Week 6

Wekelijkse selectie van nieuws uit Zimbabwe

Water supply enough until rainy season: ZINWA

THE Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA) says water levels in the country have increased. In a statement, Zinwa said as at February 6, 2023, national dam levels now stand at 86.7% while Mazowe Dam continues to rise and is now 87.2% full. 

Zinwa spokesperson Marjorie Munyonga said this means the dams have sufficient water until the next rainy season.  “This means the major dams are holding enough water for irrigation and urban water supply until the next rainy season,” she said. 

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Govt makes U-turn on free education… cites financial squeeze

GOVERNMENT has made a dramatic U-turn on its earlier pledge to provide free basic education beginning this term. Primary and Secondary Education minister Evelyn Ndlovu admitted in Parliament yesterday that there was not enough money for the exercise. 

Ndlovu made the revelation after she was cornered by legislators demanding answers on the free education pledge during a Parliament question-and-answer session.  “We wish to do that, to give  free education, but it is unfortunate we have US$6,3 million (for the exercise) and that is not enough,” she said. 

For years, government has been promising free basic education, but has failed to honour the promise. 

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Zimbabwe cuts world’s highest interest rate as inflation eases

Zimbabwe’s central bank cut its benchmark interest rate for the first time since becoming the world’s most aggressive monetary authority in June on expectations that a downward trend in inflation will continue. 

The monetary policy committee lowered the rate to 150% from 200%, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor John Mangudya said in a statement Thursday, making it the second central bank on the continent after Angola to lower borrowing costs this year. 

Monthly inflation slowed from 12.4% in August to 1.1% in January and has been below the 3% target since November. Annual price growth slowed for a fifth straight month in January to 230%. 

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Lithium rush: A case of Mberengwa’s natural resource curse

Lithium is a rare mineral  that is currently being mined in only eight countries, with 85% of the global supply coming from Australia, Chile and China. Zimbabwe is the world’s fifth largest lithium producer with its output rising steadily in recent years from 1 200 tonnes that was being produced in 2021. Government believes Zimbabwe has the potential to account for 20% of global lithium output when all known reserves are exploited. 

In South Africa it fetched between US$800 and US$1000 per tonne, but villagers and artisanal miners who mined the ore were getting between US$150 and US$200. Today it seems the curse has returned to haunt Mberengwa communities once again. 

It began with the arrival of Chinese nationals, coming from nowhere and playing the good guys, ‘advising’ locals to pick and load into waiting big trucks the many ‘useless stones’ scattered in their fields. 

 “Sometime last year we saw a number of Chinese businessmen visiting Sandawana and before long 30-tonne trucks started parking at Jeka and Chingechuru Business Centres,” a villager, Knowledge Manokore, said in an interview. 

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Lake Gwayi-Shangani project to eclipse Bulawayo’s water needs | The Sunday News (state owned)

THE ongoing Lake Gwayi Shangani project will eclipse Bulawayo’s water needs in a landmark development that is expected to rescue the city from its perennial water shortages. Bulawayo residents are expected to get water from Gwayi-Shangani before the end of the year, with construction of the pipeline having started. 

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Biggest forex windfall in 42 years… as Zim rates hit the roof, US$ gains traction

FOREX inflows reached a hefty US$11,6 billion last year, official data shows, as central bank chief John Mangudya disclosed last week that this was Zimbabwe’s biggest windfall since independency, 42 years ago. 

Central bank paperwork, as seen in Thursday’s MPS, is reassuring and solid — 65% of banking sector deposits ended the year swimming in forex. Only 35% was held in the free-falling Zimbabwe dollar pool. 

Diaspora remittances — the money sent home through formal channels by millions who have fled 23 years of protracted mayhem — rose by 14% to US$1,66 billion compared to 2021. 

Total forex receipts at US$11,6 billion in 2022 were the highest FX (foreign currency) inflows ever received in the country. Total forex receipts stood at US$11,6 billion against payments of US$8,6 billion.

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Pressure mounts on Mnangagwa over NGOs

Amnesty International is leading global calls for President Emmerson Mnangagwa to refrain from signing the Private Voluntary Organisations Act Amendment Bill into law because of dire consequences posed by the proposed legislation. 

The Senate last week passed the bill that seeks to restrict operations of non-governmental organisations and now it awaits Mnangagwa’s signature before it becomes law. 

Tigere Chagutah, Amnesty International’s director for east and southern Africa, warned of dire consequences if the bill becomes law. 

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World View: How to avoid a war with China

“I hope I am wrong. My gut tells me we will fight (with China) in 2025,” declared US Air Force General Mike Minihan last weekend. He didn’t mention what his crotch told him, or if he ever consulted his head on the matter. 

“(China’s President Xi Jinping) secured his third term and set his war council in October 2022,” Minihan explained. “Taiwan’s presidential elections are in 2024 and will offer Xi a reason. United States’ presidential elections are in 2024 and will offer Xi a distracted America. Xi’s team, reason and opportunity are all aligned for 2025.” 

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Water projects changing lives in Mash East | The Sunday Mail (state owned)

DAM construction, which is considered one of the major priorities of President Mnangagwa’s administration, is gradually enhancing the country’s capacity to support irrigation projects, climate-proof agriculture and supply potable water for domestic and industrial use. 

Mashonaland East has been one of the major beneficiaries of this policy, as two major dams – Muchekeranwa and Chivhu – have been completed, while Kunzvi Dam, which is expected to end Harare’s water woes, is under construction after failing to take off for decades. 

It will be completed next year. 

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Govt ill-treating its diaspora citizens

Despite promises by President Emmerson Mnangagwa that he would do his best to ensure that diasporans would vote in 2023, the Electoral Amendment Bill does not come with sections to allow the Zimbabweans based abroad to vote. 

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Zanu PF declares food self-sufficiency | The Herald (state owned)

Defence and War Veterans Affairs Minister Cde Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri has assured the nation that no one will starve as the country has enough grain to feed its citizenry. 

Addressing party supporters during a clean-up and tree planting event at Murambinda B Primary School in Buhera yesterday, Cde Muchinguri-Kashiri, who is also the ruling Zanu PF national chair, said the forthcoming elections will go beyond politics of the stomach as Government had secured enough grain for everyone. 

“Let no one lie to you that Zanu PF cannot feed its people,” said the Zanu PF politburo member, who was guest of honour at the event. 

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Zim records US$2bn trade deficit for 2022

THE country recorded a trade deficit of US$1,96 billion for the period between January and November 2022, which is an increase from the US$1,4 billion recorded during the same period in 2021, the latest trade report from Zimtrade shows. For the period under review, the country’s total exports stood at US$5,9 billion, which is a 9,2% increase compared to US$5,4 billion recorded in the same period in 2021. On the other hand, imports increased by 16% to US$7,9 billion from US$6,8 billion in 2021.  

According to the report, the country’s biggest source of imports remains South Africa with 40,9% of imports. Second is China, with imports amounting to US$1,07 billion. 

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