Week 42

A weekly selection from Zimbabwean newspapers

For these Zimbabwean children, a good education means living on their own

Blessed Garimoto says he was initially afraid of living alone. But there are no good schools near Belvedore, the farming area in Goromonzi, eastern Zimbabwe, where his grandfather lives after acquiring land through the Land Reform Program.  

Inside a scruffy room, Blessed Garimoto sits on an old single bed. On the floor are dirty pots strewn about and a plate with a few dried vegetables stashed in a corner. Outside, only a small portion of the yard is neatly cleared. Long dried grass and blackjack thorns surround it. Sounds from outside fill the room through the window. Birds chirp. Goats bleat. Garimoto is only 17, but he has been living alone in Rusike village, east of Harare and about 15 kilometers (9 miles) from his home, since he was 14, when he started his first year of secondary school. 


Zanu PF member recalls 70 party MPs

ZIMBABWE’s political circus has taken an intriguing turn with a Zanu PF member writing to Speaker of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda seeking to recall 70 MPs. 

The latest developments came shortly after the opposition CCC suffered a similar fate and had its 15 MPs and 17 councillors recalled on the strength of a letter written to Parliament by Sebenzo Tshabangu who claims to be the party’s interim secretary-general. 

Mudenda, who doubles as a Zanu PF politburo member, immediately effected the recalls despite protests from the CCC disowning Tshabangu. 

In the Zanu PF case, on October 12 2023 Mudenda received a letter from Tafadzwa Manyika who claims to be the Zanu PF’s interim secretary-general advising that the affected 70 legislators had ceased to be party members.  Zanu PF does not have the position of secretary-general. 

When NewsDay reached out to Mudenda for a comment, he curtly said: “I am not commenting on that.” 


Harare residents edgy as cholera spreads

In Harare, a concoction of poor waste management, unreliable public water supply and burst sewage pipes among other public service delivery shortcomings has necessitated a recurrence of diseases, including the dreaded cholera which killed more than 4 000 and affected close to 100 000 others in 2008 and 2009.  

Earlier this month, authorities in Harare announced yet another cholera outbreak. 

According to the report, 41 districts across the country have reported the outbreak, with Buhera and Gutu recording the highest number of cases. 

Harare has 155 recorded cases of cholera but no deaths. 


Economic meltdown triggers teen pregnancies

A SURVEY has revealed that the economic meltdown affecting Zimbabwe has triggered a sharp increase in child and teenage pregnancies countrywide. 

The United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef), in conjunction with the government, recently completed a survey on the prevalence of teenage pregnancies in the country. 

The report is expected to be published soon and will proffer solutions to address the problem. 

When Unicef resident representative Tajudeen Oyewale met the Speaker of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda in Harare last week, he reflected on the progress made in addressing children’s issues during the tenure of the 9th Parliament. 

“The speaker did highlight two issues that he would want the UN and Unicef to do more on. Firstly, is adolescent pregnancy; you will agree with me that the rate of adolescent pregnancy after COVID-19 is of concern to us in Zimbabwe,” he said. 

“I am pleased to say that the UN and the ministries of Health and Education have completed a survey on teenage pregnancy and we will be releasing that report soon and that will be the opening to different actions that will be taken to address this issue.” 


Doctors deployed to cholera hotspots The Herald (state owned)

Speaking after the Cabinet meeting yesterday, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Dr Jenfan Muswere said Cabinet had approved a raft of measures aimed at addressing the cause of the cholera outbreak in the district and across other affected districts. Dr Muswere said for the whole of the country, Cabinet had also approved measures that would curtail the increase in new cholera cases. 

“Cabinet in general approved that there be intensified risk communication and community engagement in the cholera response,” he said. 

He said cholera test kits would also be sourced for the rural community centres while all boreholes would be fully equipped. 


Zimbabwe faces teacher exodus over low pay

Zimbabwe faces a significant teacher exodus, with around 300 educators leaving the country each month, according to the Zimbabwe Teachers’ Association. 

The primary cause of this departure is the comparatively low wages in Zimbabwe compared to other southern African nations. 

While salary increases are challenging due to economic constraints, the country must find ways to retain and attract teaching talent. 

The average teacher in Zimbabwe earns a maximum of $350 per month, leading to a loss of qualified educators vital for mentoring the nation’s learners, and budget constraints hinder the employment of additional teachers needed to support the country’s students. 


‘Let’s create more opportunities for our youths’

PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has pledged to create a conducive environment for young Zimbabweans to innovate, instead of leaving the country to seek opportunities elsewhere. 

Speaking at a National Research, Science, Technology and Innovation conference in Harare yesterday, Mnangagwa said many developed countries rely on the brains of immigrants from developing countries to drive their economies. 

