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Lobengula’s gold coated spear stolen

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A GOLD coated spear and artefacts belonging to the last Ndebele King, Lobengula, have been stolen from Old Bulawayo with the National Museums and Monuments of Zimbabwe (NMMZ) coming under fire for poor security.

The spear, measuring 1,2m, was stolen from the historic site on the outskirts of Bulawayo where other artefacts of the Ndebele Kingdom are kept. The incident was discovered on Sunday by a caretaker at Old Bulawayo. Sources said the caretaker, Stanley Gwebu, discovered that the spear, a 45cm black fly-whisk and a small brown clay pot which were placed near King Lobengula’s statue, were missing at around 1:45pm while conducting his chores and reported the matter to the police.

Police chief national spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba confirmed the incident saying police were looking into the matter.

“I can confirm that there was a burglary at Old Bulawayo where some artefacts were stolen. But I don’t have the finer details on the matter. However, police are investigating the matter,” said Snr Asst Comm Charamba.

King Lobengula’s descendent, Prince Zwide Khumalo, expressed shock at the incident saying the family had not been notified of the theft. Khumalo rapped the NMMZ for failing to provide adequate security at the historic site saying royal artefacts deserved to be kept in a more secure place.

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United Refineries chief executive, Busisa Moyo, told the Daily News that cooking oil shortages that were being experienced in the country were due to delays in payments to raw material suppliers.

“We are very concerned about the issue because payments are not being prioritised and payments are not going through fast enough despite the fact that we are in the top 10 of the central bank’s Import Priority list,” he said.

Moyo also noted that cooking oil producers were anticipating a 30 percent slump from the current 8 000 to 10 000 metric tonnes being produced, due to the cash shortages.

Oil Expressers Association of Zimbabwe (OEAZ) president, Sylvester Mangani, echoed Moyo’s sentiments at a ministry of Industry meeting last week, saying the situation — if it continued unabated — would lead to a serious shortage of the commodity.

Disgruntled citizens interviewed by the newspaper said they were now resorting to hoarding most basic commodities in preparation for the looming food shortages.

Zimbabwe, which is battling an economic recession after failing to register significant growth since 2013 when Mugabe and Zanu PF romped to a hotly-disputed election victory, is in economic turmoil after the central bank introduced a raft of measures to deal with the cash shortages last month, including limiting daily cash withdrawals.

The May 4, 2016 measures that included a proposal to introduce bond notes have seen depositors embarking on panicky withdrawals, fearing a return of the discredited Zimbabwe dollar.

Analysts who have spoken to the Daily News have said the cash crunch manifested “the sad reality” that Zimbabwe’s economy was continuing on its catastrophic downward spiral — a consequence of the country’s decades-old political crisis that is widely blamed on Mugabe and Zanu PF.

In a surprising recent admission, a Zanu PF politburo member concurred that the country was “in dire straits” — a sentiment that flew in the face of official communiqués by both government and other governing party officials who incredulously continue to claim that all is well in the country despite obvious evidence to the contrary.

The bigwig also said “burying our heads in the sand like ostriches as we are doing” is not helping the country — adding that it “pained” him to see so many Zimbabweans suffering to the extent that they were doing.

“It is a fact that the economy is in a very bad shape, and that the poor are being particularly hard-hit. I think part of the way out of this is for all of us to admit that the country is in dire straits so that we can all sit down as Zimbabweans to find the requisite solutions.

“I feel pained to see so many of our people, particularly the poor in towns and rural areas having to make do with so little or nothing, and they have lived like this for so long.

“In fact, many young people who are under 25 years in our country don’t really know a good, normal life. It’s time for us to stop the denial.

“We need to rise above the culture of petty political fights that is now a permanent feature of Zimbabwean life,” the contrite politburo member said.

Most political and economic observers have warned that 2016 will, in all likelihood, be harder all-round compared to 2015, which was itself generally described as an annus horribilis (horrible year).

They said there was “little hope” that life would get better for most Zimbabweans, and that if anything, the country’s ailing economy would get sicker, while the deadly factional and succession wars ravaging Zanu PF would worsen

 

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