Sunday 28 May 2017
(Xinhuanet 03/01/17)
The Zimbabwean government said Wednesday it needed 100 million U.S. dollars to urgently repair roads that have been damaged by heavy rains. Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister Joram Gumbo told a press conference that some sections of the country's road network had become impassable after bridges were washed away by the heavy rains in the season 2016-17. He said the situation had been compounded by the downgraded Cyclone Dineo that hit southern parts of the country last week, causing substantial damage to roads and bridges. The washed-away bridges had seen some rural communities being cut off from essential services, resulting in them travelling longer distances to get to places that are "just next door". Some villagers were improvising and using...
(Voice of America 02/28/17)
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe marked his 93rd birthday last week by squashing any thought he plans to resign or not seek re-election. "If I feel that I can't do it anymore, I'll say so to my party so that they relieve me," he told state broadcaster ZBC-TV. "But for now I think, I can't say so. The majority of the people feel that there is no replacement, actually. No successor who to them is acceptable, as acceptable as I am." That last statement might be true, given the lack of a strong opposition figure in Zimbabwe.
(Reuters (Eng) 02/28/17)
Zimbabwean public sector workers will hold a demonstration on Monday calling on the government to pay bonuses for 2016, the civil service union said, setting them on a collision course with President Robert Mugabe's cash strapped administration. Without balance of payment support from foreign lenders, the southern African nation is spending more than 90 percent of the national budget on salaries, leaving no money for infrastructure or bonuses that were due by December. Last July, doctors joined nurses, teachers and other civil servants in a national shutdown over unpaid wages, which coincided with anti-government protests called by social media groups over a deteriorating economy. The Apex Council, which represents all civil service unions, issued a notice of the strike to...
(Xinhuanet 02/28/17)
At least 117 people have died due to heavy rains that have been received in Zimbabwe in recent months while 106 others have been injured by lightning, the Civil Protection Unit (CPU) said Monday. More than 1,930 houses and rural huts were also damaged countrywide, leaving 635 families homeless. A total of 71 schools, five health institutions and 71 dams had their walls breached while several roads and bridges were washed away due to the incessant rains. Zimbabwe has been receiving heavy rains since January, resulting in most dams spilling and heightening the risk of flooding in low lying parts of the country. The country was last week hit by the downgraded Cyclone Dineo, which has left a trail of...
(AFP (eng) 02/28/17)
The Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership -- the world's biggest individual prize -- drew a blank once again in finding a suitable laureate, it was announced Tuesday. The prize only goes to a democratically-elected African leader who demonstrated exceptional leadership, served their mandated term and left office within the last three years. The award comes with $5 million (4.7 million euros) paid over 10 years and $200,000 annually for life from then on. The prize, founded by Sudan-born telecoms tycoon Mo Ibrahim, has only been given four times in its 10-year existence. The philanthropist has said in the past that making no award sent just as strong a message on African leadership. "A very high bar was deliberately...
(Voice of America 02/27/17)
The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has predicted that Zimbabwe will be the country hardest hit by the invasion of armyworms in southern Africa. Farmers are already taking serious losses. The Gokwe and Zhombe areas in Zimbabwe's Midlands province are among the most affected by an invasion of the fall armyworms. Armyworms are a type of moth capable of destroying entire crops in a matter of weeks. It is the first time the insect has hit southern Africa, and seven countries confirmed an outbreak of the fall armyworm, which FAO says is more destructive and more difficult to control than the African armyworm. The fall armyworm thrives during the rainy season, particularly after periods of prolonged drought - which...
(News24 02/27/17)
Thirty tons of school books collected in Bedfordview and meant for distribution to schools in Zimbabwe are stuck at Beitbridge Border Post because the state revenue authority is demanding tax, reports say. The official Herald newspaper says the books were destined for 11 schools in Bulawayo, near where President Robert Mugabe will hold his birthday party on Saturday. The book shipment was organised by Chitungwiza Rotary Club, which says it's been doing this without problems since 2011. Past president of the group Denny Makoni said the books had been held up at the border for the past two weeks after the state ZIMRA revenue authority "made new documentation requirements" and demanded the payment of duty, the Herald reported. Zimbabwe began...
