Week 46

A weekly selection from Zimbabwean newspapers

Africa is in a water crisis. Cattle and giraffe carcasses litter the roads and once-bountiful crop fields yield nothing but sand. Much of Sub-Saharan Africa’s agriculture relies on rainfall. Faced with a mounting climate disaster, rapid population growth, and lack of water catchment systems, addressing water security and quality is critical to addressing Africa’s farming challenges. 

Two types of water scarcity affect Africa: Physical scarcity and economic scarcity. 

THE United Nations has urged Zimbabwe to remove inequalities, promote the rule of law, human rights and gender equality and uphold basic democratic tenets to achieve sustainable development. Speaking at the same event, Foreign Affairs minister Frederick Shava said achievement of SDGs had been derailed by sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe by the West. 

The rains that have been pounding Bulawayo in recent weeks have worsened the state of roads in the city. 

Bulawayo received heavy rains last week, which resulted in most roads developing potholes which rendered them impassable. 

The visiting Commonwealth team will assess the country’s eligibility using a template which includes critical areas such as rule of law, democracy, human rights, Judiciary independence and electoral reforms. 

The Commonwealth team, led by the club’s assistant secretary-general Luis Franceschi, is on a week-long fact-finding mission, and will meet President Emmerson Mnangagwa, diplomats posted in the country, political parties, media and members of civic society. 

Zimbabwe’s Vice president, also Minister of Health and Child Care, Constantino Chiwenga has urged the Senate to pass the ‘controversial’ Health Amendment Bill that aims to criminalise strikes lasting longer than 72 hours and sentence those who organise such actions to prison time. 

Due to poor working conditions, low pay, lack of necessary medical equipment, doctors and nurses have frequently engaged in industrial action, which has forced public hospitals to operate with a reduced staff or turn away patients. 

ZANU PF has told the visiting Commonwealth delegation that the ruling party is more than ready to rejoin the bloc, but expressed disappointment at the slow pace of the process. 

Speaking after a closed door meeting with the Commonwealth delegation led by Professor Luis Franschesci in Harare yesterday, Zanu PF acting Secretary for Administration Cde Patrick Chinamasa said the discussions were fruitful. 

The Commonwealth delegation is in the country for a week-long visit aimed at assessing progress made by Zimbabwe following an application submitted in 2018 for re-admission into the club.

BINGA, ZIMBABWE — When Esther Musaka was a little girl, a large lorry dropped her family off in the middle of the wilderness. It was the late 1950s, and construction of Kariba Dam was underway. As the newly formed Lake Kariba — to date, the world’s largest man-made reservoir — swallowed large tracts of fertile land, it displaced an estimated 57,000 Tonga people living on both sides of the Zambezi River, including Musaka. Now 72, she remembers her parents piecing together temporary shelters of grass and branches. It took them nearly a year to settle. Decades later, the trauma of that upheaval is being felt afresh as families in Muchesu, a village in the country’s west, brace for another displacement — this time, the result of a coal mining project.

In mid-November 2022 the eight billionth person will be born, according to the United Nations. In its analysis of this milestone, the UN makes two key observations. The first is that the global population has been expanding at its slowest rate since 1950. The growth rate dropped below 1% in 2020, a trend that is likely to continue. 

The second is that the growth in population has been due to the gradual increase in human lifespan owing to improvements in public health, nutrition, personal hygiene and medicine. It’s also the result of high and persistent levels of fertility in some countries. According to the UN, just eight countries are expected to be behind 50% of the population growth over the next 30 years. Five are in Africa: the Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Nigeria and Tanzania.

PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has said the recently launched Zimbabwe Satellite (ZimSat-1) project is meant to help the country overcome its economic challenges. 

This comes amid criticism that the country is prioritising space projects when the health sector is in shambles. 

But Mnangagwa, writing in his column in a weekly State-controlled paper, said the project would assist in health, agriculture and disaster mitigation. 

NATIONAL Housing and Social Amenities minister Daniel Garwe who doubles as  Zanu PF Mashonaland East provincial chairperson has issued a chilling warning to the opposition while also bragging that the ruling party enjoys massive support from the Judiciary and security forces. 

Addressing party supporters in Seke on Tuesday, Garwe said the ruling party will do anything to ensure President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s re-election next year. 

New research shows that investments in small-scale farmers and poor rural populations in developing countries over 20 years by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) sequestered more carbon and reduced more greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions than they emitted, proving to be effective in limiting climate change. 

The new assessment report, part of the Paris Alignment Roadmap, was prepared by IFAD and presented today at COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh. 

Climate Change campaigners in Zambia have drafted a policy favoring a shift to agroecology against the traditional industrial agriculture practices that heighten climate change practices inimical to promoting and safeguarding food systems. 

A consortium of Civil Society Organisations-spearheaded by the Agriculture Consultative Forum (ACF) contend that the persistent application of industrial farming practices has eroded Africa’s food security. 

The face of the industry, the bedrock of Africa’s food security, has been heightened by the consistent application of fertilisers and other chemicals that affect soil texture, affecting yields and further threatening the promotion of traditional seed that carries the nutrition for effective body growth. 

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