Monday, October 31, 2005
deep in the middle of this NYTimes column on leftists still pushing anti Americanism years after the Gulag was exposed and communism fell, we find this line:
All this talk about "resistance" and "antifascism" betrays the origins of this virulent strain of anti-Americanism: support for the "liberation" struggles in China, Cuba, Vietnam, Zimbabwe and elsewhere.
Yes, the Europeans and South AFricans see evil only in America removing Milosevic and Hussein, not in dictators who starve or massacre their own people...
ZIMBABWE’S president, Robert Mugabe, has ordered his ministers to disclose all their assets in a move aimed at blocking any plots against him as the country descends into economic collapse.
“Mugabe has files on everyone,” said a source close to the 81-year-old leader. “He encourages those around him to stick their hands in the till so the moment anyone gets cold feet about what he’s [Mugabe’s] doing and wants to quit — or starts thinking he’s a liability — he pulls out their file.”...
Some companies have been forced to make “donations” to the ruling Zanu-PF party to continue operating. Those which fail to do so are well aware of their likely fate. In the past two years seven private banks have been “specified” — closed down and their assets seized. Mutumwa Mawere, one of Zimbabwe’s richest tycoons, had his flagship conglomerate, Shabanie Mashaba Mines, seized by presidential decree last year, along with finance and insurance companies and supermarkets. “Mugabe is willing to downsize the whole economy just to feed the political elite, a few hundred thousand at most,” said a European diplomat. “It’s a mafia state.” During his 25 years in power Mugabe has become extremely skilled at drawing people from all sectors into his web of patronage. Among those handed farms that had been seized were High Court judges, police chiefs, military officers and the Anglican bishop of Harare....
Some companies have been forced to make “donations” to the ruling Zanu-PF party to continue operating. Those which fail to do so are well aware of their likely fate. In the past two years seven private banks have been “specified” — closed down and their assets seized.
Mutumwa Mawere, one of Zimbabwe’s richest tycoons, had his flagship conglomerate, Shabanie Mashaba Mines, seized by presidential decree last year, along with finance and insurance companies and supermarkets.
“Mugabe is willing to downsize the whole economy just to feed the political elite, a few hundred thousand at most,” said a European diplomat. “It’s a mafia state.”
During his 25 years in power Mugabe has become extremely skilled at drawing people from all sectors into his web of patronage. Among those handed farms that had been seized were High Court judges, police chiefs, military officers and the Anglican bishop of Harare....
Saturday, October 29, 2005
OCT. 27 8:30 A.M. ET The Zimbabwe dollar has plunged just over 130 percent on the new interbank market aimed at easing acute hard currency shortages that have crippled the southern African country's economy, banks said Thursday.
The Zimbabwe dollar was trading Thursday at around 60,000 to the U.S. dollar, or 72,540 to the euro....
".... I have found it almost unbearable to watch and follow Zimbabwe's politics this week as it seems the opposition have lost their way, forgotten their reason for being and become intent on squabbling over the chance to get a seat in a Senate which they themselves said was not wanted and an unacceptable financial burden on a population stretched way beyond the limits. Night after night state owned television have announced with growing glee that that "the rift in the MDC is widening" and have shown opposition party officials issuing opposing statements and publicly contradicting each other.
For six years we have seen almost no coverage of the opposition party on national television but this week the film footage has been incessant as the ruling party have gloated, crowed and chortled at what Mr Mugabe calls "that irrelevant party."
I pray that by the time you read this letter, the MDC will have come to their senses. I cannot believe that any one of them has forgotten the rapes, arson, torture, beating, brutality and murder that have littered our lives for the past five and a half years. I cannot believe that any of them are happy and contented that their families are spread out all over the world, in political and financial exile. I cannot believe that any one of them will be able to look at themselves in the mirror and feel good about earning a living as a Senator. It will be a living that ordinary people are dying, literally, to give them. I cannot believe that any of the MDC leaders, even one of them, think that these elections will be different - clean, unrigged, free, fair and transparent. Multiple hundreds of thousands of people are already disenfranchised, either through forced removal from their homes and constituencies through one government policy or another or by having been declared aliens in the country of their birth....."
Friday, October 28, 2005
"We say that expropriation is provided for in the constitution but the constitution also provides that there must be compensation, fair compensation," he said in reply to a question in parliament.
He did not give details of how the compensation would be decided.
Land is an emotive issue in post-apartheid South Africa where whites still control most of agriculture and frustration is growing about the slow pace of reform, prompting a review of the government's "willing buyer-willing seller" approach.
Last month, the government issued notice of its first farm expropriation, using its powers to return land to its original black owners after negotiations with the farmer broke down over price.
"We have to look at the totality of issues that has served as blockages in terms of faster movement forward and remove those blockages and the expropriation issue is related to this," Mbeki said.
He added this was not peculiar to South Africa, as it was also allowed by the U.S. constitution in some circumstances.
But he stressed that South Africa would learn from the experiences in neighbouring Zimbabwe.
The government has been careful to distance itself from the approach taken in Zimbabwe, where violent land seizures have often been blamed for an economic collapse and a deepening political crisis.
"...Following heavy Test and ODI defeats by New Zealand in August and by India the following month, the controlling body Zimbabwe Cricket suddenly appointed a new national coach, Zimbabwe-born Kevin Curren, to take over from Simmons.
But the West Indian says he was not properly informed about this, nor formally sacked. As he sees it, his work permit remains valid. He is therefore seeking compensation and payment for the remainder of his contract..."
The BBC, in an absurd headline, proclaims "Musical aid for Zimbabwe"...
Ah, a concert to raise money? Nope...a government funded concert...propaganda telling people not to flee to South Africa...
Some of Zimbabwe's best-known musicians are contributing to an album that forms part of a multi-media campaign, and are to perform at a concert on Thursday.
IOM hopes to make would-be migrants aware of the dangers of leaving the country without support....
At present, 2,000 Zimbabweans are sent home each week from South Africa alone.
The campaign, known as "Safe Journey", aims to reduce the risks of potential migrants and to inform citizens on HIV prevention and the dangers of irregular migration.
Increasing numbers of people have attempted to leave Zimbabwe in the wake of the government's Operation Murambatsvina, in which 700,000 people were affected by the destruction of homes and small businesses, according to the United Nations.