(AFP (eng) 02/27/17)
An African road movie about four women wowed its audience Sunday as it kicked off the Panafrican cinema and television festival (Fespaco), a showcase for the continent's burgeoning film industry. "Borders" ("Frontieres") directed by Apolline Traore, a Fespaco laureate in 2013, sweeps across Africa as its protagonists journey through Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso and Benin on their way to Nigeria. Along the way the women -- Ivorian, Senegalese, Burkinabe and Nigerian actresses -- are spared nothing as they are beset by customs officers, thieves, murderers and rapists. The film -- the first feature-length film to show at the festival -- deals with "the bravery of women," Traore told AFP at the festival in the Burkinabe capital Ouagadougou. "There is a...
(New Zimbabwe 02/24/17)
Former US ambassador to Zimbabwe Charles Ray says President Robert Mugabe and newly installed US counterpart Donald Trump are two birds of a feather who would never get along with each other even for "three minutes" because of the "size of their egos". He was speaking to NewZimbabwe.com Wednesday via electronic communication from his homeland in the US. In a televised interview to mark his 93rd birthday, President Mugabe admitted Trump was "radical" but said he should be given a chance to see if he also took a hostile stance towards countries like Zimbabwe during his tenure.
(Xinhuanet 02/23/17)
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has dismissed corruption allegations against his ministers and challenged accusers to bring the evidence. In a wide-ranging traditional birthday interview with the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation on the occasion on his 93rd birthday Tuesday night, the veteran president said the government was ready to investigate the so-called "big fish" if ample evidence was proffered. "I don't want to run a party with thieves and corrupt persons. If there is evidence, we will pursue that evidence and certainly we will deal with the persons," the president said. He said the corruption allegations were mere speculation by the people, as none had come out in the open with evidence. Apart from the current corruption case against Higher and Tertiary...
(AFP (eng) 02/23/17)
For the first time in Africa, researchers said Wednesday they have detected a malaria parasite that is partially resistant to the top anti-malaria drug, artemisinin, raising concern about efforts to fight a disease that sickens hundreds of millions of people each year. The discovery means that Africa now joins southeast Asia in hosting such drug-resistant forms of the mosquito-borne disease. Malaria infected more than 200 million people and killed some 438,000 people worldwide in 2015, most of them children in Africa. "The spread of artemisinin resistance in Africa would be a major setback in the fight against malaria, as ACT (artemisinin-based combination therapy) is the only effective and widely used antimalarial treatment at the moment," said lead author Arnab Pain,...
(The Associated Press 02/22/17)
U.S. President Donald Trump's "America First" policy has an admirer in Zimbabwe's longtime president, who says the policy resonates with his own thinking. President Robert Mugabe, who turned 93 on Tuesday and is the world's oldest head of state, spoke in a birthday interview with state-run media. "When it comes to Donald Trump, on the one hand talking of American nationalism, well, America for America, America for Americans — on that we agree. Zimbabwe for Zimbabweans," he said. Mugabe has previously defended Trump, even saying he didn't want Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton to win last year's election. He also said he hoped Trump's administration would remove sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe more than a decade ago over alleged human rights abuses...
(The Herald Online 02/22/17)
President Mugabe has said some diamond mining firms that refused to partner the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company because they wanted to make money for themselves, are free to leave.Speaking in a wide-ranging interview with ZBCTV on Monday night, President Mugabe said the diamond mining industry was now in the hands of the State. The diamond mining firms which operated at Chiadzwa for many years did not benefit the country and at one time, President Mugabe bemoaned the prejudice of $15 billion in revenue the country suffered. "These various companies, which operated alongside the ZMDC (Zimbabwe Mining Development Company) operated for quite a long period," said President Mugabe. "We do not know how the earnings from their operations were accounted for...
(Bloomberg 02/22/17)
As he marked his 93rd birthday Tuesday, Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe signaled that he has no intention of retiring any time soon and voiced support for U.S. President Donald Trump’s policy of putting his country’s interests first. Speaking softly and haltingly in an interview with the state-owned Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corp., Mugabe said he would only heed calls to step down from within his ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front. “They want me to stand for elections,” he said. “If I feel I cannot do it any more, I will say so to my party so they relieve me. For now, I think I can’t say so. Also the majority of the people feel that there is no replacement actually, no...
