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Zimbabwe celebrates independence day amid economic crisis

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Zimbabwe Independence 2019

Zimbabweans celebrated 39 years of independence amid a cloud of dissatisfaction and worsening economic conditions.

The Zimbabwe independence day came fresh after the devastating Cyclone Idai, the country’s worst natural disaster in decades, killed about 500 people in Zimbabwe alone and destroyed almost the whole eastern border town of Chimanimani.

The “celebrations” also came just a few days after the prices of bread and other basic goods doubled again, a sure sign that citizens will soon witness the triple-figure inflation of 2008.

Just a year short of 40, Zimbabwe’s promised land remains a very distant possibility. The little hope created when long-term president Robert Mugabe was removed from office in November last year has all but vanished. The economy is getting worse and political seclusion from the world remains in effect.

National Sports Stadium was pounded by torrential rains during the course of the Independence festivities. But despite the heavy rainfall, the event went ahead as planned as thousands of citizens loyally thronged the stadium and were treated to colourful military displays, artists’ performances, and sporting events.

In his speech to the crowd, President Emmerson Mnangagwa acknowledged the severe challenges facing his country but remained hopeful that “prosperity is coming”.

He also spoke out against corruption, applauded citizens’ unity of purpose to assist those ravaged by Cyclone Idai, and promised to pursue a crucial re-engagement with the West.

Emmerson Mnangagwa also said his government is mobilising resources to feed people that face hunger due to the drought, which hit most of Southern Africa in the 2018/2019 rainy season.

He castigated business for raising prices. “Government is alarmed by the recent wanton and indiscriminate increases of prices, which has brought untold suffering to the people. This conduct by stakeholders in business, industry and commerce is inhumane, unethical, unpatriotic and goes against the grain of economic dialogue, which the second Republic has espoused,” he said.

Conspicuous by his absence at the festivities was popular opposition leader Nelson Chamisa. He opted to issue a statement on twitter saying Zimbabwe independence day has come at a time when Zimbabweans were unsatisfied.

“As we commemorate our country’s cherished independence today, the stark reality is that most are reeling from abject poverty and frustrations. State decay, corruption and violence have shuttered the 1980 Uhuru dream and ruined livelihoods. Won’t rest until we attain change that delivers,” Chamisa tweeted.

Professor of world politics at the London School of Oriental and African Studies Stephen Chan said the Mnangagwa administration must take stern action to stabilise the economy. “Economic conditions would have worsened under either Mugabe or Mnangagwa. The problem is not who the leader is, but whether there is economic leadership that is prepared to institute and sustain hard structural reforms.” BusinessLive

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NEWS

Fortune Chasi replaces Gumbo as Energy Minister

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Fortune Chasi

President Mnangagwa has appointed Transport and Infrastructure Development Deputy Minister Fortune Chasi as the new minister of Energy and Power Development while Minister Gumbo has been appointed Minister of State for Presidential Affairs in charge of Implementation and Monitoring.

The President also appointed Engineer Mackenzie Ncube as the new chairman of the National Oil Infrastructure Company board.

In a statement last night, Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet, Dr Misheck Sibanda said the appointments were with immediate effect.

“His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe and Commander-In-Chief of the Defence Forces, Cde ED Mnangagwa has made the following senior appointments and re-assignments:

“Hon Minister Joram MacDonald Gumbo has been appointed Minister of State for Presidential Affairs in charge of Implementation and Monitoring.

“Hon Fortune Chasi, current Deputy Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development has been appointed Minister of Energy and Power Development,” read the statement.

Engineer Ncube replaced Mr Jemias Madzingira who was retired.

President Mnangagwa appointed Minister Gumbo as Cabinet Minister and Cde Fortune Chasi as deputy minister last year after winning the 2018 harmonised elections.

Prior to his appointment last year, Minister Gumbo had served as Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister in the previous Cabinet.

Engineer Ncube is a former Member of Parliament. The Chronicle

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BUSINESS

Zimbabwe set to rebase economy after adopting a new currency

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Zimbabwe Economy

Zimbabwe’s Finance Minister announced the rebasing of the economy on Wednesday, following the adoption of a new currency earlier this year, and said growth would be slowed this year by a drought and a cyclone that hit eastern regions.

The Zimbabwe economy grew higher than expected in 2018, Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube told parliament.

