- Zimbabwe has received more than US$500 million from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) after 10 years of financial restrictions from the institution, following the injection of US$283 billion into the global economy to boost member countries’ dwindling foreign exchange reserves.
The money, most of which has already been deposited with the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, will offer only temporary respite for an economy facing a severe liquidity crunch.
Zimbabwe needs up to US$10 billion for economic recovery; slightly more than US$1 billion has been secured since February.
To read the article titled, “Zimbabwe gets $500m bail-out from IMF,” click here.Source:Business Day
- The Human Rights Watch (HRW) has urged Southern African leaders to put pressure on Zimbabwe's unity government to make greater political reforms to prevent the country from sliding back into turmoil.
"The region's leaders need to press Zimbabwe openly and publicly for human rights reforms to prevent the country from backsliding into state-sponsored violence and chaos," says HRW Africa director, Georgette Gagnon.
Gagnon further calls on Southern African leaders to stop looking at Zimbabwe through what she calls “rose-colour glasses”.
The comment come as leaders from the 15-nation Southern African Development Community (SADC) meet next week in Kinshasa, where they are set to discuss progress made by the unity government formed in February.
To read the article titled, “HRW urges tougher line at summit,” click here.
Source:<br /> News24
- Three regional countries, Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe are set to benefit from mini-hydro-power stations being developed by Practical Action.
Practical Action has started pilot projects in Manicaland to ensure communities and farmers in marginalised areas have access to electricity. The project involves generating power from small sources of water such as waterfalls and perennial rivers.
Speaking at the Harare Agricultural Show, Practical Action project manager, Fungai Matahwa, said that Manicaland was identified as the most suitable area because of its terrain and availability of perennial rivers.
To read the article titled, “NGO develops mini Hydro-power stations,” click here.
Source:<br /> All Africa
- Restoration of Human Rights Zimbabwe (ROHR) is perturbed by the massive plunder of the AIDS Levy Fund by the National AIDS Council (NAC) when thousands of HIV/AIDS patients are dying and 400 000 more are in dire need of anti-retroviral drugs.
ROHR Zimbabwe says it strongly believes that development depends on good governance and respect for people's rights. As the country is in need of aid from the international community to combat the AIDS pandemic, it is incumbent upon the leaders to exercise high-level transparency and accountability to foster donor confidence in the handling of public funds.
In 1999 the government introduced an AIDS levy on all taxpayers to fund the work of the NAC. The percent AIDS levy that is deducted from the workers' hard-earned salaries should automatically make them important stakeholders of the fund, with full rights to inquire about the way it is managed to hold NAC accountable.
To read the article titled, “Abuse of AIDS levy fund deplorable,” click here.Source:<br /> All Africa
- The Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition is to issue a damning report, highlighting the shortcomings of the seven-month coalition government.
According to the Coalition’s Programmes Manager, Pedzisai Ruhanya, the report, ‘Can Apples be Reaped from a Thorn Tree: The Inclusive, Exclusive and Elusive Government’, criticises the inability of the inclusive government to deal with issues of transitional justice.
Ruhanya says victims of last year's political violence are still crying out for justice and yet no attempts are underway to address this.
To read the article titled, “Crisis group to issue damning report on unity government,” click here.Source:All Africa
- The Zimbabwean government and NGOs have embarked on an assessment of the food security situation, after initial studies showed that most households will require assistance from around December this year.
Provincial administrator, Felix Chikovo, says that the assessment will give government and its development partners sufficient time to plan for the projected shortages.
Chikovo says the southern districts will need assistance by mid-December. "We have tasked NGOs to also carry out their own assessment of food requirements for the province so that we really get to know how many people will need food assistance.”
To read the article titled, “Masvingo food assessment begins,” click here.Source:<br /> All Africa
- The 90-day visa waiver is the result of a bilateral agreement concluded between home affairs departments in Zimbabwe and South Africa(1). In terms of this arrangement, Zimbabweans who wish to enter into South Africa are issued with a permit at the South African border post which allows them to remain in the country for 90 days. If they wish to work while in the country, they are required to inform an immigration officer, who will endorse the permit. After 90 days, there is the possibility of renewal for a further 90 days at a Home Affairs office at the cost of R425. Renewal is possible only once. Instead of renewing the permit, they have the option of leaving South Africa before the end of the 90 days, and re-entering the country later. Upon entry, they can be issued with a new 90 day permit. Zimbabweans are allowed to enter and leave South Africa as many times as they wish, receiving new visitors permits (2).
