Thursday, 20th September 2018

Southern Africa

Articles related to Southern Africa

Britain and Finland have frozen funding to Zambia on suspicion that $4 million they channelled into a social welfare scheme may have been misused, the Zambian presidency said on Tuesday.

The social cash transfer scheme is a donor-supported programme under which the government relays money to vulnerable households in rural areas in Africa’s No.2 copper producer.

The British High Commissioner to Zambia, Fergus Cochrane-Dyet, said in a tweet that Britain had frozen all bilateral funding until audit results are known. “(Britain) takes a zero tolerance approach to fraud and corruption,” he said.

Officials from Finland did not immediately comment.


Zimbabwean authorities have reportedly issued a banning order against vendors across the capital, Harare, following a deadly cholera outbreak that has claimed more than 30 lives in recent weeks.

According to New, at least two cabinet ministers issued the banning orders on Monday.

“As way of improving the general sanitation in the city [of Harare] it has become imperative that all types of vending be banned with immediate effect,” newly appointed local government minister July Moyo was quoted as saying.

Moyo urged all vendors across the capital to heed the government orders, as authorities faced a rapidly spreading cholera outbreak.

According to the state-owned Herald newspaper, Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Minister Sithembiso Nyoni reiterated the local government minister’s calls.

Speaking during a meeting with representatives of vendors’ organisation in Harare, Nyoni said her ministry would work in collaboration with other government ministries to create conducive areas of trade in the capital city.

Nyoni’s remarks came at the back of continued running battle between law enforcement agents with vendors who were refusing to leave their stalls.

NewsDay reported that security forces were out in full force in several other cities in the southern African country to stop street trading as the government responded to the cholera outbreak.

Riot police and soldiers took the vendors by surprise over the weekend in Masvingo town and Zaka and forced them off the streets, said the report.

“We were beaten and told not to return. Some lost their wares and others got injured in the process,” a vendor from Zaka Growth Point has reportedly told NewsDay.

An AFP report said, the cholera outbreak, first detected in a township outside the capital Harare earlier this month, prompted the government to declare an emergency in the city after at least 3 000 cases were reported.



Zimbabwe’s justice minister says opposition leader Nelson Chamisa faces arrest if he has himself “sworn in” as president this week.

Chamisa has said he will be “inaugurated by the people” at the party’s 19th anniversary celebrations in Harare on Saturday.

But Justice Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi said what Chamisa's MDC Alliance is planning to do is “a serious breach of the law”. He said only the country’s chief justice is allowed to inaugurate a president.

Peace and law

“We are going to arrest him if he does that. Those who are mandated to maintain peace and law are ready to arrest him,” the minister told the private Daily News.

“It is unfortunate that he can’t accept reality and move on as an opposition leader,” Ziyambi said.

Analysts say Chamisa’s proposed “inauguration” echoes that of Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga, who refused to accept the election win by President Uhuru Kenyatta last year.

Odinga had himself “sworn in” as president at a symbolic ceremony in Nairobi in January, Al Jazeera reported.

Still smarting

Chamisa is still smarting from what he says was a stolen election on July 30, which saw President Emmerson Mnangagwa declared the winner with 50.6% of the vote, compared to his own 44.3%.

The MDC Alliance leader told supporters at a rally in Chitungwiza last weekend that “the person who was voted for by the people should be inaugurated by the people,” according to New Zimbabwe

Chamisa later told the private NewsDay that he was “installed by the people on July 30”. He said his party would appoint a shadow cabinet, which is allowed under Zimbabwean law. 

“An opposition can have a shadow cabinet but ours is different because we are an alternative government,” he said.


The death toll from a cholera outbreak in Zimbabwe has risen to 25, the government said on Thursday as the World Health Organisation warned that the water-borne disease is spreading rapidly in the capital Harare.

"There are now 3 766 cases. The number of deaths is now 25," Health Minister Obadiah Moyo told journalists.

The WHO said it was "scaling up its response" to contain the outbreak which it said was "expanding quickly in Harare" - a city of more than two million people.

At least one of the deaths was recorded outside the capital, in the southeast district of Masvingo. 

"When cholera strikes a major metropolis such as Harare, we need to work fast to stop the spread of the disease before it gets out of control," Matshidiso Moeti, WHO regional director for Africa, said in a statement.

A WHO situation report revealed that first-line antibiotics were struggling to treat the disease, which has spread to five of the country's 10 provinces.

"There is resistance to the first-line medicine," the report said, with tests suggesting antibiotic drugs ciprofloxacin and ceftriaxone could be ineffective and the alternative drug azithromycin was not available.

"Relevant medicines should be purchased as a matter of urgency as soon as resistance patterns have been ascertained," it recommended.

The cholera outbreak, first detected in the township of Glen View outside Harare on September 5, prompted the health ministry to declare an emergency in the city.

Public gatherings banned

Authorities have banned public gatherings in Harare while health ministry personnel are supervising burials of victims.

The University of Zimbabwe, the country's largest, said it had postponed indefinitely this year's graduation ceremony which was due on Friday following the cholera outbreak.

The ban could also affect a rally by the main opposition on Saturday at which the party has planned a mock inauguration for its leader Nelson Chamisa whom supporters say was denied victory in July elections by fraud.

The WHO reported that health personnel face shortages of medicine and intravenous fluid as well as sewer blockages, lack of protective clothing and erratic water supplies.

Cholera outbreaks have occurred regularly in Zimbabwe's cities where supplies of potable water and sanitation facilities are scarce.

Informal housing areas without running water have mushroomed, and basic infrastructure has collapsed due to years of neglect.

Tests from some wells and boreholes showed water was contaminated with cholera and typhoid-causing bacteria.

Zimbabwe, which was ruled by Robert Mugabe from independence in 1980 until his ousting last year, suffered its worst cholera outbreak in 2008.

A total of 4 000 people died and at least 100 000 people fell ill.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who succeeded Mugabe, has pledged to tackle the current outbreak.

The Unicef advised Zimbabweans to prevent cholera spreading by regular hand-washing, drinking only safe water, washing food, cooking it thoroughly and avoiding shaking hands.


At least 18 people have died over the past week in the Zimbabwe capital Harare and scores fallen ill after a cholera and typhoid outbreak in some areas, authorities said on Monday.

Such outbreaks are common as local authorities are battling to provide potable water and sanitation facilities in the city, where slums without running water have mushroomed and whose infrastructure is falling apart due to years of neglect.

Some suburbs go for weeks without running water forcing residents to fetch water from unsafe sources.

"As of this morning we had 18 deaths," Clemence Duri, Harare city's acting director for health services told AFP.

He said at least 400 people from the southwestern townships of Mbare, Budiriro and Glen View had been admitted at health facilities after being found to be suffering from one of the two diseases.

Tests on water samples from some wells and boreholes showed the water was contaminated with cholera and typhoid-causing bacteria.

"We have since decommissioned the boreholes and closed the wells," he said.

Zimbabwe, ruled by Robert Mugabe since independence until his ouster last year, suffered its worst cholera outbreak in 2008. A total of 4 000 people died and at least 100 000 people fell ill.

Emmerson Mnangagwa, who succeeded Mugabe, has pledged to turn Zimbabwe into a middle-income economy by 2030.


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