Friday, October 29, 2010

Zimbabwe News Update: Defence Forces Refute Claims; War Veterans Sign Pact; Women's Health

Mnangagwa refutes claims

Herald Reporter

The presence of Zimbabwe Defence Forces personnel across Zimbabwe is in line with the uniformed force’s constitutional mandate to protect the country’s vital interests and territorial integrity.

Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa said this in the House of Assembly on Wednesday while refuting suggestions by MDC-T’s Mazowe Central legislator, Mr Shepherd Mushonga, that senior officers had been deployed for purposes of political repression.

Minister Mnangagwa said, "As is the practice world over, you might have noticed that the ZDF garrisons and cantonments are strategically distributed throughout the country in order to fulfil the constitutional mandate of defending the territorial integrity of the country and protection of vital interests.

"It would be folly for the ZDF to ever think of defending the whole country without a corresponding spatial or geographical distribution of its members and resources."

Minister Mnangagwa said the movement of soldiers to and from their places of employment should not be misconstrued as a form of deployment.

"The ministry of defence did not deploy majors as alleged by the Honourable Member, Shepherd Mushonga.

"My ministry’s records do not reflect the issuance on operational directive or order for deployment of such officers in accordance with the ZDF standard operational procedure," Minister Mnangagwa said.

The minister also said it was the constitutional right for any retired soldier to enter a profession of their choice.

He said the ZDF had embarked on a successful recruitment policy that has achieved regional balance within the force.

"Through this policy there is equitable distribution of serving members throughout the country’s districts."

Minister Mnangagwa explained that the ZDF’s administrative policies ensured there were always about 10 percent of active members on leave in times of peace.

Hence the presence of soldiers on leave in communities should not be falsified to be a form of deployment.

ZTDC, war veterans sign empowerment pact

Herald Reporter

THE Zimbabwe Diamond Technology Centre yesterday signed agreements with representatives of war veterans, women’s groups and the disabled for their members to operate cutting and polishing businesses once construction of the centre is completed.

ZDTC chief executive officer Mr Lovemore Kurotwi said the centre would assist the groups find partners with the requisite knowledge.

"As we have said before we want to empower our people and we thought of beginning with these vulnerable groups that also played a big role in the liberation of our country. We will also assist them find partners to add value to their businesses," he said.

Speaking on behalf of women’s groups, former Gutu South Member of Parliament Cde Shuvai Mahofa welcomed ZTDC’s gesture.

"We fought for this country so that we could live well and have access to our resources. We thank ZTDC for sharing the country’s resources and wealth with others, this is what independence is all about," she said. Zanu PF Youth Secretary Cde Absolom Sikhosana said Zimbabweans should work hard to shame the country’s detractors.

"We fought to have Zimbabwe and all its wealth and that is what we are witnessing today.

"We have enemies who want to bring us down but we should work hard so that their efforts fail. We are here to witness this milestone that will empower our people," he said.

Retired Brigadier General Richard Ruwodo who represented war veterans said it was up to the beneficiaries to make use of the factory shells they were given.

"Given this opportunity, we should work because we have been given everything because this is a culmination of the vision held by Zimbabweans," he said.

Zimbabwe Revenue Authority director general Mr Geshem Pasi said the empowerment of the groups would result in an increase in economic activity and added revenue to the coffers of the country.

When completed, ZDTC will house various businesses in diamond works, banks among others.

Health prototype policy launched

Health Reporter

HEALTH ministers from East, Central and Southern Africa community have launched an exemplary document on member countries’ response to gender-based violence and child abuse.

The regional grouping with a current membership of 10 countries also launched a policy framework for fistula — an injury to women who survive death during childbirth resulting in constant leakage of urine or faeces through the vagina.

In Zimbabwe, the prevalence of gender-based violence is 30 percent while that of fistula is not known as most cases go unreported.

Officially launching the two documents in Harare yesterday, Health and Child Welfare Minister Henry Madzorera said growing cases of fistula, gender-based violence and child sexual abuse in the ECSA region prompted development of the two regional policies.

"The multi-sectoral nature of the problem (gender based violence and child sexual abuse) means that as health sector actors, we are required to engage with other relevant line ministries to make operational, the provisions in the regional prototype policy," Minister Madzorera said.

He urged the countries to adopt the policies to free people from violence, abuse and the health implications that come with it.

In relation to fistula, Minister Madzorera said occurrence of fistula is a symptom of a weak health system that requires strengthening.

"The ECSA prototype policy on fistula is the culmination of the tireless efforts by member states’ reproductive health experts working closely with the ECSA secretariat and collaborating partners," he said.

He said countries should re-commit themselves to alleviating the suffering of women from health problems that are directly linked to child birth.

ECSA-HC director general Dr Josephine Kibaru-Mbae said the policies would assist stakeholders in the region.

"To assist countries in developing their own policies, the ECSA community employed a participatory process in developing a prototype policy that can guide member states to develop their own policies and strategies to translate these policies into programmes," Dr Kibaru-Mbae said.

Another 2 250 graduate at UZ

Herald Reporter

President Mugabe yesterday capped 2 256 graduates who attained degrees at the University of Zimbabwe.

The graduation was the UZ’s second graduation for this year.

President Mugabe in March this year capped 2 000 graduates who had not been part of the graduation ceremony held in November last year for various reasons.

The graduands had failed to write their final examination before the graduation and only managed to do so a month after the ceremony.

Higher and Tertiary Education Minister Stan Mudenge and his deputy Senator Lutho Tapela attended the graduation ceremony.

Of the 2 256 graduates, 1 962 received first degrees, 289 were conferred with masters degrees while the other five were conferred with doctorates.

President Mugabe, who is the UZ Chancellor, capped 50 medical doctors and 25 veterinary doctors at the colourful event.

Other graduates included engineers, lawyers, accountants and agricultural specialists.

UZ Vice Chancellor Professor Levi Nyagura said despite the challenges faced, the institution was committed to producing best graduates who defend the rights and values of the nation.

He applauded the graduates for excelling under difficult conditions.

"Your Excellency and Chancellor, the training period of graduands before you was challenging.

"Both students and staff had to exert themselves pressure to achieve the set targets in the given time. I am truly grateful to their loyalty, commitment and dedication to duty," he said.

Prof Nyagura, however, bemoaned the lack of a permanent solution to the institution’s water problems.

He said the situation needed to be addressed since water was critical to staff and students’ welfare and for academic activities in science courses.

Due to technological advancements across the globe, he said, new students would be required to have laptops upon their admission at the institution.

"We have increased our Internet speed from 2 to 25 megabytes per second to avail open educational resources to both students and staff.

"We are also installing wireless base stations on campus to enable students access the Internet from anywhere on campus.

"To further enhance the benefits of increased Internet resources, it is our future policy that every new student joining the University of Zimbabwe must secure a laptop soon after registration with the institution," he said.

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