Week 16

Wekelijkse selectie van nieuws uit Zimbabwe

Why China Is Building Africa’s New Parliaments

Zimbabwe’s new parliament gives an architectural nod to the country’s famous ancient ruins; Lesotho’s has a design resembling a “mokorotlo,” the conical straw hat that’s part of national dress; and Malawi’s has a dome that looks like a calabash. 

These local elements make these modern parliaments notable departures from southern Africa’s old European-style legislatures built in colonial times, but in fact the new buildings were also designed and built by a foreign power: China. Innocent Batsani-Ncube, a postdoctoral researcher at SOAS University of London, has a forthcoming book on China’s parliaments in Africa. He told VOA such buildings aren’t just bricks and mortar; “you have to locate this within this idea of building influence.” Beyond goodwill from African leaders, China’s parliament-building drive benefits the Asian giant in multiple other ways, he says. It allows Beijing to gauge the “political temperature” of a country, he says, because while China often deals directly with ruling parties on the continent, in a multi-party democracy you’ll find all political factions in the parliament and it’s the one place China can connect with the opposition — which is valuable just in case there’s regime change. 


Goldfields spreads wings beyond mining

WHILE the Belarusian gold mining company Zim Goldfields was given over 55 000 hectares of land by the Zimbabwean government to carry out gold mining activities, it has emerged that the firm has been granted permission to run several businesses, increasing the Eastern European country’s foothold in Zimbabwe. An investigation by Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project at the time established that 30% of Zim Goldfields was held by Zimbabwe’s state-owned mining company, the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC), but the other 70% was controlled by a UK shell company called Midlands Goldfields Limited. 


Govt trampling on labour laws: US

GOVERNMENT has failed to enforce labour laws, resulting in workers being subjected to unfair labour practices, a report on Zimbabwe’s human rights practices for the year 2022 has revealed. 

In the report produced by the United States (US) State Department, government was also accused of criminalising labour movements following cases of intimidation, arrests, detentions, violence and torture of some workers union leaders. 

“The Ministry of Public Service and Labour is responsible for enforcing the minimum wage and work hours laws for each sector,” the report noted.  


Mthuli Ncube spends big in Parly seat bid

FINANCE minister Mthuli Ncube is spending big in Bulawayo’s Cowdray Park constituency where he will be seeking votes to become a Member of Parliament in the forthcoming elections. Ncube is loosening purse strings in the constituency, even promising WiFi access points to a suburb that is crying out for water and roads among other social amenities. He has also promised to drill 20 boreholes and set up nutritional gardens  just two weeks after he won the ticket to represent Zanu PF in the polls uncontested. It will be the first time for Ncube to contest after he joined President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government in 2018 as a technocrat. 


NGO drills boreholes in city

A non-profit organisation has secured a rig to drill more boreholes in the city to ease water woes. Lot Water Project (LWP) was formed in 2020 at the height of a diarrhoea outbreak that claimed 13 lives. LWP founder, Innocent Hadebe said they decided to acquire their own rig after being let down by various companies. 

“We wanted to drill boreholes in every ward, but we had faced challenges,” Hadebe said. 

Hadebe said they are waiting for approval from the Primary and Secondary Education ministry to drill boreholes at public schools in the city. 


Homosexuality not tolerated in education syllabus: Govt

ATTEMPTS by organisations and individuals to smuggle homosexuality into Zimbabwe’s education curriculum will not be tolerated and the country will not throw away its norms and culture in exchange for donations, a top government official has said. 

Zimbabwe is among 35 African countries whose national constitutions do not condone the practice of homosexuality with the country’s 2006 revision to the criminal code expanding the penalty for sodomy. 


On Independence Day, Forum asks Government to Respect Human Rights as we head for Elections

The Forum is concerned that as the nation gears towards the 2023 harmonized elections, the prevailing situation shows that the government has reneged on the promise of the liberation struggle.  This year’s commemorations come at a time when, 43 years later, the government is facing widespread discontentment because of its failure to provide comprehensive solutions to some of the political, socio-economic, democratic and governance challenges. These include endemic corruption that rewards instead of bringing to book perpetrators; an exclusive economy that has pushed the majority into poverty; regression in the state of democracy and human rights characterized by threats of closure of what is left of the civic space; increased vulnerability of the vulnerable groups in society and; deepening polarization resulting in hate speech, spurts of political violence and political intolerance. 


Mthuli now offering free driving lessons

DESPITE attracting laughter for promising WiFi instead of jobs and other social amenities for votes, Finance minister Mthuli Ncube and his campaign team are now offering free driving lessons. Ncube is eyeing Bulawayo’s Cowdray Park parliamentary seat on a Zanu PF ticket. 

It is the first time that the former chief economist and vice-president of the African Development Bank is contesting an election. Early this week, his campaign team was in Cowdray Park offering free driving lessons to the jobless youth. 


Zimbabwe’s Crisis Is Set to Worsen 

A South African court this week ruled that the government could cancel a visa exemption policy for Zimbabweans that has been in place since 2009. The decision means that 178,000 Zimbabwean expats will lose their legal right to work in South Africa later this year. It is a major blow to Zimbabwe, which is mired in multiple crises, including soaring inflation, food insecurity, a collapsing domestic currency and chronic brain drain. Remittances make up nearly 10 percent of Zimbabwe’s gross domestic product, with most of those coming from South Africa. Moreover, Zimbabwe already has a difficult time accruing foreign currency, so the loss of remittances will worsen the domestic currency situation.


Inflation to remain high: CZI

THE Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) has projected that inflationary pressures will remain high in the country as elections draw closer and currency rate premiums keep widening. 

The annual inflation for March was 87,6%, from 92,3% in February, while the month-on-month inflation was 0,1% last month from -1,6% in the comparative prior period. 

This performance was motivated by the fast depreciation of the local currency against the green back, falling 4,16% and about 10% on the official and parallel forex markets, respectively. The reason behind this is an increase in supply of Zimbabwe dollars. 


Possible Dates for the 2023 General Election

In this bulletin we shall set out the periods within which the various stages of the election – nomination of candidates, voting and announcement of results – must take place to comply with the Constitution and the Electoral Act.  Setting out these periods is not as easy as it might otherwise be because the latest delimitation of constituencies and wards is being challenged in the Constitutional Court and the Court’s decision will affect the dates of the election, as we shall explain later. 


Chief laments village’s neglect

Matobo district has lamented that 23 years after people were settled in Mcwazini village, the area still has no social amenities such as schools, clinics and dip-tanks. Chief Masuku told a village meeting at Mcwazini recently that people in the area, who were settled during the land reform programme in 2000, also face serious water challenges. “There is no development in this village in terms of shops, clinics, schools, dams as well as dip tanks,” Masuku said. 

“No one can live in an area where there are no social amenities. There are 251 homesteads here.” 


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