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Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni calls for
removal of Western sanctions on Zimbabwe
by Gretinah Machingura HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) -- Visiting Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni on Friday called for the removal of Western sanctions on Zimbabwe, saying sanctioning another country is an act of "cowardice."

He urged Zimbabwe not to be discouraged by negative forces but to forge viable partnerships with friendly countries to develop and modernize its economy.

He said Uganda was ready to forge strong ties with Zimbabwe to help it develop its huge economic potential.

"On behalf of Uganda I want to condemn the sanctions which have been put on Zimbabwe for such a long time.

"This idea of sanctions is cowardice," Museveni said while opening the 60th edition of Zimbabwe’s premier trade showcase, the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) in the city of Bulawayo.

He said if Africa was working closely, it should have defended Zimbabwe and retaliate the punitive measures put on the country.

"If Africa was working closely and somebody puts sanctions on one of us, we would put counter sanctions on that person," Museveni said.

He said Zimbabwe should fully exploit its mineral wealth and boost trade with other countries in the region to develop its economy.

  Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa  [right] seen with Uganda President Yoweri Museveni  | Coastweek

BULAWAYO Zimbabwe (Xinhua) -- Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa  [right] seen with Uganda President Yoweri Museveni visiting the popular Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) in Bulawayo." XINHUA PHOTO - SHAUN JUSA
The week-long ZITF began on Tuesday and ends Saturday. It is being held under the theme "Propagating Industrial Growth through Trade and Investment."

Participating countries include Botswana, Ethiopia, Germany and Kenya.


Zimbabwean government warns of foreigners seeking to foment civil unrest

HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) -- The Zimbabwe government on Monday said it is aware of a series of protests being planned by foreigners and locals under the banner of civic workshops.

Home Affairs and Culture Minister Cain Mathema told state news agency New Ziana that the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) and other security agencies were on high alert to thwart the planned demonstrations.

"It is disturbing to note that the ZRP and other security services in the country have gathered intelligence to the effect that a group of foreign nationals wants to facilitate a three-day civic organisation workshop in Bulawayo in May 2019.

"The main agenda of the workshop is to mobilize and capacitate civic organizations and individuals to stage purported effective demonstrations and disturbances to overthrow the ZANU-PF government," he said.

He said the government would ensure that law and order prevailed in the country and his ministry had since directed the Commissioner-General of Police to put adequate security measures in place to deal with anyone who engaged in any form of violence and disturbances.

Zimbabwe has experienced two demonstrations in the recent past which have left several people dead as they degenerated into acts of violence and looting.

"Police will thwart any civil disobedience or violent machinations by individuals, political parties and civic organisations under the guise of freedom of assembly," Mathema said.

He said the government was also aware of plans to intensify violent demonstrations in the country after the forthcoming MDC Alliance congress under the guise of economic collapse in Zimbabwe.

"Members of the public are accordingly advised to ignore any incitement to violence or participate in unsanctioned gatherings that may cause instability in the country. Any acts of lawlessness should be reported to the nearest police station so that the law is applied without fear of favor," he added.

He, however, assured citizens that despite threats of violence, the country remained peaceful and safe.

Air Zimbabwe plane catches fire mid-air

HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) -- An Air Zimbabwe plane caught a "brief tail pipe fire" mid-air on Sunday after suffering a malfunction on one of its engines, the airline said in a statement Monday.

"However, the malfunction did not threaten the continuation of the flight and safety of the crew and passengers on board and it landed safely in Harare at 2030hrs. Our engineers have commenced the requisite investigations and a report will be issued in due course," the airline said.

The Boeing 767-200ER servicing flight UM462 was flying from Johannesburg to Harare.

The airline said the incident may result in a disruption of its normal schedule.

The troubled airline is operating with a reduced fleet of not more than seven aircraft, and most of the planes are old and costly to operate.

The airline is currently plying domestic and regional routes, and has seen its route network shrink to less than 10 from around 20 in the 1990s.

Zimbabwe tobacco sales moving slowly amid apparent disgruntlement

HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) -- At least 29.3 million kilograms of tobacco worth about 51.1 million U.S. dollars have been sold so far at auction and contract floors as the marketing season is moving slowly due to pricing concerns by farmers.

The marketing season opened on March 20. In a trading update on Friday, the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) said sales had declined by 66 percent from about 151.1 million dollars recorded during the same period last year.

The volumes dropped by 45.6 percent from 53.9 million kg during the comparable period last year.

The average price for auction and contract sales stood at 1.75 dollars per kg which is 37.6 percent lower than the 2.80 dollars for the same period last year.

According to the TIMB, tobacco prices have remained subdued as merchants are not happy with the arrangement the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has put in place regarding the recovery of loans advanced to farmers.

The RBZ directed tobacco farmers to pay 70 percent of the loan amounts they sourced from merchants in United States dollars, while the balance would be settled in RTGS dollars.

