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Victoria Falls residents gather to tackle drugs and substance abuse among youths

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BY BRENDA NCUBE 

Victoria Falls residents and community leaders have bemoaned the rise in alcohol and drug substances abuse among the youth in the tourism resort, amid revelations that peer pressure, unemployment, lack of legislative frameworks and political interference was hampering efforts to arrest the scourge. 

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Frustrated residents vented during a recent meeting called by the Hwange West Member of Parliament Godfrey Dube which sought to map some solutions to prevent, fight and combat alcohol and drug substances abuse in the community.

Zimbabwe Republic Police is currently on an operation that has been dubbed “No to dangerous drugs and illicit substances, and on Monday, they arrested 24 people across the country, bringing cumulative arrests to 2 152.

During the meeting, residents submitted that drug suppliers and dealers were well-known cartels that even police know of, but because of their links, nothing was being done to them. 

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Former ward six councillor  Ephias Mambume said the issue of youths was being fueled by misplaced priorities especially towards power retention by the politicians at the expense of funding programs like drug abuse. 

“We cannot win this war on drugs if we fail to eliminate the supply and availability of illicit drugs in the market, ” 

Mambume told the gathering at Brethren in Christ Church on Saturday. 

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“The police know who and where these people are and it is their job to arrest them. 

“At central government we have a national drug master plan which covers 2022-25 but there misplaced priorities at the top there. 

“Money is spent on useless things especially towards retention at the expense of programs like these.

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These are the same youths that we need to vote us back to power yet we are not funding projects that will make them disciplined individuals in society. ” he said.

He, however, implored residents to alert police by giving them information or leads to drug dealers and further called churches, parents and schools among other stakeholders to join hands. 

His sentiments were also echoed by another resident who said: “Everyone here knows who the kingpin of drug dealerships and distribution in this town is but they are still walking scot-free under the protection of the police,” he claimed.

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“Some kids once stole my drums and went on to exchange them with drugs. 

“When we involved the police the person said they are his friends and he will just give them money and go back to continue with his dealership.”

According to councillor for ward 10 Nkanyiso Sibindi, youths are pushed into taking drugs and alcohol by the lack of employment and recreational facilities.

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“The problems that the youths are facing in Victoria Falls are unemployment, peer pressure and lack of recreational facilities to keep them occupied. In this meeting we have proffered solutions to address these challenges,” he told VicFallsLive on the sidelines. 

In a move to provide solutions to challenges faced by the youth in Victoria Falls’ deputy Mayor Patricia Mwale said there was need for repossession properties such as Victoria Falls Club and the community swimming pool that we leased to certain individuals who are not living up to the council’s agreement as they allow youths to use the spaces for free and commit illicit crimes. 

Speaking into unemployment one of the residents said that local companies must employ locally.

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“The hotel industry must employ local graduates and stop bringing in people from outside,” one concerned resident suggested.

 “We need our community leaders and civic society groups to approach these companies and make it a deliberate policy that they should employ local graduates and stop using our children as free labor in the name of training them. 

“This puts them through a lot of stress and in the end they turn into drugs as they say hope deferred makes the heart sick.” 

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In response to submissions by residents and stakeholders, Dube said he will take them up to government tiers that deal with such issues.

“To look at the issue of unemployment and sporting facilities that will keep our children occupied I will engage the ministry sports and the ministry of labor and social welfare with issues that have been brought up by the community and various stakeholders,” he said.

“From here, we will produce a positional paper which will be copied to the City council, the police, the Minister, the President and everyone concerned to say this is where we stand as Victoria Falls on the issue of drugs and this is what we want.”

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Dube implored the community to be on the alert and work together with the police to report cases of drug abuse or dealership in a bid to reduce alcohol and drug substances abuse

He added that he will continue calling for such meetings in schools, churches and public spaces until the abuse of alcohol and drug substances is significantly eradicated.

 

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In the community

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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