Week 29

A weekly selection from Zimbabwean newspapers

Leprosy in Zimbabwe: Is the medieval disease making an unwelcome return?

Once untreatable and associated with being permanently quarantined in a “colony”, leprosy has terrorised countless countries over the course of human history.  However, there are still 200,000 new cases a year, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – and countries with weak healthcare systems are most vulnerable. 

In Zimbabwe, a country burdened by extreme poverty and a crumbling health sector, concerns have started to grow that leprosy, which is caused by the bacteria Mycobacterium leprae and spreads via respiratory droplets, could be making a return. 

The disease was technically eliminated as a public health threat three decades ago, meaning its prevalence in the southern African nation was considered to be less than one case per 10,000 people. 

But in 2020, some 15 cases were suddenly detected, the majority of which were found in traditional leprosy hotspots in southwestern Zimbabwe. In reality, nearly 300 other infections may have flown under the radar, according to research from 2015 which showed there are, typically, 19 hidden cases of the disease for every diagnosis. 


Climate change mitigation in Zimbabwe and links to sustainable development

This journal article seeks to demonstrate how implementing the actions identified in Zimbabwe’s Nationally Determined Contribution to the Paris Agreement can achieve both greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets and key development aims. The authors argue that the work in Zimbabwe illustrates how methods to assess priorities for both climate mitigation and economic development can be integrated within climate change mitigation target-setting assessments. 

Zimbabwe committed to 40% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 vs baseline.
Implementation of 17 priority mitigation actions could achieve 40% reduction.
Mitigation in forestry sector makes largest contribution, followed by energy sector.
Priority actions have broad development benefits beyond climate change mitigation.
Including quantifiable health, biodiversity, energy security.


Govt advises borehole owners to register with ZINWA The Herald (state owned)

GOVERNMENT has advised all individuals, institutions and organisations who have drilled boreholes to approach Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA) to regularise their water use to avoid over abstraction. 

As water was a finite resource, its development and use should be managed in a sustainable manner with the onus rested in ZINWA. 

In light of this, individuals and organisations intending to drill a borehole should apply for and obtain a drilling permit from their respective catchment council. 


On the frontline: Protecting children’s rights in Zimbabwe’s electoral climate

Zimbabwe is currently in full election mode as it gears up for the elections scheduled for 23 August 2023.  Globally, a number of child rights concerns arise during the election period and these include the involvement of children in political campaigns, the use of schools for political rallies and polling stations especially during the school term.

Children can also become victims of political violence. This, undoubtedly results in the violation of children’s rights such as the right not to be compelled to take part in any political activity, the right to education, and the right to be protected from all forms of abuse among others. 

Zimbabwe has not been spared in this conundrum.


Zim ranked popular destination | The Sunday Mail (state owned)

ZIMBABWE is the global tourist destination that has soared the most in popularity since 2019, according to a list compiled by a British newspaper, The Daily Telegraph. 

The 2023 Telegraph Travel Awards, published on Tuesday last week, ranked Zimbabwe above other popular destinations such as Egypt, the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, Madagascar, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar. 

In the regional category, Zimbabwe was ranked seventh top tourist destination in Africa, after South Africa, Kenya, Botswana, Namibia, Tanzania and Zambia. 

The Telegraph listed Zimbabwe as the “biggest riser” in popularity since 2019 on a list of 10 countries, eclipsing powerhouses such as Brazil, France, Spain and Malaysia. 


2 500 marginalised women empowered

AT least 2 500 marginalised women have benefited from empowerment initiatives under the European Union-funded Spotlight Initiative programme. 

The beneficiaries included gender-based violence (GBV) survivors, women living with HIV and impoverished women in rural areas. 

Zimbabwe is one of eight African countries to benefit under the Global Spotlight Initiative to eliminate violence against women and girls. 

Presenting a report on the programme to President Emmerson Mnangagwa last week, Women’s Affairs minister Sithembiso Nyoni said the fight against sexual and gender-based violence could only be won when women and girls had equal access to opportunities with men and boys. 


