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Hwange conservationists tackle poaching through sport

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BY TICHAONA MATARUSE 

Wildlife conservation organisations, Wild and Free Foundation (WWT) and Painted Dog Conservation (PDC) have partnered to sponsor a social soccer tournament aimed at protecting wildlife through sport and economic opportunities to reduce wildlife crimes. 

Rhino Cup Championship League RCCL-Zim Iganyana Division features both senior and junior teams and its goal is to empower and uplift young people,  creating an environment where endangered species like painted dogs and other wildlife can thrive.

The RCCL Zimbabwe – Iganyana Division supports 20 male and four female community-based teams from communities adjacent to Hwange National Park, directly impacting wildlife and people welfare in the area. 

Teams are drawn from communities adjacent to the Hwange National Park such as Chezhou, Dete, Dingani, Mabale and Makwandara among others.

They have been christened with wildlife names as a sign of appreciation of the importance of wildlife and conservation.

The juniors’ league was introduced in August and teams include Sables Jnrs, Eagle Jnrs, Shumba stars Jnrs, Sparrows, Honey Badgers, Rock Rabbits, Young Sables Academy, Zebras and Wild Warthogs.

Zebras from Chezhou were crowned 2022 after outclassing Mpalanyana 5-1 in the final match to finish the season with 93 points from 38 matches.

In the juniors league, Shumba and Young Stables Academy are favourites to win the title as both are tied on 16 points.

The league ends this weekend.

Zim Iganyana Division chief executive Ndodana Masuku implored clubs to invest in junior policy to nurture talent.

“We have 20 teams in the senior category and our wish is for each team to have juniors within its structures. Every organisation should have a foundation and in this case juniors are a foundation of the club,” Masuku told VicFallsLive 

The league has attracted the attention of the private sector with Sports Zone Pvt Ltd, a Bulawayo based organisation sponsoring the juniors’ league with prizes for the monthly top goal-scorer, goalkeeper of the month award and junior coach of the month accolades.

“We have awards for top goal scorer and goalkeeper of the year courtesy of Sports Zone. Also there are medals and cups for the championship. ” said Masuku.

Meanwhile, Masuku urged communities to play a part in wildlife conservation and serve endangered species.

His sentiments come in the wake of concerns about an increase in illegal hunting in communities near Hwange National Park.

“Together we can give poaching a red card and create an environment where the rhinos, painted dogs and the rest of the wildlife can thrive. 

“To the clubs and our communities, I urge you to reciprocate our wildlife sponsored league by doing more conservation activities within your communities to serve our wildlife especially the endangered species,” said Masuku.

RCCL also has presence in Mozambique, Namibia and Tanzania with positive results such as reduced rhino poaching, boredom, idleness, and poverty.

 

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Binga by-elections called off: ZEC

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BY STAFF REPORTER 

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has suspended the by-elections for wards 6, 8, 10, 15, and 23 of Binga Rural District Council in Matabeleland North Province which were scheduled for Saturday. 

ZEC chief elections officer Utloile Silaigwana made the announcement on Friday following a High Court order after  Collen Mudenda challenged the nomination of the five councillors who were recalled in October by the MDC-T party. 

“The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission would like to inform members of the public that the High Court has ordered the suspension of by-elections for wards 6, 8, 10, 15, and 23 of Binga Rural District Council scheduled for Saturday 03 December 2022,” Silaigwana said. 

“This follows urgent chamber applications by Collen Mudenda who challenged the nominations of John Simunene Sikabotu, Kingson Mpofu, Mathias Mudenda, Joseph Mwembe, and Wilson Siampolomba on the grounds that they were disqualified from contesting as candidates in terms of Section 119 (2) (h) of the Electoral Act.

“The Section states that a person shall be disqualified from being nominated as a candidate on the nomination day or the day of an election when he or she is in default with the payment of any levy, rate, charge, or tax due and payable to the council concerned for more than 120 days.”

Silaigwana said the High Court ordered that the Commission should not proceed with the by-elections for the five wards pending the hearing of thr cases which was postponed to  January 4, next year. 

