Zimbabwe Sack Coach After Poor World Cup Qualifier Results

 

Croatian Zdravko Logarusic on Sunday became the second coaching casualty of 2022 World Cup group-phase qualifying in Africa when he was fired by Zimbabwe.

The 55-year-old paid the price for the Warriors’ poor start in Group G this month with a 0-0 home draw against South Africa followed by a 1-0 away loss to Ethiopia, leaving them bottom of the table.

A national football association statement said “it would like to inform the football fraternity and the nation at large that it has amicably parted ways with senior team coach Zdravko Logarusic”.

His exit follows that of Hossam el Badry, who was axed as coach of Egypt and replaced by former Real Madrid manager and Manchester United assistant Carlos Queiroz.

Criticism of Logarusic had grown since last January when Zimbabwe were beaten by hosts Cameroon, Burkina Faso and Mali to make a humiliating early exit from the African Nations Championship.

Logarusic was hired by Zimbabwe last year having taken outsiders Sudan to the 2018 semi-finals of the African Nations Championship, a two-yearly competition for footballers playing in their country of birth.

Before moving to Sudan, the Croatian worked with clubs in his homeland, Germany, Australia, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania and Angola.

His three Zimbabwean assistants, Lloyd Chitembwe, Tonderai Ndiraya and former national team star Benjamin ‘Benjani’ Mwaruwari, have also been fired.

Zimbabwe play Ghana twice in October and South Africa and Ethiopia the following month in other World Cup qualifiers.

They then prepare for the delayed 2021 Africa Cup of Nations from January 9 in Cameroon, facing Senegal, Guinea and Malawi in Group B.

AFP

Zimbabwe Orders Mandatory COVID-19 Vaccination For Civil Servants

At Least 31 Dead As Cyclone Idai Hits Eastern Zimbabwe

 

Zimbabwean authorities on Tuesday toughened virus curbs, ordering compulsory vaccinations for civil servants and reducing the number of workers reporting for duty in a bid to stem a rise in local transmission.

“All civil servants should be vaccinated,” Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa told reporters after a weekly cabinet meeting.

She also said only 25 per cent of government workers were required to physically report for duty, according to tweets posted on her ministry’s account.

Courts will only open for urgent cases.

A day earlier a government circular directed all ministries to reduce the number of staff coming to work from “40 percent to 10 percent”.

The limited staff numbers exclude health workers and designated critical services.

Zimbabwe has seen a sharp rise in Covid-19 cases over the past two months, fuelled mainly by the Delta variant.

In the seven days to Tuesday, cases leaped from around 8,000 the previous week to more than 21,000.

The respiratory disease has so far claimed at least 2,697 lives and infected nearly 86,000 people.

Just over 1.1 million of Zimbabwe’s 14.8 million people have received a first dose, while just over 640,000 have had their second jab.

Zimbabwe has imposed a raft of measures to curb the spread of the pandemic including delaying opening of schools, reducing shopping hours, capping attendance at gatherings including funerals and banning intercity travel

Zimbabwe Air Force Helicopter Crash Kills Child And 3 Crew

Air Force of Zimbabwe Bell 412 helicopter crashed into a house on Friday, killing at least four people.

 

 

A Zimbabwean military helicopter crashed into a house outside the capital Harare, killing a child and all three crew members, the air force said.

The accident took place on Friday in the village of Acturus, around 30 kilometres (18 miles) east of Harare.

“The helicopter crashed into a house and sadly claimed the lives of two pilots and a technician as well as a child on the ground,” the Air Force of Zimbabwe (AFZ) said in a statement.

The child’s mother and another young girl were taken to hospital with burn injuries, it added.

Contact with the helicopter was lost after it took off from Zimbabwe’s Manyame Air Base in Harare.

Search and rescue teams sent to locate the aircraft eventually found the wreckage.

The AFZ said the cause of the accident would be investigated and that funeral arrangements would be made.

“We are deeply saddened by the loss of lives,” Air Marshal Elson Moyo said in the statement.

