Saturday 27 May 2017
(AFP (eng) 03/08/17)
Lawyers and human rights campaigners launched an initiative for African whistleblowers in Senegal on Tuesday, aimed at providing a secure means of exposing wrongdoing on the continent. African nations such as Somalia, South Sudan, Libya and Guinea-Bissau regularly appear at the very bottom of rankings such as Transparency International's Corruption Index, while none make it into the top 30. The Platform for the Protection of Whistleblowers in Africa (PPLAAF) will provide guidance from legal experts, secure submission of information and a hotline for potential informants, according to its founders. The initiative is the brainchild of Spanish superstar lawyer Baltasar Garzon -- who has defended Julian Assange of whistleblowing website WikiLeaks -- along with French lawyer William Bourdon, who worked on...
(Reuters (Eng) 03/07/17)
Zimbabwe's government on Monday agreed to pay outstanding cash bonuses, bringing an end to a brief sit-in protest by public workers, union leaders and a government minister said. "The issue that we were clamoring for, which is the cash payment of bonuses, has been accepted," said Raymond Majongwe, secretary general of Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe. Doctors called off a three-week strike on Sunday after government approved increased allowances and created 250 new jobs, the same day President Robert Mugabe returned from medical leave in Singapore.
(Xinhuanet 03/07/17)
The Zimbabwean government is amending at least 16 laws to boost exports which have been on a decline over the years. The laws are being amended under the Ease of Doing Export Business Rapid Results Initiative to address issues such as high cost of production, complex and burdensome procedures as well as limited access to affordable long-term trade finance. The initiative is also expected to reduce the cost and time of exporting so as to boost national exports which have fallen significantly in recent years resulting in a widening trade deficit of 2.4 billion U.S. dollars in 2016. Benison Ntini, chairperson of the thematic group on export regulation, said draft changes had since been made to one of the laws...
(Xinhuanet 03/07/17)
The Zimbabwean government is amending at least 16 laws to boost exports which have been on a decline over the years. The laws are being amended under the Ease of Doing Export Business Rapid Results Initiative to address issues such as high cost of production, complex and burdensome procedures as well as limited access to affordable long-term trade finance. The initiative is also expected to reduce the cost and time of exporting so as to boost national exports which have fallen significantly in recent years resulting in a widening trade deficit of 2.4 billion U.S. dollars in 2016. Benison Ntini, chairperson of the thematic group on export regulation, said draft changes had since been made to one of the laws...
(Xinhuanet 03/07/17)
Zimbabwean doctors ended a three-week strike at the weekend after government met some of their demands. The doctors went on strike mid February, pressing for their annual bonuses, an increase in on-call allowances and cheaper cars. Nurses joined the strike last week. Government had deployed army doctors to work at affected public hospitals. The Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association (ZHDA) said in a statement they now waited for the government to deliver on its promises. The government increased doctors' on-call allowances to 360 U.S. dollars per month from 288 dollars and promised a car loan package and created 250 new posts for doctors and 2,000 posts for nurses. Zimbabwe's public health service delivery has deteriorated significantly over the years due to...
(Xinhuanet 03/07/17)
Tourist arrivals in Zimbabwe's prime holiday destination, the Victoria Falls, have increased steadily since the re-launch of the Kavango-Zambezi (KAZA) uni-visa in December last year, an official said Tuesday. The uni-visa allows visitors to stay in Zambia or Zimbabwe (or both) for up to 30 days for a single payment of 50 U.S. dollars. It also covers people who want to enter Botswana for day-trips through the Kazungula border post. Zimbabwe Council for Tourism representative for Matabeleland North, Barbara Murasiranwa was quoted by state-run new agency as saying that arrivals had increased by about 15 percent since re-introduction of the visa regime. "Arrivals into Victoria Falls via Zambia had gone down prior to the re-launch of the uni-visa, but right...
