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VFWT partners with Mvuthu villagers to tackle human-wildlife conflicts

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BY NOKUTHABA DLAMINI

The Victoria Falls Wildlife Trust (VFWT) has announced that they have secured funding to work with the communities of the new scheme of herding cattle, amid growing concerns of human-wildlife conflicts in the Mvuthu’s jurisdiction.

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This was announced by the VFWT Community Liaison officer Bongani Dlodlo on Tuesday at a village assembly meeting in the Mvuthu area.

He said the scheme aims to reduce the continuous attack of the domestic animals, mainly the cattle by predators such as the lions.

 

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The organisation will actively involved in various environmental issues in the area, including the introduction of mobile bomas years ago, making of chill dung to deter elephants among other rehabilitation projects.

“This will be a programme to run for three years, where we are going to create mobile kraals where the whole village, those who are willing will bring their cattle there and we will hire some willing community members above 22 years of age to look after them during the day and night,” Dlodlo said.

“We are trying to reduce the problem of your livestock getting killed and while under this scheme, we shall ensure that they get treated whenever they present some symptoms of not being well and we will also vaccinate and feed them so that they can increase the value in the market whenever you want to dispose of some of them.”

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Dlodlo also added that this will be done throughout the year.

“During the off-cropping season, we will be rotating them from one field to the other so that we also mitigate the issue of poor soils this community is faced with. By this, we hope that even your yield will improve for these coming years.”

Although some at the meeting met with skepticism, Dlodlo insisted that the villagers were not under duress to let go of their cattle and that the preparatory planning and strategies to be adopted were going to be done together with the communities.

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Fears were around the issue of religious beliefs around the rearing of livestock.

Other concerns were around the issue of having to walk long distances to milk cows and even having them to perform some day to day chores such as the fetching of firewood.

According to the Zimbabwe Environmental Lawyers, cases of human-wildlife conflicts have been increasing since 2016 by over 216 percent and Mvuthu villagers have often paid the price without compensation.

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Others also queried about what will happen if their livestock gets attacked while with the hired herders and Dlodlo responded: “We will not be paying for any compensation because ours to try and help this community, but because the herders and the place of herding will be chosen by you, we hope that this will be a holistic community project where you can always check on what is happening as we work together.”

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Supporting those who served: MPs debate war veterans’ benefits

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Image: Parliament of Zimbabwe

BY NOKUTHABA DLAMINI

The children of Zimbabwe’s war veterans are crying out for help, and it’s time we answer,” said Tendai Pinduka, sparking a passionate debate in the National Assembly. The recent discussion was prompted by a petition from the Children of War Veterans and Heroes Dependents Forum, which called for economic empowerment and support for war veterans and their families.

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As the Members of Parliament (MPs) shared their personal experiences and concerns, the room was filled with emotion. “We need to honour our heroes and recognize their sacrifices,” said Madron Matiza, citing the Bible’s teaching that “those who have worked deserve to be given food.” He urged his fellow MPs to listen to the voices of war veterans and support their ideas and contributions.

Susan Matsunga, a child of a war veteran herself, shared her painful experiences and called for action.

“We need to implement plans to support war veterans and their children, including access to education, healthcare, and economic empowerment. We owe it to them.”

The MPs emphasized the importance of amending the Veterans of the Liberation Struggle Act to consider children of war veterans seeking further education beyond the age of 18. Others stressed that the Constitution and the Act guarantee the rights and benefits of veterans of the liberation struggle and their dependents.

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“We need to fully fund the War Veterans Fund to support their welfare and economic empowerment,” he said Kudakwashe Mananzva added, “This is not just about benefits; it’s about honouring the sacrifices of our parents.”

As the debate came to a close, Desire Nkala summarized the MPs’ sentiments: “We must support war veterans and their children, particularly in education, healthcare, and economic empowerment. We must implement the War Veterans Act and consider all who contributed to the liberation struggle.”

The National Assembly’s debate sent a clear message: Zimbabwe’s war veterans and their families deserve recognition, support, and empowerment. As Pinduka said, “We must answer the cry for help from our heroes’ children.”

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Health ministry grapples with malaria, diarrhea, and dog bite cases

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BY NOKUTHABA DLAMINI 

According to the latest Disease Surveillance Report released by the Ministry of Health and Child Care in Zimbabwe, the country is facing a significant burden of three major health issues: malaria, common diarrhea, and dog bites.

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Malaria cases on the rise

In the week ending July 7, 2024, Zimbabwe reported 476 new malaria cases and two deaths. The majority of the cases (79) were children under the age of five. Mashonaland Central and Manicaland provinces were the hardest hit, with 205 and 118 cases, respectively. Cumulatively, the country has recorded 31,757 malaria cases and 57 deaths.

Diarrhea cases continue to soar

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The report also indicates that 6,520 common diarrhea cases and two deaths were reported in the same week. The deaths occurred in Harare Province and Mbire District in Mashonaland Central Province. Children under five accounted for 2,930 of the reported cases. Mashonaland West and Mashonaland East provinces reported the highest number of cases, with 933 and 930 cases, respectively. Cumulatively, Zimbabwe has recorded 175,551 diarrhea cases and 60 deaths.

Dog bites on the increase

Furthermore, 486 dog bite cases were reported, with no fatalities. Notably, 104 of the cases involved bites from vaccinated dogs, while 115 involved unvaccinated dogs, and 266 involved dogs of unknown status. Masvingo Province and Mashonaland East Province reported the highest number of dog bite cases, with 82 and 81 cases, respectively. Cumulatively, the country has recorded 14,093 dog bite cases.

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The Ministry of Health and Child Care urges citizens to take preventive measures to mitigate the spread of these diseases.

For malaria, this includes using insecticide-treated bed nets, wearing protective clothing, and eliminating breeding sites for mosquitoes.

To prevent diarrhea, the ministry recommends practicing good hygiene, drinking clean water, and seeking medical attention if symptoms persist.

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Regarding dog bites, the ministry advises people to avoid stray dogs, ensure their pets are vaccinated, and seek medical attention immediately if bitten.

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Lupane man (23) on the run for brutal murder of 84-year-old granny

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BY STAFF REPORTER

Police in Lupane are hunting for a 23–year-old man who is being sought for murdering his 84-year-old grandmother on unknown circumstances.

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The suspect, Logic Nyathi, allegedly murdered Lucy Sibanda of Mlonyeni village, on Friday around 3PM.

According to the police statement, the deceased’s daughter, Simangele Sibanda, had been trying to reach her mother by phone but was unsuccessful. She then asked Zamani Vundla, a neighbor, to check on her mother. Upon arrival, Vundla discovered the deceased’s lifeless body in a pool of blood, with deep cuts on her head and neck.

The police investigation revealed that the deceased was sitting on the sofa, holding a knife, and had been eating an orange half-cut on the dining table.

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Blood stains were found outside the room, indicating a struggle and she had also been axed multiple times on head, the neck and the back.

Police said the murder weapon has not been recovered, and  Nyathi remains at large.

“The body of the deceased was taken to St Lukes hospital mortuary awaiting post mortem examination, the investigations are still underway.” the report read.

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Meanwhile, Lupane police have dismissed the social media claims that the fugitive had been found in a bush after committing suicide.

 

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