Stories written by Stanley Kwenda

Turning on Taps a Risky Business in Zimbabwe

For three weeks Tavonga Kwidini and his wife Maria had no tap water in their home in Glen View, one of the many dry suburbs in Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare.

Q&A: Exposing the Good, the Bad and the Lack of Media Freedom

Pansy Tlakula, the African Union's Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information, has done her best to address the continued harassment of journalists in the Gambia.

Tomson Chikowero carrying the bags of plastic bottles that he collected from people’s trash for recycling. People like him have become Zimbabwe’s unlikely climate change ambassadors. Credit: Stanley Kwenda/IPS

Trash Collectors Become Zimbabwe’s Unlikely Climate Change Ambassadors

Tomson Chikowero was ashamed of his job. He did not want anyone finding out what he did to earn a living, so he used to wake up early every morning and leave his home in Hatfield, a residential suburb in Zimbabwe’s capital city Harare, under the cover of darkness.

ZIMBABWE: Street Vendors’ Protest Sparking a Revolution

There are some unlikely comparisons between the work lives of Mohammed Bouazizi, the Tunisian fruit seller who sparked the Arab revolution, and Francis Tachirev, a fruit seller in Zimbabwe.

ZIMBABWE: Chinese Become Unwelcome Guests

Alec Marembo has built his family fortune making bricks in Dzivarasekwa, a sprawling high-density suburb north of the capital of Zimbabwe. But due to the economic crisis of the last decade, his fortune started crumbling. Although he could break even when the downturn started, he finally gave in to competition from the Chinese.

SOUTHERN AFRICA: Reforms First, Elections Later

A new constitution, voters’ roll and electoral law, among other things, have to be in place before elections in Zimbabwe can be held but observers doubt if this can be implemented.

(l-r) Farm manager Brian Ngwenya with farm owner Kindness Paradza. Credit: Stanley Kwenda/IPS

ZIMBABWE: Farmers Sceptical About “Complicated” Exchange Market

Kindness Paradza has a mission. After he lost his job as a journalist when the ZANU-PF government closed his newspaper in 2004, he ploughed his life savings into a 2,000 ha farm he received as part of Zimbabwe’s controversial "land reform programme".

The headquarters of the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority in Harare. Credit: Stanley Kwenda/IPS

ZIMBABWE: Activists Seek WSF Solidarity Against Privatisation

Zimbabwean activists will raise the issue of privatisation at the World Social Forum, taking place Feb 6-11 in Dakar, Senegal, and seek solidarity from other activists to resist a renewed government attempt at selling Zimbabwe’s state- owned enterprises.

Biko Mutsaurwa: The wide effect of the sanctions is due to the endemic corruption among the political elite. Credit: Stanley Kwenda/IPS

RIGHTS-ZIMBABWE: “Sanctions Are Hurting the Right People”

The word "sanctions" was among the first five words mentioned to the new European Union (EU) ambassador to Zimbabwe Aldo Dell Ariccia when he first arrived and met with government officials in Zimbabwe a few months ago.

An activist's t-shirt displays the message of the ZIMCODD anti-debt campaign. Credit: Stanley Kwenda/IPS

ZIMBABWE: Debt Crowds Out Essential Spending on Health

Zimbabwe’s debt burden of about 8.3 billion dollars, owed to internal and external institutions, is crowding out essential national budget items such as health and basic services, with detrimental effects for particularly women.

TRADE-SOUTHERN AFRICA: “Parochialism” Stymies Integration Efforts

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) has set ambitious targets for regional integration. But the goal of creating a customs union by 2010 has been postponed and the adoption of a single regional currency by 2018 may be missed due to national concerns.

DEVELOPMENT-AFRICA: Tax Could be The Way Out of Aid Dependence

Many African countries struggle with debt and finding money for national budgets because they fail to recognise taxation as a sustainable source of funding. Moreover, multinational companies are too easily given tax breaks while siphoning off money through illegal tax evasion.

"Investment and trade should also depend on the extent of democratisation in Zimbabwe." Credit: Nastasya Tay/IPS

RIGHTS-AFRICA: “Investors Should Help Democratise Zimbabwe”

While investors need assurances about property rights and the protection of investments before they will invest in Zimbabwe’s precarious economy, the state of democracy in the Southern African country should also be a consideration.

MOZAMBIQUE: Women at Forefront of Resisting Climate Change

The Mozambican government has adopted various policies to address the effects of climate change, with special attention to women as studies show that they are more adversely affected by this phenomenon.

ZIMBABWE: ‘We Too Want to be Wealthy’

Saddled with debts of more than $7 billion, Zimbabwe is anxious to resume diamond exports, suspended in May amidst international condemnation of alleged human rights violations in the Marange diamond fields. But the treatment of people living in the fields themselves suggests the country's record on rights bears further examination.

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