He, however said  despite the Binga order, by-elections for ward 20 of Binga Rural District Council, wards 4, 5, and 18 of Gweru Municipality, and ward 28 of Mberengwa Rural District Council will go ahead ahead as scheduled on Saturday. 

 

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Myths on Covid-19 pandemic spread across Hwange

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BY NOKUTHABA DLAMINI

Innocent Tevedzai, chairperson of the Zimbabwe Chamber of informal Association for People With Disabilities  says after getting inoculated vaccines to prevent Covid-19 pandemic, he was told that he will lose his fertility in the coming years. 

Royal Ndlovu, a Victoria Falls Combined Residents Association member says he was also discouraged from taking the vaccines after he heard that he was not only going to lose his fertility, but vaccines also meant losing his libido. 

Zimbabwe first rolled out Covid-19 vaccines early last year with the country relying mostly on Chinese made vaccines to bring the pandemic that paralysed the economy under control. 

 

Hwange district, where Ndlovu and Tevedzai come from was one of the areas that were prioritised by the government in the vaccination blitz as it sought to have tourist resorts re-opened for tourists, but community listening sessions held by VicFallsLive in some parts of Hwange district in Matabeleland North showed that some people are still sceptical about the safety of the vaccines.

Community leaders said the government did little to counter the misinformation, which is largely blamed on social media and this fuelled vaccination hesitancy. 

As such, ordinarily, Zimbabweans are caught up in a lot of myths and of course misinformation about the pandemic.

“We were told that we will not be able to conceive as this was intentionally done to reduce the population.” Tevedzai said. 

“Lack of verified information made it worse for us because we had to be vaccinated to gain public access at the time when misinformation and social ills such as teen pregnancies rose.” 

Hwange villagers, like other people in many parts of Zimbabwe were victims of misinformation about the vaccines, including allegations that those who got the Covid-19 vaccine will turn into baboons or that the vaccines were part of a scheme to reduce Africa’s population.

Even the World Health Organization says the Covid-19 outbreak and response was accompanied by an overabundance of information, some accurate and some not.

For Michael Ncube, a Victoria Falls City Council’ acting Public Health Officer, “this makes it tough for people to then find reliable sources and dependable guidance when they need it to fully curtail coronavirus,” he said. 

The myths Ncube added, included claims on cures and prevention.

 “For instance, people were told that when they vaccinate they will lose fertility or will die as this was deliberately done by the government to reduce Zimbabweans population, which is just mythical and therefore untrue,”

“We would like to assure out residents that the vaccines are safe and the country has highly specialised health personnels who also confirmed them and because of those vaccines, that’s why we have managed to set a barrier to prevent the transmission and that has paid off, as we have seen hospitalisations and deaths reduced and the economy fully opened.”

Zimbabwe has administered over 12 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines so far. 

 

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Armed robber storms Victoria Falls bank, walks away with US$12K

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BY NOKUTHABA DLAMINI 

Zimbabwe Republic Police have revealed that the robber who held at ransom ZB bank workers on Wednesday after pretending to be applying for a bank loan got away with US$12 000 cash. 

The man dressed in black and white jersey, a hat and khaki as captured hours later through bank cameras pointing a shotgun towards workers while loading the money in his satchel that he was holding.

“The ZRP confirms that a robbery occurred at ZB Bank, Victoria Falls, on 30/11/22 at around 15.55 pm hours where an unknown suspect, armed with an unidentified pistol, posed as a genuine customer who wanted to enquire on the requirements to apply for a bank loan, “police said in a statement. 

“As the bank was about to close for the day, the suspect remained behind while other customers were leaving. After all the other customers had left, he produced a pistol and ordered the bank tellers to surrender cash in their tills. 

“The suspect stole US$12 000 before fleeing through the back exit door. Investigations are underway to account for the suspect.”

According to sources, the man was seen walking away until he disappeared. 

Meanwhile, police said they were also investigating an armed robbery case which occurred at a college in Chitunguza’s Seke residency on Monday, where three unknown suspects, armed with three unidentified pistols, attacked a security guard who was on duty at the premises and stole US$3 094 fuel coupons, US$8 076, and $43 100 cash after vandalising a safe. 

 

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