Saturday, December 31, 2005

Cholera breaks out in Southern Zim


An ongoing problem that breaks out now and then...due to dirty water.

Zim to send 20 peacekeepers to Sudan


Zimbabwe police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri has said 20 police officers will leave the country next week for United Nations peacekeeping duties in Sudan's western region of Darfur, local media reported on Friday.

During his meeting with the police officers on Thursday, Chihuri urged them to "keep the Zimbabwean flag flying high, mindful of those who needlessly seek to soil the good name of the ZRP (Zimbabwe Republic Police) and Zimbabwe in general by portraying her as a country fraught with lawlessness."

"I, thus, thrust upon your shoulders, as envoys of Zimbabwe, the duty to resolutely and steadfastly defend our integrity and sovereignty," he said.

Chihuri said the contribution made by the police in enabling global peace over the years was continuously exemplified by the UN 's perennial requests to the government to send police officers on peacekeeping missions.

It's also a good source of money for the bankrupt Zim government...

Friday, December 30, 2005

Englund, the UN and the tsunami homeless

One year ago -- Dec. 26, 2004 -- a tsunami walloped a huge swathe of the world from Indonesia all the way to Africa. Some 300,000 people were swept to their deaths,...

Across the Western world, TV viewers reached into their wallets, chipped in the best part of $5 billion, and left it in the hands of the United Nations and the "nongovernmental organizations," the world's self-proclaimed moral consciences.

You'll recall that, immediately after the tsunami, Jan Egeland, the Norwegian bureaucrat and big U.N. humanitarian honcho, gave a press conference attacking the "stinginess" of wealthy nations, like the Great Satan. Given that, at that moment, Mr. Egeland's vast, permanent 24/7 "humanitarian relief" bureaucracy was focusing on giving press conferences in New York, while the only actual "relief effort" was conducted ad hoc by the Pentagon and the Royal Australian Navy, his remarks seemed a little churlish, to say the least.

But even folks who aren't on the Turtle Bay payroll have somehow bought into the curious proposition that helping people without going through the U.N. bureaucracy -- saving lives unilaterally, so to speak -- is illegitimate. So Mr. Egeland and the like-minded got their way: Billions and billions of dollars were contributed to tsunami relief. And what happened to it? A year later, of the 1.8 million left homeless, only 20 percent have been rehoused. The rest are still in temporary shelters....

So who ought to be the experts? Well, how about Jan Egeland and his U.N. staff? These guys get full-time salaries to think about nothing but international disaster relief, and yet the best they can do when disaster strikes is stand in front of a camera in New York and announce they're sending someone to the region for an "assessment" of the "situation," just as soon as the U.S. Air Force emergency team have flown in and restored room service to the five-star hotel.

In fact, Mr. Egeland was wrong. Had Western nations been more "stingy," the aid might have been better targeted and more effective. As it was, your average Third World kleptocrat official quickly figured out every NGO on the planet was trying to catch his eye by waving large amounts of dollar bills. ```

Next time it might be easier just to eliminate the middle man and have Bongo and Sting and Sir Bob Geldof and Sir Elton John and Sir Paul McCartney hold an all-star fundraising gala for the Indonesian Customs Inspectors' Retirement Fund.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Should Mugabe be indicted?


The international herald tribune says yes...
The escalating humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe requires an immediate and forceful international response.
Mugabe must be held accountable for the crimes he has committed. A UN Security Council referral to the International Criminal Court to investigate Mugabe and his regime, similar to the referral over Sudan's Darfur situation, is the most appropriate and effective response.
The International Criminal Court, or ICC, was established on July 1, 2002, as the first permanent international court to investigate and try individuals for the most heinous violations of international humanitarian law. A referral to the ICC to immediately investigate Zimbabwe would fall squarely within the powers of the Security Council to decide what measures should be taken to maintain or restore international peace and security.
Exercising its wide discretionary powers, the Security Council could specifically name Mugabe as an ongoing threat to the peace and security of the region and authorize an ICC investigation, even though Zimbabwe has refused to accept the court's jurisdiction.
Would an investigation for crimes against humanity stop Mugabe? Nobody knows. But we have to try, because the Zimbabwean government's systematic human rights abuses have reached staggering proportions.
Under the guise of creating order in the cities, Mugabe's government has razed informal suburban townships that housed more than a million people. Without notice or judicial proceedings, tens of thousands of homes, classrooms, clinics and businesses have been bulldozed or set on fire, forcing their residents onto the streets. The government has provided no alternative housing, nor has it provided aid for the 700,000 people who are now displaced.
Crimes against humanity include acts committed as part of a widespread and systematic attack directed against any civilian population - including the deprivation of housing and forceful transfer of a population, calculated to bring about the destruction of a targeted political group, which is the case in Zimbabwe.
Mugabe's razing of the townships is the culmination of the ruling ZANU-PF Party's anti-democratic assault. In rural areas, ZANU-PF is able to control voting through village leaders using a widespread system of patronage. But the residents of the townships and cities, who have access to the news media and are able to mobilize, form the backbone of Zimbabwe's opposition. Not content with shutting down the opposition media and targeting its leaders, the government is now is literally dispersing opposition supporters.
There is overwhelming evidence that Mugabe's government has committed other crimes against humanity, including imprisonment, rape, abduction and torture.
Zimbabwe is a country in ruins; its people are destitute. The unemployment rate is more than 70 percent and the annual inflation rate is more than 500 percent. Since 1998, annual foreign investment inflows have dropped from $436 million to less than $5 million.
The rural population suffers from increasing starvation, which is now being exacerbated by the influx of people displaced from the townships. Nearly 40 per cent of Zimbabweans are malnourished, with 70 percent of the population living below the poverty line of $1 a day. In the span of only 15 years, the average life expectancy has declined from 60 years to 30 years.
To make the situation worse, many of those who have been left on the streets suffer from AIDS. The World Health Organization reports that one in four Zimbabweans has the AIDS virus. In a recent demolition campaign, an AIDS orphanage was bulldozed. The independent news media have been shut down; the judiciary has been compromised; social services have collapsed and elections are rigged.
Mugabe is a demagogue whose egregious crimes have, to date, gone unpunished - much to the consternation of Zimbabweans. It is time for the international community to act, by using the "trigger mechanism" at the UN Security Council to initiate proceedings before the International Criminal Court.
An indictment by the ICC would turn Mugabe into a pariah within the context of international law: An international arrest warrant would be issued, and all UN member states would be obliged to detain Mugabe if he stepped outside the borders of Zimbabwe.
A referral to the ICC would also send an unmistakable message to the beleaguered citizens of Zimbabwe that Mugabe will ultimately be held accountable for his crimes. There is no statute of limitations for those, like Mugabe, who commit atrocities against their own citizens. It is time to bring him to justice.
(Mark S. Ellis is executive director of the International Bar Association, London.)
LONDON A referral to the ICC
Zimbabweans have been gallant in their struggle to try to topple Robert Mugabe and rescue their country from despair. But Mugabe's state machine is simply too powerful and corrupt to be defeated by weakened and demoralized citizens. The escalating humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe requires an immediate and forceful international response.
Mugabe must be held accountable for the crimes he has committed. A UN Security Council referral to the International Criminal Court to investigate Mugabe and his regime, similar to the referral over Sudan's Darfur situation, is the most appropriate and effective response.
The International Criminal Court, or ICC, was established on July 1, 2002, as the first permanent international court to investigate and try individuals for the most heinous violations of international humanitarian law. A referral to the ICC to immediately investigate Zimbabwe would fall squarely within the powers of the Security Council to decide what measures should be taken to maintain or restore international peace and security.....

Fewer tourists go to Zim


Zim is a beautiful tourist spot.....but with all the problems, why would anyone visit there?

Sokwanele has a report on the collapse of the tourist industry in Zim HERE

Zimbabwe has great natural potential for tourism - good climate, many attractive physical features, friendly people, a sound infrastructure (with the exception perhaps of air travel) and some of the best wildlife resources on the continent. Before the present crisis we offered tourists a low risk, safe tourist destination at reasonable cost.