The move came after tobacco farmers had complained to the central bank and the agriculture ministry that merchants were demanding that farmers repay their RTGS dollar loans in hard currency.

TIMB chairperson Monica Chinamasa said recently that the issue of prices was stemming from unresolved matters with merchants.

"The finance minister has to sit down with the merchants and agree what is good or fair to both," Chinamasa said.

Farmers are also crying foul over a litany of problems, including the low prices being offered at the auction floors, amid revelations that tobacco merchants were not keen to buy due to disgruntlement over the recovery of loans.

The tobacco farmers have also expressed frustration with the payment system for the crop at the auction floors, currently denominated in RTGS dollars saying the local currency gets wiped out by ever increasing cost of inputs.

Zimbabwe’s tobacco output in 2019 is expected to decline from last year due to harsh weather conditions that were marked by late rains and prolonged dry spells.

Last year, the country produced an all-time high of 252 million kilograms of tobacco, earning about a billion dollars in revenue.

United States commend decline in malaria deaths in Zimbabwe

HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) -- The United States on Wednesday hailed the continued decline in malaria cases in Zimbabwe and pledged to continue providing support to eliminate the disease in the country.

In a statement ahead of World Malaria Day on April 25 , the U.S. government said it stands with the people of Zimbabwe in commemorating the day and celebrates the considerable decline in malaria cases and deaths.

According to data from the Zimbabwe Ministry of Health and Child Care, there were 264,278 malaria cases and 192 deaths from malaria in 2018.

This represents a substantial decline from the previous year, with a 44 percent reduction in cases and a 63 percent reduction in deaths.

"The United States is proud to collaborate with the National Malaria Control Program to contribute to this exciting success," the U.S. embassy said.

It said through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) has contributed long-term substantial investments to end malaria in Zimbabwe.

USAID has provided some 105 million dollars since 2008 to prevent and treat malaria, reaching almost a million Zimbabweans with lifesaving health services.

In its moves, USAID sprayed the houses of more than 350,000 Zimbabweans with insecticides to kill mosquitoes and protect families from malaria each year. This reduces infections, illness, and deaths due to malaria, added the statement.

USAID Mission Director Stephanie Funk said malaria has long threatened the people of Zimbabwe, but the data show a notable decline in malaria cases and deaths.

"USAID is proud to be a partner in such impressive progress," he said.

Malaria is among the top causes of illness and deaths in Zimbabwe, with over half of the population living in high-risk areas.

In just 10 years, the coordinated efforts of USAID, the Global Fund, and the NMCP have contributed to a substantial drop in malaria cases in Zimbabwe from 1.2 million in 2008 to 264,278 in 2018.

"On World Malaria Day, USAID reaffirms its commitment to decreasing malaria cases and deaths and moving Zimbabwe toward malaria elimination," the embassy said.

Zimbabwe pledges to strengthen cooperation with China

HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) -- Zimbabwe on Thursday pledged to deepen bilateral cooperation with China to the benefit of the two nations.

The country thanked China for its donation of 800,000 U.S. dollars, rice and other relief items for victims of Cyclone Idai which hit the country last month.

In a speech at a welcoming reception for China’s new ambassador to Zimbabwe Guo Shaochun, Zimbabwe’s minister of public service Sekai Nzenza said economic cooperation between the two countries had soared to new heights.

Nzenza said the nation is grateful for the donations generously given for people affected by Cyclone Idai by China.

She said Zimbabwe attaches great importance to deepening bilateral cooperation with China under the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation framework and the Belt and Road Initiative.

Guo pledged to further strengthen ties between the two countries, saying the two countries have enjoyed 39 years of sincere friendship marked with frequent high level exchanges, mutual understanding and political trust.

"Our relationship in the past 39 years is a relationship of mutually beneficial cooperation and our trade and investment volumes have expanded tremendously with Zimbabwe becoming one of the top African nations in receiving financial assistance and investment from China," Guo said.

He said the various infrastructure projects being funded and constructed by China in Zimbabwe will become new symbols of friendship between the two countries.

Zimbabwe to host Belt and Road Afro-Sino exhibition

HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) -- The National Arts Council of Zimbabwe (NACZ) will host the Belt and Road Afro-Sino Cultural Exchange program, which begins Saturday and ends next Wednesday.

NACZ spokesperson Cathrine Mthombeni said Friday that the concept of the Belt and Road exchange program is an initiative by the Chinese government which also aims to enhance world connectivity while embracing business cooperation.

Zimbabwe won the bid to host this prestigious exhibition in China last year.

The exchange program incorporates an arts exhibition, art forum and launch of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Chapter of the Afro-Sino Cultural Exchange Association and will run under the theme: South Meeting the East: A Tale of Two Communities.

The exhibition, which aims to create an opportunity for the artists from both the South and the East to network, has 120 artworks from China, Kenya, Seychelles, Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe, making it the largest exhibition in Zimbabwe in recent times.



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