"We want people to think before they go," the IOM spokeswoman in Harare, Nicola Simmonds, told the BBC News website.
"They have got to know before they go that they are taking a risk, and things could be worse on the other side."
Oliver Mtukudzi is among the musical stars supporting the campaign, which in addition to music will use television, film, radio, print, billboards, bumper stickers, and a website to get its message across.
The Zimbabwean government is also backing the initiative.Excuse me, but this sounds like blackmail...Mbecki will allow Mugabe to stay in command, and Mugabe will prevent starving Zimbabweans from innundating S. Africa...
Monday, October 24, 2005
JOHANNESBURG: After years of abuse, such as having political slogans scrawled on its face and even being used as toilet paper, Zimbabwe's battered dollar is to be scrapped.
Zimbabwe's central bank governor Gideon Gono said on state radio last Thursday the currency would be replaced "at a date to be announced"...
notes have grown scarce because the Government cannot print enough to keep up with the inflation-driven demand.
People routinely queue many hours at banks to draw their own cash. Banks have taken to rationing cash per customer and occasionally riots break out when salary earners are unable to draw their wages because their bank has run out of notes....
Sunday, October 23, 2005
Earlier posts suggested that the shipment was finally allowed in the country, but this more recent report suggests otherwise...
The Council had been attempting, since 1 August, to deliver two trucks of aid, including food and 6,000 blankets, to the homeless and dispossessed victims of the demolitions.
The Mugabe government has still failed to act on a request by the UN for the world body to raise 30 million US dollars worth of aid for the victims of the demolitions.
Thousands of Zimbabweans are now living like animals in the midst of rubble, crawling in and out of hovels less than 3ft high, fashioned from cardboard boxes and broken asbestos.
These are the victims of Operation Murambatsvina (drive out the filth), Mugabe’s so-called urban beautification campaign which, according to a damning report by the United Nations, left more than 700,000 homeless or without an income.
Yet last week the United Nations flew Zimbabwe’s president on an all-expenses-paid trip to Rome to celebrate World Food Day in defiance of European Union travel sanctions. Flanked by bodyguards, he proclaimed that there was no hunger in his country and blamed its problems on George W Bush and Tony Blair, branding them international terrorists and likening them to Hitler and Mussolini.
Such hypocrisy comes as no surprise to the people squatting amid piles of debris in southern Harare, who feel abandoned by the outside world....
“This is the most depressing thing I have ever seen in years of working in trouble spots,” a UN official said. “It’s just all so unnecessary.” The bulldozers and axes that destroyed thousands of homes and market stalls in June and July, supposedly to clean up the cities, have left a nation teeming with homeless people....
“This is the most depressing thing I have ever seen in years of working in trouble spots,” a UN official said. “It’s just all so unnecessary.”
The bulldozers and axes that destroyed thousands of homes and market stalls in June and July, supposedly to clean up the cities, have left a nation teeming with homeless people....
The article is four pages long...please read it....
Saturday, October 22, 2005
Has links to others commenting...
GAY CONSERVATIVE SAYS:
Those crazy guys, aren't they adorable together?
And such good public speakers too. They can seize property, redistribute wealth, rig elections, get Jimmy "Dhimmi" Carter to validate said elections, jail political opponents and still find the time to write kick-ass speeches condeming free and democratic nations which, quite frankly, contribute more help to poor nations than they often deserve.
Friday, October 21, 2005
(I may have posted this earlier, but it's important)
Mugabe stood fast because he could count on his political party's security forces and the military. Now there are apparently signs of in the 40,000 man army. Some troops are protesting food shortages. Another beef in the military seems to be cuts in pay. South African sources report that troops involved in the protests have been confined to their barracks and some will be court-martialed. Mugabe is a dictator who relies on batons and bayonets to stay in power. If he's failing to pay the troops (the bayonets) his government's economic problems are indeed very serious. Mugabe needs to be removed from power. South Africa and Great Britain are the two foreign powers most likely to act against him, and both have demurred. That means Mugabe will either go by military coup, civil war, or, like Stalin, retain power into a frail, paranoid old age. Civil war has always been a possibility, but it appears military coup is no longer out of the question.
And, having been in Liberia at the start of that country's terrible civil war, I know that there is one thing worse than a murderous corrupt dictator: And that is a civil war and anarchy...
Rome (dpa) - Venezuela's Hugo Chavez depicted the United States as "a menace for the planet" and Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe likened its leader to a Fascist dictator seeking to rule the world during a ceremony Monday in Rome marking the 60th anniversary of the foundation of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
As Investor's business daily dryly comments, this farce merely shows the depth of corruption at the UN and it's bureaus:
....Mugabe is only the most visible manifestation of the tyranny and corruption that sustains misery through much of Africa. And all the Live Aid concerts in the world and other high-profile handouts won't bring the kind of economic freedom needed for real change.
Don't expect that kind of change to be promoted at the U.N. — at least not until further along in the tenure of our new ambassador, John Bolton. Having been dominated by Third World socialist dictatorships for so long, the truth is that Robert Mugabe personifies much of what the U.N. really stands for....And only the Aussies had the guts to walk out on the meeting: LINK
Mr Downer today said Australia's representative at the meeting had walked out prior to the speech.
"I thought his speech was absolutely disgraceful," the Foreign Minister said on ABC radio.
"Australia, I am proud to say, was the only country whose representative walked out before President Mugabe's speech.
"We boycotted his speech. I thought it was quite inappropriate for him to make a speech like that, and ironical and inappropriate for him to turn up at the meeting at all."
Mr Downer said it would have been difficult not to invite Mr Mugabe to the FAO anniversary as Zimbabwe was a member of the United Nations.
However, he said Mr Mugabe had made "an enormous mistake" in accepting the invitation and then making a political speech.
"But he has also highlighted the simple point about Zimbabwe – that this is a country that used to be the ... food bowl of Africa, a major exporter of food, and under his regime he has simply decimated agriculture and they are begging now for food from the international community," Mr Downer said.
Mr Downer said Mr Mugabe had destroyed the economy of Zimbabwe, and half the country was now suffering from a lack of sufficient nutrition.
As his heroes learned, being a revolutionary hero lets you do anything and still be praised...