The crisis generated by the bad governance of Zanu PF between 1998 and today has led to a collapse of the tourist industry, from which it is only recovering slowly. Tourist arrivals fell to 20 per cent of the 1997 levels in 2002. Foreign earnings to less that US$60 million. Employment crashed from over 100 000 in 1997 to less than 20 000 in 2002. Informal job losses were estimated at 200 000.

Serious damage to infrastructure is being done at present by neglect and shortages of hard currency. Poaching and continued violent occupation of private land is undermining the whole wildlife sector - threatening the viability of the hunting and game viewing industries. The collapse of law and order in many parts of the country coupled to desperate economic conditions and destitution has also given rise to serious crime in the cities. This is deterring visitors and tourism.

Despite all of this the industry is still capable of a rapid recovery in the event that the political situation is normalized. Tourist arrivals at the Falls are rising and South Africa is experiencing a tourist boom. This is spilling over into neighboring states and when Zimbabwe comes back to normal, we can expect to benefit from this influx to the region.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Want to speak Shona?

Podcast/mp3 downloads HERE

HERE... is Rss feed address (hope I got it right)...

Don't know if they are good...will have to listen first...

Solwanele says Merry Christmas

The year 2005 has certainly been one of the toughest yet in Zimbabwe. As we take stock at year's end we must be ruthlessly honest about our situation. For some the festive season provides an opportunity to escape from the harsh realities and even to indulge in a little fantasy. We take it rather as a time for reflection and clear-sighted realism about how far the nation has progressed on the path towards freedom and democracy, and how much farther we still have to go. On this basis we have to acknowledge the following:
For the vast majority of Zimbabweans the struggle to survive has never been more problematic. Leaving aside the tiny ruling elite who continue to wallow in obscene wealth (stolen from the nation) for most of us each of the last five years of the deepening crisis has presented ever greater difficulties. 2005 was no exception. Spiralling inflation, increasing homelessness and unemployment and the near collapse of the health care and educational sectors have added to the miseries. Millions now live on the verge of starvation. Countless Zimbabweans have already succumbed to the deadly combination of the AIDS pandemic and severe food deprivation. What family, apart from those enjoying the dictator's patronage, is not now struggling to survive
The year 2005 also brought a number of setbacks for the progressive, pro-democracy forces in Zimbabwe. Nor are we referring to the outcome of either the parliamentary elections in March or the senate elections in November, for in both cases the further reduction in MDC representation was entirely predicable, given the fatally flawed electoral process and ZANU PF's expertise in gerrymandering. We refer rather to the outbreak of civil war within the ranks of the MDC, ostensibly over the contested decision whether to participate in the recent senate elections. Tragically the party which at one time mustered the most serious threat in 25 years to ZANU PF tyranny is no more. Two warring factions and a small number of isolated individuals who still stand for principle, remain of a party which once represented the hopes of so many. A party and a cause also for which countless brave men and women have sacrificed so much, including the hundreds who have laid down their lives and many more who suffered torture and abuse. This is a tragedy of immense proportions. Indeed in the light of the huge damage inflicted on the cause of freedom and democracy we find the cavalier attitude of Morgan Tsvangirai truly astounding. In comparison to the fracturing of the anti-ZANU PF opposition the retrogressive amendments to the constitution and further shrinking of the little remaining democratic space pale into insignificance.
Directly linked to these negative factors we have seen hope dip to an all-time low. While the haemorrhage of many of the nation's most able and experienced citizens into the vast Zimbabwean diaspora continues, for those remaining it becomes increasingly difficult not to give way to despair. Feeling defeated and deflated, what cause do we have to celebrate this Christmas? Moreover even were we in the mood for celebrating, which we are not, we would have precious little to celebrate with.
Such is the reality of present-day life in Zimbabwe....

Harare's water supply unsafe

Harare, Zimbabwe, 12/24 - Municipal authorities in the Zimbabwe Capital of Harare said Friday drinking water supplied by a government water agency in the city was unsafe for human consumption, sparking fears of widespread diseases. Harare City Council engineer, Michael Jaravaza, criticised the Zimbabwe National Water Authority for using inadequate chlorine in the treatment of water it supplied in Harare and surrounding towns. He said the water did not meet bot the World Health Organisation (WHO) and local Standards Association of Zimbabwe (SAZ) standards required for human consumption.

Because of this, some food manufacturing companies had threatened to stop production because of the poor water quality, which they feared could poison consumers, the engineer said. "Free residual chlorine is consistently low in the drinking water, viable counts of bacteria and coniforms continue to be present in the drinking water. Toxin-producing blue green algae is consistently present in the drinking water," Jaravaza pointed out.

Zim faces a bleak Christmas


Thousands still without shelter

KILLARNEY, ZIMBABWE - Six months after the government tore down her house, Sifelani Lunga lies sweating in a dirt-floored shack. Just coming back has made her a fugitive.
Like thousands of people dumped in rural areas after the government razed squatter shacks and street stalls, she crept back to the remains of this settlement outside Zimbabwe's second-largest city, Bulawayo, because she could not survive in the countryside.
As the Zimbabwe government and United Nations argue about providing shelter for the people who have been thrown out of their homes, thousands have no secure refuge and live in fear of police raids.

....Mugabe told Egeland, "We are not a tents people ... We believe in houses," presidential spokesman George Charamba reported to the state-owned Herald newspaper.....

Zimbabwe announced a massive housing-construction plan in the aftermath of Operation Murambatsvina, but, by December, a few hundred houses had been built, and the program had ground to a halt. Human Rights Watch said the program was unaffordable to the vast majority of displaced people because it required proof of regular salary and payment of a deposit.
When Lunga, a 43-year-old widow with HIV, arrived in the village she'd been exiled to, she found no food or clinic. She struggled back to the ruins of Killarney, along with hundreds of others, but she has no money for transport to Bulawayo clinics or churches where food is handed out, and she is too ill to walk the nearly two hours there.
She lay curled on a ragged blanket on the ground in a smoky, leaking hut. She had a fever and had been vomiting for three days and had not seen a doctor since the evictions last summer.

