The number of elephants dying from a suspected bacterial infection, possibly from eating poisonous plants in western Zimbabwe has risen to 22, and “more deaths are expected,” a spokesman for the country’s parks agency said Wednesday.
Tinashe Farawo, spokesman for the Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority, said most of the elephants dying in the Pandamasue Forest, located between the vast Hwange National Park and Victoria Falls, were young or weak.
With food scarce, younger elephants that can’t reach higher tree branches “end up eating everything and some of the vegetation that they eat might be poisonous,” said Farawo.
He said the problem could persist through the dry season.
Zimbabwe has been facing successive climate-induced droughts in recent years, leaving animals with less water and vegetation for food.
Apart from possible bacterial infection, some of the animals could be dying due to the stress of walking long distances for food and water, said Farawo.
Farawo said overpopulation had become “the biggest threat” to animal survival in the wild-life rich southern African country.
The dead young elephants were found with the tusks still on their bodies, ruling out poaching.
In recent years poachers in Zimbabwe have poisoned dozens of elephants with cyanide and then have taken their ivory tusks to sell them to illegal traders.
Investigations will also try to establish if there is a link between the deaths and those reported in neighboring Botswana.
Jacob Ngarivhume granted bail after being detained on July 20 for calling for rallies against corruption, economic woes.
Zimbabwean opposition politician Jacob Ngarivhume has been granted bail in his fourth attempt since being detained on July 20 after calling for anti-government protests against corruption and the country’s economic crisis.
High Court judge Siyabona Musithu on Wednesday granted Ngarivhume’s appeal against the ruling of a lower court that had denied him bail and said, “The magistrate erred.”
The politician was ordered to pay 50,000 Zimbabwe dollars ($138), surrender his passport and report to the police three times a week.
Ngarivhume was arrested on the same day as prominent journalist Hopewell Chin’ono and charged with inciting the public to commit violence. The two men have denied the allegations.
Chin’ono, who had tweeted his support for the protests, is also expecting a verdict on a bail application on Wednesday.
The protests had been planned for July 31, the second anniversary of a general election won by President Emmerson Mnangagwa amid accusations of fraud.
The planned rallies were denounced by Mnangagwa as “an insurrection to overthrow our democratically elected government”, while the police banned them, citing coronavirus restrictions.
Still, some 20 activists held demonstrations in their neighbourhoods, including award-winning author and Booker Prize nominee Tsitsi Dangarembga. They were arrested and have since been freed on bail.
Government critics and opposition activists accuse the government of attempting to muzzle the press and using the COVID-19 lockdown to arrest, harass and torture activists. The government denies the accusations.
In neighbouring South Africa, President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Monday he would be sending a second batch of envoys to Zimbabwe within “days” in a fresh attempt to resolve the crisis.
A first delegation last month did not meet opposition parties and was widely criticised for failing to confront Mnangagwa about the crackdown on dissent.
Mnangagwa came to power after the military removed his longtime predecessor, Robert Mugabe, in November 2017. He went on to win a disputed election the following year, promising to tackle corruption and revive the country’s shattered economy.
Two years on, however, Zimbabwe is facing a severe economic crisis marked by soaring inflation, high unemployment, foreign exchange shortages and a local currency that is rapidly depreciating against the US dollar.
Zimbabwe’s annual inflation rate soared to almost 840 percent in July, the statistics agency said Saturday, adding to the country’s desperate economic woes even as the government refused to acknowledge a growing sense of crisis.
The southern African nation has been grappling with more than a decade of hyperinflation triggered by economic mismanagement under former president Robert Mugabe, who was ousted by a military coup in 2017.
Many Zimbabweans have seen their savings evaporate and still struggle to afford basic commodities such as sugar and the staple cornmeal, with corruption and poverty rife.
The figures were published shortly after a government statement was issued saying that President Emmerson Mnangagwa had implemented policies “that result in a robust economy” and had kept the country “commendably stable”, denying any crisis.