Clearly, the Food and Agriculture Organization can allow anyone it wants to attend its World Food Day ceremony in Rome. The United Nations and its agencies must remain ecumenical and open. And the occasional appearance by Mugabe does help remind the world that the 81-year-old tyrant is still around, still blaming colonialists, neocolonialists, racists and everybody else for his country's suffering, still fixing elections and hounding his opponents.
Ummm...Not true...did the UN let Milosevic attend the conference on racism?
Thursday, October 20, 2005
Wednesday, October 19, 2005
to an old editorial in the WSJ (heads up from Smash's blog)...
True, Zimbabwe has had a drought. But it's a nation that inherited from colonial days some of the best infrastructure in Africa. There's nothing wrong with the roads, on which Father Finucane traveled hundreds of miles to gather the evidence on which he based his grim findings. In our modern world, with its swift transport, global markets and cheap technology--supplemented in a crisis by a vast network of eager aid agencies--there is no way that famine can be chalked up simply to natural disaster.
Given any reasonable degree of freedom, people faced with dwindling supplies of food will make mighty use of their basic human ingenuity to find ways to survive. It takes a lot of work, by determined tyrants, to starve human beings to death. Stalin engineered a terrible famine in the 1930s to subdue rebellious farmers in Ukraine. Mao in the 1950s and '60s starved some 30 million Chinese to death in the process of consolidating his grip on power. Ethiopians suffered famine in the 1980s under the Marxist rule of Col. Mengistu Haile Mariam, who was finally ousted in 1991 (and retired to luxury digs in Zimbabwe, where he still resides). North Korea's totalitarian Kim Jong Il has forced the starvation of more than one million North Koreans since the mid-1990s, rather than let them grow their own crops, trade in free markets and quite probably save their own lives...
Over the past two years, Mr. Mugabe's bid to boost his waning support has included a "land reform" in which his government ordered white commercial farmers to quit farming and surrender their land to be parceled out to blacks. This was done in the name of redressing racial injustice left over from colonial times. In an independence day speech on April 18, Mr. Mugabe announced triumphantly that the land "has finally come to its rightful owners."
But these huge farms, run with large economies of scale, were the most productive source of the country's food. Their confiscation, carried out in many cases by violent mobs, has brought farming to a near halt. With famine imminent, Mr. Mugabe's regime has ordered almost 3,000 white farmers still on their land to halt all production and leave their property within the next three weeks.
According to sources such as the U.S. Agency for International Development, the parceling out to date has been neither equitable nor productive. London's Daily Telegraph reported in May that vast tracts of land had been "handed out to President Mugabe's closest allies, including 10 cabinet ministers, seven MP's [members of Parliament] and his brother-in-law."Concern Worldwide estimates that yields have plunged 90% from what was once normal. And though the drought ended months ago and many of the reservoirs are now full, Mr. Mugabe's ruinous land "reform" means there is now almost no effective irrigation or new planting. Whatever hardship all this means for the white farmers, by far the worst hit by these ruinous tactics are millions of blacks.
Nor can people simply buy supplies on the open market. The government runs a Grain Marketing Board that has monopoly rights to import and deal in commodities such as corn--the staple food in Zimbabwe. Roadblocks restrict unauthorized shipments into the country. Farmers are forced to sell exclusively to the state marketing board, at well below world price, which further reduces incentives for large-scale planting. The marketing board rations its stocks, funneling food toward Mr. Mugabe's supporters and stinting the opposition, according to USAID head Andrew Natsios. Mr. Natsios describes Mr. Mugabe as "predatory and tyrannical" and says the Mugabe government "has politicized the distribution of food." ....
In the movie "Team America", the UN negotiator tells a fearless leader that if he doesn't stop killing people that the UN will be "wery wery angwy" and send him a nasty letter...
Apparantly, the fearless leader of South Africa thinks that even such a mild rebuke would be counterproductive:
Shouting and swearing at the Zimbabwean government will not help resolve problems there, President Thabo Mbeki said on Saturday.
"It will really be quite easy for me to call a press conference and say, 'Bob Mugabe, these are the things I don't like,' and make very good news," he told delegates at the launch of the African Editors' Forum in Kempton Park, Gauteng.
"But, I am saying, that is the end of the engagement. It doesn't work."
South Africa's approach -- and that of the region -- is to work together to find solutions to problems.
"The easiest thing to do, as you would know, is to swear at somebody. We can. But that's the end of the engagement."
He said this may work for other regions.
"In our view, it doesn't make sense in the region here.
Actually, I agree: Nasty letters don't make sense...try sending a nasty letter when you invade Zim and take over that country...like the Tanzanians who took over from murderous dictator Idi Amin, or the Vietnamese who removed the murderous dictator of Pol Pot...
(or the Americans who removed the nasty dictators of Hitler, Tojo, Kaiser Wilhelm, Milosjevic, Hussein, and Noriega--- ah, but I forgot, Mugabe is stuck on stupid, as the saying goes, and lives in the delusional world of anti americanism that is lauded in the EU press...link)
President Mugabe drew applause at a United Nations conference on hunger yesterday when he said Britain and the United States were to blame for his country's economic collapse.
In a diversion from his scripted speech at the World Food Day event organised by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation, Mr Mugabe called Tony Blair and George W Bush "the unholy alliance of the millennium".
Mr Mugabe makes his point at the World Food Day
He then compared the two world leaders to Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini and accused them of interfering in the domestic affairs of countries such as his own.
Mr Mugabe made his attack after a speech in which he patted himself on the back for the "long overdue" land reforms started five years ago in which land was forcibly taken from white farmers.
The reforms sent the economy, which once provided food for the region, into a tail-spin, leaving it dependent on international aid for survival.
The US alone has donated almost $300 million (£166 million) in food aid to Zimbabwe since 2002...
Four million Zimbabweans, a third of the population, now need rations from the World Food Programme to stay alive.
Mr Mugabe told the conference "there have been very unfortunate instances where the provision of humanitarian assistance has been politicised, often on the basis of ideology, race and or religion".
No, don't "politicize" food aid: LINK
Mugabe henchmen 'used food to win votes'
By Peta Thornycroft in Harare
A Zimbabwe judge has confirmed that President Robert Mugabe's henchmen bought over opposition members with food in the March general election and threatened hungry peasants with starvation if they failed to back his ruling Zanu PF party.
