Tuesday 20 February 2018
(Reuters (Eng) 01/29/18)
HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe is experiencing a dry spell that could cut crop yields, a farmers’ union said on Monday, but a government official said the country had enough grain reserves to last until next year. The southern African nation produced 2.1 million tonnes of the staple maize last year, the highest in two decades thanks to above normal rainfall and government funding to farmers. But rains have been erratic so far since the summer cropping season started at the end of November, while a long dry spell this month has raised alarm among farmers. Ben Gilpin, a director at the Commercial Farmers Union, said crops in the maize producing belts were showing signs of moisture stress while in the...
(AFP (eng) 01/29/18)
President Donald Trump said the United States "deeply respects" Africans and will dispatch its top diplomat to the continent, in a letter to African leaders seen by AFP on Sunday. The letter sent last week comes after Trump provoked a firestorm of indignation among African nations earlier in January when he reportedly called them "shithole countries" during a meeting with lawmakers in Washington. While Trump has denied the remarks, they are expected to be formally condemned by the 55 member states of the African Union during their ongoing summit in the Ethiopian capital. "I want to underscore that the United States deeply respects the people of Africa, and my commitment to strong and respectful relationships...
(AFP (eng) 01/26/18)
To ward off evil spirits, Jochonia Moyo picks wild herbs as he returns to Bhalagwe detention camp -- the site of unimaginable brutality during a series of massacres more than 30 years ago that still haunts Zimbabwe today. Here, Moyo was detained, beaten with clubs and forced to abuse other prisoners as Robert Mugabe's soldiers embarked on an orgy of killing that left an estimated 20,000 dead in just two years. The massacres occurred in the early 1980s, but for decades were discussed only in hushed voices. Now, though, the end of Mugabe's iron-fisted rule has revived calls for justice -- and renewed accusations that the new president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, played a key role in the bloodshed. "I remember perfectly...
(AFP (eng) 01/26/18)
US President Donald Trump on Friday asked the African Union chairman to pass on his "warmest regards" to other regional leaders at a summit this weekend, after sparking outrage with a reported slur against Africans. Trump met Rwandan President Paul Kagame at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, where some African business leaders say they are planning to boycott Trump's closing speech later Friday. The outspoken US leader congratulated Kagame on taking over as chair of the 55-nation African bloc, which Trump said was a "great honour". "I know you're going to your first meeting shortly. Please give my warmest regards," Trump told Kagame after they held a one-on-one meeting at the forum.
(AFP (eng) 01/26/18)
The oldest remains of a modern human outside Africa have been dug up in Israel, offering evidence of what genetic studies have already suggested -- that humans migrated out of Africa some 50,000 years earlier than previously thought. Facial fragments, including a jawbone and several teeth, were found at a site called Misliya Cave in Israel, one of several prehistoric cave sites located on Mount Carmel. The bones date to between 174,000 and 188,000 years old, said the report in Thursday's edition of the US journal Science. Until now, the earliest modern human fossils found outside of Africa were estimated to be between 90,000 to 120,000 years old. "Misliya is an exciting discovery," said co-author Rolf Quam, an anthropology professor...
(AFP (eng) 01/25/18)
Zimbabwe's leading university has published the thesis submitted by former first lady Grace Mugabe, who was controversially awarded a doctorate which is now the subject of a fraud investigation. Grace, whose apparent desire to succeed her 93-year-old husband prompted last year's army takeover that eventually saw Robert Mugabe resign, was awarded a PhD by the University of Zimbabwe in 2014 after just months of study. Doctorates typically require several years of full-time research and writing. "We saw the thesis on the website (late Wednesday)... the question is why it took four years to publish," said Ashley Munetsi, secretary-general of the Zimbabwe National Students' Union. Zimbabwean anti-corruption...
(AFP (eng) 01/24/18)
Zimbabwe's new president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, said Wednesday that the country would go to the polls before July, in the first elections since Robert Mugabe was ousted after 37 years in power. Mnangagwa, who took office in November after a shock military takeover led to Mugabe's ousting, promised to hold a fair vote. Under Mugabe, who had ruled since 1980, Zimbabwean elections were marred by vote-rigging, intimidation and violent suppression of the opposition. "Next month I will be able to make a proclamation of elections, so I believe that elections will not be in July, they will be earlier than July," Mnangagwa said the World Economic Forum...