The July inflation rate of 837.53 percent, which was announced by the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency on Twitter, compares with 737.3 percent in June.
Month-on-month, inflation stood at 35.53 percent in July, up from 31.66 percent in June.
The government statement — published by the state-owned Herald newspaper — was a response to a letter by Zimbabwe’s Catholic Bishops on Friday that deplored a recent crackdown on dissent by Mnangagwa’s administration and a deepening crisis in the country.
Last month, the authorities banned protests planned by an opposition politician and deployed the army and riot police in huge numbers to quell them.
Opposition figure Jacob Ngarivhume, who had called for the July 31 protests against alleged state corruption and worsening economic troubles, was arrested 12 days ahead of the strike.
Journalist and documentary filmmaker Hopewell Chin’ono was also detained. They both remain in custody after being denied bail.
More than a dozen protesters, including award-winning author Tsitsi Dangarembga, were arrested on July 31 and later freed on bail. All have been charged with inciting public violence.
– ‘Multi-layered crisis’ – The bishops described the clampdown as “unprecedented” and weighed in on the ongoing crisis, which the government has repeatedly denied.
They said the “struggle in Zimbabwe” resulted “in a multi-layered crisis of the convergence of economic collapse, deepening poverty, food insecurity, corruption and human rights abuses”.
Government spokesman Nick Mangwana accused the bishops of joining the “bandwagon of individuals and entities” seeking to invent crises for political gains.
“Government reiterates that Zimbabwe, like most countries in the world is currently grappling with challenges attendant to illegal sanctions, drought and the coronavirus pandemic,” Mangwana said, quoted by The Herald. “There is no ‘crisis’, political or otherwise.”
The United States slapped sanctions on Zimbabwean businessman and political operator Kudakwashe Tagwirei days after the July 31 crackdown, calling him “notoriously corrupt”.
The sanctions were issued to commemorate the two-year anniversary of a violent army-led suppression of protests over alleged election fraud, in which at least six people were killed.
South African police fired rubber bullets and stun grenades to disperse dozens of protesters outside the Zimbabwean embassy in Pretoria on Friday, a photographer said.
Close to 100 mainly Zimbabwean migrants in South Africa gathered to protest economic hardship and a recent crackdown on dissent and political opposition back home.
Earlier this week Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa vowed to “flush out” critics who he described as “dark forces” and “terrorists” after the authorities thwarted anti-government protests.
On Friday police were seen pushing and shoving the protesters from the front of the Zimbabwean embassy building, situated in a leafy Pretoria suburb not far from the Union Buildings, the seat of South Africa’s government.
Drapped in their county’s national flag, protesters waved placards, some reading “Mnangagwa: You are going to The Hague! Murderer! Thief!”
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday said he had appointed two special envoys to go to Harare “following recent reports of difficulties that the Republic of Zimbabwe is experiencing”.
Mnangagwa took over from longtime ruler Robert Mugabe after a coup in November 2017 and many Zimbabweans complain that the country’s situation has only gotten worse since.
The Zimbabwean government has dismissed allegations of rights abuses and a crisis in the country as “false”.
“There is no crisis or implosion in Zimbabwe. Neither has there been any abductions or ‘war’ on citizens,” government spokesman Nick Mangwana said in a statement.
Zimbabwean top writer and Booker Prize nominee, Tsitsi Dangarembga was freed on bail on Saturday following her arrest during anti-government protests a day earlier.
Dangarembga, 61, was charged with incitement to commit violence and breaching anti-coronavirus health regulations after staging a two-women demonstration in Harare which coincided with the second anniversary of President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s disputed election.
She was arrested in the upmarket Harare suburb of Borrowdale alongside another protester and hauled into a truck full of police armed with AK-47 rifles and riot gear.
Police had banned the protests called by opposition politician Jacob Ngarivhume, head of a small party called Transform Zimbabwe, against alleged state corruption and the country’s slumping economy.