When helping the poor helps the bad guys

The UN World Food Program will distribute 331,000 metric tons of corn and other staples in Zimbabwe by 2007, nearly a third of all the donations it plans for southern Africa. The United Nations is building 2,500 shelters in Harare, the capital, to house the homeless. Such generosity is welcome, but its subtext raises wrenching ethical issues. For in the view of critics, these humanitarian gestures will not simply save lives and ease misery, though they will surely do that. The critics say that the aid also will bolster Zimbabwe's authoritarian regime, which razed and burned the homes of those 700,000 citizens earlier this year and commanded them to move into the countryside. President Robert Mugabe calls the demolitions slum clearance. Critics call it a plot to disperse the same impoverished Zimbabweans who pose the greatest threat to Mugabe's 25-year rule. Most UN food aid is being funneled, at Zimbabwe's insistence, into rural areas. While that need is great, the effect is to deny aid to those poor who have lost their homes but who resisted being relocated to rural areas. Zimbabwe's rulers have also refused to let the United Nations erect tents or other temporary shelters that might make it easier for those whose homes were razed to remain in the cities. The world's aid to Zimbabweans is part of a devil's bargain, critics say: Save the poor from hunger and exposure, but at the price of aiding the very rulers who are making them hungry and exposed in the first place. Should such deals be struck? Implicitly and otherwise, they are struck all the time: In Darfur, relief organizations might be said to have aided the Sudanese government's ethnic cleansing merely by providing assistance to refugee camps set up by the victims of that cleansing. While refugees are fed and housed far away from their homes, the government can consolidate its hold on their former territory. North Korea demanded this month that international food donors leave the country by year's end, ratcheting up its leaders' efforts to stop outsiders from monitoring the delivery of the food to its starving citizens. In Bosnia, Rwanda and dozens of other crises, humanitarian agencies have been faced with the prospect that their good deeds could redound to the benefit of those who created the human suffering they sought to address. Such moral dilemmas hardly overshadow the lifesaving work that relief agencies perform. But the dilemmas are not trivial. Since the Cold War ended, humanitarian responses to wars and political crises have mushroomed, sometimes supplanting more muscular diplomatic and military actions of years past. Sending aid, it seems, is easier, warmer and fuzzier than tackling the root problems that led to the crisis at hand. As relief has become a preferred response to problems like refugee crises, dictators and warlords have become ever cannier at exploiting that aid. And the dilemmas have become more common and thornier. "It's one of the conundrums that humanitarian organizations face," Larry Minear, the director of the Humanitarianism and War Project at Tufts University in Boston, said in a telephone interview. Such tradeoffs, he said, have provoked debate over whether there are times when "one should withhold assistance in the interest of whatever overall objective there might be - including an end to the particular conflict that might be creating the need." Rarely, agencies do withhold assistance. After the Rwanda genocide of the mid-1990s, the International Rescue Committee pulled its workers out of refugee camps in Congo after concluding that soldiers behind the genocide were using the camps to regroup for further attacks. "We just decided we would not be complicit," George Rupp, the organization's current president, said in a telephone interview. But, he acknowledged: "That was a very complicated decision, one that continues to reverberate around the IRC. The result was that there were people with real needs that were not met." In almost every case, agencies swallow hard and offer help anyway, arguing that the greater good of saving lives and reducing suffering outweighs the ignominy of being a handmaiden to oppression. One option, experts say, is for relief agencies to publicize their devil's bargains - to show the world how such blackmail works, potentially shaming those responsible. Another is to press wrongdoers, publicly and in private, to stop rights abuses that humanitarians can document. Relief agencies have historically been loath to do that for fear that angry governments will bar them from helping the victims. A theologian in Geneva, Hugo Slim, believes that this fear is overrated; even evil rulers, he says, are usually reluctant to do much more than hector those who bring aid. Slim, the chief scholar at the Center for Humanitarian Dialogue, said in an interview that relief agencies could be creative in expressing themselves, perhaps by persuading moral authorities further removed from the crisis to speak for them. In Zimbabwe, for example, the World Food Program and the UN Development Program have said little about the constraints. But top UN humanitarian and housing envoys have been scathingly critical of Mugabe's slum-demolition program and have demanded that relief agencies be given wider leeway to aid its victims. Humanitarian organizations can also be subversive. Even if they are sharply limited in their own efforts, relief workers can strike quiet alliances with local activists, leverage their influence with sympathetic government insiders and educate those they are helping about their rights. If all else fails, Slim, Minear and others agree, the last resort - halting aid and withdrawing - remains. Even then, Slim said, it is vital to explain the decision to the needy and seek their "informed consent." Such efforts shield aid agencies from charges of desertion, and preserve the bond between benefactor and recipient that is at the heart of humanitarian efforts.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

zim child death rate highest in the world

(Story from March, before Famine became acute)

Acknowledging that donors were reluctant to give significant funds to Zimbabwe, because of the allegations of corruption and state torture, she said: "Look for other ways to make a political point, but don't take it out on Zimbabwe's children, they are the ones who are suffering."

In addition to the rising rate of child deaths, Zimbabwe has a million children - one in five - orphaned by Aids.

In 1990 it had one of Africa's best healthcare systems. But in recent years the government has reduced the health and education budgets and channelled the funds to the army and its internal security network, the central intelligence organisation.

The big donors have declined to fund its healthcare programmes, in contrast to their generous funding of neighbouring countries.

The three major Aids donors - the US, the World Bank and the Global Fund - have largely shunned Zimbabwe.

"In southern Africa, the area most affected by Aids, the average donor spending per HIV-infected person is $74 (£38). In Zimbabwe the amount is just $4," Ms Bellamy said.

The collapse of Zimbabwe's health was also highlighted last week by Africa Fighting Malaria, which came to different conclusions.

Rather than calling for increased funds which the government might divert to political ends, it urged President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa and other regional leaders to encourage Mr Mugabe to reform....

Funding crisis for malaria


Bill Gates and malaria


African aid: was it worth it?


...As well as a commitment to double aid to $50bn (£29bn), and extend the principle of debt relief, other parts of the deal could end up as even more valuable to Africa, most notably the commitment to universal free access to treatment for HIV/Aids, and measures to allow African countries to own their own economic strategies, rather than having them imposed from Washington.

And since then policy commitments in Europe mean that the aid increases promised will happen, although this has not been matched in a deliverable way in America.

President Bush's so-called "Millennium Challenge Account" has far too many conditions attached to it to make it accessible by the poorest countries....

Improving trade for Africa would be the one thing which could make all the difference.

Protesters from Global Call to Action Against Poverty in Washington. File photo
Campaigners are calling for debts to be cancelled immediately

This is not just a north-south issue.

One of the key recommendations of the Africa Commission report was to lower barriers, and improve infrastructure for trade within Africa....

The spokesman for the Global Call to Action Against Poverty, Kumi Naidoo, said: "We have always understood that this is going to be a marathon not a sprint."

The focus now is on compliance and delivery on promises made by the rich world, while ensuring that poor countries live up to their side of the bargain.

"We cannot accept any excuses for failure to move on gender equality, failure to improve governance, failure to eradicate corruption and so on. We will have a dual approach going forward," Mr Naidoo said.

"And there is momentum now for holding governments accountable. With developing country governments we will have to hold them accountable for things that are within their domain of control, and for rich country governments, for commitments, half-hearted they might have been in 2005, and to push them further.'

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Zim's farmers lack diesel


I've written in the past that Zim should have the Chinese teach them to use hand tractors and fertilizer...well, without diesel you can't use tractors, and it's back to the oxen...
HARARE, Dec. 21 (Xinhuanet) -- Shortage of diesel is stalling efficient land tillage across Zimbabwe with most rural farmers resorting to draught power, an official said on Wednesday...
"We have not yet compiled the total hectarage tilled and we should be in a position to do that once tillage has been completed throughout the country," Mlambo said.

A total of 1.3 million hectares are targeted to be put under maize by communal and A2 farmers with an average output of 1.6 million metric tons per ha expected. The central bank has introduced a maize and sorghum production facility of one trillion Zimbabwean dollars (about 12.5 million US dollars) to support A1 and communal farmers with seed and fertilizer.

...... Zimbabwe has been experiencing fuel shortage for the past five years and recently the government said it would allocate 50 percent of all fuel imports to farmers.

However, individuals are now allowed to import the commodity using free funds.

The country requires 1.8 metric tons of maize for livestock and human consumption annually. Enditem

Zim condemns the UN's model homes for the homeless...

HARARE, Dec 21 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe launched another verbal attack on Wednesday on United Nations efforts to house those left homeless by the government's demolition of shanty towns, describing one model house as a "mockery to Africans"...

He said the house, with walls made of bricks and asbestos sheets, fell short of government expectations and human dignity. "This structure is not permanent. We want permanent houses for our people," the minister was quoted as saying. "Comrade Chombo described the house ... as below human dignity, saying the people who designed the structure had been guided by a 'this-is-good-for-the-African' attitude," the newspaper said......

Mugabe sends Englund, the UN, a nasty letter


I often joke that like in the movie TEAM AMERICA, the UN will send Mugabe a nasty letter if he doesn't go along with their demands...

Well, here is a nasty letter Mugabe sends to the UN...

The government had expected Egeland’s visit to result in the shredding of the Anna Tibaijuka report, with Egeland having found out the real truth; like the fact that Zimbabwe is able to feed and shelter its own.
This is a proud nation and, besides, “Zimbabweans are not tent people”.

But Egeland met victims and aid workers and concluded that there was a worsening humanitarian situation in the country, winning himself the same badge reserved for all critics of the policies of President Mugabe’s administration.
He is now only the latest in a long line of Tony Blair stooges seeking to overthrow a government of the people.

So, if Annan does come, and if like his two envoys he refuses to be led up the garden path and chooses instead to see the real squalor that has thrived under ZANU PF, how “British” will he be when he inevitably states the obvious — that thousands are without homes in Zimbabwe?
Who would ZANU PF then call upon to discredit his report, as Egeland had been supposed to do with respect to Tibaijuka’s findings?
How would ZANU PF react if Annan took it a step further and turned the heat up a notch by prodding debate in the UN on Zimbabwe? Would it then be 2003 all over again, when President Mugabe said: “I refuse to join a club that won’t take me in as a member” and quit the “British” Commonwealth?

That decision was made after another revolutionary fire-and-brimstone speech at the Masvingo ZANU PF conference, and that is what that conference is still remembered for.
So why can’t the Umzingwane conference be equally remembered for another revolutionary decision in defence of the country’s territorial integrity, and not for weird statistics and ratios like the number of beasts and wildlife consumed per delegate?

