By Darlington Gatsi
AN umbrella body of civil society organisations, Crisis Coalition, has accused President Emerson Mnangagwa of being hypocritical and insincere by labelling Non Governmental Organisations (NGO) “subversive” and “abusive”.
Delivering his keynote address to mark the Heroes Day celebration on Monday, Mnangagwa said through interventions by his Government, the country will be food sufficient and should not be subject to abuse by NGOs.
In a statement released Thursday, Crisis Coalition said Zanu PF manipulates aide from NGOs to further its political ambitions.
“President Emerson Mnangagwa and the Zanu PF party are responsible for the manipulation of government and NGO food aid for political purposes. This is well documented & Zanu PF officials are on record claiming that it is party policy to give govt aid only to party supporters.
“President Mnangagwa’s agricultural policies, like the Pfumvudza and Command Agric, muddled by corruption, cronyism, and partisanship, have resulted in Zimbabwe failing to achieve food self-sufficiency.
NGOs have continued to support most of Zimbabwe’s nutrition needs,” read the statement.
Government earlier this year attracted the wrath of criticism from civic societies over the proposed Private Voluntary Bill (PVO) which is viewed as an attempt to thwart the work of NGOs.
If the bill is passed into law, NGOs will be required to register under the government and their operations will be monitored.
According to Crisis Coalition, Mnangagwa is using the fable excuse of abuse to enact the PVO.
“So, it is an irony for President Mnangagwa, whose government has presided over a deteriorating food security situation, to insinuate that NGOs manipulate people.
“We believe such statements are simply meant to provide an excuse for the enactment of the unconstitutional PVO Bill, aimed at shutting down the good work of CSOs,” read the statement further.
By Sports Reporter
ZIMBABWE’S limited overs skipper Craig Ervine has been ruled out of Zimbabwe’s three-match One Day International (ODI) Series against India which gets underway at Harare Sports Club next Thursday (August 18).
Ervine missed the just-ended ODI series against Bangladesh due to hamstring and knee injuries and was expected to make a return ahead of the visit by India.
He has however been omitted from the 17-man squad announced by Zimbabwe Cricket and wicketkeeper-batsman Regis Chakabva will continue as captain of the team in his absence.
Chakabva stood in as captain in two matches in the just-ended three-match ODI contest against Bangladesh, which Zimbabwe won 2-1.
Chakabva enjoyed immediate success as captain after smashing a century off just 73 balls, which is the fastest ODI century by a Zimbabwean.
The 34-year-old would however miss the last ODI against Bangladesh due to a sprained hand and will be aiming for more success against a very tough opponent.
In addition to Ervine, Zimbabwe will also be without the bowling trio of Blessing Muzarabani, Tendai Chatara and Wellington Masakadza due to injuries.
Veteran allrounder Sean Williams, who missed the ODI series against Bangladesh due to personal issues is also missing from the squad but batting allrounder Ryan Burl has been included in the side after recovering from a shoulder injury.
Regis Chakabva (captain), Sikandar Raza, Bradley Evans, Luke Jongwe, Innocent Kaia, Takudzwanashe Kaitano, Clive Madande, Wessly Madhevere, Tadiwanashe Marumani, John Masara, Tony Munyonga, Richard Ngarava, Victor Nyauchi, Milton Shumba, Donald Tiripano, Ryan Burl, Tanaka Chivanga
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By Darlington Gatsi
A local think tank, Free Enterprise, has written to Parliament seeking to bring normalcy to the beleaguered Premier Service Holding Company (PSHC), which is struggling to meet the health costs of its broad clientele.
PSHC is a parent company of Premier Service Medical Aid Society (PSMAS) which caters for all civil servants in providing health services.
Government covers 80% of PSMAS subscriptions for each of its employees under the medical scheme.
PSMAS has been reduced to a reject by health institutions due to late payments, further piling misery on the civil servants who require services.
In rare occasions when they are received, clients are made to pay shortfalls, preferably in foreign currency.
