030 for an upper-middle-income economy by 2030 through people-centric, participatory development and climate action programmes.

 The country is taking the climate-proofed agriculture model, Pfumvudza/Intwasa to the COP28 to show the world strides made in ensuring sustainable use of land for food nutrition. The country is also driving towards a pro-people, win-win beneficiation and just carbon credits initiatives and attainment of Environmental Sustainability through community-driven conservation models and unlocking community development through devolved sustainable climate economies.

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Roundup: Zimbabwean farmers tackle El Nino draught with diverse … – Xinhua

People deal with harvested wheat at a farm in Chegutu, west of the capital Harare, Zimbabwe, Oct. 31, 2022. (Photo by Shaun Jusa/Xinhua)

The Famine Early Warning Systems Network has already painted a gloomy outlook for the season, saying that the El Nino event would lead to rainfall deficits affecting the 2024 harvests, leaving many people vulnerable to food insecurity.

HARARE, Nov. 30 (Xinhua) — Zimbabwean farmers, especially those dependent on rain-fed agriculture, are increasingly worried about delayed and erratic rains which have disrupted planting for the 2023-24 season in much of the country.

Some of those who had planted early are already counting their losses, with many of them hoping to replant, but this time they prefer short-season varieties if good rains fall soon.

The Southern Africa region as a whole is expected to experience normal to below normal rains this season as a result of the El Nino event, but the delay in rainfalls has thrown many farmers off the rails.

Urban farmer Christopher Chizinga said his maize crop, planted on a wetland northwest of the city, had already failed, and he would be replanting if the rain came soon.

“This season has been terrible. Usually, I would have already finished weeding and applying the first round of top-dressing fertilizer by now, but the heavens have not been kind to us,” he told Xinhua Wednesday.

Echoing Chizinga, Wilson Samaita from Marondera District of Mashonaland East Province, said most of the early planted crops in his fields had wilted and farmers would have to replant.

“It’s very sad. Many of those who planted early intending to take advantage of the first rains will have to replant,” he said.

The Famine Early Warning Systems Network has already painted a gloomy outlook for the season, saying that the El Nino event would lead to rainfall deficits affecting the 2024 harvests, leaving many people vulnerable to food insecurity.

Zimbabwe Farmers Union Secretary General Paul Zakariya said that timely and area-specific weather forecast information is critical for farmers to plan with agility. He also suggested farmers diversify their crops and incorporate local varieties of drought-tolerant species, such as adding sorghum and millet to maize and adding sunflower and groundnuts to soybeans.

Chief agronomist in the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development, Rutendo Nhongonhema, encouraged farmers under the government-initiated climate-proof agriculture program to opt for short-season varieties as the planting season had since advanced.

“My appeal to farmers at the moment is that … to go for short season varieties because the planting season has progressed with no rains,” she told state news agency New Ziana.

In the year 2020, the Government of Zimbabwe unveiled a comprehensive seven-year project valued at 47 million U.S. dollars in collaboration with the Green Climate Fund and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). It aims to fortify the climate resilience of marginalized communities in the southern region of Zimbabwe.

As the project rolls out, more than 221,000 farmers, with over half of them being women, have received enhanced strains of cereal crops, including sorghum and pearl millet, to adapt to climate change.

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Vendors facilitate value addition for smallholder farmers – NewsDay

In an interview with paper (NewsDay Farming), BVTA monitoring and evaluation officer Langton Moyo said it was essential for small holder farmers to learn ways to increase profitability in the business.

THE Bulawayo Vendors and Traders Association (BVTA) facilitated training of small-holder farmers on value addition and product diversification to help them get more value from their produce.

The training was done at a BVTA workshop where small-holder farmers were equipped with ways to increase the value of their products to attain greater profits.

In an interview with paper (NewsDay Farming), BVTA monitoring and evaluation officer Langton Moyo said it was essential for small holder farmers to learn ways to increase profitability in the business.

“We saw that it was very essential for smallholder farmers to learn all the right skills in order to properly run their businesses to facilitate the attainment of maximum benefits,” Moyo said.

“They were provided with the knowledge and skills needed to increase the value of their products, which can lead to increased profits.”

The workshop was held on the heels of the engagement rate and the area of land prepared for the farming still being relatively low as some farmers wait for an effective start of the rainy season.

The delay is being caused by the anticipation of El Niño-induced below-average rainfall.

Further, crop inputs, mainly seeds and fertilisers, while available on the market these items are priced well above the affordability of farmers.

Hence, farmers are being pushed to maximise the returns on the crops already planted.

One way that is being done, however, is through farmers withholding their grain in anticipation of the El Niño-induced drought to hike the prices of their goods. This is because if there is a shortage of grain, prices will likely rise leading to farmers making a killing off their goods.

Moyo said the value addition training would help smallholder farmers to effectively come up with strategies to ensure survival in the market, amid fluctuating prices.

“Value addition training will help farmers to know ways of diversifying their income streams and reduce their vulnerability to price fluctuations in the market and also by adding value to their products, farmers can reduce post-harvest losses and improve the shelf-life of their products,” Moyo said.

“More so, value addition trainings empowered farmers to be able to make informed decisions about their businesses, leading to long-term sustainability.”

BVTA executive director Michael Ndiweni said small holder farmers were taking up the initiative of being suppliers of fresh produce to the Nkulumane fruit and veg market in Bulawayo.

The project, Ndiweni continued, was being spearheaded by the Local Government and Public Works ministry under the Building Urban Resilience in Zimbabwe through creating Safe Markets and Green Solutions programme.

“Farmers are welcoming the project because it is going to help to deal with a lot disenfranchising that usually happens in private markets where they pricing of their products is not determined by them but by private market owners, therefore, is a public market and at least they will be in control of the pricing of their own goods,” he said.

Farmers are failing get paid timeously for their produce with government vowing to expedite those payments.

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