Sunday 28 May 2017
(Xinhuanet 03/27/17)
There is need for China and its African allies to kick start a new dialogue aimed at revitalizing wildlife and ecological conservation in the world's second largest continent, a conservationist has told Xinhua in an interview. Kaddu Sebunya, president of African Wildlife Foundation (AWF), told Xinhua that Beijing is an indispensable partner in efforts to protect Africa's iconic wildlife species that are grappling with human and climatic induced threats to their survival. "China is playing a big role in Africa's economic development and would like to see it direct more support towards protection of wildlife and vital ecosystems in the continent," Sebunya said. Sebunya noted that China's growing economic and diplomat clout place it at a vantage position to help...
(Voice of America 03/25/17)
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has started rehabilitating some of the dilapidated Zimbabwe prisons, most built during the colonial era. The first one to be refurbished — Mlondolozi Prison, about 500 kilometers southwest of Harare — houses mentally ill inmates. Among the improvements, the prison now has better ventilation and natural lighting within patients' cells, as well as improved water and sanitation facilities, according to Thomas Merkelbach, the head the ICRC in Zimbabwe. In addition, there is more space for rehabilitation activities, and kitchens have been upgraded to improve
(The Associated Press 03/24/17)
Zimbabwe's 93-year-old leader might be slowing down, but his busy foreign travels have led the opposition to call him the “non-resident president.” President Robert Mugabe has visited Singapore, Ghana, Swaziland and Mauritius in the past three weeks alone. At times he stops over in Zimbabwe's capital, Harare, for just a night before leaving again. Some critics say Mugabe's trips are a drain on this southern African country's depleted finances. Others are amazed at how a visibly elderly man remains fit enough to clock thousands of miles in the air. The foreign travels of the world's oldest head of state often provide comic relief for Zimbabweans weary of the country's
(Business Day 03/24/17)
Special permits will expire at end of 2017, forcing Zimbabweans to apply for visas as the ‘government cannot offer permanent residence to so many’. Lobby groups representing Zimbabweans holding special permits said on Wednesday they were still waiting for clarity from the Department of Home Affairs on the status of their permits. Many officials at Home Affairs erroneously believed individuals could not hold other types of permit while on the special permit, although holders were only barred from extending or changing conditions of the same permit while in SA, Zimbabwe Exiles Forum (ZEF) Advocate Gabriel Shumba said in a statement. In a joint statement from several groups, representatives of Zimbabwean special interest groups said they would intensify lobbying efforts to...
(Xinhuanet 03/24/17)
A group of non-government organizations (NGOs) on Friday called on African leaders to find practical solutions to protect and assist Somali refugees and asylum seekers facing ongoing conflict and a humanitarian crisis in Somalia. In a joint statement issued on the eve of the regional summit on refugees, members of the Regional Durable Solutions Secretariat (ReDSS), Somalia NGO Consortium and the Inter-agency Working Group (IAWG) expressed hope that the leaders will take practical steps towards the development and implementation of a comprehensive regional approach. "It is hoped that such an approach, developed in the spirit of the New York Declaration, will support countries and communities that host Somali refugees in improving asylum space, integrated access to services, inclusive economic opportunities...
(AFP (eng) 03/23/17)
A coalition of Zimbabwean opposition parties on Wednesday staged a protest ahead of next year's polls, demanding the disbanding of the state-appointed electoral commission they accuse of hindering free-and-fair elections. A group of around 200 protesters gathered at an open space outside the central business district after police banned a planned street march to the electoral commission head office. "Having failed the fundamental test of impartiality and independence required of an election management board, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission must forthwith be disbanded and dismantled," the parties said in a petition Riot police armed with truncheons and water cannons patrolled the central business district to prevent the protest march that had been organised by a loose coalition of more than 10...
(Voice of America 03/23/17)
Opposition parties in Zimbabwe say they have no confidence in the country's electoral commission and are calling for an international body to run the 2018 elections. Opposition parties led by former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai held a rally of about 500 people Wednesday in Harare at which they said the next election is heading for a dispute unless the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, or ZEC, steps aside. The rally follows the electoral commission's request to President Robert Mugabe's government to buy biometric voter registration equipment in preparation for Zimbabwe's 2018 elections.