The government had denounced the protests, calling them an “insurrection”.
The Cambridge-educated author’s arrest came days after her latest novel, “This Mournable Body”, entered the long list for the Booker Prize.
“I’m happy to be out in the fresh air,” Dangarembga told Media (known to Noble Reporters Media) as she left the magistrates’ court.
“It’s a whole experience, something I’ve never gone through,” she said.
She said while the constitution provides for peaceful demonstration, “it seems impossible to do that practically because you run the risk of being arrested if you do it”.
Eleven other people arrested on Friday, including Fadzayi Mahere, a lawyer and spokeswoman for the main opposition, the Movement for Democratic Change-Alliance, were also released on Saturday.
Mahere live-streamed via Facebook images of riot police scaling metal barriers into a suburban eatery to which she had retreated after her protest.
Mahere, 34, walked out of court all the more defiant.
“We should continue to stare the beast in the face. Fear is not an option. We can’t be afraid to speak out against poverty, injustice and corruption,” she told Media (known to Noble Reporters Media).
‘Fear not an option’ The magistrates’ court released the two women on ZW$5,000 (US$65) bail and ordered them to return on September 18.
On Friday, police and soldiers manned road blocks and checkpoints in Harare after earlier warnings of a tough response to “deal decisively with any individuals or groups fomenting violence”.
The warning and the heavy security presence on the streets effectively thwarted the planned nationwide street protests.
Only a handful of people appeared to brave the ban.
Dangarembga was arrested carrying placards calling for reforms and the release of Hopewell Chin’ono, a prominent journalist arrested last week under the government crackdown.
She leapt to prominence in 1988 with “Nervous Conditions”, a coming-of-age story about a girl’s battle to escape poverty and gain an education. The book became an instant classic.
Earlier in the week police published a list of more than a dozen wanted suspects who included opposition labour and rights activists.
Amnesty International has condemned the crackdown on protests and dissent.
“This latest witch-hunt and repression of peaceful dissent is a continuation of what we have seen in the country in recent years, including the abductions and arbitrary arrests of those who are critical of the government,” said Muleya Mwananyanda, Amnesty International’s deputy director for Southern Africa.
“The brutal assault on political activists and human rights defenders who have had the courage to call out alleged corruption and demand accountability from their government is intensifying,” she said.
Police in Zimbabwe on Friday arrested internationally-acclaimed novelist Tsitsi Dangarembga as they enforced a ban on protests coinciding with the anniversary of President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s election.
Dangarembga, 61, was taken away in a police truck as she demonstrated in the upmarket Harare suburb of Borrowdale alongside another protester, a photographer saw.
Streets in the centre of the city were largely deserted as police and soldiers set up checkpoints to prevent entry.
Opposition politician Jacob Ngarivhume, head of a small party called Transform Zimbabwe, had called for demonstrations against alleged state corruption and the country’s slumping economy
The protests were timed to coincide with the second anniversary of Mnangagwa’s election, which the opposition says was a fraud.
But most people stayed at home after police on Thursday issued a ban and warned of a tough response.
“All security arms of government are on full alert and will deal decisively with any individuals or groups fomenting violence,” it warned.
There were more checkpoints and roadblocks than usual on roads leading to the centre of the capital, manned by police and soldiers.
In the central business district, police carrying batons or riot shields were heavily deployed, a Media journalist (known to Noble Reporters Media) saw.
Novelist arrested In the suburbs, only a handful of people appeared to brave the ban.
A photographer saw Dangarembga and a fellow protester, Julie Barnes, hauled into a truck full of police armed with AK-47 rifles and riot gear.
Shortly afterwards, she tweeted: “Arrested! At Borrowdale. Ope it will be OK”. She also tweeted a photo of herself and Barnes, sitting on the floor at a police station.
