HARARE, 9 April 2014 (IRIN) – Could fears of the imminent collapse of the more than five-decade-old Kariba Dam on the Zambezi river between Zimbabwe and Zambia spur Zimbabwe into more effective disaster preparedness?
In early March, engineers at a conference organized by the Zambezi River Authority (ZRA, a Zambia-Zimbabwe organization which manages the Kariba Dam) warned that the 128-metre-high dam could collapse, threatening at least 3.5 million people especially in Mozambique and Malawi.
HARARE, Mar 9 2014 (IPS) – Shyline Chipfika, 26, is one of thousands of Zimbabwean women in urban centres who have struck gold by growing potatoes. And a lot of their success has to do with an import ban.
“I used to be a mere housewife, and my life has changed in a big way after I ventured into potato growing,” Chipfika told IPS.
Chipfika’s husband, faced with joblessness, turned to hawking at a local commuter omnibus terminus in the capital, Harare, after the company he worked for shut down in 2008 owing to the hyperinflation that crippled many sectors of the economy.
Zimbabwe’s celebration of “the life of a very special person” has been criticized for coming at a time of job losses and slowing economic growth.
Plans for a lavish $1-million celebration of Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe’s 90th birthday have been condemned as the country lurches towards another financial crisis.
The tribute to Africa’s oldest head of state – and second oldest in the world after Israel’s Shimon Peres – is expected to surpass last year’s party, when special gold coins were minted and Mugabe was presented with a cake said to weigh 89kg. Continue reading Mugabe’s 90th birthday plans cause outcry→
A disaffected ZANU-PF insider leaking details of fraud and inside information from an anonymous Facebook page has become an online sensation. But will it change anything?
But now, 33 years after Mugabe first took office, the icon of the African independence era is being hounded by a creation of the Internet age.
In March, a self-proclaimed disaffected insider of the ruling ZANU-PF party created the Facebook page of “Baba Jukwa”. With the disarming profile picture of a cartoon old man, Baba Jukwa traffics in political napalm, spilling damaging details of high-level party meetings, allegations of voter fraud, and embarrassing gossip – all replete with private phone numbers for citizens to harass the officials in question. Continue reading Baba Jukwa vs. Mugabe: The Man on Facebook Standing Up to Zimbabwe’s President→
The wealth of natural and human resources of Zimbabwe must benefit the poor of the country, not simply its elite, according to the Jesuits in Zimbabwe. Their call for a more just distribution of the country’s resources has been echoed by Zimbabwe Bishops’ Conference in a pastoral letter issued on 3 December, in which they said that three months after the July elections, ‘there are no visible prospects for improvement in the spheres of life in Zimbabwe that cry for restoration to give people hope for a better life.’
Writing in the magazine Jesuits and Friends, Fr Roland von Nidda SJ, parish priest of St Peter’s Kubatana in Zimbabwe, says that Zimbabwe’s wealth of resources includes ‘the best educated people in Africa, the biggest diamond fields in the world and the second largest platinum deposits world-wide. But not much of this wealth trickles down to the mass of the poor’.
Information and communications technology takes agriculture to a new level in Zimbabwe
Charles Dhewa loved to write about agriculture, especially soil and crops. In early 2000 he decided to turn his words into action by becoming a cattle and horticulture farmer in Zimbabwe. He bought a small farm in Marondera, a town about an hour’s drive from the capital, Harare. His experience as a farmer enriched his writing, as he articulated issues in agriculture in ways that appealed to smallholder farmers. He soon became the communications expert for the Zimbabwe Farmers Union.
But Mr. Dhewa later changed jobs when he was hired as a local consultant for the British-funded Crop Post Harvest Programme and the International Fund for Agricultural Development, an agency that supports poor smallholder farmers. Over the next 10 years he witnessed the power of the mobile phone and how people were using it to improve communication in agriculture and rural development. “Why not start a platform to link farmers, traders, financial institutions, input suppliers and policy makers in Zimbabwe?” he asked himself.
Every year, life gets more difficult for Matthew Sibanda. This 66-year-old farmer has lived all his life in the Matobo region of southern Zimbabwe, but he says he has never experienced a climate as difficult as in recent years. “As far as I remember, I have never experienced such hot temperatures,” he says. “For a long time, my piece of land was considered a fertile wetland which always gave me good yield to feed my family but this is now history.”
Rising temperatures and decreasing rainfall are making life an uphill battle for farmers in Matobo. Most rivers and wetlands have dried up, leaving dry sand behind. Without water, animals are dying in their thousands. “I had 40 cattle, 150 goats, 30 sheep but now I have only two cattle 27 goats and no sheep,” says Matthew. “Sheep can’t survive in these high temperatures and there was not enough grazing land for the cattle. The goats were my only livelihoods left and I sold them to take the children to school.” Continue reading Zimbabwe: New report shows climate change hitting farmers hard→
The Archbishop of Harare, Right Rev Robert Christopher Ndlovu, has announced the arrival of a Catholic community radio initiative that will start broadcasting once it gets a license from the government.
In a circular to all parish priests, heads of religious congregations and Catholic institutions in the Archdiocese, the Archbishop says the Catholic community radio station, *Radio Chiedza*, is being set up in preparation for the day when community radio stations will be licensed.
Erratic rains and unusual mid-season droughts over the past year have triggered critical levels of crop failure in Zimbabwe, leaving more than two million people in need of urgent food assistance in the coming lean months, according to the World Food Programme (WFP).