(Reuters (Eng) 03/23/17)
After two consecutive seasons of drought, heavy rains finally promise a good harvest in most parts of Zimbabwe’s Manicaland province. But farmers now face a new challenge: washed-out roads that will make it difficult to get their crops to market. As harvesting time for tobacco, maize and other crops approaches, fears abound that roads made impassable by rain will not be repaired in time. Some farmers, particularly those growing fruit, already find themselves stuck with produce ready for market but no way to get it there. "There are no roads. They were washed away by the heavy rains,” said Liberty Kuhudzai, a farmer in Chipendeke, about 70 kilometres south of the city of Mutare. “We have potatoes which are ready...
(Reuters (Eng) 03/23/17)
N'DJAMENA French far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen pledged on Wednesday to break with her country's decades-old relationship with Africa known as "Francafrique" and abolish the CFA franc currency policy that binds Paris and its former colonies. Francafrique describes an informal web of relationships Paris has maintained with its former African colonies and its support, sometimes in the form of military backing, for politicians who favor French business interests. Le Pen, one of the frontrunners in the presidential election, spoke at the end of a two-day visit to Chad where she sought to outline her policies regarding the continent, which has long held an important place in French foreign policy. "It was only in coming here and explaining that I...
(AFP (eng) 03/22/17)
A coalition of Zimbabwean opposition parties on Wednesday staged a protest ahead of next year's polls, demanding the disbanding of the state-appointed electoral commission they accuse of hindering free-and-fair elections. A group of around 200 protesters gathered at an open space outside the central business district after police banned a planned street march to the electoral commission head office. "Having failed the fundamental test of impartiality and independence required of an election management board, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission must forthwith be disbanded and dismantled,"
(Reuters (Eng) 03/22/17)
Zimbabwean police deployed water cannon and anti-riot officers on the streets of the capital on Wednesday ahead of a planned demonstration by opposition parties against changes to the voter registration process. Anti-government protests in August descended into some of the worst violence seen in the southern African nation for two decades as anger over economic hardship boiled over. Opposition parties united under a National Election Reform Agenda (NERA) banner are campaigning against a government decision to take over the purchase of biometric voter registration kits from the United Nations. They fear this will make it easier for President Robert Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF party to skew the list of eligible voters in its favor. Police have allowed the NERA protest march...
(News24 03/21/17)
Zimbabwe's opposition parties are demanding United Nations involvement in next year's presidential election after a preparatory meeting fell apart amid an argument with election officials. Zimbabwe Elections Commission chairperson Rita Makarau walked out Tuesday after accusing the opposition of unfairly targeting her. The opposition parties have demanded her resignation, saying she is trying to help 93-year-old President Robert Mugabe win another five-year term. They say the UN should handle the 2018 vote. A coalition of 13 opposition parties is planning a protest rally in the capital, Harare, on Wednesday over what it considers actions aimed at rigging next year's vote. Mugabe has been in power since 1980.
(Voice of America 03/21/17)
The Zimbabwean government on Monday made an international appeal for $200 million to help its citizens who have been affected by widespread floods. Officials said since December, 271 people had died due to floods. The United Nations said it was important to quickly come into the country with medical aid and control infectious diseases that are spreading. Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko made a passionate plea to diplomats and United Nations agencies in the southern African country to help people who have been affected by the floods. “The amount of destruction that has been caused by the good rains, it is good rains, it is good on the other side, the other results are terrible. All we are saying to you:...
(AFP (eng) 03/21/17)
Under a cloudless sky in South Africa's northwestern farming region, donkeys still amble along muddy paths, pausing to nibble on grass, oblivious to the threat from a demand for Chinese medicine. The gelatin found in the animals' skin has made them a target, leading to a growing wave of donkey slaughtering in several African countries, as gangs seek to fuel a lucrative, and in South Africa illegal, trade. Animal rights groups say the docile beasts of burden are often cruelly bludgeoned to death before being skinned in backyards and clandestine slaughterhouses. Around Mogosani village, in South Africa's North West province, residents say syndicates catch the animals in grazing fields and pens. Soon after, skinned carcasses with hooves chopped off are...
