Stories written by Stanley Kwenda

ZIMBABWE: Far From the City’s Money, Villagers Barter Again

In Chitsa, a village with some 2,000 inhabitants located about 250 km from Zimbabwe’s capital of Harare, it has become difficult to conduct everyday transactions involving money.

AGRICULTURE-ZIMBABWE: "The Rule of Law Just Isn’t There"

Agriculture used to be Zimbabwe’s economic mainstay but it has been on the decline since 2000 when the ZANU-PF government embarked on a so-called land reform programme that resulted in about 4,000 productive white farmers losing their farms, many to members of the politically connected elite.

Asbestos mine at Mashava: royalties and taxes will be set to

ZIMBABWE: Warm Words for Investors at Mines Summit

Desperate for investment to lift its moribund economy, the Zimbabwe government welcomed hundreds of prospective mining investors to a conference in Harare this week.

Victor Nzuzi Mbembe: "Are we privatising for the sake of privatising?" Credit:  Stanley Kwenda/IPS

DRC: Electricity Lines Overhead But Never Seen a Light Bulb

"We produce electricity but we manage darkness. We have big energy sources of electricity but only 20 percent of the population has access to electricity because most of the energy is sold to foreign countries."

Eric Goosby: 'The new twist to the Obama administration's foreign policy is to use our ability to deliver health technical assistance as a diplomatic tool.' Credit:  Stanley Kwenda/IPS

HEALTH-SOUTHERN AFRICA: Learning From Criticism, U.S. Committed to AIDS Fight

The United States has embarked on a mission to restore Africa's trust in U.S. commitment to global AIDS relief.

An activist shows off a popular slogan. Credit:  Stanley Kwenda/IPS

ECONOMY: "Africa Is Paying Most for a Crisis Not of its Making"

The global economic crisis has hit the African continent especially hard despite not being involved in its making, civil society organisations gathered in the capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo heard at the fifth people’s summit of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) in the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Q&A: Cross-Border Links to Boost Women’s Economic Empowerment

The Professional Women, Executives and Businesswomen’s Forum (PROWEB) organised a unique investment conference last week in Zimbabwe’s capital where businesswomen from South Africa and Zimbabwe got the opportunity to not only network but forge what may be a unique African association among businesswomen across national borders.

Rights groups say allowing Zimbabwe to flout a SADC tribunal ruling against land seizures will undermine respect for rights throughout the region. Credit:  Stanley Kwenda/IPS

SOUTHERN AFRICA: Zimbabwe Must Abide By SADC Decisions

Condemning Zimbabwe’s withdrawal from a regional tribunal which ruled its state-orchestrated land seizures illegal, civil society groups have said the country should abide by decisions of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) or pull out of the regional body entirely.

SOUTHERN AFRICA: "Women Can Be More Than Small-Scale Farmers"

"Government must lead in breaking down the stereotypes of women as tuck-shop owners, candle-makers, peasant farmers, teachers and nurses and create the reality in which they become hoteliers, large-scale commercial farmers, miners and proprietors of retail chains."

ECONOMY-ZIMBABWE: “Indigenising Without Kicking Investors Away”

Eager to restore Zimbabwe's moribund economy, the country's government has been soliciting investment globally. But the troubled southern African country finds itself in an unenviable balancing act between protecting its economic interests while attracting foreign investors.

Cotton farmers at a meeting with ZIMCODD in Gokwe. Credit:  Stanley Kwenda/IPS

ZIMBABWE: Small-Scale Farmers Gearing Up to Take Cotton Buyers on

Zimbabweans like to believe that there is strength in numbers, which is the idea behind a local non-governmental organisation’s attempt to organise small-scale rural cotton farmers in cotton producer associations.

Lovemore Madhuku: wants independent body to steer drafting of new constitution. Credit:  Stanley Kwenda/IPS

ZIMBABWE: New Constitution: Civil Society ‘Taking Charge’

Barely two weeks after the start of an official process to draw up a new constitution for Zimbabwe was delayed by supporters of Robert Mugabe, it faces another challenge: civil society organisation have launched a parallel constitutional project, saying the unity government's parliamentary-led procedure is undemocratic, defective and will produce a flawed document.

Thandeka Mlilo: The council collects rent, so what is the problem? Credit:  Stanley Kwenda/IPS

TRADE-ZIMBABWE: "Another Operation Murambatsvina to Be Unleashed"

It’s a Thursday morning and the Mbare Musika Market is a hive of activity. Trucks, weighed down with assorted fruits and vegetables, negotiate their way through the congested market. You can get anything here -- from vegetables, mealie-meal and cooking oil to television sets and clothing.

Tafadzwa Muropa: "There is no real investment without the involvement of locals. What's in it for me?" Credit:  Stanley Kwenda/IPS

ECONOMY-ZIMBABWE: Government in Two Minds About the Rule of Law

The Zimbabwean government’s international investment conference at the end of last week did little to assuage fears that the country remains far away from re-establishing the rule of law and stopping land invasions.

ECONOMY: Zimbabwe Can’t Repay Loans; Insisting on "Debt Strategy"

The Zimbabwean coalition government cannot afford to repay debts incurred when President Robert Mugabe’s ZANU-PF was ruling on its own and will not repay those debts.

Sindiso Ngwenya: Freedom of movement of people still a challenge. Credit:  Stanley Kwenda/IPS

Q&A: Regional Integration in Southern Africa Takes Another Step

Zimbabwe has just hosted the 13th Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) summit where a customs union among some of the region’s countries was launched. But will it improve regional trade and assist passage across borders for the member countries’ numerous women traders?

Alice Kakwindi and Grace Chimhosva waiting at Beitbridge. Credit:  Stanley Kwenda/IPS

SOUTH AFRICA: Visa Waiver ‘‘Encumbering’’ Zimbabwean Trade

The South African government’s removal of visa requirements for Zimbabweans in April was aimed at easing entry for people still reeling from the crisis in Zimbabwe. But, for Alice Kakwindi, Grace Chimhosva and other cross-border traders, entering South Africa has subsequently turned into a nightmare.

A billboard promoting the soon-to-be-launched COMESA customs union. Credit:  Stanley Kwenda/IPS

TRADE: COMESA on Track with Establishing Customs Union

Zimbabwe will finally host the 13th Common Market for Eastern and Southern African (COMESA) summit in the resort town of Victoria Falls in June where the regional grouping is expected to launch its customs union.

Civil society is demanding a more central role in drawing up a new constitution for Zimbabwe.  Credit:  Stanley Kwenday/IPS

ZIMBABWE: Who Speaks for the People on New Constitution?

"Are you still unemployed? Take charge and complete the change. We the people shall write our own constitution," read the many bright posters now adorning street walls, lampposts and rubbish bins in Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare.

Liepollo Lebohang Pheko is worried about the effects of the EPAs on women. Credit:  Stanley Kwenda/IPS

TRADE: ‘‘EPAs Will Prevent African States From Achieving MDGs’’

The economic partnerships agreements (EPAs) will push African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries ''deeper'' into poverty and negatively affect the livelihoods of people living in ACP countries. These trade deals ''will prevent'' African countries from achieving the United Nations’ millennium development goals (MDGs).

SEATINI's deputy executive director Rangarirai Machemedze: ''EPAs will reduce policy space'' Credit:  Stanley Kwenda/IPS

TRADE-AFRICA: EPAs Negotiations Trudging Along Slowly

Talks between African countries and the European Union (EU) on the economic partnership agreements (EPAs) have stalled over a series of contentious issues that several countries want negotiated before they will sign full EPAs.

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