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7-13 December 2015

Media Monitoring Report Zimbabwe
Posted on December 16, 2015

Contents

Compiled by – MIGS Desk Officer for Zimbabwe – Pierre Bussières

  1. Economic Stress
  2. Human Rights
  3. Summary/Analysis

1. Economic stress
State-owned media

Govt steals Kwekwe workers’ Christmas, December 6, The Standard

  • Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa’s delivered the last blow for 3,000 workers who have reportedly waited five years for salaries when announcing they would lose their job at the end of the present year
  • Chinamasa confirmed 750 million Ziscosteel take-over deal collapsed despite all efforts, threatening the stability Redcliff Town.
  • Ziscosteel workers union chairman, Benedict Moyo  said “It is too early for us to comment on this matter because the management has not yet told us anything and as you are aware, we don’t report to the Finance minister and, therefore, we will wait until we get official communication”
  • Benedict Moyo   added :“It is very difficult for us. It’s now been about five years without salaries and we are faced with municipal bills which we can’t pay while schools are refusing to release results over school fees debts,” he said.
  • Jane Ticharunga is the Finance chairperson for Kwekwe Town Council. She told the Herald that the Redcliff Town has also been struggling to pay municipal employees and said the city now was also broke due to unpaid taxes.
Independent media

Zimbabwe: China Insists On Leadership Change, The New Zimbabweans, December 4, 2015

  • Chinese officials who accompanied President Xi Jiping on his tour around Africa said Xi was worried over the lack of political will in pushing for more progressive agenda.
  • Chinese officials were also quoted saying they spoke for Africa as well, but were not are also dedicated to a policy of no meddling in political affairs.
  • The same political officials however said they recommended the ruling party ZANU-PF should embrace change or die.
  • President Xi Jinping is known to be a fierce anti-corruption campaigner and has reportedly made this a key objective of his African tour

Zimbabwe: Chinese Slowdown to Hit Zimbabwe, Financial Gazette, December 10

  • In addition to the falling commodity prices, Zimbabwe is reeling from fiscal space constraints and the power challenges being experienced in the country," ZEPARU said in the report, titled ZEPARU Economic Barometer.
  • In a report released two weeks ago, the Zimbabwe Economic Policy Analysis and Research Unit (ZEPARU) said the slowdown in China would affect African economies; Zimbabwe's economy is likely to be worst hit because of its current circumstances.
  • "The implications of depressed international prices are being felt through both reduced profit levels for local mining companies and the risk of reduced revenue for government.
  • Wheat and maize prices also declined during the review period, although ZEPARU said this was a positive development for the country that has to import food to feed over 1,2 million in over 30 districts who are facing starvation.
  • Incidently, copper mines most affected by the economic slump are located in Zimbabwe’s poorest regions


2. Human Rights
State-Owned Media
  • Budiriro houses razed down, Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporations, December 10, 2015
  • Hundreds of houses were demolished in Budiriro, a neighborhood of Harare, leaving residents homeless
  • Residents said they were not given any advance notice and blame the authorities
  • The house were bulldozed while most of the inhabitents were away, as well as virtually all property in the houses.
  • Dorothy Mavolwane, Harare arare City Council Spokesperson, said the people had constructed their homes in areas earmarked for a clinic and school. She says residents were given a 48 hours notice.
Independent Media

Harare City Council’s inhuman, cruel home demolitions even on Human Rights Day, December 11, Nehanda Radio

  • The City of Harare has demonstrated again its cruelty by bulldozing hundreds of houses on December 10, the Day of International Human Rights
  • This is the second such destruction of a large scale without notice.
  • This behavior from the Zimbabwean authorities is typical of colonial administration

Human rights group bemoans increased cases of violence, December 10, Newsday

  •  “At this point we reiterate that the NPRC operationalisation delay might have worked negatively in raising public suspicion and mistrust. The task that lies ahead requires you to restore public confidence and carry out its constitutional mandate in a fair and transparent manner,” wrote Heal Zimbabwe Trust in a letter to National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC)
  • Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CiZC)  has also called for more government action in retrieving search for activist, Itai Dzamara, suspected of having been abducted by state security agents.
  •  “We hold the view that security of persons is a critical component of a democratic society and Dzamara’s issue has created the need for collective action from Zimbabweans to safeguard their rights and hold the government to account,” CiZC said.

3. Analysis

China has joined the choir on leadership change in Zimbabwe. After promising billions of dollars in aid last month in a visit, President Xi Jinping that leadership change was as important as deep reforms in the country to protect investments. Chinese officials were reported to say the ruling party ZANU-PF ‘should embrace change or die’. This could mean two things for Zimbabwe; first, a higher degree of transparency and a better enforcement of private property rights. Second, due to China’s main interests in infrastructure, deals over the extractive industries could give even more weight to an already vivid Chinese presence in the country to the detriment of local industries.

Partly as a consequence of growing interdependence between Zimbabwe and China, the economic slowdown of China means a lesser demand for Zimbabwe’s main exports, gold, tobacco, nickel and diamonds, which may have a hurting impact on social spending. Combined with unusually draught and decreased power capacity at the Kariba dam, this has meant the closure of many manufactories, as well as significant decrease in output across the country due to the lack of supplies.

Meanwhile, opposition activists have seized the COP21 summit in Paris to push for government engagement towards human rights. The Harare City Council has also triggered national outrage for bulldozing scores of homes with little or no advance notice on the International Day for Human Rights. Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) have used the opportunity to commemorate the disappearance of missing activist Itai Dzamara of Occupy Africa Unity Square. The organization also said more awareness was needed for Zimbabwe’s youth, whose rights are routinely violated. Heal Zimbabwe Trust (HZT) sent a letter to the recently appointed chairman e National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) saying violence has been on the rise in the country with no mechanism to appease tensions. Joining the momentum given by the International day for Human Rights, other organizations have denounced the lack of political will over the question of child marriages.

 


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