The asbestos mines belonging to SMM Holdings were once among the world’s most productive – before allegations of fraud and mismanagement essentially shut them down. Years-long efforts to revive them have failed, and former employees are paying the price.
Despite an extensive policy platform and a resume including a stint as deputy prime minister, much of the public attention on the presidential candidacy of Thokozani Khupe has focused on her identity. She’s Ndebele and a woman, and both of those make her an outlier in Zimbabwe’s public life – as well as a target.
Ambrose Mutinhiri is angling to be the heir to ousted President Robert Mugabe, but to prove his loyalty, he had to leave the party Mugabe that led for decades. Mutinhiri says Mugabe has rewarded that loyalty with his support. Now, he hopes Zimbabweans will reward him with their votes.
Zimbabwe’s government is aiming to boost maize production and turn the tide on food shortages by offering farmers loans for seed and supplies. In exchange, farmers must give the government much of their crop.
Building on Zimbabwe’s wetlands is illegal, but that hasn’t stopped the important ecosystems from being developed. Lax enforcement of the law means developers don’t face repercussions, but environmentalists argue that dire environmental consequences – for all Zimbabweans – are inevitable.
Traditional spiritualists say Zimbabwe’s current problems are due to the government’s failure to recognize their work and to honor ancestral spirits who helped the country win liberation. They are seeking government funding, saying it would help rectify this oversight and lead to economic recovery.
In 1980, when Zimbabwe won its independence and Robert Mugabe became president, private boarding schools were for the moneyed, largely white elites. Almost immediately, the country’s public school system was transformed, but private schools still retain their exclusive, expensive cachet.
Zimbabwe’s tobacco industry is thriving, but its forests are not even though the government has set aside money for reforestation. Now, tobacco farmers, who rely on burning wood to cure their crop, are taking those efforts into their own hands.