ZANU PF obviously feels Zimbabwe no longer has anything more to lose, and any further international isolation by socking it to Annan would not damage anything that is not already broken.
In fact, even if Zimbabwe thumbed its nose at the UN and decided to become a hermit state living on the fringes of the world, it wouldn’t be anything new.

It is clear from the Umzingwane conference that ZANU PF has made a decision to stop wasting any more energy doing what every other country is doing — trying to run economies that work for their people.

Clearly, ZANU PF feels its energy is best devoted to finding Neverland, Peter Pan’s mythical land where people never grow up — an isolated land perched so high up in the sky that the whole world can no longer visit, especially Annan and his pesky envoys.

Hmmm...Neverland? Gee, what a good see, "Neverland" is Michael Jackson's ranch...

Mugabe should "offer" the persecuted Jackson asylum...

Englund on various African man made famine/genocides


Here is the part about Zim:

Finally, Mr. President, I have just returned from Zimbabwe and South Africa. As I reported to you in April, the humanitarian situation in the sub-region is already very serious, due to severe food insecurity, widespread HIV/AIDS and inadequate basic services. More than ten million people in the region are in need of food assistance. The situation could deteriorate further in 2006 and beyond, particularly in Zimbabwe and Malawi, unless actions are taken to meet immediate needs and to reverse the decline in key sectors.

In Zimbabwe, the humanitarian situation has worsened significantly in 2005. More than three million people -- almost one third of the population -- will receive food through World Food Programme in January and even more will receive assistance come April. Annual maize production, the basic staple, is one third of what it was several years ago. Basic services continue to deteriorate, particularly in the health, water and sanitation sectors. Inflation currently reaches over 500 percent. In this context, and as I told the Government in my meetings in Harare, the massive urban eviction campaign of hundreds of thousands of people was "the worst possible action, at the worst possible time".

We are now entering the peak of the "lean season." Food prices are rising fast, placing some basic commodities out of reach for a growing portion of the population. I welcome the Memorandum of Understanding finalized by the Government and WFP, which will ensure these emergency needs are met, and I also hope it will lead to better collaboration between the Government and the humanitarian agencies in other sectors.

Yet we much recognize that this huge need for food assistance is symbolic of the vicious cycle that we are caught in. It was raining when I was leaving Zimbabwe, but all expected that next year's harvest would be poor because of a lack of skilled agricultural labor force, the devastating toll of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, counterproductive agricultural policies and practices, and a lack of inputs such as fertilizer, seeds and tools. It is not sustainable to provide food assistance for millions of people year after year without making the necessary investments to get out of this situation. We can have a new approach that again will provide food security for all Zimbabweans. This will require major efforts from all, nationally as well as internationally. There is no substitute for engagement and dialogue at all levels in order to address the humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe.

From my discussions with the Government of Zimbabwe, I am convinced that the UN and the humanitarian community at large must try to engage more actively with the Government to address the enormous humanitarian crisis. We did reach agreement on some issues during my mission: a more active and systematic dialogue on food security; a more hands-on approach to resolving bureaucratic problems for humanitarian organizations through "one-stop-shops" at both the Government and the UN; and the initiation of a shelter programme for households affected by the eviction campaign.

However, sustained progress will require the following:

  • The Government must stop further evictions and be more flexible in allowing shelter and other programmes for those affected. It must ensure that beneficiaries are assisted solely on the basis of need.

  • The UN and our humanitarian partners, as well as the donors, should be guided in their own response by the needs of the population. We should provide the appropriate level of assistance where and when we identify the needs. Beyond food aid, we need to invest in food security, livelihoods and basic services.

  • The Governments in the region and Africa at large should engage more proactively with Zimbabwe to find constructive solutions, also given their interdependence and the risks of increased migratory movements.

  • All parties must understand the importance of neutral and impartial humanitarian assistance.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Zimbabwe launches multi-media campaign to promote road safety

...Assistant Commissioner Apolonia Munzverengwi said increased traffic patrols have resulted in a decline in road accidents from 30,857 between January and October last year to 21,845 during the same period this year.

She attributed the decline largely to an increased presence of national traffic police using vehicles, bicycles and on foot patrols.

She said Christmas, which is usually associated with a high movement of people on the roads, was a major contributor to annual accidents statistics.....


Or maybe it's because no one can afford petrol...

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Zim history of democracy


Englund gives report to the UN


Mr. Egeland similarly condemned the operation Monday, saying that the government took "the worst possible action at the worst possible time." He called on African states to be more engaged on Zimbabwe and work with the international community.
“From my discussions with the government of Zimbabwe, I am convinced that the UN and the humanitarian community at large must try to engage more actively with the government," Mr. Egeland told Security Council members.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Free Enterprise as a solution to poverty


Most NGO's and organizations that fight poverty tend to be socialistic or charity programs...

This link discusses development at the small business level, as a means to alleviate poverty...

When we drove up to Mnandi’s Chicken Take-Away in Guguletu (outside Cape Town) to meet Maki Dyani. He was standing on some crates in front of the store, putting up sales posters. We chatted outside for a few minutes then moved inside to see the store and to talk. No more than 3 minutes later we were told that the crates had been stolen. That’s 50 Rand down the drain for Maki.
While this was a small incident, it’s indicative of a much larger problem facing the business people who are trying to make a living in the black township of Guguletu and in other places across South Africa. The area, Maki told us, is rife with violent crime: hijackings, armed robbery, and murder. This imposes tremendous costs on the people who live and work there, himself included.
The take-away business Maki runs is a symbol of progress in the township. The start-up and operating costs for Mnandi’s was provided by a major South African chicken distributor as a pilot project to see if it’s feasible and profitable to move into the townships. The business has been up and running for one-and-a-half years now and, by the looks of things, it’s doing well – business seems to be brisk, especially in the afternoon hours. Maki just completed a franchise agreement with the chicken company and will open a replica take-away in near-by Khayelitsha.
But there have been real problems during these 18 months. The store has been robbed, at gun point, three different times, even though it fronts a major road. Maki refuses to be physically present at the store at certain times, because he’s more likely to be accosted by someone with a gun demanding his keys to the store’s safe. Now, he goes to the store at irregular intervals so would-be robbers have more difficulty tracking his movements. The police, he told us, are under-resourced and can’t really help so he’s hired private security.

Forcing the army to become peasants


In an attempt to rescue his failing programme of land redistribution, Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe is trying to involve the army in a "command agriculture" programme.

The Marxist falacy says it is good to force the army, student, rich people etc . to go to the farms to "help" in the harvest...

Five years after Mr Mugabe ordered the seizure of the white-owned commercial farms, agricultural production has halved.

Mr Mugabe has admitted that the people to whom he gave some 4,000 farms have some responsibility for the country's current problems.

"Mugabe is now saying that the people who are on the farms are opposition supporters and that they are sabotaging the country. He says the army must take over," the major said.

"This is an idea which Mugabe got from China, where the army is used in agriculture and industry"....

I asked the major whether he believed the idea would work.

"I don't think it will because soldiers are not trained for farm work," he says.

"They're trained to fight. They don't have the skills. It's out of desperation that he's doing this. It will not work."

Others I spoke to in Zimbabwe agree. John Robertson, the country's foremost economist, pointed out that "the idea has been tried out in China, North Korea and Stalin's Russia and look where it got them." got them massive starvation...of course, nowadays, China has changed their mind and encourages modern farming by the peasants themselves instead of Marxist farming...Of course, Muugabe could try importing these skilled farmers, provide hybrid high yield seed, fertilizer, tractors or hand plows, and build irrigation dams and ditches-- ...hell, he could even import some Chinese farmers to show him how to do it if he doesn't like the previous white farmers...but nah, it isn't Marxist...

Animals killing people


This year crocodiles took a narrow lead over elephants as the most dangerous animal to humans, according to new statistics released this weekend by a Zimbabwean conservation group.

Crocodiles dragged away and ate 13 people in the first 10 months of 2005, according to the annual report of the Campfire group. Elephants charged and trampled to death 12 people. One person was killed by a buffalo and one by a hippopotamus making a total of 27 Zimbabweans killed by wildlife.

