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April 24, 2010

Iranian president Ahmadinejad in Zimbabwe for trade fair

Iranian president Ahmadinejad in Zimbabwe for trade fair

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Saturday, April 24, 2010

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Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Image: Daniella Zalcman.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the president of Iran, is visiting Zimbabwe to sign trade agreements with the country and meet with Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe.

Ahmadinejad, in comments at the trade fair located in Bulawayo, said the amount of trade between the two nations should be increased. The Iranian president remarked that Zimbabwe and Iran made a friendship based on a principled stand against Western interference, and accused the West of seeking control over Zimbabwe’s natural resources.

Mugabe commented: “Because of the principled positions we have taken at both the domestic and international level, Zimbabwe and Iran have been unjustly vilified and punished by Western countries. Be also assured, comrade president, of Zimbabwe’s continuous support of Iran’s just cause on the nuclear issue.”

The US wants new UN sanctions against Iran, due to the latter’s refusal to stop its uranium enrichment, saying that it it is intended for nuclear weapons. Iranian authorities, however, insist the programme is only for peaceful purposes.

According to the The Sunday Telegraph, the trades will consist of Iran supplying oil to Zimbabwe, in exchange for the latter’s allowing Iran to obtain access to uranium deposits in the country. “Iran secured the exclusive uranium rights last month when minister of state for Presidential affairs, Didymus Mutasa visited Tehran. That is when the formal signing of the deal was made, away from the glare of the media,” a Zimbabwean government source stated, as quoted by the Telegraph.

Ahmadinejad’s visit brought another source of friction between Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai. Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party said that Mugabe’s invitation sent the wrong message to the rest of the world as Zimbabwe was re-engaging the West and trying to rebuild its economy. MDC sources said Tsvangirai flew to South Africa on Thursday, the day on which Ahmadinejad arrived.

In a statement, the MDC remarked that “Ahmadinejad’s visit is not only an insult to the people of Zimbabwe, but an affront to democracy and to the oppressed people of Iran.”



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February 2, 2010

Zimbabwean farmers\’ organisations warn of corn shortage

Zimbabwean farmers’ organisations warn of corn shortage

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Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Zimbabwe
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Zimbabwean farmers’ organisations have warned that the country may face a corn shortage, and corn crops may fail due to prolonged periods without rain.

The Commercial Farmers’ Union (CFU) and the Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union (ZFCU) estimate that Zimbabwe might have to import up to a million metric tons of corn.

“All indications are that this season will be a total disaster. We will be very lucky if we get more than 500,000 tonnes,” commented Deon Theron, who is the president of the CFU. In a telepone interview with Bloomberg, he also said that “this season is going to be a disaster.”

Theron told the Reuters news agency that “we need about 1.8 million tonnes of maize, so over a million tonnes will have to be made up by imports.”

“The dry spells came at precisely the wrong time,” said ZFCU president William Nyabonda.

The organisations’ estimates contradict preliminary estimates by the Zimbabwean unity coalition government, which suggest that the country’s maize output will be 2.5 million tonnes this season, twice the output of 2009. The government now says it believes the output will be poor, but hasn’t yet altered its projection, instead saying that it will conduct a nationwide crop assessment.



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January 19, 2010

Zimbabwe may face famine due to wilting crops, organisation says

Filed under: Africa,Archived,Food,Zimbabwe — admin @ 5:00 am

Zimbabwe may face famine due to wilting crops, organisation says

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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

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The US-funded Famine Early Warning System Network (FEWSNET) has said that Zimbabwe may face famine this year, due to wilting crops caused by poor rains. The organisation added that more than two million Zimbabweans would require food aid between now and March.

“Since December, below-average precipitation and above-average temperatures continue to help strengthen seasonal moisture deficits across central Mozambique, southern Malawi, southern Madagascar and southern Zimbabwe,” FEWSNET said.

FEWSNET remarked that low amounts and rainfall, coupled with high temperatures, could result in crop failures in regions like Masvingo, Gwanda, Bulawayo and part of Manicaland.

It also said that the World Food Programme is intending to increase food aid measures in the country. FEWSNET’s estimate for the number of food-insecure people in Zimbabwe is now at 2.2 million, above the 1.7 million estimate for October through December.



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December 12, 2009

Red Cross appeals for US$33 million in food relief for Zimbabwe

Red Cross appeals for US$33 million in food relief for Zimbabwe

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Saturday, December 12, 2009

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The Red Cross has appealed for US$33.2 million worth of humanitarian aid to feed 222,035 hungry people in Zimbabwe. According to the institution, there are 2.8 million or so people in the country who are “food-insecure”.