She had been carrying placards calling for reforms and the release of Hopewell Chin’ono, a prominent journalist arrested last week under a government crackdown.
Minutes before her arrest, she told Media (known to Noble Reporters Media): “It seems that there has been a big reaction by the authorities to this protest.
“They declared it illegal — I’m not quite sure (why), apart from the fact that they don’t want it…Our constitution gives Zimbabweans the right to demonstrate peacefully and that’s what we are doing.”
The Cambridge-educated author is the only Zimbabwean woman writer to win the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and has often been praised for speaking out on women’s issues.
She leapt to prominence in 1988 with “Nervous Conditions”, a coming-of-age story about a girl’s battle to escape poverty and gain an education. The book became an instant classic.
Her arrest came days after her latest novel, “This Mournable Body,” entered the long list for the Booker Prize.
In a statement, police confirmed she had been arrested “for trying to incite the public to engage in illegal demonstrations while carrying placards written various political messages meant to cause public disorder.”
Among several others arrested Friday was Fadzayi Mahere, a lawyer and spokeswoman for the main opposition, the Movement for Democratic Change-Alliance.
Mahere live-streamed via Facebook images of riot police scaling metal barriers into a suburban eatery where she had retreated after her protest, and arrested her.
The British ambassador in Harare, Melanie Robinson tweeted: “Very concerned about reports of abductions, arrests and threats targeting those exercising constitutional rights. Freedom of expression is vital even in times of COVID19, with social distancing observed”.
Poverty and hunger The government had denounced the protests, calling them an “insurrection”.
Ruling ZANU-PF spokesman Patrick Chinamasa earlier this week claimed that US ambassador Brian Nicholls was sponsoring the protests and called him “a thug”.
Mnangagwa took over from longtime ruler Robert Mugabe after a coup in November 2017.
But hopes among many that he would end Mugabe’s disastrous economic slump have been dashed, and many Zimbabweans say they are worse off than before.
The UN’s World Food Programme (WFP) says some 8.6 million Zimbabweans, or 60 percent of the population, will require food aid as a result of a drought, economic crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic.
The country has recorded 3,092 virus cases including 53 deaths.
Zimbabwe’s agriculture minister, Perrance Shiri, an ex-airforce commander who headed an army unit accused of a notorious massacre in early 1980s, died on Wednesday aged 65, the government said.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who made the announcement, paid tribute to Shiri as a “true patriot” but gave no details about the cause of the death.
Shiri was commander of an elite North-Korean trained unit, the Fifth Brigade, that cracked down on a revolt in the western province of Matabeleland province in the newly-independent Zimbabwe.
Known as the Gukurahundi Massacre, the bloodbath claimed some 20,000 lives, according to the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace in Zimbabwe, a figure suported by Amnesty International.
Mnangagwa was state security minister at the time.
Shiri served for years as commander of the airforce before taking up a post as land and agriculture minister under Mnangagwa after a coup that ousted longtime ruler Robert Mugabe in November 2017.
Mnangagwa described Shiri as “a long time friend and colleague… a true patriot, who devoted his life to the liberation, independence and service of his country.”
According to a news media (known to Noble Reporters Media), Shiri had been quarantined at a private hospital after he was said to have been exposed to coronavirus virus by his driver, who died at the weekend.
Critics took to social media to vent their emotions.
“It’s tragic that Shiri has departed without facing justice over the Gukurahundi atrocities he committed in Matabeleland and Midlands Provinces in the 1980s nor telling the truth about those atrocities to help heal the nation. May God rest Shiri’s victims in eternal peace,” tweeted exiled former minister Jonathan Moyo, who served under Mugabe.
Over the weekend, 33 year old Zimbabwean Actress, model and TV personality Vimbai Mutinhiri exchanged the marital vows with her lover, Andrew Ekpenyong in Calabar, Cross River State.
The love birds did not allow the Coronavirus lockdown in the Nation stop them from having their court wedding!