Many of those killed by elephants were subsistence farmers trying to protect crops from the voracious appetites of the animals who eat about 300kg of vegetation a day.

Some farmers use chilli pepper spray to ward off the elephants, which usually amble off but occasionally become enraged, especially if they have young. Crocodiles prey on villagers fishing or washing in rivers and lakes.

Despite the fearsome reputations of lions, they rarely kill humans. No fatal lion attacks on humans have been recorded in the last year.

I never treated any of these, only dogbites and a nasty goring by an ox, while in Zim, but a friend of mine treated a nasty bite from a Hippo, which were greatly feared...

Of course, in our area, we didn't have any crocs or lions or even buffalo in our area, but we did have some hippos migrate to a new irrigation lake from a dam...


Jazz, music and the Mbira


A nice article about music in Zimbabwe...

Bah humbug, take two

Yes, I know Bono is taking credit for Bush's increasing money to HIV patients, and Gates is also spending money on Malaria research....

But maybe the much criticized Abstinence programs by Bush will save just as many, as would small grants to sterilize needles and teach native healers to sterilize their knives (Which also spreads a lot of HIV in Africa), and allowing DDT (which has been banned thanks to all those conservationist/Green ecology types pressuring governments) would save even more people...

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Sending computers to Africa, bah humbug

Mr. Gates has said candidly that he wants to rid himself of his burden of billions. Bono is one of his trusted advisers. Mr. Gates wants to send computers to Africa - an unproductive not to say insane idea. I would offer pencils and paper, mops and brooms: the schools I have seen in Malawi need them badly. I would not send more teachers. I would expect Malawians themselves to stay and teach. There ought to be an insistence in the form of a bond, or a solemn promise, for Africans trained in medicine and education at the state's expense to work in their own countries.
Malawi was in my time a lush wooded country of three million people. It is now an eroded and deforested land of 12 million; its rivers are clogged with sediment and every year it is subjected to destructive floods. The trees that had kept it whole were cut for fuel and to clear land for subsistence crops. Malawi had two presidents in its first 40 years, the first a megalomaniac who called himself the messiah, the second a swindler whose first official act was to put his face on the money. Last year the new man, Bingu wa Mutharika, inaugurated his regime by announcing that he was going to buy a fleet of Maybachs, one of the most expensive cars in the world.
Many of the schools where we taught 40 years ago are now in ruins - covered with graffiti, with broken windows, standing in tall grass. Money will not fix this. A highly placed Malawian friend of mine once jovially demanded that my children come and teach there. "It would be good for them," he said.
Of course it would be good for them. Teaching in Africa was one of the best things I ever did. But our example seems to have counted for very little. My Malawian friend's children are of course working in the United States and Britain. It does not occur to anyone to encourage Africans themselves to volunteer in the same way that foreigners have done for decades...

Note to Mr. T: Charity begins at home....Most of these people go abroad to enable their large extended families to survive, and often pay school fees so their siblings/cousins/etc can get educated.

My husband worked here in the Philippines with public health until his brother died; he then was left as the senior male, so went to the USA and supported his a result, our town has one doctor, and Chicago, Saudi Arabia and London has several doctors/nurses/lab techs....

Of course, they could stay here: But there are no jobs with decent pay...and the Philippines is not half as bad as Malawi, or Zimbabwe...

Jounalists won't be released until boss turns himself in

Harare - Zimbabwe police were by late last night still holding three journalists of the private Voice of the People (VOP) broadcasting company as "ransom" until the director of the company hands himself over to the law enforcement agency, according to the journalists' lawyer. The journalists, Maria Nyanyiwa, Nyasha Bosha and Kundai Mugwanda were arrested earlier on Thursday when police and officials of the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) raided the VOP offices in Harare. They are being held at Harare Central police station and are most likely to spend the weekend at the station known for its filthy cells. In an urgent application to the High Court on Friday seeking the journalists' release, their lawyer, Jacob Mafume, said the police had told him that they would not free his clients until VOP director David Masunda turns himself in. "The respondents (police) are holding the applicants as ransom as they have already stated in no uncertain terms that they will only release them after their director hands himself over to the police," Mafume said in a court affidavit. He added: "The respondents have thus acted and continue to act outside the law and look set to continue to do so."

Under the government's draconian Broadcasting Act, it is illegal for radio and television firms to broadcast from the country without first obtaining a licence from the BAZ. But VOP does not broadcast from Zimbabwe although it maintains offices and reporters in the country. The station broadcasts into the southern African country using a Radio Netherlands transmitter in the Indian ocean island of Madagascar. VOP, which was once bombed three years ago by unknown people, is one of several foreign-based radio stations set up by Zimbabwean broadcasters unable to broadcast from home because of the stringent conditions under the Broadcasting Act. The crackdown on VOP comes days after a vitriolic attack by government Information Minister Tichaona Jokonya against the privately-owned media which he accused of being paid by Western countries to tarnish the image of President Robert Mugabe and his government. Jokonya threatened to take unspecified but tough measures against the small but vibrant privately-owned media.

Zim arrests three radio journalists


Harare - Police and security agents arrested three journalists during a raid on a private radio station, their lawyer said on Friday.

Documents and production equipment were also seized during Thursday's raid at the Voice of the People, part of a crackdown against President Robert Mugabe's critics.

The journalists - Maria Nyaniwa, Nyasha Bosha and Kundai Mugwanda - remained in custody Friday at Harare's main police station, according to their lawyer, Otto Saki.

Authorities are confiscating the passports of prominent critics
He said they would likely be charged with operating a broadcast service without a government license and working as journalists without accreditation - offenses punishable by a fine or jail term under the southern African country's sweeping media laws.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

a bleak Christmas


In the old days, that is until about five years ago, families in the rural areas anticipated the return of fathers and uncles from work in the cities with bags full of goodies. Every child would get new clothes - colourful frocks for the girls, trousers and T-shirts for the boys - and a pair of trainers.You were a king if you received a pair of black BATA Tenderfoot trainers.

The atmosphere would be taut with anticipation. On Christmas Eve, the children would scrub themselves clean in the river and the soles of their feet would be cleared of the calluses from their long barefoot journeys to school.

In my village, welcoming father back home at Christmas was something akin to a celebration of manhood. Besides the clothes, there would be plenty of biscuits, sweets, fizzy drinks and the latest music cassettes.

On Christmas Day, we children would wake early and clean the yard before rushing to the river for another bath, while mother prepared tea in bucketfuls, with fresh milk from the cows in the pen and cupfuls of sugar. Everything would be plentiful on that day. Thick slices of bread, buttercup yellow with margarine and scarlet red with Sun Jam would be eaten as if there were no tomorrow. A goat and some chickens would be slaughtered, and both meat and rice – a luxury - would be plentiful. Then would follow the pilgrimage to neighbours to show off the new clothes. Guests would drop in and we would sing and dance until beyond New Year's Day.

In towns, the story was much the same, but perhaps with richer and more exotic fare than the bread and rice that meant so much to my family.

Not this year. Most of the 11.5 million Zimbabweans still in the country - some 3.5 million others have fled abroad - will sleep on empty stomachs this Christmas night.

The harsh impact of a crumbling economy, meagre salaries and food shortages will combine to ensure that Zimbabweans have the most miserable Christmas ever. Unemployment is approaching 90 per cent and inflation has topped 500 per cent, and there are now so many zeros on most price tags that calculators, designed for only eight digits, are useless for our daily calculations. Pickpocketing, once almost a national pastime, has gone out of fashion, as stealing a full purse will not buy you a single sweet or cigarette, and you need a carrier bag full of Zimbabwe dollars to buy a bottle of beer.

At the Christmas of 1980, the first after independence from Britain, a top-of-the-range shirt would have cost five Zimbabwean dollars. Now the cheapest costs in excess of 1.2 million. In just over six years, our currency has lost 99.9 per cent of its value. ....

Mugabe legalizes stealing


The Zimbabwe government plans to introduce new regulations to allow it to temporarily borrow from foreign currency accounts (FCAs) of private organisations and individuals, in yet another desperate bid to lay its hands on whatever little hard cash is available in the country, ZimOnline has learnt.

Sources within the central Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) said the proposed new regulation that they said could be announced early next year would bring FCAs held by individuals and others such as non-governmental organisations within reach of President Robert Mugabe's hard cash-strapped government.

