Daily Archives: June 15, 2018

Nearly Two Dozen Candidates Enter Zimbabwe’s Presidential Race

HARARE, ZIMBABWE, Nearly two dozen individuals have registered as presidential candidates in Zimbabwe’s upcoming elections. But some who did not make the cut are crying foul.

Among the 23 candidates whose names were announced by JaphetMurenje, the head of the nomination court in Harare, are incumbent President EmmersonMnangagwa, former vice president JoiceMujuru, and Nelson Chamisa, who is leading the coalition of most opposition parties.

Priscilla Chigumba, the chairperson of Zimbabwe Election Commission (ZEC), said the registration process ran smoothly.

We are quite pleased the nomination court processes have gone quite well. All our preparations were on course. All of the aspiring nominees have been given adequate support by the ZEC, and I am quite pleased by the process with regards to the presidential nominees, Chigumba said.

Access to voters roll

But not everyone is so pleased. Several small parties complained they were not given access to the official voters roll before Thursday’s deadline.

Without that access, it was harder for candidates to round up the required 100 signatures of endorsement from registered voters.

Mapfumo Peter Gava, the head of little-known United Democratic Front party, was one of the presidential hopefuls scrambling to collect enough signatures.

This is a very open election where most Zimbabweans are sitting on the fence. But because of this challenge, it then becomes very difficult that the voters roll has been produced very late. Most candidates had to go around to get people to sign for them, he said.

Gava failed to get the signatures in time to register. Other parties could not raise the $1,000 registration fee.

Douglas Mwonzora, is secretary general of the main opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change, that successfully registered to take part in the July 30 election.

It would have been prudent to have the voters roll before nomination (court). But the ZEC says it is going to give us [it] after nomination. So we hope that the whole process will be good, Mwonzora said.

Stage set for dispute

As the registration process was taking place, the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights group asked the High Court to order ZEC to furnish the voters roll to another opposition party, the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA).

The issue could set the stage for a disputed election.

The July 30 polls will be the first in Zimbabwe’s 38 years of independence without Robert Mugabe on the ballot. Mugabe resigned last November under heavy military pressure.

Mugabe’s successor has lifted the longtime ban on Western election observers. But the opposition says that is not enough for a level playing field, pointing to ZEC’s refusal to release the voters roll.

The opposition parties want the voters roll to be audited, saying that step is necessary for a credible election.

Source: Voice of America

Donkeys Stolen, Skinned in Africa to Feed Chinese Demand

NAIROBI, KENYA, Dawn was just beginning to break when Joseph KamonjoKariuki woke to find his donkeys missing. The villager searched the bush frantically for the animals he depends on to deliver water for a living, but they were nowhere to be found.

It was the village’s children who led Kariuki to the ghastly remains: three bloody, severed donkey heads lying on the ground.

I was in shock, said Kariuki, 37, who is known in his Kenyan village of Naivasha as Jose waMapunda � Joseph of the Donkeys in Swahili.

Chinese health fad

Kariuki believes his donkeys were the latest victims of a black market for donkey skins, the key ingredient in a Chinese health fad that’s threatening the beasts of burden many Africans rely on for farm work and transporting heavy loads.

From Kenya to Burkina Faso, Egypt to Nigeria, animal rights groups say, agents are seeking to feed China’s insatiable appetite for a gelatin they call ejiao (pronounced uh-jee-ow), made from stewed donkey skins that purports to provide health benefits.

Shrinking donkey herds in China have driven ejiao producers to seek out donkey skins from Africa, Australia and South America, threatening the world’s donkey population and driving violent crime and protests across Africa, the activists say.

Kariuki founded a protest group TunzaPunda Wako or Take Care of Your Donkey in Swahili. They’ve picketed the abattoir in Naivasha, accusing it of driving the skin thefts.

At this rate we will tell our children that donkeys once existed, he said.

Fourteen African governments have banned the export of donkey skins, according to the U.K.-based animal welfare group Donkey Sanctuary.

Butchering 1,000 donkeys a day

In Kenya, the donkey population has fallen in the past nine years by a third, from 1.8 million to 1.2 million. Kenya’s three licensed slaughterhouses butcher 1,000 donkeys a day to supply skins to China, said Calvin Onyango, program development manager of the Donkey Sanctuary Kenya.

We do not have many donkeys and most people do not want to sell their donkeys. So to keep supplying these slaughterhouses, we have ended up with businesspeople or brokers stealing other people’s donkeys to supply the slaughterhouses, Onyango said.

Onyango said that the rate at which donkeys were being slaughtered meant that there could be none left in five years.

From Kenya, the donkey hides travel thousands of kilometers (miles) to China. Many of them end up in an eastern town called Dong’e, where most of the world’s ejiao is made.

Farmers raise hundreds of donkeys in metal-roofed dirt paddocks surrounding the town. Most donkeys at three farms The Associated Press visited were tagged with the initials of the Dong’eEjiao Corporation Limited, or DEEJ, the nation’s largest producer of donkey gelatin.