Clarifying that the wedding had constrained physical participants, brother to the groom and Cross Rivers state minister of Finance, Asuquo Ekpenyong said:
“loved ones saw the function by means of video conferencing”
Also sharing photos from the court wedding, Vimbai wrote:
What shall I render to Jehovah, for He has done so very much for me ♥️🙏🏾😇 . Part 1 / Court Registry done ✅ – social distancing compliant, but you know we had to add our touch to it 😁 (while we watch and wait for the coast to clear for us to have the dream celebrations we spent months planning) Thank you to all who have shared their words of encouragement, their prayers and their well wishes!! We are so grateful to be blessed with so much love
In another post, she wrote:
If only tears could speak, these ones would tell such a powerful story of how no matter what – God has a plan! Only He knows how a girl from Harare, ended up in the loving arms of a Prince in Calabar. The journey has been colorful and eventful, but by His grace we are ushered into a new chapter. What a testimony – that in every story – JEHOVAH has the final say 😇 .
The Zimbabwean government on Friday March 20, reported its first case of coronavirus.
Health Minister Obadiah Moyo who made the announcement on state television ZTV, said the coronavirus case is a man who returned to his home in the tourist resort town of Victoria Falls from Britain last weekend.
“This is the first case of Covid-19 in Zimbabwe. The patient is a 38-year-old Caucasian man … who had travelled to Manchester in the UK on the 7th of March and returned to his home in Victoria Falls on the 15th of March via South Africa.”
NobleReporters gathered that though the country’s public health system has been suffering for years from a lack of equipment and drugs, the Zimbabwean government has announced a raft of steps to prevent the virus from spreading and they include the cancellation of public and sporting events, and constraints on gatherings. Schools will also close on Tuesday March 24.
Zimbabwe’s main Independence Day celebrations will for the first time since 1980 be held outside the capital Harare after the ruling ZANU-PF party’s Politburo decided that they should be held in the second city of Bulawayo.
The country will mark 40 years of independence from British colonial rule on April 18.
The main Independence Day celebrations have traditionally been held at the giant Chinese-built National Sports Stadium in Harare, but the party’s Politburo decided Wednesday that they should be held in Bulawayo this year in line with President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s desire to decentralize national events.
Acting secretary for information and publicity Patrick Chinamasa told journalists after a meeting of the Politburo that the move was in line with the Second Republic’s devolution thrust, the State-controlled Herald newspaper reported Thursday.
The Politburo is the party’s highest decision-making body outside congress.
“As you might be aware, 2020 marks our 40th year of independence. We have taken a decision that in future, independence celebrations will rotate from province to province. In the past, the celebrations were held in Harare,” he said.
The wife of Zimbabwe’s Vice President Constantino Chiwenga, Marry Mubaiwa was on Monday January 6 granted bail by a High Court after being arraigned on charges of fraud, money laundering and attempted murder of her husband.
38-year-old Marry who was granted bail of 50,000 Zimbabwe dollars by the court which also ordered her to surrender her diplomatic passport, was arrested in December 2019 on allegations of attempted murder, fraud and contravening the country’s exchange control laws by transferring about $1m abroad.
The businesswoman and former model who is due for a routine pretrial appearance on January 14, was previously married to a national football player. She is also expected to report to the police twice weekly.
A son who had to be separated from his mother when he was 5 years old reunited with her after 17 years apart and a video of their reunion will warm your heart.
According to @mhlanga101 from Zimbabwe, times were hard in the country at the time and most parents had to go abroad to make enough money to take care of their family back home in Zimbabwe.
The parents had two options, to return home to Zimbabwe and be unable to care for their kids, or to stay abroad and have enough money for childcare while being cellphone parents.
He said that though she was physically absent, his mother was always there for him and did her best at parenting.
As he grew older, he said he tried every means to get a visa to be reunited with his mother but he was always denied.