If implemented as planned, the move would widen the sources of hard cash for the internationally-isolated Mugabe government, currently battling fuel, power and basic commodity shortages due to lack of foreign currency.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

No politics, says General to Soldiers (except to support Mugabe)


On Monday the television said Major-General Martin Chedondo "issued a warning" at an army parade in the central town of Gweru, that supporters of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) would not be tolerated in military ranks.

The station reported: "In a no-holds-barred off-the-cuff speech ... Major-General Martin Chedondo said it was the duty of every soldier to know the country's enemies and to protect it from them."

It said the general branded the MDC was an enemy of the people and the state, and said supporters of the MDC would not be tolerated in the Zimbabwe National Army.

Zimbabwe Television did not say what had prompted the comment, but it showed a clip in which Chedondo said: "If there is any among you who are supporters or have any sympathy for the MDC, then the military is not your place."

Private institution

Although the army officially says it is non-partisan, critics say Mugabe, 81, has turned the army into a private ZANU-PF defence institution in the face of a deepening economic crisis and growing opposition in the southern African country.

On the eve of presidential elections in 2002 - which the opposition says Mugabe rigged - Zimbabwe's army and security commanders said in a strong but indirect statement that they would not tolerate a win by Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the MDC.

Now they can't even afford funerals


"We, black Zimbabweans do not believe in cremating our departed ones. Burning the bodies of dead relatives is simply not an option"
Harare - There is simply no respite for Harare's long suffering residents. While the cost of living was already beyond the reach of many in the capital - thanks to six years of unprecedented economic recession - the cost of dying is set to surge beyond the reach of many families, according to the city's financial plan for 2006.
It is the new burial charges that many in Harare's teeming low-income suburbs say are not only unaffordable but also show the city commission's insensitivity to the plight of bereaved families. Or to use the words of Oscar Mubaya, a resident of the capital's Kuwadzana suburb: "These new charges mean that dying is now a luxury only the rich can afford. How do the city fathers think we will cope with these new charges? Surely, it is anti-people to come up with such a budget whose effect extends even to the dead."

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

New wave of evictions in Harare

In a move reminiscent of Zimbabwe's May-July slum-clearance campaign, authorities evicted at least 200 families from their shacks and hovels on the Tsiga sports grounds in the surburb of Mbare early Monday morning, human rights sources said.

Some of those displaced had settled in Mbare’s open spaces after their homes were demolished several months ago in Operation Murambatsvina, or “Drive Out Trash," an undertaking which the government of President Robert Mugabe said was intended to improve living conditions but which drew the censure of the United Nations

Zim gov't cracks down on opposition

The Zimbabwe African National Union Patriotic Front annual meeting called for action against civic groups and non-governmental organizations associated with the United Nations, the BBC reported.

It urged the government to implement a constitutional amendment allowing the authorities to confiscate the passports of those who it sees as a threat.

Officials began putting that law into practice on Thursday when newspaper owner Trevor Ncube had his passport seized after he arrived at Bulawayo Airport on a flight from South Africa.

Ncube's newspapers, both in Zimbabwe and in South Africa, have been critical of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's government.

On Friday, an official of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, Paul Themba Nyathi, had his passport confiscated as he returned from a trip to South Africa.

BIrd flu not the dangerous one

no links...but seems the flu is not the chinese strain that hits humans.

Mugabe admits his land policies might have caused famine

Links on blogger not working...

President Robert Mugabe at the weekend admitted that his chaotic and often violent land redistribution exercise helped cause severe food shortages in Zimbabwe.

Mugabe has in the past completely rejected assertions that his seizure of large-scale producing white-owned farms for redistribution to landless blacks destabilised the mainstay agricultural sector and Zimbabwe's capacity to feed itself.

Zimbabwe, once a regional breadbasket, has since Mugabe's land reforms in 2000 largely survived on handouts from international food relief agencies.

The Zimbabwean leader, who insists his land reforms were necessary to correct an unjust land tenure system that reserved all the best farmland for whites while blacks were cramped on poor soils, had in the past maintained that his country's food problems were mainly because of poor weather.

But Mugabe last Saturday told a conference of his ruling ZANU PF party that lack of proper planning in the land reform exercise, corruption, lawlessness on farms and vandalisation of irrigation equipment and infrastructure, coupled with shortages of fertilizer and seed had exacerbated the effects of poor weather.

"All this translates into low production and food insecurity," said Mugabe, in a surprisingly frank assessment of his land reform project.

Indicating he is not about to call off ongoing seizures of the few farms still in white hands, Mugabe told the ZANU PF conference that there were still more people waiting to be allocated land. But he said vandalisation of farms should stop.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Zim ostriches have a type of bird flu


so far the chickens are ok...

You know why Mugabe refused the UN's offer of tents?


Harare -President Robert Mugabe has told top United Nations humanitarian envoy Jan Egeland that Zimbabweans are not "tents people", after the world body offered temporary shelters to thousands displaced by a wave of shack demolitions, say reports on Wednesday.

Presidential spokesperson George Charamba quoted Mugabe as saying: "We are not tents people. We believe in houses."...

UN Envoy a liar, says Mugabe


Harare - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe on Friday called top United Nations envoy Jan Egeland a "damn hypocrite and a liar", at a party conference.

"He's a damn hypocrite and a liar," Mugabe said to the applause of around 3 000 members of his ruling Zimbabwe African National Union - Patriotic Front (Zanu-PF) party.

In a speech broadcast live on state radio Mugabe said Egeland, who was in the country earlier this week to assess the humanitarian situation, said "nasty things" about Zimbabwe after he left the country on Wednesday.

"When he left the country he said nasty things about us," said Mugabe.

Mugabe said Zimbabwe would be adopting a new attitude towards envoys sent by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan. "We don't trust men from his office any more," Mugabe said.

Egeland, the UN's emergency relief co-ordinator, said after his three-day visit that Zimbabwe was facing a "very serious" humanitarian crisis, worsened by the government's demolition campaign launched in towns and cities earlier this year.

Thousands of shacks, houses and flea-market stalls were destroyed in the operation, which the UN estimates has left 700 000 people homeless and jobless. - Sapa-dpa

Saturday, December 10, 2005

No tents, please...

The government has torn down tents erected by UN workers and doesn't want any more built, relief co-ordinator Jan Egeland said soon after returning from a trip to Zimbabwe.
"They believe that tents give the impression that there is a crisis in the country," Mr Egeland said....

Zim Cricket crisis deepens


Zimbabwe's brilliant young cricket captain Tatenda Taibu’s decision last week to flee and pursue his profession in Bangladesh has pushed the future of the game in the troubled southern African country to - and perhaps over - the precipice....

When you prefer a country like Bengladesh over Zimbabwe, you know something is very, very wrong...

Thursday, December 08, 2005

UN Envoy: Africa needs to addrss Zim crisis

In an interview with IRIN after his meeting on Wednesday with Sue van der Merwe, South Africa's deputy minister for foreign affairs, Egeland said, "We told them that each time it must not be Europe or any other western country raising issues [around] Zimbabwe."
The African Union has been taken to task by human rights bodies for its failure to criticise the Zimbabwean government's controversial clean-up campaign, Operation Murambatsvina, which left more than 700,000 people homeless or without a livelihood when it started in mid-May.
Earlier in the week, the UN envoy visited people affected by the "eviction campaign" in the capital, Harare, during a five-day fact-finding mission to Zimbabwe.
Egeland told IRIN that the UN had begun constructing temporary and permanent shelters for those left homeless by the campaign, but admitted that donors had been "reluctant" to fund construction, citing government's insistence that it would draw up its own list of beneficiaries as one of the problems. Egeland said the UN would now compile the list, which has helped address one of the donors concerns.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Milk fund milked dry


A Z$150 billion fund created by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) to resuscitate the country's dairy sector could have been misused with less than $15 billion said to have reached farmers, ZimOnline has learnt. ...

This may not be quite as bad as it sounds... the "official exchange rate is Z$70,000 for one USdollar....

Zim election


Zimpundit discusses what really went on...

