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Zimbabwe’s new ‘GOAT’ currency? Minister announces livestock-for-school-fees plan

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Cash-strapped Zimbabwe’s latest plan to have parents pay school fees in goats has got some Zimbabweans up in arms – but not everyone thinks it’s a bad idea.

Education Minister Lazarus Dokora and a ministry official have told the state-controlled Sunday Mail that schools must be “flexible” when demanding outstanding fees from parents.

“Parents of the concerned pupils can pay their fees using livestock,” education ministry permanent secretary Sylvia Utete-Masango was quoted as saying.

News of the new fees deal (which also includes encouraging parents in towns and cities to offer free labour at schools in lieu of hard cash) comes after Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa announced last week that banks could now accept goats, cattle, sheep and chickens as collateral for loans.

Zimbabwe is in the grip of worsening cash shortages that mean locals frequently spend hours in bank queues to withdraw cash.

Shops have just been ordered to reduce the amount of cash they allow card-holders to take as “cashback” to just $20, though many stores no longer offer this service.

Shoppers queuing for just $4 in cashback earlier this month. Most cashback is in the form of “bond notes”, a special-to-Zimbabwe currency that has no value outside the country, except perhaps to novelty hunters on Ebay.

President Robert Mugabe’s government says the cash shortages are due to people “externalising” hard cash (taking it out of the country) and retailers who refuse to bank their cash.

But critics say it’s to do with the lack of investment and years of low industrial production and rising unemployment inside Zimbabwe.

Hyperinflation wiped out Zimbabwe’s precursor to the bond note, the “bearer cheque”, in 2008-9.

The goats-for-fees-and-collateral plan has elicited responses ranging from scorn to something much more accommodating on social media.

Well-known filmmaker Tsitsi Dangarembga tweeted: “If we had been told in 1970 ‘We are fighting to introduce cattle and goats as currency. Please help & die for this” what would we have said?”

Publisher Trevor Ncube asked in a tweet: “Who needs the greenback when you have goats?”

A joke circulating on WhatsApp has a picture of a goat and the words: “BREAKING NEWS: Zimbabwe introduces a new currency.”

There are those who see the goats-for-fees offer as a practical solution in cases where parents have no cash. “Better mbudzi (goats) than no fees at all,” said one Zimbabwean.

Others felt it was not fair that the schools would now have the headache of trying to find a buyer with cash for the goats – while it’s also been pointed out that not every rural parent has goats or property to barter.

Lawyer and activist Fadzayi Mahere said: “Cows and goats to secure bank loans. Cows and goats to pay school fees. Very soon we shall need a Reserve Kraal of Zimbabwe.”

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Motherland News

Grenade attack victims receive blood donations in Ethiopia.

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Solidarity is building up in Ethiopia two days after the grenade attack on a political rally by Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. Addis Ababa football fans gathered at the National Red Cross to donate blood to victims injured in the explosion.

‘‘My condolences to the families of the victims. We will not stop supporting them. May the souls of those who lost their lives rest in peace’‘, said St. George Football Club supporter, Waqajira Midekisa.



‘‘It is very sad that this has happened at a time when we are working for peace. We didn’t expect this to happen, but we are so happy to be available today to help our brothers and sisters by giving blood at this crucial time’‘, said Kidestemariam Tesafye, organizer of the blood donation exercise.

On Sunday, Ethiopia’s health Minister announced that 2 people have died following the attack.

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The explosion took place when the new Prime Minister had just finished his speech in front of tens of thousands of people gathered in Meskel Square, in the centre of the capital.

One person was killed and more than 150 injured during ensuing panic moments after the attack.

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Guatemala’s eruption: Gercia digs for lost relatives.

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The ‘official’ search for victims has ended in San Miguel Los Lotes , a town devastated when Guatemala’s deadly Fuego volcano erupted earlier this month.

But some determined locals aren’t giving up, like 48-year-old Eufemia Garcia Ixpata said she would continue to search for some 50 family members lost.



“I’m not going to give up until I have a part of my family and am able to give them a Christian burial. Even if it’s just a few little bones, even if it’s just a piece of cloth”, Garcia said.

Even now, at the crack of dawn, she leaves the shelter where she’s been living, to go out and dig for dozens of missing relatives.

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For Garcia , the search has at times been highly emotional. She found the remains of one of her children. And also found some remains of her mother – a 75-year-old who had decided she could NOT outrun the volcanic flow.

Whenever the alarms ring out warning of more volcanic activity Garcia puts her search through the rubble on hold— and instead visits the morgue or checks local hospitals. She only stops to eat when food is shoved in front of her by aid workers.

And Garcia is not alone in her anguish.

Scores of people remain missing, while hundreds of survivors remain in shelters, wondering what happened to their loved ones when volcanic ash rained down on their home.

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Over 900 migrants picked up off Coast of Libya.

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Libya’s coastguard picked up 490 migrants off the coast of Tripoli on Sunday in the third rescue operation of the day.

Rami Ghameed, the commander of the Ras Ajdir ship which picked up the migrants, said that throughout the day, a number of coastguard ships across the country’s waters picked up a little over nine hundred migrants from a total of six rubber dinghies.



‘‘There were a total of six rubber boats, two were rescued by (the Libyan coastguard’s) central sector, the Ras Ajdir ship rescued three of the boats, and the Sabratha (coastguard) ship rescued one boat. The Sabratha ship is on its way to Tripoli’s naval base.

The number of those rescued on the boats picked up by the central sector was around 361 people, and this ship, the Ras Ajdir, picked up around 490 people’‘, Ghameed said.

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Sunday’s rescue operations brought the total number of migrants trying to reach Europe, but taken back to Libya, to well over 1,000 since last week alone.

Libya’s western coast is the main departure point for migrants fleeing wars and poverty and trying to reach Europe.

The number of crossings has sharply dropped since July 2017 due to a more active coastguard presence with support from the European Union.

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