He finally got a visa after 17 years and didn’t tell his mother he was coming. When she saw him, her surprise was palpable.
Sharing the video, he wrote: “After 17 years without seeing my mom I finally managed to see her and this was her reaction. To those whose parents have been gone for long, don’t lose hope! Gods timing is the only timing you can trust.”
An unmarried Zimbabwean woman and her mother have died after they allegedly drank a lethal concoction that was given to them by a self-proclaimed prophet.
According to iHarare, Ms. Sithandazile Nyathi, 30 and her mother Ms. Thokozani Ncube, 51, who are based in South Africa died shortly after drinking a ‘cleansing’ concoction they allegedly got from a prophet named Brian Mpofu from Cowdray Park suburb over the weekend. The mother, Ms. Ncube, had accompanied her daughter to see the prophet.
It was claimed in the report that the duo had approached the prophet to express Sithandazile’s problems including marriage pressures as suitors were not coming for her.
The deceased’s aunt, Seyiso Ncube, revealed that Sithandaziles had been in contact with the prophet since she was in South Africa.
Speaking to the publication, Ms. Ncube’s sister, Ms. Elizabeth Ncube said:
‘We were not there when this occurred but what we have been told is that they went to consult a prophet in Cowdray Park on Saturday. Sithandazile is the one who sought the services of the prophet and requested her mother to accompany her. They went there with our 15-year-old nephew who narrated to us what really transpired.
He said the prophet gave the three of them some substance to induce vomiting claiming that he was casting out a bad spell. After that, he gave them a concoction consisting of bluestone, aloe vera, and lemon which he said they were going to drink at home the following day before eating anything.
Prior to drinking the mixture, we are told that the prophet sent them a message, instructing them not to give it to the boy but share his dosage. Soon after drinking the mixture they started complaining that it was making them bleary, complaining of stomach cramps. Sithandazile instructed the boy to give her a bucket so that she could induce vomiting.
My sister was of the view that probably that was how the medicine worked and she did not attempt to induce vomiting. When the boy brought the bucket, Sithandazile was already struggling to breathe prompting the boy to call his uncle who is my late sister’s husband.
We are told before my sister’s husband could attend to Sithandazile, he discovered that his wife (my sister) was not responding when he called her in her bedroom and when he went in to check on her he discovered that she had white fluids coming out through her mouth and nose.
Bulawayo police spokesperson Chief Inspector Precious Simango also confirmed that they are investigating the issue.
‘Yes, we received a case where mother and her daughter died after drinking some poisonous substance they were given by a self-proclaimed prophet. I can’t say much at the moment as it could jeopardize our investigations. We have, however, arrested a suspect in connection with the pair’s death.’
Zimbabwe’s former leader Robert Mugabe, who died in September, left $10 million and some properties in the capital, but no will naming his beneficiaries, details of his estate published by the state-owned newspaper the Herald showed on Tuesday.
Zimbabweans have speculated for years about the extent of Mugabe’s wealth, with many assuming that he and his family amassed a vast fortune during his 37 years in power.
Mugabe’s daughter Bona Chikowore wrote in October to the Master of the High Court seeking to register her father’s estate, the Herald reported. It listed assets including $10 million held in a local bank, four houses in Harare, 10 cars, one farm, his rural home, and an orchard.
One of the properties is the palatial home known as Blue Roof in an upmarket suburb of the capital where Mugabe lived. The list does not include several farms that he reportedly owned or a dairy business he ran with wife Grace or any properties outside Zimbabwe.
Under Zimbabwean laws, the estate of a person who dies without a will is distributed between their spouse and children.
Mugabe’s lawyer Terrence Hussein, however, asked the court to register the estate, saying he and the family had not found any will left by Zimbabwe’s founding leader.
“Thus far, we have not been able to locate a will, but have sent out inquiries to other law firms, although the family members are not aware of any,” Hussein wrote in a letter to the High Court that was quoted by the Herald.