Week 50

A weekly selection from Zimbabwean newspapers

A GROWING number of Zimbabweans are no longer able to save and are struggling to meet daily living expenses due to rising poverty with most citizens borrowing for subsistence, a latest FinScope Consumer survey shows. The survey was commissioned by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe. “The main barrier for not investing on saving relates to liquidity issues — adults reported having limited disposable incomes after living expenses or having no income.”
MPILO Central Hospital in Bulawayo is reportedly turning away cancer patients in need of radiotherapy due to a malfunctioning machine. Acting provincial medical director Marphios Siamuchembu revealed yesterday that cancer patients were being sent back home because the cancer machine broke down last year. “All l know is that the machine is not working. Since last year we have been turning away cancer patients as there is nothing that can be done to assist them,” Siamuchembu said.
ZIMBABWE is among top 10 African countries with the highest deforestation rates, graphics by the World Population Review (WPR) have revealed. In its latest report, WPR said the country had lost on average 1 000 hectares of trees per annum as an electricity power crisis cripples the southern African nation. Other African countries in the deforestation top 10 list are Nigeria, Tanzania, Congo, Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Cameroon, Niger and Ethiopia. Speaking on Monday at a tree-planting programme dubbed Urban Afforestation for Green and Smart Cities in the capital, Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry minister Mangaliso Ndhlovu said deforestation was on the rise due to an increased demand for wood energy as the country faces an electricity crisis.

MORE than 150 biogas digesters have been constructed across the country, which will be used as a renewable energy source, a senior Government official has said.
In a statement, Public Service Commission (PSC) secretary, Dr Tsitsi Choruma said the country will continue to construct biogas digesters as they are “cost effective and technologically smart” ways of producing energy. “Green energy sources in Zimbabwe include, among others solar, biogas and lithium, which is one of the components used in the manufacturing of rechargeable batteries,” she said. “The National Domestic Biogas programme in Zimbabwe is successfully developing a market- driven domestic biogas sector with over 150 biogas digesters having been constructed so far.”

AROUND 70% of employed women are experiencing food insecurity in their households while 29% live below the poverty line, a European Union (EU)-United Nations (UN) partnership to eliminate violence against women and girls, Spotlight Initiative, has revealed. The statistics were disclosed last week on Wednesday during the UN agency presentation at the #HeForShe Dialogue for diplomats and business leaders’ commemorations of 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence.

ZIMBABWE could face a mass exodus of teachers after the United Kingdom (UK) started recruiting educators from the country and three other African nations. Reports from the UK indicate that Zimbabwean teachers are eligible for a qualified teacher status (QTS) in that country with effect from February 1 next year. The QTS is required for one to teach in primary and secondary schools in England. The British embassy in Zimbabwe yesterday confirmed the call for the applications to NewsDay.
ENERGY minister Zhemu Soda says the current electricity crisis can be attributed to this year’s wheat bumper harvest, which resulted in most of Kariba Dam’s water allocations being utilised during the winter wheat cropping season. The Zambezi River Authority (ZRA) allocates 45 billion cubic metres of water to both Zimbabwe and Zambia for power generation at Kariba, but water levels have now dwindled so much that Zimbabwe has had to cut generation at Kariba by half from about 600 megawatts (MW). Speaking yesterday during the official launch of a United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDG) Fund and Stakeholder Engagement function in Harare, Soda said the country relied more on Kariba hydro-energy for electricity during the winter cropping season, thereby exhausting its water allocation.

Bulawayo shops trading on renewable energy gadgets such as solar panels have reported a boon in sales past few days as business owners try to profit from the current power outages. The ongoing power crisis has seen businesses and households go for up to 18 hours a day without the crucial energy resource. Amid the crisis with no signs of a solution in the near future, some residents in the country’s second largest city have turned to the most common source of renewable energy to try and beat load shedding by power utility, ZESA.

When midnight strikes, most Zimbabweans jump out of bed to make stews, iron their clothes or collect water – capitalising on a few hours of electricity as the country reels from crippling power cuts. The country has long battled with outages but the problem has sharply worsened since its main generator, a hydro plant at the giant Kariba Dam, began to struggle with low water levels caused by recurring droughts. Since last week, the authorities have been imposing up to 19 hours of cuts each day, usually turning on power between midnight and 5AM. Life has become a daily grind for most Zimbabweans as the shrinking levels of water in one of the world’s largest reservoirs inflict prolonged blackouts and devastate livelihoods.

LEGISLATORS have lamented failure by Cabinet ministers to attend 2023 budget debates last week saying this shows their lack of commitment to Parliament business, including critical budget discussions. Last week, opposition Members of Parliament (MPs) were irked by Finance minister Mthuli Ncube and several other ministers’ absence in the National Assembly during debate on the 2023 Finance Bill — budget. 

(Frogmarching: any method of making a resisting person move forward against his will)

GOVERNMENT has allegedly directed the country’s general hospitals to release nurses to attend President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s labour conference on Wednesday in the capital, a leaked memo written by Health and Child Care secretary Jasper Chimedza has revealed. The conference dubbed “Nyika Inovakwa Nevene Vayo” (a country is built by its citizens) President Meets Young Labour Conference” will be held at the Harare International Conference Centre tomorrow.

A United States of America solar energy company, Recovered Energy Resources, is looking to invest in Zimbabwe’s energy sector. After a meeting with Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister, Ambassador Frederick Shava, on the sidelines of the US-Africa summit, the solar company’s president, Mr Bradley Schneider, said they were interested in building a solar plant in the country.

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