Week 2

Een wekelijkse selectie artikelen uit Zimbabwaanse kranten

‘I Was All Alone’: Why Some Zimbabwean Women Kill Their Babies

More than three decades after Zimbabwe created its infanticide law to spare women harsh murder sentences, advocates say the root causes have yet to be addressed. 

The 24-year-old woman remembers the night in January 2023 when she gave birth to twins, then buried them alive in a shallow grave behind a neighbor’s house. The memory lingers in her mind, though she deeply longs to erase it. 

Assistant Police Commissioner Paul Nyathi says 13 cases of infanticide were recorded in 2023 between January and March alone. The number of infanticide cases stood at 75 in 2022, while 2021 recorded 110. Many cases, however, go unreported and do not make it into police records.

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Hunger knocks on 2,7m villagers’ doors

Days into 2024, indications are that it will be a tough year for millions of the country’s rural folk as the latest Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee (ZimVAC) Rural Livelihoods Assessment report projects that more than 2,7 million people in the countryside are starring at hunger. 

“During the peak hunger period (January to March 2024), 26% of the rural population is projected to be food insecure. This translates to 2 715 717 people. At least 100 482 metric tonnes of cereal will be required to feed the food insecure population during the peak hunger period,” the report said. 

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158 Bulawayo buildings declared unsafe

The Bulawayo City Council has condemned 158 buildings in the city, which it says are unfit for occupation and pose danger to inhabitants and passers-by. 

This was revealed in the latest council report by the engineering services committee. 

According to inspections conducted by the engineering services committee in terms of building by-laws, a number of city buildings were in various stages of decay. 

The country’s second largest city is witnessing an unprecedented increase in the number of abandoned, neglected and derelict buildings in a clear sign of urban decay. 

City fathers said council inspectors were also following up on all building works done without the approval of the local authority. 

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White farmers in Zimbabwe live and die with the toxic legacy of Mugabe’s brutal land grab

Philip Rankin passed away at 65 with no sign of promised compensation for his stolen farm, while others doubt it will ever be paid 

Philip Rankin had long hoped for compensation after his family farm in Zimbabwe was seized because he was white, but cancer caught up with him first. 

The 65-year-old farmer died in early December, nearly seven years after he was handcuffed and forcibly removed from his farm by truckloads of police from Robert Mugabe’s government. 

Farm invasions by supporters of Mugabe’s Zanu PF party began in early 2000 and ultimately saw them take over more than 4,000 farms.  

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‘Support girls to help stamp out teen pregnancies’ The Herald (state owned

Health experts have urged the Government to urgently implement measures to address the rising number of child pregnancies, largely through ensuring adolescent girls had support and back-up so they could step away from early sexual relationships. 

The national teenage pregnancy rate stands at 22 percent, and is the highest contributor to school dropouts among adolescent girls.  

AIDS is also a leading cause of death among adolescents, at 50 percent, with at least 48 percent of young people aged 10 to 24 years not aware of their HIV status. This contrasts with the total of 95 percent of the total population living with HIV who are now aware.

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World Food Program -WFP Zimbabwe Country Brief November 2023

1,150 MT of food assistance distributed

USD 454,412 cash-based transfers

USD 32 m next six months (December 23 – May 24) net funding requirements.

122,892 people assisted in November 2023 through in-kind food and cash transfers.

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‘Poverty-stricken’ cops refuse to retire

The Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) has reportedly tightened screws on officers who wish to extend their service post retirement after an unprecedented number of retiring officers applied for extensions, NewsDay has learnt. 

Sources told this publication that the majority of police officers who have reached retirement age of 50 years do not want to retire because they have no financial savings or assets to sustain them in retirement. 

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Zec dragged to court again over 2023 polls

A Zimbabwean citizen, Brian Mari, has dragged the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) to court, seeking an order to compel the electoral body to run a fresh election due to various irregularities, among them a flawed delimitation exercise. 

The main opposition party Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) was the first to dispute the August 2023 poll results in which President Emmerson Mnangagwa was declared the winner. CCC described the poll as a “gigantic fraud”. 

Mari also cited Chief Justice Luke Malaba as a respondent in the matter, arguing that he had no judicial authority in Zimbabwe. 

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Zimbabwe as a Growth Hub for Southern Africa

The Integrated Country Strategy for Zimbabwe (ICS Zimbabwe) declares that “Zimbabwe’s strategic importance to the United States is as a potential growth hub.

The US Embassy in Harare has identified the potential for Zimbabwe to become a growth hub for Southern Africa. 

This is a curious conclusion to draw given the fact that Zimbabwe currently ranks near the bottom of the DHL Global Connectedness Index

The State Department’s Integrated Country Strategy for Zimbabwe neither conceptualizes what it means to be a growth hub for Southern Africa nor explains whether it would be in the US national security and foreign policy interests for Zimbabwe to become one. 

It is unclear what conditions and interventions would be required to transform Zimbabwe into a growth hub.  

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Two village girls hogging global limelight

“I AM worried about the drought and food security at the household level, mostly in rural communities. I just hope that we have more rains so that many girls will not drop out of school,” says the newly appointed United Nations Women official Nyaradzai Gumbonzvanda. 

And west of Gumbonzvanda’s Murehwa outback — 260km on the opposite side of the Zimbabwe capital, Harare — is Hurungwe district, where yet another marginalised community birthed yet another village girl who has hogged the global limelight. 

Her name is Tererai Trent, a women of similar virtues as Gumbonzvanda, that of raising the rural girl child from the dustbowls of society. 

Born in Matau village, Zvipani in Mashonaland West province, she is an epitome of resilience and proof that dreams can come true, having been denied schooling and married off at a tender age, but still managed to achieve her wishes which were to go to America to get a bachelor’s degree, a masters and eventually a PhD. 

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23 schools in soup

Government has charged 23 schools countrywide for turning away learners for fees, demanding fees in United States dollars and conducting extra lessons, among others. 

The charges included turning away pupils over a US$5 toilet fee, demanding US$20 for extra lessons per month, conducting illegal extra lessons, turning away pupils over non-payment of levies, demanding exclusively US dollar fee payment and hiking fees without approval the government. 

Speaking during a fact-finding tour of schools in Harare yesterday, Primary and Secondary Education minister Torerai Moyo reiterated an old government directive that no learner should be turned away over non-payment of school fees. 

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ZWL$12b windfall for Bulawayo roads

Bulawayo City Council (BCC) is set to receive a ZWL$12 billion windfall from the Zimbabwe National Roads Administration (Zinara) for road rehabilitation. 

According to latest council minutes, Zinara has indicated that the local authority’s allocation for this year is ZWL$12 124 293 120,29, an amount which is, however, far below the ZWL$117 billion the city requires or routine and periodic maintenance works. 

“The city intend(s) to use 30% of the allocation, ZWL$3 637 287 936,08 for routine maintenance and ZWL$8 487 005 184,21 for periodic maintenance. The routine maintenance works would comprise of pothole patching, localised pavement reconstruction works, signage, road markings and street lighting repairs city wide, while periodic maintenance would include reconstruction works on Wellington road, Murchinson Road and Luveve 5 roads,” the minutes read. 

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