The company processes about 1 million skins a year and makes up 63 percent of the ejiao market, according to the Forward Industry Research Institute, a Chinese market research firm. DEEJ says in its latest annual report that its profits rose 10 percent to $313 million last year.

DEEJ president Qin Yufeng declined to be interviewed but sent a statement to the AP saying ejiao has benefited more than 20,000 poor households in 1,000 towns.

Qin said the soaring demand for ejiao isn’t the reason that donkey populations are shrinking. Rather, fewer donkeys are being bred, he wrote, because they’ve been increasingly replaced by machines on farms.

GuoFanli, an economist in the southern city of Shenzhen, said Qin and DEEJ have inflated ejiao’s value.

By enriching the cultural meaning of ejiao, and overstating its actual effects, the company has successfully made it into a health product with multiple uses that can be bought as a gift, Guo said.

The more it has been hyped, the more miserably it could fall, he said.

Others have echoed skepticism of ejiao’s uses. China’s government health agency said ejiao marketing was based on superstitious concepts.

Still the surge in ejiao demand has driven the price of donkey hides up by nearly five times, from $78 per hide in 2010 to $405 in 2015, according to the Shandong Ejiao Association. China’s donkey population, meanwhile, has halved from 9.4 million in 1996 to 5.5 million in 2015, according to Chinese state media, driving producers to look abroad.

Donkey vs. money

In response to the surging demand, state-built donkey abattoirs have sprung up in the African nations of Namibia, Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia and Botswana. Niger’s hide exports tripled. Botswana slaughtered 3 percent of its total donkey population in six months, according the Donkey Sanctuary.

More than 2 million of the world’s 44 million donkeys are killed for their skins every year, according to Donkey Sanctuary.

In rural parts of western Zimbabwe, there are often more donkeys than cars on the roads. Farmers like the Chingodza family are resisting market pressure to sell their donkeys, vital for farm work and transportation to the biggest nearby town, Seke, about 40 kilometers (25 miles) outside of Harare.

I like my donkeys. They help a lot and are dear to me, said Jeffrey Chingodza, 65, as he put a yoke on a donkey. I won’t sell for export to Chinese abattoirs, he said.

His son 20-year old son Tawanda, however, said surging prices are tempting.

When you have a car and you get the first buyer saying ‘I will give you $3,000 for it and the second buyer says I will give you $6,000,’ what would you do? Tawanda said. I will definitely sell. All of us want money.

Source: Voice of America

Donkeys Stolen, Skinned in Africa to Feed Chinese Demand

NAIROBI, KENYA, Dawn was just beginning to break when Joseph KamonjoKariuki woke to find his donkeys missing. The villager searched the bush frantically for the animals he depends on to deliver water for a living, but they were nowhere to be found.

It was the village’s children who led Kariuki to the ghastly remains: three bloody, severed donkey heads lying on the ground.

I was in shock, said Kariuki, 37, who is known in his Kenyan village of Naivasha as Jose waMapunda � Joseph of the Donkeys in Swahili.

Chinese health fad

Kariuki believes his donkeys were the latest victims of a black market for donkey skins, the key ingredient in a Chinese health fad that’s threatening the beasts of burden many Africans rely on for farm work and transporting heavy loads.

From Kenya to Burkina Faso, Egypt to Nigeria, animal rights groups say, agents are seeking to feed China’s insatiable appetite for a gelatin they call ejiao (pronounced uh-jee-ow), made from stewed donkey skins that purports to provide health benefits.

Shrinking donkey herds in China have driven ejiao producers to seek out donkey skins from Africa, Australia and South America, threatening the world’s donkey population and driving violent crime and protests across Africa, the activists say.

Kariuki founded a protest group TunzaPunda Wako or Take Care of Your Donkey in Swahili. They’ve picketed the abattoir in Naivasha, accusing it of driving the skin thefts.

At this rate we will tell our children that donkeys once existed, he said.

Fourteen African governments have banned the export of donkey skins, according to the U.K.-based animal welfare group Donkey Sanctuary.

Butchering 1,000 donkeys a day

In Kenya, the donkey population has fallen in the past nine years by a third, from 1.8 million to 1.2 million. Kenya’s three licensed slaughterhouses butcher 1,000 donkeys a day to supply skins to China, said Calvin Onyango, program development manager of the Donkey Sanctuary Kenya.

We do not have many donkeys and most people do not want to sell their donkeys. So to keep supplying these slaughterhouses, we have ended up with businesspeople or brokers stealing other people’s donkeys to supply the slaughterhouses, Onyango said.

Onyango said that the rate at which donkeys were being slaughtered meant that there could be none left in five years.

From Kenya, the donkey hides travel thousands of kilometers (miles) to China. Many of them end up in an eastern town called Dong’e, where most of the world’s ejiao is made.

