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Ballance makes Zimbabwe debut in close win

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Former England batter Gary Ballance has made 30 on his international debut for Zimbabwe as they beat Ireland by five wickets to win the opening Twenty20 international of their three-match series.

Ballance’s runs came off 29 balls as Zimbabwe scored 5-118 as they initially made hard work of chasing down Ireland’s modest total of 114 all out but eventually won with two overs to spare at the Harare Sports Club on Thursday.

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The 33-year-old left-hander last month signed a two-year contract to play domestic and international cricket in the country of his birth following his release from county cricket side Yorkshire.

Ballance played 23 Tests for England between 2014 and 2017, scoring 1498 runs, including four centuries, at an average of 37.45. He also appeared in 16 one-day internationals but has been allowed to switch his international allegiance.

The Harare-born player has spent the last year on the sidelines while dealing with mental health issues after he admitted using racist language against former Yorkshire teammate Azeem Rafiq.

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Yorkshire, who released Ballance two years early from his contract as per the player’s wishes, have made sweeping changes following Rafiq’s explosive allegations of institutional racism at the club.

Ballance has apologised to Rafiq in person-Reuters

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Politics

Zimbabwe court grants bail to 26 opposition party members

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BY STAFF REPORTER

A Zimbabwean court granted bail on Friday to 26 opposition party members who were arrested for holding what authorities said was an unlawful gathering.

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The arrest of Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) members, including two Members of Parliament, stoked fears of a crackdown on opposition politicians ahead of a crucial election this year at a yet to be announced date.

“This confirms that the arrest was an abuse of process in the first place,” CCC spokeswoman Fadzayi Mahere told journalists outside court. “All this shows that the regime’s paranoia has reached fever pitch and they notice that they are staring defeat in the faceZimbabwean police on Jan. 14 fired teargas at the CCC party gathering in Harare and arrested its members. The defendants’ lawyers argued that the arrests were unlawful as the gathering was at a private space.

Arguing against bail, prosecutors said the party had not sought clearance to hold the meeting. Zimbabwe laws require that political parties apply for approval from police two weeks in advance before holding a gatheringThe arrests came after a wave of politically motivated violence against opposition supporters in rural Zimbabwe, raising fears of repression ahead of this year’s presidential election.

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CCC, led by the youthful Nelson Chamisa, will battle President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s ZANU-PF for the second time at the poll.

The opposition party, born out of the old Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), enjoys massive urban support and is seen as a threat to ZANU-PF’s 43-year-old stranglehold on power-Reuters 

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Air Zimbabwe to expand domestic routes

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Air Zimbabwe is promoting more domestic routes, as the airline seeks to expand its operations.

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This is according to the airline’s spokesperson, Firstme Vitori.

The airline is expected to take delivery of a second Embraer (ERJ145) soon, in line with its six-year strategic turnaround plan (STP).

Votori noted that key to this strategy is the procurement and deployment of appropriate equipment for the current and planned route network, as well as a fleet commonality for the containment of maintenance and operational costs.

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The airline currently uses a Boeing 737-200 and ERJ145 on its domestic and regional routes. Vitori said when travel restrictions eased last year, the Zimbabwe government – as a result of the Covid-19 vaccination rollout – saw a significant increase in load factors to an average of around 55%, combining the B737 with ERJ145 aircraft. ‘The deluge of corporate, and social conferences and events in Bulawayo and Victoria Falls saw us operating a lot of commercial charter flights with both aircraft. During the peak season, we also added frequencies to our domestic routes up to two flights a day,’ Vitori said.

Regionally, she said, the airline services Johannesburg, South Africa, with flights every Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday – and to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, flights are available every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

‘Passengers in this sector are mostly business traders, and they enjoy a free baggage allowance of up to 60kg,’ she said.

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The airline is also working on route expansion in a two-pronged approach, which includes increasing frequencies on the current route network for both domestic and regional destinations, she added.-New Era Newspaper

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Hwange villagers receive training on methods to mitigate HWC

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BY NOKUTHABA DLAMINI 

Victoria Falls Wildlife Trust (VFWT) in collaboration with Connected Conservation recently conducted a human- wildlife conflict  workshop in Hwange West rural communities on how to make chilli cakes and strings to chase away elephants. 

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According to VFWT, the workshop targeted farmers, women included as the cases of human-wildlife conflicts keep escalating. 

“The Workshop was held with local communal farmers on passive methods that can be used to deter human-elephant conflict,”VFWT said in a statement. 

“Farmers were taught how to make a briquette mix of elephant dung and ground hot chilies to produce a chili brick which is then burnt in fires along the field boundaries to create a noxious smoke that deters elephants from raiding their crops.” 

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Among many other things, the organisation said” the communal farmers were also taught how to make chili string fences using chili grease to create buffer zones as well as how to erect effective watchtowers to increase alertness.”

Problem animals such as the elephants have been a headache to communities under Chief Mvuthu’s jurisdiction. 

Year on year, villagers lose crops, which has plunged many into starvation and having to rely on donor handouts. 

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Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority says it does not have the resources to fence its parks so that they don’t encroach into the communities. 

Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe is home to one of the largest elephant populations in Africa. 

There are an estimated 44 000 pachyderms inhabiting the 14,651 km² Park, which is almost half of Zimbabwe’s whole elephant population 

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