“The Red Cross is appealing for 38.4 million Swiss francs [US$33.2 million] to continue its emergency food operation until September 2010,” the Red Cross said in a statement on Friday.

Emma Kundishora, the secretary-general of Zimbabwe’s Red Cross, commented further on the appeal. “The group that we are targeting [222,035 people] is acutely vulnerable. This is a group affected by HIV and Aids. It is a group that is particularly poor, and because of this they are unable to access foreign currency to purchase food.”

The United Nations has asked for about $378 million worth of aid for Zimbabwe for 2010, some of it intended to help feed hungry people. The Red Cross said it would be giving out food aid in the country until next September.



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November 17, 2009

Poaching in Zimbabwe on the rise

Poaching in Zimbabwe on the rise – Wikinews, the free news source

Poaching in Zimbabwe on the rise

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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Zimbabwe
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A wildlife official in Zimbabwe said today that the amount of animal poaching in the country has increased substantially this year, blaming an international crime syndicate. He said that 65 elephants and 30 rhinoceroses have been killed this year by poachers.

“From January to October this year we have lost 65 elephants through poaching,” said Vitalis Chadenga, the operations director of the Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Authority. “In the same period we have lost 24 black and six white rhinos. It is true that we have witnessed an escalation of poaching nationwide, particularly on private farms.”

“We do have a group of international gangsters, who are funding poachers around this part of the world and taking away many horns and it is a major problem,” the director continued; “we have arrested 2,500 poachers in the same period, ten poachers have been shot dead since the beginning of this year.”

Zimbabwe is one of four countries in Africa that are home to large numbers of rhinos, the others being Kenya, Namibia, and South Africa. About 100,000 elephants live in Zimbabwe, and Chandenga said that the numbers have been growing in past years.



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November 14, 2009

Zimbabwe government allocates US$10 million for relocation of thousands of families near diamond field

Filed under: Africa,Archived,Economy and business,Zimbabwe — admin @ 5:00 am

Zimbabwe government allocates US$10 million for relocation of thousands of families near diamond field

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Saturday, November 14, 2009

Zimbabwe
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Location of the Manicaland province within Zimbabwe

The Zimbabwean government has allocated US$10 million worth of funds for the relocation of thousands of families living near the Chiadzwa diamond fields in the Manicaland province.

Murisi Zwizwai, the Deputy Mines Minister, said that the funds would be used to build houses for the residents in the area, and for developments in . “I can confirm that US$10 million has been set aside for the relocation. The relocation may take place after they have harvested their crops,” he said in an interview, as quoted by the New Zimbabwe news agency.

Zwizwai also added that “the money would be used to build new houses, clinics among others.” According to him, the residents would not be relocated until the 2009–10 agricultural season.

In a 100-day plan, the Zimbabwean coalition government noted that diamonds in the area might be a large source of funds and finance for the country, and could help revive the economy.



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November 6, 2009

Zimbabwe prime minister Tsvangirai ends cabinet boycott

Zimbabwe prime minister Tsvangirai ends cabinet boycott

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Friday, November 6, 2009

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Morgan Tsvangirai

Morgan Tsvangirai, the prime minister of Zimbabwe, said on Thursday that he was calling off his boycott of the coalition government with president Robert Mugabe. The prime minister said he was giving Mugabe and his Zanu-PF party 30 days to work on “the pertinent issues we are concerned about”.

Tsvangirai and his Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party had pulled out of the coalition government three weeks ago, protesting what they called harassment of Mugabe opponents and accusing the president of not fulfilling the power-sharing agreement agreed to in February.

“We have suspended our disengagement from the GPA [Global Political Agreement] with immediate effect and we will give President Robert Mugabe 30 days to implement the agreement on the pertinent issues we are concerned about,” Tsvangirai said. His move came after he attended a meeting in Mozambique with the Southern African Development Community.



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October 26, 2009

Zimbabwean police raid MDC party\’s offices

Zimbabwean police raid MDC party’s offices

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Monday, October 26, 2009

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According to the Zimbabwean finance minister, a building belonging to Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party was raided by police on Friday. The police had reportedly been searching for weapons.

Morgan Tsvangirai (2009)
Image: Harry Wad.

The MDC secretary-general, Tendai Biti, said that the house, located in a suburb of Zimbabwe’s capital Harare, was “ransacked” by several dozen armed policemen after dark on Friday. One of the rooms in the building had been searched, and police confiscated what Biti called “valuable party documents”.