(Reuters (Eng) 01/24/18)
DAVOS, Switzerland (Reuters) - Zimbabwe’s new President Emmerson Mnangagwa said on Wednesday the country will hold transparent elections by July and he would respect the result if the opposition wins. The election will be the first big test of his legitimacy since he took power in November when the military ousted Robert Mugabe who ruled for 37 years. It will also test the country’s electoral system after complaints of rigging at previous votes. Mnangagwa, 75, told the World Economic Forum in Davos the nation was “open for business”. Government spending ballooned under Mugabe and was in part used as patronage. More than 90 percent of the budget went on civil servant salaries, leaving little extra for investment needed to boost...
(AFP (eng) 01/24/18)
Despite Donald Trump reportedly dismissing African nations as "shitholes", Zimbabwe's new president said Wednesday he would welcome the US president to build a golf course in his country. "If President Trump came here today when I am still around I would... say: 'Oh, Mr President, Zimbabwe is open for business'," President Emmerson Mnangagwa said at the World Economic Forum in Davos. "I know Americans like to play golf -- come and build golf courses... build hotels, I will give you incentives," he added. "We are open and we want to catch up with the rest of the region." He was replying to a question about reported remarks by Trump earlier this month in which the US president allegedly complained about...
(Xinhuanet 01/24/18)
The Zimbabwean government has ordered its ministers and senior civil servants to declare their assets, as it moves to curb corruption in the public sector. A statement issued by the Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet Misheck Sibanda late Tuesday said the written declaration must be submitted by no later than Feb. 28. It said the order covered ministers and their deputies, permanent secretaries, senior principal directors, board members of state enterprises and parastatals and their chief executive officers. Also included were chief executives of local authorities and members of constitutional commissions, whether executive or independent. Sibanda said since his inauguration on Nov. 24, President Emmerson Mnangagwa had consistently called for strict adherence to good corporate governance. "The President...
(AFP (eng) 01/23/18)
Three luxury cars belonging to the Mugabe family were briefly detained in Botswana after the vehicles were involved in a crash as they were driven out of Zimbabwe, police said Tuesday. The Rolls Royce Ghost, a red Porsche and a Range Rover were damaged when the convoy -- led by former first lady Grace Mugabe's son -- slowed down to avoid cattle crossing the road. The vehicles were hit by a Toyota Corolla near the village of Artesia, 80 kilometres (50 miles) northeast of the capital Gaborone, in the nighttime accident on Friday, police said. "We kept the vehicles for few hours at the police station and they were...
(AFP (eng) 01/22/18)
Thisara Perera starred with bat and ball as Sri Lanka ended their recent dismal run by beating Zimbabwe by five wickets in the tri-nation one-day international tournament in Dhaka on Sunday. Perera claimed four wickets to lead an inspired Sri Lankan bowling attack that limited Zimbabwe to 198 all out before his unbeaten 39 helped the islanders to chase down their target in 44.5 overs. Sri Lanka were in trouble at 145-5 before skipper Dinesh Chandimal (38 not out) and Perera put on an unbeaten 57-run stand for the sixth wicket. Perera, who bats left-handed, sealed the win with a six to keep Sri Lanka's tournament hopes alive after they lost against Zimbabwe and hosts Bangladesh. Zimbabwe paceman Blessing Muzarabani...
(Reuters (Eng) 01/22/18)
KLEINARL, Austria (Reuters) - The chilly conditions on an Austrian mountainside belied the warm reception given to people from 15 African countries who took part in an annual luge race aimed at helping migrants integrate into European society. The event over the weekend, dubbed the African Winter Sports Cup, is a luge race contested by people with little or no experience of winter sports. Its aim, over the six years it has been held, is to promote social integration through sport, organizers said. The countries represented included Nigeria, Somalia, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia and Sudan. Some of the people taking part had come to Europe as asylum seekers while others were born on the continent. “We are all human, we have...
(AFP (eng) 01/19/18)
Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa wants international observers including UN officials to watch over the country's upcoming elections, he said in a Financial Times interview. Mnangagwa has adopted a more diplomatic tone since taking over as leader in November, after the ousting of the authoritarian Robert Mugabe, his former boss. After announcing earlier this week that elections will be held in four to five months, the new president invited international observers to Zimbabwe for the vote. "We want fair, free, credible elections," he told British business newspaper the Financial Times in an interview published Thursday.
