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RBZ monetary policy committee optimistic on inflation rate decline – New

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By Alois Vinga

THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) has expressed optimism that inflation rate which recorded a decline last month, will sustain the trend going into the future.

The remarks come shortly after the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (ZIMSTAT) reported that yearly inflation has risen to 256,9% while monthly inflation recorded a slight decline as of July 2022.

Presenting resolutions of the MPC meeting held last Friday, RBZ governor, John Mangudya said the observation was noted as one of the key milestones of the recent monetary policy measures on the economy.

“With month-on-month inflation having declined from 30,7% in June 2022 to 25,6% in July 2022, the MPC noted that the progressive decline will continue in the outlook period as a result of the tight monetary policy stance being pursued by the RBZ,” he said.

The central bank governor said the MPC also noted that the disinflation trend will be reinforced by measures the government is taking to deal with factors that destabilise the foreign exchange market, particularly by reviewing the basis and framework for payments to its suppliers of goods and services in its quest to stabilise the foreign exchange market.

“The MPC further noted that whilst monthly inflation is expected to continue to decelerate during the outlook period, annual inflation will continue to increase up to September 2022 as a result of the lower base effect in 2021.

“In view of the said developments and outlook, the MPC resolved to maintain the interest rates at current levels,” said Mangudya.

He said the tight monetary policy stance would be buttressed by the favourable uptake of gold coins which were introduced in the economy on 25 July 2022 as an alternative stable financial product for store of value.

“A total of 1500 gold coins were sold by the Bank’s agents during the first week of their release into the market, with 85% having been bought in local currency and the balance of 15% in foreign currency.

“An additional 2000 gold coins will be released into the market during the week commencing 1 August 2022. The MPC will continue to review interest rates on a regular basis in line with month– on-month inflation developments,” said Mangudya.

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Sundance prize winner President banned in Zim for ‘potential to incite violence’ – NewsDay

The government of Zimbabwe has banned “President,” Danish filmmaker Camilla Nielsson’s Oscar-shortlisted documentary about the African nation’s corrupt 2018 presidential election, Variety can exclusively reveal.

In a letter dated June 16, the country’s censorship board slapped a ban on the Sundance prize-winning documentary, insisting that it “has the potential to incite violence” as Zimbabwe gears up for presidential elections in 2023.

The filmmakers are now challenging the ruling in Zimbabwe’s constitutional court, promising a long legal battle ahead.

President is a follow-up to Nielsson’s critically acclaimed Democrats, which chronicled the laborious construction of Zimbabwe’s 2013 Constitution.

It captures Zimbabwe at a crossroads, as it prepares for its first election since the ouster of Robert Mugabe, who was forced from power after nearly four decades in the wake of a 2017 military coup.

The film follows opposition leader Nelson Chamisa as he challenges the dictator’s successor, Emmerson Mnangagwa, while trying to undo the corrupt legacy of Mugabe’s reign.

Deftly moving from raucous political rallies to drab meeting rooms to the halls of the highest court in the land, Nielsson and DoP Henrik Bohn Ipsen follow the dwindling hopes of the opposition party as a systemic campaign of rigging, intimidation, fraud and outright violence — capped by a harrowing crackdown on a post-election protest that left six dead — enables the ruling Zanu PF party to claim an ill-gotten victory.

President was released across the US on PBS’ award-winning POV documentary series on August 8.

Speaking to Variety from Copenhagen, Nielsson described the film as a “testimony to the injustice of a stolen election.”

Oscar-nominated producer Signe Byrge Sørensen (The Act of Killing, The Look of Silence) said the ban was the latest example of a growing crackdown on dissent by the Zimbabwean government, adding: “They are worried about people seeing with their own eyes what’s happening.”

Chris Mhike, of the Harare law office Atherstone and Cook, who is handling the case for the Danish filmmakers, has filed a challenge to the censorship board’s ruling in the Constitutional Court.

In a statement provided to Variety, he said: “Our Constitution identifies Zimbabwe as a democracy. Consequently, we find this ban to be extremely disappointing.”

The board’s decision, he added, “flies in the face of the democratic tradition of free speech.”

Nielsson had high hopes when she returned to Zimbabwe to film President, which had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in 2021.

