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Zimbabwean President urges drastic measures from
traffic police as further 42 immolated in bus accident

HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) -- Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Friday sent a condolence message after yet another 42 people died Thursday night when a bus they were traveling in caught fire along the Bulawayo-Beitbridge road in southern Zimbabwe.

At least another 20 people were also injured in the accident.

The accident is the second major fatal accident in Zimbabwe barely two weeks after 50 people died in another bus accident Wednesday last week near Rusape along the Harare-Mutare highway.

Thursday’s bus was coming from Zvishavane in the Midlands Province and was travelling to Musina in South Africa.

Mnangagwa said the accident points to the growing risks on the country’s roads requiring urgent and drastic interventions.

"What is heart-rending about this latest accident is that combustible material was allowed onto the bus, thus causing a conflagration which entrapped, scalded and consumed innocent passengers," the president said.

Mnangagwa said the latest accident must jolt the nation to re-look at its traffic laws and traffic enforcement practices in order to prevent placement of all incendiary material on public transport vehicles.

"As before, I urge the ministry of transport to use the two accidents which have occurred hard on the heels of each other to take appropriate measures which comprehensively deal with this growing menace on our roads," the president said.

He said the government will move to declare the accident a national disaster.


Zimbabwe refugee population swells amid
continued conflicts in DRC and Mozambique

HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) -- Continued conflicts in Mozambique and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have led to an influx of refugees into Zimbabwe, resulting in refugee population rising by 25 percent in 2017.

According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Zimbabwe received 1,382 asylum seekers at its Tongogara Refugee Camp in Chipinge between January and October 2018, with 139 of them arriving in October mainly from the DRC.

The camp’s refugee population has rapidly shot up from 5,000 in 2015 to the current 20,410 due to escalating conflicts in Mozambique and the DRC.

The UNHCR said the rising refugee population was exerting pressure on its ability to provide basics needs to the asylum seekers.

"Access to shelter remains a challenge due to funding constraints and increasing refugee population," the UN agency said in a statement published Friday.

It added that lack of classrooms and teachers was also impacting negatively on access to high school education by the refugees.

After the refugee population swelled beyond 5,000, the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) started managing the food assistance program at the camp in January 2015.

Through its partnership with the Zimbabwe government, UNHCR and other aid agencies, the WFP is supporting more than 12,000 refugees in the camp with food assistance.

On a monthly basis, the WFP provides cash-based transfers of 13 U.S. dollars per person per month.

"WFP is prioritizing cash assistance because it empowers people to buy the food commodities of their choice, thereby furthering their dignity, increasing diversity of food consumption, and stimulating local markets," the WFP said.

However, the WFP continues to appeal for more funding to meet the food needs of the growing refugee population.

Zimbabwe gold miner resumes operations after central bank ups forex retention

HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) -- Zimbabwe’s gold miner RioZim said Friday it has resumed operations at three of its mines after striking a deal with the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) on foreign currency payments.

The Zimbabwe Stock Exchange-listed miner closed the three gold mines last month citing viability challenges due to foreign currency shortages.

The firm last month also threatened to sue the RBZ for reneging on its 2016 policy to pay gold producers 50 percent of their earnings in U.S. dollars.

Gold producers in Zimbabwe sell their gold only to Fidelity Printers and Refiners, a subsidiary of the RBZ.

The firm said it was now resuming operations following extensive discussions with government ministries, RBZ and the Chamber of Mines.

"The company is now in a position to resume operations at all three of its gold mines, namely Cam & Motor, Renco, and Dalny due to its ability to procure the necessary inputs and consumables.

"The company’s ability to resume operations at these mines follows a commitment by the RBZ of Zimbabwe that with immediate effect, it will increase the percentage of export proceeds that can be retained by gold producers in their individual Nostro foreign currency accounts," RioZim said in a statement.

Further, the RBZ had also proposed a number of other measures to incentivize and assist gold producers including export incentives and confirmed letters of credit to fund capital expenditure requirements, the company said.

According to Zimbabwe’s forex policy, gold miners will now retain 55 percent of their foreign-exchange earnings, up from 30 percent.

RioZim said it will, however, continue to monitor the situation closely with regards to the adequacy of the proposed measures in meeting its operational and investment needs.

Zimbabwe is facing an acute shortage of foreign currency which has affected importation of essential commodities such as fuel and medical drugs.

Gold is Zimbabwe’s second largest export after tobacco.

The country is targeting to produce 34 tons of gold in 2018, its highest production since 1980.


Close to 50 dead as Zimbabwe mourning bus accident victims

Zimbabwe is on diplomatic offensive against western sanctions

Zimbabwe farmers face gloomy season amid soaring seed prices



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