News Roundup

$4,5 billion for education

Cabinet has approved a $4.5 billion Education Medium-Term Plan, which will see the construction of 750 new secondary schools and refurbishment of over 24 000 classrooms by 2015.

Education Minister David Coltart said Cabinet on Tuesday unanimously approved the five-year education plan, which should have been implemented from 2010.

“The plan was unanimously endorsed by Cabinet and now enjoys support from all three parties in the Inclusive Government,” Coltart posted on his website.

The plan includes the restoration of the professional status of teachers, comprehensive curriculum review and reform and the revitalisation of libraries. It also aims to promote marginalised languages, education of disadvantaged children and revitalisation f sports and culture. – VOA

Commission blames meddling

The Anti-Corruption Commission, currently investigating a number of government officials for alleged graft, says it is not as independent as it ought to be, blaming meddling by the ministry of homes affairs.

Commission chairman Danford Chirindo told a parliamentary committee on defense and home affairs that his panel would soon seek official clarity on its mandate.

Chirindo said for his commission to be effective, it should be allowed to operate independently of the home affairs ministry. He urged government to harmonize some of the country’s anti-graft laws so his commission can deal effectively with corruption. He added however, that severe budgetary constraints were hampering the fight against corruption.

Collaborating with the police, the commission recently arrested a number of lawmakers for abusing constituency development funds. It however, withdrew some of the cases before plea, allegedly under pressure from the attorney general’s office. – VOA

ZRP needs uniforms

Home Affairs Permanent Secretary Melusi Mtshiya, told a parliamentary committee that the Zimbabwe Republic Police was failing to operate effectively due to lack of resources, including money, gadgets and uniforms.

According to an Africa Fraud Barometer survey fraud cases are soaring as the police fail to cope. The report, released by top auditing firms KPMG and Ernst & Young Africa, found Zimbabwe accounting for 32 % of Africa’s fraud cases reported last year from July to December, landing slightly behind South Africa at 35%, and ahead of Nigeria at 22%. Overall 520 fraud cases involving $3.7 billion were recorded in the second half of last year, down from $7.2 billion from the first half of the year.

Hardest hit by fraudulent activity is government and the public sector, with 39% of all cases. Developers of the barometer said their intention was to form a bigger picture on the prevalence of fraud in Africa.

Economist John Robertson said prior to the dollarization, fraudulent practices, mainly in the public sector, were undetectable. “It’s far more complicated now for fraudsters to continue to steal from the government, and we would expect to see cases of fraud lessen in future reports,” he said. – VOA

Healing: still a mirage

National healing remains a mirage and simmering wounds from the 2008 presidential run-off will easily open-up and lead to more political violence in the next election cycle, Reconciliation Minister Moses Mzila Ndlovu has warned.

He says lack of common ground in the uneasy unity government on the handling of the sensitive subject, makes it difficult for his ministry to forge a unified approach. The warning came ahead of a National Day of Prayer by church groups on May 25 to call for political tolerance, peace and national prosperity among other things.

“There has been very little, if anything we’ve accomplished as the organ of national healing,” Mzila told VOA. “We must therefore, gear ourselves for hell breaking loose if elections are called without reconciling political opponents.”

The minister, a member of the MDC led by Welshman Ncube, has himself been arrested while conducting national healing meetings. He was charged with undermining the office of the president, and his fate will be decided on Tuesday by a Hwange magistrate following a two-week trial. – VOA

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