Week 14

A weekly selection from Zimbabwean newspapers

El Niño leaves farmers devastated

 The plants, barely above ankle height, have been drying in the heatwave, changing from a lush green colour to brown. Less than 100 metres away from the farms is a stream, whose levels have been dwindling since the start of the rainy season, with huge boulders, once submerged under water, now laid bare, due to lack of rain. 

 “Our crops should have tusselled by now, but unfortunately the heat has been intense, and there has been very little rain,” a farmer tells The NewsHawks. 

 “We mainly rely on the rains and, if they do not come, it will be difficult to find a way out. Grain becomes expensive. For instance, right now it is costing over US$7 for a bucket, which will continue to increase as time goes.” 


Zimbabwe faces post-harvest food insecurity amid economic challenges: report

The ongoing macroeconomic challenges in Zimbabwe are expected to exacerbate the impact of poor harvests across the country in the post-harvest period, affecting households that largely rely on market purchases for food, said the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWSNET), a provider of early warning and analysis on acute food insecurity. 

In its assessment report for the period March to May 2024 released to Xinhua Friday, FEWSNET said most households in deficit-producing areas are expected to experience food consumption gaps in the post-harvest period. 

Meanwhile, there will be an increase in the number of households having minimally adequate food consumption in the northern areas of the country. 


Prevail Group International extends borehole drilling initiative to Plumtree

Prevail Group International (PGI) has taken its borehole drilling initiative to Plumtree as it continues to provide portable clean water to rural communities. 

The firm has been contracted to drill approximately 10,000 boreholes and further install irrigation facilities under the presidential borehole drilling initiative. 

This ambitious programme, overseen by the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa), aims to address water challenges as well as transform the livelihoods of residents in rural areas. 

It aligns with the government’s efforts to improve water access in remote communities, supporting both horticulture and domestic usage. 

Paul Tungwarara, chairperson of the PGI, announced that his company aims to install at least 100 boreholes in Buhera before Independence Day celebrations at the Murambinda growth point.


Lingwe piped water scheme eases water challenges in Matobo | The Sunday News (state owned)

The recent commissioning of Lingwe piped water scheme which is going to serve 160 households in Matobo District has been lauded as a positive step in the fulfilment of the Second Republic’s aspirations of being responsive to communities’ needs through provision of essential services as espoused in the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1). 

Commissioning the 30 000 cubic metre-piped water scheme that is going to provide relief to livestock farmers through a dip tank catering for 1 360 herd of cattle in Matobo on Monday, Matabeleland South Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution Dr Evelyn Ndlovu said the project addressed a number of priority areas in the NDS1. 


500MW solar plant to turn Vic Falls into smart city The Herald (state owned)

Victoria Falls is moving closer to becoming a smart tourism and green destination following plans to construct a renewable energy exhibition park and a 500MW solar plant which will be complemented by a tidal river plant on the Zambezi River. 

Southpole Consulting, an international firm that was given Special Economic Zone (SEZ) status by the Zimbabwe Investment Development Agency (Zida), is implementing the project. 

Land measuring 300 hectares near the Victoria Falls International Airport has since been identified for the solar farm project. 

Once the 500MW come on stream, they will boost Zimbabwe’s quest to attain energy self-sufficiency. 


Getting Burnt In Zimbabwe’s Currency Collapse – Cathy Buckle

Ten days before Easter the message came from the local medical insurance company on my cellphone. ‘Your new bill for April 2024 is 2,91 million dollars,’ it said.  Last month it was 2.45 million dollars and in January it had been 1.39 million dollars. Ten days before Easter the street rate for currency exchange was Z$18,000 for one US dollar.  The same time in February it was 16,000 to one and in mid-January it had been 11,500 Zimbabwe dollars to one US dollar. Zimbabwe is undeniably in a state of rapid collapse again. 


King Lobengula’s tomb found in Zambia The Herald (state owned)

For over a century, it has been in the public domain that the Ndebele monarch, King Lobengula “disappeared” soon after crossing the Shangani River. 

However, there is new information that he went on to live in neighbouring Zambia among King Mpezeni’s people in Chipata and was entombed at Sanjika Cave in line with Ndebele customs. 

King Lobengula was last seen on December 4, 1893, when he rested under a Mutswiri (Leadwood) tree soon after the famous Pupu Battle during which his Imbizo Regiment under General Mtshane Khumalo killed settler forces’ commander Major Allan Wilson and his fighters.  

Despite their superior weaponry comprising Maxim guns and cannons, Major Wilson and his forces were killed by King Lobengula’s brave warriors. 


Govt under fire as investors damage graves

THE Zanu PF government has come under fire for authorising investors to destroy dozens of graves to pave way for mining activities while ignoring the country’s social and traditional norms and beliefs. 

In an interview yesterday, Centre for Natural Resource Governance director Farai Maguwu told NewsDay that the move was in blatant disregard of the sanctity of burial grounds and the cultural values of the affected communities. 

“Government is easily authorising displacement of dead people to pave way for mining. Our appetite for profits must have some limits because some of these things have deep cultural, psychosocial effects that will haunt people for a long time to come,” Maguwu said. 

The Dinson Iron and Steel Company (Pvt) Ltd is also seeking the nod to exhume human remains from a grave in the Manhize area in Chirumhanzu district to pave way for the US$1 billion project. 


Debt-saddled government resumes talks with creditors

Official figures show that despite making token payments over the past few years, Zimbabwe’s total debt stock has soared to US$18 billion as of December 2023. 

After several failed attempts to settle arrears with international financial institutions (IFIs) such as the World Bank and the African Development Bank (AfDB), which enjoy preferred creditor status, Zimbabwe, which has been struggling to access long-term concessional funding, adopted a new strategy which is led by AfDB. 

The debt-ridden nation established a structured dialogue platform with all creditors and development partners in order to institutionalise negotiations on economic and governance reforms to underpin the arrears clearance and debt resolution process. 


Zimbabwe is a case study of hardships people will face in hell

Obert Masaraure, the president of the Amalgamated Rural Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ), drew a striking analogy, likening Zimbabwe’s current state to a grim portrayal of Gehenna, as described in the Christian Bible – a place of utter destruction by fire for both body and soul. 

Masaraure pointed to the profound challenges faced by Zimbabweans, painting a picture of an economy in disarray where basic necessities have become unattainable, particularly for civil servants. He highlighted how funeral assurance premiums were eating into teachers’ already meager salaries, exemplifying the broader struggles experienced by the populace. 


Fresh cholera fears loom

“I wish to notify all residents and all other important stakeholders that Harare has been responding to a cholera outbreak since September 2023 and to date has recorded more than 9 000 cases and 65 deaths. We continue to report cases from Harare from many suburbs with significantly more cases from western districts,” Chonzi said. 

The country has been grappling with the continued presence of the medieval disease for over a year, with fatalities being recorded especially in areas dominated by apostolic sects. 


Women own 9% of country’s cattle: WB

About 9% of cattle on the country’s commercial farms belong to women, a new World Bank (WB) report has revealed, showing significant gender disparity in Zimbabwe’s agricultural sector. 

According to the Livestock and Fisheries Assessment report on 2022/23 summer season (pre-harvest) released by the Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development ministry, the national beef cattle herd stood at 5 642 400 in 2022. 

The research, titled Missing Voices, Missing Potential: The Status of Women in Zimbabwe’s Agriculture, found that women make up a smaller portion of the agricultural workforce than men across various farm types.


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