(AFP (eng) 01/19/18)
Leading Zimbabwe opposition figure Roy Bennett, one of long-time president Robert Mugabe's most outspoken critics, has died in a helicopter crash in a remote area of the US state of New Mexico, authorities said Thursday. He was 60. Bennett was killed along with his wife Heather and three other people after the helicopter went down on Wednesday, New Mexico state police said. A crash survivor called 911 for help but could not say where in the mountainous region the wreckage was located. After a frantic search the crash was found ablaze at a ranch about 10 miles east of the town of Raton. State police officers at the scene "reported the helicopter wreckage had been engulfed in fire making identification...
(Reuters (Eng) 01/19/18)
(Reuters) - Exiled Zimbabwe opposition leader Roy Bennett and four other people were killed in a helicopter crash in a remote northern part of the U.S. state of New Mexico, officials and his political party said on Thursday. The crash of a private Huey helicopter in rugged terrain near Raton, New Mexico, on Wednesday evening killed Bennett, 60, along with his wife, Heather Bennett, 55, James Coleman Dodd, 57, of Colorado, Charles Ryland Burnett, 61, of Texas and Paul Cobb, 67, of Texas, New Mexico State Police said. Bennett, a former treasurer general of the opposition MDC party, was an important figure in Zimbabwean politics and served time in prison under former President Robert Mugabe. He recently told CNN that...
(AFP (eng) 01/19/18)
US Ambassador Nikki Haley expressed regret on Thursday to African ambassadors who were outraged by President Donald Trump's alleged description of African countries as "shithole" nations, the head of the African Group said. Haley asked to meet the African ambassadors at the United Nations after they released a joint statement on Friday demanding an apology from Trump for his "outrageous, racist and xenophobic remarks." Ambassador Anatolio Ndong Mba of Equatorial Guinea, who chairs the Africa Group, said the US ambassador did not offer an apology during the closed-door meeting, but she did express regret. Haley told the meeting that "she was not there at the White House, she is not sure what was said, but she regretted all this situation...
(AFP (eng) 01/18/18)
Zimbabwe will hold elections in four to five months, the country's new president has said, pointing to an earlier date than expected following the ousting of long-time ruler Robert Mugabe. President Emmerson Mnangagwa took office in November after a shock military takeover ended Mugabe's 37-year reign. "Zimbabwe is going for elections in four to five months' time and we have to preach peace, peace and peace," Mnangagwa said Wednesday during a visit to neighbouring Mozambique. Mnangagwa, 75, vowed to hold fair elections to ensure Zimbabwe "engages the world as a qualified democratic state," according to Thursday's state-owned Herald newspaper. Under Mugabe, who had ruled since 1980, Zimbabwean elections were marred by vote rigging, intimidation and violent suppression of the opposition...
(Reuters (Eng) 01/18/18)
HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe will hold elections in four to five months, a newspaper on Thursday quoted President Emmerson Mnangagwa as saying, the first time since independence the southern African state will conduct a vote that does not involve Robert Mugabe. The vote, a litmus test of Mnangagwa’s democratic credentials, will be crucial to unlocking badly needed financial assistance and repairing relations with Western powers and international financial institutions. Mnangagwa, a protege of Mugabe, came to power in November after a de-facto military coup when the 93-year-old was forced to resign after the military confined him to his Harare mansion. It was the culmination of a power struggle between Mnangagwa and former first lady Grace Mugabe, who was being groomed...
(AFP (eng) 01/17/18)
There's nothing covert about Roxy -- a huge market in Abidjan selling counterfeit medicine, the scourge of Africa and the cause of around 100,000 deaths annually on the world's poorest continent. Located in the bustling Adjame quarter of Ivory Coast's main city and commercial hub, the haven for fake medicine has been targeted time and again by authorities and stockpiles burnt. But it resurfaces every time. "The police hassle us but they themselves buy these medicines," said Mariam, one of the many mainly illiterate vendors who hawk everything from painkillers and antibiotics to anti-malaria and anti-retroviral treatments. "When we are harassed we always come to an arrangement with them to resume our activities," she said. Fatima, another hawker, said: "Many...

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