Tuesday, October 18, 2005
Monday, October 17, 2005
At the Harare conference, President Mugabe said food donations from developed countries and the influx of new foods from new technologies expose Africa to unsafe food while at the same time crippling commitment to developing agriculture on the continent.
Translation: No genetically modified food allowed, even if the Americans eat it without problem...and even if it would stop starvation...political correct ideology is more important than people...
He said everybody needs food and that it was incumbent upon thepeople to produce it and have the necessary resources such as landand inputs...
Translation: Take land away from competent farmers and give it to those who use primitive methods of slash and burn and hand hoes... or better yet, give the land to your cronies....
The FAO/WHO regional meeting recommended a Strategic Plan for Food Safety in Africa for adoption by the United Nations food and health safety agencies and the African Union.
When he addressed the World Food Summit in 2002, President Mugabe said the Zimbabwean government had responded to the people's cry for land to fight poverty and increase food security throughthe fast-track land acquisition program. ....
Sunday, October 16, 2005
Cde Mugabe is expected to join other world leaders in deliberating on the food situation in the world, particularly with reference to Southern Africa where millions of people are in need of food aid as a result of successive droughts.
The Rome meeting comes 10 days after a joint FAO/World Health Organisation (WHO) regional conference on food safety for Africa held in Harare.
At the Harare conference, President Mugabe said food donations from developed countries and the influx of new foods from new technologies expose Africa to unsafe food while at the same time crippling commitment to developing agriculture on the continent.
He said everybody needs food and that it was incumbent upon the people to produce it and have the necessary resources such as land and inputs.
All the food should be safe for human consumption, the President said, and where the food is imported, the receiving governments have to ensure its safety.
Saturday, October 15, 2005
"...While humanitarian workers in Burma said they were glad to see the fund had decided to send aid to the people of Zimbabwe, they questioned claims that the fund separated a country's internal political situation from its aid needs.
"There's no doubt that such assistance is desperately needed in Zimbabwe, so it's a good decision for Zimbabwe's people. At the same time, I'm at a bit of a loss to understand the discernable line in the sand the Global Fund draws between Zimbabwe and Burma," one aid worker in Rangoon told Mizzima.
"Both countries suffer from inhumane leadership, rife corruption and a severe lack of transparency. Humanitarian funds are, regrettably, misused in both countries. Burma's people are also suffering from AIDS. Why are they too not deserving of assistance that would save so many lives?"
Zimbabwe has a human rights record almost equal to that of Burma with no free elections or free press and ongoing human rights abuses perpetrated by the government. Aid workers in the country have been calling for Global Fund help for some time and say the organisation has delayed a decision because of the country's political situation.Liden was not available for comment today but he denied Global Fund's foot dragging on Zimbabwe aid had anything to so with President Mugabe's land reform program, which has seen hundreds of thousand of people in the country's capital forced from their homes..."
HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's government said on Friday a U.S. envoy who was briefly detained after entering a security zone near President Robert Mugabe's residence would have been "a dead man" if the incident had happened elsewhere.
Zimbabwe state television reported on Thursday night that U.S. ambassador Christopher Dell was held by the Presidential Guard on Monday after he entered a restricted zone at the National Botanic Gardens near Mugabe's official Harare residence, ignoring "no entry" signs, on what the government says was a "mission to provoke an unwarranted diplomatic incident".
Umm....bobby, you could get away with that with Jimmy Carter, but even Bush's father wouldn't put up with that kind of diplomatic threat...
Remember Manuel Noreiga? The cell next to him is still empty....
Friday, October 14, 2005
Harare, in arrears since 2001, paid back $120m (€100m) - more than a third of its outstanding debt - to the IMF in September after it threatened to expel the southern African country for non-payment.
It has since paid another $15m to the Washington-based lending body, and said it planned to clear the remaining $160m it owed by late next year.
Zimbabwe's Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono has said the payback came from "free funds" and export earnings.
But, given the country's dire economic straits, the payment has prompted speculation and suspicion as to its source, with economists adding that Zimbabwe could not afford to spare hard currency given its current shortage.
Nowak said the crisis in Zimbabwe, which is grappling with record-high inflation, unemployment and severe food shortages on the backdrop of political tensions, was like a "cloud over the rest of the region".
But he added that foreign investors had realised that other countries in southern Africa were not planning to go the same route.
HARARE, Zimbabwe - The U.S. ambassador to Zimbabwe was detained for a half hour after allegedly trespassing in a restricted area near President Robert Mugabe's official residence, the government said Thursday.
Zimbabwe officials said they sent a formal letter of protest to the U.S. Embassy Thursday, complaining about the actions of Ambassador Christopher Dell.
State radio said that Dell was "trying to provoke an unwarranted diplomatic incident" by approaching the restricted security area in Harare's National Botanical Gardens. It said the viewing area was guarded by armed troops.
Dell was held for 30 minutes Monday night and then released, according to the government statement. News of the incident didn't emerge until the government statement Thursday.
The ambassador and other American envoys couldn't immediately be reached for comment.
The episode marks a new low in U.S.-Zimbabwe relations, soured by American charges that Mugabe's authoritarian government is a serious violator of human rights...
Mugabe seems to be taking lessons from Manual Noreiga...
Mugabe signed constitutional changes into the law in September, effectively nationalising all white-owned farms that had been seized by his government over the last six years.In remarks broadcast on state television, Chinamasa said he would present a law in the coming weeks outlawing the occupation of state-owned farms."The constitutional amendment provides that an act of parliament can provide for any occupation of state land (to be) a criminal offence, so the piece of legislation that I will bring will make that clear," he said.
Thursday, October 13, 2005
LONDON - After years of breaking its own laws, corrupting its judiciary and flagrantly ignoring orders from its Supreme Court, the Zimbabwe government is now cocking a snook at the world by tearing up international agreements and destroying property rights.
The latest pronouncements by state security minister, Didymus Mutasa – who is also in charge of land redistribution – have set alarm bells ringing in South Africa, which has vast commercial interests in Zimbabwe. ..
Which is why China won't help their newfound friend with farm production: LINK
HARARE – China has turned down an offer by President Robert Mugabe’s government to take over farms seized from whites apparently because Beijing feared there was no guarantee that such an investment would be secure in the long term, authoritative sources said.