“Zimbabwe had been under Mugabe’s rule since independence in 1980,” she said.

“When he was removed in a military coup, there was so much hope among the entire population that there was a time for change now, for democratic winds to finally arrive in the country. We were privileged and humbled by being able to tell this story.”

President won a World Cinema Documentary Special Jury Award for verité filmmaking at Sundance.

Variety’s Guy Lodge called the vital, devastating documentary a galvanising, epic-scale docuthriller, describing it as another essential chapter in Zimbabwe’s long, endlessly sidetracked road to democracy.

The film continues a nearly decade-long chronicling of Zimbabwe’s democratic transition for Nielsson, whose previous film, Democrats, was also banned by the government when it was released in 2015.

The decision was ultimately overturned by Zimbabwe’s High Court after a three-year legal battle.

In neither instance was the censorship board obliged by law to explain its ruling. Nielsson referenced a government claim that the film threatened to “incite violence and undermine the state” ahead of next year’s elections, dryly noting: “Basically, to create a revolution.”

Four years ago, former vice-president Mnangagwa came to power amid high hopes that he could reverse decades of hardline rule under the strongman Mugabe and bring Zimbabwe back from the brink of economic collapse.

But a man dubbed “the crocodile” because of his ruthlessness and political cunning has, instead, presided over an economy in freefall, while failing to deliver on promised reforms and ruthlessly quashing dissent.

In July 2020, author and filmmaker Tsitsi Dangarembga (I Want a Wedding Dress) was arrested at a protest in Harare along with journalist Julie Barnes, where both were calling for the release of journalists and for institutional reforms.

Earlier this year, the Berlin International Film Festival called for their acquittal on charges of inciting public violence, disturbing the peace and bigotry, and violating COVID-19 regulations.

A freelance reporter for the New York Times, Jeffrey Moyo, was also convicted this year of breaching the country’s immigration laws on what were widely seen as politically-motivated charges.

“The political climate is more brutal than during Mugabe’s era,” said Nielsson.

“It was unbelievable to imagine five or six years ago that the post-Mugabe regime would be more brutal, but the number of arrests of journalists, human-rights activists, the number of killings of dissenting voices [has increased].”

She added: “I don’t know if I will go back to Zimbabwe until this [case] is resolved. I have a different kind of fear of [Mnangagwa] than I did for Mugabe.”

Despite the worsening climate, the filmmakers said the move to take their case to the Constitutional Court would itself represent a victory, regardless of the outcome.

“If we can win the case — and even if we don’t win the case — the paper trail of fighting these battles is still creating a legal precedent that is important for future generations of journalists and filmmakers in Zimbabwe,” said Nielsson.

“It will create a paper trail about the illegal acts of the current government.”

Byrge added that the legal battle only underscored the universal message at the heart of President, at a time when democratic norms around the world appear to be on shaky ground.

“Democracies everywhere are so precious,” she said. “This film is extremely important for Zimbabwe, but it’s also important for the rest of us to remember what it is that democracy really is and how important it is and how wrong it can go once we lose it.”Variety Magazine

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‘West responsible for chaos in Africa’ – Bulawayo24 News

Zimbabwe’s long held position that Western countries should not dictate to African countries how they should run their affairs has been reaffirmed by South Africa’s Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Dr Naledi Pandor.

Speaking on Tuesday during a Press conference with visiting United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who is on a three-nation African tour, Minister Pandor added that Western countries, along with private security companies scrambling for Africa’s mineral resources, were largely to blame for the instability and challenges with democracy being experienced on the continent.

“You are coming in and seek to teach a country that ‘we know how democracy functions; we come to tell you (that) you do it will work for you’.

“I think it leads to defeat so we need to think in different ways,” said Minister Pandor.

Since year 2000, Zimbabwe has flatly refused to be dictated to by global powers, which sought to effect regime change by financially supporting NGOs and opposition parties.

The West has imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe with the hope of making the “economy scream” and turn citizens against the ruling Zanu-PF.

In his address during Heroes Day commemorations, President Mnangagwa said his administration remains committed to upholding the “democracy bequeathed to us by our fallen heroes and heroines”.

