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Children dominate Victoria Falls anti-sanctions march

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BY AWAKHIWE KHUMALO

The government’s much taunted anti-sanctions public march turned to be a damp squib on Tuesday after a few elderly people turned out in Victoria Falls, leaving the stage for school children to protest against the western embargo.

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President Emmerson Mnangwagwa’s government is blaming the devastating economic crisis in Zimbabwe on years of sanctions.

The economic crisis is characterised by g galloping inflation and service delivery failures, but western countries their measures are limited to travel restrictions and targeted asset freezes as well as travel bans against top security commanders and ruling party officials.

Government organised marches in different parts of country to protest against the sanctions.

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The march in Victoria Falls saw children from primary and secondary government owned schools marching in the city carrying placards saying: “We Want Jobs, We Want Money, Sanctions You Have Crippled Our Economy. “

They marched from Chinotimba Bus Terminus Rank up to Chinotimba Primary School where the main event was held.

On the way, songs were sung, while police and teachers ushered the children.

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Only a few community leaders showed their faces and then disappeared into thin air as the march continued.

Throughout the four hour programme, the children were given roles for various performances which included plays, songs, poems and speeches about  the occasion.

A Mosi –Oa-Tunya High School student pleaded with the western countries to let Zimbabwe be free in a poem..

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“They say they were not meant to hate people, how is that supposed to work?” the student quizzed as he read the poem from printed paper.

“It’s our land, we are also people.

“We did our best to survive, is it because of our heritage that we suffer?

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You took what you wanted, left us with nothing and sanctioned us, economy left squashed.

“No trade freedom, we were looking for something, a tiny tea pot…you are suffocating us, why?

Another student took to the podium and said: “My fellow Zimbabweans, let’s stand against sanctions, let’s unite and have a voice to say no sanctions.”

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Upcoming gospel singer Andrea the Vocalist was among school children sent to march and perform songs.

Andrea’s Uhambo, whose lyrics were changed to suit the occasion and also denounced the sanctions saying they were hampering the development.

After all the schools had performed, the Sadc national anthem was sung to close the event.

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Thieves target solar panels for Victoria Falls’ rural community gardens

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BY BRENDA NCUBE 

Villagers living in the outskirts of Victoria Falls have been left counting losses after eight suspected thieves broke into  their community nutrition gardens and stole solar panels on Saturday last week. 

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According to the area councillors, the thieves separately stole at least nine solar panels  in  Mashala, Change and Mpongola wards and vandalised some. 

According to Marvelous Mhlanga, one of the farmers from Mashala, the suspects firstly attempted to steal a pump and an inverter but failed, before opting to vandalise the solar panels. 

Pascar Mpofu, a  councillor for Mashala ward said because of the disruptions, villagers are no longer able to water their gardens, posing a risk to many whose source of livelihoods is in farming.

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“All gardening activities have stopped as the only source of water for domestic use and gardening has been cut,” he said. 

The solar pumps were installed several years ago by World Vision in a bid to make Hwange villages self-sufficient and have since become the source of livelihood for the community.

For villagers such as Mhlanga, the garden produce could suffice their families and could manage to send their children to school through wholesaling green paper, green beans, carrots and sugar beans as far as Hwange urban. 

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“Now we are at a loss and not sure how to survive as we are already fetching water for domestic use from the streams,”Mhlanga said. 

” We are hoping that the rains will be enough for our crops to ripen, but we don’t know what the future holds. ” she added.

Mpofu said that the solar panels will need to be replaced in time to resume gardening activities and the community is in the process of mobilising a neighborhood watch to safeguard the premises.

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“We believe that the thieves are locals working with outsiders,” said Mpofu 

He further revealed that the suspects have been caught and are in police custody for questioning.

Meanwhile, several solar panels have also been  stolen from boreholes dotted around Hwange National Park, Kazuma Pan National Park and the Zambezi National Park by suspected thieves from neighbouring Zambia.

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Trevor Lane, whose Bhejane Trust has been leading in the mobilisation of funds to drill boreholes and install solar panels to power the pumps at the three game parks, said the theft of solar panels intensified during Covid-19 lockdowns.

 

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Bloody festive as 148 perish in road traffic accidents

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BY BRENDA NCUBE 

The Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) has revealed that a total of 148 people perished in road traffic accidents during the festive season, with 669 sustaining serious injuries. 

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ZRP revealed this on Monday in a statement, adding that the road traffic accidents totalled 2723, with 108 fatal accidents recorded and 669 injuries. 

The review was from December 15 2022 up to January 15. 

According to ZRP, the number of accidents for the same period was however a bit higher, between December 15 2021 and January 15 2022 at 2 741 previously compared to 2 723 reported this time. 

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The number of deaths rose from 138 to 148. 

For the safety of all road users, the ZRP implored drivers to safeguard lives by exercising caution and safety standards, especially during this rainy season as some roads are slippery and in a bad state.

Public service vehicle operators were also urged to “adhere to speed limits on the country’s roads and stop engaging in highway races while competing for passengers.

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The public was also encouraged to report errant drivers on the roads to any nearest police station or call the National Complaints Desk number 0242 703631 or WhatsApp on 0712 800 197.

Police said they will continue to road rules and regulations without fear or favour. 

 

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Shock as 18-months-old baby drowns in a pool in Binga

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BY LWANDLE MTHUNZI

A family from Bulawayo’s Warringham plots has been thrown into mourning after its 18-months old child drowned in a pool in Binga.

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The boy, Adrin Phiri had visited his grandmother Abigail Mguni in Tinde area under Chief Pashu when he disappeared from home around midday only for his lifeless body to be found in a 1.5 metre deep pool three hours later.

Police said the incident happened on Friday last week.

The matter was treated as sudden death by drowning.

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“On the 18th day of January 2023 Adrin Phiri aged 18 months of Plot 70 Warringham in Bulawayo and his grandmother Abigirl Mguni visited their relatives in Tinde under Chief Pashu. On 20 January at around 12 noon

Adrin was playing outside with his two cousins aged three years and five years,” said the police.

It is alleged that Adrin left the homestead and exited through the gate with no one noticing.

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He proceeded to the main road which is a few metres from the homestead.

Moments later, his grandmother discovered that he was no longer with his cousins and looked for him.

After failing to locate him, the grandmother and some relatives and neighbours launched a search but to no avail.

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At about 3pm, two juveniles saw the body stuck in mud in a pool about 20 metres away from the homestead.

A report was made to the police who attended the scene and have urged members of the public to monitor children and also to be wary of water bodies especially during the rainy season.

 

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