Zimbabwe has since last April attempted to hammer a joint-venture deal with China that would enable resource-rich farmers from the Asian giant to enter into partnerships with the Harare government to farm land seized from whites and help resuscitate the southern African country’s collapsed agricultural sector.
But sources said China has developed cold feet on the planned deal worried by Harare’s ever shifting land laws and policies in particular a controversial constitutional amendment last month that virtually nationalises all agricultural land.
“There is unlikely to be a deal. The government was desperate to bring the Chinese over, but complications have arisen in light of the new laws nationalising farmland,” said a senior official in Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Agriculture, who is privy to the negotiations between Harare and Beijing. ...
And, of course, we all know that the land is being given to destitute farmers ---not LINK
CHINHOYI – About 78 families which have been ordered off Hunyani Farm in Chinhoyi town about 120km north-west of the capital Harare are living in fear after the government allegedly deployed state security agents on the farm.
The families, who occupied the farm at the height of farm invasions five years ago, were last week served with notices to vacate the farm because the government says it wants to build an agricultural research station at the farm.
Some of the families told ZimOnline the government had followed up by deploying agents of its dreaded Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) to monitor movements at the farm.
The CIO agents, accused by church and human rights groups of torturing and murdering perceived government opponents, are harassing the families and threatening them with unspecified punishment if they do not vacate the farm....
Several families who seized white farms often with direct encouragement from President Robert Mugabe and his top officials have been thrown off some of the farms in most cases to pave way for senior politicians many of whom have grabbed up to six or more farms each.
Mugabe has on rare occasions admitted some of his senior lieutenants corruptly kept several of the best white farms for themselves...
Wednesday, October 12, 2005
Black is concerned that there are no records of the people who were made homeless as many are still missing or living in the bush. Uprooted and deprived of essential services such as HIV treatment, food and shelter, this missing population could die without anyone connecting their demise to the conditions created by the regime in the first place. This is genocide by proxy ...
The debt ridden Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) has paid its arrears with counterparts in South Africa and Mozambique. The power utility is using the money taken from private companies by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to pay up its debt. Experts say although the payments may reduce the power cuts in Zimbabwe the way the money is being sourced is going to sink the economy into deeper crisis. ...The debt ridden Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) has paid its arrears with counterparts in South Africa and Mozambique. The power utility is using the money taken from private companies by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to pay up its debt. Experts say although the payments may reduce the power cuts in Zimbabwe the way the money is being sourced is going to sink the economy into deeper crisis.
A leading economist, John Robertson, has warned that there is going to be a build-up of scarcity of commodities and a huge surge of inflation as a result of bad economic policies being implemented by the government.
Robertson said Zimbabwe does have a fairly steady source of export revenue from the mining, tobacco, tea and coffee industries but exporters of these use half of their proceeds for their own requirements and are forced to surrender the other half to the Reserve Bank....
The link2 stuff is to a us right wing web site...in case the articles get pulled off the caches of the press, it can still be accessed...
National Bakers Association executive member David Govere said the wheat shortage had grounded the flour making industry and warned Zimbabwe could run out of bread in the coming weeks. Bread, which sells for about Z$28 000 or slightly above US$1 a standard loaf, was already in short supply in the country. Govere said: “What I knew was that only National Foods was left with a substantial tonnage of wheat and they were also very few stocks at Victoria Foods. As for Blue Ribbons, they have not milled anything for the past two weeks.”
Tuesday, October 11, 2005By Wisdom Mdzungairi LUSAKA, Zambia - International scientists, including those from the United States, have praised Zimbabwe and Zambia for rejecting genetically-modified food donations from the West to feed scores of their rural folk facing drought-induced food shortages.
By standing firm against GMOs, said the scientists, the two governments avoided manipulation and deception, which could have resulted in their vulnerable poor being used as guinea pigs. Regional and international scientists, government representatives, and other stakeholders attending an international conference on Genetic Engineering and Sustainable Agriculture in Lusaka last week, hailed the two neighbouring states' principled stance to mill some of the donated food to minimise their negative impact on people’s health. ....
Dr Mae-Wan Ho, an international researcher and head of the British-based Independent Science Panel - a global coalition of independent scientists, said there was no need for the West to foist the technology on Africa, especially when it disadvantaged its populations. "Farmers and governments in Africa should be very careful about the trickery of selling their national heritage in the form of seeds so that companies can control the food supply of the entire world and hold the rest of humanity hostage with their scheme to genetically modify seeds and crops," she said. ...
Ah, so the greens ignore that hunger is decreasing...this article claims if you eliminate China (i.e. a billion people) "the number of hungry people in the rest of the world actually increased by more than 11 percent, from 536 to 597 million." (from 1970 to 1990)
Ah, but that statistic ignores the population increase...so that statistically, the percentages dropped...and, of course, it ignores the improvements since 1990, using 1980's "reports" to justify it's support of primitive farming...
The "dirty little secret" is that poor people in Africa are not being made "guinea pigs", since such food has been sold for years in the USA...LINK
There’s no escape. You are consuming mass quantities of genetically modified food. The milk on your Cheerios this morning came from a genetically modified cow, and the Cheerios themselves featured genetically modified whole grain goodness. At lunch you’ll enjoy french fries from genetically modified potatoes and perhaps a bucket of genetically modified fried chicken. If you don’t have any meetings this afternoon, maybe you’ll wash it all down with the finest genetically modified hops, grains and barley, brewed to perfection - or at least to completion if you’re drinking Schaefer.
Everything you eat is the result of genetic modification...
This recent Article summarizes the hypocracy best:
Of course, some activist groups suggests that the problems of hunger and malnutrition that plague sub-Saharan Africa can be solved without biotechnology, without GM foods. And the heads of state of several African nations, including Zambia and Zimbabwe, agree.
But a report issued this past spring by the FAO concludes that biotechnology has an important role to play in addressing the needs of the world's poor and hungry.
In fact, the report stated that the underfed population would benefit from more research and development of basic food crops, like potatoes, rice, cassava and wheat, as well as so-called "orphan crops," like sorghum, pearl millet, pigeon pea, chickpea and groundnut.
They "are critical for the food supply and livelihoods of the world's poorest people," Diouf said back in May.
The Green Revolution that dramatically reduced hunger and malnourishment in Asia and Latin America was driven by technological advances. If Africa is to usher in a similar Green Revolution, it must accept the promise of biotechnology.