“Our hearts and prayers are with the families of the deceased and those injured.”

Zimbabwe’s air force has been unable to renew its fleet in recent years due to sanctions imposed by Western countries for alleged rights violations.

Zimbabwe Begins Vaccine Roll-Out With Chinese Jabs

A China National Biotec Group (CNBG) vaccine candidate for COVID-19 coronavirus is on display at the China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS) in Beijing on September 6, 2020. (Photo by NOEL CELIS / AFP)

 

Zimbabwe’s vice president was first to be inoculated Thursday as the southern African country began coronavirus immunisation three days after receiving jabs donated by China.

Constantino Chiwenga, wearing a rosary around his neck, received a dose of Sinopharm vaccine at a hospital in the capital Harare and urged citizens to register for the shots.

The 64-year-old was first swabbed to test for coronavirus before taking off his jacket and unbuttoning his shirt to receive the shot in the shoulder.

Chiwenga said the health ministry had done “all scientific processes” to vet the jab.

“My presence here today with some ministry officials (…) is to exhibit the government’s confidence in the Sinopharm vaccine,” said Chiwenga, who doubles as the country’s health minister.

Zimbabwe’s fight against the virus has been blighted by a run-down healthcare system and a struggling economy.

On Monday, it received a shipment of 200,000 doses of the vaccine, whose efficacy against a fast-spreading local variant is unclear.

READ ALSO: EU Tells Five Countries To Codify Anti-Racism Law

Frontline healthcare workers and custom officials will be the first receive the shots.

Soman Mudariki, a doctor who had just received his shot, said it was “one of the strategies in the war chest” to fight the virus.

“There should be benefits. There is no harm,” he added.

The vaccination drive has been criticized by human rights lawyers.

They said the authorities had embarked on vaccinating the public while simultaneously conducting clinical trials of the same vaccine.

“Many lives would be put to risk as they may be victims to irreversible side effects,” they said in a protest letter.

Zimbabwe has recorded more than 35,000 infections of which 1,418 have been fatal, figures said to be an undercount due to scant surveillance tools.

AFP

Zimbabwe Begins Vaccine Roll-Out With Chinese Jabs

Zimbabwe vice president and Minister of Health Constantino Chiwenga undergoes a nasal swab before receiving the first shot of Sinopharm in the southern African country which got a donation of 200 000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine from China, February 18 2021.
Jekesai NJIKIZANA / AFP

 

Zimbabwe’s vice president was first to be inoculated Thursday as the southern African country began coronavirus immunisation three days after receiving jabs donated by China.

Constantino Chiwenga, wearing a rosary around his neck, received a dose of Sinopharm vaccine at a hospital in the capital Harare and urged citizens to register for the shots.

The 64-year-old was first swabbed to test for coronavirus before taking off his jacket and unbuttoning his shirt to receive the shot in the shoulder.

Chiwenga said the health ministry had done “all scientific processes” to vet the jab.

“My presence here today with some ministry officials (…) is to exhibit the government’s confidence in the Sinopharm vaccine,” said Chiwenga, who doubles as the country’s health minister.

Zimbabwe’s fight against the virus has been blighted by a run-down healthcare system and a struggling economy.

On Monday, it received a shipment of 200,000 doses of the vaccine, whose efficacy against a fast-spreading local variant is unclear.

Frontline healthcare workers and custom officials will be the first receive the shots.

Soman Mudariki, a doctor who had just received his shot, said it was “one of the strategies in the war chest” to fight the virus.

“There should be benefits. There is no harm,” he added.

The vaccination drive has been criticized by human rights lawyers.

They said the authorities had embarked on vaccinating the public while simultaneously conducting clinical trials of the same vaccine.

“Many lives would be put to risk as they may be victims to irreversible side effects,” they said in a protest letter.

Zimbabwe has recorded more than 35,000 infections of which 1,418 have been fatal, figures said to be an undercount due to scant surveillance tools.