In a letter addressed to Chairperson of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Health and Child Welfare, Dr Ruth Labode, Free Enterprise Chairman, Brian Sedze, said the inability of PSMAS to meet its obligations to civil servants could send it into insolvency.
“We bring to the attention of parliament through your committee the inability of civil servants to access medical care over the past eight months despite being subscribers to PSMAS, a medical aid society.
“There is a lot wrong with such a situation, which causes family distress, disturbs the family economic ecosystem, increases unnecessary borrowings and is often the reason avoidable deaths occur. We believe it’s also a country security risk factor.
“We hope you shall bring the executive arm of government to account so that they put correct corrective actions, summon Premier Service Holding Company directors and Executives to explain themselves and proffer solutions, and ensure civil servants who subscribe to PSMAS receive relief in the shortest possible time.
“PSMAS is in critical care and it may tilt into insolvency and compound suffering of nearly a million people who are subscribers and members” Brian Sedze said.
PSHC workers in April downed tools, declaring incapacitation and the failure of the company to meet their demands.
Last month PSMAS workers committee was disrupted by anti-riot police in Harare from holding its annual general meeting where deliberations on their grievances were to be addressed.
Sedze said the funding model of PSMAS should be re-looked into in the face of economic challenges that wipe out the subscriptions.
“It often takes years for the government and the regulator to approve subscription increases. If and when government and the regulator decide to approve the new fees they would have been eroded by inflation.
“In my considered view, the medical aid society must be allowed to balance subscription fees to be affordable but sustainable. The fees must be within a reasonable standard deviation of other societies and funds. Government must reduce interference with auctorial estimation and its nexus to fees,” he said.
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By Alois Vinga
RESPECTED banker and Agribank Chief Economist, Joseph Mverecha, has urged policy makers to enact policies which arrest inflation surging expectations and collapse the parallel market if the country is to enjoy long term exchange rate stability.
The remarks come at a time when the public has tabled complaints to authorities against forward pricing by businesses, often way ahead of the obtaining official and parallel market rates in a move aimed at hedging against imminent expected exchange rates.
While the parallel market rate is currently averaging between ZW$700 and ZW$800 for every US$1, most retailers are already using a peg which is much higher than the obtaining rates, triggering an unending source to spiralling inflation and erosion of disposable incomes.
Presenting an academic paper titled “Monetary Policy shocks, Exchange rate volatility and Inflation Persistence: Implications for Currency Stability and Inflation” at the ongoing Zimbabwe Economic Development Conference currently underway in the resort town of Victoria Falls, Mverecha emphasised the need to arrest such perceptions.
“Decisions on inflation and expectations have their foundation from a myriad of microeconomic decisions at the household, individual and firm level, taking into account a myriad of factors – past history of inflation 2007/08 era; recent money growth trends, recent exchange rate depreciation, among many other factors,” he said.
The acclaimed banker stresses that the interplay of these decisions occurs in different markets – money markets, foreign exchange markets and capital markets underscoring that “the confluence of all these forces”, is their impact on price formation in the goods markets.
In addition, the paper said, economic agents tend to follow a “herd instinct” with respect to inflation expectations formation – psychology of adverse expectations, uncertainty, fear and information asymmetry.
He observed that inflation expectations can be generated through several channels, reflecting the multiple interactions of economic agents, in aggregate translating into demand and supply and highlighting that for the most part, they are generated through a combination of adaptive expectations, and forward looking repricing/replacement pricing.
The paper establishes that Inflation expectations can also be generated as a mark- up over cost, particularly in an environment where costs are changing more frequently across supply chains.
“The inflationary spiral is largely explained by exchange rate depreciation and inflation expectations. In the presence of inflation expectations, the short run dynamics amplify the exchange rate movements in response to monetary shocks.
“Stabilising inflation therefore requires first, policies to collapse the parallel market and inflation expectations,” the monograph added.
