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Zambia, Zimbabwe to retender $5bn Batoka hydropower plant


Zambia and Zimbabwe are retendering a $5 billion project to build a hydropower plant they previously awarded to General Electric and Power Construction Corp of China, and expect to select new bidders by September next year, an official said.

The Zambezi River Authority — a joint venture between the countries that maintains the Kariba Dam complex — expects to receive bids from potential developers by April 2025 and select bidders five months after that, ZRA Chief Executive Officer Munyaradzi Munodawafa said by email.

Work on the 2 400-megawatt Batoka Gorge project was initially scheduled to begin in 2020, but it encountered several delays, including the onset of the coronavirus pandemic and difficulties in securing funding. In June, Zambian Energy Minister Peter Kapala said the nation would exit the 2019 contract with GE and Power China because proper procurement methods weren’t followed when the deal was struck.

Drought, blamed on the El Niño weather phenomenon, has gripped the entire southern African region, contributing to elevated food prices that have hurt poorer households. Zambia has declared the situation a national disaster.

Developing water-reserve buffers is therefore a priority, the ZRA chief said.

“Additional hydroelectric schemes will facilitate reservoir regulation for power generation and flood management,” Munodawafa said. “This means generation will be increased at Batoka during the peak season while water will be banked at the Kariba Dam for use during the dry season.”

Water levels at Kariba, which straddles Zambia and Zimbabwe, are expected to keep receding due to poor rainfall, Munodawafa said, although he ruled out decommissioning the dam.

ZRA has allocated 8 billion cubic meters of water to Zambian power utility Zesco Ltd. and its Zimbabwe Power Co counterpart, which translates to 214 megawatts respectively for the two companies until year-end.

Batoka will serve as a mitigation measure to some of the hydrological problems at Kariba, while at the same time directly contributing “a significant increase to the desperately needed power supply capacity of Zambia and Zimbabwe,” Munodawafa said.

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Mnangagwa commissions Kamativi Spodumene Mine

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Below are some images from Hwange, Kamativi Spodumene mine where President Emmerson Mnangagwa Friday commissioned the company’s 2.3 MT spodumene mining and processing project phase one.

Pictures by the Presidential Communications

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Mozambican national jailed 16 years for rape

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By Tinei Tuhwe

A 23-year old Mozambican will spend the next 16 years in a Zimbabwean prison following his conviction and sentencing for raping a minor.

According to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), the convict, whose name was not given, was convicted by a Chipinge magistrate after a full trial.

Prosecutors proved that the rape took place on March 12 this year.

The complainant, aged 13, was on her way from their homestead to a nearby business center in Chipinge.

“He grabbed her by the shoulders and dragged her to a nearby bush where he threatened her with a knife before raping her,” said the NPA in a statement.

The court heard the victim screamed for help and was heard by a passerby who rushed to the scene and rescued her while the suspect grabbed his clothes and took to his heels.

The matter was reported to the police leading to the arrest of the perpetrator.

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Nigeria recalls ‘toxic’ children’s cough syrup

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NIGERIA’S drug regulator has recalled a batch of Johnson & Johnson children’s cough syrup after tests showed it contained “an unacceptable high level” of a toxic and potentially fatal substance.

The substance, Diethylene glycol, “was found to cause acute oral toxicity in laboratory animals”, Nigeria’s National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) said on Wednesday

It added that human consumption of the Diethylene glycol results in toxic effects, including abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhoea, inability to pass urine, headache, altered mental state, and acute kidney injury which may lead to death.

The substance has been linked to the recent deaths of dozens of children in Cameroon and The Gambia.

Laboratory tests on the recalled Benylin Paediatric syrup also showed that it caused “acute oral toxicity in laboratory animals”, the regulator added.

Neither Johnson & Johnson nor Kenvue – which owns the Benylin brand after becoming independent from Johnson & Johnson last year- have commented on the NAFDAC’s statement.

The syrup was manufactured in South Africa in May 2021 and had an expiry date of April 2024.

The syrup’s packaging says it can be used for relieving cough and congestive symptoms and for treating fever and other allergic conditions among children aged between two and 12 years.

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