Zimbabwe News Roundup

Pastors trained to preach about HIV

Pastors from across the country have been trained to preach about HIV and AIDS – a subject previously swept under the carpet.

The programme, begun in 2008 and funded by Africare, has been successful with some churches forming support groups for those living with the virus. Peter Bare, programmes officer of the Evangelical Fellowship Zimbabwe, said the project had raised the profile of the virus among Christians.

“We have been working with the Methodist Development and Relief Agency, UDACIZA, and the membership of EFZ in building capacity, training and awareness in churches in Harare and Bulawayo,” he said. – Fungi Kwaramba

Sack drafters: Zanu (PF)

The row over the new constitution escalated this week with Zanu (PF) officials demanding the sacking of the drafters accusing them of producing a document that threatens national security.

A first draft of the new constitution released last week has angered Zanu (PF)as it limits the powers of the presidency and possibly bars President Robert Mugabe from seeking another term in office.

Politburo member JonathanMoyo said the drafters had failed to stick to the National Report. “The draft is a systematic attack on Zimbabwe where the drafters have become drifters by drifting away from the views of the people. This draft exposes the poverty of the inclusive Government.” – Agencies

Power imports at risk

Zimbabwe’s energy minister warned on Monday that the country risks losing electricity imports from its major supplier if it fails to pay a $90-million debt to Mozambique’s Hydro CaboraBassa dam.

“That is one debt that we have got to service because if we do not service it our major source of power will go away,” Elton Mangoma told a committee of lawmakers. ZESA has almost a billion dollars in unpaid electricity imports, unserviced loans and outstanding contributions to a joint power project with neighbour Zambia.

“At this stage with the cash flows of ZESA there is no possibility of re-paying them.”

ZESA owes about $800-million of old loans, and $94-million in electricity imports including about $90-million to Hydro CaboraBassa and $70-million to Zambia.

Bank limit set at $200

Banks have slapped a $200 daily withdrawal limit for customers, further frustrating daily chores and business operations in the country. “You can only withdraw $200 today,” said a teller at Interfin Bank Limited’s Towers Branch along SamoraMachel Avenue.

“You are actually lucky because there is no cash in other banks in Harare today. This could change tomorrow if the situation does not get any better.”

Over the weekend, the Minister of Finance, TendaiBiti, admitted that the cash crisis had to be dealt with urgently, but bankers say his hands are tied and he cannot do anything. “Cash is coming in through donors. Theyare not giving the government a cent but are sending it through donor organisations such as UNICEF. The government is in a fix right now and the situation could get worse before it can get better,” said a senior banker.

CBZ Bank Limited, a subsidiary of the ZSE-listed CBZ Financial Holdings Limited (CBZ) did not have any cash in the morning but had it later during the day.

CABS, Zimbabwe’s largest building society, also did not have cash and there were long queues outside most of its branches. – NgoniChanakira

Electoral reform agreed

The three government leaders have agreed to make fundamental changes to the electoral laws following pressure from civil society.

The leaders agreed to drop the proposed polling station-based voter’s roll and revert back to the ward-based voting system.

Announcing the changes to journalists this week, deputy PM Arthur Mutambara said the decision to drop the proposals was as a result of pressure from civic society organisations who were opposed to the system saying it exposed the electorate to retribution and intimidation.

2000 face eviction

More than 2000 families face evictions from a farm in Mashonaland Central to create room for the expansion of multiple farm owners President Robert Mugabe and his young wife Grace.

The families who got the farms during the chaotic land reform programme find themselves on the receiving side of being forced to leave ‘their farms’.

Mugabe’s point man in local government, Ignatius Chombo, is spearheading the invasions of families at Arnold Farm in the fertile Mazowe farming area.

Chombo’s office claims that the evictions are necessitated by the need to revive a game park.

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