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Zimbabwe rejects Catholic bishops’ criticism of corruption and abuse

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Police have been accused of strong-arm tactics against anti-government protesters

Zimbabwe’s government has dismissed a letter by Roman Catholic bishops highlighting corruption, poverty and human rights abuses.

“There is no crisis, political or otherwise,” said Information Secretary Nick Mangwana.

He accused the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishop’s Conference (ZCBC) of joining groups seeking “to manufacture crises”.

The bishops had called for an urgent resolution to the country’s economic and political challenges.

“The struggle in Zimbabwe, has resulted in a multi-layered crisis of convergence of economic collapse, deepening poverty, food insecurity and human rights abuses,” said seven bishops from the Zimbabwe’s main cities and towns in a letter released on Friday.

“Corruption in the country has reached alarming levels,” they added.

Zimbabweans have been protesting against alleged government corruption and a deepening economic crisis with inflation running at more than 700%.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa has, however, blamed his political opponents of working with foreigners to try to destabilise the country. He called them “bad apples” and warned that he will “flush” them out.

His government has recently attracted heavy criticism over a crackdown targeting anti-government protesters which has resulted in several people being assaulted and arrested.

Prominent journalist Hopewell Chin’ono was charged last month with inciting public violence. He is still in detention after being denied bail.

He had exposed alleged corruption in the health ministry during the purchase of medical supplies to tackle the coronavirus pandemic.

Images of police assaulting protesters have been shared online sparking a global campaign using the hashtag #ZimbabweanLivesMatter to highlight rights abuses.

Celebrities like rappers Ice Cube, AKA and Lecrae and actresses Thandie Newton and Pearl Thusi have expressed support.

What else did the bishops say?

“Fear runs down the spine of many of our people today. The crackdown of dissent in unprecedented,” the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishop’s Conference said in their letter.

“Voices of various governments, the European Union, the African Union, and the UN on the desperate situation in Zimbabwe have not only confirmed the seriousness of the human rights breaches by government agents but the need to rally behind #ZimbabweanLivesMatter,” they said.

But writing in the state-owned The Herald newspaper, Mr Mangwana defended the government.

“Zimbabwe, like most countries in the world, is currently grappling with challenges attendant to illegal sanctions, drought and the coronavirus pandemic,” he said.

He said President Mnangagwa had demonstrated his commitment to fight corruption, highlighting the arrest of high profile individuals and strengthening of anti-corruption bodies.

The information secretary also said the bishops had ignored the impact that close to two decades of economic sanctions had had on the country.

However, his senior colleague, Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa, was scathing in her criticism of the church leaders, particularly of ZCBC’s president Archbishop Robert Ndlovu from the minority Ndembele ethnic group.

She described him as “evil minded”, and accused him of fanning ethnic division and made comparisons to the role of the Church in the 1994 Rwandan genocide.

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Ms Mutsvangwa comments have been slammed as dangerous hate speech

Opposition party MDC Alliance called the comments “incendiary hate speech” and “unacceptable”.

“The singling out of a Ndebele archbishop… is discrimination on tribal grounds,” tweeted MDC-Alliance spokeswoman Fadzayi Mahere, warning against the reviving of Zimbabwe’s “history of genocide”.

In the 1980s thousands of civilians – mainly ethnic Ndebeles – were killed when the late ex-president Robert Mugabe led a military-style crackdown on alleged militants known as Gukurahundi.

The Ndebeles were perceived to be backing the opposition, while Mugabe was from the majority Shona ethnic group.

Several people commenting on Twitter have termed Ms Mutsvangwa comments as dangerous hate speech.

More on Zimbabwe’s economic crisis:

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Media captionCoronavirus: Zimbabwe lockdown hampered by food shortages



Source – www.bbc.co.uk

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Charles Mbire gains $1.2 million as stake in MTN Uganda rises above $51 million

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Ugandan businessman and MTN Uganda Chairman Charles Mbire has seen the market value of his stake in MTN Uganda surge above $51 million in just two days, as the share price in the leading teleco company increased by a single digit.

The single-digit bump in the share price caused the market value of Mbire’s stake to gain UGX4.42 billion ($1.24 million) in less than two days.

The million-dollar increase in the value of his stake came after Uganda’s largest telecom company delivered the country’s largest-ever IPO through the listing of 22.4 billion ordinary shares on the Uganda Securities Exchange (USE).

Upon completing the largest IPO in Uganda’s history, MTN Uganda raised a record UGX535 billion ($150.4 million) from the applications that it received for a total of 2.9 billion shares, including incentive shares.

As of press time, Dec. 7, shares in the company were trading at UGX204.95 ($0.0574), down six basis points from their opening price this morning.

Data gathered by Billionaires.Africa revealed that since the telecom company registered its shares on the Ugandan bourse on Mon., Dec. 6, its share price has increased by 2.5 percent from UGX200 ($0.056) to UGX204.95 ($0.0574) as of the time of writing, as retail investors sustained buying interest long after the public offering.

The increase in the company’s share price caused the market value of Mbire’s 3.98-percent stake to rise from UGX178.45 billion ($49.96 million) to UGX182.86 billion ($51.2 million).

In less than two days, his stake gained more than UGX4.42 billion ($1.24 million).

In a statement after the successful listing of MTN Uganda’s shares, Mbire said the IPO shows the confidence that Ugandans and other investors have in the company, its brand and strategic intent.

“We commend all the regulators for their support in our work to become a USE-listed company and to comply in a timely manner with the listing provisions of the national telecommunications operators’ license,” he said.

Steady but sure-MBIRE who is the biggest investor on Ugandas Stock exchange with stocks valued at more than $55 million is laughing all the way to the bank after MTN declared the latest dividend payout.He has steadily grown his business empire which is believed to be more that $350 million (debt free).

Steady but sure-MBIRE who is the biggest investor on Ugandas Stock exchange with stocks valued at more than $55 million is laughing all the way to the bank after MTN declared the latest dividend payout.He has steadily grown his business empire which is believed to be more that $350. ( debt free).

He is into communications-revenue assurance-cement-distribution-oil services-real estate-oil exploration and logistics.

Source: Billionaires Africa

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2-year-old dies at Arua hospital as nurse demands Shs 210,000 bribe

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A two-year-old child died at Arua Regional Referral hospital after a nurse, Paul Wamala demanded a bribe amounting to Shs 210,000 before carrying out an operation. 

The incident happened on Saturday, after Aron Nabil, a two-year-old child was referred to the hospital for an operation after he was diagnosed with intestinal obstruction, a medical emergency caused by a blockage that keeps food or liquid from passing through the small intestine or large intestine.

According to the relatives of the child, Wamala allegedly asked them to initially give him Shs 30,000 to buy medicines to commence the procedure. He however returned shortly asking for an additional Shs 180,000 from the relatives.

Emily Adiru, a resident of Osu cell, in Bazar Ward, Central Division, and a relative of the child says although they paid money to Wamala, he abandoned the child without carrying out the operation. According to Adiru, Wamala later refunded Shs 200,000 through mobile money, after she threatened to report him to the police.

“They told us this boy needs an operation which was supposed to be done in the morning on Sunday at around 7 am. They took him inside there, some doctor came from the theatre, he called one of us and said, we should pay Shs 70,000 for buying medicine to start the operation. We paid the Shs 30,000 [but] after paying the Shs 30,000, after some minutes, the same man came and opened the door and called us again, and told us we should pay another Shs 100,000. We also paid the Shs 100,000 and we thought it is finished. We were outside there waiting for our patient to come out [but] then this man came back again and said we should pay another Shs 80,000,” said Adiru.

Although the operation was later carried out after a 7-hour delay, the child didn’t make it, and relatives attribute the death to negligence. Miria Ahmed, a concerned resident wonders why such incidents have persisted at the facility which is supposed to service the citizens.

“Is the problem the hospital, is it the management or it is the human resource that is the problem in the hospital? A small child like this you demand Shs 210,000 for the operation? Well, if the money was taken and the operation is done, I would say anything bad but this money was taken and the small boy was abandoned in the theatre,” she said. 

When contacted Wamala refused to comment on the allegations. Dr Gilbert Aniku, the acting hospital director says that the hospital will issue an official statement later since consultations about the matter are ongoing.

Arua City resident district commissioner, Alice Akello has condemned the actions of the nurse saying she has ordered his arrest so as to set an example to the rest. The case has been reported to Arua regional referral hospital police post under SD reference No:05/30/05/2022.



Source – observer.ug

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Mexican president’s Mayan Train dealt new legal setback | Tourism News

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Activists say the planned tourist train will harm the wildlife and natural features of the Yucatan Peninsula.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has been dealt the latest setback to an ambitious plan to create a tourist train to connect the country’s southern Yucatan Peninsula.

On Monday, a judge indefinitely suspended construction on a portion of the project, known as the Mayan Train, saying the plans currently do not comply “with the proceedings of the environmental impact evaluation”.

The ruling follows a legal challenge by activists who said they were concerned the 60km (37 mile) portion of the train that would connect the resorts of Playa del Carmen and Tulum would adversely affect the area’s wildlife, as well as its caves and water-filled sinkholes known as cenotes.

The original plan for the disputed section was for an overpass over a highway, but the route was modified early this year to go through jungle at ground level.

The federal judge cited the “imminent danger” of causing “irreversible damage” to ecosystems, according to one of the plaintiffs, the non-governmental group Defending the Right to a Healthy Environment. In a statement, the group said that authorities had failed to carry out the necessary environmental impact studies before starting construction of the section.

Lopez Obrador had announced the ambitious project in 2018, with construction beginning in 2020. The roughly 1,500km (930 mile) cargo and passenger rail loop was presented as a cornerstone of a wider plan to develop the poorer states and remote towns throughout the about 181,000sq km (70,000sq mile) Yucatan Peninsula.

The railway is set to connect Caribbean beach resorts with Mayan archaeological ruins, with authorities aiming to complete the project by the end of 2023. The plan is estimated to cost about $16bn.

The project has split communities across the region, with some welcoming the economic development and connectivity it would bring. Others, including some local Indigenous communities, have challenged the project, saying it could not only disrupt the migratory routes of endangered species, including jaguars, tapirs and ocelots, but could also potentially damage centuries-old Mayan archaeological sites.

The National Fund for the Promotion of Tourism, the government agency overseeing the project, has said that it expects to “overcome” the latest challenge and that work should continue after an environmental impact statement is finalised. It said the Environment Ministry was currently reviewing its environmental application for the project.

For his part, Lopez Obrador has insisted the railway will not have a significant environmental effect and has accused activists of being infiltrated by “impostors”.



Source – www.aljazeera.com

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