Week 40

A weekly selection from Zimbabwean newspapers

British television presenter Jeremy Clarkson loves Zimbabwe – but not its potholed roads

Well known British Presenter Jeremy Clarkson has expressed his appreciation for Zimbabwe but not so much for the potholes in that country.  

“My profound thanks to the people and government of Zimbabwe for helping to make a very special Grand Tour special, very special. We absolutely adored everything about your country. Apart from the potholes, maybe,” he tweeted. 

Clarkson has eight million followers on X, and the potential to significantly influence perceptions in the UK, an important source of tourists for much of southern Africa. 

One of the hardest-hit roads in the country is the Bulawayo-Victoria Falls highway, which links the country to its prime tourist destination, Victoria Falls. 

The road arguably has the most depressing potholes.


Looking For Lions

The waterhole is the heartbeat of this amazing place. It has man’s hands behind it; solar panels high on a stand bring power to a solar water pump as long as the sun is out. Precious water is sucked up from ninety metres below ground into the waterhole. The financial investment providing this lifeline to so many animals is incalculable. Every day it gives water and every night the animals get life. 

Late in the afternoon we go looking for lions one more time and come back to camp having seen nothing. The Camp Attendants are waiting for us and put fingers to lips and just point. There she is, right in front of us, a heavily pregnant lioness is at the waterhole, the setting sun behind her. ‘We were crying for you to come in time’ the Attendants say and we all smile. 


Zimbabwe to take centre stage as ‘world’s next lithium valley’

As more nations transition to sustainable energy, demand for lithium is predicted to continue to rise, pushing up its price even as supply grows.  

Lithium is a critical component in lithium-ion batteries, which power electric cars. Energy Transition reported that the Southern African country discovered this ‘white gold’ in 1990. 

“Exploration at Bikita Mine in Masvingo Province – the world’s largest known deposit of the metal at around 11 million tonnes – reportedly began in 1953, back when it was hardly a prominent mineral. 

“Last July, a Chinese mining company commissioned a $300-million lithium processing plant with the capacity to produce 4.5 million metric tons for export per year.  

“Having banned the export of raw lithium earlier this year, the Zimbabwean Government is seeking to drive downstream infrastructure development and become a regional processing hub for lithium-ion batteries and other climate-friendly power sources.” 


‘We could eradicate malaria by 2040’ says expert after revolutionary vaccine is approved by WHO

The World Health Organization has approved a new vaccine that scientists argue will be a game-changer in the fight against malaria, which kills half a million people in Africa every year. Trials have shown that the R21/Matrix vaccine, developed by Oxford University together with the Serum Institute of India, reduces malaria by up to 75%. It can be manufactured cheaply and on a mass scale. The Conversation Weekly spoke to chief investigator Adrian Hill, who is also director of the Jenner Institute at the University of Oxford, about this revolutionary vaccine. 


Electing Novices As Mayors A Recipe For Disaster, Says Hopewell Chin’ono

Renowned journalist Hopewell Chin’ono has condemned the election of inexperienced councillors as mayors, saying they cannot make meaningful contributions for the greater good.  

Chin’ono made the remarks in response to the election of several mayors who are under the age of 30 by councils dominated by the opposition Nelson Chamisa-led CCC.  

Prince Thuso Moyo (27) was elected as the mayor of Victoria Falls City, Shantiel Chiwara (25) was elected Masvingo City mayor, and Annah Sande (25) was elected Epworth Local Board Chairperson. All three officials are CCC members. 


SOS for People Living With Albinism in Zimbabwe

A charity group in Zimbabwe is raising funds for a basic product that can be critical for people living with albinism – sunscreen. The group, called “The Noble Hands of Zimbabwe,” released a report in September saying 1 in 3 people with albinism in Zimbabwe die of skin cancer before the age of 40, including children as young as 8.


Zimbabwe’s opposition boycotts president’s 1st State of the Nation speech since disputed election

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) — Zimbabwe’s main opposition party on Tuesday boycotted President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s State of the Nation address following his disputed reelection in August, revealing the widening political cracks in the southern African nation amid allegations of a post-vote clampdown on government critics. 

Citizens Coalition for Change spokesperson Promise Mkwananzi said the party’s lawmakers stayed away from the speech because it views Mnangagwa as “illegitimate.” 

The few remaining formal businesses in the country of 15 million have repeatedly complained about being suffocated by an ongoing currency crisis. 

