Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Kwesé TV: It’s infantile for the poor to side with either Strive Masiyiwa or the Government.

Airtime vendor wearing an Econet Buddie bib
There may be a thousand and one neo-liberal reasons to sympathise with one of Zimbabwe’s richest man, Strive Masiyiwa over the furore around his Kwesé TV, talk of right to property, patriotism etc. But please job creation, labour rights, free expression, media freedom and benefits to poor Zimbabweans are not among the reasons. Let the elites (Masiyiwa and his fellow exploitative and rich government elites fight it out) fight it out among themselves and tear at each other’s guts.
I had a chat with a female friend of mine who had to send her two kids to the farms after her contact were without consultations downgraded to ‘volunteer’ status without even the curtesy of consultation from Masiyiwa’s Steward Bank.

Strive Masiyiwa took over a staggering TN Bank in 2013. TN Bank had 24 branches throughout the
Online petition over poor services at Steward Bank
country. The only innovative thing Masiyiwa did was to rename it Steward Bank and to retrench workers extensively, closing over 60% of the branches. The Board Chair of the bank became Bernard Chidzero, the son of the late neo-liberal Finance Minister Bernard Chidzero .Masiyiwa and his cronies are currently presiding over the most exploited bank workers in the country. The Zimbabwe Bank and Allied Workers Union (ZIBAWU) and the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) can testify from painful experiences.

Strive Masiyiwa
Strive Masiyiwa key business Econet thrives on extortionate service charges on one of the poorest countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. Much money comes from airtime vendors who remain the poorest informal sector workers and all they get are worn out low-quality bibs that advertise Econet. At one time Econet ruthlessly admonished those Ecocash agents who were trying to raise their meagre income by also doing Telecash services.

Econet security and police raid The Source newsroom (Pic: TechnoMag)

Strive Masiyiwa and the government are not the part of the solution, but the problem. Much media means freedom of expression and of the media right. Masiyiwa and his colleagues do not share that view. In 2015 he sent his thugs to manhandle journalist at the offices of The Source newspaper in Harare, confiscating computers after they wrote investigative article exposing the shenanigans at his businesses. This was only once the preserve of government which had its POSA and AIPPA legislations. But now it was a private citizen, a philanthropist who was thuggishly forcing journalist to reveal their sources! Let him build offices in a fellow capitalist thug’s country, where the richest man in the country is President and whose workers are among the most exploited and ruthlessly managed in Africa.

It’s infantile (apologies to infants) to expect that Masiyiwa will suddenly be a benevolent capitalist just because he gets a licence for Kwesé TV and gets an opportunity to feed neo-liberal propaganda on our suffering people. It is only the naive who can close ranks with either capitalist Masiyiwa or the capitalist government in such a time. Let them butcher each other out while we watch. We need a bold new alternative system for the protection of our media rights, labour rights and the sharing of profits amongst the majority of our peoples in Zimbabwe and Africa. Strive Masiyiwa and the government are not the part of the solution, but the problem. #AbashaCapitalism 

(Lenin Tinashe Chisaira is an activist, socialist, writer and lawyer based in Harare. He blogs at www.cdetinashe.blogspot.com and www.africafightnow.org and tweets at @LeninChisaira)

An encounter with naked exploitation of workers at Chicken Slice

By Lenin Tinashe Chisaira

I had a 3-fold horrific encounter with wicked capitalism at a #ChickenSlice food outlet (Cnr 7th Street and Samora Machel Ave) on the night of August 24, 2017. Chicken Slice is by the way owned by Packers International, itself owned by Tawanda Mutyebere , who I hear is a “gospel” musician.

It was a few minutes towards midnight when I and some friends of mine,  decided to pass through and get some plain chips. First of the horrors was When we were in the queue, one of the young women who was serving suddenly collapsed , falling to the ground and hitting her head on some metal frame. She was obviously overworked, and suffering from the heat of the kitchen behind her. For about 2 minutes her co-workers continued to serve till we made an outcry .They then dragged her to some back room.

Then comes the second horror. Chicken Slice staff couldn’t call an ambulance. Despite all the ,money, customers and heat and other potential hazards, Chicken Slice doesn’t have a phone, a first aid kid and no airtime to be used even when one of the workers had such an emergency. The customers had to use their own phones and airtime to call an ambulance. 