Tuesday, October 11, 2005
I hesitated to put up this link, since the two people who read my blog might be westerners and feel superior to Africans.
However, ritual killing is not an unknown thing in Africa. I did not know of any cases when I worked in Zimbabwe, except for vague rumors, but when I worked in Liberia, about once a month there would be a report of mutilated bodies found in Monrovia.
And, if you are a European who feels superior: Just remember: Africans call this evil....
But there are things worse than tyranny: It is civil war.
(I also worked in Liberia...
where a 14 year civil war killed a quarter million people)...
This LINK discusses how the economic collapse could deteriorate into Civil war in Zim also...
"....Now there are apparently signs of in the 40,000 man army. Some troops are protesting food shortages. Another beef in the military seems to be cuts in pay. South African sources report that troops involved in the protests have been confined to their barracks and some will be court-martialed. Mugabe is a dictator who relies on batons and bayonets to stay in power. If he's failing to pay the troops (the bayonets) his government's economic problems are indeed very serious. Mugabe needs to be removed from power. South Africa and Great Britain are the two foreign powers most likely to act against him, and both have demurred. That means Mugabe will either go by military coup, civil war, or, like Stalin, retain power into a frail, paranoid old age....."
BEITBRIDGE – Authorities at Beitbridge Hospital on Zimbabwe’s border with South Africa have resorted to "temporarily exporting" dead bodies to Mussina town on the other side of the frontier for storage there because the hospital morgue has become too small.
Sources told ZimOnline that the mortuary at the state hospital was too small for an ever increasing number of patients dying there resulting in many corpses having to be ferried across to the South African side for storage until relatives can bury them.
You can read the post, but you need background information.
There is no money for petrol, and you can't take a corpse on a bus.
When I worked in Zim, if someone was truly dying, we told the family so they could get the person back home to die, both to save them money, and so the dying person could die with family nearby.
If someone died unexpectedly, we kept them in a shed that served as a morgue until they could be buried. It is important to be buried with family.
The second thing that this shows is that people are dying...notice the HIV rate has gone down? Is this due to prevention? Or is it because those with HIV are dying of TB, malaria, dysentary, and other diseases of malnutrition? Inquiring minds want to know.
...Inflation has retreated from a record high of 623 percent in January 2004 but remains among the highest in the world and could soon revisit that peak soon, analysts say.
Zimbabwe's economy has contracted by more than 30 percent in the last six years and the IMF predicts another 7 percent falling gross domestic product (GDP) this year -- outpacing the 4 percent GDP decline in 2004 and against Harare's own forecasts of 2 percent growth....
The United Nations agency charged with fighting AIDS has come out with good news, in relative terms, for Zimbabwe. About one in five people in the country between the ages of 15 and 49 is believed to be infected with the virus that causes AIDS, reflecting an improvement from the rate of one in four Zimbabweans found by a 2002 study.
Zimbabwe is only the second country in Sub-Saharan Africa, following Uganda, to see a decline in its HIV infection rate.
Monday, October 10, 2005
HARARE – President Robert Mugabe’s government will allow international relief agencies to feed an estimated four million hungry Zimbabweans only after Senate elections in November, ZimOnline has learnt.
Authoritative sources said the government wanted to maintain monopoly on food aid distribution and use it to maximise votes in the election set for the end of next month.////
Sunday, October 09, 2005
Friday, October 07, 2005
THE Zimbabwean army and air force have been hit by protests over the government’s failure to increase their salaries as well as chronic food shortages at their barracks.
Military sources said this week soldiers were increasingly unsettled by government’s refusal to increase their salaries and provide adequate food supplies to the 40000-strong army.
Disgruntled armed forces pose a serious threat to President Robert Mugabe’s regime, which depends on the state security apparatus — the army, the air force and the intelligence service — for its survival....
Sources said “dozens” of soldiers had been prevented from leaving the army in protest over the current problems. Instead, they said, troops were being sent on forced leave in a bid, prompted by food shortages, to reduce numbers at the barracks.
Army spokesman Lt Col Aggrey Wushe has denied soldiers were going on leave due to food shortages, saying they had accrued leave days during the Democratic Republic of Congo war between 1998 and 2002.
The army also denied there was unrest within its ranks.
“We have food to feed them until the next financial year. We can keep them in the barracks but the days they accrued will be forfeited,” Wushe said.
“We are saying, ‘take them now or they will get forfeited’.”
(The danger might not be a coup to overthrow Mugabe, but that there will be hungry soldiers wandering around in rural areas, free to loot and steal and terrorize innocent people in order to get food etc...)
(blogger not posting links)
Zimbabweans deported home are regarded as traitors or spies by Robert Mugabe's government, a tribunal has been told.
Authorities believe returning asylum seekers are being deliberately sent back as "agents of regime change," the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal heard.
Thursday, October 06, 2005
Thousands of liberation war veterans and supporters of the ruling Zanu-PF party have invaded hundreds of white-owned farms since February, demanding land they say was stolen during the British colonial era. ..
Ah, but it wasn't stolen from these same people...
To put things into perspective, you have to see the great population increase in Zim after 1900...essentially, the early farmers went into an empty land...
However, there is much bitterness about land seized and given to white farmers, and where blacks had been resettled...
The "black" and PC side of the story is here:
Much of the anger in the article is probably justified, but as you can see, the Marxist/leftist rhetoric assumes no nuances....
And, of course, my point is that you don't kill the goose that laid the golden egg, i.e. white farms, and that if we want Zim to be wealthy, you need industrialization and globalization...after all, with the population explosion, there simply is not enough land to feed the growing population via substience farming...
Slowly granting those who actually work the farms their own land, and subsizide fertilizer, handplows etc. would be a good start...as would high yield crops...
But then, what do I know?
The WaPost links to an AlReuter's article, and has a dully written article saying the same thing as the previous post:
HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe needs to import more grain to feed at least 2.2 million needy people who cannot fend for themselves until the new harvest next April, the official Herald newspaper reported on Wednesday....
"About 2.2 million people would require food assistance because they have no money to buy maize," Mhishi was quoted as saying.
"A total of 2.2 million people countrywide cannot afford to buy their own food...The government has to chip in and import 222,000 tonnes of maize so that no one starves," the Herald said.
