Stories written by Ignatius Banda

Punches & Insults: Why Zimbabwe’s Women Candidates Want to Change the Political Playing Field

“I have long given up on active politics,” Gertrude Sidambe, a 36-year-old member of one of Zimbabwe’s opposition parties, tells IPS. When female members of the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front complained last month about political violence as male members chose brawn over brains to solicit for positions, the party’s National Secretary for Women’s Affairs Mabel Chinomona advised that they enter the punch-and-insult battlefield and “fight” like everyone else. 

Bulawayo Water Crisis: When the Taps Run Dry and the City Runs out of Ideas

Dotted across the Zimbabwean city of Bulawayo, the water tanks installed in private residences is evidence that years of a water crisis, that has seen some suburbs here going for months without running water, has not spared anyone. The large plastic drums, locally called Jojo tanks after the company that manufacturers them, and which have a storage range of up to 10,000 litres, have assumed a class status of sorts in Bulawayo.

Sustainability of Zimbabwe’s Natural Food Sources take a Knock Amid Growing Economic Crisis

Sarudzai Moyo, a former teacher, has begun a new career as a fishmonger. Once a week she makes the 450km journey from Bulawayo to Binga, on the shores of Lake Kariba, where she buys between 100 and 150 kilograms of fish for resale as the demand for cheaper dietary options increase in Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe and US Diplomacy – this Time the Fight is About George Floyd

“As tall as he is, if he continues to do that I will kick him out of the country,” thundered Zimbabwe’s former President Robert Mugabe in 2008, his anger aimed at the then United States ambassador James McGee after the diplomat questioned the results of Zimbabwe’s 2008 general elections.

COVID-19: Zimbabwe’s Smallholder Farmers Step into the Food Supply Gap

Bulawayo, Zimbabwe' second city of some 700,000 people, has experienced a shortage of vegetables this year, with major producers citing a range of challenges from poor rains to the inability to access to bank loans to finance their operations. But this shortage has created a market gap that Zimbabwe smallholders — some 1.5 million people according to government figures — have an opportunity to fill. 

Zimbabwe’s Afforestation Challenge

“I have never planted a tree in my life,” laughs Jairos Saunyama, a tobacco farmer, revelling at the absurdity of the question of whether he is involved in the country's afforestation efforts. Sawunyama is one of thousands of farmers who are blamed by local conservationists for turning the country's forests into deserts and dust bowls.

Current Laws Cannot Protect Zimbabwe’s Women from Sex Trafficking

Similo Ntuli* looks like a ordinary, fashion-savvy woman in her twenties. As a hairdresser and beauty therapist in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second-largest city, Ntuli has her finger on the pulse of the latest styles and trends. But she also has, what she admits, are dark secrets.

Will Zimbabwe Allow Freedom of Airwaves and Freedom of Speech too?

Zimbabwe is making fresh commitments to open up its airwaves with government promising to issue licences to private television and community radio stations before the end of the year.

Vegetables Rot in Food Markets across Zimbabwe While Half the Population Faces Food Insecurity

Piles and piles of rotting vegetables at food markets situated right in Zimbabwe's central business district would elsewhere be viewed as a sign of plenty. But this Southern African nation has not been spared the irony of food wastage at a time of food shortages.

Zimbabwe’s Long Road to Gender Parity

Zimbabwe goes to the polls in July for the first general election since the departure of Robert Mugabe, and the jockeying over who will represent the country’s major political parties is in full throttle.

The Dark Chapter of Zimbabwe’s History That Won’t Go Away

With Zimbabwe’s new President Emmerson Mnangagwa just concluding a 100-day timeline to address what he considered the country’s most pressing issues, which focused on economic revival, human rights activists have their own timeline.

Groundwater Crisis Worsens Food Insecurity

Sijabuliso Nleya has been kept busy in the past few weeks digging up sand. He is not a sand poacher like scores of people who local district councils across the country say are digging along dry river beds for sand used in the construction of houses. "The situation is terrible," said Nleya, who owns a plot in Douglasdale, a small farming community on the outskirts of Bulawayo.

Zimbabwe: Poverty Stunting Minds and Growth

Mildren Ndlovu* knows the mental toll of Zimbabwe's long-drawn economic hardships in a country where a long rehashed statistic by labour unions puts unemployment at 90 per cent.

Weak Agriculture Finance Feeds Malnutrition in Zimbabwe

Successive poor harvests have diminished Ndodana Makhalima's household food stocks and the family’s nutrition status.

A subsistence farmer in Lupane, about 110 kilometres north of Zimbabwe’s second city, Bulawayo, 56 year-old Makhalima has learnt to live with hunger on his door step.

Zimbabwe’s Long Road in Ending Poverty and Hunger

Noel Bhizori has a permanent post at a traffic light in Bulawayo’s central business district where he sells mobile phone recharge cards at a busy intersection.

Zimbabwe’s Mega Dam Project Could Flounder in the Face of Climate Change

Zimbabwe's planned Batoka Gorge power project on the Zambezi River is expected to generate 2,400 megawatts (MW) of electricity, upward from an initial 1,600 MW, but the worsening power cuts that are being blamed on low water levels have renewed concerns about the effects of climate change on mega dams.

Zimbabwe’s Forest Carbon Programme Not All It Seems

The efficacy of attempts to sustainably manage forests and conserve and enhance forest carbon stocks in Zimbabwe is increasingly coming under scrutiny as new research warns that the politics of access and control over forests and their carbon is challenging conventional understanding.

Zimbabwe’s Climate Change Ambitions May be Too Tall

With the U.N. Climate Change conference later this year in Paris fast approaching, Zimbabwe's climate change commitments face the slow progress on an issue that continues to stalk other developing countries – climate finance.

Zimbabwe’s Family Planning Dilemma

Pregnant at 15, Samantha Yakubu* is in a fix. The 16-year-old boy she claims was responsible for her pregnancy has refused to accept her version of events, insisting that he was “not the only one who slept with her”.

Legislation Alone Will Not Address Africa’s Climate Challenges

Despite a raft of legislation dealing with the environment, African countries are still falling short when it comes to enforcing the legal instruments that respond to challenges posed by climate change, researchers say. 

Zimbabwe’s Urban Farmers Combat Food Insecurity — But it’s Illegal

It is harvest season in Zimbabwe and Janet Zondo is pressed to find space on the piece of land she is farming to erect a makeshift granary. Zando says she could very well build a miniature silo, judging by the size of the maize crop that she is preparing to harvest.

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