Week 3

A weekly selection from Zimbabwean newspapers

THE Zimbabwe dollar has continued its freefall against the greenback, with results from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ)’s foreign currency auction on Tuesday showing that it is trading at $732 to the United States dollar. 

Following last week’s auction, the Zimdollar was trading at $705 to the US dollar.  On the parallel market, the Zimbabwean dollar is trading at $1100 to the US dollar. Last month, the local currency was trading at $900 to the US dollar on the parallel market. 

Zimbabwe has the largest lithium reserves in Africa and the fifth-largest deposits worldwide with several projects in the exploration phase expected to begin production this year. “Yet the surprising thing is Zimbabweans are still wallowing in a sea of persistent poverty with all these opportunities and many new ones arising”, said Masimba John Manyanya, a development economist, in a recent interview.

GLOBAL business and financial media group, Bloomberg, has listed Zimbabwe among top 24 destinations to visit in 2023, despite widespread negative foreign publicity and a southern African nation’s tanking economy. Zimbabwe is endowed with both natural and man-made attractions such as the Mighty Victoria Falls, Matopo Hills, Lake Kariba, Great Zimbabwe Monuments and wildlife at Hwange, Zambezi, Mana Pools and Gonarezhou National Parks, among others. 

CIVIL Society Organisations (CSOs) and opposition political parties have claimed that the recently released preliminary delimitation report exposed a rigging plot by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec). 

Speaking during an election resource centre hosted delimitation meeting in Harare on Saturday, Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition spokesperson Obert Masaraure alleged that Zec has already rigged the impending general election. 

The government, its officials insisted, wanted to go back to the immediate post-independence era by recognising primary and secondary public education as free and compulsory. 

At independence, such a policy pushed the literacy level in the southern African country to over 90%, among the highest on the continent. But with time, it became apparent that yet again, the government had taken its people for a ride because the mechanics and economics of pursuing such a policy, were simply not feasible. 

Zimbabwe’s investment in dam and irrigation projects has shown that the country is in the right direction as it has begun to bear fruits with a record wheat production of about 380 000 tonnes being realised last year, Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube has said.

Prof Ncube said this on Tuesday evening during a virtual interview with the Zimpapers Television Network from Davos, Switzerland, where he is attending the annual World Economic Forum. 

HUMAN Rights Watch (HRW) yesterday accused government of not taking meaningful steps to hold members of the security forces to account for human rights violations. 

HRW in its latest report claimed that victims of human rights violations have failed to access justice. 

“The human rights climate in Zimbabwe deteriorated in 2022 without the government taking any meaningful steps to uphold rights and ensure justice for serious past abuses primarily committed by State security forces,” HRW said. 

Zimbabwe as a country might exist geographically, but Zimbabweans as an organised society, national polity and political entity are not yet born, thanks to the 1980 revolutionary abortion. Zimbabwe was stillborn in 1980. That is why 43 years of trying to bring it to life have been a disastrous failure. 

Ruling Zanu PF spokespersons and politicians openly blame all the country’s ills, including the state’s own human rights violations, on the actions of these ‘agents of the West’. Judging by the data from Zimbabwean human rights organisations there must be a lot of these agents, or at least a lot of people influenced by them. The number of cases of assault and intimidation committed by groups of Zanu PF supporters against opposition candidates or community activists, or both, numbers close to two thousand this year alone. 

His Excellency, the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, through the promulgation of Statutory Instrument 47 of 2021, declared a State of Disaster on all of the country’s roads from January 2021 through December 2023.

FARMERS around the Fort Rixon area in Matabeleland South province, who are losing heads of cattle to the January disease, have appealed for urgent government intervention. January disease, officially known as Theileriosis, is a severe sickness transmitted in livestock by ticks. Theileriosis tends to be encountered in January when the rainfall activity is high, hence the name, January disease. 

Resistance against autocratic leaders and the parties they head, as well as a rejection of the oppression of political opposition, is growing not just in Kenya. A new investigation covering Kenya, Uganda, Cameroon, Nigeria and Zimbabwe found that in each of these countries an overwhelmingly young population who are urbanised, aware and social media savvy, are staking a claim to their futures.  

They’re vocally fed up with the lack of development and freedom, as well as the patronage systems that only benefit a political elite. 

Zimbabwe, meanwhile, has recorded close to two thousand cases of intimidation and assault by groups of governing party supporters countrywide in 2022 alone. There, opposition and civil society also continue to appeal to the international community for support, while the state continues to try to choke off all funding and support to their organisations and activities.  

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