Entries in Zimbabwe (11)


Zimbabwe Votes on New Constitution

Hemera/Thinkstock(HARARE, Zimbabwe) -- Voters in Zimbabwe turned out to vote Saturday for a new constitution that is being backed by both political parties.

The new constitution includes measures to protect free expression and reduces the powers of the president, among other reforms considered to be pro-democracy.

Zimbabwe has been entrenched in crisis since the 2008 election, which saw former opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai win the most votes, but refuse to participate in a runoff due to violence and accusations of vote-rigging on the part of the longtime ruler President Robert Mugabe.

Mugabe, 89, has been in power for over 25 years, and according to USA Today, the four most recent elections have been marred by violence. While the proposed constitution would limit his powers to some extent, critics say it doesn't quite do enough.

Additionally, critics say that because the voting date was not announced until about one month ago, the citizens have not had sufficient time to read and understand the 170-page document, according to the New York Times.

The main faction of the opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change, is urging its supporters to vote "yes" Saturday, calling the proposed constitution the best compromise that could be achieved at this point.

According to the Times, the results of the vote are expected by Friday. Citizens hope that if passed, the new constitution will be a step towards peace and and towards putting Zimbabwe, once among the most stable nations in Africa, back on a path to prosperity

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Chinese Workers Accused of Eating Zimbabwe's Endangered Wildlife

Hemera/Th​inkstock(HARARE, Zimbabwe) -- Adding to an economy in crisis, Zimbabwe now faces a reduction in its prized wildlife after reports surfaced of Chinese workers killing and eating endangered species.

Chinese companies have increased in the past five years in Zimbabwe and with them an influx of workers. Some of these workers have been accused of buying, killing and eating animals that are expensive fare in their native China, but can be acquired cheaply or at no cost in the southern African nation, according to a report by the Global Post.  

The paper also reports that recently four Chinese workers were fined $300 each and deported after officials found shells of the endangered Bell’s Hinged tortoises in their residence. Pythons, leopards and even local village dogs have been disappearing at an alarming rate in some areas and have become a concern for the Zimbabwe National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ZNSPCA).

ZNSPCA tells the Post that the poaching of animals is an issue in the country and with the cash-strapped organization unable to tackle the many cases, they are planning to meet with the Chinese Embassy to discuss what can be done about the poaching.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Trump Sons' Hunt Not Under Investigation, Zimbabwe Officials Say

Mitchell Haaseth/NBC(NEW YORK) -- Donald Trump's sons aren't in trouble with officials in Zimbabwe for their 2011 hunting expedition in the country.

It was reported last week that local conservationsts were investigating Donald Trump Jr. and his brother Eric's trip in part because the South African safari company that organized it allegedly is not registered in Zimbabwe.

However, the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority released a statement Tuesday saying there never was an "official investigation." It says the firm the Trump sons used worked with a "locally owned and registered outfitter who handled all the required hunting permits."

The authority also says the hunt was conducted under the supervision of its game rangers.

Animal lovers on Twitter criticized the Trump sons for their trip after photos of the two posing with animals they killed went viral earlier this month.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Donald Trump's Sons Criticized for Hunting in Zimbabwe

Mitchell Haaseth/NBC(NEW YORK) -- Recently released photographs of two of Donald Trump’s sons with dead animals from a Zimbabwean hunting safari last year have sparked criticism from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and Twitter users.

One photograph shows Donald Trump Jr., 34, and brother Eric, 28, standing around a dead crocodile, which is hanging from a tree by a rope.

Another photo shows one brother, wearing a belt of ammunition, holding a knife in one hand and a bloody elephant tail in the other. The dead elephant is lying on the ground beside him.

PETA spokesman Nicole Dao said in a statement, “If the young Trumps are looking for a thrill, perhaps they should consider skydiving, bungee jumping, or even following in their anti-hunting father’s footsteps and taking down competing businesses – not wild animals. Like all animals, elephants, buffalo, and crocodiles deserve better than to be killed and hacked apart for two young millionaires’ grisly photo opportunity. If the Trumps want to help villagers, they have plenty of resources at their disposal.”

The businessmen brothers work for their father’s Trump Organization real estate empire. Their representative did not return a call for comment.

In a joint statement, however, the brothers said, “We are both avid outdoorsmen and were brought up hunting and fishing with our grandfather, who taught us that nothing should ever be taken for granted or wasted. We have the utmost respect for nature and have always hunted in accordance with local laws and regulations. In addition, all meat was donated to local villagers who were incredibly grateful. We love traveling and being in the woods. At the end of the day, we are outdoorsmen at heart.”

Donald Trump Jr. defended himself against the flood of criticism on Twitter, insisting that the meat from the animals they hunted “fed a village for a month.”

In response to accusations that the two men mutilated the animals, Donald Trump Jr. tweeted, “@imyourlawyer mutilating a corpse? A villager cut the tail off as part of their traditions from the old ivory hunters I went with it.”

Many people accused the men of hunting exotic animals that wildlife conservation groups are working hard to protect.

“@EspresStilettos if u knew anything about it you would realize nothing we hunt is endangered that’s just how its spun by anti hunters,” Trump Jr. tweeted.

“@FollowSmoke in parts of africa they are actually overpopulated and killed by the govt. I know its not PC but look it up you’ll see,” according to another tweet by Trump Jr.

Trump Jr. wrote on Twitter that he did not release the photographs, and did not know who did.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Mediators Say Zimbabwe Need Reforms Before Elections

Hemera/Thinkstock(HARARE, Zimbabwe) -- Zimbabwe plans to hold elections this year whether the country has a new constitution or not, says a ruling party spokesperson.