He said Zimbabwe was unrelenting in its pursuit to entrench Constitutionalism, rule of law, good governance and respect for human rights.

“The heroes we honour fought for the democracy and the equal access to justice we are enjoying as a country.

“Let us therefore, individually and collectively, protect it from all forms of abuse and desecration, more so by those who never came to our help during the brutal oppressive years under white settler colonial regime,” said President Mnangagwa.

Turning to interference by Westerners, Minister Pandor said Africa’s minerals were promoting instability on the continent. “I also think that one of the lessons we also need to learn and perhaps draw lessons from, is the reality that there has been a lot of external interference in Africa and a lot of that external interference has fuelled conflict in many African countries, has fuelled instability, has supported opposition groups against liberation fighters and so on, you know the history, perhaps better than myself.

“This is a reality so in my view, while there maybe concern about Wagner Group or (Van) Dyck (which was another security group which in Mozambique, there is also concern about countries that have mineral interests in African countries.

“They are there as a destabilising force. So I think we need to look at the full plethora of problems that give rise to insecurity, bad governance and the absence of democracy on the African continent. It’s not a one-country problem. It’s a world phenomenon which results from Africa’s rich mineral wealth that has made it a significant target of external players that don’t always have the interests of Africa at heart,” she said.

On Africa’s bullying by the West to support its causes, including wanting to force African countries to condemn Russia for its special military operation in Ukraine, Minister Pandor there has been a “sense of patronising bullying toward ‘you choose this or else'”.

“We may differ in terms of economic power and ability to influence development in different parts of the world, but what will make the world work is if we respect each other.

“This is very, very important and one thing I definitely dislike is being told either ‘you choose this or else’. When a minister speaks to me like that, which Secretary Blinken has never done but some have, I definitely will not be bullied in that way, nor would I expect any other African country worth its salt to agree to be treated,” she said.

The US recently sought to frog march Zimbabwe into criticising Russia’s special military operation, a move vehemently opposed by President Mnangagwa. The President recently said he would not support sanctions on another country when Zimbabwe has been negatively affected by Western sanctions.

In an interview yesterday, Zimbabwe Anti-Sanctions Trust president Dr Norbert Hosho said the comments by Minister Pandor were “consistent with the view we should all embrace as Zimbabweans, the view that as a sovereign nation, we should all be driven by the quest for self-determination”.

“The need to resist all forms of bullying and coercion can, by no means be over-emphasised. If a country does not make its own choices, and its peoples’ opinions are not respected by other territories, then the country will be still far from freedom and hence the need to really fight for total freedom.

“It is unfortunate that external interference in domestic affairs of countries, particularly developing countries endowed with valuable natural resources, has been rampant over the years and the interfering countries’ purported mission to address issues of democracy and human rights is only a thin veneer covering a thick layer of hypocrisy,” said Dr Hosho.

Political commentator Mr Goodwine Mreriwa said Minister Pandor made “a bold Pan-African statement against the US’s ‘either you are with us or against us’ mantra, which undermines the sovereign rights of African countries to independently shape their domestic and foreign policies.

“It is naked bullying for the US to enact extra-territorial laws with punitive measures against countries perceived to be undermining American interests. Zimbabwe is a victim of illegal sanctions. Consciousness of the history of our liberation struggles in Southern Africa explains why Russia and China continue to shield us against Western aggression,” said Mr Mreriwa.

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Sikandar Raza is not done just yet, neither are Zimbabwe –

Zimbabwe Cricket has been through a lot in the last 3-4 years. From the heartbreak of missing out on a chance of playing in the 2019 World Cup to being banned from participating in the T20 World Cup Qualifier in 2019 and now finally living in the ecstasy of playing the upcoming T20 World Cup, Sikandar Raza, who made his debut in 2013, has ridden the highs and the lows but his hunger to perform and do his best for the team has never died down. 

He was their star performer in the T20 World Qualifiers a few months ago with 228 runs at 57 to go with a strike-rate of 176.74 and was his side’s top performer with the ball as well, having picked up five wickets at an economy rate of under seven. 

Till the start of the qualifiers, there was not much to boast about his batting credentials, he had managed just one fifty in 47 innings and averaged an underwhelming average of 14.89 and a strike-rate of 110.48.

However, since then, he has turned a corner. He has been given a fixed role of batting at four or five, and that clarity has helped him put in match-winning performances for Zimbabwe. In the eight innings since the start of the Qualifiers, Raza has plundered 355 runs at 59.16 (Strike-Rate 169.85) and has struck four fifties as well.

With the ball in hand, he has been less of a wicket-taker and more of someone, who could keep things extremely tight, thus creating an opportunity for others, but played a vital role in the Qualifiers final against the Dutch registering career-best figures of 4 for 8.

Performances in the shortest format have given him a huge boost, and with the same confidence, he has switched into the 50-over format with absolute ease. Zimbabwe had already lost the ODI series against Sri Lanka and Afghanistan this year and had their backs against the wall when it came to the Bangladesh ODIs. However, despite having to chase stiff targets in the first two ODIs and with the team in trouble, Raza played a vital role in seeing his side home.

He walked in at 62 for 3 in the 14th over, chasing 304 in the first game and stayed out there till the winning runs were hit. His unbeaten 135 off just 109 is perhaps one of the best innings in a run chase in the recent past. There’s no way he could better that, could he? 

Once again, with his side in trouble at 27 for 3 and later reduced to 49 for 4 in pursuit of 291, Raza, along with Regis Chakabva, put on 201 for the fifth wicket, with the all-rounder this time remaining unbeaten on 117. 

STATS: Raza’s record-breaking series help ZIM win their 1st series after 2017

At no point at any of the two run-chases did it look like Raza broke any sweat. His composure, combined with his ability to take calculated risks, had paid off. His partners, too, seemed to thrive with his presence, putting on 192 with Innocent Kaia in the first game and over 200 with Chakabva in the second. 

Things did not go according to plan for Zimbabwe before the Qualifiers. They had lost an ODI series against Sri Lanka to start with, and then that was followed by a 3-0 whitewash in the ODI and T20I series by Afghanistan. Sandwiched between all this was also a T20I series defeat at the hands of Namibia – the last time the Eagles had won a series of any format against a full-member side.

Given these series of events, it looked as though Zimbabwe would once again tank it in the Qualifier, but what followed was a series of five continuous wins that saw them win the tournament, beating the 2019 champions Netherlands in the final.

Thankfully, their winning mentality continued in the Bangladesh series as well. As he was in the Qualifiers, Raza was once again the engine of this team

As the senior-most figure in the dressing room, Raza, at 36, could very well be at the final leg of his career. And it’s clear that he is determined to make the most of it. Maybe take Zimbabwe back to the era of the Flowers, Campbells, Streaks and others – a team that was unpredictable yet more than capable of taking down strong units on their day.

Contributions from Wesley Madhevere, Craig Ervine, Sean Williams, Luke Jongwe, Tendai Chatara and others too should not be brushed under the carpet. They have played an excellent role with bat and ball to support Raza, who without a doubt has been instrumental in ensuring that all their efforts do not go in vain. 

READ: Slowly but steadily, Zimbabwe are climbing back into relevance

Players like Blessing Muzarabani, Madhevere, Richard Ngarava, Milton Shumba and a few others who were just about getting into the team when Zimbabwe missed out on qualifying for the 2019 World Cup now have more experience, and as things stand, they have had four years of good experience and have made Zimbabwe only stronger.

“It was tricky to miss out on the last 50-over World Cup. It was disheartening and painful not to be playing the last T20 World Cup as well. I think the senior players were more relieved than happy [to qualify for this year’s World Cup],” Raza had said in an interview with Espncricinfo.

Perhaps the only thing that did not fall into place for Raza since the start of the Qualifiers last month was him getting out the first ball on his ODI captaincy debut in the dead rubber ODI against Bangladesh. Around Raza revolves an entire nation whose only desire is to emerge out of oblivion and carve a new story for themselves. 

As they say, “The comeback is always stronger than the setback.” An entire cricket-loving nation will hold their breath in the hope the Chevrons rise once again.

With a series against India, Australia and then the T20 World Cup to follow, Raza and Zimbabwe would know that they barely have any time to breathe. Honestly, given what they’ve been through, they’d be the last ones to complain.

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