Cquote1.svg …this is the price we now pay for that decision. Cquote2.svg

—Tendai Biti

The secretary-general accused President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party of being behind the raid, wanting the country’s unity government to fail, describing it as “provocation”. “They are behind this attack. Our decision of pulling out of the inclusive government infuriated ZANU-PF and this is the price we now pay for that decision,” he said.

The police have not yet released a statement regarding the raid.

Tsvangirai and his MDC party had pulled out of the coalition government last week, accusing Mugabe’s party of not complying with the unity government deal made last year, and oppressing opponents. Mugabe, however, dismissed the boycott, calling it a “non-event”, and said that his party would not alter its plans or agree to the MDC’s demands.



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October 22, 2009

With arrival of rainy season, perennial scramble in Zimbabwe for seed, fertilizer

Filed under: Africa,Agriculture,Archived,Politics and conflicts,Zimbabwe — admin @ 5:00 am

With arrival of rainy season, perennial scramble in Zimbabwe for seed, fertilizer

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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Zimbabwe
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As Zimbabwe’s rainy season approaches, farmers in the Wedza district, Mashonaland East province, are worried that again this year they won’t be able to locate or afford the seed, fertilizer, and other inputs needed to get a maize crop in the ground.

Flag of Zimbabwe
Image: Madden.

Aiming to relieve such shortages of inputs, Christian Care is among the non-governmental organizations working with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization and the European Union to implement an agricultural inputs support scheme.

Christian Care said it is now providing farmers in the Midlands with fertilizer and seeds.

Experts said most farmers are struggling to obtain inputs because the government has cut back on programs to finance planting, instead urging farmers to borrow from banks. But banks insist on land as collateral, though all farmland has been nationalized.

Even farmers resettled under land reform since 2000 have only so-called offer letters granting them working rights, but banks will accept neither these nor livestock as collateral.

Christian Care Director Forbes Matonga reported that his is one of seven organizations reaching out to small farmers under the FAO program.

As the rainy season begins, cholera is also now a growing concern. Residents of Zimbabwe, fearing a repeat of the 2008 epidemic that killed thousands, are struggling to complete precautionary measures.



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October 21, 2009

Five cholera deaths recorded in Zimbabwe amid fears of new epidemic

Filed under: Africa,Archived,Disease,Health,Politics and conflicts,Zimbabwe — admin @ 5:00 am

Five cholera deaths recorded in Zimbabwe amid fears of new epidemic

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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Zimbabwe
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Five deaths from cholera have been reported in the past week in the Zimbabwean provinces of Mashonaland West and Midlands, raising fears that the onset of the rains could lead to a repeat of the cholera epidemic that claimed thousands of lives in the past year.

The five deaths resulted from 117 cases reported in the Mashonaland West, Manicaland and Midlands provinces since last month. The provinces of Masvingo province has also reported cases.

The Zimbabwean Health and Child Welfare Secretary, Gerald Gwinji, said on Tuesday that most of the deaths and cases occurred among religious sects that do not accept medical treatment. “Most of the cases were recorded […] among religious objectors, who for a long time have been reluctant to seek medical attention,” he said. Health experts have warned that with the rainy season just beginning around the country, cholera could get out of hand if safe water is not made widely available.

Aid agencies have been warning that another outbreak of the disease was very likely, as the heavy summer rains cause cholera, which is water-borne, to be transmitted more easily. “The fundamentals of the last epidemic are still there. Water is only sporadically available, and sewerage reticulation and refuse collection are only partially working,” a spokeswoman for the UNICEF said.

Officials from aid agencies predicted that the number of current cholera infections in Zimbabwe will decline to around 60,000. “It’s not the catastrophe that it was last year but it’s still a big epidemic of an easily preventable disease that should never have been allowed to happen,” an unnamed agency doctor said. The decrease has been anticipated after large amounts of water purification tablets, communal water tanks, and boreholes were installed in water systems as part of an operation to make water safer to drink.

Spokeswoman Tsitsi Singizi of the United Nations Children’s Fund told the Voice of America news agency that the government and international or non-governmental aid agencies have been doing all they can to prevent a repeat of last year’s deadly epidemic.

A recent cholera epidemic in Zimbabwe claimed 4,288 lives from late 2008 to mid-2009, the worst outbreak seen on the African continent for fifteen years after the collapse of sanitation and water systems throughout the country.



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