Defense gets largest chunk in Zim's budget

Defence gets fourth biggest chunk in Zimbabwe budgetThu 1 December 2005
HARARE - Defence received the fourth largest vote in a Z$123.9 trillion budget for next year unveiled on Thursday in Parliament by Finance Minister Herbert Murerwa.
The largest share went to Education which was allocated $7.4 trillion followed by the health and public service sectors allocated $5.2 and $5.1 trillion respectively

Mugabe's housing program grinds to a halt


HARARE - President Robert Mugabe's project to build houses for thousands of families whose homes he ordered demolished in a controversial urban renewal campaign five months ago has ground to a halt because there is no money.
At least 700 000 people were cast onto the streets without shelter or means of livelihood after their homes were demolished by the government, according to the United Nations (UN) which also said Mugabe's urban renewal campaign violated human rights and may have breached international law.
A WOMAN watches her house being razed to the ground during the demolitions
Another 2.4 million poor Zimbabweans were also affected by the home demolition campaign, the UN said.

Rehousing the homeless...

Jan Englund, who criticized the US for not sending HIM enough money to help Tsunami victims (at a time the US and Australia and India were the first ones there to help... didn't matter, the money needed to be sent to him to do surveys on who needed the money most, not to helicopter food, water and medicine to those starving and sick and dying)...
Well, dear old Jan is visiting Zim to decide how to rehouse those left homeless from Mugabe's Tsunami...

HARARE – United Nations (UN) envoy Jan Egeland began on Monday his tour of Zimbabwe to assess the needs of thousands of people who were displaced by a controversial government clean-up exercise last May.
Egeland, who was accompanied by several government officials, visited the poor suburb of Hatcliffe Extension, where residents are living in plastic shacks five months after President Robert Mugabe sanctioned the demolition of their homes.
At least 700 000 people were rendered homeless after the government razed to the ground thousands of homes and backyard cottages in a programme Mugabe defended as necessary to restore the beauty of cities and towns but condemned by human rights groups as a violation of the rights of the poor.

Ah, that's why he destroyed Sister Patricia's HIV clinic....and a convent chapel in Kwe Kwe...they weren't pretty enough....

The UN envoy was later shown several houses in Hatcliffe Extension built by the government under its reconstruction programme. But the Zimbabwe government, grappling its worst ever economic crisis, has failed to meet its housing targets for thousands of people displaced by the clean-up campaign.
Thousands? Try tens of thousands...

Sources said the UN envoy, who met Zimbabwe Local Government and Housing Minister Ignatius Chombo on Sunday “had an open and frank discussion (with Chombo) on how the UN, non-governmental organisations and other humanitarian partners in Zimbabwe can better support the many people in need of humanitarian assistance”.
How much do you want us to bribe you? (at least here in the Philippines, after taking the bribes, they let you help poor people, and will even cheerfully assist Zim, they keep the outside charities --oops the PC word is NGO-- from helping at all so that news of how bad things are won't get out)...

In an official statement, the UN envoy emphasised “the critical role of the government in facilitating the work of humanitarian agencies by asking minister Chombo to 'help us to help you'”. ....

Egeland is expected to meet Mugabe today before visiting the second biggest city of Bulawayo later in the day. - ZimOnline

Monday, December 05, 2005

Zim's women empowered


Zimbabwe takes lead in women’s empowerment

By Priscilla Nyahwema

ZANU-PF has taken a lead in empowering women in southern Africa and the recent Senatorial election results where 31 percent of the Senate is women, who made it to the Upper House, has been hailed as a landmark victory for democracy.
The women in Zimbabwe have proven themselves and have helped in achieving the Millennium Development Goals on gender equality and the inclusion of women in all levels of decision-making structures of governance.,,,.

Yup....those wonderful "Goals" that are absolutely meaningless....

Zimbabwe's descent into misery

Across Zimbabwe, the scene is the same: townships that were once claimed as models for Africa have become stinking health hazards. The big cities are not much better. Some parts of Bulawayo have not had water for seven weeks. Refuse collection in Harare is sporadic. Power failures are routine.

In small towns such as Bindura and Shamva to the north, rubbish is collected by ox wagon. Zimbabwe is fast sinking into the past.

The meltdown of one of the continent's best infrastructures has been years in the making, the result of underinvestment and mismanagement. But the speed of the decline over the past few months has been astonishing. Zimbabweans long accustomed to hardship cannot remember a worse time.

The crisis is driven by a crippling shortage of foreign currency. Since the seizure of white-owned commercial farms began in earnest nearly six years ago, agricultural output -- the mainstay of the economy -- has dropped by 80 per cent. Without dollars, the Government cannot buy the $162,000 worth of parts it needs to fix the sewage plant in Chitungwiza, where dozens of people have already contracted dysentery. It also cannot buy fuel.

Service stations have not had petrol or diesel for months. Fuel can only be bought on the black market -- at more than four times the official pump price. Air Zimbabwe cancelled all its flights for a day last week due to lack of jet fuel.

Prices have doubled in the past month. Annual inflation reached 411per cent in October, according to official numbers. But TM, a supermarket chain, estimated it was closer to 700per cent, based on a typical shopping basket....

The effects of the economic crisis are visible everywhere. People queue for hours just to buy maize meal, sugar and bread, and pay for a trolley-full of goods with briefcases full of cash. Supermarkets, which change their prices every week, have started installing note-counting machines at their tills.

Only 15 of the country's 175 railway locomotives are in running order. The state-owned Zimbabwe United Passenger Company, which runs Harare's bus services, is broke and has debts of $949,000.

Hospitals are creaking under the strain of the increasing number of patients suffering from malnutrition. In a recent parliamentary report, Harare Central Hospital said it might have to close because so many nurses were leaving -- 30 over the past two weeks -- because of poor wages and a lack of medical equipment. No more AIDS patients are being accepted for treatment because of a shortage of drugs. Thousands of soldiers have been sent on compulsory leave because there is not enough food and money....

In the rural areas, which have been badly affected by drought, the suffering is more acute. Near Chivi, in the southern Masvingo province, a bumpy dirt road cuts through parched countryside. Cows, their ribs pressing through skin pulled taut, chew the leaves off trees because there is no grass. Many cattle have perished. Their owners may not be far behind.

"People are not starving yet," said Alfred Matewe, 39, a short, barefoot man with a grey-flecked beard and heavily patched trousers. "But they will be if the rains don't come soon."

But rain will not solve the food crisis. A shortage of seed and fertiliser -- and money to buy them -- mean next year's harvest could be one of the worst. Aid agencies believe more than three million people will need feeding by March. The Government, in denial over the scale of the problem, is reluctant to let in food relief....

Drought and poor havests are one thing, but a government that lets people die for political reasons is another....

Saturday, December 03, 2005

No garbage collection in Harare

Mbare - The smell of sewage and rotting garbage wafts into homes. Acrid smoke hangs in the air where families have tried to burn household waste.

Garbage collection is the latest casualty as Zimbabwe's economy crumbles.

With the start of seasonal rains, the effects are becoming unbearable in this poor south-western Harare township. Trash is piled waist-high in the narrow streets, and reeking water stagnates in potholes, blocked sewers and drains....

Zim accused of blocking assistance

JOHANNESBURG -- Six months after Zimbabwe's government tore down the homes and businesses of hundreds of thousands of city dwellers it considered potential political opponents, at least 570,000 people remain homeless, many living outside with little or no shelter, according to a new Human Rights Watch report.

Worse, Zimbabwe's government is deliberately obstructing efforts by humanitarian groups to assist the displaced, the group said, creating what it termed a "massive humanitarian crisis" that the government has tried to conceal and other African nations have largely ignored.

"The very survival of many, particularly children and the chronically ill, is at risk. This appalling situation cannot be allowed to continue," Tiseke Kasambala, a Human Rights Watch researcher, urged at a Johannesburg news conference Thursday....

Friday, December 02, 2005

Drought killing wildlife


Several water holes have dried up and grazing has become scarce. National parks authorities cannot pump water into man-made water points because they either have no fuel or the motors have broken down. Of an estimated 66 drinking points, only seven, whose levels are also dropping fast, still have water.National Parks and Wildlife Management (NPWM) spokesman Edward Mbewe told IRIN that more animals could die if no remedial measures were taken, adding that the depletion of pastures was mainly due to the increase in the number of elephants, which had surpassed the national park's holding capacity.