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By Associated Press
A couple of days before Serena Williams claimed the 22nd of her 23 Grand Slam singles titles at Wimbledon in 2016, she was asked what she makes of it when people refer to her as one of history’s greatest female athletes.
Her reply: She prefers being characterized as “one of the greatest athletes of all time.”
That one, brief response from Williams said quite a lot — about her one-of-a-kind talent with a racket in hand, about her status as an icon, about her willingness to stand up for herself, about why women’s sports should not be thought of any differently than men’s sports.
That all came to mind again Tuesday, when Williams indicated she is preparing to walk away from her professional tennis career as the start of the U.S. Open approaches on Aug. 29 and her 41st birthday next month nears.
Yes, with shouts of “Come on!” marking the journey, she’s won the most major singles championships in the professional era of tennis, which began in 1968; more than the 22 for Steffi Graf or Rafael Nadal, more than the 21 for Novak Djokovic, more than the 20 for Roger Federer, more than the 18 for Chris Evert or Martina Navratilova, more than anyone else.
And, yes, Williams won a total of 73 tour-level singles titles and spent more than six years’ worth of weeks ranked No. 1. And she combined with older sister Venus to claim 14 Grand Slam women’s doubles titles. And then there are the four Olympic gold medals. And so on. And so on.
Still, mere numbers can’t capture everything Williams has represented during a distinguished career that began when she was a teenager in the 1990s and is remarkable for not just the successes but also the longevity, including a record 10 major championships after turning 30.
“She’s lasted longer than most, if not all, female tennis pros. She’s transcended tennis and become a leader on many important cultural, social and gender issues. She has lived an extraordinary life,” Evert wrote in a text message to The Associated Press, “and will undoubtedly continue to crash the glass ceiling in the future.”
Indeed, what Williams did without a racket in her hand is rather noteworthy, and extends past the millions in endorsement deals; the flirtations with acting; the interest in fashion design and penchant for bringing the catwalk to the court with body suits and knee-high boots and whatever else she decided to try; the celebrity and place in pop culture; and, most recently, the work as a venture capitalist (“Seventy-eight% of our portfolio happens to be companies started by women and people of color, because that’s who we are,” Williams said).
“It is important to take a step back and think about everything that Serena has brought to our sport and what she has accomplished both on and off the court,” said Steve Simon, the head of the WTA women’s tennis tour. “She is one of the greatest champions, an entrepreneur, a mother, an investor in women’s business ventures and an inspiration to women and girls across the world.”
Williams spoke out about being Black in her sport — she was the first to win a Grand Slam tournament since Althea Gibson in the 1950s — and in her country. She stayed away from a tournament in California for years after she and her father heard racist taunts there. She talked about being a woman in tennis, about being a woman who dealt with complications in childbirth, about being a mother (her daughter, Olympia, turns 5 on Sept. 1, and Williams wants to have another baby).
She and Venus helped their sport reach a broader audience and helped bring a broader slice of society into their sport (Coco Gauff, the 18-year-old African-American who was the runner-up at the French Open in May, said Tuesday she plays what she called “a predominantly white sport” because she “saw somebody who looked like me dominating the game”).
“I don’t particularly like to think about my legacy. I get asked about it a lot, and I never know exactly what to say,” Williams wrote in an essay released by Vogue magazine. “But I’d like to think that thanks to opportunities afforded to me, women athletes feel that they can be themselves on the court.
“They can play with aggression and pump their fists. They can be strong yet beautiful. They can wear what they want and say what they want and kick butt and be proud of it all.”
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By Erica Jecha
TWO Harare siblings from Glen Norah are in hot soup after they allegedly teamed up to assault and kidnap police officers after committing a traffic offence.
The two are Shepherd and Allen Zharare aged 30 and 18.
They briefly appeared before Harare magistrate, Yeukai Dzuda, Thursday charged with assault, resisting law officers and kidnapping.
The Zharare siblings will be back in court Friday for bail application.
According to prosecutors, the two work as commuter omnibus driver and conductor respectively.