(Xinhuanet 02/22/17)
Africa Energy Indaba, the continent's premier energy event, kicked off in Johannesburg on Monday with the aim of finding solutions to the continent's energy future. The three-day conference is being attended by the governments' representatives, business and funders. The meeting seeks to unleash the continent's potential by coming up with an energy mix to develop Africa. Dr. Garth Strachan, Deputy Director General and Head of Gas Industrialization Unit in South Africa's Department of Trade and Industry said the recent discoveries of gas in Mozambique, Angola and Tanzania provides a huge opportunity for the continent. He said there is a need for the countries to work together to tap benefits from the gas for the good of the continent. Strachan said...
(AFP (eng) 02/21/17)
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, the world's oldest national ruler, turns 93 on Tuesday, defiantly vowing to remain in power despite growing signs of frailty and failing health. He will celebrate with his staff in a private ceremony in Harare while supporters use state media to send their annual gushing messages of goodwill and congratulations. The main celebrations will be held Saturday at Matobo National Park outside Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second-largest city, and are expected to attract thousands of officials and ZANU-PF party faithful. Large game animals are often slaughtered for the occasion. In previous years Mugabe has reportedly been offered elephants, buffalo and impala for the feast.
(Daily Maverick 02/21/17)
Zimbabwe’s education system was once the pride of Africa, and through decades of dictatorship has continued to produce generations of skilled graduates. But a raft of controversial new changes may bring the whole system crashing down, critics fear. To say Zimbabwe is in a mess would be a severe understatement. Think corruption, pothole-ridden roads, and a flailing economy that has pushed millions of people to live and work elsewhere. But despite all the gloom and doom, there’s one thing that Zimbabweans treasure and are fiercely proud of: our education system. With one of the highest literacy rates in Africa, and a radical education policy dating from the 1980s that guarantees free primary school education for all citizens, the country’s education...
(Bloomberg 02/21/17)
Ashish Thakkar, who co-founded Africa banking conglomerate Atlas Mara Ltd. with ex-Barclays Plc head Bob Diamond, lost a ruling over the ownership of family assets in a London divorce case, with a judge questioning Thakkar’s truthfulness. Judge Philip Moor ruled that Thakkar, and not his mother and sister, was the owner of disputed assets in the divorce. He found that the 35-year-old owned 100 percent of Mara Group Holdings Ltd. and other corporate entities. The result will have ramifications in the proceedings where a judge will have to decide how much Thakkar -- described in videos posted on his foundation’s website as "Africa’s Youngest Billionaire" -- is worth. Thakkar says he has assets of 445,532 pounds ($553,000) while his wife,...
(AFP (eng) 02/19/17)
Hundreds of patients endured long hours waiting in casualty units at Zimbabwe’s state hospitals Saturday due to a crippling strike by doctors seeker higher allowances and better work conditions. Zimbabwe had one of Africa's best healthcare systems but a brain drain following a plunge into economic crisis and hyper-inflation has wreaked all-round havoc, including on the medical sector. "There are practically no doctors at most hospitals," Edgar Munatsi, president of the Hospital Doctors' Association told AFP. "It’s a sad situation but unfortunately there has been little movement on the part of the government to try to address our grievances." The doctors are demanding that call allowances be raised to a minimum of $10 per hour up from the current $1.20,...
(AFP (eng) 02/17/17)
The wife of 92-year-old Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe said Friday that he would be the voters' choice even after he dies, as she addressed supporters from the ruling ZANU-PF party. Grace Mugabe, who is seen as a possible successor to her ailing husband, ratcheted up her colourful rhetoric ahead of the general election due next year. "One day when God decides that Mugabe dies, we will have his corpse appear as a candidate on the ballot paper," Grace Mugabe told a party rally in Buhera, southeast of the capital Harare. "You will see people voting for Mugabe as a corpse. I am seriously telling you -- just to show people how people love their president." President Mugabe has vowed to...

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