Similar practices are followed across Southern Africa and South Africa has been widely applauded in human rights circles for finally following the same process. This move is in line with the Draft SADC Protocol on the Movement of Persons which promotes the free movement of people within Southern Africa to achieve interdependence and integration of the region, with a view to building an African economic community in the future.
One of the goals of the Department of Home Affairs was, through the 90-day visa waiver, to ease the pressure on Refugee Reception offices which receive thousands of applications for asylum from Zimbabwean applicants. Many applications are from economic migrants and not refugees as defined by the Refugees Act (1998). In the words of the new Minister of Home Affairs, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma:
“International law obliges you to process an asylum seeker until they have exhausted all the avenues in South Africa… Our problem is the portion of people who say they are asylum seekers because this is the only way of legalising their stay.” (3)
The Department of Home Affairs also hoped to more effectively control movement between South Africa and Zimbabwe, and provide a disincentive for illegal entry into South Africa. However refugee service providers, including the Refugee Aid Organisation and Medicins Sans Frontiers, have observed that many Zimbabwean asylum seekers continue to circumvent the new system.
“In our research in Musina, a home affairs official we interviewed observed that as long as the 90 day permit has to be stamped into a passport or emergency travel document, legal entry into South Africa remains inaccessible to Zim asylum seekers because passports and emergency travel documents are expensive to acquire in Zimbabwe,” says Claudia Serra, Director of Refugee Aid Organisation.
She said that it is only recently that banks and employers began accepting and recognising asylum seeker permits, so people are hesitant to try and explain new documentation to them.
In the absence of a mass education campaign within the refugee community to clarify some of the misperceptions among some Zimbabwean asylum seekers about how the new system works, and clarification on what the differences between work permits and asylum seeker permits are, the 90-day permit will only achieve limited success.
A Durban-based Zimbabwean economic migrant said: “I will continue to use the asylum seeker permit because on the new permit I can only stay in the country for 90 days, and that is it for the year. Yet, I sell baskets, and would like to be able to get in and out of South Africa throughout the year”.
Serra says that of a group of 60 women she trained at the Methodist Church in Johannesburg in June this year, only one participant knew what an asylum seeker permit was. The rest were under the impression that it was a type of work permit.
The Department of Home Affairs has been silent on its promise to introduce a Special Dispensation permit for Zimbabweans, as announced on 3 April 2009 by Immigration Director General, Jackie McKay. The Special Dispensation Permit would not require applicants to have travel documents. This permit would most likely achieve government’s purpose of controlling movement between the two countries, and provide a viable alternative for the majority of Zimbabwean economic migrants who apply for refugee status in South Africa.
1. Consortium for Refugees and Migrants in South Africa (CoRMSA) Newsletter, No 14: 8 April 2009
2. Consortium for Refugees and Migrants in South Africa (CoRMSA) Newsletter, No 14: 8 April 2009
3. Minister Dlamini-Zuma, “Transcript of interaction by Minister of Home Affairs Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma with Pretoria Press Club, Pretoria” (Comments from the Deputy Minister of Home Affairs) http://www.info.gov.za/speeches/2009/09052609351001.htm [accessed 23 June 2009]
Samantha Mundeta is an Advocacy Officer at the Refugee Aid Organisation.
- Zimbabwean NGOs have voiced serious concern over comments made this week by President Robert Mugabe about the 'advisability' of having NGOs operating in the country.
Fambai Ngirande from the National Association of Non Governmental Organisations (NANGO) says that such accusations are baseless and empty, arguing that, "a constitutional reform process is something we as NGOs have been advocating for, for many years."
NGOs were also earlier this month blamed for the disruption at the All Stakeholder Constitutional Conference, a disruption that was in fact caused by ZANU PF thugs and their party legislators.
To read the article titled, “NGO sector concerned over Mugabe threats,” click here.Source:<br /> All Africa