The EMRAS ambulance came promptly after we the customers called…and I was confronted with another horror of capitalism. We discovered that all along there had been an ambulance parked outside the food outlet. It or its drivers most likely been in the outlet and they took no action at all. The unhelpful ambulance belonged to Nyaradzo Funeral Services.

I have been always openly communist, but that experience made me go to bed with the stronger conviction that capitalism as a system will never serve the people. The choice for these times is either building a an alternative socialist production and working model or continue with the barbarism that I witnessed last night. Down with #ChickenSlice. Down with Packers International. Down with Capitalism!


Thursday, 10 August 2017

Ward Fire Fighting teams Trained in Nyaminyami (Kariba Rural) District

Community fire fighting committee members being trained at Gatshe Gatshe Primary School (Pic: ZELA)
Ward based firefighting committees were established and trained in the 12 wards that make up the Nyaminyami Rural district Council on the shores of Lake Kariba in Zimbabwe’s Zambezi Valley.  The training was conducted by the Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA) in conjunction with the Environmental Management Agency (EMA) and the Nyaminyami Rural District Council and took place from 31 July to 5 August 2017. The trainings and provision of fire prevention materials supply were made possible due to support from the UNDP –funded Zimbabwe Resilience Building Fund (ZRBF) project. In total up to 180 community based firefighting committee members were trained. The training was necessary since the Zambezi valley is a dry region and historically depended on wildlife resources, which are highly affected by wild fires.
The district’s Wards 1,2 and 4 were trained at Mola Ward Centre; Wards 5,6,and 7 were trained at Negande Ward Centre; Wards 8,9 and 10 at Musambakaruma Ward Centre; Wards 11 and 12 at Makande Business Centre whilst ward 2 which is furthest from the Siakobvu District Offices was trained at Gatshe-Gatshe Primary School. The main facilitators were EMA’s Geoffrey Mafunhwa, ZELA’s Lenin Chisaira and Action Aid Zimbabwe’s Edson Nyashanu.
The training of the ward fire fighters was opportune and long overdue. In 2016, EMA records ranked Kariba particularly Nyaminyami District as number 4 out of the 7 districts that make up Mashonaland West Province in terms of fire intensity and effects.
Map showing Fires and Land-use Affected in Kariba District in recent years (Source: EMA)

The emphasis of the trainings was on fire prevention rather than having to fight fires themselves. Hence the teams were provided with firefighting equipment in the form of knapsack sprays, shovels, fire beaters, slashers, helmets and gloves. They also received training on laws governing fire prevention in Zimbabwe, mainly the provisions of the Forest Act and S.1. 7/2007.
“Fire issues are not new,” said Headman Seremwe from ward 5. “We have always been uniting to fight fires and prevent fires. This training enhances that knowledge.” 
Further trainings will be conducted in August and early September as the fire season begins. The trainings will be conducted in two other districts within the Zambezi Valley, namely Mbire in Mashonaland Central and Binga in Matabeleland North Province.

Pictures From the Trainings in Nyaminyami Rural 
Training at Musamabakaruma , ward 9

The writer taking community members through fire management laws during a training at Gatshe Gatshe Primary School (Pic: ZELA)

Training at Gatshe Gatshe Primary School (Pic: ZELA)

Mola Ward Centre (Pic: ZELA)

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

My Appeal for Majazo Primary School (Nyaminyami/Kariba Rural District) #MajazoSchoolAppeal

Last week, when I was doing my environmental work in Nyaminyami (Kariba) Rural District Council, I came across this “school”. It's called Majazo Primary School and it was established in 1998. It is situated in Ward 9 (Musambakaruma). One of the children I had a chat with, was dusty from head to toe, from learning whilst seated on the stony ground and braving the wind and heat, then having to travel long distances to and fro school in the wildlife infested district.  I also had a chat with the school head, who then shed me and my colleagues around the school grounds. I promised that as soon as I get to Harare I would spread the word and appeal for any assistance. The school needs assistance with children’s tuition, stationary, building materials, development projects, etc. Anyone willing to assist, can inbox me or email me on lenin.t.chisaira@gmail.com and I will share the school head’s contact details, so you deal with him directly. #MajazoSchoolAppeal