Week 27

A weekly selection from Zimbabwean newspapers

Fears cholera outbreak may spiral out of control

THERE are fears that cholera may spiral out of control as latest statistics show that the outbreak worsened in recent weeks, with a number of cases reported in Manicaland and Harare provinces. “The nation is informed that as of June 24, 2023, Zimbabwe’s cumulative suspected cases had reached 3 017, with 2 910 recoveries, 19 confirmed deaths, and 52 suspected deaths,” Chiwenga said. Regarding the regional situation, a cumulative 154 317 suspected cholera cases and 2 747 deaths have been reported in the African region. 

The outbreak is particularly hitting the poor and vulnerable. Many people do not have access to clean water or sanitation, and they are more likely to be exposed to the disease. 

The worst cholera outbreak occurred in 2008 during the height of the economic crisis, leaving more than 4 000 dead and infecting another 40 000. 


Public wage bill balloons three times ahead of key Zim elections

ELECTION-related spending by the Zimbabwean government is going through the roof as President Emmerson Mnangagwa goes for broke, spending public funds like confetti at a wedding to retain his position in the August presidential election. Fiscal and monetary sources say the civil servants’ bill — which in January was about ZW$100 billion (about US$50 million) a month — has now gone up well over three times as government awards salary and allowances increases to struggling civil servants — repeatedly. 

Civil servants, especially teachers, want to go back to their pre-coup salary levels of US$540 a month. Government used to pay its 300 000 civil servants about ZW$100 billion a month until recently, but the wage bill has now dramatically gone up to over ZW$350 billion and continues to rise amid currency and exchange volatility stoking inflation. 

With a new salary increment coming anytime, the wage bill will soon scale ZW$500 billion a month. 


Compensate displaced communities: Zimcodd

ZIMBABWES’S mining sector continues to be a haven of inequality, disadvantaging the poor and marginalised communities, the Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development (Zimcodd) has said. 

In its latest report titled Mining and Inequality in Zimbabwe, Zimcodd said companies displacing communities were less concerned about the environmental implications of their activities, leaving damaged roads and bridges, hazardous pollutants, dirty air, and blast debris everywhere. 

It said in Mutoko villagers were given US$2 500 each as compensation after being displaced. 

“Losing crucial infrastructure such as nearby healthcare systems, access to clean water, and nearby schools with the government taking much time to develop the areas puts them in a predicament that alienates them from the human development system that other communities are benefiting from,” Zimcodd said. 


Russia’s Wagner has ‘footprints in Zimbabwe’

RUSSIAN mercenary group Wagner Group has been implicated in illicit gold mining dealings in Zimbabwe, according to a latest report by data analysts and an African research organisation. According to data analysts, Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED), the Russian mercenaries have been involved in a number of mining projects, including the extraction of diamonds from the Marange fields. 

According to the ACLED report, Zimbabwe was ranked number five where Wagner activities have been reported globally. 

Researchers, the Africa Centre for Strategic Studies in a report titled: Tracking Russian Interference to Derail Democracy in Africa adds by shedding light on how Moscow was assisting Zanu PF entrench its hold on power. 


Zim, EU sign agreement on polls The Herald (state owned)

ZIMBABWE and the European Union yesterday signed an Administrative Agreement that sets out the terms of the relationship between Government and the EU Elections Observer Mission for the harmonised elections to be held on August 23. 

The agreement was signed by the Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Professor Amon Murwira and EU Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Mr Jorbst von Kirchmann. The agreement also includes Canada, Switzerland and Norway. 


Youth vote litmus test for Zanu PF

THE Zanu PF-led government faces a litmus test in the August general election, after it failed to deliver on key priority areas affecting the youth over the past years, amid indications of a considerable growth in the young voter population, a report by independent think-tank Research and Advocacy Unit (Rau) has revealed. “It is extremely rare that governments that make life worse for the citizens get re-elected, and even rarer that they are returned to power with an increased majority: it is a standard rule of thumb in political economy that governments that fail to improve the lives of citizens are thrown out in the expectation that another party will do better,” the report reads. 