Lake Gwayi-Shangani: Epic project debunks colonial legacy of barrenness The Herald (state owned)

In response to the bedeviling water shortages, the National Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project (NMZWP) was mooted in 1912, encompassing a dam and pipeline.  However, the project has remained aground under settler administration. The project is being funded by the Government through the Public Sector Investment Programme (PSIP) and implemented through the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA). A Chinese company, China International Water and Electric Corporation (Pvt) Limited, is the contractor responsible for construction works, while ZINWA is the project manager. 

Completion of the dam will see the laying of a 252 kilometre pipeline from the water source to Bulawayo. The construction of another 122km pipeline linking the dam to the Zambezi River, will complete the NMZWP project. 


Stay away from politics, chiefs told

CHIEFS have been urged to uphold constitutionalism, stay away from politics and focus on their mandate of fostering development and resolving disputes among their subjects. 

The remarks were made by Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) executive secretary Delis Mazambani during a pre-election workshop for political parties and other stakeholders held at a hotel in Bulawayo on Tuesday. 

Mazambani said the country’s Constitution forbade traditional leaders from being members of a political party. 

“Section 282 of the Constitution states that traditional leaders who include chiefs, village heads and headmen have several functions that include facilitating development and resolving disputes in their communities in accordance with customary law,” said Mazambani. 


In Zimbabwe, hyperinflation meets its match on the streets

“As economic troubles spiral, makeshift stalls and ‘car supermarkets’ are offering people reprieve with US dollar transactions” 

Every day, people queue up to buy daily essentials, from vegetables to bars of soap, things for which they would normally head to supermarkets. 

Others make their way to areas where vendors have turned their cars into sort of mobile supermarkets, selling all imaginable groceries outside high-end shopping malls. This is all the impact of hyperinflation in Zimbabwe, a country blighted by currency instability and immense economic problems for more than 15 years now. In 2008, hyperinflation in Zimbabwe peaked at an estimated 500 billion per cent. It currently stands at around 176%, while all forecasts for the country paint a picture of doom and gloom with no real prospects of a turnaround on the horizon. 


Civil servants smile all the way to the bank The Herald (state owned)

Civil servants smiled all the way to the bank yesterday as they started receiving along with the normal salary and allowances, a newly increased forex component of US$50 plus an additional local currency payment equivalent to US$150 converted at the prevailing interbank rate. 

The increase backdated to June saw the least paid worker pocketing in foreign currency US$350 comprising this month’s US$250 Covid-19 monthly allowance and the new US$50, plus last month’s US$50. In addition there will be an extra payment of local currency valued at US$300, split evenly between the backdated payment from last month plus this month’s payment. 

Government workers are already enjoying a host of non-monetary benefits including housing schemes, importing vehicles duty-free, free transportation, school fees support for up to three biological children among others. 


Mugabe’s ouster inspired author

BULAWAYO-based author Lucky Zihundi says the late former President Robert Mugabe’s fall from power in November 2017 struck a chord in him to put pen to paper and come up with the novel On the way to Damascus. 

The intriguing book explores the trappings of power and wealth if unchecked. 

Zihundi told NewsDay Life & Style that he hopes readers of his book draw lessons on how greed and desire for power can be their downfall. 

“The main lesson to be learnt in the book is on how politics has shaped the world we live in today. It’s about how much religious power can also corrupt if handled badly,” said Zihundi. 


‘Patriot Bill’ threatens rights, freedoms: UN

THE international community has criticised President Emmerson Mnangagwa for signing the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Amendment Bill into law. 

The Bill, commonly known as the Patriot Bill and contains a clause that criminalises “wilfully damaging the sovereignty and national interest of Zimbabwe”, has triggered controversy in and outside the country, sending shivers down the spines of human rights advocates who fear that it could be used to target government critics. 

The United Nations Human Rights Commission (UNHRC) has added its voice to concerns over the enactment of the law. 

“Unfortunately, the signing of the Patriot Act poses a significant threat to the fundamental rights and freedoms of the Zimbabwean people,” UNHRC said. 


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