Zimbabwe Receives First Batch Of COVID-19 Vaccines

Zimbabwe officials receive a cargo plane with COVID-19 vaccines. Photo: @edmnangagwa/Twitter

 

Zimbabwe has received its first batch of COVID-19 vaccines, President Emmerson Mnangagwa has announced.

The President, on Monday, shared photos of a cargo plane with COVID-19 vaccines while making the announcement via his official Twitter handle.

He also announced the country will start COVID-19 vaccination this week.

“The first batch of vaccines for Zimbabwe has been successfully delivered. We start vaccinating Zimbabweans this week!

“The faster our country is protected against this virus, the faster Zimbabwe’s economy can flourish,” Mnangagwa tweeted.

This positions Zimbabwe as the first southern African country to start inoculating citizens.

 

Zimbabwe Health Ministry had earlier on Friday said it will begin its Covid-19 vaccination campaign this week.

READ ALSO: Lebanon Receives First COVID-19 Vaccines

The ministry said it expects to take delivery of the first shipment of 800,000 vaccine doses, 200,000 of which were donated by the Chinese government.

“The vaccine will immediately be distributed to all provinces and districts across the country,” the ministry said in a statement.

“The vaccination programme begins next week after the country takes delivery of the first batch of Covid-19 vaccines,” it added.

The vaccines will be first distributed to 10 provincial storage facilities, then to 1,800 clinics, it said, adding that there was adequate cold chain equipment to keep the vaccines “in their potent state up to the point of use”.

Frontline workers deemed most at risk of infection have been lined up to receive the first shots.

The government aims to vaccinate 10 million of its over 14.5 million population to achieve community immunity.

Zimbabwe To Receive 800,000 Sinopharm Vaccines By March

A health worker prepares a dose of Chinese-made Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccine in Belgrade Fair turned into a vaccination centre, on February 4, 2021..Andrej ISAKOVIC / AFP

 

Zimbabwe will receive 800,000 coronavirus vaccine doses developed by China’s Sinopharm by the start of March, the government has said as it prepares to launch its immunisation campaign.

China is donating 200,000 of the doses while the government of the southern African country will pay for the rest.

Zimbabwe will be among the first on the continent to start its inoculation with the Chinese-made vaccine.

Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa told a press briefing on Wednesday that a plane would be sent to collect the shots this week.

“This donation of 200,000 doses, and an initial batch of 600,000 doses which Zimbabwe has purchased, are expected in the country by 15 February 2021 and the first week of March 2021 respectively,” she said in a recording of the event tweeted by the information ministry.

Zimbabwe’s cash-strapped government has set aside $100 million for coronavirus vaccine procurement and vowed to fully subsidise the immunisation process, providing all shots for free.

The country’s crippled health facilities have been struggling to cope with Covid-19 patients, already bogged down by decades of underfunding and mismanagement.

A more infectious virus variant that emerged in neighbouring South Africa last year has stoked concern, piling pressure on authorities amid growing anti-government sentiment.

Mutsvangwa said Zimbabwe was also expecting doses from India, the African Union and the World Health Organization-backed vaccine pooling scheme Covax.

Russian diamond producer Alrosa PJSC has meanwhile promised to donate an unspecified amount of Sputnik V vaccines to Zimbabwe, government spokesman Nick Mangwana tweeted on Wednesday.

That offer was also extended to regional neighbour Angola.

Zimbabwe’s coronavirus cases are widely believed to be underestimated due to a lack of testing capacity.

To date, the health ministry has recorded more than 34,800 infections and over 1,300 fatalities for a population of over 14.5 million.

The government aims to vaccinate 10 million people, to reach what is believed to be the herd-immunity threshold.

Sinopharm, in an announcement on December 31, said its vaccine was 79 percent effective.

Its efficacy against the South African variant has not yet been announced.

-AFP

UK Sanctions Four Zimbabwe Leaders

 

Britain on Monday slapped sanctions on four Zimbabwean officials following the deaths of at least 23 people protesting against the regime of President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Applying a new sanctions regime following its exit from the European Union, Britain said the travel bans and asset freezes showed it was determined to protect human rights in its former African colony.