“I think you all know that most of the developed countries, which we call the first world; most of the brains in those countries are not citizens. These countries go worldwide especially in developing countries scouting for bright boys and girls and bring them to their own institutions,” he said. 

“We have several Zimbabweans in America, the United Kingdom and Europe in higher places producing products and services of the highest quality, unfortunately the credit goes to those countries not to where the girl or boy was born.” 


Zimbabwe Worker Exodus Intensifies With Economy in Meltdown

Years of mass migration from Zimbabwe has gained fresh impetus as an economic meltdown continues unabated, further denuding the country of the scarce skills it needs to engineer a turnaround. 

Census data released by neighboring South Africa this week showed the country was home to 1.01 million Zimbabwean immigrants last year, up from 672,308 at the last count in 2011 and an average annual increase of almost 31,000. Emigration data released for the first time by Zimbabwe’s statistics agency in September last year showed 908,913 of the country’s estimated 16 million nationals were living abroad, and 85% of them were in South Africa. 

Those numbers are likely an undercount, with frequent migration between neighboring countries making an accurate assessment tricky and undocumented foreigners unlikely to participate in population surveys. 

Further confirmation of the ongoing worker exodus comes from the UK, which eased entry rules last year to address skills shortages that followed its 2016 exit from the European Union and the onset of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020. Visas were issued to 20,152 Zimbabwean health and social care staff in the 12 months through June, an almost five-fold increase from the year before.

It estimated that more than 112,000 Zimbabweans were living in the UK, almost five times the number authorities in the African nation reported 10 months earlier. 


Sigh of relief for ZEP holders

ZIMBABWEANS in South Africa breathed a temporary sigh of relief on Monday after Gauteng High Court Division in Pretoria dismissed Home Affairs minister Aaron Motsoaledi’s leave to appeal against a High Court ruling that set aside the government’s move to cancel the Zimbabwe Exemption Permits (ZEPs). 

The court on June 28, 2023 declared that the minister’s failure to consult with the ZEP holders, interested non-governmental organisations and the public, was unlawful, unconstitutional and invalid. 

The ruling effectively restored the ZEP holders’ status for another 12 months. 


Alarm as cholera deaths surge

RISING cholera deaths have triggered alarm bells after the Health and Child Care ministry recorded 108 suspected deaths and 5 030 new cases as of Monday. 

The disease first surfaced in February this year in Chegutu, Mashonaland West province. It has since spread to  Buhera, Chegutu, Chikomba, Chimanimani, Chipinge,Chitungwiza, Chiredzi, Harare, Gokwe North, Marondera, Mazowe, Shamva, Mutare, Murehwa, Mwenezi, Seke and Wedza. Health experts have called on government to declare the latest cholera outbreak a national disaster. 

“The outbreak is now spreading to other provinces and government may consider declaring the cholera outbreak a national disaster so that a wide range of agencies can come in to support the government with health promotion, treating cases and carrying out case tracing and that may result in reducing case fatalities,” Community Working Group on Health executive director Itai Rusike said. 

He said Zimbabwe needed long-lasting measures against cholera which include ensuring access to clean and safe drinking water. 


USAID donates US$1m to migrant returnees

THE US Agency for International Development has availed more than US$1 million to the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) for a 14-month project to build resilience for migrant returnees and their households through income-generating projects. 

The funds by USAID, to be distributed through cash and vouchers, will be availed to beneficiaries in Mwenezi, Zaka, Nkayi, Matobo and Umzingwane districts where people vulnerable to the effects of climate change, hyperinflation and poverty are being targeted. 

IOM says the targeted areas experience seasonal or permanent migration and the programme will support income generating activities for 1 850 at-risk households made up of some 7 955 individuals. 


Converting to a Local Dollar

Our economy is 70 per cent informalised and in that economy they work on cash. So right now, we have about US$8 billion washing about in that economy as actual USD notes – many so dirty and washed out that they are no longer acceptable internationally. In the formal sector people can draw US$1000 a day in crisp new notes from our ATM’s and 85 per cent of all retail transactions are in US dollar notes. Prices favour settlement in US dollars. We have in issue RTGS dollar notes ranging from $2 to $100, but at 7000 to 1 they are worthless and no longer acceptable in the market. If you are paid in RTGS dollars you have to use an electronic card to pay bills. Transactions in RTGS dollars run into the trillions making it still a significant means of settlement. But if we are going to convert to our own currency we need to print money. Everyone is terrified of this given our experience but in fact all countries do this every day, especially the USA, and 70 per cent of all paper currency in the world is US dollars. 


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