In August the state grain marketing board said it planned to import 120,000 tonnes of maize every month and had bought 300,000 tonnes in the previous three months to stave off food shortages after poor rains.
Critics say the food shortages have been worsened by a collapse of commercial farming following a controversial land reform program that gave white-owned farms to landless blacks, many of whom lack skills or resources to fully work their plots....
Ah, but the problem is not giving land to those who traditionally worked it, and know how to farm and use irrigation etc. but because the dirty little secret is that Mugabe gave many farms to cronies and his backers...
Aid agencies say around four million people, a third of the population, will need food handouts until the next harvest from around next April. The government has said it will not formally ask the United Nations World Food Programme for help although it welcomes donations "without conditions attached."
Mhishi said Harare had not appealed for donor aid because "the number of households that needed such assistance did not warrant an international request for food aid," the Herald reported....
Wednesday, October 05, 2005
Zimbabwe makes fresh IMF payment
Harare said a recent payment was funded by cotton and tobacco sales
Zimbabwe has paid another $15m (£9m) to help reduce its debt arrears with the International Monetary Fund, according to its state-run Herald newspaper.
The move comes a month after President Robert Mugabe's government gave the IMF $120m to avoid the risk of being thrown out from the organisation.
This has nothing to do with Zimbabwe, but the trumpeters of progress are assuring us that technology will bring us heaven and eternal life...
As a student in history, it reminds me of the Titanic, the ship that even God couldn't sink...or the ideas of the turn of the century prophets who in the early 1900's were trumpeting utopia..
"... In "The Singularity Is Near," the inventor and prognosticator Ray Kurzweil postulates that we are fast approaching a time when humankind melds with technology to produce mind-boggling advances in intelligence. We will be able to play quidditch as Harry Potter does. We will control the aging process. We will be smarter by a factor of trillions. We will be so smart that we understand what Ray Kurzweil is talking about...."
Well, the Titanic sunk, and the glorious utopias of the socialist and eugenicists of the early 1900's turned into the death camps of Stalin and the Holocaust...
One hopes that the utopias of Kurzweil will have better luck
JOHANNESBURG, 4 October (IRIN) - Poor rural households in drought-ravaged southern Zimbabwe have exhausted their food stocks and are resorting to eating wild roots in a bid to stave off hunger.
Erratic supplies by the state's Grain Marketing Board (GMB) and the lack of essential commodities in rural shops have combined to undermine food security in the semi-arid Matabeleland region, aid workers told IRIN.
In the district of Tsholotsho, in Matabeleland North province, 49-year-old widow Sharon Mpofu said she was foraging for wild roots, identified as fit for consumption by an elder of the San clan from her village, to feed her two children. The San are renowned for their survival skills.
The family had also begun to reap the rewards of a small community vegetable garden, established as part of the NGO Christian Care's irrigation and self-sufficiency programme...
(Note: The san tribe are "bushmen", so not members of the ruling Shona tribe)
The World Food Programme (WFP) received written authorisation from the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare to begin food distributions to targeted vulnerable groups in 49 districts around the country on 29 September.
:link is: http://www.swradioafrica.com/news041005/amnesty041005.htm
There has been an outcry from many quarters who have criticised the United Nations for inviting Robert Mugabe to host a regional conference on food safety for Africa. This conference was jointly organised by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the World Health Organisation (WHO).
True to form, Mugabe used this platform to defend his chaotic land seizures which resulted in nearly half the population depending on food aid. He blamed the food shortages in Africa on weak food safety control systems and droughts. Mugabe also accused the West of dumping genetically modified crops on the developing world.
An Amnesty International spokesperson Audrey Gaughran says the food shortages in Zimbabwe are a result of a combination of several factors and some of those have to do with government policies. She said while there are factors like HIV/AIDS, the government’s Operation Murambatsvina internally displaced thousands of people. The government’s chaotic implementation of the land reform programme has also contributed to the food shortages in Zimbabwe.////
And even SOLDIERS are hungry in Zim...
Zimbabwe soldiers tell of hunger
Millions now need food aid
Soldiers in Zimbabwe have spoken of being sent on forced leave, as the army was unable to provide them with food.
The country is already struggling to feed an estimated 3.8m starving people in the rural areas, and has to import at least 37,000 tons of maize a week.
The army denies that the forced leave was the result of food shortages.
According to soldiers in Bulawayo, the food shortages began early this year which forced their superiors at times to buy maize on the black market.
The soldiers told the BBC's Focus on Africa programme there were serious shortages of food in barracks.
They believe that 300 soldiers have been forced to take leave in Bulawayo, and 2,000 countrywide.
Hmmm...soldiers hungry in the countryside...wonder if they are doing the usual thing that hungry soldiers do to civilians...i.e. pillage, steal, kill for food...no reports yet, but inquiring minds want to know....
Tuesday, October 04, 2005
Harare - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe said food aid "dumped" by developed nations had undermined food safety on the African continent, state radio reported on Monday.
In remarks made at the start of a UN-sponsored food safety and security conference, Mugabe blamed weak food security controls and unpredictable droughts for threatening regional food security and triggering the spread of diseases, the report said.
These challenges were compounded by the HIV/Aids pandemic, a rise in unregulated food vending practices, the influx of new food from new food technologies and the dumping of food from the developed world under programmes of food aid, he was reported as saying.
Mugabe's government has refused to appeal for international food aid this year, despite warnings from aid agencies that more than a quarter of the country's 11.6 million people could face hunger by next March. ...
In a surprising development, a regional conference on food safety for Africa jointly organised by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) was officially opened by Robert Mugabe in Harare on Monday. In his opening speech, Mugabe defended land seizures as a way of bringing "food to the people". He said: "In our fight for freedom and independence, one of the pillars of the struggle was land grievance -- land, land, land, which means food, food, food to the people,". ...
To many Zimbabweans who are starving it is a slap in the face from these international organisations to allow the one person they hold responsible for their suffering to open this conference on food safety and stability. ...
HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe police have arrested 14,706 people in a follow-up to this year's urban slum demolitions that left hundreds of thousands without homes or jobs, state media reported on Monday.
"Police have arrested street people, touts, illegal vendors, illegal foreign currency and fuel dealers who had crept back into Harare's Central Business District since the launch of Operation Siyapambili/Hatidzokereshure (No Going Back) two weeks ago," the official Herald newspaper said....