The central bank scrapped the peg between its quasi-currency bond note and electronic dollars against the U.S dollar in February and merged them into a single transitional currency called the RTGS dollar.

Rebasing the Zimbabwe economy broadly means changing the reference points used to calculate the country’s gross domestic product.

The southern African nation rebased its economy last October boosting it by 40% to $25.8 billion and Ncube said the adoption of the RTGS$ required another rebasing exercise, which put the economy at RTGS$70.1 billion or $21 billion at the official exchange rate.

Ncube said the Zimbabwe economy had grown by 6.2 per cent in 2018 compared to an initial forecast of 3.1 per cent but he saw growth being throttled this year by “severe economic shocks”, including a drought that has wilted crops and a cyclone that hit western parts of Zimbabwe in March.

He said Zimbabwe had 876 000 tonnes of maize in strategic grain reserves, enough to feed the country for seven months.

Ncube said the national treasury’s austerity measures had meant a budget surplus of RTGS$443 million was recorded in the first quarter and added that the target of a budget deficit of 5% of GDP would be achieved this year. Reuters

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NEWS

Early camp for Zimbabwe Warriors

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Zimbabwe Warriors 2019

Zimbabwe Warriors will go in camp early as they prepare for their AFCON opening match against the hosts Egypt on June 21.

Sunday Chidzambwa is to split the 34-man squad if there are to reach the COSAFA finals.

Warriors manager Wellington Mpandare says the team will flight straight from Nigeria to Egypt after their friendly game on the 8th.

“We are going to COSAFA and we are taking 34 players, we are going to play two games and then the other 18 players will then go to Nigeria to play on the 8th.

“18 players will leave for Nigeria on the 5th and play on the 8th, the other five players will then follow to make up the 23 players for the AFCON tournament.,” he said.

Mpandare says that the final 23 will be selected on merit.

“Selection will be based on the performance during the COSAFA tournament and the coaches will then select the final 23 from there.

“To us the COSAFA tournament is more like training games for us, so we actually going to camp in Durban and then the two games that we will be playing, will be like training games to us.

“Which I think will add value. We have played with the so-called inferior teams and it helps us in a certain way. But the big game is coming on the 8th, we might even have another friendly which a team still yet to confirm,” he said.

Zimbabwe won last year’s COSAFA and Mpandare says it’s a platform for them to assess and prepare for AFCON.

“But at the end of the day, we need those games because even the last time in 2018 when we were preparing for the AFCON qualifiers, it helps us in a big way.

“We won the COSAFA tournament with the same players that then participated in the AFCON qualifiers. So I think in as much as most teams are sending weak teams it will give us the competitive edge that we think we need,” he said.

Goalkeepers
George Chigova (Polokwane City), Edmore Sibanda (Witbank United), Elvis Chipezeze (Baroka), Talbert Shumba (Chapungu)

Defenders
Dennis Dauda (Lusaka Dynamos), Lawrence Mhlanga (FC Platinum), Jimmy Dzingai (Power Dynamos), Byron Madzokere (Yadah Stars), Alec Mudimu (CEFN Druids), Teenage Hadebe (Kaizer Chiefs), Divine Lunga (Golden Arrows), Ronald Pfumbidzai (Bloemfontein Celtic), Tendai Darikwa (Nottingham Forest)

Midfielders
Danny Phiri(Golden Arrows), Marshall Munetsi (Orlando Pirates), Marvelous Nakamba (Club Brugge), Butholezwe Ncube (Amazulu), Tafadzwa Kutinyu (Azam), Ovidy Karuru (Amazulu), Khama Billiat (Kaizer Chiefs), Kudakwashe Mahachi (Orlando Pirates), Tafadzwa Rusike (Zanaco), Richard Hachiro (Herentals), Talent Chawapihwa (Amazulu), Leeroy Mavunga (Yadah), Knowledge Musona (RSC Anderlecht), Thabani Kamusoko (Young Africans SC), Rodwell Chinyengetere (Baroka FC)

Strikers
Nyasha Mushekwi (Dalian Yifang), Evans Rusike (Supersport United), Walter Musona (Polokwane City), Tinotenda Kadewere (Le Havre), Knox Mutizwa (Golden Arrows), Admiral Muskwe (Leicester City)H-Metro

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