More than two-thirds of the working age population in the once-prosperous country survives on informal activities such as street hawking, according to International Monetary Fund figures. Poor or nonexistent sanitation infrastructure and a scarcity of clean water has resulted in regular cholera outbreaks. 


Rains expose Byo’s street drainage The Herald (state owned)

TORRENTIAL rains over Bulawayo on Saturday exposed the city’s poor storm drainage as evidenced by roads being waterlogged, made worse by undesignated vending operations and littering.  

Due to the clogged drainage, the city centre is prone to flash flooding, which exposes motorists and pedestrians to hazards as well as damage to road infrastructure.  

There was rampant littering in the city centre mainly on streets, with major vending activities such as Sixth Avenue and the vegetable market side. 

A lot of the garbage finds its way into the drainage system while some vendors also have a habit of stashing their wares and waste in the drainage.  

Waterlogging coupled with potholes made driving a nightmare in the city. 

Following the downpour, the city’s major roads such as Queen Lozikeyi Street, George Silundika Street, and Robert Mugabe Way, which are susceptible to flooding, resembled a river delta because of the poor drainage. 


Opposition claws its way back into rural Matabeleland

Zanu PF had dominated rural Matabeleland since 2013 and restricted the opposition MDC to urban areas such as Bulawayo, Beitbridge, Gwanda and Victoria Falls. 

The Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC), which morphed from the MDC last year, won several council seats in rural Matabeleland South and North in addition to its traditional strongholds in the August 23 and 24 harmonised elections. 

CCC led by Nelson Chamisa is now in charge of Tsholotsho, Mangwe and Hwange rural councils, a major milestone for the opposition. 

Tsholotsho council chairman Rophas Ndlovu (CCC) took over the leadership mettle from Zanu PF after the opposition won 18 council seats out of a total of 29  in the district. 


El Nino threat: What Zim farmers should do | The Sunday Mail (state owned)

ZIMBABWE is likely to experience nor­mal to below-normal rainfall in the 2023-2024 cropping season due to the El Niño phenomenon that may affect Southern Africa, and farmers should plant early, go for short-season maize varieties and adopt drought-resistant and early-matur­ing crops, according to experts. 

Zimbabwe Farmers Union (ZFU) exec­utive director Mr Paul Zakariya said, in practice, information on the phenomenon should be readily available to farmers in order to ensure adequate planning. 

“Therefore, investment must go towards irrigation, and smallholder farmers should be encouraged to buy small irrigation equipment that can be moved from one field to another, and the farmers will be able to produce all year round, which speaks to food security,” he said. 


Zimbabwe gets US$1.5 billion from Dubai

Global Carbon Investments (GCI), based in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), has entered a $1.5 billion agreement with Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Environment for climate-related projects aimed at reducing forest emissions. The deal, signed in the presence of President Emmerson Mnangagwa at State House, will target 7.5 million hectares. 

Sheikh Ahmed Dalmook Al Maktoum, a member of the Dubai Royal family and Chairman of GCI, was also in attendance. The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the two parties will focus on Internationally Transferable Mitigation Outcomes (ITMOS), a framework that allows countries to transfer greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation outcomes to other countries or parties based in other countries. 

According to GCI, “Critical financing will be directed towards prefinancing carbon credit projects in Zimbabwe, developed by Blue Carbon, a fully owned subsidiary of GCI and a specialized project developer in nature-based solutions. This significant development follows a recently signed MOU between Blue Carbon and First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB), leveraging FAB’s target of $7.5 billion in sustainable financing investments. The Blue Carbon FAB collaboration aims to channel funding into critical carbon projects, paving the way for substantial financing opportunities of this nature.”


Cost of living rises as Zimdollar slips

THE cost of living has risen by a further 4,8% to ZWL$95 462,53 per person in September as the Zimbabwe dollar continues to depreciate against the greenback leading to relentless price hikes, official statistics show. 

This comes as the Zimbabwe dollar has depreciated by about 18% and 23% on the official and parallel foreign currency markets, respectively, against US dollar since last month. 

On August 22, a day before the general elections, the official forex rate stood at US$1:ZWL$4 568,38 while the parallel rate was US$1:ZWL$6 500. 

But, as of yesterday, the local currency was trading against the US dollar at US$1:ZWL$5 382,86 and US$1:ZWL$8 000 on the official and parallel markets, respectively. 


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