(Xinhuanet 03/20/17)
The Zimbabwean government on Monday appealed for 200 million U.S. dollars to rebuild infrastructure and assist people affected by recent floods that wrecked havoc in southern parts of the country. Launching the appeal, Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko said at least 271 people had died since December as a result of the floods, while thousands had their homes destroyed. "It is against this background that an appeal for humanitarian assistance is being made by the government of Zimbabwe to both the domestic and the international communities to come to the aid of Zimbabwe," he was quoted as saying by the state-run news agency New Ziana. He said the destruction caused by the floods was massive, with schools and roads having been...
(Reuters (Eng) 03/20/17)
After plenty of rain, Isaac Siziba’s maize fields looked set for a bumper harvest this season, similar to the one he gathered in 2014, before Zimbabwe suffered a long and punishing drought. But last month army worms invaded Siziba’s 4-hectare farm in Gwanda District and munched through his maize. Now he expects just a fifth of the harvest he had counted on. “We were happy with the good rains this year, which means a bumper crop, but I am not sure anymore because of the worm,” said the 49-year old farmer, pointing to holes gnawed in the leaves of his tassled maize plants. “I am disappointed,” he admitted. “The pest is eating everything.” Struggling farmers in Zimbabwe had been hopeful...
(The Herald Online 03/20/17)
Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) board members are reportedly throwing spanners into the works on the implementation of major power projects identified under Zim-Asset ahead of next year's harmonised elections, it has emerged. Sustainable and adequate power supply has been identified as one of the key economic enablers. It, however, emerged that the ZPC board, appointed during the tenure of former Energy and Power Development Minister Dzikamai Mavhaire, was refusing to authorise payments to contractors who would have done work on site. This has resulted in some contractors pulling out of projects with the latest case being Helcraw Electrical (Pvt) Ltd, a company contracted by the State Procurement Board (SPB) to construct a 120 megawatt-plant in Mutare. After pulling off the...
(Agence Ecofin 03/20/17)
At the Africa CEO Forum which opened this morning in Geneva, AFD Group – in partnership with the European Union – unveiled the “African Renewable Energy Scale-Up facility”, designed to boost private sector investment in on–grid and off-grid renewable energy production in Africa. In order to meet Africa’s constantly increasing energy requirements, support must be provided for mass development of the renewable energy technologies – especially solar energy – that will play such a key role over the coming years, given the recent drop in prices and the emergence of new innovative business models. The EU’s electrification funding initiative, “ElectriFI”, helps to harness and stimulate private sector investment to enhance access to renewable energy. More specifically, it focuses on poorly-served...
(Voice of America 03/18/17)
Each year, the University of Southern California hosts the African Global Economic and Development Summit, bringing delegations from Africa to meet with business leaders, government officials and others in the U.S. But this year, the African summit has no Africans. All were denied visas. Visa issues are not uncommon for people traveling from African nations. During her prior three summits, Mary Flowers saw a high percentage of her attendees unable to attain visas. "Usually we get 40 percent that get rejected but the others come," said Flowers, chair of the African Global Economic and Development Summit. "This year it was 100 percent. Every delegation. And it was sad to see, because these people were so disheartened." Flowers estimated that she...
(Voice of America 03/17/17)
Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe says foreign companies that comply with his indigenization law are guaranteed security. His comment is a deviation from his earlier promise that he would revise the policy, which analysts repeatedly have said scares away investors. At the official launch Thursday of an $82-million cement manufacturing plant by a South African company, PPC Zimbabwe, a frail looking 93-year-old Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe said he was happy the company had not resisted the indigenization law, as other foreign companies have done. "By so doing, PPC Zimbabwe has demonstrated what so many companies are struggling to put in place," said Mugabe. "

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