“These sanctions send a clear message that we will hold to account those responsible for the most egregious human rights violations, including the deaths of innocent Zimbabweans,” Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said in a statement.

“These sanctions target senior individuals in the government, and not ordinary Zimbabweans. We will continue to press for the necessary political and economic reforms that will benefit all Zimbabweans.”

The four named were Minister for State Security Owen Ncube; Central Intelligence Organisation chief Isaac Moyo; Zimbabwe Republic Police Commissioner General Godwin Matanga; and Anselem Sanyatwe, a former commander of the presidential guard.

READ ALSO: Libyan Election Vow Must Be Honoured ‘At All Costs’ – UN

Ncube and Sanyatwe were already targeted for US sanctions in March last year.

The officials are accused of responsibility for the deaths of 17 Zimbabweans in January 2019, when the army attacked protesters marching against a hefty fuel price hike.

They were also allegedly complicit in soldiers opening fire on unarmed demonstrators who were protesting a delay in election results in August 2018, killing six.

That attack prompted international outrage against President Mnangagwa, who initially appeared willing to break from the brutality of longtime dictator Robert Mugabe, whom he ousted in November 2017.

COVID-19: Zimbabwe Reintroduces National Lockdown

A man walks in the streets wearing a face mask as a preventive measure agaisnt the spread of COVID-19 coronavirus on March 23, 2020, in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. ZINYANGE AUNTONY / AFP
A man walks in the streets wearing a face mask as a preventive measure agaisnt the spread of COVID-19 coronavirus on March 23, 2020, in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. ZINYANGE AUNTONY / AFP

 

Zimbabwe’s government on Saturday imposed a national lockdown with immediate effect, following a surge in Covid-19 cases, creating a major problem for most citizens who rely on the informal employment sector.

Only essential services, such as hospitals, pharmacies and supermarkets will remain operational for the next 30 days, putting more pressure on already poverty-stricken families.

The southern African nation is already struggling with a deepening economic crisis, hyperinflation and high unemployment.

The government first imposed a nationwide lockdown in March to contain the spread of Covid-19, but had eased most of those measures amid fears of further economic malaise

Vice President and Health minister Constantino Chiwenga told reporters there had been a huge spike in cases over the festive season which almost doubled the number of infections recorded throughout the year.

“In light of the recent surge in Covid-19 cases the following stiff lockdown measures are being put in place with immediate effect,” he said.

“Gatherings are reduced to not more than 30 people at all funerals. All other gatherings at weddings, churches, bars, bottle stores, gymnasiums, restaurants etc etc are banned for 30 days,” he added.

Even premises providing essential services will have to close at 3 pm.

A new overall curfew will run from 6 pm to 6 am.

Covid 19 cases have almost doubled in two months from 8,374 at the start of November to 14,084 now.

A total of 369 virus-related deaths have been recorded in the country since the outbreak of the pandemic.

AFP

Zimbabwe Opposition VP Released On Bail After Assault Charge

Photo Credit: allAfrica.com

 

Zimbabwean police briefly detained a former finance minister and top opposition official late Friday on a charge of assaulting a Russian national last month, his party’s spokeswoman said Saturday.

Tendai Biti, 53, was freed on $10,000 bail after a night behind bars, after having been charged with assault. Provincial head magistrate in Harare, Vongai Muchuchuti, set his case to January 18 for trial.

The charge against Biti, a lawmaker who is vice-president of Zimbabwe’s main opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) Alliance, arise out of an alleged incident following November 30 a court hearing.

Biti, who is a qualified lawyer, was involved in litigation, representing a client in the Harare Airport Road scandal, Tatiana Aleshina, a Russian national was said to be constantly whispering information to the prosecution.

Biti voiced a complaint to the magistrate about Aleshina’s conduct.

“After the court hearing, Aleshina confronted honourable Biti threatening that he should not mention his name,” MDC spokeswoman Fadzai Mahere told AFP, adding that she then filed a police report.

