Week 14

A weekly selection from Zimbabwean newspapers

Over 300 pension funds collapse

MORE than 300 pension funds folded last year while nearly half of the active registered ones are currently inactive as companies struggle to meet their obligations due to economic headwinds, a new report by the country’s insurance regulator has shown. Treasury cut Zimbabwe’s growth target to 4% from an initial prediction of 4.6% due to domestic and external factors such as rising inflation and the impact of Russia’s war on Ukraine. The year-on-year inflation rate slowed down to 243.7% in December 2022, from 280.4% recorded in September 2022. 


6 million on voters roll: Zec

ZIMBABWE Electoral Commission (Zec) chairperson Priscilla Chigumba yesterday told Parliament that the electoral body has registered nearly six million voters for this year’s polls. 

President Emmerson Mnangagwa is yet to proclaim the election dates expected to fall in July or August. 


CCC pressured to impeach Mnangagwa

POLITICAL activists are piling pressure on the opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) to move a motion in Parliament to impeach President Emmerson Mnangagwa over alleged corruption in the gold sector by his cronies. “As Team Pachedu, we think the opposition should put the necessary pressure on Mnangagwa to step down and a good safe way is to move a motion to impeach him in Parliament. “The legislators have a role to play in checking the executive,” Team Pachedu told NewsDay yesterday. 


Chamisa books rematch with ED

OPPOSITION Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) leader Nelson Chamisa has reportedly been unanimously nominated to stand as party presidential candidate in this year’s polls. 

Chamisa, the founding leader of the one-year-old opposition party,  has been described by his allies as the party’s “best foot” to challenge Zanu PF leader Emmerson Mnangagwa for the second time after narrowly losing the race in 2018. 

The opposition party will today begin its candidates selection process after it adopted a citizens-centred selection process, whereby candidates are selected based on consensus by the electorate. 

NewsDay gathered yesterday that Chamisa was unchallenged in all the provinces. 


The World Bank used to cause untold harm – but 30 years ago it started reforming. What went right

DEVELOPMENT projects can have profound impacts on their societies. There are many benefits that flow from building new roads and power plants, and from modernising agricultural practices. But they can also have permanent negative consequences. To its credit, 30 years ago the bank, following an international campaign in which this author participated, recognised that its position was untenable. In 1993 it established the world’s first citizen driven independent accountability mechanism, the World Bank Inspection Panel. 

This article argues that the panel’s 30th anniversary is a moment to celebrate its accomplishments. The panel has significant limitations. Nevertheless, its impact on development and the international development financing institutions has been profound. 


Govt probes ‘Gold Mafia’ kingpins

GOVERNMENT yesterday said it has launched own investigations into the corruption allegations raised in the four-part Al Jazeera documentary, Gold Mafia: The Laundry Service, which exposes illicit financial flows and rampant smuggling of gold out of Zimbabwe by the elite, but analysts rapped the State for taking long to react after the exposé was broadcast. 

Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development programmes director John Maketo said swift action such as the suspension of all gold licences pending investigations was needed. 

“The (government) statement failed to comprehend the scale and magnitude of the matter which requires more than just an investigation,” Maketo said. 


92% Zimbos have no confidence in police

THE majority of Zimbabweans have lost confidence in the police force, with 92% of citizens having stopped seeking police assistance throughout last year despite a surge in crime during the same year, latest findings by Afrobarometer have shown.

This comes as the country recorded a 45% surge in crime last year after 208 027 criminal cases were reported to the police in the last quarter of 2022, compared to 143 923 cases in the first quarter.

Afrobarometer, a Ghana-based pan-African, independent, non-partisan research network that measures public attitudes on economic, political and social matters in Africa, ranked Zimbabwe’s police force as the most corrupt, followed by Members of Parliament (MPs).


ED tightens noose on foreign observers

PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa says election observers from countries that have in the past invited Zimbabwe to their own plebiscites will be the only ones allowed to witness the country’s 2023 polls. Writing in his weekly column in a State newspaper, Mnangagwa said Zimbabwe is not a non-governmental organisation and, therefore, observing its elections will be determined along sovereignty lines. “We go to elections as sovereign nations, indeed as State parties of the United Nations; its hallowed Charter makes all nations equal, regardless of size and age; however, these are reckoned or claimed. State parties relate to each and to another on equal terms, with respect and strictly on the basis and principle of reciprocity. Going forward, only those nations who invite us to observe their own elections in future will be invited to do the same here,” Mnangagwa wrote. 


Zonful Energy: Zim’s off-grid power solution

The off-grid solar company Zonful Energy has powered over 30 000 homes and currently has a subsidiary business in Mozambique as part of its regional expansion strategy. After graduating as an engineer from the University of Zimbabwe, Ponela worked for several companies before striking out on his own and forming a business specialising in solar systems. He spent half a decade on research and accumulated a wealth of trial-and-error experience before settling on the business model for Zonful Energy. Zonful has experienced substantial growth, creating 70 direct jobs and more than 2 000 indirect jobs. Its solar products have provided energy to over 30 000 households across the nation, with rural homes constituting 80% of the total. Customers can either pay upfront or opt for a pay-as-you-go plan after making a modest initial deposit, with the remaining balance spread over 18 to 24 months. 


Measles kills 750 children: Report

MORE than 750 children under the age of five have succumbed to measles in Zimbabwe since last year, an Amnesty International (AI) report has revealed. 

In a report titled State of World’s Human Rights, released yesterday, AI said the main measles hotspot in the country was Mutasa district in Manicaland, an area which is mostly dominated by the Johanne Marange apostolic sect that does not believe in modern medicine or vaccination. Children aged between six months and five years were the worst affected. 


Zim records 45% surge in crime

ZIMBABWE recorded a 45% surge in crime last year after 208 027 criminal cases were reported to the police in the last quarter of 2022, compared to 143 923 cases in the first quarter, latest Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (ZimStat) figures have shown.

The statistics reveal that 319 were homicide cases during the last quarter of 2022.

A majority of the criminal cases reported were acts against public safety and State security, whereby 89 775 offences were committed, with a crime rate of 591,4 per 100 000 people.


Cholera outbreak: Zimbabwe paying price of lack of water infrastructure

South Africa, Zambia, Mozambique, Malawi as well as Zimbabwe have already recorded confirmed cases of cholera. Malawi has the highest number of cholera cases — 40 000 with the death toll standing at 1 700. Cholera outbreaks are not a new phenomenon in the country. 

From 2008 to 2009, there was a severity which saw 98 585 cases reported and 4 287 deaths recorded in nine months. It only stopped after international organisations such as USAid, Doctors Without Borders, Red Cross and UN agencies, including Unicef and WHO provided medicine and water treatment chemicals. Another outbreak took place in 2018, killing at least 69 people, while at least 10 421 cases were recorded. 


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