Of course, you could cull (kill) the excess elephants, but the animal lover would object...

And if you cull the elephants, you can't sell the ivory anyway...not PC you know...and if you are starving, don't eat the meat before the authorities get the best cuts....

Zim police beat up people in farming town


KAROI -- Armed police in the small farming town of Karoi, 204km north-west of Harare, went on the rampage on Monday beating up residents a few days after President Robert Mugabe’s ruling ZANU PF party won a controversial senate election marred by widespread voter apathy.

The residents who included some vendors, say they were beaten up and forced to roll in mud at gunpoint at the hands of the police who have been accused of serious human rights violations in the past.

It was not immediately clear why the police beat up the residents but one policeman was heard questioning one of the residents why they had not bothered to vote during the Saturday senate election....

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Mugabe wins housing award


Harare - Zimbabwe was on Tuesday named one of three Housing Rights Violators in 2005, for the forced evictions carried out during Operation Murambatsvina, which left more than 700 000 people homeless and affected a further 2.4 million people. The Geneva-based Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions (COHRE) awards its Housing Rights Violator Awards to three governments guilty of particularly serious and pervasive housing rights violations in the preceding year since 2002. This year, Zimbabwe shares the Violator Awards with China and the State Government of Maharashtra, India. COHRE's executive director, Scott Leckie, charged that the Zimbabwe operation was tantamount to crimes against humanity. "The mass forced evictions campaign named Operation Murambatsvina forcibly evicted more than 700 000 residents and informal traders in Zimbabwe, leaving them homeless and destitute - not because of conflict or natural disaster, but due to their own government's calculated and brutal actions," said Leckie. "It is abundantly clear that crimes against humanity have taken place in Zimbabwe in recent months, and those responsible should be held accountable and brought before the international judicial bodies to answer for these crimes," he added...


He cited Zimbabwe’s Operation Murambatsvina or “Drive Out Rubbish” campaign, which he said left more than 700,000 homeless.

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe has defended the drive as an urban renewal campaign.

In China, more than 40 million farmers have lost their land and livelihoods in the past 20 years due to rapid industrialization and urbanization, he said.

“COHRE is particularly concerned about the forced evictions of at least 400,000 people carried out in Beijing in connection with the upcoming 2008 Summer Olympic Games,” Leckie said. “Removing people from their homes against their will is not only a human rights violation, but contrary to the Olympic spirit as well.”

Beijing has said that those whose households were relocated have been given more space than they had before.

In India, 350,000 poor people and ethnic minorities were evicted in Bombay in an effort to turn the city into a “world-class metropolis,” he said.

“The development plan calls for the reduction of slums to 10 percent of their current extent, in order to transform Mumbai (Bombay) into the next Shanghai by 2010,” he said.

“These forced evictions provide graphic evidence that the new ’world-class Mumbai’ is being constructed with complete disregard for the human rights of its poorest and most vulnerable people.”

Considering the population differences, Zim wins by a large margin...and there is no note if the people in China and India were merely thrown out or helped to quickly find new Zim they were merely thrown out...

Here is a Philippine example LINK
where many in Bulacan are being moved to allow a new railway.

One of these relocation areas is Barangay Lambakin in Marilao, Bulacan.

Municipal planning and development coordinator Hermie Bautista claimed they were the last to start but the fastest to construct the houses.

"Actually ang start relocation bandang August, na-late kami kasi we have to settle issues bago kami magsimula dito (Relocation started in August because we had to settle issues before starting)." Bautista said.

The relocation site is home to a total of 1,760 families, all residents of Marilao. Each family is given at least 32 square meters and at least P50,000 in cash.

One of the beneficiaries of the housing program is Jaime Santa Rosa. His family lived for thirty years along the PNR tracks in Barangay Tabing Ilog, Marilao, Bulacan.

A teary-eyed Sta. Rosa conveyed his gratitude to the government for giving them a better future. "Ang unang naramdaman naming nalungkot kami, s'yempre nandun na kami halos naglakihan, kaya lang ang nakakaano malalagay na kami sa tama…Ipinaglaban po kami ng aming mayor, provincial, Kongreso, sa sariling bayan kami ilagay, dun kami natutuwa, hindi kami nilagay sa ibang lugar. Marilao to Marilao din (We were sad at first but our mayor, the provincial board, Congress fought for us and put us still in Marilao)."

Sta. Rosa said the terms of payment for the land are very affordable. "Hindi po kabigatan sa amin dahil P200 lamang po, h'wag lang kaming manigarilyo, bawasan text, tong-its, kayang-kaya po namin (It's not so hard considering the amortization, which is quite low)."

Monday, November 28, 2005

Early polls say Mugabe wins


Partial results from Saturday's vote gave President Robert Mugabe's ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front at least 49 of 66 seats in the Senate.

Voting was marked by a record-low turnout blamed on voter apathy and the main opposition leader's call for a boycott.

Independent monitors predicted a turnout of between 15 and 20 percent of eligible voters, the lowest in any national election since Zimbabwe won independence in 1980.

Of course, the article didn't mention the "no vote for us, no food" aspect of the election...

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Election farce



And it's worse than a farce: LINK official of Gutu rural district council, who declined to be named because he is not authorised to speak to the Press, insisted that the distribution of maize had nothing to do with the by-election saying it was planned well before anyone knew there would be an election in the area. However, well-known MDC supporters in the area said they were being denied the maize as punishment for backing the opposition party....

Hmmm...wonder where it went?


Harare - The government's Central Mechanical and Engineering Department (CMED) cannot account for more than 600 000 litres of fuel it purchased for various state departments last year and internal auditors believe it could have been diverted to the illegal black-market.

Those made homeless are dying...


Yup...if you make people homeless, and send them back to villages with no money, and the villages have little food, you tend to have people die....

Friday, November 25, 2005

Gateway Pundit: US Slaps Sanctions on Mugabe Regime

Gateway Pundit: US Slaps Sanctions on Mugabe Regime

Sanctions on Mugabe?

See details at GatewayPundit...

He links to this ALERT about the lack of food...
The World Food Programme (WFP) estimates that more than four million people in Zimbabwe - almost one-third of the total population of the country - are likely to face severe food shortage in the coming year. ACT members Christian Care, and the Lutheran Development Services are planning to support people who are facing potential acute food shortages ....

My friends write that there are many problems, but don't elaborate...

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Hunger calling

....Meteorologists forecast that the wet season would start at the beginning of October, but three weeks into November only intermittent drizzle has fallen in drought-prone Masvingo, rather than the downpours the farmers need."We would not be walking empty-handed if things were normal," one of the women in the single file commented. "Surely the gods have cursed us."....

Government promises of providing subsidised food to rural areas through the state-run Grain Marketing Board have been largely unmet. Most villagers who expected assistance were still waiting to be fed, and deliveries were few and far between. When food assistance was delivered, villagers were unsure when they would get the next consignment.

"It is erratic - the last time we received grain from the government was five months ago," said Maketo. "We used to receive food from donor agencies but I am not sure what happened. The villagers cannot sacrifice the little they have for mourners.

"Rural communities were also bearing the extra burden of hosting the funerals of relatives who died in urban areas but could afford to be buried there because costs of burial plots has soared astronomically.Next year is likely to be even worse, aid workers warn. A lack of fuel and spare parts has reduced the number of tractors available for land preparation, while the cost of fertiliser is well beyond the reach of many in the rural areas.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Spying? Who me?


South Africa denies spying on NGO's...

"It must be remembered that the Zimbabwean government's current understanding of human rights and legitimate comment and criticism is grossly dysfunctional," he said."They regard even the mildest criticism as being treasonous, and President (Robert) Mugabe is notorious for making hysterical accusations that foreign-funded NGOs are trying to overthrow his government."South Africa must not fall into that trap. People and organisations have the fullest right to operate within the bounds of our constitution and our law, and if they are critical of the Zimbabwean government, this is probably a plus factor rather than a negative.

"The prospect of South Africa sharing intelligence on NGOs with Zimbabwe was made "even more dismal" in that it followed on remarks by President Thabo Mbeki N in particular his claim that some NGOs had been funded to "challenge the ANC on this issue or that issue", echoing Mugabe's own conspiracy theories....
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