(Reuters (Eng) 03/06/17)
Zimbabwean government workers, including thousands of teachers, were due to stage a sit-in protest over unpaid bonuses on Monday ahead of a meeting with authorities, union leaders said. Doctors called off a planned strike on Sunday after government approved increased allowances and created 250 new jobs, the same day President Robert Mugabe returned from medical leave in Singapore. "Our agreed position is we report for duty but sit-in," said Raymond Majongwe, a member of the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe. However, Reuters saw signs the work boycott was not being adhered to everywhere. At the government registry in the capital Harare, officials were issuing passports and birth certificates as normal
(Reuters (Eng) 03/06/17)
Zimbabwean junior doctors on Sunday called off a three-week strike saying the government had partially met their demands, a day before a one-day walk out by other public sector workers. Doctors at public hospitals went on strike on Feb. 15, demanding annual bonuses, an increase in on-call allowances and cheaper cars. Nurses joined the strike last week. The Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association (ZHDA) said in a statement it had decided to end the strike after "seeing the plight of patients". The government had deployed army medics to work at major public hospitals after the doctors walked out. The government increased allowances to $360 per month rather than the $720 demanded by doctors, promised a car loan package and created 250...
(The Independent 03/06/17)
Th term was coined by sceptical officials, worried about the importance given to Commonwealth trade deals ahead of Brexit negotiations. Plans by government ministers to boost trade links with African Commonwealth countries are being internally branded “empire 2.0” by sceptical officials who are worried about the importance being placed on such deals ahead of the UK’s negotiations of leaving the European Union (EU). International Trade Secretary Liam Fox is expected to promise to build better links with the whole of the 52 member countries of the Commonwealth when ministers from each country meet in London later this week. But as the UK is prepares itself to leave the European Union, The Times reports that British ministers are planning to talk...
(AFP (eng) 03/03/17)
Two Zimbabwean journalists were arrested Friday over a newspaper report that described President Robert Mugabe as "in bad shape" when he flew to Singapore for what officials called a scheduled medical check-up. Editor of independent newspaper NewsDay Wisdom Mudzungairi and journalist Richard Chidza were released ahead of a court appearance on Saturday. The front-page story said that Mugabe, 93, had "sneaked out of the country" this week, and quoted an unnamed source saying "it's a tricky health situation". The report, headlined "Mugabe in fresh health scare", said that first lady Grace Mugabe had flown
(AFP (eng) 03/03/17)
At least 246 people have been killed by floods in Zimbabwe since December, state media reported Friday, as the government launched an appeal for foreign aid. The Herald newspaper said at least 128 people had been injured, 2,000 left homeless, 74 schools damaged and 70 dams had burst in floods across the country that followed a prolonged drought. "There is an inadequate supply of tents, foodstuffs and drugs for the affected people," Local Government Minister Saviour Kasukuwere told the paper. "There is a need for blankets and clothing for the affected families and they are at risk of contracting pneumonia and acute respiratory infections."
(Xinhuanet 03/03/17)
A prolonged drought across the East African region and heavy flooding in some southern African countries are compounding the effects of conflicts to make people's lives difficult. Against the global trend of good harvests, Africa, especially its eastern part, faces the challenge of worsening food security due to drought and conflicts. Some 37 countries require external assistance for food, including 28 African countries, as a result of lingering effects of last year's El Nino-triggered drought on harvests, says the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). In South Sudan, nearly half of the population of 11.3 million are in urgent need of food aid as the UN declared famine in the East African nation last week. Tens of thousands of people...
(Bloomberg 03/03/17)
Polar Star Management Ltd., which runs one of the best-performing African and Middle East hedge fund over the past five years, plans to start a private-equity unit that will invest in agriculture to exploit rising demand for food. The Cape Town-based firm plans to use its own money to buy small farms and processing companies in South Africa this year, then increase efficiency through consolidation and better management, said Murray Derksen, a director at Polar Star. It aims to raise 1.5 billion rand ($115 million) for the fund, which may also buy commodities such as grains, while targeting an internal rate of return of 8 percent to 12 percent, he said. “We looked at the increase in corn demand globally,...
(AFP (eng) 03/02/17)
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, who celebrated his 93rd birthday last week, flew to Singapore on Wednesday for a "scheduled medical review", his spokesman said. Mugabe appeared frail at his birthday party on Saturday, when he stood for more than an hour to deliver his speech, but he paused for lengthy periods and mumbled at times. "The president left this morning for Singapore for a scheduled medical review," his press secretary George Charamba told the state-run Herald newspaper. "We expect him back in the country early next week." Mugabe, the world's oldest national leader, has held power since 1980 during a reign marked by repression of dissent, vote-rigging and a sharp economic decline for the country. He recently spent several weeks...