BULAWAYO, 3 Oct 2005 (IRIN) - Three hours of standing in a queue for maize-meal looked like it was about to pay off when the line suddenly disintegrated amid despairing groans and some furious name-calling - the supermarket had just run out of Zimbabwe's staple food.Shoppers in Zimbabwe's second city, Bulawayo, are rationed to 10 kg of maize-meal per person, but finding it - and indeed most other basic essentials - on the shelves is no easy matter.To get anywhere near a bottle of cooking oil, a bag of rice, a tube of toothpaste, a carton of milk, a packet of sugar, a box of washing powder or even a bar of soap, you need a reliable rumour, an eye for a queue worth joining and, above all, patience....
Not much was available in the supermarket - even beverages were scarce because plastic bottles are in short supply - but shop attendants were busy marking up shockingly high new prices....
Monday, October 03, 2005
Blogger not putting up links this morning...
JOHANNESBURG – South African President Thabo Mbeki has ruled out the use of sanctions under the African Peer Review (APR) system, accusing critics of the concept of wrongly assuming that African leaders could only embrace good governance under threat of punishment.
Mbeki, heavily criticised for failing to take a robust stance against Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe’s controversial rule, said the APR was a departure from the old African practice of non-interference in the internal affairs of another state even in the face of gross human rights violations.
Writing in his weekly online column, Letter from the President, Mbeki however said it was wrong to believe the APR would be ineffective simply because it was "voluntary and does not include sanctions".
The South African leader, who has steadfastly refused to publicly condemn Mugabe opting for his quiet diplomacy approach that critics say has achieved little, said the APR would succeed on the back of commitment by ordinary Africans and their leaders to a renaissance of the world’s poorest continent.
He wrote: "Clearly these sceptics have not understood the commitment of the masses of the African people to overcome the problems that have afflicted our continent for a number of decades.
"They believe that these masses and their leaders should be threatened with punishment to persuade them seriously to engage the challenge of the renaissance of Africa".
Under the peer review system, African governments voluntarily submit themselves to a review by their peers on the continent. The review process, based on a set of agreed principles, examines the government as well as general country performance with the reviewers recommending action to correct whatever shortfalls discovered.
Several governments on the continent have already subjected themselves to the review process but many of Africa’s controversial rulers such as Mugabe have so far stayed clear of the APR.
Zimbabwe is in the grip of an economic and political crisis which critics blame on repression and mismanagement by Mugabe. Fuel, food, electricity, hard cash and nearly every other basic commodity is in critical short supply in Zimbabwe.
Sunday, October 02, 2005
Harare, Zimbabwe, 10/01 - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe said Friday that the country had made food import orders enough to last until the next harvest early next year....
"We have placed orders to meet our food requirements between now and the next harvest, which we pray and hope will be bounteous," he said.
He did not say how much food the government had ordered, but Zimbabwe requires an average of 1.8 million tonnes of maize a year.
Saturday, October 01, 2005
ROME — The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation says Zimbabwe could run out of food in the next few months unless a massive emergency relief programme is put in place and warns that food security was unlikely to improve next year even if the country received good rains in the 2005/06 season.....
Other countries facing a similar situation are Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia, Swaziland and Zambia. But unlike her neighbours, Zimbabwe would require more than an above normal agricultural season to shake off the effects of the past two dry seasons, according to FAO.
“In Zimbabwe high inflation, coupled with shortages of maize grain and fuel as well as transport problems are causing serious food insecurity. For the same reasons, prospects for 2006 are dire, regardless of rainfall,” said FAO.
Zimbabwe and Malawi account for more than two-thirds of the 12 million people in southern Africa threatened with starvation this year....
mbabwe's central bank chief has called for a halt to farm invasions, calling those who try to seize land "criminals". Gideon Gono, the reserve bank governor, is quoted in a newspaper report as saying the invasions are totally unacceptable and should be stopped immediately.
Gono's comments come in the wake of at least two land seizures in the small town of Chipinge in south-eastern Zimbabwe last week. Five farmers have been forced off farms in the past weeks in Manicaland province. In one case, Dave Wilding-Davies, a Canadian coffee-farm owner, said he was leaving his farm after his farm manager was assaulted by an armed mob. Since 2000, Zimbabwe has seized some 4 000 farms and redistributed them to landless blacks under its land reform programme.
The reserve bank governor's major worry is generating foreign currency from agricultural exports. With the growing season just beginning, he believes farm invasions are uncalled for.
End of an era
Gono says the era of land allocations and farm invasions is over. He says it is now time for Zimbabwe to concern itself with productivity. Gono says anyone involved in invasions is working against economic stability and foreign currency generation. He said he was commenting not as a politician but as an economist and manager of Zimbabwe's foreign exchange.
However the government does not share his views. Patrick Chinamasa, the justice minister, has stressed that there will be a mopping-up exercise to draw in those farms he says 'escaped the net'. Chinamasa says all such farms will be accounted for and gazetted for acquisition. - Sapa
HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) - Zimbabwe's state-run hospitals can't afford medicines and equipment because of foreign currency shortages and have had to turn away patients, a government newspaper reported Wednesday.
The Herald quoted Tendai Nyakuedzwa, a laboratory scientist at Chitungwiza General Hospital, as saying the foreign currency shortage had left the hospital unable to import materials to test for HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. He also said equipment to test patients' responses to medication had been out of order for over a year.
The same thing is confirmed by one of my friends:
> everything that can go wrong has done so. Several of
> the nuns suffered from different types of ailments
> when we had no money to buy medication. Since we are
> all on medical aid seeing a doctor was not a
> problem, but buying the prescription. You know what,
> each time one of the sisters brought a prescription
> with a quotation, someone would just offer us enough
> money to cover the expenses plus fruits for the sick
> nun. What I would consider to be the biggest blow we
> have suffered is when our old house was destroyed by
> the clean up operation going on in our country. The
> nine of us were sharing 6 bedrooms and when the one
> house was destroyed, we remained with 3 bedrooms.
> Most of our property we had to ask well wishers to
> keep for us whilst we did our best to fit into the
> remaining 3 bedrooms. Our chapel which was in the
> old house is now gone so we are using our sitting
> room as a prayer room as well.