 

READ ALSO: Military Officer Elected Head Of Mali’s Interim Legislature

 

He was arrested and detained when he went to the police to clear his name, Mahere added.

“Biti’s only crime is unearthing the corruption scandal concerning the Harare Airport Road land deal involving the complainant, Aleshina, and businessmen linked to (President) Emmerson Mnangagwa.”

In court, prosecutor Idah Maromo argued that Biti had assaulted Tatiana Aleshina by threatening her, pointing his finger at her face, shouting insults at the top of his voice, “intending to inspire fear of belief into her mind”.

Biti denies the charge and his party described it as “trumped-up” and a “weaponisation of the law” to target party members and officials.

His lawyer Alec Muchadehama also argued that Zimbabwean police “not working on their own.

“There is an external force telling them what to do and who to arrest,” he said.

Biti has previously been charged with treason, among other criminal offences.

Zimbabwean police have in the past arrested several opposition officials, which the party argues is a way of weakening their struggle against the ruling ZANU PF.

-AFP

At Least 40 Miners Trapped In Zimbabwe’s Mine Shaft Collapse

Map of Zimbabwe

 

At least 40 informal miners in Zimbabwe have been trapped underground after a shaft in a disused gold mine collapsed, the country’s miners’ federation said on Thursday.

The incident occurred late Wednesday in the town of Bindura, around 70 kilometres (43 miles) north of the capital Harare, said Wellington Takavarasha, head of the Zimbabwe Miners Federation.

Takavarasha told AFP the miners were working inside the disused Ran Gold Mine when a shaft caved in.

Six miners have since been pulled from the rubble and taken to hospital.

READ ALSO: Burkina Faso Incumbent Kabore Wins Presidential Election

“Those who were rescued said there were about 40 people in the mine shaft at the time of the incident,” said Takavarasha, adding that rescue efforts were ongoing.

Mining is a major source of foreign currency for Zimbabwe, where gold alone accounts for 60 percent of exports.

The landlocked southern African country is home to vast gold and mineral reserves, including diamonds and platinum.

The gold sector provides jobs to nearly 10 percent of the country’s population, according to the International Crisis Group (ICG).

Small-scale miners often operate illegally to avoid selling their bullion to the state-owned buyer, Fidelity Printers and Refiners, as they are paid only 55 percent in foreign currency.

The remaining 45 percent is paid in Zimbabwean dollars, which is notorious for its weakness.

Accidents are relatively common in decommissioned mines, particularly when the ground is loosened by rain.

AFP

Zimbabwe Gold Mine Shaft Collapse Leaves Dozens Trapped

Gold Miners at work (Photo: Segun Olotu)

 

At least 40 informal miners in Zimbabwe have been trapped underground after a shaft in a disused gold mine collapsed, the country’s miners’ federation said Thursday.

The incident occurred late Wednesday in the town of Bindura, around 70 kilometres (43 miles) north of the capital Harare, said Wellington Takavarasha, head of the Zimbabwe Miners Federation.

Takavarasha told AFP the miners were working inside the disused Ran Gold Mine when a shaft caved in.

Six miners have since been pulled from the rubble and taken to hospital.

“Those who were rescued said there were about 40 people in the mine shaft at the time of the incident,” said Takavarasha, adding that rescue efforts were ongoing.

Mining is a major source of foreign currency for Zimbabwe, where gold alone accounts for 60 percent of exports.

The landlocked southern African country is home to vast gold and mineral reserves, including diamonds and platinum.

The gold sector provides jobs to nearly 10 percent of the country’s population, according to the International Crisis Group (ICG).

Small-scale miners often operate illegally to avoid selling their bullion to the state-owned buyer, Fidelity Printers and Refiners, as they are paid only 55 percent in foreign currency.

The remaining 45 percent is paid in Zimbabwean dollars, which is notorious for its weakness.

Accidents are relatively common in decommissioned mines, particularly when the ground is loosened by rain.

 

 

-AFP