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Zimbabwe President Mugabe urges banks to lower interest rates

HARARE, (Xinhua) -- Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe on Friday implored banks to slash lending rates to farmers to boost agriculture productivity in the country.

Zimbabwe’s economy is agriculture based, with the sector contributing roughly 60 percent to the country’s foreign currency earnings.

Mugabe said the high cost of money was inhibiting agriculture production in the country, hence the need for the cost of money to be lowered.

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe is on record imploring local banks to cut interest rates and make funding for productive sectors of the economy affordable.

The RBZ in February directed banks to slash interest rates to 12 percent from 15 percent per annum with effect from April this year.

“Financial institutions should come in to provide sufficiently the needed capital for agriculture. We pray for banks to lower their interest rates because in a sense they are an inhibition to progress and development,” Mugabe said while opening the annual Harare Agriculture Show.

The president also urged input suppliers from seed, fertilizer and agro-chemical providers to work closely with farmers to make agriculture a success in the country.

Mugabe had earlier toured various stands at the country’s premier agricultural showcase, with his wife Grace making her first public appearance since leaving South Africa last Sunday where she was embroiled in a legal dispute after allegedly assaulting a South African young woman.



Zimbabwe Vice President Mnangagwa not yet fully recovered: Mugabe

HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) -- Zimbabwean Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa is not yet fully recovered from illness caused by suspected food poisoning, President Robert Mugabe said Saturday.

In an address at the National Heroes Acre for the joint burial of Mbuya Maud Muzenda, widow of former Zimbabwe Vice President Simon Muzenda, and George Rutanhire, a veteran freedom fighter, Mugabe said the vice president attended part of the burial ceremony in Mbare before excusing himself.

“The vice president said he has not yet fully recovered and is no longer going to the National Heroes Acre as per the instructions of his doctors who have advised that he must not strain himself at this juncture,” Mugabe said.

Mnangagwa suffered a severe bout of vomiting and diarrhea while Mugabe was addressing a rally in Gwanda, Matabeleland South Province, on Aug. 12.

After receiving initial treatment in the country, Mnangagwa was airlifted to South Africa the following day for further treatment. He returned to Zimbabwe on Aug. 19.

He made his first public appearance since falling ill on Aug. 25 when he visited the homesteads of the Muzenda and Rutanhire families in Harare to pay his condolences.

While some speculate that the VP fell sick after eating poisoned food, the government has rebuffed the claim, saying he fell sick after taking stale food.

“What the doctors think happened is that perhaps he ate some stale food, which then means it is not really poison in the sense that the people are trying to allege,” Information Minister Chris Mushohwe was quoted as saying by the state media last week.


Zimbabwe President Mugabe criticizes corruption in police force

HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) -- Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe on Saturday slammed corruption in the police force and implored the force to serve the people and shun greed.

He said the police should stop extorting money from motorists at roadblocks and those interested in running businesses should do so in a legitimate way.

Mugabe’s remarks followed public outcry over perceived police corruption, especially at roadblocks on the country’s roads and highways.

The tourism sector has also raised concern over the numerous police roadblocks, saying they were inconveniencing tourists and hurting the industry.

Mugabe said members of the police force operating commuter omnibuses should organize themselves and start a proper bus company, noting that some of the omnibuses get involved in fatal accidents.

Road accidents are common in Zimbabwe and some of the accidents involve commuter omnibuses, one of the major forms of public transport in the country.

“Be a police force of the people and stop that evil (of extorting money from motorists at roadblocks),” Mugabe said while addressing mourners at the burial of Mbuya Maud Muzenda, widow of late Zimbabwean Vice President Simon Muzenda, and veteran freedom fighter George Rutanhire, at the National Heroes Acre.

Mugabe exhorted members of the police force to engage in dignified business activities.



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