On the 9th of August, along Mbuya Nehanda and Charter Road in Harare, Shepherd was driving a Toyota Hiace and allegedly resisted arrest after he stopped at an undesignated place to pick up passengers.
The court heard Allen and two others, who are still at large, were touting for passengers.
Constables Memory Manyande and Pindire Cairo, who were on duty, then pronounced the arrest of the four.
It is alleged that they entered the commuter omnibus and instructed the driver to drive to Harare Central Police Station .
He then drove off at high speed along Simon Mazorodze and out of town to Southerton.
They later stopped and pushed the police officers out of the vehicle and they sustained injuries which are yet to be treated.
The court heard the team also assaulted the officers with clenched fists and open hands, knowing very well that they were law enforcement agents.
They also deprived the peace officers of bodily movement when they locked them up in the vehicle.
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By Bloomberg News
Zimbabwe has suspended payments to government contractors as part of efforts to halt a slump in its currency that’s fueling hyperinflation.
The order was sent to government ministries, departments and agencies by Permanent Secretary of Finance George Guvamatanga after the Treasury noticed they were submitting invoices of cash for goods and services using parallel market rates.
The MDAs are required to seek approval from Treasury for current and future contract pricing and share with it their due diligence on existing charges, Guvamatanga said.
The dollar changes hands on the parallel market for as much as Z$800 — 41% higher than the official rate. The discrepancy has caused extreme volatility in the market and seen the Zimbabwean dollar plunge 76% this year against the greenback, stoking inflation that’s been in triple digits since May.
“Such pricing framework by the suppliers of goods and services, have not only been causing inflationary pressures but also parallel market activities,” Guvamatanga said in the circular seen by Bloomberg and dated Aug. 4. Treasury confirmed the letter.
“This has resultantly caused instability in the foreign exchange market characterised by unnecessary movements on the rate resulting in exorbitant prices being charged,” he said.
The Treasury also raised concern over the implications paying the parallel market rate has had on MDAs’ budgets and on national fiscal resources.
The measure adds to others announced this year to stabilise the currency and curb inflation such as lifting the key interest rate to 200% from 80% in June, reintroducing the US dollar as legal currency, selling gold coins and potentially setting up a currency board.
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By Anna Chibamu
THE out-going European Union (EU) Ambassador to Zimbabwe Timo Olkkonen has called on the government to not rush the controversial Private Voluntary Organisation (PVO) Amendment Bill into a law before holding wider consultations with all stakeholders.
Olkkonen said rushing the bill into a law might limit civil society organisations’ (CSOs) freedom of assembly and how they conduct their business once it is enacted into law.
Responding to questions from the media after paying a farewell courtesy call to Parliament Speaker Jacob Mudenda on Thursday, Olkkonen said the EU was concerned about what the bill might mean to the CSOs once it becomes an Act.
“We also had opportunities to address some topical issues that are on the legislative agenda. The PVO Bill which is now under deliberations in the Parliament. The EU has a number of concerns which this bill might mean in its current form if it is enacted into law. We had an exchange of views and on the bill,” said Olkkonen.
“We do have concerns on that bill that it would limit unnecessarily the civil society’s freedom of assembly and that there might be too many limitations of how they could conduct their business and that there might be some issues about how much it has been in compliance with the constitution of Zimbabwe.
” … and upholding those rights of citizens to associate and also some questions around whether it is excessive in the operation in the implementing the recommendations of the financial task force in terms of providing transparency for funding.”
He added, “We are all for transparency and for democratic control but the question is that with the legislation, our concern is that the baby will be thrown away together with the towel and there is need for wider consultations’ time so that different stakeholders are comfortable with the law that will enacted without rushing the bill into a law.”
CSOs have since condemned the bill.
The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (OMCT-FIDH) and Citizens in Action Southern Africa (CIASA) expressed their deep concern over the negative impact this amendment will have on civic space and strongly condemn the intimidation of human rights defenders opposing it.
The Observatory and CIASA have urged the Zimbabwean authorities to withdraw the amendment and to refrain from attacking or intimidating all rights defenders.
PVO Amendment Bill, H.B. 10, 2021 also exposes the intention of the government to provide itself with legal tools to control and ultimately silence civil society.
Should it be adopted, the amended law would provide the government with wide powers to interfere in civil society organisations’ governance and activities.
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By Mohammad Isam I espncricinfo.com
The hosts handed a debut to legspinner John Masara in the series-deciding third T20I, before giving ODI caps to medium-pace bowlers Victor Nyauchi and Brad Evans, spin-bowling allrounder Tony Munyonga, and wicketkeeper-batter Clive Madande during the course of the series.
“From a team perspective, the biggest positive is the amount of youngsters who played in this series,” Raza said.
“Some of our big names were missing. We don’t get to play a lot of games, but the new guys did well as well.
“Tony played a quality cameo [in the second ODI], Victor bowled very well in the three games, Brad held his own, [and] Clive showed a glimpse of class.”
Zimbabwe were missing regular captain Craig Ervine due to hamstring and knee injuries, allrounder Sean Williams for what Zimbabwe Cricket said were “personal matters”, and pace bowlers Blessing Muzarabani and Tendai Chatara because of a tear in the thigh and a collarbone fracture, respectively.
To add to that, they suffered another blow when Regis Chakabva, named captain for the ODIs in absence of Ervine, was ruled out of the third ODI due to a sprained hand. That is when Raza stood in, with Zimbabwe fielding 17 players during the three-match series.
“All the senior players are missing due to injuries. No one has been rested,” Raza said.
“We are trying to bring a winning culture in the changing room. We have complained about Zimbabwe not playing a lot of games, so now that we are getting games, we didn’t think of resting.”
Raza led the way for his side with innings of 65 not out and 62 in the first two T20Is, and followed that up with back-to-back unbeaten knocks of 135 and 117 as Zimbabwe clinched the ODI series with a game to spare.
“One man doesn’t win cricket matches – not ODIs anyway. The unsung hero that nobody is talking about is Luke Jongwe,” Raza said.
“He took the ball in difficult circumstances every game, he has bowled well. He has batted well too. He played an exceptional little cameo in the first ODI.
“You say that the focus is on me, but my focus is on the guys who have done well but not getting mentioned.
“Luke, Tony, Clive, Victor, [and] Bradley, who took the double-wicket [over] today [during the third ODI] – these things break the opposition’s back.”
He also believed that the new coach Dave Houghton bringing a level of calm and fearlessness to the side was something new in the Zimbabwe ranks.
“You have to be in the changing room to understand his value. It is no secret that he has done exceptionally well in a very short time,” Raza said.
“Dave has brought that fearless cricket with some accountability, and by not being reckless. He pointed out rightly today that we were slightly on the reckless side.
“Apart from that, he has managed us well. He has a lot of care, love and respect for the players. We have it for Dave Houghton anyway, but to see a Zimbabwean legend give love, time and respect back to the players, [and] speaking one on one, it is hard to put it in words.”
He said that a big sign of Zimbabwe’s improvement was seeing how Richard Ngarava and Nyauchi, Nos. 10 and 11, added 68 runs for the tenth wicket, with the hosts at 83 for 9 in pursuit of 257 in the third ODI.
“The fans kept singing. The brand of cricket that we are trying to encourage to play is fearless,” Raza added. “It would have been easy for us to close shop at 130 for 8 , but we didn’t want to do that.
“We want to believe genuinely that we can win a game from any position. To see our No. 10 and 11 put on a 68-run partnership is encouraging. I was telling the coach that you found your new No 5. I am happy to go down!”
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By Associated Press
KIGALI: U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is in Rwanda, the last stop on his three-nation tour of Africa where he has articulated Washington’s new strategy for engaging with sub-Saharan African nations as “equal partners.”