Farmers raise hundreds of donkeys in metal-roofed dirt paddocks surrounding the town. Most donkeys at three farms The Associated Press visited were tagged with the initials of the Dong’eEjiao Corporation Limited, or DEEJ, the nation’s largest producer of donkey gelatin.

The company processes about 1 million skins a year and makes up 63 percent of the ejiao market, according to the Forward Industry Research Institute, a Chinese market research firm. DEEJ says in its latest annual report that its profits rose 10 percent to $313 million last year.

DEEJ president Qin Yufeng declined to be interviewed but sent a statement to the AP saying ejiao has benefited more than 20,000 poor households in 1,000 towns.

Qin said the soaring demand for ejiao isn’t the reason that donkey populations are shrinking. Rather, fewer donkeys are being bred, he wrote, because they’ve been increasingly replaced by machines on farms.

GuoFanli, an economist in the southern city of Shenzhen, said Qin and DEEJ have inflated ejiao’s value.

By enriching the cultural meaning of ejiao, and overstating its actual effects, the company has successfully made it into a health product with multiple uses that can be bought as a gift, Guo said.

The more it has been hyped, the more miserably it could fall, he said.

Others have echoed skepticism of ejiao’s uses. China’s government health agency said ejiao marketing was based on superstitious concepts.

Still the surge in ejiao demand has driven the price of donkey hides up by nearly five times, from $78 per hide in 2010 to $405 in 2015, according to the Shandong Ejiao Association. China’s donkey population, meanwhile, has halved from 9.4 million in 1996 to 5.5 million in 2015, according to Chinese state media, driving producers to look abroad.

Donkey vs. money

In response to the surging demand, state-built donkey abattoirs have sprung up in the African nations of Namibia, Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia and Botswana. Niger’s hide exports tripled. Botswana slaughtered 3 percent of its total donkey population in six months, according the Donkey Sanctuary.

More than 2 million of the world’s 44 million donkeys are killed for their skins every year, according to Donkey Sanctuary.

In rural parts of western Zimbabwe, there are often more donkeys than cars on the roads. Farmers like the Chingodza family are resisting market pressure to sell their donkeys, vital for farm work and transportation to the biggest nearby town, Seke, about 40 kilometers (25 miles) outside of Harare.

I like my donkeys. They help a lot and are dear to me, said Jeffrey Chingodza, 65, as he put a yoke on a donkey. I won’t sell for export to Chinese abattoirs, he said.

His son 20-year old son Tawanda, however, said surging prices are tempting.

When you have a car and you get the first buyer saying ‘I will give you $3,000 for it and the second buyer says I will give you $6,000,’ what would you do? Tawanda said. I will definitely sell. All of us want money.

Source: Voice of America

Minister GwedeMantashe briefs media on draft Mining Charter, 17 Jun

The Minister of Mineral Resources, MrGwedeMantashe will publish the draft Mining Charter today for public comments before it is finalised and gazetted.

This follows weeks of engagements with stakeholders and social partners.

Publishing of the Charter moves us a step forward in terms of ensuring regulatory and policy certainty for the industry. We urge members of the public to submit their comments, views and ideas in order to shape the Charter, Minister Mantashe said.

Members of the media are invited to a media briefing by Minister Mantashe following the publishing of the Charter to be held as follows:

Date: Sunday, 17 June 2018

Time: 10h00

Venue: GCIS Hatfield, Tshedimosetso House, 1035 Francis Baard Street

NB: There will be a video link to Parliament, Imbizo Media Center, 120Plein Street.

Please confirm your attendance with Mildred Mnguni by 4pm on Saturday, 16th June 2018 on 071 475 8415 or 060 550 4379

Source: Government of South Africa

Minister Angie Motshekga takes Second Chance Matric Support Programme Road Show to Bela-Bela Community Hall, 17 Jun

The Minister of Basic Education, Mrs Angie Motshekga will be taking the Second Chance Matric Support Programme Road Show to Bela-Bela Community Hall in the Bela-Bela Municipality, Limpopo on Sunday, 17 June 2018.

The Second Chance Matric Support Programme provides innovative support through Face to Face Classes, Multimedia Broadcasting Solutions and Digital Online Course via Internet as well as Printed Resources to candidates provided by the Department.

It offers young people who have either failed to meet the requirements of the NSC; need to improve their matric qualification for further studies; have opted to write the NSC examinations on a Part-time basis; or are Full-time candidates that just need additional revision and examination preparation tools, the chance to obtain their matric certificates with the necessary grades to improve their lives and achieve their dreams.

In light of the above, the Minister invites all those who are interested in finding out more information about the Second Chance Matric Support Programme to the Bela-Bela Community Hall where the Minister will be addressing our young people and inform them of the various resources that are available to them through the Second Chance Matric Support Programme and to motivate them to become the future leaders of South Africa through embracing all opportunities that Government is providing to them in preparation for their NSC Examinations.

Date: Sunday, 17 June 2018

Venue: Bela-Bela Community Hall, Bela-Bela Municipality, Limpopo.

Time: 9h00

Source: Government of South Africa