Week 5

Een wekelijkse selectie artikelen uit Zimbabwaanse kranten

United States Suspends Role in Zimbabwe’s Debt Restructuring Program Citing Electoral Fraud

The United States says it has stopped participating in a critical program for restructuring Zimbabwe’s US$17.7 billion debt due to lack of progress on democratic reforms, alleged voter fraud and political violence targeted at opposition parties.  

But the ruling Zanu PF has dismissed America’s move, saying it should stop meddling in the affairs of the southern African nation.  

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It’s time Zimbabwe privatized water management

For too long, Zimbabwe has grappled, seemingly unsuccessfully, with perennial water crises, especially in our urban areas. 

This has witnessed most towns and cities going for months at a time and some for years without the precious liquid. 

In my small town of Redcliff, we have gone for nearly three years in the absence of this constitutional right, as provided for in section 77. 

The government may drill a borehole here and there – mostly for election campaign purposes – but that is hardly a lasting solution. 

However, a permanent solution to our water woes lies in a drastic paradigm shift in the country’s water management system. 

It is time Zimbabwe privatized its water management system. 

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New demise of Zim dollar

 The story of the Zimbabwe dollar is one that baffles both the ordinary and sophisticated with equal measure. 

From being once called the strongest currency in the region by Finance minister Mthuli Ncube, the local unit has now become increasingly elusive yet worthless in recent times.  

The largest bill, ZW$100, is not even a dime and one now needs at least ZW$10 000 to buy a loaf of bread at the nearest tuckshop down the road. 

This translates to just US$1. The year started on a low. 

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Zim faces economic headwinds

“In 2024, the agriculture sector is projected to contract by -4.9% due to the anticipated normal to below-normal rainfall pattern,” Marks & Associates says in a report titled Zimbabwe 2024 Outlook and Strategy. 

“Based on our estimates, we expect economic growth to be sluggish at 2.0% in 2024. The El Niño phenomenon which is associated with extreme weather patterns, is expected to undermine agriculture production, especially for maize. Low commodity prices also present downside risks for mining sector output.”   

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CHOLERA SNAPSHOT (January 2024)

The cholera epidemic continued to affect multiple countries in Southern Africa in 2023, placing an additional burden on vulnerable communities and healthcare facilities.

About 188,000 cholera cases, including 3,000 related deaths, have been reported in eight countries since January 2023.

Governments and health partners with the support of the World Health Organization (WHO) continue to scale up cholera response but limited resources and lack of sustainable access to water, sanitation, and hygiene services (WASH) continue to impede efforts to curb further spread and control of the disease.

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Boost for Zim energy sector . . . as Italian investor plans 100 megawatt solar power station The Herald (state owned)

Italian investors want to build a 100 megawatt solar power station near Gweru and yesterday met President Mnangagwa in Rome to discuss the investment and how the necessary land can be allocated, the final step before work starts. 

Yesterday, President Mnangagwa met Convivium Africa president Dr Alfonso Ippolito who undertook to set up a staggered 100MW solar power station. Zimbabwe has been inviting foreign investors to invest in the energy sector. 

“We discussed about a solar project that we want to set up in Zimbabwe in the Gweru area. The President was very helpful. He promised to help us with land because the only issue that is left is the land and we are very happy with the meeting,” said Dr Ippolito. 

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Dinson seals 400kV line deal The Herald (state owned)

Energy and Power Development Minister Edgar Moyo presides over the signing ceremony between Xian Engineering Enterprise and Dinson on the construction of a 400kv transmission line between Sherwood and the Manhize Steel Plant in Xi’an, China yesterday accompanied by acting ZETDC managing director Engineer Abel Gurupira (right) and Zesa executive Chairman Dr Sydney Gata.

The ceremony, which was held in Xi’an, China, yesterday, was presided over by Minister of Energy and Power Development Edgar Moyo, who was accompanied by Zesa executives, including executive chairperson Dr Sydney Gata, as the Government continues to lure more investors. 

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Zim plunges into debt distress: UN

 Zimbabwe’s debt-to-gross-domestic-product ratio has spiked to 100% over the last few years, and experts warn that the trend will be maintained as the southern African nation battles to clear arrears with international financial institutions. 

The country’s total debt stock has soared to US$18 billion as of December 2022 from US$17.2 billion reported in the prior comparative period as the distressed economy struggles to extricate itself from the debt albatross. 

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Sadc calls for team work to fight cholera The Herald (state owned)

SADC Governments have been urged to adopt a collaborative approach in implementing measures to deal with the current cholera outbreak affecting the region. 

Since last year, five countries in the region have reported cholera outbreaks, accounting for 73 percent of all the cases recorded in Africa. 

SADC yesterday convened a virtual extraordinary Council of Ministers meeting which sought to discuss the cholera situation in the region and map ways to control the surge of cases. 

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Suspended sentence for Sikhala The Herald (state owned)

CCC official Job Sikhala and his accomplice, Chitungwiza North Member of Parliament Godfrey Sithole were yesterday sentenced to two years in jail, wholly suspended for five years, for inciting public violence in Nyatsime in 2022. 

In sentencing the duo, Harare regional magistrate Mrs Tafadzwa Miti said she took into account the considerable time the two had spent in remand prison. 

The suspended jail terms are on condition that they are not found guilty of offences relating to public violence in the next five years. 

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Young people can fight authoritarian rule but they don’t – here’s why

Africa has the world’s largest youth population. By 2030, 75% of the African population will be under the age of 35. The number of young Africans aged 15-24 is projected to reach 500 million in 2080. Further, the role of youth in popular protest – such as in Sudan in 2019 – has created high expectations about their role in countering autocratic governments and contributing to democracy. 

In Zimbabwe, Zanu PF has been in power since the country’s Independence in 1980. The ruling party and many of its now ageing leaders use their history of having been part of the liberation war in the 1970s to retain their hold on power. 

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Chamisa ditches CCC…ends weeks of speculation

ZIMBABWE’S main opposition leader Nelson Chamisa yesterday finally abandoned the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) saying the party had been hijacked by Zanu PF.Chamisa formed the CCC in 2022 after being haunted out of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) by Douglas Mwonzora with the help of the courts. 

“The original CCC idea has, however, been contaminated, bastardised, hijacked by Zanu PF through the abuse of State institutions,” Chamisa said in a statement yesterday.“CCC has not been aligned to its founding purpose and mandate. 

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