Blinken comes to Rwanda at a particularly difficult time for Africa’s Great Lakes region, with the small central African nation at odds with vast neighbor Congo over allegations that both governments support rebels opposed to each other.
In a meeting on Thursday with Rwandan President Paul Kagame, Blinken is expected to discuss efforts to ease the tensions. Rwanda is rejecting a new report by United Nations experts saying they have “solid evidence” that members of Rwanda’s armed forces are conducting operations in eastern Congo in support of the M23 rebel group.
Rwandan authorities in turn accuse Congo of giving refuge to ethnic Hutu fighters who played roles in Rwanda’s 1994 genocide that killed ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus. There have long been tensions between the countries. In the late 1990s, Rwanda twice sent its forces deep into Congo, joining forces with rebel leader Laurent Kabila to depose the country’s longtime dictator Mobutu Sese Seko.
Both Rwanda and Congo deny the charges of backing rebel groups, and Rwandan authorities have rejected the latest report by U.N. experts as a move “to distract from real issues.” Rwanda also asserts that its security needs cannot be met while armed fugitives from the genocide continue to operate from inside Congolese territory.
A meeting between Kagame and Congolese President Felix Tshisekedi in Angola on July 6 produced a statement calling for a return to normal diplomatic relations, a cessation of hostilities and the “immediate and unconditional withdrawal” of the M23 from its positions in eastern Congo.
But M23, which comprises mostly ethnic Tutsis from Congo, continues to hold its positions near the border with Uganda, keeping the spotlight on Rwanda.
The chairman of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee in a letter to Blinken last month called for a comprehensive review of U.S. policy toward Rwanda and noted his concern that Washington’s support for Rwanda, widely described by human right groups as authoritarian and repressive, is not in line with U.S. values.
The State Department said Blinken in Rwanda also will raise democracy and human rights concerns, including transnational repression and the limited space for the opposition.
Paul Rusesabagina, a permanent resident of the U.S. who is jailed in Rwanda after his conviction last year on terror-related charges, also is on the agenda. Rusesabagina, who achieved fame with the film “Hotel Rwanda” for sheltering ethnic Tutsis during the genocide, was a recipient of the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom.
In a statement ahead of Blinken’s visit, Rwanda’s government said it “looks forward to a robust exchange of views on governance and human rights, as has always been the case in the Rwanda-U.S. bilateral relationship.” It acknowledged the talks would include Rusesabagina’s situation.
Blinken on this trip also visited South Africa, where he described a strategy “rooted in the recognition that sub-Saharan Africa is a major geopolitical force.”
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By Anna Chibamu
OUT-GOING European Union (EU) ambassador to Zimbabwe, Timo Olkkonen, on Thursday commended Parliament Speaker, Jacob Mudenda, on the role he has played as the leader of the national assembly.
During a farewell call on the Speaker, Olkkonen told journalists that Mudenda had done so well in the delivery of his duties and leading Parliament.
“It was a very important occasion for me to be here to bid this farewell because we have had excellent cooperation with the Parliament and the Hon. Speaker himself, particularly in our parliamentary support programme, where we have supported the capacities of the Parliament and its portfolio committees to perform their duties as a cornerstone of democracy,” he said.
“We have had that cooperation, which has brought us closer together. Parliament is important in its own right and so this was indeed a valuable occasion for me.
“I would like to convey my thanks for the good cooperation over the years and also give our appreciation for the role he himself (Mudenda) has had personally in leading Parliament proceedings as well as in his capacity for standing up for gender equality and women’s rights.
“The Speaker has been very instrumental in one of the prominent personalities in Zimbabwean society to speak out on these issues.”
Olkkonen also gave credit to the Zimbabwean tourism sector, telling the media that the country had vast opportunities and diversity.
“My family and myself had fallen in love with Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe has tremendous opportunities and diversity. The people are very friendly and forthcoming.
“I wanted more time to get to all corners of the country, but Covid-19 did not allow us that opportunity. I will be back and certainly be an advocate for tourism in Zimbabwe because it has hidden germs.”
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