(Reuters (Eng) 03/02/17)
Zimbabwe requires $100 million for emergency road repairs following above normal rains that have severely damaged the urban road network and highways, a government minister said on Wednesday. Unable to get balance of payment support from foreign lenders due to unpaid arrears, and with more than 90 percent of its national budget going to salaries, Zimbabwe's public infrastructure has been crumbling for more than a decade. In the capital Harare, motorists often dodge potholes that constantly damage vehicles, angering residents, who accuse the government and local councils of neglect. Transport Minister Joram Gumbo told reporters that in the southern parts of the country, some sections of highways and bridges were washed away following a cyclone that developed from the coast...
(Xinhuanet 03/02/17)
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe left for Singapore on Monday for a routine medical check-up, his spokesperson George Charamba has said. Charamba was quoted by the state media Thursday as saying that the president was expected back in the country next Monday. The visit came a few days after Mugabe celebrated his 93rd birthday on Feb. 21 and vowed that he would continue as leader of the country. He has since been confirmed by his Zanu-PF party as its presidential candidate for the 2018 elections when he will be 94. His party, however, is reportedly riddled with infighting by factions vying to succeed him, one reportedly led by Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa and another by a group of young leaders known...
(AFP (eng) 03/02/17)
A film raging against colonialism and the exploitation of Africa wowed viewers at the continent's top cinema festival Wednesday, winning shouts of approval at a screening packed to bursting point. "The African Storm" tells the story of an African president who nationalises businesses run by racist, cynical Western executives. Directed and produced by its Beninese star Sylvestre Amoussou, it tackles several hot-button issues including an exit from the CFA franc currency, closer ties with Russia and China as opposed to the West, criticism of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, and pride in being African. One of 20 feature-length movies on show at the Panafrican Film and Television Festival (Fespaco) in Burkina Faso's capital Ouagadougou, the movie was punctuated...
(Xinhuanet 03/01/17)
Zimbabwe needs to improve its tourism infrastructure and solve the problem of high pricing to make it a competitive destination in southern Africa, according to findings of a recent study whose results were released Tuesday. According to the report by state news agency New Ziana, the Zimbabwe-Visitor Exit Survey (VES) showed that the majority of visitors coming into Zimbabwe were visiting friends and relatives (31.1 percent) while transit visitors accounted for the second largest proportion with 29.5 percent. Visitors coming for leisure were third at 18.2 percent followed by religion, an emerging form of tourism in Zimbabwe which accounted for 5.1 percent. The survey was carried out in 2015-16 by the Zimbabwe Statistical Agency on behalf of the Tourism Ministry...
(Xinhuanet 03/01/17)
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's spokesperson George Charamba on Wednesday accused Western powers of propping the country's opposition ahead of the 2018 elections. The 93-year-old will most likely meet strong opposition from his former deputy in both government and the ruling Zanu-PF party Joice Mujuru and former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai of MDC-T as the two and other opposition figures mull a coalition to end his rule. The EU on Tuesday invited civil society organizations (CSOs) to submit proposals on projects "to promote democratic participation, good governance and accountability as well as dialogue amongst the different stakeholders in the country," pledging 5.3 million U.S. dollars to the cause. It said the call was launched in the framework of the 11th European...
(Bloomberg 03/01/17)
Forests engulf fields that used to produce some of the world’s best tobacco around the northern Zimbabwean town of Banket, while barns that once stored the leaf stand empty, their corrugated iron roofs ripped off and sold for scrap. Most of the farm workers have left. “We are 15 here now, from roughly 50,” said 25-year-old Bruce Mahenya, who lives in a mud-and-grass hut behind a defunct trading store on a farm about 95 kilometers (60 miles) northwest of the capital, Harare. “My mother, father and brother have gone. I said I would remain alone in case things get better, but it’s hard.” It’s a familiar story across vast tracts of Zimbabwe, where President Robert Mugabe’s goal of transforming the...

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