Indigenous churches urged to rally Zimbabweans to vote Zanu PF The Herald (state owned)

Indigenous churches have been challenged to rally Zimbabweans to vote President Mnangagwa and Zanu PF in the coming elections to solidify a long standing bond dating back to the liberation struggle when the parties worked hand in glove to resist and jettison colonial rule. 

Zion Christian Church-Kumuka Kuvakafa(ZCC-K) leader Bishop Lyphet Nhaudzashe Matenda Mugaviri told thousands of his followers during a ceremony at the church’s Canaan Sub Headquarters in Mwenezi that President Mnangagwa is a tried and tested leader who has brought big changes in the nation’s socio-economic sphere. 


China pledges more help for agric sector

CHINA on Wednesday pledged to develop Zimbabwe’s agricultural sector to help the country attain food self-sufficiency following recurrent droughts.Chinese ambassador to Zimbabwe, Zhou Ding made the pledge during the handover ceremony of 1 050 metric tonnes of rice and a similar consignment of flour under the Chinese government’s emergency food assistance programme to Zimbabwe. 

“China is committed to helping Zimbabwe develop its agricultural facilities, enhancing capacities and investment in Zimbabwe,” Zhou said.“Chinese Agricultural Demonstration Centre has engaged effectively in technical training pushing for agricultural modernisation in Zimbabwe. 

“We will continue to encourage Chinese companies to invest here for Zimbabwe’s sustainable and high quality development in the agricultural sector.”


Over 60 foreign observer missions invited for elections | The Sunday Mail (state owned)

FORTY-SIX countries — including the United States, Russia and the United Kingdom — as well as 17 continental and regional bodies, have been invited to observe the August 23 harmonised elections, in fulfilment of President Mnangagwa’s pledge to usher in a transparent, free and fair election. 

In addition, all 51 embassies and nine consulates accredited to Zimbabwe have received invitations for accreditation to observe the polls, marking a departure from the previous arrangement where only diplomats accredited on a full-time basis observed the polls. 

Several political parties drawn from the region have also been invited. 


Poverty-stricken citizens survive on food packs

 These small foodstuff packs, better known as ‘tsaona’ packs, which translates to ‘emergency’, have been a life saver for many families are struggling to raise even US$1 on any given day. While tsaona packs have been popular with low-income workers, the working class, whose livelihoods have been blighted by inflation have joined the rush for the packs. 

Many can no longer afford to buy from retail outlets or butcheries because of the exorbitant prices thanks to the hyperinflationary environment. On Wednesday, the beleaguered Zimbabwe dollar depreciated to US$1:ZW$6 926 on the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe’s official forex auction. 

Last Tuesday’s rate was US$1:ZW$5 978. On the streets and outside shopping centres, one can buy meat for as little as US$1.50 which will be enough to feed a family of four or five. 


ED threatens Rhodes’ grave

PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has threatened to “take action” if the British failed to claim the remains of Cecil John Rhodes buried at Matobo in Matabeleland South province.  He indicated that plans to bring back the remains of the ancestors’ heads from Britain were now at an advanced stage. 

 “If they ask for him (Rhodes) we will give them. If they do not need him we will see what we can do about it,” he added. 

Rhodes died in 1902 and was buried in Matobo Hills National Park, south of Bulawayo, as per his wish. 

Calls for the exhumation of his remains date back to 2012. 

The late former President Robert Mugabe blocked war veterans and Zanu PF politicians from exhuming his remains, saying his legacy was part of the country’s history. 


Exodus continues as Zimbabwean economy lies in ruins ahead of elections

Soaring inflation and collapsing ‘bond notes’ are forcing more and more qualified people and professionals to flee the country. 

Zimbabwe’s poor economic performance and depreciation of the surrogate currency, among many other factors, is causing untold suffering. 

Rural people have been especially hard-hit by the ever-rising cost of living and many have been forced to leave Zimbabwe ahead of general elections scheduled for 23 August. 

Rueben Mutingwa, a qualified electrical engineer, has been training to be a caregiver in the UK to earn a living – joining many other professionals fleeing the crisis at home. 

Many businesses have closed in recent years and the country’s main labour body, Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, says the unemployment rate is 90%, though the Zimbabwe Statistical Agency puts it at 7.94%. 


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