Week 6

A weekly selection from Zimbabwean newspapers

Equipment crisis hits Byo hospitals

MPILO and United Bulawayo (UBH) hospitals are failing to replenish wheelchairs and cancer radiation machines due to poor government funding. 

The government-owned hospitals are currently having serious challenges with patients using old and broken wheelchairs, while many cancer patients are failing to receive proper attention due to lack of cancer radiation machines. 

Bulawayo provincial medical director, Maphios  Siamuchembu told Southern Eye that the government disbursed a fraction of the funds the hospital required to repair wheelchairs and malfunctioning cancer machines. 

“The government only released about 10 to 15% of the funds that were proposed.  

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Hunger, poverty loom for Zimbabweans

A majority of Zimbabweans must brace themselves for the looming hunger and poverty in response to the reinstatement of duty on basic commodities, the National Consumer Rights Association (NACORA) has said. 

NACORA’s statement comes after the World Food Programme’s Hunger Map LIVE monitoring platform indicated that more than 40% of people in Manicaland and Mashonaland Central fall into the high risk and deteriorating categories of food shortages. 

The organisation said the food shortages would be fuelled by the rescission of the duty free status of basic commodities announced by Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion minister Mthuli Ncube last week. 

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Family basket doubles to ZWL$6,2m

 

The family basket has nearly doubled to ZWL$6,2 million from ZWL$3,6 million in December due to the continued depreciation of the Zimdollar, the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ) has said, spelling disaster for thousands of families countrywide. 

The rise in the family basket could put employers and their workers on a collision course, with the latter pushing for salary reviews. 

CCZ director-corporate affairs Philemon Chereni yesterday said the Zimdollar had depreciated by 61,5% during the month of January. 

The Zimdollar is currently trading at 1:10 927 against the US$ at the official market and 1:14 000 in supermarkets and 1:16 000 at the parallel market rate. 

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Zimbabwe elections a farce – church says

THE Zimbabwe Council of Churches (ZCC) says the illegal recalls of elected members of parliament and council have eroded the essence of polls which attributed to the voter apathy in the just-ended by-elections. 

Zimbabwe conducted by-elections over the weekend to fill in six parliamentary seats and 17 councillors who were recalled by the self-proclaimed secretary general of Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) Sengezo Tshabangu. 

The by-elections were marred by lower voter turnout with only 23.2% voting. 

In a statement, ZCC said the weekend’s statistics are a reflection of how the electorate is frustrated with the elections.   

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Council renews restrictive measures for a further year

The EU measures in place consist of an embargo on arms and equipment which might be used for internal repression 

The Council today renewed its restrictive measures in view of the situation in Zimbabwe for a further year, until 20 February 2025. 

The EU measures in place consist of an embargo on arms and equipment which might be used for internal repression, and a targeted assets freeze against one entity, Zimbabwe Defence Industries. 

Since February 2022 there are no listed individuals. 

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‘We’ve enough grain to last until next harvest’ | The Sunday Mail (state owned)

Zimbabwe has enough grain to feed the nation until the next harvest, while imminent early deliveries of the irrigated maize crop are expected to further boost the Strategic Grain Reserve (SGR), a senior Government official has said. 

In an interview with The Sunday Mail, Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development Deputy Minister Davis Marapira said the country had enough stocks to see the country through the lean season. 

This put paid to recent reports that Zimbabwe only had four months’ supply of grains and might possibly face food shortages this year due to the El Niño weather phenomenon. 

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Death sentence abolished

GOVERNMENT has abolished the death sentence in response to a nationwide survey carried out by the  Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, and development partners last year, which showed that the majority of citizens no longer wanted capital punishment in the country’s statutes.  

The present Constitution in 2013 marked the halfway point, limiting the potential use of the death penalty to aggravated murder by adult males under the age of 70, although there have been no executions since 2005. 

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Job Sikhala, the man determined to wrestle Zimbabwe’s ‘crocodile’ – BBC News

Chants of “Wiwa, Wiwa, Wiwa” – a reference to Ken Saro-Wiwa, the renowned writer and environmentalist executed by Nigeria’s military regime in 1995 – rang out through a Zimbabwean courtroom this week. 

It is the nickname of opposition politician Job Sikhala, who was sentenced to a two-year suspended sentence after a record 595 days in pre-trial detention. 

The 52-year-old former MP and lawyer chose the moniker “Wiwa” whilst at university – and it has defined his political career. 

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Financing agriculture: what are the challenges and opportunities in Zimbabwe?

The lack of finance means that most people for most of the time rely on self-financing, and so flows of investment are subject to the vagaries of the weather and the changing demands for expenditure at a family level (notably for school fees). Self-financing is more possible in the new land reform areas where agricultural surpluses are more common, but this is not guaranteed. In highly differentiated rural societies, it is only those who already relatively rich and have the resources to generate surpluses who can reinvest profits. 

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Byo in cholera scare

Bulawayo City Council (BCC)’s health department said the city had recorded four cholera cases since January 30 as the waterborne disease keeps spreading across the country. 

This was revealed during the Bulawayo Metropolitan Provincial Development Committee meeting held at Mhlahlandlela government offices yesterday. 

In Bulawayo, there are fears that the disease will spread quickly amid a relentless water crisis which has seen residents go for several days without supplies. 

In 2020, at least 13 people died during a diarrhoea outbreak in Bulawayo at the height of a water crisis. 

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We feel betrayed: CCC voters

Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) supporters, who voted for their representative in August 2023 harmonised elections, say they feel abandoned following the abrupt resignation of their representative in Parliament. 

According to section 129(1)(b) of the Constitution, a seat in Parliament becomes vacant once a legislator resigns through a written notice to the President of the Senate or to the Speaker. 

Legislators Fadzayi Mahere (Mt Pleasant), Allan “Rusty” Markham (Harare East), Brian James (Mutare Central) and Daniel Molokele (Hwange Central) have tendered their resignation letters after former CCC leader Nelson Chamisa ditched the party more than a fortnight ago. 

Mahere was the first to resign. 

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Zim slides further on the corruption index

Zimbabwe has continued to perform dismally in fighting graft after scoring 24 out of 100, below the regional average of 33 on the Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index.  

Transparency International, a global coalition against corruption which reviews the consumer price index (CPI) of 180 countries, released its global graft index, giving Zimbabwe a staggering 149/180.  

The index offers an annual snapshot of the relative degree of public sector corruption by ranking countries and territories from all over the globe taking into account bribery, use of public office for private gain, State capture, prosecution of corrupt officials just to mention a few.  

There is a need to create a strong Anti-Corruption ecosystem in Zimbabwe by bringing on board all stakeholders to be part of the fight against corruption.” For the past 10 years Zimbabwe’s global Corruption Perception Index was at 23/100. 

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