The southern African nation is expected to hold the elections in 2012. The ruling party Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU) and opposition party the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) signed a unity agreement in 2008 which is expected to end once new elections are called.

Election mediators including South African officials say democratic reforms including a new constitution are needed before elections can occur.

President Robert Mugabe, 88, has been in power since the country gained independence from British rule in 1980.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


EU Extends Zimbabwe Sanctions, Removes Some Names from List

Hemera/Thinkstock(BRUSSELS, Belgium) -- The European Union removed some names off a sanctions list for Zimbabwe, though they extended an arms embargo and freezing aid for a further six months.

The EU Council met in Brussels on Friday where they approved removing 51 names from the list though President Robert Mugabe and key members of his government remain on the list. Since the September 2008 power sharing agreement between the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU-PF) and opposition party the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), the EU lifted some sanctions on the southern African nation.

A travel ban was removed for Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa and Foreign Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi in order for them to travel to Brussels for negotiations with the council.

Zimbabwe is expected to hold presidential elections in 2012.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Mermaids Blamed for Stalled Water Projects in Zimbabwe

ChinaFotoPress/Getty Image(MUTARE, Zimbabwe) -- A Zimbabwean Water Resources Minister stunned fellow legislators when he blamed mermaids for two incomplete water dam projects.

Samuel Sipepa Nkomo said the mythical sea creatures were to blame for the delay in dam projects in Gokwe and Manicaland at a Senate Committee meeting, the Daily Mail reports. Nkomo said mermaids were scaring the workers away from work sites and the only way to appease them was to brew "tradtional beer."

In a country with both Christian and animistic beliefs, the myth of mermaids, or water spirits, is a common cultural belief. The Minister for Local Government, Rural and Urban Development, Ignatius Chombo, also believes in mermaids because he agreed with Nkomo at the meeting.

The reservoirs, when completed, will aid in water supply and irrigation projects for the landlocked nation.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Zimbabwe to Begin HIV/AIDS Door-to-Door Testing Campaign

ABC News Radio(HARARE, Zimbabwe) -- Zimbabwe will soon begin a door-to-door campaign to test for HIV and AIDS.

Health Minister Henry Madzorera announced the campaign on Wednesday, saying hundreds of volunteer workers are being trained to implement the testing, which will include counseling and distribution of drugs. Madzorera also said the campaign would help those living in remote locations that could not go to a clinic for testing.

According to UNAIDS, HIV infection in Zimbabwe has dropped almost 50 percent since the 1990s, a decline attributed to a change in sexual behavior, education and the availability of free antiretroviral drugs.

The testing will be voluntary and is expected to start within a few months.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Australian Woman Survives Plunge After Bungee Line Snaps

Victoria Falls Bridge. iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- An Australian student touring Zimbabwe survived a fall into the Zambezi River after her bungee cord broke, dropping her into crocodile-infested waters.

“I think it is definitely a miracle that I survived,” said Erin Langworthy.

Langworthy did the jump on Dec. 31 with Shearwater Victoria Falls, whose website touts the experience as “Pure Adrenaline!!!!!!!!!!!”

The 22-year-old jumped from Victoria Falls Bridge, 365 feet above the river, and after the cord snapped -- with her feet tied together -- she maneuvered her way to the bank, she told ABC's Good Morning America.  The whole experience was caught on camera by her friend.

“I actually brought my arms up over my face, to protect myself when I hit the water.  I sort of remember it all, it was quite cold so it snapped me out of it,” she told GMA on Monday.  “I tried to stay afloat, and your legs are quite heavy cause of the line.  I was hearing the rapids.  Luckily we had been rafting, so I remembered some of the safety tips.”

Langworthy spent a week in the hospital with a fractured collarbone and bruises. She says that all of her cuts and bruises have now healed.

“The main problem is my lungs. So I’m stuck in South Africa longer then I thought,” she said.

According to Victoria Falls National Park officials and tourist websites, nearly 50,000 people had jumped from that bridge over the past decade, and this was the first time a cord had snapped.

“As a matter of record we wish to highlight her bravery and survival skills, which contributed significantly to her rescue.  Her continued positive disposition and strength of character has been an inspiration to us all,” Shearwater Victoria Falls said in a statement. “It goes without saying that we deeply regret the incident, which is the first such incident in 17 years of operations during which time more than 150,000 people have safely jumped from the bridge.”

Langworthy told GMA that she would consider bungee jumping again -- just not anytime soon.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Zimbabwe Women Charged with Raping Men To Get Sperm for Rituals

Hemera/Thinkstock(JOHANNESBURG) -- Three women in Zimbabwe have been accused of raping at least four men to get their sperm for traditional rituals.  The women, who have been charged with 17 counts of aggravated indecent assault, go on trial Monday.

Police officials in Zimbabwe believe the alleged perpetrators are part of a nationwide syndicate that may be using the sperm for a traditional ritual claiming to make people lucky and wealthy.  They were apprehended in a town about 170 miles outside of the capital city of Harare after police found 31 used condoms in their car.

One of the alleged victims told his story on a popular national talk show called Maichiamba.  He said he was raped after accepting a car ride from the women.

"One of the women threw water in my face and they injected me with something that gave me a strong sexual desire.  They stopped the car and made me have sex with each of them several times, using condoms," he said.  "When they had finished they left me in the bush totally naked."

The man said he went to the hospital to be treated for the drug's effects and called the police.  After facing ridicule and scorn over the attack, he said he came forward publicly because he wanted to help other victims.

At least nine men have come forward with similar stories of being attacked.

The women have denied the charges, claiming they are prostitutes and did not have time to dispose of the condoms.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio